Victoria Azarenka Upsets Listless Kim Clijsters; Vera Zvonareva Keeps Hopes Of #2 Ranking Alive At 2011 Sony Ericsson Open

Kim Clijsters

One day after overcoming errors and a shaky serve to stage a thrilling comeback against Ana Ivanovic, 44 unforced errors (!), 8 double faults and 6 service breaks against her doomed defending champion Kim Clijsters in her quarterfinal loss to Victoria Azarenka. Losing 6-3 6-3, it’s actually amazing that Kimmie even won 6 games in he match considering how error-prone and sluggish she was. She admitted afterwards that she did not have it this day.

“I just didn’t feel good out there. Just mentally, physically, it didn’t feel right,” Clijsters said. “Maybe a combination of a few things. Physically it was tough the last few days, but I train hard enough to be capable of doing that. Mentally I just didn’t have any fighting spirit. It’s tough against someone like Victoria – against some lower-ranked players it’s possible to get through matches, but not her. I’m just looking forward to a break right now. It can’t be long because we have Fed Cup in a couple of weeks, so probably a few days, get settled at home.”

Victoria Azarenka

Meanwhile, Azarenka, who announced herself to the world in 2009 with a convincing upset of Serena Williams at the Sony Ericsson Open, winning the title, has a chance to fulfill the promise of that upset with a title in Miami. She played well enough to beat Kim Clijsters, but it’s hard to assess her chances against Vera Zvonareva in the semifinals, simply because Kim made so many errors it’s hard imagine that any top player wouldn’t have beaten her.

“Kim had a very tough match yesterday, but with Kim you never know. She’s such a good player and such a good fighter, I knew she would fight for it, which you could see at 63 51, 40-15,” Azarenka said. “She went for her shots and stayed in the match until the end. I knew it would be tough and I was ready.”

Vera Zvonareva

I have to lean toward Vera Zvonareva in the semifinals. I think we could be looking at a Maria Sharapova-Vera Zvonareva all-Russian final. If Vera does make the final and goes on to win the title she would ascend to the #2 world ranking, dropping Kim Clijsters to #2. Again, despite Kim coming up short in her last 3 tournaments, this is another indictment of the ranking system. Kim is the reigning champion of the last 2 Majors, the US Open and Australian Open, and the reigning WTA Tour Championship winner. Most think a healthy Kim is the best player on tour in Serena’s absence. Except, of course, that darn, pesky computer which favors quantity over quality.

Singles – Quarterfinals
(8) Victoria Azarenka (BLR) d. (2) Kim Clijsters (BEL) 63 63
(3) Vera Zvonareva (RUS) d. (9) Agnieszka Radwanska (POL) 75 63

VERA ZVONAREVA

VICTORIA AZARENKA

KIM CLIJSTERS

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