Whew. With all the talk of Victoria Azarenka’s dominance this year and if anybody can stop her winning streak, it would have been a shocker if she had lost her first match at the 2012 BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells. As it is, she advanced by the skin of her teeth over Mona Barthel 6-4 6-7 (4) 7-6 (6). This match was a textbook example of why you don’t let an opponent back into a match. One shouldn’t feel badly for a player being soundly beaten or want the winning player to toss them a game or two. Once you give a player hope, it can all turn around. Vika was up 6-4 4-1 and on her way to another straight set victory when Mona caught fire, winning 10 of the next 11 games to take the second set and go up 4-1 in the third. Mona, who fought off a match point in the second set, even served for the match twice in the third. In the end, Vika did just enough to spoil the upset bid, but if she has a similar lapse against a better opponent, we could see her winning streak come to an end in Indian Wells.
Former world #1 Jelena Jankovic, one of my favorites, was not able to avoid the upset bid as she fell to American Jamie Hampton, 6-4 6-3. JJ had been playing better lately, with recent trips to the semis in Dubai and Kuala Lumpur. As a fan, it’s disappointing for me to see her fall early at Indian Wells. However, I guess I should look on the bright side that both Hampton and Christina McHale, another great young American player, both won their second round matches.
At least JJ had fun at the players party. All the players do. Here’s a question…which player would you most like to dance with at the player’s party? They asked the players that very question. For me, if Kim Clijsters had been there, it would be her because she is my favorite player. If you’re asking which lady I’d want to dance with based on looks, that’s tougher. There are many beautiful players on tour and it’s a matter of personal preference. It might still be Kim for me, but probably I’d pick Maria Sharapova, Ana Ivanovic, Sorana Cirstea or somebody like that.
Singles – Second Round
(1) Victoria Azarenka (BLR) d. Mona Barthel (GER) 64 67(4) 76(6)
(3) Petra Kvitova (CZE) d. Barbora Zahlavova Strycova (CZE) 61 63
(5) Agnieszka Radwanska (POL) d. Sorana Cirstea (ROU) 62 64
(8) Li Na (CHN) d. Galina Voskoboeva (KAZ) 36 63 63
(9) Vera Zvonareva (RUS) d. Kimiko Date-Krumm (JPN) 63 64
(WC) Jamie Hampton (USA) d. (12) Jelena Jankovic (SRB) 64 63
Vania King (USA) d. (13) Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (RUS) 64 64
(14) Julia Goerges (GER) d. Elena Baltacha (GBR) 63 62
(18) Angelique Kerber (GER) d. (WC) Sloane Stephens (USA) 26 75 64
Klara Zakopalova (CZE) d. (19) Daniela Hantuchova (SVK) 63 67(7) 63
Jarmila Gajdosova (AUS) d. (22) Yanina Wickmayer (BEL) 26 62 64
(24) Anabel Medina Garrigues (ESP) d. (WC) Sania Mirza (IND) 62 75
(25) Svetlana Kuznetsova (RUS) d. Timea Bacsinszky (SUI) 63 20 ret. (right forearm injury)
(27) Flavia Pennetta (ITA) d. Carla Suárez Navarro (ESP) 63 64
(31) Zheng Jie (CHN) d. (Q) Michaella Krajicek (NED) 61 63
(32) Christina McHale (USA) d. Elena Vesnina (RUS) 63 75