Sloane Stephens is one of the young American players I have my eyes on. She is fast, skilled and has a lot of potential. However, in the third round of the 2012 Sony Ericsson Open she had more on her plate than she could handle in 3-time Major winner and former world #1 Maria Sharapova. Masha advanced to the next round with a 6-4 6-2 win over Sloane, but there were some splendid shots from Stephens that hinted at her developing talent. On this day however, Masha stayed on target for a potential blockbuster semifinal against Serena Williams. Still, both Masha and Serena have a lot of work to do before they reach that point.
Kim Clijsters overcame some shaky play to advance in the second round, but it was a different story against third round opponent and fellow Belgian, Yanina Wickmayer. I give Kim credit for showing guts in fighting of six match points against Yanina, but she ultimately fell 6-4 7-6 (5). By her own admission, Kim is nowhere near where her best.
“Yanina definitely started off much better and was more consistent throughout the two sets, and I wasn’t. It was still close. In a way it’s a little bit frustrating knowing you’re playing not even 50% but it’s still close. On one hand you’re like, ‘Ah, I could have beaten her.’ But she played well today. I did feel she was getting nervous to finish off the match as well, so I had a few opportunities to get back into it and maybe win that second set.” – Kim Clijsters
This video has nothing to do with the 2012 SEO, but I missed it when it was first posted so I instead of another post, I just decided to put this Masha visit on Chelsea Lately here:
Singles – Third Round
(2) Maria Sharapova (RUS) d. (Q) Sloane Stephens (USA) 64 62
(4) Caroline Wozniacki (DEN) d. (29) Petra Cetkovska (CZE) 63 75
(6) Samantha Stosur (AUS) d. Chanelle Scheepers (RSA) 26 75 62
(8) Li Na (CHN) d. Iveta Benesova (CZE) 75 62
(10) Serena Williams (USA) d. (21) Roberta Vinci (ITA) 62 61
(12) Sabine Lisicki (GER) d. (17) Peng Shuai (CHN) 64 75
(23) Yanina Wickmayer (BEL) d. Kim Clijsters (BEL) 64 76(5)
Ekaterina Makarova (RUS) d. Mona Barthel (GER) 62 64