In the final of Madrid 2012, Maria Sharapova took on a Williams Sister and was left feeling as blue as the clay gracing the court. In the quarterfinals of Rome 2012, Masha took on another Williams Sister but this time was able to defeat Venus in straight sets, 6-4 6-3. It was a necessary win for Masha. A loss to Serena is one thing. But falling to Venus would have really raised some red flags going into Roland Garros. Up next is Angelique Kerber, this year’s rising star. They have played twice this year, with each player winning once. Kerber won their most recent match. So this will be a test for Masha. For Venus, I feel for her. She’s battling Sjogren’s syndrome and isn’t the player she once was. That said, I will not sleep on her ability to do well in Paris and especially at Wimbledon, where she has won the singles title 5 times.
In a post a couple of days ago, I pointed out how Li Na had a quarterfinal streak going but needed a breakthrough to go farther. Well, with all due respect to Dominika Cibulkova this win for Li Na is not what I had in mind. Beating Dominka 6-1 7-6 (4) is a good, solid win. But I can’t help but think the opponent would have been Victoria Azarenka had she not withdrawn with an injury. So reaching the semis breaks the quarters streak for Li Na, but the real test…maybe the ultimate test…comes next in the person of Serena Williams. While Serena, not surprisingly, leads their head-to head 5 to 1, three of those matches went 3 sets. Also, in the last three wins for Serena, Li Na forced her to have to win 7 games in set four times. Li Na plays Serena very tough. But playing tough and winning are two different things. It would be an enormous confidence boost if the 2011 Roland Garros champion can take out Serena.
Friday, May 18, 2012
Singles – Quarterfinals
(2) Maria Sharapova (RUS) d. (WC) Venus Williams (USA) 64 63
(12) Angelique Kerber (GER) d. (4) Petra Kvitova (CZE) 76(2) 16 61
(8) Li Na (CHN) d. (14) Dominika Cibulkova (SVK) 61 76(4)
(9) Serena Williams (USA) d. Flavia Pennetta (ITA) 40 ret. (right wrist injury)