For the second straight year Ana Ivanovic was matched against up and coming Sloane Stephens at the 2012 US Open and for the second year the former #1 Ana moves on. However, unlike last year’s straight set win, Sloane pushed Ana the distance this time, making the former Roland Garros champion really work for her 6-7 (4) 6-4 6-2 victory. While I agree with Martina Navratilova that Sloane was too far behind the baseline, allowing Ana to dictate points, I also have to give Ivanovic credit for some nasty, sizzling forehands. When Ana is on, she has some really powerful groundstrokes. So maybe after seeing some light speed forehands whip by her, Sloane decided to back off the baseline a little to get a better look. Still, I took away two positives from this match between one of my top favorites, Ana, and a player quickly becoming a top favorite, Sloane. For Ana, every win brings her closer to being a consistent top 10 player again. She depends on her confidence. All the shots, she has. But she needs the confidence to go after those shots and keep grinding when a few go out. For Sloane, the future is bright. I have my eye on Sloane, Christina McHale and Madison Keys as young American players I expect big things from in the next few years. Sloane could have won this match, but all credit to Ana for pulling it out. Still, I hope we are seeing the beginning of a champion’s career for Stephens.
Although for me, Kim Clijsters’ Hall of Fame career ended with her loss to the rising Laura Robson in singles, it officially ended with her mixed doubles loss with Bob Bryan Saturday night. After the Robson singles loss, I did a long post about Kim, so I will keep this brief. I’ll just say that Kimmie will be sorely missed. Few players are so beloved by fans, press and the other players in the locker room like Kimmie. Add the 4 Majors in singles, 2 Majors in doubles, being ranked #1 in singles and doubles (at one point simultaneously), 41 titles, 2 WTA Player of the Year Awards, 2 WTA Comeback Player of the Year Awards, 2 WTA Player Service Awards, 7 WTA Sportsmanship Awards and a Comeback Athlete ESPY Award and one can see what a legend tennis is losing in Clijsters. All the best in life, Kimmie!
Singles – Third Round
(2) Agnieszka Radwanska (POL) d. (30) Jelena Jankovic (SRB) 63 75
(4) Serena Williams (USA) d. Ekaterina Makarova (RUS) 64 60
(6) Angelique Kerber (GER) d. Olga Govortsova (BLR) 61 62
(10) Sara Errani (ITA) d. (Q) Olga Puchkova (RUS) 61 61
(12) Ana Ivanovic (SRB) d. Sloane Stephens (USA) 67(4) 64 62
(20) Roberta Vinci (ITA) d. (13) Dominika Cibulkova (SVK) 62 75
Andrea Hlavackova (CZE) d. (14) Maria Kirilenko (RUS) 57 64 64
Tsvetana Pironkova (BUL) d. Sílvia Soler-Espinosa (ESP) 61 67(3) 63
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