“59 errors is a lot. Will her next opponent, Flavia Pennetta, be able to make her pay for sloppy play?”
That’s what I wrote about Li Na’s play in the quarterfinals against Dominika Cibulkova. She was advancing through the draw at the 2014 BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells, but not without erratic play that might spell doom if it persisted. Well, those loose mistakes in her game finally came back to bite her in the semifinals. All credit to Flavia Pennetta for winning the match. There has been a resurgence in her game the past 8 months or so. But if 59 unforced errors in 3 sets by Li Na against Domi was bad, 52 unforced errors in only 2 sets against Flavia was even worse. That included a shocking 9 double faults from Li Na, whom I don’t consider a big server who should ever have that many doubles. In the 9th game of the first set, with the score tied 4-4, she had 4 double faults in one game! Again, credit must go to Pennetta for winning, but I can’t help thinking Li Na gave this match away, 7-6 (5) 6-3.
In the first semifinal of the night, Agnieszka Radwanska was cool and creative as usual, using her vast repertoire of shots to befuddle and ultimately dismiss Simona Halep, 6-3 6-4. Halep came out seemingly a bit nervous, falling behind Aga 0-4 right out of the gate. It’s difficult enough to beat Radwanska under any circumstance, let alone doing it from such a deficit. Simona did raise the level of her play and at times looked on the verge of possibly turning the tables on the #2 seed. But each bid to shift momentum was repelled by a steady Aga who was on her game in the semis.
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20 FLAVIA PENNETTA (won 7-6 (5) 6-3 vs 1 Li Na)
2 AGNIESZKA RADWANSKA (won 6-3 6-4 vs 6 Simona Halep)