Urszula Radwanska, younger sister of the no. 7 ranked Agnieszka Radwanska, defeated Pironkova, the last seed in the draw, to make the semifinals in Istanbul. It was a quick start for Radwanska taking the first set 6-2. Pironkova came back to take the second set 6-3. The third set was topsy turvy with Pironkova leading 5-1, but Radwanska came back and leveled it sending the match to a third set tiebreak. Radwanska raced to a quick lead in the tiebreak with the score at 5-1 on the change of ends. She then went up 6-1, but lost the next four points. After a long rally she won with the winning shot being a net chord winner. It took some luck, but she made it though. Radwanska will play Magdalena Rybarikova.
The other semifinal will be contested by Lesia Tsurenko and Kirsten Flipkens.
The semifinals featured three of the top four players but the draw did not go exactly to plan. There were several upsets in week one including Rafa Nadal’s loss in the second round. That was not entirely a big upset as he had lost to Dustin Brown before, and grass is his worst surface.
All the top rising stars saw very little success this year at Wimbledon with last years semifinalists Grigor Dimitrov and Milos Raonic going out in the first week as well. Nishikori was forced to pull out due to a calf injury, but it begs the question if he will ever be able to get to the top with all of his injuries. This was not a tournament for the young guns.
This was a tournament for the seasoned veterans with Djokovic, Murray, Federer, and Gasquet making the semifinals. Wawrinka, who won Roland Garros just a few weeks before was downed by Gasquet in five sets in the quarter finals. Overall, the Big Four (plus Wawrinka, minus Nadal) was the story of the Gentlemen’s draw this year at The Championships.
Laura Robson won the first match of her comeback in Granby, QC. She won 7-6, 6-7, 6-3 against Naomi Osaka. She was down a break in the first but came back to win 7-5 in the tiebreak. She was then down a break again in the second set and was able to tie it up to take it to a tiebreak, but lost 7-5. She then traded breaks with Osaka in the third set until she went up a break and held to close it out 6-3 in the third. Robson plays Ellie Halbauer (USA) not before noon tomorrow.
On the tennis tour, Monday usually signifies the official start of the tournament. The qualifying draw happens over the weekend beforehand and some tournaments such start on Sundays for scheduling purposes. Other than that, Monday signifies a new start for players on the tour. It is a chance to forget about their struggles of the last week, and focus on creating triumphs this week.
For players, Monday means the start of another week at the office. In their case, it is a tennis court. Some start match play, but most hit the practice courts. In order to be a professional athlete, you must put in the effort. Many of us wish we could be successful enough to play in the pros, but it is not for everyone.
Even at tournaments, players must practice to stay in shape. Of course, exercise and training are also important. It has been said by experts, such as Malcolm Gladwell, that you need at least 10,000 hours of practice in order to have mastered something. You also need to continue to practice so that you do not get bent out of shape.
Today is a new week in tennis. It must be a Monday.
On the WTA tour this week we have tournaments in Istanbul and Bad Gastein. The big name in Istanbul this week is Venus Williams, who is the number 1 seed. The defending champion, Caroline Wozniacki, has decided not to participate this year, opting to start her hard court season in Stanford. We see Sara Errani back in action in Bad Gastein after a finals run in Bucharest.
The ATP tour is packed this week with three tournaments. Bastad will transition from the women to the men, as the beautiful city sees professional tennis for a second week in a row. Umag, Croatia will play host to a variety off talent, including the entertaining Frenchman Gael Monfils. Lastly, the men will have their first hard court tournament of the summer in Bogata.
I will keep you posted on the events of these tournaments.
This week was the final grass court tournament of the year in Newport, RI at the International Tennis Hall of Fame, with unseeded American Rajeev Ram, ranked 161, upsetting no. 2 seed Ivo Karlovic in 3-sets. He will now rise to 87 in the world as he collects the second title of his career.
Also this week were the WTA tournaments in Bastad and Bucharest. Hometown favorite Johanna Laarson, claimed victory against defending champion Mona Barthel in Bastad. Also, Anna Karolina Shmeidlova defeated Sara Errani to hoist her second trophy of the year in Bucharest.
Today Argentina and Belgium advanced with 3-0 wins and will face each other in the semifinals. The Murray brothers won the doubles tie for Great Britain and they lead 2-1 with Murray scheduled to play Simon tomorrow. Hewitt and the Ausie team were able to prevail in doubles today, but they still trail Kazakhstan 2-1 for a spot in the semi finals.
This week players on the WTA including Serena Williams ascended in Bastad. I just wanted to give a nod to tournaments like Bastad, where the tennis complex is located in a place with beautiful surroundings. Other places include Monaco, Bad Gastein, and Rio de Janeiro. It’s a pleasure for those on tour to be able to play in such places. It adds to the experience of the tennis and can be appreciated by fans like me.