Australian Open Predictions

17 01 2010

Okay, predictions for the Australian Open: (apologies for the layout, wordpress seems to be playing up)

1st Quarter Semi Finalist – Serena Williams (if her ‘knee injury’ comes into play again, Vika Azarenka)

2nd Quarter Semi Finalist – Caroline Wozniacki

3rd Quarter Semi Finalist – Kim Clijsters

4th Quarter Semi Finalist – Marion Bartoli

Okay, my own bias is probably coming into play there.  Bartoli is more than capable of reaching the Quarter Final here, in which she would likely play Maria Sharapova or Dinara Safina – I would see it as Bartoli vs Sharapova and I’m taking an upset special with the Frenchwoman.

Semi Finals

Serena Williams bts Caroline Wozniacki

Kim Clijsters bts Marion Bartoli

Held myself back from saying another Marion win!

Final

Serena Williams vs Kim Clijsters

WINNER – Kim Clijsters

Other possible contenders:

Justine Henin – falls to Clijsters

Elena Dementieva – falls to Henin

Svetlana Kuznetsova – falls to Clijsters

Vika Azarenka – falls to S. Williams

Flavia Pennetta – falls to Henin

Jelena Jankovic – falls to Bartoli

Dinara Safina – falls to Sharapova

Venus Williams – falls to an Upset Special

Finally, the two players I would have followed with lots of interest are the Slamless Dementieva and Italian Pennetta but unfortunately both are due to play Henin early – Dementieva in the 2nd round. If either of them were to beat Henin they’d still have to play Clijsters! Both of those players are capable of causing the upset against either of the Belgians.





Dementieva downs Serena in Sydney

16 01 2010

WTA Medibank International: Russian star Elena Dementieva picked up her first title of the season in Sydney, thumping Serena Williams 6-3, 6-2 in the Final.

Dementieva successfully defended a title for the first time in her career to cap a fine week and take her total to 15 tournament wins.  During the week she beat Francesca Schiavone and Daniela Hantuchova before taking three Top Ten scalps; Dinara Safina (2), Victoria Azarenka (7) and Serena (1), dropping just one set along the way to Hantuchova.

The final was marred slightly by an apparent knee injury to Serena, who began wincing and limping when 6-3, 3-0 down but Dementieva had outplayed her from the start, just as she outplayed her other opponenents in Sydney, with some dominant, almost flawless tennis. Serena on the other hand made unforced error after unforced error but confirms that the injury isn’t serious enough to harm her chances in the Australian Open, which begins on Sunday night (UK time).

The tournament began with a strong field and contained nine of the top ten players, Venus Williams being the missing link.  Vera Zvonareva retired after six games of her opening match against Elena Vesnina and the ankle injury which hampered her last season looks set to continue in 2010.  Caroline Wozniacki and Jelena Jankovic both crashed out in the first round, to Li Na and Agnes Szavay respectively whilst Kuznetsova was beaten by Cibulkova in the second round. Of the top players, it was Dementieva who stood head and shoulders above the rest.

Perhaps the funniest match was played in the second round between Agnes Radwanska and Dinara Safina, as the Russian rallied from 0-5 down in the first set to take the match 7-5, 6-4. Safina looked in good form on occasions in her matches against Radwanska and Dementieva but too often struggled to hit the court.

Elsewhere this week, Alona Bondarenko was victorious in Hobart, beating Shahar Pe’er 6-2, 6-4 in the Final to collect her second career title.  Both players now head to Melbourne to join the rest of the assembled cast for the Australian Open.

Justine Henin was practising in Melbourne this week after pulling out of Sydney to protect a leg injury from becoming more severe, and was joined by Kim Clijsters, Maria Sharapova and Marion Bartoli.  Sharapova and Bartoli will go into the first slam of the year without playing a competitive tournament as a warm up, although Sharapova was active in a Hong Kong exhibition the week before.  Bartoli, following a succession of injuries last year, including being forced to retire against Aravane Rezai in the season-ending Bali championships, has opted to focus more on her physical maintenance as she aims for further improvements this season. As always, Allez Marion!

Australian Open preview to follow tomorrow.





US Open: One Week In

7 09 2009

The US Open is now entering the second week and there’s been plenty of entertainment from the women, some matches good, some matches exciting and a fair share of big names sent packing.

Perhaps the most enticing story so far has been that of Kim Clijsters, continuing her return from retirement as an unseeded player in New York. She passed her first round test as expected with a 61, 60 win over Kutuzova to set up a rematch with Marion Bartoli; the Frenchwoman took the first 75 but Clijster flicked the switch and took the next two sets at the expense of just three games. In the third round she comfortably saw off compatriot and friend Kirsten “Flipper” Flipkens to set up a fourth round match against No. 3 seed Venus Williams. Her opponent has spent this tournament again playing with wrapped knees and had seen off Dushevina, Mattek-Sands and Rybarikova to reach this round, and although she  is clearly having problems with her knee, it isn’t stopping her from competing in doubles with her sister. The match was turned on it’s head in the first two sets as each player bagelled the other, first Clijsters and then Venus, and a tight third set saw just one break in favour of the Belgian, enabling her to send Venus crashing with a 64 victory. Next she faces Li Na in the quarter-final before potentially facing Serena Williams in the semis.

The American crowds are all excited about 17 year old Melanie Oudin who has had great success so far, coming from a set down to beat Elena Dementieva in the second round, before doing exactly the same thing in the next round to Maria Sharapova. After beating Shvedova, who herself pulled off an upset with the beating of Jelena Jankovic, Oudin faces another Russian today in the form of Nadia Petrova for a place in the QF, and the top half of the draw has really opened up following Oudin’s dismissal of two top players, added to the exit of Dinara Safina who lost to Petra Kvitova after scraping her way through the first two rounds. Victoria Azarenka is also out at the hands of Francesca Schiavone and the two main seeds left in that half are Caroline Wozniacki and Svetlana Kuznetsova – who face each other today in a fourth round match. Kvitova faces Yanina Wickmayer and the winner will meet either Gisela Dulko or Kateryna Bondarenko in the QF. Either Wozniacki or Kuznetsova will face the winner of Oudin-Petrova.

In the bottom half it’s a much tougher affair. Tournament favourite Serena Williams will face Flavia Pennetta in the QF after the Italian saved six match points to see off Vera Zvonareva, and the winner of that will probably face Clijsters. It’s heavily expected that the winner of the US Open will be whoever makes the final from the bottom half, although I’m sure Wozniacki and Kuznetsova – and others – will have an opinion on that.

With all the relentless talk about the number one ranking this year, it would be very interesting if Svetlana Kuznetsova were to win the US Open. I think we’re all sick to death of hearing how Safina is the number one even though she hasn’t won a Slam, and Serena holds three Slams but is number two… well, ff Kuznetsova comes out on top here, she and Serena will each hold two Slams; Serena the Australian Open and Wimbledon, Svetlana the French and US Open. But then Kuznetsova holds a Tour title and Serena holds none, so will the debate open up into fierce arguments of how Kuznetsova should be the number one ranked player? I doubt it, but it would be interesting.

Anyway, for what it’s worth I chose Clijsters at the start of the tournament and I’m sticking with my choice as we go into the second week. Go Kim!





Flavia On Fire; Clijsters Returns

13 08 2009

As the US Open series picks up speed, Italian Flavia Pennetta is keeping up pace with a 13 match winning streak that has seen her pick up back-to-back trophies in Palermo and Los Angeles. Along the way she’s picked up Top Ten wins against Vera Zvonareva and Nadia Petrova, beaten an in-form Sam Stosur and taken care of a certain Ms Sharapova, and tonight she has her sights on world number 3 Venus Williams. Pennetta will herself enter the top ten if she beats Venus in Cincinatti this evening – an accomplishment which will be a first for womens tennis in Italy. This week she has beaten Morita and Szavay with no real problems and perhaps the only question mark is over her stamina as she plays her 9th match in 11 days.

Venus on the other hand should be rested, having taken a week off following her Stanford final defeat to Marion Bartoli. This week she beat Olga Govortsova in straight sets but will face a tougher challenge in Pennetta and the real question mark over Venus is how much she is willing to put in this close to the US Open. On paper though, you’d expect Venus to be fully determined as we still have over two weeks before that Slam so really that shouldn’t be an issue.

The other big story in Cincinatti this week has been the return to the Tour of Kim Clijsters. Having been training and preparing for six months now, her first match back was against Bartoli, who was playing her first match since beating Venus in Stanford, and the hard work paid off for the Belgian as she tasted victory for the first time in 28 months, courtesy of a 64 63 win. Clijsters followed that up with a 62 75 win over Patty Schnyder and must now be in territory that is beyond what she was hoping for. Her fitness and physical shape seem to be great and she doesn’t seem as rusty on court as you may have expected following such a long absence from the game. As she enters her third match back it’s a question of how far she can go before the physical demands of being back in competition take their toll; tonight she faces French Open champion Svetlana Kuznetsova, the Russian playing her first tournament since Wimbledon in June. Kuznetsova scraped through her first match against Lucie Safarova and Clijsters DOES have a 6-1 head-to-head record against Sveta, but the last time they met was almost three years ago.

Elsewhere, the favourites remain in the hunt this week; Serena Williams, Safina, Dementieva, Azarenka, Wozniacki, Zvonareva and Jankovic are all still in the mix as we head to the sharp end of the draw, and it should make for an exciting climax to the week. Tonight though the focus is on Pennetta and Clijsters, and whether they can continue their good runs in the build up to the final Slam of 2009.





Magnifique: Marion Earns Top Honours at Stanford

8 08 2009

An entertaining week of tennis was capped off with Marion Bartoli defeating Venus Williams in three sets to claim the biggest win of her career to date.

As the Final approached it was Venus who was heavily tipped to win her third hardcourt title of 2009; she had steamrolled Maria Sharapova and Elena Dementieva in the previous two rounds, dropping just five games in both matches combined. Bartoli on the other hand had played three sets against Sam Stosur in the Semi Final and the night before had fought back from a set down to beat Jelena Jankovic. That match had it’s own little mini-drama as Marion had claimed she prefers to be playing Jankovic rather than the Serbs’ beaten opponent, Sabine Lisicki, because “I always beat her”. Jankovic responded by saying that Marion isn’t exactly Serena Williams and can’t bring it to the big names, ending her interview by smiling and declaring that “Bartoli is going to get it tomorrow”. It looked as though Jankovic would be proved right when she was 6-3 3-1 in the lead but didn’t count on the French woman fighting back to take the second set 76 and then seal success with a 63 win in the third set. Someone had to eat humble pie and it turned out to be Jankovic.

On that same night Australian Stosur produced a surprise by downing Serena Williams. The American showed just why she isn’t the world number one by once again failing to produce her best game outside of a Slam and Stosur took advantage to roll her over 62 36 62 and claim herself a big scalp.

Back to the Final and Bartoli won more games in the first set than Sharapova and Dementieva had managed between them against Venus, taking it 62 to shake Venus up as she was unable to continue her great form in the tournament, partly through her own UE rate but also through her FORCED error rate, which was shown at one point in the second set as being at 17, but I’ve been unable to find final stats for this – if anyone can point me in the right direction it would be much appreciated. Marion’s aggressive game gave Venus very little time for her shots and proved to be the right gameplan in the opening set. In the second set Venus upped her game a little and earned herself a 75 win, despite Bartoli serving for the match at 54.

At this point all advantage seemed to be with Venus and it was generally voiced by commentators and bookmakers alike that there was only one winner, that Marion had missed her chance and would now fade away. That was not to be however and Venus was stunned to find herself 03 down before she knew it, and Bartoli showed energy and fight to continue her aggressive game and dismiss Venus 64 to earn the biggest title of her career thus far. Personally, it was a glorious moment to see Marion celebrate on court, the climax of a lot of hard work by the Frenchwoman and her coach/father, Walter. During the week she had dismissed myths and proved a lot of people wrong about a number of things, chiefly that she can’t fight back against a good player – see the set down comeback against Jankovic; that her head goes down and stays down if she loses the second set, having won the first – see the victory over Sam Stosur; that she doesn’t have the fight to beat a big name player in a tough tussle – watch the final against Venus Williams. Talk of her retiring at any opportunity was also put to one side as she played most of the week with both knees wrapped and had problems with her calf from the Quarter Final match with Jankovic onwards. In the final she was clearly struggling to stay loose but fought through this and was repeatedly seen stretching her body between games as she pushed against the court walls. The spirit and determination shown proved to be too much for her famous opponent and her victory here was greatly deserved.

It was a great week for Marion Bartoli, our WTA Stanford Champion 2009.





WTA Invades America

27 07 2009

It seems like an age has passed since Wimbledon finished but it’s only been three weeks and now we’re on the verge of the US hardcourt season. In the intervening period most of the top players rested but there has been clay court action to enjoy (if we can find matches online anyway) but really, those three weeks after Wimbledon aren’t the same, it’s as if most players are just putting their feet up and breathing deeply, preparing for the big push to the final Slam of the year. Word of note to Andrea Petkovic though, who won her first WTA Tour title yesterday in Bad Gastein, Austria. The world number one, Dinara Safina, also lifted a trophy as she won a hardcourt tournament in Portaroz, Slovenia.

Today, a large number of the top players are in Stanford, USA; the line-up includes both Williams sisters, Elena Dementieva, Maria Sharapova, Jelena Jankovic, Agnes Radwanska, Marion Bartoli and Nadia Petrova. If we go by the bookmakers then Serena Williams is the easy favourite for this tournament and if she plays well, rightly so – but we all know that Serena doesn’t seem to turn up and give everything she has outside of the slams, evidenced by the fact that she hasn’t won a Tour title in over 15 months now. She has a tricky first round match against Li Na and whilst she should win, I don’t think it would be an earth-shattering shock if she lost that one, although it should be noted that Na is carrying a knee injury. Other potential finalists from that half of the draw include Jankovic, Bartoli and Lisicki and I wouldn’t be surprised to see the winner of Sam Stosur vs Dominika Cibulkova go far.

In the bottom half of the draw, Venus Williams is the favourite to reach the final and with hardcourt titles under her belt already this year, why not? Well, again it will come down to how she approaches the tournament and Venus isn’t adverse to an early defeat to a player she should be beating. She looks safe to win her first two matches but could then find herself up against Maria Sharapova, who is getting ever fitter and would no doubt love to start winning tournaments again as she approaches something resembling her old self, and after that it’s more than likely that Dementieva would be waiting. I think both of those players have more desire than Venus to win this tournament and I would expect one of them to cut off her challenge.

Personally speaking, I’d love to see Marion Bartoli do well here. She’s in potentially the ‘easier’ half of the draw although that description goes hand-in-hand with the assumption that Serena won’t be giving it her all and that Jankovic just isn’t on her game at all right now (or this year).  The young Frenchwoman is more than capable of taking advantage of any shortcomings in her rivals games, so I’ll have my fingers crossed for her. I’d also quite like to see Stosur, Lisicki and Sharapova do well here, but my prediction to win the tournament is Elena Dementieva. She’s won hardcourt titles earlier this year in Auckland and Sydney, reached the Semi Final of the Australian Open (lost to Serena Williams), made the final in Paris (lost to Mauresmo) and of course the last time we saw her was at Wimbledon where she came so close to beating Serena and making the final. Dementieva’s first task is, unfortunately for us Brits, to get past British number one Anne Keothavong.

Elsewhere this week, Nathalie Dechy announced her retirement from tennis, and also her pregnancy, at the age of 30 – best wishes for her future life as a mother! Nicole Vaidisova lost in Stanford qualifying 6-2 6-1 to Stacey Tan, ranked 584 in the world. I’ve no idea what’s going on with Vaidisova and her still-hurtling fall from the upper reaches of the rankings, but it’s looking like she desperately needs to address something in her life and game. It’s really sad to see. And finally, Tamira Paszek told at a press conference how she’d been receiving treatment for a back problem by having her own blood injected into her body, only to have the legality of this questioned. It seems that this type of treatment, known as autologous injections, is against anti-doping rules. Paszek then immediately contacted the Austrian anti-doping agency to find out more about this. Apparently this kind of ‘blood doping’ is against the rules but there’s also an exemption certificate which can be gained to have the treatment administered, though whether this can be acquired after the treatment has occurred, I don’t know. Looking at the massive difference in the Richard Gasquet and Martina Hingis cases, Paszek can expect anything from a wry smile and a slap on the wrist to a hundred year ban from even looking at a tennis court.

For now we have an exciting week of tennis ahead as we lead up to the US Open, so bring it on!





WTA AEGON International, Eastbourne; Wozniacki shines on grass

29 06 2009
Caroline Wozniacki lifts the trophy at Eastbourne

Caroline Wozniacki lifts the trophy at Eastbourne

I enjoyed the AEGON Classic at Birmingham, definitely; but the AEGON International at Eastbourne the following week was even better. Proudly proclaiming to include seven of the world’s top ten female tennis players plus a host of other top names, I set off excited about six days at this tournament. The seven top ten players were Jelena Jankovic, Elena Dementieva, Victoria Azarenka, Caroline Wozniacki, Svetlana Kuznetsova, Vera Zvonareva and Nadia Petrova – though not in that order. Other names included Ana Ivanovic, Marion Bartoli, Jie Zheng, Agnes Radwanska and Amelie Mauresmo. Prior to this year it had been a WTA-only event but was now including men’s tennis as part of the ATP tour, but as this was an ATP 250 tournament, it wasn’t a particularly attractive line-up, especially if you’re not as interested in the ATP anyway.

So, I arrived at Eastbourne train station at 1.15pm and made my way to the B&B where I was to spend the first two nights, before heading to Devonshire Park where the tournament was being held. This proved to be about a twenty minute walk along the seafront which was very pleasant, especially as the whole week was sunny and the sea breeze was very welcome. I was equipped again, with sun cream already on, sunglasses giving me an ultra-cool look (prescription sunglasses rule) and my new Wilson cap – as in ‘Wilson!’ from the film Cast Away.

My first stop was Centre Court to catch Ivanovic vs. Petrova; Ana was thumped 6-1 in the first set before fighting back to take the second, only for Petrova to win 6-4 in the third. I’d been hoping to see Ivanovic a couple of times so it was a disappointing first match for me, but I was happy to next see Jie Zheng on one of the smaller outside courts, beating Carla Suarez Navarro comfortably. The outside courts are great as there’s no fixed seating and you can watch the match and be only ten feet away from the players whilst the match is on, plus you can wander from court to court easily. I don’t know what the players feel about playing on them but as a spectator I think it’s excellent that you can get such a close view and have an intimate glimpse into the match like that, better than the bigger Centre Courts where you aren’t as close to the players and there’s a visible divide between you. It’s more fun when the players have to walk out amongst the common people to get back to the dressing room.

First up on Tuesday was the player I wanted to see most, Marion Bartoli, and I was delighted to find she was also playing on an outside court, against Argentine Gisela Dulko. A week later Dulko would beat Maria Sharapova at Wimbledon and be the subject of tabloid headlines like ‘The New Darling of SW19’. On this day though she was no match at all for Marion who swept her aside 6-3, 6-1. Bartoli looked to be in great shape and was obviously fully focused and determined to win, keeping herself in constant motion even between serves.

Marion Bartoli in action against Gisela Dulko

Marion Bartoli in action against Gisela Dulko

After the match she returned to looking like a genuinely sweet girl and I went to Court One to catch the last set of Jankovic vs. Chakvetadze. Having won the first set on a tiebreak, Jankovic had lost the second set and seemed to be in full meltdown when I arrived, trudging around the court and making her frustration clear to everyone as she went out 6-2 and became the second top player to fall in the First Round. A few hours later I was having a smoke by the entrance when Jankovic walked out with a couple of guys, tracksuit top wrapped around her shoulders, looking miserable and sounding very irritated.

Next I saw Vera Zvonareva’s first mach back after a spell out with an ankle injury. Sporting a mechanical looking ankle brace, she too went out at the first attempt, losing in three sets to former Number 1 Amelie Mauresmo. I rounded the day with a bit of Brit-watching, but unfortunately British No. 1 Anne Keothavong went out too, losing in straight sets to Sybille Bammer.

On Wednesday it was back to the outside courts to see Bartoli take on Anna Chakvetadze. Having conquered Jankovic in the first round I was interested to see how she’d do against Marion but needn’t have worried; the Frenchwoman took the first 7-5 and then Chakvetadze showed how a real meltdown looks, visibly upset in the rest between sets and requesting her despite having already seen him during the set.  After a couple of games of the second set she started crying on-court and screaming a number of times after long shots. In desperation she interrupted as Bartoli was about to serve to ask the umpire what the score was – I presume the scoreboard at each end of the court went un-noticed, as did the umpire’s calling of the score after the last point. Leading 3-2 in the second set, Bartoli took a medical timeout to have her right foot checked and rebandaged, before continuing play and easing out the set 6-3. Chakvetadze’s final act of grace was to refuse to shake hands at the net and slink off back to the locker room instead.

Cheered by Marion’s win I made my way to Centre Court to see another of my favourite players, Caroline Wozniacki. I’d only caught the last couple of games of her First Round win over Kleybanova and this match appealed as she was playing Australian Sam Stosur, another player I particularly like. Wozniacki took the first set 6-1 before Stosur got her game together and took the second set 7-5, only for the deciding set to be controlled by the promising young Dane.

A stop was made to watch some of a doubles match on an outside court featuring Ana Ivanovic and Sabine Lisicki taking on the Number 1 pairing of Cara Black and Lizel Huber, the favourites winning fairly comfortably before taking in the first set of Virginie Razzano vs. Elena Dementieva, which surprisingly was won 6-0 by Razzano. I then left as I had to meet my Dad, but Razzano took the second set by a much closer 7-6 scoreline.

I then had a change of accommodation as I was due to spend the next four nights in a camper van with my Dad, an arrangement brought about by a whopping energy bill and a drunken breaking of antique glass having a serious impact on the money I’d put aside for the trip. This arrangement worked out really well as it was nice to spend time with him and the campsite was lovely, very good facilities and surroundings and shared by an awful lot of rabbits, plus squirrels, birds and even a sighting of a badger. Our particular part of the site was called ‘Bunny Plain’ which was an apt name for it.

So, Thursday was Quarter Finals day and first up was Wozniacki taking on fellow youngster Ekaterina Makarova, who had dumped out Amelie Mauresmo in the previous round. She had no such victory this time though as Wozniacki took the game in straight sets, 6-3, 6-2 with another impressive performance from the Dane.

Another Bartoli match followed, this time against Anabel Medina Garrigues, a match which Bartoli was expected to win on grass and did so, taking the first set 6-1 before AMG found her feet in the second set, losing to a more respectable 6-4 scoreline. During this match Vera Dushevina appeared from the dressing rooms and watched part of the action from the tunnel, and she was next up against Aleksandra Wozniak, who had already beaten Jie Zheng and French Open champions Svetlana Kuznetsova. I expected a close match but Dushevina had a nightmare and lost to the Canadian 6-1, 6-0. I think she was struggling with the strong breeze but unfortunately for her Wozniak was having no such problems and the match turned into a rout. The Quarter Final I didn’t see, due to a schedule clash, saw Virginie Razzano beat last year’s tournament winner, Agnes Radwanska.

So, Semi Finals – both on Centre Court and first was the all-French clash between Razzano and Bartoli. There’s a bit of history between Bartoli and the other French players, due largely to Fed Cup issues, and it showed at the end of the match. Razzano took a close opening set 6-4 and Bartoli called for the trainer during the break, complaining of a thigh strain and having the area wrapped. Marion went out to try playing the second set but after the first game indicated that she couldn’t continue as her movement was severely limited. It turned out to be a thigh strain which thankfully didn’t make Marion miss Wimbledon, starting two days later, undoubtedly due to her retiring rather than continuing to play and put herself out of action for a while. As Bartoli returned to her bench her opponent walked over to her to shake hands but was shunned instead. It turned out that Razzano had been interview in a French newspaper the previous day and had claimed that Bartoli would often exaggerate injuries to try and get a mental advantage over her opponents, and would do anything to win. The refusal to shake hands was down to this latest development amongst the French tennis players. The good news is that the decision to retire seemed to be the correct one as Marion was able to play her match at Wimbledon a few days later.

The second Semi saw Wozniacki take on near-namesake Wozniak, a tie that was always going to confuse some of the new dynamic amongst the crowd, as more and more people arrived in their best dress and sales of Pimms escalated. Overheard from the people around me were the following:

“Which player’s which?”

“Wozniacki should win, she has nicer hair.”

“Why is she talking to her coach? You’re not allowed to talk to your coach during a match!”

“Women’s tennis is about the same level as amateur men’s tennis.” (uttered pre-match)

The comment about on-court coaching possibly irked me the most as it’s only been used in every tournament this season – 28 by my reckoning. The couple next to me arrived after just a couple of games though, having left after 5 games of the Razzano-Bartoli match to buy strawberries. I can’t see the point of paying £26 for a ticket if you’re not going to watch the matches or don’t follow the game at all during the rest of the year, but each to their own I suppose. Anyway, today Wozniacki didn’t seem quite as on top of her game as she had done in her other matches but she got it together in the third set to reach the final, where she would play the relatively rested Razzano.

Wozniacki prepares to receive

Wozniacki prepares to receive

This match was first up on Centre Court on Saturday, prior to the god-awful men’s final which followed. This match ended up being much closer than it appeared at first, as Razzano went 5-2 in the first set before starting to play as she can, storming back to level and take it to a tie-break. There, Razzano again fell behind, 6-1, only to make another great fight of it before succumbing 7-5 to a relieved Wozniacki. The second set was also a tight affair but the Dane closed it out 7-5 to seal her second WTA title of the year and her first ever on grass. Caroline fully deserved this title having played some great tennis throughout the week and was charming and professional during her speech afterwards, a true superstar in the making who is going to be fun to follow over the coming years.

So my week came to an end unfortunately, but it was well worth the trip and I had a great time in Eastbourne. Particularly pleased to have been able to watch some of my favourite players in action and delighted that Caro lifted the trophy at the end of it. I also got to briefly meet Marion Bartoli, Virginie Razzano, Sam Stosur and Rennae Stubbs which was great. Next call for these players is Wimbledon, and I’ll be back at Eastbourne next year for another excellent week!  Photos from the week can be found at http://s578.photobucket.com/albums/ss226/Inktrailer/ and the album folders should be on the left hand side.