Thursday, January 16, 2014

Sharapova Struggles, Wozniacki suffers mid match blip and Azarenka marches on

Russia's Maria Sharapova reacts after winning a point in the final set against Italy's Karin Knapp (AFP)
Maria Sharapova was forced to work extremely hard in the sweltering heat during a marathon three hours and 45 minuets win over Italy's Karin Knapp. Things was going smoothly for Sharapova in the first set with her taking it 63, notching up 14 winners and 71% first serves in (winning 63% of them). Sharapova's form however dipped slightly with her winner-error ratio being 5-16 in the second set which Knapp took full advantage of to level the match at one set all. As for the third set,it lasted an incredible 115 Minuets, making this the longest set Sharapova has ever played in a Grand Slam! During the final set Sharapova's serve was once again problematic. She achieved 54% of first serves in and 8 double faults in the last set alone. Luckily Sharapova is a natural born fighter and battled to take the tiring final set 10-8. Tough luck for Knapp but massive relief for Sharapova. After her match Sharapova talked about the conditions today (which halted play on the outside courts for a while). Quoting Sky Sports she said:-
"It was tough for both of us and we both fought as hard as we could," said Sharapova.
I remember being really close to passing out but I'm feeling much better now, I think you just get numb to it.
Recovery's going to be extremely important but these are the matches you work for and I'm happy to get through."

Caroline Wozniacki
Caroline Wozniacki also experience a three set match but a lot less closer than Sharapova's. Wozniacki who has been in good form so far during the tournament, roared to a 6-0 first set lead over Christine McHale in only 28 minuets. The match seemed to be going smoothly for the former world number one however in the second set she experience the opposite form to the first by producing only 2 winners and 14 unforced errors. This combined with 40% service points won gave McHale the second set with ease (6-1). Luckily Wozniacki manage to regroup in the final set by breaking McHale's serve early on to generate a 3-1 lead. From there on Wozniacki didn't look back, racing to take the set 62 and therefore the match.

Victoria Azarenka had a straight forward 61 64 win over Barbora Zahlavova-Strycova. In the first set Azarenka impressively won 18 out of her 26 service points to take the first set 61 in only 23 minuets. Meanwhile in the second set Zahlavova-Strycova didn't give up by trying to get the crowd on her side she manage to break Azarenka twice. Despite this it still wasn't to be enough and with Azarenka immediately breaking back each time she ease her way through the match in the end with the final score being 61 64. 


Agnieszka Radwanska had a more straight forward match this time against Olga Govortsova. After taking the first set comfortably 60. Radwanska did at times faltered in the second set with the 5th seed producing 16 unforced errors. Despite this Radwanska was still able to overcome the errors to take the match 60 75. 

Meanwhile Carla Suarez Navarro was another player who had to deep deep. Facing Galina Voskoboeva the Spanish 16th seed battled to a 76 36 86 win. During the match Suarez-Navarro maintained a 73% first serves in. Awaiting the Spaniard in the third round will be Dominika Cibulkova after her 57 minuet 60 61 win over Stefanie Voegele.

Some other wins included Elina Svitolina beating Olivia Rogowska 64 75, Alize Cornet won against Camila Giorgi (63 46 64) and last years semi finalist Sloane Stephens came from a set down to battle past Ajla Tomljanovic (36 62 75) in a match lasting over two hours.

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