Thursday, September 01, 2005

US Open Day 4: Sugar & Spice...but a night that wasn't very nice

Poor, Sesil Karatantcheva. She's always talked a good game (just ask Maria Sharapova), but her mouth has always been a few years wiser than her game. At Roland Garros, she upset Venus Williams. But, at 16, she's just not ready to string together a series of great performances and become something other than a smile-inducing and refreshingly honest (not to mention mischievous) presence on the WTA tour.

Venus probably knows who Sesil is by now (you never know with Venus, though), and she should finally get her bio printed up in the WTA Tour Guide for 2006. But after figuring out a way to outlast Meghann Shaughnessy two days ago, Karatantcheva "spit the bit" on Thursday night when she found herself completely overwhelmed by the Arthur Ashe Stadium stage, Amelie Mauresmo and the moment itself. 6-0/6-1. Yikes! That's not exactly a scoreline that'll get the teenager noticed... at least not in a good way.

Not that Karatantcheva's a Supernova-in-the-making or anything, but two years ago Sharapova could say, "I'm only 16." Bulgarian Spice can say it right now... so she still has room to grow.


PLAYER OF THE DAY: Lindsay Davenport
...a 6-1/6-1 winner, Davenport showed little mercy to qualifier Pauline Parmentier.
RISER: Tatiana Golovin
...the Frussian Pastry's had a disappointing season, but she's managed to put things together a bit in Flushing Meadows. She won a close one over Anna Smashnova today, and will now face off with fellow Pastry Nathalie Dechy (with Davenport possibly looming a round later).
SURPRISE: Yoon Jeong Cho
...the 26-year old Korean was in the Top 50 back in 2003, and after some lean times while battling a back injury and jaw surgery (which dropped her to #207 at the end of 2004) is finally healthy and making noise again. She upset #27-seed Gisela Dulko this afternoon to make her the only seeded woman to be sent packing on Day 4.
VETERAN: Elena Likhovtseva
...Likhovtseva will turn the big 3-oh next week, but she celebrated a little early with her win over Maggie Maleeva today. Next up for the WTT MVP is a fellow Russian -- the seemingly reinvigorated (at least partially) Czarina.
FRESH FACE: Anna Chakvetadze
...Chakvetadze, who demolished Jill Craybas 6-0/6-2 today, is not the youngest of the six Russians in the 3rd Round (that'd still be Sharapova, by about a month and a half), but she's been the most consistent of all of them during the North American hardcourt season. Now she gets a shot to put out the last remaining 2004 U.S. Open Russian finalist, Elena Dementieva.
DOWN: Gisela Dulko
...I guess she and boyfriend Juan Carlos Ferrero can now compare their scars from early round Open upsets.


1.#7 Justine Henin-Hardenne def. Maria Sanchez-Lorenzo
...6-3/6-4. JHH was a little shaky, and her second serve was wanting, but she found her way through to a win. The same might not be said if she plays the same way against Mary Pierce in a few rounds.
2.#31 Anna-Lena Groenefeld def. Virginie Razzano
...3-6/6-3/6-4. Backspin's latest Girl Friday had a struggle with Razzano, but she survived and will now get to take her big serve against Mauresmo and try to become one of the breaking stories of the weekend.
3.#11 Patty Schnyder def. Martina Sucha
...6-3/2-6/6-2. A little tougher than expected, but maybe Patty was a tad lost since she likely didn't have any outstanding grudges against Sucha to spur her on.
4.#17 Jelena Jankovic def. Alexa Glatch
...6-2/6-0. Jankovic gave herself an "out" if she lost early in New York, by recently talking about her new coach and changing game and about how she wasn't worried about actually winning matches at the moment. With AnaIvo dumped out yesterday, though, Jankovic is the last Serb standing. But any "pressure" that might bring didn't materialize today, and Jankovic assured herself of tying her best career slam result (3rd Rd. at this year's Wimbledon)... but she'll have to defeat Mary Pierce to make it the best.
5.#3 Amelie Mauresmo def. Sesil Karatantcheva
...6-0/6-1. She kicked her ass off.


...#23 Tatiana Golovin def. Anna Smashnova 6-4/7-6(6). Everybody but Roddick & Kuznetsova seems to have found some mojo in New York.

**THE FINAL 32**
...there are currently ten Russians ranked in the WTA Top 24 in singles. So, of course, the odds were that the Horde would have the most players advancing to the Open's 3rd Round (even with Zvonareva & Bovina pulling out). The odds were right. Here are the nationalities of the final 32:

6...Russia (Sharapova/Dementieva/Petrova/Myskina, Likhovtseva & Chakvetadze)
4...USA (Davenport/Williams/Williams/Granville)
4...France (Mauresmo/Pierce/Dechy/Golovin)
2...Belgium (Clijsters/Henin-Hardenne)
2...Germany (Groenefeld/Schruff)
2...Japan (Sugiyama/Asagoe)
2...Italy (Schiavone/Bartoli)
1...Croatia (Lisjak)
1...Czech Republic (Vaidisova)
1...India (Mirza)
1...Israel (Peer)
1...Korea (Cho)
1...Serbia & Montenegro (Jankovic)
1...Slovak Republic (Hantuchova)
1...Spain (Medina-Garrigues)
1...Switzerland (Schnyder)
1...Venezuela (Vento-Kabchi)

...some intriguing match-ups will be followed in tomorrow's "Daily Backspin," as Venus meets Wonder Girl under the stars. Francesca Schiavone tries to defeat Serena Williams for the second time in 2005. Kim Clijsters faces her former doubles partner, Ai Sugiyama. And Maria Sharapova (vs. Julia Schruff) and Sania Mirza (vs. Marion Bartoli) are each one match away from facing off in the Round of 16.

All for now.


Post a Comment

<< Home