Thursday, September 07, 2006

Day 10: You Do the Voodoo That You Do So Well

Maybe Tatiana Golovin should just try to avoid Maria Sharapova at all costs, since every time she gets on a roll she soon finds herself staring across the net at the Supernova... and the wheels fall off her smooth ride.

Playing the best tennis of her life in Miami early this year, she backed Sharapova into a corner in their SF match... then bent her ankle in a direction it just wasn't meant to go. On Wednesday night, experiencing the best slam of her career, Golovin's QF meeting with the Supernova had a taste of the same oddly dramatic sense of theater.

Down 0-3 in the 1st set tie-breaker, Golovin split open a blister on her foot and called for a trainer. As Sharapova waited and tried not to have her game go cold, she jumped around and practiced serving... while anyone who remembered Miami recalled how Sharapova took several bathroom breaks during the match that weren't exactly met with a warm reaction from the pro-Golovin crowd (the Frussian Pastry lives in Miami), and that the Supernova was ridiculously criticized after the match for never looking at the fallen Golovin and not showing enough concern for her (she stood near the wall, practicing her swing), despite the fact that she had no way of knowing the full extent of her opponent's injury at that particular moment in time, as Golovin even tried to play on.

This time, Sharapova could help but look at Golovin as she ran across in front of her to her chair next to the umpire... but the uneasiness of the situation was readily apparent.

In the end, Golovin didn't have to retire this time around. She was just forced to witness Sharapova's ability to play the big points oh so well in her 7-6/7-6 victory. The win puts the Russian teen into her sixth semifinal in her last eight slams.

So far, though, Sharapova's 0-5 in those SF matches... and will now face Amelie Mauresmo, who's rather stealthily rounded her game into shape in New York, a player the Supernova (0-3 so far) has never beaten.

Whatever voodoo hex Sharapova has had placed on Golovin, she'd better find the witch doctor who did it fast. It looks like she's going to need something more than a little black dress to finally break through her slam SF glass ceiling.

Can you say, Amelie vs. Justine... again?


17...Henin-Hardenne (May-Jul)
16...Mauresmo (Jan-Feb)
15...Petrova (Apr-May)
11...Sharapova (March)
10...HENIN-HARDENNE (AUG-current)
10...Henin-Hardenne (Jan)
10...Hingis (May-Jun)

**MOST 2006 #1 WINS**
[defeats of current or former #1's]
8....Amelie Mauresmo
5....Svetlana Kuznetsova
4....Maria Sharapova

15-LOVE... Andre is gone, but Martina lives. At least for one more day. Navratilova has advanced to the quarterfinals in both Doubles (with Nadia Petrova) and Mixed (with Bob Bryan), and is scheduled to play both matches on Day 11. Navratilova/Petrova faces #1-seeded Raymond/Stubbs, while Navratilova/Byran will square off against Groenefeld/Cermak. It could be another great day for Martina, or the end of an era. Backspin is crossing fingers and toes for at least a few more days of the Greatest Player Who Ever Lived.


1.Justine Henin-Hardenne
2.Amelie Mauresmo
1.Jelena Jankovic
2.Tatiana Golovin
1.Kveta Peschke (doubles)
2.Aravane Rezai
1.Lindsay Davenport
2.Martina Navratilova (doubles)
1.Shahar Peer
2.Jade Curtis (juniors)
1.Francesca Schiavone (singles)
2.Zi Yan & Jie Zheng (doubles)

4th - Amelie Mauresmo def. Serena Williams
...6-4/0-6/6-2. Proving (again) that the past eight months were no fluke, Mauresmo's nerves hold without a hint of instability.

3rd - Shahar Peer def. Francesca Schiavone
...6-3/6-7/7-6. Schiavone led 5-1 in the 3rd set, and Peer saved five match points to advance to the Round of 16 (where she was destroyed by JHH, by the way).


2...Russia (Davydenko, Youzhny*)
2...USA (Blake, Roddick*)
1...Australia (Hewitt)
1...Germany (Haas)
1...Spain (Nadal)
1...Switzerland (Federer)

(*)-Roddick & Youzhny won QF matches on Day 10
40-15... there was yet another mini-boomlet moment for Canadian tennis on Wednesday, as Peter Polansky upset Boys #1 seed Martin Klizan in singles.

In other 2nd Round junior results of interest, American teen Madison Brengle defeated Dominika Cibulkova, while British 16-year old Jade Curtis upset Urszula Radwanska.
40-30... for once, no member of the Safin family outlasted the other in slam singles. Instead, both Marat and Dinara lost on Day 10 within an hour or so of each other. Hmmm, maybe that's actually a WORSE result than one of the siblings flaming out in the early rounds, hmmm?

#1 Raymond/Stosur vs. #10 Navratilova/Petrova
#3 Black/Stubbs vs. #8 Safina/Srebotnik
#7 Ruano-Pascual/Suarez vs. Dechy/Zvonareva
#6 Peschke/Schiavone def. #2 Yan/Zheng

Friedl/Youzhny vs. Damm/Paes
#4 Hanley/Ullyett def. Santoro/Zimonjic
Fisher/Phillips vs. Goldstein/Thomas
#2 Bjorkman/Mirnyi def. Clement/Llodra

Peschke/Damm def. Medina-Garrigues/Prieto
Pratt/Hanley def. Dechy/Santoro
Shaughnessy/Gimelstob vs. King/Spadea
#5 Navratilova/B.Bryan vs. Groenefeld/Cermak

AD... so much for that Roddick/Nadal semifinal, huh? Now I guess it's time to root for a Federer/Roddick final, if for nothing else to see just how far back Roddick really HAS come. One can make a case that, more than anything else, it was Federer's dominance over him that sent his career on the downward slope that didn't begin to take an upswing until the last few weeks.

Hmmm, why is it that Roddick's new-found swagger would be seen as a bit "jerky" if he'd developed it on his own, but it's kind of fun since Jimmy Connors has played a part? An odd occurence, but most definitely a truthful fact -- it IS a fun development.
DEUCE #2... speaking of Nadal's loss, how 'bout that Youzhny? First, he sets upon the answer-less Spaniard like a Russian winter during the day, then he helps treat the Bryan twins like Cold War casualties at night as he and Leos Friedl ended the Bryans' run of seven straight slam finals. Not a bad day.

#3 Sharapova def. #1 Mauresmo
#2 Henin-Hardenne def. #19 Jankovic

...I'm all with the JHH pick, but not really the Sharapova one. I've got a hunch that Mauresmo will run her career record vs. Sharapova to 4-0, but I'll stick with the Supernova because I DID pick a JHH/Sharapova final (as did Pierre, by the way) at the start, and it'd be a shame to start messing with something that isn't broken (yet, at least).

#1 Federer def. #5 Blake
#14 Haas def. #7 Davydenko
#9 Roddick def. Youzhny

...ditto, because I picked a Federer-Roddick final at the start. But at least with this one I'm pretty confident, anyway.


...and neither is scrawny, tired and unprepared if you're a professional tennis player. Andy Murray says he's not a morning person, but maybe he needs to start eating his Wheaties on the morning of a big match in the a.m., huh? At the net, Nikolay Davydenko looked almost sorry for Murray after he bageled him in the lightning-quick, blink-and-you'll-miss-it final set of their Round of 16 match. Victory over Roger Federer or not, Brad Gilbert has his work cut out for him with Murray. Thankfully, the clay is pretty good. Now it just needs to be molded into a reasonable facsimile of grand slam contender.

All for Day 10.


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