Monday, March 16, 2009

Yes, Anastasia

Okay, so we all know the WTA tour is in a bit of a shambles right now, yeah? The Williams sisters aside, the women at the top are flaky at best. The two Serbian girls have certainly not been showing their best - Ivanovic especially last year, and Jankovic especially this year. Dementieva started strong but seems to have cooled off. Dinara Safina had a great run at the Aussie Open but her serve has been all over the ballpark. So - short of Roger Federer and Mirka Vavrinec's baby turning out to be a girl who grows up and dominates the WTA tour like her daddy has dominated the ATP - who's going to step in?
Well, there are a couple of girls I really like the look of. Dominika Cibulkova was one of my early flavours this year - but she succumbed to some classic WTA flakiness and bombed out early here in Indian Wells. I love what I've seen from Sabine Lisicki - she's only a teenager and I think she's going to be great when she grows up. But one that I've been watching for a while and who is absolutely owning at the moment in Indian Wells is the seventeen year old Russian, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova.
You look at what she's done in junior Slams and it's hard not to like her. She could probably still be playing in juniors if she wanted, but she's been on the tour proper for a couple of years, where she hasn't done a whole lot yet... but I have a feeling about this young lady and Indian Wells. She started off by destroying Marta Domachowska, then beating Jelena Jankovic, now she's added a solid demolition of Karin Knapp in straights. She's got talent. She's got panache. She'll face either Alisa Kleybanova or Nuria Llagostera Vives in the next round, and one imagines she could beat either of them. She's only the second female inductee into my Stars of the Future fold. She's going to be awesome - and all the tennis commentators internationally are going to curse, as no one can pronounce her name.
Speaking of people looking dangerous, the sight of Rafa at the other side of the net would make grown men quake. He is fearsome, and his demolition of Berrer yesterday... scary. And seriously, how hard can one man concentrate? I'm always vaguely worried that smoke will start coming out of his ears. He has some epic intensity going on.
And on the subject of intense people, Marat Safin had quite a good win yesterday over Nicolas Massu. I make no comment on the subject of further rounds. Only it was a nice win, and I liked it.
Today's Results
BNP Paribas Open (Indian Wells)
Men's Draw
Andy Murray def. Paul-Henri Mathieu, 6-3 6-2
Philipp Kohlschreiber def. Nicolas Lapentti, 6-2 3-6 6-3
Women's Draw
Agnieszka Radwanska def. Aleksandra Wozniak, 6-1 6-4
Flavia Pennetta def. Angela Haynes, 4-6 6-4 6-1
Agnes Szavay def. Kristina Barrois, 6-3 6-4
Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova def. Karin Knapp, 6-2 6-4


TopSpin said...

Yeah I saw her play and like you was mightily impressed.
I think she's won the Aussie Open twice and one other junior Slam too. Hard not to like that.

She seemed to have this great one-two set play going on where she'd pummel Jelenas backhand (stretching her out wide) and come into the net to finish off the rally with a drive volley. Maybe Jelena was a shadow of herself but she seemed to be falling for that time after time.

Anyway you don't see enough of that type of play in the WTA (I think Venus does that) - nor such resolve.

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