Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Victoria Azarenka d. Svetlana Kuznetsova

Svetlana Kuznetsova entered the Australian Open with no hopes, but here she was in the quarter-finals of the Australian Open 2013, coming off from a 6 months injury lay off.

Victoria Azarenka definitely loved to return to the courts that provided the right launch pad for her 2012 campaign, bringing her, her first major title.

It was battle between two grand-slam champions and for the first set it completely looked like it. It seemed like both were daring the other to go for her shots. When Azarenka went for a winner, Kuznetsova responded by doing the same. Kuznetsova challenged Azarenka's movement by throwing in a lot of sliced drop-shots with perfect timing.

The 3rd game of the first set lasted for 15 minutes. Azarenka had a lot of chances to close the game but everytime Kuzetsova brought out something different and more interesting in her arsenal to get the back back to deuce. A wonderful passing shot from Kuznetsova and an unforced error from Azarenka gave Kuznetsova the first break.
"Pain does not kill me, I kill the pain" tattooed on the arms of Kuznetsova showed the spirits of Kuznetsova.
Kuznetsova saved a couple of break-points by some good first and second serves to consolidate the break and move ahead. Azrenka responded by holding her serving and keeping the deficit to one break of serve.

The next game proved to be critical, as Kuznetsova double faulted on the break point to surrender the advantage and bring the set back on serve at 4-3.

Azarenka and Kuznetsova fought for the rest of the rest. When Kuznetsova came up with a fore-hand down the line, Azarenka responded by a drop shot. When Azarenka challenged Kuznetsova by a drop shot, Kuznetsova answered by a sensational sliced pass.

From 5-all Kuznetsova started matching Azarenka in her grunts, but lost her shots, it seemed like Kuznetsova could either match Azarenka's shots or her grunts. She tried matching her grunts and lost the plot and her serve. All of a sudden the positions reversed and Azarenka went from Serving to stay in set to serving for the set.

Red Foo showed great emotions when Azarenka broke Kuznetsova to move ahead 6-5 (I wonder if anything is up between the two).

Kuznetsova realised that she can either go toe on toe with Azarenka in shrieking or go toe on toe with her in shot-making and stopped grunting. Kuznetsova saved a set point by forcing an error from Azarenka to get to deuce. A lucky net cord gave Azarenka another set-pont only to see Kuznetsova's winner erasing it but Azarenka was not be denied as 2 unforced errors from Kuznetsova gave Azarenka the set, 7-5.

It was Kuznetsova's unforced errors that killed her, as she hit 28 comapred to Azarenka's 19 and landing only 56% of her first serves into play, while Azarenka put 72% of her first serves into play

Azarenka started the set by breaking Kuznetsova, but Kuznetsova broke right away by making Azarenka play one more shot. From then on, Kuznetsova again forgot that she can't simultaneously match Azarenka's grunt and ground-strokes, and sshe started grunting again and in doing so lost her plot completely, as she failed to win another game. It was all Azarenka from then on as she rolled through the second set 6-1. The match ended on a long fore-hand from Kuznetsova sealing the fate of Kuznteova and ending her run in this year's Australian Open quarter-finals. The final score being 7-5 6-1 in Azarenka's favour.

Kuznetsova showed us all in her run to the quarter-finals that she still has got what it takes to go deep down in the draw, and she definitely sent a message that she is not done and out yet.

Azarenka marches on, to face the winner of Serena Williams and Sloane Stephens, which has gone into the third set with Serena suffering from back spasms.

No comments:

Post a Comment