Saturday 23 February 2013

Petra Kvitova wins Dubai - Twitter Reacts

Petra Kvitova defeated Sara Errani to lift her first trophy in 6 months. The reaction was evident on twitter. It was not long ago when Kvitova was just 2 matches away from the top spot in the world, but since then she has fallen to world no.8 in the rankings.

Although WTA twitter accounted posted about Kvitova's win late, still let us start with WTA's tweet.

Here is what Matt Cronin had to say about Kvitova's win

 Erik Gurdis was right about the unpredictable nature of Petra Kvitova.

The match was clearly a see saw kind of battle with Petra winning a lop-sided first set, Errani taking a lop-sided second set and Kvitova finding her mojo and range just in time to win another lopsided 3rd set.


Nonetheless it was an entertaining final.

This clearly caught my attention as one of the witty tweets (witty in a good way) after Kvitova's win.

Petra Kvitova hit 46 winners to 36 unforced errors in her win over Errani.

Rafael Nadal fan congratulating Petra Kvitova after her victory.

Let us now walk through the tweets from the start of the match

Twitter was quick to react just as the match started and Kvitova was in no time up a double break.

This tweet came at the right time to jinx Petra, though not jinx her enough to lose the first set. It was after this tweet that Kvitova lost her serve, although she broke right back to win the first set.

The reaction was evident as Kvitova won the first set 6-2.

The second set started with Kvitova breaking Errani, but that was the only game Kvitova won in the second set as Errani won  6 straight games to win the second set 61. Panic was clearly evident.

Some admired Errani's change in tactics which rattled Kvitova, while others got nervous for Kvitova.

Some interesting tweets came in after the second set. Most of them urging Kvitova to get hold of her game.

Kvitova and Errani held their serves to start the 3rd set, but in the very next service game Kvitova found herself down 0-40 on her serve, had to dig deep to come out of that hole and hold.

As Errani served at 1-2 30-15, a Kvitova forehand went long, there was a mixed call from the line man, which resulted in a little argument between Kvitova, Errani and chair umpire. Chair umpire called the line man to clarify as the drama unfolded.

The line man jogged to the Kader (Chair umpire) and told him he corrected the out call.

Errani challenged the call and won the point, but lost her focus and lost 10 straight points from then on to go down 1-4, was broken again when serving at 1-4, and Kvitova held her serve to win her 10th career title.

The tweet below summed up what the match missed. The match had everything from clean winners by Kvitova to successful serve and volley tactics from Errani, and the drama.

Kvitova's coach was on vacation and she was by herself in Dubai as she won her first title of 2013.

Errani's never give up attitude was highly lauded and her change of tactics was smart tennis that reap benefits for her in the second set.

Finally to end the article, there was some discussion regarding the Kvitova's shriek that she lets out after winning big points. To me it is a good way of showing yur emotions and letting go of your emotions especially when the intensity of the game is high, after all players are humans too, and it shows how much effort they are putting in and how much it means to them.

That is all for today from twitter regarding Kvitova's win. I hope you liked the idea of the article. Stay tuned for more.

Dubai Champion 2013- Petra Kvitova (Kvitova d. Errani)

Petra Kvitova was the favourite as she walked on to the court to face Sara Errani in the Dubai title match.
For the first 5 games of the match it was all about Petra Kvitova as she won four of the first five games. Cracks begin to show as Kvitova served to move ahead 5-1, as she double faulted twice in that game and was broken by Errani, but that was all Errani could do in the first set, as Kvitova broke right away to win the first set 6-2.

Kvitova hit 19 winners in the first set against only one winner from Errani.

Second set started in the similar way with Kvitova breaking Errani to move ahead, but from then on, Kvitova showed why she is so unpredictable as she went from winners hitting machine in the first set to error strewn machine in the second set. However, it was a change of tactics from Errani that caused the panic and made Kvitova miss everything. Errani started rushing to the net and taking the ball very early to take time off from Kvitova, the tactic went well as Errani went on tear and won 6 straight games to win the set 6-1 and level the match at one set a piece.

Kvitova hit 9 winners in the second set against Errani's 8 winners.

It seemed like the momentum will stay Errani's way as Kvitova was unable to answer Errani at net. Kvitova took a break after the second set and returned to start the third set. Both players held serve to start the set. A crucial moment for Kvitova came in the 3rd game as she found herself down 0-40 on her own serve, however, Kvitova petrafied Errani, as she hit a big serve and 2 winners to get to deuce, and then held her serve. Drama unfolded in the very next service game, as Errani was up 30-15 on her serve, Kvitova's forehand went long, a call came from the line-person, Errani and Kvitova argued a little about the call as to what exactly the call was about, chair umpire called the line person who said it was a correction call. Errani challenged and won the challenge and went up 40-15 on her serve, but that was all from her as the she lost her focus completely from there on, losing 10 straight sets to go down 1-4.  Errani was broken again as Kvitova went up 5-1 and held her serve to win the title 62 16 61.

In winning the title, Kvitova becomes the first player from Czech Republic to win Dubai title.

In the final set, Kvitova hit 18 winners against only one winner from Errani.

Petra Kvitova wins her 10th career title and her first title since New Haven last year. Another good news for Kvitova is that she will move switch rankings with Errani and will move a spot up to world no. 7.

The match had everything, excellent clean hitting from Petra Kvitova and some really good serve and volley tactic from Sara Errani and then of-course some drama in the third set. Kvitova in the end proved too good, but all the credit to Errani who never gave up despite losing the first set 6-2.

Kvitova's coach has not been here with her in Dubai and when asked about this in on-court interview Kvitova said, "He is on vacation, I hope he is happy. Sometimes it is good to just go out there by yourself and think about your game plan yourself."

Kvitova credited Errani, "I mean she is very good mover, she can catch a lot of balls. She was going for the net a lot and that was problem for me."

"I thought it was a so tough match. It was up and down. I think I stayed focused and calm and tried my best."

Kvitova seems to be rounding into form at the right time, after a very dis-appointing start to the year. However, whether she has really returned into form will be evident in Indain Wells and Miami where Kvitova has really struggled in the past. A good thing to note is that, before this year Kvitova had not won a match in Dubai, but went all the way to the title this year, this may be a good omen for her for good things to come. Only time can tell us.

Friday 22 February 2013

Dubai Final (Kvitova vs Errani) - 2013

Roberta Vinci and Sara Errani competed for a spot in the final in an all Italian semi-final. It was Errani who proved strong at the end as she saved 3 of the 7 break points she faced, and broke on 6 of the 13 chances she got on Vinci's serve. Sara Errani moved to the final beating good friend and doubles partner 6-3 6-3.

Sara Errani will play Petra Kvitova, who moved into the final beating former no.1 and former Dubai champion Caroline Wozniacki 6-3 6-4.

Petra Kvitova broke Wozniacki in the opening game and held that advantage till the very end and broke Wozniacki once again as Wozniacki served to stay in the first set to claim the set. Kvitova hit 20 winners in the first set.

Wozniacki started playing more aggressively in the second set as she broke Kvitova to move ahead 3-2 in the second set, but immediately was broken back as Kvitova brought the set back on serve. Both players held serve from then on, but Kvitova really upped her level when she forced Wozniacki to serve to stay in the match as she broke her to book a place in the final.

Petra Kvitova had never won a match in Dubai before this tournament and now she finds herself in the final of the tournament. She will be facing another defensive player in Sara Errani.

On line in the final will not only be the title and the prize money but the ranking also. The winner of the final will win her first title of 2013, and move to world no.7. Errani currently holds the 7th spot, and if she is to retain that spot, she will have to defeat Kvitova and win the title.

Who do you see winning the title?

Thursday 21 February 2013

Dubai Semi-Finals (Kvitova vs Wozniacki; Errani vs Vinci)

Withdrawal of Victoria Azarenka and Serena Williams opened the otherwise jam-packed Dubai draw. The upper half was left more open compared to the lower half where there still is Petra Kvitova, who has been rounding to the form that took her to the Wimbledon title in 2011.

The players taking advantage of the opportunity were Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci, the doubles no.1 pair in the world and best friends.

Roberta Vinci was the first to make her move to the semi-finals of Dubai, when she beat Samantha Stosur 62 64. In doing so, Vinci not only made the biggest semi-final of her career, she also beat two top 10 players  for the first time in the same tournament.

Sara Errani followed in the foot-steps of her friend Roberta Vinci, to set up an all Italian semi-final. Vinci moved ahead in the first set 5-1, before Nadia Petrova caught fire and and brought the score to 5-4 but Errani held her serve to win the first set. The second set was all about Petrova who bagled Errani winning the set 6-0, but immediately got broken to start the 3rd set. Errors crept into Errani's game as she could not hold her serve and was broken back to level the set. However, Errani once again broke to move ahead 4-2 in the decider. Petrova had 3 break point chances when Errani served at 4-3, but could not capitalise on them and from then on it was all Errani as she defeated Nadia Petrova 64 06 63 to set up a clash against her friend Roberta Vinci.

Caroline Wozniacki carried 5-2 head to head lead into her match against Marion Bartoli, and won the match in 3 sets 46 61 64. Bartoli was undone by her more than a dozen double faults. The match featured some high quality tennis. Wozniacki and Bartoli both got warnings, Wozniacki got warning for coaching from the stands by her father, while Bartoli got warning for being slow in serving. However, in the end Wozniacki's defensive abilities got the better of Bartoli as she moved to her 3rd Dubai semi-final.

The day was concluded with Petra Kvitova winning in straight sets against the defending champion Agnieszka Radwanska, 62 64. Petra Kvitova has finally found the form that took her to within a striking distance of the world no.1 ranking. Petra Kvitova will face Caroline Wozniacki for a spot in the final.

Sunday 10 February 2013

Vina Del Mar : Starace/Lorenzi d. Nadal/Monaco

Rafael Nadal made it to the finals of both the singles and doubles in his much anticipated come-back that started at Vina Del Mar.

Nadal finished runner-up to Zeballos in singles, losing the gripping finale 7-6(2) 6-7(6) 4-6. The loss seemed to have effect on Nadal  in his doubles match also.

Nadal had paired with his good friend Juan Monaco to play the doubles in Vina Del Mar, and the pair made the finals without dropping a set and were heavily favoured to win the title, till Nadal's loss in his singles final match against Zeballos.

The loss left Nadal with no gas and no energy for the doubles, and it took its tool on the mind as well, as Nadal and compatriot Monaco went down to Italian pairing of Paolo Lorenzi and Potito Starace.

Lorenzi and Starace started strong and did not face a break point in the first set while breaking their opponents twice to clinch the first set 6-2.

The second set went almost the same way with the only difference that Lorenzi and Starace saved 5 of the 6 break points they faced and broke their opponents on both break chances they got to clinch the set 6-4 and hence the match 6-2 6-4.

It was a bad day in office for Nadal who finished on the losing end in the final for the first time in his career in both singles and doubles at the same tournament, but as it goes, there is always a first time for everything.

Here is to the hoping that Rafael Nadal returns stronger and more powerful, for competition and depth in the men's game is not the same without him.

Vina Del Mar : Zeballos d. Nadal

There had been a lot of hype going on during the week surrounding Rafael Nadal's return to the courts after 7 months absence due to injury (or to shake off the Wimbledon loss suffered at the hands of Lukas Rosol???).

Nadal seemed not to have missed a step as he won his matches handily and made the final of Vina Del Mar, the clay event he returned on. Nadal was impressive in not only making the finals of the singles but doubles also, alongside his friend Juan Monaco.

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Nadal was aiming foe his 51st career title, while Zeballos was trying to win his first career title. Everything seemed in order for Nadal to complete his come-back with a title and send a message to his top 3 rivals (Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer and Andy Murray), since Nadal had never lost to a left-hander on clay. The message was definitely sent, but not what Nadal had wanted or anyone would have expected. Zeballos had the determination and the will of an iron man.

It was a similar day to that fateful day of Wimbledon for Nadal, who won the first set in tie-break, but his opponent, Zeballos (Rosol at Wimbledon), did not give up and remained focused and concentrated and gave Nadal a little more than Nadal could handle. Zeballos won his first career title with style defeating the clay king on his home (CLAY), in a gripping 3 set match 6-7(2) 7-6(6) 6-4.

Nadal was riding a 15-match clay court winning streak and an inhumane 36-4 record in the clay court finals, and had soundly beaten Zaballos in their only prior meeting. The pair met in 2010 Roland Garros when Zeballos could only win 7 games off Nadal who would go on to win the title. However, all of this went down the drain as the match progressed, as Zeballos put up a great fighting show and avenged his Roland Garros loss.

Zeballos opened the match by holding his serve and had a look at two break points in the opening game of Nadal, but they were quickly erased by Nadal. The match went on serve and to the tie-break, once into the tie-break Nadal raced ahead in no time and hit an inside out forehand winner to seal the first set.

It seemed like losing such a tight first set in which he did not even face break point will have an impact on Zeballos and he will fade away in the second set, but like Rosol in Wimbledon, Zeballos brought everything out everything he had in the second set to fend off two break points he faced and send the set into tie-break. Zeballos raced ahead 6-4 in the tie-break only to see Nadal level at 6-all, but even that did not sent him into a nervous frenzy and he held his own and answered Nadal, by winning the second set by ripping a forehand winner of his own and levelling the match at one set a piece.

Nadal opened the third set by breaking Zeballos at love, and just like Wimbledon (when Nadal had won the fourth set), everyone thought the things were in order now. However, as it turned out, things were in order for everyone not named Rafael Nadal, as Zeballos broke right back to bring the set back on serve. The set stayed on serve from then on till 5-4 when Zeballos hit a wonderful running forehand cross-court winner to bring 3 match points, and he needed only one as Nadal sent the ball into the net on the first match point and with that Zeballos had won his first career title and that too over the King of Clay in a hard fought 2 hours and 46 minutes battle. He fell on his back to celebrate the win, and leave Nadal pondering what is next for him. However, Nadal can take out the positives from this match, and build on his match play, one thing that he will need the most during the rest of the year.

Zagreb 2013 - Marin Cilic crushes Jurgen Melzer

Marin Cilic carried a 6-2 head to head record against Jurgen Melzer when he walked on to the court today to fight for third Zagreb title, having already triumphed here in 2009 (d. Ancic) and 2010 (d. Berrer).

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Both Cilic and Melzer had set their eyes on their first titles of 2013 campaign, but at the end of the day there had to be one winner.

Cilic started on fire as he lost a total of 5 points on serve and broke Melzer once to claim the opening set 6-3. Cilic did not face a break point in the first set.

If Cilic was on fire in the first set, it seemed like someone added fuel to the Cilic's fire in the second set, as he  served at 88% and lost just 3 points behind his serve. He broke Melzer thrice to claim the second set 6-1 and hence win the match 6-3 6-1 in just over an hour.

With this loss, Melzer fell to 4-8 in the ATP tour level finals. Although Melzer lost, he did achieve a mile-stone during the tournament, he recorded his 300th tour level win in the quarter-finals, his 300th victim was Rafael Nadal slayer, Lukas Rosol.

Melzer was full of praise for Cilic.

"He was the better player today, I felt like I was hitting the ball really well at the beginning, but he hit the ball even better. "

"What made the difference in the first few games is that he had free points on serve, whereas I had to work for them: hit a winner or play well so he missed. He deserved the victory. "

Marin Cilic won his 3rd Zagreb title and 9th overall title.

I will be signing off with these words of Cilic;

"Most of my game was working extremely well. My returns were really good and I had a read on almost all of his serves. I took my chances and defended well. Overall, I played a great match from beginning to the end."

Montpellier - 2013 - Richard Gasquet downs Benoit Paire

Yesterday, Richard Gasquet and Benoit Paire won their matches to set up an all French final.

Gasquet was aiming to become the first man to win 2 titles in 2013 as he walked on the court, while Paire was aiming to win his first ATP tour level title.

Gasquet was the one who started strong, breaking Paire in the first game and then again in the seventh game of the first set to put his one hand on the trophy. Gasquet won the first set 6-2.

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Paire complained of some sort of smell and claimed that he was unable to concentrate due to that smell, however, as the match went on, it turned out it was Paire's game that was stinky as it was loaded with unforced errors.

Second set was more of the same as first set with the only difference that Gasquet also got broken once in the second set, however, Gasquet broke Paire twice to clinch the second set 6-3 and win the match and hence the title. The final score of the match being 6-2 6-3 in Gasquet's favour.

"I feel very happy and relieved to win here in Montpellier in front of my friends and family. Since the tournament has been here, it’s been an objective to lift the trophy. I was really disappointed last year when I lost in the quarter-finals. Defeating Gael [Monfils] in a difficult match earlier this week put me in the right direction towards the title." said Gasquet.

Paire had also positives to take out from the tournament " It’s a positive week overall for me,” said Paire. “I am a bit disappointed about today’s performance but Richard is a very strong player, with a very unique style, and there was nothing I could do today.  I know I have improved a lot in my attitude and it was important this week to show my parents I am no longer the Benoit who goes crazy and breaks racquets. I really needed them to see how I have changed and I need to keep going. I feel I am on the right track if I stay calm and focused"

Richard Gasquet with his win has become the first man to lift two trophies in 2013, having already triumphed at Qatar earlier this year. Gasquet is now 14-1 since the start of the year. I will be signing off with these words from Gasquet "I realise this is my best season start ever and I just want to keep going and stay healthy. I am leaving tomorrow to Rotterdam, then Marseille, which is also an important tournament in France for me.”

Saturday 9 February 2013

Zagreb - 2013 Semi-Finals Results

Three of the four seeds made it to the semi-finals. Fourth seeded Jurgen Melzer and unseeded Robin Haase were the first to battle for a spot in the final. The first set was close fought, as Melzer won the set in tie-break 7-6(2). Melzer could have won the set easily, as he did not face break point in the first set but got 4 break chances, however Haase saved all four to force a tie break. However, once into the tie-break it was all Melzer as Haase could win only 2 points.

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Things looked good for Melzer as he served for the match at 5-2 in the second set only to be broken by Haase, however, Haase lost his serve right after that to lose the set and hence the match.The final score being, 7-6(2) 6-3. Melzer will be appearing in his first final of 2013 and will be gunning for his 5th title overall.

The other semi-final featured 2 time Zagreb champion and top seed Marin Cilic against defending champion Mikhail Youzhny. Youzhny looked comfortable as he took the first set 6-4, winning 71% points while retuning Cilic's second serve, however, Youzhny could not take advantage of Cilic serving at 39% in the second set. It was surprising to see that despite serving at 39% Cilic did not face a break point in the second set and broke Youzhny on one of the two chance he got to clinch the set and level the match. From then on it was all Cilic as he clinched the third set 6-3. The final score of the match being 4-6 6-4 6-3 in Cilic's faour.

Cilic will be looking to win 3rd Zagreb title, having already triumphed in 2009-10, while Melzer will be gunning for his first Zagreb title.

Montpellier - 2013 Semi-Finals Results

Three Frenchmen reached the semi-finals of Montpellier, which meant that there will be at least one French to fight for the trophy. However, Jarko Niemen's bid to stop an all French final ended with Richard Gasquet winning a hard fought 3 set battle.

Benoit Paire will be aiming for his first ATP tour level title
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The 3rd seed, Gasquet, won 6-3 3-6 6-2 to advance to his second tour level final in 2013, having already triumphed in Qatar at the start of the year. Niemen failed to win a point on his second serve in the first set, and won only 25% points behind his second serve for the match.

In the all French semi-final Benoit Paire came from behind set to win the match in 3 sets against Michael Llorda,  winning the match 4-6 6-3 6-1. Llodra did not face a break point in the first set while converting one of the 3 break point chances he got on Paire's serve. However, those were the only break points Llodra got, since Paire upped his level and did not give Llodra a break chance for the next 2 sets to seal a place in the final.

Gasquet will be attempting to become first man to win 2 titles in 2013 when he faces Paire tomorrow, while Paire will be aiming to win his first ATP tour level title.