Serb Your Enthusiasm
May 25, 2011 2 Comments
On the day former champion Ana Ivanovic crashed out of the French Open, new talent Bojana Jovanovski showed why Serbian tennis still has a bright future.
The 19-year-old is the youngest player in the top 50 of the women’s game and in her first round match against Andrea Petkovic she showed why she’s there.
She did lose 6-4, 7-6 (7-3) but had taken several breaks and even led *5-2 in the second set before eventually being rolled over by the 15th seed. Yet I found her match enthralling and I also think Jovanovski is my new favourite player on the WTA tour.
Let me just point out, I had been subjected to Aravane Rezai’s dour show on Day 2 as well as the appallingly bad match between Patty Schynder and Sorana Cirstea beforehand so that might have played a part but I thought Jovanovski was great.
Her forehand in particular produced some thunderous shots down the line which culminated in her 31 winners but 41 unforced errors along with Petkovic turning up a gear towards the end of the match ultimately lost it for her.
An even younger player did make the second round though. French wildcard Caroline Garcia beat experienced campaigner Zuzana Ondraskova to set up a meeting with Maria Sharapova.
The 17-year-old had also reached the second round of the Australian Open this year and although further progress this week looks unlikely, she could improve France’s underachieving status in the sport with Mary Pierce and Amelie Mauresmo now just memories.
Heather Watson could do the same for British tennis. She’s already become the first British woman to reach the second round at Roland Garros for 17 years. Elena Baltacha may be slightly miffed having won her match against Watson’s close friend Sloane Stephens.
Fellow American prospects Christina McHale and Coco Vandeweghe also lost to Sara Errani and Maria Kirilenko respectively whilst Melanie Oudin couldn’t upset current title-holder Francesca Schiavone.
In the mens’ singles there were also some good results for the emerging players.
Kei Nishikori has reached the second round for the second consecutive year after beating Yen-Hsun Lu. He’ll have to defeat 31st seed Sergiy Stakhovsky if he’s to top his longest run at the French Open.
Ryan Harrison got a place in the first round thanks to a lucky loser spot and almost took full advantage before fifth seed Robin Soderling finished him off. The 19-year-old looked fully out of his depth when his Swedish opponent destroyed him 6-1 in the first set before the American took the second on a tiebreak.
Despite then breaking Soderling many times throughout the rest of the match he couldn’t keep his own service game together and lost a spirited display in four sets.
To summarise, it’s been a great first round for the young tennis players, especially the women. Some of the other selected results are:
MS: Carlos Berlocq (ARG) d. Bernard Tomic (AUS) 7-5, 6-4, 6-2
MS: Michael Berrer (GER) d. Milos Raonic 26 (CAN) 6-4, 4-6, 6-3, 6-4
MS: Alexandr Dolgopolov 21 (UKR) d. Rainer Schuettler (GER) 6-3, 6-3, 6-1
WS: Rebecca Marino (CAN) d. Kateryna Bondarenko (UKR) 6-3, 6-3
WS: Simona Halep (ROU) d. Alla Kudryavtseva (RUS) 6-2, 6-1
WS: Gisela Dulko (ARG) d. Irina Falconi (USA) 6-3, 6-4
WS: Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 14 (RUS) d. Yaroslava Shvedova (KAZ) 7-5, 6-3
WS: Polona Hercog (SLO) d. Olivia Sanchez (FRA) 6-0, 6-1