Dubai Day 4 Saw More High-Seeds Fall
Dubai, UAE, February 17th 2011 Seeds tumbled at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships on Thursday as Russian number two seed Vera Zvonareva and third seeded Italian Francesca Schiavone failed to reach the quarter-finals.
Zvonareva climbed as high as two in the world at the end of last year after she reached the final of both Wimbledon and the US Open. Then last month she maintained her momentum by reaching the semi-finals of the Australian Open and followed that up with a semi-final last week in Thailand. Perhaps all those matches took their toll, but Zvonareva wasn’t sure.
“I don’t know. It’s hard to say,” she pondered after losing 6-3 6-2 to fellow Russian Alisa Kleybanova. “But definitely it wasn’t my day today. I think I didn’t play too good. Too many unforced errors. Probably one of the worse matches in a while from my part.”
Kleybanova has victories over several top players, including Zvonareva, was confident going into the match.
“I’ve beaten Vera once already, so when I walked on the court today to play against her I believe that I can win and I am better,” said Kleybanova. “So my point was just to play my game, be aggressive, and – you know, like I didn’t make too many errors today, so everything worked well for me.”
In the second upset, 16th seeded Svetlana Kuznetsova defeated Schiavone 1-6 6-0 7-5.
Kuznetsova and Schiavone played the longest women’s Grand Slam singles match in the Open era at the Australian Open last month, with Schiavone saving six match points before winning 16-14 in the final set after four hours and 44 minutes of highly entertaining play.
They met again on Thursday and, although the match was never going to be such a long affair, a highly competitive battle was expected. And that is what happened, as this time Kuznetsova emerged as the winner.
The end was as dramatic as their Melbourne tussle, as Kuznetsova broke to lead 5-3 in the third set but Schiavone broke back and then held for 5-5. Kuznetsova then held serve to lead 6-5, and in a marathon 12th game of the set Kuznetsova finally claimed victory on her seventh match point.
As she failed time after time to convert a match point, as she had in Melbourne, the Russian was consoling herself that she was at least playing well, win or lose.
“I said to myself, ‘Look, you still have it. You’re good enough. It’s just matter of closing the deal. It doesn’t matter’,” she said. “I felt like I’m playing good. I just cannot close it. It’s just one point, a stupid point, but it’s only one. I win like 101 during the match, and I can’t win just final one. It’s funny.”
Flavia Pennetta survived a remarkable encounter with seventh seed Victoria Azarenka, beating last year’s finalist 6-3 6-7 6-4.
The 11th seed led by a set and 5-1, only to lose the second set on a tiebreak. She then fell behind 4-1 in the third before fighting back to win the next five games and the match.
No such drama for top seed Caroline Wozniacki, who swept aside Japanese qualifier Ayumi Morita 6-1 6-0 in 52 minutes. There were also straight-set wins for fourth seed Samantha Stosur, eighth seed Agnieszka Radwanska and ninth seed Shahar Peer, and sixth seed Jelena Jankovic defeated 12th seed Kaia Kanepi 2-6 6-3 7-5.