Monday, 20 January 2014

Flavia v Angelique - deserved better than fourth round

First of the fourth round matches on the seventh day pitted 9th seed Angelique Kerber against 25th seed Flavia Pennetta.  Although Pennetta had slipped back to 25, she was formerly a top ten player and at the last major - 2013 US Open - she made it to the semi finals.  Angelique would have probably assumed that 6th seed Petra Kvitova might have been her opposition in the round of sixteen, but she was taken out in the first round.
The first game had a number of deuces before Kerber held her serve, saving 3 break points in the process.  And that was about it for set one if you wanted to know the 9th seeds performance.
Kerber was taken to the cleaners by the Italian who knew exactly which buttons to push to achieve the whitest wash.
Serving beautifully and pulling winners from both sides whenever it appealed to her sense of triumph, Flavia had no one doubting her talent, and Angelique was stuck on 1 game for a long time.
Able to reach anything that the German top ten player dished up, Flavia herself was hitting double the amount of clean winners to unforced errors.
Kerber, after a careful but effective opening serve, lost everything in the subsequent fight for assets.
The set went to Pennetta 6-1.
Serving first in the second set, Flavia began with a double fault which was just what Angelique needed to bounce in with a couple of forehand winners to help with the service break she so craved.   Not wanting to appear too blessed she gave away the next game, also featuring a double fault and some loose backhands which are being sent to do some missionary work to learn some morals and become better backhands for our community. 1-1.
It became 2-2 but they arrived using very different routes.  Pennetta served and won in about a blink and half, while Kerber went to five deuces before she selected one she really liked, saving two break points along the way.
Three backhand errors cost Pennetta her next serve, while some useful forehands enabled her to break back immediately and it was 3-3.
On serve the next two games with Pennetta appearing to be the driver of momentum, either hitting a streak of winners or throwing in the bad ones.  Kerber was fairly consistent at this point.
And just as I opened my mouth, Kerber stung Pennetta on serve with three stunning ground strokes to break her serve, and that Italian Job enabled the German player to serve for the second set at 5-4.
Flavia fell apart producing 4 outright errors with no collaboration.  The set went to Germany and we needed a third to decide the winner.
The best was left to last this time, and Pennetta was fired up, in her mind believing she had let Kerber back in unnecessarily.  The vicious forehand and big ace to highlight the opening game of set three give credence to Flavia's feelings and she strode to a 1-0 lead.  Kerber wasn't going away just yet as she threw in a series of winners in the next game to make it 1-1.  The first break went to Kerber in the game after that to which Pennetta gave Kerber two of the best backhanders you'd want to see and also played two quality groundstrokes to negate the break and achieve 2-2.
Things heated up with an ace and more winners from the ground and from the air leading to 4-3, still on serve and with Kerber to come to the line.
Another stumble for the German as she failed to manage her forehand well enough and now Pennetta was serving for the match at 5-3.
Kerber smashed 2 winners from either side and that sent shivers down the spine of Pennetta who could only stuff up a couple of forehands before giving us a double fault and bringing the match back to 5-4 on serve.
Serving to stay alive, Kerber did exactly that, Pennetta's forehand again a bit wonky under the pressure.
At 5-6, back to Kerber again to stay with us, and from 15-15 she capitulated with three successive unforced mistakes to hand the match to Flavia Pennetta 6-1 4-6 7-5
It was a great match.

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