Monday, 19 January 2015

Begu curbs Kerber

The third match on Margaret Court Arena on Day One saw another Romanian, Irina-Camelia Begu challenging long time top ten player Angelique Kerber from Germany.

Fresh from a semi final appearance in Sydney Kerber was heavily favoured to prevail but To take Begu lightly would be dangerous - already today we had seen the fifth seed Ana Ivanovic exit sensationally, exemplifying the depth of women's tennis compared to past years.

Begu began by holding serve, capably rallying from the back of the court and matching it with the 9th seed.  Kerber, when ready to square it at 2-2 had a mental lapse, culminating in a double fault donating the advantage to Romania 3-1.

The top ten player on court in practical terms was Begu as she played solid and intelligent tennis, with moments of inspiration, ably abetted by a dose of inconsistency from the German racquet.

A second break left Begu tantalisingly close to capturing the opening set but the 5-1 edge quickly evaporated once the true talents of Kerber were allowed to shine.  At 4-5 all the good money had been shifted away from the Romanian.

Another twist in proceedings, and the third break of the Kerber serve, finally brought the first set to a close, a jubilant Begu the winner 6-4.  Her serve, passing shots and overall willingness to take risks payed off.

The second set was a whitewash and the most serious reality check for Irina-Camelia Begu.  Angelique Kerber remained unperturbed by the score line, fully aware of her talent and capability, and she just produced it in sufficient quantity to force Begu into constant doubt and error.  By the end of set 2 Begu had completed five successive attempts at serve and held none of them.  6-0 Kerber and a set apiece.

Begu did not accept the Begu bagel lying down - she attacked from the outset, playing with a freedom like parts of the first set but tenfold, and approaching the net whenever she had the chance.  Kerber was rendered powerless at the back of the court and the breaks came.  Yes there were gambles, but they were educated and they paid off big time.

Irons-Camelia gained crowd support with every ball toss and every volley as she upset the 9th seed 6-4 0-6 6-1 in a match full of some of the best tennis shots of the opening day.

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