Monday, 19 January 2015

Jarmila happily christens new look MCA

The 2015 Australian Open began in earnest on Monday 19 January 2015, and the third court to brag a roof at Melbourne Park, Margaret Court Arena, played host to its first Grand Slam match under the new configuration, pitting local Jarmila Gajdosova against Romania's Alexandra Dulgheru.  Neither girl had ventured past the third round in this major before in their combined twelve attempts, so history was about to be created today.

Jarmila had had a year of career rehabilitation in 2014 and had continued her rise through the rankings with impressive wins over highly credentialed players Petkovic and Cibulkova in Sydney leading into this tournament.  Although I was less than delighted that she had crushed the hopes of two of my favourite players in the process, I was thrilled for the now world ranked 62.

Jarmila served first and held convincingly, attacking at times and even approaching the net to take the initiative.  Her delivery to the deuce court was particularly effective.  On the Dulgheru serve, a baseline contest ensued, littered with mistakes, but saved from complete disaster by a brilliant backhand winner from Gajdosova which set up a break point and eventually the service break.

The Australian's consistency more than her dynamic tennis saw her hold serve and break again for a 4-0 lead over an error prone Romanian who just was not finding the court dimensions quite big enough for her shot making.  However, Dulgheru managed to draw some mistakes from a previously reliable Australian forehand and from 30-15 Gajdosova managed to forfeit the fifth game.  

When Dulgheru breezed through the sixth game and Gajdosova played a loose array of shots to be 15-40, the signs were worrying.  However, these days, Jarmila fights out of such predicaments and so she did today, finally using her serve to advantage and save the situation to lead 5-2.

The final two games of the set saw a number of winners from both players, and although Alexandra saved set point on her serve, she could not prevent the Australian serving it out, a sizzling ground stroke winner sealing it 6-3.

Set two began in similar fashion but on this occasion Dulgheru managed to hold off Gajdosova and hold serve to lead 1-0.  Following a fairly straightforward service game of her own, Jarmila wasted a couple of chances for the first break of the set before a double fault relieved her of the responsibility and now she held sway a set and 2-1.

Serving for the next four games was the master and some better tennis between the two resulted, but at 3-4 and receiving, Alexandra needed something special.  It didn't arrive and instead Jarmila strode to 5-3 without the loss of a further point.

Dulgheru bravely saved two match points and served her way to 4-5 but there was never any doubt about how this would finish.  Jarmila Gajdosova comprehensively prevailed 6-3 6-4 and her "reward" a second round clash with Simona Halep.

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