Saturday, 2 April 2016

Sveta v Vika in Miami final

Sveta Kuznetsova has turned back the clock this past week, not just teaching Serena Williams a lesson or two, but by maintaining her form through to the final of the Miami Open, a tournament just one level down from Grand Slam status.

Her straight sets victory over fellow giant killer Timea Bacsinszky in the semi final was full of the poise and shot making from her dual Grand Slam winning years.  Not that Timea didn't provide Sveta with a competitive semi final.  It was one that could have swung very much to Switzerland at various stages. A first set with five break points all saved by the Russian and taken 7-5.  A second set with five service breaks from fourteen break points, nine created by Timea.

Experience told in the end, and maybe that could be Sveta's biggest weapon come the final because all the experts will be counting her out against Vika.

Azarenka opened her semi final against Angie Kerber clearly with the intention of controlling things.  And she did this by winning 59% of points on serve and 57% of points on return in a 6-2 first set.  The second set was far more competitive but the Belarusian still maintained the edge and won through to the final 6-2 7-5

The first men's quarter final played today was a momentum changer of the highest order.  Gael Monfils began like a house on fire, taking set one off Kei Nishikori 6-4, in the process sending down 7 aces, and breaking twice.  As predicted, though, the Japanese 6th seed brought his A game to the court, levelling things at a set all.

He further complicated matters for Monfils by going a break up in the decider, and consolidating at 4-2.
Instead of conceding, Monfils lifted, winning the next three games and having Nishikori on the ropes 4-5 and 0-40 facing three match points.  Nishikori amazingly saved all those and another to level at 5-5.
Monfils lost the match in the tie breaker 7-3. Heartbreak for the Frenchman and for his legion of fans who were so close to seeing him in a Masters semi final.

No such disappointment for those Australian fans who have forgiven Nick Kyrgios.  The young talent from down under was not afraid to attack Canadian Milos Raonic from the outset of their big serving quarter final, and his crosscourt backhands in particular caught Raonic on the hop.  Eventually Nick's break points were too much for the 12th seed and one was converted for the break in the opening game.

Nick found himself in trouble on his own serve but managed to find a way through to consolidate at 2-0.  The rather tenuous lead did not bother the Aussie whose serve continued to bother Raonic, either too big or too smart.

Raonic lost the first set with the single break 6-4.  

The second set was all about the big serves and there was no way a tie break wasn't going to decide the outcome. Again Kyrgios seized the initiative, attacking where he could, not afraid of the consequences.  At the first change of ends he had the 4-2 advantage and the facial expression said it all.  The match was in his hands now.

The remaining points all went to serve and Nick Kyrgios now had a semi final appointment with Kei Nishikori.  He also has earned a spot in the world's top twenty, the youngest in that elite group.  Can the Aussie go even one step further and make the final of the Miami Masters ? 

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