Bienvenue! My name is Jamie and I like golf. I grew up playing tennis in eastern Massachusetts, but fell in love with the game after watching Se Ri Pak defeat Jenny Chausiriporn at the 1998 U.S. Womens Open. I studied Hospitality & Tourism Management (with a focus on Event, Tourism, and Convention Management) at the Isenberg School of Management, University of Massachusetts Amherst. Tennis is my first love, but golf is a very close second. I believe style should equal substance, and the latter is nothing without the former.
For many top players, the opening round of a grand slam is a nervous affair. We saw Venus Williams struggle against Vera Dushevina last night, earlier today Dinara Safina was on the ropes against the Australian qualifier Olivia Rogowska, and in year’s past we’ve seen Camille Pin take Maria Sharapova to extra innings. Needless to say a random player, taking advantage of a nervous top seed, and nearly upsetting them is almost commonplace. Almost always, the top player shows why they are a top player, and comes through even when it looks impossible. Unfortunately for the 11th seed Ana Ivanovic, she wasn’t able to find the extra gear against the always dangerous Kateryna Bondarenko (who defeated Venus Williams earlier this summer).
Perhaps it was the sudden shock of being in this situation to begin with. Ana started the match strongly enough, and seemed to be in total control when she won 9 of the first 12 games, and lead the match 6-2, 3-1. Then something switched. Ana, who was once relentlessly punished her lower ranked opponents (she had never before lost in the opening round of a grand slam), froze up. Her forehand was finding the net more then it was finding the court, and Kateryna grew in confidence. Before you knew it, Kateryna strung together 9 of the next 10 games, and now the younger Bondarenko lead the match 2-6, 6-3, 4-1, which was a lead of two breaks.
Showing her true grit, Ana seemed to get things back under control, and was about to set things in place, puts things in order and finish off this match. Even though it wasn’t perfect, there was no doubt in my mind that Ana was going to pull off the third set tiebreak, and live another day. When she had a match point at 6-5, it seemed like it was over. When Kateryna clawed back and gave herself a match point at 7-6, and double faulted, I don’t think anyone thought she’d be able to recover. The true grit it seems, was actually within Kateryna, despite the double fault, she won the next two points (fittingly won on another error off the Ivanovic forehand), and claimed the biggest scalp in her grand slam career.
Where Ana goes from here is anybody’s guess. She’s fallen out of the top 10, and does not look like she’s gaining form anytime soon. Perhaps she should take a page out of her compatriot Jelena Jankovic’s book and take some time off. JJ did so after Wimbledon and has come out strong, and she won swiftly today.
Ivanovic wasn’t alone in being a seed going down today. The 16th seed Virgine Razzano has had a career best seasons so far, but Yanina Wickamayer’s comeback from injury seems to be going very well as she pulled off the upset in straights. Kleybanova lost her second straight match since her semifinal finish at Toronto where she beat Ana’s rival Jelena Jankovic, tumbling out to Petra Kvitova (incidentally her other loss since the SF was to Wickamayer). Agnes Szavay’s (pictured) come back to the top 20 was halted by another player looking to get back there Israeli Shahar Peer.