WTA Stanford – Ivanovic in, Safina out

The first round saw some interesting results most noticeably with Ana Ivanovic pulling off a comfortable victory over nemesis Alisa Kleybanova. Ivanovic has struggled for form over the past 18 months but a good victory here has set her up a 2R clash with Marion Bartoli, which looks to be a winnable match on paper with a 3-0 head to head record. Currently sitting at number 63 in the ranking, Ivanovic will look to improve this ranking over the next month which shouldn’t be too much of a challenge as she is defending very few points from last year. Dinara Safina had a disappointing comeback as she was once again beaten in 3 sets by Kimiko Date Krumm and failed to hold any of her service games in the final set as she lost 6-4 6-7 2-6. Safina has struggled this year with a back injury however mentally she has looked extremely fragile with continuing problems with her serve. It is hard to see Dinara getting back to the top of her game unless she can mentally strengthen her game.
We also saw two superb fightbacks from both Shahar Peer and Melanie Oudin in their 1st round matches. Peer managed to overcome a first set bagel to defeat Daniela Hanutchova, 0-6 6-4 6-3. Peer has had an excellent year and has been consistently beating strong opposition with Svetlana Kuznetsova, Agnieszka Radwanska and Na Li to name a few. She will look to secure another QF appearance for this year when she takes on Maria Kirilenko later today. Melanie Oudin also produced a stunning comeback on Monday night to defeat Aleksandra Wozniak after coming back from 7-6 5-1 down (and a MP) to pull off a sensational 6-7 7-5 6-3 victory. Oudin has struggled to build on her QF appearance at the US Open however no one can deny her fighting spirit which remains one of her greatest attributes. In the next round later today, she will play Victoria Azarenka who looked on top form in R1 against Ayumi Morita.

Maria Sharapova will also play today after producing a solid performance in the 1st round to overcome Jie Zheng, 6-4 7-5. She will look to confirm a QF match with Elena Dementieva who was successful in her comeback from injury by defeating Kimiko Date Krumm in 3 sets. I think it was good for her to be pushed to 3 sets to get some match experience under her belt. I do not expect her to beat Sharapova in the QF if Sharapova does win tonight, however i anticipate that with some good results over the next month, she will be a contender for the US Open.

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