It’s been a pretty uneventful week in Baku so far. On a positive note, I managed to predict 5 of the 8 quarter-finalists correctly but Pavlyuchenkova has now destroyed my predictions with her quarter-final defeat today 😦 Oh well!
Pavlyuchenkova has struggled all week on her serve; today she served up an incredible 27 double faults in her 7-6 4-6 3-6 defeat to Galina Voskoboeva. She posted on twitter that she had changed her serve. This seemed a surprise to me because she has an already excellent serve although the second serve could do with some work like many of the WTA players. After the struggles she has faced all week, she has suggested she will now return to her old serve.
Pavlyuchenkova is one of the most talented players on the tour but she often blows hot and cold. It seems to be most apparent against lesser ranked opponents as she is often forced into tight matches as she seems to suffer from losses of concentration. In the end, her quality does normally shine through.
If you lay Anastasia’s weapons out on the table then she is easily a top 5 player. For example, I remember watching her second round match in Madrid against Marion Bartoli – she started the match pretty poorly and was down 5-2 and set point. However she suddenly kicked into gear and ended up winning 7-5 6-1. I would say it ranked in one of the top 3 most impressive performances I have watched from any woman this year. She played an incredible match from 5-2 down and hit a ton of winners as she totally took apart the Bartoli game. She hits the ball hard but its so controlled and reminds me of Serena Williams. I just hope she can push forward because I feel she has plateaued of late. Its good to see she is trying to improve areas of game however I am not sure radically rehauling the serve is the way to go.
Another notable mention goes to Ksenia Pervak who has had another successful week despite my prediction of an early exit! She has put some good results together since Wimbledon and has been moving steadily up the rankings. I remember reading some negative comments on a forum about her game following a match in Bad Gastein earlier this month. I’m yet to actually watch her play so I will wait until then to make my own judgement!
The semi-finals will see Vera Zvonareva take on Mariya Koryttseva and Ksenia Pervak play Galina Voskoboeva. You would have to be brave to put your money on anyone other than Zvonareva to take the title…