US Open Day 3 – Impressive McHale beats Bartoli

Christina McHale put in a superb performance to defeat Marion Bartoli, 7-6 6-2 and move into the third round of the US Open. McHale finished off the match without any nerves as she served an ace down the line to reach the third round of a Grand Slam for the first time in her career. The first set was a topsy turvy affair with the occasional magic moment. Bartoli was the better player at the beginning as she pummelled McHale’s baseline putting her under considerable pressure. Bartoli also parked herself way inside the baseline to return McHale’s serve as she broke twice in the set to take a 5-3 lead.

Bartoli did not play badly but made more errors than usual and was outplayed by McHale… unfortunately no pictures of Christina 😉

However Bartoli’s game dipped considerably as McHale started to find her groove. McHale broke back when Bartoli served for the first set at 5-4 and the first set went into a tiebreak – McHale played a stunning tiebreak, which she won 7-2 as she attacked the ball with more convinction and drew the errors from Bartoli. Bartoli also made a number of ventures into the net during the first set, which on the whole were unsuccessful as McHale pulled of a couple of sensational passing shots.

McHale continued to improve throughout the mach and looked assured on the court as she consistently placed the balls right into the corners, which had Bartoli running. The turning point in the match seem to come at 7-6 1-0 and deuce. Bartoli was in control of a point when she shouted “come on” before McHale reached the ball. The umpire intervened and gave the point to McHale when Bartoli was destined to win it. This would have give Bartoli a break point but instead McHale had a game point which she duly converted. McHale sealed the double break to take a 7-6 3-0 lead; Bartoli did up her intensity and managed to get one of the breaks back as McHale became slightly passive in her play. However she refocused to secure a stunning hold at 3-2 and then eased to the finishing line.

McHale will now play Maria Kirilenko in the third round and will fancy her chances of another upset after this terrific performance. McHale proved today she has a good head on her and I really like her game too; I particularly like the forehand but she is solid off both wings. She also showed some glimpses of variety in her game with a few slices and drop shots here and there… I don’t want to get too excited because it could still be premature – take Melanie Oudin as an example! However she does seem to have a much better game and has backed up her wins over Wozniacki and Kuznetsova during the summer hard court season… the future does look bright for McHale.

In other action, Peng Shuai produced a fine display to see off Tsvetana Pironkova, 6-2 6-4. Peng was consistent throughout the match as she served well and showed off her competence at the net to ease past the Bulgarian. Lucie Safarova, one of the nicest players on tour also made it into the third round as she battled past the young American, Madison Keys 3-6 7-5 6-4. Safarova will now play Monica Niculescu and should fancy her chances of progressing deeper into the draw. Sabine Lisicki progressed into the third round after Venus Williams pulled out of their second round match. I can’t express how disappointed I am that this match did not go ahead!!! I was so excited and once again an anticipated match does not take place 😦 But I am delighted Sabine is through and has a chance to rest, which should help her chances in the draw. Get well soon Venus…

Peng will now play Julia Goerges in the third round

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