China Open – Aga beats battling Zheng, Ana on fire

Agnieszka Radwanska continued her fabulous recent form with a 6-1 6-4 victory over Zheng Jie. Radwanska was playing with a great deal of confidence and was totally dominant during the 1st set. The second set was much closer as Zheng kept fighting and the two played out some stunning rallies. Eventually Radwanska’s consistency was too much for Zheng and she completed the victory. Zheng should take heart from this performance and build on this for 2012. She has struggled after returning from a long lay-off with a wrist injury, but has shown signs of coming back to the form that took her to two Grand Slam quarter in the last months. I also wish she would try and add some more bite to the serve, especially the second serve… she won just 11% of points on her second serve today!
Ana Ivanovic beat a top 5 player for the first time since 2008 as she destroyed Vera Zvonareva, 6-1 6-2. The serve and the forehand was completely on song as she continued her excellent week where she has lost just 10 games in three matches. I think it is important not to get carried away with the victory; yes it is an excellent win, but Ivanovic has given us this hope before… she needs to keep on building so her next match will be crucial to continue this good form. It is likely it will be Aga Radwanska in the Quarter-Finals so she will have to be at her best for that!
In the final match of the day, Andrea Petkovic beat Marion Bartoli in an epic encounter that lasted two hours and 46 minutes. Bartoli was the more consistent player at the beginning as she edged the first set, 6-4 and went up an early break in the second set. Petkovic was surprisingly inconsistent, especially on the forehand side. However she dug deep in some lengthy games and steadied the ship as she got the break back and levelled at one set all. Petkovic raced into a 5-1 third set lead before Bartoli exhibited some of her superb fighting spirits as she saved a number of match points, several of them after some epic rallies. Petkovic eventually got herself across the finish line, 4-6 6-4 7-5. This win was huge for Petkovic who will hope to progress and improve her chances of reaching the year-end championships…

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