Bartoli fights past Vinci, Sharapova ousted in Paris

Marion Bartoli
The quarter-finals at the WTA Premier event in Paris failed to disappoint on Friday as three of the matches were pushed to three sets and the remaining one saw the top seed ousted.  The best match of the day saw Marion Bartoli produce a terrific fightback to beat Roberta Vinci, 4-6 6-4 7-6.  The match was memorable for both the right and the wrong reasons; Bartoli was courageous with her never say die attitude despite severely tiring at the end and displayed sensational court coverage throughout the match.  Vinci played some excellent tennis particularly on the forehand side, but she really should have finished off this match.  She suffered several brain freezes as she wasted double break leads in the 2nd set at 4-1 and the 3rd set at 5-2.  I wonder what state Bartoli will be in for today’s semi-final against Klara Zakopalova.  Zakopalova produced a mightily impressive come-from-behind victory to beat Julia Goerges, 3-6 7-5 6-1.
The second semi-final will be contested between Angelique Kerber and Yanina Wickmayer.  Kerber was outstanding as she put the recent Australian Open drubbing behind her to upset Maria Sharapova with a 6-4 6-4 victory.  Kerber showed bundles of tenacity and belief to recover deficits in both sets and surprisingly was outplaying the Russian at times.  Wickmayer exacted revenge on Mona Barthel with one of her best performances in a long time to win another entertaining match, 6-4 6-7 6-3.  The match finished just before 1am local time in Paris and was not without drama.  Wickmayer recovered from a 3-0 lead in the first set and then nearly came back from a 5-0 deficit in the second set before Barthel regained her composure to slam the door shut.  Barthel tired in the third set but never gave up fighting as Wickmayer grabbed and held the initiative.  
The commentators remarked that despite the loss, Barthel has the potential to be the best German out of the growing crop of talented players from Germany including Sabine Lisicki, Julia Goerges, Andrea Petkovic and Angelique Kerber.  I completely agree with their comments and strongly believe that Barthel is a definite  future top 10 player and probably higher.  At the start of the year I predicted she would make top 30, but she should break that very soon! She still has several areas to work on; the second serve needs more pace and variation and there were some sloppy mental lapses in the second set which should be smoothed out with more experience on the tour.  However she has such ease and fluidity on her groundstrokes, excellent movement around the court and has already put a firm marker down on being the WTA breakthrough star in 2012.

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