February 12, 2010

Avenging the Draw

In the first Premier event since the Australian Open, some top-flight ladies are trying to make up for some bad luck in Melbourne this week.

Elena Dementieva and Flavia Pennetta earned the #1 & #2 spots at the Open GDF Suez being held in Paris. Both, you might remember, were in the uber-stacked third quarter Down Under, and faced unseeded but ultimately lethal opponents in the second round -- Dementieva drew eventual finalist Justine Henin, while Pennetta got the recently reinstated world #16 Yanina Wickmayer.

Neither "favorite" advanced.

This year the Paris event attracted an imposing field -- Wickmayer again arrived as a potential spoiler, as did Fed Cup heroine Francesca Schiavone. And lurking among the unseeded players were feisty Alisa Kleybanova and U.S. Open darling Melanie Oudin. And there were no shortage of upsets -- heading into the quarters, only three seeds were left standing.

This morning Flavia became the first player into the semis with a 6-1, 6-3 win over countrywoman Tathiana Garbin -- she'll have a date tomorrow with Lucie Safarova, who earlier dismissed sixth seeded Shahar Peer. Elena will try to follow her colleagues later today when she takes on German Andrea Petkovic, a twenty-two year old who won her first Tour title in Bad Gastein last year. If she makes it, by the way, Dementieva could create a rematch of her U.S. Open round two with Oudin, another loss I'm sure she's eager to avenge.

Getting a win in Paris would be a great ego-boost for either lady -- Dementieva was the runner-up here in 2009 and Pennetta, who hadn't won a match in Paris before this year, needs to show just how good a player she has become. More importantly, both want to prove they can rebound quickly from the hits they took in Melbourne. And if they make it to the finals, it will be a fun one to watch -- surprisingly, the two have never met before, and what better stage to do so than at a Premier event?

I, for one, can't wait to watch!

No comments: