No Problem For Peng, Radwanska Cruises
Published June 29, 2012 12:00
LONDON, England - The first eight spots in the second week were snapped up at Wimbledon on Friday, with some familiar names - and some new ones - among those battling to victory on the slick lawns of the All-England Club.
One of the most noticeable matches - mainly because it involved Britain's last woman standing, as well as the World No.3 - was the Centre Court duel between Agnieszka Radwanska and Heather Watson. Radwanska has been one of the most consistent players this year, already reaching 10 quarterfinals.
And that consistency was too much for Watson, whose own consistent game just wasn't piercing enough against the No.3 seed. The Brit hit 13 winners but committed 19 unforced errors to fall in just under an hour, 60 62.
"She's No.3 in the world for a reason. She didn't miss," Watson said. "I think I tried to do too much, and then I tried to do too little. I just wasn't getting it right today. But it's a great learning experience for me. I've learnt a lot today.
"I'm going to improve and come back stronger."
Watson was particularly touched by the crowd support. "They were absolutely amazing throughout the whole match. I was getting support even when I was 60 30 down. It's so nice to play here at home in front of the home crowd - I just want to do well for them and keep coming back and playing for my country.
"I just love the feeling. I want it more. I can't wait till next year."
Kim Clijsters, who won her match against Vera Zvonareva via retirement when the No.12 seed had to stop due to a respiratory illness, was asked about Watson and what the 20-year-old needed to do to get to the next level.
"She's definitely a girl I've seen making some big improvements," Clijsters said. "She's gotten a lot fitter. She's a good fighter. I do think she can use a little bit more power in her shots if she wants to get a little bit further - but she's still young, and during tournaments is not the right time to start changing things.
"She's very consistent, but I think she lacks a little bit of strength and that one killer shot. But that's definitely something you can train on."
Other winners were No.1 seed Maria Sharapova, who beat Hsieh Su-Wei, 61 64; No.8 seed Angelique Kerber, who got her WTA-leading 43rd match win of the year with a 62 63 victory over No.28 seed Christina McHale; No.15 seed Sabine Lisicki, who beat Sloane Stephens, 76(5) 16 62; No.17 seed Maria Kirilenko, who cruised past Sorana Cirstea, 63 61; No.30 seed Peng Shuai, who rushed past Arantxa Rus, 61 62; and Italian qualifier Camila Giorgi, who won a tight two-setter against No.20 seed Nadia Petrova, 63 76(6).
For Peng making another Grand Slam second week is particularly meaningful, given her struggles this year. Having had a breakthrough year last year, starting at No.72 and making it as high as No.14 at one point - the second-highest ranking ever for a Chinese player, after Li Na - Peng has struggled this year. Inconsistent results and shoulder and hand injuries have contributed to her fall from No.17 at the start of the season to her current ranking of No.34.
This will be Peng's fourth time playing the second week of a Grand Slam. Her first three came last year at the Australian Open (where she held match points on Radwanska before falling), Wimbledon (losing to Sharapova) and the US Open (losing to Flavia Pennetta). She eyes her first quarterfinal.
The 20-year-old Giorgi is playing in just her second Grand Slam main draw, having fallen first round at Wimbledon last year. In addition to Petrova she also took out the No.16 seed, Pennetta, en route to the second week.