Stosur Powers Into QFs, Errani Keeps Grinding
Published September 26, 2012 12:00
TOKYO, Japan - The entire third round took to the courts of the Toray Pan Pacific Open on Wednesday, with eight quarterfinal spots up for grabs at the Premier-level tournament. Among those winning through was the WTA's newest Top 10 player, Sara Errani, who battled past an in-form Marion Bartoli.
The No.9-seeded Bartoli was in control early, powering her way to a 63 10 lead and holding six points for a 63 20 lead; but with some extremely solid play from the baseline the No.6-seeded Errani wore Bartoli down, winning 12 of the last 15 games - including four in a row from 2-all in the third set - to prevail, 36 62 62.
"She played very well in the first set but the first few games of the second set were very tight, and I think she was a bit more tired after those - I started to play better from there," Errani said. "I was trying to play a lot of different shots, like some high balls then some short balls too, and I think I made it difficult for her.
"Today it was important to play my own game. She hits very hard, and if you start to do the same it's very difficult because she plays that game very well."
Errani has had a long, grueling season in both singles and doubles, but there's something that's keeping her going in a big way - a certain Turkish something.
"I want to keep winning so I can make the WTA Championships," Errani said. "I need to keep winning matches because I haven't qualified, and it's a very big motivation for me, even though it has been a very long year and I'm tired!"
Other third round winners in the afternoon session were No.2 seed Maria Sharapova, who originally led Lucie Safarova 62 30 but ended up closing the Czech out in a photo finish, 62 76(5); No.3 seed Agnieszka Radwanska, who beat American qualifier Jamie Hampton, 64 63; No.5 seed Angelique Kerber, who rolled past Urszula Radwanska, 61 61; No.8 seed Samantha Stosur, who beat No.12 seed Dominika Cibulkova, 64 75, a day after rallying from a 4-1 third set deficit to beat Francesca Schiavone; and No.17 seed Nadia Petrova, who fired 15 aces to beat Petra Martic in a marathon, 76(2) 67(1) 64.
"It was a fast match, but I was playing against Ula, who is a very good friend of mine, and it wasn't easy mentally," Kerber said of Urszula Radwanska. "I just tried to focus on me and my tennis and I'm very happy I won the match."
"It's nice to be winning some matches here in Tokyo again," Stosur said. "The last couple of years I've lost my opening matches here, so to come back this year and win two matches against two good players is really satisfying.
"I love coming back to Tokyo every year. I've been here many, many times and I love the food - and no matter which coffee shop you go to the coffee is always good, and the people very friendly, very helpful. If you make a little bit of an effort to say a few words in Japanese or ask some questions, they really appreciate your interest in their culture. I've always had a great time here in Tokyo."
The night session started with No.10 seed Caroline Wozniacki grinding past No.7 seed Li Na, 46 63 64, winning six of the last eight games of the match after going down 2-0 in the third; and No.1 seed Victoria Azarenka dispatching No.14 seed Roberta Vinci in straights in the last match of the day, 64 62.
Wozniacki came to Tokyo right after winning her first WTA title of the year in Seoul - the former World No.1 has now won eight matches in a row.
"After the first set of my first match my energy level dropped, but since then I've been feeling great," Wozniacki said. "Today, Li Na was playing very close to the baseline and pushing me away, taking the balls very early - she was all over me. But in the second set I really started to step in and push her away."