Fed Cup AUS-UKR: Maiden Clay Steps
Hola, y’all. Yup, I’m hijacking le Fence again…but very surprisingly, not for the ATP. Which is all good and well because my response to Monte Carlo now is *THE FINGER* and a string of expletives that will be less elegant than Dootsie’s so I’ll leave that to her. I am surprisingly going to blog about WTA – more specifically, the Fed Cup tie between Australia and Ukraine.
For those who don’t know me at all, I’m not a huge WTA fan. In fact, I was an ATP elitist until my adventures in AO last year that led on to a much bigger appreciation of women’s tennis other than the Williams’ sisters. But I did want to venture into non-Slam tennis tournaments when I have the chance so when Kait (of Any Given Surface) suggested Fed Cup this weekend, on clay, I decided to go.
The Australia-Ukraine Fed Cup tie was held at the Glen Iris Recreation Club. Missing the bigger names of Sammy Stosur and Jelena Dokic, our Oi Oi Oi team is spearheaded by Jamila “I’m Not A Fucking Tourist” Groth and Anastasia Rodionova. On paper, it looks to be fairly straightforward for the Aussies, as I’ve never even heard of the Ukrainian girls before.
And straightforward it was for Jarka Groth, who played the first singles against world no.149 Olga Savchuk (whose highest ranking achieved was no.79). Having watched Jarka playing in AO this year (where Wickmayer blew her off court), I have to say her movement is SO much better on clay, and she did seem more comfortable on the dirt. Against Savchuk, she had the better forehand, the better backhand, the better volleys, and she was definitely more aggressive. She was never troubled and won 6-1, 6-1, much to the delight of the Aussies. She sounded confident in her post-match interview, and I don’t think she’ll have much trouble tomorrow.
Anastasia Rodionova then took the court against Lesia Tsurenko for the second singles. Tsurenko is actually ranked higher than Savchuk at no.126, and she certainly played much better. Rodionova was crap in the first set, to be honest, and Tsurenko pounced all over her, breaking her three times to take the first set 6-1. Interesting to note that Rodionova actually didn’t manage to hold serve because her one sole game was a break of Tsurenko’s serve.
The second set was decidedly more competitive. It was a tough service game for Rodionova to begin with, and ultimately after a series of deuces, Tsurenko got the break on a Rodionova error. Tsurenko held and then broke again, and she was up 3-0, and it looked to be a sure-fire win for Ukraine…until Rodionova decided that “hey, you know what, I CAN PLAY TENNIS, BITCH” and proceeded to break Tsurenko TWICE to level it all at 3-all.
So suddenly we were all cheering and the crowd became more alive as we all thought “YES! IMPENDING THREE-SETTER!” before Rodionova went a bit mental and promptly lost her serve in the next service game, going on to lose the second set 6-4. But she put up a fight though, and didn’t give Tsurenko an easy time in serving out the match.
Tsurenko was all excited (and kinda adorbs) and VERY BREATHLESS in her post-match interview, and it was lovely to see the Ukrainian team celebrating alongside with their coach. As for Rodionova, the loss has gotta hurt, but we saw her signing autographs and posing for photographs after that (as opposed to stomping off in a huff as I had kinda expected cos she is all head-casey, yanno), which was quite sporting of her.
I guess ultimately I do want Australia to win the tie, but I was quite pleased with the results today, which means it’ll be more exciting and intense tennis tomorrow (although I won’t be going for the second day due to being charitable and running for some kids). All in all, I had a great day with two lovely tennis enthusiasts, with decent tennis at a pretty nice venue. And this has been my first clay-court event AND first solely WTA event so that makes it very spee-shul and all that.
I’ll continue blogging for tomorrow just to wrap up the AUS-UKR Fed Cup tie…and as a parting thought, Aussie Aussie Aussie! Oi oi oi!