The WTA craze for early round upsets continues in Tokyo, where Dinara Safina, Venus Williams and Svetlana Kuznetsova were all kicked out by qualifiers in the second round of the Toray Pan Pacific Open.
Dinara Safina (#1) lost to Chang Kai-Chen (#132): 6-7(5), 6-4, 5-7 despite being up 5-3 in the final set. The defending champ was reportedly in tears after the match – probably because she’s lost four of her last six matches.
But let’s not forget the winner! I love this quote from the 18-year-old Chang: “I was jumping up and down at the end thinking about my mum. She never watches me play but she watches the live scores (on the Internet) so I was wondering what she was thinking.”
Her pre-match game-plan: “I never came into the match thinking I was going to lose badly.”
In the misery loves company department, Venus Williams (#3) lost to Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (#40) and Svetlana Kuznetsova (#6) lost to Andrea Petkovic (#58).
(But just wait until next season, Venus fans: “I already know what I want to achieve in 2010,” she told Reuters in Japan. “That’s already figured out — win it all!”)
Way back in the first round, Ana Ivanovic (#11) was “upset” by Lucie Safarova (#43).
“When I saw the draw I thought I could beat her,” Lucie said (via Reuters). Yeah, you and everybody else, Lucie.
Maria Sharapova (#25) found a way to beat Francesca Schiavone (#27) in three sets.
For all of Sharapova’s problems since her come back, you can’t knock her consistency. Of the 8 tournaments Maria’s played this year, she’s made it to the quarterfinals or better in 6 of them. Unfortunately, her early round losses have both come at majors – losing in the 2nd round of Wimbledon and the 3rd round of the US Open. But after a 10 month layoff, that’s nothing to be ashamed of. (Not counting Tokyo, Ivanovic has played in 13 tournaments this season and has gotten to the quarters or better only 3 times.)
“I did a great job of hanging in there.” Maria said. (via NYT) Hanging in there seems to be good enough these days.
Other first round winners included No.11 seed Agnieszka Radwanska, No.12 seed Samantha Stosur, No.13 seed Nadia Petrova (who won when Ai Sugiyama retired into singles retirement), No.14 seed Marion Bartoli, Iveta Benesova, Daniela Hantuchova, Zheng Jie, Aleksandra Wozniak (who beat Seoul Champ Kimiko Date Krumm), Vera Dushevina, Magdalena Rybarikova, Peng Shuai and qualifier Kateryna Bondarenko.
By the way – I nominate the Japan Open for worst tournament website.