If Victoria Azarenka is going to win a Slam, she has to find a way to get healthy because her retirement count is now off the charts. On Thursday at Eastbourne, she retired for the fourth time in eight tournaments and twelfth time since the start of 2010 when down 62 20 to Marion Bartoli, she quit with a right groin injury. Whether its mental or just purely physical is hard to know, but what can be said is that it highly unusual and is happening right around every Slam. Someone in her camp better discover why or she never going to be consistent, serious threat.
Daniela Hantuchova finally found a way to best Venus Williams and took her out for the first time in 11 tries, 6-2 5-7 6-2. Give credit to Hantuchova who has had a fine month, but let’s not forget that Venus was playing just her third match since missing four and a half months of action due to hip and abdominal injuries
“The wind didn’t make it very predictable, but I give her credit for hanging in there. On a day like today, you have to just hang in there,” Williams said. “I think Daniela had a lot of motivation – we’ve been playing I don’t know how many years, and I am sure she has wanted to get a win against me for a long, long time…It wasn’t the best luck today, but I feel good about my preparation. More than anything I was able to get a lot of great competition. This has been ideal.”
Hantuchova will face Petra Kvitova, who came back to defeat the confounding Aga Radwanska 1-6 6-2 7-6(2). The lefty Kvitova certainly has a shot at Wimbledon and while Radwanska is a very smart player, she’s having trouble closing again and does not have a powerful enough game to do huge damage on grass.
No grass court lover, Sam Stosur came back from 6-4 4-2 down to best Vera Zvonareva 4-6, 7-6(4), 6-4, the second marathon match in a row for the Russian who had edged Serena Williams the day prior.
In Den Bosch, Roberta Vinci took out Yanina Wickmayer and Romina Oprandi upended Kimiko Date, Oprandi will face Jelena Dokic, who could be very dangerous at Wimbledon.
How about Kei Nishikori in rainy Eastbourne, first besting Rainer Schuettler 6-4 4-6 6-2 and then Radek Stepanek 6-2 6-3 in the quarters? Other semifinalists are Igor Kunitsyn, Janko Tipsarevic and Andreas Seppi…Irina Falconi qualified for Wimbledon, but Ryan Harrison was down two sets when the rain struck.