Beware the walking wounded

Petkovic will take on Stephens

FROM THE MERCURY INSURANCE OPEN – The disabled list has begun to grow longer with each passing day. In San Diego, Virginie Razzano and Tamira Paszek retired from their matches, the Frenchwoman against Andrea Petkovic down 6-2 3-0 with a shoulder troubles. and the Austrian with an abdominal injury. The day before, Maria Kirilenko and Alla Kudryavtseva went down and now 2010 finalist Aga Radwanska is playing with a taped right shoulder, which she says is painful. She had few problems in waxing Christian McHale 6-1, 6-0, but she didn’t have to serve hard in the third set.

Radwanska echoed what Sania Mirza said yesterday, which was that seven months into the season with a pretty compacted schedule, injuries are going to start popping up, especially when you consider the pretty quick transition from clay to grass to hardcourt (and in the case of some men still playing in Europe, clay to grass to clay to hard courts). It’s not that easy on the body to change surfaces, as its not like a player’s legs naturally know to stop sliding and to plant. Mirza has a left knee injury she sustained when she jerked a ligament at Wimbledon that still hurts on certain movements, Radwanska has been serving too much, and Paszek has been whacking to many groundstrokes. Then there’s Dominica Cibulkova who pulled out o her Stanford semi and then SD with an ab injury, as well as Kim Clijsters, Petra Kvitova and Venus Williams, who haven’t even begin their summer hardcourt season yet.

On the men’s side, Andy Roddick is still hurting, asare Robin Soderling and Jurgen Melzer. Just imagine what is going to occur next year when the Olympics super condense everything.

Let’s hope the bleeding stop soon because the last thin the tours want is another version of the “Slam of the Walking Dead’ when New York rolls around.

Only one American teen survived in SD and that was Stephens after Paszek gave up. She’ll face the talkative and smart Petkovic, who will crack the top 10 next week, beating fellow Germans Julia Goerges and Sabine Lisicki to the punch. Of the three, I’m not sure whose game I like better yet, but none of them back off the ball. Stephens is going to have really raise her level to reach the semis, but she sure is spunky.

Peng Shuai survived Sara Errani 4-6 6-2 7-6(7) and will the pleasure of facing Ana Ivanovic in the night match, who beat Alberta Brianti 6-1 6-2. Ivanovic joked that her confidence is clearly higher than it was when she started the event on a down, but she absolutely is not counting on big results this early in her coaching transition. Peng can bang with her and is a terrific return of server, so the Serbian must serve very well.

Once again, Daniela Hantuchova won a marathon three setter, this time over Zheng Jie 6-2 4-6 6-4. She’ll face her dubs partner, Radwanska and will certainly be favored with Aga’s woes. And by the way, as much as I’ve enjoyed watching McHale make a move this year, she is not showing enough bravado against the likes of Radwanska and really fell apart mentally. She did not commit to the grind enough and lacked in execution.

In the last match of the day, Sabine Lisicki bested CoCo Vandeweghe 6-4 6-3 in terribly boring affair. I realize they are both big servers, but maybe three rallies over five balls would have been nice. There were some impressive serves, forehands and returns, but unforced errors and less heady play dominated the match. Lisicki is going to have to play way better to beat top seed Vera Zvonareva, who beat Vera Dushevina 6-3 6-0.


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