2007 ATP-WTA Tour Pacific Life Open - At The Indian Wells Tennis Garden - Day 6
BAMMER HAMMERING HER WAY INTO THE SEMIFINALS
By Matt Osias
Easily one of the biggest surprises in this year’s Pacific Life Open has been the dominate play of the No. 33 seed Sybille Bammer. The 26-year-old Austrian (awarded her seeding in part because Elena Dementieva withdrew) breezed through her early rounds, not dropping a set.
Her first test, however, came in the fourth round at the hands of No. 10 seed Serbian, Ana Ivanovic, which went the 3-set distance. The 19-year-old Ivanovic would claim the first set in a tight tie-breaker, but Bammer roared back, allowing Ivanovic only three games the rest of the match.
Bammer’s victor moved her to the quarterfinals, pinned against the No. 13 seed Tatiana Golovin. But Bammer made quick work of the French hopeful, dispatching her 6-2, 6-3.
Bammer’s wins over Ivanovic and Golovin represent her career-first Top 20 victories.
Having played a near flawless tournament so far, Bammer’s ability to remain the Cinderella of Indian Wells just got a lot tougher. Now only one match-win away from her first Tier I final, standing in her way is the No. 2 seed Russian Svetlana Kuznetsova. The only time the two played each other was in 2006 at the Berlin Open on clay; Kuznetsova emerged victorious in straight sets
Bammer, however, is no stranger to the underdog status, as earlier this year she became the first player to defeat Serena Williams, beating the American at Hobart a week prior to the Australian Open.
“It was easily the biggest win of my career,” Bammer said. “It was really tough and very close, but I made the big points. If I can beat her, it makes me feel like I can beat anyone.”
Beating Williams made Bammer more of a household name heading into the Aussie Open, however, she could not get past the first round.
This leg of Bammer’s career could be considered her ‘second chance’, as she stepped away from the game of tennis in 2001 to become a mother. And usually having children marks the end of a female tennis players’ career, so her recent success can say a lot about her work ethic.
“It takes a long time to get back in good shape,” gasped Bammer. “It took me about a year and a half…and it started very slow.”
In February of this year, Bammer captured her career-first Tour singles title at Pattaya City (d. No.6 seed Dulko 7-5, 3-6, 7-5 in the finals, after saving 3 match points, down 5-3 in the third set). She is just the first mother to win a Tour singles title in over 17 years.
At last year’s Pac Life Open, Bammer fell in the third round at the hands of another tennis player successfully rejuvenating her career, in Martina Hingis. Though Bammer feels she has made significant advancements since then.
“I have definitely improved my game since last year,” Bammer said. “I play a little bit faster and am better down the stretch.”
Bammer said she looks forward to coming out to California to play this event as it gives her a chance to visit family friends and enjoy the nice weather. In fact, several days prior to the Tournament, Bammer utilized the California State University, Northridge’s tennis facility to gear-up for her bid at Indian Wells. CSUN assistant tennis coach Zbynek (Spin) Mlynarik (also of Austria and a former ATP tennis professional) acted as a hitting partner for Bammer. She concluded saying “it is important that I be as ready as possible.”
Matt Osias can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sybille Bammer (AUT)
Andy Roddick (USA)
RODDICK ROCKETS PAST LJUBICIC
Indian Wells, Thursday – Under the lights, in the second quarterfinal, American hopeful Andy Roddick gets one step closer to the Indian Wells title with a win over Croatian, Ivan Ljubicic the No.8 seed 7-6(7), 7-6(8).
Roddick is 6-3 against the Croatian. He defeated Ljubicic in three sets at the Tennis Masters cup in Shanghai last November.
This quarterfinal had two of the games biggest servers. They traded 130 mph missiles and matched each other shot for shot. There were no service breaks and two tight tiebreakers. Roddick has yet to face a break point in any of his matches.
Roddick the No.2 seed had eight aces to Ljubicic’s 12 yet he felt that he has had much better matches with his serve. “I didn’t serve amazing today, but the biggest thing is, I’m hitting my first forehand pretty well after my serves and I think it’s that first ball that has helped me”.
Roddick ended it with a big forehand to the baseline which abruptly put Ljubicic off balance in turn hitting an awkward backhand wide. Although the tough Croatian fought off three match points, tonight was Roddick’s night. The electric crowd stood on the last couple of tiebreak points in addition to Roddick’s coach, Jimmy Connors, displaying a fist pump on the final point.
Roddick will be facing Rafael Nadal (ESP) in the semi-finals Saturday. He beat him decisively at the 2004 U.S. Open. “I won pretty convincingly at the U.S. Open and I’m sure Jimmy has some pointers for me against left-handers.”
KUZNETSOVA OUSTS VAIDISOVA IN 3 SETS
No. 2 Seed Svetlana Kuznetsova of Russia defeated 6th seeded Czech, Nicole Vaidisova 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 and will play the winner of the other quarter-final match later today between No. 33 seed Sybille Bammer and No.13 seed Tatiana Golovin.
Losing the first set 4-6, Kuznetsova looked a step behind the big serving Czech slugger and seemed to be headed for a quarter-final exit. Stepping into high gear for the second set, Kuznetsova broke serve immediately and held serve to go up 4-2 . With a 105 mph serve down the service line, the French Open runner-up held serve and went up 5-2. After a Vaidisova service hold including a 112 mph ace, Kuznetsova served it out finishing up the set 6-3. With only 6 unforced errors and 4 winners to Vaidisova’s 11 errors-13 winners, it was the 1 break service game which determined the set. Vaidisova had 2 break opportunities but could not convert on either of them.
“I lost my rhythm in the second set,” said Vaidisova, “I played a great first set and a couple of mistakes here and there and she was able to take advantage of it.”
Entering the 3rd and final set, Vaidisova was immediately broken. Eventually trailing behind 5-3 and serving to stay in the match, Vaidisova double faulted which gave the Russian powerhouse match point. Fighting off one more match point and eventually winning the game, Vaidisova stayed alive 4-5. Serving for the match, Kuznetsova needed 2 more match points until she finally claimed victory.
The 21-year-old Russian broke Vaidisova’s serve three times and made just 19 unforced errors compared to her opponent’s 36 in the almost two hour match at the main Indian Wells Tennis Garden stadium.
Kuznetsova is now 3-0 against Vaidisova with the other 2 wins coming in last year’s
French Open semis and in the third round of Wimbledon 2005.
NADAL DISPOSES OF CHELA IN TOUGH 2 SETTER
No. 2 Seed Rafael Nadal, looking for a first title since his win at the French Open, disposed of Argentina’s Juan Ignacio Chela 7-5, 7-5 and looks to face either No. 8 seed Ivan Ljubicic of Croatia or American hopeful, Andy Roddick the No. 3 seed in what should be a spectacular semi-final here at Indian Wells.
After winning a very tight first set, Nadal fell behind 1-4 in the second before his will pushed the Argentine against the wall and he stopped Chela in Straight sets, just under 2 hours.
Nadal forced Chela into a backhand error to break him 6-5 in the second set and won the match when Chela committed his second forced error into the net.
“I missed more than usual, Chela is a good player and changes a lot of shots so it’s difficult” Nadal stated about the close two sets.
Chela, who has been on 8 match winning streak, is 1-2 against Nadal with the last meeting back in 2004. This will be the second semi-final appearance for Nadal this year.
The 20-year-old Spaniard has been ranked No.2 for 86 weeks yet has gone 12 events without a championship.
When asked about whether or not he was disappointed that Roger Federer was out of the tournament, the Spaniard exclaimed, “I am not disappointed or happy, it doesn’t change a thing”.
Svetlana Kuznetsova (RUS)