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Schnyder outrallies Bondarenko

Rédaction Open GDF SUEZ
Wednesday, 11 February 2009 at 13:42
In the first clash of a very promising day at the 17th Open GDF SUEZ, Switzerland's Patty Schnyder outpowered her younger opponent, Alona Bondarenko of the Ukraine, in a 1h38 first round match that ended with a suspenseful tie-break, 6-4, 7-6 (3).   

The first players to enter the court at Coubertin stadium on this tennis star-studded Wednesday were Switzerland's Patty Schnyder, 30, ranked 16th, and the Ukrainian underdog Alona Bondarenko, the 30th player in the world at the age of 24. But the youngest of the two athletes had gained psychological momentum over her opponent by winning their latest match in Linz, also on indoors hard court, which was very welcome as their previous, and first, clash, had ended with an 8-6 comeback win by Schnyder and a cruel disappointment for Bondarenko. As young tennis fans warmed up for the rest of the highly-anticipated schedule of what is traditionally kid's day at Coubertin stadium, the two players gave them few opportunities to practice their cheers and songs as rallies often ended with unforced errors, especially by the Swiss, which is expected when two defensive players compete against each other. And while the Ukrainian seemed to have made a decisive difference, serving for a 5-3 lead, Schnyder responded by adding more variety to her game and putting Bondarenko in trouble with her chopped left-handed backhand, eventually claiming the first set 6-4 after 41 minutes.

None of the players used the beginning of a new set to create a momentum and take a major advantage and all serve games were held throughout the set with some spectacular rallies and display of very technical shots in the process. Even though Bondarenko rushed and grasped several opportunities to play her natural game, counter her Swiss opponent's groundstroke and score several winning points as a result, she did not take any decisive lead and only managed to make Schnyder's frustrations at some calls and at her own shortcomings more obvious. As the length and intensity of the rallies gradually increased and culminated when the lefty Swiss saved a set point and confirmed she felt confident by offering the Coubertin spectators a tie-break after winning a love serve game. And just like in the previous set, while Bondarenko looked like she was going to be able to claim the set, it is Patty Schnyder, her experience and her game management who had the last word in this exciting second set's tie-break (3) and in the overall match.

Patty Schnyder: “I love the atmosphere here, thanks to the spectators. I'm here to win as many matches as I can and to enjoy myself. And as long as I keep winning and having a great time, I'm all for it!”

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