Rezaï falls hard

Richard GODAIN
Thursday, 11 February 2010 at 22:42
For the first time in Open GDF SUEZ history, there wont be a Frenchwoman in the quarterfinals. Aravane Rezaï fell in 3 sets at the hands of Andrea Petkovic, 6-3, 3-6, 6-3 after 2h04 of play.  
Without their coveted Amélie Mauresmo, the French audience is on the lookout for its next pet. Too early to say whether number 5 seed Aravane Rezaï has what it takes, and in any case, she's apparently working hard at it: fashionable outfits, smiling face on and off the court and a game full of pizzazz. Add that to her nerves of steel and you may have the real makings of French tennis' new muse! In the first set, the Saint-Etienne native made it through the Russian roadblock, and led Rodina 6-4, 6-4, despite a slight lull in the second set. Mansour Bahrami, present in the bleachers, was witness to a game which started out in favour of the German. More solid far back in the court, Petkovic makes a very early break (3-0). Her forehand is devastating and her backhand pushes her opponent into some nasty faults. Annoyed, Rezaï  calls her coach. As usual, Patrick Mouratoglou arrives on court with his reassuring smile, but Petkovic holds firm to her cloud, belting out a series of winning shots (5-2). Despite slim improvement at the end of the first set, the Frenchwoman coherently loses all she may have gained during the first set (6-3 after 35 minutes of play).
Who says athletes only think about sports? Andrea Petkovic, 22 years old, is a perfect example. Besides trotting the globe for her tennis career, the young German is pursuing an education in political science by correspondence at the University of Hagen. Just glance at the titles on her bookcase to realize that there's more to life than little yellow balls. From Johann Wolfgang von Goethe to Oscar Wilde, Petkovic yearns for a world other than tennis after her career. Politics! On the court, Petkovic seed has just entered the top 50 for the first time. WTA 49th, the German player played a semifinal this year in Brisbane, Australia. Surpassed in the first set, Rezaï heads into the second set with the pedal to the metal by inflicting a love game on Petkovic. Barely impressed, the German gives her a dose of her own medicine, even stealing the Frenchwoman's serve through some hefty cross-court backhands. Rezaï has a talent for bouncing back when going gets rough. With the crowd's encouragement, she manages to finally hoist up her game (2-3). The Franco-Iranian knows it, this may not be her best day, but her determination to succeed will help her tear off a few points to make the break at 3-4 and win the second set 6-3 after 1h14 of play.
After an quick first set and a keenly contested second set, the Parisian crowd is delighted at the idea of a third and final set! With a low first ball success rate (56 % over the whole match) and a total of 7 double faults, Petkovic didn't have any trouble making the first break point of the third set (3-0). What followed may have looked like punishment. Leading up to 5-0, and even if it was a tight situation, the last Frenchwoman in the running fell at 6-3 in the last set.
Bundestag (German assembly) can wait for a while, tomorrow Petkovic has a date tomorrow on central court to face number one seed, Russian Elena Dementieva.

Pennetta in a hurry


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