In the first women’s match on centre court in the Olympic Stadium in the Kremlin Cup tournament on Wednesday, two Russians faced each other – their number 3, 16th ranked and 7th seed Maria Kirilenko; and wild card holder Elena Vesnina, their number 8, ranked at 65. The first set was tight, with the higher ranked player taking it 7-5 and then having a much easier time of things in the second, to take it 6-1 in a match which lasted one and three quarter hours.
The second match was between Marion Bartoli of France, the second seed ranked at number 10, who had a bye in the first round; and Sofia Arvidsson of Sweden, ranked at number 46. Bartoli look fresh in the beginning and went through her usual routines of shadow swings and bouncing up and down between points, but a short while later it was obvious that something was wrong, as she allowed the Swede to lead 4-2, 5-3 and to break to love, to take the first set 6-3. Bartoli was no longer jumping around, looked sluggish and began probing her left shoulder – and continued to spray balls wide as well as serve an amazing 11 double faults in the match – and Arvidsson took full advantage of a below par opponent to take the second set 6-0.
Klara Zakopalova, ranked at 31, took on 18th ranked and number 8 seed, Lucie Safarova, both of the Czech Republic, on Court 2. Zakopalova is a streak player who, when she gets her game going, is a real threat, but sometimes allows her temperament to get the better of her, while Safarova, who has been knocking at the door of the top 20 for a few years, has had a good run of late, but if her game is not on, can easily let things slide so that, talented though she is, she often loses to much lower ranked players. Such was the case today, as Zakopalova served much better than her opponent and was also able to take more break points, to enable her to run out a 6-4 6-4. winner.