Tuesday, April 1, 2014

2014 Family Circle Cup - Terrific Tennis on Tuesday

Venus Williams lines up a winner on Tuesday
Daniela Hantuchova lost this call, but won her match
The 2014 Family Circle Cup features the top player in the world in Serena Williams, but the FCC fans were treated to some great matches during Tuesday before her 7 p.m. opening match. The day began with a 10 a.m. duel on center court between hometown gal Shelby Rogers and WTA-tested Daniela Hantuchova. Rogers came out with the better start and quickly got ahead in the first set, but the hometown crowd was thin early and too quiet. The first set turned when Hantuchova hit a serve down the centerline and though it was called out, she called for the chair umpire to look. While she lost that call, the incident gave her new energy and she came back to win the first set. She began a routine of hopping up and down and practicing her strokes in the air, which somehow translated into better play. Whereas Rogers wanted to match ground stroke for ground stroke, Hantuchova began to mix in some drop shots and play a better all around game. Rogers did hold a lead in the second set at 3 games to 2, but Hantuchova hit a shot that clipped the net and the sideline while at deuce, propelling her to win the game and the match at 7-5, 7-5. Hantuchova is through to the next round to meet Grace Min.

Zhang of China powered to victory on Tuesday - C'Mon!
Meanwhile, over at the Althea Gibson court the 10 a.m. match was still going on between Zhang of China and Hsieh. It was an absolute slugfest that was played under sunny and warm conditions. They went back and forth, evenly matched through two sets with Zhang winning a second set tiebreaker. Then they traded shots until they reached a third and final set tiebreaker. Just then the heat seemed to affect Hsieh who suddenly crouched down and called for a trainer. She bravely toed the line soon after for the tiebreak, but Zhang beat her 7 - 0 to win the match 3-6, 7-6, 7-6. Zhang plays a spirited game and after every winner she pumps her fist and yells - C'MON !!

M.C. Andrew Krasny introduces
singing legend Gladys Knight 
Back at Center Court it was Venus Williams who needed three sets to vanquish Barbora Zahlavova. Williams played her slow and methodical game that she has brought to the Family Circle Cup in previous years, and that fans love her. Some told me that they would forego lunch so that they could support Venus. She needed that support to complete a thrilling third set and win the match 3-6, 6-0, 5-7. Williams next opponent will be Chanele Scheepers.

In other develpments, past Champion and birthday girl (now 30) Sam Stosur needed three sets to advance. In the night match a SHOCKER
came when No. 1 seed Serena Williams was soundly defeated in straight sets.

And to top off a terrific Tuesday, including Chamber of Commerce weather, singing legend Gladys Knight was in the crowd. With her song 'Midnight Train to Georgia' playing in the background, the FCC fans gave her a round of applause and she showed them some love in return by standing and waving. You can watch live tennis on ESPN3 this week and watch scores at Family Circle Cup.

To view past blog entries from the Family Circle Cup click here: 20132012201120102009

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