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Vaidisova Wins Teenage Tussle

Nicole Vaidisova won the tussle of the talented teenagers, with the 18-year-old Czech brushing aside Victoria Azarenka in straight sets, 6-4, 6-2.

The first set started with the 17-year-old from Belarus looking a little outclassed. Vaidisova, the 14th seed, began well, powering her groundstrokes across the net. Her strong forehand helped her take a seemingly unassailable 4-0 lead.

Azarenka was regularly being wrongfooted but, once she won her first game, she began to offer spectators glimpses of the searing backhand she favours. Despite her youth, she has been showing great talent for a few years. As a junior, she won a clutch of singles and doubles titles in the 2004 and 2005 seasons, and shot straight into the top 100 rankings last year, during her first full year on tour.

As she worked to achieve her first break back, to 2-4, with just her second approach to the net, Azarenka suddenly found focus. Vaidisova started finding the net a little too often. And with a fine overhead winner by Azarenka, the match moved from the pedestrian to the passionate.

But the unhurried 6ft (183cm) Vaidisova immediately raised her game, bringing out the biggest gun in her arsenal – her serve. She won the game to love, with her first ace of the match.

Azarenka, who by now had the sprightlier bounce in her step, was mixing up her game a little more. She made a few approaches to the net but couldn’t break the Vaidisova serve a second time to draw level. Vaidisova closed out the set with another ace, this time down the line, followed neatly by an unreturnable serve.

The second set started with another early break of serve by Vaidisova. It seems improbable, but at 18, the Czech is already something of a regular on the circuit. In three years, this is already her 12th grand slam tournament. So far this year she has reached the semi-finals in Australia and the quarter-finals in France.

With Vaidisova leading 3-2, and about to serve, rain stopped play. When the match resumed, Vaidisova wasted no time. She wrapped up the match without letting her opponent win a game.
Vaidisova has equalled her best Wimbledon performance of last year by reaching the fourth round. She will play fourth seed Amélie Mauresmo.

Written by Sally Easton
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Last modified onSaturday, 30 January 2010 12:07
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