Rowan here, back from a sunny day two at the ASB Classic. Our favourite number one seed Elena Dementieva got off to a slooow start against Chan Yung-Jan today, going 1-5 down before waking up and winning the match 75 63. A little bit of hustle needed but she got through okay, and she had a smile on her face throughout which was nice to see. Leni even hit a few aces, I didn’t know she had it in her. Kiwi (Croatian-born Kiwi but who’s counting, she has that cute New Zealand accent) Marina Erakovic also won against Nuria Llagostera Vives in straight sets, setting up, you guessed it, Dementieva vs Erakovic tomorrow in the blockbuster match of the tournament so far. Keep in mind Marina beat the top seed at last year’s Classic, upsetting Vera Zvonareva in three sets in the quarterfinals. So she might have a repeat on her mind, Leni better be careful.
All eight seeds have won their first round matches, it’s great. There are quite a few players who look like they could win this whole thing. Caroline Wozniacki looked very good today, as did Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, the seventeen year old Russian with the long name and longer earrings. She got her hair or something tangled up in one of them and had to ask a young male line judge to help her out. It was cute, the crowd cheered.
Eighth seed Carla Suarez Navarro impressed me in her match today too. I thought she might be in trouble as she’s a clay court girl at heart and had tricky Frenchwoman Nathalie Dechy in the first round. But Carla played really well and won easily, even serving up Dechy a tasty bagel. I like watching the French players because I can dust off my rusty French and try to understand what they say when they cry out. “J’arrive pas!” Dechy screamed after a bad error. I am not arriving! Or I do not arrive, take your pick.