Every once in a while, Vika has one of those matches against a quality opponent where she reminds why she matters. Last night's straight set destruction of Bepa was one of those matches. On her way to dropping a first set bagel on Bepa, she was absolutely untouchable. Her ball striking, tactical decision-making, and most importantly, her footwork, was at times, jaw-dropping.
"How could anyone, and yes, I mean anyone on tour beat her when she's playing like that?" Those short backhands cross-court were surgical and devastating. I wasn't expecting much from her here in Miami, after she was forced to retire to Caroline in Indian Wells due to a groin injury she sustained in the match. Even before the tournament started here she said she was just going to see how this week went.
Well after strugging through three straight three-setters last week, she toppled an uninspired Kim, 63 63, and then tore through Bepa, 60 63, who just seemed overwhelmed by Vika's power and precision.
So we get a rematch of the Stanford 2010 final between Vika and Masha, which Vika won convincingly, 64 61. I often think back to that match and Masha's loss to Kim in the Cincy finals and wonder how differently her summer would have been if she was able to bag either of those titles. She really was playing quite well but kept getting nipped in the end. Here's hoping it's a reversal of fortune on Saturday.
PS -- See? That's how you write about a Vika and Masha rematch without referencing bleeding eardrums, noise pollution, and ear plugs. It really wasn't that hard.
(Pics: Forty Deuce)