Saturday, July 21, 2007

Bovina returns--again

Elena Bovina, the talented and charming Russian player who was ranked number 14 in the world when injury struck, has had as hard a time of it as anyone on the tour. First, it was her left foot, at the beginning of the 2005 season, and then it was her right shoulder. She stopped playing after her last Fed Cup match that year, and did not attempt to play again until the end of 2006. She then lost in the first round at both Moscow and Hasselt. Since then, she has withdrawn from all events because of continuing problems with her shoulder.

The good news is that Bovina's name appears in the draw at the Bank of the West Classic in Stanford, which begins Monday. She has a tough first round against Peng Shuai, and is likely to make an early exit. Assuming her shoulder has finally healed, Bovina will have a tough time working her way back up the rankings after so long a lay-off. Flavia Pennetta is struggling with that problem right now, and she wasn't out as long as Bovina. The game changes, new opponents present new problems, momentum is lost, and confidence dwindles. It has taken Daniela Hantuchova (who was not injured, but who had other issues), a former top-five player, four years to get within breathing distance of the top 10.

At any rate, here's hoping the best for Bovina. I, like many other fans, have certainly missed her.

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