Grieving Razzano advances in 2nd round of Citi Open

July 28, 2011|By Josh Barr, The Washington Post

COLLEGE PARK — — Virginie Razzano has her sights set on returning to a world ranking in the Top 20. But while the 28-year-old from France feels her game rounding into form, she said tennis is not nearly as important as it used to seem.

It was in mid-May that Razzano's longtime coach and fiance, Stephane Vidal, died of a brain tumor. She played in the French Open one week later, losing in the first round, but competed in just two more tournaments before entering this week's Citi Open at the Tennis Center at College Park.

While Razzano continues the grieving process, she feels Vidal is still watching her, including a 6-4, 6-3 victory over sixth-seeded Elena Baltacha of Great Britain in a second-round match Wednesday.

"If I win the next [match], I'm in the semifinals, [so] I think he's happy because I already [played] two very good matches," said Razzano, ranked 81st this week. "I win for him and I win for me and my job. I have a lot of objectives. I would like to win some tournaments and, why not, a grand slam."

It was been a challenging season for Razzano, who spent the better part of two months alternating between playing tournaments around the world and traveling back to France to be with Vidal. She was unable to dedicate herself to improving and felt distracted when she took the court.

Razzano has yet to settle on a new coach, choosing instead to travel with her fitness trainer during the hard-court season in the United States. Reaching the quarterfinals this week, though, has her feeling good about the way she is playing.

"The more I play, my game is better because I'm feeling more fluid and the more I win matches, it's more confidence for me," Razzano said.

Next up for Razzano is former Georgia Tech standout Irina Falconi, who advanced Wednesday when Chinese 22-year-old Shuai Zhang retired after Falconi won the first set, 6-4. Zhang had said Tuesday after her first-round victory that she had been ill since arriving in the United States late Friday night. She called for the trainer after the first set and minutes later the match was over.

Second-seeded Nadia Petrova overwhelmed 17-year-old Canadian Eugenie Bouchard, 6-2, 6-2. Fifth-seeded Bojana Jovanovski played Jill Craybas later in the final second-round match of the day.

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