Tag Archive | "Australian Open"

Flawless Djokovic Neutralizes Nadal in Indian Wells Final

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Flawless Djokovic Neutralizes Nadal in Indian Wells Final



Novak Djokovic’s perfect 2011 record was on the line in the final of the BNP Paribas Open today.  Yesterday, in the semifinals, Djokovic defeated Roger Federer for the third time this year to supplant Federer as the world number two.

This afternoon, Djokovic faced world number one Rafael Nadal for the title. The 2008 Indian Wells champion, Djokovic extended his winning streak to 18 in a row by downing Nadal 4-6, 6-3, 6-2.

Subsequent to comfortable holds by both players, Djokovic stared at triple break point.  Although Djokovic managed to salvage those, with a double fault, he handed Nadal a fifth break chance which the Spaniard converted for a 3-2 lead.

However, Djokovic promptly broke back.  Quickly though, Nadal dismissed a couple of game points and with Djokovic gifting him a few backhand errors Nadal stole the game.

After consolidating at love for 5-3, Nadal served another love game to close out the set.

Despite an absent first serve, Nadal held the first two games of the second set at love.  On the heels of squandering two game points, Nadal committed a backhand mistake to give Djokovic a second break point.  By sending a forehand long, Nadal surrendered the game.

Yet, at break point with a charitable double fault, Djokovic awarded the next game to Nadal.  Again though, Nadal’s inability to hit first serves came back to bite him as Djokovic capitalized after reaching triple break point for a 5-3 advantage.

Although he had to survive a break point and required six game points, in the end, Djokovic overcame Nadal’s charge and wrapped up the second set.

Two factors contributed to the shift in Djokovic’s fortunes in the second set.  One, he was finally able to make Nadal pay for a dismal first serve percentage of 25.  Secondly, Djokovic directed about 75% of  his shots to the Nadal backhand with great success in provoking errors.

By sticking with this winning formula, Djokovic pushed Nadal into misfiring enough times to rip off an opening break.  Subsequent to consolidating at love, on a forehand miscue from Nadal, Djokovic had another break point opportunity.  When Nadal’s backhand traveled out of play, Djokovic had a 3-0 double break edge.

After Djokovic easily got to 4-0, Nadal fought hard and avoided posting a bagel.  With his foot firmly on the pedal, Djokovic manhandled Nadal the rest of the way and comfortably took the set and the championship.

With victories also at the Australian Open and Dubai, Djokovic has been supreme on the hardcourt.  In their head to head, Nadal had a 16-7 mark over Djokovic and had prevailed in their previous five finals.

If Djokovic maintains this level of play, soon, he will be challenging Nadal for the number one spot.

Unequivocally, as the ATP tour journeys to Miami, Djokovic will be the man to beat at the Sony Ericsson Open.

Posted in NewsComments (0)

Djokovic Victorious For Second Time at the Australian Open

Tags: , , , , , ,

Djokovic Victorious For Second Time at the Australian Open



In the Australian Open final, 2008 champion Novak Djokovic and 2010 finalist Andy Murray clashed for the title.  Djokovic trounced Murray 6-4,6-2,6-3 to win his second career major.

Both Murray and Djokovic looked in peak form coming into this encounter and were evenly matched in many respects.  Both players were competing in their third final at a major.  Although Djokovic led their head to head 4-3, Murray prevailed in their last three meetings.  Yet, their ultimate tussle was in 2009 at the Sony Ericsson Open.  Thus, expectations were heightened that this would be a sensational battle.

After Djokovic held at love to start the first set, Murray wiped out a break point and needed five deuces before securing his first game.  As the set progressed, Murray appeared content to allow Djokovic to force the issue while playing defense.  On a backhand crosscourt error by Djokovic, Murray squared the set at 4 all.  For his part, Djokovic continued to cruise on serve and at 40-15 connected on forehand crosscourt winner to move in front 5-4.  With Murray serving, Djokovic stepped up the aggression.  After a forehand up the line winner, Djokovic caused Murray to dump a forehand pass into the net on a 39 shot rally to arrive at double break point.  When Murray’s forehand traveled long, Djokovic pocketed the set.

Following a love hold, on his second break point chance, Djokovic struck a backhand crosscourt winner to steal the game for a 2-0 lead in the second set.  Then, after comfortably consolidating, Djokovic enticed Murray into four straight errors to break at love and stretch his advantage to 4-0.  Djokovic had a string of seven successive games and 5-0 edge before Murray held serve even needing to blot out a set point.  The players exchanged breaks the last two games as Djokovic built a two set to none cushion.

For Murray, it was clear that old reliable would not work this time as it had not in previous major finals.  His fall back strategy of being defensive was not troubling Djokovic in the least.  Moreover, Murray’s backhand, his star shot, was leaking mistake after mistake while the forehand was even more disappointing.  Therefore, Murray had to try another tactic.  However, he was conspicuously confused as to what to do.

Read the full story

Posted in NewsComments (0)

Clijsters Withstands Li Na to Clench First Australian Open Title

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Clijsters Withstands Li Na to Clench First Australian Open Title




Coming into this year’s Australian Open championships, most analysts tagged Kim Clijsters as the outright favorite.  Today, the Belgian demonstrated that they were correct in pegging her as the one to beat.  Clijsters fought off China’s Li Na 3-6,6-3,6-3 to claim her first major in Melbourne, the fourth of her career.

Subsequent to a love hold, Clijsters broke Li at love thanks to a net court winner and took a 2-0 lead in the opening set.  However, with Clijsters donating four straight errors after having game point, Li erased the advantage.  Later, serving at 2-3, Li overcame a 15-40 deficit to reach deuce.  Despite resistance from Clijsters, Li equalized the set at 3 all.  With Clijsters flubbing a forehand volley, Li arrived at double break point.  She capitalized and obtained a 4-3 edge when Clijsters dumped a backhand crosscourt into the  net.  After staving off a break point, Li consolidated for 5-3 and with a forehand crosscourt pass winner broke Clijsters for the third time to secure the set.

Clijsters was acutely aware that Li would not be an easy put away.  In the semifinals, Li salvaged a match point before upsetting world number one Caroline Wozniacki to become the first Chinese female to book a spot in the final at a major.  Moreover, just two weeks ago in Sydney, Li defeated Clijsters in the final.   More importantly, although this was Li’s initial major final, she was doing a great job at bottling her nerves.

In spite of two game points at the start of the second set, Li failed to maintain serve, double faulting to hand Clijsters the first game.  Yet, like in the previous set, on her second break point opportunity, Li provoked a backhand mistake from Clijsters to get back on serve.  Still, the very next game, with a crosscourt winner, Clijsters broke for a 2-1 lead.  Relentless, on her fourth break point, Li struck a forehand crosscourt winner to level the set at 2 all.  Then, Li obliterated double break point to hold serve for 3-2.  But Clijsters would not be denied.  Following a tough service game, Clijsters again was at double break point.  This time with a backhand down the line winner, the Belgian broke for 4-3 and ultimately consolidated.  Next, with Li gifting a few errors, Clijsters closed the set with another break of serve.

Read the full story

Posted in NewsComments (0)

Nadal, Federer, Djokovic and Murray Still In the Hunt at Australian Open

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Nadal, Federer, Djokovic and Murray Still In the Hunt at Australian Open




Seven days of competition have passed at the Australian Open.  While Rafael Nadal has breezed through his matches to get to the round of 16, defending champion Roger Federer had a hiccup in the second round.  As usual, there were a few unexpected departures in the first week.  Here’s a summary of what has taken place this initial week.

It’s been smooth sailing for Nadal in getting through to the round of 16.  The world number one’s excellent form will come in handy as he faces 2010 semifinalist Marin Cilic.  After two easy matches, Cilic edged out John Isner 9-7 in the fifth to earn a crack at Nadal.

After a thrilling first round five setter against Lleyton Hewitt, David Nalbandian called it quit in the second round, four games away from being handed a straight set loss.  Mikhail Youzhny also departed earlier than expected.  The tenth seed was sent packing in the third round by Milos Raonic.  The 20 year old Canadian qualifier with the humongous serve also ousted Michael Llodra, the 22nd seed in the second round.  Next up for Raonic will be David Ferrer who is a relentless competitor.  Ferrer’s experience may prove too much for the youngster.  Thus, a Ferrer-Nadal quarterfinal showdown is the likely scenario.

Without much fuss, both Robyn Soderling and Andy Murray have been taking care of business.  Soderling’s fourth round match will be against Alexandr Dolgopolov.  The Ukrainian upset 13th seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the third round.  Following an impressive second round match versus Juan Martin Del Potro, Marcos Baghdatis was forced to retire down two sets to one with a hand injury in his third round match against Jurgen Melzer.  As such, Murray will battle Melzer for a quarterfinal berth.

Read the full story

Posted in NewsComments (0)

Midway Through Australian Open 2011:Clijsters and Wozniacki In, Henin Out

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Midway Through Australian Open 2011:Clijsters and Wozniacki In, Henin Out



The halfway mark has been reached at the Australian Open.  While Kim Clijsters and Caroline Wozniacki are still in line to collect their first major Down Under, the dream is at an end for Justine Henin and Samantha Stosur.  Here’s a look at the tournament’s past seven days.

In the top half of the draw, world number one Wozniacki coasted into the round of 16.   Despite difficult challenges from Gisela Dulko and Dominika Cibulkova, the Dane has yet to drop a set.  Wozniacki will battle Latvian talent 20 year old Anastasija Sevastova  who stunned Yanina Wickmayer in the second round.

On the other hand, Henin, a finalist last year, was dismissed in the third round by Svetlana Kuznetsova.  The 2009 French Open champion who appears to be fitter than ever will face reigning French Open victor Francesca Schiavone in the fourth round.  The latter needed three sets in each of her first two rounds.

There will be no Williams hoisting the prize this year.  Venus was forced to retire one game into her third round match with Andrea Petkovic due to a pelvic muscle injury.  Consequently, Petkovic will clash with Maria Sharapova in the round of 16. Sharapova scraped by Julia Goerges in the previous round.  With Sharapova’s serve a continual sore spot, Petkovic has a golden opportunity to reach her first quarterfinal at a major.

Both Li Na and Victoria Azarenka have been unforgiving thus far with straight sets victories to get to the round of 16.  These two will now collide for a place in the quarterfinals.

Read the full story

Posted in NewsComments (0)

Can Nadal Make it Four in a Row or Will Federer Defend?  Australian Open Preview

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Can Nadal Make it Four in a Row or Will Federer Defend? Australian Open Preview


1969 was the year when Rod Laver accomplished the calendar grand slam for the second time.  Laver had done so previously in 1962.  At the Australian Open, Rafael Nadal will attempt to become the first person to hold all four majors simultaneously, although not in the same calendar year.  Like Nadal, Roger Federer has won three majors in a single year on multiple occasions, but never held all four.  With a historic sixteen majors, Federer, the defending champion, will be one of the competitors trying to halt Nadal from revising  the tennis annals.  Indeed, if the Australian Open draw holds up, Nadal’s route to his second title is fraught with red flags.

After seemingly comfortable initial two rounds, Nadal may see Marin Cilic in the round of 16.  Despite disappointing results the remainder of 2010 after a semifinal placement in Melbourne, for Cilic knowing that he’s gone that far at this major can be an inspiration.  Moreover, the only time these two met in 2009, Cilic was the victor. In the quarterfinals, Nadal also has a few pesky potential opponents to look forward to: Mikhail Youzhny, David Ferrer and David Nalbandian.  On any given day, these men can be a real thorn on any individual’s side.

The second part of the top half of the draw has Robin Soderling and Andy Murray as the top seeds.  Either player could clash with Nadal in the semifinals.  Soderling appears to have a favorable trek until the round of 16 where he will possibly collide with Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, the 2007 Australian Open finalist and 2010 semifinalist.  On the other hand, 2010 finalist Murray may get Juan Martin Del Potro, Marcos Baghdatis or Jurgen Melzer.  Del Potro, the 2009 U.S. Open champion, and Baghdatis, the 2006 Australian Open finalist, would be a contest for anyone.  Whether it’s Murray, Soderling or Tsonga in the semis, Nadal will have to his hands occupied in order to reach his second Australian Open final.

To say Federer is hungry for the title is an understatement considering the implications if Nadal prevails. Could Mardy Fish or Sam Querrey trouble the defending champion in the round of 16?  Possibly.  However, with Federer’s four titles out of five his last five tournaments, it’s unlikely anyone will down him early on. Both Gael Monfils and Stanislas Wawrinka have a win over Federer, but are a combined 2-11.  Therefore, it’s inconceivable that either Monfils or Wawrinka will upend Federer in the quarterfinals.  Once again, Andy Roddick may find himself in the position of needing to go through Federer to advance to the semifinals.  Despite Roddick’s 2-20 against Federer, he is the most formidable rival who can actually put a crimp in Federer’s style.

Read the full story

Posted in NewsComments (0)

Another Serena-Less “Slam”:  Who Will Capitalize at the Australian Open?

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Another Serena-Less “Slam”: Who Will Capitalize at the Australian Open?


For the second consecutive major, Serena Williams will be a no-show.  With the two time defending champion and former world number one still injured, current world number one Caroline Wozniacki should technically be “the” favorite.  While Wozniacki is a certain contender for the crown Down Under, it’s difficult to position her in the number one spot.  With her victories at the U.S. Open and the WTA championships to finish 2010, Kim Clijsters has to be viewed as the outright favorite.  The way the Australian Open draw stacks up, Clijsters has to relish her chances.  Let’s take a look how it breaks down.

Imagine needing to conquer Gisela Dulko in the first round, Dominika Cibulkova in the third round and either Justine Henin or Francesca Schiavone just to get to the quarterfinals.  This is the precise task which probably awaits Wozniacki.  Moreover, in the semifinals, the Dane could clash with either Venus, whom she has never beaten, Victoria Azarenka or Maria Sharapova.  In light of the treacherous road ahead, Wozniacki has her work cut out for her in trying to survive the first week and retain the number one ranking.

Since her 2010 Wimbledon injury, this will be Henin’s first major.  After months of noncompetitive play, Henin performed well at the Hopman Cup.  In Melbourne, a possible third round encounter with Svetlana Kuznetsova will be her first true challenge.  Last year, Henin battled her way to the final after an almost two year sabbatical. Consequently, if the Belgian successfully navigates the first week, she could duplicate her feat of a year ago.

If healthy, Venus should reach the round of 16 with ease.  At that stage, the 2003 Australian Open finalist could be tested, if the draw holds true to form, by the 2008 Australian Open champion, Sharapova. The Russian’s last major was in Melbourne.  Subsequent to shoulder surgery a couple of years ago, Sharapova appears finally at full steam.  That type of encounter could be a shot in the arm for Sharapova and push her back into the top ten.

Read the full story

Posted in NewsComments (0)

Federer Smothers Davydenko in Qatar Open Final

Tags: , , , , ,

Federer Smothers Davydenko in Qatar Open Final


Last year in Doha, Nikolay Davydenko upended Roger Federer in the semifinals of the Qatar Open.  Then, the Russian stunned Rafael Nadal in the final to claim the title.  This time around, while Nadal fell victim in the semifinals to Davydenko, Federer exacted revenge.  The world number two cruised to a 6-3,6-4 victory over the defending champion to pocket his third trophy at this tournament.

Following a prompt hold, Federer provoked four consecutive miscues from Davydenko to break at love.  With Federer flubbing an easy backhand to go down 15-30, Davydenko had a chance to get back on serve.  However, Federer produced two forehand winners for game point and consolidated for 3-0.  Moving forward, Federer coasted on his service game.  Serving at 2-5, Davydenko fought off six break points before carrying the game.  With Davydenko’s pass sailing long, Federer arrived at set point for the first occasion on his serve and capitalized with a forehand winner.

In his initial two service games of the second set, Davydenko held with ease.  Then, serving at 2 all, Federer connected on a backhand crosscourt winner and a sublime forehand volley winner to put the Russian in a love-30 hole.  Fortunately, Davydenko encountered his first serve to maintain a 3-2 lead.  Still, the Russian’s problem continued to be his inability to dent Federer’s serve.  Serving at 4 all, Davydenko made a mistake with his backhand while Federer struck a backhand down the line winner on the next stroke.  As Davydenko double faulted, Federer had triple break point.  When Davydenko’s forehand traveled long, Federer secured the break and a 5-4 advantage.  Quickly with a love game, Federer finished off his adversary and took the championship.

Read the full story

Posted in NewsComments (0)

Nothing but Nadal in 2010

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Nothing but Nadal in 2010


No room for dispute, 2010 was a banner year for Rafael Nadal.  The Spaniard captured three majors, regained the world number one ranking and completed the career grand slam.  As such, Nadal’s domination left no ambiguity as to who was the most outstanding player in 2010.  With the year at a close, here’s a snapshot of the stories which caught the headlines this foregone season.

After a slow start, Nadal found his footing on clay with his first calendar title at the Monte-Carlo Masters.  Subsequent to banking titles at the Masters in Rome and Madrid, Nadal culminated his clay campaign with his fifth big prize at Roland Garros.  At Wimbledon, the Spaniard defended his 2008 title to seize his second major at the All England Club.  Finally, at U.S. Open, with troublesome obstacles removed from his half of the draw,  Nadal reached his first final in New York.  Nadal stared down a strong challenge from Novak Djokovic to hoist his first U.S. Open trophy.  With a total of seven titles, Nadal topped his peers in 2010.

For Roger Federer, this year was a mixed bag.  After grabbing his sixteenth major in Australia, Federer had a fourth round loss at the Sony Ericsson Open to Tomas Berdych which sent him into a tailspin.  As defending champion at the French Open, Federer was beaten in the quarterfinals by Robin Soderling which ended an unprecedented streak of twenty-three consecutive semifinals at the majors.  Furthermore, defending champ Federer was ousted in the quarterfinals by Berdych at Wimbledon.  In fact, Federer’s ranking dropped to number three, his lowest since November 2003.  Yet, with his second title of the season at the Cincinnati Masters, Federer seemed again on the right road.  However, Federer failed to take advantage of match points in the U.S. Open semifinals against Djokovic and went down in flames.  After the New York fiasco, Federer resurfaced with a fresh coach, Paul Annacone, and won three of four finals including the ATP World Tour finals where he toppled Nadal.

The Australian Open appeared a turning point for Andy Murray.  Easily handled in the final by Federer, Murray could do nothing right with the racket for a while. Eventually at Wimbledon, Murray advanced to the semifinals only to be disappointed by Nadal.  With the defense of his title at the Rogers Cup, Murray seemed to be back.  But, another setback occurred at the U.S. Open where Murray was stunned in the third round by Stanislas Wawrinka.  In besting Federer in the Shanghai Masters final, Murray looked to be heading for a strong finish.  Yet, at the ATP World Tour Finals, Murray took another  downturn.  This was emblematic of the Scot’s tumultuous year which included a rupture with coach Miles Maclagan, a brief ceding of the world number four spot to Soderling and only two titles.

With solely two titles and a U.S. Open final appearance, Djokovic had a so-so year.  The Serb even ascended to number two for a bit, but finished at number three.  While individual success was sparse, Djokovic led his country to its first Davis Cup title.  Along with countryman Viktor Troicki, Djokovic mounted a brilliant comeback to stop France from a tenth trophy.

Read the full story

Posted in Editorial, NewsComments (0)

A Tale of Two Seasons:  Serena Starts and Wozniacki Finishes

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

A Tale of Two Seasons: Serena Starts and Wozniacki Finishes


Although the familiar saying states “all good things must come to an end”, when it comes to tennis it’s not necessarily the case.  While the 2010 season is over, in the blink of an eye the new one will commence.  Before turning to a fresh chapter, it’s important to reminisce and ponder what made this past year noteworthy.

At her first tournament after rejoining the tour, Justine Henin was a finalist in Brisbane.  The Belgian followed that result with a run to the final at the Australian Open.  In a compelling match, Serena Williams edged out Henin to defend her title and claimed her twelfth career major.  Despite Williams’ conquest, the road to victory was far from routine.  Thus, early indications were Williams would be fighting tooth and nail to retain the number one ranking.  Yet, in the end, injury became Serena’s speed bump rather than her fellow competitors.

Following Australia, a knee injury caused Williams to put her feet up for a few months.  In May, a healthy Serena returned to competition.  Subsequent to being stunned in the French Open quarterfinals, Williams successfully defended her Wimbledon title.  However, days after her triumph, Serena suffered a freakish foot injury.  Initially, the damage seemed inconsequential.  But, as the weeks went by, Serena withdrew from tournament after tournament and underwent surgery.  Ultimately, Wimbledon proved to be Serena’s last event of 2010.

Ironically, Serena’s similar fate befell Henin.  After being booted in the round of 16 at Roland Garros, Henin turned her focus to Wimbledon the underlying reason for her comeback.  With a title at a warm-up tournament before Wimbledon, Henin was a serious contender to capture the sole major which has eluded her. But, after easily carrying the first set against Kim Clijsters, Henin fell on her elbow and eventually loss in the round of 16.  What at first seemed an innocuous tumble prematurely terminated Henin’s year.

After being upended in the quarterfinals at the Australian Open by Na Li, Venus Williams caught a full head of steam and defended back to back titles in Dubai and Acapulco.  Then, Venus made the finals at the Sony Ericsson Open and the Mutua Madrilena Madrid Open.  Consequently, Venus’ ranking peaked at number two.  Days after celebrating her 30th birthday,  the five time Wimbledon champion stepped on the grass with high hopes for a sixth crown.  However, in the quarterfinals, Venus was sent packing by Tsvetana Pironkova.  Later at the U.S. Open, Williams watched an opportunity to advance to the final evaporate, going down to Clijsters.  Bothered by a knee issue, after New York, Venus sat out the remainder of the season.

No ifs and or buts, Clijsters is back.  After besting Henin in the Brisbane final, Clijsters rebounded from an early exit at the Australian Open by thrashing Venus in the final of the Sony Ericsson Open.  Although a foot injury prevented Clijsters from participating at the French Open, the following month the Belgian reached the semifinals at Wimbledon.  Subsequent to a sensational win in the final in Cincinnati, Clijsters repeated in New York and earned her third U.S. Open title.  Clijsters capped the year with the number three ranking and the WTA Championships trophy in Doha.

In placing one’s bet at the start of 2010, Maria Sharapova, Henin and Clijsters would have been regarded as the candidates likely to supplant Serena at number one.  Instead, Williams was toppled from that spot by a great Dane.  Last year, as a runner-up at the U.S. Open, Caroline Wozniacki demonstrated that she is a legitimate rival.  With Serena sidelined by injury, Wozniacki scaled up the ranking by winning six tour titles and making the finals in Indian Wells and Doha.

Despite being halted in the round of 16 at the Australian Open and Wimbledon, the quarterfinals at the French Open and the semifinals at the U.S. Open, consistency week in and week out was the key to Wozniacki taking over at number one.

Another individual who had a spring in her step in 2010 is Vera Zvonareva. The Russian followed her first major final at Wimbledon with another at the U.S. Open.  Although Zvonareva fell to Serena and Clijsters respectively, because of her phenomenal performance, Zvonareva shot up to the number two ranking.

Other names to come into the spotlight this season include twenty year old Petra Kvitova who stunned Victoria Azarenka and Wozniacki before being knocked out in the Wimbledon semifinals by Serena.  Along with Li, countrywoman Jie Zheng advanced to the semifinals at the Australian Open.  Perhaps the unlikeliest ones to rise above the fray were veterans Francesca Schiavone and Samantha Stosur.

After beating Henin, Serena and Jelena Jankovic at the French Open, 26 year old Stosur booked her maiden major final spot.  With a victory over Wozniacki in the quarterfinals, Schiavone sauntered into the French Open final as a result of Elena Dementieva retiring in the semifinals with a calf injury.  First time major finalist Schiavone took full advantage of her good fortune.  Less than a month prior to her 30th birthday, Schiavone prevailed over Stosur becoming the first Italian woman to win a major.

In doubles, Serena and Venus triumphed in the finals at the Australian and French Opens while Wimbledon and the U.S. Open were claimed by the new pair of Vania King and Yaroslava Shvedova.  The number one doubles team of Cara Black and Liezel Huber had an acrimonious divorce in April.  With the break up of Huber and Black and injuries affecting the Williams’, Flavia Pennetta and Gisela Dulko with six titles and the WTA Championships trophy ended the year as the top doubles team.

For the second consecutive year, Italy dismissed the U.S. to take the Federation Cup. Former French Open champion and world number one Ana Ivanovic redeemed her season by pocketing the Tournament of Champions trophy in Bali and reintegrating herself in the top twenty.  Nothing but bad news for former world number one Dinara Safina.  Limited by a back problem, Safina hardly played and finished the year ranked 63rd.

At the WTA championships, Dementieva dropped a bomb announcing her retirement after her last round robin match.  The 2008 Olympic gold medalist and two time major finalist felt at 29 years of age the time had arrived to seal this phase of her life and move on to another.

It is impossible to dissociate 2010 from 2011 with injury already a factor in the year to come.  With her foot still on the mend, Serena proclaimed she will not defend her Australian Open title.  As such, the first major of the year will be up for grabs.  Will Clijsters seize her first major other than the U.S. Open?  Can Wozniacki silence all doubters and show she really belongs at the top spot?  Will Zvonareva draw on the positives from 2010 and take the final step to the major’s winner circle?  Will it be Sharapova or Henin reliving their past success down under?  In contemplating the outcome of the Australian Open, the permutations seem infinite.  With all these questions, the first major portends that the upcoming season will be a fascinating one to follow.

Posted in NewsComments (0)

Facebook

Twitter

Archives