Tag Archive | "Black"

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No Mercy For Zvonareva As Jankovic Mows Over Another Russian In Moscow

For the third consecutive week, Serbian Jelena Jankovic faced a Russian in the finals. At the Kremlin Cup, her opponent was Vera Zvonareva. The result was the same, as Jankovic beat Zvonareva 6-2, 6-4.

Zvonareva’s first tier I final in front of a partisan crowd was not a delightful experience. After opening the match with a forehand crosscourt winner, Vera threw away a game point and with a bunch of errors gave Jankovic the break. Subsequently, Jelena literally pinned Vera into a corner resulting in four straight forehand errors for a love game 2-0. After blowing a 40-15 lead, Zvonareva finally got on the scoreboard after Jankovic produced a couple of forehand errors of her own 1-2. After holding serve comfortably, Jelena pressured Vera with her deep groundstrokes resulting in four consecutive forehand errors on the Russian’s best shot. Now, the Serb had a double break lead 4-1, then, dominated to take the first set.

Just as she had done in the first set, Jankovic started out the second by imposing her game. A sequence of unforced errors by Zvonareva gave her triple break point; Jankovic capitalized by curling in a forehand winner from way off the court. Despite being frustrated, Vera did not wither. After a backhand down the line by Jankovic misconnected, the players were at deuce. Later, Zvonareva connected on a sensational topspin lob for a break point which she converted 1-1. At that point, momentum appeared to have shifted. Moreover, Zvonareva obtained another break point when Jankovic misfired on a ball that skidded off the line. However, successive unforced errors by Vera equalized the set at 2-2. With a swinging volley and two forehand winners, Jankovic regained the lead 3-2. But refusing to cry uncle, Vera received another opportunity when her backhand hit the net and dropped in for a winner to give her double break point. Zvonareva converted and the players were back on serve 4-4. However, the ever-crafty Jankovic fabricated two backhand down the line winners for a double break which she capitalized on for a 5-4 lead. Then, with repeated unforced errors from Zvonareva, Jankovic secured the match.

Zvonareva can still rejoice. With this showing, she will climb up a notch in the rankings from 9 to 8. On the WTA, the ranking shuffle continues. With Serena Williams withdrawing from this event due to an ankle injury, Dinara Safina, Zvonareva’s opponent in the semifinals, will become the new number 2.

Nadia Petrova and Katarina Srebotnik dismissed the number one women’s doubles team Cara Black and Liezel Huber 6-4, 6-4 to take the cup. The men were also in action in Moscow. Russian Igor Kunitsyn defeated fellow countryman Marat Safin 7-6, 6-7, 6-3 to win his first ATP title.

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At The Summit Once Again: Serena Williams Victorious At The U.S. Open

The U.S. Open women’s final was a rematch of the 2008 Sony Ericsson final with Serbian Jelena Jankovic and Serena Williams as the two protagonists. This time, both a majors’ trophy and the number one ranking were at stake. Once more, Williams triumphed defeating Jankovic 6-4, 7-5.

One of the best women’s final played on Ashe in many years was made more intriguing by the players’ contrasting personalities, Jelena jovial as always while Serena focused and intense. Moreover, this match was a case of hustle versus muscle with Jelena attempting to counter Serena’s overpowering groundstrokes with her superb defensive skills.

Although this was Jankovic’s first appearance in a majors’ final, the butterflies appeared to rest on her seasoned opponent’s corner. Williams’ opening service game, which initially looked routine at 40-15, got more complicated. But, Serena held after three deuces. On Williams’ subsequent service game, three consecutive unforced errors resulted in Jankovic taking a 2-1 lead. Shortly after though, Serena returned the favor, equalizing things at 2-2 in a game where Jelena had 40-love advantage. Then, a double fault presented Serena with another break point opportunity and with a forehand winner, Williams went ahead 4-2. Yet, as Serena served for the set, a rash of unforced errors gave Jankovic triple break point and with Williams’ sliced forehand finding the net, the players were back on serve. Nonetheless, the very next game Williams earned triple break point and wrapped up the first set.

After comfortably holding serve to start the second set, Serena’s double break chance evaporated courtesy of unforced errors in a series of eternal rallies. Jelena’s money shot, the backhand down the line, rescued her on multiple occasions while Serena’s ace in the hole throughout was her serve. In the sixth game, Serena had another opportunity to creep ahead with double break point. Again, Jelena erased that possibility 3-3. Serving at 40-15, Williams played a ball she believed the line judge should have called long. Serena voiced her objection to the umpire. The chair used video to review which proved the line judge was indeed right. Rattled a bit, Williams ended up losing her serve. Serving at 3-5, despite making three poor shot selections and facing triple break point, Serena managed to hold putting the pressure on Jelena to serve out the set. Perhaps still ruminating over missed opportunities, Jelena misjudged an overhead, double faulted and with a forehand winner from Serena stared herself at triple break point. Eventually, Serena connected to level the set at 5 all. With her net play on cue, Williams made a stab volley to win the game and then celebrated with a roar in response to Jelena’s gripe that she took too long between points. Pumped up, Serena attacked Jankovic’s serve which paid off. Gifted match point number two with a double fault, Williams converted to obtain her third U.S Open title.

Williams, in supreme form, did not drop a set the entire tournament. Serena regains the number one ranking, a post she last held between July 2002 and August 2003 for 57 consecutive weeks.  Earlier that day, top ranked doubles team Cara Black and Liezel Huber captured their first U.S Open title by defeating Samantha Stosur and Lisa Raymond in straight sets 6-3, 7-6

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New Name In The Winner Circle: Kateryna Bondarenko Takes First WTA Title

Ukrainian Kateryna Bondarenko added her name to the list of champions on the WTA tour by defeating 18-year-old Belgian Yanina Wickmayer 7-6, 3-6. 7-6 at the DFS Classic in Birmingham, England, a grass court tune up event.

With defending champion Jelena Jankovic and last year’s finalist Maria Sharapova opting to skip the tournament, the draw opened even further when Marion Bartoli, the only top ten player participating, was ousted in the second round.

Despite this being their first final, both players kept their composure in the first set. Bondarenko had break points in the fifth game, but the teenager retained her cool and served herself out of trouble. With each competitor holding serve, the set was decided in a tiebreak that went in Bondarenko’s favor.

In the second set, Wickmayer outshone her opponent. The Belgian took a double break lead, aided by her big serve to send the match to a decisive third set. Nerves played into the third set, with multiple exchanges of breaks, four out of six games. Once the jitters were set aside, the level of play elevated once more. Fittingly, the championship was determined by a tiebreak, with Bondarenko, the former junior Wimbledon champion, coming out on top. With this victory, Bondarenko’s ranking will climb from 69 to 45, while Wickmayer’s ranking, a pro only the last couple of years, will rise from 85 to 66.

At this tier III event, the doubles team of Cara Black/Liezel Huber, ranked number one in the world, took on 2008 French Open Doubles champion from Spain Virginia Ruano Pascual who teamed up with another partner, Severine Bremond of France. Black/Huber easily disposed of their rivals 6-2, 6-1.

This upcoming week Svetlana Kuznetsova, world number four, and Marion Bartoli, last year’s Wimbledon runner-up, will be the top seeds at Eastbourne, a tier II contest also on grass. While Elena Dementieva, Anna Chakvetadze, Dinara Safina respectively ranked number 5, 8 and 9 in the world will be sharpening their grass court skills at the Ordina Open in the Netherlands, a tier III event.

Among the notables absent from pre-Wimbledon grass tournaments are the top three players Ana Ivanovic, Maria Sharapova and Jelena Jankovic. Serena Williams and Venus Williams, the defending Wimbledon champion, continue their tradition of skipping competitive play prior to the action at the All England Club.

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