Tag Archive | "Chakvetadze"

Serena and Venus Are Back: Wimbledon Is Anyone’s Trophy

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Serena and Venus Are Back: Wimbledon Is Anyone’s Trophy


The Williams sisters made their long awaited return to competitive tennis this week. Despite being rusty, with nine of the last eleven championships at the All England Club, Venus and Serena are among the favorites. Moreover, the Wimbledon draw sets up the potential for a fifth all Williams final. Here’s a more detailed analysis.

World number one Caroline Wozniacki hopes to validate her ranking with a first major. However, Wozniacki will need to do some heavy lifting to achieve that feat.

In the quarterfinals, Wozniacki may have to go through 2004 Wimbledon champion Maria Sharapova. In addition, for the Dane, a semifinal encounter with defending and four time winner Serena or reigning French Open champion Na Li may be in the cards. Needless to say, Wozniacki will have to work hard to earn her maiden major.

Serena will begin her title defense by facing the talented Aravane Rezai in the first round. In the fourth round, Serena could see another sizeable French hurdle in 2007 finalist Marion Bartoli.

Later, in the quarterfinals, Serena may clash against Li who is no push over. In Li’s case, Sabine Lisicki may present difficulties in the second round. Lisicki has been regaining her form and confidence as is evident with her recent title in Birmingham.

Sharapova is again in the mix at another major. While a first round match with countrywoman Anna Chakvetadze could be testy, Sharapova should come through. Sharapova is likely to have a tougher time in the fourth round if Samantha Stosur is the opponent.

Serena had been out of commission nearly a year. For the seventh seed to claim her fifth Wimbledon crown, she will have to come up with the type of performance which resulted in her surprise victory at the Australian Open in 2007. With Serena’s track record, it’s certainly hard to bet against her. Yet, with Ana Ivanovic, Maria Kirilenko, Flavia Pennetta and Julia Goerges in the top half of the draw, there is an endless list of players capable of pulling off an upset.

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Azarenka Circumvents Kirilenko to Carry Kremlin Cup Trophy

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Azarenka Circumvents Kirilenko to Carry Kremlin Cup Trophy


For Maria Kirilenko reaching her first final of 2010 was a wonderful accomplishment.  Moreover, doing so in her hometown was particularly gratifying.  Thus, with a partisan crowd firmly behind her, it was the ideal setting for Kirilenko to terminate a two year title drought.  Unfortunately, Kirilenko’s opponent and doubles partner Victoria Azarenka did not cooperate.  Azarenka, the second seed, bested Kirilenko 6-3,6-4 to take the Kremlin Cup title, the fifth of her career.

With Kirilenko dumping a backhand into the net, Azarenka broke to start out the match.  However, Kirilenko wiped away game point and by provoking a few errors from her rival manufactured a couple of break points.  Kirilenko capitalized when Azarenka double faulted.  Later though at 2 all, as Kirilenko’s forehand up the line sailed long, Azarenka had triple break point.  Azarenka converted when Kirilenko’s backhand directed down the line found the net instead.  Then, with a forehand up the line winner on game point, Azarenka consolidated for 4-2.  Down the road, with a love game, Azarenka extended her lead to 5-3. Next, with a forehand up the line winner, Azarenka got to double set point.  By connecting with a backhand down the line winner, Azarenka took the first set.

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2010 Sony Ericsson Open Preview for Wednesday March 24

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2010 Sony Ericsson Open Preview for Wednesday March 24


Day 1 at the 2010 Sony Ericsson Open kicks off today with Justine Henin, former world number 1 and 2007 semifinalist, headlining the day session for the women.  Other notable names in action include Anna Chakvetadze, Carla Suarez Navarro, Patty Schnyder and wild card Anastasia Pivovarova.  In the night session, American Melanie Oudin will square off against qualifier Michaella Krajicek.

On the men’s side, wildcards David Nalbandian and Mario Ancic highlight the day session.  Nalbandian is returning to the ATP tour after hip surgery.  France is well represent on opening day with Michael Llodra, Richard Gasquet, Arnaud Clement, Paul-Henri Mathieu and Marc Gicquel in action.  Americans Taylor Dent and wildcard Ryan Harrison will also take to the courts on Wednesday.  In the night session James Blake will take on  wild card Filip Krajinovic.

Here is the complete order of play for Wednesday :

STADIUM start 11:00 am

A Chakvetadze (RUS) vs K Date Krumm (JPN) – WTA
[WC] M Ancic (CRO) vs J Chardy (FRA) – ATP
J Craybas (USA) vs [WC] J Henin (BEL) – WTA
[WC] D Nalbandian (ARG) vs L Kubot (POL) – ATP

Not Before 7:00 PM
[WC] F Krajinovic (SRB) vs J Blake (USA) – ATP
M Oudin (USA) vs [Q] M Krajicek (NED) – WTA

GRANDSTAND start 11:00 am
E Schwank (ARG) vs M Gicquel (FRA) – ATP
M Llodra (FRA) vs [WC] R Harrison (USA) – ATP
O Rochus (BEL) vs R Gasquet (FRA) – ATP
T Dent (USA) vs [Q] R Schuettler (GER) – ATP

Not Before 5:00 PM
[Q] D Istomin (UZB) vs M Russell (USA) – ATP

COURT 1 start 10:00 am
[WC] A Pivovarova (RUS) vs C Suarez Navarro (ESP) – WTA
K Srebotnik (SLO) vs P Schnyder (SUI) – WTA
S Bammer (AUT) vs [Q] P Parmentier (FRA) – WTA
T Bacsinszky (SUI) vs [Q] B Mattek-Sands (USA) – WTA
G Dulko (ARG) / F Pennetta (ITA) vs [WC] S Kuznetsova (RUS) / A Molik (AUS) – WTA

COURT 2 start 10:00 am
A Clement (FRA) vs G Garcia-Lopez (ESP) – ATP
I Andreev (RUS) vs [Q] X Malisse (BEL) – ATP
E Makarova (RUS) vs [Q] C Dellacqua (AUS) – WTA
[Q] V Lepchenko (USA) vs V Razzano (FRA) – WTA

Not Before 5:00 PM
I Benesova (CZE) vs [Q] E Baltacha (GBR) – WTA

COURT 3 start 10:00 am
S Voegele (SUI) vs A Cornet (FRA) – WTA
A Keothavong (GBR) vs T Paszek (AUT) – WTA
[Q] T Pironkova (BUL) vs [WC] H Watson (GBR) – WTA
[Q] A Rodionova (AUS) vs A Petkovic (GER) – WTA

COURT 6 start 10:00 am
D Koellerer (AUT) vs C Rochus (BEL) – ATP
M Chiudinelli (SUI) vs F Mayer (GER) – ATP
S Greul (GER) vs B Becker (GER) – ATP
P Mathieu (FRA) vs [Q] I Marchenko (UKR) – ATP

COURT 7 start 10:00 am
T Malek (GER) vs S Errani (ITA) – WTA
M Czink (HUN) vs [WC] A Rus (NED) – WTA
[Q] S Arvidsson (SWE) vs A Brianti (ITA) – WTA
[Q] R Kulikova (RUS) vs R Vinci (ITA) – WTA

COURT 8 start 10:00 am
J Hajek (CZE) vs S Stakhovsky (UKR) – ATP
[Q] A Golubev (KAZ) vs D Gimeno-Traver (ESP) – ATP
K Barrois (GER) vs [Q] M Koryttseva (UKR) – WTA
J Goerges (GER) vs [Q] A Morita (JPN) – WTA

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Australian Open Heating Up


Along with the summer temperatures, the action on court is scorching at the first major of the year. Let’s review the key developments of the initial week and try to predict what could unfold the last days at the Australian Open.

The unexpected casualties in the preliminary rounds were Ana Ivanovic and Venus Williams, the fifth and sixth seeds, respectively. Venus was shocked in the second round by Spaniard Carla Suarez Navarro after having the match on her racket.  Suarez Navarro, a quarterfinalist at last year’s French Open, is now in the round of 16. Ivanovic, the 2008 finalist, was eliminated in the third round by 19 year-old Russian Alisa Kleybanova.  This was not a great surprise.  Since winning the French Open, Ivanovic has yet to make it past the third round at a major. Agnieszka Radwaska, the ninth seed, fell in the first round, beaten by Kateryna Bondarenko. The biggest upset on the men’s section was David Nalbandian, the tenth seed, going down in the second round to Yen-Hsun Lu ranked 61.

As we enter the meat and potatoes part of the tournament, the top four men remain on track to collide in the semifinals. With the exception of Novak Djokovic, the defending champion, Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer and Andy Murray have looked extremely sharp. Of the two Americans left, Andy Roddick, the seventh seed, may represent the biggest headache pending on Djokovic’s side of the draw. Roddick’s recent weight lost and coaching change appear to be paying dividends. Andy has dispatched his opponents expeditiously, so an upset could be brewing. James Blake, the ninth seed, has played very well. However, Blake will meet last year’s finalist, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, in the round of 16. Vanquishing Tsonga may be too tall an assignment for the American. Nadal will face Fernando Gonzalez, the 2007 finalist. Gonzalez may not have much left in the tank after his high quality, over four hour long, five setter against Frenchman Richard Gasquet. Federer will battle Tomas Berdych. Should Roger advance, waiting will be either Juan Martin Del Potro or Marin Cilic, two tough customers. The French are assured of having at least one man in the quarterfinals with Gilles Simon and Gael Monfils playing one another next. With the leftover field competing so well, the odds maker may need to reshuffle their numbers. The favorite may have to be Nadal, Federer and Murray in that order.

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Youth Rules: Teenagers Cilic and Wozniacki Capture Title at Pilot Pen


Danish Caroline Wozniacki at 18 years old defeated top seed Russian Anna Chakvetadze 3-6, 6-4, 6-1 while 19 year-old Croation Marin Cilic took care of last year’s finalist American Mardy Fish to take the Pilot Pen tournament 6-4, 4-6, 6-2.

Wozniacki got off to a poor start and was outplayed in the first set. Moreover, the Danish teen went down a break after the first game of the second set. But Caroline matured in a hurry, cutting down on her mistakes and grinding it out to win the second set. Despite being the more experienced competitor, Chakvetadze who had been 7-0 in finals, was left in the dust with Wozniacki easily carrying the third set to win the trophy. This tier II tournament is Wozniacki’s biggest title so far and her second of the year. Caroline will crack into the top twenty with her ranking going from 22 to 18.

On the men’s side, Fish donated a break to Cilic in the first game and this was the only difference needed for the Croatian to take the initial set. Throughout the first set, Fish had issues with his string tension. After that problem was resolved, Mardy’s serve, his principal weapon, which had been shaky, began to find its target. In the second set, Fish who made no inroads on Cilic’s service game got the early break and the lead 2-0. Thereafter, the players remained on serve until Fish served for the set at 5-3. With a multitude of inane unforced errors, including hitting a ball that was going out, Mardy lost his serve. But Fish grabbed the momentum right back breaking Cilic to win the set.

Extended into a decisive third set, the first few games were a seesaw of breaks until Cilic held to consolidate at 4-2. From that point on, Fish’s game deteriorated and Cilic capitalized with a second break. The Croatian teenager then closed out the match with a strong service game to secure his first ATP title. For a young player, Cilic’s game is versatile. Marin hits with power from the baseline and has a strong backhand while his volleying skills are steady. Cilic’s ranking of 31 will also improve with this victory.

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It’s Four In A Row As Del Potro Wins The Legg Mason Classic


Argentine teenager Juan Martin Del Potro claimed his fourth straight ATP title by beating Serbian Viktor Troicki 6-3, 6-3 in the finals at the Legg Mason Classic. Seeded second Del Potro was the overwhelming favorite, but Troicki who ousted Andy Roddick, the top seed, in the quarterfinals proved to be a formidable challenger.

Del Potro early on showed signs of nervousness allowing Troicki to break and lead 3-1. Yet, despite not being in peak form, Juan Martin’s recent triumphs clearly have imbued him with confidence. Del Potro picked on Troicki’s poorer shot, the forehand, and with his crafty play and acute angles obtained two consecutive breaks to win the first set 6-3.

At the start of the second set, Troicki tried his best to pressure his opponent. The Serbian’s best opportunity to turn the match around came at 3-3 when he had double break point. But Del Portro’s ability to hit with depth and power was too much for Troicki. After failing to convert his break points, a deflated Troicki went on to lose his serve to give Del Potro a 5-3 lead. Still as Juan Martin served for the match, Viktor demonstrated that he was a tough rival to put down. The Argentine dismissed three break points and finally on championship point number four served an ace to close the deal.

Russian Nadia Petrova captured her first title of the year by crushing France’s Nathalie Dechy in the finals 6-2, 6-1 at the Western and Southern Financial Group women’s open in Cincinnati, a tier III event. Former world number one, Amelie Mauresmo also had a good run making it to the semifinals where she succumbed to compatriot Dechy in three sets.

The women and men will play this week at the Pilot Pen tournament where Del Potro will attempt to extend his 20 match winning streak and possibly become the winner of the U.S. Open series whereby he would be eligible for bonus money at the U.S. Open should he reach the finals. Russian Anna Chakvetadze, who has had a disappointing year thus far, will head the women’s field.

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Safina Pulverizes Pennetta To Win East West Bank Classic


The women’s final at the second stop of the U.S. Open Series placed Italian Flavia Pennetta against Russian Dinara Safina. The latter must have felt comfortable coming into this match since she had never lost to the Italian. Safina smashed her opponent 6-4, 6-2 to take her second trophy this season.

After a tentative start where Pennetta had a break point in her first service game, Safina began to find her rhythm. The Italian attempted to match the power coming from her competitor’s racket, but serving at 3-4, Pennetta was broken. Yet, Dinara was unable to wrap up the set. Shortly after, unable to find the mark with her serve, Safina was broken herself. Nevertheless, the normally volatile Russian kept her cool and continued to pound away at the ball and created a double break point opening which seized to prevail in the first set 6-4.

In the second set, Safina proceeded to punch-drunk Pennetta with her weighty shots. Although Flavia broke Dinara’s serve twice, she was unable to hold hers even once. Thus, despite her great effort, Pennetta was crushed in the second set at 6-2. With this win, Safina’s ranking moves up a notch to number 8, her highest ever.

Safina dismissed the tournament’s top seed, Jelena Jankovic, in the semifinals. Jankovic would have grabbed the number one ranking away from her countrywoman Ana Ivanovic if she won this week. Serena Williams pulled out of the event because of last week’s knee injury while Daniela Hantuchova and Anna Chakvetadze fell in the third round and the quarterfinals respectively.

At the Slovenia Open, a tier IV hard court tournament, Italian Sara Errani beat Anabel Medina Garrigues 6-3, 6-3 to win her second title this year.

Next week the ladies will be in Montreal for the Rogers Cup where most of the top players will be competing minus Venus and Serena Williams who will be absent due to illness. A tier IV hard court tournament will also be taking place in Sweden with Poland’s Agnieszka Radwanska as the number one seed.

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This Week On Grass On The ATP And WTA Tours


At the Ordina Open in the Netherlands, a combined ladies and gentlemen event, Spaniard David Ferrer, seeded number one, defeated Frenchman Marc Gicquel in the finals 6-4, 6-2 in order to win his first grass court title.

The second seed and world number nine, Frenchman Richard Gasquet, was eliminated by Gicquel in the second round. Other prominent players who fell include Ivan Ljubicic in the second round, Guillermo Canas in the semifinals and Mario Ancic in the quarterfinals. All was not lost for Ancic though who teamed up with Austrian Jurgen Melzer in the doubles. These two surprised the second seed Leander Paes/Mahesh Bhupathi in the finals, winning the trophy 7-6, 6-3.

On the women’s side, Danira Safina, the third seed, who has been on a dream ride the last few months, was shocked in the finals by 30-year-old Thai qualifier Tamarine Tanasugarn 5-7, 3-6. Safina beat the number one seed Elena Dementieva in the semifinals. For second seed Anna Chakvetadze the headaches continue this year; Alona Bondarenko stopped her in the quarterfinals.

Tanasugarn had to do it the hard way, but this was the most productive week of her career. After playing two matches to get into the main draw, Tamarine defeated last week’s titlist on grass Kateryna Bondarenko, then Ashley Harkelroad in the second round, hometown sweetheart Michaella Krajicek in the quarterfinals and got rid of the other Bondarenko sister, Alona, in the semifinals. Krajicek gave the locals something to cheer for regardless by winning the doubles with partner Marina Erakovic 6-3, 6-2.

At the Slazenger Open in Nottingham England, Ivo Karlovic successfully defended his title by beating Fernando Verdasco 7-5, 6-7, 7-6. The higher seeds at this tournament were from the top twenty in the world. The well-known doubles teams of Jonathan Erlich/ Andy Ram seeded number one lost in the first round. In the finals, Bruno Soares/Kevin Ullyett prevailed over Jeff Coetzee/Jamie Murray 6-2, 7-6.

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Jankovic Wins Second Consecutive Rome Title


The women’s final at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia was played between Serbian Jelena Jankovic, world number 4, and Alize Cornet, an 18 year old French qualifier. Jankovic defended her title by winning 6-2, 6-2.

At the outset of the match, Cornet, who reached her first Tier I final, showed that she had come to play. With Jelena serving, the young French woman had double break point, but she failed to take advantage. After exchanging breaks in the next couple of games, the complexity of the match changed whereby unforced errors began to permeate Cornet’s game giving Jankovic a 5-1 advantage. With some fights still remaining, Cornet broke the Serbian as she served for the first set. But, Jankovic returned the favor in the next game to take the set.

After a running start with a break in the second set, Jankovic briefly relinquished the advantage. Yet, Cornet again gave it right back with a game peppered with errors, 1-4. With a temporary intermission in play with Jelena needing a medical timeout, the distraught French youngster asked to speak to her coach. Disappointed with her poor play and overwhelmed by the magnitude of the moment, Cornet burst into tears during the consultation. After this emotional release, Cornet finally held her serve for the first time in the match. Nonetheless, by that time it was too late. Jankovic was in complete control and went on to win the set.

Despite the final outcome, this was an incredible week for the French teenager who eliminated the number 3 seed, Svetlana Kuznetsova, in the third round after being down a set and a 3-0 in the second. Cornet received a gift from Serena Williams in the quarterfinals, with Serena unable to play due to a back problem. Also, Alize came back from a set down against number 6 seed, Anna Chakvetadze to prevail in the semifinals. With her success this week, Cornet’s ranking catapulted from 34 to 20. Jelena advanced to the finals when Maria Sharapova withdrew from their semifinal match due to a calf strain. In the quarterfinals, Jankovic beat Venus Williams after dominating in the second and third sets. Cornet has had great success on the clay this year with semifinal finishes at Amelia Island and Charleston. As the juniors champion at Roland Garros in 2007, Cornet is well familiar with the red dust. It appears that this year, more than ever, the French spectators will feel that they possibly have a future champion to cheer.

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