Tag Archive | "Dementieva"

Djokovic Done In By Rochus, Wozniacki Worms Through

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Djokovic Done In By Rochus, Wozniacki Worms Through


Whilst rain had been forecasted in Miami at the Sony Ericsson Open on Friday, what was unexpected was Novak Djokovic’s second round departure.  Olivier Rochus ousted the world number two 6-2,6-7,6-4.  Simultaneously on court 1, Caroline Wozniacki, the women’s number two, was on the verge of an early exit herself.  However, Wozniacki survived against Tsvetana Pironkova 3-6,6-3,6-4.

Rochus broke in the opening game.  After consolidating, Olivier placed a beautiful backhand down the line winner to set up triple break point.  Rochus converted a second break when Djokovic’s backhand sailed long.  After erasing a break point and extending his lead to 5-1, Rochus closed out the set his next time out.

In the second set, Rochus again obtained triple break point and with a backhand down the line winner took a 3-2 lead.  But, Djokovic got back on even terms promptly breaking the next game.  The set went to a tiebreaker where Rochus got ahead early on.  Yet, Djokovic weathered the storm and stole the set.

The decisive set, after holding serve, Rochus was gifted a double fault by Djokovic and broke for 2-1.  Then, by donating to his opponent a couple of errors, Rochus lost his edge. Soon though, Rochus worked his way to double break point and capitalized when Djokovic’s forehand traveled long. Later on, Rochus fought off a break point and stretched his advantage to 4-1.  After failing to secure the insurance break, serving at 5-3, Rochus committed a string of errors allowing Djokovic to stay in the match.  Still, with miscues by Djokovic, Rochus manufactured break point/match point.  Olivier pocketed the match when another Novak forehand went astray.

After the match, MiamiTennisNews inquired:
Q.  Were you having problems breathing on the court?  Looked like the conditions were a little bit heavy out there.
DJOKOVIC:  Yeah, it was a bit humid, but, you know, he was making me run a lot so points were really long.  That was exhausting.

Q.  You’ve been playing a lot of tennis.  Are you thinking of maybe rescheduling for the clay season?
DJOKOVIC:  I don’t know.  I will have more time now I guess to rest and prepare well for clay.

On to the ladies, after dropping the first set to Pironkova, Wozniacki was behind in the second set.  The world number two battled back and captured the break for 5-3.  Subsequently, Wozniacki held to push the match to a third set.

In the ultimate set, Pironkova got a break early on and consolidated for 3-0.  After finally getting on the board, Wozniacki earned triple break point and converted.  Later at 3 all, Wozniacki took a go ahead break for 4-3.  However, Pironkova fought back to 4 a piece.  But, a resilient Wozniacki manufactured another break point and put herself in front 5-4 when Pironkova’s forehand up the line sailed long.  Then, on her third match point, as a forehand from Pironkova landed wide, Wozniacki punched her ticket into the third round.

With the rain backlog, Kim Clijsters’ match originally scheduled on stadium court was bounced to an outer court.  Regardless, for Clijsters, it turned out to be a practice session with a 6-1,6-1 thumping of Petra Kvitova.  Like Clijsters, Vera Zvonareva put on a clinic against Melanie Oudin 6-1, 6-2. Maria Kirilenko crawled out of a 5-2 deficit in the third set against Melinda Czink to pilfer the match in the tiebreaker.  After losing the first set, Lucie Safarova seized the second set tiebreaker then rolled over Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez 4-6.7-6,6-2.  Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, the 22nd seed, continues to impress; the youngster beat Tamira Paszek  7-6,4-6,6-3 for a third round berth.   Before the rain came, Victoria Azarenka, the defending champion, had a 6-3,6-2 victory over Alexandra Dulgheru. Jelena Jankovic, Dominika Cibulkova, Elena Vesnina and Shahar Peer were straight sets winners.  Samatha Stosur was pushed to a third set by Carla Suarez Navarro and made it through.

Elena Dementieva, the 5th seed, suffered her 11th defeat to Justine Henin 6-3,6-2. Alisa Kleybanova, the 24th seed, fell to Sara Errani 6-4,7-5 while Jie Zheng, seeded 20th, was upset by Virginie Razzano in straight sets.  For Alize Cornet, it was another disappointing tournament with an early ousting, this time by Francesca Schiavone.  Schiavone prevailed 6-3,6-2.  After being on the road six weeks and some heartbreaking losses, Cornet’s 2010 record is now 6-9.

MiamiTennisNews wanted to know about Cornet’s state of mind:

Q. You look physically tired, are you also mentally tired?
CORNET:  Maybe a little, it’s already many weeks that I’m away from home.  I have not cut back in terms of training and I am someone who trains a lot usually. I rarely give myself time off, days of rest. I am becoming cognizant that I should take resting a little more seriously and from time to time award myself a day off. However, I think it’s difficult with long stretches of tournaments as such.

Djokovic was followed on stadium court by Rafael Nadal.  In no time, Nadal dispatched Taylor Dent 6-4,6-3.  Andy Roddick and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga had a no drama night with straight set wins over their opponents Igor Andreev and Guillermo Garcia-Lopez respectively.  Ivan Ljubicic, the champion at Indian Wells last week, was forced to retire against Benjamin Becker after carrying the first set and the first game in the second due to a back injury.  It was a tough day for the American males with Sam Querrey and James Blake going down after winning their first sets to Jeremy Chardy and Thomas Bellucci respectively. But, John Isner avoided the upset with a 7-6,2-6,7-6 victory over Michael Russell.  David Nalbandian, Ivo Karlovic, Juan Carlos Ferrero, David Ferrer, Tommy Robredo, Nicolas Almagro and Phillip Kohlschreiber advanced.

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On Tap At the 2010 Sony Ericsson Open For Friday March 26

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On Tap At the 2010 Sony Ericsson Open For Friday March 26


Second round play for the WTA and ATP continue today at the Sony Ericsson Open with many top ten players from both tours on the schedule.

The morning starts with last year’s Sony Ericsson Open champion, Victoria Azarenka, on stadium court squaring off against Alexandra Dulgheru. Jelena Jankovic and Caroline Wozniacki, the winner and runner up at Indian Wells, are on the grandstand and court 1 respectively. After her great play in Federation Cup, a rejuvenated Melanie Oudin faces a struggling Vera Zvonareva. This is another chance for the U.S. Open quarterfinalist, Oudin, to claim yet another Russian scalp. In the afternoon, Kim Cljisters works on sealing a third round spot versus Petra Kvitova on stadium court.

Novak Djokovic, the 2009 Sony Ericsson finalist, has a date with Oliver Rochus while Rafael Nadal will need to sidestep Taylor Dent to book a third round bid. Americans John Isner and Sam Querrey attempt to reach the third round for the first time in Miami, they will be in session on the outside courts. Charismatic Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, a quarterfinalist in 2009, hopes to make short work of Guillermo Garcia-Lopez.

Saving the best for last. In the night session, Elena Dementieva will look to avenge her second round Australian Open loss to Justine Henin, as these two face each other for the 13th time. Although Henin has a commending 10-2 record in their head to head, this one will likely have spectators on the edge of their seats. The women will be followed by Andy Roddick and Igor Andreev. After a tough outing in the finals at Indian Wells, Roddick will try to rebound. With the players tied after four meetings, Roddick may have his hands full.

Below is a complete list of the matches and court location for Friday:

STADIUM start 11:00 am
A Dulgheru (ROU) vs [4] V Azarenka (BLR) – WTA
O Rochus (BEL) vs [2] N Djokovic (SRB) – ATP
[14] K Clijsters (BEL) vs P Kvitova (CZE) – WTA
T Dent (USA) vs [4] R Nadal (ESP) – ATP

Not Before 7:00 pm
[5] E Dementieva (RUS) vs [WC] J Henin (BEL) – WTA
[6] A Roddick (USA) vs I Andreev (RUS) – ATP

GRANDSTAND start 11:00 am
[15] D Ferrer (ESP) vs M Llodra (FRA) – ATP
[7] J Jankovic (SRB) vs [Q] M Koryttseva (UKR) – WTA
[27] T Bellucci (BRA) vs J Blake (USA) – ATP
[30] V Troicki (SRB) vs [WC] D Nalbandian (ARG) – ATP

Not Before 5:00 pm
[8] J Tsonga (FRA) vs G Garcia-Lopez (ESP) – ATP

COURT 1 start 10:00 am
D Gimeno-Traver (ESP) vs [24] I Karlovic (CRO) – ATP
[Q] T Pironkova (BUL) vs [2] C Wozniacki (DEN) – WTA
C Suarez Navarro (ESP) vs [9] S Stosur (AUS) – WTA
[17] J Isner (USA) vs M Russell (USA) – ATP
A Medina Garrigues (ESP) / C Wozniacki (DEN) vs [4] L Raymond (USA) / R Stubbs (AUS) – WTA

COURT 2 start 10:00 am
[32] M Kirilenko (RUS) vs M Czink (HUN) – WTA
D Koellerer (AUT) vs [12] J Ferrero (ESP) – ATP
J Chardy (FRA) vs [21] S Querrey (USA) – ATP
M Oudin (USA) vs [11] V Zvonareva (RUS) – WTA

Not Before 5:00 pm
B Becker (GER) vs [11] I Ljubicic (CRO) – ATP

COURT 3 start 10:00 am
T Paszek (AUT) vs [22] A Pavlyuchenkova (RUS) – WTA
[WC] R Harrison (USA) / N Lapentti (ECU) vs E Butorac (USA) / R Ram (USA) – ATP
A Kudryavtseva (RUS) vs [17] S Peer (ISR) – WTA
[18] T Robredo (ESP) vs [Q] I Marchenko (UKR) – ATP
M Llodra (FRA) / A Ram (ISR) vs F Lopez (ESP) / F Verdasco (ESP) – ATP

COURT 4 start 11:00 am
[29] M Martinez Sanchez (ESP) vs L Safarova (CZE) – WTA

Not Before 12:30 pm
[15] F Schiavone (ITA) vs A Cornet (FRA) – WTA
M Damm (CZE) / F Polasek (SVK) vs I Karlovic (CRO) / D Vemic (SRB) – ATP

COURT 6 start 10:00 am
[33] N Almagro (ESP) vs E Schwank (ARG) – ATP
[Q] S Arvidsson (SWE) vs [26] D Cibulkova (SVK) – WTA
J Melzer (AUT) / P Petzschner (GER) vs [6] S Aspelin (SWE) / P Hanley (AUS) – ATP
F Mayer (GER) vs [28] P Kohlschreiber (GER) – ATP
S Stakhovsky (UKR) vs [32] J Benneteau (FRA) – ATP

COURT 7 start 10:00 am
L Dekmeijere (LAT) / P Schnyder (SUI) vs V Dushevina (RUS) / A Rodionova (AUS) – WTA

Not Before 11:30 am
[20] J Zheng (CHN) vs V Razzano (FRA) – WTA
[24] A Kleybanova (RUS) vs S Errani (ITA) – WTA
[1] C Black (ZIM) / L Huber (USA) vs N Grandin (RSA) / A Spears (USA)
T Garbin (ITA) / V Ruano Pascual (ESP) vs K Peschke (CZE) / K Srebotnik (SLO) – WTA

COURT 8 start 11:00 am
A Bondarenko (UKR) / G Voskoboeva (KAZ) vs J Coin (FRA) / V King (USA) – WTA
J Goerges (GER) vs [28] E Vesnina (RUS) – WTA
[6] B Mattek-Sands (USA) / Z Yan (CHN) vs M Kirilenko (RUS) / A Radwanska (POL) – WTA
I Senoglu (TUR) / Y Shvedova (KAZ) vs [8] E Makarova (RUS) / S Peng (CHN) – WTA

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Confidence Booster:  Venus Defends Dubai Title

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Confidence Booster: Venus Defends Dubai Title


dubai_logoVenus Williams has been turned away her last three finals while Victoria Azarenka has prevailed in three consecutive finals.  In the 10th edition of the Dubai Tennis Championships, third seed and defending champion Venus met fourth seed Victoria for the ultimate match.  Williams came out on top 6-3, 7-5 for her 42nd  WTA career title.

Williams had been supreme this week, winning all her matches in straight sets.  In the quarters, Williams defeated Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova who had beaten her two times in a row.  From the first game, Williams was impressive with a forehand crosscourt winner for 40-0.  Serving at one all, Venus crushed a backhand down the line pass to hold for 2-1.  After a love game for 3-2, Williams forced Azarenka into two forehand errors for double break point.  Venus was gifted a double fault for 4-2.  However, serving for the set at 5-3, Venus committed two double faults.  Then, with a forehand crosscourt winner by Azarenka, Williams faced break point.  Yet again, Williams rifled some big serves to bail herself out, thereby carrying the set.

Still on the attack, Venus provoked Victoria into a couple of backhand miscues for double break point to open the second set.  Williams captured the break when Azarenka made her third consecutive backhand mistake.  With a couple of forehand winners, Venus easily took the next game.  Serving at 0-2, Azarenka missed a lob and went down 15-30.  Under pressure, Azarenka produced a couple of forehand winners to maintain a single break deficit.  With Williams consistent on the forehand side, Azarenka could make no headway.  But, Victoria’s opportunity finally arrived at 2-3 when Venus muffed a couple of strokes squandering two game points.  Afterwards, Williams double faulted giving Azarenka break point.  Victoria cashed in when Venus’ forehand sailed long.

The next game, despite Azarenka’s first serve letting her down, she held for 4-3.  The following few games, each woman guarded serve without complication.  However, at 5 all, Azarenka found danger.  By Venus chasing down every ball, Azarenka’s backhand coughed up errors leading to double break point.  With a forehand up the line winner, Williams grabbed a 6-5 edge.  After Azarenka saved two match points, Williams had a third with an Azarenka backhand miscue.  With two net courts in the same rally going in Venus’ favor, she sealed the title when Victoria dumped a volley into the net.

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Dementieva Hangs On For Paris Trophy

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Dementieva Hangs On For Paris Trophy


logo_opengdfsuez_2010With last year’s champion, a retired Amelie Mauresmo looking on, top seed and 2009 finalist Elena Dementieva survived Lucie Safarova 6-7,6-1,6-4 in the finals of the Open GDF Suez to seize her second premier trophy of 2010 and her 16th career title.

Safarova followed a love opening service game with a break.  Then, the Czech consolidated for a 3-0 lead.  With good serves including an ace, Dementieva rescued a 0-30 game to capture her first game.  When Safarova erred with a backhand down the line, Dementieva had her initial break point.  The Russian capitalized when Safarova misfired on the forehand.  After a comfortable service game, Dementieva tied the set at 3 a piece.  Hence forth, with neither player able to manufacture a break point, the set went to a tiebreaker.  Ahead 5-4, Safarova produced a beautiful backhand crosscourt winner for the minibreak.  With awesome defense, Dementieva saved one set point.  However, on Safarova’s second attempt she succeeded with the forehand up the line winner.

In the second set, Dementieva quickly shifted the momentum.  By forcing Safarova into a backhand down the line mistake, Dementieva had double break point.  Elena converted when Lucie netted a forehand.  Subsequently, Dementieva held at love to increase her advantage to 3-0.  With Dementieva finding the range on first serves and winning the majority of second serve points, Safarova saw the second set flash by.  Through donating more errors, Safarova gave Dementieva a double break lead.  The Russian closed the set with a routine service game.

In the decisive set, Safarova found her form once again and carried the first game. Yet, to Safarova’s chagrin, Dementieva continued her high level of play.  Moreover, Elena’s vulnerability, her serve, was not cracking.  After knotting the set at 2 all with a forehand up the line winner, Dementieva pressured Safarova into three consecutive backhand mistakes to erase two game points and get to deuce.  Although Safarova salvaged that game for a 3-2 edge, it was a sign that her ship was about to leak.  Safarova’s next service game, with some great returns, Dementieva secured double break point.  When Lucie misfired on a forehand up the line, Elena banked the break for 4-3.  Then, without any trouble, Dementieva consolidated for 5-3.  After a difficult hold which included rubbing out two championship points, Safarova extended the match at 4-5. Serving for the trophy and with her ninth ace for 30-0, Dementieva faltered.  Due to three straight forehand errors, Dementieva faced a break point.  Luckily, Elena’s serve responded by forcing Lucie into an error for deuce.  Later, with a forehand volley winner, Dementieva arrived at her fourth championship point.  Elena bagged the trophy when Lucie’s backhand crosscourt failed to clear the net.

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WTA Aussie Open Mid Tournament Recap

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WTA Aussie Open Mid Tournament Recap


img_3627_jhAfter eight days, the Australian Open field has been narrowed.  Here’s a synopsis of the early round stumbles, near misses and a crack at determining a champion.

Maria Kirilenko rocked Rod Laver Arena with a first day, first round, first match upset of 14th seed Maria Sharapova.  With a suspect serve, will and grit could not pull Sharapova through her first competitive match of the season.  Not resting on her laurels, Kirilenko progressed to the round of 16 where she received an early Easter gift from Dinara Safina.  Nine games into the first set, Safina threw in the towel because of a back injury.  As a result, Kirilenko reaches her initial major quarterfinal and will play Jie Zheng, the 2008 Wimbledon semifinalist.  Zheng ousted 11th seed Marion Bartoli in the third round, then took care of Alona Bondarenko. Now, one of these women has the opportunity to advance to her first Aussie Open semifinal.

Waiting in the wing for Kirilenko and Zheng is perhaps Justine Henin.  The 2004 Australian champion had to work tirelessly to book a quarterfinal spot.  Henin’s second round meeting with Elena Dementieva lived up to the hype with top-notch groundstrokes by both players.  Upon surviving that encounter, Henin came close to saying cheerio in the third round.  Alisa Kleybenova demanded  Henin’s best before going down in three sets.  A similar performance was required by Henin in the round of 16 with U.S. Open semifinalist Yanina Wickmayer proving a tough kill.  Again, Henin needed to go the distance to seal the win and a date with Nadia Petrova in the quarters.

Petrova was probably regarded as the Russian least likely to succeed at the start of the Open.  However, after dismantling U.S. Open champ Kim Clijsters in the third round and ushering out French Open champ Svetlana Kuznetsova in round four, Petrova is no doubt a formidable adversary. Therefore, if Petrova continues along the same lines, Henin may be in for a colossal surprise.

Defending champion Serena Williams has been impressive in marching to the round of 16.  Serena has yet to drop serve nor a set.  Her toughest test will be Aussie hopeful Sam Stosur in the upcoming round.  With a big serve and a win over Serena in Stanford last year, Stosur has the tools to upstage the world number one.

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Analysis of the 2010 Australian Open Draw

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Analysis of the 2010 Australian Open Draw


australian_open_logoThe Australian Open draw is out.  More than any prior year, in this imprecise game of predictions, the only certainty is the uncertainty in determining a frontrunner for the trophy on both the ladies’ and gentlemen’s side.  With no one having a conspicuous edge, with few exceptions, anyone in the top ten can be regarded as a legitimate contender.  Moreover, on the women’s side, the return of some old faces with previous success at majors means that it’s is truly anybody’s title.

In the top half of the draw, Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic, Nikolay Davydenko and Robyn Soderling are the highest seeds respectively. Astonishingly, if the last couple of months are an accurate barometer, Davydenko is for the first time a true threat to make it all the way to the final.  After wrapping 2009 with the ATP World tour finals trophy, just  days ago, Davydenko brought down Federer and Rafael Nadal to take the title in Qatar.  However, the question remains as to whether Davydenko can translate that type of success to a best of five set tournament over two weeks. If the draw proceeds as expected, Davydenko will have a crack at Federer in the quarters and Djokovic or Soderling in the semis.

For his part, Federer has a pretty challenging road in attempting to reach the final.  In the first round, the world number one faces the ever dangerous Igor Andreev.  Subsequently, there are possible match-ups with Australian Open finalists Lleyton Hewitt and Marcos Baghdatis in the round of 16. Other than Davydenko, Fernando Verdasco, a semifinalist in ’09, is a potential in the quarters. So, Federer will need to be on his toes to advance beyond the quarters.

Third seed Djokovic should have a fairly unobstructed run to the quarters.  Still, Richard Gasquet who is getting back in the swing of the game may be a problem for Djokovic in the round of 16. Furthermore, on that side of the draw, majors’ finalists Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Soderling could clash in the round of 16.  With both Tsonga and Soderling potential quarterfinal opponents for Djokovic and with both having wins over the latter, a Djokovic/Federer semifinal is in far from a foregone conclusion.

In the bottom half of the draw, for the defending champion Nadal and Andy Murray, technically, their path to a quarterfinal showdown appears uncomplicated. Yet, Radek Stepanek, a potential round of 16 encounter for Nadal, is perhaps the sole question mark.  In Murray’s case, a healthy Gael Monfils can spell trouble in the round of 16.  But, with Monfils fighting injury, Murray will not be bothered.

Last year’s semifinalist Andy Roddick has another golden opportunity to move at least to the quarterfinal despite Fernando Gonzalez seemingly in his way.  Also, with U.S. Open champ Juan Martin Del Potro fettered by a wrist injury, his progress deep into the draw is in doubt.  Del Potro is slated to see Marin Cilic in the quarters or Roddick in the semis.

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Dementieva Plasters Serena in Sydney

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Dementieva Plasters Serena in Sydney


img_1726Last year, defending champion Elena Dementieva defeated Serena Williams in the semifinals at the Medibank International Sydney.  This time around the two battled each other in the finals.  Once again, Dementieva beat the world number one 6-3,6-2 to capture the trophy.

As a result of a wayward dropshot from Serena, Dementieva had double break point.  When Williams’ forehand traveled wide, Dementieva took a 2-1 lead.  Although Serena broke right back, later, because of a multitude of errors she lost control of a 40-15 game permitting Elena go back in front 4-3.  After Dementieva had no trouble consolidating, she forced Serena into two backhand errors for double set point.  Elena converted with a backhand down the line winner.

In the opening game of the second set, after shaking off a couple of double faults to hold serve, Dementieva pressured Serena with defense.  After Elena erased a few game points by Serena, she manufactured a string of break points.  Dementieva cashed in when Williams netted a backhand shot.  Subsequent to Dementieva sprinting to a 3-0 advantage, Williams, somewhat hampered by a left knee problem, rubbed away a break point to finally get on the board.  However, Serena’s play continued to deteriorate.  Serving to stay in the match at 2-5, Serena made three straight unforced errors gifting Dementieva triple championship point.  The next point, Elena obliged by hitting a backhand crosscourt return winner.

Williams did not look in optimum form this week.  In the semifinals, Serena was four points from being ousted by Aravane Rezai.  On the other hand, for the second season in a row, Dementieva has roared out of the gates.  In the quarters, Dementieva leveled Dinara Safina and duplicated that  result in the semis against Victoria Azarenka.  Following such a great tournament, in Dementieva’s case, the usual conundrum is whether she can replicate her performance in Melbourne to ultimately grasp that elusive major.

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Petra Kvitova: A Promising Prospect

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Petra Kvitova: A Promising Prospect


The following article was authored by MiamiTennisNews.com and appeared on the pages of OnTheBaseline.com as part of their “2010 Players to Watch” series.  It is being republished on MiamiTennisNews.com with permission from OnTheBaseline.com.

players_to_watch_480x250-10Whilst the two consonants comprising the introduction of her surname may be a source of consternation as to its pronunciation, in Petra Kvitova‘s case, this will shortly be an aberration. In light of this teenager’s memorable accomplishments in 2009, it is safe to assume that her name will be fluidly rolling off tennis fans’ tongues for the foreseeable future.

Hailing from the Czech Republic, earlier this year, at the age of 18, Kvitova bagged her maiden Sony Ericsson WTA Tour title in Hobart by defeating compatriot and seasoned rival Iveta Benesova. With that victory, Kvitova cracked the top 40 for the first time. Weeks later though at the Australian Open, Kvitova had the misfortune of drawing 14th ranked phenom Victoria Azarenka in the opening round and made a prompt departure.

Still, Kvitova redeemed herself at the Fed Cup by BNP Paribas. Facing the 2008 finalist Spain, Kvitova got her team off to a magnificent start by beating Carla Suarez Navarro, a recent quarterfinalist in Australia. Then, with a euphoric stadium cheering her on, the youngster bested Nuria Llagostera Vives to secure the Czech Republic’s semifinal berth. However, in April, after winning the initial rubber versus American Bethanie Mattek-Sands, Kvitova ran into a glitch. Alexa Glatch routed her in two sets. Ultimately, the U.S advanced to the finals.

Mid year, Kvitova struggled with an ankle injury which kept her out of Roland Garros and contributed to a series of early losses including Wimbledon. Kvitova’s ranking dipped to 69. Attempting to get match fit, Kvitova played an ITF tournament in August only to be ousted in the first round by a lesser opponent. Days following though at the U.S Open, Kvitova showed that she indeed possesses the tools that will make her a prime contender.

With time constraints moving play from Ashe to Armstrong stadium, Kvitova ranked 72nd had the night of her burgeoning career. Using her six foot frame to serve effectively and her most potent stroke, her forehand, Kvitova saved three match points against Dinara Safina. Kvitova prevailed in a compelling third set tiebreaker, shocking the world number one in the third round. Fernando Gonzalez, the 2007 Australian Open finalist, was once asked the secret to his potent forehand, he replied in essence fearlessness. At the Open, Petra demonstrated that her forehand will be feared by her adversaries for some time to come.

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Reflections on WTA 2009

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Reflections on WTA 2009


img_1710It’s that time of year when we look back at what transpired on the women’s tour over the past season and view ahead at the upcoming year.  Here’s a recap of the great, the good and the down right ugly moments from 2009.

Last year, in many respects, can be characterized as bizarre. The majors commenced with a meltdown by Dinara Safina as Serena Williams thrashed her in the Australian Open final.  Months later after sensational results at lead up tournaments, Safina, newly crowned world number one, had another breakdown in the French Open final vis-à-vis Svetlana Kuznetsova.  As such, Kuznetsova grabbed the second major of her career.

At the All England Club, after Serena survived a riveting semifinal match against Elena Dementieva, she faced Venus in the finals for the second consecutive year.  However, this go around, Serena bested big sister to capture 2009′s third major.  Also a favorite to step to the finals at the U.S. Open, Serena encountered two stumbling blocks, her emotions and  Kim Clijsters.

After fulfilling her desire to procreate, Clijsters discovered that her retreat from tennis had left a void.  Thus, following a two year absence, Clijsters once again embraced the game. Subsequent to some impressive triumphs, Clijsters took on Serena in the semifinals. The weather may have been in part culpable, more likely though, it was Clijsters’ superb touch that got under Serena’s skin as a foot fault by a line judge roused Serena’s anger.  Unsavory words by Serena caused a point penalty with Clijsters having match point.  A day later, Clijsters went on to rope the U.S. Open trophy, the second major of her career.

Leading the pack of names that captivated the tour in 2009 is Dane Caroline Wozniacki.  The teenager became her country’s first competitor to reach a major final. Although downed by Clijsters, after starting the year in the top 20, Wozniacki closed 2009 at number 4.  Belarusian Victoria Azarenka continued her march in the right direction.  Azarenka demolished Serena at the Sony Ericsson Open to catch the biggest title of her career.

On the other hand, for the Serbs, it was  a year of sliding backward. Ana Ivanovic, the 2008 French Open champion and former world number one, had trouble directing her forehand and serve. With neither stroke on the money, Ivanovic did not get pass the fourth round at any of the majors. Ivanovic reached one final, Indian Wells, but failed to hoist the trophy. Fed up, Ivanovic put a punctuation to her season in October and her ranking tumbled to 21st.  Number one at the start of the year, Jelena Jankovic, fared a little better than Ivanovic by collecting two titles.  However, Jankovic was equally a disappointment at the majors with only a round of 16 appearance in Paris and Melbourne.

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Opportunity Knocks:  Schiavone Scoops Up Kremlin Cup

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Opportunity Knocks: Schiavone Scoops Up Kremlin Cup


07_kremlin_cupItaly’s Francesca Schiavone and Belarus’ Olga Govortsova were unlikely picks to reach the final at the Kremlin Cup with Vera Zvonareva and defending champ Jelena Jankovic as the top two seeds at this premier tournament. Thus, this was especially sweet for Schiavone seeded eight as she made the most of her fortuitous circumstance in defeating Govortsova 6-3, 6-0 to claim her second and biggest title of her career.

The 29 year old Italian had been in her second 2009 final in Osaka just last week losing to Samantha Stosur.  Coming into Moscow, Schiavone had a horrendous final record, 1 for 10. On the other hand, for 21 year old Govortsova, this was her second WTA final although still with a title.  These competitors had split their prior two meetings.

After three uneventful service games by the players, serving at 40-15, Govortsova dumped two forehands into the net for deuce.  Then, with another crosscourt forehand error, Govortsova allowed Schiavone to get to break point. The Italian took a 3-1 lead after Govortsova mishandled Schiavone’s sliced backhand with a forehand error. However, Schiavone’s edge was brief. After placing a forehand up the line winner for two game points, Francesca double faulted and was unable to deal with a low ball causing her backhand volley to find the bottom of the net.  As a result of two forehand mistakes by Schiavone, Govortsova erased the break for 2-3.  Subsequently, in a marathon game with nine deuces, with a sensational forehand volley, Schiavone was once more with a break for 4-2. But, the Italian relinquished her advantage promptly with a sleuth of forehand miscues.  Yet, with a forehand up the line winner, a forehand crosscourt winner and a deep return which provoked an error from Govortsova, Schiavone had a couple of break chances.  Francesca capitalized when Olga’s forehand didn’t clear the net. This time, with a love game including a couple of aces, Schiavone wrapped up the set 6-3.

After the trainer attended to Govortsova’s back prior to starting the second set, with Schiavone’s amazing backhand dropshot winner, the Belarusian faced double break point. Subsequently, a backhand crosscourt error from Olga gave Francesca the break.  Schiavone consolidated with a second serve ace for 2-0.  Another mistake laden game by Govortsova resulted in triple break point for Schiavone.  A forehand miscue from the Belarusian extended the Italian’s edge to 3-0.  After a love service game, Schiavone broke one last time for 5-0.  With an ace, the Italian arrived at championship point.  Schiavone sealed the deal when Govortsova’s crosscourt forehand landed long.

With a second round win, Jankovic qualified for the final spot at the year ending championships in Doha which gets underway on Tuesday.  With Dinara Safina and Serena Williams neck in neck in the rankings, the Sony Ericsson championships will determine this season’s top dog.  The field is also comprised of Svetlana Kuznetsova, Elena Dementieva, Caroline Wozniacki, Victoria Azarenka and Venus Williams.

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