Tag Archive | "Radwanska"

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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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Wimbledon 2008: A Preview Of The Singles’ Draw


Once again, the Wimbledon seeding committee has upset the apple cart by utilizing its prerogative of not formulating the draw according to rankings. It is the only major that does not always abide by the rankings.

Thus, on the gentlemen’s side, Richard Gasquet currently the world number nine has been seeded ahead of James Blake ranked number eight. This is far from a minor detail. Gasquet’s semifinal finish last year probably influenced that decision, but his performance so far this year has been disastrous. For Blake, the implications are huge. Instead of meeting Andy Roddick seeded sixth in the semifinals, the two could potentially clash in the round of 16.

Marcos Baghdatis also reaped the fruits of his quarterfinal showing last year. Now ranked 25, Baghdatis is seeded tenth. Meanwhile, Stanislas Wawrinka, world number ten, in spite of his excellent season has been bumped to the number thirteen slot. Otherwise, the top seven players were seeded as expected.

For world number one Roger Federer, the road to the finals is paved with stones. In the first round, Federer faces former top ten player, Dominik Hrbaty. From there, things get more complex with Lleyton Hewitt, Fernando Gonzalez and possibly Novak Djokovic in the semifinals. For Rafael Nadal, it is harder to isolate potential pitfalls. Nadal recently beat Roddick on grass who is also on his side of the draw. Perhaps if Blake makes it to the semifinals, this may be problematic for Nadal considering that Blake leads him 3-2 in their head to head but they’ve always met on hardcourt.

The ladies’ seeding followed the rankings. Analyzing the top half of the draw, Ana Ivanovic and Serena Williams should technically make it to the semifinals. For Ivanovic, speed bumps could include Patty Schnyder, Nicole Vaidosova and Agnes Szavay. On the other hand, Svetlana Kuznetsova or Agnieszka Radwanska may prevent Serena from getting to her projected engagement with Ivanovic. Defending champion Venus Williams’ journey to the trophy will be tough with Jelena Jankovic, Vera Zvonerava or Flavia Pennetta standing in her way in the quarterfinals. While Maria Sharapova, Dinara Safina or Elena Dementieva may be semifinal obstacles for Venus. Similarly for Sharapova, her side of the draw is stacked with fellow Russians such Safina, Dementieva or Petrova who may stop her from advancing.

So, there is a lot to contemplate as we look ahead to next couple of weeks. On the women’s side, the draw appears wide open. Past major champions may have the edge because of their experience. With the gentlemen, considering that Federer, Nadal and Djokovic with their talent have distanced themselves so much from the rest of the field, it is hard to foresee another player as having even a marginal shot at the trophy. The question to be answered is whether this will be Federer’s sixth consecutive title or whether Nadal or Djokovic will manage to snatch it from Federer’s grasp.

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Polish Pride: Radwanska Triumphant In Eastbourne


The International Women’s Open finals, the last grass court competition prior to Wimbledon, featured Polish teenager Agnieszka Radwanska, ranked 14th in the world and seeded 4th , against tour veteran Russian Nadia Petrova, ranked 22nd and seeded 8th . The day belonged to the youngster. Radwanska, a former Wimbledon junior champion, captured her first grass court WTA title by defeating Petrova 6-4, 6-7, 6-4.

In the middle of the first set, the players exchanged a few breaks of serve. The critical difference came at 4-5. Petrova after breaking to get back on serve, leading 40-15, lost the next four points and the set due to brilliant play by the teenager.

Although Petrova possesses a big serve, she aided her opponent’s plight by throwing in a few double faults. But, in the second set despite some initial difficulties, Petrova managed to hold on to her serve. Further, the Russian pounced on whatever second serve came from Radwanska. That tactic along with increasing her first serve percentage and moving forward to finish points at net proved very effective. Petrova was rewarded with a break point and went up 3-1. Yet, in the eight game, with a double fault and missed volley, Petrova’s lead vanished 4-4. Serving to extend the set with a tiebreak, thanks to a net court and an error on the return, Petrova prevented Radwanska from claiming the title. In the tiebreak, the Russian saved three match points. Finally at 11 points all, Nadia served an ace which got her to set point. A weak second serve by Radwanska produced a deep return reply by Petrova, resulting in Agnieszka making an error. Now, it was on to a third set.

Despite Petrova skating on thin ice at times, there were no break chances for either player in the first eight games. The golden opportunity came for Radwanska in the ninth, which she took to get in front 5-4. Then, the Polish teen kept her composure and closed out the match on her service game. Albeit Radwanska won three prior titles this year, as a tier II event, Eastbourne marked the biggest win of her career. Currently, she has a perfect record in finals 4-0.

The only top ten players at Eastbourne Svetlana Kuznetsova and Marion Bartoli, seeded one and two respectively, were upset. The former dispatched in the second round and the latter ousted in the semifinals by Radwanska. Could this be a peak at Agnieszka’s future success next week at Wimbledon? It’s hard to predict. Justine Henin was victorious the last two years at Eastbourne. Yet, the last woman to win both trophies was Jana Novotna in 1998.

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