A makeover for 2010 Wimbledon Ladies Doubles Champions Yaroslava Shvedova & Vania King?
So, which is it? Who’s natural gut do you love more? Australia’s Jelena Dokic or Canada’s Aleksandra Wozniak, both playing in Brisbane this week.
I am LOVING the plaid shorts that Sam Querrey rocked out in his first round loss to James Blake at the Brisbane International. Even though, since Sam is so tall, they sort of look like board shorts, I still love this look.
Sam unfortunately lost in three tough sets to Blake, 4-6, 6-3, 6-4.
Three of the most tantalizing first round matches were completed on Monday at the WTA events in Brisbane & Auckland.
The Brisbane International featured the return of former #1 Justine Henin taking on 2nd seeded Nadia Petrova. Henin & Petrova played a very high quality match, which featured some strong deep hitting from the baseline. In the end the mental toughness of Henin combined with her better movement and variety allowed her to close out the match in straight sets 7-5, 7-5.
Henin’s forehand isn’t quite as effective as it once was, it’s sitting up just a bit, but overall she could not have asked for a better opening match. She’s going for a bit more on the first serve, and it’s proved to be just as effective.
Petrova still has game, but hasn’t been able to really show up when sets were tight. She was broken in both sets at 5-5. If she can continue to be aggressive, especially on her weaker forehand side, I see no reason why she can’t return to the top 10 very soon.
Another anticipated match was between another former #1 Ana Ivanovic against former top 5 player Jelena Dokic. Dokic and the hometown crowd played well in her first WTA event in sometime, but in the end Ivanovic was able to steady herself through in three sets. I think there are two positives out of this match, Ana was able to close out a match against a lower ranked opponent, and Jelena hung tough against a top player. Both of these could do some damage in Melbourne.
Over in Auckland featured a battle of the generations as 39 year old Kimiko Date-Krumm took on 22 year old Anna Chakvetadze. Both of these players were ranked in the top 5, Date Krumm was #4 in 1995 while Chakvetadze was #5 in 2007. Currently they are both ranked outside the worlds top 60, which is a great rise for the comebacker Date, while being a complete and utter slide for the Russian.
Chakvetadze was only able to make one QF in 2009, and will need to wait another week to find another. Kimiko’s flat and old school game was too much for Chakvetadze, going out meekly 6-1, 6-2.
(Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)
The 2010 WTA season gets underway this week with tournaments in Brisbane, Australia & Auckland, New Zealand. You can jump over to The Daily Forehand for my preview of the ASB Classic in Auckland.
Brisbane has attracted a star studded field of players all looking to kickstart their 2010 campaigns in week 1. The story of the field is undoubtely the return of former #1 and grand slam champion Justine Henin. Henin, returning after a year and a half away from the tour has a tough assignment ahead of her, as she faces the #2 seed Nadia Petrova in the opening round. Petrova seems to always draw the comeback players early, she played (and lost) to Maria Sharapova at Roland Garros last year, which was Maria’s 2nd tournament back.
The other Belgian comeback star Kim Clijsters is also in the field as the top seed. Kim will open 2010 against Tathiana Garbin, but looks to have an easy stroll through to the semifinals where she could face #4 seed Daniela Hantuchova.
Another interesting first round match-up is between #3 seed Ana Ivanovic against the hometown hero of last January Jelena Dokic. Dokic had two wins and a runner-up finish in 100K & 50K challengers last fall, to complete her injury plagued and short season. Former #1 Ivanovic has just slipped outside of the top 20, and only played one additional tournament after the US Open. Ana is on a three match losing streak, and has not reached the quarterfinals of an event since making the finals of Indian Wells last March.
1R Upset: WC-Justine Henin def. (2)Nadia Petrova (duh!)
(1)Kim Clijsters def. (4)Daniela Hantuchova
WC-Justine Henin def. (5)Alisa Kleybanova
(1)Kim Clijsters def. WC-Justine Henin
Feels like we’re back in the mid 2000s huh. Since, Justine announced her comeback I have been hoping for a Belgian showdown, and for Kim to finally get the better of Justine. This would be a big step at a small tournament, that I’d hope she’d be able to reproduce if they are ever on a bigger stage.
Serbian world #3 Novak Djokovic is set to star in an epic 10-part miniseries.
I don’t know what’s more shocking, Nole’s acting gig, or the fact that I’m getting my Serbian tennis gossip from the Times of India.
Over at Yahoo! Sports blog Busted Racket, Chris Chase wrote a coma inducing post on why he feels Serena Williams’s AP Female Athlete of the Year was undeserving. While he acknolwedges Serena’s accomplishments on the court, grand slam successed in singles & doubles and ending the year #1, he decides to regurgetate the unfortunate incident during the Williams v. Kim Clijsters US Open semifinal.
Yes, we can all admit it was not the brightest moment in Serena’s career, but anyone who’s ever played tennis (especially at any level higher then you know, pick up games with your buddy) can probably understand her outrage, and since so few of us are in the situation to be playing a heated match during the semifinals of a grand slam, who are we to judge that reaction? A foot fault call at that time is ridiculous.
I remember one year my college team was playing a USTA sanctioned event against a team from Emerson (at the gorgeous Harvard University complex, which was fantastic by the way. The bathrooms smelled wonderful, I just passed by that the other day and it brought back good memories, but I digress), and their captain wanted ME to call a foot fault on my partner. I was like excuse me buddy? What are you asking of me? It was a ridiculous notion, I mean not only to expect me to call it on myself, but to actually expect it to be called in this situation? He ended up calling an official, and the official pretty much was like, get over it. I ended up screaming at him after he said something a few points later, not nearly as bad as Serena’s rant, but it wasn’t pretty. So, I see where she’s coming from.
It’s hard to compare Serena’s reaction to any other tour member, past or present, because a double fault-foot fault call that late in a second set at a grand slam semifinal, just doesn’t happen. It simply doesn’t happen. We can compare it to Jon McEnroe in his heyday, and say that he never got that out of line. However, if a call that ingregious was ever made against him, on that stage, I’d venture to say all bets are off as to how he reacted.
The foot fault call is so much more painful then a long ball being called good, or vice versa. It’s so rare, so random, and almost inappropriate at that stage.
So, I disagree with Chris Chase in saying that Serena’s US Open outburst was her defining moment of the year. If anything that situation gave haters more fuel for their fire for why Serena has been so bad for the game over the years (no dedication, not trying hard enough, outside interests). So, it appears to me Chris Chase took the easy way out. Good on ya Chris!
Anyway, if Tiger Woods can be Athlete of the Decade whilst having unprotected sex with every hooters girl this side of the Mississippi, I’m proud to say that Serena Williams is our AP Athlete of the Year.
Oh-vey WTA. Let’s learn your own players please? While it is true that Yan Zi is enjoying her day at the Cincinatti Zoo, Li Na is no where to be seen. The other player in this video is Chuang Chia-Jung of Chinese Taipei.
The pair would end up winning a couple weeks later at the event in Los Angeles.
In other Chinese doubles news, Zi’s long time partner Zheng Jie has chosen a non Chinese partner to pair up with at the 2010 Australian Open. Zheng will be playing with Russia’s Elena Vesnina. Who Yan will be playing with is unknown at the time.
Yan & Zheng were a successful pair together, capturaing 11 titles together including two grand slams, the 2006 Australian Open & Wimbledon.
Formerly the princess of the ball bashers, Czech star Nicole Vaidisova has not entered the 2010 Australian Open qualifying tournament. Vaidisova, who was once ranked as highly as #7 in 2007, has seen has ranking plumment to outside the top 100 to 175.
For a player who has appeared lackluster, and melancholy on court for much of the latter half of 2009 this ranking fall could spell disaster. If your heart is not in it, the prospect of playing qualifying events, and ITF Challenger events is not a desirable one. Vaidisova is only 20 years old, and has plenty of time to right the ship. Whether or not she will, is the much bigger question.
Not entering the Australian Open is a very curious decision. She recently played last week at the 75K event in Dubai. She had two wins before falling in the quarterfinals. When we will see her next is anyone’s guess. Although I have my money on seeing her in the stands watching her boyfriend Radek Stepanek in Melbourne.
[Photo Credit Matthew Stockman/Getty Images]
In what looks to be the most exciting presser EVER, a very aged looking Anna Kournikova sat next to current players David Ferrer and Caroline Wozniacki who both look like they are about to fall asleep.
It brings me memories of Anna & Martina Hingis’s glory days of the spice girls. It’s mostly Caro’s gigantic forehand (rivaling Miss Hingis!) that does this to me.
These players along with Vika Azarenka and Tommy Robredo were in Kiev, Ukraine for an exhbition a couple days ago.
The Woz defeated Miss Vika 7-5, but it wasn’t all a loss for Azarenka. Vika paired with Robredo to defeat Anna & David 6-3 in a mixed exhibition.