Monday, March 24, 2008

Wk.11/12- .now for All (The 4th Annual Backwards Backspin)

[Helpful Hint: It might be easier to read this week's edition of Backspin from the bottom up]

All for now.

Ivanovic d. Henin
Ivanovic d. Dementieva
Henin d. V.Williams

Ivanovic d. Vaidisova
Dementieva d. Jankovic
V.Williams d. Kuznetsova
Henin d. S.Williams

Ivanovic d. Safina
Vaidisova d. Hantuchova
Jankovic d. Mauresmo
Dementieva d. Chakvetadze
V.Williams d. Wozniacki
Kuznetsova d. A.Radwanska
S.Williams d. Schnyder
Henin d. Harkleroad

=4th Round=

...Jankovic is ONCE AGAIN in the draw. No surprise there. After last season's painfully learned series of lessons, I'll have a difficult time picking against Henin this season unless it's at Wimbledon or maybe the US Open if certain players are healthy and in form. That being said, Ivanovic could very well win this event for back-to-back Tier I titles. But I'll stick with the thought that she's not QUITE ready for that AND defeating the likes of Henin in a final (but that both Williams sisters are in La Petit Taureau's half of the draw surely works in AnaIvo's favor).

Henin d. Ivanovic
Ivanovic d. Chakvetadze
Henin d. Kuznetsova

Ivanovic d. Zvonareva
Chakvetadze d. Jankovic
Kuznetsova d. Wozniacki
Henin d. S.Williams

Ivanovic d. Safina
Zvonareva d. Hantuchova
Jankovic d. Mauresmo
Chakvetadze d. Schiavone
Wozniacki d. V.Williams (probably a stupid pick)
Kuznetsova d. A.Radwanska
S.Williams d. Schnyder
Henin d. Harkleroad

=4th Round=

08 TOP SEEDS: Henin/Ivanovic
07 FINAL: S.Williams d. Henin

Wk.11 - Ekaterina Dzehalevich/BLR
Wk.10 - Camille Pin/FRA
Wk.9 - Barbora Zahlavova Strycova/CZE
Wk.8 - Regina Kulikova/RUS
Wk.7 - Johanna Larsson/SWE
Wk.6 - Laura Granville/USA
Wk.5 - Sesil Karatantcheva/BUL (2)
Wk.4 - Elena Kulikova/RUS
Wk.3 - Sesil Karatantcheva/BUL
Wk.2 - Anastasia Pivovarova/RUS
Wk.1 - -
**2008 BACKSPIN ITF P.O.W.**

Doha (I) - Kveta Peschke/Rennae Stubbs
Australian Open (M) - Sun Tiantian/Nenad Zimonjic
Australian Open - Alona Bondarenko/Kateryna Bondarenko

07 Los Angeles SF - Ivanovic 4-6/6-3/7-5
07 Amelia Island QF - Ivanovic 7-5/6-3
07 Tokyo QF - Ivanovic 3-6/6-4/6-2
06 Montreal 3rd - Ivanovic walkover
06 Los Angeles QF - Jankovic 6-4/7-6
05 Zurich 3rd - Ivanovic 6-2/6-1

3...JELENA JANKOVIC (0-3 + x)
3...Li Na (1-2 + 1-0)
3...Flavia Pennetta (2-1 + 2-0)
3...MARIA SHARAPOVA (2-1 + 2-0)
3...ANA IVANOVIC (2-1 + 1-1)
**2008 WTA SF + FINALS W/L**

4...Jelena Jankovic (4/0)
4...Lindsay Davenport (2/2)
4...ANA IVANOVIC (3/1)
5...Anna Chakvetadze (4/1)
12...Justine Henin (10/2)
**SINGLES TITLES - 2007/08**

5...Mary Pierce
6...Maria Sharapova
6...Venus Williams
6...Amelie Mauresmo
8...Serena Williams
10...Justine Henin
11...Lindsay Davenport

One year down, four to go before Wonder Girl's next Indian Wells title. Or am I thinking about the last time she was defending champion?. .7-6/6-1...
Sharapova d. Hantuchova - IW QF .10

Sesil is finally being granted wild cards into tour qualifying draws, but her good results are shrinking the higher up the event totem pole she goes. As usual, make your own joke there. (Oh, all right, I'll go first: Maybe she should consider going down on that totem pole instead. I know, I know... I should be ashamed of myself for that one. Hey, everybody loves Sesil. Some more than others, quite literally, of course. There, now I've officially caught up on my Sesil joke quota after having a Backspin Monday off last week.) .7-5/6-2...
Rodina d. Karatantcheva - IW Q1 .9

C-Woz didn't allow Kirilenko to carve out even a single measly break point in this one. .6-2/6-0...
Wozniacki d. Kirilenko - IW 2nd .8

Has Dinara finally found her career niche? .6-1/1-6/10-8...
Safina/Vesnina d. Yan/Zheng - IW Doub.Final .7

AnaIvo's struggles against the Romanians continue, but so do her ultimate victories over them. .6-1/5-7/6-0...
Ivanovic d. Olaru - IW 2nd .6

This was Vaidisova's first action since Oz, but her season has taken on a very odd feel, hasn't it? All those TV commercials she's been in recently are nice, though. Hmmm... coincidence? .6-1/3-6/6-4...
Dellacqua d. Vaidisova - IW 2nd .5

Jankovic has lost five of six career meetings against her fellow Serbian Siren. So far in 2008, she's already totaled 27 matches counting Hopman and Fed Cup play. .7-6/6-3...
Ivanovic d. Jankovic - IW SF .4

Lindsay's bad back ended this one early, as the ironic tendency for the Marathon Whewman's opponents to drop at her feet like flies remarkably continued. .6-2, ret...
Jankovic d. Davenport - IW QF .3

The Contessova is 1-8 in her last nine finals. 0-3 this season. (Shakes head and rolls eyes.) .6-4/6-3...
Ivanovic d. Kuznetsova - IW Final .2

Leave it to Kuznetsova to turn a week where she ended Sharapova's 18-match winning streak, and notched wins over the Cibulkova-Wozniacki-A.Radwanska trio, into another she-can't-win-in-finals discussion. .6-3/5-7/6-2...
Kuznetsova d. Sharapova - IW SF .1

The last two weeks saw two Brits (Borwell & South), three Poles (Brozda, Piter & Korzeniak), two Slovaks (Rybarikova & Jurikova, the latter of which won twice), a Russian (Chalova) and a Chinese player (Zhou) win titles on the ITF circuit, but I'll go with the pair of 21-year olds. Belarus' Dzehalevich won a $50K in New Delhi with wins over Yanina Wickmayer, Sunitha Rao & Mathilde Johansson a week ago. This weekend, Czech Maiden Strycova claimed the $25K in Redding, California after defeating Petra Cetkovska and then Aleksandra Wozniack in the final...
Ekaterina Dzehalevich & Barbora Zahlavova Strycova :ITF PLAYERS
Kirilenko was dumped out of Indian Wells after winning just two games, while Bammer's 2nd Round exit at the hands of Chan Yung-Jan knocked her out of the Top 20...
Maria Kirilenko & Sybille Bammer :DOWN
Dellacqua's Melbourne exploits continue to spur her on. In Indian Wells she went out in the 4th Round to Vera Zvonareva, but not until after she'd defeated the likes of Olga Poutchkova and Nicole Vaidisova and saw Tamira Paszek retire from their 3rd Round match. Meanwhile, Hordette Rodina qualified (getting wins over Sesil Karatantcheva & Rossana de los Rios) and upset both Anastasia Pivovarova and Virginie Razzano in the main draw...

Casey Dellacqua & Elena Rodina :FRESH FACES
Obziler won this award during last year's Backwards Backspin week and she does so again thanks to Davenport's earlier than desired exit in Indian Wells. This time, the 34-year old Israeli gets it for claiming the $25K Tenerife event with wins over Carla Suarez-Navarro, Kristina Barrois and Virginie Pichet...
Tzipora Obziler :VETERAN
19-year old Dutch girl Ewijk proved that you don't have to be a Krajicek to be a champion from the Netherlands. A week ago, she won the $25K in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria with nice wins over Kirsten Flipkens, Nika Ozegovic and Yulia Beygelzimer. Slovak Rybarikova, 19, claimed a $25K title in St.Petersburg-Vsevolozhsk after victories over Russians Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and Anna Lapushchenkova...
Chayenne Ewijk & Magdalena Rybarikova :SURPRISES
Harkleroad's Fed Cup heroics seem to be carrying over. In Indian Wells, she notched wins over Lucie Safarova and Dinara Safina, then pushed A-Rad to three sets in the 4th Round. Safina rebounded, though, to win the doubles with Vesnina. The Russian duo knocked off four of the top eight seeds along the way...
Ashley Harkleroad & Dinara Safina/Elena Vesnina :RISERS
While Jankovic continues to risk effectively "stripping her threads" by screwing herself into the ground with her never-ending schedule, Ivanovic seems content to wisely pick her spots. Indian Wells provided AnaIvo with her third career Tier I title (and her sixth career tour crown), and her wins over the likes of Schiavone, Zvonareva, Jankovic and Kuznetsova only further solidified the hold on the #2 ranking behind Henin that she's managed to wrestle away from her final two foes in California. As it turned out, Ivanovic shared the spotlight in I.W. with the men's champion, fellow Serb Novak Djokovic. The two narrowly missed out on sweeping the Australian Open, but would anyone blink an eye if before the end of 2008 they both ended up splitting the spoils -- Indian Wells-style -- in either Beijing or New York, as well?...

AP PHOTO/Mark J. Terrill


D: Safina/Vesnina d. Yan/Zheng
S: Ana Ivanovic def. Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-4/6-3



ANSWER: Well, partially because the "brilliant" decision to air the tournament on Fox Sports Net (or in the case of the Washington D.C. area, the Comcast SportsNet affiliate) meant that the event might as well have been invisible during the past two weeks of "national" coverage. Sure, many events aren't televised. Nothing new there. But sometimes it's just difficult to totally brush aside the angry boredom about a big tournament that can't be seen, even if such oddities as a Maria Sharapova loss and a retirement by a Jelena Jankovic OPPONENT take place. Call it a passive aggressive act of defiance. Ahh, but Svetlana Kuznetsova DID lose in the final, didn't she? So, in the end... the WTA earth has indeed been re-set upon its proper axis, if only for a few days.

QUESTION: Why would the gimmicky "Backwards" trick be used on the edition of Backspin that covers the Tier I Indian Wells event, rather than during a "soft" week after WTA tournaments in Portoroz or Bangalore or some such place, as is usually the case each year?

Wk.11/12- .now for All (The 4th Annual Backwards Backspin)

MONDAY, MARCH 24, 2008


Blogger Ian said...

It pains me to say this - but surely Justine is due for a Down mention this week? A mere loss to Serena is one thing; a 6-2 6-0 drubbing is another matter. I hope she finds her feet on clay.

Wed Apr 02, 08:08:00 AM EDT  

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