Monday, April 23, 2007

Wk.16- SOP@TEOTD in Fed Cup

Last week was a different week for the WTA. Well, actually, there was NO week of play for the regular tour as Fed Cup action took over most of the schedule.



With ten of the top twenty players in action, though, there was more than enough to talk about... even with the standard operating procedure at the end of the day including a slew of 5-0 shutouts!

So, in keeping with the schedule, this week's Backspin focuses (almost) entirely on 2007's opening Fed Cup rounds.

*WEEK 16*

=WORLD GROUP I 1st Round=
USA def. Belgium 5-0
Russia def. Spain 5-0
France def. Japan 5-0
Italy def. China 5-0
=WORLD GROUP II 1st Round=
Czech Republic def. Slovakia 5-0
Germany def. Croatia 4-1
Israel def. Canada 3-2
Austria def. Australia 4-1



=FED CUP MVPs=
(WORLD GROUP I)
Venus Williams (USA): One is tempted to give the USA award to Zina Garrison for corralling the Sisters to play Fed Cup, but Venus' 2-0 singles record gets the "official" title.
Svetlana Kuznetsova (RUS): Even without Sharapova, the Russian team sported three of the world's Top 11 players. None of them lost a match.
Tatiana Golovin (FRA): Without Mauresmo, the newly confident Frussian Pastry assumed the lead role.
Tathiana Garbin (ITA): The 2006 Fed Cup champion Italians saw veteran Garbin win two three-set matches against a Chinese team that didn't include Na Li or Jie Zheng (and saw Shuai Peng retire).

(WORLD GROUP II)
Lucie Safarova (CZE): Vaidisova was 2-0, but struggled to take down Dominika Cibulkova. Safarova's opening match defeat of Hantuchova set the tone for the Czech shutout, even if it was the ONLY weekend appearance for Tomas Berdych's girlfriend.
Anna-Lena Groenefeld (GER): ALG has only one win on tour this season, but she garnered two for Germany as she reassumed her role as Fed Cup heroine.
Shahar Peer (ISR): Peer has been a great big event competitor all season, and she didn't waver in FC play, either. The Corporal handled both Wozniak and Dubois in straight sets to power Israel to a win on foreign soil.
Tamira Paszek (AUT): The teenager allowed a total of eight games to Stosur and Molik in two singles matches (tour star Sybille Bammer allowed 17 against the same pair in the other two singles contests) in Austria's easy win over the Aussies.

(ZONE PLAY)
Gisela Dulko (ARG, Americas): Not that the competition was truly stiff, but SOMEONE had to be the best player, right?
Su-Wei Hsieh (TPE, Asia/Oceania): Her win over Tamarine Tanasugarn was the most impressive of the weekend.
Jelena Jankovic (SRB, Europe/Africa): You can take the girl off the WTA tour, but you can't take the streaking WTA tour player out of the girl. Jankovic was 4-0 to run her current winning streak to nine matches.
Yuliana Fedak (UKR, Europe/Africa): Even with two Bondarenko sisters in attendence, Fedak was the top Ukrainian.

(FRESH FACES)
Agnieszka Radwanska (POL): 4-0 in singles.
Ioana-Raluca Olaru (ROU): She notched wins over Schnyder and Krajicek while guiding Romania to a 3rd place finish in the Europe/Africa Zone.
Chin-Wei Chan (TPE): The relative unknown was just as important as Hsieh in Taiwan's advancement to the World Group II playoffs.
Caroline Wozniacki (DEN): A 2-1 record for one of the tour's bright stars-on-the-rise.

Vania King (USA): The 18-year old sang "The Star Spangled Banner," then went out and snatched a come-from-behind win from Kirsten Flipkens' grasp to get her first career FC win and clinch the USA's 1st Round victory. She got a doubles victory with Lisa Raymond, too.

(DOWN)
Daniela Hantuchova (SVK): Her Indian Wells title didn't help her battle through to three-set wins over Vaidisova or Safarova, pretty much sealing the fate of the Slovaks.
Kirsten Flipkens (BEL): Flipper's not exactly the best pressure player in the world.
Samantha Stosur (AUS): Sammy's the highest-ranked Aussie in the world, but you'd never have known it from her play this weekend, as she lost two straight sets matches to Paszek and Bammer.

(ITF PLAYERS OF THE WEEK)
Yung-Jan Chan & Chia-Jung Chuang:

...neither Taiwan native was involved in Fed Cup play, but they ruled the roost in the $75K in Dothan. Chan won the singles title, while the '07 doubles team Revelation of the Year claimed the pairs crown, as well.
=============================


1. WG I 1st (USA/BEL) King d. Flipkens
...4-6/6-4/7-5.
In her first Fed Cup action since crumbling in last year's FC final against Mara Santangelo, Flipkens followed up a loss to Venus Williams by failing to close out King despite serving for the match at 5-4 in the 3rd. With Clijsters soon to bow out, and Henin probably not likely to commit to playing on a regular basis, Belgium's FC "dark age" may have already begun.
=============================
2t. WG II 1st (CZE/SVK) Safarova d. Hantuchova
...7-6/4-6/6-3.
WG II 1st (CZE/SVK) Vaidisova d. Cibulkova
...3-6/6-4/7-5.
WG II 1st (CZE/SVK) Vaidisova d. Hantuchova
...6-2/6-7/6-3.

The Maidens' 5-0 win over what used to be the OTHER half of Czechoslovakia looks like a wipe-out on the surface, but it was really a closely contested battle that included three of the closer singles matches of the weekend in the tie's first three match-ups.
=============================
3. WG II 1st (AUT/AUS) Paszek d. Stosur
...6-1/6-1.
Austria's butt-kicking of the Sheilas began with the teenager's bullying of Slingin' Sammy.
=============================
4. WG II 1st (GER/CRO) Groenefeld d. Lisjak
...3-6/6-3/7-5.
The reports of Girl Friday's death were greatly exaggerated, at least as far as this weekend was concerned.
=============================
5. EUROPE/AFRICA ZONE RR (ROU/SUI) Olaru d. Schnyder
...4-6/6-2/6-4.
Looks like Olaru, already a WTA semifinalist in '07 (Memphis), will indeed be the first of the young Romanians to send up a flair of recognition.
=============================
HM- AMERICAS ZONE RR (ARGENTINA vs. DOMINICAN REPUBLIC)
...36-0.
Yes, that was the total game count of the three Argentina/Dom.Republic matches in the Round Robin. 6-0/6-0, three times over.
=============================


**2007 FED CUP SEMIFINALS**
Russia vs. United States
Italy vs. France

**2007 GROUP I PLAYOFFS**
Austria
Belgium
China
Czech Republic
Germany
Israel
Japan
Spain

**2007 GROUP II PLAYOFFS**
Argentina
Australia
Canada
Croatia
Serbia
Slovakia
Taiwan
Ukraine



...fresh off an 8-for-8 week in Fed Cup picks, is the sun shining warmly on the picks section? If so, I'm sure a Tier IV on red clay will take care of any slight glimmer that exists.


BUDAPEST, HUNGARY (IV-RCO)
2006 FINAL: Smashnova d. Dominguez-Lino
2007 TOP: Garbin/Camerin
=============================

SF: Loit d. Dulko; Daniilidou d. Sprem
FINAL: Loit d. Daniilidou


...fingers crossed.


All for now.

1 Comments:

Blogger Topaz said...

A bit of a girly comment here...I LOVE Venus's hair!!! it rocks!

Mon Apr 23, 08:07:00 PM EDT  

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