Monday, June 18, 2007

Wk.24- A Rolling Jelena Gathers No Moss

Jelena Jankovic won on Sunday... again.

This time the victory earned her a title on the Birmingham, England grass. Over Maria Sharapova, no less... so it was surely impressive. But one has to wonder when the Energizer bunny of the 2007 season is going to run out of steam.

Not shy about stating her dislike for practice, Jankovic prefers to play matches that count during the week. She's been doing it for 22 of the season's 25 weeks, so far, and is set to play in the Netherlands this week. After that, it's off to the All-England Club. Her non-stop schedule has garnered four titles, tied for the tour's best, and a WTA-best 49 wins in 60 matches (and that's not counting her 4-0 Fed Cup record). In the 2nd Quarter alone, she's put up 28 victories -- twice the number of any other player (Justine Henin and Svetlana Kuznetsova's are next with 14) who's spent time in the Top 10 this year. After Wimbledon, she'll have traversed the monster 14-week 2Q, from green clay to red clay to grass, from the U.S. to Europe, with but one week off to ponder what she's accomplished in climbing to #3 in the rankings.

Up till now, her consistency has been a marvel. Only twice -- a QF in Tokyo, and a 3rd Round in Miami -- has she failed to win at least two matches in her fifteen tournaments. Her first career grass court title this weekend (at the same Edgbaston event where she lost the final to the Supernova in' 05) means that her four 2007 titles have all come on different surfaces:

Auckland - Hard Court
Charleston - Green Clay
Rome - Red Clay
Birmingham - Grass

So, she's a Renaissance lady. But one has to wonder what Jelena will do once the WTA season is over. How will she fill her day? Will she pull people off the street to participate in her own makeshift tournament? I guess that'll be okay... as long as Justine doesn't happen to be walking by at the time.

Until then, though, a rolling Jelena gathers no moss.


S: Jelena Jankovic d. Maria Sharapova 4-6/6-3/7-5
D: Chan/Chuang d. T.Sun/Tu

S: Meghann Shaughnessy d. Edina Gallovits 6-3/6-2
D: Llagostera-Vives/Parra Santonja d. Dominguez-Lino/Pennetta

PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Jelena Jankovic
Jankovic survived a 7-5 3rd set against Maria Kirilenko early in the tournament, then did the same against Sharapova in the final after both were forced to pile several matches on top of another over the weekend to make up for the rain delays during the week. But, other than you-know-who, nothing seems to bother Jelena this season.
RISERS: Yung-Jan Chan/Chia-Jung Chuang & Marion Bartoli
the Taiwanese doubles pair won their second tour title of the season in Birmingham, as they both continue to shoot up the rankings. After being ranked #119 and #87 in doubles at the end of '06, Chan and Chuang are now at #10 and #11, respectively. Meanwhile, Pastry Bartoli knocked off Daniela Hantuchova at Edgbaston to reach her third SF of the season.
SURPRISE: Edina Gallovits
the 22-year old Romanian, winner of 12 ITF titles in her career, had her best WTA result with a run to her first tour final in Barcelona with wins over Ruano-Pascual, Dominguez-Lino, Kanepi and Razzano. She's the second Romanian to reach a final in '07, and the third to get to at least a SF after none did so a season ago.
VETERAN: Meghann Shaughnessy
the 28-year old American vet added a sixth career title with her win in Barcelona. Quietly, it was her third tour title in the past fifteen months. Aside from the win the final over Gallovits, the Shillelagh also put up victories over Pous Tio, Szavay and Pennetta.
FRESH FACES: Shuai Zhang & Ayumi Morita

18-year old Zhang has makde a strong case to be the next Chinese player to watch, having won 20 straight ITF matches and four consecutive tournaments over the past few months. The latest came in a $50K in Guangzhou, with a win in the final over Russia's Regina Kulikova. Meanwhile, 17-year old Ayumi Morita looks to be the new promising Rising Sunner. In Birmingham, she qualified and then took out veterans Jill Craybas and countrywoman Ai Sugiyama in the main draw.
DOWN: Michaella Krajicek & Anastasia Myskina
a year ago this week, Krajicek defeated Dinara Safina to take the Netherlands crown (they could meet again there this week, but in the 2nd Round), but last week she lost her first grass court tune-up match to Yuliana Fedak in Birmingham. And the Czarina's disasterous '07 season continued to slip away, as she pulled out of Wimbledon.

1. Birm Final - Jankovic d. Sharapova
Sharapova is now 42-6 on grass in her career. As it turned out, this result was an improvement over last year, as she lost in the SF to Jamea Jackson in '06.
2. Barc Final - Shaughnessy d. Gallovits
The race is on to see who'll be the first of the new wave of Romanians to win a tour title. Raluca? Sorana? Edina? Simona? Not sure which is which? You might soon.
3. Birm 2nd - King d. Molik
King is the Steamer's personal version of Freddy Krueger. Although Molik opened with a good win over '06 Wimbledon quarterfinalist Severine Bremond, she lost yet another one to the American Idol to drop her career record against her to 1-3 since they first met at the U.S. Open last year.
4. Birm 1st - Kerber d. Poutchkova
German teenager Kerber has four ITF titles this season, and might be about to supplant Groenefeld and do battle with Petkovic for the Top German spot on tour.
5. Birm 1st - King d. Schultz-McCarthy
That King was able to withstand Schultz-McCarthy's serve and the 9-inch height difference could serve her well at SW19.
HM- Birm 3rd - Santangelo d. Vakulenko
...1-3, ret..
Vakulenko's star-crossed European spring continues. This time, she lost even though she was in the lead when the match ended.

4...Justine Henin
2...Serena Williams

**2007 WTA FINALS**
5...Justine Henin (4-1)
3...Ana Ivanovic (1-2)
3...Amelie Mauresmo (1-2)

2...Russia (Bardina-L/Shvedova-W)
1...Austria (Bammer-W)
1...Belarus (Azarenka-L)
1...Canada (Wozniak-L)
1...Germany (Arn-W)
1...Italy (Vinci-W)

[active Americans]
34...Venus Williams (2007: 1)
28...Serena Williams (2007: 2)
7....Chanda Rubin (last 2003)
4....Lisa Raymond (last 2003)

...this week's "Battle Royale" picks are included with the Clay Court Awards, but here are the updated 2007 standings:

ROUND OF 16: Backspin 76-71
SEMIFINALS: Pierre 41-38
FINALISTS: Backspin 17-15
CHAMPIONS: Backspin 5-4


All for now.


Blogger Eric said...

are you feeling alright todd?

chan/chuang d. T.Sun/TU
Safina was runner up to Krajicek last year in the Netherlands...

liked your "Rising Sunners" comment about Morita (did you know that bolletieri thinks morita could be a star?)

Tue Jun 19, 12:16:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Todd Spiker said...

Thanks, Eric. Okay, here are my half-assed explanations for those two little gaffes: I actually wrote down "Sun/Tu" and "Sun/Yan" on two different things, then looked at the wrong one when I was typing things up. As for Krajicek being demoted from Netherlands W to RU... ummm, maybe dyslexia? I guess if I'd put this week's predictions on this edition rather than the CC Awards I would have caught that one. :D

Tue Jun 19, 08:45:00 AM EDT  

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