Monday, July 23, 2007

Wk.29- In the Doll's House

2007 has been a weird year for the Russian Horde.

Anastasia Myskina has barely played at all. Maria Sharapova has reached a slam final and semifinal, but zero titles and shoulder issues can't shake the "disappointment" tag from her season. Svetlana Kuznetsova has reached four finals, but hasn't won ANY of them. Elena Dementieva has been mostly M.I.A., but she still has more '07 titles to her name than the Supernova. Maria Kirilenko is proving to be more "Anna 2" than "Maria 2.0". And while Nadia Petrova isn't living up to her potential, she's won a singles title, the Hopman Cup and led Team Russia back to the Fed Cup final.

But inside the Doll's house, almost unnoticed, Anna Chakvetadze is having a GREAT year.

Even with her superb late '06 run, Chakvetadze can't help but be overshadowed by bigger (both physically so, but in terms of star-power, too) Hordettes and non-Hordettes alike. She isn't the most noteworthy racket-wielding Russian named Anna, and is often compared to Martina Hingis... without the slam titles and one-time #1 ranking to her credit, which sort of gives her SECOND billing in the story.

But Chakvetadze's title this weekend in Cincinnati gives her three on the season. The top two ranked Russians -- Sharapova and Kuznetsova -- are a combined 0-6 in finals in' 07, and the eight WTA finalist Hordettes this season not named Anna are 4-10. Chakvetadze? She's 3-0. In fact, she's never lost a WTA singles final in her five attempts since last October.

Always underestimated, but always determined. Hmmm... I wonder if there's a connection?

Could the consistent Chakvetadze even make a run at being the TOP-ranked Russian by the end of this season? If Sharapova's season doesn't reverse course, why not? The Doll is already up to a career-best #7, and has won more titles than ANY of the Russians over the past twelve months.

Sure, you have to still wonder if she has enough power (she likes to remind everyone that she has more than the linked-together-in-style Hingis... but, considering the Swiss Soon-to-be-Mrs.'s inability to regularly tame the Big Babes, that's not really a huge check in Anna's column) to consistently compete with the game's big hitters. But the Russian doll with the big dreams and small frame has already managed to defy expectations for a while now, and since Chakvetadze's WTA bio says her goal is to reach the Top 5 could it be that she's even capable of surpassing HER OWN by the end of this season? Possibly.

I mean, who's to say what's NOT possible in a game where a 5-feet-5 Belgian is far and away the #1-ranked player in the world?


S: Anna Chakvetadze d. Akiko Morigami 6-1/6-3
D: Mattek/Mirza d. Jidkova/Poutchek

S: Agnes Szavay d. Martina Muller 6-0/6-1
D: Koryttseva/Kustava d. Canepa/Knapp

PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Anna Chakvetadze
thankfully for Chakvetadze, Venus was no where to be found in Cincinnati. Instead, she got to handle the likes of Elena Vesnina, Sania Mirza and Akiko Morigami en route to her fifth title since October '06. At 5-0 in career WTA singles finals... "look out, Anna Smashnova!" One more and another Anna will be half-way to your record (the 12-0 mark in your first twelve finals one, not the one about having 10+ titles but no slam QF).
RISERS: Martina Muller & Sania Mirza
in Palermo, 24-year old German Muller, after having so much recent success on the ITF circuit, reached her first WTA tour singles final since Budapest '02. Meanwhile, Mirza's Cincinnati SF result was just her fourth on tour in the two seasons since her breakthrough year in 2005. She pushed Chakvetadze to three sets, and won the doubles title with Bethanie Mattek.
SURPRISES: Sara Errani & Akgul Amanmuradova
Italy's Errani, 20, reached her first career tour SF in Palermo, getting wins over Razzano, Birnerova and Dominguez-Lino. Uzbeki qualifier Amanmuradova got main draw wins over Mattek and Osterloh on her way to a SF result in Cincinnati.
VETERAN: Akiko Morigami
highlighted last week by a Cincinnati win over Patty Schnyder, Morigami's recent stretch of good results on clay, grass and hard courts is getting her some well-earned name recognition. At 27, she's already holding her best-ever doubles ranking (#65), but also is just three spots away from matching her career-high singles rank of #41, as well.
FRESH FACES: Agnes Szavay & Petra Cetkovska
18-year old Szavay put up an impressive string of wins over fellow up-and-coming stars in winning her first career WTA singles title in Palermo. Olaru, Bychkova, A-Rad and Errani served as mere appetizers for the Hungarian, who then crushed Muller 6-0/6-1 in the final. Czech Maiden Cetkovska, 22, won her second straight ITF crown (and tenth straight match) in Zwevegen, giving her three circuit titles in '07.
DOWN: Anastassia Rodionova & Lindsay Davenport's "retirement"
it's not often you see a match scoreline with a "DQ - unsportsmanlike conduct" denotion, but that's exactly how Russia's Rodionova was sent packing from her Cincinnati 1st Round match against Angelique Kerber after she hit a ball at some fans in the stands who were cheering for her opponent. Hmmm... I don't know whether to call the Rodster a poor sport, or give her a pat on the back for providing such a neat little item destined for the season-ending "WTA Yearbook." Of course, there's no question about the positive reception offered the "official" announcement of the end of 31-year old Lindsay Davenport's pesky "retirement." She won't be playing singles at the Open, but after some WTT action she WILL be in the New Haven doubles the week before play begins at the final slam of '07. Just weeks after giving birth to a son, she's already talking about hoping to be back playing on tour in the future. Obviously, the desire to compete is difficult to extinguish... well, at least in the hearts of SOME recently retired grand slam winners.

1. Cin Final - Chakvetadze d. Morigami
If only Morigami had been able to serve out that match up 5-3 at the All-England Club, the last six weeks would have seen her win a clay court title (the first of any kind on tour in her career), defeat Venus on grass at Wimbledon and reach a hard court final. Oh, well.
2. Pal Final - Szavay d. Muller

Not only is Szavay the youngest singles champ on the WTA tour in 2007, she's also the only one to have won an ITF singles title this season, as well.
3. Cin SF - Chakvetadze d. Mirza
Is the Indian Princess gearing up for another North American star turn?
4. Hamilton $25K F - Stephanie Dubois d. Sharon Fichman
Hey, they held a "Best Canadian Female Player" contest and no one invited Aleksandra Wozniak? At least it appears that maybe Fichman has decided that a tennis career might be something worth considering, after seeking to re-evaluate the situation a while back. Dubois, by the way, also won in doubles... maybe it's the excitement of the upcoming one-year anniversary of her retirement win over Clijsters at work.
5. Kurume #25K F - Ayumi Morita d. Erika Takao

...6-1/3-1 ret.
The 17-year old Japanese riser won her third career ITF title, but her first in 2007.
HM- Dnepropetrovsk $50K F - Alize Cornet d. Stephanie Voegele
In Ukraine, Alize reigns supreme.

5...Justine Henin
4...Jelena Jankovic
2...Serena Williams
2...Venus Williams

**2007 FINAL WINNING PCT. (2+)**
100%...Serena Williams (2-0)
100%...Venus Williams (2-0)
83.3%..Justine Henin (5-1)
66.7%..Jelena Jankovic (4-2)

19...Tatiana Golovin, FRA/A.Island
19...Yaroslava Shvedova, RUS/Bangalore
22...Gisela Dulko, ARG/Budapest

**WTA SINGLES TITLES - 2006-07**
11..Justine Henin [6/5]
6...Nadia Petrova [5/1]
5...Amelie Mauresmo [4/1]
5...Maria Sharapova [5/0]

2003: 2
2004: 4
2005: 2
2006: 2
2007: 1*
*-Szavay (Palermo IV, Zagreb $75K)

=new event=
2007 TOP: Schiavone/Loit

SF: Zakopalova d. Szavay; Knapp d. Loit
FINAL: Knapp d. Zakopalova

2006 FINAL: Clijsters d. Schnyder
2007 TOP: Chakvetadze/Bartoli

Chakvetadze d. Kirilenko
Hantuchova d. Peer
Schnyder d. Mirza
Bartoli d. Sugiyama

Chakvetadze d. Hantuchova
Schnyder d. Bartoli

Schnyder d. Chakvetadze

Chakvetadze d. Azarenka
Peer d. Hantuchova
Golovin d. Schnyder
Bartoli d. Bammer

Chakvetadze d. Peer
Golovin d. Bartoli

Chakvetadze d. Golovin

All for now.


Blogger Eric said...

hey todd,

i was interested in going to the usopen this year (spur of the moment idea), but i have no idea what types of tickets to buy or what difference between an open grounds admission or open day/evening admission is...or what good seats are or anything like that.

any advice?


Wed Jul 25, 02:18:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Todd Spiker said...

Not sure if this helps or not. :)

Thu Jul 26, 05:42:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Eric said...


Thu Jul 26, 10:43:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Zidane said...

What is wrong with Canadian tennis? After years that no Canadian woman reached a final in singles and after a very normal first half of the year, Wozniak reached a final at a WTA tournament on CLAY.

After at least 10 years that no Canadian man reached a final in singles and after a very normal first half of the year, Dancevic reaches a final (and who knows, he could win it, Tursunov played two matches in the same day and might be tired). He even beat Roddick in the process!

And after we all believe Dubois is having problems, here she is doing two consecutive finals in ITF, winning the first and possibly winning today too.

Plus, Fichman, who was considering leaving tennis completely, decided to come back, reaching an ITF final. She could create a surprise at the US Open.

I don't know what's wrong with Canadian tennis recently, but I simply love it :D!!!

Sat Jul 28, 10:51:00 PM EDT  

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