Saturday, September 15, 2007

WTA Backspin 3Q Awards

Ah, a quarter chocked full of moments of greatness, stunning losses and embarrassing moments... but it wouldn't be fair to ONLY talk about the Williams sisters, now would it?

1. Justine Henin, BEL

more hard work and dedication than the rest of the field will get you less-than-half-hearted congratulations for all your "luck." Guess that Player of the Year honor will have to be marked with as asterisk, too. A kiss-her-asterisk, maybe?
2. Anna Chakvetadze, RUS
the only player who managed to stick around for the entire 3Q, opening it with a title and ending it with a career-first slam SF.
3. Svetlana Kuznetsova, RUS
the best Hordette in the world. Well, at least according to the computer.
4. Maria Sharapova, RUS
San Diego and Los Angeles were enough to win the US Open Series, so they're enough to be #4 even after a 3rd Round exit in NYC.
5. Venus Williams, USA
Venus had a pretty good quarter with her Fed Cup and US Open heroics, even if she didn't actually win anything. Must have been the breathing difficulties.
6. Ana Ivanovic, SRB
a star turn in L.A., but "AnaIvo!" didn't open well in New York. Ivanovic may still be "off Broadway," but she's getting closer to primetime recognition.
7. Jelena Jankovic, SRB
she played and played and played, but still didn't win any "big ones."
8. Agnes Szavay, HUN
the Late Szummer of Szavay marked the arrival of a new factor in the women's game.
9. Francesca Schiavone, ITA
her Fed Cup contact high finally led to that first career tour title.
10. Sania Mirza, IND
billions and billions cheered as Sania served, and won most of the time.
HM- Agnieszka Radwanska, POL
whether it came about more because of skill, mental acuity or sheer gall, A-Rad now has a presence in the international sports consciousness... even if most headlines simply call her that "Polish teen."

1. Anna Chakvetadze (RUS)
2. Ana Ivanovic (SRB)
3. Jelena Jankovic (SRB)
4. Sania Mirza (IND)
5. Maria Kirilenko (RUS)
6. Yung-Jan Chan & Chia-Jung Chuang (TPE)
7. Agnes Szavay & Vladimira Uhlirova (HUN/CZE)
8. Shahar Peer (ISR)
9. Alona Bondarenko (UKR)
10. Gisela Dulko (ARG)
11. Julia Vakulenko (UKR)
12. Tiantian Sun (CHN)
HM- Tsvetana Pironkova (BUL)

1. Agnes Szavay (HUN)
2. Agnieszka Radwanska (POL)
3. Victoria Azarenka (BLR)
4. Tamira Paszek (AUT)
5. Urszula Radwanska (POL)
6. Alize Cornet (FRA)
7. Vera Dushevina (RUS)
8. Kateryna Bondarenko (UKR)
9. Kristina Kucova (SVK)
10.Polona Hercog (SLO)
11. Petra Cetkovska (CZE)
12. Dominika Cibulkova (SVK)
HM- Ksenia Milevskaya (BLR)

1. Virginie Razzano (FRA)
2. Zi Yan (CHN)
3. Karin Knapp (ITA)
4. Sara Errani (ITA)
5. Bethanie Mattek & Sania Mirza (USA/IND)
6. Nika Ozegovic (CRO)
7. Yvonne Meusburger (AUT)
8. Julia Goerges (GER)
9. Ahsha Rolle (USA)
10. Ekaterina Makarova (RUS)
11. Oksana Kalashnikova (GEO)
12. Tatjana Malek (GER)
HM- Katarzyna Piter (POL)

1. Venus Williams (USA)
2. Francesca Schiavone (ITA)
3. Nadia Petrova (RUS)
4. Sybille Bammer (AUT)
5. Anabel Medina-Garrigues (ESP)
6. Akiko Morigami (JPN)
7. Nathalie Dechy (FRA)
8. Elena Likhovtseva (RUS) -WTT-
9. Cara Black & Liezel Huber (ZIM/USA)
10. Patty Schnyder (SUI)
11. Alina Jidkova (RUS)
12. Meghann Shaughnessy (USA)
HM- Elena Dementieva (RUS)

1. Serena Williams (USA)
2. France Fed Cup team
3. Martina Hingis (SUI)
4. Maria Sharapova (RUS) -at US Open-
5. Lisa Raymond & Samantha Stosur (USA/AUS)
6. Cara Black & Liezel Huber (ZIM/USA) -at US Open-
7. Amelie Mauresmo (FRA)
8. Tatiana Golovin (FRA)
9. Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (RUS)
10. Olga Poutchkova (RUS)
11. Anastassia Rodionova (RUS)
12. Jie Zheng (CHN)
HM- Na Li (CHN)

1. Francesca Schiavone (ITA) -from post-Fed Cup '06 slump-
2. Sania Mirza (IND)
3. Maria Kirilenko (RUS)
4. Vera Zvonareva (RUS) & Nicole Vaidisova (CZE) -from illness/injury at US Open-
5. Marion Bartoli (FRA) -from post-SW19 hangover-
HM- Sharon Fichman (CAN) & Lindsay Davenport (USA)

1. Anna Lapushchenkova (RUS)
2. Casey Dellacqua (AUS)
3. Olivia Sanchez (FRA)
4. Polona Hercog (SLO)
5. Petra Cetkovska (CZE)
6. Katerina Vankova (CZE)
7. Stephanie Gehrlein (GER)
8. Anna Floris (ITA)
9. Ling Zhang (HKG)
10. Stephanie Dubois (CAN)
HM- Anastasia Pivovarova (RUS)

TOP PERFORMANCE: Justine Henin becomes first to defeat both Serena & Venus Williams in a slam, then win the title (in this case, the US Open, the seventh major win of her career)

BEST STARRING ROLES: Maria Sharapova sends off San Diego tournament with a Supernovic title, while Ana Ivanovic blows away the competition in Los Angeles

BEST ENSEMBLE: the NEW Teen Brigade -- with members named Radwanska, Szavay, Azarenka & Paszek -- introduce themselves en masse at the US Open

Fed Cup SF, Match #4 - Schiavone/ITA def. Golovin/FRA
Golovin led 5-2 in the 3rd, then allowed the crowd and the moment to get to her.
L.A. SF - Ivanovic d. Jankovic
Jankovic leads 4-1 in the 3rd, with a point for 5-1. But AnaIvo, her forehands blasting winners at will, saves two match points and goes on to win the title.
Toronto F - Henin d. Jankovic
On her sixth match point, La Petit Taureau makes it 7-for-7 against the Serb.
US Open Girls F - Kucova d. U.Radwanska
The unseeded 17-year old Slovak wraps up her first major title with wins over both the #1 (Pavlyuchenkova) and #2 (U-Rad) seeds.

...Sharapova and her serve go down with the ship (along with her title defense) in the 3rd Round in Flushing Meadows.

...Henin is 15-2 vs. Kuznetsova
...Ivanovic is 4-1 vs. Jankovic
...Jankovic is 0-7 vs. Henin
...Henin is 2-7 vs. Venus, but 4-0 vs. the Williams sisters at '07 slams

BEST OFF-COURT COMEBACK: Bud Collins, unceremoniously let go by NBC earlier in the summer, was hired by ESPN and Tennis Channel for grand slam coverage before the arrival of autumn

Serena Williams, after losing to Justine Henin in US Open QF
..."She hit a lot of lucky shots."
Jelena Jankovic, after losing to Ana Ivanovic in the LA SF
..."I felt like I was playing against a guy."

...first, it was Marion Bartoli reaching the Wimbledon final, and now it's Kristina Kucova winning the US Open Girls crown

Toronto 2nd - Yan d. Ivanovic
Days after winning L.A., Ivanovic shows the importance of choosing the next role wisely.
US Open 1st - Rolle d. Golovin
On Althea Gibson Tribute night, the American wild card brings out the Bad Tatiana in the Frussian Pastry.
US Open 3rd - A.Radwanska d. Sharapova
A-Rad tore down Sharapova's seemingly impenetrable wall with a psychological beanball that landed right on target.


...Agnieszka knocked out defending US Open champ Sharapova in New York, but that was only the latest accomplishment for the Polish Radwanska sisters in 2007. A-Rad has won her first tour singles title, becoming the first Polish player to do so. She's shared a tournament doubles title with sis Urszula, who also won the Wimbledon junior title and 3/4 of a junior grand slam with Girls Doubles titles in Paris, London and New York.

THREE TO TANGO...or something: after getting some coaching help from Patty Schnyder's husband Rainer Hoffman in Bad Gastein, Sania Mirza went on to defeat the Swiss veteran in straight sets in a QF matchup. "The White Mile" just became a little beige.

...Hingis' break-up with ex-fiance Radek Stepanek at least frees him up to have a long and successful career without the "Martina Curse" looming over his head.

...Svetlana Kuznetsova won the New Haven title with three consecutive matches ending with the retirement of her opponents, including the final in which she trailed Agnes Szavay one set to none.

*3Q VISION OF... well, not exactly "loveliness," but as good a place to end as any.*

All for now.


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