Monday, October 22, 2007

Wk.42- The Reign of Queen Justine, Part IX

Justine. Zurich. Title #9 of the season.

Really, how many more superlatives can be unearthed to describe what has most decidedly been the "Year of the Taureau"?

Of course, any that DO come to mind will probably be left for the official "Ms.Backspin" column in a couple of weeks.


S: Justine Henin def. Tatiana Golovin 6-4/6-4
D: Peschke/Stubbs d. Raymond/Schiavone

career title #38 only widened the Federeresque chasm between world #1 Henin and #2 Svetlana Kuznetsova, a gap which now stands at a monstrous 2180 points. La Petit Taureau has strung together consecutive title streaks three times in 2007, with the current consisting of four straight titles and twenty consecutive matches.
RISERS: Tatiana Golovin & Nicole Vaidisova
Golovin said before the Zurich rematch of her Stuttgart final loss to Henin that she knew what she did right in taking the first set off the Belgian in a three-set loss two weeks ago and hoped to correct her mistakes the second time around. Well, she grabbed a 4-1 lead in Part Deux on Sunday, but then proceeded to lose 6-4/6-4. Still, even another loss to Henin -- she's got great company in that club this year -- can't erase the incredible 4Q that the Frussian Pastry has put together. She's 15-3, with a title and two runner-up results. In Zurich, she posted victories over Maria Kirilenko, Ana Ivanovic, Marion Bartoli and Francesca Schiavone. If she can continue this run, by the end of this week in Linz she could be nipping at the heels of the Top 10. Meanwhile, Vaidisova finally looked like the Dynamova again last week. Wins over Katarina Srebotnik, Jelena Jankovic and Alona Bondarenko got her to just her third SF of the season, where she took a set off Henin. Vaidisova has yet to reach a final in '07. This season might not have been all that she'd hoped for, but there's always momentum to be gained for 2008.
SURPRISES: Anna Floris & Valentina Sassi
on the ITF circuit, these two Italians have been amongst the top winners this season. They met in the final of the $10K in Settimo San Pietro, Italy, with the #2-seeded, 25-year old Floris winning her third title of the season, and preventing her fellow 27-year old, #1-seeded Noodle Sassi from grabbing her fourth.
VETERANS: Kveta Peschke/Rennae Stubbs
the duo won their second title in three weeks, adding the Tier I Zurich win to their Stuttgart victory. With Martina Navratilova retired, every time the 36-year old Stubbs wins a title she now tops herself as the oldest titlist on tour this season.
FRESH FACES: Agnieszka Radwanska & Marina Erakovic
poor Karin Knapp. She defeated A-Rad in the Zurich qualifiying, only to the see the young Pole get into the main draw as a lucky loser and end up outlasting her for the week. While Knapp fell in the 1st Round, Radwanska made it all the way to the QF with wins over the likes of Shahar Peer and Daniela Hantuchova. Kiwi Erakovic won her second ITF title in as many weeks in the $25K Gympie event, defeating Aussie Sophie Ferguson in the final this time just as she did a week earlier in Rockhampton.
DOWN: Serena Williams
hmmm, Serena arrived in Zurich ready to play. She even planned on doing a blog for the WTA's website during the week. Then, on Monday, it became official that she'd qualified for the YEC... and nine games later, she was out of her opening round match against Patty Schnyder with a thigh injury without ever winning a single game. Hmmm... Oh, well. Good luck in Madrid, Serena.

1. Zur F - Henin d. Golovin

Henin's rampage through Europe continues, this time at Golovin's expense for the second time in three weeks. Tatiana can commiserate with Jelena Jankovic during the offseason.
2. Zur 1st - Schnyder d. S.Williams
...6-0/3-0 ret.
Somewhere between her WTA blog entry and the start of the match, something went horribly wrong with Serena's body... I suppose.
3. Zur 2nd - Vaidisova d. Jankovic
Jelena is 6-5 this 4Q.
4. Zur SF - Henin d. Vaidisova
But unless Vaidisova shines brightly this week or next in Linz or Quebec City, she'll end 2007 without a title. Of course, neither Jankovic nor either Williams sister won a title in '06, and look what happened THIS year.
5. Zur QF - Schiavone d. Kuznetsova
...6-3/3-3 ret.
Schiavone's SF run in Zurich was aided by a 1st Round retirement win over Dementieva, as well.

**2007 WTA TITLES**
4...Jelena Jankovic
4...Anna Chakvetadze
3...Ana Ivanovic
3...Venus Williams

**2006/07 WTA TITLES**
15...JUSTINE HENIN (6/9)
6....Anna Chakvetadze (2/4)
6....Maria Sharapova (5/1)
6....Nadia Petrova (5/1)
5....Amelie Mauresmo (4/1)

2...Justine Henin (Feb/Mar)
2...Serena Williams (Jan/Mar)
2...Justine Henin (June)
2...Anna Chakvetadze (July)
2...Virginie Razzano (Sep/Oct)

Tokyo - Martina Hingis (SUI)
Ind.Wells - Daniela Hantuchova (SVK)
Miami - Serena Williams (USA)
Charleston - Jelena Jankovic (SRB)
Berlin - Ana Ivanovic (SRB)
Rome - Jelena Jankovic (SRB)
San Diego - Maria Sharapova (RUS)
Toronto - Justine Henin (BEL)
Moscow - Elena Dementieva (RUS)
Zurich - Justine Henin (BEL)
Tokyo - Raymond/Stosur
Ind.Wells - Raymond/Stosur
Miami - Raymond/Stosur
Charleston - Yan/Zheng
Berlin - Raymond/Stosur
Rome - Dechy/Santangelo
San Diego - Black/Huber
Toronto - Srebotnik/Sugiyama
Moscow - Black/Huber
Zurich - Peschke/Stubbs

31...Martina Navratilova
30...Steffi Graf
17...Martina Hingis*
11...Chris Evert
11...Gabriela Sabatini
11...Lindsay Davenport*

7...Cara Black/Liezel Huber
5...Lisa Raymond/Samantha Stosur
3...Yung-Jan Chan/Chia-Jung Chuang

36...RENNAE STUBBS (3 titles)
33...Lisa Raymond (5)
33...Nicole Pratt (2)
33...Virginia Ruano-Pascual (1)

LINZ, AUSTRIA (II-Hard Indoor)
2006 FINAL: Sharapova d. Petrova
2007 TOP: Chakvetadze/Hantuchova

Schnyder d. Bammer
Golovin d. Vaidisova

Golovin d. Schnyder

Chakvetadze d. Kirilenko
Golovin d. Vaidisova

Golovin d. Chakvetadze

All for now.


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