Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Wk.45- "What a way to finish a season."


S: Justine Henin def. Maria Sharapova 5-7/7-5/6-3
D: Black/Huber d. Srebotnik/Sugiyama

La Petit Taureau's tenth title of 2007 made her the first woman to win as many titles in a single season since Martina Hingis in '97. Her 25-match unbeaten streak since Wimbledon is the longest season-ending run since Steffi Graf strung together 38 wins in '89, and it's the longest in-season streak since Venus Williams' 35-matcher in '00. Henin's the first woman to earn $5 millions in a season, and her 2430-point bulge over world-#2 Svetlana Kuznetsova would itself be enough ranking point to place a player at #9 on the WTA computer, just 40 behind #8 Venus. After such a shocking start, it turned out to be quite a year. And, as Henin said about her YEC crown, "What a way to finish a season."
RISERS: Ana Ivanovic & Anna Chakvetadze
both made their first appearances in the YEC memorable ones, as they advanced to the SF.
SURPRISES: Maria Sharapova
after a two-month layoff, there was no reason to believe that the Supernova's serve and confidence would resurface in Madrid, but they both (not coincidentally) did. Her back-to-basics outfit -- an old-fashiony skirt and top -- last week pretty much summed up what she'll need to do in '08 to reclaim her position at or nearer the top of the WTA mountain.
VETERANS: Cara Black & Liezel Huber

the veteran pair wrapped up their tour-best doubles season with title #9 at the YEC, a victory which resulted in Black and Huber (the latter for the very first time in her career) ending the season as the co-#1's in the WTA doubles rankings.
FRESH FACES: Evgeniya Rodina & Maria-Fernanda Alvarez-Teran

18-year old Hordette Rodina won the $50K Minsk event with a victory in the final over Sorana Cirstea, and also claimed the doubles title. Bolivian Maria-Fernanda Alvarez-Teran, 18, finished off a back-to-back title run by following up her win in Bogota with one in Lima, her third ITF title of the season. She, too, completed the singles-doubles sweep.
DOWN: Serena Williams
this time it was Serena's knee (again) that limited her to just one set of action in the YEC. After winning in Melbourne in January, an illness along with knee, groin, thumb and abductor injuries forced Williams to withdrawal or retire from tournaments this season. Unfortunately, it looks like even a successful Serena Williams season will include its fair share of disappointments from this point forward.

1. YEC F - Henin d. Sharapova

At 3:24, this was the longest three-set final in YEC history. Henin saved 14 of 18 break points in the match, and finally overcame a tiring Sharapova on her fifth match point. Still, even though Sharapova ended up disappointed, she has to look at this ending to her loooong, often fruitless, season as something to build upon for '08.
2. YEC rr - Henin d. Jankovic
Henin ended up 7-0 versus Jankovic this season, and is 9-0 for her career. Also, after Jankovic had pushed her to the limit in so many of their earlier matches, the Serb has now dropped ten consecutive sets against the Belgian.
3. YEC rr - Sharapova d. Hantuchova
In her first match in Round Robin play, Sharapova had a tough time closing this one out, but she found a way. One wonders if her confidence would have propelled her to the final if she hadn't.
4. YEC rr - Ivanovic d. Kuznetesova
This was the first of two three-setters lost by Kuznetsova, as the #2 seed went 0-3.
5. YEC rr - Henin d. Bartoli
The last match that Henin lost in '07 was that SF at Wimbledon to La Trufflette. She put it even farther behind her with the first double-bagel in YEC history. Of course, Bartoli has to be given a slight pass since Williams' withdrawal less than 24 hours earlier had pushed her into this match at the last moment.
6. YEC rr - Bartoli d. Jankovic
...6-1/1-0 ret.
Jankovic's marathon season ended with this retirement, a 0-3 YEC mark, and six consecutive losses to end 2007. Maybe she'll learn from this in '08.
7. Pittsburgh $75K F - Harkleroad d. Poutchkova
Harkleroad has rediscovered herself on the ITF tour this year, while Poutchkova has to be breathing a big sign of relief after her succesful late-season scramble to salvage at least a part of her 2007 campaign.
8. Toronto $25K Doubles F - Dabrowski/Fichman d. Alves/Wheeler
A pair of Canadians, aged 15 and 16.
9. Mallorca $10K F - Glushko d. Enache
Might Shahar have a little company in the Israeli tennis news in '08? Julia Glushko, 17, is at least making a statement that she might have a future.
10. YEC rr - Chakvetadze d. S.Williams
...6-4, ret.
An ignominious end to a season that began with so many thrills back in Melbourne. You have to enjoy Serena's heroics when they come, and never expect them.

10..Justine Henin, BEL
4...Jelena Jankovic, SRB
4...Anna Chakvetadze, RUS
3...Ana Ivanovic, SRB
3...Venus Williams, USA

11..Justine Henin, BEL (10-1)
8...Jelena Jankovic, SRB (4-4)
6...Svetlana Kuznetsova, RUS (1-5)
5...Ana Ivanovic, SRB (3-2)

FEB - Amelie Mauresmo, FRA (Antwerp 2005-07)
FEB - Justine Henin, BEL (Dubai 2006-07)
JUN - Justine Henin, BEL (R.Garros, 2005-07)
JUN - Justine Henin, BEL (Eastbourne, 2006-07)
AUG - Maria Sharapova, RUS (San Diego, 2006-07)
NOV - Justine Henin, BEL (YEC, 2006-07)

25...Justine Henin, Aug-end of season
16...Justine Henin (May-July)
13...Serena Williams (Jan-Mar)
13...Justine Henin (Feb-Mar)
13...Anna Chakvetadze (Jul-Aug)

**MOST WEEKS IN TOP 10 in 2007**
[of 45 weeks]
45...Justine Henin, BEL
45...Svetlana Kuznetsova, RUS
45...Maria Sharapova, RUS
41...Jelena Jankovic, SRB

35...Amelie Mauresmo, FRA
35...Nadia Petrova, RUS
30...Anna Chakvetadze, RUS
27...Ana Ivanovic, SRB
26...Serena Williams, USA

24...Nicole Vaidisova, CZE
22...Martina Hingis, SUI
18...Kim Clijsters, BEL
13...Daniela Hantuchova, SVK
13...Elena Dementieva, RUS
10...Venus Williams, USA
8....Dinara Safina, RUS
7....Marion Bartoli FRA
3...Patty Schnyder, USA

**WEEKS 2007 DOUBLES #1*
[of 45 weeks]
20...Cara Black, ZIM (solo)
13...Samantha Stosur/Lisa Raymond, AUS/USA
11...Lisa Raymond, USA (solo)
1....Cara Black/Liezel Huber, ZIM/USA

Round of 16: Pierre 31-22
QF: Backspin 23-22
SF: Pierre 49-42
F: Backspin 21-17
W: Backspin 10-8

Round of 16: Pierre 70-66
QF: Backspin 50-45
SF: Pierre 39-35
F: Backspin 16-14
W: Pierre 5-3

Round of 16: Pierre 118-116
QF: Pierre 103-93
SF: Pierre 83-78
F: Backspin 32-29
W: tied 12-12

All for now. The 2007 Backspin Awards arrive later this week.

....Tennisrulz Awards nominations
...How Smart We Were / How Dumb We Were
...Intriguing Answers: Scratching an Itch
...2008 Revolving Doors
...Intriguing Answers: The Top 20

...2007 Backspin Awards (including Ms. Backspin)
...2007 WTA Yearbook


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