Monday, December 06, 2004

2004 Backspin Archives

Jan.3 - "2004 10 Most Intriguing Questions"
Jan.12 - Wk.1 - "Act 1, Scene 1" (Davenport)
Jan.18 - Wk.2 - "Melbourne's Waltzing Mathildas" (Oz Preview)
Jan.26 - Wk.3 - "A French Pastry, Mad Hungarians & a Humbled Horde" (Mid-Oz)
Feb.2 - Wk.4 - "Taureau in a Clijsters Shop" (JHH/Clijsters)
Feb.9 - Wk.5 - "Girl Wonders" (Dokic/Hantuchova)
Feb.16 - Wk.6 - "Maria Who?" (Golovin)
Feb.23 - Wk.7 - "Mid-Quarter Musings"
Mar.1 - Wk.8 - "Sorry, Fabiola...but you were fabulous, anyhow" (Zuluaga)
Mar.8 - Wk.9 - "Anastasia the (Near) Great" (Myskina)
Mar.16 - SPECIAL - "What If, Pt.I... Monica Seles had Never Been Stabbed"
Mar.24 - Wk.10/11 - "The Calm Before the B.S. Storm" (JHH/S.Williams)
Apr.5 - Wk.12/13 - "A Broken Nail, Hotpants & a Title" (S.Williams/1Q Awards)
Apr.13 - Wk.14 - "A Battle Royale Delayed" (JHH/S.Williams)
Apr.20 - Wk.15 - "A Euro for Your Thoughts" (V.Williams)
Apr.26 - Wk.16 - "Stargazing, and Stars Simply Gazing" (Fed Cup)
May 3 - Wk.17 - "April Showers Bring Venus Bouquets of Flowers" (V.Williams)
May 10 - Wk.18 - "Berlin's Wall of Pain"
May 17 - Wk.19 - "Mademoiselle Opportunity?" (Mauresmo/Capriati)
May 23 - Wk.20 - "Nous Verrons Ce Que Nous Verrons" (RG Preview)
May 31 - Wk.21 - "C'est La Vie" (Mid-RG)
June 7 - Wk.22 - "Anastasia the Great" (Myskina/Claycourt)
June 14 - Wk.23 - "X-Girls: United" (Sharapova/Golovin/Kirilenko)
June 20 - Wk.24 - "Opportunity Knocks...Twice?" (Wimbledon Preview)
June 28 - Wk. 25 - "Watts the Problem, Ted?" (Mid-Wimbledon)
July 6 - Wk. 26 - "The Passion of the Supernova" (Sharapova)
July 12 - Wk.27 - "Mid-Calendar Musings: Maria's World, Hidden Gems & Act III Heroics" (Mid-2004/Fed Cup)
July 19 - Wk.28 - "Induction Delayed" (Davenport)
July 26 - Wk.29 - "Domino Theory" (Davenport)
Aug.2 - Wk.30 - "Lauding Lucky Lindsay" (Davenport)
Aug.9 - Wk.31 - "Hail Maria, Still Full of Grace?" (Sharapova/Mauresmo)
Aug.16 - Wk.32 - "Nicole in 3-V" (Vaidisova)
Aug.23 - Wk.33 - "Athena Would Be Proud" (JHH)
Aug.29 - Wk.34 - "When in New York, Do as the Greeks Do?" (U.S. Preview)
Sept.3 - Wk.35 - "The Queen, the Boots & the Russians" (Mid-U.S.)
Sept.14 - Wk.36 - "Finally, a Bride" (Kuznetsova)
Sept.20 - Wk.37 - "Three Quarters Full" (3Q Awards)
Sept.27 - Wk.38 - "Waking the Sleeping Giant?" (S.Williams)
Oct.4 - Wk.39 - "The Asian Assault" (Dementieva/N.Li)
Oct.11 - Wk.40 - "Ma-On or No Ma-On... the Supernova is Back" (Sharapova/Tennisrulz Awards nominees)
Oct.18 - Wk.41 - "The Czarina Creeps Into Contention" (Myskina)
Oct.25 - Wk.42 - "Serena Will Win at Least Two Slams...and other discredited predictions"
Nov.1 - Wk.43 - "Ashley, Martina & the Other Revolution - IQ Recap I"
Nov.9 - Wk.44 - "The Girl Has Star Power - IQ Recap II"
Nov.18 - Wk.45 - "Oh, to be 17... and Backspin's Player-of-the-Year" (Sharapova)
Nov.29 - Wk.47 - "Of Ultimatums and 2004 Backspin Awards" (Fed Cup)
Dec.6 - "4th Annual WTA Yearbook"
Dec.6 - "2nd Tennisrulz Reader Awards"

...here's the list of all the 2004 season-related editions of "WTA Backspin" as they appeared on Tennisrulz.com. I have links to all the editions except for one, the Week 17 column titled "April Showers Bring Venus Bouquets of Flowers," which I have posted at the end of this commentary section. If any of these links fail to work, but you want to read any of these old articles, simply e-mail me at the "Contact Me" button in the site's sidebar (with Backspin in the subject) and make a request.

2004 included quite a few of my favorite "Backspin" editions, from the chronicling of Anastasia Myskina's Roland Garros title run in "Anastasia the Great" (Week 22), to "The Passion of the Supernova" (Week 26) following Maria Sharapova's Wimbledon championship, and Justine Henin-Hardenne's remarkable Gold Medal-winning turn in Athens in "Athena Would Be Proud" (Week 33). Also of note this season was the first in what will be a continuing series of Special Edition "What If..." columns that ponder what might have happened had something in tennis history happened differently. The first such speculative article (March 16) dealt with what might have occurred had Monica Seles not been stabbed in Germany in 1993, and how it would have changed the course of Hall of Famer Steffi Graf's career.

Here's the missing Week 17 column:


May 3, 2004

APRIL SHOWERS BRING VENUS BOUQUETS OF FLOWERS


Venus Williams was no fool in April, just the latest lady to benefit from the relative unhealthiness of her nearest competition. So much so that she finds herself rolling through draws like in days of yore... only this time she's doing it on clay, no less.


**APRIL AWARDS (WK.14-17)**

**PLAYERS OF THE MONTH**
1.Venus Williams
2.Emilie Loit
3.Lindsay Davenport
4.Conchita Martinez
5.Amelie Mauresmo

RISER: Emilie Loit
SURPRISE: Jelena Jankovic
VETERAN: Conchita Martinez
FRESH FACE: Sesil Karatancheva
DOWN: Ai Sugiyama


**MATCH OF THE MONTH**
A.Island SF - Mauresmo d. Henin-Hardenne
...6-7/7-5/6-3. Mauresmo's first event back since the Australian was highlighted by this 2:45 marathon that sent the ailing JHH packing in her 2nd loss of '04.
----------------------
**CHOKE OF THE MONTH**
A.Island 1r - Frazier d. Dokic
...6-4/7-5. Sure, the final scoreline doesn't look like much choking was in evidence by the Debutante in this match... until you realize that she led the 1st set 4-2, then lost four straight games. Then led the 2nd 5-3 (and had a set point), but then lost four straight once again.
----------------------
**UPSET OF THE MONTH**
Fed Cup Eur/Afr I (Bulgaria/Greece) - Karatancheva d. Daniilidou
...4-6/6-3/7-5. The 14-year old Bulgarian Bluster stunned Eleni the Greek in Athens.
----------------------
**COMEBACK OF THE MONTH**
A.Island 3r - Henin-Hardenne d. Martinez
...2-6/7-5/6-3. JHH was shaky in the early going in AI, but was still able to emerge from a 2-6/1-3 & 4-5 hole, coming within two points of defeat, to knock off a far-from-showing-her-age Martinez.
----------------------
**TOP PERFORMANCES**
1.Venus in Charleston ...her first title in 14 months

2.Loit in Casablanca... in the first of her back-to-back April titles, she swept both the singles and doubles championships.

3.Karatancheva in Fed Cup... with a 3-0 mark in singles, she threw the Bulgarian team on her back and dragged it into the World Group Playoffs.
----------------------
**APRIL ODDS & ENDS**
...Conchita Martinez won her 700th career match... Serena was here, and then she was gone again... Jelena Dokic played Fed Cup for Serbia, her first FC action since 2000... 47-year old Martina Navratilova was 0-2 in WTA singles, but ran her career Fed Cup mark to an incredible 40-0


>>WEEK 17<<

WARSAW, POLAND (II-Red Clay)
S: Venus Williams d. Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-1/6-4
D: Farina Elia/Schiavone d. Dulko/Tarabini
----------------------
BUDAPEST, HUNGARY (V-Red Clay)
S: Jelena Jankovic d. Martina Sucha 7-6/6-3
D: Mandula/Schett d. Nemeth/Szavay

...Fed Cup momentum was a fickle beast in Week 17. Venus Williams had it and fed off it, but Amelie Mauresmo didn't. While Venus is starting to pile up good results on top of one another and filling the tremendous void at the top of the game (filled rather fully this week in Berlin by the return of Kim Clijsters), Mauresmo's questionable scheduling (going to Berlin will mean she's played four of five weeks since returning to action -- can you say, "another injury waiting to happen?") might end up putting her Roland Garros hopes in jeopardy. Too much action might hurt Williams, too. That is, if she doesn't hold to form and take a previously "unscheduled break" this week.

Speaking of Fed Cup momentum, "The Other Jelena" seems to have hit her stride while her fellow (new, as well as old) countrywoman struggles to find her's. In Fed Cup play, it was Jelena Jankovic, not Jelena Dokic, who was the more stable and trustworthy Jelena on the Serbian team. Last week, the yin of Jankovic continued to balance out Dokic's yang. Jankovic doesn't have Australian ties, a "tennis dad," a race car driving ex or press blowups/misunderstandings to soothe over. But she does have a title. And that's more than the more famous Jelena had been able to claim for some time now. Apparently, a Serbian girl CAN make good in the big bad world of professional tennis.

Who knew?


>>PLAYER AWARDS<<
PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Venus Williams
...two straight titles, with a winning Fed Cup week sandwiched in between. Her eleventh straight victory erased the memory of falling short in the final in Warsaw last year when she was forced to retire with the abdominal injury that ultimately wreaked havoc with what little remained of her season.
----------------------
RISER: Svetlana Kuznetsova
...The Good News: Kuznetsova's been to three singles finals in 2004, with only JHH (4) having advanced to more. The Bad News: she's 0-3.
----------------------
SURPRISE: Jelena Jankovic
...Backspin's gut feeling was that ol' JJ was ready to make a career leap last week. Well, I was right (of course, I still succumbed to the "red clay curse" again when I couldn't gather the courage to actually predict her to win her first career title in Budapest). At barely 19, she's the youngest
titleist so far in 2004.
----------------------
VETERANS: Maggie Maleeva & Anne Kremer
...Maleeva, 29, left the Bulgarian Bluster handle the Fed Cup duties in Athens, but she re-emerged in Warsaw last week as she knocked off Patty Schnyder and advanced to the QF. Luxembourg's Kremer, 28, is 4-9 in tour matches this season. But she still gathered herself enough to cobble
together a 5-0 record in Europe/Africa Group II Fed Cup play last week.
----------------------
FRESH FACE: Alyona Bondarenko
...the 19-year old Ukrainian knocked off 17-year old sis Katerina in the ITF final in Bahia the week of Fed Cup 1st Round action.
----------------------
DOWN: Amelie Mauresmo
...following up her Fed Cup duty by trying to defend a Tier II title in Warsaw turned out to not be such a bright idea, if Mauresmo's QF loss is any indication.

>>MATCHES<<
1.Warsaw QF - Schiavone d. Mauresmo
...3-6/7-6/6-1. Schiavone was still stoked by the fumes of her rain-delayed Fed Cup 1st Round-clinching win last Monday.
----------------------
2.Warsaw F - Venus d. Kuznetsova
...6-1/6-4. Thankfully, Kuznetsova's two titles in 2002 precludes her from being in contention for the "best Russian without a title" moniker.
----------------------
3.Budapest F - Jankovic d. Sucha
...7-6/6-3. All Serbians named Jelena with WTA titles during the past 23 months raise your hand. Not so fast, Miss Dokic.
----------------------
4.Budapest QF - Jankovic d. Cervanova
...6-0/6-0. Obviously, Jankovic was having a good week.
----------------------
5.Warsaw 2r - Pistolesi d. Hantuchova
...6-4/7-5. One of these days, Wonder Girl will return. That day has yet to arrive.


>>WTA LISTS<<

**2004 WTA TITLES**
4...Henin-Hardenne
2...Clijsters
2...Davenport
2...V.Williams
2...Loit


**WORST FINALS WIN PCT. (3+) **
.000 - Kuznetsova (0-3)
.000 - Mauresmo (0-2)
.000 - Farina Elia (0-2)


**2004 TEENAGE CHAMPIONS**
19y2m1w...Jelena Jankovic (Budapest)
19y5m2w...Vera Zvonareva (Memphis)


**2004 FIRST-TIME CHAMPS**
Nicole Pratt, 30 (Hyderabad)
Iveta Benesova, 21 (Acapulco)
Emilie Loit, 24 (Casablanca)
Jelena Jankovic, 19 (Budapest)


**LOW-RANKED 2004 TITLEISTS**
#99 Benesova (Acapulco)
#60 Frazier (Hobart)
#59 Jankovic (Budapest)
#59 Pratt (Hyderabad)
#40 Loit (Casablanca)


**BACKSPIN POWER RANKINGS**
1.Henin-Hardenne...130
2.Davenport........103
3.V.Williams......79.5
4.Clijsters.......73.5
5.Kuznetsova......68.5
6.Loit..............61
7.Suarez............54
8.Mauresmo..........51
9.Myskina...........50
10.Zvonareva........49


>>>WEEK 18 PREDICTIONS<<

BERLIN, GERMANY (I-Red Clay)
03 F: JHH d. Clijsters
04 TOP: Clijsters/Mauresmo
----------------------
SF: Clijsters d. Petrova; Kuznetsova d. Myskina
FINAL: Clijsters d. Kuznetsova
...Hard Luck Kuznetsova's role in '04 is to lose to higher-ranked opponents in the final. Meanwhile, with JHH (& her 26 straight Tier I wins) away, Kim can finally play in a Tier I again. Venus is scheduled to participate, but after back-to-back titles and a 2-0 Fed Cup stint, is it cynical to think we might be about to see one of the Sisters' patented late withdrawls?


All for now.

1 Comments:

Blogger Doris said...

It is not surprising that Venus Williams is the list of players of the month because she trains every day, and takes generic viagra

Mon Jan 03, 03:26:00 PM EST  

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