Sunday, January 23, 2005

Wk.3 - Half-Way Down Under WTA BACKSPIN January 22, 2005 HALF-WAY DOWN UNDER (the Aussie Open 1r-3r) by Todd Spiker A quick recap of the early rounds of Oz: ==FIRST SEEDS TO FALL== preview's top potential 1st Round upset of a #16-32 seed (Akiko Morigami over #26 Daniela Hantuchova) didn't happen, but my second one did as #32 Iveta Benesova was taken down by Ana Ivanovic. In the Top 16 seeds, my top choice of #16 Ai Sugiyama losing to Martina Sucha lived up (or down) to its billing as the Japanese vet was the first women's seed bounced from the tournament on Monday. Interestingly, no women's seeds lost in the second day of 1st Round action on Tuesday. ==UPSET QUEENS== ...this is getting ridiculous. While some fine individual early-round performances included some nice upsets (by Abigail Spears and Elena Baltacha, for example), only one country put together enough of them to collectively have its contingent win this slam's "Upset Queens" crown. Yes, of course, it was the Russians. The Horde, as a group, went 14-0 in 1st Round matches (7 still remain in the Final 16), and the multiple upsets by multiple players give them the edge. Amongst the wins: *1st Round* Linetskaya def. Kurhajcova Kirilenko def. Kapros Douchevina def. Craybas Safina def. Zheng Chakvetadze def. Parra-Santonja Jidkova def. Ruano-Pascual *2nd Round* Linetskaya def. Sucha Douchevina def. #9 Zvonareva Panova def. #23 Jankovic *3rd Round* Linetskaya def. #21 Frazier Douchevina def. Groenefeld ==MATCHES THAT CHANGED THE EVENT== ...with so many top seeds still playing, the only matches that stand out are the ones that ALMOST saw title contenders go down. #2 Amelie Mauresmo's survival (from being a set down) in her 2nd Round match with Dinara Safina qualifies here. In the more traditional sense of "draw-changing" victories, I suppose Abigail Spears' 2nd Round upset of #20 Tatiana Golovin removed the French Pastry as a dark horse SF pick. And Vera Douchevina's defeat of #9 Vera Zvonareva in the 2nd Round removed the best player that stood between Svetlana Kuznetsova and a massive QF matchup with Maria Sharapova. ==MISS OPPORTUNITY?== ...again, with so many top seeds still around (12 of the Top 13 made the 4r), there's been very little opportunity for someone to move into a vacated section of the draw. The contenders, for now, would seem to be Karolina Sprem (doing well without great expectations) and Alicia Molik (doing well with great expectations), or maybe Patty Schnyder as she tries to match her 2004 Melbourne SF result. ==================================== ==================================== **EARLY-ROUND PLAYERS OF THE WEEK** PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Svetlana Kuznetsova other player has been under such a microscope after Belgian sports minister Claude Eerdekens announced her positive out-of-competition drug test for ephedrine despite the questionable nature of the test's validity (or even whether a positive result for an ingredient in cold medication at an exhibition is even a sanctionable offense). Still, the Contessova has handled the situation well. She buzzed through her first two opponents before finally suffering an abbreviated bad patch during the 2nd set of her straights sets win over Diaz-Oliva in the 3rd. And while Elena Dementieva, also wrongly implicated along with Nathalie Dechy in the controversy when early reports only mentioned that ONE of the three had tested positive, might not be on good terms with Kuznetsova at the moment, other players have jumped to her defense, including Anastasia Myskina and the Contessova's doubles partner, Alicia Molik. To read Molik's reaction to Kuznetsova's plight, click on this link: ===================================== RISER: Alicia Molik ...Molik is the best Aussie hope in years, and so far things have gone fine. Along with Dementieva, she's one of the few women yet to taste defeat in 2005 (11-0 overall). Now, she gets her shot at Venus, and then maybe Davenport. ===================================== SURPRISES: Abigail Spears & Elena Baltacha ...American Spears upset Meghann Shaughnessy and Tatiana Golovin; while Brit Baltacha knocked out Katarina Srebotnik and Stephanie Cohen Aloro. ===================================== VETERANS: Silvia Farina Elia & Barbara Schett ...Farina Elia, 32, was the second-oldest player in the main draw (Conchita Martinez beat her by 11 days), but she's still standing in the Round of 16. Schett, meanwhile, edged past Tiffany Welford in three sets in the 1st Round to set up her WTA singles career-ending 2nd Round match against Daniela Hantuchova. When it was over, the 28-year old Austrian walked away not with the career resume she'd have hoped for, but a 14-year long one (with 3 WTA titles, and 1 ITF) she can still be proud to claim. ===================================== FRESH FACES: Vera Douchevina & Evgenia Linetskaya ...two more Russians, both older than Sharapova at 18 years of age, are making their marks in a grand slam. Douchevina claimed the biggest women's early-round upset with a win over #9 Zvonareva (and that was after a remarkable 1st Round comeback -- see below), while Linetskaya knocked out Martina Sucha and Amy Frazier to set up a 4th Round match with Amelie Mauresmo. ====================================== DOWN: Vera Zvonareva ...Vera the Almost's slow pre-Melbourne start was a hint of what was about to happen. ==LINK OF THE WEEK== Lindsay Davenport talks about the Fortune Cookies:,5744,12001834%255E2722,00.html ==TOP 1r-3r MATCHES== 1.1r - Douchevina d. Craybas ...3-6/7-6/6-4. Douchevina came back from a 3-6/1-5 -- and two MPs -- deficit. ------------------------------------- 2.3r - Dementieva d. Hantuchova ...7-5/5-7/6-4. A good start for Wonder Girl. ------------------------------------- 3.2r - Douchevina d. Zvonareva ...6-3/6-3. Make way for another one! ------------------------------------- 4.1r - Sharapova d. Karatantcheva ...6-3/6-1. The Supernova didn't need any additional posterior padding for this one. ------------------------------------- 5.2r - Panova d. Jankovic ...3-6/6-4/6-2. Panova lasted longer than fellow Russian Zvonareva. Jankovic didn't last as long as fellow Serb Ana Ivanovic. ------------------------------------- HM-1r - Mauresmo d. Stosur ...6-2/6-3. Will we hear from Sammy again this season? ===================================== ===================================== ==LISTS== **ROUND OF 16 STATS** --BY COUNTRY-- 7...Russia 3...USA 2...France 1...Australia 1...Croatia 1...Italy 1...Switzerland --BY RANK-- #1 Lindsay Davenport #2 Amelie Mauresmo #3 Anastasia Myskina #4 Maria Sharapova #5 Svetlana Kuznetsova #6 Elena Dementieva #7 Serena Williams #9 Venus Williams #12 Alicia Molik #13 Nadia Petrova #14 Patty Schnyder #18 Karolina Sprem #19 Silvia Farina Elia #25 Nathalie Dechy #65 Vera Douchevina #93 Evgenia Linetskaya --OLDEST PLAYERS IN 4th RD.-- 32...Silvia Farina Elia 28...Lindsay Davenport 25...Amelie Mauresmo --YOUNGEST PLAYERS IN 4th RD.-- 17...Maria Sharapova 18...Vera Douchevina 18...Evgenia Linetskaya All for now.

Do You Yahoo!?
Tired of spam? Yahoo! Mail has the best spam protection around


Post a Comment

<< Home