Monday, August 15, 2005

Wk.32-A Supernova, Waiting

Maria Sharapova is resigned to settling for a bit of delayed gratification this week.

A semifinal result last week in Los Angeles would have meant that Sharapova would have risen to the #1 position on the WTA computer when the new rankings were released today. But it wasn't meant to be. Sharapova's chest injury during practice before her quarterfinal matchup with Daniela Hantuchova, and the subsequent walkover, saw to that.

No worry. She'll just have to wait an additional week to finally move Lindsay Davenport down to #2. Neither are playing this week in Toronto, but Monday will mark the "official" beginning of the reign of the fifteenth (and first Russian-born) #1 in women's tennis history. How long will it last?

Justine Henin-Hardenne, Serena Williams and Amelie Mauresmo all finally return to action (another of those "flukes" that WTA Tour head Larry Scott mentioned last week?) for the first time since Wimbledon this week... how any or all of them play might give us some sort of clue to whether the Supernova will still be #1 once play has ceased at Flushing Meadows next month.

As for the champions of Week 32...

S: Kim Clijsters d. Daniela Hantuchova 6-4/6-1
D: Dementieva/Pennetta d. Haynes/Mattek
S: Katarina Srebotnik d. Anastasia Myskina 7-5/6-2
D: Loit/Srebotnik d. Birnerova/Santangelo


...Nice Kim put her San Diego upset in her rearview mirror and went on with her North American hardcourt mastery (until Flushing Meadows, at least). Her L.A. crown was her tour-leading fifth of the season, and 26th of her career. She also tied Sharapova for the most WTA tour wins (43) in 2005. Hmmm, the only thing she's still missing is... well, you know.
RISER: Katarina Srebotnik
...Slovenia's Srebotnik, ranked #62, upset #14 Anastasia Myskina in the Stockholm final to grab her second hardcourt title of the season (the other came in Auckland in January). Teaming with Emilie Loit for the doubles crown, she became the first woman to sweep the singles/doubles at an event this season not just once, but twice.
SURPRISE: Daniela Hantuchova
...L.A. didn't provide the WTA one-time would-be Wonder Girl with a Wonderous Week, but it was surely one of great progress (as long as she doesn't go to Toronto this week still thinking about her fade in the final against Clijsters). Still, a Tier II final following a SF win over Elena Dementieva is the best news Hantuchova has made in a while.
VETERANS: Conchita Martinez & Elena Likhovtseva
...Martinez, 33, strung together L.A. wins over Gisela Dulko and Eleni Daniilidou (after the Greek upset Kuznetsova) to reach the QF. Likhovtseva, who'll turn the big three-oh at the end of the U.S. Open, was named the WTT's female season MVP.
FRESH FACE: Anna Chakvetadze
...a few more good wins in L.A., over Na Li and Iveta Benesova, should make her the subject of some early round "potential upset" talk once again come the Open.
DOWN: Svetlana Kuznetsova
...San Diego didn't work out. L.A. was even worse. This time, the Contessova didn't even get a win, going down to Daniilidou in the 2nd Round. She'll get another shot in Toronto to get something going before heading back to New York to defend her title.

1.Stock F - Srebotnik d. Myskina
...7-5/6-2. Myskina just ran out of comebacks. In the four matches she won to reach the final, the Czarina came back from losing the opening set to win in three sets on three occasions. Apparently, some of her Wimbledon habits are hard to break.
2.LA F - Clijsters d. Hantuchova
...6-4/6-1. Defeating Hantuchova in the L.A. final is one thing. Defeating JHH (or Serena, or Venus, or Davenport) in the U.S. Open final would be another. Nice Kim might get a shot at a test run this week in Toronto.
3.LA QF - Hantuchova over Sharapova (w/o)
...a nice stroke of luck for Wonder Girl. After the past three years, she's due for quite a few more of those, too.
4.LA 2nd - Daniilidou d. Kuznetsova
...6-4/6-4. 2005 just hasn't been a season to remember for Svetlana.
5.LA SF - Hantuchova d. Dementieva
...6-3/6-4. This is the win that might signal that Hantuchova is finally ready to lift her game out of the back alleys of the tour. A return to the Top 20 is now within sight for the former Top 5 player.


==2005 TITLES==

Jan. - Srebotnik (Auckland)
Jan. - Zheng (Hobart)
Aug. - Srebotnik (Stockholm)

==2005 WTA TOUR WINS==
43...Clijsters (43-6, 2-0 FC)
43...Sharapova (43-7)
42...Schnyder (42-15)

==2005 FINALS==
6...Davenport (2-4)
5...Clijsters (5-0)
4...Henin-Hardenne (4-0)
4...Sharapova (3-1)
4...V.Williams (2-2)

9...Henin-Hardenne (5/4)
9...Davenport (7/2)
8...Sharapova (5/3)
7...Mauresmo (5/2)
7...Clijsters (2/5)



...just a week before the season finale, it was singing Williams sister Lyndrea who took centerstage (or not) in Episode 4.

You see, with the clan assembled in Delray Beach for Venus' Fed Cup participation, Lyndrea was scheduled to put on a singing/dancing show. Lyndrea was nervous, but excited. Meanwhile, Serena was excited about her Aneres-made costumes for Lyndrea and the dancers, but nervous that they wouldn't turn out the way she'd hoped. Still,everyone was ready... then it all fell apart. The event's promoter, knowing Venus & Serena would be in attendence, began advertising that the sisters would participate in an autograph session (which definitely hadn't been agree upon). Then, the radio station sponsoring the concert cancelled the show.

Lyndrea, with emotions running the gamut from angry to disappointed to heartbroken, first tries to find a new venue. But the only "suitable" establishment will cause her to not go on stage until after midnight (too late for Venus, who has to play a match the next day), and her advisors dub the place "too ghetto," in any event.

Not wanting to give in, Lyndrea won't let go of the idea of putting on the show she has so planned for... until Oracene, finally making her first appearance in the series, grabs Venus' car keys and drives off "to the rescue" to bring her daughter home. The world's too violent, Oracene says, and she's going to make sure Lyndrea is safe. And after the recent tragedy that struck the Williams family, her reaction is more than undertandable.

In other action, Serena finally meets up with movie director boyfriend Brett Ratner after he's been away for an extended time in New York City. As Venus takes on Els Callens in Fed Cup action in front of them, Rattner tries to kiss an uninterested Serena, who muses about it maybe being time to "cut him loose." "Is this 'the breakup episode?," Rattner wonders. "They didn't have that on 'Nick & Jessica.""

And, oh yes, Venus DID win her match (and another later)... to the delight of an applauding Serena. And, yes, Jackie the Dog was present to give a "paws up" to the victory, too.



...well, Pierre's playing of a little "Russian Roulette" (he picked Sharapova & Myskina to win titles last week) didn't pay off. He aced the Stockholm SF (4/4) and Final, but Srebotnik's upset of the Czarina in the final helped Backspin to trump him in the ever-important "Champions" category (I picked Clijsters in L.A.).

With just a few weeks left in "Royale 2," Webmaster Cantin's going to have to make a strong push to make a tie-breaking season-closing "Royale 3" a necessity in this little competition.

Backspin: 11 SF, 4 F, 2 Champions
Cantin: 15 SF, 4 F, 1 Champion

04 F: Mauresmo d. Likhovtseva
05 TOP: Mauresmo/Kuznetsova
SF: Clijsters d. Kuznetsova; JHH d. Petrova
FINAL: JHH d. Clijsters

...The Queen is finally back. Hope she's not too rusty. An all-Belgian final would be the Waffles' first meeting since the final of the 2004 Australian Open.

As for Pierre:
SF: Clijsters d. Kuznetsova; Mauresmo d. JHH
FINAL: Clijsters d. Mauresmo

Hmmm well Todd is certainly doing well so far, but he is certainly underestimating me if he calls it a victory already, the season is still young and after a little trip to Toronto I've got my predictions ready for what's left of this week.


All for now.


Post a Comment

<< Home