Monday, February 06, 2006

Wk.5-Punch-Sober Also Rises

In the land of the rising sun, the one who bays at the moon is king... or, in this case, queen.



For most of last week in Tokyo, Martina Hingis was (again) the big story as she ripped through the draw by decimating the likes of Maria Kirilenko and (yes, even) Maria Sharapova in straight sets while barely blinking an eye. In the end, though, the third Russian the Swiss Miss faced -- "one too many," in Hingis' own words -- did a fairly good impression of a brick wall in the final.

In doing away with her "favorite player," Elena Dementieva won her first Tier I title and helped to answer one of the burning questions that existed coming out of Melbourne that didn't have to do with either Hingis or Justine Henin-Hardenne's retirement in the final: Who is the best player without a slam title now that Amelie Mauresmo has crossed her name off the top of the list?

Punch-Sober was the likely choice, anyway, since she's the only active player who's reached a slam final without winning one. But Tokyo DID confirm Dementieva's role as the chief "bay at the slam moon" gal left on the WTA Tour.

Bring on Roland Garros?

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TOKYO, JAPAN (I-CI)
S: Elena Dementieva def. Martina Hingis 6-2/6-0
D: Raymond/Stosur d. Black/Stubbs
=========================



**WEEK 5 PLAYER AWARDS**
PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Elena Dementieva
...said Dementieva after her dominating performance in the final, "I only have one good day every week -- otherwise I would be #1 already." Another big win and Punch-Sober's got #1 thoughts dancing in her head again, just like after she knocked off Kim Clijsters late last season. With injuries and inconsistency predominant stories amongst the Top 10 players, might Dementieva just be a "few days" away from being a real contender for the top spot?
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RISER: Samantha Stosur
...Sammy ran through the draw again -- knocking off Aiko Nakamura and Daniela Hantuchova -- before running into Sharapova in the QF. She did pick up the doubles title (with Lisa Raymond) that eluded her in Melbourne, and today became the twenty-first woman to hold the #1 doubles ranking in the world (way to go!). This week, she was supposed to finally participate in an event that counted and didn't include any blonde teenage phenoms or former #1's in the draw. Could have been a big week... then she pulled out. Oh, Sammy.
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SURPRISE: Brenda Schultz-McCarthy
...the performance of the 35-year old vet from the Netherlands didn't put her in this category (she went 1-1 in qualifying, getting a victory over Cara Black), it was simply the fact that she showed up in Tokyo at all for her first WTA tour action since 1999.
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VETERANS: Martina Hingis & Lisa Raymond
...Hingis bageled Yoon-Jung Cho (RU in Canberra in Week 2), and wiped out Kirilenko and Sharapova (her first win over a Top 10 player during her comeback) to reach the seventh Tokyo final of her career. Her ranking's already up to around #50 after just five weeks of action in 2006. Raymond made it through qualifying in singles, and won the Tokyo doubles title with Stosur.
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FRESH FACE: Virginie Pichet
...the 23-year old Pastry's ranking is in the mid-200's, but her back-to-back $10K titles in Tipton & Grenoble made her the first two-time ITF title winner in 2006.
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DOWN: Yoon-Jung Cho & Maria Sharapova
...Cho's returns continue to diminish since her Week 2 appearance in the Canberra final. In Tokyo, she lost in qualifying, got into the draw as a "lucky loser," then got baged by Hingis for her troubles. Sharapova came into Japan looking to defend her only career Tier I title, and left it with another SF loss and as the first Top 10 victim of Hingis II.
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**MATCHES**
1.SF - Hingis d. Sharapova
...6-3/6-1. Hingis never faced a break point on her serve. Anyone want to re-think (again) what Hingis' year-end ranking will be?
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2.Final - Dementieva d. Hingis
...6-2/6-0. Hmm... then again. As far as Dementieva is concerned, this was her fifth career title, but her first since October'04 in Hasselt.
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3.2nd - Stosur d. Hantuchova
...7-6/6-2. Sammy has to be getting close to something big pretty soon, right? And I'm not talking about the #1 doubles ranking, either. By the way, Stosur's the second Aussie woman to reach doubles #1, as Rennae Stubbs co-held the spot with Raymond for three weeks in 2000.
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4.QF - Dementieva d. Vaidisova
...3-6/6-1/6-2. At least Nicole showed up this time. Too bad it was only for one set.
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5.SF - Dementieva d. Myskina
...6-4/3-6/6-4. Looks like Punch-Sober had two or three good days last week.
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HM - Ortisei $75K 1st - Rezai d. Groenefeld
...7-6/2-6/6-3. Girl Friday shouldn't be losing on Mondays or Tuesdays in a challenger.
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**WTA LISTS**

**TIER I TITLES - ACTIVE**
15...Martina Hingis
11...Lindsay Davenport
9....Conchita Martinez
8....Justine Henin-Hardenne
7....Serena Williams
6....Venus Williams
6....Amelie Mauresmo
5....Kim Clijsters
5....Mary Pierce
2....Anastasia Myskina
2....Jennifer Capriati
2....Jelena Dokic
1....Maria Sharapova
1....ELENA DEMENTIEVA
1....Patty Schnyder
1....Daniela Hantuchova
1....Alicia Molik

**MOST 2006 WTA SF**
2...Henin-Hardenne (2-0)
2...HINGIS (1-1)
2...SHARAPOVA (0-2)

**2006 WTA SEMIFINALISTS**
[by nation]
8...RUSSIA
3...Belgium
3...Czech Republic
3...Italy
2...Spain
2...SWITZERLAND

**MOST CAREER TITLES - RUSSIANS**
10...Sharapova (2003-05)
10...Myskina (1999-05)
9....Morozova (1969-75)
5....DEMENTIEVA (2003-06)
5....Kuznetsova (2002-04)
4....Safina (2002-05)



==WEEK 6 PREDICTION CORNER==


PARIS, FRANCE (II-GSI)
05 F: Safina d. Mauresmo
06 TOP: Mauresmo/Pierce
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SF: Mauresmo d. Petrova; Pierce d. Dementieva
FINAL: Mauresmo d. Pierce

...unlike at Roland Garros, Mauresmo has been able to win in Paris at this tournament. She won it in 2001, and has reached the final four of the past six years.


PATTAYA CITY, THAILAND (IV-HO)
05 F: Martinez d. Groenefeld
06 TOP: Zvonareva/Asagoe
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SF: Bychkova d. Nakamura; N.Li d. Santangelo
FINAL: Bychkova d. N.Li

...This was supposed to be Sammy's golden opportunity to win her first WTA title, but yet another chance slips away. So, I'll go with Bychkova to (hopefully) fulfill one of those pre-season predictions.


All for now.

5 Comments:

Blogger thesupernova said...

I'm looking at the draw right now and I don't see Sam.......did she pull out? If so, that really sucks, she's really starting to heat up.

Mon Feb 06, 01:02:00 PM EST  
Blogger Andrew said...

yes, she's withdrawn -right toe sprain

Mon Feb 06, 01:09:00 PM EST  
Blogger Todd Spiker said...

I had to change my pick from Stosur to Bychkova (which I don't feel all that confident about, either). :(

Mon Feb 06, 03:56:00 PM EST  
Blogger Todd Spiker said...

Ooh, I just realized that Stosur is now the new doubles #1 on the WTA computer (I just added that to her "Riser" award section). After that, maybe she deserves a week off, after all. :)

Mon Feb 06, 04:44:00 PM EST  
Blogger thesupernova said...

She's on my WTA team right now, I hope her toe gets better fast!

Mon Feb 06, 04:59:00 PM EST  

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