Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Wk.40- Revolving Doors

With Tennisrulz's merry world traveler (and Head Honcho, of course) Pierre Cantin moving in and out of venues in Russia and China, it seems an appropriate time to wonder who'll soon be moving in and out of the WTA Official Guide for 2007 based on their results during the nearly-completed 2006 season.



It's a wonderful acknowledgement for the tour to bestow a new player with the honor of being officially listed as a "mover and shaker" at the beginning of the new year... and a tremendous blow for a player (and her fans) to be dropped from the ranks of "the current." So, who might be passing each other in the guide's revolving doors in a few months time?

==WELCOME INSIDE?==
Tamira Paszek: a title pays your membership fee
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Olga Poutchkova: the next Russian on the move? But does one month of eye-opening play = a guide bio?
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Agnieszka Radwanska: she's put up some pretty big-time pelts (the Czarina, Punch Sober, Venus) on her wall this season
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Brenda Schultz-McCarthy: is her reclaiming of the fastest serve enough?
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Aravane Rezai: good work in slams overcomes dad being found guilty of violence against another player's father in '04
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Vania King: the only possible new American addition, she just won her first career doubles title
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Kirsten Flipkens: a Fed Cup star in '06, for good and for bad
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Romina Oprandi & Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez: ITF stars making small inroads on the big tour
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Tzipora Obziler: is reaching your first tour SF at age 33 enough to warrant inclusion in the club?
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NOT QUITE: Stephanie Dubois... the win over an injured Kim Clijsters isn't likely enough.

THERE'S STILL TIME: Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova... the top junior, but she's yet to make a name for herself on tour ala Paszek. She just lost in Moscow to Nicole Vaidisova.

ONE MORE YEAR: Caroline Wozniacki, Jarmila Gajdosova

==SHOWN THE DOOR?==
Sesil Karatantcheva: hard to see her being listed while on suspension
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Jennifer Capriati: move over, Monica.
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Martina Navratilova: well... at least she'll still be listed in the "champions" bio section
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Conchita Martinez: ditto
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Dally Randriantefy: she won't be, though.
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Evgenia Linetskaya: family troubles
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Alexandra Stevenson: why was she still there in '06, anyway?
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Maret Ani & Arantxa Parra Santonja: they've kind of dropped off the radar in '06
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Jelena Dokic: or is it Dokic-Bikic?
-----------------------------


HOLD ON JUST A MOMENT: Elena Bovina... she hadn't played since May '05 after a shoulder injury, but she reappeared in Moscow this week (losing to Shahar Peer), so maybe she'll get a mulligan and stick around for the '07 guide, after all.

But then again, who knows how these decisions are made.


*WEEK 40*

STUTTGART, GERMANY (II-HI)
S: Nadia Petrova d. Tatiana Golovin 6-3/7-6
D: Raymond/Stosur d. Black/Stubbs

TOKYO [JAPAN OPEN], JAPAN (III-HO)
S: Marion Bartoli d. Aiko Nakamura 2-6/6-2/6-2
D: King/Kostanic d. Chan/Chuang

TASHKENT, UZBEKISTAN (IV-HO)
S: T.Sun d. Tulyaganova 6-2/6-4
D: Azarenka/Poutchek d. Camerin/Gagliardi



PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Nadia Petrova

...Nadia looked mighty sharp in that new Porsche she won over the weekend. Stuttgart was title #5 for the season (tying JHH for the most on tour), and finally reversed the free fall she's been in since injuring herself before Roland Garros. Before the injury, she'd won fifteen straight and gone 22-1. In the eight events that followed, she won a total of three matches. She won four in Stuttgart -- big ones over Groenefeld, Hantuchova, Kuznetsova and Golovin (all Top 25 players).
=============================
RISERS: Marion Bartoli & Tatiana Golovin

...a pair of Pastries. Bartoli picked up her second title of the year in Tokyo's Japan Open, allowing her to enter the Top 20 for the first time. In Stuttgart, Golovin reached her first final since doing so in Tokyo one year ago -- getting wins over Likhovtseva, Benesova, Krajicek & Schnyder -- but is still looking for her first title. Still, the Miami injury is finally in her rear view mirror and she looks ready to resume her upward trajectory in the rankings.
=============================
SURPRISES: Tiantian Sun & Aiko Nakamura

...Sun, 25, became the fourth Chinese woman to win a WTA singles title, and the oldest first-time champion on tour this season with her Tashkent victory over Iroda Tulyaganova. At #128, Sun was the only of the three women with the opportunity in singles finals this weekend to actually manage to grab her first tour singles title. Along with Sun & Golovin, 22-year old Nakamura was the third trying for her maiden championship. She didn't get it in Tokyo, but it was her first appearance in a final and signals that she's still up to challenging the resurgent Ai Sugiyama in '07 for the title of top Japanese player.
=============================
VETERANS: Patty Schnyder & Iroda Tulyaganova
...Schnyder knocked off Chanda Rubin and Shahar Peer before finally falling to Golovin in the Stuttgart SF in three sets. Tashkent wild card Tulyaganova is just 24, but she's still enough of a vet to be counted here since the world #221 hadn't reached a final since Hyderabad in February '03. Might wins over Tanasugarn, K.Bondarenko and Poutchkova two weeks after reaching the SF in Kolkata mean she's ready to assume a more regular presence on tour?
=============================
FRESH FACES: Victoria Azarenka & Yung-Jan Chan

...the teenagers made their first tour singles semifinals, Belarussian Azarenka in Tashkent and Taiwanese Chan in Tokyo. Chan, a junior semifinalist at RG in June, notched wins over Schruff, Domachowska and Sugiyama. But it was Azarenka who walked away with a doubles title with Tatiana Poutchek (by a walkover in the final, no less), while Chan was a doubles RU this weekend.
=============================
DOWN: Francesca Schiavone
...after failing to win her first title in Luxembourg the weekend before, Schiavone retired in the 3rd set against Iveta Benesova in her first match in Stuttgart.
=============================


1. Stutt SF - Petrova d. Kuznetsova
...6-2/1-6/6-4. The chair umpire overruled a shot at game point late in the 3rd set that would have allowed Kuznetsova to knot the match at 5-5 and bring a deciding tie-break ever closer. With the Contessova's concentration fatally broken, Petrova charged into the final after Kuznetsova tossed in a pair of unforced errors to close out the match.
=============================
2. Tash F - Sun d. Tulyaganova
...6-2/6-4. #128 vs. #221?
=============================
3. Tok F - Bartoli d. Nakamura
...2-6/6-2/6-2. And Daniela Hantuchova was officially knocked out of the Top 20.
=============================
4. Stutt F - Petrova d. Golovin
...6-3/7-6. Nadia gets some revenge for the Frussian Pastry knocking her off at the US Open.
=============================
5. Stutt 2nd - Petrova d. Groenefeld
...6-4/6-4. They'll meet yet again in Moscow.
=============================
6. Stutt 2nd - Hantuchova d. Safina
...6-2/6-2. Safina had entered the Top 10 just before this match. How very "Marat" of her.
=============================
7. Stutt 1st - Krajicek d. Stosur
...6-2/6-7/6-1. Krajicek defeated Raymond last week, too. But on the weekend, Raymond/Stosur won their tour-leading seventh doubles crown of the year.
=============================
8. Tash QF - Poutchkova d. Mirza
...6-4/4-6/6-0. Poutchkova continued to knock on the door last week, though she ran out of gas (gave up?) in a lackluster late effort against Tulyaganova in the SF.
=============================
9. Tok Doub.F - King/Kostanic d. Chan/Chuang
...7-6/5-7/6-2. This was American Idol King's first tour doubles title.
=============================
10. Granada $10K F - Katerina Vankova d. Ferrer-Lopez Cuervo

...6-0/7-6. Czech Maiden Katerina, 16, a junior semifinalist at this year's RG and US Open, won her second ITF crown of the year.
=============================
HM- Sofia $10K F - Anne Schaefer d. Germanlieva
...6-2/6-7/6-4. This was the 19-year old German's fifth ITF title on the year, tying her for the season's lead.
=============================


**MOST 2006 WTA TITLES**
5...Justine Henin-Hardenne
5...NADIA PETROVA
4...Amelie Mauresmo

**UNDEFEATED IN 2006 FINALS**
[2+]
NADIA PETROVA (5-0)
Shahar Peer (3-0)
Michaella Krajicek (2-0)
Meghann Shaughnessy (2-0)
Jie Zheng (2-0)

**RUSSIANS IN FINALS**
5...NADIA PETROVA (5-0)
5...Maria Sharapova (3-2)
5...Svetlana Kuznetsova (3-2)
3...Elena Dementieva (2-1)
3...Vera Zvonareva (2-1)
3...Anastasia Myskina (0-3)
2...Dinara Safina (0-2)
1...Anna Chakvetadze (1-0)
1...Olga Poutchkova (0-1)

**RUSSIAN TOUR FINALISTS/TITLES**
2004: 33 finalists, 15 titles
2005: 17 finalists, 9 titles
2006: 28 finalists, 16 titles

**CHINESE - AGE AT FIRST TITLE**
20...Zi Yan (2005)
21...Jie Zheng (2005)
22...Na Li (2004)
25...TIANTIAN SUN (2006)

**LOW-RANKED 2006 FINALISTS**
#259 Tamira Paszek (Q) - Portoroz (W)
#221 IRODA TULYAGANOVA (WC) - TASHKENT (L)
#128 TIANTIAN SUN - TASHKENT (W)
#117 Martina Hingis (WC) - Tokyo TPPO (L)

**2006 SEMIFINALISTS BY COUNTRY**
50...Russia
20...France
19...Belgium
15...Italy
14...Switzerland
13...USA
11...Spain
10...Czech Republic
9....China
7....Israel
6....Serbia
4....Germany, Netherlands
3....Croatia, Japan, Slovak Republic
2....Australia, Austria, Estonia, Greece, Poland, Sweden, Taiwan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan
1....Belarus, Bulgaria, Colombia, Hungary, India, Slovenia, South Korea

**MOST 2006 ITF TITLES**
5...ANNE SCHAEFER (GER)
5...Sandra Martinovic (BIH)
5...Betina Jozami (ARG)
4...Jarmila Gajdosova (SVK)
4...Romina Oprandi (ITA)
4...Martina Muller (GER)



...all the world meets in Russia this week, it seems.


MOSCOW, RUSSIA (I-SI)
05 FINAL: Pierce d. Schiavone
06 TOP: Mauresmo/Sharapova
=============================
SF: Petrova d. Mauresmo; Sharapova d. Dementieva
FINAL: Sharapova d. Petrova

...of course, every title Petrova wins comes when I don't pick her.


BANGKOK, THAILAND (III-HO)
05 FINAL: Vaidisova d. Petrova
06 TOP: Dechy/Medina-Garrigues
==============================
SF: Yan d. Sun; Medina-Garrigues d. Molik
FINAL: Medina-Garrigues d. Yan

...what a crapshoot this is, with everyone meeting in Russia this title could go to just about anyone.

All for now.

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