Monday, October 30, 2006

Wk.43- "It"

Has "it" begun?



Sixteen straight match wins and three consecutive titles (around that pesky Moscow walkover), a move to #2 in the rankings with an eye on seizing #1 in Madrid. A slam title leading to a Tier I... leading to a potential YEC crown and a tidal wave of momentum to carry into 2007 and Melbourne?

Are we and Maria Sharapova in the midst of "it"... a year earlier than anticipated?

More on "it" later this week.


**WEEK 43**

LINZ, AUSTRIA (II-HI)
S: Maria Sharapova d. Nadia Petrova 7-5/6-2
D: Raymond/Stosur d. Morariu/Srebotnik
=============================


PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Maria Sharapova
...title #5 of 2006 was #15 for her career. Now she's just a win in the final in Madrid against anyone but JHH away from just what she doesn't want -- the year-end #1 ranking... or so she says.
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RISERS: Nadia Petrova & Samantha Stosur

...Petrova played like a defending champ at the tournament that freed her from the shackles of being title-less one year ago, reaching her third consecutive final this fall by surging past Shahar Peer, Samantha Stosur and Nicole Vaidsova. Speaking of Stosur, she took out Russians Maria Kirilenko and Anna Chakvetadze (ending The Doll's 10-match winning streak) in reaching the Linz QF, then claimed her eighth doubles title of the season with Lisa Raymond.
=============================
SURPRISES: Marina Erakovic & Evgenia Grebenyuk

...the 18-year olds were ITF title winners this weekend. Erakovic, a New Zealander by way of Croatia, won her third title of the season at the $50K in Beijing. She's now at a career-high rank of #178. Obscure Russian Grebenyuk won the $25K in Podolsk for her first career ITF title.
=============================
VETERANS: Patty Schnyder & Lisa Raymond

...Schnyder defeated Nathalie Dechy and Vera Zvonareva to reach the Linz SF. She's #9 in the YEC Race (the Top 8 automatically qualify), and will now cross her fingers and wait for the seemingly annual withdrawal of a top player or two. Raymond, 33, and Stosur, with eight '06 titles in tow, will go to Madrid with their eyes on repeating as the YEC Doubles champions.
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FRESH FACES: Nicole Vaidisova & Caroline Wozniacki

...Vaidisova showed the form she hopes to sport more consistently in '07 when she knocked off Jelena Jankovic in the Linz QF, reclaiming her Top 10 ranking. How high can she rise next season if she can fix up the 1-6 record in SF she put together this year? Meanwhile, 16-year old Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark, junior champ at this year's Wimbledon (and tossed from the U.S. Open juniors for using obscene language) won her first pro title at the $25K in Istanbul. Now, the world #280 will have something good to talk about in the blog at her official website.
=============================
DOWN: Maria Kirilenko & Mary Pierce

,,,Kirilenko retired in the Linz 1st Round against Stosur with a hip injury, further securing her role as one of the very few Russians who haven't improved upon their '05 performance. After pulling out of the Hasselt draw, she's 23-26 on the season. But, oh, Kirilenko's got nothing on Pierce. After struggling to get healthy all season, she finally did it. Then, in the 2nd Round in Linz against Vera Zvonareva she ruptured ligaments in her knee and will be out at least six months (and maybe for good).
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1. Linz QF - Vaidisova d. Jankovic
...5-7/7-6/6-4. Vaidisova's serve has been hit and miss at times in '06. With 20 aces, it was definitely a hit against Jankovic.
------------------------------
2. Linz 2nd - Zvonareva d. Pierce
...4-6/5-6 ret. Pierce had three match points before she planted her foot behind the baseline in the match's 22nd game and possibly saw her career end in a flash. She was carried out on a stretcher, with surgery looming. What better evidence does a player need to prove that you can't afford to blow match points? (Cruel, yes... but still true.)
------------------------------
3. Linz F - Sharapova d. Petrova
...7-5/6-2. Petrova is the second-best Russian, but she's 1-5 against the best.
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4. Linz 1st - Vesnina d. Hantuchova
...4-3 ret. That it's no surprise that Hantuchova would have this result after reaching the Zurich final says a great deal about why she's had so much difficulty re-energizing her career after her '02 boomlet.
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5. Linz 1st - A.Radwanska d. Anna-Lena Groenefeld
...6-4/7-5. Make that 10-16 on hard courts in' 06 for Girl Friday. At least with all the withdrawals in Hasselt, she gets a qualifier in the 1st Round.
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HM- Bratislava $75K F - Cibulkova d. Barrois

...7-5/6-1. I picked this 17-year old Slovak (currently #156) to win her first WTA singles title in '06. That didn't happen, but her title in Bratislava also included wins over Tu, Pironkova and Poutchek... and it certainly sets her up for a similar prediction in '07.
------------------------------


**2006 WTA SINGLES TITLES**
5...MARIA SHARAPOVA
5...Justine Henin-Hardenne
5...Nadia Petrova
4...Amelie Mauresmo

**MOST 2006 WTA FINALS**
9...Justine Henin-Hardenne (5-4)
7...MARIA SHARAPOVA (5-2)
7...NADIA PETROVA (5-2)
6...Amelie Mauresmo (4-2)
5...Svetlana Kuznetsova (3-2)
4...Kim Clijsters (2-2)
4...Martina Hingis (2-2)

**MOST SINGLES TITLES - [2005-06]**
11...Kim Clijsters [9/2]
9....Justine Henin-Hardenne [4/5]
8....MARIA SHARAPOVA [3/5]
8....Amelie Mauresmo [4/4]
6....Nadia Petrova [1/5]
6....Lindsay Davenport [6/0]
4....Nicole Vaidisova [3/1]
4....Anabel Medina-Garrigues [2/2]

**MOST 2006 DOUBLES TITLES**
8...LISA RAYMOND/SAMANTHA STOSUR
6...Zi Yan/Jie Zheng
3...Virginia Ruano-Pascual/Paola Suarez
3...Kveta Peschke/Francesca Schiavone

**ALL-RUSSIAN FINALS**
-2003-
Doha - Myskina d. Likhovtseva
-2004-
Doha - Myskina d. Kuznetsova
Roland Garros - Myskina d. Dementieva
U.S. Open - Kuznetsova d. Dementieva
Hasselt - Dementieva d. Bovina
Moscow - Myskina d. Dementieva
-2005-
none
-2006-
Indian Wells - Sharapova d. Dementieva
Miami - Kuznetsova d. Sharapova
Moscow - Chakvetadze d. Petrova
Linz - Sharapova d. Petrova


===OCTOBER AWARDS (WEEK 40-43)===
*TOP PLAYERS*
1. Maria Sharapova
2. Nadia Petrova
3. Anna Chakvetadze
4. Marion Bartoli
5. Lisa Raymond & Samantha Stosur

*RISERS*
1. Nadia Petrova
2. Marion Bartoli
3. Tatiana Golovin
4. Ana Ivanovic
5. Daniela Hantuchova
6. Samantha Stosur
7. Tiantian Sun
8. Vera Zvonareva
9. Shahar Peer
10. Katarina Srebotnik
HM- Sybille Bammer

*SURPRISES*
1. Vania King
2. Tiantian Sun
3. Iroda Tulyaganova
4. Marina Erakovic
5. Chia-Jung Chuang
HM- Raquel Kops-Jones

*VETERANS*
1. Lisa Raymond
2. Cara Black & Rennae Stubbs
3. Patty Schnyder
4. Katarina Srebotnik
5. Kveta Peschke & Francesca Schiavone
HM- Tamarine Tanasugarn

*FRESH FACES*
1. Anna Chakvetadze
2. Nicole Vaidisova
3. Vania King
4. Victoria Azarenka
5. Caroline Wozniacki
6. Aiko Nakamura
7. Yung-Jan Chan
8t. Angelique Kerber & Anne Schaefer
9. Timea Baczinszky
10. Agnes Szavay
HM- Katerina Vankova

*DOWN*
1. Amelie Mauresmo
2. Anna-Lena Groenefeld
3. Mary Pierce
4. Dinara Safina
5. Maria Kirilenko
HM- Anastasia Myskina



...a few final go-rounds before the lights are turned off for '06.


HASSELT, BELGIUM (III-Deco I)
2005 FINAL: Clijsters d. Schiavone
2006 TOP: Clijsters/Schiavone
=============================

SF: Clijsters d. Zvonareva; Ivanovic d. Dechy
FINAL: Clijsters d. Ivanovic
...as long as Clijsters doesn't decide to kick a soccer ball around with her fiance while her dog scurries around under her feet.


Semis:
Clijsters def Zvonareva
Ivanovic def Sugiyama

Final:
Clijsters def Ivanovic




QUEBEC CITY, QUEBEC CAN (III-HI)
2005 FINAL: Frazier d. Arvidsson
2006 TOP: Jankovic/Bartoli
=============================

SF: Jankovic d. Azarenka; Bartoli d. Arvidsson
FINAL: Bartoli d. Jankovic


Semis:
Jankovic def Azarenka
Bartoli def Harkleroad

Final:
Bartoli def Jankovic



All for now.

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ALSO THIS WEEK: Intriguing Answers, Pt.II

2 Comments:

Blogger Andrew said...

Great article as usual. But Schnyder didn't qualify for YEC (although I guess she still has an excellent chance of playing with Henin, Clijsters, Mauresmo all not 100% sure)

Tue Oct 31, 01:19:00 AM EST  
Blogger Todd Spiker said...

Yeah, you're right, she's currently #9 in the race. I thought I'd read that she'd qualified, but I guess it must have been Hingis and/or Clijsters.

Well, maybe Clijsters will get another bright idea for a "fun" afternoon and break something this time, opening the door for Schnyder. :)

Tue Oct 31, 04:09:00 AM EST  

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