Saturday, November 01, 2008

2008 WTA BSA's



Lists have always been a stock and trade component of WTA Backspin, and that's never more the case than with the annual Backspin Awards.

As the results of the American presidential election are about a week away, the same goes with the final "Ms. Backspin" standings. But here, unlike at the polls, the "lesser" office winners are ready to be announced:

*RISERS*

1. Dinara Safina, RUS
2. Vera Zvonareva, RUS
3. Agnieszka Radwanska, POL

4. Flavia Pennetta, ITA
5. Alize Cornet, FRA
6. Katarina Srebotnik, SLO
7. Sara Errani, ITA
8. Li Na, CHN
9. Zheng Jie, CHN
10. Anna-Lena Groenefeld, GER
11. A.Bondarenko/K.Bondarenko, UKR
12. Anabel Medina-Garrigues, ESP
13. Chan Yung-Jan/Chuang Chia-Jung, TPE
14. Maria Kirilenko, RUS
15. Bethanie Mattek, USA
16t. Kateryna Bondarenko, UKR
16t. Alona Bondarenko, UKR
18. Marion Bartoli, FRA
19. Karin Knapp, ITA
20. Vera Dushevina, RUS
21. Peng Shuai, CHN
22. Lucie Safarova, CZE
23. Tsvetana Pironkova, BUL
24. Petra Cetkovska, CZE
25. Barbora Zahlavova-Strycova, CZE
HM- Peng S./Sun T., CHN & Sofia Arvidsson, SWE

*FRESH FACES*

1. Caroline Wozniacki, DEN
2. Dominika Cibulkova, SVK

3. Victoria Azarenka, BLR
4. Carla Suarez-Navarro, ESP
5. Sabine Lisicki, GER
6. Michelle Larcher de Brito, POR
7. Casey Dellacqua, AUS
8. Sorana Cirstea, ROU
9. Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, RUS
10. Petra Kvitova, CZE
11. Ekaterina Makarova, RUS
12. Alla Kudryavtseva, RUS
13. Marina Erakovic, NZL
14. Yanina Wickmayer, BEL
15. Evgeniya Rodina, RUS
16. Tamira Paszek, AUT
17. Urszula Radwanska, POL
18. Olga Govortsova, BLR
19. Aleksandra Wozniak, CAN
20. Timea Bacsinszky, SUI
21. Magdalena Rybarikova, SVK
22. Julia Goerges, GER
23. Alexa Glatch, USA
24. Alisa Kleybanova, RUS
25. Ioana-Raluca Olaru, ROU
HM- Mariana Duque-Marino, COL & Stefanie Vogt, SUI

*UP-AND-COMERS*

1. Laura Robson, GBR
2. Coco Vandeweghe, USA

3. Kristie Haerim Ahn, USA
4. Arantxa Rus, NED
5. Melanie Oudin, USA
6. Ksenia Lykina, RUS
7t. Elena Bogdan, ROU
7t. Ana Bogdan, ROU
8. Noppawan Lertcheewakarn, THA
9. Simona Halep, ROU
10. Polona Hercog, SLO
11. Tamaryn Hendler, BEL
12. Gabriela Paz, VEN
13. Chelsey Gullickson, USA
14. Madison Brengle, USA
15. Bojana Jovanovski, SRB
16. Katarzyner Piter, POL
17. Stephanie Vogt, LIE
18. Jessica Moore, AUS
19. Kurumi Nara, JPN
20. Kristina Mladenovic, FRA
HM- Gail Brodsky, USA & Lenka Jurikova, SVK

*SURPRISES*

1. Aleksandra Wozniak, CAN
2. Petra Kvitova, CZE
3. Casey Dellacqua, AUS
4. Mariya Koryttseva, UKR
5. Sabine Lisicki, GER
6. Julie Coin, FRA
7. ESP Fed Cup team
8. Pauline Parmentier, FRA
9. Anne Keothavong, GBR
10. C.Dellacqua/F.Schiavone, AUS/ITA
11. Kaia Kanepi, EST
12. Maria Jose Martinez-Sanchez, ESP
13. Stefanie Vogele, SUI
14. Andreja Klepac, SLO
15. Maria-Emilia Salerni, ARG
16. L.Hradecka/A.Hlavackova, CZE
17. Vesna Manasieva, RUS
18. Carly Gullickson, USA
19. Chayenne Ewijk, NED
20. Jelena Pandzic, CRO
HM- Angelika Bachmann, GER & Mathilde Johansson, FRA

*VETERANS*

1. Cara Black/Liezel Huber, ZIM/USA
2. Serena Williams, USA
3. Venus Williams, USA
4. Elena Dementieva, RUS

5. Flavia Pennetta, ITA
6. A.Medina-Garrigues/V.Ruano-Pascual, ESP
7. K.Srebotnik/A.Sugiyama, SLO/JPN
8. Nadia Petrova, RUS
9. K.Peschke/R.Stubbs, CZE/AUS
10. Katarina Srebotnik, SLO
11. Nuria Llagostera-Vives, ESP
12. Patty Schnyder, SUI
13. Tamarine Tanasugarn, THA
14. Lindsay Davenport, USA
15. Francesca Schiavone, ITA
16. Jill Craybas, USA
17. Iveta Benesova, CZE
18. Klara Zakopalova, CZE
19. Kimiko Date-Krumm, JPN
20. Lisa Raymond, USA
HM- Julie Ditty, USA & Severine Bremond, FRA

COMEBACK PLAYERS*

1. Flavia Pennetta, ITA
2. Zheng Jie, CHN
3. Tamarine Tanasugarn, THA
4. Nuria Llagostera-Vives, ESP
5. Anna-Lena Groenefeld, GER
6. Kimiko Date-Krumm, JPN
7. Jelena Dokic, AUS
8. Elena Bovina, RUS
9. Samantha Stosur, AUS
10. Lucie Safarova, CZE
11. Iveta Benesova, CZE
12. Jamea Jackson, USA
13. Rossana de los Rios, PAR
14. Romina Oprandi, ITA
15. Karolina Sprem, CRO
HM- Sesil Karatantcheva, BUL & Marta Domachowska, POL

*DOWN*

1. Nicole Vaidisova, CZE
2. Tatiana Golovin, FRA
3. Sania Mirza, IND
4. Michaella Krajicek, NED
5. Alicia Molik, AUS
6. Agnes Szavay, HUN
7. Julia Vakulenko, UKR
8. Anna Chakvetadze, RUS
9. Shahar Peer, ISR
10. Svetlana Kuznetsova, RUS (in singles finals)
11. CHN Fed Cup team
12. Meghann Shaughnessy, USA
13. Aravane Rezai, FRA
14. Virginie Razzano, FRA
15. Tamira Paszek, AUT
HM- Amelie Mauresmo, FRA & Daniela Hantuchova, SVK (after Australian Open)
EXTRA HM- Lindsay Davenport's broken body, USA

*FED CUP (WG) MVP's*
1. Svetlana Kuznetsova, RUS (F)
2. Nuria Llagostera-Vives, ESP (SF)
3. Ashley Harkleroad, USA (1st Rd.)



=ITF STARS=

*CIRCUIT PLAYERS OF THE YEAR*
1. Anna-Lena Groenefeld, GER
2. Masa Zec-Peskiric, SLO
3. Elena Kulikova, RUS
4. Patricia Mayr, AUT
5. Hsieh Su-Wei, TPE
HM- Mara Santangelo, ITA & Kimiko Date-Krumm, JPN


*ITF RISERS*
1. Melinda Czink, HUN
2. Kristina Barrois, GER
3. Jarmila Gajdosova, SVK (AUS)
4. Barbora Zahlavova-Strycova CZE
5. Julie Ditty/Carly Gullickson, USA
6. Betina Jozami, ARG
7. Soledad Esperson, ARG
8. Nina Bratchikova, RUS
9. Ekaterina Dzehalevich, BLR
10. Lourdes Dominguez-Lino, ESP
11. Anna Tatishvili, GEO
12. Stephanie Gehrlein, GER
13. Johanna Larsson, SWE
14. Angelique Kerber, GER
15. Anna Floris, ITA
HM- Stephanie Cohen Aloro, FRA

*ITF FRESH FACES*
1. Klaudia Boczova, SVK
2. Irina-Camelia Begu, ROU
3. Marlot Meddens, NED
4. Viktoriya Kutuzova, UKR
5. Romana Tabakova, SVK
6. Anastasia Pivovarova, RUS
7. Carly Gullickson/Chelsey Gullickson, USA
8. Varvara Lepchenko, USA
9. Ksenia Pervak, RUS
10. Ksenia Milevskaya, BLR
11. Ksenia Palkina, KGZ
12. Petra Martic, CRO
13. Elena Chalova, RUS
14. Oksana Kalashnikova, GEO
15. Jacqueline Cako, USA
HM- Mallory Cecil, USA

*ITF SURPRISES*
1. Lenka Wienerova, SVK
2. Lisa Sabino, ITA
3. Carly Gullickson, USA
4. Tomoko Yonemura, JPN
5. Veronica Spiegel, ARG
6. Mervana Jugic-Salkic, BIH
7 Anastasija Sevastova, LAT
8. Melanie Gloria, CAN
9. Pemra Ozgen, TUR
10. Valentina Sulpizio, ITA
11. Lindsey Hardenbergh, USA
12. Sara del Barrio-Aragon, ESP
13. Anastasia Kharchenko, UKR
14. Chae Kyung Yee, KOR
15. Estrella Cabeza-Candela, ESP
HM- Sandy Gumulya, INA

*ITF VETERANS*
1. Kimiko Date-Krumm, JPN
2. Julie Ditty, USA
3. Neuza Silva, POR
4. Tathiana Garbin, ITA
5. Julie Coin, FRA
HM- Roberta Vinci, ITA & Camille Pin, FRA

*ITF COMEBACKS*
1. Anna-Lena Groenefeld, GER
2. Kimiko Date-Krumm, JPN
3. Jelena Dokic, AUS
4. Elena Bovina, RUS
5. Romina Oprandi, ITA
HM- Sesil Karatantcheva, BUL

*ITF SEMI-DISAPPOINTMENT*
Sesil Karatantcheva... 14-0 start with two titles, then 31-24 with zero titles from there on out



*CHOKES OF THE YEAR*
1. Svetlana Kuznetsova announces that she'll skip early '08 Fed Cup action in order to focus on catching world #1 Justine Henin (she was 2400+ points back at #2), then proceeds to go 0-5 in singles finals on the season, making her 1-10 in her last eleven over the last two-plus years (and the one win came when her opponent retired after being injured while leading the match). Oh, yeah... and Henin retired before the Contessova could catch her, too.
=============================
2. China loses in the Fed Cup semifinals to Spain's "B" team. On hard courts. In Beijing. Ouch.
=============================
3. After becoming #1 and winning Roland Garros, Ana Ivanovic follows up with a 3rd Round exit at Wimbledon and a 2nd Round collapse at the U.S. Open, two of three losses to players ranked #93+ in the months immediately following her career high point. She falls to #5 before finally winning a title in October.
=============================
4. Maria Sharapova's doctors fail to diagnose her rotator cuff injury, causing her to miss the Olympics and the U.S. Open, then end her season three months before its scheduled conclusion.
=============================
5. Agnes Szavay spends the majority of 2008 in the Top 20, but suffers twelve one-and-out losses in tournaments (with losses to nine players ranked #80+) while compiling a 26-25 record.
=============================
6. Jelena Jankovic continues to play in the Hopman Cup competition for Serbia after suffering a hamstring injury (retiring twice, and losing in a walkover), in her typically theatrically dramatic words, "risking her career" to play for her country... in a Week 1 exhibition event. Of course, everything "mostly" worked out for her in the end.
=============================
7. In the Australian Open 4th Round, Nadia Petrova loses to Agnieszka Radwanska after leading 6-1/3-0. Nursing a thigh injury that spread to her brain, Petrova loses 24 of 28 points in the 3rd set as A-Rad wins 1-6/7-5/6-0 and posts zero unforced errors in the final stanza.
=============================
8. In the Fed Cup SF, with its top stars either hurt or otherwise engaged, the United States is forced to essentially "forfeit" by putting up a team of newcomers/youngsters (including Vania King, Madison Brengle and Ahsha Rolle) against a Russian team consisting of the likes of Kuznetsova, Safina, Chakvetadze and Vesnina.
=============================
9. "TENNIS CHOKE," BY PROXY: Chris Evert's new husband, Greg Norman, squanders away golf's British Open after holding a surprising lead going into the final round. Of course, this was in no way Evert's fault -- Norman has been doing this sort of thing off and on over the past two decades or so.
=============================

*COMEBACKS OF THE YEAR*

1. Dinara Safina comes back from two match points -- twice, versus Maria Sharapova and Elena Dementieva -- to get wins and ultimately reach the Roland Garros final.
=============================
2. In the Miami 2nd Round, Jelena Jankovic comes back from a 1-5 deficit in the 3rd set, then a 3-6 hole in the deciding tie-break, to defeat Sofia Arvidsson after saving five match points.
=============================
3. Anna-Lena Groenefeld, Elena Bovina, Jelena Dokic and Kimiko Date-Krumm returned to win ITF singles titles.
=============================
4. In the Fed Cup World Group Playoffs, Francesca Schiavone (ITA) saves three match points against FC newcomer Mariya Koryttseva (UKR) and wins 3-6/7-6/7-5. Schiavone loses just one point in the final two games.
=============================
5. In consecutive 1st Round matches in Tokyo and Beijing, Dominika Cibulkova comes from behind to defeat Amelie Mauresmo. In Tokyo, Cibulkova saved four match points, then in Beijing erased a 6-3/4-3 lead (and 3-1 in the 3rd) one week later.
=============================
6. Li Na wins her first title in three and a half years in Gold Coast.
=============================
7. Evonne Goolagong becomes the sixteenth woman to be ranked #1 in WTA history (there have now been eighteen), thirty-one years after the fact, when she is finally credited with two weeks in the top spot back in 1976.
=============================
8. In one of the few bright spots in her season, Anna Chakavetadze saves two match points against Stephanie Dubois and wins their Wimbledon 1st Round match 2-6/6-1/8-6.
=============================
9. Sesil Karatantcheva opens her 2008 ITF season, her first sanctioned action after a two-year drug suspension, by winning a $25K event in Surprise, Arizona and then claims a second title a week later. Unfortunately, the biggest surprise turned out to be that she never won another title all season... though she did win her first WTA main draw match since November '05 with a 1st Round win in Fes over Elena Baltacha.
=============================

*SURPRISES OF THE YEAR*

1. Aleksandra Wozniak wins Stanford, becoming the first Canadian WTA singles champion in twenty years... back when A-Woz was literally in diapers.
=============================
2. Brit Laura Robson becomes the first home-grown girl to win the Wimbledon juniors crown in twenty-four years (and, more importantly, got a letter of congratulations from Marat Safin). Three months later, Coco Vandeweghe became the first American girl to win the U.S. Open junior title since 1995. Australia looks on, green with envy.
=============================
3. Wimbledon 3rd Rd. - Zheng d. Ivanovic
...6-1/6-4.
Zheng, whose low ranking and wild card entry were the result of '07 injury woes, was certainly better than #133 in the world coming into this match, but a fresh-off-a-Roland Garros title AnaIvo certainly wasn't supposed to be outclassed by the eventual first Chinese slam semifinalist.
=============================
4. Berlin 3rd Rd. - Safina d. Henin 5-7/6-3/6-1
Berlin QF - Safina d. S.Williams 2-6/6-1/7-6
..Safina's two-fer not only sent her on a fabulous run for the rest of the season, but it also sent Henin into retirement.

=============================
5. Roland Garros 3rd Rd. - Srebotnik d. S.Williams 6-4/6-4
Roland Garros 3rd Rd. - Pennetta d. V.Williams 7-5/6-3
...
it was only the second time that both Venus and Serena were knocked out of a slam before the 4th Round (2006 Australian).
=============================
6. Beijing QF - Dementieva d. S.Williams 3-6/6-4/6-3
Beijing QF - Li d. V.Williams 7-5/7-5
...
and on the same day, too. Serena rebounded pretty well in New York, though.
=============================
7. Introducing...
..15-year old Serb Alexandra Krunic won her ITF professional debut event in Prokuplje, SRB, while 18-year old American Lindsey Hardenbergh claim the singles crown in her USTA circuit debut in a $10K in St.Louis.
=============================
8. Oh, so THAT'S how you do it
...
in her seventh year as a pro, Angela Haynes finally reached her first WTA singles SF in Quebec City... after losing in qualifying and getting into the main draw as a lucky loser. If only someone had whispered this secret path to success into her ear years ago...
=============================

*UPSETS OF THE YEAR*

1. US Open 2nd Rd. - Coin d. Ivanovic
...6-3/4-6/6-3. World #188, qualifier and first-time main draw participant Coin, upends the world #1 to produce the biggest upset (by rank) in the Open's history.

=============================
2. Wimbledon 2nd Rd. - Kudryavtseva d. Sharapova
...6-2/6-4.
Russian world #154 Kudryavtseva, a year after nearly upsetting Venus at SW19, gets the Supernova. It's Sharapova's worst slam result since her debut in '03 and the worst defeat, ranking-wise, of her career. Plus, all the talk after the match centered around whether or not Kudryavtseva REALLY didn't like Sharapova's outfit.
=============================
3. Fed Cup SF - Spain def. China
...4-1.
The "backups" beat the "starters"... on the favored team's home court, not to mention favorite surface.
=============================
4. Fed Cup 1st Rd - Lisicki d. Davenport
...6-1/7-5.
Davenport's previously sterling FC record didn't help her much when she was shocked by the German teen. It turned out to sort of be the beginning of the end for the American's previously successful season.
=============================
5. Australian Open 3rd Rd. - Dellacqua d. Mauresmo
...3-6/6-4/6-4.
Dellacqua became the pride of Australia -- and her crying relatives) -- when she rode a string of upsets to the Oz Round of 16.
=============================
6. Doha 3rd Rd. - Cibulkova d. V.Williams
...6-3/6-3.
As the year wore on, the young Slovak continued to display a keen ability to knock off highly-ranked foes.
=============================
7. Fed Cup WG II Playoffs - Vogele d. Paszek
...4-6/6-1/7-5.
Paszek fails to clinch the tie for Austria in the fourth match, then watches Switzerland easily win the doubles decider. Her season took a decided downturn after this match, too.
=============================

NEXT WEEK: Ms. Backspin (with "Performance of the Year" and "Match of the Year" winners, plus 2008 season-ending ranking lists)


All for now.



2008 SEASON REVIEW EDITIONS OF WTA BACKSPIN:
...Revolving Doors - WTA '09 Guide Preview
...Intriguing Answers, Pt.1
...Intriguing Answers, Pt.2
...The Best of Jankovic 2008
...Regional Honors
...Backspin Awards
...Ms. Backspin (next week)
...WTA Yearbook (coming soon)

6 Comments:

Blogger bullfrog said...

Always looks forward to the annual awards...great assessment and a fun read...thanks!

Sun Nov 02, 09:26:00 AM EST  
Blogger Todd Spiker said...

Thanks, bullfrog.

Ha, that's sentence I never thought I'd type. (Great username!) :D

Sun Nov 02, 02:06:00 PM EST  
Blogger Diane said...

As always, a wonderful read.

Fri Nov 07, 07:21:00 PM EST  
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