Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Ms. Backspin '08: Two of a Kind



Forty-five weeks of tennis action and it's come to this... and, no, I didn't blink at the last moment.

After pondering whether or not it'd be a cop-out to name a duo as 2008's "Ms. Backspin" winners, I ultimately decided that I couldn't do anything but just that. Hey, we get the first African-American President-elect, and now we get a doubles team as players-of-the-year. It's a natural combo, right?

Yeah, maybe not. But I did it anyway.

The truth is that while there are multiple blueprints for determining which individual player's season was best, it's difficult not to squint when calling any of the contenders THE "Player of the Year" for 2008. Four different women won slams. Five were ranked #1. Another won Olympic Gold in singles. The one truly "dominant" player during any stretch of the year did so during the 1st Quarter, then missed the final four months of the season, while the player who put together the best muti-month stretch reached a slam final, but didn't win it. Yet even with all this "parity," the season-ending #1 player holds a huge 844-point lead on #2.

Go figure.

Anyway, at the conclusion of the most difficult-to-judge Race for Ms. Backspin ever (any of the top seven on the list could be put in a hat and pulled out and placed in another spot in the pecking order), here's how I ended up ranking the nominees:



1. Cara Black & Liezel Huber, ZIM/USA

Oh, for the lack of question of 2007, when Justine Henin ran away with the crown. In a season that was highlighted by a LACK of domination, Black & Huber were unquestionably the best doubles team in the women's game. Their ten titles as a duo more than doubled the second-best tour total, the co-#1's lead the next highest-ranked doubles player by 1820 points on the WTA computer, and Black managed to pick up a Mixed championship at the U.S. Open, as well. Their defense of their SEC title this past weekend was a nice period at the end of the sentence, while my Ms. Backspin runner-up's early exit from the WTA Championships Round Robin only served to strengthen Black & Huber's candidacy.

2. Serena Williams, USA
3. Jelena Jankovic, SRB


Even while Venus Williams' late surge moved her up the Ms. Backspin list, you really can't get past these two as the top singles players of 2008. Serena was just 1-2 after winning the U.S. Open, but her no-sets-lost triumph in New York was a shining light of the season (and was something the rest of the field couldn't prevent from becoming reality even after Williams' "look out world" visage after losing the Wimbledon final telegraphed her intentions months in advance). Jankovic, the year-end #1, was the most entertaining and consistent player on tour (again), but her lack of a slam, Olympic or SEC title constructed something of a glass ceiling for her when it came to Ms. Backspin honors. Plus, there's always the hope that 2009 will be her career year, not 2008. The U.S. Open runner-up, even after back-to-back-seasons in the Top 3, still has room to improve.

4. Maria Sharapova, RUS
5. Venus Williams, USA
6. Dinara Safina, RUS


Since it occurred so long ago now, it's easy to forget how dominant Sharapova was at the start of this season. The 18-match winning streak, Australian Open title and first-ever clay court crown was probably the most impressive run by any player all season long, and it needs to be commemorated... even if her shoulder injury prevented her from a final Act to her season. The Summer of Safina might have overtaken Sharapova's as the most dominating run by a player if she'd been able to win a slam, or even the Gold in Beijing (she took Silver). In the end, she ran out of gas in the season's final months, just as Venus caught her second wind. Venus' season was pretty much non-existent, as is often the case, until she won Wimbledon for the fifth time. Olympic doubles Gold and a great Doha charge to take her first SEC title gave her her best season-ending ranking (#6) since 2002 -- and moved her up two or three spots on this list.

7. Ana Ivanovic, SRB
8. Russian Fed Cup Team
9. Elena Dementieva, RUS


In 2009, we'll find out how much AnaIvo learned throughout 2008, which saw her reach #1 and win Roland Garros, but end her season looking for encouragement by winning a Tier II in October after having dropped to #5 in the rankings. The Serb wasn't yet ready to be the top-ranked woman in the sport, and countrywoman Jankovic's ramped-up confidence and professionalism in the intense spotlight stood in stark contrast to Ivanovic's total lack of should-have-been-well-earned boldness under similar circumstances. The Russians won a fourth Fed Cup title in five years, and provided Svetlana Kuznetsova with her one moment of seized opportunity. Dementieva finished a best-ever season-ending #4, with her Olympic Gold Medal-winning moment in Beijing carving out a place as the greatest moment her career will likely ever see.

10. Vera Zvonareva, RUS
11. Agnieszka Radwanska, POL
12. Caroline Wozniacki, DEN
HM- Flavia Pennetta, ITA


Zvonareva's run to the SEC final might have finally called her breakout season to the attention of many who'd overlooked it the previous ten-plus months. No player advanced to more finals than Zvonareva's eight, and her Bronze in Beijing might be only scratching the surface of what she could do if she only continues to allow herself to believe that she CAN. A-Rad won three titles on three different surfaces and finished in the Top 10 for the first time, while Wozniacki finally found her groove and won three titles of her own. After making the one year leap from #64 to #12, C-Woz's next stop should be the Top 10 and a deep-into-the-second-week run at a slam. If not... well, she's still the youngest player in the Top 20. Pennetta's extended comeback enabled her to attain a career-high rank, reach her biggest final yet and prove she can beat top players (Venus) multiple times. She'll be looking to become the first-ever Italian Top 10 woman in 2009.

=OTHER NOMINEES=
Spanish Fed Cup Team
Srebotnik/Sugiyama (SLO/JPN)
Ruano-Pascual/Medina-Garrigues (ESP/ESP)
Bondarenko/Bondarenko (UKR/UKR)
Nuria Llagostera-Vives (ESP)
Williams/Williams (USA/USA)
Svetlana Kuznetsova's Fed Cup play (RUS)
Maria Kirilenko (RUS)
Sara Errani (ITA)
Dominika Cibulkova (SVK)
Alize Cornet (FRA)
Anabel Medina-Garrigues (ESP)
Peschke/Stubbs (CZE/AUS)
Lindsay Davenport (USA)
Justine Henin (BEL)

*"Ms. BACKSPIN" WINNERS*
2001 Jennifer Capriati / USA
2002 Serena Williams / USA
2003 Justine Henin-Hardenne / BEL
2004 Maria Sharapova / RUS
2005 Kim Clijsters / BEL
2006 Amelie Mauresmo / FRA
2007 Justine Henin / BEL
2008 Cara Black & Liezel Huber / ZIM-USA


2008 Grand Slam Final Backspins:
Australian Open: Day of the Supernova
Roland Garros: Affirmation Ana
Wimbledon: The Mark of Venus
U..S. Open: Destiny's Child



*PERFORMANCE OF THE YEAR*

1. Venus Williams wins her fifth Wimbledon title without dropping a set, defeating sister Serena in the final.
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2. Maria Sharapova wins her first Australian Open title without losing a set. Part of Sharapova's eighteen-match winning streak, her Melbourne run included her ending of Justine Henin's own thirty-two match string of victories.
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3. Dinara Safina defeats Justine Henin and Serena Williams in back-to-back matches en route to winning the Tier I in Berlin.
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4. Serena Williams wins her ninth career slam title at the U.S. Open, not dropping a set and knocking off Venus in the QF.
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5. Ana Ivanovic seizes her opportunity at the Henin-less Roland Garros, winning her first slam and moving into the #1 ranking.
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6. Venus Williams defeats four of the Top 5 players in the world (and all the year-end Top 4) to win her first career WTA Championships title.
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7. Elena Dementieva wins Olympic singles Gold in Beijing, leading a Russian sweep of the Medal stand.
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8. Russia wins a fourth Fed Cup title in the last five years.
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9. Dinara Safina is the first woman to ever defeat three different reigning singles #1's (Henin, Sharapova & Jankovic) in the same season.
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10. Jelena Jankovic wins three straight titles in the season's closing weeks, securing the year-end #1 ranking (becoming the first Serbian to ever do so).
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11. Maria Sharapova tears down a career barrier, winning her first-ever clay court title at Amelia Island.
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12. Nuria Llagostera-Vives leads the Spanish Fed Cup team to an upset win over heavily-favored China in Beijing in the FC semifinals.
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13. Dinara Safina wins back-to-back titles and claims the U.S. Open Series.
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14. Justine Henin wins in Antwerp, claiming her first title in her home country since she won her WTA debut at age 16 there in 1999. It turns out to be her last title, as she retired three months later.
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15. Cara Black sweeps the Doubles and Mixed Doubles titles at the U.S. Open.
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HM- Julie Ditty sets all-time USTA event title (singles & doubles) record.
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*MATCHES OF THE YEAR*
1. U.S. Open QF - S.Williams d. V.Williams
...7-6(6)/7-6(7).
In a season that produced no TRUE epic match -- especially in a year that saw Nadal vs. Federer at Wimbledon on the men's side -- the top contest turned out to be a case of a very intriguing match that never got to live up to its unlimited potential because it didn't go three sets. Still, the sisters' tense, late-night tangle on Ashe saw Serena outlast Venus, who failed to convert eight set points over the course of two sets.
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2. Roland Garros SF - Ivanovic d. Jankovic
...6-4/3-6/6-4.
With the #1 ranking and a spot in the final at stake, AnaIvo won a match that saw momentum swing wildly in all directions. In retrospect, one wonders if the ultimate result would have been the same had Ivanovic known the #1 ranking was on the line. But, in the end, both came out on top. Ivanovic won RG, while Jankovic finished as the year-end #1.
=============================

3. Wimbledon 2nd Rd. - Ivanovic d. Dechy
...6-7/7-6/10-8. The "Kiss of Life." Odd, that a player who let the pressure get to her down the stretch came out on top in two of the best matches of the season. Truth is, though, this match was a warning sign that Ivanovic's facade was cracked and about to crumble. Here she overcame two match points, one on a dribbled net cord shot, in a 3:24 match that should have given her confidence that she could pull out a tough match when she wasn't at her best. The opposite proved to be the case.

=============================
4. Bangalore SF - S.Williams d. V.Williams
...6-3/3-6/7-6.
It was the sisters' first meeting since the 2005 U.S. Open, and the tightness of the contest set the stage for their later battles in London and New York.
=============================
5. Australian Open 1st Rd. - Jankovic d. Paszek
...2-6/6-2/12-10.
Classic Jankovic, right off the bat. The 3:09 battle was "highlighted" by a 116-minute 3rd set that produced fifteen breaks of serve, injury timeouts for both players and saw Paszek serve for the match five times and hold a match point. If anyone thought Queen Chaos was anything other than a never-say-die battler after this one, they just weren't paying attention.
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6. U.S. Open Final - S.Williams d. Jankovic
...6-4/7-5.
Another would-be classic that came up one set short. While many assumed that Serena would breeze to another slam title, Jankovic made her work through quite a bit of rough to earn it. Fulfilling her destiny once again, Serena rose to #1 for the first time since 2003 after the match.
=============================
7. Dubai 2nd Round - Henin d. Srebotnik
...7-5/6-7/6-3.
Lest we forget, La Petit Taureau DID create some moments to remember in 2008 before her May retirement. This mini-classic against Srebotnik took three hours and probably goes down as her last best performance.
=============================
8. Stuttgart SF - Jankovic d. V.Williams
...6-7/7-5/6-2.
This one had it all. Ricardo Sanchez timing Venus with a stopwatch, a near-collision during a changeover, a missing Snezana, a huge break converted while doing the splits from the baseline and Jankovic daydreaming about a red car to match her shoes. She got the car, along with the #1 ranking.
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9. Roland Garros 1st Rd. - Sharapova d. Rodina
...6-1/3-6/8-6.
Not a lot was heard from Rodina the rest of the season, but the Russian made her slam debut a memorable one with a near upset of Sharapova. In windy conditions, Rodina got within two points of making the Supernova the first #1 seed dumped in the 1st Round of RG in forty years. Sharapova survived, until...
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10. Roland Garros 4th Rd. - Safina d. Sharapova
...6-7/7-6/6-2.
Sharapova led 7-6/5-2 and held two match points, but Safina began her stunning back-from-the-edge roll to the RG final by fighting back and knocking her countrywoman out of the event for the second straight year.
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11. Wimbledon Final - V.Williams d. S.Williams
...7-5/6-4.
SW19 crown #5 came by defeating Serena in a slam final for the first time since the 2001 U.S. Open. The sisters' first Wimbledon Ladies Final meeting in five years turned out to be a table-setter for the rest of the season, as the pair shared the Beijing Doubles Gold, Serena won the Open and Venus took the SEC.
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12. Fed Cup World Group Playoffs - Schiavone (ITA) d. Koryttseva (UKR)
...3-6/7-6/7-5.
Schiavone stared down three match points in the Ukrainian's debut Fed Cup appearance, and won by coming up big down the stretch as Koryttseva twice served for the match in the final set. Schiavone won all but a single point the final two games.
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HM- Wimbledon 1st Rd. - Goerges d. Srebotnik
...4-6/7-6/16-14.
At 3:40, it was the second-longest women's match ever at Wimbledon.
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HM- Wimbledon 3rd Rd. - Peer d. Safina
...7-6/6-7/8-6.
One of the few times Safina was bested during the summer, she still managed to save two match points in the 2nd set. But after going up 5-3 in the 3rd, the Russian Cat finally ran out of lives in the 3:25 match. She ended the match with a double fault, but rebounded well by winning the U.S. Open Series two months later.
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**TEN RANKINGS NOTES OF NOTE**
Maria Sharapova may have finished fourth in the Ms. Backspin rankings, but she ended the year as the fifth highest-ranked Russian. Of course, it should be noted that she managed to end the year at #9 after playing just eleven events. Only three players -- #36 Lindsay Davenport, #238 Shenay Perry and #251 Tatiana Golovin, all with nine -- ranked in the season-ending Top 273 by playing fewer events.
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No South Americans finished in the Top 50.
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Nicole Vaidisova fell out of the Top 40, while Sania Mirza barely missed falling out of the Top 100.
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Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, 17, is the youngest player in the Top 100 and, at #45, has already cracked the Russian Top 10.
=============================
#124 Michelle Larcher de Brito, 15, is the youngest in the Top 200, while 38-year old Kimiko Date-Krumm (#198) is the oldest.
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2008 is the second consecutive season in which #15 Victoria Azarenka is the highest-ranked player on the WTA computer without a tour singles title to her credit.
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Finally a light at the end of the tunnel? There are three under-20 Americans ranked in the Top 200: #129 Vania King, #165 Alexa Glatch and #177 Melanie Oudin.
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Good, but...? Lucie Safarova won her first singles title since January 2006, but ended up falling thirty-one spots in the year-end rankings. Maria-Emilia Salerni made her first tour final, but her ranking dropped 149 spots over the course of the season. And Karin Knapp also reached her first singles final, but has dropped 29 spots since the end of '07.
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The Rich Stay Rich. In 2007, there were fifteen Russians in the Top 100. At the end of 2008, there are still fifteen... but all of them aren't the same.
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PROGRESS: Eleven players in the Top 20 played more events than Jelena Jankovic's 22. 27 of the Top 50 were active more often.
CONSISTENCY: Jankovic's 18th-best (not counted in the 17 best events tablulated for singles rankings) point total for the season was a 110-pointer. Of all the other players on the WTA computer, only Vera Zvonareva's 70-pointer for her 18th-best result comes close to Jankovic's "not good enough" result. No other player's 18th-best event was worth more than 40 points.
=============================




[based on November 10 end-of-season WTA rankings]

*TOP 20 BY AGE*
[at of end of 2008]
30...Patty Schnyder
28...Venus Williams
27...Katarina Srebotnik
27...Serena Williams
27...Elena Dementieva
26...Flavia Pennetta
26...Nadia Petrova
24...Vera Zvonareva
23...Jelena Jankovic
23...Svetlana Kuznetsova
23...Marion Bartoli
22...Dinara Safina
21...Anna Chakvetadze
21...Maria Sharapova
21...Ana Ivanovic
19...Agnieszka Radwanska
19...Dominika Cibulkova
19...Victoria Azarenka
18...Alize Cornet
18...Caroline Wozniacki


*TOP 20 BY NATION*
7...Russia (Safina, Dementieva, Zvonareva, Kuznetsova, Sharapova, Petrova, Chakvetadze)
2...France (Bartoli, Cornet)
2...Serbia (Jankovic, Ivanovic)
2...United States (Williams,Williams)
1...Belarus (Azarenka)
1...Denmark (Wozniacki)
1...Italy (Pennetta)
1...Poland (Radwanska)
1...Slovakia (Cibulkova)
1...Slovenia (Srebotnik)
1...Switzeralnd (Schnyder)


*TOP 20 BY CAREER TITLES*
39...Venus Williams
32..Serena Williams
19...Maria Sharapova
11...Elena Dementieva
11...Patty Schnyder
9...Jelena Jankovic
9...Dinara Safina
9...Svetlana Kuznetsova
9...Nadia Petrova
8...Ana Ivanovic
7...Vera Zvonareva
7...Anna Chakvetadze
6...Flavia Pennetta
4...Agnieszka Radwanska
4...Katarina Srebotnik
3...Caroline Wozniacki
3...Marion Bartoli
1...Alize Cornet
0...Victoria Azarenka
0...Dominika Cibulkova


*TOP 100 FACTS*
HIGHEST-RANKED PLAYER WITHOUT CAREER TITLE: #15 Victoria Azarenka
-----------------------------
NEXT FIVE HIGHEST-RANKED WITHOUT TITLES: #19 Dominika Cibulkova, #27 Kaia Kanepi, #33 Alisa Kleybanova, #39 Bethanie Mattek, #40 Peng Shuai
-----------------------------
NEW PLAYERS IN THE TOP 100 (since end of '07 season): 34 (there were 33 newbies in 2007)
-----------------------------
FIVE HIGHEST-RANKED NEWBIES: #25 Zheng Jie, #33 Alisa Kleybanova, #34 Aleksandra Wozniak, #35 Tamarine Tanasugarn, #37 Sorana Cirstea
-----------------------------
*SMALLEST 2007-to-2008 RANKINGS CHANGES IN TOP 100*
0...Olga Govortsova (49/49)
1...Ana Ivanovic (4/5)
1...Chan Yung-Jan (67/68)
2...Jelena Jankovic (3/1)
2...Venus Williams (8/6)
2...Patty Schnyder (16/14)
2...Maria Kirilenko (31/29)
2...Yaroslava Shvedova (89/91)
-----------------------------
*COMEBACK RANKINGS OF NOTE*
#77 Anna-Lena Groenefeld, GER
#150 Sesil Karatantcheva, BUL
#175 Karolina Sprem, CRO
#178 Jelena Dokic, AUS
#186 Elena Bovina, RUS
#198 Kimiko Date-Krumm, JPN
#274 Jamea Jackson, USA
-----------------------------
*NextGen RANKINGS OF NOTE*
#125 Michelle Larcher de Brito, POR
#127 Urszula Radwanska, POL
#140 Jessica Moore, AUS
#165 Alexa Glatch, USA
#177 Melanie Oudin, USA
#188 Arantxa Rus, NED
#203 Lauren Albanese, USA
#225 Madison Brengle, USA
#294 Zhou Yi-Miao, CHN
#350 Tamaryn Hendler, BEL
#352 Simona Halep, ROU
#354 Lenka Jurikova, SVK
#384 Noppawan Lertcheewakarn, THA
#402 Asia Muhammad, USA
#404 Gabriela Paz, VEN
#405 Coco Vandeweghe, USA
#431 Chelsey Gullickson, USA
#443 Kristie Haerim Ahn, USA
#559 Laura Robson, GBR
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*SISTERS*
#2 Serena Williams, #6 Venus Williams
#10 Agnieszka Radwanska, #127 Urszula Radwanska
#32 Alona Bondarenko, #63 Kataryna Bondarenko
#97 Anastasia Rodionova, #285 Arina Rodionova
#155 Carly Gullickson, #431 Chelsey Gullickson
-----------------------------

*TOP 100 BY NATION*
(w/ # in 2007)
15...Russia (15)
11...France (10)
7...Czech Republic (3)
6...Italy (8)
5...Spain (3)
5...United States (10)
4...Slovakia (2)
4...Ukraine (5)
3...Austria (3)
3...China (3)
3...Germany (4)
3...Romania (2)
2...Australia (4)
2...Belarus (3)
2...Kazakhstan (0)
2...Poland (1)
2...Serbia (2)
2..Switzerland (2)
2...Taiwan (1)
1...Argentina (2)
1...Belgium (1)
1...Bulgaria (1)
1...Canada (0)
1...Denmark (1)
1...Estonia (1)
1...Great Britain (0)
1...Hungary (1)
1...India (1)
1...Israel (2)
1...Japan (3)
1...New Zealand (0)
1...Paraguay (0)
1...Slovenia (1)
1...Sweden (0)
1...Thailand (0)
1..Uzbekistan (1)
--
2007 TOP 100, NONE in 2008: Greece, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Venezuela


*REGIONAL RANKINGS*
==RUSSIA==
#3 Dinara Safina
#4 Elena Dementieva
#7 Vera Zvonareva
#8 Svetlana Kuznetsova
#9 Maria Sharapova
#11 Nadia Petrova
#18 Anna Chakvetadze
#29 Maria Kirilenko
#33 Alisa Kleybanova
#45 Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova

==NON-RUSSIAN EUROPE==
#1 Jelena Jankovic, SRB
#5 Ana Ivanovic, SRB
#10 Agnieszka Radwanska, POL
#12 Caroline Wozniacki, DEN
#13 Flavia Pennetta, ITA
#14 Patty Schnyder, SUI
#15 Victoria Azarenka, BLR
#16 Alize Cornet, FRA
#17 Marion Bartoli, FRA
#19 Dominika Cibulkova, SVK

==ASIA/PACIFIC==
#23 Li Na, CHN
#25 Zheng Jie, CHN
#31 Ai Sugiyama, JPN
#35 Tamarine Tanasugarn, THA
#40 Peng Shuai, CHN
#52 Samantha Stosur, AUS
#55 Casey Dellacqua, AUS
#60 Marina Erakovic, NZL
#68 Chan Yung-Jan, TPE
#79 Hsieh Su-Wei, TPE

==SOUTH AMERICA==
#51 Gisela Dulko, ARG
#95 Rossana de los Rios, PAR
#110 Mariana Duque-Marino, COL
#145 Betina Jozani, ARG
#147 Catalina Castano, COL
#171 Soledad Esperon, ARG
#183 Jorgelina Cravero, ARG
#207 Milagros Sequera, VEN
#240 Maria-Emilia Salerni, ARG
#245 Agustina Lepore, ARG

==NORTH AMERICA==
#2 Serena Williams, USA
#6 Venus Williams, USA
#34 Aleksandra Wozniak, CAN
#36 Lindsay Davenport, USA
#39 Bethanie Mattek, USA
#66 Jill Craybas, USA
#120 Julie Ditty, USA
#121 Ashley Harkleroad, USA
#122 Stephanie Dubois, CAN
#125 Varvara Lepchenko, USA
[Mexico #1 - #283 Melissa Torres Sandoval]

==AFRICA/MIDDLE EAST==
#38 Shahar Peer, ISR
#172 Chanelle Scheepers, RSA
#176 Tzipora Obziler, ISR
#235 Natalie Grandin, RSA
#288 Marinne Giraud, MRI
#355 Julia Glushko, ISR
#473 Surina De Beer, RSA
#528 Chen Astrugo, ISR
#539 Keren Shlomo, ISR
#637 Kelly Anderson, RSA


*REVOLUTION CHECKS*
==CHINA==
#23 Li Na
#25 Zheng Jie
#40 Peng Shuai
#117 Yuan Meng
#128 Yan Zi
#212 Zhang Shuai
#247 Lu Jingjing
#260 Han Xinyun
#282 Sun Tiantian
#294 Zhou Yi-Miao

==ROMANIA==
#37 Sorana Cirstea
#47 Monica Niculescu
#84 Edina Gallovits
#126 Ioana Raluca Olaru
#200 Agnes Szatmari
#223 Liana Ungur
#231 Irina Begu
#352 Simona Halep
#385 Alexandra Dulgheru
#386 Mihaela Buzarnescu


*RUSSIAN RESULTS ON THE WTA TOUR*
2001....0 titles, 3 RU, 6 SF
2002....6 titles, 8 RU, 11 SF
2003...11 titles, 4 RU, 20 SF
2004...15 titles, 18 RU, 30 SF
2005....9 titles, 8 RU, 36 SF
2006...19 titles, 15 RU, 30 SF
2007...12 titles, 15 RU, 26 SF
2008...18 titles, 20 RU, 21 SF

*BIGGEST RISES IN THE RANKINGS*
=end of '07 to end of '08=
[in 2008 Top 25]
+138...Zheng Jie (#163 to #25)
+52...Caroline Wozniacki (#64 to #12)
+41...Alize Cornet (#57 to #16)
+33...Dominika Cibulkova (#52 to #19)
+27...Flavia Pennetta (#40 to #13)
+16...Agnieszka Radwanska (#26 to #10)
+16...Vera Zvonareva (#23 to #7)
+15...Victoria Azarenka (#30 to #15)

[2008 Top 26-50]
+236...Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (#281 to #45)
+132...Monica Niculescu (#179 to #47)
+119...Carla Suarez-Navarro (#169 to #50)
+117...Alisa Kleybanova (#150 to #33)
+113...Petra Kvitova (#157 to #44)
+96...Aleksandra Wozniak (#130 to #34)
+89...Tamarine Tanasugarn (#124 to #35)
+76...Iveta Benesova (#119 to #43)

[2008 Top 51-100]
+221...Magdalena Rybarikova (#279 to #58)
+183...Sabine Lisicki (#237 to #54)
+152...Yanina Wickmayer (#221 to #69)
+128...Anna-Lena Groenefeld (#205 to #77)
+124...Marta Domachowska (#180 to #56)
+105...Kristina Barrois (#192 to #87)
+104...Julie Coin (#200 to #96)
+101...Marina Erakovic (#161 to #60)


*BIGGEST FALLS IN THE RANKINGS*
=end of '07 to end of '08=
[2007 Top 25]
RETIRED: Justine Henin (#1)
RETIRED: Martina Hingis (#19)
-238...Tatiana Golovin (#13 to #251)
-29...Nicole Vaidisova (#12 to #41)
-21...Shahar Peer (#17 to #38)
-12...Daniela Hantuchova (#9 to #21)
-12...Anna Chakvetadze (#6 to #18)
-10...Alona Bondarenko (#22 to #32)

[2007 Top 26-50]
-587...Meilen Tu (#48 to #635)
-324...Julia Vakulenko (#33 to #357)
-200...Akiko Morigami (#50 to #250)
-185...Michaella Krajicek (#34 to #219)
-106...Eleni Daniilidou (#43 to #149)
-99...Mara Santangelo (#36 to #135)
-93...Emilie Loit (#45 to #138)
-67...Sania Mirza (#32 to #99)

[2007 Top 51-100]
-980...Elena Likhovtseva (#66 to #1046)
-974...Nicole Pratt (#71 to #1045) (ret.-singles)
-785...Meghann Shaughnessy (#53 to #838)
-349...Anne Kremer (#85 to #264)
-309...Laura Granville (#65 to #374)
-253...Alicia Molik (#58 to #311) (ret.)
-215...Andrea Petkovic (#100 to #315)
-184...Tatjana Malek (#88 to #272)
-149...Maria-Emilia Salerni (#91 to #240)
-133...Milagros Sequera (#74 to #207)
-131...Martina Muller (#54 to #185)
-111...Lilia Osterloh (#94 to #205)


*SINGLES & DOUBLES*
(singles/doubles ranks)
=TOP 25 IN BOTH (8)=
Victoria Azarenka (#15/#12)
Anabel Medina-Garrigues (#22/#3)
Flavia Pennetta (#13/#22)
Nadia Petrova (#11/#20)
Dinara Safina (#3/#25)
Katarina Srebotnik (#20/#4)
Venus Williams (#6/#23)
Zheng Jie (#25/#15)
=TOP 50 IN BOTH (+13)=
Iveta Benesova (#43/#35)
Alona Bondarenko (#32/#11)
Sorana Cirstea (#37/#46)
Maria Kirilenko (#29/#24)
Bethanie Mattek (#39/#26)
Monica Niculescu (#47/#36)
Shahar Peer (#38/#19)
Peng Shuai (#40/#27)
Francesca Schiavone (#30/#32)
Ai Sugiyama (#31/#6)
Tamarine Tanasugarn (#35/#47)
Serena Williams (#2/#28)
Vera Zvonareva (#7/#48)

*NATIONS WITH TOP 100 DOUBLES PLAYER, BUT NOT SINGLES*
BOSNIA/HERZEGOVINA: #70 Mervana Jugic-Salkic
LATVIA: #75 Liga Dekmeijere
SOUTH AFRICA: #82 Natalie Grandin
TUNISIA: #69 Selima Sfar
TURKEY: #90 Ipek Senoglu
ZIMBABWE: #1 Cara Black


And, hopefully, I didn't flub up any numbers or figures after all that transcribing.

(crosses fingers)


NEXT WEEK: WTA Yearbook

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
...WTA Yearbook (next week)

8 Comments:

Blogger Diane said...

Wow. Reading this only confirms how strange this season was. And I have to say that your choice for Ms. Backspin makes every bit of sense--it was they who were the dominant players, more than anyone.

Fri Nov 14, 09:52:00 PM EST  
Blogger Todd Spiker said...

Ah, but who would you say was the "Singles" player of the year, Diane?

I guess, because of my final rankings, I'd obviously go with Serena... but there are several just-as-worthy possibilities.

Sat Nov 15, 10:43:00 AM EST  
Blogger J said...

The Bogdan girls arent sisters :p

But on the other hand, well done on such a weird season. Hopefully, it will be more flowing next year with no retirements!

GO USA!

Sun Nov 16, 10:54:00 AM EST  
Blogger Todd Spiker said...

I thought I'd read that they were, but I was probably just seeing things (or just hoping it to be the case since it'd be a nice story). Duly noted. :)

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