Monday, December 07, 2009

ITF Backspin (Wk.48)- A Steamer, Two Paraguayan Champions & Justine Making a Statement

The ITF produced a few familiar champions, but the most intriguing match of the week may have been the one that took place on Sunday in Charleroi, Belgium.

the Aussie Steamer completed back-to-back ITF singles title runs with her victory in the $25K Bendigo challenger in Australia. After wins over Richel Hogenkamp, Monica Wejnert and Marina Erakovic, she took out a new final opponent in Pastry Irena Pavlovic. It's Molik's third ITF title in her comeback.
RISER: Paula Ormaechea/ARG
the 17-year old Argentine came into last week as one of the ITF's hottest late-season players (she was the ITF website's spotlighted player for November), and she didn't disappoint in Buenos Aires. She failed to win her third challenger of the season, but she did reach her fourth final in her last five events, losing to Rosanna de los Rios 7-5/6-1.
SURPRISES: Claire Feuerstein/FRA & Naomi Broady/GBR
Feuerstein claimed her second challenger title of '09 with her win in the $25K in Prerov, Czech Republic as she knocked off Russian teen Ksenia Lykina in three sets in the final. Meanwhile, Brit Broady won her second consecutive circuit event (and third this season) with a championship in the $10K in La Habana, Cuba. She defeated another Hordette, Yana Koroleva, 6-2/6-0 in the final.
VETERAN: Rosanna de los Rios/PAR
the 34-year old vet from Paraguay claimed her third ITF title of the season, winning the Buenos Aires $25K with a win over Julia Cohen before taking out Ormaechea in the final.
FRESH FACES: Veronica Cepede Royg/PAR
another Paraguayan champion, this one exactly half the age of de los Rios. Cepede Royg, 17, won the $10K La Serena (no, not THAT Serena) in Chile with a straights sets win over Argentina's Barbara Rush. It was Cepede Royg's second straight ITF final, and her third challenger title this season. She also won the doubles.
DOWN: Amelie Mauresmo/FRA
not "down," but certainly "out." Mauresmo's not-surprising retirement announcement this week, in one moment, removed a large chunk of the game's potential day-to-day beauty and grace. Said Amelie, "I don't want to train anymore. I had to make a decision, which became evident in the last few weeks and months. When you grow older, it's more difficult to stay at the top." Au revoir.
JUNIOR STAR: Daria Gavrilova/RUS
the 15-year old Muscovite won the Eddie Herr Championships, defeating China's Zhao Di in a 6-2/4-6/6-3 final. She also reached the doubles final.

1. Charleroi Exhibition - Henin def. Pennetta
Though "unofficially," La Petit Taureau is back! Her straight sets win over Pennetta in an exhibition in Belgium (where she also defeated Kirsten Flipkens) can't be overlooked, though Henin is currently saying that she's not going to head into the Australian Open with overwhelming expectations for that particular tournament. Still, her statement that "it is another Justine Henin who will try to go out there and achieve her dream of finally winning Wimbledon" is a hint that she's going to be no less bold in her goals for Henin II than she was the first time around. She'll next face Nadia Petrova in an exhibition in Cairo on December 12.
2. Eddie Herr QF - Zhao Di def. Madison Keys
Before reaching the final, 16-year old Zhao took out the hard-serving American.
3. Eddie Herr 3rd Rd. - Polina Lykina def. Heather Watson
The #13-seed, yet another Hordette-on-the-Rise, takes out the #1-seed.

3...Serena Williams, USA (Wk.5/28/43)
3...Dinara Safina, RUS (Wk.18/19/29)
3...Svetlana Kuznetsova, RUS (Wk.17/23/40)
ALSO: 2-Flavia Pennetta, ITA (Wk.28/31, + Fed Cup 1st Rd./Final)
2...Maria Elena Camerin, ITA (Wk.17/22)
2...Jelena Dokic, AUS (Wk.39/43)
2...Gabriela Paz, VEN (Wk.2/9)
2...Karolina Sprem, CRO (Wk.14/37)
2...Julia Vakulenko, UKR (Wk.5/25)
3...Kristina Mladenovic, FRA (Wk.22/25/42)
3...Ksenia Pervak, RUS (Wk.4/31/32)
2...Timea Babos, HUN (Wk.13/17)
2...Elora Dabija, ROU (Wk.29/30)
2...Daria Gavrilova, RUS (Wk.16/48, + Wk.40 Jr. Fed Cup Final)
2...Noppawan Lertchwakarn, THA (Wk.9/26)
2...Yulia Putintseva, RUS (Wk.19/28)
2...Chanel Simmonds, RSA (Wk.34/43)
ALSO: 1-Ksenia Kirilova, RUS (Wk.2 + Wk.40 Jr. Fed Cup Final)

All for now.

NEXT: What If Parody: In Search of "Citizen Anna"