Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Wk.5- Fed Cup Wishes & Beijing Dreams

Lindsay Davenport was made to sweat (on Saturday, but not so much on Monday... after a Sunday rainout), while Ashley Harkleroad led. Maria Sharapova played, while Francesca Schiavone likely wishes she hadn't. Another Belgian made some waves, while Team China gained some measure of redemption for the Fed Cup embarrassment of '07. And the Serbs nearly got their knickers scared off by the Romanians.

(Oh, and speaking of a lack of knickers, Sesil had a good week, too.)

*WEEK 5*

=1st Round=
Russia def. Israel 4-1
USA def. Germany 4-1
China def. France 3-2
Spain def. Italy 3-2
Ukraine def. Belgium 3-2
Japan def. Croatia 4-1
Argentina def. Austria 4-1
Czech Republic def. Slovakia 3-2
[Asia/Oceania] Uzbekistan def. New Zealand 2-1
[Europe/Africa] Serbia def. Netherlands 2-1
[Europe/Africa] Switzerland def. Sweden 2-1
[Americas] Colombia def. Brazil 3-0

(1st Round)
Maria Sharapova (RUS): Sharapova made her Fed Cup debut for Team Russia against Israel and maintained her Melbourne Magic by outpacing Shahar Peer and Tzipora Obziler in two singles matches by a combined game total of 24-6.
Ashley Harkleroad (USA):

With Lindsay Davenport sporting a 31-2 career Fed Cup record, certainly Harkleroad was expecting the veteran to be the team leader against Germany.. But then an uncharacteristically shaky Davenport was shockingly upset by teenager Sabine Lisicki (who knocked off Safina at the Australian) in the first match of the tie. Enter Harkleroad, with the entire weight of the team hoisted upon her shoulders. She defeated Tatjana Malek to knot things at 1-1, then clinched the USA victory by winning a tight one over Lisicki on Monday.
Anabel Medina-Garrigues (ESP): Facing an Italian team that had reached the FC final two years running, AMG followed up Nuria Llagostera-Vives' upset of Francesca Schiavone in the opening match by personally wiping out the Italians with wins over both Schiavone and Flavia Pennetta.
Yan Zi/Zheng Jie (CHN): An eligibility rule was misinterpreted by the Chinese federation last year, resulting in the voluntary removal of both Li Na and Zheng Jie from a 1st Round tie that was won 5-0 by Italy. A year later, the "do-over" was a success. But after Li and Peng Shuai had given the team a 2-0 lead, back-to-back singles losses meant that the comeback doubles team of Yan & Zheng needed to defeat Dechy/Razzano to advance to the SF. In a 7-5/7-6 squeaker, disaster was narrowly averted. Whew!

Alona Bondarenko/Kateryna Bondarenko (UKR): Against what appeared to be an undermanned Belgian team, the sisters individually appeared to be in "hangover" mode (probably not literally, though) after their Australian Mixed Doubles title. Both were upset by Yanina Wickmayer as Ukraine fell behind 2-1. But after Kateryna eked out a come-from-behind win over junior Tamaryn Hendler, the sisters combined once again to blow away Maes/Wickmayer to advance to the World Group Playoffs.
Jorgelina Cravero (ARG): With no Paszek, Bammer or Meusburger in action for Austria in singles, Argentina got a far easier ride than one would have expected. Cravero picked up two singles victories.
Akiko Morigami (JPN): The Japanese vet knocked off both Nika Ozegovic and Jelena Kostanic-Tosic to power the team's 4-1 victory.
Nicole Vaidisova (CZE): For the second straight year, the Czechs took out the Slovaks in Fed Cup action. Vaidisova led the way, picking up the pieces with two wins after Petra Cetkovska lost the opening match to Dominika Cibulkova. Then, after Cetkovska lost again to Magdalena Rybarikova, Vaidisova and Kveta Peschke won the deciding doubles match over Cibulkova/Husarova.

Iroda Tulyaganova (UZB)

Ana Ivanovic (SRB)
Patty Schnyder (SUI)

Catalina Castano (COL)

Sorana Cirstea (ROU):

After pushing Ana Ivanovic in Melbourne, the 17-year old stunned both Agnieszka Radwanska and Jelena Jankovic in Zone play.
Marina Erakovic (NZL): Her play helped the Kiwis reach the Asia/Oceania Group Playoff (Uzbekistan won 2-1).
Sandy Gumulya (INA): The Indonesian helped down Aussie chances with her 7-6/7-6 win over Oz star Casey Dellacqua.
Sabine Lisicki (GER):

The 18-year old's upset of Davenport was the biggest eye-opener of the weekend.
Monica Niculescu (ROU): For the second year in a row, the Romanians made waves in Zone play. Niculescu, 20, defeated Urszula Radwanska and pushed Ana Ivanovic to 7-5 in the 3rd set.
Arantxa Rus (NED): The Australian Open junior champ knocked off Neuza Silva and Tsvetana Pironkova as the Dutch reached the Europe/Africa playoff (losing to Serbia).
Yanina Wickmayer (BEL): She notched straight sets wins over both Bondarenkos.

Francesca Schiavone (ITA): After leading Team Italia to a FC title in '06 and a RU in '07, Schiavone's string of success reached its end. Her three-set upset loss to Llagostera-Vives in the opening match set the tone in the 1st Round tie with Spain, and it wasn't one that suited Italy. A second Schiavone loss to Medina-Garrigues made the score 3-0 and clinched the win for Spain.

Sesil Karatantcheva, BUL
....Sesil is being forced to qualify for ITF events after her two-year ban, but she's not allowing it to trip her up. Instead, she's thriving. After winning the Surprise event earlier, she qualified and claimed the La Quinta $25K last week with a win in the final over Sandra Kloesel. She's now won 16 straight ITF matches. It's going to be interesting to see what happens when she gets into her first WTA tour event.

[1st Round]
1. (USA/GER) Lisicki d. Davenport
Davenport's form returned on Monday, but Lisicki's win will not be overlooked as the German's 2008 play continues to surprise.
2t. (USA/GER) Harkleroad d. Malek
(USA/GER) Harkleroad d. Lisicki

Harkleroad showed some real mettle in winning matches she absolutely HAD to win, and her rally after Lisicki had a break point for 5-1 in the 2nd set was just the cherry on top of the Monday sundae.
HM- (CHN/FRA) Yan/Zheng d. Dechy/Razzano
The push toward Beijing continues, and the Chinese pair is looking more and more like Gold Medal favorites on home court.

[Group II]
1. (CZE/SVK) Vaidisova/Peschke d. Cibulkova/Husarova
An edge-of-their-seats moment in the deciding match.
2t. (UKR/BEL) Wickmayer d. K.Bondarenko
(UKR/BEL) Wickmayer d. A.Bondarenko

Two years of good Fed Cup results is enough to make you believe that Belgium's WTA future doesn't begin and end with Henin, after all.
3. (UKR/BEL) K.Bondarenko d. Hendler
If K-Bond doesn't rebound to take this match, Belgium's shocking upset of Ukraine would have become a reality.
HM- (UKR/BEL) Bondarenko/Bondarenko d. Maes/Wickmayer
But the sisters put an end to talk of such "nonsense."

[Zone Play]
1. (SRB/ROU) Ivanovic/Jankovic d. Cirstea/Niculescu
If the Romanians had scraped this match away from the Serbs, the little-country-that-could would have made a quantum leap in that mini-rise I walked about at the start of last season that is now starting to bear some real fruit on the court.
2t. (ROU/POL) Cirstea d. A.Radwanska
(SRB/ROU) Cirstea d. Jankovic

Keep an eye on this one. She reached her first final on tour last season, and now she's winning matches like this against players like these.

Russia vs. United States
Spain vs. China

Czech Republic


2007 FINAL: Petrova def. Safarova
2008 TOP: Chakvetadze/Hantuchova

FINAL: Dementieva d. Razzano

2007 FINAL: Bammer def. Dulko
2008 TOP: A.Radwanska/Dellacqua

FINAL: A.Radwanska d. Amanmuradova

All for now.


Blogger Ian said...

What, no more semifinal predictions? Are we getting lazy here? Back to work, now.

Wed Feb 06, 01:27:00 AM EST  
Blogger Todd Spiker said...

Haha. Well, I actually originally had Yuan and Dellacqua in Pattaya, and Szavay and Azarenka in Paris. But Yuan and Azarenka (the latter of which I had in the final) lost before I'd even posted Backspin, which made me mad.... so I just posted the finals this week. :)

Wed Feb 06, 08:42:00 AM EST  
Blogger Eric said...

whoa and whoa to Sesil's comments


Wed Feb 06, 10:26:00 PM EST  
Blogger Todd Spiker said...

Haha. It's so great to have her back, for all sorts of reasons. She makes things so easy.

And, no, that wasn't intended to be a joke.

(See what I mean? So easy.) :D

Thu Feb 07, 12:53:00 PM EST  

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