Wk.34- Bare Bones Backspin: Wozniacki Open Edition
Can you hear that? It's the sound of the Open knocking on the front door. I don't want to keep he/she/it waiting too long. So, Backspin is bare-boned.
*WEEK 34 CHAMPIONS*
NEW HAVEN, CONNECTICUT (Premier $600K/hard outdoors)
S: Caroline Wozniacki def. Nadia Petrova 6-3/3-6/6-3
D: Peschke/Srebotnik d. Mattek-Sands/Shaughnessy
PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Caroline Wozniacki/DEN
...once again, Caroline reigned supreme at the Wozniacki Open. Otherwise known as the Pilot Pen at New Haven. The Dane has played there three times, and is now 13-0 with three singles titles from 2008-10. After winning the Montreal final on Monday, C-Woz was fortunate to have a bye for the 1st Round of this tournament, then got a walkover against Flavia Pennetta in the QF when the Italian pulled out with an injured foot. So, "all" she needed was a victory over "lucky loser" Dominika Cibulkova, a three set victory in a thriller against Elena Dementieva in the SF and another three-setter against Nadia Petrova in the final to wrap up career crown #10 (and her tour-leading fourth in '10) while also claiming the U.S. Open Series for the first time. Now, she heads to New York seven rounds away from bumping Serena Williams out of the #1 spot on the WTA computer. Let the trek down the hard road begin.
RISER: Maria Kirilenko/RUS
...after grabbing some doubles titles in recent weeks, the Russian reached her first singles SF of 2010 in New Haven with wins over Elena Vesnina ('09 RU), Timea Bacsinszky and Dinara Safina. Hopefully, the back injury that bothered her in the SF against Petrova won't hinder her at Flushing Meadows. She already has two Round of 16-or-better slam results (AO QF, RG 4th Rd.) this season.
SURPRISES: Julia Mayr & Evelyn Mayr, ITA
...the sisters are facing off this weekend in the singles final of a $10K challenger in Portschauch, Austria. They'll also be teaming together in an attempt to win the doubles final.
COMEBACKS: Elena Dementieva/RUS & Dinara Safina/RUS
...Dementieva's summer hasn't been a very pleasant experience, as she's had a difficult time getting back in the groove since losing at Roland Garros and ending her 46-slam consecutive appearance streak by pulling out of Wimbledon with a calf injury. In New Haven, she finally started to resemble herself again, notching a pair of three-hour match wins and advancing past Maria Jose Martinez-Sanchez, Kateryna Bondarenko and Marion Bartoli to reach the SF. She served for the match against Wozniacki in the SF, but ended up losing in a 3rd set tie-break. Meanwhile, Safina got another confidence boost heading into NYC, getting revenge on Montreal conqueror Francesca Schiavone in the New Haven 1st Round, then defeating Daniela Hantuchova en route to the QF, her best result since Week 17.
VETERANS: Nadia Petrova/RUS & Kveta Peschke/Katarina Srebotnik, CZE/SLO
...Petrova had yet to reach a singles SF in '10 before this past week, but she found her game in time to reach the New Haven final after getting victories over Varvara Lepchenko (from 6-1/5-2 down), Bethanie Mattek-Sands, Samantha Stosur and Kirilenko. Nadia, at her best, normally peaks a week or two BEFORE a slam... could she be right on schedule for a surprising Open run this time around? Peschke/Srebotnik picked up the New Haven doubles crown, their second as a team in '10 and third overall title for each this year (Peschke won in Hobart w/ Chuang Chia-Jung, while Srebotnik claimed the RG Mixed title with Nenad Zimonjic).
FRESH FACE: Meilen Auroux/ARG
...Argentina's Auroux, 22, won her third challenger title of the season with a win in the $10K Buenos Aires final over countrywoman Vanessa Furlanetto.
DOWN: Melanie Oudin/USA & Tennis Australia
...Oudin heads into her attempt to defend QF points at the U.S. Open on a four match losing streak (three of them in 1st Round encounters) after losing to Lucky Loser Cibulkova in the opening round in New Haven. Meanwhile, one has to wonder how Tennis Australia decides how to use its discretionary slam wild cards. Rather than give its free Open main draw pass to Jelena Dokic, a slam quarterfinalist a year and a half ago, currently the fourth highest-ranked Australian on the WTA computer (#82) and the winner of fifteen straight matches over three challenger events this summer, it handed the golden ticket to Sophie Ferguson, the #117-ranked player with a total of two slam wins (2-7) in her career. As it turned out, #2-qualifying seed Dokic lost in the opening round of the Open qualies to a hard-serving and upset-minded Laura Robson. The three Aussies ranked ahead of (Stosur, Groth & Rodionova), and the one immediately behind (Molik), Dokic all were eligible in time to get an automatic berth into the Open MD. In retrospect, one can argue that it's difficult to say that Dokic should have gotten the MD spot since she couldn't win even one match in qualifying, but the truth is that she shouldn't have even had to face the prospect of extending her win streak to eighteen just to get into the main draw. Of course, this brand of wild card shenanigans is nothing new when it comes to the folks from Australia (remember Yanina Wickmayer this January in Oz, who DID make it through qualifying rounds that she SHOULD have been exempt from playing through?). Then, as it turns out, Ferguson's Open draw gives her a qualifier opponent in the 1st Round. Oh, if it only could have been Dokic. Naturally, this leads one to ask one thing: what did Dokic do to tick off T.A. THIS time? Right herself by getting coaching in Europe?
ITF PLAYER: Anna Chakvetadze/RUS
...the Russian Doll, a U.S. Open semifinalist in '07, won the $100K challenger in the Bronx, defeating Sofia Arvidsson 4-6/6-2/6-2 in the final. Previous wins over Chang Yung-Jan, Lucie Safarova, Anastasiya Sevastova and Ekaterina Makarova helped pave the way toward Chakvetadze joining Kaia Kanepi as the only other player to win both WTA and ITF singles titles this season.
JUNIOR STAR: Christina Makarova/USA
...the 14-year old American won the U.S. Junior International Hard Court Championship, defeating fellow Bannerette Ronit Yurovsky 5-7/6-3/6-0 in the final.
1. NH SF - Wozniacki d. Dementieva
...1-6/6-3/7-6(5). Over the past few weeks, C-Woz has shown great resilience in tight situations, and this match was no different. Dementieva had a break point for 4-1 in the 3rd, and served for the match at 5-3. Wozniacki held three match points at 6-5 on Dementieva's serve, but Punch-Sober pulled out one of her at-her-best-when-she's-behind strings and ran off eight straight points, taking a 3-0 lead in the deciding tie-break. It wasn't enough. The Dane produced the last late-match surge, winning seven of the final nine points to take the TB 7-5 (and end with a 109-107 edge in total points for the match).
2. NH Final - Wozniacki d. Petrova
...6-3/3-6/6-3. C-Woz, perhaps tiring a bit, wavered a touch in the 2nd set and was forced to go three again. She never showed a sign of stress, though, fairly casually getting an early break and never looking back. Now for one final walk around the Yale campus before heading off for Corona Park.
3. NH Q1 - Vesnina d. Ch.Gullickson 3-6/7-6/6-2
NH 1st - Kirilenko d. Vesnina 6-1/3-6/6-1
...NCAA champ Chelsey Gullickson, who turns 20 on Sunday the 29th, gave New Haven's '09 runner-up (and #1 qualifying seed a year later) a nice battle in the opening Q-round. Vesnina would go out to eventual semifinalist Kirilenko in the 1st. All in all, not a bad match for Gullickson (who received a USTA wild card into the Open, where she'll make her slam MD debut) to end her preparation with heading into her first big-time professional match in the 1st Round of the Open against #1-seed Wozniacki. Hmmm, the #1-seed versus the NCAA champion, who just happens to be an American. Smells like a night match on Ashe to me... or at least it SHOULD be.
HM- NH 1st Rd - An.Rodionova d. Pironkova
...6-1/7-5. Maybe playing in a slam again will get Tsvetana's head out of her... umm, let's just say her "racket bag". As the #32 seed, she faces Renata Voracova in the 1st Round. I'm not holding my breath.
**2010 WTA TITLES**
4...CAROLINE WOZNIACKI, DEN
3...Belgian Barbie, BEL
**2010 - CONSECUTIVE TITLES**
2...Venus Williams (February, Dubai/Acapulco)
2...Agnes Szavay (July, Budapest/Prague)
2...CAROLINE WOZNIACKI (AUGUST, MONTREAL/NEW HAVEN)
**CAREER WTA TITLES - ACTIVE**
43...Venus Williams, USA
43...Justine Henin, BEL
38...Belgian Barbie, BEL
37...Serena Williams, USA
22...Maria Sharapova, RUS
16...Elena Dementieva, RUS
13...Svetlana Kuznetsova, RUS
12...Jelena Jankovic, SRB
12...Dinara Safina, RUS
11...Patty Schnyder, SUI
10...CAROLINE WOZNIACKI, DEN
10...Vera Zvonareva, RUS
[last three seasons]
10...CAROLINE WOZNIACKI [3/3/4]
9...Serena Williams [4/3/2]
8...Elena Dementieva [3/3/2]
**U.S. OPEN SERIES CHAMPIONS**
2004 Lindsay Davenport
2005 Belgian Barbie *
2006 Ana Ivanovic
2007 Maria Sharapova
2008 Dinara Safina
2009 Elena Dementieva
2010 CAROLINE WOZNIACKI
* - won U.S. Open
U.S. Open Preview next. All for now.