1Q BSA's: A-Whacking-She-Did-Go
"I am a year older and I behave more like a lady than a crazy kid."
-- Victoria Azarenka
*2012 1Q Awards - Wks.1-13*
1. Victoria Azarenka, BLR
...finally bringing all her talent together along with a more mature attitude (without losing her fighting spirit), Azarenka blazed a bloody trail through the beating heart of the tour throughout the 1st Quarter, rarely ever being legitimately challenged by her usually overmatched opponents. Going back to her on-the-verge ending to the '11 season, she put together a string of six consecutive appearances in finals, including a four-event title streak this season that included a 26-match season opening run (the best in the WTA since 1997). Her Australian Open title leapfrogged her from #3 into the #1 position and, not only that, she's been the only woman on tour who's managed to solve The Riddle of The Radwanska.
2. Agnieszka Radwanska, POL
...speaking of It... err, I mean her. A-Rad's ascent up the WTA mountain, which began last summer, has continued (mostly) unabated in 2012. The Dubai and Miami champ's 26 match wins are tied with Azarenka for the tour lead, and her four additional "unofficial" Fed Cup zone play victories means she's been on the winning side of the ledger MORE than any player in '12. Thing is, though, she's been openly critical of the on-court noise made by the world #1, and all four of her losses this season have come against the same Belarusian. Has Azarenka's bolder game and take-no-prisoners style made her immune to the Pole's crafty-and-cunning style... or is The Radwanska is simply lulling her budding rival into a false sense of security that will come back to blow up in her face later this season? To be continued.
3. Liezel Huber & Lisa Raymond, USA/USA
...Azarenka's singles streak overshadowed the 16-match run of Huber and Raymond, whose four titles lead the tour. The late-forming American pair have been the WTA's most dominant team since becoming regular partners last summer. During a brief tryout on the clay last spring, they went 1-4 before putting together a SF run at Roland Garros. After that, from the '11 grass court season until the end of the '12 1Q, they compiled a 53-10 record and won eight titles, while Huber reclaimed the #1 ranking and entered the 2Q with the same number of computer points (10,040) as world #2 Raymond, whose last stint in the top spot was back in 2007.
4. Maria Sharapova, RUS
...Sharapova has arguably had the worst/best 1st Quarter by any player -- male or female -- in the last twenty-five years. Before she did it this year, NO PLAYER had ever reached the Australian Open, Indian Wells and Miami finals (the three biggest prizes of the 1Q) in the same season, but gone 0-3 in those matches. She's still solidly positioned at #2 in the rankings, but since she broke back through into the upper echelon of the sport last summer in Paris (SF) and London (RU), she's gone 0-4 in finals against the current #1, #3 and #4-ranked players in the world. Whew! It's a good thing her name isn't Caroline, or she'd be getting all sorts of things shoveled onto her head right about now.
5. Petra Kvitova, CZE
...I was actually considering having Kvitova atop the 1Q's "Down" list, but then I refreshed my memory of what happened at the start of 2012. It's only April, but it's easy to forget that Kvitova went 4-0 to help the Czech team win the Hopman Cup. She reached the SF in Sydney and the Australian Open, losing a lead to Li Na in the former, and a very well-played match to Sharapova in the latter, narrowly missing two final battles against Vika (she defeated Azarenka in the Tour Championships decider at the end of last season). After that, she led the defending champion Czech Fed Cup team back to the FC semis while continuing her indoor mastery. Her month-long absence, failure to rise to #1, and repeat of her career-long troubles on U.S. soil in Indian Wells and Miami sort of put a damper on her quarter, but the overwhelming feeling that she's had a BAD '12 season thus far, I suppose, is mostly because of the stunning expectations she carried over from 2011.
6. Angelique Kerber, GER
...I guess that "shocking" semifinal run at Flushing Meadows last September wasn't a fluke, after all. Leading the next wave of the German assault on the WTA rankings, Kerber climbed into the Top 20 and won her first tour title at the Paris Indoors, becoming the first woman from her country to win the crown since someone named Steffi back in 1995. With Andrea Petkovic and (once again) Sabine Lisicki facing injury layoffs and/or issues, Kerber looks to be an ongoing part of the season-long race to be 2012's top-ranked German.
7. Sara Errani & Roberta Vinci, ITA
...together, and individually, the pair of Italians have made their marks on tour this season. Errani had a dream run to the Australian Open QF in January, then pulled off a title sweep of the singles and doubles crowns in Acapulco. Her partner for half of those titles in Mexico, of course, was Vinci. They combined to win in Monterrey and reached the AO Doubles final, as well. Vinci, for her part, climbed back into the singles Top 20 after having spent eight weeks there in '11.
8. Czech Fed Cup Team
...for the fourth consecutive tie, the 2011 champion Czech Republic Fed Cup team went on the road. For the fourth consecutive tie, this time against Germany, the Czechs emerged with the weekend victory after both Kvitova and Lucie Safarova came back from a set down to secure the three winning points. The team will soon play for a shot to have a second straight Czech-strewn FC final, something which hasn't happened since the four-year run from 1983-86.
9. Mona Barthel, GER
...a year ago, Barthel's name would have mostly elicited a big, "Who?" In 2012, though, the young German has often proven to be a tough opponent for even the tour's best players to eliminate. Before Marion Bartoli finally did the honors in Miami, it was Barthel who nearly ended Azarenka's long winning streak in Indian Wells (staging a huge comeback, she twice served for the match). In Hobart, she made it through qualifying and ended up claiming her first tour singles title, defeating both the defending champion and tournament #1 seed en route.
10. Daniela Hantuchova, SVK
...the former Wonder Girl has been around for a long time now, and occasionally she pops up to remind everyone of all that she was once expected to be. The 1Q was one of those times. Sort of. Her title in Brisbane, and runner-up result in Pattaya, spearheaded her very good, just under the top tier, start to 2012. Hey, it was enough to help her climb back into the Top 20 for the first time since 2008.
"I think it's just too loud. I don't think it's very necessary to scream that loud. So if they (WTA) want to do something, why not?" - Agnieszka Radwanska, on Azarenka's on-court noise
"About Maria, I mean, what can I say? For sure that is pretty annoying and just too loud." - Agnieszka Radwanska, on Sharapova's on-court noise
1. Agnieszka Radwanska, POL
2. Angelique Kerber, GER
3. Sara Errani & Roberta Vinci, ITA
4. Marion Bartoli, FRA
5. Julia Goerges, GER
6. Maria Kirilenko, RUS
7. Yanina Wickmayer, BEL
8. Ekaterina Makarova, RUS
9. Andrea Hlavackova/Lucie Hradecka, CZE
10. Vania King, USA
11. Kaia Kanepi, EST
12. Sania Mirza/Elena Vesnina, IND/RUS
13. Sofia Arvidsson, SWE
14. Lucie Safarova, CZE
15. Bethanie Mattek-Sands, USA
HM- Elena Baltacha, GBR
1. Mona Barthel, GER
2. Christina McHale, USA
3. Sloane Stephens, USA
4. Bojana Jovanovski, SRB
5. Lara Arruabarrena-Vecino, ESP
6. Timea Babos, HUN
7. Lesia Tsurenko, UKR
8. Garbine Muguruza-Blanco, ESP
9. Monica Niculescu, ROU
10. Alexandra Dulgheru, ROU
11. Irina-Camelia Begu, ROU
12. Heather Watson, GBR
13. Alexandra Cadantu, ROU
14. Valeria Savinykh, RUS
15. Alexandra Krunic, SRB
HM- Ayumi Morita, JPN & Ons Jabeur, TUN
1. Taylor Townsend, USA
2. Ashleigh Barty, AUS
3. Yulia Putintseva, RUS
4. Eugenie Bouchard, CAN
5. Madison Keys, USA
6. Krista Hardebeck, USA
7. Chalena Scholl, USA
8. Sabina Sharipova, UZB
9. Irina Khromacheva, RUS
10. Anett Kontaveit, EST
11. Kyle McPhillips, USA
12. Anna Schmiedlova, SVK
13. Beatriz Haddad Maia, BRA
14. Sachia Vickery, USA
15. Barbora Krejcikova, CZE
HM- Daria Salnikova, RUS
1. Sara Errani, ITA
2. Alexandra Panova, RUS
3. Jamie Hampton, USA
4. Marina Erakovic, NZL
5. Nina Bratchikova, RUS
6. Raquel Kops-Jones/Abigail Spears, USA
7. Svetlana Kuznetsova/Vera Zvonareva, RUS
8. Stefanie Voegele, SUI
9. Olga Govortsova, BLR
10. Romina Oprandi, ITA
11. Paula Ormaechea, ARG
12. Florencia Molinero, ARG
13. Carla Giorgi, ITA
14. Varvara Lepchenko, USA
15. Eva Birnerova, CZE
HM- Chan Yung-Jan/Chan Hao-Ching, TPE
1. Liezel Huber/Lisa Raymond, USA
2. Maria Sharapova, RUS
3. Daniela Hantuchova, SVK
4. Flavia Pennetta, ITA
5. Andrea Hlavackova/Lucie Hradecka, CZE
6. Roberta Vinci, ITA
7. Kveta Peschke/Katarina Srebotnik, CZE/SLO
8. Zheng Jie, CHN
9. Li Na, CHN
10. Nadia Petrova, RUS
11. Kim Clijsters, BEL
12. Samantha Stosur, AUS
13. Serena Williams, USA
14. Iveta Benesova, CZE
15. Greta Arn, HUN
HM- Kimiko Date-Krumm, JPN
"I'm just happy that I'm here and that I'm able to play again. And, I'm feeling healthy and having fun again. It's not the most important thing in my life anymore. So I'm just going to try and enjoy every day that I'm on the court." - Alisa Kleybanova
1. Alisa Kleybanova, RUS
2. Hsieh Su-Wei, TPE
3. Chinese Fed Cup Team
4. Australian Fed Cup Team
5. Ana Savic, CRO
6. Ana Ivanovic, SRB
7. Sorana Cirstea, ROU
8. Paola Suarez, ARG
9. Venus Williams, USA
10. Aleksandra Wozniak, CAN
HM- Eleni Daniilidou, GRE & Michaella Kracjicek, NED
"You shouldn't repair something that's not broken." - Former #1, current #6, Caroline Wozniacki
1. Caroline Wozniacki, DEN
2. Vera Zvonareva, RUS
3. Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, RUS
4. Jelena Dokic, AUS
5. Rebecca Marino, CAN
6. Aravane Rezai, FRA
7. Jelena Jankovic, SRB
8. Andrea Petkovic, GER
9. French Fed Cup Team
10. Sabine Lisicki, GER
11. Petra Kvitova, CZE
12. Dominika Cibulkova, SVK
13. Svetlana Kuznetsova, RUS
14. Kim Clijsters, BEL
15. Kaia Kanepi, EST (since Week 1)
1. Ana Savic, CRO
2. Aleksandra Wozniak, CAN
3. Sofia Kvatsabaia, GEO
4. Maryna Zanevska, UKR
5. Ashleigh Barty, AUS
6. Sandra Zaniewska, POL
7. Annika Beck, GER
8. Kristyna Pliskova & Karolina Pliskova, CZE
9. Arantxa Rus, NED
10. Alexandra Dulgheru, ROU
HM- Marta Sirotnika, RUS & Olga Govortsova, BLR
"I will always play with my heart and with my passion." - Australian Open champ Victoria Azarenka
Victoria Azarenka's 26-match, four-title streak that enabled her to become the twenty-first women's #1
Petra Kvitova leads Czech Republic to Hopman Cup and Fed Cup 1st Round wins, extending her "unofficial" indoor match win streak to 27 matches
With Ivanovic absent and Jankovic injured, Bojana Jovanovski loads her team onto her back, winning singles and doubles matches on the final day of the tie to send Serbia to its first Fed Cup semifinal
Bannerette Taylor Townsend sweeps both the Girls singles and doubles titles at the Australian Open
The Pliskova Sisters -- Karolina & Kristyna -- sweep singles and doubles titles in back-to-back challenger events, as they split the $25K singles crowns in Andrezieux-Boutheon (Kristyna) and Grenoble (Karolina) while teaming to win the doubles at both
Miami 4th Rd. - Azarenka d. Cibulkova
...1-6/7-6(7)/7-5. An ultra-aggressive Cibulkova dominates the early going, blasting winners and taking a 6-1/4-0 lead. She served at 5-2, but blinked just enough to allow Azarenka to begin to climb back into the match without ever having to resort to the energy-sapping, crowd-testing histrionics that often accompanied her pushbacks in the past. Cibulkova never collapsed, coming within two points of the win on five different occasions, and fighting until the match's closing moments (narrowly missing on a blazing passing shot attempt on the final point). Azarenka got win #26 in a row, the hard way... but there would be no #27.
Australian Open SF - Sharapova d. Kvitova
...6-2/3-6/6-4. For once, the hype lived up to the reality, as the Wimbledon '11 final rematch showed just how tough things are getting at the top of the WTA. In the end, Sharapova was the best on the big points, going 5-for-5 on break point attempts and surging past the Czech in the final games after an important replay reversal helped her avoid disaster when down 4-3 in the 3rd.
1st Round - Kvitova/CZE d. Goerges/GER
...3-6/6-3/10-8. In late 2010, Goerges was one of the last players to defeat Kvitova indoors. It almost happened again, as the German went up a set and twice came within two points of winning the match. In the end, though, the Czech proved too tough.
$25K Grenoble Final - Ka.Pliskova d. Kr.Pliskova
...7-6(11)/7-6(6). One 19-year old twin prevails against the other in a tight final that pushed Karolina's career record against her sister to 5-3. It was their second meeting in a singles final, with Kristyna having won in Kurumie in 2010.
Australian Open QF - Mirza/Vesnina d. Huber/Raymond
...6-3/5-7/7-6(6). A disputed double-bounce on match point -- the umpire didn't see it, and Huber refused to admit it happened -- set off a near-rumble as it lit a fire under the always-combustible Vesnina, leading to an "oops, did I almost bean you with that shot?" moment. Mirza and her Russian partner eventually won on their eighth match point. Somewhere, Cara Black smiled.
"We won the match, like, twice!" - an angry Elena Vesnina
Hopman Cup Round Robin - Kvitova d. Wozniacki 7-6/3-6/6-4
...at the time, this seemed like a world #1 vs. world-#2-and-heir-apparent match-up the would help tell the tale of the 2012 season. Things can change in a few months time. I suppose they could again, too.
"I'm probably close to crying." - U.S. Open champ Samantha Stosur, after her crushing 1st Round loss at the Australian Open
==MEANWHILE, KIRILENKO ASKS, "When do I get another shot?"==
Indian Wells 3rd Rd. - Petrova d. Stosur 6-1/6-7/7-6
Miami 4th Rd. - S.Williams d. Stosur 7-5/6-3
...last summer in NYC, Stosur's drive to her first slam title was powered by bravura performances against Petrova and Serena. Getting their chances at '12 revenge, both proved successful in March. Meanwhile, Maria Kirilenko, a loser against the Aussie in a match that included a women's slam record 32-point tie-break at the Open, is still looking for her first "season after" shot at Stosur, after having already gone 2-0 in late '11 rematches against her in Tokyo and Beijing.
"I don't love tennis... but I can't live without it yet." - Serena Williams
Fed Cup 1st Round - Tsurenko/UKR d. Schiavone/ITA
...6-1/6-2. Italy (and Francesca, too) ultimately bounced back to advance to the SF, but the young Ukrainian's tie-opening crushing of the veteran came close to kicking off a HUGE FC upset.
Australian Open 4th Rd. - Makarova d. S.Williams
...6-2/6-3. The Russian is no stranger to pulling off big upsets, but surely even she never foresaw holding Serena to five games, tying her lowest-ever total in a slam loss.
Indian Wells 2nd Rd. - McHale d. Kvitova
...2-6/6-2/6-3. Kvitova's U.S. fortunes continue to turn downward, as she's broken for the final time in the eighth game of the 3rd, courtesy of back-to-back double-faults.
Miami 2nd Rd. - Muguruza-Blanco d. Zvonareva 6-4/6-3
Miami 3rd Rd. - Muguruza-Blanco d. Pennetta 6-2/1-6/7-6
...a wild card well utilized, both by the Miami tournament AND the young Spaniard.
Miami QF - Wozniacki d. S.Williams
...6-4/6-4. Sure, Serena, being Serena, said afterward that she only gave about "20%" of her normal self, but even such a post-match putdown won't erase from the books the Dane's first career win over a Williams Sister.
"For everyone else it's just the 1st round, but for me it's very emotional. I'll always remember it -- it will always be the first match of my comeback." - Alisa Kleybanova
Miami 1st Rd. - Kleybanova d. Larsson
...2-6/6-3/6-2. After ten months away and treatment for Hodgkin's lymphoma, the Russian returns. Everyone is happy for her. Probably even Larsson.
Fed Cup 1st Round - Schiavone/ITA d. K.Bondarenko/UKR
...6-7/7-5/6-4. Cleaning up a bit of the mess she'd previously created, Schiavone wins this 3:00 contest after seeing K-Bond serve with a 7-6/5-1 lead. From that moment in the match, the Italian won twelve of the next thirteen points. The rest was history.
Indian Wells 4th Rd. - Kerber d. McHale
...6-3/3-6/7-6. After having saved two match points in an earlier I.W. match against Sloane Stephens, Kerber saved three more against another Bannerette.
Sydney QF - A.Radwanska d. Wozniacki
...3-6/7-5/6-2. Maybe only one player with Polish heritage at a time is allowed to claim a suite on the WTA's top floor. If so, maybe this is where C-Woz and A-Rad -- C-Woz 2.0? -- performed the "key exchange." In the 2nd, after coming back from 4-1, Wozniacki served for a straight sets win. She couldn't put the match away. Then, battling an injured wrist, she saw Radwanska come back to get her first career win over a world #1.
Paris QF - Bartoli d. Vinci
...4-6/6-4/7-6. La Trufflette never gives up or gives in. Just ask Vinci. The Italian led this match 6-1/4-1 then, after Bartoli surged to take the 2nd, led 5-2 in the 3rd, as well. Bartoli still found a way to win.
"I gave it some milk, and it just spit it all over me. I was like, is this the thank you I get for just being nice and petting the kangaroo? I got milk all over myself. I guess I deserved that for the story last year." - Caroline Wozniacki at the Australian Open, recalling her REAL encounter with a 'roo one year after her tale of more violent run-in with an IMAGINARY one had created a bit of a controversy
Australian Open 4th Rd. - Clijsters d. Li
...4-6/7-6/6-4 For a bit, it seemed like Clijsters might be destined to defend her AO title. After coming back to win after falling behind Li 6-4/3-1, then being down quadruple match point (at 6-2) in the 2nd set tie-break, it was an easy assumption. Of course, had Li gone down the line with a drop shot retrieval up 6-5 in the TB rather than right to Clijsters, who promptly lobbed over the Chinese vet to save her fourth straight MP, her storyline in Melbourne might have played out very differently.
Miami 1st Rd. - Watson d. Cirstea
...6-3/3-6/7-6. Down 5-0 in the 3rd, the Brit saved two match points and went on to victory.
Sydney SF - Li d. Kvitova
...1-6/7-5/6-2. Dredging up memories of her blown lead to Li at Roland Garros (a loss that essentially prevented the Czech from finishing '11 at #1), world #2 Kvitova goes off the rails after taking a 6-1/3-1 lead, then sees Li take control again. If Kvitova had won the title in Sydney, she'd moved into the #1 spot. After coming up short of grabbing #1 again in the AO, then seeing Azarenka put quite a bit of distance between herself and the field, now world #3 Kvitova's wait seems as if it might last quite a while longer than previously anticipated.
"I would never say Martina was #1 when there was no one playing or that she was the best when no one way playing." - Caroline Wozniacki, on tennis great Martina Navratilova, who she also accused of trying to "stir everything up" by being "overly critical" of her game while she was the #1-ranked player
==WHAT DID MARTINA DO TO DESERVE THIS?==
It's seemingly been "Martina Hunting Season" in 2012. First, Caroline Wozniacki injudiciously chooses to publicly criticize Navratilova for being publicly critical of HER. Later, the "Dancing with the Stars" wardrobe department decides to dress Martina in the most wildly inappropriate clothes they could find (especially for a 55-year old former, but still athletic, athlete who would have been better served to be made as comfortable on the unfamiliar dance floor as possible), then paint up her face as if they were grade-schoolers having just broken into their mother's make-up kit. Maybe she would have been the first celebrity voted off under ideal circumstances, but even Martina had a hard time coming back from the love/40 deficit she faced before she'd even attempted her first heel lead in front of a camera. Additionally, to add insult to injury, Tennis Channel's "100 Greatest Players of All Time" series ranked Martina behind Steffi Graf in the best-ever female player rankings. I'm not sure which is the worse offense, but I'm leaning toward the latter one.
==PROOF THAT EVEN THE RADWANSKA ISN'T ALL BAD... maybe==
Thus far in 2012, unless your nickname is Vika, you haven't had a chance when you've gone into battle against The Radwanska. Thirty times It has taken up arms against non-Vika foes, and thirty times It has emerged victorious. Somehow, though, Hsieh Su-Wei managed to avoid It's wrath. In Kuala Lumpur, with a meeting with the entity looming in the quarterfinals, the Taiwanese veteran was granted a walkover. Apparently, The Radwanska was worn out after having been forced to complete two separate battles in the same day the day before. Qualifier Hsieh, who hadn't reached a tour SF since 2001 before she did so in Pattaya a few weeks earlier, was immediately advanced into yet another semi. She ended up winning the title, the first of her career. Poor, Su-Wei. I'm sure The Radwanska will come calling one day, looking for Hsieh to pay back It's kindness, with interest. Sure, it feels good at the moment... but never make a deal with the devil, or The Radwanska. Never.
**By the Numbers...**
0... number of matches Marion Bartoli will be playing in the Olympics this summer, as La Trufflette will fall "victim" to rules which would not allow her father Walter to serve as her coach
3... number of singles semifinalists from last year's Wimbledon who also reached the SF of the 2012 Australian Open
4... with Azarenka's maiden AO title, the current number of consecutive women's first-time slam champs
4th... year in a row that Russia, Italy and the Czech Republic have all reached the Fed Cup semifinals
5... first-time tour singles champions in 2012's 1st Quarter, after there were six first-timers during the entire 2011 season
6... number of players who began the Australian Open with a shot to end it as the world #1, which Azarenka eventually did
6th... consecutive years in which the Russians have reached the Fed Cup semis
500... career singles wins total surpassed by Serena Williams at the Australian Open
600... career singles wins total surpassed by Venus Williams at Miami
10-21... Peta Kvitova's career record in matches played on U.S. soil
2004... the last time a woman won a title the week before a slam, then won a slam title immediately afterward, before Azarenka did so in Sydney (then Melbourne) in January
2006... before Auckland, the last time Zheng Jie had won a tour singles title
Kaia Kanepi opens the season by winning the title in Brisbane
Victoria Azarenka is the first player to ever jump from #3 directly to #1, skipping over that pesky, "who-needs-the-headache?" #2 slot
Lara Arruabarrena-Vecino, ranked #174, is the lowest-ranked first-time tour singles champion since an unranked Kim Clijsters won the U.S. Open in September 2009 (and, as far as players with rankings, since Alexandra Dulgheru in Warsaw in May '09)
"Stars shining bright above you
Night breezes seem to whisper 'I love you'
Birds singing in the sycamore trees
Dream a little dream of me."
- Vania King, singing a verse from "Dream a Little Dream of Me," fulfilling Pam Shriver's request, after her Australian Open 2nd Round win over Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova
Kanepi going 1-3 since winning the Brisbane title
Azarenka often being met with catcalls from the stands and "Whack-a-Vika" comments from other players throughout her Australian Open title run
"You're in the air so I can keep on breathing, breathing
You know exactly how to keep my world spinning, spinning
Won't let you go, boy don't you know you are the air I breathe, the air I need
When you're around me I can feel my heart is beating, beating
I wanna show you, wanna tell you how I'm feeling, feeling
So come with me, so I can touch your body
Don't make me wait, don't hesitate."
- Caroline Wozniacki, singing in her for-charity debut single "Oxygen"
The whole Caroline Wozniacki/Piotr Wozniacki/Ricardo Sanchez coaching fiasco
Maria Sharapova vs. The Radwanska in Miami
Heather Watson vs Victoria Azarenka... in Melbourne AND Miami
=THE TASTY... even (or maybe especially?) if you're The Radwanska=
Francesca Schiavone and Jelena Jankovic met in Brisbane and produced a wild, nearly three-hour match that saw the Italian save two match points before eventually downing the Serb
A pair of Fed Cup stalwarts, Flavia Pennetta and Roberta Vinci, who hadn't played doubles together since 2003, teamed together to save Team Italia's bacon (pancetta?), winning the deciding doubles match to send Italy back to the semifinals
After winning Miami, the biggest title of her career, Agnieszka Radwanska fired coach Borna Vikic, who'd been coaching her and her sister Urszula on a trial basis since January. A-Rad said, with typical bluntness, "He did not pass."
In Fed Cup action, with the likes of Li, Peng and Zheng in action, China won the Australia/Oceania zone playoffs to advance to the 2012 World Group II Playoffs. It's Team China's first FC advancement since 2008, when the team notched a 1st Round tie victory to reach the semifinals.
In Sydney, Sofia Arvidsson and Alexandra Dulgheru met not once, not twice, but THREE times on the court. In qualifying, Arvidsson defeated Dulgheru. After Dulgheru got into the draw as a Lucky Loser, she got some payback by defeating Arvidsson. Then, in doubles, the two met on opposite sides of the net once again. There, Arvidsson and Jelena Dokic defeated Dulgheru and Michaella Krajicek to give the Swede a final 2-1 advantage over the Romanian for the tournament.
=and... THE "NOT THE NEXT CONTESTANT ON 'THE AMAZING RACE'"=
Bojana Jovanovski -- transportation-impaired last summer when she flew to her next tournament in Carlsbad, California, only to land in Carlsbad, New Mexico... 983 miles from the event grounds -- was at it again in January. On the trip from her hotel to the courts in Sydney, another driver ran a red light, getting into an accident with the Serb's courtesy car.
Hmmm, you don't think that maybe JJ is contagious and she's somehow infected her countrywoman with some of her "Jankovician-ness," do you? Anyway...
All for now.