Monday, October 25, 2010

Wk.42- A Whole New World?

The future is now, don't ya know.

No, I'm not talking about Victoria Azarenka potentially sending a 2011 message by closing out the WTA's 2010 regular season by winning a title in Moscow. I'm talking about the WTA's new logo, of course.

Apparently, its purpose is to serve as a "distinctive and modern reminder of the captivating athleticism and excitement that has driven the international popularity and growth of women's pro tennis."

Yep, it surely reminds ME of "captivating athleticism and excitement," and I'd say by the look on Jelena Jankovic's face that she agrees. I mean, it definitely makes a person think more about the incredible athletes of the WTA tour than that old, failed-and-phased-out logo, which somehow was supposed to do the same by including an actual player doing something athletic.

Now... wait. Hmmm.

I guess the powers that be have a point about the new "Sony Ericsson-less" logo being "functional and effective" for the tour's partners, because why would another company teaming up with the tennis tour want to use a logo that reminds the public that the WTA is a tennis tour, rather than say, the World Turducken Association, Watery Tailors for Aquaman or Worried Troll Architects.

But, as we know, the WTA higher-ups ALWAYS know best. They certainly NEVER make mistakes (not right before a tournament begins in the Middle East, at least). So I've come to the quick conclusion that this is, by far, the GREATEST logo in the history of logos for tennis tours, overindulgent food combinations, superhero clothiers and/or poor souls who waste their talent designing buildings to fit under bridges.

So there.


MOSCOW, RUSSIA (Premier $1m/hard indoor)
S: Victoria Azarenka/BLR d. Maria Kirilenko/RUS 6-3/6-4
D: Dulko/Pennetta d. Errani/Martinez-Sanchez

LUXEMBOURG, LUXEMBOURG (Int'l $220K/hard indoor)
S: Roberta Vinci/ITA d. Julia Goerges/GER 6-3/6-4
D: Bacsinszky/Garbin d. Benesova/Zahlavova-Strycova

PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Victoria Azarenka/BLR
well, well, well. Has the 21-year old from Belarus started to turn the corner? She still has work to do this offseason (after getting a shot to erase her bad Doha memories from '10, that is), but getting a late-season title in Moscow is a very good sign that she's starting to fortify her efforts at the end of a long, grueling season. A string of good wins over Andrea Petkovic, Alisa Kleybanova, Maria Jose Martinez-Sanchez and Maria Kirilenko (she also reached the doubles semis with the Russian) was impressive, and it easily trumps her win in Stanford as her latest-in-the-season title run. Last year, she grabbed three titles in the season's first three months, but wasn't up to getting #4 the remainder of the season. Stanford came in July, and this October win in Russia could surely be looked upon as a perfect springboard into her '11 season. Of course, she could still flame out again this week in Qatar.
RISERS: Maria Kirilenko/RUS, Julia Goerges/GER and Timea Bacsinszky/Tathiana Garbin, SUI/ITA
both Kirilenko and Goerges lost singles finals, while Bacsinszky/Garbin won yet another title. In Moscow, Kirilenko played in her first singles final of '10 after defeating the likes of Alexandra Dulgheru, Kateryna Bondarenko (6-0/6-0!!), Zarina Diyas and Vera Dushevina. Goerges, who won her first tour title earlier this season in Bad Gastein, played in the Luxembourg final after knocking off Mandy Minella, Carla Suarez-Navarro, Ana Ivanovic (so much for Linz meaning something?) and Angelique Kerber. In the same event, Bacsinszky/Garbin defeated Iveta Benesova/Barbora Zahlavova-Strycova in the final to win their third title of 2010. Only Dulko & Pennetta have claimed more.
SURPRISE: Roberta Vinci/ITA
the 27-year old Vinci is the very definition of a late bloomer. In 2007, she was just another talented 24-year old serve-and-volleyer without a career tour singles title. She won her first that season. She got another last year, and then won her third this weekend in Luxembourg by stringing together wins over Sofia Arvidsson, Barbora Zahlavova-Strycova, Kirsten Flipkens, Anne Keothavong and Julia Goerges.
COMEBACKS: Anne Keothavong/GBR & Maria Jose Martinez-Sanchez/ESP
Keothavong, whose comeback from injury has taken the long route this season, reached her second tour singles SF of the season (her first since Week 7 in Memphis) in Luxembourg, getting victories over Virginie Razzano, Patty Schnyder and Iveta Benesova. For her part, MJMS's injury-bothered second half of the season meant she entered last week having not reached a tour SF since she won the title in Rome in May. That ended in Moscow, as wins over Alla Kudryavtseva, Alona Bondarenko and Dominika Cibulkova got her into the Kremlin Cup's final four. She also reached the doubles final with Sara Errani.
VETERANS: Gisela Dulko/Flavia Pennetta, ARG/ITA
the 2010 season's #1 doubles team (without a slam title) won their tour-leading sixth as a pair (their ninth overall) in Moscow. As they head to Doha's season-ending championships as the #1-seeded doubles team, they both find themselves just fifty points behind Liezel Huber in the WTA computer's doubles rankings.
FRESH FACES: Zarina Diyas/KAZ & Karolina Pliskova/CZE
Diyas, who turned 17 last Monday, isn't one of the "borrowed" Kazakhs now populating the tour. She's actually native born, and she just had the best week of her career in Moscow. She made it through qualifying, gettings wins over Alexandra Panova and Ekaterina Dzehalevich, and then upset both Gisela Dulko and Jelena Jankovic to reach her first career tour QF. Meanwhile, the Pliskova Sisters had yet another odd, but hardly unusual for them, week in the $25K challenger in Glasgow. First, Kristyna lost to Eirini Georgatou in the 1st Round, then the sisters went down in the doubles QF at the hands of a team that included Greece's aforementioned Georgatou. But Karolina managed to uphold the family honor, and get a little sweet revenge, in the end by defeating Georgatou in the singles final by a 3-6/6-0/6-3 score to grab her second ITF title of 2010.
DOWN: Jelena Jankovic/SRB
in Moscow, JJ was sick (though I'm sure it had nothing to do with the new WTA logo)... and is probably tired of waiting for the '10 season to end so that she can get herself physically sound during the offseason. It seems like it's been quite a while since she was just that. Her 6-1/6-2 loss to Kazakh teen Diyas, during which the Serb called trainers and had her blood pressure checked, makes the former #1 player in the world just 6-8 since she wrapped up her Round of 16 performance at Wimbledon.
ITF PLAYER: Alison Riske/USA
anything Rebecca Marino can do, Riske is trying to do better. Last week, the Canadian won her third straight ITF challenger. This weekend, Riske did it, too, taking the $50K event in Saint Raphael, France with a 6-4/6-2 win in the final over Urszula Radwanska.

the spectacled 16-year old from China became the first female from her country to win the Osaka Mayor's Cup in Japan, defeating Miho Kowase 7-5/6-7/7-6 in the Grade A final. She did it even after failing to put away the match in the 2nd set, and then having to move along with the match indoors for the 3rd in order to escape the rain.

1. Moscow Final - Azarenka d. Kirilenko
Thus, Azarenka becomes the all-time winningest tour player from Belarus, with her fifth career title moving her one ahead of Hall of Famer Natasha Zvereva, who won four singles titles during the 1990's. Of course, for most of Zvereva's career, she represented the U.S.S.R..
2. Luxembourg Final - Vinci d. Goerges
Vinci becomes the third member -- with Schiavone and Pennetta -- of the Italian Fed Cup team to also win tour singles titles in 2010.
3. Luxembourg QF - Goerges d. Ivanovic
Luxembourg is not Linz.
4. Moscow 2nd Rd - Diyas d. Jankovic
2010 is not 2008, either.
5. Luxembourg 2nd Rd - Flipkens d. Rezai
A season ago, Rezai won the season-concluding Tournament of Champions in Bali.
6. Moscow Doubles 1st Rd - Govortsova/Kudryavtseva d. Huber/Vesnina
Looks like Elena won't be Huber's regular doubles partner in 2011.
7. Luxembourg Q's - Barthel d. Cirstea
...6-0/3-1 ret.
The 20-year old German wins when Cirstea can't make it through the match. At this rate, there'll be no Wimbledon show court appearances in 2011 for Cirstea no matter where she ranks on the All-England Club's "hotness" scale. In qualifying and main draw matches this season, the Romanian is 28-30.
8. $10K Seville Final - Karin Knapp d. Andrea Gamiz
Last week, the former Top 40 tour player lost in a challenger final. This week, she won one.
9. $25K Rock Hill SF - Camila Giorgi d. Krista Hardebeck
Giorgi went on to win the title, but the 16-year old American Hardebeck had an impressive week. Before losing close here, she notched wins over Julia Cohen and Valeria Solovieva.
10. $10K Dubrovnik Final - Diana Enache d. Vivienne Vierin 6-3/7-5
$10K Antalya Final - Cristina Dinu d. Polina Vinogradova 6-2/6-2
$10K Ain El Sokhna Final - Alexandra Cadantu d. Zuzana Zlochova 6-2/6-3
Sunday was a good day for the Romanian women. Combined, these three have now won six challenger titles in ten 2010 finals.
HM- Stockholm Final - Roger Federer d. Florian Mayer
With his third title of '10, Federer joins Rafael Nadal and Caroline Wozniacki as the only players, male or female, to win three tour singles titles in each of the past three seasons. Oh, and his 64th career win tied some guy named Sampras on the ATP's all-time title list.

**2010 WTA FINALS**
7...Caroline Wozniacki, DEN (6-1)
6...Vera Zvonareva, RUS (1-5)
5...Maria Sharapova, RUS (2-2)
4...Belgian Barbie, BEL (4-0)
4...Elena Dementieva, RUS (2-2)
4...Justine Henin, BEL (2-2)
4...Venus Williams, USA (2-2)

[2010 - teams]
3...Iveta Benesova/Barbora Zahlavova-Strycova
3...Serena Williams/Venus Williams
[career team titles - both players active]
33...Lisa Raymond/Rennae Stubbs (2010: 1)
29...Cara Black/Liezel Huber (2010: 2)
20...Lisa Raymond/Samantha Stosur
19...Serena Williams/Venus Williams (2010: 3)
11...Cara Black/Rennae Stubbs
11...Yan Zi/Zheng Jie
9...Nuria Llagostera-Vives/Maria Jose Martinez-Sanchez (2010: 1)

[w/ year of last title]
Marion Bartoli, FRA (2009)
Eleni Daniilidou, GRE (2008)
Jelena Dokic, AUS (2002)
Maria Kirilenko, RUS (2008)
Alicia Molik, AUS (2005)
Shahar Peer, ISR (2009)
Agnes Szavay, HUN (2010: 2)

8...Martina Navratilova
5...Steffi Graf
4...Chris Evert
3...Monica Seles
2...Belgian Barbie
2...Justine Henin
2...Serena Williams
1...Maria Sharapova
1...Venus Williams

109...Jimmy Connors
94...Ivan Lendl
77...John McEnroe
64...Pete Sampras

DOHA, QATAR (SEC $4.55m/hard outdoor)
09 Final (s): S.Williams d. V.Williams
09 Final (d): Llagostera-Vives/Martinez-Sanchez d. Black/Huber
10 Top Seeds: Wozniacki; Dulko/Pennetta

1. #1 Wozniacki (3-0)
2. #4 Schiavone (2-1)
3. #5 Samantha Stosur (1-2)
4. #7 Elena Dementieva (0-3)

1. #3 Belgian Barbie (3-0)
2. #2 Vera Zvonareva (2-1)
3. #8 Victoria Azarenka (1-2)
4. #6 Jelena Jankovic (0-3)

Wozniacki d. Zvonareva
Schiavone d. Barbie
Wozniacki d. Schiavone
Vania King & Yaroslava Shvedova

...of course, all of these picks could be tossed aside if, once again, injuries wreak havoc with the field in the desert heat at the end of a very long season. I almost went with Barbie here... but, you know, I just couldn't bring myself to do it.

Part 1 of the 2010 Backspin Awards is coming next. All for now.

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Blogger Courtside said...

I think it's very unfair to say "So much for Linz meaning something: regarding Ana. Ana has played great tennis the past two months going all the way back to Cincy. She was dead tired in Linz and probably should of had pulled out. Ana even admitted herself that she couldn't do much. Goerges played great in that match. To indicate that one particular loss which was totally expected by everyone knowing damn well how tired and out of gas Ana was is a sign that Linz was a fluke is just flat out wrong. Ana is back. The Linz title meant a lot and she will be a top 10 player next year and a serious contender at the slams. I guarantee it.

Tue Oct 26, 12:47:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Diane said...

You have to wonder how much money was paid to whoever came up with the idea of "an egg with a logo in it." And of course, that "tennis ball" brings forth instant recognition all over the world. It is athleticism personified.

The first thing I thought of was: a company that sells insurance, but can't afford a national television ad campaign.

Tue Oct 26, 12:48:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Todd Spiker said...


I hope she does come all the way back. It'd be good for women's tennis, and provide at least one story countering all those pieces about #1-ranked women's players who can't handle success (another of which appears in today's Washington Post). If she'd just won somewhere other than Linz, it wouldn't be so easy to flippantly (which, I admit, it probably sounded) toss off the title as being "less meaningful" than one won elsewhere, since the only other place she's won since RG '08 was there, as well. But I guess there's always next year. I don't REALLY believe she's not on her way back, even if it might be somewhat slowly and gradual. I did list her stock under "Have Faith" for next season in my "2011 Market Tips" section:

"AnaIvo continues to work at finding the right combination. One day she'll jimmy open that post-'08 Roland Garros lock on her potential, and wonder why it took so long to do it."


Yeah, it would have been so easy to just make that circle look like a tennis ball. It would have been SOMETHING, at least. It makes you wonder, are the business partners the WTA teams up with really the ones that the tour should be catering to if they are seemingly "embarrassed" to be associated with and utilize a logo which tells people that it's associated with a women's sport?

Tue Oct 26, 04:33:00 PM EDT  
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