Player of the week: Caroline Wozniacki

1990-born Caroline Wozniacki had a great start of season reaching the 4th round in the Australian Open and the Tier Is of Doha, Indian Wells and Miami consecutively and breaking into the Top 40. Her progression slowed down a little but lately she is showing another peak of form. She won her first WTA title in Stocholm three weeks ago without dropping a set and broke into the Top 30.
This week Caroline has conquered the greatest title of her career so far at the Tier II of New Haven. On her way to the final, Wozniacki showed a very solid tennis, defeating other young players showing a great performance this season as Top 20 Dominika Cibulkova and Alize Cornet, as well as 3rd seed Marion Bartoli, all of them in straigh sets. But the final was a bigger challenge, as she had to face 1st seed and Top 10 Anna Chakvetadze. Chakvetadze took the first set 6/3, but Wozniacki fought back and won the following sets by 6/4 and 6/1 to take the title.
Furthermore, with this victory Caroline has broken into the Top 20 for the first time and achieved her career-high ranking at #18. She will be one to watch at the US Open.


WTA ranking as of 25-Aug-2008

Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova climb one spot to #3 and #5 respectively as Svetlana Kuznetsova and Elena Dementieva didn't played in New Haven and were not able to defend points from last year. New Haven runner-up Anna Chakvetadze gains 2 places and returns to Top 10 at #9, while champion Caroline Wozniacki breaks into the Top 20 for the first time, going from #22 to a career-high at #18. Forest Hills champion Lucie Safarova is the greatest gainer in the Top 100, climbing 24 spots to #58.

CurPrvNameCountryRank pts.Tours.
1(1)Ana IvanovicSRB361216
2(2)Jelena JankovicSRB351522
3(4)Serena WilliamsUSA334115
4(3)Svetlana Kuznetsova


5(6)Maria SharapovaRUS313113
6(5)Elena DementievaRUS307018
7(7)Dinara SafinaRUS304721
8(8)Venus WilliamsUSA258613
9(11)Anna Chakvetadze


10(9)Vera ZvonarevaRUS211723


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Week #35-36 preview: US Open

US Open (USA), Grand Slam, $7,050,000
The last Grand Slam of the season will present another big battle amongst the top players for the title and also for the WTA #1, with the only absence of Maria Sharapova due to a shoulder injury. The form of current #1 Ana Ivanovic is unknown and she recently missed the Olympic Games due to an injury. Fellow Serbian Jelena Jankovic is being more regular but physically is not at her best neither. Russian Svetlana Kuznetsova is not finding good results in the big tournaments this season, but she was US Open winner in 2004 and runner-up last year. Serena and Venus Williams must be considered always as candidates for the title, although this time they will have to face each other in the quarter-finals. Olympic Games finalists, Russians Elena Dementieva and Dinara Safina are probably the best players at the moment, but they will have to cope with the pressure of being considered favourite to win a Grand Slam and being able to reach #1.
Big upsets shouldn't be discarded, and players such as Nadia Petrova, Vera Zvonareva and youngsters Agnieszka Radwanska, Victoria Azarenka, Caroline Wozniacki and Dominika Cibulkova could get a place in the final rounds.

Week #34: Wozniacki wins in New Haven

Danish teen Caroline Wozniacki confirmed her great progression this season by winning the title in the Tier II of New Haven. In the final, Wozniacki had to come back from a set down against 1st seed Anna Chakvetadze, who got a good result after a not very brilliant season. Also remarkable were the semifinal places of French teen Alize Cornet and veteran Amelie Mauresmo, who is trying to get her best tennis back and got good victories over Patty Schnyder and Agnes Szavay.
In the small Tier IV of Forest Hills, Czech player Lucie Safarova got her 4th career WTA title and seems to be finally overcoming the big slump she has suffered for over a year after a fantastic beggining of 2007 season when she nearly reached the Top 20. She defeated Chinese Shuai Peng in the final.

New Haven (USA), Tier II, $600,000

Final: Caroline Wozniacki (DEN) def Anna Chakvetadze (RUS) 3/6 6/4 6/1

Forest Hills (USA), Tier IV, $74,800
Final: Lucie Safarova (CZE) def Shuai Peng (CHN) 6/4 6/2


Hot shot: Anna Kournikova, on cover of Maxim

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On fire: Dinara Safina

Russian player Dinara Safina has shown an impressive form in the last three months. It all started in May in Berlin, where Safina got her first Tier I title including victories over Serena Williams, Justine Henin and Elena Dementieva coming back from a set down. This was followed by a sensational performance in Roland Garros, where Safina reached the final, with memorable comebacks on her matches against Sharapova and Dementieva saving match points in both.

The grass season started with another runner-up place in 's-Hertogenbosch, but unfortunately Safina suffered a leg injury in Wimbledon and was defeated in the third round by Shahar Peer in a dramatic match with Safina in tears due to the pain. But after a few weeks of rest, Safina got back to her best form again and started an impressive streak of 15 victories in a row to win the titles in Los Angeles, Montreal and to get the Silver Medal in Beijing Olympics.
She was finally defeated by Elena Dementieva, who took revenge after three defeats to Safina between May and June, in the final of the Olympic Games. She will be one of the top favourites to take the title in the US Open starting on Monday and if she keeps this form she could even become WTA #1.
You can watch Dinara's gallery here


Player of the week: Elena Dementieva

Russian player Elena Dementieva has been a very solid Top 20 since year 2000, finishing in the Top 10 for 4 consecutive seasons, from 2003 to 2006. But she lacked a big title to get into women's tennis history. This will change after Beijing Olympics, where she has conquered the Gold Medal.

Elena had an easy way until the quarter-finals, where she had to face one of the top favourites, WTA #4 Serena Williams. Despite losing the first set, Elena come back to win the match. This boosted her confidence and she defeated fellow Russian Vera Zvonareva in the semifinals in straight sets. But in the final everything seemed to be against her. She had lost the most important finals she had played (Sydney Olympics 2000, Roland Garros 2004 and US Open 2004) and she was facing Dinara Safina who was in an impressive form, with 3 titles and 15 consecutive victories in the last month, and who had defeated Elena three times in the last 3 months (one of them in Roland Garros semifinals, coming from a set down and saving match points). Furthermore Safina took the first set, but Dementieva didn't surrender and won the match in three sets, taking revenge from Safina and showing that she's able to fight for the big titles.

Nobody trusted Dementieva when she said that her goal was becoming WTA #1, but now she's just 418 points away. She could reach #1 in the US Open, but for that she should demonstrate that she is able to win a Grand Slam.


WTA ranking as of 18-Aug-2008

Although she wasn't able to play at the Olympics due to an injury, Ana Ivanovic gets back to WTA #1 as Jelena Jankovic did not defend the points she got last year in Toronto. Olympic Champion Elena Dementieva goes 2 places up to #5. The top positions are really thight, with 7 players over 3000 points, so another big battle for WTA #1 is expected in the US Open. Bronze medalist Vera Zvonareva gets back into Top 10 moving from #11 to #9.

CurPrvNameCountryRank pts.Tours.
1(2)Ana IvanovicSRB361216
2(1)Jelena JankovicSRB351522
3(3)Svetlana Kuznetsova


4(4)Serena WilliamsUSA334115
5(7)Elena DementievaRUS319419
6(5)Maria SharapovaRUS313113
7(6)Dinara SafinaRUS307722
8(8)Venus WilliamsUSA258613
9(11)Vera ZvonarevaRUS211723
10(9)Agnieszka Radwanska



Week #34 preview: New Haven, Forest Hills

New Haven (USA), Tier II, $600,000
The last tournament before the US Open will feature a weak draw for a Tier II, as the top seeds Anna Chakvetadze, Daniela Hantuchova, Marion Bartoli, Agnes Szavay and Patty Schnyder are having a dissapointing season so far. They will have to face young talents as Caroline Wozniacki, Dominika Cibulkova or Alize Cornet and solid players such as Flavia Pennetta, Katarina Srebotnik or Maria Kirilenko, so upsets are expected.

Forest Hills (USA), Tier IV, $74,800
The smallest event of the WTA Tour features a singles draw of just 16 players, with no qualifying and doubles draws. Anyway it will be a good chance to watch some young promising players such as Marina Erakovic, Carla Suarez, Timea Bacsinszky or Ekaterina Makarova facing more experienced players such as Vera Dushevina, Lucie Safarova, Iveta Benesova or Shuai Peng.

Week #33: Russia dominates the Olympics, Dementieva takes the Gold Medal

Russian Elena Dementieva got the most beautiful victory of her career taking the Gold Medal in the women's tennis event of the Olympic Games 2008 in Beijing. Dementieva, who already got a Silver Medal in Sydney 2000 after losing the final to Venus Williams, had to come back from a set down to defeat fellow Russian Dinara Safina. After defeating WTA #1 Jelena Jankovic in the quarter finals, it looked that Safina was going to win her 3rd title in a row, but she couldn't hold her nerves and her 15 consecutive victories streak was finally broken. Another Russian, Vera Zvonareva, took the bronze after defeating Chinese Na Li, who had a great comeback after a few months injured upsetting WTA #3 Svetlana Kuznetsova in the 1st round. With the withdrawals of Ana Ivanovic and Maria Sharapova, it seemed a good chance for Serena and Venus Williams, but they were defeated in the quarter-finals by Dementieva and Li respectively. At least they managed to capture the Gold Medal in the doubles event with a clear victory over the Spanish pair Medina/Ruano in the final. Local favourites Jie Zheng and Zi Yan got the Bronze Medal for China.
In Cincinnati, Russian Nadia Petrova showed that, after a bad season, she is slowly getting her best tennis back and took the title in this Tier III that featured most of the players not playing in the Olympic Games. Runner-up place was for French veteran Nathalie Dechy.

Olympic Games, Beijing (CHN)
Final: Elena Dementieva (RUS) def Dinara Safina (RUS) 3/6 7/5 6/3
3rd place match: Vera Zvonareva (RUS) def Na Li (CHN) 6/0 7/5
Doubles final: S.Williams/V.Williams (USA) def A.Medina/V.Ruano (ESP) 6/2 6/0
Doubles 3rd place match: J.Zheng/Z.Yan (CHN) def A.Bondarenko/K.Bondarenko (UKR) 6/2 6/2

Cincinnati (USA), Tier III, $175,000
Final: Nadia Petrova (RUS) def Nathalie Dechy (FRA) 6/2 6/1


WTA ranking as of 11-Aug-2008

Serbian Jelena Jankovic is the new World's #1 after country-mate Ana Ivanovic wasn't able to defend her title in Canada. Russian Maria Sharapova drops to #5 due to her shoulder injury, while Los Angeles and Montreal champion Dinara Safina keeps on climbing and reaches a career-high ranking at #6. Montreal runner-up Dominika Cibulkova and Stocholm winner Caroline Wozniacki also reach career-high rankings at #19 and #22 respectively.

CurPrvNameCountryRank pts.Tours.
1(2)Jelena JankovicSRB372522
2(1)Ana IvanovicSRB361317
3(3)Svetlana Kuznetsova


4(5)Serena WilliamsUSA325114
5(4)Maria SharapovaRUS313113
6(7)Dinara SafinaRUS289222
7(6)Elena DementievaRUS284219
8(8)Venus WilliamsUSA249612
9(9)Agnieszka Radwanska


10(10)Anna ChakvetadzeRUS204124


Player of the week: Dominika Cibulkova

19 years old Slovakian Dominika Cibulkova is one of the breakthrough players in WTA tour this season. After a great beggining of season, an injury in June stopped her progression. But in Montreal she has shown that she's fully recovered and ready to keep on upsetting high ranked players. She has enjoyed a fantastic week defeating WTA #6 Elena Dementieva, WTA #17 Nadia Petrova and WTA #2 Jelena Jankovic in straigh sets and coming back from a set down to beat WTA #16 Marion Bartoli in the semifinals. Unfortunately, she had no chances in the final as she faced the best player at the moment, Russian Dinara Safina, who has won two consecutive titles in Los Angeles and Montreal.
Furthermore, with this result Dominika has climbed 12 spots in the WTA ranking, breaking into the Top 20 for the first time and reaching a career-high ranking at #19.


Week #33 preview: Olympics, Cincinnati

Olympic Games, Beijing (CHN)
There was a big expectation on the Olympic Games as most of the leading players had announced their presence, but withdrawals of big stars Ana Ivanovic and Maria Sharapova due to different physical problems have been a little dissapointing. New WTA #1 Jelena Jankovic, WTA #3 Svetlana Kuznetsova, best player at the moment Dinara Safina and the Williams sisters will be the top contenders for the medals, but the Olympic Games are different from a tournament so many surprises should be expected, and Chinese players will be specially motivated.

Cincinnati (USA), Tier III, $175,000
This Tier II in Cincinnati will feature most of the players not taking part in the Olympic Games for different reasons, such as French Marion Bartoli and Amelie Mauresmo, Russian Nadia Petrova and Maria Kirilenko and Slovenian Katarina Srebotnik.

Week #31: Safina keeps on fire and wins Montreal

Dinara Safina is showing her best version since May when she got the title in Berlin and won in Montreal her second consecutive tournament after Los Angeles. Safina easily defeated Slovakian Dominika Cibulkova in the final by 6/2 6/1, but needed three sets to defeat WTA #3 Svetlana Kuznetsova and WTA #16 Victoria Azarenka in the quarters and semis respectively. Young Cibulkova confirmed her progression and was a surprising finalist upsetting WTA #6 Elena Dementieva, WTA #17 Nadia Petrova, WTA #2 Jelena Jankovic and WTA #15 Marion Bartoli on her way to the final. 1st seed Ana Ivanovic and 3rd seed Maria Sharapova suffered from physical problems and were defeated in the third round
In Stockholm teen Danish Caroline Wozniacki completed a fantastic tournament with an impressive victory over Russian Vera Dushevina dropping just two games. Wozniacki didn't lose a set in the whole week and dropped no more than 7 games on each match, including an impressive victory over Top Ten and 1st seed Agnieszka Radwanska by 6/4 6/1 in the semifinals.

Montreal (CAN), Tier II, $1,340,000
Final: Dinara Safina (RUS) def Dominika Cibulkova (SVK) 6/2 6/1

Stockholm (SWE), Tier IV, $145,000
Final: Caroline Wozniacki (DEN) def Vera Dushevina (RUS) 6/0 6/2