Player of the week: Jelena Jankovic

Jelena Jankovic captured her 7th WTA title last week in Beijing. Jankovic had an easy start of the tournament, as she had a bye for the 1st round, in the 2nd she had to face qualifier Canadian Aleksandra Wozniak and in the quarter-finals 7th seed Daniela Hantuchova, who is far from her best. Jankovic won both matches in straight sets, but in the semifinal she had to fight to beat WTA #9 Vera Zvonareva in three sets. In the final Jankovic showed her best tennis to defeat WTA #7 Svetlana Kuznetsova by 6/3 6/2.
With this title, Jankovic gets closer to #1, being just 21 points away from Serena Williams.

WTA ranking as of 29-Sep-2008

Elena Dementieva climbs to #4 as Ana Ivanovic drops one spot to #5 in the only change in the Top 10 this week. Beijing semifinalist Jie Zheng moves from #30 to #26, while Seoul runner-up Samantha Stosur climbs 12 places up to #61. The greatest gainer in Top 100 is veteran Roberta Vinci, who climbs 20 to get back into the Top 100 at #97.

CurPrvNameCountryRank pts.Tours.
1(1)Serena WilliamsUSA409115
2(2)Jelena JankovicSRB407022
3(3)Dinara SafinaRUS374722
4(5)Elena DementievaRUS347018
5(4)Ana IvanovicSRB332817
6(6)Maria SharapovaRUS304113
7(7)Svetlana Kuznetsova


8(8)Venus WilliamsUSA227112
9(9)Vera ZvonarevaRUS216723
10(10)Agnieszka Radwanska




Week #40 preview: Stuttgart, Tokyo, Tashkent

Stuttgart (GER), Tier II, $650,000
Despite being a Tier II, Stuttgart tournament always presents a great field, that would be even great for a Tier I. This years the presence of 16 of the Top 20 players is expected, including the Top 3 players in the world: Serena Williams, Jelena Jankovic and Dinara Safina, who are also fighting for WTA #1. Of course these players will be the main candidates for the title, but players such as Elena Dementieva, Svetlana Kuznetsova and Venus Williams should be also taken into account.

Tokyo (JAP), Tier III, $175,000
The smallest of the two tournaments held in Tokyo will take place this week. Danish teen Caroline Wozniacki will be the top seed and main favourite, but she will have very dangerous opponents in Spanish Anabel Medina, Chinese Jie Zheng, Estonian Kaia Kanepi, Israeli Shahar Peer and last week finalists in Seoul, Russian Maria Kirilenko and Australian Samantha Stosur. 38 year old and former top 5 making a surprising and succesful comeback this year, Kimiko Date-Krumm, has been awarded a Wildcard for the Main Draw.

Tashkent (UZB), Tier IV, $145,000
This Tier IV in Uzbekistan is one of the weakest tournaments on WTA Tour. This year it will only feature 7 Top 100 players. Chinese Shuai Peng, Russian Olga Govortsova and Romanian Sorana Cirstea are the top seeds and main favourites for the title, although local player Akgul Amanmuradova will count with the support of the crowd. It will also be a good chance to watch young upcoming players, such as Magdalena Rybarikova, Urszula Radwanska, Arantxa Rus and 15 years old sensation Michelle Larcher de Brito.

Week #39: Jankovic takes the titke in Beijing

Serbian Jelena Jankovic keeps on the run to WTA #1 after taking the title in Beijing. After a though semifinal against Russian Vera Zvonareva, which was decided in the third set, Jankovic had to face last week runner-up in Tokyo, Svetlana Kuznetsova, who hadn't dropped a set in the whole week. But Jankovic was far superior and won the final by a convincing 6/3 6/2. Local favourite Jie Zheng completed the semis after upsetting 6th seed Agnieszka Radwanska in the 1st round and 2nd seed Ana Ivanovic in the quarters.

In Seoul, Russian Maria Kirilenko captured her 3rd title of the season, all of them in Tier IV, after coming back from a set down in the final against Australian Samantha Stosur, who seems to be finally getting her best tennis back after suffering a viral illness last year. 1st seed Kirilenko also suffered to overcome Estonian Kaia Kanepi in the semifinals. American Jill Craybas completed the semis after upsetting 2nd seed Shahar Peer in the quarters.

Beijing (CHN), Tier II, $600,000
Final: Jelena Jankovic (SRB) def Svetlana Kuznetsova (RUS) 6/3 6/2

Seoul (KOR), Tier IV, $145,000
Final: Maria Kirilenko (RUS) def Samantha Stosur (AUS) 2/6 6/1 6/4


Hot shot: Fed Cup Final 2008, Spain vs Russia

Photobucket Album

WTA hotties attended the Fed Cup Final between Spain and Russia, held in Madrid (Spain) in September 2008. Click on the photo to access our exclusiv photo album of the event.


Player of the week: Dinara Safina

Russian Dinara Safina confirmed once again her fantastic form in the last few months, including victories in Berlin, Los Angeles and Montreal and runner-up places in Roland Garros and Olympic Games. Last week she added another Tier I title in Tokyo, and she did with an impressive play in the decissive rounds.
After beating Top 20 Dominika Cibulkova in the 2nd round, Safina had to suffer to defeat Estonian Kaia Kanepi in the quarters, who even took the second set. But then Safina reacted to play her best in the semis, where she swept Nadia Petrova by 6/1 6/0, and in the final, destroying WTA #7 Svetlana Kuznetsova by 6/1 6/3.
With this victory, Safina climbs two places in WTA ranking to reach a career-high ranking at #3. And #1 is not too far away.


WTA ranking as of 22-Sep-2008

Tokyo champion Dinara Safina climbs two spots up to a career-high ranking at #3. Tokyo semifinalists Nadia Petrova and Katarina Srebotnik move from #20 to #18 and from #25 to #21 respectively, while Francesca Schiavone climbs 5 places up to #23. Greatest gainers of the week in the Top 100 are ITF title winners Nuria Llagostera and Julie Ditty who climb 18 places up to #76 and #98 respectively.

CurPrvNameCountryRank pts.Tours.
1(1)Serena WilliamsUSA409115
2(2)Jelena JankovicSRB388521
3(5)Dinara SafinaRUS374722
4(3)Ana IvanovicSRB353317
5(4)Elena DementievaRUS347018
6(6)Maria SharapovaRUS304113
7(7)Svetlana Kuznetsova


8(8)Venus WilliamsUSA238613
9(9)Vera ZvonarevaRUS216723
10(10)Agnieszka Radwanska




Week #39 preview: Beijing, Seoul

Beijing (CHN), Tier II, $600,000
After the Summer olympics, tennis comes back to Beijing with this Tier II which will feature a great field including 6 Top Ten players and 17 of the 30 best players. Serbian WTA #2 Jelena Jankovic and WTA #3 Ana Ivanovic and Russian WTA #5 Dinara Safina and WTA #7 Svetlana Kuznetsova, who were the finalists last week in Tokyo, are the top seeds. But there are a lot of names that should be taken into account: Guangzhou champion Vera Zvonareva, Tokyo semifinalist Katarina Srebotnik, youngsters Agnieszka Radwanska, Caroline Wozniacki, Alize Cornet and Dominika Cibulkova and local favourites Na Li, Jie Zheng, Shuai Peng and Zi Yan could well provide more than one upset.

Seoul (KOR), Tier IV, $145,000

Russian Maria Kirilenko and Israeli Shahar Peer are the top seeds and main favourites for the title in this Tier IV in Korea. But they will have to beat very dangerous opponents such as Kaia Kanepi, Yung-Jan Chan, Lucie Safarova, Samantha Stosur, Camille Pin, Vera Dushevina or Bali runner-up Tamira Paszek. And it will be also a good chance to see the evolution of young talents such as Carla Suarez, Yanina Wickmayer, Sabine Lisicki, Marina Erakovic, or junior sensation Arantxa Rus.

Week #38: Russian domination continues, titles for Safina and Zvonareva

Dinara Safina confirmed once more her great form this season and raised her level in the decissive rounds to take the title in the Tier I of Tokyo. Safina trashed fellow Russian Nadia Petrova in the semifinal by 6/1 6/0 and Svetlana Kuznetsova in the final by 6/1 6/3. Slovenian Katarina Srebotnik avoided potential all-Russian semifinals after upsetting Elena Dementieva in the quarter-finals. Kuznetsova and Petrova found their best tennis after a dissappointing season and upsetted 1st seed Jelena Jankovic and 2nd seed Ana Ivanovic respectively.
In Guangzhou, Russian Vera Zvonareva ended with the hopes of Chinese crowd after defeating Jie Zheng in the semifinals and Shuai Peng in the final. Zvonareva and Peng were the strongest players and didn't drop a set on their way to the final. In the final, Peng took the first set on the tiebrak, but Zvonareva reacted and lost just two games to take the second and the third by 6/0 and 6/2.

Tokyo (JPN), Tier I, $1,340,000
Final: Dinara Safina (RUS) def Svetlana Kuznetsova (RUS) 6/1 6/3

Guangzhou (CHN), Tier III, $175,000
Final: Vera Zvonareva (RUS) def Shuai Peng (CHN) 6/7 6/0 6/2


Player of the week: Patty Schnyder

29 years old Swiss Patty Schnyder may be living the last part of her career, but she still can produce some good tennis from time to time.
Last week she made a great exhibiton in the Tier III held in Bali. Not only she took the title without dropping a set, but she dropped no more than 7 games on each match. Her way to the semifinals was easy, defeating Meng Yuan and Marta Domachowska, and there she defeated a much more difficult opponent, former Top 5 and 4th seed Nadia Petrova, who seems to be recovering her best tennis lately. In the final, Schnyder had to face the surprise of the tournament, young Austrian Tamira Paszek, who had upsetted 3rd seed Flavia Pennetta and 1st seed Daniela Hantuchova. But Schnyder didn't give any chance to another upset and defeated Paszek by a clear 6/3 6/0.
Moreover, with this victory she climbs two places in WTA ranking to #11 and is just a step away of getting back into the Top 10.


WTA ranking as of 15-Sep-2008

No changes in WTA Top 10 this week as none of them took part in Bali. Bali champion Patty Schnyder moves from #13 to #11 and semifinalist Nadia Petrova climbs 2 spots to get back into the Top 20. Bali runner-up Tamira Paszek climbs from #85 to #63, but the greatest gainer in Top 100 is Lourdes Dominguez, champion in the 100K+H ITF in Athens, who goes 25 places up to return to Top 100 at #89.

CurPrvNameCountryRank pts.Tours.
1(1)Serena WilliamsUSA409115
2(2)Jelena JankovicSRB396521
3(3)Ana IvanovicSRB353216
4(4)Elena DementievaRUS343018
5(5)Dinara SafinaRUS335721
6(6)Maria SharapovaRUS304113
7(7)Svetlana Kuznetsova


8(8)Venus WilliamsUSA238613
9(9)Vera ZvonarevaRUS208723
10(10)Agnieszka Radwanska




Week #38 preview: Tokyo, Guangzhou

Tokyo (JPN), Tier I, $1,340,000
Serbian Jelena Jankovic is the 1st seed in the Tier I held in Tokyo which changed dates to September, and she will try to get the title in order to become WTA #1. But it won't be an easy mission, as 5 of the top 7 players will be here. Along with Jankovic, Dinara Safina and Elena Dementieva are the best players in the last few months, Ana Ivanovic should come back to her best form after an injury and Svetlana Kuznetsova, who doesn't seem to be a major threat lately. But there could be also surprises, as the level of the Main Draw is very high with most of the players inside the Top 30.

Guangzhou (CHN), Tier III, $175,000
Bronze medalist at the Beijing Olympics, Vera Zvonareva will be the 1st seed and top favourite to win the tilte in this Tier III in China. But she will find a big resistance in local favourites Jie Zheng and Shuai Peng.

Week #37: Russia keeps domination in Fed Cup

Russian team captured the 4th Fed Cup title in the last 5 years and confirmed once again the supremacy of Russian players in women's tennis in the last few years. Russian team didn't want to give any kind of hope to Spanish fans and opened the tie with clear victories of Top 10 Svetlana Kuznetsova and Vera Zvonareva which left the tie almost decided. Spain tried to react as Spanish #1 Anabel Medina played her best in the third match against Svetlana Kuznetsova, taking the first set after coming back from 4-0 down. But Kuznetsova recovered and took the 2nd and 3rd sets to secure the title for Russia. Elena Vesnina and Ekaterina Makarova enjoyed Russian triumph with another victory in the doubles match.
In Bali, Swiss veteran Patty Schnyder showed that she still has some good tennis as she took the title without dropping a set. In the final, Schnyder past over Austrian Tamira Paszek, who had completed a surprising run defeating 7th seed Sara Errani, 3rd seed Flavia Pennetta and 1st seed Daniela Hantuchova. Amongst Schnyder, Paszek and Hantuchova, Russian Nadia Petrova completed the semis.

Fed Cup Final, Madrid (ESP)
Final: Spain 0 - Russia 4
Vera Zvonareva def Anabel Medina 6/3 6/4
Svetlana Kuznetsova def Carla Suarez 6/3 6/1
Svetlana Kuznetsova def Anabel Medina 5/7 6/3 6/4
Vesnina/Makarova def Llagostera/Suarez 6/2 6/1

Bali (INA), Tier III, $225,000
Final: Patty Schnyder def Tamira Paszek 6/3 6/0


Player of the week: Serena Williams

Serena Williams got back to the top of women's tennis after a fantastic US Open, where she captured her 9th Grand Slam title without dropping a set. Her way to the quarter-finals was almost perfect, as she defeated Kateryna Bondarenko, Elena Vesnina, Ai Sugiyama and Severine Bremond dropping no more than 5 games on each match.
But in the quarter-finals she had to face a much more difficult opponent, her sister Venus. In a very emotional match, Venus took the lead in the first and second sets, but Serena came back after saving several set points to win both in the tie-break. This match gave Serena a lot of confidence and, with the title and the WTA number 1 in mind, neither Dinara Safina nor Jelena Jankovic were able to stop her.
The queen of WTA Tour on 2002 and 2003 is back and she has claimed her throne.


WTA ranking as of 8-Sep-2008

Serena Williams is the new World's #1 after her victory in the US Open. Semifinalists Elena Dementieva and Dinara Safina gain two spots each and rank at #4 and #5. Polish Agnieszka Radwanska gets back into the Top 10, while former Top 20 Anna Lena Groenefeld is the greatest gainer in the Top 100, going 58 spots up to get back into the Top 100 at #83.

CurPrvNameCountryRank pts.Tours.
1(3)Serena WilliamsUSA409115
2(2)Jelena JankovicSRB396522
3(1)Ana IvanovicSRB353216
4(6)Elena DementievaRUS343018
5(7)Dinara SafinaRUS335721
6(5)Maria SharapovaRUS304113
7(4)Svetlana Kuznetsova


8(8)Venus WilliamsUSA238613
9(10)Vera ZvonarevaRUS208723
10(11)Agnieszka Radwanska




Week #37 preview: Fed Cup Final, Bali

Fed Cup Final, Madrid (ESP)
Spain and Russia will fight in Madrid for the 2008 Fed Cup title. With 3 titles in the last 4 years, Russia will be the favourite despite the absences of Maria Sharapova, Elena Dementieva and Dinara Safina. Top 10 Svetlana Kuznetsova and Vera Zvonareva will try to solve the tie in the singles matches. Elena Vesnina and Ekaterina Makarova will complete the team. On the other hand, Spain will try to complete a great run on this year's Fed Cup after upsetting Italy and China away. They will have the support of the crowd and a very solid team, especially on clay, with Anabel Medina, Carla Suarez, Virginia Ruano and Nuria Llagostera.

Bali (INA), Tier III, $225,000

Indonesian touristic city of Bali will host a Tier III where 1sd seed Daniela Hantuchova will try to recover her best level after a long injury break. Nevertheless, she will find a very hard competition for the title with Russian Nadia Petrova, Swiss Patty Schnyder, Chinese Na Li and Italian Falvia Pennetta and Francesca Schiavone.

Week #35-36: Serena Williams wins US Open and becomes WTA #1

American Serena Williams got her 9th singles Grand Slam title and 3rd in the US Open, a victory that will take her to the leading place in the WTA rankings. The tournament was promising as 6 of the top 7 players were fighting not only for the title, but also for World's #1. Ana Ivanovic and Svetlana Kuznetsova suffered early defeats, but the other four contenders (Serena Williams, Dinara Safina, Elena Dementieva and Jelena Jankovic) reached the semifinals, where every combination was possible. Williams and Jankovic reached the final, where Williams imposed her greater experience, as this was the first Grand Slam final for Jankovic. Serena didn't drop a set in the whole tournament although she suffered to defeat her sister Venus in the quarter-finals.
Some other remarkable performances where done by Julie Coin (WTA 188), who went through the qualy to reach the third round defeating WTA #1 Ana Ivanovic in the 2nd round, and by Anna Lena Groenefeld (WTA 141), who seems to be getting her best tennis back after two bad seasons as she reached the 4th round as a qualifier.
Doubles title was for the best pair this season and 1st seeds Cara Black and Liezel Huber, who defeated Lisa Raymond and Samantha Stosur in the final. Black also took the mixed doubles title with Leander Paes.

US Open (USA), Grand Slam, $7,050,000

Final: Serena Williams (USA) def Jelena Jankovic (SRB) 6/4 7/5
Doubles: C.Black/L.Huber def L.Raymond/S.Stosur 6/3 7/6
Mixed doubles: C.Black/L.Paes def L.Huber/J.Murray 7/6 6/4


Hot news: Four players will fight for US Open title and World's #1

Women’s semi-finals day will have added spice to it at the U.S. Open on Friday with the carrot of the number one ranking looming large over the four remaining protagonists.

American Serena Williams, Russians Dinara Safina and Elena Dementieva and Serbian Jelena Jankovic can all replace another Serbian, Ana Ivanovic, at the top of the rankings by winning the title in New York.

Of more immediate concern to all of them will be earning a place in the final, with Williams chasing her ninth grand slam title and the other three closing on their first.

Jankovic, Dementieva and Williams will become #1 if they win the title. Jankovic would be also #1 if she reaches the final and Safina defeats Williams in the semifinals. Finally, Safina needs to win the title and that Jankovic loses to Dementieva in the other semifinal.

Hot news: Alicia Molik retires at 27

Source: Yahoo Sports

Australia’s Alicia Molik has retired from international tennis after a long run of injuries, including a debilitating inner-ear virus.

The 27-year-old Molik peaked at a No. 8 ranking after reaching the Australian Open quarterfinals in 2005, but spent most of the rest of that season off the circuit because she was unable to balance due to the ear virus.

She won the bronze medal in the 2004 Athens Olympics and, despite only limited time in competition, achieved her ambition of making the Beijing Olympics last month. But she was knocked out in the first round.

“It’s tiring and it’s very draining,” Molik told Melbourne’s The Age newspaper on Friday. “I’ve spent a lot of time thinking. I did have a huge setback three years ago, with my middle ear problem.

“It took a while to get back and since then I’ve just struggled with a few more things that I never imagined would come along the way.”

Molik won five WTA singles titles and two Grand Slam doubles titles, at the Australian and French Opens.


Hot gossip: Ashley Harkleroad is pregnant!

Source: New York Post
Playboy's August cover girl, tennis player Ashley Harkleroad, pulled out of the US Open because she was pregnant, her agent told. "It is true - she is pregnant," said agent Sam Duvall, adding that "she does plan to come back to the tour."
Harkleroad, 23, and her fiancé, former tennis pro Charles Adams, live in Los Angeles. Ranked 91st in the world among women tennis players.
Read the whole article here