Hot stuff: Australian Open fashion

Every year, Australian Open is a great catwalk where all the sports fashion brands present their new collections for the season. Unlike other years, this time there were not very innovative or daring designs, maybe due to the threat of the tournament organizers. With Sharapova absent, many looks where on two of the most fashionable players, Maria Kirilenko and Ana Ivanovic, both with Adidas. Kirilenko looked stunning in her Stella McCartney's and Ivanovic didn't look bad either in a fucsia dress.

Adidas seems to have taken the leadership in women's tennis fashion and is currently dressing many WTA tour players. The yellow colour was a constant and looked good in players such as Dinara Safina , Caroline Wozniacki, Sania Mirza or Shuai Peng.

Due to the absence of Sharapova, Nike didn't get a lot of attention this time. Nevertheless, the very thight and short outfit of Daniela Hantuchova was widely commented, as the always original outfits of Serena Williams.

In the third place we must name Fila, which got a big presence at the Open thanks to Jelena Dokic, who was in the spotlight after her emotive return. And also Anna Chakvetadze, who recently signed for Fila, wore a really nice dress.

Concerning other brands, Reebok missed Jelena Jankovic, who has signed a deal with Chinese brand Anta, and didn't have a lot of presence. K-Swiss, Lotto and Lacoste were not as brilliant as other times and presented nice but simple designs. Yonex takes advance of the beauty and fitness of Elena Dementieva and is doing a good work lately with dresses that suit perfectly to her body. And Venus Williams brand, Eleven, also picked yellow for their designs.


Hot gossip: Ivanovic and Verdasco, no longer a couple

I know this is not fresh news for most of you, but I didn't find the time to post, so better late than never.
The couple had been dating since 2008 US Open, but they broke up earlier this month, probably during the tournament in Brisbane where both were playing.
You can read more about this break-up here, an article from Women's Tennis Blog, which has made a sensational coverage of this lovestory.


Hot shot: Vojislava Lukic, nude on cover of Serbian FHM

Pics linked from Serbian FHM website

21 years old Serbian player has posed naked for the Serbian edition of men's magazine FHM. After a good junior career, Lukic was one of the most promising Serbian players, but she only reached WTA #203 as her highest ranking, and missed most of 2008 season due to injuries. Despite not breaking into the Top 200, Lukic is popular in Serbia and also well-known among some fans as one of the sexiest players on Tour, and she is often included in 'top sexiest players' compilations on sports blogs and magazines.


Player of the week: Elena Dementieva

Russian player Elena Dementieva has started the 2009 season in the best possible way. 10 consecutive wins and two titles in just two weeks. She warmed up with a title in Brisbane and this week she has got the first Premier title of the season in Sydney.

And this time the way to the title wasn't easy at all. She started with two convincing victories over Ekaterina Makarova and Jarmila Gajdosova in the opening rounds, but in the quarters she had to face her first real challenge, WTA #10 and 6th seed Agnieszka Radwanska. Despite the loss of the 2nd set, Dementieva overcame the Polish and progressed to semis where she should face a much thougher test, WTA #2 and 1st seed Serena Williams. Helped by the unforced errors of Serena, Dementieva swept Williams by an impressive 6/3 6/1 and set up an all-Russian final with WTA #3 and 2nd seed Dinara Safina. Safina was trying to take revenge of the Olympic Games final, but once again Dementieva was stronger and took the match 6/3 2/6 6/1.

According to these results, she seems to be in really good form and she should be considered as one of the top contenders for the title in the Australian Open.


WTA ranking as of 19-Jan-2009

No changes on WTA Top 20 this week. Japanese Ai Sugiyama gains 3 spots up to #26 thanks to her semifinalist place at Sydney. Hobart champion Petra Kvitova moves from #49 to #40, while finalist Iveta Benesova climbs from #41 to #35, although the greatest gainer in Top 100 is Hungarian Melinda Czink who gains 11 places up to #89.

CurPrvNameCountryRank pts.Tours.
1(1)Jelena JankovicSRB920021
2(2)Serena WilliamsUSA793214
3(3)Dinara SafinaRUS775420
4(4)Elena DementievaRUS759620
5(5)Ana IvanovicSRB673218
6(6)Venus WilliamsUSA654414
7(7)Vera ZvonarevaRUS574423
8(8)Svetlana Kuznetsova


9(9)Maria SharapovaRUS503011
10(10)Agnieszka Radwanska




Week #3-4 preview: Australian Open

Australian Open (Melbourne), Grand Slam, A$20,600,000

The first Grand Slam of 2009 is here and it is not easy to predict which players will reach the final rounds, as there are not clear leaders dominanting the Tour and many of the top players are not at their best form. The top favourites to the title will be the Williams Sisters, as they have already shown that they can play their best in the big events even if they are not in their best form. There are some doubts about Serena's physical condition, but Venus seems to be fit and she closed 2008 season with a great victory in the WTA Championships. Unfortunately for them, they should meet in an eventual semifinal. A step behind we find WTA #1 Jelena Jankovic, who doesn't seem to be at her best and still lacks of a Grand Slam title to be finally considered a real #1, and Russians Dinara Safina (WTA #3), Elena Dementieva (WTA #4) and Vera Zvonareva (WTA #7), who were the most regular players during 2008 season and seem to be in good shape for this event. Specially Dementieva, who is unbeaten this season after winning the titles in Auckland and Sydney. Title holder Maria Sharapova will not be able to defend her crown as she's not fully recovered from her shoulder injury, and Ana Ivanovic and Svetlana Kuznetsova are not at their best and don't seem to be able to fight for the title. Some of the most promising youngsters on the Tour might take advance of the irregularity of the best players to get a place into the final rounds, so watch out players as Caroline Wozniacki, Agnieszka Radwanska, Victoria Azarenka, Alize Cornet and Dominika Cibulkova.

Week #2: Dementieva wins in Sydney, 2nd title in two weeks

Elena Dementieva got in Sydney her 2nd title in 2 weeks, showing that she has started the season in very good form and that she is a candidate to take the Australian Open title. And her way to the title wasn't easy, as she had to defeat 6th seed Agnieszka Radwanska (WTA #10) in the quarters, 1st seed Serena Williams (WTA #2) in the semis and 2nd seed Dinara Safina (WTA #3) in an all-Russian final. Japanese veteran Ai Sugiyama completed the semis.

In Hobart, youngster Petra Kvitova got her first WTA title after defeating Iveta Benesova in an all-czech final. The most difficult match for Kvitova was the quarter-finals against Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, who was leading in the 2nd set after winning the first, but Kvitova managed to comeback. In the rest of the matches, Kvitova dropped no more than 6 games on each. The tournament was plenty of upsets, and no one of the seeded players was able to reach the quarterfinals

Sydney (AUS), Premier, $600,000
Final: Elena Dementieva (RUS) def Dinara Safina (RUS) 6/3 2/6 6/1

Hobart (AUS), International, $220,000

Final: Petra Kvitova (CZE) def Iveta Benesova (CZE) 7/5 6/1


Hot topic: Female tennis stars asked to cover up for Australian Open

Female tennis stars participating in the Australian Open have been asked to give up skimpy outfits, and cover up at the Melbourne event. The move came after French player Alize Cornet caused a stir in the Hopman Cup last week with a revealing, see-through top during a doubles match, reports The Sunday Herald Sun. The Australian Open officials have threatened to impose a fine up to 2000 dollars for any player who broke strict dress code.

What dou you think about this, are the female players dresses too sexy or are the tournmanent organizers too strict?


Hot news: Sharapova pulls out of Australian Open

Source: AP

Maria Sharapova’s shoulder injury will keep her out of another big event—the Australian Open.

Sharapova told the tournament Sunday she will not be able to defend her title at Melbourne Park beginning Jan. 19. She also missed the Beijing Olympics and the U.S. Open because of the injury, and her recovery has been slower than expected.

“My shoulder is doing great,” she said in a statement. “But I just started training a few weeks ago and I am just not near the level I need to be to compete at the highest levels.”


Player of the week: Elena Vesnina

22 years old Russian Elena Vesnina enjoyed in Auckland the best WTA tournament in her career, reaching a WTA final for the first time. Vesnina, who is a solid doubles player and the only constant member of the Russian Fed Cup team in the last two years, is still looking for her breakthrough in singles, where she has finished in the Top-80 the last three years, but unable to break into the Top-40.

Vesnina started the tournament in the best possible way, trashing Japanese Aiko Nakamura by 6/1 6/0. In the 2nd round she upsetted 6th seed and former Top-10 Nicole Vaidisova in straight sets, which gave her confidence to face her major challenge in the quarters, 2nd seed and WTA #12 Caroline Wozniacki, one of the most solid players last season. Vesnina took the first set 6/3 but was swept in the second by Wozniacki 6/0. But she didn't lose her head and fight back to take the third by 6/3. After this great victory, Vesnina felt the pressure of facing a theorically easier match against unseeded Anne Keothavong for a place in the final. Keothavong took the first set, but Vesnina came back to win the match in the third and book her place in the final. There, Vesnina could do nothing against country mate and WTA #4 Elena Dementieva, who defeated her by 6/4 6/1. With this runner-up place, Vesnina climbs 13 places in WTA rankings to #63.

Elena Vesnina is also well-known among fans for being one of the sexiest and most fashionable players on the WTA Tour. You can look at her photo gallery here

WTA ranking as of 12-Jan-2009

No changes in the Top-10 of the first WTA ranking of 2009 season as only minor tournaments were played. Brisbane champion Victoria Azarenka gains two spots from #16 to #14. Good climbs for Auckland runner-up Elena Vesnina (from #76 to #63) and semifinalists Anne Keothavong (from #60 to #53) and Aravane Rezai (from #97 to #81), who is the greatest gainer in the Top 100.

CurPrvNameCountryRank pts.Tours.
1(1)Jelena JankovicSRB920021
2(2)Serena WilliamsUSA773213
3(3)Dinara SafinaRUS755419
4(4)Elena DementievaRUS732619
5(5)Ana IvanovicSRB673218
6(6)Venus WilliamsUSA654414
7(7)Vera ZvonarevaRUS574423
8(8)Svetlana Kuznetsova


9(9)Maria SharapovaRUS503011
10(10)Agnieszka Radwanska




Week #2 preview: Sydney, Hobart

Sydney (AUS), Premier, $600,000
The first Premier tournament of the new WTA Tour calendar and the most important test before the Australian Open will take place in Sydney. The field will be great, with 8 of the 12 best players in the WTA Tour and almost all the Main Draw players in the Top 50. American Serena Williams will be the 1st seed, but she may not be in perfect physical condition as she wasn't able to play in Hopman Cup last week. With Dinara Safina, Elena Dementieva, Vera Zvonareva, Svetlana Kuznetsova and Nadia Petrova amongst the seeds, it is very likely that the title will go to Russia. But youngsters Agnieszka Radwanska, Caroline Wozniacki, Victoria Azarenka and Dominika Cibulkova will try to upset the top favourites.

Hobart (AUS), International, $220,000
Very open and interesting draw in this International tournament in Tasmania. Top-20 Flavia Pennetta, Patty Schnyder and Anna Chakvetadze will be the higher 3 seeds, but there will be lot of dangerous players out there that could surprise them, like Jie Zheng, Agnes Szavay, Alona Bondarenko, Nicole Vaidisova, Aleksandra Wozniak or Shahar Peer. And also many young talents looking for upsets, like Magdalena Rybarikova, Marina Erakovic, Petra Kvitova and Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova.

Week #1: Titles for Azarenka and Dementieva. Slovakia wins Hopman Cup

Bielorusian Victoria Azarenka showed an impressive form in Brisbane to get her first WTA title without dropping a set. Azarenka sweeped French Marion Bartoli in the final by 6/3 6/1. French Amelie Mauresmo remembered her days of glory beating 1st seed Ana Ivanovic in the quarters, but was forced to retire in the semifinal against Bartoli. Italian Sara Errani completed the semifinals.
In Auckland, Russian Elena Dementieva also confirmed that she is in good shape with the looks in the Australian Open, as she took the title without dropping a set and losing no more than 8 games on each match. Surprising finalist was country-mate Elena Vesnina, who reached her first WTA final after upsetting 2nd seed Caroline Wozniacki in the quarters. Unseeded French Aravane Rezai and British Anne Keothavong completed the semifinals of a tournament full of upsets.
Finally, in the Hopman Cup Slovakian team became the International Mixed Teams champion as Dominika Cibulkova and Dominik Hrbaty defeated Russians Dinara Safina and Marat Safin in the final.

Brisbane (AUS), International, $220,000
Final: Victoria Azarenka (BLR) def Marion Bartoli (FRA) 6/3 6/1

Auckland (NZL), International, $220,000

Final: Elena Dementieva (RUS) def Elena Vesnina (RUS) 6/4 6/1

Hopman Cup, Perth (AUS), International Mixed Teams Championship
Final: Slovakia (Hrbaty, Cibulkova) def Russia (Safin, Safina) 2/0


Week #1 preview: Auckland, Brisbane, Hopman Cup, Hong Kong

Brisbane (AUS), International, $220,000
2009 season opens in Brisbane with the new WTA calendar and new tournament categories (Premier & International). This International tournament will count with Serbian Ana Ivanovic as 1st seed and main favourite, although she will have to take care of Top-20 Victoria Azarenka and Marion Bartoli, former Top-5 Daniela Hantuchova and former WTA #1 Amelie Mauresmo.

Auckland (NZL), International, $220,000
Russian Elena Dementieva and Danish Caroline Wozniacki will be the top favourites for the tournament held in New Zealand. Nicole Vaidisova, Shahar Peer, Anabel Medina and Aleksandra Wozniak should be also taken into account, along with teen Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and local favourite Marina Erakovic. 37 years old Japanese Kimiko Date-Krumm (former WTA #4) has been awarded a Wild Card for the Main Draw.

Hopman Cup, Perth (AUS), Exhibition
The official mixed teams competition of the International Tennis Federation takes places in Perth, where USA, Russia, France, Australia, Italy, Germany, Slovak Republic and Chinese Taipei will compete for the title. Regarding the WTA players, WTA #3 Dinara Safina is the most remarkable participant, with Top-20 Flavia Pennetta, Alize Cornet and Dominika Cibulkova also taking part

J-B Group Classic, Hong Kong, Exhibition
The exhibition tournament in Hong Kong is becoming a classic in the season opening and this year it features a novel format. Four teams representing America, Europe, Russia and Asia Pacific, composed of two WTA players and a promising youngster, will fight for the title. WTA #1 Jelena Jankovic and Top-10 players Venus Williams and Vera Zvonareva will be the main attractions, along with Anna Chakvetadze, Agnes Szavay, Jie Zheng, Gisela Dulko and Sania Mirza.