Player of the week: Francesca Schiavone / Alexa Glatch

Fed Cup semifinals were held last weekend with Italy and USA progressing to the final and Francesca Schiavone and Alexa Glatch as the most decissive players on each tie.

Italy was facing the almost unbeatable Russian team, that has only been defeated once in the last five years, and it was in Italy in 2006. And the solid and fighter Italian team did it again. After Pennetta captured the first point defeating Chakvetadze, Francesca Schiavone had to face a much thougher opponent, the leader of the Russian squad and WTA #9 Svetlana Kuznetsova. Despite losing the 1st set by 6/1, Schiavone kept fighting and come back to upset Kuznetsova in 3 sets. Everything seemed done for the Italians, but the victory of Kuznetsova over Pennetta put all the pressure over Schiavone, who had to overcome talented youngster Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova. And it wasn't an easy task as the match went to the 3rd set, where Schiavone imposed her experience to take the decissive point and give the victory to Italy.

In Brno, the Czech Republic was the clear favourite over an American team with the absence of the Williams sisters and Bethanie Mattek as the only Top-100 player. Furthermore, Mattek is not at her best form at the moment and lost her matches against Kvitova and Safarova. But then 19 years old Alexa Glatch, #114 in the WTA ranking, came into the spotlight, and playing a superb tennis sweeped Iveta Benesova (WTA #29) and Petra Kvitova (WTA #48), dropping only 3 games on each match and taking the tie to the decissive doubles match, which was won by Americans Huber and Mattek.


Hot gossip: Azarenka, Cibulkova, Chakvetadze and Bondarenko to appear in FHM

Latest gossip around WTA players sexy photoshoots states that Victoria Azarenka, Dominika Cibulkova, Anna Chakvetadze and Alona Bondarenko could appear in the June issue of the French Edition of men's magazine FHM, coinciding with the Roland Garros tournament. We can't wait to see the pictures of these less-known but very good looking players. We will post the best pics as soon as they are published, so keep an eye here.

WTA ranking as of 27-Apr-2009

No changes on WTA Top-10 this week as Fed Cup ties were held this week.

CurPrvNameCountryRank pts.Tours.
1(1)Dinara SafinaRUS895117
2(2)Serena WilliamsUSA827217
3(3)Elena DementievaRUS739121
4(4)Jelena JankovicSRB735020
5(5)Venus WilliamsUSA710215
6(6)Vera ZvonarevaRUS627023
7(7)Ana IvanovicSRB517417
8(8)Victoria Azarenka


9(9)Svetlana Kuznetsova


10(10)Nadia PetrovaRUS384025


Week #17 preview: Stuttgart, Fes

Stuttgart (GER), Premier, $700,000
The Premier tournament of Stuttgart, traditionally held in the autumn hard indoor season, changes this year of dates and surface and is held in the spring clay season. But some other things doesn't change, as the great level of the entry list for a tournament of its level and the bonus prize of a Porsche, main sponsor of the tournament, for the winner. 14 of the Top 20 players will play here, with Dinara Safina (WTA #1), Elena Dementieva (WTA #3) and Jelena Jankovic (WTA #4) as the top seeds, although youngsters Victoria Azarenka (WTA #8) and Caroline Wozniacki (WTA #11) should be also counted as favourites as they are probably the two players in the best form at the moment.

Fes (MAR), International, $220,000
WTA Tour makes a stop in Marocco for this International tournament, with Russian Maria Kirilenko and Spanish Anabel Medina as the biggest attractions. Nevertheless, they will not be the only favourites to the title, as young Russians Alisa Kleybanova, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and Ekaterina Makarova, Romanian Sorana Cirstea, Israeli Shahar Peer and Italian Roberta Vinci, champion two weeks ago in Barcelona, should be also taken into account.


Week #16: Italy and USA to play Fed Cup final

Italy and USA will play the Fed Cup final in November after a thrilling weekend with 6 of the 9 ties being decided in the doubles match. Italy confirmed as a very solid and dangerous team and the only one able to defeat Russia in the last five years, doing it for the 2nd time. Russian team was weakened by the absence of their top players Dinara Safina, Elena Dementieva and Vera Zvonareva and Italy took advance to set a 2-0 lead after the first day with Pennetta sweeping a poor Chakvetadze and Schiavone upsetting Kuznetsova. Kuznetsova gave the Russian team a little hope defeating Pennetta on the second day, but Schiavone secured the victory defeating youngster Pavlyuchenkova. In Brno, USA got a very surprising victory over the Czech Republic despite the absence of the Williams sisters. Young Alexa Glatch (WTA 114) played an incredible tennis to sweep Czech leaders Iveta Benesova (WTA 29) and Petra Kvitova (WTA 48) dropping no more than 3 games on each match. And veteran Liezel Huber partnered with Bethanie Mattek to complete the upset in the doubles match.

On the other hand, Serbia finally got a well deserved place in World Group with former #1s Jelena Jankovic and Ana Ivanovic defeating the Spanish team. Ukraine also promoted to World Group for the first time with a 5-0 victory over a poor Argentina. The closest ties were held in France and Germany, with the ties being decided in the doubles match. Amelie Mauresmo was the hero for France, as she won the 3 points (2 singles and 1 doubles) to overcome a strong Slovakian team with Cibulkova and Hantuchova. Germany was led by Sabine Lisicki and Anna-Lena Groenefeld, who got the decissive point in the doubles match after China come back from a 2-0 down after the first day.

Finally, in the World Group II playoffs, three thrilling ties were decided in the 5th match, with local teams Belgium, Estonia and Poland defeating Canada, Israel and Japan respectively. Australia found less opposition on a weak Swiss team and secured its place in World Group II in the 3rd match. Yanina Wickmayer (2 singles and 1 doubles victory), Kaia Kanepi (2 singles and 1 doubles victory), Agnieszka Radwanska (2 singles victories) and Samantha Stosur (2 singles victories) led each one of the winner teams to World Group II.

Fed Cup, World Group Semifinal
ITALY 4 - Russia 1
Czech Republic 2 - USA 3

World Group play-offs
Spain 0 - SERBIA 4
FRANCE 3 - Slovakia 2
GERMANY 3 - China 2
Argentina 0 - UKRAINE 5

World Group II play-offs
BELGIUM 3 - Canada 2
ESTONIA 3 - Israel 2
POLAND 3 - Japan 2
AUSTRALIA 3 - Switzerland 0


Player of the week: Sabine Lisicki

Although she had already shown in some matches that she was able to produce high level tennis, German youngster Sabine Lisicki still lacked of the regularity and mental strength to become a WTA champion.

But this week in Charleston she has shown her progress wining her first WTA title, and she did in a Premier event with some remarkable wins. And furthermore, she has done without losing a set in the whole tournament, and losing no more than 6 games in the quarters, semis and finals. After unnoticed victories over Pelletier and Wienerova in the early rounds, Lisicki got all the attention after upsetting favourite and WTA #5 Venus Williams in the Last-16 round, playing at a very high level. And unlikely other times, this time Sabine was able to keep this high level until the final, sweeping Elena Vesnina by 6/4 6/0 and Marion Bartoli by 6/4 6/1 and defeating in the final one of the best players this year, Danish Caroline Wozniacki, who was the champion last week in Pontevedra Beach and was in a 9 consecutive victories streak, by 6/2 6/4. Everyone in Charleston was astonished with her game and now she is considered to have one of the most devastating forehand shots in the Tour.

With this victory, Sabine breaks into the Top-50 for the first time, moving from #63 to a career-high ranking at #43. But if she can play as she did last week in Charleston, it is clear that she will get much higher.

WTA ranking as of 20-Apr-2009

Dinara Safina is the new WTA #1 as Serena Williams could not defend her title in Charleston due to an injury. This is the first time Safina reaches #1 and she does without having won any Grand Slam title, as Jelena Jankovic did last year. Last week champion in Pontevedra Beach and this week runner-up in Charleston, young Danish Caroline Wozniacki climbs to #11 and is just 50 points away from breaking into Top-10. Great climb for surprising Charleston champion Sabine Lisicki, who gains 20 places from #63 to a career-high ranking at #43, while Barcelona champion Roberta Vinci moves from #61 to #52.

CurPrvNameCountryRank pts.Tours.
1(2)Dinara SafinaRUS895117
2(1)Serena WilliamsUSA827217
3(3)Elena DementievaRUS739121
4(4)Jelena JankovicSRB735020
5(5)Venus WilliamsUSA710215
6(6)Vera ZvonarevaRUS627023
7(7)Ana IvanovicSRB517417
8(8)Victoria Azarenka


9(9)Svetlana Kuznetsova


10(10)Nadia PetrovaRUS384025


Week #16 preview: Fed Cup

This week there are no WTA tournaments as the Fed Cup semifinals will be held. 4 times champions in the last 5 years, Russia, with Kuznetsova, Petrova and Chakvetadze, will be again the favourite to overcome Italy, but the Italians, with Pennetta, Schiavone, Errani and Vinci, are always a dangerous team, especially playing on clay and with the crowd support, and they are the only ones who have defeated Russia in the last 5 years. In Brno, a strong Czech Republic team with Benesova, Kvitova and Safarova could make history reaching their first final since the split of Czechoslovakia, if they overcome the US team again weakened by the absence of Williams Sisters and leaded by Bethanie Mattek.

Also the play-offs to World-Group will be held this weekend, featuring very open and interesting ties. Serbian "dream team" with Jankovic and Ivanovic will try to finally reach the World Group, although they will have to defeat the solid Spanish team, with Medina, Martinez and Llagostera, that will count with the crowd support and their favourite clay surface. Another historic team, France, with Cornet and Mauresmo, is in trouble and will have to overcome a strong Slovakian team with Cibulkova, Hantuchova and Rybarikova, to keep their place in World Group. The tie between Germany, with Groenefeld and Lisicki, and China, with Zheng and Peng, seems very open, while Ukraine could promote to World Group for the first time if the Bondarenko sisters are able to defeat a weak Argentinian team with no top 100.

Finally, Canada, Estonia, Poland and Australia will fight with Belgium, Israel, Japan and Switzerland for a place in World Group II next year in the World Group II play-offs.

Fed Cup, World Group Semifinals
Italy vs Russia
Czech Republic vs uSA

World Group play-offs
Spain vs Serbia
France vs Slovakia
Germany vs China
Argentina vs Ukraine

World Group II play-offs
Belgium vs Canada
Estonia vs Israel
Poland vs Japan
Australia vs Switzerland


Week #15: Lisicki wins first WTA title in Charleston

Young German player Sabine Lisicki was the real sensation at Charleson last week after she captured her first WTA title, and she did it in a Premium tournament and without dropping a set. Furthermore, Lisicki upsetted 2nd seed, WTA #5 and main favourite for the title Venus Williams in the Last-16 round, and last week champion in Pontevedra Beach Caroline Wozniacki, who was on a 9 consecutive victories streak, in the final. 1st seed Elena Dementieva lost to Wozniacki in a thrilling semifinal, while french Marion Bartoli completed the semis.

In Barcelona, Italian Roberta Vinci captured the 2nd WTA title of her career after defeating title holder Maria Kirilenko in the final. Vinci upsetted fellow country mates Flavia Pennetta (seed #2) in the 2nd round and Francesca Schiavone in the semis. Spanish Carla Suarez completed the semis, while 1st seed Alize Cornet was upsetted in the 1st round by Stephanie Cohen--Aloro.

Charleston (USA), Premium, $1,000,000

Final: Sabine Lisicki (GER) def Caroline Wozniacki (DEN) 6/2 6/4

Barcelona (ESP), International, $220,000
Final: Roberta Vinci (ITA) def Maria Kirilenko (RUS) 6/0 6/4


Player of the week: Caroline Wozniacki

18 years old Danish player Caroline Wozniacki is one of the most promising young talents in the WTA circuit. She has kept a solid progression that has taken her close to the Top-10. And it looks like she will break into it very soon.

Last week she won her 4th WTA title in Pontevedra Beach on green clay, also her game is better suited for hard surface. And she proved her solid game and mentality overcoming experienced and dangerous players such Samantha Stosur (WTA #32), Virginie Razzano (WTA #42) and Daniela Hantuchova (WTA #40 and former Top-5) on her way to the semifinal. On the semifinal, she had to come back from a set down to Elena Vesnina (WTA #57) in a very close match that was decided in the 3rd set tiebreak. And in the final, as great champions do, Wozniacki showed her best tennis to sweep Aleksandra Wozniak (WTA #29) by 6/1 6/2.


WTA ranking as of 13-Apr-2009

No changes on WTA Top-10 as only minor tournaments where played last week. Spanish Anabel Medina and Carla Suarez reach career-high rankings at #18 and #27 after reaching the semifinal and final in Marbella, respectively. Also career-high ranking for Pontevedra Beach runner-up Aleksandra Wozniak, who breaks into the Top 30 for the first time peaking at #29. The highest climb of the week in Top-100 is for Aravane Rezai, who gains 11 places moving from #94 to #83.

CurPrvNameCountryRank pts.Tours.
1(1)Serena WilliamsUSA913217
2(2)Dinara SafinaRUS895118
3(3)Elena DementievaRUS756121
4(4)Jelena JankovicSRB735021
5(5)Venus WilliamsUSA704214
6(6)Vera ZvonarevaRUS672023
7(7)Ana IvanovicSRB517417
8(8)Victoria Azarenka


9(9)Svetlana Kuznetsova


10(10)Nadia PetrovaRUS384024

Week #15 preview: Charleston, Barcelona

Charleston (USA), Premier, $1,000,000
After the withdrawal of her sister Serena, Venus Williams will be the main favourite to win the title in Charleston, the only Premier event played on green clay. Russians Elena Dementieva, Vera Zvonareva and Nadia Petrova, and Pontevedra Beach champion, Danish Caroline Wozniacki will be the major threats for Williams.

Barcelona (ESP), International, $220,000

The 2nd consecutive tournament in Spain presents a very open draw, where it is very hard to predict a possible winner. Top-20 players Alize Cornet and Flavia Pennetta will be the top seeds and main favourites, but local player and runner-up in Marbella last week Carla Suarez will count with the crowd support. Title-holder Maria Kirilenko, Estonian Kaia Kanepi, Italian Sara Errani and Romanian Sorana Cirstea should be also taken into account, as well as the rest of Spanish players with special attention to Nuria Llagostera and Bogota champion Maria Jose Martinez.

Week #14: Titles for Jankovic and Wozniacki

Jelena Jankovic got back on the winning track as soon as the red clay season arrived and she got her first title this year in the new event in Marbella, Spain. Jankovic consecutively defeated local favourites Anabel Medina and Carla Suarez in the semis and the final respectively. Young Romanian Sorana Cirstea completed the semis, while 1st seed Serena Williams, who was not in good physical condition after reaching the final last week in Miami, showed a dissapointing performance and was upsetted by Klara Zakopalova in 1st round.

In Pontevedra Beach, Danish Caroline Wozniacki sweeped Canadian Aleksandra Wozniak to confirm that she is one of the most solid young talents in WTA. Wozniak had already upsetted 1st seed Nadia Petrova in the semis, but showed no opposition to the young Danish, who overcame very dangerous players such as Samantha Stosur, Virginie Razzano, Daniela Hantuchova and Elena Vesnina on the way to the final. 14 years old Madison Keys (USA) became the 7th youngest player to win a match in a WTA Main Draw after defeating Alla Kudryavtseva.

Finally, it is remarkable that 38 years old Kimiko Date-Krumm continues with her successful comeback and got the title in the ITF $75,000 of Monzon (Spain).

Marbella (ESP), International, $500,000
Final: Jelena Jankovic (SRB) def Carla Suarez (ESP) 6/3 3/6 6/3

Pontevedra Beach (USA), International, $220,000
Final: Caroline Wozniacki (DEN) def Aleksandra Wozniak (CAN) 6/1 6/2


Player of the week: Victoria Azarenka

19 years old Belarusian Victoria Azarenka achieved last week the biggest success of her career by winning the title in the Premier tournament of Miami, also known as "the fifth Grand Slam".

Azarenka, who had already shown a great tennis this season, had almost a perfect tournament. She gone through the early rounds to the semifinals as a hurricane, sweeping all her rivals. Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (WTA 28), Anna Chakvetadze (WTA 23), Agnes Szavay (WTA 24) and Samantha Stosur (WTA 31), no one was able of taking more than 6 six games from her. In the semifinal Azarenka had a much more difficult test against 8th seed Svetlana Kuznetsova. Azarenka won the first set, but Kuznetsova reacted and took the second (the only set that Vika lost in the whole week) and the match was decided in the third with are very close 7/5 for Azarenka. It really seemed that the final was going to be too much for her, as she was facing the more experienced, WTA #1 and title holder Serena Williams, and that, as almost all the young players, she wouldn't be able to overcome the pressure. But she showed no fear or respect for the #1, and destroyed Williams by 6/3 6/1.

This title is the third for Victoria this season and confirmed that she is one of the players to follow in the big events. With this title, she has reached #8 at the WTA ranking, and her next goal will be fighting for a Grand Slam title and for #1.


Hot shot: Daniela Hantuchova sexy bikini photoshoot for Hello Magazine

Source: Daniela Hantuchova's Official Website

While playing the Sony Ericsson Open in Miami, Daniela joined Hello Magazine at the Four Seasons for a photo shoot and interview. Daniela modeled contemporary swimwear poolside while being photographed by Hello Magazine’s Chris Bott. Check your newsstands now for Hello! Magazine and visit Daniela Hantuchova's Official Website for more pictures from Daniela’s Miami photo shoot!

Hot shot: More of WTA Tour stars photoshoot in Dubai

Source: Contour Photos by Getty Images

The glamorous photosoot was held in Dubai and features the following players: Serena Williams, Jie Zheng, Vera Zvonareva, Alize Cornet, Daniela Hantuchova, Dinara safina, Dominika Cibulkova, Elena Dementieva, jelena Jankovic, Sorana Cirstea and Ana Ivanovic.

To watch the complete photoshoot of Sony Ericsson WTA Tour stars in Dubai by Lorenzo Agius in the website of Contour by Getty Images, click here

WTA ranking as of 6-Apr-2009

Serena Williams kept her #1 place in the WTA rankings after reaching the final in Miami, as Dinara Safina missed another good chance to reach the top of the ranking. Russian Elena Dementieva climbs one to reach her best ranking ever at #3, as Venus Williams gets back to #5 and Miami champion Victoria Azarenka gains two places up to a career-high at #8. Good climbs also for quarter-finalists Iveta Benesova (from #31 to #25), Na Li (from #40 to #29) and Samantha Stosur (from #42 to #31). Greatest gainers in Top-100 were Karolina Sprem and Julia Goerges, who gained 16 places to get back to Top-100 at #98 and #99 respectively.

CurPrvNameCountryRank pts.Tours.
1(1)Serena WilliamsUSA913216
2(2)Dinara SafinaRUS895119
3(4)Elena DementievaRUS756121
4(3)Jelena JankovicSRB729020
5(6)Venus WilliamsUSA704214
6(5)Vera ZvonarevaRUS672023
7(7)Ana IvanovicSRB517417
8(10)Victoria Azarenka


9(8)Svetlana Kuznetsova


10(9)Nadia PetrovaRUS384023


Hot shot: Glamorous WTA players photoshoot in Dubai

International news and current affairs network CNN was granted behind-the-scenes access when the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour staged its second "Iconic" photo shoot during the Barclays Dubai Tennis Championships in March, giving correspondent Pedro Pinto the chance to ask some of the sport's biggest names how they felt about glamming it up.

World No.1 Serena Williams, Dinara Safina, Jelena Jankovic, Ana Ivanovic and Daniela Hantuchova were among the Tour stars that took time out from the practice courts.

Video linked from CNN.com

Week #14 preview: Marbella, Pontevedra Beach

Marbella (ESP), International, $500,000
European clay season starts with this new tournament in Spain. Despite being an International event, increased prize money allows a high-class line-up with WTA #1 Serena Williams and WTA #3 Jelena Jankovicc. They will be the main favourites for the title, but they will have to be aware of local favourites and clay specialists Anabel Medina and Carla Suarez, Italian Sara Errani and Estonian Kaia Kanepi.

Pontevedra Beach (USA), International, $220,000
A new tournament in Florida takes spot of the dissapeared event of Amelia Island, starting the mini-season of green clay. Despite being an International event, the tournament will feature a good draw with 4 Top-20 players as the top favourites: Russian Nadia Petrova, Danish Caroline Wozniacki, Slovak Dominika Cibulkova and Swiss Patty Schnyder. They will have to be aware of other dangerous players such as Daniela Hantuchova, Sania Mirza, Alona Bondarenko, Samantha Stosur or Sabine Lisicki.

Week #12-13: Azarenka upsets Serena in Miami

19 years old Belarusian Victoria Azarenka produced a major upset in Miami final sweeping over top favourite and WTA #1 Serena Williams by 6/3 6/1. Azarenka played at a great level all week, dropping just one set on her semifinal against Svetlana Kuznetsova, and dropping no more than 6 games on each of the other matches. On the other hand Williams suffered to reach the final, dropping sets to Zheng in Last-16 round, Li in quarters and her sister Venus Williams in the semis. The recovery of Kuznetsova was one of the good news of the week in a tournament full of upsets, as 4 of the Top 8 seeds (Safina, Jankovic, Zvonareva and Ivanovic) didn't reach the 4th round. Along with Na Li, Caroline Wozniacki, Iveta Benesova and Samantha Stosur completed the quarter-finals.

Miami (USA), Premier, $4,500,000
Final: Victoria Azarenka (BLR) def Serena Williams (USA) 6/3 6/1


Hot gossip: Ashley Harkleroad gives birth to baby boy

23 year old Ashley Harkleroad and 38 year old Chuck Adams had the birth of their baby boy named Charlie on Monday March 30, 2009. Chuck Adams said the birth of their baby boy was 5 days ago on Saturday April 4, 2009 in an interview on Radio Tennis.com of a live world-wide web cast of the maxIT pro/am Tennis Event from the historic La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club.
Ashley's next goal will be getting back out on the courts. She has said she will return and plans were to be back on the tournament courts sometime in June of this year with plans on playing the US Open.

Congratulations Ashley & Chuck!!