Player of the week: Kimiko Date-Krumm

One day before her 39th birthday, Kimiko Date-Krumm made history as she captured the title in Seoul and became the second oldest woman to win a WTA title, just after Billie Jean King who got the title in Birmingham at 39 years and 7 months old. Former WTA #4 Date retired in 1996 at 26 years old, but in April 2008 she decided to comeback 12 years after her retirement.

Although since her comeback she had enjoyed sucess on the ITF circuit, she hadn't broken through again at the Tour level, going 0-8 in main draws. Date finally got over the hump with a 63 64 1st round win against Korean wildcard Lee Ye-Ra. But the way to the final wasn't that easy anymore. She was down 64 52 to Alisa Kleybanova in the second round, facing a match point down 64 53 as well; but she overcame, rallying for a 46 76(4) 63 win. Then toughed out another pair of tough wins, 76(3) 46 64 against top seed Daniela Hantuchova in the quarterfinals and 36 62 64 against the defending champion, Maria Kirilenko, in the semifinals. Against No.2 seed Medina Garrigues in the final, Date Krumm faced her most tenacious and consistent opponent yet, but the Japanese withstood the mental pressure for a 63 63 victory and the trophy.

This was the 8th WTA title of her career and she promises to continue "as long as her body holds up". If her thought of playing for a couple of years more is right, we may see her overcoming King as the oldest woman ever to win a WTA title.

WTA ranking as of 28-Sep-2009

No changes in WTA Top-10 as only minor tournaments were held last week. Runner-up in Seoul, Anabel Medina moves from #23 to #21, while Israeli Shahar Peer climbs 12 places up to #34 after her title in Tashkent. Also good climbs for Seoul semifinalist Anna Lena Groenefeld, who moves from #77 to #63, and Tashkent runner-up Akgul Amanmuradova, who gains 24 spots up to #89, although the greatest gainer of the week is Seoul champion Kimiko Date-Krumm, who climbs 55 places to return to Top-100 13 years after.

CurPrvNameCountryRank pts.Tours.
1(1)Dinara SafinaRUS834019
2(2)Serena WilliamsUSA780718
3(3)Venus WilliamsUSA664518
4(4)Elena DementievaRUS601521
5(5)Caroline WozniackiDEN585026
6(6)Svetlana Kuznetsova


7(7)Vera ZvonarevaRUS520022
8(8)Jelena JankovicSRB487020
9(9)Victoria Azarenka


10(10)Flavia PennettaITA349025


Week #39 preview: Tokyo

Tokyo (JPN), Premier, $2,000,000
Next step of the Asian season is in Japan with the Premier tournament of Tokyo, which will feature an outstanding draw with 14 of the Top-15 players, with the only absence of WTA #2 Serena Williams. WTA #1 Dinara Safina leads the field and will try to defend her title, with fellow Russians Elena Dementieva, Svetlana Kuznetsova and Vera Zvonareva, American Venus Williams, Serbian Jelena Jankovic and Danish Caroline Wozniacki as other candidates for the title. Last week champion in Seoul, comeback veteran Kimiko Date-Krumm will celebrate her 39th birthday in front of her home crowd.

Week #38: Date-Krumm wins WTA title at almost 39 years old

One day before becoming 39, Japanase Kimiko Date-Krumm got an anticipated birthday present winning the title in Seoul and becoming the second oldest player ever to win a WTA title, after Billie Jean King who won in Birmingham at 39 years and 7 months old. In an amazing run, former WTA #4 Date upsetted 1st seed Daniela Hantuchova in the quarters, title-holder Maria Kirilenko in the semis and 2nd seed Anabel Medina in the final. German Anna-Lena Groenefeld completed the semis

One week after winning in Ghuangzhou, Israeli Shahar Peer confirmed her good moment as she got in Tashkent her 2nd title in two weeks. In the final, Peer defeated local player and home favourite Akgul Amanmuradova, who upsetted 1st seed Yaroslava Shvedova in the semis. Belarusian Olga Govortsova completed the semis.

Seoul (KOR), International, $220,000
Final: Kimiko Date-Krumm (JPN) def Anabel Medina (ESP) 6/3 6/3

Tashkent (UZB), International, $220,000
Final: Shahar Peer (ISR) def Akgul Amanmuradova (UZB) 6/3 6/4


Hot shot: Flavia Pennetta shows off bikini body in Milano Fashion Week

Italian Flavia Pennetta modelled in bikini for Pin-Up stars Spring/Summer 2010 women's collection in Milano Fashion Week and showed off her fit body.


Hot news: Henin to follow Clijsters on Tour comeback

Source: AP via Yahoo! Sports

Former world No. 1 Justine Henin is returning to competitive tennis, making the announcement barely a week after Kim Clijsters capped her comeback from retirement with a second U.S. Open title.

Henin had been retired for just over a year, but at 27 says she has the fire and physical strength to compete for an eighth Grand Slam title. Her announcement on VTM television capped an about-face that went from her “definitive decision” to retire last year, to weeks of no comment to a smiling admission Tuesday that she truly missed the game too much.

She wants to play two exhibition tournaments, in Charleroi, Belgium, and Dubai, to hone her skills ahead of a competitive return next year with plans to compete in the next Grand Slam, the Australian Open.

“The fire within burns again,” Henin said. “I want to come back in January.”

Henin officially retired on May 14, 2008, initially rejecting any thought of a comeback with a dogged determination that had come to mark her play throughout a decade-long career that yielded seven Grand Slam titles and one Olympic gold medal.

At 27, it certainly is not too late for a comeback. As Clijsters proved, breaking back into the top tier at short notice is far from impossible. She won the U.S. Open in her third tournament since announcing her return.

Player of the week: Melinda Czink

After 9 years as a professional, Hungarian Melinda Czink captured last week her first WTA title in Quebec City.

After defeating Monique Adamczak and Severine Beltrame in straight sets in the 1st and 2nd round respectively, Czink had to face 1st seed and WTA #13 Nadia Petrova in the quarters. After a very tight 1st set won by Czink in the tie-break, the Hungarian benefited of Petrova's retirement due to a viral illness. In the semifinal Czink defeated home favourite and 3rd seed Aleksandra Wozniak. And in the final, Czink came back from a set down to defeat 4th seed Lucie Safarova in a very close match that was decided by 7/5 in the third set.

WTA ranking as of 21-Sep-2009

Svetlana Kuznetsova drops 2 places down to #6 as points from the Tokyo tournament, which will take place next week, were removed. Quebec champion Melinda Czink climbs 15 places up to a career high ranking at #37, while runner-up Lucie Safarova moves from #50 to #44. Guangzhou champion Shahar Peer gains 11 places up to #46, while runner-up Alberta Brianti is the greatest gainer in Top-10, climbing 18 places from #85 to #67.

CurPrvNameCountryRank pts.Tours.
1(1)Dinara SafinaRUS834019
2(2)Serena WilliamsUSA780718
3(3)Venus WilliamsUSA664518
4(5)Elena DementievaRUS601521
5(6)Caroline WozniackiDEN585027
6(4)Svetlana Kuznetsova


7(7)Vera ZvonarevaRUS533023
8(8)Jelena JankovicSRB530021
9(9)Victoria Azarenka


10(10)Flavia PennettaITA349025

Week #38 preview: Seoul, Tashkent

Seoul (KOR), International, $220,000
The 2nd tournament of the Asian mini-season takes place in Seoul. Slovakian Daniela Hantuchova leads an interesting line-up with Spanish Anabel Medina, Italian Francesca Schiavone, Austrian Sybille Bammer, Romanian Sorana Cirstea, Slovakian Magdalena Rybarikova, German Anna Lena Groenefeld and Russian Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, Alisa Kleybanova and Vera Dushevina as other candidates for the title.

Tashkent (UZB), International, $220,000
The weakest tournament of the WTA Tour takes place in Uzbekistan. With no Top-50 players and only 8 Top-100 players, the draw looks more like an ITF tournament. WTA #55 Yaroslava Shvedova is the 1st seed, although 2nd seed and last week champion in Ghuangzhou Shahar Peer is the big favourite for the title. Home crowd will cheer for local player Akgul Amanmuradova.

Week #37: Titles for Peer and Czink

Former Top-20 Shahar Peer confirmed that she is back on track after she captured in Ghuangzhou her 4th WTA title, but first since 2006. Peer took advance of the weak draw and the retirement of 3rd seed and home favourite Shuai Peng in the semifinal match, and defeated Italian Alberta Brianti in the final. Japanese Ayumi Morita completed the semis.

In Quebec, Hungarian Melinda Czink captured her 1st WTA title after coming back from a set down to defeat Czech Lucie Safarova in a tight all-lefty final. Czink benefited from 1st seed Nadia Petrova retirement on their quarter-final match, and then progressed to the final upsetting 3rd seed and local favourite Aleksandra Wozniak. German Julia Goerges completed the semis

Guangzhou (CHN), International, $220,000

Final: Shahar Peer (ISR) def Alberta Brianti (ITA) 6/3 6/4

Quebec City (CAN), International, $220,000
Final: Melinda Czink (HUN) def Lucie Safarova (CZE) 4/6 6/3 7/5


Player of the week: Kim Clijsters

More than 2 years after leaving the Tour for creating a family and becoming a mother, and just having played two tournaments since her comeback to the Tour, former WTA #1 Kim Clijsters returned to a Grand Slam tournament, and she did it to take her 2nd Grand Slam title in the US Open.

Clijsters reached the Last-16 round after sweeping Victoriya Kutuzova and Kirsten Flipkens and upsetting 14th seed Marion Bartoli coming back from a set down. Then Clijsters showed that she was a real candidate for the title upsetting WTA #3 Venus Williams in a match decided in a close third set after baggeling each other in the 1st and 2nd set. After defeating Chinese Na Li in straight sets in the quarters, Clijsters faced an anticipated final against Serena Williams in the semis. Despite the controversial end of the match Serena's threats to the lineswoman, Clijsters was already in control of the match and just two points away from the victory. And in the final, Clijsters didn't lose her concentration against the deffensive game of Caroline Wozniacki and captured the title by 7/5 6/4.

With the lack of leadership the WTA Tour is suffering since Justine Henin's retirement, the return of Kim Clijsters at her best are the best possible news for the Tour.

Week #37 preview: Guangzhou, Quebec City

Guangzhou (CHN), International, $220,000
Spanish Anabel Medina leads the field in this International event where the Chinese players, led by Shuai Peng after the withdrawal of Jie Zheng, will try to get the title in front of their home crowd. Slovenian Katarina Srebotnik and Israeli Shahar Peer are also among the favourites.

Quebec City (CAN), International, $220,000

WTA #12 Nadia Petrova is the big favourite and only Top-30 player in this International event, although local crowd will cheer for home favourite Aleksandra Wozniak. The draw is probably one of the weakest of the season with only four Top-70 players. Czech Lucie Safarova and Hungarian Melinda Czink are the other Top-70 players and candidates to the title.


WTA ranking as of 14-Sep-2009

US Open champion Kim Clijsters gets back into the WTA ranking at #19, while runner-up Caroline Wozniacki gains two places to a career-high ranking at #6. Svetlana Kuznetsova also climbs two places up to #4. Great climbs and career-high rankings for the big surprises of the US Open: semifinalist Yanina Wickmayer gains 28 places to #22, while quarter-finalists Katerina Bondarenko and Melanie Oudin climb 18 an 26 places to #34 and #44 respectively. Petra Kvitova moves 18 places up to #54 after upsetting WTA #1 Dinara Safina and reaching the Last-16 round. Besides Clijsters, greatest gainer in Top-100 is young Croat Petra Martic, who breaks into the Top-100 climbing from #137 to a career-high ranking at #89.

CurPrvNameCountryRank pts.Tours.
1(1)Dinara SafinaRUS907020
2(2)Serena WilliamsUSA780718
3(3)Venus WilliamsUSA664518
4(6)Svetlana Kuznetsova


5(4)Elena DementievaRUS603522
6(8)Caroline WozniackiDEN585028
7(7)Vera ZvonarevaRUS546024
8(5)Jelena JankovicSRB532022
9(9)Victoria Azarenka


10(10)Flavia PennettaITA349026

Week #35-36: Mommy Clijsters wins the US Open in her comeback

After retiring in 2007 and becoming a mother last year, former WTA #1 Kim Clijsters came back to the WTA Tour a month ago, and in just the third tournament after coming back, she has captured the 2nd Grand Slam title of her career at the US Open, where she already got the title in 2005. In the final Clijsters defeated a solid Caroline Wozniacki, who was the only seed to reach the quarter-finals in the upper half of the draw and took advance of the upsets to reach her first Grand Slam final.

Nevertheless, the match of the tournament was the semifinal between Clijsters and WTA #2 Serena Williams. With 6/4 6/5 15-30 for Clijsters, Williams was called a foot fault which meant two match points for Clijsters, lost her nerves and threatened the lineswoman, for which she was given a penalty point which meant the victory for Clijsters. Young Belgian Yanina Wickmayer took advance of the early defeats of WTA #1 Dinara Safina (upsetted by Petra Kvitova) and WTA #5 Jelena Jankovic (upsetted by Yaroslava Shvedova) to progress to the semifinals just facing a Top-40 (WTA #16 Virginie Razzano) on her way.

Besides Clijsters, 17 year old American Melanie Oudin hit the headlines after an amazing run upsetting four Russian players, including WTA #4 Elena Dementieva, former WTA #1 Maria Sharapova, and WTA #13 Nadia Petrova before losing to Wozniacki in the quarter-finals. Another surprising quarter-finalist was Katerina Bondarenko, who enjoyed an easy draw after upsetting Ana Ivanovic in the 1st round. Na Li and Flavia Pennetta completed the quarter-finals.

In the doubles, Serena Williams recovered from her controversial defeat in the semifinal to capture the title along with sister Venus defeating World's #1 team Cara Black and Liezel Huber in the final.

US Open (New York, USA), Grand Slam, $7,456,000
Singles final: Kim Clijsters (BEL) def Caroline Wozniacki (DEN) 7/5 6/4
Doubles final: S.Williams(USA)/V.Williams(USA) vs C.Black(ZIM)/L.Huber(USA) 6/2 6/2
Mixed doubles final: C.Gullickson(USA)/T.Parrot(USA) def C.Black(ZIM)/L.Paes(IND) 6/2 6/4


Latent heat: Melanie Oudin

Although she had a remarkable junior career reaching #2 in the junior rankings, 17 years old American Melanie Oudin got into the spotlight last Wimbledon reaching the Last-16 round as qualifier after upsetting former WTA #1 and 6th seed Jelena Jankovic. She came back from a set down in all her three Main Draw matches against Bammer, Shvedova and Jankovic.

Now in the US Open she is delighting American crowd with an even more amazing run. After sweeping promising Russian Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in the 1st round, Oudin has consecutively upsetted WTA #4 Elena Dementieva, former WTA #1 Maria Sharapova and 13th seed Nadia Petrova to get her place in the quarter-finals. There she will try to extend her run upsetting WTA #8 Caroline Wozniacki. Oudin already counts with the suppport of the local crowd, who dreams with a final between the little "Legend Killer" and Serena Williams.

Only 1.68m tall, Oudin's gamestyle differs from most of youngsters nowadays and she compensates her lack of power with a great variety of shots and her fighting spirit. American fans have finally found in this fresh blonde teenager a new hero to take over veterans Lindsay Davenport and Venus and Serena Williams.


Player of the week: Caroline Wozniacki

19 year old Danish player Caroline Wozniacki showed once again in New Haven that her progression is on the good way as she captured her 3rd WTA title this season. And she did it without dropping a set during the tournament and dropping no more than 7 games on each match.

Caroline enjoyed an easy start of tournament, as she was drawn Lucky Loser Edina Gallovits, who got double baggeled by Wozniaki. Wozniacki also sweeped promising Russian Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in the 2nd round, and Top-20 Virginie Razzano in the quarter-final wasn't much of a problem for her either. In the semis Wozniacki had a real test against 3rd seed and Top-10 Flavia Pennetta, who is in great form lately. But Caroline was far superior and got a clear victory to get her place in the final. There she stopped surprising Elena Vesnina's run.

We have seen many times now that she is able to be very consistent in the minor tournaments, now it's time for her to get a big achievement in a Grand Slam. She will have a chance in the US Open.


WTA ranking as of 31-Aug-2009

New Haven champion Caroline Wozniacki climbs one to #8 in the only change in WTA Top-15 this week. Runner-up in New Haven, Russian Elena Vesnina gains 9 places to break into the Top-30 reaching her career-high ranking at #23.

CurPrvNameCountryRank pts.Tours.
1(1)Dinara SafinaRUS981020
2(2)Serena WilliamsUSA890718
3(3)Venus WilliamsUSA686518
4(4)Elena DementievaRUS683522
5(5)Jelena JankovicSRB662022
6(6)Svetlana Kuznetsova


7(7)Vera ZvonarevaRUS530024
8(9)Caroline WozniackiDEN473028
9(8)Victoria Azarenka


10(10)Flavia PennettaITA349027