Hot news: 2009 WTA Awards announced in Miami

2009 WTA Awards were announced last Wednesday in Miami. Here is the list of winners:

Player of the year: Serena Williams
Doubles team of the year :Serena Williams & Venus Williams
Most improved player: Yanina Wickmayer
Newcomer of the year: Melanie Oudin
Comeback player of the year: Kim Clijsters
Sportmanship award: Kim Clijsters
Fan favorite: Elena Dementieva
Player services: Liezel Huber

Hot shot: Wozniacki's revealing dress at Sony Ericsson Open kick-off party

Young WTA star Caroline Wozniacki shocked everyone last Tuesday when she arrived to the Sony Ericsson Open kick-off party in Miami wearing a very revealing dress that showed most of her upper body. The dress generated many oppinions among tennis fans and was described as "inappropiate", "risque" or even "slutty".
In my opinion it looks more appropiate for "Dancing with the stars" than for a players party, but as a man I think she looks really hot on it and I'm not going to blame her for showing her body off.

Player of the week: Jelena Jankovic

After being WTA #1 in 2008, Serbian Jelena Jankovic wasn't able to keep that level in 2009 and dropped to #8. But this season she may recover her status, as she showed last week in Indian Wells that she is back on the winning track.

After a straight set victory in the 2nd round against upcoming youngster Petra Martic, Jelena survived a very tough match against Sara Errani in the 3rd round. After winning the 1st set, the Italian was two points away from victory in the 2nd set tiebreak and had four points for a 5-2 lead in the 3rd, but Jankovic put up a good fight to come back and take the match. This victory gave Jankovic the confidence she needed, as she won the rest of her matches in straight sets - 62 62 over Shahar Peer, 64 64 over Alisa Kleybanova, 62 64 over Samantha Stosur and 62 64 over Caroline Wozniacki in the final.

With the clay season and Roland Garros coming in the following months, more titles could arrive for Jankovic. The first chance is this week in Miami.


Week #12-13 preview: Miami

Miami (USA), Premier mandatory, $4,500,000
The Sony Ericsson Open in Miami, also known as the 5th Grand Slam, will have this year three big absences: WTA #1 and 5 times champion Serena Williams, WTA #3 Dinara Safina and former WTA #1 Maria Sharapova. All the other Top-30 players will be here, as it is a mandatory event. The fight for the title is very open and we can name several candidates, such as 3-times champion Venus Williams (WTA #5), Indian Wells champion Jelena Jankovic (WTA #8), new WTA #2 and runner-up at Indian Wells Caroline Wozniacki, defending champion Victoria Azarenka (WTA #7) and former #1 Belgians on their way back to the Tour, Kim Clijsters and Justine Henin. Russians Svetlana Kuznetsova (WTA #3) and Elena Dementieva (WTA #6) should always be taken into account. Nevertheless, a surprising winner shouldn't be discarded with youngsters such as Agnieszka Radwanska, Yanina Wickmayer and Alisa Kleybanova and dangerous players such as new Top-10 Samantha Stosur, Chinese Na Li and Jie Zheng, Russian Vera Zvonareva, Italian Flavia Pennetta and Israeli Shahar Peer as the names to be followed.


WTA ranking as of 22-Mar-2010

After her runner-up place in Indian Wells, Caroline Woniacki climbs to WTA #2 reaching her career-high ranking. Elena Dementieva climbs one to #6, as well as Indian Wells champion Jelena Jankovic who ranks at #8 and semifinalist Samantha Stosur who breaks into the Top-10 for the first time. Quarterfinalists Jie Zheng, Alisa Kleybanova and Maria Jose Martinez move 4, 5 and 6 places up to #19, #22 and #27 respectively. Also 6 places up for Maria Kirilenko to #30, whereas Justine Henin finally re-enters WTA ranking at #33. Former #1 Ana Ivanovic drops 30 spots to rank outside the Top-50 for the first time since 2005. Greatest gainers in Top-100 are Kirsten Flipkens and Karolina Sprem who climb 8 places up to #69 and #86 respectively.

CurPrvNameCountryRank pts.Tours.
1(1)Serena WilliamsUSA864518
2(4)Caroline WozniackiDEN637524
3(2)Dinara SafinaRUS623018
4(3)Svetlana KuznetsovaRUS593019
5(5)Venus WilliamsUSA562617
6(7)Elena DementievaRUS510020
7(6)Victoria AzarenkaBLR493017
8(9)Jelena JankovicSRB476521
9(8)Agnieszka RadwanskaPOL408022
10(10)Samantha StosurAUS356520

Week #10: Best Jankovic is back at Indian Wells

After an irregular 2009 season, it seems that former WTA #1 Jelena Jankovic has finally found her best tennis back at Indian Wells. Jankovic survived a 3-set thrill against Sara Errani in the third round, and then raised her level and didn't drop any other set on her way to the title. In the final, Jankovic defeated Caroline Wozniacki, who will climb to WTA #2 ranking with this result. Wozniacki defeated Agnieszka Radwanska in the semis of a tournament that was dominated by defensive players. Australian Samantha Stosur completed the semis to break into the WTA Top-10 for the first time.

Indian Wells (USA), Premier, $4,500,000

Final: Jelena Jankovic (SER) def Caroline Wozniacki (DEN) 6/2 6/4


Hot shot: Radwanska, Cirstea, Szavay and Gallovits hit the catwalk in Indian Wells

WTA players Agnieszka Radwanska, Sorana Cirstea, Agnes Szavay and Edina Gallovits participated in the FILA Fashion Show during the BNP Paribas Open on March 13, 2010 in Indian Wells, California.


Hot news: Nicole Vaidisova retires, will marry Radek Stepanek in July

Source: TennisReporters.net

According to Matthew Cronin at TennisReporters.net, Czech player Nicole Vaidisova is retiring at the age of 20. She's scheduled to marry ATP player Radek Stepanek in July. She just informed the tournament in Miami that she's turning down a wild card and pulled out of all her events the rest of the year.

Semifinalist at Roland Garros'06 and Australian Open'07, Vaidisova won 6 WTA titles and entered Top-10 in 2006 being just 17 years old, peaking at #7 in May 2007. But she couldn't handle the pressure and after two bad seasons she was currently ranked at #176. She couldn't contend with losing, no longer had the desire to compete hard and began to dislike the sport.


Player of the week: Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova

1991-born Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova was one of the most promising young players as she entered the Top 30 as a 17 year old after and amazing semifinal run at Indian Wells 2009, and she still was the youngest player in WTA Top 40. But this week she has become a reality as she has captured her 1st WTA title on her first WTA final appearance in Monterrey.

Anastasia had good sensations from the very beggining of the tournament, as she went through Anna Tatishvili, Polona Hercog and Klara Zakopalova dropping no more than 5 games on each match. But her first problem arised as her semifinal was cancelled due to rain and she had to face both semifinal and final in the same day. After defeating Anastasija Sevastova on a tough 3-set match, things didn't look good at all for Pavlyuchenkova as she lost the first set to Daniela Hantuchova by 6/1. But Anastasia fought back and with her big serve and powerful goundstrokes dismantled Hantuchova taking the 2nd and 3rd set by a clear 6/1 6/0.

With this victory, Pavlyuchenkova reaches her highest career ranking at #25, and this week in Indian Wells she will try to repeat her amazing 2009 run.

WTA ranking as of 08-Mar-2010

No changes in WTA Top-10 as only minor tournaments were played last week. Monterrey champion Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova gains 3 places up to #25, whereas runner-up Daniela Hantuchova climbs 2 to rank at #22. Semifinalist in Monterrey Anastasija Sevastova is the greatest gainer in Top-100 as she moves from #72 to #63.

CurPrvNameCountryRank pts.Tours.
1(1)Serena WilliamsUSA864518
2(2)Dinara SafinaRUS648018
3(3)Svetlana KuznetsovaRUS593019
4(4)Caroline WozniackiDEN592524
5(5)Venus WilliamsUSA562617
6(6)Victoria AzarenkaBLR530017
7(7)Elena DementievaRUS485520
8(8)Agnieszka RadwanskaPOL388022
9(9)Jelena JankovicSRB377021
10(10)Na LiCHN346619

Week #10-11 preview: Indian Wells

Indian Wells (USA), Premier mandatory, $4,500,000
Despite being a mandatory event, the Premier tournament in California will miss 3 of the Top 5 players, with the always controversial absence of the Williams sisters and the withdrawal of WTA #2 Dinara Safina due to injury. Nevertheless the field is still great with all the other top players. Candidates for the title include Belgian former #1s Justine Henin and Kim Clijsters, Russians Svetlana Kuznetsova, Elena Dementieva, Vera Zvonareva and Maria Sharapova and youngsters Victoria Azarenka and Caroline Wozniacki.

Week #9: Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova wins 1st WTA title.

18 years old Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova got in Monterrey her 1st WTA title after a busy Sunday as she defeated Anastasija Sevastova in a rain-delayed semifinal and Daniela Hantuchova in the final. Hantuchova took the lead in the final as she won the first set by 6/1, but Pavlyuchenkova reacted in such a way to win 12 of the last 13 games taking the second and third sets by 6/1 6/0. Sevastova completed a great run to the semis upsetting 1st seed and WTA #9 Jelena Jankovic in the 1st round. Dominika Cibulkova completed the semis.

Monterrey (MEX), International, $220,000
Final: Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (RUS) def Daniela Hantuchova (SVK) 1/6 6/1 6/0


Player of the week: Alisa Kleybanova

Despite not being as popular as other players, 20 y.o. Russian Alisa Kleybanova is one of the upcoming youngsters in the WTA Tour. But this might change soon as Alisa captured her 1st career WTA title in Malaysia last week.

After an esy straight sets win over former Top-10 Alicia Molik in the 1st round, Alisa had to come back from a set down two overcome two dangerous opponents, Alla Kudryavtseva and Anastasia Rodionova, in the 2nd round and quarter-final respectively. But this tough victories boosted Kleybanova's confidence, and in the semifinal she swept Japanese youngster Ayumi Morita to reach a WTA final for the first time. And her opponent was one of the best players with an impressive 14-2 record and 2 titles so far this season, WTA #7 Elena Dementieva. But Kleybanova felt no pressure and dominated the match with her powerful serve and groundstrokes for a 6/3 6/2 win.

WTA ranking as of 01-Mar-2010

No changes in WTA Top-10 as only minor tournaments were played last week. Samantha Stosur gains one place up to #11 as Flavia Pennetta drops to #12. Champion in Malaysia, Russian Alisa Kleybanova climbs from #29 to #26, whereas Acapulco runner-up Polona Hercog gains 7 places up to a career-high ranking at #53. Greatest gainer in Top-100 is Japanese Ayumi Morita who climbs from #103 to #89 after her semifinalist place in Malaysia.

CurPrvNameCountryRank pts.Tours.
1(1)Serena WilliamsUSA864518
2(2)Dinara SafinaRUS648018
3(3)Svetlana KuznetsovaRUS593019
4(4)Caroline WozniackiDEN592524
5(5)Venus WilliamsUSA562617
6(6)Victoria AzarenkaBLR530017
7(7)Elena DementievaRUS485520
8(8)Agnieszka RadwanskaPOL388023
9(9)Jelena JankovicSRB377020
10(10)Na LiCHN366520


Week #9 preview: Monterrey

Monterrey (MEX), International, $220,000
Fromer WTA #1 Jelena Jankovic is the biggest attraction of the 2nd Mexican tournament. Slovak Daniela Hantuchova and Dominika Cibulkova, young Russian Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, Hungarian Agnes Szavay, Spanish clay specialist Anabel Medina, Canadian Aleksandra Wozniak and Czech Lucie Safarova are her main opponents on the way to the title.

Week #8: Venus Williams defend back-to-back titles and gets 43rd WTA title.

One week after defending her title in Dubai, Venus Williams also defended her last year's title in Acapulco and got her 43rd career singles title. But this time the way to the title was more difficult, as she had to come back from a set down and from 5-1 down in the 3rd set to overcome Spanish Laura Pous in the quarters. Williams also dropped a set to Edina Gallovits in the semis and had to come back from a set down against Slovenian Polona Hercog in the final. This was first WTA final appearance for Hercog, who upsetted 2nd seed Agnes Szavay in the quarters and 5th seed Carla Suarez in the semis.

In Malaysia, upcoming Russian Alisa Kleybanova got her 1st WTA title as she defeated 1st seed and WTA #7 Elena Dementieva in her first WTA final appearance. On her way to the final, Kleybanova had to come back from a set down on her matches against Kudryavtseva and Rodionova, whereas Dementieva just dropped 15 games in 4 matches, but in the final Kleybanova played at high level and dismantled Dementieva. Sybille Bammer and Ayumi Morita completed the semis as 2nd and 3rd seeds Na Li and Jie Zheng suffered early exits.

Acapulco (MEX), International, $220,000
Final: Venus Williams (USA) def Polona Hercog (SLO) 2/6 6/2 6/3

Kuala Lumpur (MAL), International, $220,000
Final: Alisa Kleybanova (RUS) def Elena Dementieva (RUS) 6/3 6/2