Sony Ericsson WTA Tour – Beijing (Sat): Winning Start for Jankovic

October 2-10, 2010

Results – Saturday, October 2, 2010
Singles – First Round
(3) Jelena Jankovic (SRB) d. Klara Zakopalova (CZE) 75 75
Alona Bondarenko (UKR) d. (WC) Zhou Yi-Miao (CHN) 62 60
Andrea Petkovic (GER) d. Lucie Safarova (CZE) 62 63
Elena Vesnina (RUS) d. Agnes Szavay (HUN) 76(4) 16 63
Patty Schnyder (SUI) d. Yaroslava Shvedova (KAZ) 61 64
Timea Bacsinszky (SUI) d. Julia Goerges (GER) 36 64 76(4)
Olga Govortsova (BLR) d. María José Martínez Sánchez (ESP) 63 62
Kimiko Date Krumm (JPN) d. Anabel Medina Garrigues (ESP) 60 64

Doubles – First Round
Jans/Rosolska (POL/POL) d. Dzehalevich/Poutchek (BLR/BLR) 75 62

Singles Qualifying – Final Round
(1) Ekaterina Makarova (RUS) d. (11) Vania King (USA) 61 16 63
Lu Jing-Jing (CHN) d. (2) Carla Suárez Navarro (ESP) 63 63
(3) Anastasija Sevastova (LAT) d. (12) Tathiana Garbin (ITA) 63 76(3)
(4) Alla Kudryavtseva (RUS) d. Sophie Ferguson (AUS) 64 62
(5) Roberta Vinci (ITA) d. (9) Akgul Amanmuradova (UZB) 63 63
(6) Vera Dushevina (RUS) d. Greta Arn (HUN) 64 62
(14) Kateryna Bondarenko (UKR) d. (7) Anna Chakvetadze (RUS) 60 76(6)
(16) Bojana Jovanovski (SRB) d. (8) Arantxa Parra Santonja (ESP) 62 62

Order of Play – Sunday, October 3, 2010
Lotus Court (from 12.30hrs)
1. Zhang Shuai vs. Maria Kirilenko
2. Maria Sharapova vs. Tsvetana Pironkova
3. Roberta Vinci vs. Svetlana Kuznetsova
4. Alla Kudryavtseva vs. Li Na (NB 19.30hrs)
5. Kaia Kanepi vs. Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova

Moon Court (from 12.00hrs)
1. Yanina Wickmayer vs. Dominika Cibulkova
2. Nadia Petrova vs. Han Xinyun
3. Anastasija Sevastova vs. Samantha Stosur
4. Azarenka/Safina vs. Sun/Zhang (after suitable rest)
5. Daniela Hantuchova vs. Polona Hercog (NB 19.30hrs)

Court 1 (from 12.00hrs)
1. Alisa Kleybanova vs. Lu Jing-Jing
2. Aravane Rezai vs. Gisela Dulko
3. Flavia Pennetta vs. Petra Kvitova

Court 3 (from 12.00hrs)
1. ATP: Mathieu vs. Gabashvili
2. Bojana Jovanovski vs. Kateryna Bondarenko
3. Scheepers/Schnyder vs. Llagostera Vives/Martínez Sánchez
4. Bondarenko/Bondarenko vs. Chuang/Govortsova (after suitable rest)

Court 4 (from 12.00hrs)
1. ATP: Marchenko vs. Russell
2. ATP: Kubot vs. Schuettler (NB 14.00hrs)
3. ATP: Berrer vs. Zemlja
4. Lefèvre/Zakopalova vs. Grandin/Hsieh

Tokyo (Tues): Wozniacki Wins, Goerges Ousts Stosur

September 26-October 2, 2010

Results – Tuesday, September 28, 2010
Singles – Second Round
(1) Caroline Wozniacki (DEN) d. (Q) Greta Arn (HUN) 61 63
(2) Vera Zvonareva (RUS) d. Sara Errani (ITA) 63 63
Julia Goerges (GER) d. (4) Samantha Stosur (AUS) 75 63
(5) Francesca Schiavone (ITA) d. Alexandra Dulgheru (ROU) 75 63
(7) Elena Dementieva (RUS) d. Yaroslava Shvedova (KAZ) 60 61
(8) Victoria Azarenka (BLR) d. Lucie Safarova (CZE) 61 63
Andrea Petkovic (GER) d. (10) Svetlana Kuznetsova (RUS) 63 75
(11) Marion Bartoli (FRA) d. Ana Ivanovic (SRB) 62 61
Kaia Kanepi (EST) d. (13) Shahar Peer (ISR) 63 76(5)
(Q) Coco Vandeweghe (USA) d. (14) Aravane Rezai (FRA) 64 64
(16) Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (RUS) d. Kateryna Bondarenko (UKR) 62 61
Flavia Pennetta (ITA) d. Maria Kirilenko (RUS) 63 46 63
(Q) Roberta Vinci (ITA) d. Tsvetana Pironkova (BUL) 64 62
(WC) Kimiko Date Krumm (JPN) d. Daniela Hantuchova (SVK) 26 60 40 ret. (right shoulder injury)

Doubles – First Round
Raymond/Stubbs (USA/AUS) d. Llagostera Vives/Martínez Sánchez (ESP/ESP) 75 61
Benesova/Zahlavova Strycova (CZE/CZE) d. Hsieh/Kleybanova (TPE/RUS) 67(7) 61 119 (Match TB)

Order of Play – Wednesday, September 29, 2010
Centre Court (from 11.00hrs)
1. Roberta Vinci vs. Vera Zvonareva
2. Elena Dementieva vs. Flavia Pennetta
3. Francesca Schiavone vs. Kimiko Date Krumm
4. Caroline Wozniacki vs. Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (NB 17.00hrs)
5. Kaia Kanepi vs. Jelena Jankovic
6. Dulko/Pennetta vs. Date Krumm/Morita

Court 1 (from 11.00hrs)
1. Marion Bartoli vs. Victoria Azarenka
2. Julia Goerges vs. Coco Vandeweghe
3. Andrea Petkovic vs. Agnieszka Radwanska
4. Garbin/Schiavone vs. King/Shvedova (after suitable rest)

Court 2 (from 12.00hrs)
1. Kirilenko/Petrova vs. Peschke/Srebotnik
2. Errani/Medina Garrigues vs. Peer/Peng
3. Chan/Huber vs. Goerges/Rodionova (after suitable rest)

Bell Challenge: Safarova Edges Oudin In QFs

Québec City-CAN
September 13-19, 2010

Results – Friday, September 17, 2010
Singles – Quarterfinals
(3) Lucie Safarova (CZE) d. (5) Melanie Oudin (USA) 46 62 64
(Q) Tamira Paszek (AUT) d. (8) Sofia Arvidsson (SWE) 63 64
Bethanie Mattek-Sands (USA) d. (WC) Rebecca Marino (CAN) 64 76(4)
Christina McHale (USA) d. (Q) Alexa Glatch (USA) 63 61

Doubles – Quarterfinals
Foretz Gacon/Woerle (FRA/GER) d. Erakovic/Govortsova (NZL/BLR) 26 62 107 (Match TB)

Order of Play – Saturday, September 18, 2010
Court Bell (from 13.00hrs)
1. Christina McHale vs. Tamira Paszek
2. Osterloh/Tatishvili vs. Arvidsson/Larsson
3. Bethanie Mattek-Sands vs. Lucie Safarova (NB 19.00hrs)
4. Mattek-Sands/Zahlavova Strycova vs. Foretz Gacon/Woerle

US Open Womens Preview

(August 28, 2010) Caroline Wozniacki huddled up with a group of formidable supporters in New Haven last week as the Yale football team, who forged a bond with the bubbly blond Dane after she visited one of their practices last season, surrounded her on court following her victory at the Pilot Pen.

Wozniacki enters the US Open seeded first for the first time in a major and while tennis is not a contact sport, the US Open runner-up faces a collision course of a quarter featuring former champions Maria Sharapova and Svetlana Kuznetsova as well as a slew of hard hitters capable of deterring her drive to a second straight Open final.

Defending champion Kim Clijsters was reunited with the shiny silver US Open trophy as she pulled green chips signifying the seeds during the US Open draw ceremony conducted inside the main interview room at Arthur Ashe Stadium.

While Clijsters has a strong shot to return to at least the semifinals for her fourth consecutive time, the congested top quarter is packed with a trio of potential finalists in Wozniacki, the 11th-seeded Kuznetsova and 14th-seeded Sharapova as well as Australian Open semifinalist Na Li, the No. 8 seed, hard hitting French woman Aravane Rezai, who beat Justine Henin and Venus Williams en route to the Madrid title in May, 23rd-seeded Maria Kirilenko, who upset Sharapova at the Australian Open and beat Kuznetsova in Rome, and lefthander Lucie Safarova, who has a history of first-round flame-outs in New York, but can be dangerous when her forehand is firing.

The absence of 13-time Grand Slam champion Serena Williams and Australian Open finalist Justine Henin creates an immense opportunity for several players in a field that features a quartet of former champions in Clijsters, Venus Williams, Sharapova and Kuznetsova.

“The women’s side is obviously, because Serena is gone and Henin is out, wildly open,” CBS and ESPN analyst John McEnroe said. “It seems like Wozniacki is starting to find some of her form again, but obviously this is one that is open for the taking. Kim has positioned herself well, I think, in terms of what she needs to do to defend her title. Venus is obviously winging it, but if there is ever time for the draw to be open for her with players that have not played up to their recent form, if she was ever going to win anything again this would be the time if she’s healthy.”

Here’s a quarter by quarter preview of the draw.

Top Quarter

The second-ranked Wozniacki could surpass Serena Williams, who withdrew with a foot injury, for the World No. 1 ranking if she wins the Open, but a brutal draw makes that prospect look about as promising as Wozniacki playing liquid hop scotch atop the dancing water fountains outside Arthur Ashe Stadium. Wozniacki opens with American wild card Chelsey Gullickson and could face Safarova in the third round.

Three-time Grand Slam champion Sharapova has the potentially toughest test of any woman in the quarter opening against Jarmila Groth, a big server who can hammer her forehand with authority and thirves off the type of pace Sharapova brings. Still, given the fact Sharapova reached successive finals in Stanford and Cincinnati and will be pumped and primed to erase the memories of her third round loss to American spitfire Melanie Oudin last year as well as her first-round debacle in Melbourne last January, look for a supremely-focused Sharapova to take Wozniacki out in the fourth round.

Though she hasn’t won a tournament title since Strasbourg on clay in May, Sharapova has restored some of her swagger with successive finals though her serve can still be skittish.

“I absolutely do think (Sharapova has a shot). I think she’s pretty confident looking,” McEnroe said. “I was at a Nike event with her and she was pretty cocky about the dresses (she will wear at the US Open). She had this smug, confident feeling about not only the dresses. I think she’s due for some good luck. She’s had some pretty tough draws and I think she’s poised actually. She does have Wozniacki pretty early in the draw.  I think she’s put herself in position (to contend).  She’s certainly one of the top four choices.”

Kuznetsova, who recalls Marat Safin as arguably the most talented head case in the game, is a woman to watch in this quarter. She opens against 39-year-old Kimiko Date Krumm, who toppled former No. 1 Dinara Safina in the French Open first round. Kuznetsova, the 2004 US Open champion, brings a unique fear factor to New York: she deconstruct the game of any woman in this field or completely detonate herself in self-doubt and frustration. the scary thing is Kuznetsova herself rarely seems to know what type of tennis or attitude she brings to the event until it actually starts.

If Kuznetsova can keep her head together and prevent her rabid emotions from cannibalizing her game, she should beat Li and create a blockbuster all-Russian quarterfinal with Sharapova in what would be a rematch of the Cincinnati first round. Sharapova won that match as a weary Kuznetsova, coming off a win over Agnieszka Radwanska in the Cincinnati first round, faded in the third set. But Kuznetsova has a better and more reliable serve, she’s a better mover and has more variety in her game though Sharapova is a better pressure player.

The winner of the Sharapova-Kuznetsova match should go on to reach the final from the top half of the draw.

Quarterfinal Conclusion: (11) Svetlana Kuznetsova vs. (14) Maria Sharapova

Second Quarter

Hobbled by a creaky ankle and haunted by the timid tennis she played in losing to Samantha Stosur in the French open semifinals, Jelena Jankovic’s game and confidence has been in shambles since Wimbledon. Can the 2008 finalist turn it around in New York?

Jankovic has a kind draw, opening with Simona Halep in the first round followed by a second-round match with Alicia Molik or a qualifier. Yanina Wickmayer, carrying the burden of defending her 2009 semifinal points, looms as a potential fourth-round opponent for the speedy Serbian.

If Jankovic, who seems to create more drama than a soap opera, can work her way through the first week she should get to a quarterfinal against either Wimbledon finalist Vera Zvonareva or the ninth-seeded Radwanska. Jankovic must be willing to play more aggressive and be patient when pulling the trigger on her best shot, the backhand down the line, which she sometimes over plays.

Radwanska is often overlooked because she is not a hard-hitter who lights up the radar gun. In fact, she’s prone to hitting some sub-75 mph second serves that wouldn’t burst a balloon, but she has soft hands, shrewd court sense and is a stubborn competitor who knocked defending champion Sharapova out of the 2007 US Open. She has the ability to reach the semifinals if she can adapt to the court speed and find a way to diffuse the bigger hitters.

Similarly, Zvonareva, who blew six match points in an emotional implosion to Flavia Pennetta at the Open last year, can beat anyone in this quarter or beat up herself in the process. The image of a tearful Zvonareva tearing the tape off her leg and slapping her thigh in frustration during the 2009 Open remains one of the most unsettling moments of the tournaments as she unraveled before the eyes of 23,000 spectators.

Still, Zvonareva, like Kuznetsova in the top quarter of the draw, showed the type of tennis she can play in reaching the Wimbledon final in both singles and doubles. Zvonareva can go deep here if she doesn’t blow up in a temperamental tirade.

Quarterfinal Conclusion: (4) Jelena Jankovic vs. (7) Vera Zvonareva or (9) Agnieszka Radwanska.

Third Quarter

The good news for Venus Williams is she has a soft draw, the bad news is it’s a hard road to reach a Grand Slam semifinal when you haven’t played a match in more than two months, own a temperamental forehand that can go from as fierce as a flame thrower to as sketchy as a leaky water pistol, and are staring down a possible third-round match against the woman who beat you at Wimbledon and the Australian Open.

Third-seeded Venus opens against Italian Robert Vinci and could face her major nemesis, 32nd-seeded Tsvetana Pironkova, in the third round in a rematch of the Wimbledon quarterfinals that saw Pironkova sweep the five-time Wimbledon winner in straight sets.

If Williams can get to the second week she could square off with the dangerous Italian Pennetta, who has reached consecutive quarterfinals in New York. Pennetta pushed Serena Williams in a tight test in the ’09 quarters and has beaten Venus at the French Open in the past.

Look for Venus or Pennetta to play Victoria Azarenka in the quarterfinals. The 10th-seeded Belarusian retired from the Montreal semifinals on Monday with a blister, but says she will be ready for the Open. Azarenka owns the fast, flat strokes that play well on the Deco Turf. Though she’s never been beyond the fourth round in four career appearances at the Open, Azarenka beat Sharapova in the Stanford final, beat Serena to win Miami last year, and has the game to reach the semifinals. Does she have the nerve?

We’ll find out.

Quarterfinal Conclusion: (10) Victoria Azarenka vs. (3) Venus Williams or (19) Flavia Pennetta

Fourth Quarter

A simple rubber band rather than the familiar Fila visor kept Clijsters’ halo of hair from falling onto her face as the reigning US Open champion arrived at Arthur Ashe Stadium already on the move. Only this time, Clijsters wasn’t skidding into the sliding splits she’s performed beneath the bright lights of the blue stadium court in winning the Flushing Meadows major in each of her last two appearances.

It was the mad dash from the interview room, site of today’s US Open draw ceremony,  to ESPN’s outdoor set across from the practice courts, during a commecial break that kept tennis’ top working mom in motion.

Even when she’s not playing matches, Clijsters always seems to be going places.

The demands of defending the Open are greater than the seven matches required to win the season’s final Grand Slam. To master the season’s final major you must embrace the experience that is New York, navigate the hustle, bustle and muscle of a city that seems to operate at the manic pace of an overcafenated bicycle messenger zipping through traffic.

The question is can Clijsters, who made a memorable, magical run to her second US Open
title as a long shot wild card last year, bear the burden that comes from being a
favorite this time around?

It’s been a bit of an up and down season, but Clijsters says she will start the Open in sound shape mentally and physically despite suffering a hip strain in Montreal last week.

“I know if I play good tennis I can beat anyone out there,” she said.

The second-seeded Belgian opens against Greta Arn and could be looking at a fourth-
round meeting with either 21st-seeded Jie Zheng or former World No. Ana Ivanovic in the fourth round. Neither Zheng nor Ivanovic have played their best tennis in New York. Zheng, who opened the season reaching the Australian Open semifinals, has never been beyong the third round in five appearances in New York. Ivanovic, who retired from the Cincinnati semifinals against Clijsters after sustaining a foot injury, bottomed out of the Open in a first-round loss to Kateryna Bondarenko last year after suffering a shocking second-round setback to 188th-ranked qualifier Julie Coin as the top seed in 2008.

Typically, Clijsters has not always played her best tennis when she’s a favorite. This year could be different. Why?

Because without Serena in the field, Clijsters is the best hard-court player in the sport, she is riding a 14-match winning streak in New York, she is comfortable with the city and spends several weeks every summer with husband Brian Lynch, a New Jersey native and daughter Jada in the couple’s Jersey home, she likes the speed of the court and enjoys as much fan support as any non-American in the field.

Clijsters could be looking at a fourth-round match with Marion Bartoli and a potential quarterfinal with 2004 finalist Elena Dementieva, arguably the best woman yet to master a major.

Quarterfinal conclusion: (2) Kim Clijsters vs. (12) Elena Dementieva

See more of Rich’s work at, where this article first originated.