Sunday, February 17, 2008

Henin wins in Antwerp

Justine Henin woke from her service slump and looked more like herself in today's Proximus Diamond Games final. Henin defeated Karin Knapp of Italy, 6-3, 6-3 in a well-played match that gave Knapp a chance to show the different aspects of her game. Though she was no match for Henin, Knapp held her own, breaking Henin once, and giving the world number 1 enough competition to give the crowd an entertaining match.

Cara Black and Leizel Huber won the doubles title, defeating Kveta Peschke and Ai Sugiyama, 6-1, 6-3.

6 comments:

Jen said...

Not a surprising result, but surprisingly tough matches for Justine in this event. Doesn't make me want to wager much on her chances in Dubai in a couple of weeks. On the other hand, she has never lost there in winning four of the last five years. (Who did she beat in those finals? Mauresmo, Sharapova, Kuznetsova, Seles -- not bad.)

To change the subject, according to the new WTA rankings, AGNIESZKA RADWANSKA has reached #20 for the first time, at age 18. A big WELL DONE for a future top five player, I suspect.

Diane said...

I'm a little surprised that Radwanska was the first of the phenom group to reach the top 20, but--yes--good for her.

Jen said...

I guess that depends on how you define her "phenom group," Diane. Nicole Vaidisova is actually younger, but I'll grant she's been in the top 20 for so long she seems like an institution! On the other hand, Szavay is only about 2 months older than Radwanska. Currently ranked #18, wouldn't it be fair to say that she was the first of their group to "make it"?

Diane said...

No, I'm not counting Vaidisova; I meant Radwanska, Paszek, Azarenka, Szavay...and I count Wozniacki.

Jen said...

Fair enough re Vaidisova, whose career high ranking is #7. But it is very interesting to speculate about which of the newer phenoms will break into the top 10 first. I am tempted to pick Paszek, the youngest of them all, but at #42 she also has a very long way to go. So the others you mention -- Szavay at #18, Radwanska at #20, and Azarenka at #24 may have the inside track. (I think Krajicek belongs in this cohort too, as a recently turned 19-year-old ranked midway between Azarenka and Paszek.)

But I might want to argue for the 17-year-old Wozniacki (currently ranked #53) --to be placed in different "phenom group." Caroline's career high is 45, the same as Cibulkova and Govortsova, both currently ranked above her. Also ranked higher than Woz at #49 is recently turned 18-year-old Alize Cornet. The 18-year-old Swiss Timea Bacsinzcky (#61) may also want a place at this table given her excellent play and 15-5 record in 2008.

So that creates two groups of five teens (in order of ranking, incidentally):
Group "A" -- Szavay, Radwanska, Azarenka, Krajicek, Paszek. Group "B" -- Cibulkova, Cornet, Govortsova, Wozniacki, Bacsinszky.

The average age of these two groups is very close. The players in Group A have mostly come along a bit faster. Will they ultimately be the most successful?

Diane said...

Your groupings make sense, Jen. I must say, though, that I think Krajicek is a head case, so I would have to put her into Group B. She is very talented, but she cannot string victories together. I keep hoping that will change; she does have a new coach.

By the way, I am very impressed with Cibulkova.