Friday, October 31, 2008

Oudin out in Quebec City, but she had a good week

Melanie Oudin's run at the Bell Challenge ended today when she was defeated in the quarterfinals by 6th seed Bethanie Mattek, 7-6, 6-1. Nevertheless, Oudin made a good showing, taking out number 2 seed Sybille Bammer in the first round, and defeating Olga Pouchkova in the second round.

Friday cat blogging--sleepy friendship edition

Thursday, October 30, 2008

She's number 1

Greg Garber writes on Jelena Jankovic's well-deserved number 1 ranking.

Quote of the week

"She plays without being perfectly fit. Some players are afraid to go out there at anything less than their best."
Pam Shriver on Jelena Jankovic

Safina recants talk of boycott

After learning that the Moscow Open will have no limits on top players in 2009, Dinara Safina--who had talked about a player boycott of the tour--has toned down her rhetoric. Safina is now saying that she withhold judgment of the new tour calendar:

I support the direction the tour is taking--especially as it relates to steps taken to create a healthier calendar for top players--though I of course want to wait and see how the Road Map develops before coming to final opinions on the many reforms that will part of the new system. I do hope that I and other top players will have an opportunity to sit with the tour leadership in the coming weeks to discuss certain elements of the Road Map where I think there is still room for improvement.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Who are these women?

And why are they posing as Sony Ericsson Championship contenders?

Top four doubles teams set to play in Doha

Joining Cara Black and Liezel Huber and Anabel Medina Garrigues and Virginia Ruanuo Pascual for the Sony Ericsson Championships, are Kveta Peschke and Rennae Stubbs and Katarina Srebotnik and Ai Sugiyama. Those four teams will play in the round-robin format to determine who wins the title.

Ditty and Dechy enjoy success in Bell Challenge first round

Julie Ditty, who reached the semifinals of the Bell Challenge last year, made a strong start this year by defeating Urzula Radwanska, 7-6, 6-2, in the first round. Today, veteran (and now doubles specialist) Nathalie Dechy defeated comeback player Anna-Lena Groenefeld 6-3, 6-1. 

Also today, Melinda Czink upset Sabine Lisicki, 6-2, 5-7, 6-3.

Davenport and Morariu to reunite in Doha

But not on the doubles court. The two friends and former doubles partners will be in the broadcast booth for the Sony Ericsson Championships. Morariu will be paired with lead commentator Barry McKay, and they will be assisted by Davenport. Pre- and post-match interviews will be conducted by Tracy Austin. 

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Larcher de Brito watch--Michelle out of Bell Challenge

Michelle Larcher de Brito is out of the Bell Challenge before it even begins. She lost in the first qualifying round to Aniko Kapras, who defeated her 6-2, 6-2.

Quote of the day

"I feel like I just won a Grand Slam. I think it was the most difficult final I've ever played."
Elena Dementieva on her match against Caroline Wozniacki

Dementieva takes Luxembourg title

For a long time--even when she was serving poorly--a three-set match against Elena Dementieva generally meant a Dementieva victory. But lately, even with an improved serve, a three-set match against Dementieva has meant a Dementieva loss. Dementieva turned that around today, defeating Caroline Wozniacki, 2-6, 6-4, 7-6, to win the 2008 FORTIS Championships in Luxembourg. 

In the doubles final, the team of Sorana Cirstea and Marina Erakovic defeated Vera Dushevina and Mariya Koryttseva, 2-6, 6-3, 10-8.

Black and Huber upset in Linz final

It wasn't much of an upset--the number 2 seeds beat the number 1 seeds--but it was nevertheless an impressive win for Katarina Srebotnik and Ai Sugiyama today in Linz. They defeated Cara Black and Liezel Huber, 6-4, 7-5, to take the title.

Ivanovic wins 3rd title of the year

Ana Ivanovic has had a bit of rough of it lately, but not today in Linz, where she defeated Vera Zvonareva, 6-2, 6-1 in the final. According to Ivanovic, the scoreline is a bit deceptive; she said that in the first set, every point could have gone either way. Ivanovic's 50-minute victory over a very in-form Zvonareva is a rather dramatic statement as to her own form.

Final 8 set for Doha

As expected, Venus and Williams and Vera Zvonareva are the final two players to qualify for the Sony Ericsson Championships in Doha. The round-robin tournament begins November 4.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

It's official

Jelena Jankovic will finish the 2008 season as the world number 1. She won four tournaments this year, and three of those wins occurred in three consecutive weeks.

Dementieva and Wozniacki set to play Luxembourg final

Top seed Elena Dementieva defeated Sorana Cirstea, 6-2, 6-2 today in Luxembourg, and will play Caroline Wozniacki in the FORTIS Championships final. Wozniacki defeated Li Na, 7-6, 3-6, 6-2.

Number 1 seeds Anabel Medina Garrigues and Virginia Ruano Pascual were upset in today's semifinals by Cirstea and her partner, Marina Erakovic, 6-1, 3-6, 10-4.

Zvonareva and Ivanovic to play in Linz final

Marion Bartoli looked sluggish and just not ready to play in her semifinal match against Vera Zvonareva in Linz today. Zvonareva looked just the opposite, and won, 6-0, 6-1. She will face Ana Ivanovic, who won over Agnieszka Radwanska, 6-2, 3-6, 7-5. I did not get to see the second match because I had to leave to go on vacation (Greetings, readers--from Toronto!).

In the doubles final, top seeds Cara Black and Liezel Huber will play 2nd seeds Katarina Srebotnik and Ai Sugiyama.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Friday cat blogging--tea cart edition

Blogging likely to slow down for several days

I'm leaving for vacation tomorrow, so blogging will slow down for over a week. I'll return to more in-depth posting on November 3 or so.

Ivanovic moves to semifinals in Linz

Top seed Ana Ivanovic had a 6-4, 6-4 quarterfinal victory over number 7 seed Flavia Pennetta in Linz today. Also advancing were 3rd seed Agnieszka Radwanska (def. 5th seed Nadia Petrova), 6th seed Marion Bartoli (def. Alona Bondarenko), and 2nd seed Vera Zvonareva (def. 8th seed Alize Cornet).

Hantuchova upset in Luxembourg

Number 3 seed Daniela Hantuchova made a quarterfinal exit today in the FORTIS Championships. She was defeated by Sorana Cirstea, 7-6, 6-2.

Other seeds who won in Luxembourg are number 1 Elena Dementieva, number 4 Caroline Wozniacki and number 6 Li Na. They took out Amelie Mauresmo, number 7 Anabel Medina Garrigues and Iveta Benesova.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Quote of the day

"After the match, the tournament gave me a bottle of wine--this blog is working well for me now, because I was saying how much I liked Bordeaux wine and now they got me some! Maybe I should start saying how much I like Ferraris..."
Amelie Mauresmo

Bondarenko takes Schnyder out of Linz

Last year's finalist at the Generali Ladies Linz--and this year's 4th seed--Patty Schnyder, was defeated today by Alona Bondarenko, 6-2, 2-6, 6-1. Schnyder generally does really well during the indoor season, but that has not been case this year. I think she may be tired and needing some rest.

Other seeds--Ana Ivanovic, Flavia Pennetta, Nadia Petrova, Marion Bartoli, and Vera Zvonareva--moved on.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Szavay out in the first round again

A few days ago, I asked whether Agnes Szavay would be able to take advantage of a possibly-tired Flavia Pennetta in their first round match at the General Ladies Linz? I don't know whether Pennetta was tired, but--one way or the other--she won the match, 6-1, 6-2. Szavay is in one of the biggest slumps on the tour, repeatedly going out in the first round of tournaments.

In other first round matches, Sybille Bammer defeated Francesca Schiavone in straight sets, and qualifier Petra Kvitova defeated wild card Tamira Paszek, also in straight sets.

In second round play, Alize Cornet defeated Maria Kirilenko 1-6, 6-2, 6-1.

Linz defending champion impresses in Luxembourg

Daniela Hantuchova, last year's General Ladies Linz champion, is not playing in Linz this year. Rather, she is playing in Luxembourg, where she is the third seed. Hantuchova has had a hard time of it since she returned from a long injury layoff. Today, however, the 3rd seed made short work of her second-round opponent, Sabine Lisicki, by defeating her 6-0, 6-2, in under 59 minutes.

Not so lucky was the 2nd seed, Anna Chakvetadze, who has also struggled this year. Chakvetadze was defeated 6-2, 6-4, by Iveta Benesova.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Get some advice on wine

From someone who knows...

Larcher de Brito receives Revelation Award

Michelle Larcher de Brito is the recipient of the 2008 Revelation Award, presented by the Fundacao Luso-Brasilier. The organization--which promotes political, economic and cultural relations among Portuguese-speaking countries--presents four awards: Politics, Economics, Culture & Science, and Revelation.

A browser question

I find that I can easily access the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour site using Internet Explorer and Chrome, but there are periodic problems with Firefox. Firefox is my usual browser, though I do use Chrome, too. Lately, though, it has been impossible to look at the draws via Firefox. I'm using the lastest version.

Are others having this problem?

Seeds winning so far in Linz and Luxembourg

While seeds are falling in the first rounds of the ATP tournamnents this week, so far, there have been no major upsets in Linz and Luxembourg. In Linz, Kataryna Bondarenko, not surprisingly, took a set off of Nadia Petrova, and Marion Bartoli had to fight through three sets to defeat Ai Sugiyama.

There was one upset of note, however: qualifier Nuria Llagostera Vives defeated Samantha Stosur. Meanwhile, in Luxembourg, Marta Domachowska lost to qualifier Catalina Castano, and wild card Laura Robson was also defeated.

Robson out in first round

The good news is that Laura Robson received a wild card to play in the FORTIS Championships in Luxembourg. The bad news (for Robson fans) is that she lost in the first round. She was defeated by Iveta Benesova, 1-6, 6-2, 6-3.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

"Venus the Best"

Was there a more charming awards ceremony sight this year than the one in Zurich? Champion Venus Williams went into the stands and hugged her father and her dog, then returned to a band who serenaded her with a personalized version of "Simply the Best" while she danced, holding her flowers.

Will Szavay reach the second round in Linz?

I ask this question because Szavay is having a bad season, and has failed to get out of the first (or, when she had a bye, the second) round of a long list of of tournaments this year. In Linz, her first round looks extremely tough on paper, but in reality, it may give her an opportunity to advance. She plays Flavia Pennetta, who is having the best season of her career, but who appears to be rather tired after playing a lot of matches lately (and on a bad foot, at that). 

Of course, Pennetta could gather some energy and defeat Szavay, something she is tactically more than capable of doing. But if she doesn't, that would put Szavay in a second round against Dominika Cibulkova (unless something goes very wrong in Cibulkova's first round match). Could she then get past Cibulkova?

Something to think about.

For Hantuchova fans...

Nick Fishpool takes a look back at Daniela Hantuchova's career, from its beginning in Bratislava.

Venus wins Zurich Open

Having lost to Flavia Pennetta in their last three matches, Venus Williams turned it around today, and defeated Pennetta, 7-6, 6-2. Williams won the tournament--which is being discontinued--during its 25th anniversary. There is talk of reviving the Zurich tournament at some point, but for now, it is finished.

Tops seeds Cara Black and Liezel Huber won the doubles title, defeating Anna-Lena Groenefeld and Patty Schnyder, 6-1, 7-6.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Dementieva gives her Olympic racquet to Medvedev

The top Russian players went to the Kremlin five days ago and met with President Medvedev. While they were there, Marat Safin told some jokes, and Elena Dementieva gave her Olympic racquet to the president as a gift--who knows why. On hand from the tour were Dinara Safina, Svetlana Kuznetsova, Vera Zvonareva, and Elena Vesnina. Vesnina, in her blog, sums it up well in this flawed but charming English translation: "Fuss, in general, everything. :)))

All about Pennetta

Writing for, Chris Bowers has a piece online about Flavia Pennetta. There is nothing new there, but rather, the article gives us a wide view of everything Pennetta has been through in the last couple of years--her wrist injury and resulting loss of confidence, the breakup with Carlos Moya, her comeback strategy, and the foot injury she has been dealing with since the Sony Ericsson Open.

Thanks to Forty Deuce for finding this.

Quote of the day

“It was a nice match but tough from the beginning. We know each other very well, we spend so much time together, so it was tough to play a good friend.”
Flavia Pennetta on her semifinal victory over Anabel Medina Garrigues

Top seeds to face wild card team in Zurich final

Top seeds Cara Black and Liezel Huber won their semifinal match today in Zurich. They defeated Maria Kirilenko and Flavia Pennetta, 6-2, 4-6, 10-6. They will play the wild card team of Patty Schnyder and Anna-Lena Groenefeld.

Williams to meet Pennetta again

Venus Williams won her Zurich Open seminfinal against Ana Ivanovic today, 4-6, 6-3, 6-4, and in the final, she will play Flavia Pennetta, who defeated Anabel Medina Garrigues, 6-3, 7-6.

Williams is 1-3 against Pennetta; her most recent loss to the Italian was earlier this month in Moscow, when Pennetta beat her in three sets in the first round. In that tournament, Pennetta lost to the eventual winner, Jelena Jankovic. This time around, Pennetta defeated Jankovic in the second round in Zurich.

Since coming back slowly and arduously from a long injury time-out, Pennetta has played the best tennis of her career, and it is not often the case that a player does that. She was the finalist in Los Angeles (lost to Serena Williams), and made it to the quarterfinals of the U.S. Open.

This should be a very entertaining, and perhaps tense, final.

Why is it so hard for people to say "Jelena Jankovic"?

A while ago, on Tennis Channel, there was a Tennis Express commercial spot encouraging women to buy the same shoes, etc. as "Je LAY nuh." That was immediately followed by a Tennis Channel promo urging us to tune in and watch "YAN ko vik."

Doesn't anyone check these things before they go on the air (Wilson has an obviously expensive spot in which the voice-over man talks about "JO ko vik")? Most American announcers mispronounce Jankovic's first name, putting the accent on the second syllable. That is bad enough. But anyone who is pronouncing the "j" as an American "j" and the "ic" as an American "ic" should not be doing voice-overs on television.

I have heard the argument made by a well-known tennis writer that Americans should go ahead and pronounce non-American names "American-style." I think that is rude and narcissistic, but if someone does insist on doing that, please do it "properly," and call her "Je LAY nuh JAN ko vik." Otherwise, how hard is it to say "YEL e nuh YAN ko vich"?

I wish the players would insist on having their names pronounced correctly, despite the consequences. Novak Djokovic has repeatedly challenged commentators for destroying his name, despite his having corrected them over and over. Only recently, John McEnroe, who has always mispronounced Djokovic's name, said "I think I may be pronouncing his name wrong. Give me some time to work on this." How much time does a person need to get one syllable right?

Friday, October 17, 2008

Semifinals set in Zurich

Flavia Pennetta added another chapter to her comeback story today when she defeated Katarina Srebotnik, 7-5, 6-2, to reach the semifinals of the Zurich Open. Anabel Medina Garrigues also advanced when her opponent, Victoria Azarenka, retired from play because of a right shoulder injury. Medina Garrigues's second round opponent, Vera Zvonareva, also retired in the middle of their match.

Meanwhile, Venus Williams defeated Francesca Schiavone, 6-3, 6-3, and Ana Ivanovic defeated Petra Kvitova, 6-1, 6-4.

In doubles, the team of Groenefeld and Schnyder continued to rise as they defeated 2nd seeds Srebotnik and Sugiyama, 6-4, 0-6, 10-8.

Spanish team qualifies for Doha

Anabel Medina Garrigues and Virginia Ruano Pascual are the second of four teams to qualify for the Sony Ericsson Championships in Doha. Cara Black and Liezel Huber have already qualified.

Friday cat blogging--coy nap edition

Thursday, October 16, 2008

What's wrong...

With this picture?

Ivanovic wins award from German magazine

Ana Ivanovic has become the first woman to receive the Michael Westphal Award from the German publication, Tennis Magazine. The award is given each year to the player voted by readers as the "best tennis personality."

Women's Sports Foundation honors tour

The Sony Ericsson WTA Tour received the Billie Jean King Contribution Award Tuesday at the Women's Sports Foundation's annual awards ceremony. The award is given for making significant contributions to the development and advancement of women's sports.

Kuznetsova qualifies for Sony Ericsson Championships

Svetlana Kuznetsova has become the sixth player to qualify for the Sony Ericsson Championships in Doha. There are only two places left, and one of those is expected to go to Vera Zvonareva.

Jankovic makes earliest exit of the season

It's tough, getting past Flavia Pennetta these days. Jelena Jankovic found out just how tough it is today in Zurich, when Pennetta continued her strong comeback statement with a 6-7, 6-3, 6-3 win over the number 1 seed. Jankovic could doubtless do with a rest, so it isn't the worst thing that could happen to her. She had to have her knee treated during the second set, but injury breaks occur very often with Jankovic.

Jankovic wasn't the only seed to go. 5th seed Agnieszka Radwanska was defeated by Katarina Srebotnik, 2-6, 7-6, 6-3.

Vera Zvonareva felt dizzy and had to retire in her second set against Anabel Medina Garrigues, Petra Kvitova defeated Sofie Arvidsson, 6-2, 6-1, and number 2 seed Anna Ivanovic defeated Marion Bartoli, 6-2, 6-4.

Then there was Monica Niculescu, who failed to take one game off of Victoria Azarenka.

In doubles, Schnyder and Groenefeld continued their success by defeating Peng and Zheng, 7-6, 6-3.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Medina Garrigues and Ruano Pascual upset in Zurich first round

French Open winners Anabel Medina Garrigues and Virginia Ruano Pascual made an unexpected exit in Zurich today. The 3rd seeds fell to Sorana Cirstea and Monica Niculescu, 6-2, 6-4.

Also in the first round, the former world number 1 team of Lisa Raymond and Samantha Stosur was defeated by Peng Shuai and Zheng Jie, 6-3, 7-6. Zheng, of course, usually plays with partner Yan Zi.

Finally, top seeds Cara Black and Liezel Huber defeated Daniela Hantuchova and Agnes Szavay, 6-2, 6-3.

Petrova out in first round in Zurich

First round matches were still being played today at the Zurich Open, and one of the casualties was the resurgent Nadia Petrova, who was run over by Flavia Pennetta, 6-1, 6-1. Petrova hit only one ace, had just a 49 first serve percentage, a 56 first serve win percentage, and a terrible 21 second serve win percentage. She also made unforced errors all over the place, and was generally considered to be very out of sorts during the match. I have seen an out-of-sorts Petrova before, and it isn't pretty.

Pennetta, for her part, broke Petrova five times and was never broken back.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Quote of the day

"...returning her leftie service gave me much trouble."
Patty Schnyder on Petra Kvitova

I guess now Schnyder knows how it feels. She also said "Her balls were always in or out, and so I was not ready for the rallies, so it was a strange match and it had not a nice finish."

It sure didn't.

Szavay and Chakvetadze out in the first round--how often do we say that these days?

Agnes Szavay and Anna Chakvetadze define "slump" these days. Chakvetadze hasn't been able to do much of anything all season, and neither has Szavay. Today in Zurich, Chakvetadze fell to Monica Niculescu, and Agnes Szavay dined on a bagel, compliments of Marion Bartoli.

Caroline Wozniacki fared no better; she fell to Francesca Schiavone, and Li Na was taken out by Anabel Medina Garrigues. Medina Garrigues is now 4-0 against Li, though this is the first time they have played on a non-clay surface. Patty Schnyder also made an early exit, and the Bondarenko sisters were removed from play by the team of Srebotnik/Sugiyama.

Niculescu def. Chakvetadze, 3-6, 6-3, 6-2
Bartoli def. Szavay, 6-4, 6-0
Schiavone def. Wozniacki, 7-6, 6-2
Medina Garrigues def. Li, 6-2, 6-4
Srebotnik/Sugiyama def. Bondarenko/Bondarenko, 6-1, 6-4

Schnyder out in 1st round in Zurich

I knew that Petra Kvitova could be dangerous, but I was very surprised to see her take 6th seed Patty Schnyder out in the first round of the Zurich Open. Schnyder is playing extremely well these days, and she always shines on these indoor surfaces. But Kvitova upset her, 6-4, 3-6, 6-4.

Schnyder won Zurich in 2002. She played in the final in 2005, and was leading, but sustained a hand injury during the match and had to continue playing one-handed. Her level, of course, declined, and her opponent won. That opponent was Nadia Petrova, and Zurich 2005 was her first tour title.

Kvitova is currently ranked number 57 in the world.

Monday, October 13, 2008

It's official

Cara Black and Liezel Huber are the number 1 doubles team for 2008.

The latest from Hingis

It's a pretty sad read.

Bad news for veterans in Zurich opening round

I wish I could have seen the Zurich match between Daniela Hantuchova and Maria Kirilenko. They both have such elegant games, and I think it would have been a pleasure to see them play each other again. It wasn't a pleasure for Hantuchova today, though. Having struggled ever since she returned to the tour after a long injury layoff, the 8th-seeded Hantuchova lost to Kirilenko, who claimed the match, 7-5, 6-2.

The situation was even worse for former world number 1 Amelie Mauresmo, who won only three games against Victoria Azarenka. The 6-2, 6-1 scoreline had to be a hard reality for the woman with the most elegant game of all.

It wasn't a bad day just for veterans, though. Alize Cornet, who appeared to be totally in control, with several chances to win her match, ultimately lost it to a very tough Alona Bondarenko.

Groenefeld and Schnyder should just keep that wild card

A couple of weeks ago, Anna-Lena Groenefeld and Patty Schnyder--playing as a wild card team in Stuttgart--defeated the number 1 seeds, Kveta Peschke and Rennae Stubbs, in straight sets to win the title. Today, again playing as wild cards, they defeated 4th seeds Peschke and Stubbs in the first round of the Zurich Open, 3-6, 6-4, 12-10.

Bondarenko overcomes 5 match points in Zurich

I sometimes call Alona and Kateryna Bondarenko "the fighting Bondarenkos" because they used to fight with each other while playing doubles. But today, Alona Bondarenko earned the name "fighting Bondarenko" because of the tremendous battle she waged against Alize Cornet in their Zurich Open first round match. Beaten 1-6 in the first set, Bondarenko went on to win the second set 6-3 (after being down 0-3), but she found herself down 1-5 in the third. When Cornet served for the match, Bondarenko broke her, then held, then broke Cornet again when she served for the match a second time. The match went to a tiebreak, which Bondarenko won, 8-6. She saved a total of five match points, and moves on to the second round.

Now, that's a fighting Bondarenko.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

This and that....

I don't know why they were dressed up for umpiring the Kremlin Cup, but Mariana Alvez looked stunning in a black suit and violet blouse, and Kader Nouni looked elegant in a black suit and pink tie.

Vera Zvonareva is a last-minute entrant into the Zurich Open.

It was around this time of the year in 2007 that Maria Sharapova--suffering with a bad shoulder and out for the season--change her mind, and decided to play in the Sony Ericsson Championsips--and almost won them.

Dinara Safina (2) and Vera Zvonareva (8) have reached their career-high rankings.

Black and Huber are way ahead of everyone else in this year's doubles race to the Championships. Medina Garrigues and Ruano Pascual will probably be the next to qualify.

Marion Bartoli is the next player to get a crack at knocking Agnes Szavay out of the first round of a tournament. They meet in Zurich, and if Bartoli is victorious (as so many others have been), she gets Ana Ivanovic in the second round.

Doha qualifying--who will be next?

Who is close to qualifying, and who still has a chance? Here is a summary on the tour site.

Petrova and Srebotnik win Kremlin Cup

4th-seed Nadia Petrova and Katarina Srebotnik have won the Kremlin Cup, upsetting top seeds Cara Black and Liezel Huber, 6-4, 6-4. Srebotnik's regular partner, of course, is Ai Sugiyama, but Sugiyama was not in Moscow, so Srebotnik paired with another of the tour's great doubles players, Petrova.

" daughter is being warmed up by an old lady in flip-flops"

Right before CoCo Vandeweghe played in her first-ever main draw event, the Sony Ericsson Open, she warmed up with Lindsay Davenport. Davenport, impressed with Vandewegh, asked who her coach was, and the junior player replied that she did not have one. She didn't even have a hitting partner, other than her mother, who took to the courts in sandals.

"I had blisters on my feet for a week," Tauna Vandeweghe said. "That was the first wake-up call for us. I said to myself: 'This is ridiculous. These other girls have coaches, nutritionists, everything, and my daughter is being warmed up by an old lady in flip-flops."

Tauna Vandeweghe is hardly an "old lady," but her point was well made. Her daughter now has not one, but two, coaches--both of them former (and current) coaches of Davenport. Robert Van't Hof and Adam Peterson now coach the young player, and she shares an agent with Maria Sharapova. Vandeweghe's parents were careful not to push her into too much too soon, but the family feels that now is the right time for her to enter a more intense level of sport.

Vandeweghe was pleasant to watch in the U.S. Open main draw (as was her Snezana-like mother), though she had the misfortune of drawing Jelena Jankovic in the first round), though she did not impress me as much as Kristie Ahn. When she lost in the main draw, she went back over to juniors and won the U.S. Open title.

CoCo Vandeweghe is only sixteen years old, and she is worth watching.

3 in a row for Jankovic

Not since 2005, when Nicole Vaidisova did it, had a tour player won three tournaments in three consecutive weeks, but now Jelena Jankovic has accomplished this feat. And--while the then-very young Vaidisova is to be credited for her accomplishments--the tournaments she won were of a lower level than the three just won by Jankovic.

Jankovic defeated Vera Zvonareva 6-2, 6-4 to win the Kremlin Cup, and in doing so, she puts her lifetime tour final record at 9-10. This was also the third week in a row that Jankovic defeated Zvonareva: She beat her in the semifinals in Beijing, and in the quarterfinals in Stuttgart. The Beijing and Stuttgart matches were much closer.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

I have no idea what the "Miss Kremlin Cup" award is

But Dinara Safina won the inaugural one yesterday.

Jelena, meet net--Net, meet Jelena

May the relationship continue to thrive.

Safina discusses possible 2009 tour boycott

Soon-to-be world number 2 Dinara Safina said today that the tour's top players are considering a boycott of the tour next year if their questions about the new "Road Map" (how I hate that term) are not answered.

"They said the leading players would have to play in designated tournaments while lower-ranked players would be able to enter any event they like," Safina said. "There's no logic in that at all. What if all the top players choose to enter the same tournament? What will the WTA do then? We want to know."

In other words, the powers behind the tour did not think the new schedule through, according to Safina and whoever else is considering the boycott.

There have been many occasions--most of them related to sexism--when I wished the players had boycotted tournaments. At least something has lit a fire under them.

Top qualifying seed out in Zurich

Zheng Jie, the number 1 seed among qualifiers (it sounds so crazy to even see the word "qualifier" next to her name) in Zurich, has gone out in the first round, a victim of the resurgent Anna-Lena Groenefeld. Groenefeld defeated her, 6-2, 6-3.

Jankovic and Zvonareva to meet in Moscow final

I wasn't surprised to learn that Vera Zvonareva had defeated Dinara Safina in their semifinal. From all I've heard, Safina is mentally (and perhaps a bit physically) exhausted. I was impressed that she had won her semifinal against Kuznetsova, considering all I had heard about her mental fatigue. Zvonareva defeated the number 2 seed 6-2, 7-6.

The other semifinal scoreline defies the imagination: Top seed Jelena Jankovic took out defending champion Elena Dementieva, 0-6, 6-1, 6-0. (In Stuttgart, Li Na defeated Serena Williams 0-6, 6-1, 6-4, but this is even stranger.) Jankovic said she thought she played well in the first set, but that Dementieva was just too good, and that she (Jankovic) became determined to take control of the match in the second set. That determination paid off.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Not everyone's purse will be bigger in Melbourne

By now, most fans are aware that the Australian Open is increasing its prize money by 18% for the men's and women's singles winners. However, the ballgirls and -boys, who used to be paid for their work, will now be given merchandise instead. Count me as one of the many who are opposed to this move.

Jankovic slips into Russian semifinal contest

It would not have been a surprise if Kremlin Cup semifinal competition wound up an all-Russian affair, but Jelena Jankovic and Flavia Pennetta did not let that happen. Jankovic defeated Pennetta today, 7-6, 6-3, to reach tomorrow's semifinal match. This was obviously a close match (the tiebreak score was 8-6), so I'll take this opportunity to repeat my assertion that Pennetta deserves the Comeback Player of the Year award.

In another closely contested quarterfinal, defending champion Elena Dementieva defeated countrywoman Nadia Petrova, 6-4, 4-6, 7-6. And in yet another close one, Vera Zvonareva defeated Dominika Cibulkova, 7-5, 6-4.

The fourth semifinalist is Dinara Safina, who won the first set against Svetlana Kuznetsova, and was down 2-5 in the second, only to find a way--as Safina now does most of the time--to turn the set around. She won the match, 6-4, 7-5. Safina has now won the last four matches she has played against Kuznetsova, and holds a 7-4 head-to-head record against her.

(My post headline pales compared with the one on the tour site: "Three Sisters Left to Thwart Jelena")

Friday cat blogging--rescue edition

This handsome and charming kitty, who was dumped by one of the many cruel persons among us, is our latest rescue. He lived in a pen on our front porch for a time while we searched for just the right home for him. He is FIV positive, but healthy and very affectionate, and he has responded quite well to nutritious food and grooming. Best of all, he is now in a very good home, where we expect him to thrive.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Peschke and Stubbs upset in Moscow

The team of Monica Niculescu and Yaroslava Shvedova took out the Kremlin Cup's number 2 seeds today. Niculescu and Shvedova defeated Kveta Peschke and Rennae Stubbs, 4-6, 6-0, 10-7.

For those who haven't heard, Shvedova is no longer Russian. She has changed her nationality and now plays for Kazakhstan.

5 Russians in Kremlin Cup quarterfinals

Two Russians advanced in Moscow today, and two did not. Vera Zvonareva defeated Daniela Hantuchova, 6-1, 6-0, and if anyone knows why the match wound up with this scoreline, please tell me. Nadia Petrova also advanced, where her opponent, Caroline Wozniacki, had to retire because of an upper respiratory illness.

Vera Dushevina managed to take a set off of Jelena Jankovic, but Jankovic won the match, 6-7, 6-3, 6-2. And Flavia Pennetta defeated wild card Ekaterina Makarova, 3-6, 6-4, 6-4.

Here is the quarterfinal lineup:

Jankovic vs. Pennetta
Dementieva vs. Petrova
Zvonareva vs. Cibulkova
Kuznetsova vs. Safina

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Robson to get Sony Ericsson WTA Tour ranking soon

From Zoo Tennis comes news that Laura Robson will soon get her Sony Ericsson WTA Tour ranking. This week's 50k Barnstaple tournament was Robson's third required event, and it takes three to enter the rankings. I say "was" because she lost in the first round to Angelique Kerber. Robson had a wild card into the event, as did her countrywoman Anne Keothavong (Brit Katie O'Brien is also entered).

Cibulkova takes Ivanovic out of Moscow

Ana Ivanovic, playing her first match in Moscow, was eliminated in the second round today by Dominika Cibulkova, 3-6, 6-2, 7-6. (People told Cibulkova she was too short to play pro tennis, but she had the good sense not to listen to them.)

Amelie Mauresmo is also gone, defeated by Dinara Safina, 6-7, 6-4, 6-4. Safina served for the match at 3-5 in the third and was broken at love. It looked hopeful for Mauresmo at that point, but then Safina broke her right back.

First round play continued, too, with Nadia Petrova getting an easy win over Anna Lapushchenkova, 6-2, 6-1. Another Russian, Anna Chakvetadze, saw her hard times continue as she, too, fell in the first round, to Caroline Wozniacki, who defeated her 2-6, 6-1, 6-4.

Russians doing well in the second round were Svetlana Kuznetsova and Elena Demenieva. Kuznetsova defeated Sara Errani, 7-6, 6-1, and Dementieva defeated Katarina Srebotnik, 6-3, 4-6, 7-6. Dementieva double-faulted eight times, and hit eight aces. She used to just double-fault a lot, and now she is all over the place.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Ahn says it's college for her

During the U.S. Open, I was quite impressed by Kristie Ahn, who played Dinara Safina in the first round. McCarton Ackerman, writing for TennisGrandstand, talks about Ahn in "Hitting the Books or the Courts: Top American Players Weigh In." Ahn says she is going to college for four years: "I don’t see the big rush to turn pro right away. Rather than focusing on the pros, I’m just glad to have the honor of being of the top junior players in the country.”

Pennetta increases her head-to-head record against Williams

Flavia Pennetta is now 3-1 against Venus Williams, after defeating her today in the Kremlin Cup, 6-4, 2-6, 6-4.

Today's other upset win was performed by qualifier Sara Errani, who defeated Victoria Azarenka, 1-6, 6-4, 6-3.

The draw in Moscow is as competitive as it was in Stuttgart. Also falling in the first round today were Li Na, Maria Kirilenko, Francesca Schiavone, and Alona Bondarenko. They were taken out, respectively, by Svetlana Kuznetsova, Vera Zvonareva, Daniela Hantuchova, and Katarina Srebotnik.

Pivovarova and Koryttseva play 4-hour match

Anastasia Pivovarova and Mariya Korytteva made news in Kremlin Cup qualifying when they played for three hours and fifty-five minutes. The match, won by Koryttseva, is the third longest women's match in the Open Era.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Some words worth reading about Jankovic

Check out Steve Tignor's "Looking Out for No. 1" at

Golovin may get a new coach

Tatiana Golovin is working with Loic Courteau, and later in the year, they will make a decision about extending this relationship. Courteau, of course, is the man who coached Amelie Mauresmo for six years, guiding her to two the world number 1 spot, as well as victories in two majors.

Does anyone recall who was coaching Golovin when she made very significant improvements in her game? I don't. Whoever it was, s/he did a great job, and Golovin looked like she was about to do something big...and then the ankle got messed up again...and you know the rest.

Bondarenko sisters upset yet again

What is going on with the Bondarenko sisters? Sure, they have been upset by some very strong teams, but they should have won at least a few of those matches. On the other hand, Alona's injury problem was rather significant, so it may just be taking her a long time to get match-tough again. One of those aforementioned good teams--Maria Kirilenko and Flavia Pennetta--defeated the sisters in the first round in Moscow today, 6-4, 6-4.

I don't know if Pennetta and Kirilenko will continue to play together--Pennetta has had so many doubles partners. She played well with Elena Dementieva and well with Gisela Dulko, and she has paired with other players, too.

Dushevina upsets Vaidisova in Moscow

It's down to "'Fill in the blank' upsets Vaidisova" now, isn't it? This is just a terrible season for a player who has shown so much promise in the past. My guess is that Vaidisova will be glad when 2008 is over, and she can have a clean slate.

Vera Dushevina (on her birthday) def. Nicole Vaidisova, 6-1, 3-6, 6-3

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Jankovic drives red Porsche out of Stuttgart

It was only fitting that Jelena Jankovic--of the wounded toe, quick bon mot, charming mother, and wound-up coach--would leave Stuttgart in a shiny red Porsche Carrera 911 at the close of the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix today. Jankovic chose the car over the prize money, saying it matched her red shoes, and cruised it straight to the number 1 spot in the world.

Jankovic defeated Nadia Petrova, 6-4, 6-3, in what should have been a three-set match. Petrova has been showing her 2006 form lately, and look poised to give Jankovic a serious run for the title. Some thought that Jankovic--who won the Beijing title last week--would have nothing left to give in the final. But instead, she made it look easy.

Petrova--for her part--put on a serving clinic, delivering some of the best serving we have seen in recent times. But that wasn't enough to stop Jankovic from doing what she does best: running down every ball, turning defensive play into offensive play, and forcing her opponent to take high risks that often lead to errors.

In the second set, Jankovic was up 3-1, and Petrova was serving at 0-40, then Petrova won five straight points and saved the game. I thought that was going to be a turning point, and I continued to think there would be a turn when Petrova broke back. But she would not win another game, as Jankovic continued to pressure her, and errors continued to come off of her racquet. And as great as Petrova's first serves were, her second serves were quickly dominated by Jankovic.

This is the new Jankovic--improved fitness and a much better serve. Fans call her Drama Queen, opponents call her JJ Express, Todd Spiker calls her Queen Chaos. Whatever you call her, she is to be commended for the work she has done to get herself to yet another level on the tour. May she stay healthy for a long time and continue to provide us with her stunning athleticism, beautiful shot-making, mental toughness, and off-the-wall commentary.

Groenefeld and Schnyder win Porsche Tennis Grand Prix

The recently formed doubles team of Anna-Lena Groenefeld and Patty Schnyder has taken the 2008 title in Stuttgart. Groenefeld and Schnyder defeated the number 1 seeds, Kveta Peschke and Rennae Stubbs, 6-2, 6-4.

Groenfeld is in the midst of what looks like an important comeback, and Schnyder is playing some very good tennis at the time, so this partnership can only increase the confidence of both players, and give them some valuable time at the net.

Cirstea wins her first title

Sorana Cirstea came from a third-set break down and even a match point down to win her first Sony Ericsson WTA Tour title today, defeating Sabine Lisicki, 2-6, 6-4, 7-6. Tashkend is Cirstea's first tour singles title.

Wozniacki wins Tokyo

Caroline Wozniacki has added another achievement to her list: She defeated Kaia Kanepi, 6-2, 3-6, 6-1 today to win the AIG Japan Open. This is Wozniacki's third Sony Ericsson WTA tour title. She won Stockholm and New Haven this year, also.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Wild card team into Stuttgart finals

The wild card team of Anna-Lena Groenefeld and Patty Schnyder defeated number 3 seeds Victoria Azarenka and Agnieszka Radwanska in the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix semifinals today, 2-6, 6-4, 11-9. In tomorrow's final, they will play number 1 seeds Kveta Peschke and Rennae Stubbs. Peschke and Stubbs defeated Andrea Hlavackova and Lucie Hradecka, 6-4, 7-5.

Jankovic defeats Williams in Stuttgart semifinal

When Jelena Jankovic and Venus Williams take to the court, spectators are guaranteed a high-quality match. I had the privilege of watching them play in the 2007 Charleston semifinals, and the match was a thriller almost from the first moment. Today, in Stuttgart, it was no different. Williams took the first set in a tiebreak, and that was a little bit of a surprise. Toward the end of that set, she got a bit tight, and it looked as though Jankovic was about to walk away with it. But Jankovic made a significant tactical error in a return of serve, letting Williams back in, and Williams prevailed.

The second set was just as good, but more errors came off of Williams' racquet, and viewers could see Jankovic's confidence grow. The third set showcased Jankovic in control, as her confidence grew even more, and Williams became more error-prone.

Jankovic had a couple of injections before the match, yet it appeared that her injured toe did bother her from time to time, and there was less sliding than usual. Jankovic's new serving tactics gave her some help, to be sure, but the big statistic in this match was about break points: Jankovic saved 14 of 16.

Jankovic def. Williams, 6-7, 7-5, 6-2

Petrova to play in Stuttgart final

Victoria Azarenka's back problems followed her to Stuttgart, right in her semifinal match against Nadia Petrova. Nevertheless, Azarenka player her usual game, which is spirited and cunning. But she was up against the "new" Petrova, who is actually the "old" Petrova, and there was only so much she could do about that. When Petrova is on her game--and she has certainly been on it lately--she is hard to beat. And when she is serving the way she served today, she is even harder to beat.

Petrova won this tournament in 2006, which was her greatest year. And it's nice to once again see her in a final, where she belongs.

Petrova def. Azarenka, 6-4, 6-4

Wozniacki and Kanepi to play in Tokyo final

It was only a matter of time before Kaia Kanepi found herself in another Sony Ericsson WTA Tour final. She was the finalist in the 2006 tournament in Hasselt, where she lost to Kim Clijsters. And now, having defeated Aleksandra Wozniak, 6-4, 6-4, in the semifinals, she goes to the final in Tokyo. Her oppponent will be Caroline Wozniacki, who defeated lucky loser Jarmila Gajdosova, 6-4, 6-3. This is a final I would like to see, since I enjoy watching both of these women play.

Lisicki and Cirstea to play in Tashkent final

Magdelena Rybarikova did not get the birthday present she would have liked today. She had to retire in her semifinal match in Tashkent against Sorana Cirstea. Rybarikova has been ill all week, and I assume her retirement occurred because of her illness. And on her twentieth birthday--too bad. Cirstea will play Sabine Lisicki in the final. Lisicki defeated Peng Shuai, 5-7, 6-3, 6-4.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Jankovic defeats Zvonareva in a 2-set thriller

If Jelena Jankovic is the Drama Queen of the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour, then Vera Zvonareva was working today to knock her off of her throne. Their Stuttgart quarterfinal provided so much drama, it represented the reason we love to watch tennis. The match had everything: breath-taking rallies, temper tantrums, injury, bodies hurled to the ground in exhaustion, elation and disgust. I loved it.

First, good news for JJ fans: Jankovic hit ten--count 'em!--aces. She had a first serve percentage of 76, a first serve win percentage of 71, and a second serve win percentage of 50. If she remains consistent with this improved serve, she will be even harder to defeat on any surface. I am happy for her--she so needed to learn better serving, for a good serve is all that is keeping her from winning majors.

Both players played extremely well, and the quality of the rallies was as good as it gets. I found myself gasping at some of them. In the second set, at 5-all, Jankovic took an injury break because she had had a toenail apparently crack off, and she said the pain was terrible. (There are, as I write this, people making fun of her for taking a medical break because she "broke her nail." I would like for them to attempt to play tennis, or even walk, when a large nail has cracked off; I would also like for them to shut up.)

Jankovic saw the trainer, who wrapped her toe, but it was obvious she was in discomfort. But by that time, the ever-vulnerable Zvonareva had melted down somewhat in the head department, and Jankovic was able to win the second tiebreak. When the match was over, Zvonareva sat on the ground and repeatedly smashed her racquet. Drama to the very end.

Jankovic's glory could send soon, however. She has to contend with both an injured toe and a very in-form Venus Williams. That combination could do her in.

Jankovic def. Zvonareva, 7-6, 7-6

Venus too much for Safina

Dinara Safina could never quite get in the right position to take the momentum in her quarterfinal against Venus Williams today in Stuttgart. Williams was on fire, and the sometimes-shaky forehand was just fine, thank you very much. Corina Morariu, commentator on Tennis Channel, pointed out that Safina was playing the court like a fast court when, in reality, it was very slow. Her failure to move into the ball, said Morariu, kept her from taking control of any part of the match.

Beyond that, if Williams continues to play at this level, it will be difficult for anyone to beat her.

Williams def. Safina, 6-4, 6-2

Nadia Petrova also defeated Li Na, 6-2, 6-3, to gain a spot in the semifinals.

Azarenka upsets Dementieva in Stuttgart quarterfinals

I saw Victoria Azarenka play Elena Dementieva in Charleston this year, and it was a spirited and high-quality match. Dementieva won that one, 6-4, 7-5. Last year, on the Moscow indoor surface, Dementieva defeated Azarenka in the quarterfinals. Today, Azarenka turned it around in Stuttgart, defeating Dementieva, 7-6, 3-6, 6-1. She will play a resurgent Nadia Petrova in the semifinals, and that should be a good match.

Serena withdraws from Kremlin Cup

Serena Williams, citing a left ankle injury, has withdrawn from the Kremlin Cup. She was last year's finalist.

A sick Rybarikova gets through to the semifinals

Magdelena Rybarikova says she has not been well lately, and has lost over ten pounds. Nevertheless, she won her Tashkent quarterfinal against Ioana Olaru in straight sets. In the quarterfinals, she will play Sorana Cirstea, who defeated Michelle Larcher de Brito, also in straight sets.

The other semifinal will feature Peng Shuai, who defeated Monica Niculescu in the quarterfinals, and Sabine Lisicki, who defeated Urzula Radwanska.

Friday cat blogging--watch and wait edition

Seeds win in Stuttgart 2nd round

Venus Williams, Dinara Safina, Vera Zvonareva, and Jelena Jankovic all moved on to the quarterfinals following Thursday's matches in Stuttgart. They respectively defeated Kateryna Bondarenko, Tsvetana Pironkova, Marion Bartoli, and Alona Bondarenko.

The Bondarenko sisters, by the way, seeded 2nd in doubles, were upset in the first round by Jelena Kostanic Tosic and Tatiana Perebiynis.

Also defeated today was Patty Schnyder, who lost to Nadia Petrova, 6-4, 6-1. Petrova will play Li Na in the quarterfinals.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Rus out in 2nd round in Tashkent

Arantxa Rus, the world's top junior, has been eliminated from the Tashkent Open in the second round. She was defeated by Peng Shuai, 6-1, 7-5.

Michelle Larcher de Brito is still around, however, and will play Sorana Cirstea in the quarterfinals.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Li upsets Williams in Stuttgart

Serena Williams, number 1 seed at the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix in Stuttgart, had a bye in the first round. today, she got a "goodbye" in the second round, when she was defeated by Li Na in a match whose scoreline boggles the mind. Li defeated Williams, 0-6, 6-1, 6-4. Go figure.

As a result of this loss, Williams will no longer be the world number 1 after this week; that designation will again belong to Jelena Jankovic.

Comebacks: reality or delusion?

There have been some notable comebacks in professional tennis, and on the women's side, none as notable as that of Jennifer Capriati, the genuine teenage phenom who left the game at about the time she was expected to peak. When Capriati returned two years later, people were surprised, and they expected little of her. She went on to win three majors and an Olympic gold medal.

Another player who has had a successful comeback is Li Na, who left the game, thinking she would never return, then was urged by her husband to re-enter the tour. So after a two-year layoff, she did, and she played herself into the top 20. Last year, Li was out for months with two very serious injuries, and after each of those, she showed the resiliance that got her a high ranking after missing two years of tour play.

Daniela Hantuchova never left the tour, but she left the top ten for a very long time. It took her a few years to regain a high (though not as high as before) ranking, and--though her trials did not cure her of her unfortunate choking habit--she is nevertheless to be commended for working so hard to get back to the near-top.

Martina Navratilova never returned to singles competition after she retired, but she did return to doubles play years later and was a stunning success all over again.

But others have not been so fortunate. Former world number 4 Jelena Dokic has been playing her heart out in challengers lately, but not much seems to come of it. The same goes for Elena Bovina, who was number 14 in the world, took a very long injury time-out, and has never been able to get her career going again. Kimiko Date, also a former world number 4, made a comeback at age 37. She was rolling over opponents in challengers, but now that she is back on the regular tour, she has trouble getting out of the first round. Lindsay Davenport did not think she would come back after giving birth, but she did. The problem is that her banged-up body will not permit her to be very competitive. Nathalie Dechy, after she returned from a long injury timeout, decided to concentrate on doubles, in which she has had quite a bit of success.

The most frustrating story is that of Martina Hingis. Putting the drug charges aside, Hingis's comeback--which at first was extremely impressive, especially after a 3 1/2 year layoff--was hampered by a troublesome hip, and by her failure to improve her serve. That serve had actually gotten a bit better before the hip began acting up, and before she was bounced off the tour for allegedly using a "performance-enhancing" drug. We'll never know if Hingis would have continued to work on her serve: Many years ago, Melanie Molitor said she would not have coached Martina if she had not been her daughter because Martina had low motivation for doing off-court work. My own take on the matter is that if Hingis had significantly improved her serve, she could have won some big titles again.

Coming back isn't easy. There are many issues with which a player has to contend: vulnerability to injury, lack of match toughness, changes in the game itself, a lowering of confidence, and perhaps a slowing down caused by age.

Every year, the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour presents a Best Comeback award to a player who has come back from a difficult season the year before. There are a few players on the tour who deserve this recognition, but if I were presenting it, I'd probably give it to Flavia Pennetta, whose return from injury was very difficult, but she has accomplished so much.

Amanmuradova says hometown pressure got to her

It is entirely my fault and I am very angry with myself for not taken chances in the first set tiebreak. At this level these mistakes are unpardonable and it is shame for me to lose in my hometown.

But I had tremendous pressure of my country on me before I went to play and admit that I could not handle the pressure, and I apologize to the fans for my performance.

That is what Akgul Amanmuradova had to say about her Tashkent Open first round loss to Urzula Radwanska. Radwanska defeated her, 7-6, 6-3, which, I'm sure, was a great disappointment to the crowd. Amanmuradova sounds like she's being pretty tough on herself, though. Urzula Radwanska isn't exactly an easy first round draw. Hometown pressure is tough, though, and not just for younger players. Amelie Mauresmo seems to almost dread playing in the French Open, for example.

Amanmuradova was seeded 7th. The number 2 seed, Olga Govortsova, made a first-round exit, too. As for Radwanska, she made it through the second round, but in the quarterfinals, she faces Sabine Lisicki, which will not be an easy task.

Kuznetsova out in first round in Stuttgart

5th-seeded Svetlana Kuznetsova, the finalist in last week's tournament in Beijing, lost in the first round of the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix in Stuttgart today. Kuznetsova was defeated, 6-4, 5-6, 7-5 by a hot-serving Patty Schnyder.

It has been my contention for some time--despite Schnyder's own protests--that when Patty's serve is on, she can beat anyone on the tour. It was on today. She had a first serve percentage of 69, a first serve win percentage of 72, and a second serve win percentage of 66. She hit three aces and no double faults. That is almost as good as it gets.