Mirza Miserable in Bangalore; Around the Tour
by Richard Vach | February 16th, 2007, 10:48 pm
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Mirza Miserable in Bangalore; Around the Tour

Can India’s Sania Mirza ever become a top player and see her talent catch up with Sania-mania in the East? How about at least one day crack the Top 30?

Not if Friday at her homecountry event in Bangalore is an indication, where the No. 2-seeded Mirza lost in three sets to Russian…Yaroslava Shvedova. She’s the 19th-ranked Russian if you’re counting, right behind No. 130 Galina Voskoboeva, but ahead of Lioudmila Skavronskaia.

Ouch.

The money train on the WTA Tour-side is getting ready to leave the station in Dubai, but Maria Sharapova (hamstring injury) nor Serena Williams (illness) won’t be on board. Arguably the top two drawcards at the time being in women’s tennis, it is a blow for the event and a reminder that player commitments, for various reasons, regularly are not heeded on the women’s tour. Will cutting a few events and changing around the calendar help? Research has shown…well, the WTA has done no research, they’re just hoping a calendar change will do the trick. Or, they don’t really care if the calendar change does the trick, because their top players will still be playing, and they can say “Well we’re trying…” How about some proposed changes backed by research?

The players don’t want to play less anyways, cut their tournaments and they will be out playing exhibitions.

Unseeded Croat “Dr.” Ivo Karlovic (d. (5) Fish) and (6) Benjamin Becker (d. (4) Safin) lined up each other in the San Jose semis Friday — still awaiting quarterfinal results, it’s to be seen whether Andy Roddick and Andy Murray can line up an all-Andy semifinal. Karlovic earlier in the event beat Fish’s buddy James Blake, dropping 29 aces.
 
TOUR NOTES
India
could not earn one singles set victory in live rubber play last weekend in Davis Cup play versus Uzbekistan…Former Aussie tennis pro Scott Draper won his first professional golf tournament last weekend, shooting a final-round 7-under 65 to win the New South Wales PGA Championship by one stroke. “I’ve been working pretty hard over the last couple of years, but I still feel there is more improvement to come,” Draper said…Sam Querrey, who has been beating Andy Roddick in practice matches: “I guess it’s cool to meet [Jimmy] Connors but Roddick is really my idol. He’s more my age. I didn’t know Connors held the record for being No. 1 so many weeks in a row.”…Due to scheduling and format considerations, The Stella Artois Championships, the ATP grasscourt event, will keep with a traditional single-elimination format rather than the experimental round format when the tournament begins on June 11 at The Queen’s Club in London. After a detailed examination of the round robin format as proposed by the ATP, tournament officials decided against the format, which would have overlapped with the final of the French Open. “Without the extra day [Sunday start], there was a risk that some matches would be ‘dead rubbers’ if weather delays occurred,” said Tournament Director Ian Wight. “At an event that typically features a large number of highly-ranked singles players also competing in the doubles competition, and on a surface that takes longer to restore than others after rain, the pressures on scheduling are increased.” — So you guys just figured out your overlapping the French final? Sounds more like you’re bailing after the other round robin events have been disasters…Maria Sharapova was named as a goodwill ambassador for the United Nations in February, where the 19-year-old will focus on projects dealing with the aftermath of the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster. Sharapova donated $100,000 to projects tackling the world’s worst nuclear accident, explaining that the issues were important to her as before she was born, her father and pregnant mother fled from the Belarussian city of Gomel, approximately 80 miles north of Chernobyl. They went to Siberia where their daughter was born in 1987. “That’s why it means so much to me to be a part of this project because I was sort of part of it as well. I hope that I can go there on field trips,” said Sharapova, who has set up a private foundation which will channel funds into eight projects in Belarus, Russia and Ukraine. The World Health Organization estimates that 9,300 people will die from cancers caused by Chernobyl’s radiation…From the article “You are my Sania” from The Hindu: “Any one for women’s tennis? A few years ago, if you asked that question, you would have been met with a cynical smile and a shrug of shoulders from tennis buffs. Not any more. Believe it or not, the fastest growing segment of tennis not in the world alone, but also in India, is the women’s game. At home, we can thank a phenomenon called Sania Mirza, who put that self-belief and fire back into Indian girls. Seventy per cent TV viewers watch women’s matches and the number is growing. Why this newfound fascination? There is not one but several answers. Women’s tennis offers a lot more surprises than men’s tennis. The other day, Cyrus Broacha, the former VJ and now talk show host, made an apt comment on men’s tennis: “Roger Federer is again the Australian Open champion. Next tournament, they should first make him the champion and the other guys should compete for the runner-up spot.”…Dazzling tops and stunning shorts are sure show stealers. Maria Sharapova gets as much mileage for her dressing as her tennis. They are delights for spectators and sponsors. Whoever wants to watch Rafael Nadal with a five-day stubble on his face wearing crumpled shorts? Anna Kournikova might have never won anything significant but just try Googling her.”…The ATP senior tour, now known as the Blackrock Tour of Champions, has released their 2007 schedule: BELFAST, Northern Ireland — Feb. 22-25; BARCELONA, Spain — April 19-22; HAMBURG, Germany — May 17-20; NOVI, Croatia — June 14-17; ALGARVE, Portugal — Aug. 7-10; GRAZ, Austria — August 11-15; PARIS, France — Sept. 20-23; EINDHOVEN, Netherlands — Oct. 4-7; BRUSSELS, Belgium — Nov. 8-11; FRANKFURT, Germany — Nov. 15-18; LONDON, UK — Dec. 4-9…Tim Henman has received a wildcard at The Tennis Channel Open in Las Vegas…Former player Sabine Appelmans was named captain of Belgium’s Fed Cup team…Pete Sampras speaking to SI.com on today’s racquet technology: “Look at what guys are playing with today. It is crazy the amount of power a guy like Fernando Gonzalez can get from that racket. It has made mediocre players better and it has made the great players that much better.”…The New York Post says Vogue editor Anna Wintour will throw a party in Manhattan for reigning US Open champion Maria Sharapova to celebrate the 19-year-old being on this month’s cover of Teen VogueTennis.com says that “French authorities are investigating French federation head Christian Bimes for allegedly abusing his position, reports L’Equipe. The paper reported that Bimes was arrested for two days before being released. The investigation is still ongoing.”…Marcos Baghdatis has pulled from Rotterdam…Tennisnews.com reports that Venus Williams will play Memphis next week…The U.S. has picked an indoor hardcourt rather than grass for their Davis Cup quarterfinal against Spain.


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