Venus Wins WTA Tour Championships
The WTA Tour Championships ended with a whimper Sunday when the final two qualifiers in the eight-woman field, American Venus Williams and Russian Vera Zvonareva, battled for the title of year-end champion, with Williams storming back from a one-set deficit 6-7(5), 6-0, 6-2.
“I played some bad shots and it went from bad to worse,” Williams said of the first set. “Before I knew it, the set was over. She just kept running everything down and hitting incredible shots.”
Williams breezed to victory in the final two sets, but the Russian, better known for breaking into tears after losing than her championship mentality, put in her best week at an event.
“It’s the first time I’ve played Top 10 players five matches in a row, and I was able to come up with four wins, so of course it has been a good week for me,” Zvonareva said. “I could have done a lot better today, but it was still lots of fun, even though I lost the match. I think there are many, many things for me to work on, and I’m going to try and improve those things in my game for next year.”
In the semifinals Williams defeated world No. 1 Jelena Jankovic 6-2, 2-6, 6-3, while Zvonareva upset Elena Dementieva, 7-6(7), 3-6, 6-3.
The final lacked any of the three players in the draw that inhabited the No. 1 ranking during the year: Jankovic who lost in the semis, fellow Serb Ana Ivanovic who dropped out of the event with a virus, and Serena Williams who withdrew citing a stomach muscle injury after losing to sister Venus.
Djokovic, Davydenko Start strong at Masters Cup
Veterans Novak Djokovic and Nikolay Davydenko subdued Masters Cup rookies Juan Martin del Potro and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga respectively on Sunday as the beginning of play kicked off in Shanghai.
Djokovic held off the No. 7-seeded Argentine del Potro 7-5, 6-3, while the Russian Davydenko needed to come from a set down to top the Frenchman Tsonga 6-7(6), 6-4 , 7-6(0).
Monday’s action will feature world No. 2 Roger Federer vs. Frenchman Gilles Simon, and Andy Murray vs. Andy Roddick.
TENNIS-X NEWS, NOTES, QUOTES AND BARBS
WTA DOHA WRAP A BUST: From Sporting Life tennis writer Andy Schooler: “The Qatari city is staging the star-studded, season-ending WTA Tour event, the Sony Ericsson Championships, for the first time but it has been greeted with apathy by the locals so far it seems. Disappointingly small crowds — estimated at less than 1,000 at one stage by the Eurosport commentators — left me wondering just why the WTA ever decided to take this tournament, which attracts the best eight players of the season, away from New York’s famous Madison Square Garden.” — Here’s your answer Andy — oil money, wheelbarrels full of it to the WTA Tour. And from tennis writer Tom Tebbutt up in Canada: “Moving the grand finale to Qatar was a blatant cash grab by the WTA Tour, which is committed to Doha for two more years before moving to Ankara, Turkey, for the 2011-13 editions of the year-ender. Pictures and video of the Khalifia stadium certainly do not look good in terms of the crowd at the event, something that is not flattering for women’s tennis. The WTA Tour seems to have sold the soul of its flagship event. On the Eurosport website with the score 5-5 in the first set of the Serena Williams–Venus Williams match on Thursday, the live texting report from the match reported, “There’s really no atmosphere here. The few fans that are in the stadium are making no noise whatsoever.”
SVETA A BUST: Russian Svetlana Kuznetsova, dogged for her big-occasion performances, has now failed to progress out of round robin play in all four of her year-end WTA Tour Championship appearances.
ANA BIRTHDAY NO CELEBRATION AT WTA CHAMPS: Serb Ana Ivanovic turned 21 during the year-ending WTA Tour Championships, but the week turned sour when with the help of a virus she lost her first two round robin matches, then withdrew from her third. “It’s obviously very hard for me,” Ivanovic said after announcing her withdrawal. “Yesterday I didn’t feel good and today, even worse.” The plucky Serb gained the No. 1 ranking earlier in the year, but her second-half campaign was marred by an injury to her thumb and a falling-off of confidence.
BECKER DROPS YOUNG HOTTIE: Former No. 1 Boris Becker has called off his engagement to Alessandra ‘Sandy’ Meyer-Wolden, the daughter of his former manager who is 16 years his junior, after just three months. “Yes, it’s true unfortunately,” Becker told the German magazine Bunte. The 40-year-old Becker has known the 25-year-old Meyer-Wolden since she was a child.
MISC: Can the WTA Tour come up with another “stunt,” as the laying-down-the-temporary-court-in-the-desert as they did last week in Doha (as they have done at other desert tour events) is getting kinda old…World No. 1 Rafael Nadal withdrew from the Masters Cup citing a knee injury, and intends to rest for a shot at the Davis Cup final when Spain takes on Argentina…The ATP has informed a federal court it “intends to recoup at least $17.7 million in legal expenses from the owners of its Hamburg, Germany [tournament]” according to the SportsBusiness Journal. The Hamburg event sued the ATP in an effort to remain a Masters Series event earlier this year and lost its elite status…Tennis writer Doug Robson on the pre-tournament player interview opportunity at the WTA Tour Championships: “Today (Monday) we were treated to the dreaded athletes’ AAH (all-access hour), which was hosted on one of two indoor courts at the swank Ritz-Carlton Hotel. Instead of arranging for round-table chats, the WTA held the interviews in a traditional press-conference style, which meant the players weren’t relaxed, the questions were stiff and the entire affair added to the air of inaccessibility that plagues tennis in general. Ugh.”…Women’s rights advocate Venus Williams at the WTA Tour Championships in Doha, where women are subjugated: “I think us players are really focused on the tennis more than anything else. I don’t think anyone else is too focused on any other outside issue. We’ve been hosted very well, and that’s pretty much it…I think every country has their way of doing things. I don’t think it’s really our job to come here and tell everyone how to do things and to change mindsets.”…Mark Philippoussis and Mikael Pernfors withdrew from the senior event in Surprise (Ariz.) last week citing injuries…Roger Federer is going for his fifth Masters Cup title in the last six years…Lennart Bergelin, who coached Bjorn Borg for 12 years and captained Sweden to its first Davis Cup title, died Tuesday at age 83.
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