Serena Wins; Hingis, Safina Upset in Monday Play
by Richard Vach | January 8th, 2007, 5:29 pm

Serena Wins; Hingis, Safina Upset in Monday Play

Nothing says respect like talking about how you didn’t play your best after baking an opponent a bagel — but with the Williams sisters, who never “play their best,” it is commonplace, as it was Monday in Hobart, Australia, where Serena Williams opened with a 6-4, 6-0 win over Swede Sofia Arvidsson.

“I didn’t play my best but I just think I’m a little rusty because it’s a like I haven’t played since the US Open and only played four tournaments last year,” Serena said.

Although unseeded, Williams avoided the rash of early-round upsets that claimed No. 3 Flavia Pennetta, No. 4 Maria Kirilenko, and No. 8 Martina Muller on Monday.

Japanese qualifier Aiko Nakamura downed Pennetta, while wildcard Sania Mirza ousted Kirilenko, and Czech Lucie Safarova beat Muller, all in straight sets.

Among other notables, touted Dutchwoman Michaella Krajicek was dumped out 6-0 in the third by Frence’s Severine Bremond, American Ashley “Pebbles” Harkleroad lost to Sybille “The Whammer” Bammer, and Aussie wildcard Alicia Molik outlasted Croat Jelena Kostanoc 6-2 in the third after dropping the first set.

Martina Hingis’ pre-Aussie Open preparation took a hit Monday when the No. 5-seeded Swiss was beaten in three sets by last week’s Auckland winner Jelena Jankovic at Sydney.

“I just came from Auckland so I didn’t have much time to recover, but I was quite proud of how I managed to pull through,” Jankovic said. “I’ve had better wins, but obviously it’s a great win and gives me a lot of confidence.”

Hingis for her part looked on the bright side.

“Well, at least I’ll get a few days off,” said the Swiss former No. 1.

The two other seeds in action eked by in three sets in (6) Elena Dementieva (d. (Q) Sugiyama 6-0 in the third) and (7) Patty Schnyder (d. (Q) Dushevina).

Dinara Safina, who beat Hingis over the weekend in the Gold Coast final, also couldn’t recover by Monday as the Russian was beaten in three sets by unheralded 29-year-old Aussie wildcard Nicole Pratt.

“Obviously I knew she was in good form coming in from winning the Gold Coast, but I also knew she’d be a little tired, so I wanted to take advantage of that and make it a physical contest,” said Pratt, recording only her second career Top 10 victory.

Upsets on the men’s side Monday in Sydney was Spain’s Fernando Verdasco beating (8) Sebastien Grosjean in straights, and in Auckland Belgian Olivier “Coch” Rochus surprising No. 4 Jarkko Nieminen in straights.

Wednesday begins the Kooyong exhibition in Australia — is perhaps something wrong with men’s tennis when you’ve got two ATP events going on, but at the same time you’ve got a cash-grab featuring Roger Federer, Andy Roddick, David Nalbandian, Ivan Ljubicic, Andy Murray, Marat Sain, Tommy Haas, and Radek Stepanek? Someone add that thing to the ATP calendar…Is trying to send a message, running that thigh-rippling photo of Serena Williams? C’mon. That should come with an internet warning screen, “Content may be sensitive for people eating lunch.” Even my firewall software tried to prevent me from looking at it…From’s Matt Cronin on IMG buying Tennis Week: “Tennisweek’s executive director, Andrea Leand, called and is very enthusiastic about her publication’s future. She gave major credit to IMG for stepping in and buying the publication, which was struggling after the death of its founder, Gene Scott. She expects to the publication to take a no-holds barred approach (that’s how she wrote and played) and doesn’t believe that IMG will interfere in editorial. She says that when the now six times a year publication re-debuts before Miami, that it will look and read better. She also noted how important it is for United States tennis to have more than just a couple of national publications. For those who are wondering, Neil Amdur, the former editor of World Tennis and the New York Times who was hired just after Scott’s passing, left Tennisweek. The advertising and production folks are also gone. Leand says that longtime contributors Richard Evans and Steve Flink will stay on and that’s Richard Pagliaro may stay, too.”…Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal are confirmed for the well-monied ATP Dubai tournament in February. Nadal is the defending champ, beating Federer in the hardcourt final last year…Andy Murray is up to a career-best No. 15 ATP Ranking after reaching the Doha final…Lleyton Hewitt has taken on former player and current pro golfer Scott Draper on as temporary coach after coach Roger Rasheed got tired of absorbing f-bombs and quit on Hewitt over the weekend…Dmitry Tursunov pulled from Sydney with a left wrist injury…Tuesday ticket holders in Sydney are getting their money’s worth with (3) Blake vs. K.Kim, (1) Mauresmo vs. Golovin, Safina or Pratt vs. (3) Clijsters, (1) Nadal vs. Guccione, (4) Petrova vs. Ivanovic, Spadea vs. (2) Davydenko, and (7) Schnyder vs. Peer…WTA Tour CEO Larry Scott has received a five-year contract extension…From the WTA: “The Sony Ericsson WTA Tour announced today the successful completion of the first stage of its Roadmap 2010 tournament application and selection process, with an unprecedented number of tournaments expressing an interest in being a part of the streamlined calendar called for under the Roadmap. 57 tournaments completed application information for the 48 available tournament slots on the 2009 Tour calendar that is expected to be approved by the Tour’s Board meetings in March 2007. In addition, 25 tournaments completed application information for the most prestigious 14 events contemplated under the current Roadmap plan.”…From “The diamond engagement ring weighing down Kim Clijsters’ left hand had people gasping yesterday. “It’s not a rock, it’s a quarry,” noted one observer. Clijsters is engaged to former NBA player Brian Lynch and will play with the sparkler on for fear of losing it. Clijsters and her fiance first bonded over dogs — bulldogs, specifically. She has a three-year-old named Beauty and a two-year-old great Dane called Diesel. Lynch has a bulldog named Mio. Clijsters will marry the basketball star in July and will retire from tennis at the end of the year to start a family.”

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9 Comments for Serena Wins; Hingis, Safina Upset in Monday Play

Shashenka Says:

Safin’s name’s spelled wrong.

rc Says:

looking forward for

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Fan of Tennis Says:

Yes, bring on Kooyong! I’m so sorry that we can’t watch this event! It seems more exciting than the regular ATP event!

Steven Rahn Says:

No big surprise that both Hingis and Safina lost. They had quite a tough final against one another the other day. I was really surprised that Hingis would enter both events…and then expect to be fresh for the Aussie Open. A tune-up event is a good idea, but you don’t want to run out of gas at Major.

allcourt Says:

Yea, let’s all write and ask Serena to lie about the obvious not-very-great level of her play at this time (as seen in her Safarova match — even though she won) just so idiots like you can think that she’s RESPECTING her opponent. BTW She also said that she hoped to play at least one more match before heading on to the AO. Is that kind of talk respectful enough for you her?

federated Says:

Hi Richard! Love the column. Just an FYI, scarily pasty, fugly bald men like yourself really should step away from the dissing of anyone’s physical appearance. I mean, is that photo on the Tennis-X homepage REALLY the most flattering photo you have of yourself? I throw up a little in my mouth each time I have the misfortune of seeing it.

leo Says:

He does have a point – Serena and Venus never seem to “play well”, especially when they lose. Got to be two of the most unsporting players in the history of the women’s game.

Hey come one – we all know they can lie pretty well.. that trial, proved atleast that ;-)

craighickmanontennis Says:

Kooyong would be a nice event on the ATP calendar. It’s been around long enough, you’d think the ATP wants a part of it.

Perhaps Kooyong wants no part of the ATP.

Go Roddick!

claireg Says:

“Hi Richard! Love the column. Just an FYI, scarily pasty, fugly bald men like yourself really should step away from the dissing of anyone’s physical appearance. I mean, is that photo on the Tennis-X homepage REALLY the most flattering photo you have of yourself? I throw up a little in my mouth each time I have the misfortune of seeing it.”

That’s probably the meanest thing I’ve read in a long time. Totally uncalled for too.

Allow me to return the favor on his behalf.

Federated: You’re a jackass. Shut the f up. Please. Thank you.

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