Venus Wins WTA Champs; Roddick vs. Murray Today
by Staff | November 10th, 2008, 1:05 am

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.


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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12 Comments for Venus Wins WTA Champs; Roddick vs. Murray Today

Daniel Says:

Not taking away the more than deserved victory from Simon, but something was wrong with Fed serve! He made ony 3, three aces in a 3 set match. I’ve never seen him serve poorly or Simon has the best reading of Fed serve in tour.

This makes me think that there is something wrong with his back. The first thing that shows back problems is serve. He couldn’t put power into it, very odd…

Simon as usual return every ball and made some spectacular counter-push. When he hold 0-40 3-3 after having 0-40 in Fed’s serve the feeling that this was his match just increase.

Last year the same scenario happen, Fed lost to the last ranked player, but this time, if he kept serving the way he is, he won’t pass to the semis.

grendel Says:

Daniel – it occured to me watching this strange match that anyone who wanted to know how Federer copes when his serve is off could do worse than watch this match.

It was a strange match, in some ways. Once again, Simon lulled Federer, who was breezing to a win. After taking the first set with some ease and breaking in the second, he unpardonably allowed his concentration to lapse – unpardonable because he had been here before with Simon. Once Simon was in, it wasn’t long before he was looking the stronger player.

Daniel mentions a crucial point. Federer had been 0-40 down and was looking well beaten. He roared back to his very best to claw back his serve, chipped and charged to win the first point on Simon’s serve, who was shocked first into a double fault and then a rare error. The game was Federer’s for the taking, and he put himself into an excellent position to earn his break when yet again he put a relatively easy ball well out. That broke the momentum, and you just felt Simon would recover his cool and maintain serve.

Two aspects struck me in particular, apart from Fed’s lack of a serve. Fed’s number of unforced errors was high, but it was the margin of error that struck you – his forehands weren’t just out, they were miles out. The other was Simon’s volleying. At first, this was ordinary to say the least. But as he gathered confidence, not only were they getting better, he seemed to be learning on the job – it was remarkable. He began to look like an instinctive volleyer. As for Federer, not for the first time, his overhead smash and drive volleys let him down, but he also netted several simple volleys – particularly irritating when he had successfully manouevred for precisely that position. And – rather like Tsonga against Roddick – whilst missing the easy volleys, he pulled off some beauties through pure instinct. Must we say of Federer, too, that he is lacking in confidence, so give him time to think and that will induce the error?

Daniel, it is true he won’t get to the semis if he continues to serve like this. But his situation is more serious than it was last year, when he lost to Gonzalez in the first match. He is in a tougher group. The extraordinary situation now beckons whereby Federer may well be dumped out of this tournament without having won a single match. Not sure what that will do for his confidence for next year.

Kimmi Says:

It is unfortunately that federer lost, but Simon played very well in the third set. He had good expectation of where every ball goes. His shots are deep so it was not easy for fed to hit winners. This guy can play but federer looked a little rusty, forehand was leaking a lot.

Giner Says:

Federer may not qualify for the semis it seems. He’s going to have a tough one against Murray.

He’ll probably beat Roddick, but if he loses to Murray, he will have to hope that one person goes 3-0 and everyone else goes 1-2 and win by dead heat.

I know, I’m getting ahead of myself here, but Murray has done well against him in three set matches and he’s struck a rich vein of form in the past 6 months.

Giner Says:

“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.”

I can only guess that this had to have been awkward for the both of them. Becker seems to be a lucky guy with the ladies, because I can’t find anything attractive about him at all.

Giner Says:

Check out the latest x-poll.

Which player is most likely to win ZERO matches at the Masters Cup?
-> Roger Federer
[tally] 4%
-> Novak Djokovic
[tally] 15%
-> Andy Murray
[tally] 71%
-> Nikolay Davydenko
[tally] 0%
-> Andy Roddick
[tally] 1%
-> Juan Martin Del Potro
[tally] 0%
-> Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
[tally] 2%
-> Gilles Simon
[tally] 6%
-> They will all win a match
[tally] 0%
-> Who Cares
[tally] 0%
votes: 20587

More than 4100 voters who voted Murray just got pied in the face.

The conservative answer is “They will all win a match”. These players are all good players. The way it is structured, loser plays loser, so it’s hard for a player to not win a match at all. Only two players can achieve that dubious feat.

Of the four who have yet to win a match so far, this will probably be between JMDP or Tsonga if it happens.

Giner Says:

CORRECTION: It was 14600+ voters who got it wrong voting for Murray, not 4100. For this many to have voted Murray in concert (who I think is favourite for the title), they had to have been the usual Federer-faithful who crash our polls. If Nadal was playing instead of Simon, these guys would have given him 85% of their votes to not win a match.

jane Says:

Wow- missed the matches as couldn’t stay up. Surprising that Fed lost to Simon, but if Roger’s back is still bothering him that would explain the serve being off, as some of you have said it was. Roger’s serve has been a go-to shot for him in some of the latest events. His backhand has been nice as well. I am not as surprised about the forehand errors because when he starts making them he makes a lot of them. Roger needs a break imo.

Sorry to his fans – gulu, grendel and Daniel. I don’t think we can read too much into this re: Roger’s chances next year, just because we know he’s injured. He’s be rested next season.

Simon is tricky though too. The way you describe him getting better as the match proceeded grendel reminds me of the match in Canada to a degree; Roger looked like he’d cruise through that match after easily winning the first set. Although here it looks like it was tighter the whole way.

As for Roddick vs. Murray, I thought it might go either way, although Murray is really hitting his stride and has a lot of confidence right now. But Roddick is such a good scrapper, and it looks like he had Murray’s number for a set there. Was Murray back to his old ways of going on walk-about for a set or did Roddick figure him out?

Sorry to Von, TD and gulu for Andy’s loss. Von, I know you like Murray too, so try to take some consolation in that. At least Venus won! She looked great in the trophy presentation photos.

grendel Says:

“I can’t find anything attractive about him at all.” (i.e.Becker). Well, Becker has a nice, dry sense of humour. Compare his contemporary, Michael Stich – a smoothie know it all. Dunno if that is relevant.

jane Says:

I was going to answer Giner too – personally I think Becker is totally attractive. He’s a bit of a rebel; he has that shock of hair. Loved him from when he first burst into Wimbledon at 17; still love him.

gulu Says:

Jane,thanks for your kind words! :-o However I am very upset today coz Fed as well as Rod lost at Shanghai!
I don’t know why these stupidly nonsensical & bullshit polls are going on with mad people voting ! I am not taking Fed’s back as an excuse.

Daniel Says:

grendel, you makde an excelent point about Simon’s volley, they were doing exactly what volleys shoud do: end a point. Period!

Another thing that surprised me was Roddick baseline game. He was steady and his backhand is a lot better.

I feel that in this red group, everybody will win and lose. I am not so sure about Murray and I think he will lost at least one match.

So far Djoko had the best win but Davydenko had the best victory against hot Tsonga.

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