Jankovic in, Year-end WTA Champs Field Set; Safina No. 1 Again
by Staff | October 22nd, 2009, 10:05 am

With the help of Russian Vera Zvonareva and Poland’s Agnieszka Radwanska losing early this week in tournament play, embattled former No. 1 Jelena Jankovic has secured the final spot in the eight-woman field for the 2009 WTA Tour Championships.
Jankovic, who had a stellar 2008 season, this year failed to compete for the top spot, blaming a too-hard training regiment in the off-season.

Jankovic will compete against the Top 7 qualifiers in Dinara Safina, Serena Williams, Svetlana Kuznetsova, Caroline Wozniacki, Elena Dementieva, Victoria Azarenka, and Venus Williams.

“I am really happy about making it to the Sony Ericsson Championships for the third time in my career,” said Jankovic. “It is always a nice feeling to end the season playing in the Championships as one of the best eight players in the world. I’m looking forward to returning to Doha and playing some great matches.”

The Williams sisters also qualified for the four-woman year-end doubles field for the first time, joining Cara Black/Liezel Huber, Nuria Llagostera Vives/Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez, and Rennae Stubbs/Samantha Stosur.

When the WTA Tour Rankings are released on Monday, Oct. 26, Safina will be ranked No. 1 again and therefore will be the top seed at the season-ending event, replacing Serena Williams.

The WTA year-end championships were first played in 1972 and have been held in such notable venues as Madison Square Garden, New York City; the Olympiahalle in Munich; Staples Center in Los Angeles; and the Recinto Ferial Casa de Campo in Madrid. Former singles champions include Tracy Austin, Kim Clijsters, Chris Evert, Evonne Goolagong, Steffi Graf, Martina Hingis, Martina Navratilova, Gabriela Sabatini, Serena Williams, Justine Henin and Venus Williams.

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38 Comments for Jankovic in, Year-end WTA Champs Field Set; Safina No. 1 Again

Kimmi Says:

Sar: This was a very strange match. Caroline Wozniacki retire after leading 7-5, 5-0 ?? LOL, very suspicious, especially she would seem to be able to finish the match?

“Wozniacki’s father, Piotr, told his daughter at 3-0 in the second set to retire before winning because her injury would prevent her from playing in the next round.”

Huh ? why not finish the match and if she cannot play next day just give her opponent a walkover. A lot of walkovers have been done before; she won’t be the first one.

“His comments, apparently spoken in his native Polish, were picked up by microphones and heard by viewers watching the match on the Internet.”

LOL, so she did not retire leading 3-0, she waited until she was 5-0 up ? I never like the on court coaching; players need to make their own decision while on the court.

sar Says:

Yeah Kimmi, it’s very strange. Maybe gambling did have something to do with it. We’ll see.

jane Says:

Thanks for posting that sar.

It is an awkward situation, but it sounds like it was “innocent” on the part of Wozniaki and her dad but picked up on by the vultures; what I mean to say is that it didn’t sound like Woz and pop were in it for the money.

Kimmi, you said “Huh ? why not finish the match and if she cannot play next day just give her opponent a walkover. A lot of walkovers have been done before; she won’t be the first one.”

I see what you mean; that seems like the obvious move. But I wonder if their logic went like this; they figured that Caroline’s CURRENT opponent deserved a chance to go further, and since she’d played nearly a full match, better for her to move on than someone who’d get a “free pass” to the next round. I am not saying I condone this “logic” or even that it makes sense – it all seems illogical! LOL. To me, if she was injured, don’t bothing playing at all. Or if she got injured during the match, try to finish the match and see how you feel the next day. So to retire when a game (or 2) from finishing is rather weird.

What do you all think about Safina being number 1 again? Kind of funny in a way. But again, Serena lost out on her chance to stay there without giving the kind of effort she gives at slams at other events. More weirdness. The wonderful world of the WTA.

Kimmi Says:

“But I wonder if their logic went like this; they figured that Caroline’s CURRENT opponent deserved a chance to go further, and since she’d played nearly a full match, better for her to move on than someone who’d get a “free pass” to the next round.”

What I find it weird is, if she wanted to retire because of the reasons you said above then she should do it early, especially after her Dad hinted she could do it at 3-0 up. But no..after breaking her opponent and winning her own game (which shows she must have been moving very well) then she decides to retire ??? Does not make sense unless if she could not move anymore, could she?

It could be innocent as you said jane, but imo it does not give on-court coaching any justice. Without the on-court coaching rule, all this betting fiasco could not have happened. Now they will probably tell the coaches what to say and not to say when on court. LOL

Serena was given the opportunity to distance herself from safina but could not take it. If Safina gets it back, she deserved it more as she has demonstrated better consistency than Serena.

jane Says:

Hi Kimmi,

I agree with you about on-court coaching; you and I were laughing about it during Toronto remember? Sharapova rolling her eyes at here coach. LOL : )

As for this Woz situation, that’s true; it is weird she wouldn’t retire right then. And in that sense it does smell a bit fishy, because those two extra games would allow for the betting … hmmmm. I don’t want to think that way though. But it’s difficult to say.

I guess I’ll go with “strange but innocent until guilty”?

jane Says:

* that should be “proven guilty”

Kimmi Says:

Good to see JJ qualifies for YEC, she had a slump in the beginning of this year after her wonderful 2008 season but she is starting to get her form back I think. It would have been nice to have Clijsters and Sharapova..hope next year great competative tennis from WTA, especially now that henin will also be back.

PS; It looks like WTA don’t have the rule as ATP where if you win any of the 4 slam you are automatically qualified to the YEC.. coz they would have Clijsters in…oh well.

BTW Clisters lost in the second round to Patty Schnyder in Luxembourg..was very long and close match, it went to third set tie break.

Kimmi Says:

“I agree with you about on-court coaching; you and I were laughing about it during Toronto remember? Sharapova rolling her eyes at here coach. LOL : )”

yeah, i remember this very well…was very funny. Like Big Brother watching kind of a thing..

been there Says:

Buried somewhere in http://www.tennis.com/news/ticker.aspx
[Wozniacki received treatment for a hamstring strain during the match.
“I could possibly have finished the match, but felt there was no way I could get ready for the second round on Thursday, so I chose the sporting way and let her go through. She’s also [playing] at home,” Wozniacki told Danish newspaper Ekstra Bladet.]

Jane@ 8.05pm, I suppose your idea matches Wozniacki’s statements.

imo, this whole situation stinks big time. The ‘sporting way’?!?! lol. If it’s all innocent & has nothing to do with betting, then this is as naive, patronizing & arrogant a decision as it gets. hehe…like, “yeah, I’ve proven my point, am better than you, beating you 7-5, 5-0 when I’m terribly injured, but whatever, let me give the match to you anyway. Here’s my wonderful gift to you”….’coz clearly, even she feels like she could have finished the match.

I very much doubt the 2nd round opponent views it the same. The more sporting way would have been to finish the match & let her 2nd round opponent have a walkover if she wasn’t going to be ready….’coz the 2nd round opponent has clearly earned it. What she as done has no sportsmanship (sportswomaship/sportspersonship??…er, we gotta be gender sensitive in the 21st century :D) in it.

For pete’s-sake, this is a competition, not miss congeniality…let the sporting way be on how a player treats opponents, obeys time-rules, watches language, avoids racquet abuse, etc. while on-court & bpossibly being nice in the locker room….not by giving away a match!

I don’t mind retiring if one is truly injured, even when leading by such a large margin…it’s just the reason that she’s given that bothers me. And I hope no one wagers the youth card, i.e. ‘oh, she’s young, she’ll learn’…’coz anyone above 18 is an adult & below 25 yrs old is still young, …so majority of ATP & WTA players are young, but they are all professionals, so should know better.

I’m really tired of all this forced ‘sporting way’ that I see in both ATP & WTA, to the point of giving away points & now a whole match….all in the name of being ‘polite’ & ‘nice’. sheesh! ok, enough of my rant. :)

been there Says:

janes says:
“What do you all think about Safina being number 1 again?”

I think it’s ok…she deserves it just as much as Serena. Sure, she didn’t win any slam, but again, she managed a fair deal of semis & finals at slams, which is very good. She’s never going to be a Serena in terms of slam wins (I know, never say never, but…in some, I think we can. :D)….but I think she should be proud of what she’s achieved so far. It doesn’t matter what she does, ‘coz I have a feeling that even if let’s pretend that she had won a slam in ’09 & Serena won 2, we’d still have the same drama ‘coz ‘Serena won more slams’…if you get my point. So the only way that Safina is ever going to get out of this mess is if she wins the majority of slams in a given year, or if there are four different winners in a yr & she’s one of them. & as she didn’t create the WTA points system, so she shouldn’t be bothered any more.

The best thing Safina could do for herself though is to simply say “no comment” in her pressers….’coz imo, some of her answers w.r.t. real no.1 questions fuel the fire as much as Serena’s statements. So she should just let it be..not try to justify it endlessly…’coz any answer apart from ‘no comment’ is going to be seen as defensive, rude, head-case if she starts crying, etc. So just keep quiet & try to maintain calmness at slams, ‘coz she has the game to win….no one gets to no.1, slam or no, without being a good player.

>>As for Serena, I don’t think she really cares for no.1 as much as for slams. If she did, she could have surely entered in more tournys after her Tokyo (?) defeat. In serena’s world, a slam is greater than no1. She only cares for slams & plays to peak for them. She’s a business woman involved in tennis & part-time showbiz [or vice-versa as the case may be :)…or better still 50-50)] So part of her real life job is to actually create controversy & capitalise her fame & Hollywood earning power on that. So all this real no.1 talk is just that…talk but no substance.

She probably has a good laugh at all the controversy the real no.1 statements creates = $$$dollars$$$ in the bank with all those interviews, photo-shoots, motivational talks, donations to her charity schools in Africa etc. She wouldn’t lose sleep if she’s ranked #2 or #81…so long as she is winning a slam….& she’d have a fit if she’s ranked no.1 whole yr & doesn’t win a slam. After her tennis career is over & done with, we’ll still hear of Serena, day in day out, if not more than now ‘coz she’ll be full-time showbiz. I think it’s actually very smart of her & Venus to be so successful outside of tennis…isn’t this what kids are taught?…have many interests..it’s good for the mind & general well-being.

But Serena & the media could now do us all a favour and stop bullying Safina w.r.t real no.1 ‘coz Serena’s now proven her point that she can get it if she wants it. She clearly doesn’t want it bad enough, so please let Safina enjoy her no.1 in peace. I suppose it’s all gonna be decided in Doha & hopefully, that will be the end of it.

i am it Says:

think reverse, say Mats Wilander’s case. he did not become no. 1 until he won his 7th Slam, three in the same year, 1988, and it did not last beyond Jan ’99. since his 1st at 17 in 1982, he either won or reached at least one Slam final, missing only in ’86. you can draw a parallel between Lendl-Wilander (82-88) and fed-rafa (05-08).
rafa also won a slam every year since 2005, reached wimby final twice, but had to wait until 2008, the year when he won 2 Slams, yet had to wait until mid August to get to no. 1. so, rafa became no. 1 after his 5th slam.
the point i am trying to make is Slam is neither a straight ticket to no. 1 nor prerequisite for no. 1.
we all know this: a Slam win earns more points than other events and makes it easier to become no. 1, but no. 1 does not make it easier to win a Slam. for some, one can be tougher to achieve than the other. it takes 7 matches to achieve one; it takes many more successful tournament to achieve the other. they are two diff. categories. yet we find it hard to accept and irony is that we insist extra-judiciously on Slam win for the legitimacy of no.1.
should we wish to end this, either we should put on hold the no. 1 until you have a major title or create a new, automatic Slam if you achieve no. 1.

jane Says:

i am it, this sums up things well:

“the point i am trying to make is Slam is neither a straight ticket to no. 1 nor prerequisite for no. 1.”

been there,

Great post at 2:36 am – I agree with much of what you say, although on some level I do think Serena feels she deserves number 1 and is not only courting controversy to grab the limelight and earn more money but truly feels she’s earned it with her slam wins.

contador Says:

the writers @ bleacher report like to joke around.

Darcy Says:

She prob just wanted to check if she could continue and at 5-0 she found out she couldn’t and wanted to give her opponent a chance in the next round. So at least the match was played, I doubt the some- 30 points she would have won would have mad the difference

sar Says:

Does it look like JJ tanked against Kleybs to allow recovery time for Doha?

Kimmi Says:

“Does it look like JJ tanked against Kleybs to allow recovery time for Doha?”

Second time Kleybs beats JJ, so I don’t think she tanked, she was beaten fair and square.

Giner Says:

If a player has an injury and retires when they’re losing, it’s considered bad sportsmanship because they should let their opponent beat them. OR they’re retiring because they know they’re going to lose anyway, and by not facing match point they take legitimacy away from the other player’s win, ala Justine Henin.

If they retire when they’re winning though, they’re match fixing.

So I guess the only safe time to retire is when the score is even? I am assuming the injuries are legit of course. (I don’t count fatigue or cramping as actual injuries).

Giner Says:

“Huh ? why not finish the match and if she cannot play next day just give her opponent a walkover. A lot of walkovers have been done before; she won’t be the first one.”

Giving a walkover robs the tournament and fans of a match. If you can’t continue might as well give your current opponent who can a chance to continue on. Why waste it?

jane Says:

Giner – v. true post @ 11:26 am. You also have a valid point at 11:28 and that’s sort of what I was suggesting originallly, that Woz and her dad may’ve seen it that way.

jane Says:

i am it, I thought I’d answer you up here, since this is the “WTA” related thread. Anyhow, while I didn’t get to see that match, I very much like Sabine Lisicki, and I am happy to see she won that match against Peer. I hope she can do bigger things in the future. To me, she’s a player who has a lot of weapons: big serve (not very common in the WTA presently), powerful groundies off both sides, good defense/movement; in fact, she has been compared to Kim Clijsters and even Graf. Maybe next year she’ll break through at one of the slams.

sar Says:

Anyone know if the Tipsarevic/Youzhny match will be on tennis channel and what time over here? I really would like Tips to win his first tourny finally, but I would like Youzhny to win at home.

Kimmi Says:

Congrants to Tips for reaching his first final. Troicki just did three weeks ago..great year for the Serbs. I see the H2H between Tipsy and Youzhny is 2-0 in Tipsy favor..mmm surprising..this could be the match-up thing I think. Anyways, looks like Tipsi has a good chance to get his 1st title here but Youzhny has been on a good form lately, it is his second final appearence in 3 weeks.

If I did not see the H2H, I would say its Youzhny title but the H2H makes things interesting, let the best man win.

jane Says:

Agree with you both, Kimmi and sar – in that Tipsy and Youz match I have similar reasons to wish for either guy to win, so let the best on the day take it. That’s what happens anyhow, cheer as we might. ; )

Duro Says:

Sar, Jane, hi girls! Strange wishes you have…
Kimmi, it’s an all Russia encounter. I don’t believe in these hybrid nationalities, Viktor Troicki a Serb and Danijel Nestorović a Canadian. I know this is a tricky topic, but we should all now who we are. Nomen est omen.

Duro Says:

Ooooops, I had too much wine! It’s Tipsy in the finals not Troicki! Sorry folks!

sar Says:

Yes Duro, Troitsky/Troicki is a Russian according to Wikipedia.

jane Says:

Duro – ease up on the vino, lol. All the best to Tipsy and Youzhny in the final.

Duro Says:

Jane!!! It’s contradictio in adjecto! How can it possibly be, the all the best for both of them? One will have a little bit less than all the best in that final, don’t you think? If they all get all the best we’ll have two champions there with a result 7:6 6:7 168:168 and the tournament officials to decide to save them from the misery and give them both the trophy! Always benevolent Jane… Lucky that husband of yours.

Kimmi Says:

Great match so far. Tipsy gets the first set. Youzhny loses the 1st set of the week..mmmm !

Kimmi Says:

He he he ! Donno what happened..Tipsy is gone walkabout and about to lose the 2nd set 0-6..So wrong I was, thinking he was about to walk away with the match..

6-0 youzhny second set it is. We have the decider

Kimmi Says:

Youzhny breaks on the 1st game on the 3rd set. Does not look good for Tipsy now…

Kimmi Says:

After 8 straight games from Youzhny, Tipsy eventually breaks the curse and wins his service game(sigh) 1-2 youzhny in the decider..still youzhny with a break.

Kimmi Says:

Tipsy about to broken again
great job. Can he come out unscaved ?
game Tipsy. Wow..very close.

3-4 Youznhy…youznhy still with the break.

This match is looking Youzny all over now.

Kimmi Says:

easy hold by Youznhy..5-3 now. one more game only !

Kimmi Says:

Now Tipsy serving again. Still struggling most of his games.

AGAIN !!%&@?

Three match point went begging for Youznhy.
40-ad Youznhy another match point

game tipsy…

Wow…Youzhny to serve for the match now

Kimmi Says:

Close game this one now Youzhny serving.
40-30 Younz with another match point. Now on his serve.. good serve and finish with the big forehand.

Game set match Youzhny. Congrants.
Tipsy good try but why did he go away in the 2nd set… he made it too difficult to come back strong in the third. anyways..good tounament for both players.

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