Titles Wrap: Clijsters, Melzer, Monfils Among Winners; Tennis-X Notes
by Staff | October 31st, 2010, 9:59 pm

Clijsters Takes Shine Off Wozniacki Finish, Winning WTA Championships

Former No. 1 Kim Clijsters took the shine off the end of current No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki’s season in the final of the year-ending WTA Championships on Sunday in Doha, where the Belgian veteran outlasted the Dane 6-3, 5-7, 6-3 for her third career season-ending championship.
Clijsters was also a year-end WTA Championships winner in 2002 and 2003. She joins Martina Navratilova (eight year-end championships), Steffi Graf (five) Chris Evert (three) and Monica Seles (three) as players to win three or more year-end championship titles.

The 20-year-old Wozniacki ends the year at the No. 1 spot on the WTA Rankings, but the loss was another slight on a season where critics levied she assumed the No. 1 spot by default due to season-killing injuries to Serena Williams, Venus Williams and Justine Henin, in addition to other players sidelined for various periods during the year.

Wozniacki has yet to claim a Grand Slam title, while Clijsters this year again won the US Open. In the final Clijsters led by a set and 4-1 before Wozniacki came back to force a third. Clijsters broke twice in the third set to put a bow on her second year of a comeback after a retirement to have her first child.

“It seemed like it would never end,” Clijsters said of the final. “It was a tough battle. We showed some great tennis and some great fitness — I think we showed the crowd some great women’s tennis tonight…I also have to congratulate her on making it to the No. 1 ranking.” Now Wozniacki looks forward to 2011, and a full slate of No. 1 ranking challengers, to again prove her merit.

Gael Force Overwhelms Ljubicic for ATP Montpellier Title

No. 3 seed Gael Monfils outlasted No. 4 seed Ivan Ljubicic 6-2, 5-7, 6-1 for the inaugural ATP Montpellier title at the Open Sud de France.

The 24-year-old Monfils improved to 3-9 in career ATP finals, and is 1-2 on the year. The 31-year-old Ljubicic dropped to 10-13 in career finals.

“I am so happy about this title, and it’s even more special because it is in France and in front of my crowd,” Monfils said. “Today I was again very solid I think in my game, but also emotionally. I am extremely happy about the title, about my concentration throughout the week and about the level of my game.”

Monfils jumped out to a 5-0 lead in the third set before wrapping up the title. “Today I didn’t make as many points with my serve unfortunately, which I also expected because he is a fantastic returner,” Ljubicic said. “I think the first set was the key to the match because I had break points in almost every game and I couldn’t convert them.”

Melzer Wins Vienna, Stays in Year-end Champs Hunt

World No. 12 and top seed Jurgen Melzer successfully defended his title at the Bank Austria Tennis Trophy on Sunday, coming from a set down to defeat fellow Austrian break-out player Andreas Haider-Maurer 6-7(10), 7-6(4), 6-4 in Vienna.

Haider-Maurer only got into the main draw as a lucky loser when Ernests Gulbis withdrew; Haider-Maurer beat 43-year-old comeback player and former No. 1 Thomas Muster in the first round.

It was Melzer’s first title of the season, and keeps him in the running for a spot in the Top 8 at the ATP year-end champions with two weeks to play in the regular season. Melzer is also the only player on the ATP World Tour ranked inside the Top 15 in both singles and doubles, and has already qualified for the doubles year-end championships with Philipp Petzschner.

Kukushkin Claims First Career Title

Russian-born Kazakhstan citizen Mikhail Kukushkin won his first ATP title Sunday, defeating Russian Mikhail Youzhny 6-3, 7-6(2) for the St. Petersburg Open crown in Russia.

The No. 88-ranked Kukushkin upset the No. 10-ranked Youzhny, needing two service breaks in each set.

Youzhny fell to a 2-3 record in finals this year, and 7-10 in career ATP finals. Kukushkin prevailed on only a 53% first serve percentage, and converting on only four of 11 break points.

Caroline Wozniacki
finishes the year No. 1, Elena Dementieva drops the retirement bomb, and the WTA Tour puts another injury-riddled, star-lacking season to rest. Here’s hoping for the return of Justine Henin and Serena and Venus Williams in 2011 — and while we’re at it, the attempted comebacks of Martina Hingis and Ana Kournikova. If you thought it wasn’t bad, consider that Vera “The Crying Game” Zvonareva had a chance to finish the year No. 1 during the year-end championships…Argentina’s Gisela Dulko and Italy’s Flavia Pennetta finish the 2010 season as the No. 1 doubles team in the world for the first time on the WTA tour…Kim Clijsters’ driver got into a car accident on her way to play the semifinals in Doha — the car was smashed-up enough where it was abandoned for a replacement car, and she still won to reach the final…So we couldn’t even get the WTA Championships live on Sunday in the U.S.? Tape delayed from Doha, even though it was in the late morning? Sad…WTA CEO Stacey Allaster in her season year-end comments: “But obviously there has been a change. [Sony Ericsson] are no longer our title sponsor, but they remain or No. 1 partner. We will unlock our two brands, but our two brands will live together, wherever possible, side by side. As our tournament members from Dubai said this morning — Salah is here, the tournament director from Dubai — we are still married. They are still our No. 1 partner. We will not have a title sponsor.” — Wow, way to lay it on thick for the sponsors. Married. And also on someone else owning their URL (since they announced they are no longer the ‘WTA Tour,’ but now the ‘WTA’): “Digital being a key focus of our growth strategy, a 40% increase on wtatour.com. We need to work out and get our URL back. Somebody else owns it, but we’re going to do our best to be wta.com.” — Pony-up the cash to the nerd who bought that and has been sitting on it for 12 years!

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33 Comments for Titles Wrap: Clijsters, Melzer, Monfils Among Winners; Tennis-X Notes

Ben Pronin Says:

Why no mention of Christophe Rochus’s retirement?

Gregoire Gentil Says:

Congrats to Kim. It was a very good match.

What bothers me is that Caroline was quite smiling during the ceremony. With the ceremony photo only, it’s hard to say who was the loser. I thought that Federer crying at 2009 AO was a little bit ridiculous but at least, this showed that he really wanted it… Worse for Caro, she will have to face a lot of pressure in 2011 due to Safina/Jankovic syndrom.

BTW, at the beginning of the third set, Caro’s dad was on court to advise her. He did it in Danish. I would love to know what she told her. Anybody speaks Danish? She played like a goddess in the game after!

Hypnos Says:

Was it just me, or did Monfils’ game actually look tight and purposeful? If he can keep it up, boy he will be dangerous …

paul blackley Says:

I don’t see why Zvonareva having a chance to be # 1 was so bad to you?

Kimberly Says:

Was it just me, or did Monfils’ game actually look tight and purposeful? If he can keep it up, boy he will be dangerous

He has shown this before and flaked. I think the problem with a lot of these guys is that they have great game/talent on any given day but lack the ability and/or focus to sustain it day in and day out. Prime example Tipsarevic.

But almost any top 30 player can be dangerous to anyone on any given day.

Skeezerweezer Says:

Congrats to Kim and Monfils. Lube, gotta give u props also for playin some kick butt tennis at 31, keep that shave tight on the top.

margot Says:

Am watching Dolgopolov, what a lovely fluid player he is. Very cool under pressure too, break point down and he serves and volleys. Very nice!

Kevin Kane Says:

When Federer recaptured the number one ranking in 2009 — after Rafa had missed Wimbledon due to injury — I don’t recall anyone saying Fed didn’t deserve to be number one.

Granted, Fed had already won a bazillion grand-slam titles, but he acknowledged on court at Wimbledon that he had returned to number one because he had won *and* because Rafa was injured.

If Wozniacki or anyone wins a bunch of events that the slam winners don’t play — for whatever reason — it’s hard to fault her for becoming number one.

Heck, in 2002 and 2003, Agassi would have finished the year at number one if he could have played as often as Hewitt and Roddick.

margot Says:

Ah, AD took a bad tumble and ricked his ankle, apparently court is “sticky.” Was losing anyway, his forehand was very erratic ..but..he’ll be top 30 by end of 2011, I’m sure.

Skeezerweezer Says:


So AD retired? Didn’t see the match…

Maya Says:

How come nothing about the comments Rochus made about doping in tennis? How about the nugget that he implied that Henin’s “retirement” was more about a doping violation than anything else. It makes total sense to me. Everyone was shaking their head about why she suddenly retired and then comes back 18 months later. Now I believe she was a doper and they allowed her to claim “retirement” rather than announce a doping violation because she is one of the greats in the womens game. Thoughts anyone?

Gregoire Gentil Says:

@Paul, though I disagree with Tennis-X, I can understand how it’s so bad to them that Vera would be #1. A woman who cries once, that’s probably OK. A woman who cries every game she lost, that’s not very appealing. BTW, what she said to Elena during her retirement ceremony was pretty nice and mature.

What I still don’t understand is why Tennis-X keeps coming back about Williams. As of today, the only two girls below 26 in the top 10 are Caroline and Victoria. All others are “old” (tennis-speaking). Serena has the same age as Elena… Anyway, the two sisters will skip all the 2011 tournaments and they will only play Wimbledon and US Open.

Gregoire Gentil Says:

@Maya: It would make sense only if she is the only one with her staff to know. This kind of secret always finishes to be revealed and I don’t see WTA to cover this up. They didn’t cover Hingis and it was “just” coke.

In terms of doping, how many players, do you think, would do self blood transfusion as it’s so difficult to detect?

margot Says:

skeeze: yep, at 5-2. He couldn’t stand up! Fed was winning anyway.

madmax Says:

Hi Margot!

Watched the match too, and posted the youtube link for skeeze.

As margot said skeeze, dolgo went for a return shot from fed, but ran towards the ball, and his foot got ‘stuck’, he couldn’t slip into the shot as there was nothing to slide into – looks a bit dodgy, but hopefully it won’t be too serious – see the youtube on the federer xblog for more.

It was second set 5:2 15:15, you’ll have to fast forward to find the shot.

Night Margot. what do you think of these dark nights? Hate driving when it’s like this!

Ben Pronin Says:

I’m still waiting for someone to respond. The ATP, WTA, WADA? No one cares about what Rochus said?

What is it that he and other players “see”?

kimberly Says:

Ben, what r we missing? Who cares about rochus?and don’t forget to vote for rafa as the fan favorite on the atp site.

kimberly Says:

Not sure what christopher rochus said and unless it is really juicy I could not care less. I couldn’t pick him out of a police line up. Did watch his bro play novak live in miami though.don’t really careabout him either.

Ben Pronin Says:


Because Rochus is an insider.

Obviously voting for Novak and the Bryans…

Kimmi Says:

what did rochus say ben, can you please copy it here..

kimberly – i have also voted for fan fave player. there are lots of players in the list, i hope they could have given us more than one chance..

Kimmi Says:

thanks ben

kimberly Says:

Ben, you r becoming like that guy thasp. What is rochus ranking. He can prob only attest to what happens on the challenger tour.

kimberly Says:

Kimmi and anyone else who cares—i voted for rafa and the bryans. I think you can vote asmany times and you want but no, I won’t sink low enough to vote for rafa over and over!

guy Says:

what doping is rochus talking about though. endurance, or strength?

because in the women’s game endurance isn’t really a factor, explaining the success of so many fat players.
henin wasn’t big either, muscle wise, her weight is normal for her height. roids seem unlikely.
her power came from technique, you can see she has much better technique than a lot of wta players and worked to achieve it over the years.
also when she retired she was struggling with injury and incurred big losses to sharapova, williams, then lost her first clay match for a long time against safina.
even though she went ‘out on top’ she was actually playing worse and worse.
so her decision to take a break then is not unbelievable.
as for men’s doping, it may or may not happen, but rochus’ evidence seems totally circumstantial.

Ben Pronin Says:

Kimberly, you want to tell me there is more doping on the Challenger tour than the main tour?

kimberly Says:

Ben, my point was I’d give it more credence from a top twenty player, even a top 30 as to what is really going on on the atp tour. Who is rochus. Perhaps explaining away of his lack of success.

Kimmi Says:

kimberly – you can only vote ONCE. unless you have a zillion email addresses. (maybe?).

I vote for the fed and nestor/zim

Skeezerweezer Says:

G I A N T S!!!!!!! Orange my new favorite color! Yahoo!!!!

Eric Says:

Appears to be the jaded, bitter whining of a sore loser. He wants us to believe that a guy coming back from a break playing better must have been doping? Is this for real? Innuendo and BS.

Kimberly Says:

Here are my other votes which I am not allowed to cast:

Stefan Edberg Award: Nadal
Most Improved: Golubev
Newcomer: DeBaker
Comeback: Nalbandian
1000-Miami of course

jane Says:

Vulcan, lol, what a difference!
True, to whomever said points-wise that at the slams this year Fed was second best (3440 pts) after Nadal 6360), then I think it goes like this:

Nole (QF, QF, SF, F = 2640)
Soda (R128, F, QF, QF = 2230)
Murray (F, R16, SF, R32 = 2190)
Then Melzer and Youz had pretty good slam years too. Not sure if I am missing anyone who was also quite consistent at all the slams this year??

Just checked and Ernies won last match over Nole at Brisbane in 2009 on hard. I guess it depends which Ernie turns up and perhaps how well Nole is serving. Murray through quite easily over F-Lo, with one blip in the 2nd set, but overall looking good!

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