Azarenka, Serena, Sharapova Battle In Istanbul For No. 1 Ranking, Player Of The Year Honors
by Sean Randall | October 22nd, 2012, 9:38 pm

Shifting gears to women’s tennis this week, the year-end WTA Championships kick off tomorrow in Istanbul, Turkey. Among the entrants are eight of the best female players in the world including World No. 1 Victoria Azarenka, two-time Slam winner this year Serena Williams and French Open champion Maria Sharapova.

At stake for the favorites is the No. 1 ranking and the Player of the Year honor that will likely go with it. Azarenka enters with a sizable lead over Sharapova and the Belarussian will clinch the year-end top ranking by winning just two round robin matches.

Said Sharapova on her No. 1 chances, “I don’t like to think about what I can’t control in my destiny, what’s not in my hands. It would be a great achievement, no doubt, but the more matches I win here the better chance I have of accomplishing it, so that’s my biggest priority this week.”

The ladies were divided by random alternating ranking into two groups of four, and with three strong players one group will be stronger than the other. And that fell to Group A which is home to both Azarenka and Serena along with Li Na and Angelique Kerber.

In Group B it’s Sharapova, Petra Kvitova, Agnieszka Radwanska and Sara Errani.

Like the men’s Finals, the top two players in each group advance to the knock-out semifinals on Saturday, then the finals on Sunday.

Serena, Sharapova and Kvitova who won last year are all former champions. And even though she won’t overtake Azarenka for No. 1, if she wins Istanbul Serena will have two Slams titles, the Olympic gold and the year-end championships on her 2012 resume, making a very strong case in her Player of the Year campaign.

Serena, though, has nothing but compassion and kindness for her rival Azarenka.

“I like all the players here – but I love Victoria’s attitude,” Serena said. “I have a lot of respect for her. So she could be my younger sister for the week.”

Serena is playing her first event since the US Open. And if she continues the scorching run she’s been on since April there’s no doubt she’ll cap the season with a third year-end title.

“In 2002 it was great, but I had no injuries, no comebacks and no serious issues,” said Serena when comparing her results of 2012 to previous seasons. “I feel like back then I was really just cruising and on the rise. Now in 2012, it’s a different scenario. I’ve been through so much in my life – triumphs, disasters, happy moments, sad moments – when your career comes complete circle like that, you really do appreciate every win more and more.”

With groupings, I think the SFs look like Serena over Kvitova, Azarenka over Sharapova; then Serena beats Azarenka in the final.

Matches are on Tennis Channel until the final which ESPN2 will air.


Stadium (from 17.00hrs)
1. Agnieszka Radwanska vs. Petra Kvitova
2. Serena Williams vs. Angelique Kerber
3. Maria Sharapova vs. Sara Errani

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11 Comments for Azarenka, Serena, Sharapova Battle In Istanbul For No. 1 Ranking, Player Of The Year Honors

Kimmi Says:

looking forward to this, hopefully there are good matches.

The Great Davy Says:

A good matches in woman tennis? Hahaha! I would not bet on this!

jen Says:

@The Great Davy …and who said there are great matches in men’s tennis??? you sexist rat. The fact that more pple tune in to watch women’s finals should shut you hater up! now go find another hobby!

RZ Says:

I think if Azarenka wins the tournament, she’ll get Player of the Year honors. If anyone else wins, Player of the Year will be Serena. I just don’t see how Sharapova would be POY considering how she’s been annihilated by Serena and Vika several times this year.

Humble Rafa Says:

50% of people watch women’s matches for the tennis. Other 50% watch it for short skirts and all. It’s not my opinion, a survey found this a while back.

Polo Says:

Agree with The Great Davy. Women’s matches are ruined by the abominable noise the players make that they could never be considered great. Greatly annoying is more appropriate.

the DA Says:

Kvitova pulls out of the WTA Championships citing a viral illness. What a pity. I was looking forward to a match between her and Serena indoors. Stosur will take her spot.

Kimmi Says:

the DA, that is sad news. I love kvitova, unfortunately she is been hampered by illness since the Asian tour, no wonder she is not herself.

jane Says:

That’s too bad about Petra; hopefully she comes back next year with some steadier form… would love to see her get another slam.

the DA Says:

Serena is having a nightmare with her serve. Gets broken twice in a row and breaks her racquet. Only the 5th game and already a code violation. It looks like it’s going to be one of ‘those’ matches.

Alok Says:

Serena got broken 5 times. Both Serena and Azarenka had some difficulty serving today.

As I mentioned on another thread Kerber is dangerous. She nearly took out Azarenka today.

Too bad Kvitova had to withdraw. White group could become more competitive with Stosur.

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