Jelena Jankovic is in the semifinals of the WTA Sony Ericsson Championships at Doha despite having just played just over 90 minutes in all of her matches. Today Jankovic defeated a tired Caroline Wozniacki 6-2, 6-2.
Jankovic benefited from the early retirement of Dinara Safina in her first round match. In my opinion that match should not have counted as it prevented the other alternates Vera Zvonareva or Agnieska Radwanska any chance of advancing to the title stage.
Case in point. Today Radwanska in the only match she can play at the event defeated Victoria Azarenka 4-6, 7-5, 4-1 (ret) after Azarenka retired due to injury. This means Wozniacki will make into the semifinals along with Jankovic, Serena Williams and Venus Williams who got in after Svetlana Kuznetsova beat Elena Dementieva easily 6-3, 6-2.
I’m rather disappointed in the play of Kuznetsova, who despite winning with ease today, really had chances against both Venus and Serena in their previous matches. The event is also a disappointment for Dementieva who caps off what should have been a breakthrough year with yet another substandard result at a big event.
While Serena Williams continues dominantion in her Maroon Group play at the Sony Ericsson Championships in Doha, the White Group suffered another injury withdrawal as Vera Zvonareva, who replaced the injured Dinara Safina, withdrew today after losing to Caroline Wozniacki earlier in the day.
Agnieska Radwanska will now take Zvonareva’s place tomorrow as she takes on Jelena Jankovic.
Serena is the only player confirmed for the semifinals as she easily beat Elena Dementieva 6-2, 6-4. Serena was extremely agressive in her play and kept looking for winners the entire match. When she won, she let out a primal yell that let everybody know she was ready to claim the whole event.
Venus Williams kept her chances alive by winning a topsy-turvy match against Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-2 6-7(3) 6-4. Kuznetsova will now have to win her match tomorrow against Dementieva to stay in the event.
If you are trying to figure the current standings at Doha, click here.
So Vera Zvonareva’s journey to the WTA Season Finale in Doha was almost like a chapter out of “Cinderella”.
She barely missed the final eight cut when she lost early in Moscow. However, being in the top ten she was invited as an alternate which meant she couldn’t dress up for the “royal ball” like the other “stepsisters”.
However when the “queen” of the ball aka Dinara Safina couldn’t fulfill her duties, Zvonareva now had a chance.
Zvonareva’s fairy tale almost came true today as she was down a set and a break to Caroline Woznicaki, but managed to fight her way back into a third set before losing 0-6, 7-6(3), 6-4.
Even if she can win her next match and go 1-1, it’s unlikely she can advance to the semifinals, unless another miracle occurs.
But of course we’ve seen miracles aplenty this year on the women’s tour, so anything is possible.
Dinara Safina in Tears at Doha (AP)
Well now we know the cause of Dinara Safina’s “misery tour” which began this summer on the hard courts and ended with the world number one in tears at the WTA Finale at Doha.
After her retirement to Jelena Jankovic in their opening round match, Safina announced that she would not continue play at the Doha event due to a severe back injury she has battled for the last three months. Safina said her lower back was almost “fractured”, but didn’t say what was the cause. Safina tried taking cortisone injections this week to deal with the pain but it didn’t work.
Doctors have now advised Safina to take the next six weeks off and that appearing at the 2010 Australian Open is in jeopardy.
This is truly bad news for Safina who endured criticism the whole year not being worthy of her top ranking. It’s hard to say if the back injury was the cause of her many early round losses this summer, but one would think it was a major factor. The other issue is why did Safina not take time off after the U.S. Open and skip Asia rather than risk marring her 2010 schedule? And what about her coach Zeljko Krajan who has endured criticism himself for being too tough on Safina and not looking out for her best interest?
It’s unclear if Safina’s withdrawal will allow one of the alternate players, Agnieska Radwanska or Vera Zvonareva into the main draw. With Safina’s loss, Serena Williams will finish the year at No. 1. She clinched the top spot after winning an epic match against sister Venus Williams 5-7, 6-4, 7-6 (4).
In other early round play, Caroline Wozniacki came back from a set and a break down to defeat Victoria Azarenka 1-6, 6-4 7-5.
Busy news day here. In the WTA Series Finale at Doha, current world number one Dinara Safina lost to Jelena Jankovic in their first round after Dinara Safina stopped play at 1-1. Safina went over to her chair, put a towel to her face and starting crying before retiring the match.
It’s not clear if she will continue in the tournament. Serena Williams is currently taking on sister Venus.