Tag Archives: Svetlana Kuznetsova

“The Best” in Tennis – 2009 Review.

Of course this being December, everyone is taking a look back at the year that was. Here’s my brief look back at the best in tennis for 2009.

Player of the Year – Kim Clijsters.
Yes I know Roger Federer had an amazing year, again, but Kim Clijsters’s title run at the U.S. Open was the story of the year not only for her exceptional play but also that it highlighted, unfairly perhaps, the lack of depth in the women’s game right now. If Clijsters had not won the Open, I doubt Justine Henin would have returned as she too senses an opportunity for more glory. Clijsters’s win in New York was a “tour-changer” and its impact will be felt in 2010 regardless how well Clijsters does next year.

Best Men’s Match of the Year. – Roger Federer vs. Andy Roddick – Wimbledon Men’s Final.
Ok so this wasn’t quite the epic that Federer vs. Nadal was last year, but it certainly had it’s share of drama especially the fifth set “serve-off” that Federer barely won thus eclipsing Roddick’s dream of a Wimbledon title. One wonders if Roddick still thinks about that missed backhand volley that could have given him a two set to love lead in the match, but the respect Roddick earned worldwide will certainly be with him next year. (I know some would say Nadal vs. Verdasco in the Australian Open Semis was “the” match, but I have to give the edge here just because it was for the Wimbledon title.)

Best Women’s Match of the Year – Serena Williams vs. Elena Dementieva – Wimbledon Semifinals.
What impressed me the most was the ball striking in this one as the ladies hit the ball harder than any men’s match I’ve ever seen. Dementieva was oh so close to taking out the top seed but Serena’s perseverance not only paid off by winning this match, and then the finals against sister Venus, but did a lot to cement Serena as the female player of the decade.

Comeback Players of the Year – Svetlana Kuznetsova and Nikolay Davydenko.
I know people are expecting Kim Clijsters here but let’s face it, “Sveta’s” win at the French Open was a bit unexpected as many had already written her off as a one Slam wonder. Her consistent play throughout the year indicated that Sveta was hungry for more glory and I expect her to do well in 2010. As for Davydenko, many had forgotten him at the beginning of the year and his substandard play during the Slams. But his late season run including wins at Shanghai and the Barclays ATP Finals proved he was always in the mix.

Rising Star of the Year – Juan Martin Del Potro.
With his total beatdown of Rafael Nadal in the semis of the U.S. Open and then his amazing five set win over Roger Federer in the finals, Del Potro emerged from the pack of contenders to become “the” contender for Roger’s crown in 2010. How he handles his newfound fame, considering his rather shy nature, remains to be seen but do not count Delpo for any title next year.

And finally a special thanks to those players who retired this year including Marat Safin, Amelie Mauresmo, Fabrice Santoro and Ai Sugiyama. All of them brought their own unique gifts, spins and personalities to a game that desperately needs more players like them. I wish them all the best in their new lives.

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WTA Crystal Ball for 2010.

Now that the WTA season is over and the ladies are resting up for Australia, I thought it was time to look ahead and give my predictions for 2010. 2009 was a drama filled year and I expect even more next year. Players will be “ranked” according to what I think their year-end ranking will be for 2010.

1. Serena Williams – Even with the return of Justine Henin and Kim Clijsters, I don’t expect anyone to take over the top spot from Serena and expect her to win at least two Slams for 2010.

2. Caroline Wozniacki – “Sunshine” as she’s known on the tour will have another consistent year and will find herself in another Slam final. If she can win a big one remains to be seen but it will be hard to bet against her next year. Conditioning and her excessive match play may hurt her down the road.

3. Dinara Safina – A lot depends on Safina’s current back injury and her mental toughness for 2010. I can see her in a Slam final but she will have to dismiss whatever demons she has in order to make it back to the top spot.

4. Svetlana Kuznetsova – Despite her mental flaws, “Sveta” will always be a factor in 2010 and will probably make it to another Slam final. If she wins a Slam next year is entirely up to her. Watch out for her at the Australian Open as she finished 2010 in good shape healthwise.

5. Venus Williams – 2010 will be the last chance at glory for Venus as she turns 30 this year. Aside from Wimbledon, she’s not been a factor for a while at the other Slams and her knee could be a big issue. Plus the fact that no one tour is afraid of playing her could may next year very tough.

6-9. These slots will change depending on the names, i.e. Jelena Jankovic, Victoria Azarenka, Elena Dementieva, etc. They could breakthrough and win a Slam, but let’s face it, shouldn’t they have done so already?

10. Kim Clijsters – Everybody keeps salivating over Henin’s return but Clijsters, who played lights out tennis at the U.S. Open, will still go into every tournament with nothing to lose and thus no pressure. I expect Kimmie to be a factor in Australia and a heavy favorite at the U.S. Open again.

Wildcards – Justine Henin will be the story at the Australian Open win or lose. It will all depend on her draws and I actually think the clay court season is where she will find the most success. She has more to lose than Kim Clijsters in her comeback so a Slam victory in 2010 is paramount.

Sam Stosur – Stosur finally won a WTA event in ’09 and will probably break into the top 10 next year. She’s got the game to win a big one, maybe even Wimbledon, but does she believe she can win is the question.

Maria Sharapova – Sharapova is finally getting back on track after a rocky 2009. If her serve starts clicking again, she could be a factor but probably not until Wimbledon.

Ana Ivanovic – 2010 will define Ivanovic’s entire career. If she can get over her mental and physical fatigue, she could work her way back into the top ten again. If she can’t, I could see her retiring early. Hope I’m wrong.

Melanie Oudin – Next year will be the real test for the feisty American to prove the U.S. Open run was no fluke. I definitely see her in the top 20 before too long. Perhaps the French Open will be her next surprise Slam as she says she likes the clay?

Amelie Mauresmo – There’s been no word yet on Mauresmo’s potential retirement but even if she decides to stick it out, 2010 will probably be her last year. Maybe she will finally go for broke and play with nothing to lose? If so, we could be in for a real treat.

Let me know what you think!

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Serena Dominating Doha; “Aggie” Gets In.

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.

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Doha Action – Dementieva Survives.

Just a quick roundup of today’s round one action at the WTA Finale at Doha. Elena Dementieva survived her opening match against Venus Williams. Venus was up a set and a break but Elena managed to tough it out and win 3-6, 7-6 (6), 6-2. Venus had multiple opportunities to close out the match but couldn’t figure out a way to win which is a recurring pattern for her this year.

In other matches, Victoria Azarenka easily cruised over a weary Jelena Jankovic 6-2, 6-3 while Serena Williams overcame an ankle injury to defeat Svetlana Kuznetsova 7-6 (6), 7-5.

Dinara Safina will play tomorrow in hopes of remaining number one at the end of the year as she has a slight edge over Serena in the rankings.

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Sveta and Djokovic Find Beijing Glory.

Sveta Celebrate China Win (AP Photo/Elizabeth Dalziel)

Sveta Celebrate China Win (AP Photo/Elizabeth Dalziel)

Novak Djokovic not only got back to number three in the world this weekend but also claimed his third title of the year in winning the China Open over Marin Cilic 6-2, 7-6 (4).

After 2-2 in the first set, a nearly two hour rain delay paused the match. When play resumed, Djokovic appeared fresher and used his great defensive skills to take the first set.

Cilic rebounded by breaking early in the second set and could have gone up 3-0, but he blew an overhead that would have given him break point. Djokovic held for 1-2. Cilic found success by serving big and coming to net and soon got things to 4-4.

Djokovic seemed to dwell on missed chances causing him to lose serve at 4-5. But Cilic’s backhand errors and low second serve percentage forced another break at 5-5. Djokovic promptly lost serve at 6-5 and Cilic had another chance to serve it out but got tight and double faulted the game away.

In the breaker, Djokovic played an unbelivable point from all sides of the court forcing Cilic to fall on his back but retrieved the ball anyway. Djokovic won the point at net to get to 4-2 and then went on to win the tiebreaker.

In the women’s final, Svetlana Kuznetsova had a few too many weapons in her arsenal as she disposed Agnieska Radwanska 6-2, 6-4 to claim her third title of the year.

And did anyone notice the massive size of the trophies of all the winners at the event this year? Huge would be a understatement.

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Sveta, Petrova, Tsonga and Monfils Seek Asia Glory

It’s getting down to the wire in both Tokyo for the men and in Beijing for the men and women. While the men’s event in Beijing has seen few surprises as top seeds Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic appear headed for another final clash, some upsets in the other tourneys are allowing for some intriguing matchups.

In Beijing, Svetlana Kuznetsova has been flying under the radar and playing well getting herself into the semis with a 6-3, 6-3 against Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova. Sveta will now face Nadia Petrova who survived another tough match against Shuai Peng 6-7 (5), 6-3, 6-2.

As much as I would like to see Petrova get through and win the event, I feel like Sveta, who is 4-1 lifetime against her, will find a way to win this.

The other semi has Agnieszka Radwanska against the always feisty Marion Bartoli.

Over in Tokyo, the key match will be the semifinals between Gael Monfils and Jo-Wilifred Tsonga. This is a must win match, not only as they would be the favorite in the final against either Lleyton Hewitt and the revived Mikhail Youznhy, but a good showing would help Tsonga on Monfils close in one of the final spots for the ATP Finale in London.

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Safina’s Year Ends with Worse Loss in WTA History.

Dinara Safina Reacts (Getty Images)

Dinara Safina Reacts (Getty Images)

What a year 2009 has been for Dinara Safina. She gets smoked in the Australian Open final by Serena Williams, and despite a decent clay court season, chokes in the French Open final to Svetlana Kuznetsova. Then Safina got smoked again by Venus Williams at Wimbledon, then went on the “magical misery tour” this summer on the hard courts culminating in an early round loss at the U.S Open.

But Safina wasn’t done as she wanted to end the year in real style. Yesterday Safina posted the worst loss ever by a ranking number one player when she lost to 226th ranked Zhang Shuai at the China Open. The previous honor went to Julie Coin’s shocking second round defeat of then number one Ana Ivanovic at the U.S. Open last year. And we all know what happened after that.

If Serena Williams wins her match tomorrow she will regain the number one ranking which many have felt was hers all year. But Safina’s loss has increased calls for the WTA to change its rankings system again.

Personally I don’t think that needs to happen as the current system rewards consistency and playing many events which Safina had been doing. It’s one thing for Safina to lose it mentally in big finals where she felt the pressure to win a Slam, but these recent early round losses point to a larger problem that Safina needs to fix quickly.

So my advice for Safina? Do like Ana Ivanovic and take the rest of the year off, find a nice secluded place and start chanting — nam myoho renge kyo nam myoho renge kyo….

What do you think about all this? Take the poll and let us know.

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