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.
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.
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.
Just today the WTA announced that Venus Williams and Victoria Azarenka are the sixth and seventh players to qualify for Doha. They will join Dinara Safina, Serena Williams, Elena Dementieva, Caroline Wozniacki and Svetlana Kuznetsova who are already there.
I can let you read the press release that explains how Venus and Victoria got in but all this has made me wonder is there really an air-tight formula for how the ATP and WTA decide all this? I understand that if someone wins a Grand Slam or wins many top-tier events they will get in, but it’s those last slots that always feel more like a NFL playoff scenario than real results.
Not that I’m taking anything away from Azarenka who did win Miami and had a strong spring season, but there are two players ranked ahead of her, Vera Zvonareva and Jelena Jankovic, who have yet to qualify. Wouldn’t it make sense to let JJ play every last tourney, which she will, and have her qualify? Wouldn’t it add more drama to save the final spots for the last events?
The ATP supposedly did away with all this when they dropped the points race and just stuck with the players rankings. But look at Djokovic. He qualified before Andy Roddick who got to the Wimbledon final. Djokovic won Serbia (duh) and Dubai, and got to the finals of Monte Carlo, Rome and Madrid. Roddick beat Djokovic in Australia, Indian Wells and Toronto.
Should the Wimbledon final count more than the final of Rome? I don’t know. If Nikolay Davydenko suddenly decides to play every last tourney between now and Paris and does well, wouldn’t that make him the more consistent player than Djokovic?
I guess what I am arguing for is that both tours should wait until the very last, or next to last tourney to decide things. It seems only fair. Or am I wrong?
Filed under ATP, Tennis, WTA