Credit One Charleston Open Dinara Safina Jelena Jankovic

Jankovic cruises past Safina for Charleston title

Second seed Jelena Jankovic beat fourth seed Dinara Safina 6-2, 6-2 in Sunday final of the Family Circle Cup in Charleston, South Carolina. This is the first Tier I final for Jankovic, and her biggest victory so far.

Strong wind made this match difficult for both players. “The wind was so strong and the balls were going all over the place,” Jankovic said after the match. Her opponent agreed: “It was so windy that it was tough to play our game. It was going everywhere. It was difficult to serve, like you’re tossing the ball, and the ball just goes … flying in front or like, wherever.”

The Serbian reached the final by defeating Venus Williams 3-6, 6-3, 7-6(5) in a long and uncertain match. The Russian player had an easier way to the final; her semifinal opponent, Vera Zvonareva, retired because of wrist injury, while her opponent in the quarterfinal, Tatiana Golovin, withdraw at the end of the first set due to injured ankle.

Today, Both Jankovic and Safina jumped two spots at the WTA rankings. Jankovic was world No.9 and today she is No.7. One year younger Dinara Safina moved from No.12 to No.10.

With this title Jankovic accompanies Serena Williams and Justine Henin as players who have won two titles in 2007. Serena won the Australian Open and the Sony Ericsson Open; Justine has titles from Dubai Duty Free Women’s Open and Qatar Total Open. Jelena won Auckland in January and now she has Charleston trophy too.

Credit One Charleston Open Dinara Safina Jelena Jankovic Vera Zvonareva

Zvonareva withdraws; Safina, Jankovic in Charleston final

Ninth seed Vera Zvonareva retired from the semifinals of the Family Circle Cup at the moment fellow Russian Dinara Safina, seeded four, lead 6-3, 0-1. Zvonareva had to give up the match due to wrist injury. Actually, both players had problems with wrists which forced them to withdraw from their doubles matches, so that they could focus on the singles.

Dinara Safina, ranked No. 12, meets world No. 9 Jelena Jankovic in the final of Charleston. Earlier today, Jankovic defeated Venus Williams 3-6, 6-3, 7-6 (5).

So far, Safina and Jankovic have played only once, in Paris, on hardcourt; Jankovic retired from the match, and Safina won 6-3, 0-1.

Credit One Charleston Open Jelena Jankovic Venus Williams

Jankovic defeats Venus Williams to enter Charleston final

What a match! Two hours and thirty minutes of uncertainty! Venus Williams and Jelena Jankovic both played very well at the semifinals of the Family Circle Cup, but somebody had to come out as a winner, and it was a player from Serbia. Jankovic overwhelmed Williams 3-6, 6-3, 7-6(5). A five-time Grand Slam champion won the first set 6-3. The second set was particularly interesting — first six games were all breaks. The one to end that series was second seed Jelena Jankovic who managed to take the lead, and eventually win the second set. However, the third set was also thrilling, especially the tie break. The tension was great. Jelena’s match point added even more nervousness — it was debatable whether it was out or not.

I can mention that this is the second time Jelena wins the tie break when she plays Venus; last time it was at Wimbledon when she won 10-8.

Both Jelena Jankovic and Venus Williams will be ranked higher on Monday. Jelena, world No. 9, will be ranked No. 7; Venus, who is currently world No. 29, will jump to No. 22.

Jankovic’s opponent in the final will be a Russian player, either ninth seed Vera Zvonareva or fourth seed Dinara Safina whose match is currently in progress.

Amelie Mauresmo Anna Chakvetadze Billie Jean King Cup Justine Henin Kim Clijsters Maria Sharapova Nadia Petrova Svetlana Kuznetsova

Only Russia has top 10 players in first round of Fed Cup

Only three women from the top ten will take part in the first round of the Fed Cup — Svetlana Kuznetsova, Nadia Petrova and Anna Chakvetadze; they are all representatives of Russia.

Why won’t the other highly ranked players compete in the Fed Cup?

  • Top-ranked Justine Henin of Belgium wants to have enough time to prepare for the clay-season, as well as to treat her breathing problems. Her next tournament will be Warsaw, starting April 30.
  • Maria Sharapova, Russia’s highest-ranked player, won’t make her Fed Cup debut because of injured shoulder and hamstring.
  • France’s Amelie Mauresmo is recovering from her appendectomy.
  • Kim Clijsters, another Belgian top player, decided to skip the Fed Cup because of her busy schedule.
  • Countries of Martina Hingis (Switzerland), Nicole Vaidisova (the Czech Republic) and Jelena Jankovic (Serbia) are not in the World Group.
Tatiana Golovin

Golovin wins the title

France’s Tatiana Golovin defeated top seed and defending champion Nadia Petrova of Russia 6-2, 6-1 at Amelia Island, Florida. This is Tatiana’s first time to win this clay-court tournament; it’s also her first WTA Tour title. Last three times, she was the runner-up.

The 19-year-old winner said that this was probably the happiest day of her life in her tennis career. Golovin, ranked No. 20 in the world also said: “The experience of beating Venus (Williams) and Ana (Ivanovic) this week, especially Ivanovic since I had never beaten her in the past, it gives you confidence. Today I knew that I could beat Petrova. I knew I had the weapons to do so.”

Winning this match, Golovin took her head-to-head record against Petrova to 5-1.

Venus Williams

Venus Williams in good form for Bausch & Lomb

Venus Williams says that she feels good and that she is satisfied with her performance in Memphis and Miami. We will see her at the Bausch & Lomb Champinship today when her opponent in the first round will be Aravane Rezai of France. Let me just remind you that Williams won this tournament in 2002 when she was world’s No. 2 female tennis player. At present she is No. 32, but here’s what she has to say about her future plans:

“I’m very eager to get my ranking up but realize I have to wait and quite possibly have to play more tournaments, or I have to stay in there and win the big tournaments like (sister) Serena.

“I just have to be patient … but I want it tomorrow,” she said.


Historic changes to women’s tennis

In 2009 WTA will introduce the most significant changes since its formation in 1970. Their aim is to make top players compete more often, to make the season easier to follow and to minimize the number of injuries. The changes will include:

  • shorter season
  • creation of four mandatory events (Indian Wells, Miami, Beijing & Madrid)
  • suspensions and bigger fines for those who miss certain tournaments
  • reduced number of tournaments top players must play
  • reorganization of top level events
  • different ranking system
  • 30% increase in prize money
  • record investments in stadiums (especially Beijing and Madrid)
  • major presence in China
BNP Paribas Open Serena Williams

Serena Williams – Indian Wells never again

New WTA rules which take effect in 2009 oblige players to take part in a number of tournaments, among which is Indian Wells. Those who refuse to compete will be subjects to sanctions (suspension from the next two premium tournaments) and big fines.

Despite all this, Serena says that chances of her returning to Indian Wells are slim to none. She is boycotting this tournament because of her bad experience in 2001, when she was booed and subjected to racial taunts. The WTA announced that they are not going to adjust the rules for individual players, while father of the Williams sisters threatens the WTA Tour that he will take legal action if it tries to force his daughters to play in this tournament.

In my opinion, Serena should move on, leave that painful experience behind, and let us enjoy her talent in as many matches as possible. She should think of all those people who support her, and not waste her energy on those who certainly don’t deserve it.

Justine Henin Miami Open Serena Williams

Serena Williams defeats Justine Henin, wins Sony Ericsson Open

Justine Henin didn’t manage to add the Miami title to her collection, while Serena Williams accompanies Steffi Graf as the only two female tennis players who won both the Australian Open and Miami in the same year.

Justine won the first set with an astonishing 6-0 – I was afraid that I was going to watch a boring final. But, things slowly began to change, which made the match much more exciting. In the second set Serena began to fight. Serena’s wealth of experience helped her survive Justine’s two championship points, and even win the second set 7-5. In the third set Henin became a bit discouraged especially after she fell – two times! I thought she will not be able to continue the match. In addition, vast majority of spectators were encouraging Serena, while only from time to time you could hear the French “Allez”.

All in all, I think we can all be satisfied because we were watching a really interesting final.


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