Archive for February, 2009

28
Feb
09

venus wins her 41st. title in acapulco.

 

venus-mexico-5From the very first serve there wasn’t any doubt as to who would win. Venus was on fire, and there was nothing Flavia Pennetta could do about it. She managed to win only 3 games as she went down 6-1, 6-2 to Venus. It was the first trip to Mexico for Venus, and I’m sure she will be back. Last week she won on the hard courts of Dubai, tonight she won on the red clay in Acapulco, and she rushes back to New York for Monday’s Showdown at Madison Square Garden where she will meet Ana Ivanovic, Jelena Jankovic and her sister Serena, on indoor carpet.

If she continues to play her best tennis she could easily add 2 or 3 more Grand Slam titles to her already impressive resume. She is now the winningest woman on tour, and has never played any better.

In her own words….

I had my best match of the tournament at the right time. It was tough making the transition from hard to clay so fast, but I think I’ve managed to do it. I had a lot of struggles and learned a lot from my other matches this week before finally playing well. I actually started feeling great in the warm-up, and in the match I was serving well, which always helps. I think she played well too but today came down to who controlled the points, and I think I did that better. Flavia and I have played some good matches back in the day though, and she definitely deserved to win the ones she did. This one was so important to me. Matches like this, in the final of a tournament, are the most important to me.

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28
Feb
09

Djokovic earns a victory in dubai.

djokovic-12Novak Djokovic won his first title of the season Saturday, beating David Ferrer of Spain 7-5, 6-3 in the final of the Dubai Tennis Championships.

The third-ranked Djokovic finished off Ferrer with an ace that was originally called out but was challenged by the Serb.

“That was an unusual way to finish the match, and something like this has never happened to me before,” Djokovic said. “But what worked for me during the match was that I mixed the pace well, which I think, David does not like at all.”

Djokovic was playing in his first final this year. He won the Australian Open in 2008, and added the Masters Cup title at the end of last season. At this year’s Australian Open, he retired against Andy Roddick in the quarterfinals.

The top-seeded Djokovic broke Ferrer in the sixth game of the first set, but the fourth-seeded Spaniard broke back to 4-3. The players traded breaks again, but Djokovic got the decisive break in the final game of the set.

“This was a tough match because David is a very tough opponent,” Djokovic said. “He is one of the hardest working players on the tour, and he just keeps running down every ball. He makes you earn every point.”

In the second set, Djokovic led 2-0 before Ferrer recovered with a break in the seventh game. But Djokovic immediately broke back to lead 5-3, and then saved a break point before winning on the challenged ace.

“Nobody is a favorite in a final,” Djokovic said. “Everyone has the motivation to do well. But I was physically and emotionally really involved with this tournament and to win it is a great feeling, because Dubai has a history of having one of the strongest fields on the tour. And despite some players pulling out, it was still a tough field.”

Both top-ranked Rafael Nadal and No. 2 Roger Federer pulled out with injuries. Andy Murray withdrew ahead of the quarterfinals because of a viral infection.

Ferrer was also playing in his first final of the season.

“I played a very good game and I am very happy with what I did, but he was the better player in the end,” Ferrer said. “However, I really enjoyed my week and am looking forward to more such consistent weeks in the future.”

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28
Feb
09

jelena dokic in training at bta.

dokic-workout-2dokic-workout-3dokic-workout

Former world #4 Jelena Dokic is training at the Nick Bollettieri Tennis Academy for the next week or so while she prepares for the rest of the season. Dokic made an incredible run to the quarterfinals of the Australian Open earlier this year and has always been a player with the talent to be top 10. In addition to the quarterfinal appearance she made at the 2009 Aussie Open, Dokic also reached the semis at Wimbledon 2000 and the quarters at Wimbledon in 1999 and the French Open in 2002.

She is in the beginning stages of a comeback and has already moved up from #178 in the world to #80. Don’t be surprised to see Jelena moving up the rankings even higher throughout the rest of 2009.

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28
Feb
09

monday’s showdown in ny.

showdown

The pairings for the two semifinal matches of the inaugural “BNP Paribas Showdown for the Billie Jean King Cup” have been set for the March 2 event at Madison Square Garden.

The 2008 year-end No. 1, Jelena Jankovic, the US Open finalist, is the top seed and will play Wimbledon Champion Venus Williams, who closed the year at No. 6. The other semifinal features 2008 US Open and 2009 Australian Open Champion Serena Williams, who finished 2008 No. 2 but has now regained the No. 1 spot, against French Open Champion Ana Ivanovic, who ended 2008 at No. 5.

monday’s showdown in ny.

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28
Feb
09

smile, smile, smile and chew, chew, chew!

jankovic-11Chew Orbit gum and help us collect the biggest number of smiles in the World

Jelena Jankovic has been chosen by Orbit to be its smile ambassador for the territory of Serbia. This is the first time ever that orbit has appointed a brand ambassador in Serbia and Jelena has been chosen for her beautiful and dazzling smile, which is as famous as her sports victories. This successful tennis player is the star of the latest TV commercial for Orbit chewing gum, which will hit TV stations in Serbia in March. The viewers will thusly be able to see Jelena Jankovic perform off-court and enjoy her shiny smile.
Jelena Jankovic has already confirmed her strong wish to help Orbit in its campaign which is aimed at gathering the biggest number of smile photos ever collected in the world. Her victorious spirit is just what it takes to bring this ambitious project to life. Orbit would thusly like to invite each and every individual from Serbia to join this winning race of collecting smiles. Jelena’s and Orbit’s common goal is to make the biggest ever smile collage in the world and thusly help Serbia enter the Guiness Book of World Records in this particular discipline.
Each individual can post unlimited number of photos to the site http://www.tvojosmeh.com, as long as they show smiles or smiling faces. The photos can be both group, and individual. Jelena and Orbit want to show to the world that Serbia is able to break the world record which is at the moment held by Birmingham city UK, where the collage of total 112 893 photos was made covering the surface of 860 m2. Once the photos necessary to break the world record are collected, Serbia’s smiling collage will be presented on a public exhibition in Belgrade. The competition will be open from March 1st till May 31st.
When healthy teeth and healthy smile care is concerned, Orbit as Serbia’s most popular chewing gum, is a must. Get ready, go chew and prepare yourselves, as the race for collecting smiles is starting.

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27
Feb
09

ana ivanovic talks about new york.

ana-rolex1I’m looking forward to playing Serena again on Monday night in New York. It’s a little strange that we play each other two times in a row, considering that I only played her once in a number of years before this month. I really enjoyed our match in Dubai and felt like I had my chances.

In Dubai the tournament kindly invited us to stay at the Burj Al-Arab hotel, which was amazing. It’s one of the most famous hotels in the world, and they say that they are the only seven-star hotel: it’s easy to see why! Everything about the hotel is incredible, especially the service: they really don’t let you lift a finger!

Craig and I have been working well together on the court. He is very positive and I like his coaching philosophy so far. For example, he is more concerned with tactics and dominating opponents instead of looking closely at technique and videos; I think this suits me.

Dubai was good progress for me. I felt like I was getting my confidence back and playing some aggressive tennis. It was a good start to our coaching relationship and hopefully I can continue to improve in America over the next month.

The exhibition in New York promises to be a great event. I’m very much looking forward to playing at Madison Square Garden for the first time, and this no-advantage scoring is going to be very interesting.

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27
Feb
09

itf fails to take action again.

 

itf1

The ITF has been informed that, for security reasons, the local government in Malmo has advised the Swedish Tennis Association that the upcoming Davis Cup by BNP Paribas first round tie between Sweden and Israel must be played behind closed doors.

ITF President Francesco Ricci Bitti said:

“The security plan already submitted by the Malmo police and the efforts of the two tennis associations would be enough to allow the tie to take place under normal circumstances. Therefore we do not agree with the decision by the Malmo authorities to exclude the public, and even at this late date, maintain our request that the decision not to allow spectators be reconsidered.”

“However for the integrity of the competition it is most important for the tie to go ahead, for both teams to be allowed to compete, and for the Swedish Tennis Association to retain the choice of ground.

“Given these exceptional circumstances, this subject will be discussed at the next meeting of the Davis Cup Committee for any further action to be taken to prevent this situation happening in future.”

If Sweden cannot provide the security measures that it seems are required for the Davis Cup tie to be seen by local and visiting fans then they should forfeit the home court advantage, and allow the tie to be played elsewhere. It is a sad situation when a group of fanatics are allowed to determine who or what is acceptable for the majority to see. But once again the ruling organisation, in this case the ITF, does not have the balls to take afirmative action. Let the tie be played in Israel, or simply cancell Sweden’s inclusion in the Davis Cup.

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27
Feb
09

Ferrer breezes into dubai final.

ferrer-2World No. 14 Ferrer, who reached a career-high No. 4 in the South African Airways ATP Rankings on February 25, 2008, is through to his first final on the ATP World Tour since June last year – when he won his seventh title at ‘s-Hertogenbosch (d. Gicquel). He improved to an 11-4 record on the season, highlighted up till now by semi-final finishes at Auckland (l. to Querrey) and Johannesburg (l. to Chardy).

Today Ferrer showed why he was #4 in the world at this time last year. He brought so much energy and concentration to the court that before his opponent realised it he had lost the first set. Ferrer was in a zone, and if he can reproduce today’s form in the final he will undoubtedly defeat Djokovic.

The Javea native is the third Spaniard in the past four years to reach the Dubai final, after Feliciano Lopez finished runner-up last year (l. to Roddick) and Rafael Nadal won the title in 2006 (d. Federer). Three Spaniards (including Nadal) have won the title (Juan Carlos Ferrero 2001, Alex Corretja 1998).

The 26th-ranked Gasquet slipped to a 10-5 record on the season. The Beziers native also lost in the semi-finals in Brisbane (l. to Stepanek) and Sydney (l. to Nalbandian) at the start of the season. He was looking to reach his first ATP World Tour final since Stuttgart (l. to del Potro) in July 2008.

“He played really well,” said Gasquet. “That’s the worst guy for me. His game is the worst for me because he has no fades in his game. He has a big backhand, big forehand and he runs everywhere, so that’s really hard for me.”

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27
Feb
09

djokovic thru to dubai final.

djokovic5tt

Top-seeded Serbian Novak Djokovic booked his place in the 18th ATP World Tour final of his career after beating Gilles Simon of France 3-6, 7-5, 7-5 in two hours and 45 minutes, at the Barclays Dubai Tennis Championships on Friday. The World No. 3, who has a 13-4 season record, will meet either fourth-seeded Spaniard David Ferrer or Richard Gasquet of France in Saturday’s final.

At times Djokovic’s performance was reminiscent of his match with Andy Roddick at the 2009 Australian Open where he retired after being overcome by the heat. He never looked comfortable, he had difficulty with his forehand, and continually held up his arms in a frustrating appeal-like gesture to his supporters. Somehoe he managed to win, but for most of the match it was Simon who played better and looked to be on his way to a victory. Down a set and a break, Djokovic finaaly broke back in the third to level the set at 3-3, he broke Simon again at 6-5 to take the match. Even though he was the winner there remains a question about his physical condition, and had this been a best of 5 Grand Slam event, it is difficult to see him winning against other top 10 players. He now enters the final as the only top 10 player in the tournament, a little bit of a let down for the tournament organisers, and a gift to Djokovic for both the prize money and the points.

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27
Feb
09

Agassi to play in world team tennis.

ak_and_bjk2

Andre Agassi will pick up a racket again, playing two matches for the Philadelphia Freedoms in the World Team Tennis league.

Agassi will compete for the Freedoms on July 10 in Philadelphia and July 17 in Newport Beach, Calif., the WTT announced Thursday.

“Team play is a terrific way to showcase tennis, especially for kids,” Agassi said in a statement released by the league. “WTT is competitive, it’s fun and there’s a really great energy from the fans.”

The coed professional league, co-founded by Billie Jean King, enters its 34th season. Agassi, who retired in 2006 with eight career Grand Slam titles, played for WTT from 2002-04.

Tennis fans will get a chance to watch other stars in the 10-team league that runs from July 2-26.

Serena Williams (Washington D.C.) Venus Williams (Philadelphia), John McEnroe (New York), Anna Kournikova (St. Louis), Michael Chang (Sacramento), Bob and Mike Bryan (Kansas City) and Martina Navratilova (Boston) will play during the season.

Top-ranked Serena Williams will make road appearances in Boston (July 9), New York City (July 10) and Philadelphia (July 13) before her home debut on July 14.

Kournikova will play six matches for the Aces, and McEnroe will be the featured player for the New York Sportimes, who moved from Marmaroneck to Randall’s Island in Manhattan.

On July 15, McEnroe’s team will host Boston and Navratilova, who returns for a league-record 20th season.

The Eastern and Western conference champions will play for the King trophy on July 26. The winner will be recognized at the U.S. Open.

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