Archive for the '2009 Doha Championship' Category


Her 3rd big cheque of the year!

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Serena Williams has set the record for single-season prize money in women’s tennis by topping $6.5 million in 2009.

Williams broke the WTA mark of slightly under $5.5 million, earned by Justine Henin in 2007.

The American won the season-ending tour championships Sunday, beating older sister Venus in the final, and ends the year ranked No. 1. The younger Williams also won the Australian Open and Wimbledon in 2009.

Williams’ career prize money is now at a record $28.5 million.


And the winner is?…..the Williams sisters!

williams_hIt’s been a gruelling week of tennis in Doha at the year ending WTA championships. Does the ‘W’ really stand for Williams? It should.

My hat is off to the two sisters who have shown their younger opponents how to conserve energy, how to play down injuries and how to behave in a very professional manner. They are both hurting, neither can push-off with out pain to serve, neither can move from side to side with their normal speed, their legs, knees and backs are sore and bruised, yet they took to the court to play doubles when it would have been far easier to withdraw and rest for their singles final. But withdrawing or retiring is not a word that’s in their vocabulary. They grit it out, give the fans a show at any cost, and smile when they win or lose.

The press jumps all over them when they don’t live up to their(the presses) expectations, and are quick to denounce them for some off court infringement of ethics, seen from only one side, yet they do so much good for tennis and tennis players that goes unnoticed or reported.

Love ’em or hate’em, you’ve gotta respect ’em!

Who will win today in Doha? It really doesn’t matter. Both of them have already won!!


Venus will try again against Serena in the Doha final.

venus 2serena 2

Venus Williams reached her second straight Sony Ericsson Championships final by defeating Jelena Jankovic 5-7, 6-3, 6-4 on Saturday.

The defending champion trailed 2-0 in the decisive set, but broke the former top-ranked Serb three times in a row en route to a 5-3 lead. Williams then saved a break point in the last game before sealing the win with a forehand that bounced off the net cord.

She will play her sister Serena, who played the multi-injured Danish teenager Caroline Wozniacki in the second semifinal. After losing the first set and taking a couple of injury time outs Wozniacki took the advice of her trainer and called it quits.

The sisters will also play in the doubles later today.

“In the first set, I couldn’t feel the ball,” Williams said. “Just to come back … to play so well against such a consistent player is great.”

Jankovic had just two winners in the first set, but Williams was done in by her inconsistent forehand and 23 unforced errors. She cleaned up her game in the second, hitting a forehand winner to break for 4-2 and holding the next game at love before serving out the set with a 119-mph ace.

Both players finished with more unforced errors than winners—49 to 43 for Williams and 34 to 17 for Jankovic. Williams’ serve was equally inconsistent, mixing 10 aces with 11 double faults.

It was the ninth three-setter in 10 meetings between the two, with the head-to-head series now tied at 5-5. Their last meeting was also in the semifinal stage of the season-ending Doha tournament last year.


Friday is elimination day…..down to the wire for some.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Centre Court (from 17.00hrs)

1. Caroline Wozniacki vs. Jelena Jankovic

2. Svetlana Kuznetsova vs. Elena Dementieva

3. Agnieszka Radwanska vs. Victoria Azarenka

Friday is the final day for the 2 groups to determine who moves on to the semi finals. Serena at 3-0 is already through. A 2-0 win for Jelena Jankovic over a tired Caroline Wozniacki would tie them at 2-1 in games, but Jankovic would have a better won/loss record in sets. If Victoria Azarenka wins convincingly in straight sets over Agnieszka Radwanska, who is subbing for the sub, then she would be the winner of the White group.

The Maroon group is simpler, if Dementeva wins, she’s in, but if Kuznetsova wins Venus moves on.


Azarenka accepts a gift from Jankovic in the opener.

VictoriaAzarenka_2377593Victoria Azarenka made short work of Jelena Jankovic on her Sony Ericsson Championship debut in Doha on Tuesday.

The Belorussian raced to a 6-2 6-3 win over her Serbian opponent in one hour 22 minutes in the opening match of the tournament, which features the top eight players in the world.

It was Azarenka’s second win over Jankovic in their fifth career meeting, and her success on her opponents’ serve proved key.

Azarenka broke twice in the first set and three times in the second to pave the way for victory.

The 20-year-old won 50% of points of Jankovic’s first serve and 60% on her second, carving out nine break opportunities.

She faced just two break points of her own, losing one. “I struggled throughout the match. I made a lot of unforced errors. My game was completely off,” Jankovic said. “That’s part of the game though. Sometimes you want to play your best but it just doesn’t happen. I just hope I can play better tomorrow, and I’ll keep trying my best in this whole competition.”

Azarenka and Jankovic are in the White Group along with Russian Dinara Safina, the world number one, and Denmark’s Caroline Wozniacki.

The Maroon Group gets under way later today with Elena Dementieva taking on Venus Williams and Serena Williams facing Svetlana Kuznetsova.

The top two players from each group advance to the semi-finals.


Will her experience be enough to repeat as Champion?

venus 4Venus Williams, at 29, is the elder stateswoman in all respects. The defending champion from the United States is charming and relaxed – though her form at the end of this year suggested she ought to be a touch troubled.

Since the final of Wimbledon in July, Williams has played seven tournaments, reached a single semi-final and in her last two events, in Japan and China, was beaten by Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, the Russian teenager, long before the business end of the week. As a form-guide for surviving against the other seven “best of the best” in 2009 this week, it is not healthy.

“I love what I do, so that’s a complete up for me,” she said. “I get to work outside. My thing is I get to make a living looking good. It’s my job to stay fit. It doesn’t get better than that.” Indeed not, though in relishing all of the positive attributes, one cannot help but wonder whether Venus can again lift one of the game’s golden pots.

Of her last 16 grand slam tournaments, Venus has won two, the Wimbledon titles of 2007 and 2008. Serena, her sister, bagged five in that time.

“I’m always determined, you got to have that determination hat on every single day, even at practice, to be prepared,” she said. “It’s a lifestyle. I’m at the point in my career where I’ve been very successful at every tournament just about, almost on every surface. For me it’s about obviously playing great tennis, adding to my repertoire, continuing to get better, to enjoy the challenge of it all obviously while being on top.”

Today’s initial challenge in the Maroon Group, comes from Elena Dementieva, the third Russian in the field with Dinara Safina, back at the head of the rankings, and the French Open champion Svetlana Kuznetsoava.

The fresh faces are in the White Group where Caroline Wozniacki, the Dane who reached her first grand slam final in New York in September, and Victoria Azarenka of Belarus, are this year’s debutants. They are ranked No 4 and No 6 respectively, two Europeans on the cusp of greatness, who are sure to be making noises in the game when Venus has kicked back in her rocking chair.


I’m picking Venus for singles and doubles!!

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Defending champion Venus may again be the one to watch. Not only did the American sizzle in the desert when the Sony Ericsson Championships were held here last year, her biggest title win so far in 2009 was just down the road in Dubai.

But if anyone is due, maybe it’s Dementieva. Having won three titles and reached two Grand Slam semis this year the 28-year-old is making her ninth appearance at the event – the most of any active player. Serena has also qualified nine times, but on three occasions injury or illness has kept her on the sidelines.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Centre Court (from 17.00hrs)

1. Victoria Azarenka vs. Jelena Jankovic

2. Elena Dementieva vs. Venus Williams

3. Serena Williams vs. Svetlana Kuznetsova

This year’s doubles event also promises to enthrall, not least because Serena and Venus are in the field.

Roland Garros was the only Slam the sisters didn’t win in 2009, but although they also won at Stanford their trophy haul was surpassed by co-world No.1s Cara Black and Liezel Huber, who won five titles and are gunning for a third straight SEC crown this week. Spanish first-timers Nuria Llagostera Vives and María José Martínez Sánchez did even better, though, winning six titles. The draw is rounded out by Australians Samantha Stosur and, making her 14th SEC appearance, Rennae Stubbs.

The Williamses, who also qualified in 1998 but withdrew because Venus was injured, could achieve joint No.1 status if they win here – as long as Black and Huber don’t reach the final. Serena, therefore, has a rare shot at finishing the year as No.1 in both disciplines. At the start of the week, the difference between No.1 (Safina) and No.2 (Serena) is 155 points. Each round robin win awards 160 points, so the math is simple.


..looks like beauty pageant not a tennis tournament!

doha champs

A total prize money purse of $4,550,000, and the coveted year-end No.1 ranking is up for grabs.

The stellar eight-woman line-up includes four players who have been No.1, three Grand Slam champions, and four who’ve been to at least one major final. Two of the field made their Top 10 debuts this season and are at the championships for the first time. Between them, they pocketed 21 of the 53 titles that were on offer during this landmark ‘Roadmap’ season.

As last year, the competitors have been divided into two groups named for the colors of the Qatari flag. The White group comprises No.1 seed Dinara Safina, No.4 seed Caroline Wozniacki, No.6 seed Victoria Azarenka and No.8 seed Jelena Jankovic. The Maroon Group is made up of No.2 seed Serena Williams, No.3 seed Svetlana Kuznetsova (the only player who arrives on a winning streak after her triumph at Beijing), No.5 seed Elena Dementieva and No.7 seed Venus Williams.

Last year’s runner-up, Vera Zvonareva, and Agnieszka Radwanska wait in the wings as alternates.

The only certainty, then, is that there will not be an all-Williams final. But before anyone thinks that far ahead they need to survive the round robin, which makes the career head to heads relevant. Against her White group peers Safina is 8-4; Wozniacki is 1-5; Azarenka is 4-8 and Jankovic is 8-4. In the Maroons, reigning Australian Open and Wimbledon champion Serena is 22-16, French Open champion Kuznetsova is 12-12, Dementieva is 10-21 and Venus is 22-17.


Serena is the betting choice to win in Doha.

serena 4No. 1 Safina: Has a 55-15 record overall, 20-4 in Grand Slams this year with three titles (Rome, Madrid and Portoroz). Had a great start to the year and has slipped badly in the second half of 2009. Not worth putting a nickel on her.

No. 2 Serena: Has a 45-12 record overall, 23-2 in Slams with two titles (Australian Open, Wimbledon). She’s had a busy year, playing more tournaments, posing tastefully nude for a magazine, talking about the insecurities she has with her body, doing beau coup book signings for her autobiography and then ripping a new one for some Asian lineswoman in the semis of the U.S. Open. Hasn’t been too active on the court since that over-heated match with Clijsters in New York. Still, this is Serena Williams. If she’s motivated, she wins this.

No. 3 Dementieva: Has a 54-16 record overall, 13-4 in Slams with three titles (Auckland, Sydney and Toronto). I love a lot of things about her game and her once pathetic serve has progressed considerably. But she’s going down as one of the finest women players never to win a Slam. Marginal chances at this event.

No. 4 Wozniacki: Has a 65-21 record overall, 13-4 in Slams with three titles (Ponte Vedra Beach, Eastbourne, New Haven). Young, beautiful, athletic, talented. And she’s played 86 matches this year, which is more than you’d like if you weren’t a teenager. At some point, her still-young emotional state is going to catch up with her talent level, though probably not at this event. She could be overwhelmed at an eight-player event with only the best on tour in the house.

No. 5 Kuznetsova: Has a 42-14 record overall, 16-3 in Slams with three titles (French Open, Stuttgart, Beijing). You thought that win at Roland Garros would give her a major bounce into the rest of the season, didn’t you? Winning a Slam means the season is a success, but she wasn’t nearly as consistent as she could be. Rated along with Serena and Venus as one of the three who can win this.

No. 6 Azarenka: Has a 44-13 record overall, 13-4 in Slams with two titles (Memphis, Key Biscayne). The female version of Andy Murray. She will get forced errors out of you, but won’t hit you off the court.

No. 7 Venus Williams: Has a 36-13 record overall, 12-4 in Slams with two titles (Acapulco, Dubai). She hasn’t played V-Ball since her first six matches at Wimbledon. Injuries continue to nag at her, but she’s had a good rest since the Open.

No. 8 Jankovic: Has a 47-16 record overall (as of today), 9-4 in Slams with two titles (Marbella, Cincinnati). One of those handful of players who luxuriated, briefly, as No. 1 after Henin’s retirement a year and a half ago. Has failed to add a compelling serve to go with her ground stroking and annoyingly effective defense.

Charles Bricker can be reached at

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