Archive for the 'Toray Pan Pacific Open' Category

02
Oct
10

Wozniacki wins her 11th WTA title and moves to the top spot.

Caroline Wozniacki saw off Elena Dementieva in a tough battle to win the Pan Pacific Open women’s tennis tournament in Tokyo. The Danish top seed, who crashed out in her opening matches in her previous two visits to Tokyo, made it third time lucky with a 1-6, 6-2, 6-3 victory. Wozniacki said of her win over the Russian: “I knew it was going to be tough. We always have tough matches. “But I’m just so happy to win another tournament. This is my 11th.”

Seventh seed Dementieva, the Olympic champion, got off to a flying start, racing to a 4-0 first set lead with an array of winners from the baseline. Wozniacki was short of ammunition and double-faulted to lose the set. But she made a conscious effort to be more positive from that point on, and it served her well. After missing two break points in the first game of the second set, Wozniacki took a 2-1 lead when Dementieva hit a backhand into the net and went on to win the set. The final set featured an exchange of breaks, but the crucial blow was landed when Wozniacki added another in the seventh game to move up 4-3 as a Dementieva’s forehand found the net.

The two-hour match came to an abrupt end two games later when the Russian double-faulted twice in a row on match point. “In the second set, I stepped up a little bit and I just kept fighting,” said Wozniacki after capturing her fifth title of the season, following triumphs at Ponte Vedra Beach, Copenhagen, Montreal and New Haven.

27
Sep
10

Krumm ousts Sharapova in 1st round!..Ivanovic wins!

A day before her 40th birthday, Kimiko Date Krumm gave herself and her home crowd in Tokyo something big to cheer about, upsetting the defending Toray Pan Pacific Open champion, Maria Sharapova.

In perhaps the most intriguing first round match-up, two former champions of the Premier-level tournament squared off in its first round, Date Krumm winning it all the way back in 1995 and Sharapova taking it in 2005 and last year.

After edging the No.12-seeded Sharapova in the first set, 7-5, Date Krumm, a wildcard into the draw, seemed to lose momentum for a little while, losing three straight games and never getting back on track en route to losing the middle set, 6-3. Sharapova broke again for a 3-2 lead in the third set and had 40-0 to move ahead 4-2 – but that’s when the momentum shifted one last time.

Date Krumm won 17 of 21 points from 2-3, 0-40 to win the match, 75 36 63.

Ana Ivanovic defeated Alisa Klaybenova 6-2, 6-3 in a later match. It was her third victory in a row over the Russian who came into the tournament fresh off her victory on Sunday in Seoul.

In her opening service game Ana produced one of the quickest, most emphatic games of her career as she won it in the blink of an eye with an ace and three service winners.

On the zippy court Ana’s powerful returns came to the fore and she pressured Kleybanova’s serve in the following game, winning a break. Ana hit a number of spectacular winners, a couple when at full-stretch, and was always the more consistent player in the rallies. A second break gave Ana the opening set.

The 22-year-old was relentless during the second set. She didn’t let up, instead producing several more stunning strokes that had the evening audience gasping in awe. Kleybanova, meanwhile, struggled with her timing and was almost always the first player to breakdown during a lengthy baseline exchange.

Ana didn’t face a single break point during the match, and breaks in games four and eight enabled her to power to a satisfying victory.

“I’m very happy with how I played,” said Ana. “The court is very fast and I feel like I used the conditions to my advantage. I served very well and I returned her serve well too. I put quite a lot of pressure on her.

23
Sep
10

Serena not ready to play in Tokyo.

Serena Williams has pulled out of next week’s Pan Pacific Open in Tokyo as she continues her recovery from a foot injury.

The 28-year-old American has not played since her victory at Wimbledon after cutting her right foot on broken glass in a restaurant.

Williams described withdrawing from the US Open last month as “one of the most devastating moments of my career”.

Tokyo will be the fifth tournament she has missed because of the injury.

Wimbledon runner-up Vera Zvonareva, French Open champion Francesca Schiavone, world number two Caroline Wozniacki and defending champion Maria Sharapova are among those scheduled to play in Tokyo.

Williams, who was in London this week to attend for a fashion show, underwent surgery in Los Angeles on 15 July.

Victories in this year’s Australian Open and Wimbledon took her career record to 13 Grand Slam titles.

03
Oct
09

Maria wins her first title since her shoulder surgery.

 Maria-Sharapova-Japan-Trophy_2368358

In a surprising and disappointing final match Jelena Jankovic retired with a sore right wrist to give Maria Sharapova the victory. After losing the first two games of the first set, Sharapova served 4 aces on her way to winning the next 5 games in a row. Jankovic took a 3 minute medical time out while her wrist was taped. She played two more ponts and called it quits.

This is Sharapova’s first title since her comeback, and will move her back into the top 20, maybe as high as #15. Ironically these two will meet again in the third round of next week’s China Open in Beijing. Both players were given byes in the first round.

After the win Maria said: “It was my second final of the year, so I was a bit nervous.  It was very tough because Jelena started off so strong.  I wanted to perform really well. I feel like I played good enough tennis to give her a go and I just wanted to keep fighting out there. It’s never easy to win a match like this. Obviously, it’s very important for Jelena to be healthy and we want to compete at our 100%. We have gotten a lot of injuries. This is towards the end of the year. I wish Jelena a speedy recovery.”

02
Oct
09

Sharapova v. Jankovic in Toray PPO Final.

 

masha 99

Jelena Jankovic will meet Maria Sharapova in the final of the Pan Pacific Open in Tokyo.

The Serb overcame China’s Li Na in straight sets, despite needing courtside treatment on her right arm during the semi-final.

The seventh seed will now face former champion Maria Sharapova, who won a tough match against Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland in the other semi.

The Russian lost the second set but hit back to win 6-3 2-6 6-4.

Jankovic recovered from a break down in both sets to beat her opponent 6-4 6-3. The second break came immediately after her injury timeout, but the Serb’s firepower was too much for Li Na.

Sharapova was also made to work, coming back from 0-2 down in the third. She fought her way back to lead 5-3 with some forceful ground strokes and closed out the match with a classic backhand cross-court return.

“It will be a tough final,” said Sharapova afterwards. “Jelena is one of the best players in the world and I’ll have to fight for every point.”

Both women are former world number ones, but both have had a tough season. Sharapova is unseeded following a long injury break, while Jankovic has won only two tournaments.

“If I can win my third title of the year, that would be pretty good,” Jankovic said. “It’s been a difficult year so it would be nice to finish strong.”

29
Sep
09

Masha is looking more like a winner everyday!

_masha 88

A very confident Maria Sharapova played her best game since her comeback began and easily defeated Samantha Stosur 6-0, 6-1. After today’s round at the 2009 Toray Pan Pacific in Tokyo the only top ten player to move on was Victoria Azarenka (9), with Jelena Jankovic(8) still to play. It was another day of upsets made more meaningful by the retirement of Caroline Wozniacki.

Kateryna Bondarenko defeated Elena Dementieva 6-2, 6-7, 6-1. Alisa Klebanova took out Vera Zvonareva 3-6, 6-4, 6-2, and Magdalena Rybarikova defeated Nadia Petrova 6-2, 6-2.

The Women’s game is in turmoil without any dominant players. The quality of play has plummeted downwards as the gap between the ‘top’ players and those far lower in the WTA rankings has narrowed or diminished entirely. On the one hand it adds a degree of unpredictable excitement to the matches, but in general tennis fans like to see a quality player that they can follow and relate to. The return of Kim Clijsters was timely, and the posssibility of seeing Justine Henin back in 2010 at the Aussie Open certainly adds a much needed attraction to the game.

28
Sep
09

Maria digs deep to secure a victory.

masha 222There was nothing spectacular about Maria Sharapova’s first round victory over Francesca Schiavone. Down 6-4, 4-2 and being outplayed by the Italian, Maria dug deep, gritted her teeth and through shear determination forced herself to take control of the match. She went on to win the second set 7-5 and the third 6-1.

On a positive note she can feel good about her serve, she served at more than 60%, but more importantly she only served only 4 double faults. She was given a warning by the chair umpire for taking too much time, but continued to stretch the rules throughout the match taking 5-10 seconds more than the allowed time between serves.

Her next opponent is Samantha Stosur, who is having her best year as a singles player after a lot of success as a doubles specialist. Stosur’s hard hitting game and hard service fits better into Sharapova’s style, and if she can continue to serve above 60% she should win.

28
Sep
09

Safina crashes out to Taipaei qualifier!

safina_2366174

World No.1 Dinara Safina was reduced to tears after falling to a shock 7-6(5) 4-6 7-5 defeat at the hands of qualifier Chang Kai-Chen in her first match at the Pan Pacific Open.

The Russian, defending champion at the Tokyo event, had received a bye to the second round as the tournament’s top seed, but handed her Taiwanese opponent a break with a double fault when serving for the match at 5-4 in the third.

No.5 seed Svetlana Kuznetsova lost 7-5 4-6 6-3 to Andrea Petkovic in the day’s other shock result, while Ai Sugiyama was forced to retire in the final singles match of her career.

On Sunday Lucie Safarova dumped Ana Ivanovic out of the draw with a 6-4 7-6(1) in the first round.

But another defeat for Safina, the latest in a string of high-profile losses since she assumed the world No.1 ranking in April, was just too much for the 23-year-old to bear. The Russian sat in tears on the steps of the players lounge after talking to reporters following the match.

“It’s not an easy moment,” she said. “I had a lot of chances in the third set but I just let it go. The way I played the game at 5-4 was not right.

“It’s so disappointing I didn’t play the way I should have played. I never took her out of her comfort zone.”

Safina’s position at the top of the rankings has been called into question as she has yet to win a grand slam title, having exited each of the three majors since assuming top spot in tame fashion.

After a comprehensive defeat in the French Open final against Kuznetsova and an emphatic Wimbledon semi-final loss to Venus Williams, she then lost to the unheralded Petra Kvitova in the third round of the US Open in her last outing.

Chang, the world No.132, claimed the marathon match – nearly two hours and 45 minutes long – and a showdown with Gisela Dulko in the third round.

27
Sep
09

Safina is in Tokyo to defend the title.

safina 3While the computer tells Russia’s Dinara Safina she is the leading player in women’s tennis, the crushing pressure to win a grand slam title is sucking all the fun out of being world number one.

A shock early exit from the U.S. Open this month provided critics with further ammunition, but Safina insisted on Sunday her days of choking on the big stage were over.

“It’s sad what happened at the U.S. Open,” the 23-year-old told Reuters. “But it happened. I put too much pressure on myself and didn’t let myself enjoy it.

“I went back home and had five days off completely disconnected from tennis. I just had to step back a little bit. I’ll be better next year.”

Safina said big brother Marat Safin had coaxed her through her trauma after she crashed out of the U.S. Open to Czech teenager Petra Kvitova in the third round.

“I speak with Marat a lot,” said Safina, whose number one ranking was also mocked by Serena Williams after the American’s Wimbledon triumph in July.

“He became number one after winning a grand slam (the 2000 U.S. Open) so it’s a little bit different, but he says just enjoy yourself.

“We’re completely different. He left home when he was young to go to Spain, so maybe he’s not used to having a younger sister with him 24 hours a day.

“But if I have a problem he’s the first person I turn to for help.”

As she did after being thrashed 6-4 6-2 by fellow Russian Svetlana Kuznetsova in this year’s French Open final.

“I knew it was in my hands,” said Safina in an interview organised by WTA Tour sponsors Sony Ericsson. “I was too pumped.”

Paris was followed by a 6-1 6-0 mauling by Venus Williams in the Wimbledon semi-finals.

But Safina, defending her Pan Pacific Open title in Tokyo this week, predicted her grand slam breakthrough would come soon — and could trigger a flood of major titles.

“It will come,” she said. “You could win a grand slam and you’re not number one and they say ‘why are you not number one?’ But one of my goals was to reach number one and I did that.”

Safina added: “Now all my focus is on winning a grand slam. Once I win one I could go on and win many. It’s happened to many players once they break through.”

Back at the lucrative $2 million Pan Pacific Open she dominated last year, Safina looked far more relaxed than the player who was hounded out of the U.S. Open

“I played the best tennis of my life in Tokyo last year,” she said. “I just want to bring back my best tennis step by step.”

Her humour has also returned following her New York nightmare.

“I went to Ginza but I didn’t shop,” said the multi-millionaire. “It’s too expensive in Tokyo.”

27
Sep
09

Pennetta and Ivanovic out in round 1.

pennetta (4)_ana (2)

Former world number one Ana Ivanovic’s alarming slump was prolonged by Czech Lucie Safarova in the first round of the Pan Pacific Open on Sunday.

The Serb’s 6-4 7-6 defeat at the $2 million Tokyo event follows her first-round exit from the U.S. Open earlier this month, underlining a mystifying loss of form.

“I know how Ana is feeling and I feel it with her,” a sympathetic Safarova told Reuters. “She’s struggling with her serve and when that goes, all your game goes.”

Safarova’s win was arguably the highlight of a low-key opening day at the lucrative Pan Pacific Open, featuring nine of the world’s top 10 women.

World number one Dinara Safina, last year’s Tokyo winner, second seed Venus Williams and French Open champion Svetlana Kuznetsova begin their campaigns on Monday.

Japan’s Kimiko Date Krumm will get little time to savour winning her first WTA Tour title in 13 years in Seoul on Sunday as the wildcard is also in action on Monday, her 39th birthday.

Safarova had lost two of her previous three meetings with Ivanovic, one of them at last year’s French Open when the Serb went on to win the title before reaching number one.

But there was little grand slam pedigree in Sunday’s encounter as the 21-year-old Ivanovic, who has slipped to 11th in the world, was buried under a deluge of unforced errors.

“When I saw the draw I thought I could beat her,” said Safarova after knocking out the 10th seed. “But you never know what she’s going to bring.”

Ninth seed Flavia Pennetta was the first of the top 10 players to fall in Tokyo, bundled out unceremoniously by fellow Italian Roberta Vinci 6-1 6-2.

*Roberta Vinci (Italy) beat 9-Flavia Pennetta (Italy) 6-1 6-2

 *Lucie Safarova (Czech Republic) beat 10-Ana Ivanovic (Serbia)6-4 7-6(1)

*Andrea Petkovic (Germany) beat Sybille Bammer(Austria) 7-5 6-4

Chang Kai-chen (Taiwan) beat Kaia Kanepi (Estonia) 6-3 6-3

Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (Russia) beat Carla Suarez Navarro

(Spain) 6-1 7-6(3)

Alisa Kleybanova (Russia) beat Ayumi Morita (Japan) 6-1 6-4

Gisela Dulko (Argentina) beat Agnes Szavay (Hungary) 6-3 6-0

Elena Vesnina (Russia) beat Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez

(Spain) 6-3 6-2

Sabine Lisicki (Germany) beat Patty Schnyder (Switzerland)

6-4 6-0

Aravane Rezai (France) beat Sara Errani (Italy) 6-2 6-2




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