Player of the week: Maria Sharapova

Maria Sharapova played her best tennis to take the third Grand Slam title of her career at the Australian Open 2008. The Russian confirmed the good sensations she had in the Sony Ericsson WTA Championships at the end of 2007 and started 2008 season in the best possible way. She didn't drop a set in the whole tournament, and 8 games was the most her rivals took from her. She had an impressive run defeating Jelena Kostanic (6/4 6/3), former #1 Lindsay Davenport (6/1 6/3), Elena Vesnina (6/3 6/0), WTA #11 Elena Dementieva (6/2 6/0), WTA #1 Justine Henin (6/4 6/0), WTA #4 Jelena Jankovic and finally WTA #3 Ana Ivanovic (7/5 6/3) on her way to the title.
After a dissapointing 2007 season with a lot of problems with her shoulder which prevented her to play at her best, 2008 looks brigther. If she stays healthy and focused as last week, she will be though contender for the Grand Slams, the Olympic Games and the #1 on the ranking.
Have a look at her photo gallery here

WTA ranking as of 28-Jan-2008

Justine Henin keeps the lead on WTA rankings after Australian Open as runner-up Ana Ivanovic gains one spot to 2nd place. Venus Williams goes two up to #6 as sister Serena falls to #10 as she didn't defend her title successfully. Remarkable improvement for quarter-finalist Agnieszka Radwanska who goes from #28 to #21.
On Top 100, big climbs for players who surprinsingly reached Last 16 round: Caroline Wozniacki goes from 64 to 45, Casey Dellacqua from 78 to 57, Marta Domachowska from 146 to 82 and Su-Wei Hsieh from 158 to 95.

CurPrvNameCountryRank pts.Tours.
1(1)Justine Henin


2(3)Ana IvanovicSRB412619
3(2)Svetlana Kuznetsova


4(4)Jelena JankovicSRB370027
5(5)Maria SharapovaRUS325613
6(8)Venus WilliamsUSA272014
7(6)Anna ChakvetadzeRUS272022
8(9)Daniela HantuchovaSVK267726
9(10)Marion BartoliFRA213330
10(7)Serena WilliamsUSA202211

Week #05 preview: Fed Cup

Fed Cup, 1/4-final World Group

Fed Cup, women's team competition, starts in 2008 and it feautures interesting ties on quarter-final round. Maria Sharapova will make her debut on Russian team and will try to keep her great shape after winning Australian Open to give Russia a victory over Israel, which will rely on her leader Shahar Peer. USA, with the return of Lindsay Davenport, is the favorite over weak Germany. The tie between Italy and Spain will not feature any big star, but two very competitive teams with Italy as the favorite. Finally the most interesting tie will take place in China where local team will try to get to the semis for the first time in Beijing's Olympic year defeating French team, which is full of problems due to bad relationships between some players and with the captain.

World Group II, 1st round
Czech Republic-Slovakia

On World Group II, 1st round will decide the teams playing for a place in World Group I next season. Exciting tie between Czech Republic and Slovakia, where Slovakians will try to get revenge of last year's defeat, with Nicole Vaidisova and Daniela Hantuchova as leaders and the rivalry between these nations.

Week #03-04: Sharapova stands out in Australian Open

Maria Sharapova defeated Ana Ivanovic in a final between two young, talented and beautiful players and got the title on the first Grand Slam tournament of 2008, the Australian Open. Sharapova played at very high level the whole 2 weeks and got remarkable victories over Lindsay Davenport and Justine Henin, dropping just 4 games on each one.
Ivanovic reached a Grand Slam final for the 2nd time, but she will have to wait a little bit more for a Grand Slam title. Also a good tournament was completed by the semifinalist Jelena Jankovic, who got a dramatic win over teenager Tamira Paszek in the 1st round but recovered and scored a great win over Serena Williams in the quarters, and Daniela Hantuchova, who made profit of a lucky draw to reach Grand Slam semifinals for the first time.
Remarkable performances also by Agnieszka Radwanska, who went past 2nd seed Svetlana Kuznetsova and 14th seed Nadia Petrova to get a place in the quarterfinals, Maria Kirilenko, who upsetted 6th seed Anna Chakvetadze and reached Last 16 in a Grand Slam for the first time, and home hero Casey Dellacqua, who also reached Last 16 after upsetting 15th seed Patty Schnyder and 18th seed Amelie Mauresmo. Other surprising players among the Last 16 were teenager Caroline Wozniacki and qualifiers Su-Wei Hsieh and Marta Domachowska. Another qualifier, Sabine Lisicki got to the 3rd round in her first Grand Slam appareance after upsetting 16th seed Dinara Safina.

Australian Open (AUS), Grand Slam, A$20,600,000

Singles final: Maria Sharapova (RUS) def Ana Ivanovic (SRB) 7/5 6/3
Doubles final: A.Bondarenko/K.Bondarenko def Peer/Azarenka 2/6 6/1 6/4
Mixed doubles final: Zimonjic/Sun def. Bupathi/Mirza 7/6 6/4


Hot news: Sexy final for Australian Open

Probably the hottest players on WTA Tour according to their huge fanbases, russian Maria Sharapova and serbian Ana Ivanovic will fight for the first Grand Slam title of 2008 in the Australian Open final. Sure this line-up will satisfy the organizers, tour responsibles, TV channels and fans as there will be a great expectation in a match featuring these beautiful and talented players. A dream final from the marketing point of view.
Sharapova is now the favorite if we look at her impressive previous results. She has demolished strong competitors such as Lindsay Davenport, world #1 Justine Henin and Jelena Jankovic, who didn't manage to take more than 4 games each. She's playing her best tennis ever.
On the other hand, Ivanovic made a great run too, without dropping a set until the semifinals, where she came back from a 6/0 2/0 down to Daniela Hantuchova to get her place in the final. She has improved her physical condition and movement a lot, but maybe she still lacks a bit of experience.
An exciting final we won't miss!


Latent heat: Caroline Wozniacki

There hasn't been any remarkable Danish player on WTA Tour history, but this may change soon as they have one of the most promising players nowadays.
Along with Tamira Paszek and Alize Cornet, Caroline Wozniacki is one of the most talented players of 1990 generation. She had a great junior career, highlighted on 2006 with a title in Wimbledon and runner-up in Australian Open. On 2007 she played with the big girls and achieved two 75,000$ ITF titles and semifinal in WTA Tokyo, climbing from #237 to #64 in WTA rank.

But this year she wants to step into the spot light and has started with a brilliant appareance on Australian Open, where she has reached Last 16 beating Gisela Dulko, 21st seed Alona Bondarenko and german newcomer Sabine Lisicki en route. There she lost to WTA #3 Ana Ivanovic.

Polish descent, Caroline is tall, blonde and blue eyed. She's got a good-girl look and is one of the cuttest girls on WTA Tour, so it is expected that her fanbase and popularity will growth as she keeps on climbing on the rankings.

You can check here photo gallery here


Hot stuff: Australian Open fashion

Australian Open is not only about tennis, but also about fashion. As the first event of the year, all the clothing brands are willing to show their new collections. Most innovative designs use to be shown here, as the sexy outfit Venus Williams wore in 2001. Last year it was Stella McCartney's dress for Maria Kirilenko which got the attention.
This year Adidas is having a great presence with its Edge line. The widely commented blue dress that Ana Ivanovic wore in Sony Ericsson Championships last year is still getting a lot of attention. A lot of players as Vesnina, Olaru, Domachowska, Lisicki, Harkleroad or Brengle picked that line too. More classical clothes wore by Henin or Chakvetadze were also nice. And Maria Kirilenko was chosen again to wear Stella McCartney designs, which seemed much more comfortable and wearable this time.

On the other hand, Nike has proposed simple white dresses for her stars Maria Sharapova and Daniela Hantuchova. Serena Williams added some colour by wearing fucsia shorts and headband in a nice combination.

Also simple but nice designs are proposed by Reebok, choosing a pink colour in their designs for Jankovic and Mauresmo and red for Vaidisova.

Pink was also chosen by Tatiana Golovin (Lacoste) and by Elena Dementieva, who finally got a nice design from Yonex and was definitively one of the best-dressed.

Despite not having any top player, Lotto design also drawed a lot of attention in the first day thanks to Tamira Paszek voluptuosity. The same red-and-white line was wore by Camerin, Kostanic and looked really good on Pironkova. Finally, Venus Williams picked colorful combinations by her own brand Eleven.

Hot news: Sharapova TRASHES Henin

Maria Sharapova scored an impressive win over world #1 Justine Henin to reach the semifinal of the Australian Open. Sharapova took a 5/2 lead in the first set but Henin reacted and fought back to 5/4. In the critical time of the first set Sharapova hold her nerves and took it 6/4. This knocked Henin who could not avoid being past over by Sharapova, who took the second with an unquestionable 6/0, taking revenge of last year defeat in the memorable final of Sony Ericsson WTA Championships.

Sharapova is now a strong favorite to take the title after convincing victories over Lindsay Davenport, Elena Dementieva and Justine Henin. She will face Jelena Jankovic in the semis, who surprisingly defeated Serena Williams 6/3 6/4. Williams didn't play at her best, probably due to a bad physical condition.


Latent heat: Marta Domachowska

The recent domination of women's tennis by russian players is encouraging girls from other eastern european countries to play tennis and so, along with Russia, Czech Republic and Slovakia, countries like Serbia (Ivanovic, Jankovic), Romania (Olaru, Cirstea, Gallovits), Hungary (Szavay), Bulgary (Pironkova, Karatantcheva), Belarus (Azarenka, Govortsova) and Ukraine (Bondarenko sisters, Vakulenko) are also developing a lot of young talents. With the Radwanska sisters and Marta Domachowska, Poland is not an exception.

1986-born Domachowska got a good junior career and reached the Top 100 in 2004. She was one of the most promising youngsters and started to climb the rankings slowly reaching a career-high of #37 at April 2006. But then she started a losing streak which took her down to #174 in June 2007. She even took a 2-month break to think and try to get her tennis back. She started to play smaller events in order to get some victories and some confidence.

And it seems it has worked, cause in Australian Open she has reached Last 16 as a qualifier, which means winning six matches in a row, including a win over 24th seed and Gold Coast winner Na Li. There she lost to Venus Williams, but with this result she will be back on Top 100. So we should count on her again.

Aside from tennis, Marta is also one of the hottest players on WTA Tour, you can check her gallery here

Hot news: Australian Open quarters ready

The Australian Open gets more exciting as the final rounds will feature very interesting matches between the top players. In spite of some minor upsets, the quarter-finals will feature 7 of the Top 9 players. Just Svetlana Kuznetsova and Anna Chakvetadze are missing. And the only unexpected quarter-finalist is Agnieszka Radwanska who upsetted Svetlana Kuznetsova and Nadia Petrova.
The top half is really though and it will include a replay of last year Sony Ercisson WTA Championships final between Justine Henin and Maria Sharapova. The winner will face either Serena Williams or Jelena Jankovic, with the american as the clear favorite.
On the bottom half there is also an american-serbian match between Venus Williams and Ana Ivanovic. The winner of this will be favorite to reach the final, as the tie between Daniela Hantuchova and Agnieszka Radwanska seems to be the weaker.

Australian Open quarter-final:
Justine Henin (1) vs Maria Sharapova (5)
Serena Williams (7) vs Jelena Jankovic (3)
Ana Ivanovic (4) vs Venus Williams (8)
Daniela Hantuchova (9) vs Agnieszka Radwanska (29)


Hot news: Sharapova puts Lindsay back on earth

Maria Sharapova woke Lindsay Davenport up from is dreamy return to WTA tour as she defeated the american 6/1 6/3 in the 2nd round of the Australian Open.
Davenport had won 3 minor tournaments and held a 18-1 victory record since she came back last summer after becoming a mother, but still had to play with top players in 1st-class tournaments.
Meanwhile Sharapova still has a long way to the final as she could eventually face Justine Henin on quarters and Serena Williams on semis

Latent heat: Tamira Paszek

The Australian Open started on Monday and it featured one of the most thrilling matches of the tournament ever. Seed #3 Jelena Jankovic saved three match points in a 2-6 6-2 12-10 win over Austrian Tamira Paszek, a marathon battle lasting three hours 10 minutes. Jankovic needed a large dose of luck to overcome Paszek. Check it by yourself:

In fact 17-year-old Paszek (WTA #39) is one of the most promising players of the WTA Tour. She was just 14 when she scored her first WTA main draw win. And in 2006 she clinched first WTA title in Portoroz with just 16 years old (7th youngest ever). Last year she reached Last 16 in both Wimbledon and US Open beating top players as Tatiana Golovin, Elena Dementieva, Patty Schnyder or Francesca Schiavone. And earlier this year she reached the semis in Auckland beating seed #2 Maria Kirilenko.

And aside from tennis, Tamira can also become very popular between male fans. Specially to the ones that prefer curvy shapes to the skinny figures of Sharapova, Hantuchova ond other beauty icons. Her massive boobs and plunging neckline was widely commented between the fans after her appareance on Australian Open.

Check out her photo gallery here

Hot shot: High level tennis

Ana Ivanovic and Alicia Molik took part in an exhibiton match played on the top of the scoreboard on the Melbourne Park, where Australian Open takes place

Hot gossip: Vaidisova and Stepanek not to marry (yet)

ESPN comentators asked Nicole Vaidisova today about the rumours of a possible wedding with Radek Stepanek, as some tabloids published that thay had already asked for a marriage license. Vaidisova denied it and said there was "no wedding, no engagement, no nothing" as she showed her hands to the comentators.
Anyway, the relationship between the Czech tennis stars seems to run smoothly, as Radek was watching Nicole's match today.


Hot news: Nicole Pratt retires

Australian player Nicole Pratt played today her last match. Pratt's retirement came in her 50th Grand Slam tournament and 18th Australian Open. The last match came against Russian 14th seed Nadia Petrova who inflicted a straight sets defeat on the Australian Open.
The 34-year-old has been among the world's top 100 players for all but one of the past 10 years and boasts an all-time high of 35. Pratt won one singles title on the WTA tour – the Indian Open, and nine doubles titles. Pratt will continue to do media work on television, but is hoping to coach a touring player.


Player of the week: Eleni Daniilidou

The Greek player Eleni Daniilidou enjoyed a great week in Hobart, where she clinched her 5th WTA singles title without dropping a set and reached the doubles final. Daniilidou wasn't very lucky with the draw as, after beating Pauline Parmentier in 1st round, she had to face first seed and WTA #21 Alona Bondarenko. But Daniilidou played a great match and won in straight sets, as she did also against local player Casey Dellacqua and former Top 20 Flavia Pennetta in the quarters and semis. In the final Daniilidou wasn't the favorite as she had to face 2nd seed and WTA #22 Vera Zvonareva. But this time Eleni was luckier, as Zvonareva got injured training before the match, so Daniilidou took the title by walkover. In doubles Daniilidou and her partner Jasmin Woehr reached the final but where defeated by the Spanish Anabel Medina and Virginia Ruano.

WTA ranking as of Jan 14, 2008

Serbian players Ana Ivanovic and Jelena Jankovic exchange #3 and #4 spots in the only change in Top 10 rankings. Hobart winner Eleni Daniilidou climbs six spots to #36, while Kaia Kanepi and Ashley Harkleroad are the greatest gainers climbing from #73 to #60 and from #66 to #58 respectively.

CurPrvNameCountryRank pts.Tours.
1(1)Justine Henin


2(2)Svetlana Kuznetsova


3(4)Ana IvanovicSRB351619
4(3)Jelena JankovicSRB339027
5(5)Maria SharapovaRUS295613
6(6)Anna ChakvetadzeRUS288022
7(7)Serena WilliamsUSA277211
8(8)Venus WilliamsUSA247014
9(9)Daniela HantuchovaSVK236726
10(10)Marion BartoliFRA219130


Week #03-04 preview: Australian Open

The first Grand-Slam of the year is here and unusually all the players seem to be ready for high-level competition. All of the main contenders will play and all of them are in good physical condition. So take a seat and enjoy the show!

Justine Henin is the top favorite if we have a look at her dominance last year, when she just collected 4 defeats throughout the year. She seemed a step ahead of all the other players, but this week she has suffered to beat Ivanovic and Kuznetsova, so maybe she's not that strong right now.

If they are fit and focused, Williams sisters must be always considered as candidates for the title. And it seems they are, Venus was impressive in Hong Kong exhibition and Serena won the Hopman Cup. So you should count on them.

Maria Sharapova had a bad 2007 season. But at the end she played great tennis in the WTA Championships with that unforgettable final. If she plays like that, she will be a though contender, but she has the worst draw, facing Lindsay Davenport in second round, and eventually Henin and Serena in quarters and semis.

One step behind there are Svetlana Kuznetsova, Ana Ivanovic, Jelena Jankovic and Anna Chakvetadze who may not be considered favorites for the title but have tennis to get far in the tournament. And young players like Vaidisova, Golovin, Peer or Szavay will try to upset some favorites to climb the rankings, as last week Gold Coast finalists Na Li and Victoria Azarenka.

On the other hand, players like Amelie Mauresmo or Nadia Petrova are not at their best and may go home before they would like.

And finally there's Lindsay Davenport. Her 18-1 record since her comeback is impressive, but was achieved in lower-rated tournaments and she still has to confirm it at a top-level tournament with the best players. The first exam will be an exciting 2nd round match against Sharapova.
As I said before, take a seat and enjoy the show!

Week #02: Henin extends victory streak in Sydney

Justine Henin scored her 28th consecutive victory after defeating Svetlana Kuznetsova in Sydney, remaining unbeaten since Wimbledon, where she was defeated by Marion Bartoli. Henin had an easy draw in the early rounds but then she had to play her best, beating WTA #4 Ana Ivanovic in the semifinal and WTA #2 Svetlana Kuznetsova in the final. Both matches were decided in the third set. The most important warm-up tournament before Australian Open had a great level of participation and semifinals featured 3 of the 4 top ranked players, completed with WTA #12 Nicole Vaidisova who defeated WTA #3 Jelena Jankovic in quarters.

Meanwhile in Hobart Eleni Daniilidou enjoyed a great week taking the singles title and reaching the doubles final. Daniilidou defeated Parmentier, Alona Bondarenko, Dellacqua and Pennetta on her way to the final. Unfortunately her opponent, russian Vera Zvonareva, got injured training before the final, so the title was awarded to Daniilidou by walkover. Remarkable performances also by Ashley Harkleroad, who won 6 matches in a row to reach the semifinals as a qualifier, and by Jelena Dokic, who also got through the qualifying and scored her first WTA victory in more than two years.

Sydney (AUS), Tier II, $600,000
Final: Justine Henin (BEL) def. Svetlana Kuznetsova (RUS) 4/6 6/2 6/4

Hobart (AUS), Tier IV, $170,000
Final: Eleni Daniilidou (GRE) def. Vera Zvonareva (RUS) wo.


Hot topic: Wild-cards for a dopping offender?

Sesil Karatantcheva, 18 yo player from Bulgaria, was banned for two years on January 2006 after being tested positive for nandrolone on Roland Garros 2005. Karatantcheva, who was just 15 yo when she reached Grand Slam quarter-final and WTA #35 rank, unsuccessfully claimed the nandrolone was self-produced due to pregnancy and later abortion. Now, on January 2008, she has paid her offence and ready for a comeback, but she may face antoher problem. She has no ranking points so she is not able to enter tournaments directly and must rely on invitations (wild-cards) from the tournaments. But many organizations do not want to give a wild-card to a dopping offender.

In fact she was already denied a wild-card for qualies in $25000 ITF tournament in Tampa (Florida). USTA (United States Tennis Association) stated that they'd rather give the wild-card to an american young player, but finally gave it to Stephanie Herz from Netherlands. And for $25000 ITF tournament in Surprise (Arizona), she has been forced to play a pre-qualy event to get a qualification wild-card.

On the one hand some people state that no benefit should be awarded to a player who has committed a doping offense and that she should start from the lowest, playing qualies of $10000 tournaments in case draw is not completed with ranked players. The most strict people even suggest that dopping bans should be for life.

On the other hand some people think that she has already paid for what she did, so she should be considered as any other player. And any player with her potential and past results wouldn't be denied a wild-card. And she hasn't asked for a WTA tournament, but just a $25000 qualification. Moreover she was just 15 when dopped, so she wasn't totally responsible and that mistake shouldn't condition her whole career.

So what's your opinion? Leave a comment if you feel.

UPDATE: Karatantcheva got the qualy WC in Surprise as she won the pre-qualy tournament. And not only she passed the qualy in without dropping a set, but she also won the whole tournament. I hope next time she will get a well deserved WC.


Hot stuff: Jelena Dokic, back for good?

The career of Jelena Dokic, who climbed to a career-high ranking of world No.4 in 2002 and was a Wimbledon semi-finalist, has been in freefall in the last three years.
Dokic's tennis career has been beset with family issues but she is confident the worst is behind her. The 24-year-old has no rankings points and an arbitrary computer ranking of 9999 after her sabbatical. These years Dokic has collected different coaches, training academies and even nationalities. But all her attemps to comeback were unsuccessful. She just hitted the newspapers with stories which include attacks by croatian fans, a car crash and even a kidnap claim by her father.

Now based in Melbourne, Dokic has begun a gruelling practice regime. She has been on court for up to four hours a day, six days a week at Melbourne Park. "I needed some time away from the game to sort through some personal issues but now I'm back and very focused.I've been working very hard in training and I'm hopeful that things turn out well. I'd like to think that by the end of 2008 I could be somewhere in the top 50. I know that's something I can do."

And this time it looks comeback might be more successful. Her physical condition seems much better and she seems to be finding her game again. At Hobart International, she has scored her first WTA victory since May'05 after beating WTA #54 Martina Muller in 1st round. Earlier she had already defeated Evgenia Linetskaya, Yvonne Meusburger (WTA 65) and Yaroslava Shvedova (WTA 84) in qualifying. Finally she retired in 2nd round match against Flavia Pennetta due to an ankle sprain, but she might be fit to play Australian Open qualies on Thursday. She will have a difficult match against Marina Erakovic, a semifinalist last week on Auckland.

We sincerely wish a successful comeback for Jelena this time.


Player of the week: Na Li

After her great breakthrough in 2006, 2007 was a hard season for Na Li, as injuries prevented her to get her top level and she even missed a big part of the season. But 2008 has started in a different way. With an eye on Beijing Olympic Games, Li has made a great comeback in Gold Coast tournament. Not only she has taken the title, but she has also beaten three Top 20 players including Sybille Bammer, Patty Schnyder and Nicole Vaidisova and also raising talent Victoria Azarenka in the final. She has made it in her own style, overcoming difficult situations in the matches against Bammer, Schnyder and Azarenka, which were decided in the third set. A great fighter who truly deserves our first "Player of the week" award.

WTA ranking as of Jan 7, 2008

No changes on top positions of WTA ranking as Top 10 players didn't take part in any tournament last week. Gold Coast finalist Na Li and Victoria Azarenka climb from 29 to 24 and from 30 to 26 respectively. Lindsay Davenport goes from 72 to 52 while Aravane Rezai gets the best climb in Top 100 going from 90 to 67.

CurPrvNameCountryRank pts.Tours.
1(1)Justine Henin


2(2)Svetlana Kuznetsova


3(3)Jelena JankovicSRB347027
4(4)Ana IvanovicSRB346119
5(5)Maria SharapovaRUS295613
6(6)Anna ChakvetadzeRUS293522
7(7)Serena WilliamsUSA280212
8(8)Venus WilliamsUSA247014
9(9)Daniela HantuchovaSVK236726
10(10)Marion BartoliFRA219130

Week #02 preview: Sydney & Hobart

Sydney (AUS), Tier II, $600,000
Justine Henin will make her 2008 debut on Sydney, which will feature a very strong field despite being a Tier II, including 14 of the Top 20 players (Kuznetsova, Ivanovic, Jankovic and Chakvetadze among them), in the most important tournament before Australian Open.

Hobart (AUS), Tier IV, $170,000
Tier IV in Hobart will also have a good field with Bondarenko and Zvonareva as top seeds and Radwanska, Mirza, Dulko and Pennetta as main competitors.

Finally, low-ranked players will compete in Melbourne for a place in a Grand-Slam draw in the Australian Open qualifications.

Week #01: Davenport and Li take first WTA events of 2008

Lindsay Davenport kept on her winning streak on her tour comeback after she became a mother and took the Auckland title with little opposition. Davenport just dropped a set to Anabel Medina in 2nd round and easily defeated Aravane Rezai in the final. With this result 20yo Rezai will forget a dissapointing 2007 season, where she dropped from a best rank #41 after reaching Istambul final in May to #90 in December. Local player Marina Erakovic (WTA 161) made an unexpected run defeating former Top 10 Zvonareva on her way to the semifinals, where she was defeated by Rezai.

China's olympic year could not begin better than it did in Gold Coast. Her top players Na Li and Jie Zheng came back after severe injuries. Li showed a great shape and took the single title beating three Top 20 players (Bammer, Vaidisova and Schnyder) on her way. Runner up was 18yo Victoria Azarenka who confirmed the good form she showed in the late 2007 season. On the other hand Zheng teamed up with partner Zi Yan to reach their first final since May 2007, where they lost to Agnes Szavay and Dinara Safina.

Despite some physical problems which put her participation in doubt (even Shaughnessy played instead of her in the first tie), Serena Williams teamed up with Mardy Fish to give the US team the Hopman Cup title. Runner-up was serbian team, which reached the final despite Jankovic's injury which forced her to retire in her singles matches but couldn't not prevent her of joining Djokovic in the mixed to reach the final.

Gold Coast (AUS), Tier III, $175,000
Final: Na Li (CHN) def. Victoria Azarenka (BLR) 4-6 6-3 6-4

Auckland (NZL), Tier IV, $145,000
Final: Lindsay Davenport (USA) def. Aravane Rezai (FRA) 6-2 6-2

Hopman Cup, Perth (AUS), Mixed Teams Competition
Final: USA (Mardy Fish, Serena Williams) def Serbia (Novak Djokovic, Jelena Jankovic) 2-1

Welcome to WTAhotties blog

As we announced a few weeks ago, a new blog site is launching today January 8, 2008. WTAhotties will be devoted the WTA Tour players, the most talented and best-looking sportswomen. They will be the focus of this blog. We will try to bring here their achievements, their lifestyle, their image.

We will have some weekly sections, as the results summary, ranking update, tournament preview and the "Player of the week" award for the most remarkable performance. And you can always have a look at the players profiles and photo galleries.

But tennis is not only about results and we will try to bring the most interesting news about the players, even the latest gossip. "Hot shot" will bring you the best pictures and players photoshoots. "On fire" section will highlight the player of the moment while "Latent heat" will try to discover new talents. Finally "Hot stuff" will include different kind of reports and "Hot topic" will feature questions for discussion.

Because in WTAhotties we think your contribution is as important as ours. We encourage you to leave comments in every topic you feel. You also write this blog.

Welcome, we hope you'll enjoy your visits.

WTAhotties team