Player of the week: Venus Williams

American Venus Williams has been crowned this week as the WTA champion, as she won the Sony Ericsson Championships featuring the 8 best players of the season in the WTA circuit.
And she got this title by winning all the 5 matches she played and beating Top 4 players according to WTA rankings. On her way to the title, she defeated WTA #3 Dinara Safina, WTA #2 Serena Williams, WTA #4 Elena Dementieva, WTA #1 Jelena Jankovic and WTA #7 Vera Zvonareva. And it wasn't an easy task, as 4 of these matches were decided in the 3rd set. Including the final, where Zvonareva took the opening set in the tiebreak. But Williams didn't give up and played her best tennis to pass over a desperate Zvonareva, winning the 2nd and 3rd sets by 6/0 and 6/2 respectively.
Furthermore, she has been the only player this season to get 2 major titles with her victory in Wimbledon and in the Championships, so she is a good candidate to get the WTA Player of the Year award.


WTA ranking as of 10-Nov-2008

Jelena Jankovic finishes 2008 season as WTA #1, with Serena Williams gaining one spot to #2 and Dinara Safina finishing in #3. Elena Dementieva climbs to #4 and Sony Ericsson Championships winner Venus Williams and runner-up Vera Zvonareva gain 2 spots each to #6 and #7 respectively. Monica Niculescu breaks into Top 50 for the first time moving from #53 to a career-high ranking at #47, although greatest gainer in Top 100 is Anne Keothavong, winner of ITF $100,000 in Krakow, who moves from #75 to a career-high ranking at #61

CurPrvNameCountryRank pts.Tours.
1(1)Jelena JankovicSRB471022
2(3)Serena WilliamsUSA386613
3(2)Dinara SafinaRUS381721
4(5)Elena DementievaRUS366319
5(4)Ana IvanovicSRB345718
6(8)Venus WilliamsUSA327214
7(9)Vera ZvonarevaRUS295225
8(7)Svetlana Kuznetsova


9(6)Maria SharapovaRUS351511
10(10)Agnieszka Radwanska




Week #45: Venus Williams wins 2008 WTA Championships

Venus Williams captured the last title of the season, the Sony Ericsson Championships, that featured the best 8 players of the season. This is the 1st WTA Championships title for Williams in her 3rd appareance, as 5 seasons she got qualified but had to withdraw with different injuries. Williams showed the best tennis and won the 5 matches she played. But her way to the title wasn't easy, as she got 4 of her 5 victories in the 3rd set, including the final where she had to come back after losing the first set to surprising Russian Vera Zvonareva, who has completed a fantastic end of season. WTA #1 Jelena Jankovic and Russian Elena Dementieva also progressed to the semis, but lost to Williams and Zvonareva respectively in two close matches decided in the 3rd set.
In doubles, World's leading pair Cara Black and Liezel Huber confirmed their superiority at the moment and captured the title with clear straight set victories in the semis and final.

Sony Ericsson Championships, Doha (QAT), $4,450,000
Final: Venus Williams (USA) def Vera Zvonareva (RUS) 6/7 6/0 6/2
Doubles final: C.Black/L.Huber def K.Peschke/R.Stubbs 6/1 7/5


Player of the week: Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova

1991-born Russian Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova is one of the most promising player in the WTA Tour. The youngest player on WTA Top 100, Pavlyuchenkova has shown a great progression this season, climbing more than 200 places in the ranking, reaching the 3rd round in Wimbledon and 2nd round in Roland Garros and US Open.

But she has shined also on the ITF circuit, and last week she got her 4th title of the season after winning $100,000 event in Bratislava, just a week after getting the title in $75,000 in Poitiers. In Bratislava the draw was harder than in some WTA events, as on her way to the final she had to defeat solid Top 100 players such as Lucie Safarova (former WTA #22), Elena Vesnina (former WTA #41), Petra Kvitova (WTA #45) and Monica Niculescu (WTA #55). There she swept former WTA #31 Michaella Krajicek by 6/3 6/1.

With these two ITF titles, Anastasia has climbed 22 places in the WTA ranking, breaking into the Top 50 and reaching her career-high ranking at #45. But we are sure that, if she keeps playing like last two weeks, she will reach much higher.


Hot gossip: Verdasco supporting Ivanovic in Doha, rumours unleash

During the combined ATP-WTA event held in Beijing in September, some photos of ATP player Fernando Verdasco talking to WTA star Ana Ivanovic, as well as the presence of Verdasco in Ivanovic's training sessions and matches next to Ana's mother, led to speculations about a possible relationship between them and some tennis blogs made echo of this, as you can read in Women's Tennis blog
We though that it was just some rumours, but today Verdasco was in Doha watching the match between Ivanovic and Jankovic in Ana's box, which means that their relationship is really close... new tennis couple?

WTA ranking as of 3-Nov-2008

No changes on WTA Top 30, as only minor tournaments were played. Semifinalist in Quebec, Aleksandra Wozniak moves from #37 to #34, while runner-up Betthanie Mattek climbs from #43 to #38, both reaching career-high rankings. Greatest gainer in Top 100 is 17-years old Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, who breaks into the Top 50 for the first time, gaining 11 places up to a career-high ranking at #45 after her victory in ITF $100,000 Bratislava

CurPrvNameCountryRank pts.Tours.
1(1)Jelena JankovicSRB455522
2(2)Dinara SafinaRUS375220
3(3)Serena WilliamsUSA371613
4(4)Ana IvanovicSRB368718
5(5)Elena DementievaRUS339918
6(6)Maria SharapovaRUS304012
7(7)Svetlana Kuznetsova


8(8)Venus WilliamsUSA252213
9(9)Vera ZvonarevaRUS249724
10(10)Agnieszka Radwanska




Week #45 preview: Sony Ericsson Championships

Sony Ericsson Championships, Doha (QAT), $4,450,000
As every year, WTA season finishes with the Sony Ericsson WTA Champiosnhips, which features the best 8 players of the season fihgting between them for this prestiogious title. The only absence amongst Top 8 will be injured Maria Sharapova. The rest will divide into 2 round-robin groups of 4 players, looking for 2 places in the semifinals. The winners of each semifinal will play for the title.
Serbian stars Jelena Jankovic and Ana Ivanovic were drawed in the same group and will be the favourites over Russians Svetlana Kuznetsova and Vera Zvonareva to get the semifinalist places in the White Group. Luck also wanted that the Williams sisters were drawed in the Maroon Group, where there will be a strong competition for the top places as they will be joined by strong Russians Dinara Safina and Elena Dementieva.

White group
Ana Ivanovic (SRB)
Jelena Jankovic (SRB)
Svetlana Kuznetsova (RUS)
Vera Zvonareva (RUS)

Maroon group
Dinara Safina (RUS)
Serena Williams (USA)
Elena Dementieva (RUS)
Venus Williams (USA)

Week #44: Petrova wins in Quebec

Russian Nadia Petrova got a happy ending to a irregular season winning the title in Quebec. Petrova, who was the clear favourite to the title, enjoyed an easy run to the final, but had to play her best to come back from a set down and defeat American Betthanie Mattek in the final. Lucky loser Angela Haynes and home favourite Aleksandra Wozniak completed the semifinals, while 2nd seed Sybille Bammer was upsetted in the 1st round by young American Melanie Oudin.

Quebec City (CAN), Tier III, $175,000

Final: Nadia Petrova (RUS) def Betthanie Mattek (USA) 4/6 6/4 6/1