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bangkokbobby 10-23-2011 08:49 PM

2011 WTA Championships
more pics on my blog: Caroline Wozniacki, Maria Sharapova Top Round Robin Groups At 2011 WTA Championships Istanbul Fairways and Forehands

Caroline Wozniacki, Maria Sharapova, Petra Kvitova, Li Na, Vera Zvonareva, Samantha Stosur, Agnieszka Radwanska; not pictured, Victoria Azarenka

The round robin groups for the 2011 WTA Championships Istabul have been named. Topping the Red Group will be #1 seed Caroline Wozniacki. In addition to Caroline, the Red Group includes (3) Petra Kvitova, (6) Vera Zvonareva and (8) Agnieszka Radwanska. #2 seed Maria Sharapova will head the White Group. Her group includes (4) Victoria Azarenka, (5) Li Na and (7) Samantha Stosur.

Will Caroline and Masha face each other in the final?

The top seeds come in with plenty of questions. Caroline has 6 titles this year, but none since New Haven, prior to the US Open. Masha has 2 titles this year, but was upset early at the US Open and lost in the quarterfinals at Tokyo. Possibly the two hottest players coming in are Agnieszka Radwanska and Victoria Azarenka. Aga won Tokyo and Beijing, while Vika comes in off winning Luxembourg. One player who could salvage a poor second half of the year is Li Na. The Roland Garros champion has fallen precipitously since Paris. A deep run would give her something to build on going into 2012. Interestingly, Samantha Stosur finds herself in a group with a player she’s never lost against, Li Na (5-0), but also 2 players she’s never won against, Masha (0-9) and Vika (0-4).

Caroline Wozniacki

The top two players in each group from round robin play advance to the semifinals. The top player from each group plays the second player from the other group in the semis. The prizemoney depends on how a player finishes and how they did in round robin play. The round robin prizemoney is $455,000 for 3 round robin wins, $340,000 for 2 round robin wins, $225,000 for 1 round robin win and $110,000 for zero round robin wins. If a player advances past the round robin stage the champion receives $1,295,000 + their round robin money. Runner-up receives $435,000 + their round robin money. Semifinalist receive $30,000 + their round robin money. So if a player won 3 round robin matches and won the tournament they would receive $1,750,000 (1,295,000 winner’s purse + 455,000 for 3 round robin wins).

Maria Sharapova

Samantha Stosur, Agnieszka Radwanska

Li Na, autograph session

bangkokbobby 10-24-2011 11:47 PM

more pics and video on my blog: Maria Sharapova Ready For 2011 WTA Championships; Tournament Promo Fairways and Forehands

Here is a promo for the championships:

The Players

Maria Sharapova

Caroline Wozniacki

Li Na

Samantha Stosur

Victoria Azarenka

Vera Zvonareva

Petra Kvitova

Agnieszka Radwanska

bangkokbobby 10-25-2011 10:51 PM

more pics and videos on my blog: Samantha Stosur Ends Winless Streak Against Maria Sharapova With A Victory In Round Robin Play At 2011 WTA Championships Fairways and Forehands

Samantha Stosur

Nobody beats Samantha Stosur 10 times in a row. Samantha ended her 0-9 winless record against Maria Sharapova with a victory in round robin play at the 2011 WTA Championships Istanbul, 6-1 7-5. Not only had Samantha lost all 9 previous matches against Masha, but she had also lost 11 straight sets to Sharapova. On this day, it would be Samantha winning in straight sets. She came out en fuego, serving like she did in the US Open final. She faced no break points in the first set while Masha was erratic and error-prone. To be fair, Masha is coming in after time off to deal with an ankle injury, so it’s possible that she was a bit rusty with her timing and movement. However, I hesistate to say that because Samantha was truly playing well. Also, Masha was shaky at the US Open, almost getting upset in the first round by Heather Watson and then ultimately upset in the third round by Flavia Pennetta. Still, Masha has an outside shot of reaching #1 depending on how she and Caroline Wozniacki perform in Istanbul.

Maria Sharapova

Sharapova might have been rusty against Samantha in her first match here, but Masha still jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the second set before Samantha fought her way back. Although her serve was shaky in the second set (4 double faults, 55% first serve percentage), Masha was finding her groove off the ground, ripping some sizzling reverse backhands past a charging Stosur. But things changed dramatically in the 4th game of the set. With Samantha down 0-3 and 0-40 against, it looked like Masha was going to go up 4-0 in the set and serve for 5-0. Considering Masha’s record coming in against Samantha, that might have been the beginning of a 3 set win for Sharapova. Instead, Stosur fought back from triple-break point down to win the game and then broke a rattled Sharapova in the next game to get back on serve 3-2. A game and hold later for Samantha and it was 3-3 as the momentum Masha had at the beginning of the set was gone. However, even though Sharapova ultimately lost this match, remember that this is round robin play. She can lose and still end up in the top 2 of her group and move on to the semifinals. Masha did put herself in a bad position. She will be favored against Li Na, who has not played well of late. But even if she wins that match…which is not a guarantee…Masha gets the very tough Victoria Azarenka after that. Although she could advance with two losses depending on what others in her group do, it’s not a good idea to bank on that. The wildcard is Li Na. At her best, she can beat everybody in this event. But since Roland Garros, she has been a player who looks like she could lose to anybody. How many wins it will take to advance from the White Group might well depend on what Li Na shows up. Her first match will be on the second day against Masha.

Round Robin - Red Group
(1) Caroline Wozniacki (DEN) d. (8) Agnieszka Radwanska (POL) 57 62 64
(3) Petra Kvitova (CZE) d. (6) Vera Zvonareva (RUS) 62 64

Round Robin - White Group
(7) Samantha Stosur (AUS) d. (2) Maria Sharapova (RUS) 61 75

Caroline Wozniacki

Petra Kvitova

bangkokbobby 10-27-2011 12:19 AM

more pics and video on my blog: Li Na Defeats Maria Sharapova In Round Robin Play At 2011 WTA Championships; Wozniacki Loses To Zvonareva But Will Finish Year #1 Fairways and Forehands

Li Na

There was reason to be hopeful and doubtful about Li Na’s chances against Maria Sharapova in round robin play at the 2011 WTA Championships. On the one hand, Li had beaten Sharapova the last three times they played, all in straight sets. On the other hand, Li Na had not won a match, or even a set, since August. When she came out and had her serve broken at love in the opening game of the match, it was understandable to expect some nerves to possibly creep in for the 2011 Roland Garros champion. Instead, she broke Masha at love in the very next game and went up 2-1 on serve. Li Na had another shaky moment when after getting broken for 3-2 Sharapova, she had Masha at 15-40 to break back but couldn’t covert to fall behind 2-4. It was here that Li Na brought out the fight and power that made her look so good early in the year. Masha pushed Li to a deuce game. If she could break Li again, you had to wonder if 2-5 would have been too much from which to come back. On her 4th ad point, in a game that lasted over 9 minutes, Li held to stay down only 1 break at 3-4. Li went on to break Masha to even the set at 4-4 and eventually forced a tiebreak at 6-all. In the tiebreak Li fell behind 0-4 but again rallied to win the next 7 points and earn the come from behind set win.

Maria Sharapova

With the first set safely tucked away, Li Na jumped out to a 5-2 lead in the second set before a mini-rally by Masha closed the gap to 5-4. It wouldn’t be enough to deny Li Na the win as she closed the match out at 7-5 (4) 6-4. Masha pulled out of the championship following her loss, giving her time to fully heal her ankle. But I don’t want to blame her losses to Li Na and Samantha Stosur to her rustiness or her ankle. Li Na has only played 2 matches since New Haven ended in August. And Masha looked ok out there. Plus, Sharapova looked vulnerable in 2 out of 3 matches at the US Open before her injury. I think the combination of knowing that with 2 round robin losses and Victoria Azarenka up next, it was unlikely Masha would advance, so why push any lingering effects of the ankle.

Caroline Wozniacki

With Masha’s result, Caroline Wozniacki, despite also losing her 2nd match in round robin play to Vera Zvonareva, guaranteed herself the year-end #1 ranking. Caroline has won 6 titles coming into the 2011 WTA Championships but is still plagued by questions about being #1 without a Major. Also, chief rivals Kim Clijsters and Serena Williams, both of whom Caroline has to-date never beaten, spent much of the year sidelined with injuries. However, there is nothing Caroline can do about who is healthy enough to be out there. She can only go out week in and week out and bring her best play. This year, like last year, it has been good enough to finish #1 on the computer rankings. She is the 8th player in WTA history finish #1 in consecutive years, joining Martina Navratilova, Steffi Graf, Chris Evert, Monica Seles, Martina Hingis, Justine Henin and Lindsay Davenport.

All-Time Year-End No.1s
Chris Evert (1975, 1976, 1977, 1980, 1981)
Martina Navratilova (1978, 1979, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986)
Steffi Graf (1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996)
Monica Seles (1991, 1992)
Martina Hingis (1997, 1999, 2000)
Lindsay Davenport (1998, 2001, 2004, 2005)
Serena Williams (2002, 2009)
Justine Henin (2003, 2006, 2007)
Jelena Jankovic (2008)
Caroline Wozniacki (2010, 2011)

Round Robin – Red Group
(6) Vera Zvonareva (RUS) d. (1) Caroline Wozniacki (DEN) 62 46 63
Round Robin – White Group
(5) Li Na (CHN) d. (2) Maria Sharapova (RUS) 76(4) 64
(4) Victoria Azarenka (BLR) d. (7) Samantha Stosur (AUS) 62 62

Li Na

Vera Zvonareva

Victoria Azarenka

bangkokbobby 10-27-2011 10:36 PM

more pics and video on my blog: Victoria Azarenka, Petra Kvitova First 2 To Qualify For 2011 WTA Championships Semifinals Fairways and Forehands

Victoria Azarenka

Victoria Azarenka and Petra Kvitova each punched their ticket for the semifinals of the 2011 WTA Championships with wins in the their second matches of round robin play. Victoria topped Li Na 6-2 6-2 to remain the only unbeaten player so far in the White Group. With her semifinal spot assured, my guess is we will not see quite an all-out effort in her final round robin match against alternate Marion Bartoli, who is replacing Maria Sharapova. There is nothing for Vika to gain in that match, so why risk injury or wearing herself out. Li Na actually played well despite the score. There were a lot of long rallies but far too many errors from the 2011 Roland Garros winner. In the first set alone, Li Na doubled Vika’s unforced error total 20 to 10. However, some of those came at the end of rallies when Li had chances for a winner. The final semifinalist from the White Group will be determined by the Li Na vs Samantha Stosur in the next round robin match. Samantha has never lost to Li Na, but if Li Na can cut down on the errors, she can end that losing streak. If not, Aussie Sam will roll.

Petra Kvitova

2011 Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova was equally impressive, maybe even more impressive, in handing world #1 Caroline Wozniacki her second loss in round robin play, 6-4 6-2. The Czech star is the only remaining unbeaten player in the Red Group. Petra’s big lefty serve game gave no openings for Caroline, who had zero break point chances, much less an actual break. Meanwhile, Petra opened both sets by breaking Caroline. It’s somewhat fitting that 21 year old Petra and 22 year old Vika are the first two to qualify for the semifinals. With Serena Williams at 30 years old and 28 year old Kim Clijsters basically playing part time when she’s not injured, Petra and Vika have the power and game to wrestle for #1 in the near future. Of course, the player who actually is #1 right now, Caroline Wozniacki, is only 21 herself. And although it seems like she’s been around forever, Maria Sharapova is only 24. But if Petra Kvitova goes on to win the WTA Championship, it would be her 6th title of the year, matching Caroline. But unlike Caroline, Petra would have both Wimbledon and the Tour Championship. Much like last year when Caroline finished #1 on the computer but Kim Clijsters won the US Open and the Tour Championship, there could be a real dispute as to who should be considered the best player of 2011.

Round Robin – Red Group
(3) Petra Kvitova (CZE) d. (1) Caroline Wozniacki (DEN) 64 62
(8) Agnieszka Radwanska (POL) d. (6) Vera Zvonareva (RUS) 16 62 75

Round Robin – White Group
(4) Victoria Azarenka (BLR) d. (5) Li Na (CHN) 62 62

Victoria Azarenka

Petra Kvitova

Agnieszka Radwanska

bangkokbobby 10-30-2011 02:49 PM

to vote for Petra or Caroline, as well as see more pics and video, you can visit my blog: Petra Kvitova Wins 2011 WTA Championships; Is She The Real WTA Player of the Year? Fairways and Forehands

Petra Kvitova

In thrilling fashion, Petra Kvitova won a three set battle against Victoria Azarenka, 7-5 4-6 6-3, to emerge the champion at the 2011 WTA Championships. Whomever had won this match would ascend to the world #2 ranking, behind only Caroline Wozniacki. Petra started out like she was determined it would be her, opening up a 5-0 lead. Vika is not one to roll over and just fade away. She fought back to make the first set close before taking the second set at 4. But perhaps destiny is awaiting Petra as she closed out Vika in the final set for her 6th title of the year…oh yeah, and a nice little $1,750,000 winner’s check.


And that brings up the same question as last year, who is the real Player of the Year. Last year Caroline had the points and computer #1, but Kim Clijsters had the US Open and the Tour Championships. Caroline had more wins, but Kim had a higher winning percentage playing much less events. The ITF named Caroline the Player of the Year. The WTA players voted Kim the Player of the Year. Leaving the injured and part time playing Clijsters and Serena Williams aside, this year we have Caroline with 6 victories and the #1 computer ranking secured. Petra Kvitova also has 6 titles, but has won both Wimbledon and the Tour Championships. We know Caroline will finish the year ranked #1, but who do you think is the 2011 Player of the Year?

Petra Kvitova (3) def. Victoria Azarenka (4) 7-5, 4-6, 6-3

Petra Kvitova

Victoria Azarenka

bangkokbobby 11-01-2011 01:48 PM

from my blog: Tennis Channel Extends Contract With WTA Through 2016; Women’s Tennis Thriving Despite Economic Downturn Fairways and Forehands

WTA CEO Stacey Allaster and world #1 Caroline Wozniacki

While tennis might just be a dying sport in the United States, the tours are doing very well globally. The WTA has just extended its contract with Tennis Channel through 2016. Tennis Channel also has agreements in place through 2022 with Roland Garros and 2023 with Wimbledon. Television viewing is up 73% while attendance is up 12% at Premier events. Prize money is up 8%. Not surprisingly, WTA CEO Stacey Allaster has had her contract extended through 2017.

fetucinialfokcu 11-01-2011 03:49 PM

I used to love women's tennis now, I only like it. Like is a strong word. I think the golden age of tennis was from 1997-2003. I used to be one of those that would put my favorite players names in a jar and make my own fantasy tournaments. I used to follow satellites and challengers. I used to volunteer when there was a WTA stop in my city. Now, I just pretty much watch the slams and will maybe find out who won on Sunday. It's just not that interesting to me anymore, maybe I'm just burned out.

I am glad I got to see Steffi and Monica play at a pretty high level. I'm glad I got to see the Williamses break ground. I'm glad I got to see Capriati's comeback. I like that I got to see Amelie defeat her demons. I'm glad I got to see Smartina in both of her careers. This crop just doesn't excite me.

bangkokbobby 11-01-2011 08:15 PM


Originally Posted by fetucinialfokcu (Post 122662)
I used to love women's tennis now, I only like it. Like is a strong word. I think the golden age of tennis was from 1997-2003. I used to be one of those that would put my favorite players names in a jar and make my own fantasy tournaments. I used to follow satellites and challengers. I used to volunteer when there was a WTA stop in my city. Now, I just pretty much watch the slams and will maybe find out who won on Sunday. It's just not that interesting to me anymore, maybe I'm just burned out.

I am glad I got to see Steffi and Monica play at a pretty high level. I'm glad I got to see the Williamses break ground. I'm glad I got to see Capriati's comeback. I like that I got to see Amelie defeat her demons. I'm glad I got to see Smartina in both of her careers. This crop just doesn't excite me.

The beautiful part of the WTA's appeal is that while one group of players diminishes, another rises up...tennis was once...when I was a kid...a pretty popular sport in the States...McEnroe, Lendl, Connors, Evert, Navratilova...

...but now the Russians and Eastern Europeans lead the way...a good example...last year the 2010 WTA finals in Doha didn't draw flies in the USA, ratings wise...but there were 8 players from different countries...and globally the ratings were good...

...the best thing to happen to the WTA this year...Li Na of China winning a Grand Slam...ka-ching!

from my blog: ESPN Signs Multi-Platform Deal With WTA Fairways and Forehands


More great news for the WTA. ESPN has signed a deal through 2016 to carry live WTA action over both its cable channels and ESPN3, its online outlet. From my own experience, ESPN3 is a great way to watch the match you want to see in its entirety and not have to settle for what makes it to the network broadcast. Stacey Allaster is doing a terrific job and certainly deserves her contract extension.

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