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YEC ISTANBUL
PodgeMcQ
#41 Posted : Wednesday, October 19, 2011 2:36:13 PM(UTC)
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by Pete Bodo


The WTA Championships is going where it hasn’t gone before, in more ways than one. The tournament is being played in Istanbul for the first time, where—everyone hopes—tennis-thirsty fans won’t be too distressed by the fact that only one of the elite eight who comprise the singles field is a multiple Grand Slam singles champion.


The exception is Maria Sharapova (three majors, but none since the 2008 Australian Open), who’s going to have to make up for the absence of the Williams sisters as well as Kim Clijsters. So this will be a less of a showcase for established stars—the only other one in the field is WTA No. 1 and ranking glamorpuss, Caroline Wozniacki—than emerging ones (Petra KvitovaVictoria AzarenkaAgnieszka Radwanska?) or, in what might seem fitting the way things have gone, late-blooming, mature veterans at the peak of their powers.


These aren’t ordinary times at the WTA. Wozniacki, who's on track to finish as the year-end No. 1 for the second year in a row, still hasn’t won a Grand Slam title. And it isn’t like the more well-known players have been lording it over her.


True, Clijsters won the Australian Open. But after that it got real western at the majors, with a first-time winner popping up at each one. China’s Li Na won the French Open, the Czech Republic’s Petra Kvitova won Wimbledon, and Slammin’ Samantha Stosur of Australia won the U.S. Open. Yet none of those rookie winners took advantage of the breakthrough to separate herself from the WTA pack. Thus, this WTA Championships is shaping up as the least predictable in recent memory.


Given that there’s no break between this week’s final two regular-season tournaments (Moscow and Luxembourg) and Istanbul, let’s take a quick look at the prime contenders—the first seven women have qualified, with the last spot down to two ladies—and rate their chances. We’ll do it on a scale of 1-10, with the 10 representing the strongest chance. We’ll start with the top seeds and work our way down:


Caroline Wozniacki, the pride of Denmark (but a resident of Monte Carlo), needs to win this for the sake of her credibility. Once again in 2011, Wozniacki came down with AMD (Andy Murray Disease) and was unable to find her A-game when it most counted—in the majors.


Wozniacki competed well in secondary events, but even there she didn’t exactly light the world on fire. Apart from New Haven, she last won a tournament way back in early June. Yet Wozniacki has been able to hold onto that No. 1 ranking because she’s consistent—and she plays her brains out (she’s played more tournaments than all of her Top 10 rivals but one, Marion Bartoli). Given the trouble she’s had seizing big opportunities this year, I can’t give her more than a 7.


***


Maria Sharapova will compete with all her heart and soul, but she hasn’t played since she had to pull out of Tokyo with an ankle injury. Ordinarily, that might suggest that if the ankle is healed, she could be especially dangerous because she’ll be well-rested and is the most experienced woman in the lineup. But when you have the service yips the way Sharapova does, time away can make you more, rather than less, nervous. She's just been too erratic to merit more than a 5.


***


Victoria Azarenka goes on these great tears, and then something always goes wrong—an injury (at Beijing, most recently, it was a left thigh strain—but she’s back in action at Luxembourg), an upset, a meeting with an unexpectedly strong if worthy opponent (at the majors, Azarenka lost to the winner at two and the losing finalist at the other two). I see nothing to make me think something won’t go wrong again, but I like her game and she’s ambitious. Give her an 8.


***


Petra Kvitova lost her head after that remarkable performance at Wimbledon—what do you expect of a shy, self-conscious, barely 21-year-old? But did you notice that after failing to get out of the second round at three consecutive summer tournaments—including a first-round loss to no. 46 Alexandra Dulgheru—she made the semis in Tokyo and won last week’s event in Linz?


I like her chances, but this will be her first WTA Championships and the format, choc a bloc with quality players, is new to her. The newness of it all will probably be too much for her to handle. She could go all the way but I can’t go higher than a 6.


***


Vera Zvonareva has stores of experience and that's usually an enormous plus. But it’s also an albatross, because Zvonareva has never quite won the big one, and you know that's lodged in the back of her mind. You get only so many chances in a career.


Still. . . Zvonareva is a former finalist and two-time semifinalist in the year-end championships. She’s coming off a disappointing second-round loss in Beijing, but she's extremely versatile. If she lives up to her top seed in Moscow, under the home-crowd pressure, she could complete her “always a bridesmaid” resume by winning the championships. Rate her a 7.


***


PicSamantha Stosur was the runner-up to Bartoli at Osaka last week. That had to provide some balm for the wounds Stosur suffered after losing back-to-back matches to Maria Kirilenko in Tokyo and Beijing. She still seems to be reeling from that terrific U.S. Open win and I don’t see her getting out of the round robin. Rate her a 5.


***


Li Na went to pieces after she made the Australian Open final, and then again when she won Roland Garros. I’m almost tempted to say that, given how little she’s done since she won in France, she’s due to clean house again. But I can’t see her doing it. It seems like her mind has been a million miles away, and she hasn’t won a match—that’s right, a match, not a tournament—since before the U.S. Open. Give her a 3.


***


Both Marion Bartoli and Agnieszka Radwanska are still in contention as I write this, although a win by Radwanska in her first match in Moscow will clinch the eighth and final spot. (Editors' Note: Radwanska lost to Safarova on Tuesday.) Should Radwanska lose to Lucie Safarova and Bartoli go on to win the tournament, you'd have to consider Bartoli a major contender for the title. Why? Well, the confidence dividend of her great finish (she won Osaka last week), and her pure elation will more than offset any residual fatigue. Ifand it's a big IFBartoli makes it to Istanbul, I'd rate her an 8 to take the whole danged thing.


As well as Bartoli has played recently, Radwanska has been the real scourge of the WTA since her disappointing second-round loss at the U.S. Open. She had wins over two of her fellow Istanbul qualifiers (Azarenka and Zvonareva) as she pulled off an impressive Asian double just weeks ago, winning back-to-back premier events in Tokyo and Beijing.


Radwanska has an understated but tricky game, and for that she deserves at least a 7. She may not quite be ready for prime time but If she can keep up her momentum through Moscow, she could pull off the ultimate surprise in Istanbul. I mean, somebody will have to, right?


That’s the state of the WTA these days.



http://blogs.tennis.com/tennisworld/2011/10/wta.html

Brebis
#42 Posted : Thursday, October 20, 2011 2:59:23 AM(UTC)
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I like this one; Caroline has the Andy Murray disease ! Hi Hi Hi !!
Maria has 6 more days to recover. According to her , she is not recovered yet. Let's hope she has some luck with the draw. Weather is getting better in Istanbul, this might help. Sasha winning more matches will help too and last not but least the new yogurt machine at the house will bring more vitamines for a 100% recovery. Maria , good luck next week and hopefully I will see you soon.

sunstreet
#43 Posted : Thursday, October 20, 2011 6:54:36 AM(UTC)
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Hi guys, found this piece on the danish tv channel tv2, i´ve tried to translate it into english to the best of my ability:

"Caroline Wozniacki has ruled the top of the worldrankings since february, but it might soon be over for the danish worldstar.
After the seasonfinale in Tyrkey next week, Maria Sharapova might be the now woman at the no. 1 spot

This is going to be reality if the russian wins in Turkey and Caroline Wozniacki is unable to defend the 890 point, she made at last years season ending finale.
When that´s said Maria Sharapova hasn´t had the best preparation leading up to the season finale. The russian will arrive without a lot of match practise, since she has been out with an injured ankle since the end of September.
The tournament in Istanbul begins on the 25. of October."

So it seems to me, that the rest of the danish press is focusing solely on the matchup between wozzy and Maria.
No matter what, i´m lookin forward to next week, it will be interesting.
See you
;-)

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CROUCHING TIGER on 10/20/2011(UTC)
CROUCHING TIGER
#44 Posted : Thursday, October 20, 2011 12:15:57 PM(UTC)
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Must be something in Denmark, can image that easy 'cos we had the same with Henin & Clijsters

here in Belgium. We all must eat and those media eat sensation like u mentioned...thx:)

BODO's article(known for his pro-American articles)doesn't interest me. Saw something similar with

Wilander on Eurosport. Must say that whole YEC-thing leaves me cold. It's a fabulous showcase for the

WTA who throws in large amounts of bucks & points so they can glorify themselves after a season of filthy

manipulation and a lot of anti-this & -that towards those players...some ppl would call that hypocrisy(i

can think of other words...). Almost in holiday they come for the above and some "to star" one more time.

The crowd and fans seem to like it, i don't. Useless entertainment...


WELCOME TO THE REAL WORLD
paul_pipkin
#45 Posted : Friday, October 21, 2011 4:28:14 AM(UTC)
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Marion outta Moscow (viral illness). So Agnie Radwanska DOES take the eighth position at Istanbul. I would think the draw would be released TODAY now. 

"That's the way the world works... right now." --Maria Sharapova at 17
PodgeMcQ
#46 Posted : Friday, October 21, 2011 3:54:22 PM(UTC)
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Dartagnan on 10/21/2011(UTC)
Brebis
#47 Posted : Friday, October 21, 2011 4:52:11 PM(UTC)
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Looks like some sun glasses are needed here ! Too bright for my eyes. It's good that I have not been invited to play , hihi. There is no chance that Maria can take the number 1 spot during the YEC. If,if,if she wins all of her matches, she will come 135 point short to overtake the number 1 ranking !! Too bad. When will the draw be out, it's taking a long time !?!?

paul_pipkin
#48 Posted : Sunday, October 23, 2011 6:01:50 AM(UTC)
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Brebis;311410 wrote:


Looks like some sun glasses are needed here ! Too bright for my eyes. It's good that I have not been invited to play , hihi. There is no chance that Maria can take the number 1 spot during the YEC. If,if,if she wins all of her matches, she will come 135 point short to overtake the number 1 ranking !! Too bad. When will the draw be out, it's taking a long time !?!?



CNN Turk says draw at 19:00 local time -- 16:00 GMT, five hours from now


Drawing of lots for the championship, at 19:00 will be held in Sheraton Hotel Atakoy. Kura shooting TEB Championships'te WTA BNP Paribas will fight all the players will be present. On the other hand, the athletes, the day before the start of the tournament, October 24, will hold a press conference on Monday. The individual star of the 8 world, which will be in front of the press, will answer questions from journalists. 


http://www.cnnturk.com/2011/spor/tenis/10/22/wta.championshipte.kura.cekimi/634067.0/index.html


Draw the excitement begins



 

"That's the way the world works... right now." --Maria Sharapova at 17
mreiter18
#49 Posted : Sunday, October 23, 2011 11:57:59 AM(UTC)
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Maria has Azarenka, Li, and Stosur in her group. I honestly think this is the best group possible for Maria. The only dangerous opponent for her will be Azarenka, but she will have little time to recover from Luxembourg. And she's never really able to get through a lot of matches without injury. Li Na's confidence is probably nonexistent at this point, and we all know Maria's record with Stosur. Hopefully Maria is fit enough!!
PodgeMcQ
#50 Posted : Sunday, October 23, 2011 12:37:24 PM(UTC)
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mreiter18;311436 wrote:
Maria has Azarenka, Li, and Stosur in her group. I honestly think this is the best group possible for Maria. The only dangerous opponent for her will be Azarenka, but she will have little time to recover from Luxembourg. And she's never really able to get through a lot of matches without injury. Li Na's confidence is probably nonexistent at this point, and we all know Maria's record with Stosur. Hopefully Maria is fit enough!!


 


True any group would be tough but this one gives Maria every chance to qualify for the semis, depending how her ankle holds up. 

Dartagnan
#51 Posted : Sunday, October 23, 2011 12:42:57 PM(UTC)
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PodgeMcQ;311441 wrote:


mreiter18;311436 wrote:
Maria has Azarenka, Li, and Stosur in her group. I honestly think this is the best group possible for Maria. The only dangerous opponent for her will be Azarenka, but she will have little time to recover from Luxembourg. And she's never really able to get through a lot of matches without injury. Li Na's confidence is probably nonexistent at this point, and we all know Maria's record with Stosur. Hopefully Maria is fit enough!!


 


True any group would be tough but this one gives Maria every chance to qualify for the semis, depending how her ankle holds up. 



Each opponent is dangerous for Masha. They are all good tennis players. Maria Sharapova will do her best to defeat them again even if she has already defeated all of them in a match. 


We have to support Masha, right away.


Davai Masha!!!!! You are the best.


VIDEO: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i_mmNfG0fKw


Maria Sharapova Vs. Samantha Stosur - 2011 Final Highlights



"I'd love to open a tennis school for children in my hometown of Sochi." said Sharapova Maria.



PodgeMcQ
#52 Posted : Sunday, October 23, 2011 12:46:03 PM(UTC)
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Dartagnan;311442 wrote:


PodgeMcQ;311441 wrote:


mreiter18;311436 wrote:
Maria has Azarenka, Li, and Stosur in her group. I honestly think this is the best group possible for Maria. The only dangerous opponent for her will be Azarenka, but she will have little time to recover from Luxembourg. And she's never really able to get through a lot of matches without injury. Li Na's confidence is probably nonexistent at this point, and we all know Maria's record with Stosur. Hopefully Maria is fit enough!!


 


True any group would be tough but this one gives Maria every chance to qualify for the semis, depending how her ankle holds up. 



Each opponent is dangerous for Masha. They are all good tennis players. Maria Sharapova will do her best to defeat them again even if she has already defeated all of them in a match. 


We have to support Masha, right away.


Davai Masha!!!!!



 


Exactly Go Maria!!! 


 


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2011_WTA_Tour_Championships_%E2%80%93_Singles

Dartagnan
#53 Posted : Sunday, October 23, 2011 12:50:25 PM(UTC)
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PodgeMcQ;311443 wrote:


Dartagnan;311442 wrote:


PodgeMcQ;311441 wrote:


mreiter18;311436 wrote:
Maria has Azarenka, Li, and Stosur in her group. I honestly think this is the best group possible for Maria. The only dangerous opponent for her will be Azarenka, but she will have little time to recover from Luxembourg. And she's never really able to get through a lot of matches without injury. Li Na's confidence is probably nonexistent at this point, and we all know Maria's record with Stosur. Hopefully Maria is fit enough!!


 


True any group would be tough but this one gives Maria every chance to qualify for the semis, depending how her ankle holds up. 



Each opponent is dangerous for Masha. They are all good tennis players. Maria Sharapova will do her best to defeat them again even if she has already defeated all of them in a match. 


We have to support Masha, right away.


Davai Masha!!!!!



 


Exactly Go Maria!!! 


 


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2011_WTA_Tour_Championships_%E2%80%93_Singles



I like watching Masha defeating the best tennis players. It showed her tennis potential.


VIDEO: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i_mmNfG0fKw


Maria Sharapova Vs. Samantha Stosur - 2011 Final Highlights



"I'd love to open a tennis school for children in my hometown of Sochi." said Sharapova Maria.



PodgeMcQ
#54 Posted : Sunday, October 23, 2011 2:04:27 PM(UTC)
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The official photo from the 2011 TEB BNP Paribas WTA Championships! 

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paul_pipkin on 10/23/2011(UTC), Dartagnan on 10/23/2011(UTC)
sunstreet
#55 Posted : Sunday, October 23, 2011 2:52:23 PM(UTC)
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An interesting draw, and as i see it a good one for Maria, but way harder for wozzy. Somehow i think Caro won´t make it to the semi-finals this year, just a feeling.

Anyway Maria knows what to do i order to win these matches, so i´m looking forward to follow her this week to.
Good luck with the preparations Maria, this is going to be a great week.
;-)
Brebis
#56 Posted : Sunday, October 23, 2011 3:47:50 PM(UTC)
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Not bad at all but do not underestimate Na Li ! She will give her all to play better then the previous months. Azarenka might be tired but it's the last tourny of the year so will give it all too. Sam is the one to beat but her kick service will do great on inside courts. Let's hope the ankle is fine , looking at Maria's high heels, I do not expect any issues. Good luck Maria and show the world you're the best op the troup this year.

deadchip
#57 Posted : Sunday, October 23, 2011 11:58:20 PM(UTC)
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These are all top players and any one of them could beat Masha on any given day, though Masha should beat them all on most days!!!! Masha will really like serving indoors where there is NO wind!!! Also her ankle may get her to take her mind off of her shoulder!! Hope she has a great week. I also have a feeling that Caro doesn't make the semis! And a big congrats to Dominika Cibulkova on winning her first WTA title!! Hope we all have a great week!
Masha is my #1!!
Valkyre
#58 Posted : Monday, October 24, 2011 8:42:44 AM(UTC)
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Davai Maria, I am not expecting much because of her injury and you shoulndt as well, but all I know is a wounded Maria is even more dangerous! And just because of that, I think she will do good! She knows she cant be expecting to win this so she is not going to be anxious but calm!

DAVAI! :D
CROUCHING TIGER
#59 Posted : Monday, October 24, 2011 11:33:47 AM(UTC)
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Why do those official YEC-pics alwyas hurt the eyes? In the past some were excellent when

they posed like on court in game-outfits, but here...GEEZZ, what a ugly bunch once again and so unnaturel!

Don't like WOZ, but at least she's in a designerdress and Na Li is "cuty Chinese"...the rest...

I must agree about Pova with some ppl of the TF; she was problably to late and grabbed a curtain

from her hotelroom.


WELCOME TO THE REAL WORLD
Imnumber2
#60 Posted : Monday, October 24, 2011 4:07:38 PM(UTC)
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Hi guys,


I think Sam will change her style. Her confidence is probably much better ever since she beat Serena. on the other hand I think Maria will be rusty and not sure whether she can move well enough. I`m doubtful!!! but very anxious to see her play.


Best of luck Maria!!!

Don't Give Up - Peter Gabriel
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