Wk.8- A Month for the Strong
The month of play that has taken place since the end of the Australian Open has consisted of a series of (mostly) cameo appearances by the game's top players, as well as a few career-altering ones by the up-and-coming set.
While February oversaw the crowning -- over a fifteen-day stretch -- of half the total number of first-time champs that were seen throughout the entire 2011 season, it also presided over some of the game's very best rising to the occasion during the small window of court time they (or their ailing bodies) allowed themselves as they continued to wind down and heal up after 2012's hectic opening weeks and recuperate for the long season ahead.
"I am a year older and I behave more like a lady than a crazy kid." - Victoria Azarenka, on the changes she sees in herself between last season and today
*February Awards - Wk.5-8*
1. Victoria Azarenka, BLR
...after her late-withdrawal from Fed Cup, she immediately resumed her dominating play in Doha, pushing through an ankle injury in the semifinals, and admitting afterward that her pre-slam winning self might have overreacted and retired from the match. Title #3 of '12 extended her winning streak to seventeen matches (the best season-opening run since Sharapova's 18 in '08), and her string of consecutive final appearances to five. Prior to the defense of her big Miami title, she's opened up a nice cushion between her #1 self and the field in the rankings and is looking more and more confident at every turn. Oh, and about those players who might try to hang blame on whatever noise she makes on the court for a loss to the AO champ? Well, Vika recently said that she considers such excuse-makers "weak people." So far this season, Azarenka hasn't been anything but strong.
2. Liezel Huber & Lisa Raymond, USA/USA
...the doubles pair have equaled Azarenka's three season titles. They may not be teaming up in the Olympics, but they've surely been dominating just about everything else since they first got together last summer.
3. Angelique Kerber, GER
...leading 2012's charge of the Germans (even without The Dancer), unlikely '11 U.S. Open semifinalist Kerber, in not-quite-as-unlikely-as-it-once-was fashion, grabbed her first title at the Paris Indoors and reached the Top 20.
4. Petra Kvitova, CZE
...with various nagging illness and injury keeping her out, Kvitova only played two Fed Cup matches in February. But her pair of on-the-road, from-a-set-down victories extended her indoor winning streak to 23 matches (27 with the Hopman Cup) and put the defending champion Czech team back into the semis.
5. Agnieszka Radwanska, POL
...only Azarenka (17-0) has a better season mark than A-Rad's 15-3 (not counting her 4-0 mark in FC zone play), and her Dubai title has pushed her into the Top 5. Looks like she didn't forget about the little tweaks in her game that turned the back-third of her '11 season into such a potentially career-changing "How To" guide.
1. Angelique Kerber, GER
2. Agnieszka Radwanska, POL
3. Yanina Wickmayer, BEL
4. Julia Goerges, GER
5. Marion Bartoli, FRA
6. Lucie Safarova, CZE
7. Andrea Hlavackova & Lucie Hradecka, CZE/CZE
8. Sara Errani & Roberta Vinci, ITA/ITA
9. Ayumi Morita, JPN
10. Elena Baltacha, GBR
HM- Maria Kirilenko, RUS
1. Bojana Jovonovski, SRB
2. Lara Arruabarrena-Vecino, ESP
3. Lesia Tsurenko, UKR
4. Christina McHale, USA
5. Mona Barthel, GER
6. Timea Babos, HUN
7. Alexandra Cadantu, ROU
8. Simona Halep, ROU
9. Alexandra Krunic, SRB
10. Jamie Hampton, USA
HM- Valeria Savinykh, RUS
1. Ashleigh Barty, AUS
2. Anett Kontaveit, EST
3. Irina Khromacheva, RUS
4. Yulia Putintseva, RUS
5. Kyle McPhillips, USA
1. Alexandra Panova, RUS
2. Paula Ormaechea, ARG
3. Stefanie Voegele, SUI
4. Florencia Molinero, ARG
5. Chan Hao-Ching & Chan Yung-Jan, TPE/TPE
6. Marina Erakovic, NZL
7. Nina Bratchikova, RUS
8. Eva Birnerova, CZE
9. Olga Govortsova, UKR
10. Vera Dushevina, RUS
HM- Varvara Lepchenko, USA
1. Liezel Huber & Lisa Raymond, USA/USA
2. Daniela Hantuchova, SVK
3. Samantha Stosur, AUS
4. Iveta Benesova, CZE
5. Flavia Pennetta & Roberta Vinci, ITA/ITA
6. Svetlana Kuznetsova, RUS
7. Sofia Arvidsson, SWE
8. Edina Gallovits-Hall, ROU
9. Sania Mirza, IND
10.Greta Arn, HUN
HM- Klara Zakopalova, CZE
1. Hsieh Su-Wei, TPE
2. Chinese Fed Cup Team
3. Australian Fed Cup Team
4. Jelena Jankovic, SRB
5. Serena Williams, USA
6. Michaella Krajicek, NED
7. Ana Ivanovic, SRB
8. Shahar Peer, ISR
9. Sesil Karatantcheva, KAZ
10. Aleksandra Wozniak, CAN
HM- Venus Williams, USA
1. Vera Zvonareva, RUS
2. Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, RUS
3. Dominika Cibulkova, SVK
4. Maria Sharapova, RUS
5. Sabine Lisicki, GER
6. Kateryna Bondarenko, UKR
7. Jelena Dokic, AUS
8. French Fed Cup Team
9. Jarmila Gajdosova, AUS
10. Caroline Wozniacki, DEN
HM-Belarusian Fed Cup Team
1. Sofia Kvatsabaia, GEO
2. Karolina Pliskova, CZE
3. Kristyna Pliskova, CZE
4. Alexandra Dulgheru, ROU
5. Ashleigh Barty, AUS
6. Olga Govortsova, UKR
7. Michelle Larcher de Brito, POR
8. Annika Beck, GER
9. Cristina Dinu, ROU
10. Yuliya Beygelzimer, UKR
HM- Amy Bowtell, IRL
"I am also a more mature player. I have a better mind, a clearer mind. I know what I am doing." - Victoria Azarenka
Anyone looking for a crack in Azarenka's exterior didn't find one in Doha, as she swept through the field, overcame injury, secured her #1 ranking and showed that the mindset (and backbone) that helped her win in Melbourne wasn't just a two-week aberration
With AnaIvo nowhere to be found, and JJ out with injury after one match, Bojana Jovanovski was once again called upon to put the Serbian Fed Cup team on her shoulders. With Day 2 singles and doubles (w/ Alexandra Krunic) wins, after Serbia trailed 2-1, BoJo pushed the Serbs into the FC semifinals for the first time.
[Having It When You Need It]
FC 1st Rd. - Kvitova d. Goerges
...3-6/6-3/10-8. Twice, the Czech was two points from defeat. But she managed to close out Goerges to earn the crucial point.
[Francesca's "Slam Drama" Comes Late]
FC 1st Rd. - Schiavone d. K.Bondarenko
...6-7/7-5/6-4. Bondarenko served up 7-6/5-1, then managed to win just 1 point in the next three games. In three hours, Schiavone showed she still has some Oscar-worthy performances left in her soon-to-be 32-year old body.
[Sisterly Love... played out in hard-won tie-breaks]
$25K Grenoble Final - Karolina Pliskova d. Kristyna Pliskova
...7-6(11)/7-6(6). The 19-year old twins (seemingly more competitive against one another than most other recent racket-wielding siblings) claimed their second consecutive weekly sweep of the singles and doubles crowns on the challenger circuit. Karolina, a week after losing to her sister, reclaimed her two-match edge (5-3) over Kristyna in their career head-to-head series.
[One Final Hurdle]
Paris Final - Kerber d. Bartoli
...7-6/5-7/6-3. Kerber was well on her way to pulling the Paris title out from under crowd fave Bartoli's always-moving feet, but La Trufflette wasn't going to let her leave town without one more fight. Down 7-6/5-2, Bartoli strung together thirteen consecutive points, breaking the German three straight times, to force a 3rd set. In the end, Kerber still lifted the trophy... she was just a little more tired.
*BIGGEST UPSET (and "Almost Upset")*
Fed Cup 1st Rd. - Tsurenko d. Schiavone
...6-1/6-2. Tsurenko, who also upset Sara Errani and helped force a 3rd set in the deciding doubles match, very nearly led Ukraine to what would have been one of the bigger FC upsets in recent years over the Italians. Her dominating win over FC vet Schiavone would seem to be a sign of very good things to come for the 22-year old.
The Czechs, Down But Not Out
...beginning their FC defense with their backs against the wall, the Czechs had to come back from a set down in three singles matches in their 1st Round win over Germany.
Paris QF - Bartoli d. Vinci
...4-6/6-4/7-6. Bartoli trailed 6-4/4-1, then 5-2 in the 3rd.
Doha 2nd Rd. - Safarova d. Wozniacki
...4-6/7-6/6-4. The Czech overcame triple match point -- down love/40 on her own serve -- against the former #1.
"You shouldn't repair something that's not broken." - Caroline Wozniacki, proving that you can lead a Dane to water, but you can't make her drink it
All right, so this is a golf-related "good" entry, but 18-year Jessica Korda's Australian Open title is worth mentioning. She's the daughter of former men's tennis slam champ Petr... and she even has her own version of her dad's famous scissors-kick.
The whole Wozniacki/Sanchez fiasco... surely "edited out" of Caroline's future autobiography.
No, not Serena's sometimes-shocking play in her doing-it-the-hard-way 2-0 Fed Cup record in Week 5 (though it qualified at times), but her heavily-bandaged, ailing feet.
**By the Numbers...**
0... number of tour matches played by Petra Kvitova, Maria Sharapova, Serena Williams, Venus Williams and Kim Clijsters in February.
1... number of Olympic medals (a Doubles Broze in '04) won by Paola Suarez, who's out of retirement and back in action in preparation for her teaming with Gisela Dulko in the London Olympics. The pair reached the semifinals this past week in Monterrey.
3... first-time WTA tour singles champions crowned in February. Their were only six first-timers during the entire 2011 season.
3 in 7... titles/weeks-of-play ratio for Victoria Azarenka in '12. Getting her third crown of the season in Week 7, her start was the best on tour since Amelie Mauresmo won her third title of the year in Week 7 of the 2006 season.
3-0... Serbia's record in tie-deciding doubles matches in the nation's last three weekends of Fed Cup action.
4... consecutive years in which Russia, Italy and the Czech Republic have all reached the Fed Cup semifinals.
4 in 20... Germans present at the top of the WTA's singles rankings during February.
4-0... the Czech Republic's mark in road Fed Cup ties since the beginning of 2011.
6... number of consecutive years Russia has reached the FC semis
8... number of weeks Caroline Wozniacki's coaching relaltionship with Ricardo Sanchez lasted, after the Dane has signed the fiery Spaniard to a one-year contract before the season began.
11... years since Hsieh Su-Wei's last tour singles semifinal (2001) result before her trip to the Pattaya Final Four in February.
21... number of different nations that have been represented in the WTA's 48 semifinalist slots through the season's first eight weeks
48... months since China's last Fed Cup round advancement before the nation's win in Zone play (with an 8-0 mark in matches, thanks to a team roster that included Li Na, Peng Shuai & Zheng Jie) in February. Prior to that, the Chinese team hadn't won a Fed Cup tie since advancing to the semifinals with a World Group 1st Round win in early 2008.
138.25... average ranking of the singles semifinalists at Bogota. The unseeded, triple-digit ranked, title-less quartet was the most unlikely Final Four at a tour event since 2007 in Fes, when four other unseeded players (including two qualifiers) came in with an average ranking of 144.25.
1995... the last time a German (Steffi Graf) won the Paris Indoors before Kerber's title there.
*WEEK 8 CHAMPIONS*
DUBAI, UAE (Premier $2m/HO)
S: Agnieszka Radwanska/POL def. Julia Goerges/GER 7-5/6-4
D: Huber/Raymond (USA/USA) d. Mirza/Vesnina (IND/RUS)
MONTERREY, MEXICO (Int'l $220K/HCO)
S: Timea Babos/HUN def. Alexandra Cadantu/ROU 6-4/6-4
D: Errani/Vinci (ITA/ITA) d. Date-Krumm/Sh.Zhang (JPN/CHN)
MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE USA (Int'l $220K/HCI)
S: Sofia Arvidsson/SWE def. Marina Erakovic/NZL 6-3/6-4
D: Hlavackova/Hradecka (CZE/CZE) d. Dushevina/Govortsova (RUS/UKR)
PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Agnieszka Radwanska/POL
...her sudden aversion to the noise her opponents make aside, there hasn't been much NOT to like about Radwanska since last summer. Her on-court intelligence has been linked with an off-court sensibility that allowed herself -- and that's what it often takes for tennis players, always known to be a stubborn lot -- to change just enough of her game to give her a better chance to win, but not lose herself in the process. Armed with a better first serve than a year ago, and a willingness to occasionally try to smack a winner when some similar, "power-lite" players would be content to simply nudge a ball back into play and restart a point, Radwanska's climb up the rankings (and in relevance) has been unending over the last seven months. Her Dubai title, the eighth of her career, didn't come easy. She actually had to work to get out of her 1st Round contest with qualifier Aleksandra Wozniak. But, after that, it was her tournament to win or lose. Wins over Shahar Peer, Sabine Lisicki (2 & 1), Jelena Jankovic (a love 3rd set) and Julia Goerges pushed her to a new career-high rank of #5, and gives her a 4-0 record in finals since her metamorphosis in the latter portion of the '11 season.
RISERS: Julia Goerges/GER & Sofia Arvidsson/SWE
...Goerges didn't add her name to the list of German tour singles champions of '12, but she did manage to clean up her sometimes iffy consistency and reach her first final since her star-making turn in Stuttgart last April. In that clay event, she defeated Caroline Wozniacki in the final, and her path to the Dubai final went through the Dane, as well. Her semifinal win over the defending champ stopped cold Wozniacki's potential question-answering week in the U.A.E., and coming on the heels of wins over Svetlana Kuznetsova and Daniela Hantuchova, stirs Goerges into the suddenly-heated mix for Top-Ranked German. Meanwhile, Halmstad, Sweden resident Arvidsson might want to start thinking about buying some property in Memphis. The 28-year old has reached four tour singles finals in her career, and three of them have come in Memphis. She won her second title there over the weekend, six years since she won her first in the same event in 2006. Wins over Heather Watson, Pauline Parmentier, Lesia Tsurenko, Alberta Brianti and Marina Erakovic provided the Swede's stepping stones. If lower-level Fed Cup prowess and abilities in small WTA events in Tennessee were the only criteria, Arvidsson would be well on her way to a Hall of Fame induction.
SURPRISES: Marina Erakovic/NZL & Nina Bratchikova/RUS
...four years ago, Erakovic had to scrape and claw to earn a place on the New Zealand Olympic team. That won't be the case for London. The 23-year old Kiwi reached her second career tour singles final ('11 Quebec City) in Memphis, getting wins over Sloane Stephens, Evgeniya Rodina, Michaella Krajicek and Vera Dushevina. Bratchikova, the Last Qualifier Standing and the conqueror of the First Seed Out (Pennetta) in Melbourne, continued to show great '12 improvement in Monterrey. She reached the singles QF, getting a win over #1 seed Roberta Vinci, and advanced to the doubles semis, as well.
VETERANS: Liezel Huber & Lisa Raymond (USA/USA) & Andrea Hlavackova & Lucie Hradecka (CZE/CZE)
...neither of these two teams left Melbourne with a Doubles crown (the sometimes-pair of Kuznetsova & Zvonareva did), but they've been the winningest duos so far in the '12 season. Huber & Raymond took the Dubai crown, their third of the young season, and their seventh as a duo since first teaming last summer. Raymond's career title #77 moved her past Hall of Famer Jana Novotna to 6th on the all-time list, just three behind 5th Place Natasha Zvereva, also a HOFer. Huber, who won in Dubai with Maria Jose Martinez-Sanchez a year ago, moved to within three titles of catching Cara Black (14th) on the all-time WTA list. Meanwhile, in Memphis, the Czech team of Hlavackova & Hradecka won their second tour title of the season (they've also grabbed an ITF crown), becoming the only team other than Huber & Raymond to win multiple titles this season. It's also their seventh tour title as a duo.
COMEBACKS: Jelena Jankovic/SRB & Michaella Krajicek/NED
...JJ isn't, and likely never will be, back to her level of old. But she's not going away, either. In Dubai, where the Serb reached the second of her now twenty-six career finals back in '05 (she also lists the city as her place of residence), Jankovic notched good wins over Petra Cetkovska, Flavia Pennetta and Sam Stosur to reach the SF. She lost there in three sets to Radwanska, but could very well find her way to a weekend rematch with the Pole this coming week in Kuala Lumpur. Krajicek, for her part, was a teenage star a while ago. She reached back-to-back U.S. Open junior finals (winning in her second, in 2004, and was that season's #1-ranked junior, one year before Azarenka was the top-ranked girl). Before she'd turned 18, she'd won three career tour singles crowns. In 2007, she was a quarterfinalist at Wimbledon, and a year later she climbed into the Top 30. Injuries and inconsistency have hampered her for most of the last few years, though. She hasn't reached a WTA singles final since 2006. But, occasionally, she pops up with a good result (such as last season's SF run in Kuala Lumpur, where she lost to eventual champ Jelena Dokic in the semis). Last week in Memphis, sort of, qualifies, as well. Wins over Elena Baltacha and Olga Govortsova helped her get a QF result in singles, then she did one better in doubles by reaching the SF.
FRESH FACES: Timea Babos/HUN & Alexandra Cadantu/ROU
...Babos and Cadantu, who faced off a year ago in the semifinals of a challenger event, met in the first-ever WTA finals for both this weekened in Monterrey. In the end, it was Babos, a semifinalist the previous week in Bogota, who walked away with her maiden title. The 18-year old Hungarian, the youngest tour singles champ since Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova won this same title two years ago, got wins over Sorana Cirstea and Patricia Mayr-Achleitner before finishing off Cadantu in the final. The 21-year old Romanian's wins came over an array of vets, including Jelena Dokic, Lourdes Dominguez-Lino and Greta Arn.
DOWN: Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova/RUS & Jelena Dokic/AUS
...speaking of Pavlyuchenkova and Dokic, neither have been lighting up the courts of late. A year ago this week, the Russian defended that '10 Monterrey title I just mentioned. She was in Dubai last week, though. But not for very long, which has sort of been her pattern in '12. After ending her '11 season with back-to-back 1st Round exits, she's failed to advance past the 2nd Round in any of her five events this season. She lost in straights sets in the 1st Round to Simona Halep in Dubai. But Pavlyuchenkova has nothing on Dokic. As we reach the one year anniversary of the Aussie's heartwarming title in Kuala Lumpur, which was her first tour crown in over nine years, Dokic hasn't exactly built upon her Malaysian success. In Monterrey, she dropped her second straight '12 match after having taken the opening set, with only conqueror Cadantu's eventual run to the final making the loss even slightly "presentable." Entering this week, she's played in eighteen events since her KL triumph. She reached the final on the grass in 's-Hertogenbosch, but has fallen before the QF in the other seventeen (twice in qualifying, eleven 1st Round, and four 2nd Round). Back in KL this week, she's opened up her title defense attempt -- her first since '03 -- with a 1st Round win over Kristina Mladenovic. With it, and the lingering good feelings from her '11 result, be enough to push her toward something better this week? One would hope so, at least.
ITF PLAYER: Annika Beck/GER
...wouldn't you know it, another German. This one, an 18-year old, claimed the $25K challenger in Moscow over the weekend, becoming the fourth woman from her country to win an ITF circuit title this season. She defeated Kirsten Flipkens in the final, giving the Belgium her second challenger final loss in as many weeks.
JUNIOR STAR: Ashleigh Barty/AUS
...a week ago, the 15-year old claimed her first career ITF singles title. This weekend, she got her second. On the grass in the $25K event in Mildura, Australia, Barty took out top-seeded Chanel Simmonds, Richel Hogenkamp, Sally Peers and Arina Rodionova before defeating fellow Aussie Viktorija Rajicic in the final.
1. Dubai Final - A.Radwanska d. Goerges
...7-5/6-4. A-Rad is now an impressive 8-2 in career singles finals.
2. Mont Final - Babos d. Cadantu
...6-4/6-4. The Romanians keep getting close, but have gone 0-5 in finals since Dulgheru won in Warsaw in the spring of '10.
3. Dubai SF - Goerges d. Wozniacki
...7-6/7-5. With her ranking points melting away, and A-Rad looking over her shoulder at #5 in the world, Wozniacki fails to defend her first of the six titles she won in '11. Next up? A biggie starting next week in Indian Wells.
4. Dubai 1st Rd - A.Radwanska d. Wozniak 6-1/6-7/7-5
Dubai 1st Rd - Goerges d. Kuznetsova 2-6/7-6/6-4
...with the top two seeds -- Azarenka & Kvitova -- pulling out, the Dubai draw opened up considerably early last week. Of course, if either of these two 1st Round matches by the eventual finalists had gone the other way -- and they easily could have -- the storyline for Week 8 might have been VERY different. Rory McIlroy's missed putt late in HIS tournament final over the weekend isn't the only professional near-miss worth talking about this week by the Masters champ and you-know-who.
5. Memph Final - Arvidsson d. Erakovic
...6-3/6-4. These two emerged from yet another four-unseeded-player semifinals at a WTA event. The four players' average ranking was only 70.5 this week, though.
6. Memph 1st Rd - Giorgi d. Petrova
...6-4/6-2. The qualifier takes out the #1 seed. Oh, Nadia.
7. Acapulco Q1 - Zacarius d. Rezai
...6-2/3-6/6-4. Yeah, Aravane had probably never heard of Zacarius, either. Her name is Marcela, and she's a Mexican wild card, by the way.
8. Acapulco Q1 - Camerin d. Arruabarrena-Vecino
...6-1/6-4. Answering the question about what a title in Bogota will get you in Acapulco.
9. Mont Doubles Final - Errani/Vinci d. Date-Krumm/Sh.Zhang
...6-2/7-6. The two top-seeded singles players in Monterrey, Errani & Vinci took out their frustration on the doubles court. It's their sixth title as a duo.
10. $10K Tallinn EST Final - Anett Kontaveit/EST d. Katarzyna Piter/POL
...7-5/6-4. The 16-year old, #7-ranked junior picks up a title back home.
Kuala Lumpur Q3 - Karolina Pliskova d. Elena Bogdan 6-1/7-5
Kuala Lumpur Q3 - Kristyna Pliskova d. Luksika Kumkhum 6-3/6-4
...KL main draw, here they come!
**2012 FIRST-TIME CHAMPS**
Hobart - Mona Barthel, GER (age 21, #64)
Paris - Angelique Kerber, GER (age 24, #27)
Bogota - Lara Arruabarrena-Vecino, ESP (age 19, #174)
Monterrey - TIMEA BABOS, HUN (age 18, #107)
**PREMIER-LEVEL TITLES - since 2009**
[$4.5m / $2.0m / $600K]
11 - Caroline Wozniacki [2/3/6]
6 - Victoria Azarenka [2/1/3]
4 - Elena Dementieva [0/1/3] - ret.
4 - AGNIESZKA RADWANSKA [1/1/2]
4 - Maria Sharapova [0/3/1]
**CAREER DOUBLES TITLES - ACTIVE DUOS**
19...Serena Williams/Venus Williams
11...Gisela Dulko/Flavia Pennetta
9...Iveta Benesova/Barbora Zahlavova-Strycova
9...Kveta Peschke/Katarina Srebotnik (1 in '12)
7...ANDREA HLAVACKOVA & LUCIE HRADECKA (2 in '12)
7...LIEZEL HUBER & LISA RAYMOND (3 in '12)
6...SARA ERRANI & ROBERTA VINCI (1 in '12)
4...Vania King & Yaroslava Shvedova
4...Hsieh Su-Wei & Peng Shuai
**WTA TITLES WHILE AGE 18-or-Under - since 2007**
5...Caroline Wozniacki, 2008-09
2...Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, 2010-11
2...Agnieszka Radwanska, 2007
2...Agnes Szavay, 2007
1...TIMEA BABOS, 2012
1...Sorana Cirstea, 2008
1...Alize Cornet, 2008
1...Petra Kvitova, 2009
KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA (Int'l $220K/hardcourt outdoor)
11 Final: Dokic d. Safarova
11 Doubles Champions: Safina/Voskoboeva
12 Top Seeds: A.Radwanska/Jankovic
#1 A.Radwanska d. #7 Dokic
#2 Jankovic d. #3 Peng
#1 A.Radwanska d. #2 Jankovic
...Dokic would likely have a much more difficult road to the final (though she DID upset #1-seeded Schiavone in KL a year ago) this time around. Radwanska showed she could string together titles last year in Asia, so I'll stick with her a week after I "stole" (his words) Carl's pick of A-Rad last week after Azarenka pulled out.
ACAPULCO, MEXICO (Int'l $220K/red clay outdoor)
11 Final: Dulko d. Parra-Santonja
11 Doubles Champions: Koryttseva/Olaru
12 Top Seeds: Vinci//Pennetta
#3 Errani d. #8 Brianti
#4 Begu d. #2 Pennetta
#4 Begu d. #3 Errani
...one more try for the Swarmettes, as Begu (0-2 in career finals) tries to get over the proverbial hump.
[Editor's Note: Carl is currently on strike from his position in the "Carl Picks" segment, arguing that Todd should not always get first pick for the weekly champions. "Carl sick of it," was the only comment on the terse email Backspin HQ received last week. More news on this situation will be forwarded as it is received.]
(Editor rolls eyes)
All for now.