sunday (spooky) survey

robin-soderling-halloween

Happy Halloween, y’all! We hope you’re celebrating all weekend long!

If you’re dressing up for Halloween, send us your pics! We’d like to post our faves up, especially if they’re tennis-inspired. We’re thinking Robin Soderling as a Gladiator might be a good choice.

So we’re just wondering, what were YOU for Halloween?!

jankovic earned her fashion stripes

Not over yet: Serbian Jelena Jankovic could end her year on a high note — the rest of it hasn’t been the best (titles in Andalucia and Cincinnati; a finals appearance in Tokyo) — since she’s still jankovic earned her fashion stripesin the running for the 2009 Sony Ericsson Tour Championships, happening this week in Doha.

The tour’s final outing of 2009 brings out another outfit from the partnership between JJ and ANTA. This time, she let the fabric do the talking, staying away from complicated details and instead placing a monogram on the back of the pink wrap dress.

Scores: Jelena got shut down by Victoria Azarenka in their opening round robin, but rebounded with a win over Safina (well, Dinara withdrew with a back injury) and Caroline Wozniacki. In case you’re actually following the results…

(image via Getty)

elena’s little black dress

Elena Dementieva played in her eighth WTA Tour Championships — dating all the way back to 2000 — wearing a little black dress from Yonex. Way to show off those gams!

The Russian failed to make it out of the event’s round robin stage, winning her match against Venus Williams but losing to Serena and Kuznetsova.

Looking ahead: In the semis, Venus will play Jelena Jankovic and Serena will go up against Caroline Wozniacki. In doubles, the team of Cara Black/Liezel Huber will vie for a spot in the final, and Stosur/Stubbs will try to down the second-seeded Williams sisters. More: Scores here.

(image via Getty)

this is how you do it: doha edition

Tournament organizers in doubt about how to stage a draw ceremony can now use the 2009 SEWTA Tour Championships as a reference.

They dolled up the ladies, threw them in the Museum of Islamic Art, and snapped away. The results? Venus gets our vote for “Best Style”, Elena gets “Most Glam”, and we are all about Azarenka‘s big bow. (Is that you, Blake Lively?)

Who was your fave?

Up close: Pics of each lady after the cut.

[Read more…]

tgif: the wta does “most popular”

The WTA is a touring circus of high-school- and college-aged women. Fittingly, it’s ending the season yearbook style– with a voting of Most Popular on the tour.

The tour web site has launched a photo gallery of the “Top 20 Fan Favorites“. The gallery countdowns the 20 most popular players on the tour, according to the number of hits each player’s “re-launched page” has received.

While you’ll find familiar faces like Serena, Maria and Jelena in the Top 10, we were surprised at the number one billing, which went to US Open finalist Caroline Wozniacki. The likeable Dutch gal beat out Serena and Dinara Safina for top spot.

Meanwhile, Venus was not in the Top 10, landing at #11. Fellow American Melanie Oudin found herself at the sweet 16 position, though she recently turned the big 1-8 following her US Open run. Oudin is readying for her third Fed Cup appearance in next week’s final against Italy.

And it seems as though Sorana Cirstea’s unlucky fall continues. Or does it? She came in at #13, perhaps a sign to some  that the fall just hasn’t been kind to one of our tour faves. Or maybe, according to others, a turning of fortunes? We hope so. Cirstea went 0-6 to finish the year, winning just one set out of thirteen. She ends the year at number 43 in the world, after being ranked as high as 23rd in August.

short balls: andre admits, mary acts and dinara ditches

mary-wears-pearls

Doha Dust: The biggest news out of Doha today was that Dinara Safina withdrew from the event with a back injury. She was tied 1-1 in the first set with Jelena Jankovic when she pulled out, and now she is in doubt for the Australian Open in January. Let the debate begin… who had the more devastating end to the year: Safina or Ana Ivanovic? Too close to call.

Doha Dust (pt 2): The (good) news out of Doha today was the the Williams sisters put on another masterful show, Serena beating Venus 7-6 in the third set in what was a tense, tight battle, that included a saved match point. That ups Serena to 2-0 in round robin play, while Venus falls to 0-2 (she lost in three to Elena on day one).

Andre’s Book Deal is Crackin': There is plenty of buzz around the November 9th release of Andre Agassi’s autobiography, “Open: An Autobiography“. It was revealed yesterday that Agassi admits to using crystal meth in 1997 in the book, during the low point of his tennis career. It was also leaked today that the now-father talks of the abuse of his own dad. Gotta buy us a copy of that one, eh?

’10 Bucks: Things are looking good for the US Open come 2010. The year’s final Slam signed a partnership with the car company Mercedes-Benz to be the tournament’s presenting sponsor on the men’s side and the offish vehicle of the tourney. A lucrative deal like this one the Open struck with Mercedes is hard to come by these days, so a big thumbs up to the Flushing Meadows event and tennis in gengen. We’re so popular.

Mother Mary of the Silver Screen: The behind-the-camera maven was pleasantly hilarious in this mockumentary, which features comedian Paul Mecurio as a part of his web series for HBO Sports. “Our breasts would compromise our backswings.” Hil-ar, Mare. We loves it.

Good Angle: We also loved this writing, from TennisWeek.com this past week. Chris Oddo penned a lengthy piece on Juan Martin Del Potro being the tallest Grand Slam winner ever and how his rise to new heights might be a sign of bigger (and taller) things to come.

(screen grab via you tube.)

too soon?

maratsafin-thisisit

Is this really it? This fall the world will see the final performances of two very different showmen for two very different reasons. Because Halloween is a time to blur the line between good taste and bad and between reality and fiction, we bring you Marat Safin’s farewell tour. This Is It, folks. Whether we are talking about the King of Pop’s untimely demise or the end of Marat Safin’s supposedly unfilled career, we are all left with the same question: Too Soon?

(tsf illustration by troy venechanos)

sunday survey: your pick for doha

Another topsy, turvy WTA season has come to a close… well, almost. This coming week Doha will take place in all its glory, though it was recently voted by players as the 10th most important stop on the tour. Ouch. So much for that “5th Slam” status.

Last year’s finalist, the always-emotional Vera Zvonareva, was 9th in race points, and will miss an opportunity to play mind games with the high-ranking ladies of the tour the way she did a year ago (unless someone pulls out).

Speaking of possible puller-outers, Caroline Wozniacki will make her maiden appearance at the round-robin formatted stop, as will Victoria Azarenka. Dinara Safina arrives as the top points-winner, top seed and world number one, though it’s hard to imagine her confidence is bursting after the fall she’s had. Serena Williams is the number two seed, a position she usually thrives in.

So what do you think? Will Venus defend her crown? Can Serena end the year as number one in the world and win her first non-Slam tournament in 18 months? Will Caroline or Victoria surprise us all? Or do Jelena, Elena, Dinara or Sveta have what it takes to end their up-and-down seasons on a high note?

Leave your comment below and let us know just who you think will be the Doll of Doha.

Correction made 10/26.

tgif: doha already?! and two-faced funnies after the jump

Can you believe Doha starts next week?! We certainly can’t. The drama of the WTA has certainly followed the US Open; it seems this tour can’t live without it. Lasting just until the SECs are to begin, the drama lived on when another bizarre instance occurred in Luxembourg this week as Caroline Wozniacki pulled out of her first-round match leading 7-5, 5-0. Her reasoning? She was injured and wanted to let her opponent (hometown girl Anne Kremer) play in the next round, which Caro didn’t think she could do physically.

Good gesture, we say. Her reward? Accusations of throwing the match. Betfair politics. Tennis gambling. And an investigation, oh my! It also clunked her record to 3-4 since her inspiring run at Flushing Meadows. Ho hum.

Another US Open inspiree, Yanina Wickmayer, has had opposite fortunes since leaving NYC. She’s 6-1 on tour and is still in action in Luxembourg. A player to watch in 2010? We think so.

A writer we’re watching this week is Bobby Chintapalli, who penned the Doha preview for Peter Bodo’s TennisWorld. Not only did the BC come up with some solid and intriguing stats for the piece, we’re jealous of the made-up nickname used for the wave of Eastern European players of the WTA Tour: Mynameis Somethingpova.

Two snaps for Bobby, whose online writing profile says, “I love tennis. I love writing. I love cupcakes.” Well put BC, well put. Hungry now? Check out NYC’s “Best Cupcake” according to the Village Voice. 

And it wouldn’t be Friday without a little fun, this time in the form of a little Look-Alike action. Check the jump to see just who in tennis has a twin (or two) out there. [Read more…]