kit count: australian open women’s QFs

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The Women’s QF draw at the 2013 Australian Open: adidas (6), Nike (4), Lotto (2), and 1 each for Under ArmourFilaLacoste, and Qiaodan.

Breakdown: See the complete list after the cut…

wta yec: armchair commentary, day four

By Matt Trollope

UPDATE: Kvitova is already into the semis with a 5-7 6-3 6-3 win over Stosur. Who said the ladies’ season ender had to be a bust? (AP)

Stat of the day: A lot was made of the H2H records involving Sam Stosur entering the tournament — 0-9 against Maria Sharapova, 0-4 against Victoria Azarenka, yet 5-0 against against Li Na. Playing the Chinese player in Istanbul, Stosur improved that to 6-0, with a demoralizing 6-1 6-0 win handing Li her heaviest professional loss in five-and-a-half years. Stosur has only ever dropped one set against Li in her career, and thanks to the victory, now takes her place in the semifinals in Istanbul.

Typical WTA moment: Women’s tennis is never short of drama, with cat-fights, tears, and the grunting issue among its many facets. Controversial figures have also been a mainstay — how many times have we seen crowds in the past turn on Venus and Serena, Sharapova, Henin and Hingis? Today it was Vika’s turn. The Belorussian has never made a habit of trying to please people — her shrieking being a prime example — and today was no different. Already having qualified for the semifinals, she appeared to tank in the final set of her last round-robin match against alternate Marion Bartoli, gave the Frenchwoman a poor handshake, and was booed off the court at the Sinan Erdem Arena.

Startling admission: All Agnieszka Radwanska had to do was win a set in her match against Petra Kvitova to qualify for the semifinals, and leading 5-1 in the opening set, it appeared she was on track. But Kvitova improved her level, took the set in a tiebreak, and ran out a 7-6(4) 6-3 winner. “Even when I was 5-1 up in the first set, to be honest, I didn’t feel I was close to win[ning] the set,” Aga said following the match. That’s (a lack of) confidence right there. The result allowed Vera Zvonareva to progress to the semis, and despite Vera owning a mediocre 1-2 win-loss record this week, her overall game-winning percentage proved better than the Pole’s.

Thought for today/tomorrow: Can anybody stop the Kvitova juggernaut? The Czech is the only player to go undefeated in Istanbul — she hasn’t dropped a set — and enters her semifinal against Stosur with a 2-0 winning record over the Australian. A final against Azarenka seems to be looming.

Flashback: We know some of you have been nostalgic for classic women’s tennis this week, so why not a little taste of it from the Chase Championships in 1996. Steffi Graf beat Martina Hingis in one of the few five-set encounters in women’s tennis history, 6-3 4-6 6-0 4-6 6-0. Cheers, ladies!

Matt Trollope began covering tennis in 2008, a natural extension of his childhood obsession for the game that included hitting for countless hours against his bedroom wall and self-producing and editing a fictitious tennis magazine. Based in Melbourne, he has covered four Australian Opens and one Wimbledon championship, and his tennis writing has featured in Australian Tennis Magazine, the Australian Open Official Program, and Alpha Magazine.

statology: runnings the #s on the wta sec field

By Christopher Phillips 


Maria is rearin’ to go.
(Getty Image)

Who said the numbers don’t matter?
TSF’s resident bracketologist, Chris Phillips, has run the numbers on the upcoming WTA Season Ending Championships to try to shed some light on just what, exactly, may come of the tennis being played in Istanbul. Will Caroline crumble on the pressure? Is Maria meant to be an afterthought for the rest of her carry? Chris carries the 3’s and breaks down the head-to-heads to help us understand.1. Lay off, will ya? Despite all the crap on Caroline Wozniacki not doing well at the Slams, she has the second most points of all the players accumulated at Slams with 3240 point accumulated. That puts her behind Li Na with 3505 — pretty much all from Australia & Roland Garros). Wozniacki maybe hasn’t won one, but she’s definitely the most consistent at them.  The next closest is Petra Kvitova (2785), and then Maria Sharapova(2740).2. Dark horses in a field of eight? Agnieszka Radwanska and Victoria Azarenka are clearly the players to beat this fall. Aggie is 11-1, winning Tokyo and Beijing and perhaps serendipitously losing in her opener against Lucie Safarova in Moscow. Vika is 9-2, winning last week in Luxembourg.

3. H2Hs m-a-t-t-e-r. Kvitova has the best record against the rest of the field (8-4) followed by Sharapova (7-5). The worst? Azarenka (4-8).

4. Play it, girl. Vera Zvonareva has the most matches against the field with 14 meaning … she’s generally the most consistent out of everyone? It’s hard to say exactly what it means, but Vera’s consistency has helped pay off in the past. Perhaps she can conjure up a big title in Istanbul.

5. A new No. 1? Wozniacki is 1025 points ahead of Sharapova, 1425 ahead of Kvitova and 1805 ahead of Azarenka.  1500 points go to the tournament winner if they don’t lose a round robin match. That means that Sharapova and Kvitova are the only players with a chance of finishing 2011 No. 1.  All Wozniacki has to do is play two round robin matches and Kvitova is out of the running for the top spot. If Sharapova wins the title and Wozniacki fails to make it to the semifinals, Maria is your new No. 1.

6. Li Nahasn’t beat a top 10 player since the French Open. And all five of her wins over the field came from the Australian and Roland Garros.

7. Playing indoors could give Sam Stosur and her booming serve an edge. And she won’t need to worry about Maria Kirilenko.

8. Apart from Auckland and Stanford, Sharapova has only played the Slams and Premier tournaments. She is the only player in the field to win at least one match at every tournament she entered – everyone else had one first-round loss (or second-round loss if receiving a bye).

Chris’ picks: Red Group
1. Kvitova 3-0 2. Wozniacki 1-2 (def. Zvonareva) 3. Radwanska 1-2 (def. Wozniacki) 4. Zvonareva 1-2 (def. Radwanska)
With a three-way tie for second, I’d give the final spot to Wozniacki.
White Group
1. Sharapova 2-1 (lost to Azarenka) 2. Azarenka 2-1 (lost to Stosur) 3. Stosur 2-1 (lost to Sharapova) 4. Li Na 0-3
With a three-way tie for first, I’d give the SF spots to Sharapova and Azarenka.
Semifinals: Kvitova def. Azarenka and Sharapova def. Wozniacki
Finals: Kvitova def. Sharapova
***Wildcard?! Sharapova’s ankle. Chris says: If she doesn’t finish RR then that gives Azarenka and Stosur a good chance to get in there. 

After the jump: Chris breaks down the ladies number by number to give you a clear head on what might/could/should happen. Hey, it’s the WTA!

trophy watch: winners, coast-to-coast

How are these for awkward? If last week was the week of the amazingly awkward trophies, this week it’s the humans who take their turn at awkwardness. We love the trio above, as finalist Gael Monfils and winner Radek Stepanek pose with a parks official after their Legg Mason Classic title match. Stepanek upset Monfils, the top seed, 6-4 6-4. Meanwhile, below, Agnieszka Radwanska and Vera Zvonareva look o-v-e-r it in San Diego following Radwanska’s 6-3 6-4 win over Vera at the Mercury Insurance Open. Are these two friends? We can’t tell. But oy! Isn’t Aggie’s bandage an ugly sight?

Oops! He did it again. Stepanek celebrates another US Open Series title with “The Worm”

(Images via Getty)

sunday survey: week 1’s wackiest?

Week one of the Australian Open is over and done with: seven days of play down, seven to go. But there were seven instances out of the tennis norm that caught our eye, and we’re wondering for today’s Sunday Survey: which moment was the wackiest? Choose in the survey below. And if you’re not sure what we’re referencing, check out videos on each occurrence after the jump.

Click here for a video vault on all seven moments. [Read more…]

aga’s trick shot (and this one’s for real)

Remember that Roger Federer trick shot (no, not that one) where he’s goofing off in between takes for a Gillette commercial? In case you’re still wondering, it was, uhm, digitally enhanced.

If you want to see what tennis players can actually do with a tennis ball, see this video shot by the WTA with Agnieszka Radwanksa on a windy day in Montreal (for the Rogers Cup).

Draw: At the US Open, the ninth-seeded Aga lost to Shuai Peng in the second round. Meanwhile, Bepa’s up a set against Caro in the semifinals. We’re gunning for Wozniacki on this one…

(screengrab via youtube)

trophy watch: kerchiefs, gang signs, pearl studs, and gold crosses

Moscow, represent: Russian Svetlana Kuznetsova bagged her first title since tearing it up on the clay courts in early 2009 (with titles in Stuttgart and Roland Garros) by defeating Agnieszka Radwanska in the final of the China Open. Not sure if it’s this new positive aura of hers, but she was lookin’ damn good in the cap-sleeve top from Fila‘s fall Heritage collection. (Buy: $38.99 at TW)

Nole, unveiled: Were we really surprised that there was a Serbian striptease after Novak Djokovic won the men’s singles title at the China Open? He took out Marin Cilic 6-2, 7-6 (4) in a rain-addled final. Nole now has three titles (Dubai and Serbia Open); he heads Shanghai to take part in the Shanghai Masters tourney (this week).

If you know what’s going on with the bandana wrapped around their wrists, hit me up.

Stud, studded: Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and his pearl studs were no match for Mikhail Youzhny in the Japan Open. The Frenchman won 6-3, 6-3. Props to Youzhny, though, who beat Gilles Simon, Tomas Berdych, and Lleyton Hewitt on his way to the final. That one-handed backhand was smokin’!

Seal of approval: That chinese name stamp the China Open tourney organizers gave to Marat Safin after his swan song in Beijing was a cool concept.

wozniak outmatched by serena, in play and style

Canadian Aleksandra Wozniak was no match for Serena Williams — both in game and in style — during a fourth-round encounter at the 2009 French Open.

Serena easily won 6-1, 6-2. And in the accessories department, Wozniak’s Chanel logo studs were no match for the jewelry worn by the No. 2 seed.

This was less controversial match for Serena, who called out her previous opponent, Maria Martinez Sanchez, as a cheat. Serena alleges that Martinez Sanchez got hit by a ball before it sailed out, which should’ve given the point to Serena. Instead, the ump awarded the point to Martinez Sanchez. Serena, who won anyway, made a stink about it in her presser. We hope Serena was right, otherwise all the fracas was just a big whiny waste of time.

Up next for Serena is Svetlana Kuznetsova, who beat Agnieszka Radwanska.

(image via Getty Images)

Trophy Watch: Warm-ups wrap up

Even though most of the ATP and WTA tours have already flocked to Paris for the French Open (which started on a Sunday this year), there were still titles contested in some nearby warm-up tournaments.

Kolya announces his intentions to challenge Rafa and Roger for the French Open title with his win over Juan Monaco (6-2 2-6 6-2) in Poertschach, Austria.

Monaco failed to defend his title from last year. Nikolay was bothered by a thigh injury (he had to have it taped), but assured the press that it wouldn’t affect his play in Paris.

Robin Soderling, Robert Lindstedt, Thomas Johansson, and coach Peter Carlsson pose with their hardware after taking out the Russian tennis team (of Dmitry Tursunov, Igor Andreev, and Mikhail Youzhny 2-1 in the ARAG ATP tennis World Team Cup in Dusseldorf.

Anabel Medina-Garrigues shows off her trophy (from Baccarat) after winning the Strasbourg International against Katarina Srebotnik. Scoreline: 4-6 7-6 6-0.

23-year-old Gilles Simon beat countryman Julien Benneteau 7-5, 6-2 at the Grand Prix Hassan II in Casablanca, Morocco.

And Agnieszka Radwanska became the first Polish woman to crack $1 million in career earnings after winning the Istanbul Open over Elena Dementieva. Agnieszka beat the Russian 6-3, 6-2.

(photos by Getty Images)

Istanbul 2.0

This year’s Istanbul Open had a much better photo shoot than last year’s (remember the mismatched outfits?). Nadia Petrova and Agnieszka Radwanska join Elena Dementieva on the best-dressed list; the shoot took place in the Ottoman-era Dolmabahce Palace in the Turkish city.

More: Read more about the palace here.

(photos by Getty Images)