wta headshots: part 1

If you’ve ever paid a visit to the WTA Tour’s web site, you were sure to notice the vast array of headshots used in player profiles. Unlike the theatre world, the business world or even the APT’s site – where there’s a standard for what a headshot might look like – the WTA seems to have allowed the players to submit any picture they choose. ANY PICTURE! So, TSF introduces the WTA Headshots series. Here we’ll present headshots and predict where these pictures might have shown up otherwise, giving bios and pseudo news reports solely based on the images themselves… your guesses are welcome, too!

Picture 1Dinara Safina | Dinara has been selected Miss Pensacola Valley Mall 2009 by the Beautification Realization Team after a dazzling performance on the mall’s catwalk last weekend. Dressed in a ’70s-inspired purple blouse with floral pattern criss-crossing her top, Dinara danced to “Unwritten”, the Natasha Bedingfield hit for the talent portion. Her subtle purple eye shadow and well-put-together, straightened hair was a hit with Beautification Team member Cindy Sorwell. “I thought Dinara brought a presence to the pageant that no other girl had,” Sowell said. “And that smile… THAT SMILE! Simply sensational.” Local pageant officials are looking forward to Dinara’s appearance in the Greater Peach County’s Beauty Bonanza in August.

 

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trophy watch: kuznetsova clears her head (and her mantle) for a second slam title

Pretty in pink: Svetlana Kuznetsova remained subdued on Court Philippe Chatrier after Dinara Safina double-faulted and handed her the 2009 French Open singles title. It wasn’t worth it for Sveta to rub the lopsided 6-4, 6-2 match in the face of her friend, who currently holds the world No. 1 ranking.

Apart from playing a worthy opponent — Kuznetsova gave her her only loss in 21 matches from Stuttgart through the French — Safina was also battling the pressure of the top spot and her nerves. “I was a little bit desperate on the court,” said Safina, who appeared to be fighting tears late in the 74-minute match and during the on-court trophy presentation.

During Sveta’s speech, she made sure to thank her former posse in Barcelona, who’ve since been replaced by a Moscow-based team headed by coach Larisa Savchenko. And in her post-match interview with Mary Carillo, she talked (like a seasoned veteran) about how a newfound outlook on her life has made her a better player. It has pretty much taken her five years to turn this around, and it has carried her to this, her second slam title. The biggest test of this new Kuznetsova is whether she can take this momentum into New York and win a second U.S. Open title.

Bonus round: Six-time French Open singles title winner Steffi Graf was on hand to present Sveta and Safina with their wares.

(images via Getty Images)

trophy watch: estoril, serbia, and roma

One less salute: Fourth seed Tomas Berdych topped Mikhail Youzhny 6-4, 4-6, 7-6 (5) in the final of the BMW Open in Munich. Tomas took home a Z4 Roadster along with two business class tickets from South African Airways and €71,700.

Blake falls down the Montanes: Spaniard Albert Montanes won the Portuguese bullfight against American James Blake 5-7, 7-6 (6), 6-0. Didn’t help that James was wearing red Fila during the week-long event in Estoril. On the women’s side, Yanina Wickmayer took the title by beating Ekaterina Makarova 7-5, 6-2.

Safina makes it real: In Rome, Dinara Safina proved to the world that her No. 1 ranking is legit by defeating former No. 1 Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-3, 6-2 in the final.

He kinda had to: Over in Belgrade, Novak Djokovic‘s inaugural Serbian Open (formerly the ABN AMRO) turned out to be quite a success. Over 70,000 spectators saw him beat lucky loser Lukasz Kubot; the Polish player took out seeds Igor Andreev and Ivo Karlovic en route to the final.

charmed, i’m sure

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I’ve got to be honest: I never would have thought that the Jelena making the quarterfinals of the 2009 Australian Open would be Dokic and not Jankovic.

The Yugoslav-born Australian, who received a wildcard after winning a qualifying event, has become the Cinderella story of this tournament. She overcame years of depression, injuries, and emotional abuse from her father to reach the final eight. Her scalps along the way: Anna Chakvetadze, Caroline Wozniacki, and Alisa Kleybanova (who took out Ana Ivanovic).

The high-quality fourth-round match between Kleybanova and Dokic ended with a 7-5, 5-7, 8-6 scoreline. She next faces Dinara Safina, who held off two match points to win over 19-year-old Alize Cornet 6-2, 2-6, 7-5. (Cornet had match points serving 5-3 in the third set.)

Lucky charms: Dokic will need all the luck she can get. She’s been pushed to three sets for all her matches so far, and rolled her ankle in the third set against Kleybanova. Will she one of the last women standing at Saturday’s final?

(image via Getty Images)

it’s a wrap: adidas’ women’s competition line, s/s ’09

adidas-competitionw-winter09

Not a surprise, but the spring/summer 2009 adidas women’s competition line keeps low-key, staying with that bumblebee shade that we’ve been trying to expunge from the tennis palette for two years (Yonex is keeping adidas company during this sit-in).

The bright yellow is broken up by black lines around the back of both the tank and the cap sleeve top, while the standard three-stripe detail makes an appearance on the sleeve of the latter.

adidas-competitionw-winter09b

There’s a diamond in the rough, though: continuing with the Asian-inspired Australian Open top, adidas has produced this red mock wrap cap sleeve tee to kick of its players’ 2009 campaign. (With Anna Chakvetadze defecting to Fila, Dinara Safina and Patty Schnyder will be the highest-ranked women playing in these pieces.)

Buy: adidas Competition Tank and Cap Sleeve Top, neon yellow/black, starting at $45; Competition Skort, white, $45; all items available at shopadidas.com in January 2009.

ladies, adidas has your back

The petal dress that was supposed to be the cornerstone of the adidas Fal women’s line didn’t quite do its thing, being eschewed by Ana Ivanovic in favor of the Edge Group separates. (And even those who have worn the dress, like upstart Caroline Wozniacki, haven’t looked too hot in it.)

In a sea of style points, the company still gets buoyed by the flowy boatneck Edge top, and the bubble skirt and mandarin collars of past collections, so instead of focusing on the negative, we’d like to point out the lovely keyhole detail on the back of the Fall Competition Tank, these days worn by Dinara Safina. (The contrast trim keeps going, even when covered by another layer of fabric!)

And the Competition hoodie pushes feminine boundaries with its deep v-neck and wide ribbed cuffs, while the Fall Court Knit Jacket’s high collar brings high style to performance wear.

Sore Safina: Congrats to Marat‘s younger sis, who reached a career-high No. 2 in the WTA rankings this week after reaching the semis of the 2008 Kremlin Cup (among other great achievements this year). She is the highest-ranked player in adidas, followed by Ana Ivanovic.

After her loss on Saturday, Dinara spoke out against the rescheduled WTA schedule, which forces top players into mandatory events and leaving them with less flexibility to participate in smaller events with significance to them (e.g., hometown tournaments).

Buy: adidas Fall Competition Tank, Mono Pink/White, $37.99; Fall Competition Hoodie, $54.99; Fall Court Knit Jacket, $49.99.

trophy watch: while the men are away, the russian women take names

The Russian men might be bamboozling their opponents down in Argentina, but the women mean serious business. Dinara Safina has beaten Svetlana Kuznetsova in all their 2008 meetings, including the 2008 final of the Toray Pan Pacific Open in Tokyo. The score: 6-1, 6-3.

In doubles, Nadia Petrova teamed with Vania King to win over Lisa Raymond and Sam Stosur 6-1, 6-4.

Across the Sea of Japan, Vera Zvonareva took down local Peng Shuai 6-7 (4), 6-0, 6-2 at the Guangzhou Open. This is Vera’s second title, after taking Prague earlier this year.

(photos by Getty Images)

olympics: adidas standard issue + country kits

Here’s a look at the black and white Olympics standard issue by adidas that we wrote about last week. Thankfully, the kits they’ve provided individual federations are much more colorful. Here are three below:

Andy Murray put aside his Fred Perry to wear the uniform provided by the LTA.

And the French team showed off a variety of pieces, including this polo on Michael Llodra

…this tank on Gael Monfils

…and the women’s separates on Pauline Parmentier.

And Chris Guccione and the rest of the Australians get a version in their national sports colors: green and yellow.

(images by Getty Images)

ana’s firsts: a no. 1 ranking and a grand slam title

Ana Ivanovic did one better than last year’s Roland Garros performance — when she won only three games against Justine Henin — by denying Dinara Safina another come-from-match-point-down performance. She shut out the Russian, who was also vying for her first Grand Slam, with the 6-4, 6-3 win.

Henin, who would’ve taken this whole thing had she not retired 24 days prior to the final, was on hand to pass the baton to Ana. The Serb earned the No. 1 spot as of yesterday’s rankings and becomes the first woman to win a title for Serbia (following Nenad Zimonjic as the first Serb ever to win a GS title and Nole Djokovic as the first singles winner).

(photos by Getty Images)

why ana’s coach is not sitting in her player’s box

Ok, stop staring at Justine Henin‘s cold sore and look over at Ana Ivanovic‘s player’s box. That’s right — there is no sign of her coach, Sven Groeneveld, hanging out next to her family. He’s been asked by adidas to stay neutral in this match because of his involvement in the company’s Player Development program (which both Dinara Safina and Ivanovic participate in).

The initiative, started in 2006, offers a unique mix of advice and support to both junior and senior players, from coaching tips to hitting partners to nutritional and career management plans. Other pros currently in its stable are Sam Querrey and Sania Mirza. Gil Reyes helps out with off-court training.