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Women’s Tennis Power Rankings: Queen Victoria Azarkena Reigns after Miami 5

Posted on April 08, 2011 by Ronger Fengerer

Victoria Azarenka won the women's championship in Miami.

Since the conclusion of the first major of the year—the Australian Open—there has been 11 tournaments and ten winners on the WTA tour. The only double-titlist? Caroline Wozniacki, the current world No. 1.

These Power Rankings focus more on the recent tournaments, aiming to give a measure of form rather than overall ability. In the current case, results from the last two Premier Mandatory events at Miami and Indian Wells will largely decide the rankings.

However, that won’t do justice to many titlists who aren’t featured in the power rankings.

Here’s a quick list of honorable-mentions:

Petra Kvitova won her second title of the year at Paris, also triumphing at Brisbane at the begging of the season. She subsequently rose to a career-high ranking of No. 14. However, she was unable to keep her momentum going, winning only one out of her next five matches.

Daniela Hantuchova won the Pattaya City title without dropping a set. Before that, she had lost all four of her matches of the season, including a first-round exit at Melbourne. Since then she has suffered two more first-round defeats. The talented Slovakian is competing at the clay-court event at Charleston this week.

Magdalena Rybarikova, another Slovakian currently ranked No. 69 in the world, won the Memphis title back in February, only her second career-title. In her first tour-level match since then, she lost in the first-round at Charleston this week.

Lourdes Dominguez Lino is a 30-year-old veteran from Spain, currently ranked No. 46 in the world. She won the clay-court event at Bogota in February, also winning there in 2006. In fact, those are her only two career-titles. She lost in the second-round at Marbella this week.

Gisela Dulko won the clay-court event at Acapulco, her first singles title in three years, though she is the current No. 1 in doubles. She did not have much success on the hard-courts, suffering three first-round exits already. Maybe the clay season will do her some good.

Jelena Dokic was the surprise winner at Kuala Lumpur, beating Francesca Schiavone in the first-round. It was her first title since 2002. Unfortunately for the former world No. 4, she also lost in the first-round at Charleston this week.

Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova successfully defended her title at Monterey this year. She won her first career-title there last year. She reached her career-high ranking of No. 14 after a third-round effort at Melbourne. She is the youngest player in the top 50 and should have a very successful career.

Without further ado, here is this week’s top ten list.

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A Decade of Tennis Divas: The Last 10 Lady Champions at Indian Wells 14

Posted on March 05, 2011 by JA Allen

The tournament at Indian Wells gets underway on Monday March 7.

The BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells gets underway starting March 7.

It is easy to see that the 36-year old tournament has grown into a major attraction for tennis fans in this country as the stands and grounds become packed with spectators each year when March rolls around.

Some tennis aficionados have grown so enamored with the annual event they now call it California’s version of a fifth major.

This year’s Masters Series 1000 Tournament, whose inaugural event took place in 1976, is now held annually at the Indian Wells Tennis Gardens after several location changes during its history.

It features both a men’s and a women’s draw with the top players attending, hoping to add this prestigious title to their respective resumes.

For the ladies field, the tournament gradually evolved into a top tier event. In the beginning it was non-sanctioned. It became, however, an official WTA Tour event in 1991.

Initially the women’s tournament preceded the men’s but in 1996 tournament sponsors along with the WTA and ATP decided to hold both competitions concurrently.

Unlike the men, the women have no player who has won this tournament three times.

In the women’s competition, however, seven players have won the tournament twice—Daniela Hantuchova 2002 and 2007, Kim Clijsters 2003 and 2005, Serena Williams 1999 and 2001, Lindsay Davenport 1997 and 2000, Steffi Graf 1994 and 1996, Mary Jo Fernandez 1993 and 1995 and Martina Navratilova 1990-1991.

Who will add to these totals in 2011?

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Women’s Top Seeds All in Action Monday at Wimbledon 3

Posted on June 26, 2010 by JA Allen

All of the women's top seeds will be action on Monday in the Round of 16 at Wimbledon.

If you have any plans for Monday, put them aside because the ladies at Wimbledon have set a most appetizing table to lure you to their courts, away from the normal more masculine fare.  To call it “Blockbuster Monday,” is to minimize its significance.

The match-ups are staggering, some significant enough to rate as “finals” in most years.  The ladies round of sixteen at Wimbledon, unfortunately, will be blended with the gentlemen’s.  As is too often the case, the ladies will no doubt be overshadowed by their male counterparts since the media selects what will be covered.  This is not meant to discount the men, but the scope of the ladies’ matches is beyond comprehension.

Here are the matches you need to witness front and center:

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The French Open 2010: Punchlines and Pundits … 3

Posted on May 30, 2010 by JA Allen

The Tennis Channel as well as ESPN and NBC offer coverage of the 2010 French Open

In case you have not been paying close attention, the French Open is underway at Stade Roland Garros in Paris. This event, like most tennis majors, is best seen live—which only goes to prove that you must have money to follow tennis as a dedicated and deserving fan.

The predictable patter emanating from broadcast booths follows a familiar pattern, filling the airwaves with online personalities making their typical forecasts and touting the usual analysis replete with the most probable winners.  We watch on our tiny screens as the same top-seeded players go through their paces, generally walloping their lower seeded opponents in the early rounds.

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Indian Wells Turns into Upset City for Top WTA Players 4

Posted on March 16, 2010 by JA Allen
Maria Sharapova loses to Zheng Jie of China at Indian Wells tournament.

Maria Sharapova loses to Zheng Jie of China at Indian Wells tournament.

Justine Henin goes down to defeat in straight sets in her second round match! Top-seeded Svetlana Kuznetsova loses her opening salvo!  Feisty Chinese player Jie Zheng clobbers favored Maria Sharapova!

Kim Clijsters is sent packing by Alisa Kleybanova in a 3rd round thriller!  Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez ousts the No. 3 seed Victoria Azarenka!

It is like watching the air burst from a balloon, allowing the deflating latex to spiral around the room once in a final spurt of glory before coming to land limp and lifeless on the turf.

So go the WTA’s top seeds as well as those “come-back” players expected to win at the BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells.

To set the proper mood for this much-anticipated Masters Series event, top-ranked Serena and Venus Williams boycotted the tournament for the ninth consecutive year. Dinara Safina pulled out early with a persistent back injury.  That propelled world No. 3 Svetlana Kuznetsova into the top spot as the No. 1 seed as action got underway.

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Maria Sharapova: Answer to a Prayer? 5

Posted on August 11, 2009 by JA Allen
Is Maria Sharapova what the women's tennis game needs?

Is Maria Sharapova what the women's tennis game needs?

Tennis superstar Maria Sharapova is the perfect solution to the dilemma in the women’s game today.  The tour has never stabilized since Justine Henin stepped down in May of 2008.  Henin held the No. 1 ranking for a total of 117 weeks.

With Henin’s abrupt departure, Maria Sharapova assumed the No. 1 ranking for three weeks prior to the 2008 French Open; then Ana Ivanovic held it for nine weeks after winning the French Open for the first time.

Unfortunately, Ivanovic could not keep it and Jelena Jankovic captured it for one week; then, Ivanovic took back the No. 1 ranking for another three weeks, only to lose it when Serena Williams took over and held it for four weeks after winning the U.S. Open.  Finally, Jelena Jankovic recaptured the No. 1 spot and held it for another 17 weeks.

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  • Vintage Athlete of the Month

    • Rocky Colavito: Super Slugger
      March 30, 2020 | 7:24 pm
      Rocky Colavito

      The Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month was just the fifth player in Major League Baseball history to have 11 straight seasons with 20 or more home runs, yet could not sustain that greatness long enough to earn a spot in the Baseball Hall of Fame.

      In some sense, the legend of Rocco “Rocky” Colavito Jr. began long before he ever started pounding home runs at the major league level.

      Born and raised as a New York Yankees fan in The Bronx, Colavito was playing semipro baseball before he was a teenager and dropped out of high school at 16 after his sophomore year to pursue a professional career. The major league rule at the time said a player could not sign with a pro team until his high school class graduated, but after sitting out for one year, Colavito was allowed to sign at age 17.

      Read more »

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