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Petra Kvitova Proves When You’re Hot, You’re Hot in the Latest Women’s Power Ranking 12

Posted on October 31, 2011 by JA Allen

Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic wins in Istanbul.

From the beginning, 2011 made its mark as the “Year of Injuries” for the top-ranked women in tennis.

Serena Williams, who cut her foot on broken glass after the 2010 Wimbledon Tournament, was out of tennis for most of the year.

Sister Venus Williams also suffered from illness and injury throughout 2011.

Kim Clijsters, who won the 2011 Australian Open over Li Na of China, sprained her ankle and never was able to compete fully after April of this year.

Justine Henin retired for the second and last time in January of 2011 after further injuring her elbow at the Australian Open. It was the same elbow she injured in a fall at Wimbledon in 2010.

For the most part the old guard was disappearing, it seemed, in the blink of an eye. That meant new champions would emerge.

Therefore, 2011 quickly evolved into the “Year of the Newcomers” in women’s tennis.

Li Na won the 2011 French Open, to claim her first major title.

Petra Kvitova, barely 21, won the 2011 Wimbledon title, defeating former champion Maria Sharapova in the final—even though the Williams sisters were competing once again.

Samantha Stosur finally won her first major at the US Open defeating Serena Williams in a brilliant display of tennis acumen and nerve.

The 2011 season culminated in Istanbul at the TEB BNP Paribas WTA Championships where the elite eight women met to battle for the final title of the season.

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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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Tennis Power Rankings: Kim Clijsters Holds the Aussie Trophy and the Top Spot 3

Posted on February 01, 2011 by JA Allen

Kim Clijsters of Belgium won the 2011 Australian Open title defeating Ni La of China.The 2011 Australian Open’s evolving storyline for the ladies never ceased as one drama after another unfolded both on and off court.

First and foremost, Serena Williams, defending champion, still injured, decided to withdraw before the tournament Down Under got underway.

Sister Venus Williams hobbled briefly into Melbourne, eliminated when she could no longer move. At that point, the elder Williams retired in the third round against up-and-comer German Andrea Petkovic.

Svetlana Kuznetsova entertained all with the most thrilling matches of the tournament. The newly svelte Russian held on to defeat Justine Henin in the third round 6-4, 7-6.

Subsequently, Henin announced her second permanent retirement from professional tennis.

But the best match of the tournament followed in the fourth round as Kuznetsova met the feisty Italian Francesca Schiavone.  The two veterans battled for four hours and 44 minutes making it the longest women’s match ever.

It ended with Schiavone winning 6-4, 1-6, 16-14.

The Italian, however, had nothing left when she met the No. 1 seed Caroline Wozniacki in the quarterfinals.

The tournament ended with the crowning of Aussie Kim—her first championship in Melbourne.

The seasoned professionals, for the most part continued to give way to a new wave of hard-hitting ball-strikers working their way up the ranking.

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Australian Open 2011: Clijsters? Wozniacki? Who Will Win Down Under? 5

Posted on January 16, 2011 by JA Allen

Caroline Wozniacki is the new World No. 1 in womens tennis.

It is redundant to repeat that the women’s field in Melbourne is wide open.  This is because the 2010 defending Australian Open Champion Serena Williams is not competing,

The media has already taken a big bite out of the No. 1 seed, Caroline Wozniacki, finding her lacking in seasoning, flavor and a coup d’etat at any major.

Previously, the pundits did the same thing to Jelena Jankovic and Dinara Safina, hounding these ladies, driving them out of range of reaching that ranking again.

Wozniacki, however, is not quite as fragile or as susceptible to harsh, self-centered commentator remarks. Of course, the No. 1 seed wants to capture this title and will do everything in her power to win her first slam.

What everyone seems to overlook is that Wozniacki is 20 years old and her game is still evolving. Just as Nadal starting winning on one surface then improved his game to win on all surfaces over time––Wozniacki has not yet perfected her game.

The No. 1 seed is certainly not the favorite to win.  Belgians Kim Clijsters and Justine Henin are.

Most feel Venus Williams has not played enough good tennis in preparation for the Australian Open to win. Maria Sharapova, they feel, is also not in top form and perhaps never will be again.

Many look at Samantha Stosur to break through at home and win her first major. That would, indeed, please the natives.

In order for Wozniacki to win, she would have to play perfect tennis for two weeks, serving well plus out-hustling any player standing across the net.  The question is––can Wozniacki do it?

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Nadal Closes the Gap on Federer: 10 Bold Tennis Predictions for 2011 2

Posted on January 07, 2011 by JA Allen

Nadal prepares another run at Federer records in 2011.

The 2011 tennis season is under way, and already the tennis world has zeroed in on the biggest game in town—potential showdowns between the No. 1 and No. 2-ranked players in the world, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer respectively.

They are both facing some stiff competition in Doha at the Qatar ExxonMobil Open as the final eight head into quarterfinal action.

With the return to action of Juan Martin del Potro and the constant presence of Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray, the rampant speculation about 2011 continues for the men.

For the ladies, the strange absence of the Williams sisters on tour leaves many questions about who will rise up and seize this season by the throat early on.

New No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki has yet to win a major. Will she this year? If she falters and fails, who might secure the No. 1 ranking?

The women’s game remains wide open until or if the Williams sisters return.

This brings us to 2011 and our top 10 predictions for the upcoming season.

No. 1: Someone other than Rafael Nadal or Roger Federer will win a major this year.

Will Novak Djokovic capture his second Slam trophy?

It is time for one of the top 10 to break the stranglehold and take away a major trophy.

Marat Safin won one in 2005 at the Australian Open, Novak Djokovic also won at the Australian Open in 2008 and Juan Martin del Potro denied Federer his sixth consecutive US Open title by taking it for himself in 2009.

But either Federer or Nadal has won the Wimbledon championship since 2003. Similarly, either Nadal or Federer has won the French Open since 2005.

Usual Suspects

World No. 3 Novak Djokovic

The Serb won the Australian Open in 2008, defeating Federer in the semifinals and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the finals. Since then, Djokovic has appeared in the semifinals of the French in 2007 and 2008, the semifinals of Wimbledon in 2007 and 2010 and the finals of the US Open in 2007 and 2010. Hard courts seem to be his best surface. A repeat down under?

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      December 15, 2019 | 3:07 pm
      George Blanda

      The Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month had two separate careers in pro football that combined to make him one of the legendary players of his era (or eras).

      George Blanda, who played a record 26 years in professional football and didn’t retire from the NFL until the age of 48, is best remembered for his nine-year stint as the crusty old kicker and miracle maker for the Oakland Raiders of the late 1960s and early 1970s. However, his career transcended generations and connected legends.

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