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Rome Masters Produces Another Leftie Champion: The Stunning María José 0

Posted on May 11, 2010 by Marianne Bevis
Sports News - May 08, 2010

María José Martinez Sanchez, that is, the new women’s champion of Rome. And yes, she also happens to be Spanish,  just like the male champion last week.

It’s another of those heart-warming stories that has pervaded the tennis tour in 2010.

It’s up there with Ivan Ljubicic winning his first Masters event at 31.

Or Andy Roddick reaching back-to-back Masters finals on home soil, and winning one of them, Miami, for the first time at 27.

Or Justine Henin taking the Premier title in Stuttgart just four months after her return from retirement.

Or Juan Carlos Ferrero, aged 30, reaching three consecutive finals and his highest ranking since 2004.

For the lovely Martinez Sanchez is now 27, and has just won is her first singles Premier title.

Although she had won two titles before this, both on clay, they were at International level—Bogota and Bastad in 2009. So Rome is a truly break-through moment for her. Read the rest of this entry →

World No1s Roger Federer and Serena Williams Top Rome Draws 3

Posted on April 18, 2010 by Marianne Bevis
Charity tennis exhibition organised for the victims of the Haiti earthquake before the Australian Open tennis

Roger Federer and Serena Williams bestride their respective tennis worlds rather as Everest and K2 dominate the Himalayas.

They may be just two amongst many world-beating champions, yet they remain the standard against which those others are measured.

They can be conquered by the fittest, most ambitious, most determined of individuals, just as those two mighty mountains can, but they remain head and shoulders above the rest. The rankings say it all.

Williams has topped the women’s tour since November 2009 and is currently more than 1,500 points clear of the field. Federer has topped the ATP rankings since Wimbledon 2009 and currently towers over the chasing pack by more than 3,000 points.

This is all the more striking because the two No.1s of tennis have been notable by their absence since they both reasserted their superiority over the competition on the Grand Slam stage of the Australian Open.

Take Williams. Though she is clear of the chasing pack in the rankings, she has played eight fewer tournaments in the last 12 months than the second placed Caroline Wozniacki: just 16 events. In fact only one other player in the top 20 has played fewer than Williams, and that is Kim Clijsters, who only rejoined the tour last August.

Even more remarkable, though, is that Williams has played just two tournaments this year, reaching the finals in Sydney and winning in the Australian Open. That’s just 11 matches, ten of them wins. She did add some court time to her year by playing—and winning—the doubles in Melbourne as well. But since then, she has been laid low by a knee injury, so has not played a single match since the end of January.

Then last week, Williams pulled out of the Premier event in Charleston. She was not scheduled to play at Rome either, but the good news is that she just announced she has taken a wild-card entry for the Italian Open after all.

The return will be intriguing. How will her fitness be after three months with no match-play? Will she be prepared for the sudden transition to clay after her intensive fortnight in Melbourne brought the curtain down on her hard court season? Read the rest of this entry →

Kim Clijsters and Venus Williams Battle For Supremacy In Miami Masters 3

Posted on April 02, 2010 by Marianne Bevis
Venus Williams of the United States

Two Grand Slam champions: two former world No. 1s: two of the most likeable women on the WTA tour. And both Kim Clijsters and Venus Williams will be hoping to reclaim the Sony Ericsson Open title. It should be a blockbuster.

The stats alone make the mouth water.

They have both won dozens of titles: Williams 43 and Clijsters 36.

This will be their 12th meeting in nine years, and Williams leads Clijsters by just six wins to five.

Four of those match-ups have been in finals, and in those they share the honors at two apiece.

Both women, too, are enjoying something of a renaissance.

The Clijsters story, leaving tennis to marry and become a mother, only to return as an unranked player and win the 2009 U.S. Open, is the stuff of Hollywood.

She has not played in the Miami event since 2007, and has not won it since 2005. On that occasion, too, she was making a comeback from injury. She was unseeded, beat four of the top six seeds, and did not lose a set on her way to the title.

Williams has won the Miami title three times before, but this would be her first in nine years. What’s more, it would mark her third consecutive title of 2010, following victories in Dubai and Acapulco. By reaching the final, Williams has achieved a match-winning streak to 15, and the last time she did that was in 2004.

So the stage is set for a real crowd-pleaser of a final, which also raises the small question of just who the record-breaking numbers of fans will support on Saturday. Read the rest of this entry →

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.

Read the rest of this entry →

Serena Williams Sitting Pretty Atop the Women’s Tennis Power Rankings 6

Posted on February 15, 2010 by JA Allen
Day 13 - Serena Williams wins the Australian Open

Serena Williams is back at the top of the Power Rankings.

Serena Williams reigns once again as we launch the season’s inaugural Women’s Tennis Power Rankings.  With the first major completed, the 2010 season is officially underway.

There are several questions that need to be answered in terms of the WTA rankings on the women’s side of the equation now that this year’s Australian Open is in the history books.

Questions like what effect will the return of Kim Clijsters and Justine Henin have on the women’s tour?  Will Dinara Safina find her courage this year?  Will Svetlana Kuznetsova be able to defend her crown at the 2010 French Open?

Will Maria Sharapova ever tame her toss so that her serve is effective once again?  Will one of the youngsters break through and will Serena Williams loosen her grip at the top?

The Power Rankings will give you the hottest players at the moment as we keep you apprised of the latest movers and shakers on tour. Read the rest of this entry →

Win Tickets to the 2010 BNP Paribas Showdown 2

Posted on February 07, 2010 by Dean Hybl
Enter the Sports Then and Now Trivia Contest to win tickets to the 2010 BNP Paribas Showdown on March 1st.

Enter the Sports Then and Now Trivia Contest to win tickets to the 2010 BNP Paribas Showdown on March 1st.

On Monday, March 1, 2010, four of the best players in women’s professional tennis will be on one court at Madison Square Garden vying for the prestigious Billie Jean King Cup and you could be in the audience.

One lucky Sports Then and Now reader will win a pair of tickets to see Serena Williams, Kim Clijsters, Venus Williams and Svetlana Kuznetsova face off in a high-powered evening of tennis at the 2010 BNP Paribas Showdown.  The format includes two single set semifinals followed by a best of three set final.

To register, click here to answer a quick trivia contest that includes questions about the four contestants as well as Billie Jean King. The winner will be selected from all entrants that correctly answer the highest number of questions. The winner will receive two tickets to the tournament, but must provide their own transportation and other accommodations in New York City.

2010 marks the second year of the BNP Paribas Showdown as Serena Williams won the inaugural event last March.

The field for 2010 is amazing as it includes the winners of the last seven majors, with each of the four participants having won at least one major during that stretch.

Serena Williams, the winner of 12 Grand Slam titles, has been the most successful of the four players in recent times as she has claimed four of the last six majors, including the last two Australian Opens.

Venus Williams, winner of seven Grand Slam titles, won the 2008 Wimbledon and was a finalist in 2009.

Kuznetsova won the 2009 French Open for her first Grand Slam title. Clijsters has two Grand Slam titles, including the 2009 U.S. Open.

Even if you don’t win the free tickets from Sports Then and Now, you can still attend this great tennis event. Tickets for the 2010 BNP Paribas Showdown are currently available through Ticketmaster.  You can save $10 by typing in the promotional code: SHOWDOWN.  You can follow Madison Square Garden on Twitter and Facebook.

  • Vintage Athlete of the Month

    • Early Wynn: 300 Game Winner
      August 1, 2020 | 8:37 pm
      Early Wynn

      The Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month pitched in four decades, was a veteran of World War II and is one of only two pitchers to finish with exactly 300 career victories.

      Hall of Famer Early Wynn began his career as a 19-year old in 1939 by pitching three games for the Washington Senators. After spending the 1940 season in the minors, he went 3-1 with a 1.58 ERA in a brief stint in the majors in 1941.

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