2006 Australian Open WTA Singles Results

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  WTA Jan 16-29: Australian Open

Melbourne, AUS Grand Slam
# 1 L Davenport, # 2 K Clijsters
# 3 A Mauresmo, # 4 M Sharapova
128 players - outdoor: hard Rebound Ace
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$19,100,000 total WTA & ATP

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qualifying draws: women's - men's
singles draws: women's - men's
doubles draws: women's - men's - mixed

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match scores: current - completed
order of play - event statistics

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2006 WTA video & audio interviews
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Melbourne:
click for Henin-Hardenne news photo search
#8 Justine Henin-Hardenne
5' 5", 126 lbs, RH, 1H-BH
Melbourne:
click for Mauresmo news photo search
#3 Amelie Mauresmo
5' 9", 152 lbs, RH, 1H-BH
photo: Aussie Alicia Molik lay on the court after defeating Venus Williams in the 4th round in 2005-- Alicia lost to Lindsay Davenport in the QFs, but won the doubles title partnered with Svetlana Kuznetsova-- Alicia is not playing in 2006 due to a persistent inner ear infection which affects her balance and vision         In the final of the 2006 Australian Open in Melbourne on Saturday, 1999 Aussie Open finalist (she lost to Martina Hingis that year), 26-year-old 3rd-seeded # 3 (and former # 1) Amelie Mauresmo of France (residence: Geneva, Switzerland), won the unfun way, defeating the winner of 4 Grand Slam tourney singles titles, including the 2004 Aussie Open, 23-year-old 8th-seeded # 8 (and former # 1) Justine Henin-Hardenne of Belgium, 6-1, 2-0, retired, when Justine could no longer continue due to illness (Justine is shown leaning against the net in pain during the match; Amelie is shown with the hardware afterward).

    Justine was suffering from severe stomach pains, which she thought may have been caused by the medication she was taking for shoulder pain. Only 32% of Justine's 1st serves were in the box, and she had 20 unforced errors in the 9 games played, with only 4 winners. match stats

    Justine said: "It's been a few days I wasn't feeling well. My stomach was very upset. And then last night, I didn't sleep a lot because it got worse and worse. Two weeks now I had to take antiinflammatories for my shoulder, and that killed me a little bit. Pretty sensitive. But I had to for my shoulder.
    "Now I got on my stomach, and then I had no legs today. I couldn't move. When the stomach is so upset and so inflamed, you know, you just don't have any energy. And I felt it when I woke up, but I tried.

    "I knew at the beginning of the match I couldn't win it. I just really tried to stay in the match, but there was no chance for me. If I would have keep playing and continue, maybe I would injure something else, so that was the best decision, even if it was very, very hard for me...
    "Last night I was feeling so bad I thought I would have to go to see a doctor at 3 in the morning because I was such in pain. Never had pain in the stomach like this. I had to double the dose of my antiinflammatories last few days because my shoulder was painful, and it's probably I just had a very bad reaction to that."

    "[After the match Amelie] asked me what was the problem, how I felt. She had very nice words for me." interview

    Although Amelie played very well, 3 of her 7 opponents on her way to the championship had to retire from their incomplete matches.
    Amelie said: "I think it's very strange. But in the same time I think for all of them there was a reason, and that reason was maybe the physical preparation. Against Krajicek, she was not probably ready to go under very high temperature. And Kim probably got a little tired. She had already the hip was not right. And then today I think I'm just wondering maybe the nerves got in also. I'm just still wondering what happened." interview

    Amelie Mauresmo has now won 20 WTA singles titles in 37 finals. This was her first Grand Slam tourney singles title, in her 2nd Grand Slam final. Amelie was born in St. Germains en Laye, France, and has a residence in Geneva, Switzerland. The Dunlop "300G" bat that Amelie formerly wielded was been replaced by the "M-FiL 300" model. Amelie reportedly has her bats strung with 16-gauge Babolat VS Touch gut. In the spring of 2005, Amelie switched from Nike to wearing Reebok attire and shoes. She is coached by Loic Courteau, and also worked a bit with French former ATP great Yannick Noah to improve her game in early 2005. Mauresmo career record

    Justine Henin-Hardenne has won 24 WTA singles titles, including 4 Grand Slam tourney titles, in 36 finals. Justine, born in Liege (in the French-speaking part of Belgium) recently moved to Monte Carlo, Monaco, where there is no personal income tax (unless you are French). Of course, players still pay taxes in the countries in which they win prize money (it is withheld from their checks), but those who reside in Monaco avoid paying them twice. Justine obtained her hyphen by marrying Pierre-Yves Hardenne, she wears "The Mark with 3 Stripes", and swings a Wilson nTour bat, reportedly strung with BDE Performance 16 Natural Gut.
    Justine has been coached since she was 14 by Carlos Rodriguez, and has also been coached by Pat Etcheberry. Henin-Hardenne career record
Justine Henin-Hardenne wallpaper

    Men's singles championship: s1 Roger Federer d unseeded Marcos Baghdatis 5-7. 7-5, 6-0. 6-2.

  Major Skirmishes, Top Half

4th Round:
# 1 Lindsay Davenport d # 14 Svetlana Kuznetsova
# 4 Maria Sharapova d # 17 Daniela Hantuchova
# 6 Nadia Petrova d #102 Elena Vesnina
# 8 Justine Henin-Hardenne d #104 Virginia Ruano Pascual

Quarterfinals:
# 1 Davenport lost to # 8 Henin-Hardenne
# 4 Sharapova d # 6 Petrova
   

  Major Skirmishes, Bottom Half

4th Round:
# 2 Kim Clijsters d # 15 Francesca Schiavone
# 3 Amelie Mauresmo d # 16 Nicole Vaidisova
NR Martina Hingis d #61 Samantha Stosur
# 7 Patty Schnyder d # 12 Anastasia Myskina

Quarterfinals:
# 2 Clijsters d NR Hingis
# 3 Mauresmo d # 7 Schnyder

Melbourne:
    The Australian Open main draw was made on Friday, January 13. Main draw play commenced on Monday, January 16. The main draw for Melbourne has 32 seeds, with NO 1st-round byes. There are 12 qualifiers in the main draw.

    Local time for Melbourne is GMT (UCT, ZULU) +11 hours (Pacific Time+19, often=the next day, 5 hours earlier; ET+16).

    TV coverage of the Australian Open in the US is on ESPN2 (click for schedule); there is no broadcast coverage at all, not even of the finals (ridiculous).

    The prize money page on the ausopen.org website disappeared last year. The continuing fall of the US dollar has resulted in a substantial loss of income for tourneys outside the US, because TV and sponsorship contracts pay the tourneys in dollars. Aussie Open profits are said to have dropped about 25% in recent years due to the falling dollar. The prize money currently listed in the results table below is based on the Australian dollar amounts paid in 2004, converted to US dollars at the Jan 14, 2005 exchange rate. This will be updated if new info becomes available.


Australia news
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WTA SCOREBOARD: The Australian Open at Melbourne
The Wimbledon Centre Court scoreboard at match point during the 1977 ladies singles semifinal as Virginia Wade defeated Chris Evert, and advanced to defeat Betty Stove in the final, becoming the last British woman to win the singles title at Wimbledon-- a portion of a photo from Virginia's book Courting Triumph, click for book excerpts
s=seed, #=rank, *=upset, LL=lucky loser
ranks are for the previous week
How do players get into the "draw"?



click for Serena Willams news photo search   click for Venus Williams news photo search   click for Venus Williams news photo search   click for Sharapova news photo search   click for Hingis news photo search
On Wednesday, January 11, in Melbourne, 2005 Australian Open champ Serena Willams stretched out her right leg (that's the good one; Serena's left leg does most of the complaining) before practicing. Meanwhile, sister Venus Williams made sure her racket guitar skills were ready for the big show next week. On Thursday, January 12, Venus Williams waved her Wilson wacket while playing a charity exhib against an ATP guy named Roddick. Meanwhile, Maria Sharapova told reporters she had given in to requests by other players that she hide her hair and wear heavier makeup. And on Friday, former # 1 Martina Hingis was practicing at Melbourne Park, getting ready to play Vera Zvonareva in the 1st round.
Australian Open, 1st Rd, Mon-Tue 11am
loser: $14,026 US 2 points
#1 s1 Lindsay Davenport USA d #182 wc Casey Dellacqua AUS 6-2, 6-1 Mon

click for Davenport news photo search
Lindsay's backhand

    Lindsay said: "The first few games were really, really long. I felt I did a good job of winning them. I felt like I got unlucky to lose those two games because I had game points in both of them. Each game in the beginning, there were some deuces and stuff...
    "[Casey] hit the ball well. I felt like I was able to play someone who played at a good level.." interview

#2 s2 Kim Clijsters BEL d #73 Yoon Jeong Cho KOR 6-3, 6-0 Tue

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Kim serving to Yoon Jeong

    Kim hit 25 winners with 28 unforced errors; Yoon Jeong kept her errors to 25, but hit only 6 winners in the match. match stats

    Despite the lopsided score, Kim's injury is still painful, and limits her play. Kim said: "I got through, so that's the most important thing. That's what I'm most happy about. I knew that before I started I wasn't going to be able to play like I usually can, move freely...
    "I was just trying to get the best out of myself with the way that I physically can, and that's all I'm going to try to do... [Running after balls] hurts a lot. There's moments where it hurts. There's moments where it doesn't. So I just have to protect it. If I don't have to, I'm not going to risk too much.
    "The serve [hurts] most of all. Standing ready to return, when I bend forward, like in that position. The explosive stuff. Like doing the extension and the flexion with your back."
    "[Another problem is] trying to get the [anti-]inflammatory to go down. The tablets, I've been having some stomach problems the last couple of days. That's another part where it's just annoying." interview

#3 s3 Amelie Mauresmo FRA d #108 Tiantian Sun CHN 4-6, 6-2, 6-2 Tue

click for Mauresmo news photo search click for Tiantian Sun news photo search
Amelie's forehand, and Tiantian's backhand

    Amelie said: "I didn't expect [Tiantian to mix up the shots, hitting at different speeds]. I thought she was more of a pace player, on both sides hitting the ball pretty hard. I was a little bit surprised when she start doing that. But, as I was saying, you have to adjust. That's just the way it is." interview

#4 s4 Maria Sharapova RUS d #89 Sandra Kloesel GER 6-2, 6-1 Mon

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Maria serving to Sandra, and after match point

    Maria has been troubled for over six months by shoulder pain that doctors first called a pectoral muscle strain, but recently decided is from a dislocated rib. Maria said: "I actually felt pretty good. I'm really happy about it because that's one of the first times I played a match without feeling anything. You know, I don't expect it to be that like for the whole tournament. So I'm very happy I got through that one without any pain.
    "I started off really well. Usually when you don't get a lot of practice, practice matches at tournaments, coming into one of the most important tournaments of the year, you're not under the best condition.
    "But I felt really good. I felt like we had a lot of good rallies and I could get a rhythm out there. So it's a good thing." interview

#5 s5 Mary Pierce FRA d #120 wc Nicole Pratt AUS 6-1, 6-1 Tue

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Mary's backhand

    Mary said: "My first match in a couple months competitively. It's always good to just kind of get going, get used to the environment, get used to competing again. I was very, very happy with my play today. I was able to be focused. I felt like I moved well and I played well. So very happy...
    "I think I've just been getting fitter and fitter as the time is going over the last two years, working very hard for the last two years. It started to pay off last year. I'm feeling really good still. Hopefully I'll continue and be even better this year." interview

#6 s6 Nadia Petrova RUS d #224 wc Sophie Ferguson AUS 6-2, 6-1 Mon

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Nadia after winning a point

#7 s7 Patty Schnyder SUI d #96 Eleni Daniilidou GRE 6-4, 6-3 Tue

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Eleni and Patty's backhands


#8 s8 Justine Henin-Hardenne BEL d #55 Marta Domachowska POL 6-2, 6-1 Mon

click for Henin-Hardenne news photo search
Justine's forehand

    Justine was troubled by a hamstring problem and related back pain for most of 2005. She sat out the end of the season, and by December the injury was completely healed.

    Justine said: "I was a little bit concerned about my recovery this weekend after the hard match I had in Sydney. But that was good. I think at the beginning of the match, I was a little bit tired. It was pretty hard for me to move well. But after a few games, I was feeling very comfortable on the court. I have been very consistent, very professional match."
    "I've been a little bit surprised with the quality of my game last week [winning the Sydney title], especially against Kuznetsova [Justine won their SF, 6-3, 6-1]. I think for my first tournament back, I wasn't sure I could play this tennis, maybe the best of my career. I only played a few matches as well as that. That was very positive." interview

*#85 Julia Schruff GER d #9 s9 Elena Dementieva RUS 7-5, 6-2 Mon

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Elena (who has lost in the 1st round in Melbourne 3 of the last 4 years) after losing a point,
and Julia after match point

*#95 Tszvetana Pironkova BUL d #10 s10 Venus Williams USA 2-6, 6-0, 9-7 Mon

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Tszvetana's backhand (how many sportscasters just learned how to pronouce Tszvetana?),
and after match point

    Tszvetana played a very clean match. She put 76% of her 1st serves in the box, hit only 1 double fault, and had 22 unforced errors against 16 winners. Venus was plagued by 65 unforced errors (against 32 winners), and won only 29% of her 2nd serve points. match stats

    Tszvetana said: "I was little nervous in the beginning of the match. And then when I sit down the break between the sets, I said to myself, 'It's okay. You are here in the Vodafone Arena, this big court, you need to show some tennis to the audience. Just relax and play your game.' And that happened." interview

    Venus said: "[Tszvetana] played very well today. She really did... I had so many unforced errors, I just was struggling to keep the ball in today. Just couldn't get it right... If I had just a third less errors or ten less errors, I think this match is a different story. Obviously she's a very good player, and she stuck in there." interview

*#101 Zi Yan CHN d #11 s11 Nathalie Dechy FRA 6(5)-7, 6-2, 6-3 Tue
    Nathalie, a semifinalist at the 2005 Australian Open, has been recovering from left knee injury. This was her first match of 2006.

#12 s12 Anastasia Myskina RUS d #118 Yuliana Fedak UKR 7-6(6), 6-1 Tue

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Anastasia's backhand

#13 s13 Serena Williams USA d #54 Na Li CHN 6-3, 6-7(1), 6-2 Mon

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Na's forehand, and Serena's backhand

    Serena lost the first game of the 3rd set-- then won 6 of the next 7 games to finish the match. Serena said: "I play better the longer the match goes on. I wasn't hitting out. At one point I started blocking too many balls. I just decided that I needed to hit out." interview

#14 s14 Svetlana Kuznetsova RUS d #256 wc Lauren Breadmore AUS 6-1, 6-3 Mon
#15 s15 Francesca Schiavone ITA d #65 An Serra Zanetti ITA 6-2, 7-5 Tue

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Francesca after match point

#16 s16 Nicole Vaidisova CZE d #115 q Anastasiya Yakimova BLR 6-1, 6-3 Tue

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Nicole lining up a forehand

#17 s17 Daniela Hantuchova SVK d #103 Saori Obata JPN 3-6, 6-3, 6-0 Mon

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Daniela's backhand

#18 s18 Elena Likhovtseva RUS d #71 Lisa Raymond USA 7-6(4), 7-6(5) Mon
#19 s19 Dinara Safina RUS d #75 Tathiana Garbin ITA 6-0, 6-1 Tue

click for Safina news photo search
Dinara's backhand

#20 s20 Flavia Pennetta ITA d #202 q Cara Black ZIM 6-2, 2-6, 6-3 Tue
#21 s21 Ana Ivanovic SCG d #130 Shenay Perry USA 6-4, 6-4 Tue

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Ana after winning a point

    Ana said: "The first match is always very, very hard. Usually you start a little bit nervous. And [Shenay is] a great player. She didn't give me much rhythm. Like through all the match, I was trying to find my rhythm, but didn't work really well. But on the end, I'm really pleased I took the opportunities and won the match." interview

#22 s22 Anna-Lena Groenefeld GER d #81 L Pous Tio ESP 2-6, 6-4, 7-5 Tue
#23 s23 Jelena Jankovic SCG d #56 Jill Craybas USA 6-2, 4-6, 6-4 Mon
*#86 Mara Santangelo ITA d #24 s24 Tatiana Golovin FRA 6-4, 4-6, 6-4 Mon
#25 s25 Maria Kirilenko RUS d #63 Evgenia Linetskaya RUS 6-1, 3-1 retired Mon

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Maria's forehand

*#106 Conchita Martinez Granados ESP d #26 s26 Ai Sugiyama JPN 6-4, 6-3 Mon
#27 s27 Marion Bartoli FRA d #52 Amy Frazier USA 6-3, 6-2 Tue
*#77 Zuzana Ondraskova CZE d #29 s28 A Medina Garrigues ESP 6-3, 6-4 Mon
*#80 Ekaterina Bychkova RUS d #30 s29 Klara Koukalova CZE 6-1, 5-7, 6-2 Mon
*#NR wc Martina Hingis SUI d #31 s30 Vera Zvonareva RUS 6-1, 6-2 Tue

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Martina lining up a slice backhand, and chasing down a forehand

    Martina played very cleanly, hitting 17 winners with only 11 unforced errors (Vera: 10 winners, 21 errors). Martina's serve was never broken during the match, while she broke Vera's serve four times. match stats

    Martina said: "It just feels great to be back here. I love coming back here. This surface, this stadium has been so good to me... I just had to keep calm out there and focus on my game and my strategy... I'm probably more eager to win now than when I was a 17-year-old." Reuters story - AP story

#32 s31 Gisela Dulko ARG d #83 Maret Ani EST 6-0, 7-6(7) Tue
#34 s32 Sania Mirza IND d #155 q Victoria Azarenka BLR 7-6(6), 6-2 Tue

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Sania's forehand

*#94 Maria Antonia Sanchez Lorenzo ESP d #35 Lucie Safarova CZE 6-4, 6-3 Tue
#36 Anna Chakvetadze RUS d #44 Jie Zheng CHN 5-7, 6-2, 6-4 Tue
#37 Katarina Srebotnik SLO d #88 Stephanie Foretz FRA 6-4, 6-3 Mon
#39 Shinobu Asagoe JPN d #46 Shahar Peer ISR 3-6, 6-1, 6-4 Tue

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Shinobu's forehand

*#97 Martina Sucha SVK d #40 Anna Smashnova ISR 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 Tue

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Martina's backhand

*#109 q Ashley Harkleroad USA d #42 Shuai Peng CHN 6-4, 6-1 Mon

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Ashley's backhand

*#53 Catalina Castano COL d #43 Vera Dushevina RUS 5-7, 6-3, 6-1 Tue
*#92 Hana Sromova CZE d #45 Akiko Morigami JPN 3-0 retired-- ankle Mon

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Akiko tried to play after her sprained ankle was treated, but could not continue

#47 Iveta Benesova CZE d #110 Rika Fujiwara JPN 2-6, 6-1, 7-5 Tue
#48 Roberta Vinci ITA d #64 Meghann Shaughnessy USA 7-5, 6-4 Tue
*#87 Emma Laine FIN d #49 N Llagostera Vives ESP 6-1, 6-1 Tue
*#132 Camille Pin FRA d #50 Mariana Diaz-Oliva ARG 2-6, 7-5, 4-6 Mon
#57 Sofia Arvidsson SWE d #70 Maria Vento-Kabchi VEN 6-1, 6-2 Tue
#58 Virginie Razzano FRA d #370 wc Jelena Dokic AUS 3-6, 7-6(8), 6-1 Mon

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Jelena showed fine form in the latest from her new tailor, the company Adi Dassler built,
but Virginie celebrated after match point

    Jelena thought she had won match in the 2nd set, but a close call went against her. Jelena said: "I would have to say one of the most disappointing losses probably in my career so far...
    "[The crowd] was great. I don't know if I even got that much support when I was here before. I think they also led me to be in that position to be able to win. It was great to play in front of that crowd... I couldn't have asked for anything else. It's been definitely a good two months and was a great decision to come back...
    "I think playing someone that's ranked 50 today, and I probably should have won, is definitely a good feeling. I think I'm on the right track." interview

#59 Laura Granville USA d #172 q Kathrin Woerle GER 5-7, 6-2, 6-0 Mon
#60 Michaella Krajicek NED d #78 Kristina Brandi PUR 6-4, 7-6(1) Tue

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Michaella's service toss

#61 Samantha Stosur AUS d #100 Severine Bremond FRA 6-3, 6-4 Tue

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Samantha after match point

    Samantha said: "Coming into this match, I was pretty confident that I could go out there and play well. I thought if I could do that, I was in with a good shot of winning. Really that's all that I was focused on, was how I was going to play and just really with what I wanted to do, just take it one point at a time. I think I did that pretty well." interview

#62 Aiko Nakamura JPN d #330 wc Alize Cornet FRA 6-2, 4-6, 6-2 Tue
*#104 Virginia Ruano Pascual ESP d #66 L Dominguez Lino ESP 6-2, 7-6(1) Mon
#67 Karolina Sprem CRO d #90 Alona Bondarenko UKR 6-4, 6-2 Mon
*#188 wc Akgul Amanmuradov UZB d #69 Dally Randriantefy MAD 6-3, 2-6, 6-1 Mon
#72 Sybille Bammer AUT d #112 Eva Birnerova CZE 7-5, 6-4 Tue
#74 Emilie Loit FRA d #79 Viktoriya Kutuzova UKR 6-2, 6-4 Tue
*#84 Jelena Kostanic CRO d #76 Mashona Washington USA 6-1, 6-2 Mon
*#105 Galina Voskoboeva RUS d #82 Emmanuelle Gagliardi SUI 6-4, 6-3 Mon
*#107 Arantxa Parra Santonja ESP d #91 Tatiana Panova RUS 4-6, 7-5, 6-1 Mon
#93 Jamea Jackson USA d #128 q Tamarine Tanasugarn THA 7-6(5), 6-2 Tue
*#152 q Meng Yuan CHN d #99 Melinda Czink HUN 6-4, 6-2 Tue
#102 Elena Vesnina RUS d #197 q Ting Li CHN 6-2, 6-3 Mon
#111 Martina Muller GER d #129 q Jarmila Gajdosova SVK 1-6, 6-2, 6-3 Mon
#114 Maria Elena Camerin ITA d #135 q Yvonne Meusburger AUT 6-4, 6-2 Mon
*#191 q Olga Savchuk UKR d #117 q Tzipora Obziler ISR 6-1, 6-3, 6-4 Mon

Australian Open, 2nd Rd, Wed-Thu 11am
loser: $21,818 US 32 points
#1 s1 Lindsay Davenport USA d #67 Karolina Sprem CRO 7-6(4), 6-3 Wed

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Lindsay delivering a twist serve; Karolina's backhand

    Lindsay said: "It was a really tough match. I knew [Karolina] had definitely the ability to play really well and be dangerous, and that was the best that she's played against me. I think I played her three previous times...
    "I felt like I was hitting the ball well, just not quite hitting my spots. So really tough match to pull out. But was able to play well when I needed to and, you know, get through a tough opponent early on...
    "The more aggressive I could be, I felt like the match was in my favor. But a couple times I just missed a few balls, and the balls were flying. It was a little bit quicker than I was ready for...
    "I made a few errors, but was made to work very hard to win, and was happy I was able to come through and do some things well." interview

#2 s2 Kim Clijsters BEL d #152 q Meng Yuan CHN 6-4, 6-2 Thu

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Kim after match point

    About the painful injury that is limiting her movement, Kim said: "My hip is actually pretty good. It's my lower back that's not doing too great. The problem that I had in Sydney with the fluid, with the antiinflammatories that I'm taking, is reducing and it's helping a lot. It's just my lower back that's struggling...
    "My hip has always probably been not the strongest part I think of my body, especially when I was younger growing up, I had always had some lower back problems... Once in a while it flares up, but it's never been as bad as this.
    "One day I had a really bad backache in Hong Kong [the 1st week of January], but then it disappeared. So didn't think too much of it... maybe it was from all of the traveling. And then in Sydney I think it sort of came together. I hurt my hip, and then my back started. I don't know if it was because of compensating..."
    "Every day I hope it improves. But I'm sort of waiting every day and see how it feels. So I can't tell you now [if I can play the next round]. I'm not someone who's going to give up and if I say, no, it hurts tomorrow, I'm not going to hit. I'm going to try. At least I'm going to try out there and see." interview

#3 s3 Amelie Mauresmo FRA d #74 Emilie Loit FRA 7-6(1), 6-2 Thu
#4 s4 Maria Sharapova RUS d #109 q Ashley Harkleroad USA 6-1, 7-5 Wed

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Maria serving, and Ashley & Maria's forehands

    Maria said: "I played a really good, solid first set. Then all of a sudden I got a blister on my foot, and the taping made it worse, and I started thinking about it and kind of my mind shut down for a little bit. It's really weird. I've never gotten blisters before on my feet, so I was kind of a little shocked and forgot, you know, what I was doing out there. So it took me a little while just to get a groove again.
    "The third time [the foot was taped] it was a little bit better. But towards the end, my foot started sweating more and it started to come off so I started to feel it a little bit more. It was right in my arch so my orthotic was pushing right on it. Should be okay. I sound like a wimp saying this to you guys...
    "At 4-3 [in the 2nd set] I didn't take the opportunity to finish it off. Then [Ashley] had set points and the set could have gone either way... It was good for me to kind of realize that once I'm up a break, I need to finish it off rather than just play another four games out there for the crowd." interview

*#47 Iveta Benesova CZE d #5 s5 Mary Pierce FRA 6-3, 7-5 Thu

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Iveta's backhand, after match point, and Mary congratulating Iveta after the match

    Iveta hit 19 winners, and had an equal number of unforced errors. Mary hit 30 winners, but had 41 unforced errors. Mary converted only 3 of 9 break point opportunities; Iveta 5 of 10. match stats

    Iveta said: "This is definitely the best win in my whole career. It's good that it happened at the Grand Slam, especially. It's the best tournament for me. I'm so excited. It was the best match I ever played. I'm really happy...
    "It wasn't the best day for [Mary] today. She made many errors. She was missing a lot. She can play much better definitely. But she gave me the chances, and I'm happy I could use them. It's really good for me to know that I can beat top players." interview

    Mary said: "I did my best, tried to get into the match. I felt confident in the second set when I went ahead. Thought I was going to win the second set, then felt pretty confident if I did that I would win the match in the third set. A bit surprised that didn't happen...
    "I definitely have to give [Iveta] credit. She played solid. She came up with some really good shots at times." interview

#6 s6 Nadia Petrova RUS d #111 Martina Muller GER 6-4, 6-1 Wed

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Nadia hammering a backhand

#7 s7 Patty Schnyder SUI d #39 Shinobu Asagoe JPN 6-1, 7-6(9) Thu

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Patty's backhand, and after match point

#8 s8 Justine Henin-Hardenne BEL d #92 Hana Sromova CZE 7-6(2), 6-1 Wed

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Justine correctly punching a forehand volley (racket head above the wrist),
and with Hana at the net after the match

    Justine said: "I wasn't feeling that great on the court. Not very comfortable. I didn't know [Hana] at all and it took me almost a set to get used to her game. There was no rhythm in the match. I was doing the mistakes and the winners. That's not the kind of game I like.
    "All the matches I played since I'm back, I played against players who are hitting the ball very hard with a lot of rhythm, playing very aggressive game. That's what I like, you know. Today I never really found the good balance between the aggressivity and the patience. It took time." interview

    After a good start, Hana was slowed by a twisted ankle. Justine said: "I think that she wasn't moving that well after the injury, so I hope she will recover very quickly."

#12 s12 Anastasia Myskina RUS d #93 Jamea Jackson USA 7-6(4), 0-6, 6-3 Thu

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Anastasia after winning a point

    Both Anastasia and Jamea needed treatment from the trainers because of the 90 heat. Anastasia also had problems breathing, possibly contributing to her 0-6 2nd set.

    Anastasia said: "For me, it was pretty bad because I couldn't catch my breath. I don't know really what happened, if it was because of the sun, or the stress, or maybe all together." LA Times story

#13 s13 Serena Williams USA d #132 Camille Pin FRA 6-3, 6-1 Wed

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Serena serving, Camille's backhand, and Serena after winning a point

#14 s14 Svetlana Kuznetsova RUS d #107 A Parra Santonja ESP 6-2, 6(3)-7, 6-2 Wed

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Svetlana found herself in a position more often occupied by her friend Kim Clijsters

#15 s15 Francesca Schiavone ITA d #53 Catalina Castano COL 6-1, 4-6, 6-3 Thu

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Francesca's backhand, and after match point

#16 s16 Nicole Vaidisova CZE d #36 Anna Chakvetadze RUS 6-2, 6-1 Thu

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Nicole finishing a forehand, and Anna's backhand

#17 s17 Daniela Hantuchova SVK d #188 wc Akgul Amanmuradov UZB 6-4, 6-1 Wed

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Daniela after match point

*#104 Virginia Ruano Pascual ESP d #18 s18 Elena Likhovtseva RUS 6-4, 6-4 Wed

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Vivi after match point

*#57 Sofia Arvidsson SWE d #19 s19 Dinara Safina RUS 6-4, 6-0 Thu

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Sofia lining up a backhand

#20 s20 Flavia Pennetta ITA d #97 Martina Sucha SVK 6-3, 6-0 Thu

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Flavia meditating after winning a point

*#61 Samantha Stosur AUS d #21 s21 Ana Ivanovic SCG 6-3, 7-5 Thu

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Samantha's backhand, Ana's backhand, and Samantha after match point

    Samantha trailed 1-5 in the 2nd set. Samantha said: "Going into the match, I was like saying to myself, 'Just one point at a time.' I got myself down, kind of let [Ana] dictate what was happening out there a little bit to put her in that position. Then at 5-1 I just thought, just swing at a couple of balls and get a little bit of tension out that I had. Just maybe go for a couple winners and see what happens. If it did go to 3, I was hoping I'd gotten rid of all that kind of nervous energy, then I'd be ready to play the third set if it happened.
    "As I did that, I just-- that's how I needed to be playing. As I did that, I just kind of got myself back into it...
    "I guess as soon as you break serve when someone is serving for the set, you know maybe they're a little bit nervous and you can still get in there. Being two breaks down, it's never easy to come back. You've always got to believe that you're in with a shot.
    "After I did the first time and held, I knew the pressure was back on her to serve it out at 5-3." interview

*#94 Maria Antonia Sanchez Lorenzo ESP d #22 s22 A-L Groenefeld GER 6-4, 4-6, 6-1 Thu

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Maria Antonia after winning a point

*#191 q Olga Savchuk UKR d #23 s23 Jelena Jankovic SCG 6-3, 6-4 Wed
#25 s25 Maria Kirilenko RUS d #105 Galina Voskoboeva RUS 7-6(1), 6-4 Wed

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Maria's backhand

*#48 Roberta Vinci ITA d #27 s27 Marion Bartoli FRA 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 Thu
*#62 Aiko Nakamura JPN d #32 s31 Gisela Dulko ARG 6-1, 6-1 Thu

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Aiko and Gisela's backhands, and Aiko after winning a point

*#60 Michaella Krajicek NED d #34 s32 Sania Mirza IND 6-3, 7-5 Thu

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Michaella after winning a point

*#86 Mara Santangelo ITA d #37 Katarina Srebotnik SLO 7-6(5), 5-7, 6-3 Wed
#58 Virginie Razzano FRA d #106 C Martinez Granados ESP 7-6(3), 6-3 Wed
#59 Laura Granville USA d #95 Tszvetana Pironkova BUL 7-5, 6-2 Wed
#72 Sybille Bammer AUT v #101 Zi Yan CHN 6-3, 6-4 Thu

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Sybille after winning a point

*#84 Jelena Kostanic CRO d #77 Zuzana Ondraskova CZE 6-2, 6-1 Wed
*#114 Maria Elena Camerin ITA d #80 Ekaterina Bychkova RUS 4-6, 7-6(9), 6-2 Wed
*#102 Elena Vesnina RUS d #85 Julia Schruff GER 6-0, 7-5 Wed

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Elena after winning a point

*#NR wc Martina Hingis SUI d #87 Emma Laine FIN 6-1, 6-1 Thu

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Martina's service toss, a forehand, and after match point

    Martina is showing no signs of rust after returning from a 3-year retirement from the WTA Tour due to ankle and foot injuries. Her serve, considered a weak link in her game, has not been broken in her first two matches, and she has not yet suffered a double fault. Martina put 85% of her 1st serves in the box against Emma (who only got 50% in), and hit 14 winners with only 9 unforced errors (Emma: 8 and 21). match stats

Australian Open, 3rd Rd, Fri-Sat WTA Fri story WTA Sat story
loser: $35,843 US 56 points
#1 s1 Lindsay Davenport USA d #25 s25 Maria Kirilenko RUS 6-4, 4-6, 6-2 Fri

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Lindsay's backhand, Maria reaching for a forehand, and Lindsay asking her Wilson why after an error

    Maria had 21 unforced errors, while Lindsay struck twice that many. match stats

    Lindsay said: "It was really an up and down performance by me. I was making a lot of errors but I was doing well to control the points in the first set. Then in the second set I kind of fell apart with making way too many errors. [Maria] was doing a good job of keeping a lot of balls in. In the third set I started playing aggressive but with better margins and a little bit more contained. I'm happy I ended the match on a positive note."

#2 s2 Kim Clijsters BEL d #48 Roberta Vinci ITA 6-1, 6-2 Sat

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Roberta's forehand, Kim's backhand, and Kim after match point

    Kim was more mobile on Saturday, but her hip injury is by no means healed. Kim said: "I'm still not moving like I normally can, but a lot better. I guess the [painkiller is] doing its work...
    "I'm happy with the way I played. I'm just feeling like my arm is just going so smoothly... feels so light and it's so easy to move my arm around. I guess that's good because it has to do a little bit more work now. Usually I use more my legs and my body a little bit more.
    "I'm very happy with the way I was seeing the ball, and hitting the ball when I was standing in the right position...
    "[I still] have to do a lot of treatment and everything. That's what I'm doing. I'm not going to hit tomorrow again. Just keep my routine going so that I'm fresh when I have to be out there. I'm not going to go out practicing for an hour, waste my energy aggravating things a little bit more...
    "That's why I was wearing my tape today, because I felt in my previous match, with the serve, I was just compensating my back a little bit. It started to hurt my left leg, my left hamstring. That's why it's tape today." interview

#3 s3 Amelie Mauresmo FRA d #60 Michaella Krajicek NED 6-2 retired-- heat illness Sat

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Michaella and Amelie's backhands, and Michaella feeling unwell in the heat

    Michaella said: "I wasn't feeling my stomach, I felt like I was going to throw up.
    "I'm very pleased with the beginning of the year. It's of course very disappointing to end the Australian Open like this, but I'm very happy how I played in Perth and Hobart [Michaella took The Netherlands to the Hopman Cup final, and won the Hobart tourney]. It's a very good start to the year. Hopefully I will recover fast and have great tournaments after this."

    Amelie said: "On one side you don't want to spend too much time on the court in these tough conditions, on the other hand, I was playing some good tennis, so I maybe wanted to keep it up. But that's just the way it is. I just hope for [Michaella] that it's not too bad, and that she recovers well. I guess the heat for her made a bad thing." interview

#4 s4 Maria Sharapova RUS d #84 Jelena Kostanic CRO 6-0, 6-1 Fri

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Jelena's backhand, and Maria winding up and pitching forehands

    Maria said: "I think it took a little while to get used to the conditions, but other than that, it felt pretty good. [Jelena] is a lefty, she's a very tricky player. You just have to be very patient. It was the first day that was really hot out there today, so I just had to be extra patient. I knew that she wouldn't just give up the match, that I had to work for it. I was happy that I fought till the end."

#6 s6 Nadia Petrova RUS d #114 Maria Elena Camerin ITA 6-1, 6-2 Fri

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Maria Elena delivering a forehand, and Nadia waiting to wallop one

#7 s7 Patty Schnyder SUI d #62 Aiko Nakamura JPN 6-2, 6-3 Sat

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Patty's forehand, Aiko's backhand, and Patty after match point

#8 s8 Justine Henin-Hardenne BEL d #58 Virginie Razzano FRA 6-4, 6-1 Fri

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Justine's wheels are working this year

    Justine said: "I was a little bit scared about this match because I know [Virginie] can be a dangerous player if you let her play, if you give her a lot of rhythm."
    About her 4th round opponent, former doubles # 1 Virginia Ruano Pascual, Justine said: "[Virginia] is a dangerous player. She's very, very consistent. Once in a year she's playing very well in a Grand Slam usually. She has a game, very special game. She is playing a lot of slices, and that doesn't give too much rhythm. A lot of topspin in her forehand and a lot of slices on her backhand side. I'll have to be very focused, very patient, and try to bend my game as I did today, and better than I did my last match."

#12 s12 Anastasia Myskina RUS d #57 Sofia Arvidsson SWE 6-3, 6-1 Sat

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Anastasia's forehand, Sofia's backhand, and Anastasia after match point

    Anastasia, who won the 2004 French Open by letting her opponents make the errors, won this match despite 33 unforced errors (including 8 double faults-- Sofia: 32 & 4), by hitting 27 winners. She also converted 5 of 8 break point opportunities, while Sofia converted only 1 of 7. match stats

    Anastasia was ranked # 3 a year ago, but struggled through most of the year, possibly distracted by her mother being seriously ill (she is reportedly much better now). Anastasia also complained of not getting enough rest during the long WTA season-- so she made a point of taking all of November off, resting at home in Moscow.
    Anastasia said: "The break was more than a month, no nothing, no gym, no tennis. Just sleep, eat. I feel great... Now ... everything is good... I'm happy and I'm really enjoying the time that I spent on the court." AP story
    She was glad to spend only 57 minutes in the heat while defeating Sofia. But she found the wind tricky. Anastasia said: "I don't like wind, and I don't really know how to use the wind when I play. I try to play my game and I try to hit the ball. But sometimes it's stupid to hit [a certain way] if you know the wind's against you or if you play with the wind. You have to think a lot in these conditions." Herald Sun story

*#17 s17 Daniela Hantuchova SVK d #13 s13 Serena Williams USA 6-1, 7-6(5) Fri

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Daniela airborne after match point, 2005 Aussie Open champ Serena congratulating Daniela,
and Daniela meeting the press after the match

    In the 2nd set, with Serena serving while trailing 5-6, Daniela had triple match point, yet was unable to get the break. But Daniela kept her composure, and finished the match in the tiebreaker.

    Daniela said: "At the end of the second set, it could have gone either way, so I really did feel the pressure of Serena really competing. That's something that you can never take away from her, and she did it again tonight. I had so many matches like this where I was really close of beating the top players, and finally I did it today."
    Daniela also said: "I was not fighting myself at all as I used to. I was just trying to be focused on every point... On those match points, I don't think I did anything wrong." Reuters story

#14 s14 Svetlana Kuznetsova RUS d #86 Mara Santangelo ITA 6-3, 6-1 Fri

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Svetlana after match point

#15 s15 Francesca Schiavone ITA d #94 Maria Antonia Sanchez Lorenzo ESP 6-0, 6-0 Sat

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Maria Antonia's 2-handed forehand, Francesca's 1-handed backhand, and Francesca after match point

#16 s16 Nicole Vaidisova CZE d #20 s20 Flavia Pennetta ITA 6-4, 6-2 Sat

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Nicole and Flavia's backhands, and Nicole after winning a point

*#NR wc Martina Hingis SUI d #47 Iveta Benesova CZE 6-4, 6-1 Sat

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Martina firing a forehand, and two views of Martina after match point

    Martina continued to play very cleanly. She has yet to hit a double fault in this tournament-- and she has served 134 times (those are Helen Wills-like numbers). Avoiding double faults has helped Martina win more of her 2nd serve points than any other player in the tourney: 64% (# 2 is Maria Sharapova: 57%). Her fastest serve has been 112 mph, very good for Martina.
    On Saturday Martina hit 14 winners with only 12 unforced errors (Iveta: 16 & 27). For the 3 matches she has played, Martina has hit 45 winners with only 32 unforced errors. match stats

    Martina said: "I was down 3-1 today, down a break. Thankfully, I broke right back, kind of wore [Iveta] out. That felt really good.
    "I don't think I played my best tennis today. But as long as you win, it's always good. Always room to improve for the next match." interview

    Iveta said: "I was pretty happy with the beginning of the match. I was 4-3 up. That game cost me a lot of energy, a lot of power. Was too hot today, and I felt so weak afterwards. I missed four returns in that next game and made three double faults on my serve. So it was a pity that I lost the first set like this.
    "Then the second set, [Martina] made me feel so uncomfortable, because she's very clever, very smart player. She knows exactly where to put the ball."

*#104 Virginia Ruano Pascual ESP d #59 Laura Granville USA 6-3, 6-3 Fri

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Vivi and Laura's backhands

#61 Samantha Stosur AUS d #72 Sybille Bammer AUT 7-5, 4-6, 6-3 Sat

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Samantha dispatching a forehand volley, and after match point

#102 Elena Vesnina RUS d #191 q Olga Savchuk UKR 5-7, 6-2, 6-4 Fri

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Elena's forehand, ready to swat a backhand, and after match point

Australian Open, 4th Rd, Sun-Mon 11am WTA Sun story WTA Mon story
loser: $58,440 US 90 points
#1 s1 Lindsay Davenport USA d #14 s14 Svetlana Kuznetsova RUS 6-2, 6-4 Sun

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Lindsay finishing a twist serve, Svetlana and Lindsay's backhands, and Lindsay after match point

    Lindsay made only 51% of her 1st serves good-- but only 40% of Svetlana's landed in the box. And Lindsay scored on 64% of her 2nd serve points (Svetlana: 35%). match stats
    Lindsay took a 3-0 lead in the 2nd set, then lost the next four games after re-injuring her left ankle, which she had sprained in her 3rd round victory over Maria Kirilenko.
    Lindsay said: "[Svetlana] definitely gave me a reprieve at 3-4 where I really think I only hit one or two balls that game, and she was missing a lot and going for shots. That obviously helped open the door after I'd lost four games in a row and struggling.
    At 4-all, I was just trying to go for shots and keep the points a little shorter. It's a tough position to be in as the opponent, I understand that. All I know is I was trying to keep the points as short as possible towards the end. The finish line was obviously in sight. It's easier in that regard for me to play."

    Svetlana said: "I think the roof being closed was much better for Lindsay than for me, because I prefer to play with the roof open and not indoor court. This made the ball bounce much slower and the court much faster...
    "In second set, Lindsay played very well. She served very good. I didn't serve that well during all the match... Lindsay, she's good serve and plays very flat. And you have to use all chances you have.
    "She was up 3-Love, and I came back for 4-3. Had overhead, which I missed. Then I didn't have much more chances to play...
    "I'm getting there, you know. Today I understood what I have to work on, and have just to get back to training court and work about it. But hopefully in couple matches with top players, I'll get my level and can compete against them in the top level." interview

#2 s2 Kim Clijsters BEL d #15 s15 Francesca Schiavone ITA 7-6(5), 6-4 Mon

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Francesca serving, Kim's backhand, Kim after match point, and replenishing her precious bodily fluids in the Melbourne heat

    Kim defeated Francesca by hitting 24 winners to Francesca's 16. But Francesca had only 34 unforced errors to Kim's 43. Francesca lost the match by converting only 3 of 15 break point opportunities (Kim: 4 of 6). match stats

    Kim said: "I always have really good matches against [Francesca]... When it was getting close, I really had to come up with some good shots. That's fun when you're able to play like that, and feel like you're hitting the ball well. That's a great feeling to have against those kind of players. When you have to do it, it's good to be able to do that.
    "I was missing a few [forehands] because I felt like I was trying to keep the rallies short from the start. And that's why I started to miss a little bit more, because she's a great mover. She defends so well... a lot of the time I felt like I was out of balance, I wasn't moving right, in the right position. And I felt like I was falling back with my whole body a few times when I was trying to go inside-out [a crosscourt forehand from the backhand side].
    "Lucky enough I had some good ones at important points. I just think about those now." interview
    Kim also said that the painful hip injury she incurred in Sydney did not bother her in this match. Kim said: "No, felt good. Felt good. I'm happy with the way everything is going. So I'm not complaining at all [smiling]."

#3 s3 Amelie Mauresmo FRA d #16 s16 Nicole Vaidisova CZE 6-1, 6-1 Mon

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Nicole serving, Amelie's backhand, Nicole after losing a point, and Amelie after match point

    Although Nicole hit 14 winners to Amelie's 7, Nicole also hit 34 unforced errors, while Amelie had only 1. Nicole did not have a single break point opportunity during the match, while Amelie converted 5 of 6. match stats

    Amelie said: "I knew [Nicole] had some up and downs, I knew that before the match. Obviously, just putting the ball in and taking the opportunities when I would have them was probably going to be the key. I didn't think that it was going to be this kind of score or this kind of a match. She made way too many errors...
    "I really felt I was struggling a little bit at the beginning of the tournament. Then with just the one set I played on the match before [when Michaella Krajicek retired with heat illness after 1 set], and now today, the way I played, I feel that my game is really coming together. I'm feeling the ball much better than at the beginning of last week. So I'm enjoying that." interview

#4 s4 Maria Sharapova RUS d #17 s17 Daniela Hantuchova SVK 6-4, 6-4 Sun

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Maria serving, Daniela launching a backhand, Daniela after losing a point,
Maria firing a forehand, Maria after match point, and Daniela congratulating Maria

    Like Justine Henin-Hardenne (below), both Maria and Daniela averaged 87 mph on their 2nd serves. But Maria won 50% of her 2nd serve points, while Daniela won only 33% of hers. Maria hit 25 winners with only 16 unforced errors, a very good ratio, while Daniela had 16 winners, with 22 errors. match stats

    Daniela broke Maria's serve early in both sets, but Maria broke back both times. Maria said: "Today was probably one of the hottest days I've ever experienced in my life... I was a little bit sluggish in the beginning. When they close the roof, the conditions are different. You hear the ball differently. So my rhythm was a little bit off.
    "I really kept my composure. Even though I got down those breaks, I still felt like I was playing pretty well... I feel like I'm playing better and better as the matches go on." AP story

    Daniela strained a leg muscle during the 2nd set, and it had some effect on her mobility. But she made no excuses. Daniela said: "I had my chances, definitely. At the same time, all the credit to [Maria], the way she handled the big points well. I thought it was a pretty good match." WTA story

#6 s6 Nadia Petrova RUS d #102 Elena Vesnina RUS 6-3, 6-1 Sun

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Nadia serving, Elena's backhand, Nadia fielding a drop shot, and Nadia after match point

    Nadia's left thigh is strapped due to a recurring left adductor (groin muscle) strain that caused her problems the first two weeks of the year. About the injury, Nadia said: "It's holding very well. I must say two, three days before the tournament I was a bit worried and I pulled myself out of doubles, only just focused on the singles because I really didn't know how my body would respond to match situations. But it been very well, and I'm saying again, haven't spent so much time on the court. I didn't have very tough matches yet, so it helped my body to recover. And I'm really looking after it after every single match. In time between when I don't have to play, like a day of rest, every day, I don't spend so much time on the court. Do also recovery. I feel good. I feel fit." interview

    Elena reached the 4th round while playing in the main draw of a Grand Slam tourney for the first time. She had 35 unforced errors in this match, while hitting 12 winners (Nadia: 13 errors, 14 winners match stats).
    Elena said: "I was trying to fight for every ball today, to serve good. Just try to put all the balls on other side. But I did so many unforced errors today, so it's like impossible to win if you made so many errors. That's why.
    "Of course it's help me because I know all these girls [the other Russian players]... All the time they wish me good luck or something. So we're good friends with everyone, Russian girls...
    "I try to play like they are playing. Today, Nadia, she show me how I need to play in the future [smiling]. It's good lesson for me.
    "My best tennis player friends are Chakvetadze, Kirilenko, Kuznetsova, Myskina... All the time we speak together. In the changing room we just laughing and joking all the time. It's funny. That's a lot of girls on tour...
    "[Nadia was] playing really well today, and she played so solid tennis. She has so good big serves. I don't know what to do with her serve. It was big problem for me today. And she was good baseline and good volley. Like she can play all of part of the court. She can play on baseline, she can play on the volley. So she's like perfect, I think [smiling]. I wish good luck to her in the next [matches], for this tournament." interview

#7 s7 Patty Schnyder SUI d #12 s12 Anastasia Myskina RUS 6-2, 6-1 Mon

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Patty's left-handed and Anastasia's right-handed backhands, Patty after match point, and Anastasia congratulating Patty

    Anastasia had a terrible day. She held service only once in the match. And while only making 48% of her 1st serves good, she won only 33% of her 2nd serve points-- and only 33% of her receiving points. Anastasia also had 32 unforced errors, while hitting 14 winners (Patty: 13 errors, 10 winners). match stats

#8 s8 Justine Henin-Hardenne BEL d #104 Virginia Ruano Pascual ESP 6-0. 6-3 Sun

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Vivi serving, Justine's forehand (which she thinks is even better than her excellent backhand),
Justine after match point, and Virginia congratulating Justine

    Virginia had only 18 unforced errors for the match, while Justine had 27. Justine, however, hit 28 winners, while Virginia had only 1. Virginia also put 80% of her 1st serves in the box-- but at an average speed of about 87 mph, which would be a good 2nd serve velocity. In fact, it was the average speed of Justine's 2nd serves. Justine only made 54% of her 1st serves good; she might need to do better than that in the next round. match stats

    Justine said: "I felt good out there. I mean, I played very consistent, especially in the first set, very focused, very aggressive. Against this kind of player, you have to be careful. Beginning of the second set I lost my concentration a little bit... But finally I could end the match very good and very quickly, so I'm very happy about that." interview

*#NR wc Martina Hingis SUI d #61 Samantha Stosur AUS 6-1, 7-6(8) Mon

click for Stosur news photo search click for Hingis news photo search click for Hingis news photo search click for Hingis news photo search
Samantha's forehand, Martina's backhand, Martina after match point, and Samantha congratulating Martina

    Both players hit 22 winners in the match, but while Martina had 24 unforced errors (including her first, and only, double fault thus far in the tournament), Samantha had 43. While both players scored on 53% of their 1st serve points, Martina (who put 76% of her 1st serves in the box) also won 55% of her 2nd serve points. Samantha, who made only 58% of her 1st serves good, won only 20% of her 2nd serve points. And Samantha scored on only 17 of 35 net approaches (Martina: 13 0f 18), and converted only 4 of 11 break points (Martina: 6 of 8). match stats

    Martina said: "I knew that I had to be right there from the start. I knew I couldn't give [Samantha] any momentum... Toward the end I just don't want to remember the finals I played here and lost in the second set...
    "I played really well (in) I would say one and a half sets. At 5-3, 30-0, I'm like, 'please, two more points' and it took me a while till we finished that match.
    "[Samantha is] a great fighter. She started attacking more. Also partly because I was getting tired or just loosened up a little. But I think it was toward the end, it was all nerves. Being down 5-2 in the tie-breaker, I was just happy to finish it off in straight sets." Reuters story - AP story

    Samantha said: "As the match went on, I kind of found what I needed to be doing a bit better. I think [Martina] started getting a little bit tired. I just started grinding it out and just fighting for every point and came within two points of getting the [2nd] set. I think I was on the right track to doing that...
    "[Martina is] an awesome player. Now playing her, I know why she's won all these grand slams and why she's probably going to go down as one of the greatest ever."

Australian Open, QFs, Tue-Wed 11am WTA Tue story WTA Wed story
loser: $116,880 US 162 points
*#8 s8 Justine Henin-Hardenne BEL d #1 s1 Lindsay Davenport USA 2-6, 6-2, 6-3 Tue career matches tied 5-5

click for Henin-Hardenne news photo search click for Davenport news photo search click for Henin-Hardenne news photo search click for Henin-Hardenne news photo search
Justine slicing a serve at Lindsay, Lindsay pancaking the ball against her spatula,
Justine chasing down a forehand, and after match point

    Lindsay converted 6 of 11 break points; Justine converted 7 of 14. Justine had 11 double faults; Lindsay had 7. Justine, who loves to play aggressively, won despite 33 unforced errors by hitting 28 winners in the match (Lindsay: 19 winners, 42 errors). match stats

    Justine said: "I'm very happy about this win because I think I came back from a very bad situation... I didn't win any service game in the first set. I was a little bit frustrated by that." Reuters story

    Lindsay said: "I feel like I'm on a good path and while things didn't pan out here, I'm not giving up. I'm not going to run away from it because it didn't happen in this one match." Reuters story

#2 s2 Kim Clijsters BEL d #NR wc Martina Hingis SUI 6-3, 2-6, 6-4 Wed career matches Martina leads 4-2

click for Clijsters news photo search click for Hingis news photo search click for Clijsters news photo search click for Hingis news photo search click for Clijsters news photo search
Kim serving, Martina's forehand, Kim's backhand, Martina apparently asking the photographer if he would care to take on Kim for a while, and Martina congratulating Kim after match point

    Martina's game was not what it was in the first 4 rounds, possibly because she was trying to hit so hard against Kim. Martina had only one double fault in her first 4 matches combined; today she had 6 DFs. And in the first 4 matches combined, Martina hit 67 winners with only 56 unforced errors. Against Kim, Martina hit 19 winners-- with 31 unforced errors (Kim: 35 winners, 49 errors). match stats

    Kim said: "I had myself concerned... I was feeling very weird out there today. In general, not injury-wise, I felt very empty out there today...
    "I think [Martina] definitely hits the ball a lot harder than she used to when I played her in the previous times...
    "When you play all the girls, you can sort of read their game, you know when a girl's going to hit crosscourt. You can sort of read a little bit better. But with her, you can go down the line. Normally another girl would go crosscourt. She will go down the line again. She tries to just keep you off your foot all the time. That's why she's so strong in her game, because physically she's not the most powerful player out there, but she just reads it so well and plays it tactically so well...
    "I still think by getting more matches and more rhythm and everything, she's going to improve even more." interview

    Martina said: "I lost only 6-4 in the third against the No. 1 player starting from Monday, so I don't think it's that bad after all. Just one step further. I have to start believing against players like that, to be able to make another step.
    "It was a tight match at the end after all. I mean, the beginning stages, I was like, 'Okay, hopefully I gain one point after another, game after another,' and I started, you know, taking charge in the second set. Some unfortunate things early in the third. But I still stick in there and fight through it.
    "[Kim] has still the edge over me, and she had it today. Three years pass by, you can't just think you're going to step out there and win everything. Considering I [originally] only wanted to play doubles at all these [Australian] events, it didn't turn out that badly." interview

#3 s3 Amelie Mauresmo FRA d #7 s7 Patty Schnyder SUI 6-3, 6-0 Wed career matches Amelie leads 11-5

click for Schnyder news photo search click for Mauresmo news photo search click for Schnyder news photo search click for Mauresmo news photo search
Patty's left-handed backhand, Amelie firing one of her flying forehands, Patty after losing a point, and Amelie after match point

    In her past two matches combined, Amelie has allowed her opponents (Nicole Vaidisova & Patty Schnyder) only a single break point opportunity. Amelie hit 9 winners against Patty with 13 unforced errors (Patty: 7 winners, 28 errors). And Amelie won 80% of her 1st serve points (Patty: 46%). match stats

    Comparing her game now with the way she played in 1999, Amelie said: "I'm using every part of my game much better now than seven years ago. I'm much more in control of what I'm doing, knowing pretty well also much better how to use my weapons with the opponent I have in front of me... having a little bit more experience, knowing a little bit more how to handle the situations. Everything is a bit better." interview

    Patty said: "...There was no match at all. I mean, I was off, and [Amelie] was all over me. I don't know really what happened to me. She just took advantage and didn't let it go...
    "I was pretty relaxed in the warmup. I felt the ball pretty good... I was normal nervous, not too much. I just lost my attention a bit. Off the long wait, I don't know. Also in the warmup, I don't know if you saw, I just kept serving in the net, which indicates that I have no tension, there's no tension.
    "I could really never feel comfortable. I had the feeling when I rally with her, I was getting tired and pushed back too much, just too much power. If I take them early, it was too risky, I was missing." interview

#4 s4 Maria Sharapova RUS d #6 s6 Nadia Petrova RUS 7-6(6), 6-4 Tue career matches Maria leads 4-1

click for Sharapova news photo search click for Petrova news photo search click for Sharapova news photo search click for Sharapova news photo search click for Petrova news photo search click for Sharapova news photo search
Maria serving a cannonball at Nadia, Nadia's backhand, Maria showing her dental work,
Maria's backhand, Nadia contemplating lost opportunities, and Maria after match point

    High winds again made havoc of play. Nadia converted 4 of 9 break points; Maria converted 5 of 13. Maria had 8 double faults; Nadia 12. Maria had 36 unforced errors, but Nadia fared even worse with 49 (winners: Maria 15, Nadia 16). match stats

    About the wind, Maria said: "It was definitely not easy. We were breaking each other's serves left and right out there. It was a miracle when someone held serve... [The] was going in one direction the whole match. When I was playing against the wind, I would hit the ball harder with more spin on my serve. Then when I would go to the other side, I'd do the same thing, and it felt like the ball was going way out. It put pressure on my second serve. Knowing [Nadia] has pretty big serves, that's one of her biggest weapons, that put more pressure on me.
    "I just tried to hang in there. It's really tough being down two set points. But I gutted it out in the first point, then had an easy second point. It definitely wasn't easy." interview

    Nadia also found the wind difficult, and was plagued by blisters on her hand. But she made no excuses. Nadia said: "I just feel like I simply gave it away. I had all the chances in the first set, 5-4 serving for the set, 6-5 serving for the set, 6-4 in the tiebreaker. It's like it couldn't be a better present that I would just did to Maria. I must say she fought hard for it. She stayed in the game.
    "There's nothing I can do about it now. I can just go through my mistakes, and get my head cleared from all this and just move forward."
    About reports that she resents the courtside hysterics of Maria's father Yuri (as do Anastasia Myskina and other players), Nadia said: "Well, I mean, that's Yuri [smiling]. I just tried to ignore him completely. Even didn't look at his side once." interview

Australian Open, SFs, Thu
loser: $233,760 US 292 points
*#3 s3 Amelie Mauresmo FRA d #2 s2 Kim Clijsters BEL 5-7, 6-2, 3-2 retired--
   sprained ankle
career matches Kim leads 8-4

click for Mauresmo news photo search click for Clijsters news photo search click for Clijsters news photo search click for Clijsters news photo search click for Mauresmo news photo search
Amelie's forehand, Kim running down a forehand, Kim after spraining her right ankle and falling,
Amelie watching as Kim's ankle is wrapped, and Amelie waving to the crowd after the match

    Amelie said: "I felt I was playing pretty well, and I felt that it was a very intense match, good quality, especially in the first set. Then Kim went a little bit down in the second set.
    "As I said on the court, a very strange way, of course, to finish a match. That's just the way it is. Not much to say about that. It happens. Just hope it's not too bad for [Kim]. You know, that's tough for her." interview match stats

    Kim's victory in the quarterfinals on Wednesday, combined with Lindsay Davenport's loss on Tuesday, meant that Kim will regain the # 1 place in the WTA rankings next Monday despite this loss, but it was a tremendous letdown for her.
    Kim said: "It's very frustrating, because I felt like in that third set I was really getting into it... If I kept playing the way I was going, anything could have happened. Of course it's frustrating. I'm not going to quit for nothing. Even with pain, with the ankle, I still wanted to try, but I felt it straight away that I wasn't going to be able to push off sideways on my forehand." Reuters story

*#8 s8 Justine Henin-Hardenne BEL d #4 s4 Maria Sharapova RUS 4-6, 6-1, 6-4 career matches Justine leads 3-1

click for Henin-Hardenne news photo search click for Sharapova news photo search click for Henin-Hardenne news photo search click for Sharapova news photo search click for Henin-Hardenne news photo search
Justine firing a flying forehand, Maria doing likewise, Justine after winning a point, Maria testing her new Prince O3 White
to see if it will bounce as high as her old Turbo Shark MP, and Maria congratulating Justine after match point

    Justine fared slightly better than Maria in most statistical categories. Justine hit 5 more winners than Maria (22 to 17) and had error fewer (33 to 34). And Maria still is not serving as fast as she did before her shoulder problems began last year. Maria's fastest serve was 110 mph, her average for 1st serves was 102 mph, and 2nd serves 86 mph (Justine, eight inches shorter than Maria: fastest- 112 mph, avg 1st- 104 mph, avg 2nd- 87 mph). match stats

    Justine said: "I think it was a great match... Maria, she played a great match-- the best I've seen her play since a long time...
    "I was dominating the first set and then on my serve I lost a little bit of aggressivity. I was too far from my baseline, and she could take the first set. Then I tried to change that in the second set, so it made the big difference that I was just staying on my baseline, instead of being three meters behind my baseline...
    "She was hitting the ball very hard and she was covering the court pretty good. And the fact that she played very smart in the first set, because I was a little bit too far from my baseline and she wasn't going for the winners all the time. So when I was trying to mix it up, my game a little bit, she wasn't in the rush and she could make the point longer, and I didn't expect that at all." interview

    Maria said: "[Justine is] always a tough opponent to play. She runs everything back. She gets every ball back. You have to be ready, you have to be tough."
    About her right shoulder pain (which was originally diagnosed as a right pectoral muscle strain, but which doctors later decided was caused by a dislocated rib) Maria said: "I didn't come in prepared the best way I could have been prepared for the tournament. But I definitely think I played some great tennis after not even expecting to be here.
    "I think my shoulder seems to be getting better. That's a big positive, you know. Like I said, without playing a lot of matches, to be able to play the quality of tennis that that I played today, I think it's a big plus." interview

Australian Open, Final, Sat 1:30pm
loser: $467,520 US 456 points
winner: $935,040 US 650 pts
#3 s3 Amelie Mauresmo FRA d #8 s8 Justine Henin-Hardenne BEL 6-1, 2-0 retired-- stomach pain
    career matches tied 4-4

click for Mauresmo news photo search click for Henin-Hardenne news photo search click for Henin-Hardenne news photo search click for Mauresmo news photo search
Amelie's forehand, Justine's forehand, Amelie talking to Justine after the match, and both ladies with the hardware

Australian Open, Doubles Final, Friday
loser: $170,345 US
winner's prize: $340,690 US
s12 Zi Yan & Jie Zheng d s1 Lisa Raymond & Samantha Stosur 2-6, 7-6(7), 6-3

click to see larger at Aussie Open photo gallery click to see larger at Aussie Open photo gallery
Jie (left) and Zi on the field of combat, and Zi (left) and Jie holding the hardware after the match

    Zi said: "We feel very excited and very happy... [In the 1st set we were a] little bit nervous. Because first time in the center court. It's so big and so many people. So we have little bit nervous...
    "[We played better in the last two sets] because we think is lost the first set. We just keep play. No think about the match...
    "It will be good for Chinese tennis. In the near future, think we could be better, make a progress, improve a lot, and it can stimulate a little bit... interview

    Samantha said: "[Jie and Zi] staying back on our serves is a little bit different to a lot of teams. Then so you got to find the angles on the court, then you don't want to open up the angles too much to give them room to pass you.
    "They were pretty good lobbers as well, so closing out, you couldn't really back off either. But you had to try and pick what they were gonna do and do it. We were doing that for a set and a half. And then once they got a sniff, they kind of didn't let it go and they really picked up their game a bit in the end to close it out." interview

The 64 doubles teams:
s1 Lisa Raymond USA & Samantha Stosur AUS
s2 Cara Black ZIM & Rennae Stubbs AUS
s3 Elena Likhovtseva RUS & Vera Zvonareva RUS
s4 Virginia Ruano Pascual ESP & Paola Suarez ARG
s5 Anna-Lena Groenefeld GER & Meg. Shaughnessy USA
s6 Daniela Hantuchova SVK & Ai Sugiyama JPN
s7 Elena Dementieva RUS & Flavia Pennetta ITA
s8 Liezel Huber RSA & Francesca Schiavone ITA
s9 Shinobu Asagoe JPN & Katarina Srebotnik SLO
s10 Gisela Dulko ARG & Maria Kirilenko RUS
s11 Emilie Loit FRA & Nicole Pratt AUS
s12 Zi Yan CHN & Jie Zheng CHN
s13 Anastasia Myskina RUS & Dinara Safina RUS
s14 Svetlana Kuznetsova RUS & Amelie Mauresmo FRA
s15 Eleni Daniilidou GRE & Anabel Medina Garrigues ESP
s16 Ting Li CHN & Tiantian Sun CHN
Michaella Krajicek NED & Agnes Szavay HUN
Stephanie Foretz FRA & Antonella Serra Zanetti ITA
Nathalie Dechy FRA & Tatiana Golovin FRA
Amy Frazier USA & Janet Lee TPE
Emmanuelle Gagliardi SUI & Karolina Sprem CRO
Na Li CHN & Shuai Peng CHN
Su-Wei Hsieh TPE & Tamarine Tanasugarn THA
L Dominguez Lino ESP & Maria Sanchez Lorenzo ESP
Maria Elena Camerin ITA & Tathiana Garbin ITA
Viktoriya Kutuzova UKR & Anastassia Rodionova RUS
Carly Gullickson USA & Akiko Morigami JPN
Kristina Brandi PUR & Catalina Castano COL
Jill Craybas USA & Meilen Tu USA
Severine Bremond FRA & Selima Sfar TUN
Sophie Ferguson AUS & Christina Wheeler AUS
Monique Adamczak AUS & Christina Horiatopoulos AUS
Casey Dellacqua AUS & Trudi Musgrave AUS
Maret Ani EST & Andreea Vanc ROM
Jelena Jankovic SCG & Silvija Talaja CRO
Marta Domachowska POL & Roberta Vinci ITA
Iveta Benesova CZE & Jelena Kostanic CRO
Sania Mirza IND & Corina Morariu USA
Klara Koukalova CZE & Lucie Safarova CZE
Barbora Strycova CZE & Nicole Vaidisova CZE
Vera Dushevina RUS & Shahar Peer ISR
Nuria Llagostera Vives ESP & Maria Vento-Kabchi VEN
Yoon Jeong Cho KOR & Aiko Nakamura JPN
Chia-Jung Chuang TPE & Rika Fujiwara JPN
Gabriela Navratilova CZE & Michaela Pastikova CZE
Yulia Beygelzimer UKR & Mervana Jugic-Salkic BIH
Dally Randriantefy MAD & Anna Smashnova ISR
Lisa McShea AUS & Bryanne Stewart AUS
Ma. Emilia Salerni ARG & Milagros Sequera VEN
Beti Sekulovski AUS & Cindy Watson AUS
Sandra Kloesel GER & Mariya Koryttseva UKR
Ekaterina Bychkova RUS & Zuzana Ondraskova CZE
Anna Chakvetadze RUS & Elena Vesnina RUS
Lauren Breadmore AUS & Daniella Dominikovic AUS
Julia Schruff GER & Jasmin Woehr GER
Eva Birnerova CZE & Mara Santangelo ITA
Laura Granville USA & Abigail Spears USA
Sofia Arvidsson SWE & Sybille Bammer AUT
Evgenia Linetskaya RUS & Galina Voskoboeva RUS
Shayna Mc Dowell AUS & Jessica Moore AUS
Tina Krizan SLO & Jennifer Russell USA
Denisa Chladkova CZE & Virginie Razzano FRA
Liga Dekmeijere LAT & Mariana Diaz-Oliva ARG
Laura Pous Tio ESP & Mashona Washington USA

Australian Open, Mixed Doubles Final, Sun
loser: $51,348 US
winner's prize: $102,697 US
*Martina Hingis & Mahesh Bhupathi d s6 Elena Likhovtseva & Daniel Nestor 6-3, 6-3

click for Hingis news photo search click for Hingis news photo search click for Hingis news photo search
Martina punching a forehand volley, Martina & Elena at the net after match point, and Martina & Mahesh with the hardware

    Martina said: "I think with each match I got a little better and more confidence. The last two matches I think we just really got the teamwork together, and I learned a lot of things from him..." interview

    Martina will now travel to Tokyo, where she will play # 45 Akiko Morigami in the 1st round of the Toray Pan Pacific Open on Tuesday or Wednesday.

    Martina said: "It's a great event, Tokyo. I've always played that. Going back to Japan, I like playing in Tokyo. It's a fast surface. My mom's already waiting there, so I'm going to be happy to see her again...
    "I enjoy being back. Just every tournament is a new one, and right now I just really am happy to be playing and at that level again."

Australian Open, Girls Final, Sun
s8 Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova RUS d s1 Caroline Wozniacki DEN 1-6, 6-2, 6-3 match stats

click for Pavlyuchenkova news photo search
Anastasia and Caroline

    Anastasia said: "I was sick a little bit in the first set [heat illness], and I was dizzy, so I was shaking. And then I will concentrate on every point...
    "I'm still practicing in Russia. But I started to practice in Czech Republic in winter because it's too cold into Russia. And I was in Czech Republic, and I like there. So it's good place. Found good club. I like there...
    "In Russia I practice in Samara. I was born there. And in Czech I practice in Ostrava. It's not so big town, but it's okay...
    "I pretty happy, I know. I even don't feel that I won Grand Slam because I don't understand what I did [smiling]. I don't know. It's amazing." interview

Australian Open, Girls' Doubles Final, Sat
s4 Sharon Fichman & Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova d s8 Alize Cornet & Corinna Dentoni 6-2, 6-2

click Australian Open photo gallery
Sharon lining up a backhand
this was the only photo available of Sharon in Melbourne; the Aussie Open website does not say which match it came from



Australian Open, Qual Finals, Sat Jan 14
#109 Ashley Harkleroad USA d #168 Vania King USA 6-3, 6-1
#117 Tzipora Obziler ISR d #204 Ivana Abramovic CRO 6-2, 6-2
#115 Anastasiya Yakimova BLR d #134 Katerina Bohmova CZE 6-2, 6-1
#128 Tamarine Tanasugarn THA d #138 Su-Wei Hsieh TPE 6-1, 6-2
#129 Jarmila Gajdosova SVK d #144 Nathalie Vierin ITA 7-6(1), 6-1
*#202 Cara Black ZIM d #133 Kateryna Bondarenko UKR 6-2, 6-0
#135 Yvonne Meusburger AUT d #221 Stephanie Gehrlein GER 6-4, 6-1
*#172 Kathrin Woerle GER d #140 Anastassia Rodionova RUS 3-6, 6-3, 6-4
*#152 Meng Yuan CHN d #141 Bethanie Mattek USA 6-4, 7-5
*#197 Ting Li CHN d #194 Shiho Hisamatsu JPN 6-4, 6-2
#155 Victoria Azarenka BLR d #167 Aleksandra Wozniak CAN 7-6(5), 6-1
*#191 Olga Savchuk UKR d #161 Ryoko Fuda JPN 6-3, 6-2

Australian Open, Withdrawals, Non-entries
#28 Alicia Molik AUS inner ear
#33 Conchita Martinez AUS may retire-- lost in the 1st round in 2005, and has no points to protect
#51 Magdalena Maleeva BUL retired
#NR Jennifer Capriati r shoulder-- returning in March?


Aussie Open tourney pages: 2005 - 2004 - 2003
2005 Final: # 7 s7 Serena Williams USA d # 1 s1 Lindsay Davenport USA 2-6, 6-3, 6-0
2004 Final: # 1 s1 Justine Henin-Hardenne BEL d # 2 s2 Kim Clijsters BEL 6-3, 4-6, 6-3

    (Jan 16, 2005) 2005 US Open champ and current WTA # 2 Kim Clijsters, who injured her left hip while warming up for a match last week in Sydney, has only been able to practice 40 minutes a day for the past five days, and still has pain when she serves or runs from side to side. Kim will take medication for her 1st round match against Yoon Jeong Cho on Tuesday.
    Kim said: "Normally I'm not very big on taking anti-inflammatories or painkillers, but that's definitely something I'll do this tournament. I just have to make sure that in my mind I'm ready for being able to play with the pain."     "I'm just going to build it up gradually. I'm going to have a practice match and see how it feels... I'm definitely going to go for all my shots. Otherwise, I don't want to play. If I'm not able to play like that, there's no use for me being out on the court."     "If there was a tear or if it was a small rupture or something, then I would have been in Belgium by now, but there's none.     "It all depends how it reacts. If I start to work on the intensity of my game it could definitely get worse. Hopefully it won't happen, but I'll just have to wait and see. Reuters story

    (Jan 12, 2005) Doctors have finally decided, after many months, that # 4 Maria Sharapova is hurting due to a dislocated rib, not a pectoral muscle strain, as the problem was originally diagnosed in mid-2005.
    In Melbourne on Thursday, Maria said: "It's not 100 percent. I wouldn't say it's at the top level. But at least I know the cause of the problem.
    "The good thing is, the doctors have told me it can't get any worse. As long as I know I can't hurt it any more, I'm going to... do the best I can... It can bother me, it can get tight, but I'm going to go through the pain and do everything I can to win...
    "I think I need a few matches to prepare. I'm not going to be playing my best in the first round, but I'm sure gradually, as I go, my form will come back to normal." FoxSports.au story

Pre-Tourney Capsule Analysis:
    Nadia Petrova reaches semifinals with great consistency, and won her first title late last year, but she retired from her semi against Marion Bartoli in Auckland with a left adductor (groin muscle) strain, and withdrew from her Sydney quarterfinal for the same reason.
    2004 US Open champ Svetlana Kuznetsova struggled in 2005, and was crushed by Justine Henin-Hardenne in the Sydney semis, 6-3, 6-1.
    Amelie Mauresmo lost to Ana Ivanovic last week in Sydney; although she is often ranked # 2 or # 3, she has only reached one Grand Slam final in her career, and that was seven years ago, in the 1999 Australian Open.
    Patty Schnyder's performance has been near a career-high over the past year, but she lost to # 47 Lucie Safarova at Gold Coast and to Daniela Hantuchova in Sydney.
    Daniela Hantuchova improved in 2005, might go far this year-- but she lost to Vera Zvonareva at Gold Coast, and fell ill in Sydney.
    Francesca Schiavone is playing at her career-best. She has defeated Serena Williams, Amelie Mauresmo, and Nadia Petrova in the past year. Although Francesca has reached only six finals in her career, and has lost all six, she almost defeated Justine Henin-Hardenne in the Sydney final last week.
    1995 Aussie Open & 2000 French Open champ Mary Pierce and 2004 French Open champ Anastasia Myskina are playing in their first tourney of the year (as is Nathalie Dechy, who has been recovering from a left knee injury). Mary is presumable saving her energy because she will reach the advanced age of 31 by the time the tourney is over. Anastasia decided last year that was too tired by the end of two-week tourneys, so presumably she wants to be fresh going in.
    Lindsay Davenport (3 Grand Slam titles), Maria Sharapova (2004 Wimbledon champ), the Williams sisters (Grand Slam titles: Serena 7, Venus 5), and Elena Dementieva (2-time Grand Slam finalist) have had only exhibition matches as a warm-up, and Maria (rib) and Serena (left knee and ankle) are still not 100% due to chronic injuries. Despite this, all five of these ladies have a fair chance of winning this tournament (it is frequently observed that Elena's own serve is her most troublesome opponent).
    Returning from a 3-year retirement, 3-time Aussie Open champ Martina Hingis (5 Grand Slam titles) may need some more court time before she regains her full capabilities; 16-year-old Nicole Vaidisova and 18-year-old Ana Ivanovic have not yet been consistent victors.
    Justine Henin-Hardenne (4 Grand Slam titles) said she was feeling great winning the Sydney title last week. If 2005 US Open champ Kim Clijsters, who won 9 titles last year, had not been injured in Sydney, the first calculation would be an all-Belgian final. But with Kim's health uncertain... it's tough to guess.


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