from Trubbach, Switzerland, made it five by defeating 19-year-old 5th-seeded # 14
(both ladies are shown during the match, and Martina with the fine tableware afterward).
"At 4-all, 15-love, I won 14 consecutive points. You need to break down your opponent's game, and then it becomes more of a mental game. It's important to keep your concentration."
"The most important thing against Ana is to stay close with her in the beginning; I noticed in her past matches, she gets off to a very fast start, and after that, her confidence keeps building. She really goes for her shots and will hit a lot of winners. We had some very close games at the start and I tried to just stay with her. After the first set, I gained more momentum."
"In the beginning, we were both playing well - it was high-quality tennis. But at 4-all, my concentration dropped a bit, and she hardly made any mistakes. My legs felt heavier. It was hard to move, and I couldn't jump as well on my serve. At the end of the second set I felt better but it was too late. She played so well and was defending very well. She just played unbelievable today."
Ana had defeated Martina 6-2, 6-3 in the Montreal final last year, their only previous meeting.
"The difference between this and Montréal is I was more consistent in Montréal. I really tried to enjoy myself out there and play my game - but today she was better. I hope we will have more matches. I learned a lot and this was a great experience. You can learn as much from your losses as your wins."
Martina also won the Tokyo indoor in 1997, 1999, 2000 & 2002; her fifth title set a new record for this tournament. And it is Martina's
; Ana is now 2-1 in WTA singles finals.
in the United Arab Emirates, which begins Feb 19.
WTA SCOREBOARD: Tokyo Indoor
Toray Pan Pacific Open, Tokyo, Japan
Tokyo: The main draw for Tokyo has 8 seeds, with 4 1st-round byes.
There are 4 qualifiers in the main draw.
Qualifying (3 rounds) starts on Saturday, qualifying finals are on Monday.
||Start times: Mon (qual finals) 10:30am,|
Tue-Thu 11am, Fri-Sun 1pm
The time in Tokyo is UCT (GMT, Zulu...) +9 hours (Pacific Time+17, often=the next day, 7 hours earlier; ET+20). News: Japan - Tokyo
On Monday, Jan 29 in Tokyo, Ana Ivanovic was among the players who were welcomed first by the press, then again by tourney VIPs... Japan's # 1 Ai Sugiyama, top seed (and new # 1) Maria Sharapova, and other players spoke... Ai, Gisela Dulko, Aiko Nakamura, and Martina Hingis laughed when Maria apologized for being unable to sing the Theme from Star Wars
At the VIP reception, the ladies could relax and be pretty for the numerous photographers... Maria got together with her friend Maria Kirilenko. Sushi was served, and Meghann Shaughnessy, Nicole Pratt, and Samantha Stosur were waiting to dig in... 2006 Pan Pacific Open
champion Elena Dementieva assured Elena Vesnina that sufficient quantities of sake will eliminate any fear of eating sushi...
Elenas Dementieva & Vesnina invited brunette Ukranian Olga Savchuk to pose for an otherwise all-blonde Russian pic with their compatriots Anastassia Rodionova, Vera Zvonareva, and Vera Dushevina... while Na Li and Jie Zheng pointed out
that Jelena Jankovic does that brunette thing just as well as the Chinese girls do.
Tokyo Pan Pacific, 1st Rd, Tue-Wed 11am WTA Wed story
loser: $8,120 US (2006: $8,790); 1 point
#14 s5 Ana Ivanovic SRB d #44 Shenay Perry USA 6-4, 6-2 Tue
Ana delivering a cannonball serve
#16 s6 Na Li CHN d #113 q Lilia Osterloh USA 6-3, 6-2 Tue
Na's forehand drive, and Lilia's backhand
*#28 Maria Kirilenko RUS d #17 s7 Shahar Peer ISR 62 63 Wed
Maria driving a backhand
Maria said: "Going into the match my concentration felt really good. I had beaten [Shahar] once before, but it was such a long time ago I didn't know what to expect...|
"I'm looking forward to playing Sugiyama [in the quarterfinals] as we've never played. I love this surface on which we're playing in Tokyo very much. It feels good to come to the net."
Shahar won only 48% of her 1st serve points. Shahar said: "I really played badly today. It happens sometimes, but Maria played very well. I had such a good start to the year, so this is very disappointing. I just have to be positive but I hate to lose."
*#87 q Roberta Vinci ITA d #18 s8 Daniela Hantuchova SVK 6-4, 6-4 Tue
#20 Francesca Schiavone ITA d #132 wc Erika Takao JPN 7-5, 7-5 Tue
Francesca at the welcome reception on Monday, and volleying a backhand on Tuesday, Erika about to connect with a backhand drive,
and 19-year-old, 5-foot-tall Erika, who has won 3 ITF singles titles, at the welcome reception on Monday with Aiko Nakamura
*#37 Severine Bremond FRA d #21 Marion Bartoli FRA 6-0, 6-2 Tue
*#27 Samantha Stosur AUS d #24 Vera Zvonareva RUS 6-4, 6(4)-7 6-4 Wed
Dueling Prince O 3 Whites:
Vera about to slice a backhand, and Sam driving one
#26 Ai Sugiyama JPN d #41 Elena Vesnina RUS 6-4, 6-2 Wed
Ai's backhand drive
Ai lost in the 2nd round of the Australian Open, and Ai and her partner Daniela Hantuchova lost in the 1st round of doubles in Tokyo. Ai said: "You can't really think of the last match for a long time, you have to get over it and play better the next time.|
"We were ready to do well in doubles but it was not our day. I wanted to focus on my singles. I was really ready today and I was happy with the way I played." Daily Yomiuri story
#31 Jie Zheng CHN d #125 q Bethanie Mattek USA 6-2, 6-1 Wed
Jie driving a forehand
Jie won despite illness. Jie said: "I had a fever of 39°C yesterday. I'm not feeling very well. But I'm comfortable with my tennis and I'm enjoying every tournament now." Reuters story|
#32 Mara Santangelo ITA d #65 wc Aiko Nakamura JPN 7-5, 6-0 Wed
Mara following a backhand, and Aiko, who hits 2-handed on both sides, chasing a forehand
Aiko said: "I started the match well, hitting some deep balls and was able to break [Mara] first. But in the second, I let her attack more and she made much better-placed returns. I let the game slip away. This surface is really fast, so I couldn't really play my game and hit my usually reliable backhand down-the-line."|
*#60 q Nicole Pratt AUS d #39 Meghann Shaughnessy USA 6(4)-7, 6-1, 6-4 Tue
#43 Elena Likhovtseva RUS d #57 Gisela Dulko RUS 6-3, 6-2 Wed
Tokyo Pan Pacific, 2nd Rd, Wed-Thu 11am WTA Thu story
loser: $15,130 US (2006: $16,370); 60 points
#2 s1 Maria Sharapova RUS d #20 Francesca Schiavone ITA 7-5, 2-6, 6-1 Thu
Maria slicing a serve, Francesca firing a forehand, and Maria's backhand
Francesca broke Maria's serve seven times. Maria said: "I always find it difficult to get my rhythm in my first matches. It takes time to get used to everything. I came from Melboune - the sun, outdoors - and now I'm playing indoors under the lights on a different surface. This year, I didn't have much time to get used to conditions as in the past because before I lost in the semis in Melbourne and was able to come earlier."|
About her quarterfinal opponent, Ai Sugiyama, Maria said: "I haven't played [Ai] in a while, but we've practiced together, and I know her game. She's a tough opponent; she will have the crowd behind her. She's a feisty player, can get to a lot of balls."
#7 s2 Martina Hingis SUI d #60 q Nicole Pratt AUS 6-1, 7-5 Wed
Martina launching a twist serve, Nicole's forehand, and Martina following a backhand
1997, 1999, 2000 & 2002 Pan Pacific Open champ Martina said: "I was pretty confident coming in. I had a little difficulty closing it out, and that was more mental than anything, but [Nicole] made some good shots, and I think I did well to close out the match.|
"This surface really suits my game. If you can play offensively and come in every now and then, it can really help you, and that's what I've done in the past." AP story
#8 s3 Elena Dementieva RUS d #43 Elena Likhovtseva RUS 6-3, 7-5 Thu
Elena's forehand drive
2006 Tokyo Indoor champ Elena said: "I had a little bit of a mental lapse in the second set, but I was able to pull out the win. I'm very happy to be back as defending champion and although I have a difficult draw this year, I hope I can win the title again."|
#11 s4 Jelena Jankovic SRB d #31 Jie Zheng CHN 6-4, 6-0 Thu
Jelena following a forehand, and Jie's backhand
Jelena lost her first match in both of her previous appearances at the Pan Pacific Open. Jelena said: "I'm just happy that I won. I never seemed to play well here; it was difficult to adjust to the courts after coming from Melbourne. I had a few more days to practice and get used to the timing and feel the court better.|
"I'm happy with the way I played my first match. I was playing against a tough opponent, so it was important that I was aggressive and dictated the points. I served well, which helped a lot."
#14 s5 Ana Ivanovic SRB d #32 Mara Santangelo ITA 4-6, 6-1, 6-2 Thu
After the match, Ana modeled the "happy coat" which is worn by people who throw beans at others who wear
"devil masks" (Ana is holding a devil mask) during the Japanese Setsubun
lunar spring festival
*#27 Samantha Stosur AUS d #16 s6 Na Li CHN 6-2, 6-4 Thu
Na & Sam driving backhands
#26 Ai Sugiyama JPN d #28 Maria Kirilenko RUS 3-6, 6-1, 6-3 Thu
Maria and Ai driving forehands, Maria fielding a low backhand, and Ai's backhand drive, her strongest shot
Ai said: "At the beginning of the match, [Maria's] serves were coming in quite deep and I was missing a lot of my forehands because she had me off balance. As the match progressed, I was beginning to read the ball better and regain my rhythm. I was able to keep attacking until the end of the match, make adjustments on my foreland and started to place the balls down the line well and gained control of the flow of the match."|
Maria said: "I had a good start and was able to win the 1st set easily. [Ai] didn't seem to be very comfortable and didn't seem to know what to do, while I was making a lot of winners. Then, in the 2nd set, I began to miss a couple of shots, and she started to push me. She was really aggressive and had me running so much."
In the quarterfinals on Friday, Japanese # 1 Ai, in her 15th year in this tourney, will play world # 1 Maria Sharapova. They have played only once before, on a chlorophyll court in the quarterfinals of the 2004 Championships at Wimbledon, when Maria won, 5-7, 7-5, 6-1, on her way to her first Grand Slam tourney title.
Ai said: "I think Sharapova has really developed as a player. She's worked on her weaknesses and has really improved all around."
*#87 q Roberta Vinci ITA d #37 Severine Bremond FRA 6-3, 6-0 Thu
Tokyo Pan Pacific, QFs, Fri 1pm WTA story
loser: $28,175 US (2006: $30,485); 110 points
#2 s1 Maria Sharapova RUS d #26 Ai Sugiyama JPN 4-6, 6-0, 6-1
Maria chasing a forehand, Ai following a backhand, Maria's backhand drive, and after match point
Maria said: "I was worrying too much about my serve in the first set, which resulted in me not being aggressive. There are days when part of your game is off, and here, it's my serve. But I did a good job of focusing on the things I was doing well and continued to do that."|
"I don't think I'm going to get away with [poor serving] too many times, especially against higher-ranked players. I've been able to step up my game in other ways, and I can't keep worrying about [my serve]. It's just a matter of going out there and focusing on what I'm doing well. I can't let it affect me."
Ai said: "I ran [Maria] around in the 1st set, then she did the same to me in the 2nd. She was dominating and I couldn't answer her points. She raised her level and I couldn't hurt her; she was hitting deep and on the lines. Except the serve, she was just perfect today."
#7 s2 Martina Hingis SUI d #27 Samantha Stosur AUS 6-0, 6-1
Martina driving a forehand, and after match point
About her upcoming semifinal against Elena Dementieva, who defeated her in the 2006 Pan Pacific Open final, 4-time tourney champ Martina said: "If I play like I did today, I don't have to be afraid of anyone on the other side of the net...|
"It's not coincidence I play well here [in Tokyo]. I'm very comfortable here. It feels like being home and not being away at a tournament." Yomiuri story
#8 s3 Elena Dementieva RUS d #87 q Roberta Vinci ITA 6-1, 6-2
Elena after match point
Elena said: "When we came to the tournament today it was a very long first match - Sugi against Sharapova. It was like two hours. I was watching a little bit of the first set. It was funny - Sugi asked for her mom to come to the court at the end of winning the first set, then she lost the next two sets. We were laughing a bit about that. We were waiting and waiting for that match to finish, then Martina finished really fast. I went on court at about 6pm and won in straight sets, so I was pretty happy about that. I was trying to be fast because I didn't want to miss my dinner!". Tokyo player blog by Elena Dementieva|
About playing Martina Hingis in the semis, Elena said: "She's improved a lot [since returning to the Tour after a 3-year injury layoff] and it will be a different match than last year. She has a lot more experience and is much more confident."
*#14 s5 Ana Ivanovic SRB d #11 s4 Jelena Jankovic SRB 3-6, 6-4, 6-2
Jelena's forehand, and Ana's backhand
Ana said: "It was a good match. We both played really well. It was tough--long rallies and a lot of good points. I was just thinking about my game, staying low, moving forward, being aggressive. My returns improved in the second and third sets, which made a big difference. I was able to hold my serve and get free points off my first serve, which was key."|
Tokyo Pan Pacific, SFs, Sat 1pm WTA story
loser: $52,500 US (2006: $56,800); 195 points
*#14 s5 Ana Ivanovic SRB d #2 s1 Maria Sharapova RUS 6-1, 0-1 retired--left hamstring strain
Maria reaching for a forehand, Ana following one, Ana after winning a point, the mechanic checking Maria's wheels,
and Maria telling Ana she is sorry she cannot continue
Maria called for the trainer at the end of the 1st set. Maria said: "I started to feel the tightness at the Australian Open but this was not the same pain. After six or seven matches in 14 days, you're bound to be sore, but suddenly it was a sharper pain. I was serving and when I pushed off and then landed, I really felt it.|
"The pain didn't get any better, but I tried to continue. I couldn't push off on my serve and couldn't return as well, which is tough because those are the two most important shots.
"The physio told me that it usually takes about seven to 10 days to recover. I was hoping the pain would settle, but against a top opponent like Ana, you're not going to get away with too many things."
Ana said: "It's unfortunate that [Maria] had to retire; it's not the way I like to end the match. However, I felt confident during the match; I was able to play aggressively, which is very important against Maria. You don't want to give her much time."
#7 s2 Martina Hingis SUI d #8 s3 Elena Dementieva RUS 6-4, 6-3
Martina's forehand, Elena's backhand, Martina after winning a point, and Martina throwing beans at reporters wearing demon masks
at her post-match press conference, part of the Japanese lunar spring Setsubun
Martina said: "I knew I was up to the challenge and could hold my own today. I got off to a great start and felt I couldn't miss in the first set. I was happy to win and get more than two games compared to last year.|
"This is my eighth appearance in a final here, and I'm really excited about it. I think right now, I share the record for most titles here with Lindsay Davenport, and I hope to break that record tomorrow."
Elena said: "[Martina] was playing very solid, very consistent. She played smart, as usual. I made too many unforced errors and didn't take advantage of the short balls. I couldn't come to the net. She was playing better in the longer rallies today.
"I was getting angry with myself during the match because I wasn't playing the right way against her. I didn't go for winners and got into long rallies, which is what she likes. I was playing the way she wanted me to play, and I couldn't do anything to change it."
Tokyo Pan Pacific, Final, Sun 1pm
loser: $97,800 US (2006: $105,800); 300 points
winner: $182,000 US (2006: $196,900); 430 points
#7 s2 Martina Hingis SUI d #14 s5 Ana Ivanovic SRB 6-4, 6-2
Martina about to serve, Ana and Martina driving backhands, and Martina after match point
Tokyo Pan Pacific, Doubles Final, Sun after singles|
losers' prize: $29,350 (2006: $31,750) US
winners' prize: $54,540 (2006: $59,000) US
cdr2 s1 Lisa Raymond & Samantha Stosur d cdr53 Vania King & Rennae Stubbs 7-6(6), 3-6, 7-5
Sam volleying a backhand, and Sam, Lisa, Rennae, & Vania with the goodies after the match
WTA doubles co-#1s Lisa & Samantha won the Tokyo indoor for the second year in a row-- and Lisa also won the title in 2001 & 2002 with Rennae Stubbs. Lisa said: "This is my fourth title here. It's nice to come back and defend our title, especially after a disappointing run at the Australian Open. [Rennae & Vania] certainly pushed us. They make a great team, and I'm interested to see how they will do if they play more. It's nice to end a long trip with a win." WTA story|
Sam said: "I love playing in Japan. It's such a nice tournament and I'm very excited to be able to defend our title. I look forward to coming back next year."
Tokyo Pan Pacific, Qual Finals, Mon Jan 29 10:30am
q1: $1,260, 1pt; q2: $2,345, 10pts; q3: $4,365 US, 15pts (2006: $4,270) qualifier: 20 points
*#113 Lilia Osterloh USA d #58 Vania King USA 6-1, 6-4
#60 Nicole Pratt AUS d #206 Seiko Okamoto JPN 6-3, 6-0
#87 Roberta Vinci ITA d #207 Zi Yan CHN 2-6, 7-6(1), 6-4
*#125 Bethanie Mattek USA d #90 Meilen Tu USA 6-4, 1-6, 6-3
Tokyo Pan Pacific, Withdrawals
#29 Flavia Pennetta ITA
#36 Martina Muller GER
#38 Olga Poutchkova RUS
: the current top 20 Women's Tennis rankings with player photos, links, and bio info.