2008 Australian Open Tennis WTA Singles Results     Maria Sharapova, Champion

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  WTA Jan 14-27 Australian Open

Australian Open, Melbourne, AUS
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128 players - outdoor: hard plexicushion
$20,600,000 AUS, 50%/50% WTA/ATP

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# 1 J Henin, # 2 S Kuznetsova
# 3 J Jankovic, # 4 A Ivanovic
# 5 M Sharapova, # 6 A Chakvetadze
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Melbourne:
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#5 Maria Sharapova
6' 2" 130lb RH 2H-BH
Melbourne:
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#4 Ana Ivanovic
6' 1" 152lb RH 2H-BH
Melbourne:
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3rd Grand Slam Title
17th WTA Singles Title

    On Saturday in Melbourne, in the final of the 2008 Australian Open, the 2007 finalist, 20 year old 5th-seeded # 5 Maria Sharapova of Russia (with residences in California & Bradenton, Florida) defeated 20 year old 4th-seeded # 4 Ana Ivanovic of Serbia (residence: Basel, Switzerland), 7-5, 6-3 (photos shown).

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

   
Early round play in  Melbourne begins at  11am local time.

Melbourne Park   click for broader view
Latitude: -37.821497 Longitude: 144.978772 goto link for World Wind
venue: guide - maps

    The Australian Open has 32 seeds, with no 1st-round byes. There are 12 qualifiers and 8 wild cards in the main draw.
    Melbourne (daylight savings) time is GMT (UCT, ZULU) +11 hours (Pacific Time+19, often=the next day, 5 hours earlier; ET+16). Early round play begins at 11am local time; the final is at 1:30pm on Saturday.

      Maria did not lose a set in the seven matches she won to take the title, and lost only two points on her serve in the 2nd set of the final. But, Maria said: "I don't think today was my best serving performance of the [tournament]. I think I served better against Lindsay [former # 1 Davenport] and Justine [current # 1 Henin]... But I did the things I needed to do in order to win the match. Whatever way I did it, at the end of the day, I won it...
    "On one of the service games [in the 1st set] I forced the issue a little bit. We got new balls and I was hitting with the wind, and I think I just went for a little too much on my second serves.

    "But I was also two points away from losing that first set and I served my way out of it. [Ana] got a little bit tight and also nervous because, I think, I was the one that was very close to losing that set. But I was just steady. I made her hit another ball, and it slipped away from her." postmatch interview

    Unlike her previous Grand Slam final, last year at Roland Garros, where she was crushed, killed and destroyed by Justine Henin (6-1, 6-2), Ana was never out of the match. Ana said: "It was definitely a better experience. I won more games. It's a little bit disappointing because I thought I had a lot of chances in that first set but didn't use them. But it's a learning experience for me. I fought hard. I just felt a little bit let down with my forehand, made some big mistakes in crucial moments. So that wasn't something I was hoping for. But [Maria] played well and she had a great tournament...

    "I managed to hold my nerves really well out there today. I was serving quite well, and on some occasions I would a little bit drop. But she's a tough opponent and she saw when I had troubles with my serve or with my forehand and she used that well.
    "I think she played well. She was a little bit nervous, I would say. She had also chances in the beginning of the first set. She was a break up, and then I broke her back. I still had some chances on my own, and she still fought hard and played some good tennis and managed to win that first set, and I'm sure that gave her confidence." postmatch interview

    Maria put only 54% of her 1st serves in the box, but she won 89% of her 1st serve points--and 70% of her 2nd serve points (Ana: 60%, 62%, 50%).
    Maria hit 16 winners (1 ace) with 15 unforced errors (3 DFs); Ana struck 14 winners (3 aces) but had 33 errors (4 DFs).
    Maria, who won 43% of her receiving points, converted 4 of 9 break points; Ana, who won only 20% of her receiving points, converted 1 of 2 break points.
    Maria scored on 8 of 10 trips to the net; Ana on 7 of 12.
    Maria's service success recently has been the result of excellent placement more than very high speeds: she averaged 104mph (fastest: 115mph) on 1st serves and 90mph on 2nd serves. Ana averaged 107mph (fastest: 116mph) on 1st serves and 93mph on 2nd serves.
match stats - BBC game by game

    Ana will move up to # 2 in the WTA singles rankings on Monday, the highest rank of her career. Maria, because she reached last year's Aussie Open final, did not gain as many ranking points as Ana, and will remain at # 5 next week.
    Maria now leads Ana 3-2 in career matches, however, one of Ana's wins came when Maria retired from their semifinal match in Tokyo last year due to her shoulder problems. In the Linz quarters in 2006 Maria defeated Ana 7-6(3), 7-5; in the French Open semis in 2007 Ana defeated Maria 6-2, 6-1; and in their last meeting, on an indoor carpet at the WTA Championships; Maria defeated Ana 6-1, 6-2.

    2004 Wimbledon and 2006 US Open champion Maria Sharapova is now 17-7 in WTA singles finals, and 3-1 in Grand Slam tourney finals, the loss was to Serena Williams in last year's Aussie Open final. Maria had some serious problems with her right shoulder in 2006 and 2007, but Maria now appears to be 100% healthy, and her game is at peak level.
Maria Sharapova career record - Maria Sharapova Wallpaper

    2007 French Open finalist Ana Ivanovic is now 5-3 in WTA singles finals, and 0-2 in Grand Slam tourney finals, the other Grand Slam loss coming to Justine Henin last year at Roland Garros, where Justine owns the beach.
Ana Ivanovic career record


ESPN: video "replay" Maria Sharapova d Ana Ivanovic 7-5, 6-3  18 minutes, 12 seconds
    Many online "streaming" videos, including the flash videos at ESPN, can be downloaded and saved on your hard drive with the latest free version of RealPlayer-- the free download link is in the upper right corner of the page at the Real website.

Australian Open player's blog by Ana Ivanovic

Men's final: s3 Novak Djokovic SRB d Jo-Wilfried Tsonga FRA 4-6, 6-4, 6-3, 7-6(2)

    The prize money page on the ausopen.org website disappeared in 2005. 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 US dollars. In 2005, Aussie Open profits were said to have dropped about 25% in recent years due to the falling dollar.

    However, the Aussie Open is paying good prize money, and should publish the amounts. Their website does say that 2008 prize money will total $20.6 million in Australian dollars (said to be an 18% increase over 2007 in US dollars), and that the singles champions will win $1.37 million (AUS) each. At the Jan 11, 2008 conversion rate, this is $1,220,259 US.

    Except for the singles champs, 2007 prize money amounts are listed in the results table below, obtained from a .pdf document published at the ITF website. The conversions to US dollars (including the 2007 amounts) have been revised to the Jan 11, 2008 exchange rate: $1 AUS = $.8907 US.

2007 Doubles prize money, per team, AUS$:
Champions $446,020; Finalists $223,010; SFs $110,800; QFs $55,400; 3rd Round $31,245; 2nd Round $17,035; 1st Round $9,585

Melbourne 2007: unseeded # 94 Serena Willams USA d # 2 s1 Maria Sharapova 6-1, 6-2

    The news.quickfound.net Australia page carries a 154-year-old New York Times article with a fairly detailed description of Melbourne in 1853.

  Major Skirmishes, Top Half     italics = advanced by upset

4th Round:
# 1 Justine Henin d # 158 Su-Wei Hsieh 6-2, 6-2
# 3 Jelena Jankovic d # 85 Casey Dellacqua 7-6(3, 6-1
# 5 Maria Sharapova d # 11 Elena Dementieva 6-2, 6-0
# 7 Serena Williams d # 12 Nicole Vaidisova 6-3, 6-4
Quarterfinals:
# 5 Maria Sharapova d # 1 Justine Henin 6-4, 6-0
# 3 Jelena Jankovic d # 7 Serena Williams 6-3, 6-4
Semifinal:
# 5 Maria Sharapova d # 3 Jelena Jankovic 6-3, 6-1
   

  Major Skirmishes, Bottom Half     italics = advanced by upset

4th Round:
# 4 Ana Ivanovic d # 62 Caroline Wozniacki 6-1, 7-6(2)
# 8 Venus Williams d #145 Marta Domachowska 6-4, 6-4
# 9 Daniela Hantuchova d # 27 Maria Kirilenko 1-6, 6-4, 6-4
# 29 Agnieszka Radwanska d # 14 Nadia Petrova 1-6, 7-5, 6-0
Quarterfinals:
# 4 Ana Ivanovic d # 8 Venus Williams 7-6(3), 6-4
# 9 Daniela Hantuchova d # 29 Agnieszka Radwanska 6-2, 6-2
Semifinal:
# 4 Ana Ivanovic d # 9 Daniela Hantuchova 0-6, 6-3, 6-4

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"?

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2008: Last year's Australian Open finalist Maria Sharapova & champ Serena Williams practiced in Melbourne on Friday
and Saturday, and met the press on Saturday... Indian # 1 Sania Mirza was also photograped practicing on Saturday...
bottom:   On Sunday, players who found time for final preparations included # 1 Justine Henin,
Aussie favorite Alicia Molik, and last year's French Open finalist, Ana Ivanovic...
Australian Open, 1st Rd, Mon-Tue 11am AO-TV windows media video highlights: Day 1 high - low
loser: (2007) $19,215 AUS = $17,114 US, 2 points
#1 s1 Justine Henin BEL d #70 Aiko Nakamura JPN 6-2, 6-2 Mon

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Justine driving a forehand, and reaching for a backhand

    Aiko, who put 71% of her 1st serves in the box, won 25 of those points, but won only 4 points on her 2nd serve (Justine: 54%, 22 points on 1st serve, 12 on 2nd). Justine hit 29 winners, with 21 unforced errors including 6 double faults (Aiko: 14 winners, 21 errors, 2 DFs). match stats

    Justine said: "The conditions were quite difficult. It was a little bit windy and [Aiko] had a game that wasn't the easiest for me to start the tournament. She was hitting the ball pretty flat, and that wasn't easy. And it wasn't top spin at all. We did have to get used to the conditions and the rhythm, but after that it was much better. I took the net I little bit more [30 times in the match]. And always the first round is not my favorite one, so I'm glad it's behind me now." postmatch interview

#2 s2 Svetlana Kuznetsova RUS d #65 Nathalie Dechy FRA 6-3, 6-1 Tue

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Nathalie congratulating Sveta after match point

    Svetlana said: "I think it was pretty good match. It was slow start. It's different surface. It's slightly different than Sydney last week and it takes time to get used to it. But I started a little bit slow, and then I make it up better...
    "I'm not watching the draw. I have no clue who is where. I know my next opponent. Sorry, guys, I'm pretty boring, but it's just very simple for me [smiling]. I'm just like that. I'm looking my next opponent. This is what I have to think of, not think which part I am...
    "For me a very important thing. First thing for me is be a good person before being a good player, you know. Because even if I would be like first in the world, I would get everything, attention and everything, would win everything, and then you're a shit person it's not good.
    "I think every like top player, we have great personality, like Justine, other girls. We are all like good people. For me it's very important." postmatch interview

#3 s3 Jelena Jankovic SRB d #37 Tamira Paszek AUT 2-6, 6-2, 12-10 Mon ESPN highlight video

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Jelena's forehand drive, and Tamira and Jelena driving backhands

    The match lasted 3 hours and 9 minutes. Tamira held three match points against Jelena, but could not covert. Jelena, who was slowed somewhat by back pain, hit 45 winners, but had 66 unforced errors, including 14 double faults (Tamira: 42 winners, 59 errors, 9 DFs). match stats

    Jelena said: "I was playing not so well today, and I had trouble finding my rhythm. And [Tamira] was really solid. And she was making me work very hard. But I was just trying to stay positive somehow and I found a way to win. It was unbelievable, when I was down those match points, and I was really in some tough points, and I was maybe lucky a few times. But overall, a win is a win...
    "I have no problem anymore with my glut muscle [strained in Perth two weeks ago], but my back has been working very hard, so I've been getting stiff and getting treatments on that part. And that was what was bothering me today. Especially in the third set, I was getting very stiff. I was kind of restricted going one way, rotating my body... I received a treatment. I took some painkillers, and et cetera. So I managed to get through the match." postmatch interview

#4 s4 Ana Ivanovic SRB d #107 Sorana Cirstea ROM 7-5, 6-3 Tue

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Ana driving a forehand, Sorana's backhand drive, and Ana following a backhand slice or drop shot

#5 s5 Maria Sharapova RUS d #102 Jelena Kostanic Tosic CRO 6-4, 6-3 Mon

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Maria following a slice serve, and Maria's backhand

    Maria said: "I played a pretty tricky opponent, someone that I haven't played in a while. You know, the last couple matches that I played in Asia were against pretty big-hitting girls. So she was definitely a trickier opponent. Also a lefty. You don't see too many of those around these days. So I was prepared for it, but I was happy that I was able to follow through...
    "[Feeling completely healthy is] pretty much impossible. I'm sure you know that. But shoulder-wise... for a few months now, I still have to do a lot of treatment on it daily, twice a day before I play and afterwards. But shoulder-wise I feel real good. postmatch interview

#6 s6 Anna Chakvetadze RUS d #91 Andrea Petkovic GER 0-0, 40-40 retired--right knee injury Tue

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The trainer testing Andrea's knee, and Anna consoling Andrea

#7 s7 Serena Williams USA d #143 wc Jarmila Gajdosova AUS 6-3, 6-3 Mon
    ESPN postmatch interview: # 7 s7 Serena Williams

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Serena firing a cannonball

    Serena said: "It definitely feels good to be back. I think I was a wee bit nervous out there. But it's good to be back... I think everyone could probably tell I was a little scratchy. But it's the first round. Just moving forward...
    "The only thing I feel different [about the new Plexicushion courts, which have replaced the previous Rebound Ace] is it's not as bouncy, so I don't have to worry about tearing my ankle apart, so that works in my favor. Other than that, I don't feel that much of a difference." postmatch interview

#8 s8 Venus Williams USA d #58 Zi Yan CHN 6-2, 7-5 Tue ESPN postmatch interview: Venus Williams

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Venus firing a cannonball, and launching a forehand on the fly

#9 s9 Daniela Hantuchova SVK d #108 Vania King USA 6-3, 7-5 Tue

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Daniela's backhand drive

    Daniela said: "It was very tight. I was really glad to get through in two sets. I mean, it was quite a big fight, especially in the second set. I thought Vania was playing very well. I was just pleased the way I hang in there and play the big points well. That was, I think, crucial today." interview fragment

*#97 Sofia Arvidsson SWE d #10 s10 Marion Bartoli FRA 6-7(3), 6-4, 6-3 Tue

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Sofia driving a forehand, Marion's backhand, and Sofia after match point

#11 s11 Elena Dementieva RUS d #79 Tzipora Obziler ISR 6-2, 6-2 Mon

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Elena's forehand drive

#12 s12 Nicole Vaidisova CZE d #59 Ioana Raluca Olaru ROM 6-3, 6-0 Mon

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Nicole driving a backhand, and "reacting," as they say

#13 s13 Tatiana Golovin FRA d #113 Stephanie Cohen-Aloro FRA 6-1, 4-6, 6-3 Mon

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Tatiana in her service toss motion

#14 s14 Nadia Petrova RUS d #75 Nicole Pratt AUS 6-1, 6-3 Tue
#15 s15 Patty Schnyder SUI d #90 Lilia Osterloh USA 6-3, 6-3 Mon

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Patty demonstrating follow through

*#195 q Sabine Lisicki GER d #16 s16 Dinara Safina RUS 7-6(4), 4-6, 6-2 Tue

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Sabine getting a little elevation on her serve, Dinara and Sabine driving backhands,
and Sabine's WTA profile pic, so you can recognize her on the street in Berlin

#17 s17 Shahar Peer ISR d #106 Renata Voracova CZE 6-2, 2-6, 6-0 Mon

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Shahar's backhand drive

#18 s18 Amelie Mauresmo FRA d #94 Tatiana Poutchek BLR 6(6)-7, 6-0, 6-0 Mon

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Amelie driving a forehand

#19 s19 Sybille Bammer AUT d #117 q Tamarine Tanasugarn THA 6(6)-7, 6-4, 6-2 Mon

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Sybille meditating during a changeover

*#110 Ekaterina Makarova RUS d #20 s20 Agnes Szavay HUN 3-6, 6-4, 7-5 Tue
#21 s21 Alona Bondarenko UKR d #77 Alla Kudryavtseva RUS 6-4, 7-6(4) Tue

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Alona's backhand drive

*#125 Catalina Castano COL d #22 s22 Lucie Safarova CZE 6-1, 6-4 Tue
*#38 Ai Sugiyama JPN d #23 s23 Vera Zvonareva RUS 6-3, 1-1 retired--left ankle injury Mon

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Ai consoling Vera, who sprained her left ankle while practicing before the Hobart, Tasmania final on Friday

#24 s24 Na Li CHN d #109 Severine Bremond FRA 6-2, 4-6, 6-4 Tue

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Na driving a forehand

#25 s25 Francesca Schiavone ITA d #44 Emilie Loit FRA 6-3, 7-6(5) Mon
#26 s26 Victoria Azarenka BLR d #95 Akgul Amanmuradova UZB 6-2, 7-5 Mon
#27 s27 Maria Kirilenko RUS d #46 Meilen Tu USA 6-4, 4-6, 6-3 Tue

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Meilen volleying a forehand, and Maria following a backhand

#28 s28 Katarina Srebotnik SLO d #72 Lourdes Dominguez Lino ESP 4-6, 6-0, 9-7 Tue
#29 s29 Agnieszka Radwanska POL d #86 Olga Savchuk UKR 6-0, 6-1 Tue
#30 s30 Virginie Razzano FRA d #66 Ashley Harkleroad USA 6-3, 7-5 Mon
#31 s31 Sania Mirza IND d #317 wc Iroda Tulyaganova UZB 6-4, 6-2 Tue

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Sania's strongest stroke, her forehand drive

*#60 Elena Vesnina RUS d #32 s32 Julia Vakulenko UKR 6-4, 1-6, 6-4 Mon
*#48 Akiko Morigami JPN d #33 Michaella Krajicek NED 6-2, 6-2 Tue

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Akiko about to swat a forehand

#34 Anabel Medina Garrigues ESP d #103 Petra Cetkovska CZE 7-6(1), 6-0 Mon
*#62 Caroline Wozniacki DEN d #36 Gisela Dulko ARG 6-1, 6-1 Tue

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Gisela driving a forehand, and Caroline following a serve

#39 Flavia Pennetta ITA d #49 Dominika Cibulkova SVK 6-4, 5-7, 6-4 Mon
#40 Tathiana Garbin ITA d #42 Eleni Daniilidou GRE 6-2, 6-2 Tue
*#67 Aravane Rezai FRA d #43 Kateryna Bondarenko UKR 7-6(4), 6-2 Mon
*#154 q Alisa Kleybanova RUS d #45 Shuai Peng CHN 7-5, 4-6, 9-7 Tue
*#93 Tsvetana Pironkova BUL d #47 Olga Govortsova BLR 6-1, 6-1 Tue
*#85 Casey Dellacqua AUS d #51 Karin Knapp ITA 4-6 6-3 8-6 Mon

    Casey said: "The crowd was so good out there. And I absolutely loved playing on that court. It wasn't too big; it wasn't too small. It just felt really great. It was just such a great atmosphere. I really got the adrenaline going there in the third set. After the match, I couldn't stop shaking. It took me actually a little bit to settle down. I just had a shower, being able to calm down a little bit. So I'm just super excited." postmatch interview

#52 Lindsay Davenport USA d #63 Sara Errani ITA 6-2, 3-6, 7-5 Mon

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Lindsay lightly tapping a backhand

*#55 Pauline Parmentier FRA d #54 Martina Muller GER 7-5, 6-3 Tue
#56 Alize Cornet FRA d #400 sr Clarisa Fernandez ARG 6-3, 6-3 Tue
#57 Alicia Molik AUS d #73 Kaia Kanepi EST 7-6(4) 7-5 Mon

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Alicia after match point

    Former # 8 Alicia said: "I think it was a good match first up. Obviously, both sets were very close, and I had that Love-3 score line early in the first set, which didn't worry me too much, which I think is a good sign. I think I only missed a few balls by a few inches. I mean, [Kaia] jump-started me. That was one of my goals today, to come out swinging, come out very quick out of the box, which I did. I had a few game points and then I had a few breakpoints, as well. But I was pretty happy with the way that match went. Happy with the way I think I was advancing forward to the net. I think it's something I'd have to continue to do the next match." postmatch interview

*#158 q Su-Wei Hsieh TPE d #61 Klara Zakopalova CZE 2-6, 6-4, 8-6 Mon
*#100 Jill Craybas USA d #68 Yung-Jan Chan TPE 6-4, 6-2 Mon
*#71 Yvonne Meusburger AUT d #69 Laura Granville USA 6-1, 6-4 Tue
*#80 Virginia Ruano Pascual ESP d #74 Roberta Vinci ITA 6-4, 6-4 Tue
#78 Anastasia Rodionova RUS d #160 q Angelika Bachmann GER 7-6(3), 6-4 Tue
*#83 Yaroslava Shvedova RUS d #81 Tatjana Malek GER 6-2, 6-2 Mon
#82 Anne Kremer LUX d #593 sr Evgenia Linetskaya RUS 7-6(8), 6-0 Tue
#84 Edina Gallovits ROM d #105 Stephanie Dubois CAN 7-6(7) 6-3 Mon
*#104 Mariya Koryttseva UKR d #87 Maria Emilia Salerni ARG 6-2, 6-3 Tue
#88 Angelique Kerber GER d #98 Maret Ani EST 0-6, 6-3, 6-2 Mon
#89 Camille Pin FRA d #155 q Monica Niculescu ROU 5-7, 6-1, 6-1 Tue
#92 Olga Poutchkova RUS d #148 wc Monique Adamczak AUS 6-4, 6-0 Mon
#96 Tatiana Perebiynis UKR d #229 wc Madison Brengle USA 7-5, 6-2 Mon
#99 Maria Elena Camerin ITA d #216 wc Christina Wheeler AUS 6-1, 6-2 Tue

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Maria Elena driving a forehand

*#376 wc Jessica Moore AUS d #101 Julie Ditty USA 6-3, 6-2 Mon
*#164 q Sandra Kloesel GER d #115 q Julia Schruff GER 6-1, 6(1)-7, 6-4 Mon
#120 q Timea Bacsinszky SUI d #176 wc Sophie Ferguson AUS 6-4, 6-3 Tue
#122 q Meng Yuan CHN d #211 q Ekaterina Ivanova RUS 4-6, 6-4, 6-2 Mon

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Meng after winning a point

*#145 q Marta Domachowska POL d #135 wc Mathilde Johansson FRA 6-1, 6-1 Tue

Australian Open, 2nd Rd, Wed-Thu 11am
loser: (2007) $29,890 AUS = $26,623 US, US 60 points
#1 s1 Justine Henin BEL d #92 Olga Poutchkova RUS 6-1, 7-5 Wed

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Justine's textbook-form backhand drive and backhand volley, and Olga congratulating Justine after match point

    Justine said: "I played a good first set, actually. I was well into the match and played very aggressive and I did a good job in the first.
    "And then lost a little bit of the intensity, a little bit of the rhythm on my serve. Then I was leading 5-2 and then she came back and didn't move her... it wasn't good enough at that time to finish the match.
    "And then when she came back at 5-All. I understood it was time to push myself a little bit more. And I know in the next round it's going to be a good match for me to push myself and really come to another level." postmatch interview

#2 s2 Svetlana Kuznetsova RUS d #93 Tsvetana Pironkova BUL 7-6(0), 6-2 Thu

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Svetlana following a forehand, Tsvetana driving one, and Sveta's backhand

    About the 1st set, Svetlana said: "I didn't start well, definitely, and I've been missing it up, and [Tsvetana was] playing pretty good. And then I was getting a bit tighter and I still didn't play my game. But when I was down 5-2, 5-3, I felt I'm just not doing the things. I think I just tried to put more balls in play and tried to make rallies long. So she's not very consistent, so I wanted to play with her." postmatch interview

#3 s3 Jelena Jankovic SRB d #84 Edina Gallovits ROM 6-2, 7-5 Wed

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Edina lining up a backhand, and Jelena answering a drop shot with a drop shot, smashing an overhead, and driving a backhand

#4 s4 Ana Ivanovic SRB d #40 Tathiana Garbin ITA 6-0, 6-3 Thu

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Ana driving a forehand, and after winning a point

#5 s5 Maria Sharapova RUS d #52 Lindsay Davenport USA 6-1, 6-3 Wed

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Maria serving, Lindsay running down a forehand,
Maria's forehand drive, Lindsay driving a backhand, Maria after match point, and Lindsay congratulating Maria

    Both players put 67% of their 1st serves in the box. But Maria won 86% of her 1st serve points, while Lindsay won 62%. Maria broke Lindsay's serve four times on ten break points, while Lindsay never reached a break point against Maria. Maria played a very clean match, hitting 26 winners with only 12 unforced errors including just 1 double fault (Lindsay: 10 winners, 16 errors, 3 DFs). match stats

    2007 Aussie Open finalist (and 2004 Wimbledon & 2006 US Open champ) Maria said: "Tell you the truth, I approached it like it's a final. Ever since I took a peek at the draw and saw that Lindsay was second round."

    1998 US Open, 1999 Wimbledon & 2000 Australian Open champ Lindsay said: "You probably don't get to see too many second rounds where you see two Grand Slams champions, former No. 1s playing against each other. The buildup to the match, the excitement, the showtime--I love that. As an athlete, that's what you play for... The key was starting off well, and I really didn't do that." AP story

#6 s6 Anna Chakvetadze RUS d #154 q Alisa Kleybanova RUS 6-3, 6-4 Thu

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Anna's backhand drive and volley

#7 s7 Serena Williams USA d #122 q Meng Yuan CHN 6-3, 6-1 Wed

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Serena following a forehand, asking her Wilson K Factor KBlade Team 104"  "What was that?", and driving a backhand

#8 s8 Venus Williams USA d #89 Camille Pin FRA 7-5, 6-4 Thu

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Camille driving a forehand, and Venus lining up a backhand

    Venus said: "Definitely got to hit a lot of balls. [Camille] plays a really feisty game, brings a lot of balls back, and a lot of balls low. And she was definitely on her best tennis today. So she played well." postmatch interview

#9 s9 Daniela Hantuchova SVK d #56 Alize Cornet FRA 6-2, 7-5 Thu

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Daniela's forehand drive, Alize driving a backhand, and Daniela after winning a point

#11 s11 Elena Dementieva RUS d #34 Anabel Medina Garrigues ESP 5-7, 6-3, 6-3 Wed

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Elena lining up a slice backhand, and after match point

#12 s12 Nicole Vaidisova CZE d #57 Alicia Molik AUS 6-2, 6-3 Wed

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Alicia's forehand, Nicole volleying a backhand, and after match point

    Alicia said: "Nicole played great. She served out of a tree today, not just first serves but second serves as well. I guess that's the best serve I've played against in the last six to nine months out of all the tournaments I've played. She got a lot of free points off of herself, a lot of aces, as well. I was playing catchup basically from the first set. I felt like I got myself nicely into the second set. She's a quality opponent, so you give someone a good scoreline to run away with, and she's too good not to." postmatch interview

*#67 Aravane Rezai FRA d #13 s13 Tatiana Golovin FRA 6-3, 3-6, 6-3 Wed

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Aravane's forehand drive

#14 s14 Nadia Petrova RUS d #82 Anne Kremer LUX 7-5, 7-5 Thu

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Anne and Nadia driving backhands, and Nadia after match point

*#85 Casey Dellacqua AUS d #15 s15 Patty Schnyder SUI 4-6, 7-5, 8-6 Wed

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Patty and Casey driving backhands, and Casey after match point

    Casey said: "I think there's a few things. I think mentally I was strung out there today, even if I was 6‑4, 3‑Love down I kind of went off my game plan I have been through with my coaches, with Dave.
    "I said to myself, Just go back to basics. Let's go to the process. So we spoke about what I needed to do. Yeah, I pretty much went back to that, and then I should have just stuck with that the whole time and, yeah, it worked.
    "In the end I just mentally hung in there as tough as I could, and was able to eventually get the break and then serve it out." postmatch interview

#17 s17 Shahar Peer ISR d #376 wc Jessica Moore AUS 6-0, 7-5 Wed

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Shahar spinning a forehand

#18 s18 Amelie Mauresmo FRA d #83 Yaroslava Shvedova RUS 6-4, 7-6(5) Wed

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Amelie's backhand drive

    Amelie led 5-1 in the 2nd set. Amelie said: "I probably got a little bit tight in that moment and really wasn't able to finish that match off. I really think the lack of confidence showed a little bit, lack of playing matches and being in that position a little bit more often the last few months, last year even. The tension got to me at that moment, so after that I was just happy that I could finish it still in that second set. But it was little bit of a pity because the whole match was very good." postmatch interview

*#158 q Su-Wei Hsieh TPE d #19 s19 Sybille Bammer AUT 6-2, 6-0 Wed c6 m4

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Su-Wei after match point

*#62 Caroline Wozniacki DEN d #21 s21 Alona Bondarenko UKR 7-6(4) 6-1 Thu

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Caroline driving a forehand, and Alona's backhand

#24 s24 Na Li CHN d #99 Maria Elena Camerin ITA 6-4, 6-3 Thu

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Maria Elena about to slice a backhand, and Na's forehand drive

    Na reached # 16 in the WTA singles rankings last January, the highest ranking ever achieved by a Chinese player. But she fractured a rib in June, and when she prepared to return to play later in the year, fractured it again, forcing her to sit out the rest of the season. Na is likely feeling better now: she is 7-0 in 2008.

#25 s25 Francesca Schiavone ITA d #88 Angelique Kerber GER 6-2, 6-3 Wed

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Angelique while driving a backhand, Fresca volleying one, and after match point

#26 s26 Victoria Azarenka BLR d #164 q Sandra Kloesel GER 6-1, 6-1 Wed

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Victoria serving, and driving a forehand

#27 s27 Maria Kirilenko RUS d #48 Akiko Morigami JPN 6-1, 6-1 Thu

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Maria following forehand and backhand

    Maria put 69% of her 1st serves in the box; Akiko did almost as well, with 62%. But Maria won a whopping 78% of her 1st serve points, as well as 67% of her 2nd serve points (Akiko: 36% and 53%). Maria also scored on every trip she made to the net, 11 for 11, and hit 18 winners with only 15 unforced errors including 2 double faults (Akiko: 5 of 10, 11 W, 24 E, 1 DF). match stats

#28 s28 Katarina Srebotnik SLO d #78 Anastasia Rodionova RUS 6-4, 6-1 Thu

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Anastasia and Katarina driving backhands

#29 s29 Agnieszka Radwanska POL d #55 Pauline Parmentier FRA 7-5, 6-4 Thu
#30 s30 Virginie Razzano FRA d #39 Flavia Pennetta ITA 6-2, 5-7, 6-3 Wed

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Virginie's backhand drive

#31 s31 Sania Mirza IND d #120 q Timea Bacsinszky SUI 6-1, 4-6, 7-5 Thu

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Sania running down a backhand, and after match point

    Sania said: "I think I was playing very well. In the first set obviously I wasn't really giving [Timea] chances, and I started off by winning about six points in a row...
    "In the second set it was fine till about 4-All, 40-30. I was serving and I think I made a double fault, if I'm not mistaken, or it was a bad miss or something. And suddenly, we're all quality players, and if you let someone in... I think I played a couple of bad games, maybe a lapse of concentration or whatever.
    "I think in the third set, she was there. She was in the match till the end." postmatch interview

#38 Ai Sugiyama JPN d #96 Tatiana Perebiynis UKR 6-4, 6-4 Wed

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Ai's service toss

#60 Elena Vesnina RUS d #100 Jill Craybas USA 6-2, 6-4 Wed

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There were no good match photos of Elena on Wednesday,
but on Thursday she showed tons of pretty at Brighton beach near Melbourne

*#110 Ekaterina Makarova RUS d #71 Yvonne Meusburger AUT 6-3, 6-1 Thu

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Ekaterina following a twist serve, and Yvonne driving a backhand

#80 Virginia Ruano Pascual ESP d #125 Catalina Castano COL 6-2, 6-4 Thu

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Vivi possibly volleying a backhand (she drives 1-handed too), and Catalina driving one

*#145 q Marta Domachowska POL d #97 Sofia Arvidsson SWE 7-5, 1-6, 6-1 Thu

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Marta driving a forehand

*#195 q Sabine Lisicki GER d #104 Mariya Koryttseva UKR 6-1, 7-5 Thu

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Sisters Serena and Venus Williams apparently discussing the relative advantages of Ricola and Hall's
while defeating Monique Adamczak and Christine Wheeler in the 1st round of doubles on Thursday
Australian Open, 3rd Rd, Fri-Sat
loser: (2007) $49,100 AUS = $43,733 US, 90 points
#1 s1 Justine Henin BEL d #25 s25 Francesca Schiavone ITA 7-5, 6-4 Fri

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Justine picking up a low forehand, Fresca and Justine showing the good straight elbow on backhand volleys,
and Justine after winning the first set

    Justine said: "Francesca is always a tough player, tough opponent, and I knew that. So I'm happy, because I had pretty good reactions when I had to. I knew it was going to be a good fight. Physically she's very strong and she's running a lot. She has put a lot of spin. So different kind of game than what we used to play against the other players. For me that was interesting, so I'm happy about this win." postmatch interview

*#29 s29 Agnieszka Radwanska POL d #2 s2 Svetlana Kuznetsova RUS 6-3, 6-4 Sat

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Agnieszka slicing a serve Svetlanaward, Sveta's backhand, Agnieszka fielding a forehand, and after match point

    Svetlana coverted only 2 of 4 break points against Agnieszka, while Agnieszka converted 4 of the 11 she held against Sveta. Agnieszka hit 19 winners with just 17 unforced errors for the match; Svetlana: 23 winners, 36 errors. match stats

    Last year, Agnieszka defeated then # 2 Maria Sharapova in the 3rd round of the US Open, 6-4, 1-6, 6-2.

    Agnieszka said: "I'm very excited and happy. I lost against [Svetlana] a few times already, but it was very close, 6-3 in the third and 6-4 in the third. Finally I did it. I beat her... I was playing many matches against top players, so I know how to play. I have to play aggressive and try my best even if I'm losing 3-Love." postmatch interview

    Svetlana said: "It's pretty simple. I think I beat myself up out there, so I didn't do much, right things. I was just playing within myself, and I lost the match and this is it... It wasn't about [Agnieszka's] game. She played well, but I was not doing anything to win the match. And playing like this, I think I deserve to lose today...
    "I was feeling fine. It's the way I was thinking on the game. The way I prepare for the game and everything, it wasn't right. I've got to learn to do it right way next time during Grand Slams. It's lots of pressure. I got to handle it and got to play well and do it differently. Otherwise, it will happen to me many times." postmatch interview

#3 s3 Jelena Jankovic SRB d #30 s30 Virginie Razzano FRA 6-2, 4-6, 6-1 Fri

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Jelena driving a forehand, volleying a backhand, and after winning a point

    Jelena said: "I managed to get this match. I should have finished in two sets, but I completely lost my concentration end of the second, and I also got very tired and I wasn't thinking about what I had to do in order to win. I was just completely kind of my mind stopped and I was tired.
    "And then somehow, it was a crucial point of the match when I was down Love-1 in the third, when I played that long game, managed to win that one, and then I kind of started to have energy and just went along in the third set...
    "[Virginie] was starting to play very, very well, and especially at the end of the second set she was going for her shots. She got her confidence back and I went down. My level of tennis went down and I wasn't playing the right shots. I stopped moving my feet. I completely lost my strategy. And then in the third set I started to get back. I started to refocus again." postmatch interview

#4 s4 Ana Ivanovic SRB d #28 s28 Katarina Srebotnik SLO 6-3, 6-4 Sat

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Ana and Katarina driving forehand and backhand, Ana following another forehand, and Katarina congratulating Ana after match point

    Ana said: "Coming into today's match, I knew [Katarina] was a tough opponent and I just had to keep my composure and fight for every point, and that's exactly what I did today. I think this was a big step and good win for me today...
    "I played really well, and I was serving very well. That was a big point today, because she was serving extremely well, especially in the second set. I was happy to get an early break and get my serve in." postmatch interview

#5 s5 Maria Sharapova RUS d #60 Elena Vesnina RUS 6-3, 6-0 Fri

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Maria's service toss, Elena's forehand drive, Maria's backhand, and Elena congratulating Maria after match point

    Maria said: "I started off a little bit slow. I was trying to figure out [Elena's] game. We never played before, only in practice. It took a few games, I think six games, to really find my game as well.     "I really tried to keep the intensity I had in the previous match, take it to this one, but that's always difficult. But after the 3-All game I thought I did a good job of stepping up and playing good...
    "I think I returned well today. I've been returning well throughout the last couple of matches. That's pretty important, especially against big servers. Especially in the beginning of the match she served pretty well, and didn't give me too many looks at second serves, but I was able to take advantage from the first point." postmatch interview

    About playing Fed Cup for Russia against Israel the weekend following the Australian Open, Maria said: "I'm looking forward to the team experience, and also visiting Israel for the first time."

*#27 s27 Maria Kirilenko RUS d #6 s6 Anna Chakvetadze RUS 6-7(6) 6-1 6-2 Sat

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Maria delivering a cannonball, Anna spinning a forehand, Maria following a backhand, and after match point

    Maria won the Beijing title in late 2005, and her ranking reached # 20 shortly thereafter. She then had a bit of a slump through 2006 and much of 2007. But late last year her game picked up: she won the Kolkata title, reached the Seoul final, and won an ITF title in Dubai in December.
    The match was a bit sloppy. Anna delivered 28 winners, but had 54 unforced errors, with 9 double faults; Maria hit 17 winners, but had 30 unforced errors (including 4 DFs). Anna converted only 1 of 3 break points against Maria in the match; Maria coverted 6 of 15 break points against Anna. match stats

    Maria said: "I know [Anna] from small age. Like we practiced in the same club and also was quite friendly. I couldn't say that we're like best friends, but good friends... I was always the best, like when I was small. Like in juniors every time. Then like last two years she had very successful, like wins everything, so she became like top 10 player.
    "To be honest, like I was little bit surprised, because from the small age I never thought that she could play as good as like she's playing. It's good for her. She always practiced a lot, I remember. And she always has a good character, like she's like fight and like angry on the court. I think it's helped her a lot, you know. It's good that I won today. I'm happy...
    "It's not really easy to play against her because she playing quite deep and she has good hands. But today I felt like I was running good, and it was like the key, also. And I felt like I'm strong, you know, like I can run, you know, like I can play the ball like how I want, not just hitting. I tried to change... I think it's also help, because she likes to play when someone is hitting. She just, like make running the opponent." postmatch interview

#7 s7 Serena Williams USA d #26 s26 Victoria Azarenka BLR 6-3, 6-4 Fri

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Victoria driving a forehand, Serena's backhand, and Victoria congratulating Serena after match point

    Serena said: "I definitely served well today. It was much better than what I did my other two rounds, so it's looking good. I like it...
    "I think [Victoria] played really well off the ground, and she moved well, which is always good to be able to hit hard and move well. I thought she had a lot of pace on her balls, too." postmatch interview

#8 s8 Venus Williams USA d #31 s31 Sania Mirza IND 7-6(0), 6-4 Sat

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Venus serving, Sania and Venus driving backhands, Sania running down a forehand, and Venus after match point

    Venus said: "I felt good with how I played. I felt confident throughout the whole match. I think [Sania] played quite well, too. I think she had an interesting game plan: As soon as she got her racquet on the ball, she just hit it as hard as she could and went for broke. I think that worked for her on a lot of points...
    "I think she's known for the power of her groundstrokes. I think if I chose, also, I could strike it hard every time, also. But there's different strategies against different players, and that's the strategy she chose against me. I think it worked well, but I think ultimately I had a little bit more than her, and that helped me in the end." postmatch interview

#9 s9 Daniela Hantuchova SVK d #80 Virginia Ruano Pascual ESP 6-2, 6-3 ppd-Sun

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Daniela's backhand drive and follow through, and after match point

#11 s11 Elena Dementieva RUS d #17 s17 Shahar Peer ISR 6-2, 6-0 Fri


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Elena driving a forehand, and after match point

#12 s12 Nicole Vaidisova CZE d #38 Ai Sugiyama JPN 6-3, 6-4 Fri

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Nicole volleying a backhand, Ai's best shot, her backhand drive, and Nicole after winning a point

    This match was very close; Nicole broke Ai's serve only twice in five opportunities; Ai failed to break Nicole's serve once, although she held seven break points against her. Nicole fired 6 aces with only 2 double faults; she totaled 33 unforced errors, but she hit 31 winners (Ai: 0 aces, 6 DFs, 18 E, 10 W). match stats

    About her performance, Nicole said: "A little shaky, I guess. A little nervous. Really wanted to do well, play well. But [Ai] played good. Definitely very steady player. Made a lot of opportunities for herself. So just happy I got through...
    "I guess every match, every Grand Slam, every tough match you get more experience. You know how to handle the situations a little better. I think it helps obviously, especially when you play a top girl who has many more matches and many more tournaments under her belt. You can try to use that now a little bit also...
    "Definitely this week I'm happy with the way I served. I've been working on that. Helped me out a lot of times these last couple matches, so happy with that." postmatch interview

#14 s14 Nadia Petrova RUS d #110 Ekaterina Makarova RUS 6-1, 7-6(8) ppd-Sun

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Nadia lining up a backhand, driving one, and after winning a point

*#85 Casey Dellacqua AUS d #18 s18 Amelie Mauresmo FRA 3-6, 6-4, 6-4 Fri

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Amelie following a forehand, Casey's forehand, and Casey after match point

    Amelie helped Casey out with 10 double faults, while Casey DF'd only once. Casey converted 6 of 8 break points against Amelie; Amelie converted only 5 of 12 break points against Casey. match stats

    Casey said: "I was wanting to attack [Amelie's] forehand because I know with her backhand, she likes her backhand line. She's obviously got her backhand slice, which I think holds her game together a lot. I wanted to attack her forehand.
    "I think 3-1 in the third set I kind of started to play her backhand. I went off the game plan a little bit, and then I was able to get back into that. I think that, worked quite well.
    "Then attack every second serve, every opportunity I got, just to be aggressive. I think off the baseline I really played quite well. I hit my backhand quite well today. My forehand was pretty solid. So that was kind of the plan." postmatch interview

    Amelie said: "[Casey] can hit some great shots, and definitely hitting well on both sides from the baseline. She played very similar that I saw her play against Patty [Schnyder] a couple days ago. Sometimes able to put a little bit of spin on the forehand, and sometimes flatten, hit out when she wants to come in or be more aggressive. [She] can do that pretty well." postmatch interview

*#145 q Marta Domachowska POL d #24 s24 Na Li CHN 2-6, 6-2, 6-4 ppd-Sun

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Marta twisting a serve, Na driving a backhand, Marta following one,
and how Marta looks offcourt (for those who don't know), taken at the Warsaw draw in 2006

    Marta, who reached a career-high rank of # 37 in April, 2006, but had struggled since then, served 8 aces, including one on match point. match report - match stats

#62 Caroline Wozniacki DEN d #195 q Sabine Lisicki GER 4-6, 6-4, 6-3 ppd-Sun

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2006 Wimbledon juniors champ (and Aussie Open juniors finalist) Caroline about to swat a backhand, after winning a point,
after match point, and how Caroline looks offcourt (for those who don't know), from a Dec 2006 portrait shoot

*#158 q Su-Wei Hsieh TPE d #67 Aravane Rezai FRA 6-2, 6(3)-7, 6-4 Fri

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Su-Wei and Aravane driving forehands, and Su-Wei after match point

Australian Open, 4th Rd, Sun-Mon 11am
loser: (2007) $80,060 AUS = $71,309 US, 140 points
#1 s1 Justine Henin BEL d #158 q Su-Wei Hsieh TPE 6-2, 6-2 Sun

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Justine reaching for a forehand, driving a backhand, and after match point

    Although Justine made only 48% of her 1st serves good, a bit lower than usual for her, she won 67% of her 1st serve points, hit 20 winners with 23 unforced errors including 4 double faults, and scored on 15 of 10 trips to the net (Su-Wei: 58%, 28%, 16 W, 24 E, 1 DF, 6 of 10 approaches). Su-Wei did break Justine's serve twice in 5 opportunites; Justine broke Su-Wei's serve six times in nine chances. match stats

    Justine said: "It's always tough. [Su-Wei] had a really strange game. Never knew what to expect. So I think she played a very good tournament and she started the match with a lot of confidence. I did what I had to do. I played solid, consistent. That was good enough today...
    "She's young. It's always the experience, to play the kind of match at this level, that brings a lot of things. But she improved a lot and I'm sure she learned a lot of things in this tournament." postmatch interview

    Justine will play Maria Sharapova in a quarterfinal on Tuesday. Justine leads Maria 6-2 in career matches, and won their last two meetings. Maria defeated Justine in the 2006 US Open final, 6-4, 6-4. In their next meeting Justine defeated Maria 6-2, 7-6(5), in the semis of the 2006 WTA Championships, and again, 5-7, 7-5, 6-3, last November in the final of the 2007 WTA Championships.

    About their last meeting, Justine said: "It was a big fight. It was one of the best matches of my career, I think one of the best matches of last year... a very long match. It was a lot of intensity. She was back. She's back in her best level. I always know to beat her I have to be at my best. She's a real fighter. She never gives up. Very talented. She's a champion. So I know that against her I will have to be a hundred percent all the time...
    "I have a different kind of game. I don't play the same tennis as the other girls. They're hitting the ball very hard. I just try to use different things. I try to mix it up a little bit more. Mentally I just try to stay focused all the time. I can be powerful when I want. I'm not scared of the long rallies or of the girls hitting the ball hard because I know I can do it myself. But I can change the rhythms, can use different things."

#3 s3 Jelena Jankovic SRB d #85 Casey Dellacqua AUS 7-6(3, 6-1 Sun

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Jelena twisting a serve, Casey following a forehand, Jelena driving a backhand, and after match point

    Jelena said: "I didn't really play my game. It was humid out there and the balls were very heavy, and I couldn't even hit my backhand shot. I mean, I was just trying to make [Casey] play. I didn't really know too much about her game. I just tried to put as many balls in the court as possible and just stay focused throughout the match.
    "And I thought that she was playing very, very well. Maybe she was trying to go for too much because maybe I was getting a lot more balls back than she's normally used to. But overall she had a great tournament and she beat so many good players. It's a great run for her at the Australian Open, for sure. And I'm happy to win, to get through this match, and be in the quarterfinals." AP story

#4 s4 Ana Ivanovic SRB d #62 Caroline Wozniacki DEN 6-1, 7-6(2) Mon

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Ana following a flying forehand, Caroline and Ana following backhands, and Ana after match point

    Ana, who hit 29 winners with 29 unforced errors (3 DFs), converted 4 of the 9 break points she had against Caroline; Caroline, who hit 12 winners with 21 unforced errors (1 DF) converted only 1 of the 7 break points she held against Ana. match stats

    Ana said: "[Caroline is] a tough opponent. She had a good few matches, few wins. She had nothing to lose, so she was really dangerous in the second set. She started going for her shots. I started fighting a little bit more. So she used the opportunity well."     "I'm really happy I managed to keep my composure in the end of that second set, and be calm on those set points, and still manage to win it. So that was an important step today." postmatch interview

    About playing Venus Williams in the quarterfinals, Ana said: "I think I'm a little bit different player than I was last time I played her. I got even fitter and stronger on the court. And also these courts are a little bit slower than US Open, so I think that's something that definitely suits me better because she's a big server and she likes to go for the big shots. It's going to be important, whoever takes control over that first shot. It will be important for me to serve well, and stay in the court and don't give her too much."

#5 s5 Maria Sharapova RUS d #11 s11 Elena Dementieva RUS 6-2, 6-0 Sun

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Maria following a cannonball, Elena driving a forehand, Maria's backhand drive, and after winning a point

    Elena had no difficulty putting her serves in the box; 81% on 1st serve, with only 1 double fault (Maria: 56%, 0 DFs). But Elena won only 37% of her 1st serve points, and none of her 2nd serve points, while Maria won 67% of her 1st serve points and 62% of her 2nd serve points, as well as 70% of her receiving points (Elena: 35%). Maria hit 18 winners with only 11 unforced errors; Elena: 10 winners, 20 errors. match stats

    Maria said: "I was seeing the ball well today." AFP story

#7 s7 Serena Williams USA d #12 s12 Nicole Vaidisova CZE 6-3, 6-4 Sun

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Nicole slicing a serve, Serena driving a backhand on the run, and Nicole congratulating Serena after match point

    Serena said: "I felt like I didn't have a lot of rhythm out there. I felt like lazy, like I wasn't moving the way I wanted to. But overall, I think it boiled down to serves and returns...
    "It's definitely interesting playing [Nicole]. She's so unpredictable. I think that's really a good thing. Last couple of times I played her, her serve has just been really, really, really good... really a bright future." AP story

#8 s8 Venus Williams USA d #145 q Marta Domachowska POL 6-4, 6-4 Mon

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Marta serving, Venus and Marta driving backhands, Venus after winning a point, and Marta congratulating Venus after match point

    Venus, who hit 14 winners with 16 unforced errors (1 DF), converted 5 of the 6 break points she had against Marta; Marta, who hit 18 winners but had 30 unforced errors (4 DFs) converted only 3 of the 8 break points she held against Venus. match stats

    Venus said: "The last couple rounds I've definitely played some players who had some interesting strategies as far as going for broke... [Marta] made a lot of good shots there, but [I] just tried to keep a steady level of play. postmatch interview

    Marta said: "It was for me amazing experience to play today against Venus on the center court. I hope I can continue like this all year...
    "I had some chances. I had a lot of chances, especially in the first set, but I didn't use them very well. When I had the chance, then I was doing easy mistakes...
    "[Venus is] a great player. I was trying to do my best, but she was better than me." interview fragment

#9 s9 Daniela Hantuchova SVK d #27 s27 Maria Kirilenko RUS 1-6, 6-4, 6-4 Mon

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Daniela serving, Maria driving a forehand, Daniela's backhand drive, and after match point

    Maria might wish for rackets scoring: she scored 88 points to Daniela's 86, and won 14 games to 13 for Daniela. Maria also put 76% of her 1st serves in the box and won 70% of her 1st serve points (Daniela: 68% and 63%). Maria hit 32 winners (3 aces) with 27 unforced errors (4 DFs); Daniela hit 32 winners (5 aces) with 30 errors (1 DF). match stats

    Daniela said: "I was not playing well, especially in the first set. But I just kept fighting. I eventually turned it around... I was losing, being a set down and a few breakers, doesn't really make it easy. Honestly, I didn't really see the way out of it. I just tried to focus on every point at one time and just keep fighting." interview fragment

*#29 s29 Agnieszka Radwanska POL d #14 s14 Nadia Petrova RUS 1-6, 7-5, 6-0 Mon

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Agnieszka service toss, Nadia and Agnieszka driving backhands, and Agnieszka after match point

    Agnieszka's father was one of Nadia Petrova's coaches for a while when she was a teenager.

    Agnieszka hit 23 winners with only 17 unforced errors, including just one double fault. Nadia hit 26 winners, but with 37 unforced errors, including 4 double faults. match stats

    Agnieszka said: "I was losing 6-1, 3-Love, and I was thinking, 'What I'm doing wrong?' Because it was so quickly. And [Nadia] was using the wind very well, and I didn't. I think that was the most important point in this match.
    "Then I was start to play, try to do something else. And then it was like very long games, and I won the second set. It was so close.
    "And third set, I don't know what she was doing, I mean, at all. It was just like... but it's not a question for me...
    [By trying something else, Agnieszka meant] "Not to play aggressive. Just hit the ball like right, left, no mistakes. So I think that was more important, for sure. And also, I was serving much better than in the first set." postmatch interview

Australian Open, QFs, Tue-Wed 11am
loser: (2007) $160,125 AUS = $142,623 US, 250 points
*#5 s5 Maria Sharapova RUS d #1 s1 Justine Henin BEL 6-4, 6-0 Tue career matches Justine leads 6-3

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Maria serving, Justine running down a forehand, Maria driving a backhand... Justine driving a forehand, Maria following a
swinging backhand volley while running to net, Maria after winning a point, and Justine congratulating Maria after match point

    Maria hit 30 winners with 21 unforced errors (1 DF); Justine hit only 11 winners, also with 21 errors (4 DFs). Maria scored on 14 of 17 trips to the net, and converted 5 of the 10 break points she held against Justine (Justine: 11 of 20, and 1 of 4). match stats

    Maria said: "I think it was one of the most consistent matches where I did all the things I wanted to do, and I did them correctly from the beginning to the end except having a little letdown in the end of that first set. I felt like I did many things right, and I just played the way I can play...
    I had to be aggressive. When I'm playing well, that's what I do. I'm not a passive player. I don't want to lose the match by giving my opponent an opportunity to miss shots. I want to be the one that's forcing their errors. I did a really good job of that today...
    I came to the net a few times. [Justine] passed me a couple of times, but I didn't hesitate after she passed me those few times. I still kept going there. I was trying to put pressure on her. I did many things well, and sometimes when you do those things they just don't work. Although you're doing the right things, they don't sometimes don't go your way, and today they did...
    I was taking care of my side of the net. I was worried about what I had to do. I wasn't worried about what she was doing or what she was going to do. What I meant by that, I was in control of my game. Sometimes you're worried about other things that are going on or what your opponent is doing, how she's winning points. I was just concentrating on what I had to do throughout the match, and I think I said, even though I had a little letdown, I still kept going, I kept fighting, and I was trying to get every single ball out there. I came into the match really prepared to play a three to four hour match. I was ready for it." postmatch interview

    Justine had not been defeated since the 2007 Wimbledon semifinals; she had won 32 consecutive matches. Justine said: "[Maria] did her match. She played very high level of tennis. I have to agree with that. She started the match much better than me. I came back, but I wasn't good enough. She just did everything better than me today. And she served consistent and she's been much more aggressive and looked like it was her day and probably her tournament, so she's in great shape...
    "I think that I have no excuse. She won the match. She's been the best. I can tell I wasn't at my best level, and that's for sure. But the story is she won the match, and I'm going back home now. So it's kind of a disappointment for sure. It's very hard to be at your best level all the time, and I'll have to think about that and build again for the future...
    "She did put on me a lot of pressure. I knew I had to play my best level, and I wasn't today. So that's tough to accept, but you have to...
    "I was a bit anxious. Physically, I was really concerned about my knee for a few days... it's not an excuse about what happened on the court, because she was much better than me... It's old problem. It's just my knee is getting old, and probably have to rest a little bit now...
    "She worked hard, I think, in the off season. Apparently her shoulder is good now, so it gives her a lot of self confidence. She serves great. She did everything well today. She was playing the lines. She was really aggressive. She was attacking the ball, and I was way too far [behind the baseline]. She, I think, improved quite a lot in the last few weeks and came back much better than she was last year." postmatch interview

    Maria modified her service motion last year when she was not recovering from shoulder pain. Now she has returned to her previous motion. Maria said: "I was just trying to find something that would help my shoulder when it was during the period when I was hurting. I was just trying to find alternative motions that could help it. And when I felt like it was 100 percent, and it was for a while, I went back to my motion. Because I was literally doing that for my shoulder."

    About playing against fellow Bollettieri Academy grad Jelena Jankovic in the semifinals, Maria said: "Ever since the juniors we've always played really tough, and we've always battled it out, and it's great to see her in the semis. It's great we're playing together...
    "We played so many times because you'd have like small tournaments in the academy. They're just all the players from the academy. We'd always be playing in the semis or finals, all the time. Every week we'd be playing against each other."

#3 s3 Jelena Jankovic SRB d #7 s7 Serena Williams USA 6-3, 6-4 Tue

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Serena serving, Jelena running down a forehand, Serena about to swat a high backhand,
Jelena driving a forehand, Serena and Jelena driving backhands, and Jelena after match point

    Jelena hit 22 winners with 17 unforced errors (0 DFs); Serena hit 34 winners, but with 36 errors (5 DFs). Jelena scored on 11 of 13 trips to the net, and converted 7 of the 15 break points she held against Serena (Serena: 18 of 25, and 4 of 11). match stats

    Both players were attended to by the trainer: Jelena had her left thigh strapped, and Serena had a blistered toe treated.

    Jelena said: "I thought I played very well. I came out very strong, and I was going for my shots, especially my backhand down the line was working unbelievably, and that's how I hurt my opponent. I just kept hitting it, and luckily it was all going in. It was going very deep...
    "My game plan was... not give [Serena] the balls in front of her, especially when she serves. Obviously she's the best server out there, and she likes to get all the balls in front of her and really pound them. I just tried to move her and get the balls away from her, and it worked...
    "I think it will never be perfect... My backhand was really going very well, and that was the shot that was, that hurts. That's my biggest weapon, and I hurt my opponents with this shot." postmatch interview

    Serena said: "I made a lot of mistakes. I didn't really play the game I wanted to play... [Jelena] played really solid... I felt like some shots I made weren't the correct selection, and I didn't go after some shots I thought I should have went after. Then I just made some errors that I shouldn't make, and I have no reason to make those errors... I lost because Jelena played better than me and I made too many errors." postmatch interview

#4 s4 Ana Ivanovic SRB d #8 s8 Venus Williams USA 7-6(3), 6-4 Wed

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Ana serving, Venus and Ana driving backhands, Venus following a forehand,
Ana's forehand drive, Venus about to smash one, Ana running one down, and after match point

    Neither player could hold serve in six of the first seven games played, then things steadied a bit. 2007 French Open finalist Ana wound up breaking 2007 Wimbledon champion Venus on 5 of 10 opportunities, Venus converted 4 of 8 break points against Ana. Ana hit 23 winners (2 aces) with 34 unforced errors (4 DFs); Venus hit 14 winners (1 ace) with 35 errors (5 DFs). Both players won 62% of their 1st serve points, but Ana, averaging 92mph on her 2nd serve, won 45% of those points, while Venus, averaging 86mph on 2nd serve, won only 31% of her 2nd serve points. match stats

    Ana fell behind 15-40 while serving for the match. Ana said: "It was lot of pressure. But I try not to think too much about the score. I try to play still for each point and not try to play the score.
    "I knew [Venus is] a tough opponent and she never gives up. She came up with some good shots in that last game. You know, I tried to take my time and focus on my first serve because I realize it was very important for me to put the first serve in, put more pressure on her so she couldn't see my second serve. And it worked well. So I'm really pleased." postmatch interview

    About a minor injury, resulting her her left thigh being strapped, Venus said: "I can't blame my loss on that. I think that [Ana] just played some good tennis... I think I moved okay today... I think she's improved a lot. I think she's definitely improved on everything in her game." postmatch interview

#9 s9 Daniela Hantuchova SVK d #29 s29 Agnieszka Radwanska POL 6-2, 6-2 Wed

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Daniela's forehand drive, Agnieszka and Daniela driving backhands,
Agnieszka fielding a high forehand, Daniela running one down, Daniela after match point, and Agnieszka congratulating Daniela

    Daniela was unphased by Agnieszka's serve (2nd serve 72mph avg), winning 58% of her receiving points, while Agnieszka won only 40% of her receiving points. Daniela hit 27 winners (1 ace) with only 20 unforced error (1 DF), while Agnieszka struck only 17 winners (3 aces) with 19 errors (0 DFs). Daniela scored on 15 of 17 trips to the net (Agnieszka: 9 of 16). match stats

    Daniela said: "Definitely was a tough match. I really had to play well in order to get that score. I was real proud how I handled the situation. I felt like I had a great opportunity to win this match, but I still had to go out there and play my best, which I think I did at times." postmatch interview

    Agnieszka said: "I'm very happy that I did my first quarterfinal. So I beat two Russian good players, both seeded. I'm happy...
    "[Daniela] was serving very well and return also... She was playing very long balls, Close to the baseline. It was very hard to play... I was trying everything in first set and then second set. But was very long games. Anyway, the last points always she did better, so... next time." AP story

Australian Open, SFs, Thu
loser: (2007) $320,250 AUS = $285,247 US, 450 points
*#5 s5 Maria Sharapova RUS d #3 s3 Jelena Jankovic SRB 6-3, 6-1

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Maria serving, Jelena driving a forehand, Maria's backhand, Jelena in misery while listening to the trainer,
Maria's forehand, Jelena's backhand drive, Maria launching a backhand on the run, and Jelena congratulating Maria after match point

    Unfortunately, Jelena could not play up to her usual high level due to back pain. Jelena said: "When it was 5-3 [in the 1st set], when I was kind of coming back, that's where at some point during that game I felt really some strange pain in my back where I felt like I was so stuck. And that was the time when I felt it's over. I cannot keep going anymore.
    "Because it's not a muscle. It's, I think, joints or these bones in there. I'm not the trainer to tell you exactly what it is, but I couldn't keep up.
    "I wanted to withdraw, but it was not fair, you know, for the crowd. It's a semifinal, so I played how much I could to finish the match.
    "And I thought that Maria played very, very well, and anyway, she deserved to win. But I couldn't really give a match...
    "I think she's playing really, really, really well. I was really amazed how well she played, especially in this first five games. Everything she hit, you know, each strike was amazing. Even though when she was late or whatever, but it was all going in. She didn't make a mistake. She was just on a roll. And I was I thinking, When is she going to wake up from her dream? But then, you know, I got a few games at I was 5-3. That was the time where I needed to push a little bit more, and that was the time when I got really hurt and I couldn't do it anymore. So it was unfortunate for me.
    "She's playing great, and it will be a good match in the final. She has a big chance." postmatch interview

    Rain caused the roof of Rod Laver Arena to be closed just before the start of the match. Maria said: "I had a really good start to the match, you know, considering the conditions changed so quickly. I warmed up outside. Our little warmup was pretty much outside, and then all of a sudden the roof was closed. Mentally, you've just got to be prepared for that, and, you know, you're playing an indoor match where you've basically been playing outdoors for the last five matches...
    "[Jelena is] always dangerous when she's down. She's proven that in this tournament. I was happy I was able to close that first set out and then get through the second... It's always important to focus on your side of the net and do what you have to do in order to win that match and not concentrate on her shot making or her movement or whatever she's doing. Just concentrate on yourself, and I did a good job of that." postmatch interview

    Maria hit 30 winners (8 aces) with only 20 unforced errors (5 DFs), won 83% of her 1st serve points and 50% of her 2nd serve points, and scored on 16 of 17 trips to the net. Jelena, slowed by injury, managed only 8 winners (0 aces) with 24 errors (5 DFs) while winning only 51% of her 1st serve points and 29% of her 2nd serve points, and scoring on 5 of 8 trips to the net. match stats

#4 s4 Ana Ivanovic SRB d #9 s9 Daniela Hantuchova SVK 0-6, 6-3, 6-4

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Ana serving, Daniela's forehand drive, Ana firing a forehand on the fly, Daniela about to swat a backhand,
Ana's forehand, Daniela's backhand drive, Ana driving a backhand, and Ana addressing the media after match point

    Daniela won the first eight games of the match, then Ana won 12 of 17 the rest of the way. Ana said: "It definitely was a disappointing start for me. First game I was a little bit nervous and my serve didn't work very well, and I didn't move as good as I should have.
    "But after the first game I just had a feeling [Daniela] was playing really good and I was always on the back foot and always defending. I didn't find my rhythm, and I knew I had to go for the shots before her, because she likes to dominate. I just couldn't find my rhythm.
    "I tried to hang in there, you know, to stay with her. In the second set in the first game I had a chance to win the game. I didn't and got a break down, but I just was so, so happy I managed to fight through that second set.
    "And then once I managed to win [the 2nd set], I felt much more comfortable, and also a lot more confidence." postmatch interview

    Daniela was playing in her 1st Grand Slam semifinal. Daniela said: "If I knew [what happened at 6-0, 2-0] that I think I would have changed it while I was still on the court... Honestly I thought I was very close. I had a great opportunity but it just didn't happen for me today... It's very disappointing at the moment, but I think with days to come, I think I will go back and look at the tournament as a very positive thing." postmatch interview

    Ana hit 29 winners (5 aces) with 25 unforced errors (2 DFs); Daniela struck 27 winners (1 ace) with 33 errors (5 DFs). Like Maria Kirilenko, whom Daniela defeated 1-6, 6-4, 6-4 in the 4th round, Daniela might have wished for rackets scoring: in winning 13 games, Daniela won 83 points; Ana, in winning 12 games, won 80 points. match stats


Pre-Final Interviews, Friday, January 25, 2008
click for news photo search     Maria said: "I think [Ana has] done a good job of getting to a Grand Slam final again and giving herself another opportunity to win a Grand Slam... It's great to see new names coming up that are doing well, that are bringing excitement and glamour to the sport. Even to bring fans that are not just tennis fans, but other fans into the sport, is wonderful." pre-final interview
Ana said: "[Maria is] definitely in a good shape and she's been playing some good tennis this last couple of weeks. She improved her movement. And her serve, it's very high percentage, really strong. It's going to be interesting match. We are 2-All in victories. I managed to beat her before, so that's something I have to look for and try to perform like I did that time. pre-final interview
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Australian Open, Final, Sat cRL 1:30pm
loser: (2007) $640,500 AUS = $570,494 US, 700 points
winner: (2008) $1,370,000 AUS = $1,220,259 US, 1000 pts
*#5 s5 Maria Sharapova RUS d #4 s4 Ana Ivanovic SRB 7-5, 6-3 Sat

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Maria and Ana pre-match, Maria serving, Ana running down a forehand, Maria driving a backhand while the trophy looks on,
another flying forehand from Ana, Maria's forehand, Ana's backhand, Maria following a little backhand, and after match point

Australian Open, Doubles Final, Friday cRL 3pm
losers' prize: (2007) $223,010 AU = $198,635 US
winners' prize: (2007) $446,020 AU = $397,270 US
d55 Alona Bondarenko & d52 Kateryna Bondarenko d s12 d31 Victoria Azarenka & d29 Shahar Peer 2-6, 6-1, 6-4

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Alona about to swat a backhand, Kateryna following a forehand volley, and the sisters hoisting the hardware

    This was not only the first Grand Slam title for the Bondarenko sisters, it was Kateryna's first WTA doubles title, and Alona's second.

    Alona & Kateryna said: [Alona:] "Last year we play not very good doubles because sometimes we fight on the court. But now we start to listen each other and understand, and maybe that's the key...
    [Kateryna:] Probably not really know yet that we won a Grand Slam. I mean, we know, but--
    [Alona:] We don't understand it.
    [Kateryna:] Yeah, not realizing." postmatch interview

Australian Open, Mixed Doubles Final, Sun cRL 4pm
2005 prizes: losers: $51,348 US; winners: $102,697 US
s5 d16 Tiantian Sun & Nenad Zimonjic d d18 Sania Mirza & Mahesh Bhupathi 7-6(4), 6-4

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Tiantian driving a backhand, and Tiantian & Nenad with the goodies after the match

    It was Tiantian's 1st Grand Slam event title (she has won 11 WTA doubles titles, including the 2004 Olympics with Ting Li), and Nenad's 3rd GS mixed doubles title.

    Tiantian said: "He is so good [laughter]. He was so strong on court, so I can do my best on the court." postmatch interview

    Nenad said: "I thought she was very good at the net. She moves well. The more we play the more we understand each other. And then it's also difficult I think for the girl to play mixed doubles because the guy is moving a lot more and it's playing a little bit faster. So adjustment, it's more for them than for us."

Australian Open, Girls Final, Sat cMCA noon
*wta#466 s14 Arantxa Rus NED d wta#376 Jessica Moore AUS 6-3, 6-4 Sat

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Jessica and Arantxa driving forehands, Arantxa after match point, and both young ladies holding the hardware

    Jessica was a wild card entry into the adult draw, and won her 1st round match against # 101 Julie Ditty before losing to # 17 Shahar Peer in the 2nd. Next week she will play Fed Cup for Australia.

    17-year-old Jessica said: "[Arantxa] served unreal today, and I couldn't match it. I thought I served well, but probably not enough. I needed to hold to stay in the match. She just kept a lot of pressure on me today, so give credit to her for that...
    "It was pretty deceiving, her serve. She could hit it very hard, but at the same time she could take the pace off it and place it well. I could never pick where she was going. And if I did, it was good enough to force an error out of me, so I could never put pressure on her when I was returning, and she could probably tell. There wasn't really many close games on her serve, which made it hard for me to put pressure on her. So it was a very good serve. I think she's going to be a good player." postmatch interview

    17-year-old Arantxa said: "I start good today. My serve was always good... I'm very happy that I win this. This the first time I play here in Australia, so I'm very happy... And now I play I think WTA more." interview fragment

Australian Open, Girls' Doubles Final, Fri c3 m3
s1 Ksenia Lykina RUS v Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova RUS d Elena Bogdan ROU & Misaki Doi JPN 6-0, 6-4


Australian Open, Qualifying Finals, Sat Jan 12 10am
losers' prizes: q1 $? 2pt; q2 $? 15pts; q3 $? 25pts; qualifier 31 points
*#155 Monica Niculescu ROU d #111 Ekaterina Bychkova RUS 6-1, 7-5
#115 Julia Schruff GER d #251 Urszula Radwanska POL 6-3, 6-0
#117 Tamarine Tanasugarn THA d #149 Shuai Zhang CHN 3-6, 6-3, 6-3
#120 Timea Bacsinszky SUI d #196 Margit Ruutel EST 3-6, 6-1, 6-1
#122 Meng Yuan CHN d #127 Katie O'Brien GBR 6-4, 6-2
*#195 Sabine Lisicki GER d #129 Anastasiya Yakimova BLR 6-2, 6-1
*#154 Alisa Kleybanova RUS d #137 Olivia Sanchez FRA 6-0, 6-4
*#145 Marta Domachowska POL d #138 Ayumi Morita JPN 6-3, 6-4
*#211 Ekaterina Ivanova RUS d #146 Nuria Llagostera Vives ESP 6-3, 4-6, 6-2
#158 Su-Wei Hsieh TPE d #183 Masa Zec Peskiric SLO 6-4, 6-0
#160 Angelika Bachmann GER d #332 Arina Rodionova RUS 6-3, 6-1
*#164 Sandra Kloesel GER d #161 Vesna Manasieva RUS 6-2, 3-6, 8-6

Australian Open, Withdrawals, Non-entries
#35 Mara Santangelo ITA left foot
#41 Vera Dushevina RUS
#50 Samantha Stosur recovering from viral meningitis
#53 Meghann Shaughnessy USA left knee injury
#64 Elena Likhovtseva RUS right shoulder
#76 Milagros Sequera VEN left foot

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The 64 doubles teams, arranged in drawsheet order; teams in red have been eliminated:
TOP HALF
s1 Cara Black ZIM & Liezel Huber USA QF
Anne Kremer LUX & Pauline Parmentier FRA R1
Tatiana Poutchek BLR & Anastasia Rodionova AUS R2
Tyra Calderwood AUS & Alenka Hubacek AUS R1
Svetlana Kuznetsova RUS & Amelie Mauresmo FRA R2
Daniella Dominikovic AUS & Emily Hewson AUS R1
Mariya Koryttseva UKR & Tatiana Perebiynis UKR R3
s15 Maria Elena Camerin ITA & Gisela Dulko ARG R1
s11 Maria Kirilenko RUS & Agnes Szavay HUN R1
Lindsay Davenport USA & Daniela Hantuchova SVK R3
Gabriela Navratilova CZE & Klara Zakopalova CZE R2
Casey Dellacqua AUS & Jessica Moore AUS R1
Stephanie Cohen-Aloro FRA & Virginie Razzano FRA R1
Alona Bondarenko UKR & Kateryna Bondarenko UKR
Anna Chakvetadze RUS & Na Li CHN R1
s8 Shuai Peng CHN & Tiantian Sun CHN R2
s4 Kveta Peschke CZE & Rennae Stubbs AUS QF
Olga Savchuk UKR & Yaroslava Shvedova RUS R1
Jelena Kostanic Tosic CRO & Martina Muller GER R2
Marija Mirkovic AUS & Karolina Wlodarczak AUS R1
Stephanie Foretz FRA & Selima Sfar TUN R2
Lucie Hradecka CZE & Renata Voracova CZE R1
Alize Cornet FRA & Camille Pin FRA R1
s16 Iveta Benesova CZE & Galina Voskoboeva RUS R3
s10 Anabel Medina Garrigues ESP & Virginia Ruano Pascual ESP SF
Angelique Kerber GER & Yvonne Meusburger AUT R1
Lourdes Dominguez Lino ESP & Arantxa Parra Santonja ESP R1
Aiko Nakamura JPN & Tamarine Tanasugarn THA R2
Olga Govortsova BLR & Darya Kustova BLR R2
Edina Gallovits ROU & Ioana Raluca Olaru ROU R1
Jelena Jankovic SRB & Bethanie Mattek USA R3
s5 Nathalie Dechy FRA & Dinara Safina RUS R1
BOTTOM HALF
s6 Sania Mirza IND & Alicia Molik AUS R3
Eleni Daniilidou GRE & Jasmin Woehr GER R1
Sophie Ferguson AUS & Trudi Musgrave AUS R1
Nadia Petrova RUS & Elena Vesnina RUS R2
Alison Bai AUS & Nicole Kriz AUS R1
Emmanuelle Gagliardi SUI & Patty Schnyder SUI R2
Sybille Bammer AUT & Tamira Paszek AUT R1
s12 Victoria Azarenka BLR & Shahar Peer ISR F
s13 Janette Husarova SVK & Flavia Pennetta ITA QF
Jill Craybas USA & Lilia Osterloh USA R1
Severine Bremond FRA & Julia Vakulenko UKR R1
Chunmei Ji CHN & Shengnan Sun CHN R2
Laura Granville USA & Vladimira Uhlirova CZE R2
Ashley Harkleroad USA & Tzipora Obziler ISR R1
Alicja Rosolska POL & Ma. Emilia Salerni ARG R1
s3 Yung-Jan Chan TPE & Chia-Jung Chuang TPE R3
s7 Zi Yan CHN & Jie Zheng CHN SF
Olga Poutchkova RUS & Aravane Rezai FRA R1
Sara Errani ITA & Karin Knapp ITA R1
Klaudia Jans POL & Caroline Wozniacki DEN R2
Michaella Krajicek NED & Agnieszka Radwanska POL R1
Su-Wei Hsieh TPE & Alla Kudryavtseva RUS R2
Nicole Vaidisova CZE & B Zahlavova Strycova CZE R3
s9 Lisa Raymond USA & Francesca Schiavone ITA R1
s14 Vania King USA & Nicole Pratt AUS R1
Maret Ani EST & Meilen Tu USA R3
Tathiana Garbin ITA & Roberta Vinci ITA R2
Alina Jidkova RUS & Akiko Morigami JPN R1
Monique Adamczak AUS & Christina Wheeler AUS JPN R1
Serena Williams USA & Venus Williams USA QF
Jarmila Gajdosova AUS & Bryanne Stewart AUS R1
s2 Katarina Srebotnik SLO & Ai Sugiyama JPN R2
Dominika Cibulkova SVK & Tatjana Malek GER and Catalina Castano COL & Kaia Kanepi EST withdrew from the doubles

from Hard Courts by John Feinstein (pages 47-50):

    Because of the travel involved, the Australian had always been number four on the Grand Slam ladder. But it had been a solid number four. In 1974 Jimmy Connors won his first Grand Slam Title there. That same year, Evonne Goolagong beat Chris Evert in the women's final. A year later, the finals were Newcombe over Connors, and Goolagong over Martina Navratilova.
    But it was getting tougher and tougher to get the players to make the trip to Australia around the Christmas holidays, which was when the tournament was held. Guarantees were beginning to push player income so high that the top players saw no reason to make the trip. Bjorn Borg never played the Australian after 1974. Connors hasn't been back since 1975. Evert didn't go for six straight years after her loss to Goolagong, and Navratilova skipped four years after her loss to Goolagong.
    The tournament deteriorated quickly. Kooyong, the venerable Melbourne tennis club where the tournament was held, was a badly outdated facility. It was overcrowded and the grass was not in good shape. In fact, many players complained that on one side of center court you were actually running uphill to get to the net.
    In 1978 Chris O'Neil beat Betsy Nagelsen in the women's final. The next year Barbara Jordan beat Sharon Walsh. None of these four players ever came close to a Grand Slam final again...

    Philippe Chatrier, the ITF president, was extremely concerned about what he saw in Australia. He had fallen in love with the country on his first trip there as a young sportswriter in 1956. Chatrier knew that the Australian had become a Grand Slam in name only. Brian Tobin, the president of Tennis Australia, knew that, too.

    ...The women had upgraded their half of the tournament in the early eighties by splitting from the men. Chatrier and Tobin together convinced the Men's Tennis Council [the MTC, which controlled men's pro tennis before the ATP] to move the tournament to the last week in November. That helped a little. Then came the matter of talking the women into going back to the old two-week format.
    "The women weren't too keen on that," Tobin said. "By 1980 the top women like Chrissie and Martina were coming here again and they were doing quite well on their own. But we knew to be a true Grand Slam again, we had to be a two-week tournament."
    There were still major problems. Not only was Kooyong an awful facility for a major championship, it was costing Tennis Australia $1 million a year to rent. A new facility was desperately needed, but that would cost, according to estimates, $40 million. Tennis Australia just didn't have that kind of money.

    ...Sitting at his desk one morning, Tobin saw a small story in the paper, which noted that the government of Victoria--the state in which Melbourne is located--was looking for a site to build a new entertainment center. Tobin called John Cain, the premier of Victoria, and asked for a meeting. Perhaps there was some way for the government and Tennis Australia to build a facility together.
    Cain was interested but there was an obvious problem. Grand Slam tennis tournaments were played outdoors; most entertainment events were staged indoors. It was Cain who came up with the solution. "Why not build it with a roof that opens?" he suggested.
    The rest, as they say, is history.
    The land chosen to build the National Tennis Center was Flinders Park... only five minutes from the heart of Melbourne... ground was broken early in 1986. (The projected cost... was about $70 million. Before it was done, the cost was more than $100 million.)

    ...They studied the other three Grand Slam facilities to try to figure out how to build the best possible venue... "We studied the U.S. Open site in order to see what not to do," Tobin said, laughing. They also proposed another date change to the MTC, asking that the tournament be moved to mid-January...

    The MTC approved the calendar change. The last Australian Open at Kooyong was played in January 1987, and when the tennis world arrived in Melbourne the following January, it was clear that the Australian had arrived as a Grand Slam. The stadium seated fifteen thousand, with excellent sight lines everywhere. Most of the seats were in the shade, which helped even on the days when the heat was most unbearable. The women's final that year was completed with the roof closed, when it started to rain after the match had begun. The locker rooms were the roomiest in the world. The walkways were wide, and there were two ministadiums that served as courts 1 and 2. Chatrier called it "the tennis stadium of the twenty-first century."
    With the new dates, everyone came to play. Steffi Graf started her Grand Slam by beating Chris Evert in the women's final... In 1990, Channel 7 would be on the air for about 120 hours during the two-week tournament.
    Most of the country would be watching most of the time.

    (May 30, 2007) The Rebound Ace courts used since 1988 for the Australian Open and the events leading up to it will be replaced, beginning in 2008, by a less cushioned surface created by the US company Plexipave, called Plexicushion, which will be installed by Aussie company William Loud. WTA story

See also: QuickShop: Sporting Goods - Martina Hingis - Anna Kournikova

Current WTA Results & Tennis News (tennis home page) - 2008 WTA Schedule with links & photos


Link to many postmatch interview & match highlight videos of WTA players at the 2008 WTA Player Videos page.

WTA PhotoRankings: the current top 20 Women's Tennis rankings with player photos, links, and bio info.

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