2004 WTA Championships WTA Women's Singles Results-- Maria Sharapova, Champion


  WTA Nov 10-15

WTA Championships Staples Center, Los Angeles Tier I

$3,000,000 - 8 players - indoor: hard

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# 1 Lindsay Davenport USA
# 2 Amelie Mauresmo FRA
# 3 Anastasia Myskina RUS
# 4 Elena Dementieva RUS
# 5 Svetlana Kuznetsova RUS
# 7 Maria Sharapova RUS
# 8 Serena Williams USA
# 11 Vera Zvonareva RUS
Tourney pages: WTA Championships: 2005 - 2003
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#8 Serena Williams
5'9", 130 lbs, RH, 2H-BH
Los Angeles:
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#7 Maria Sharapova
6'0", 130 lbs, RH, 2H-BH

    On Monday night in the final of the WTA Championships, the Wimbledon champ, 17-year-old # 7 Maria Sharapova from Nyagan, Siberia, Russia (who trains & resides in California & Florida), defeated 23-year-old # 8 Serena Williams of the US (born in California, officially residing in Florida) 4-6, 6-2, 6-4 (photos shown). The match was a rematch of this year's Wimbledon final, which Maria also won, 6-1, 6-4.

    The win will raise Maria's WTA ranking to # 4, the highest of her career. Maria said: "I don't think I could have asked for anything better this year. It's been an extraordinary year for me. I know that I'm not showing a lot of emotion, but I'm sort of just speechless."

    Serena was plagued by an abdominal muscle strain, which caused her to a call for the trainer when she trailed 5-2 in the 2nd set. After that point, her usually powerful serve wilted, but her groundstrokes appeared unaffected. Serena took off to a 4-0 lead in the 3rd set, although pausing to get her abdomen wrapped after the 3rd game. After the 4th game, Maria came roaring back to win the last 6 games of the match, with championship point being a forehand winner return by Maria off of a 64 mph serve by Serena.

    Serena noticed a gut cramp in the very first game of the match, but it did not become a real problem until late in the 2nd set. Serena said: "It's definitely a muscle strain. I don't know how I stayed out there. I definitely thought about not finishing the match, but I like to fight, I guess... I just started hitting every ball as hard as I could. And I think I lived off of [Maria's] mistakes. Once she stopped making them, she was able to come back and win the match. I don't know how I was able to stay out there." WTA story - AP story

    Maria said: "After [Serena] got the medical treatment, I could tell she had problems serving, but on the groundstrokes she was just teeing off on everything. Besides her serve, she didn't look injured once she was playing, so she was actually being really tough... I think she figured that she can't really do anything from her serve. So she's got to hit everything as hard as she could. And that is exactly what she did. And there is not too much I could do. She was hitting the ball as hard as she could. And everything was going in."

    17-year-old Maria Sharapova has now won 7 WTA singles titles in 8 finals, including this year's Wimbledon (the other 5 were in Tokyo, Seoul and Birmingham this year, and last year in Tokyo and Quebec City). Maria wears Nike and swings Prince bat. Born in Nyagan, in the Siberian region of Russia, she started at the Bollettieri Academy in Bradenton, Florida at age 7, and still has a residence near there. Maria spends time in California also, where she is coached by Robert Lansdorp, who helped Tracy Austin, Lindsay Davenport and Pete Sampras perfect their strokes.
Sharapova career record
Maria Sharapova Wallpaper
MariaWorld (many photos)
2003 interview of Maria

    23-year-old Serena Williams has won 25 WTA singles finals, including 6 Grand Slam tourneys. Since recovering from the knee injury and surgery she had in August 2003, her performance this year has been less consistent than before. Serena won 8 titles in 2002, her biggest year, and 4 titles in 2003, but has won only 2 tourneys this year. After the WTA Championships final, Serena said: "I had definitely an up and down year I guess. My Serena year wasn't superb. But I think over all, it has been a really tough year for me in general. So I just try to stay positive." Serena has a huge contract to wear Nike togs (she was formerly of the Puma persuasion) and she has always swung a Wilson bat, not the H-Tour preferred by Davenport & Henin-Hardenne (and many others), but a Hyper Hammer 6.2 with a 110 sq." head. Recent Wilson ads suggest that she is now using their new "nCode" model, but photos show that Serena is swinging that same Hammer. Serena is coached by her father Richard; she and sister Venus did spend some time at the Bollettieri Academy in Bradenton, Florida, way back in the 20th century.
Serena Williams record
Serena & Venus Williams Wallpaper


# 3 Anastasia Myskina RUS2-15-2
# 8 Serena Williams USA2-15-3
# 1 Lindsay Davenport USA2-14-3
# 4 Elena Dementieva RUS0-30-6

# 2 Amelie Mauresmo FRA3-06-0
# 7 Maria Sharapova RUS2-14-2
# 5 Svetlana Kuznetsova RUS1-22-4
# 11 Vera Zvonareva RUS0-30-6

    The WTA Championships, with only 8 players, were played at the Staples Center in LA. 2 groups (Red & Black) played in a round-robin format (12 matches), with two winners from each group becoming semifinalists who played off on Nov 14th. Ties would have been resolved first by the percentage of sets won, then by the percentage of games won. The final was on Monday night, Nov 15th. 4 doubles teams also played, with no prelims.

    Of the 8 players in singles, only Amelie Mauresmo, Anastasia Myskina, and Elena Dementieva played in last year's Championships.

    Sadly, the website for this major event is all "flash" and almost no content: no photo gallery, no interview transcripts, etc. The "flashy" look does slow you down if you want to try to find anything out, though. And although they put the match stats in the live scoring, after the match the stats are gone, and you can never see them again. Ridiculous.

    Players who qualified for the WTA Championships made at least $100,000; Maria Sharapova won $1 million for winning the title.

    The time in LA is GMT (UCT, ZULU) minus 8 hours (US Pacific Time, = ET minus 3 hours).

WTA SCOREBOARD: WTA Championships in Los Angeles

s=seed, #=rank, *=upset, LL=lucky loser
ranks are for the previous week
How do players get into the "draw"?

click for Lindsay Davenport news photo search
On Tuesday, Lindsay Davenport autographed bobblehead dolls in her likeness.
5,000 dolls were made for a Friday giveaway.

LA WTA Champ's round robin, Wed 6:30pm: WTA story
#1 Lindsay Davenport USA d #4 Elena Dementieva RUS 6-0, 6-1 career matches: Lindsay leads 10-4

click for Lindsay Davenport news photo search
Lindsay Davenport

    Lindsay said: "I thought I played well in the first set. It is a little bit different getting used to that court. It is quite large obviously, the arena."
    Although the match was not close, the 6th game of the second set took 42 points with 17 deuces, lasting 25 minutes. Lindsay said: "It seemed like it was such a long dramatic game. And I remember at one point - I don't know if it was deuce 15 or 16 - I looked up at the scoreboard and I couldn't believe it is 6-0 4-1. So it was just a really crazy game. I never experienced anything like that."

*#8 Serena Williams USA d #3 Anastasia Myskina RUS 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 career matches: Serena leads 4-0

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Serena Williams

    Serena and Anastasia last played in Leipzig in the fall of 2002. After winning the 1st set, Anastasia led 3-0 in the 2nd before Serena overtook her.
    Serena said: "I was trying to get used to the game, because I hadn't played [Anastasia] in two, three years."

    Anastasia felt she had made a stategic error. Anastasia said: "When I was 6-4, 3-0, I started to step back and started hoping for her mistakes. But that is not really what happened."

#5 Svetlana Kuznetsova RUS d #11 Vera Zvonareva RUS 6-2, 6-4 career matches: Svetlana leads 5-2

    Svetlana hit 35 winners; Vera only 7. Svetlana also won 77% of her 1st serve points, and scored on 19 of her 23 net approaches.
    Svetlana said: "I know Vera wasn't playing her best today. And I was just preparing to play the best that I could. I knew I couldn't play my first match at the top of my level, but I was trying to just do whatever I can do."

LA WTA Champ's round robin, Thu 6:30pm: WTA story - AP story
#2 Amelie Mauresmo FRA d #11 Vera Zvonareva RUS 6-1, 6-0 career matches: Amelie leads 6-0

click for Amelie Mauresmo news photo search
Amelie Mauresmo

    Amelie said: "I think I played a great match. I think probably the key moments in the first was when I broke the first time. And same in that second set during that long game that I was finally able to win... I really felt I was playing well and feeling comfortable on the court. And tt is great to feel this way."

*#8 Serena Williams USA d #4 Elena Dementieva RUS 7-6(3), 7-5 career matches: Serena leads 4-0

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Serena Williams

    Both of Serena's matches have been close, yet she has now reached a commanding position to get into Sunday's semifinals. Serena won only 8 more points than Elena, who was troubled by 9 double faults. Serena also won despite 37 unforced errors, down a bit from the 61 Serena hit in her Wednesday 3-set victory over Anastasia Myskina.
    Serena said: "I think I hit some key volleys on key points. I think that had a lot to do with it. I think the score line could have been different had I made some different choices through the matches, but it was better than yesterday [against Anastasia Myskina], that's for sure."

*#7 Maria Sharapova RUS d #5 Svetlana Kuznetsova RUS 6-1, 6-4 career matches: Svetlana leads 3-1

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Maria Sharapova

    Maria made 69% of her 1st serves good. Maria said: "In Beijing [the last time they played], [Svetlana] was coming off such a big winning streak [14 matches] and she was unstoppable. This time, it was important to start off well and put some pressure on her... I definitely know I went out there and played my game. But I was just on... Today I didn't think any differently. I was going into the match to play my game and try to attack some of the second serves. I didn't really want to change anything."

    Svetlana said: "[Maria] was at the top of her game today. And she was hitting the ball very hard. I was thinking she is playing so great... I didn’t serve well. She was returning pretty good, but I let her do this. She was putting pressure on me all the time."

LA WTA Champ's round robin, Fri 6:30pm: WTA story - AP story
*#3 Anastasia Myskina RUS d #1 Lindsay Davenport USA 7-6(5), 6-4 career matches: Lindsay leads 4-2

click for Anastasia Myskina news photo search

click for Anastasia Myskina news photo search
Anastasia Myskina

    Anastasia lost the first 4 times she played Lindsay, but now has won 2 straight against her, also defeating Lindsay in last month's Kremlin Cup semis, 6-4, 7-6(1). Anastasia said: "I played [Lindsay] a couple of weeks ago, so the memory was pretty fresh. I knew what I had to do. I knew I had to move her around and she missed more forehands. When I first played her I was young and had huge respect. Now I know how to play the best players."
    Anastasia led Serena Williams 6-4, 3-0 in her 1st match, then lost. Against Lindsay, she also led 3-0 in the 2nd set, then Lindsay won the next 2 games. Anastasia said: "Pretty scary moment for me. And I am just thinking that is going to be it for the year for sure. But seriously, I was just really thinking to hold my serve after 3-2. I was really concentrating on that game and keep fighting for every point."

    Lindsay said: "I thought that is the best [Anastasia] has played against me. I felt like I was just a little bit off on some shots and had some chances maybe early in the first to get another break and try to take control in the match. She came up with some good shots on all the break points I had in the first set. I thought she was continually going for her shots and going in."

#2 Amelie Mauresmo FRA d #5 Svetlana Kuznetsova RUS 6-3, 6-2 career matches: Amelie leads 4-0

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Amelie Mauresmo

    Amelie said: "I think I played a really, really good match. And my level was really good. [Svetlana] probably had some trouble finding occasions to make the difference, but it is just because I pay more attention of what I do on the court, maybe it looks a little easier."

    Svetlana had yet to defeat Amelie, and all 4 of her losses to Amelie occurred this year. Svetlana said: "Every time, I have less confidence. Every time, I lose easier. But still [Amelie] has improved so much. She gets more confidence."

#7 Maria Sharapova RUS d #11 Vera Zvonareva RUS 6-4, 7-5 career matches: tied 2-2

click for Maria Sharapova news photo search

click for Maria Sharapova news photo search
Maria Sharapova

    Maria hit 58 winners; Vera only 12. Maria said: "I got my whole game together. When you have some confidence, if you're down a break point, you can still come back."

    Although eliminated, Vera was pleased with her play in 2004. Vera said: "I think I had a good year. I started at # 13, and now I got to # 11. And I am nine in the [Porsche Championships] Race. I think it is really great. And I am looking forward to next year."

LA WTA Champ's round robin, Sat 1pm: WTA story - AP story
#1 Lindsay Davenport USA d #8 Serena Williams USA 3-6, 7-5, 6-1 career matches: Serena leads 9-4

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Lindsay Davenport won the match, but Serena Williams advanced to the semis

    With Lindsay out of the semis, if Amelie Mauresmo can win the tourney, she will take over the #1 ranking.
    Lindsay said: "If [Amelie] is able to win this tournament and the two before [Linz and Philadelphia], she definitely deserves it. I mean, she was a lot of points behind. And to come back and if she wins all three tournaments, that is a great accomplishment."

    Serena said: "It is kind of cool you can lose and still play. It is kind of weird though. I feel I am cheating the system. But I guess everyone in our group lost then."

#2 Amelie Mauresmo FRA d #7 Maria Sharapova RUS 7-5, 6-4 career matches: Amelie leads 1-0

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Amelie Mauresmo

    Amelie said: "I think it is very difficult for both of us to stay really focused because we both qualified for the semis. And I think it made it a little tough to really be one hundred percent focused on this match. So it was pretty strange, some up and downs I think from both of us."

    Maria said: "I was a little tired from last night's match. It definitely took a lot out of me. And I don't think I had enough time to rest. So I was a little bit fatigued. And I didn't really have that much energy to show a lot of emotions."

#3 Anastasia Myskina RUS d #4 Elena Dementieva RUS 6-3, 6-3 career matches: Anastasia leads 6-4

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Anastasia Myskina

    Anastasia said: "I was thinking if I play my best, I can win. I had a really clear picture — either I go home or I stay here for the semifinals."

    Elena said: "It's kind of a shame to finish this year by losing three matches in the championships. I was kind of slow and tired."

LA WTA Champ's SFs, Sun noon: WTA story
non-qualifiers prizes: $100,000/$130,000
loser's prize: $250,000
*#8 Serena Williams USA d #2 Amelie Mauresmo FRA 4-6, 7-6(2), 6-4 career matches: Serena leads 8-1

click for Serena Williams news photo search

click for Serena Williams news photo search
Serena Williams

    Serena said: "It was definitely intense. I had my opportunities and Amelie was playing some good shots and getting the balls back. Finally, I was able to just do it finally. It was just really hard because she changed her game. She started coming to the net a little bit more and taking pace off the ball, which was definitely a good thing to do. And then I decided just to go for it and go for my shots down the road."

    Amelie said: "I think [Serena] just went for it. I give all the credit to her today because I was playing some good tennis, and I think she really raised her level a lot today. So all the credit to her... I felt like I forced her to play her best level and really make some passing shots and make some unbelievable shots. And that is what she did."

*#7 Maria Sharapova RUS d #3 Anastasia Myskina RUS 2-6, 6-2, 6-2 career matches: Anastasia leads 3-1

click for Maria Sharapova news photo search

click for Maria Sharapova news photo search
Maria Sharapova

    Maria said: "I am obviously playing really well to come back and to win today. Knowing that I was a little bit fatigued, I thought after slipping away the first set, that [Anastasia] was going to get on me. But I kept my cool and I just picked up my level quite fast.
    "[In the 1st set] I wasn't playing my game. I was letting her play her game. And I was sort of in one of those mudslides where you go in and can't come out. And I was totally playing the way she wanted me to play against her."

    Anastasia said: "I played bad. That is my worst match probably, not in the week, in the past couple months. [Maria] won, and she deserved it. I just think I got really tired, and I lost my concentration."

LA WTA Champ's Final, Mon 7pm:
loser's prize: $500,000
winner's prize: $1,000,000
#7 Maria Sharapova RUS d #8 Serena Williams USA 4-6, 6-2, 6-4 career matches: Maria leads 2-1

click for Maria Sharapova news photo search

click for Maria Sharapova news photo search

click for Maria Sharapova news photo search
Maria Sharapova serving to Serena, after match point,
and holding her new million dollar root beer mug

LA WTA Champ's Doubles SFs, Sun:
*cdr10 Cara Black & Rennae Stubbs d cdr3 Virginia Ruano Pascual & Paola Suárez 7-6(7), 6-4
*cdr15 Nadia Petrova & Meghann Shaughnessy d cdr8 Svetlana Kuznetsova & Elena Likhovtseva 6-3, 6-2

LA WTA Champ's Doubles Final, Mon:
*cdr15 Nadia Petrova & Meghann Shaughnessy d cdr10 Cara Black & Rennae Stubbs 7-5, 6-2

click for Meghann Shaughnessy news photo search
Nadia Petrova & Meghann Shaughnessy

It was the 11th career doubles title for both Nadia and Meghann, who first teamed up at the 2003 Kremlin Cup. Meghann finished the year ranked #6 at doubles; Nadia finished ranked #7.

From the WTA Championships
click to see larger
Maria, Anastasia, Elena, Amelie, Serena, Lindsay, Vera, & Svetlana
tested a Cayenne SUV built by tourney sponsor Porsche

click to see larger
Svetlana, apparently a fan of Star Trek's Chekov,
pointed out that SUVs are "Russian inwentions"

click to see larger
Vera strapped in securely, knowing that
Lindsay "Rockhopper" Davenport was driving

click to see larger
Lindsay was absolutely astonished
by the gas mileage

click to see larger
Tourney alternate & passenger Jennifer Capriati kept saying
"I'm a very good forehand and backhand driver."
click to see larger
Maria, familiar with American drivers, watched from
a safe distance until Russians took the wheel

    Opinion: The WTA Championships, limited to 8 players in singles and 4 doubles teams, should be opened up to the widest draw possible. Until the 8-player round-robin was adopted last year, the WTA Championships used a 16-player standard draw. A 32-player draw would be even better. This can be tough indoors, but other tourneys manage 28 or 32 player draws. This would increase fan interest. The current system is to run the qualifying for the 8 spots as a season-long "race." But the WTA Championships are not like the World Series or the Super Bowl, where about 30 teams aim to reach the 1 event that dwarfs all others. The Grand Slams are bigger than the championships, and there are hundreds of WTA players. The "race" gets practically no attention at all.
    Currently, with only 8 selected for the championships, many fans will find their favorite player(s) missing. The presence of players such as Jennifer Capriati, Ai Sugiyama and Paola Suarez at the Championships would substantially increase ticket sales & TV ratings.
    Besides, why not spread that $3 million purse out to more players who can use the money, instead of giving it to the players who are richest already?

    Question: Why schedule the WTA Championships so that the Final is on Monday night, vs Monday Night Football on TV, and when people have to go to work the next day? This leaves the players waiting on Monday and Tuesday, with play starting on Wednesday. If play had started on Monday instead of Wednesday, then the Final would be on Saturday night, and might draw higher attendance as well as better TV ratings.

    2003 Attendance: The average attendance in 2003 for the first five days was 7,193, up 57% from 2002. Attendance at the final was 8,925-- 1,307 less than in 2002 (Kim Clijsters d Serena Williams). For the full 6 days the tournament drew 44,889. That is 3,629 more than in 2002, when the Williams sisters and Lindsay Davenport were in the field. This is very poor attendance considering the size of the Staples Center.

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