2006 Indian Wells WTA Singles Results     Maria Sharapova, Champion


  WTA: Mar 6-19 2006

Pacific Life Open, Indian Wells, CA Tier I (with ATP)
$2,100,000 - 96 players - outdoor: hard

Indian Wells Tennis Garden- click for interactive satellite photo
Indian Wells Tennis Garden- click for interactive sat pic - map: 3.49MB .pdf

Live Scores - WTA pdf.: draws & OOP - match notes
PLO main draw .pdf - .html: results - order of play - schedule
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Indian Wells: weather radar - forecast - map
Palm Springs Desert Sun: Pacific Life Open
# 3 Justine Henin-Hardenne, # 4 Lindsay Davenport
# 5 Maria Sharapova, # 8 Elena Dementieva
Tourney pages: Indian Wells: 2007 - 2005 - 2004
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Indian Wells:
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#8 Elena Dementieva
5' 11", 141 lbs, RH, 2H-BH
Indian Wells:
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#5 Maria Sharapova
6' 1", 130 lbs, RH, 2H-BH

    On Saturday afternoon at Indian Wells, in the final of the Pacific Life Open, 2nd-seeded 18-year-old # 5 Maria Sharapova of Russia (residence: near the Bollettieri Academy in Bradenton, Florida), handily defeated 24-year-old 4th-seeded # 8 Elena Dementieva from Moscow, Russia, 6-1, 6-2 (Maria is shown after match point; Elena is shown during the match).

    Although Maria had a great day, the match was not quite a big a blowout as the score would indicate. Elena, whose serve is her weakness, struck only 4 double faults (the same number as Maria). While Maria converted only 7 of 16 break points against Elena, Elena converted every break point she had-- but she only had two. Maria put a very commendable 82% of her 1st serves in the box (Elena: 73%) and won 62% of her 1st serve points (Elena: only 43%).

    The high 1st-serve percentages are surprising, because high winds affected play. Maria said: "No matter how good you might have been playing, the level of tennis goes down the drain basically simply because of the wind. I don't think either of us could have played great tennis. It's very hard to do. I honestly don't think you're ever going to play great tennis in these kind of conditions. But on these kind of days, it's not about playing great tennis; it's about finding a way to win. I thought I did that well today." WTA story - interview - soundbytes: mp3-1 - mp3-2

    Elena said: "[Maria] was able to handle the situation and play with the wind better today. I think it was very difficult to play today. But I still feel it was a great tournament for me, big win yesterday. Even though I lost today, I feel I have a game to beat her - but not today... It's a great challenge for me to play against Maria... I'm going to wait for the next time, and I'll try to do better." interview - soundbytes: mp3-1 - mp3-2

    Maria now leads Elena 4-1 in career matches; they had not played since 2004.
    2004 Wimbledon champ Maria Sharapova is now 11-3 in WTA singles finals; Maria's last title was in Birmingham in June, 2005.
Sharapova career record - Maria Sharapova wallpaper
    2004 US and French Open finalist Elena Dementieva is now 4-11 in WTA singles finals; Elena's last title was in the Tokyo Pan Pacific indoor in February, 2006.
Dementieva career record - Elena Dementieva wallpaper

    News photo coverage of this tourney was sadly limited. Many matches were ignored completely (no photos at all), including Lindsay Davenport v Laura Granville, Anastasia Myskina v Marta Domachowska, Ana Ivanovic v Anna Chakvetadze, Gisela Dulko v Emma Laine, and even the 4th round match between Elena Dementieva and Na Li. This is ridiculous. Apparently there aren't enough cameras in faraway southern California.

    (Feb 20, 2006) 2005 Indian Wells champ # 1 Kim Clijsters withdrew from the 2006 tourney to give her ankle, injured during her Australian Open semifinal, more time to fully heal. Kim intends to play in the tourney immediately following Indian Wells, the NASDAQ-100 Open in Key Biscayne, Florida, where she was also the 2005 champ.

    Indian Wells, and Miami, which follows it, are 2-week tournaments. Unlike most tourneys, qualifying rounds are held on Monday & Tuesday of the first week, and main draw play does not begin until Wednesday.

    Indian Wells time is GMT (UCT, ZULU) -8 hours (=US Pacific Time, ET -3).

WTA SCOREBOARD: The Pacific Life Open at Indian Wells
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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Tourney Director Charlie Pasarell, fan Agnes Wells, and former top-10 player Brenda Schultz-McCarthy were at the draw on Monday...
Also on Monday, Maria Sharapova (smiling while stretching out) and Justine Henin-Hardenne practiced at Indian Wells

click for Hingis news photo search   click for Davenport news photo search   click for Myskina news photo search   click for Sharapova news photo search   click for Dementieva news photo search   click for Henin-Hardenne news photo search
On Wednesday, Martina Hingis practiced, knowing she might have to defeat Lindsay Davenport in the 4th round, Anastasia Myskina in the quarterfinals, and Maria Sharapova in the semis, to reach a final against Elena Dementieva or Justine Henin-Hardenne (Lindsay, Anastasia, Maria, Elena, and Justine are shown meeting the press on Wednesday)

Indian Wells, 1st Rd, Wed-Thu 10am
loser's prize: $2,325 US; points: 1
#54 Lourdes Dominguez Lino ESP d #71 Maria Vento-Kabchi VEN 6-4, 1-6, 6-1 Thu
#55 Samantha Stosur AUS d #112 q Yuliana Fedak UKR 3-6, 6-3, 6-0 Wed
#57 Shinobu Asagoe JPN d #75 Karolina Sprem CRO 6-4, 4-6, 6-3 Thu
#59 Julia Schruff GER d #125 Tiantian Sun CHN 6-4, 6-3 Wed
*#84 Stephanie Foretz FRA d #60 Shuai Peng CHN 3-6, 6-3, 6-3 Thu
*#96 Mashona Washington USA d #61 M Sanchez Lorenzo ESP 6-3, 3-6, 6-3 Wed
#62 Sybille Bammer AUT d #65 Jie Zheng CHN 6-1, 3-6, 6-4 Wed
*#94 wc Shenay Perry USA d #63 Mariana Diaz-Oliva ARG 6-2, 6-1 Thu
*#111 q Meng Yuan CHN d #64 Akiko Morigami JPN 6-4, 6-4 Wed
#66 Aiko Nakamura JPN d #NR wc Brenda Schultz McCarthy NED 6-4, 6-2 Thu

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Brenda's backhand volley, Aiko's backhand drive, and Brenda twisting a serve at Aiko

    Brenda retired in 1999 due to back trouble, and is attempting a comeback at age 35. She played in the Memphis and Tokyo Pan Pacific qualifying, defeating Cory Ann Avants and Cara Black in the 1st rounds, but losing in the 2nd each time. 6' 2" Brenda has won seven WTA singles titles during her big-serving (125 mph) career. Schultz-McCarthy interview

#67 Emma Laine FIN d #114 Hana Sromova CZE 7-5, 7-5 Thu
#68 Lisa Raymond USA d #128 q Katerina Bohmova CZE 2-6, 6-4, 7-6(5) Wed
#69 Ekaterina Bychkova RUS d #127 Henrieta Nagyova SVK 6-3, 6-0 Wed
#70 Na Li CHN d #144 q Anne Kremer LUX 6-1, 6-3 Thu
*#86 Viktoriya Kutuzova UKR d #72 Elena Vesnina RUS 6-2, 6-3 Thu
#73 Eleni Daniilidou GRE d #83 LL Maria Elena Camerin ITA 6-2, 2-6, 6-3 Wed

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Eleni after winning a point

*#78 Ashley Harkleroad USA d #74 Zi Yan CHN 6-3, 7-5 Wed

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Ashley's forehand

#76 Tsvetana Pironkova BUL d # 92 Virginia Ruano Pascual ESP 6-4, 6-3 Thu
#77 Maret Ani EST d #80 An. Serra Zanetti ITA 3-6, 6-2, 6-0 Wed
*#119 Severine Bremond FRA d #81 Zuzana Ondraskova CZE 6-2, 6-2 Thu
#85 Meghann Shaughnessy USA d #91 Kaia Kanepi EST 7-6(4), 6-1 Wed
*#98 Emmanuelle Gagliardi SUI d #87 Kristina Brandi PUR 6-4, 6-4 Wed
#88 Tathiana Garbin ITA d #102 Alona Bondarenko UKR 6-3, 7-5 Wed
#90 Jamea Jackson USA d #1226 wc Anna Tatishvili GEO 6-2, 6-3 Wed
#97 Martina Sucha SVK d #232 wc Alexa Glatch USA 6-0, 6-1 Wed
*#118 q Camille Pin FRA d #103 Saori Obata JPN 6-2, 6-2 Wed
#104 q Anastasiya Yakimova BLR d #137 q Tatiana Poutchek BLR 6-0, 6-2 Thu
*#133 Stephanie Cohen-Aloro FRA d #105 A Parra Santonja ESP 6-1, 6-2 Thu
#108 wc Vania King USA d #113 q Anastassia Rodionova RUS 6-3, 6-1 Thu
*#186 q Jessica Kirkland USA d #120 Sandra Kloesel GER 4-6, 7-6(1), 7-6(3) Thu
#126 q Ivana Lisjak CRO d #617 Alexandra Stevenson USA 7-6(1), 6-2 Thu

    Former # 18 Alexandra has been recovering from surgery for a torn labrum in her right shoulder for 17 months (Jennifer Capriati has been sidelined for almost as long after similar surgery). At 5-6 in the 1st set, her shoulder began to hurt. The Tour trainer recommended that she retire from the match, but she played on.
    Alexandra said: "I haven't played a set like that in two years and I pretty much haven't played tennis like that. I guess the shoulder got fatigued and then it strained a little bit. It's just bad luck...
    "I'm getting close. Today I played some good points and I felt like I belonged on the court for the first time [since the surgery]. I see each day progressively getting better.
    "I think I'm hitting the ball better than I ever have been and I think I'm smarter on the court. It's just a matter of putting it all together and getting my serve back. Everything else has come back progressively better each week." AP story

*#115 q Bethanie Mattek USA d #135 q Nicole Pratt AUS 6(6)-7, 6-4, 6-3 Thu

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Bethanie delivering a forehand on the run

Indian Wells, 2nd Rd, Fri-Sat 10am
loser's prize: $4,650 US; points: 16

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On Friday, rain began at 2pm, and delayed play for almost 4 hours, leaving 2 matches unfinished
Saturday was worse, leaving the same 2 matches unfinished, and 11 matches unplayed

#3 s1 Justine Henin-Hardenne BEL d #76 Tsvetana Pironkova BUL 6-2, 6-2 Sat-ppd-Sun

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Justine firing a slice serve at Tsvetana, and after winning a point

    Justine said: "I think I was very focused on what I had to do, so not thinking too much about the wind. Conditions were very difficult, but better than if we would have to play yesterday because yesterday was freezing and it wasn't good conditions to play tennis. Today at least it was warmer, and even in the wind I think I could play a good game and happy with the level I played. I've been very focused on my goals on the court, so generally very happy." interview

#4 s2 Lindsay Davenport USA d #78 Ashley Harkleroad USA 6-0, 6-0 Fri

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Lindsay's running forehand

    Lindsay said: "We had a few really close games in the beginning that I was able to come through, and seemed like as the match went on, she probably lost a little confidence. I felt like I was playing better and better. And obviously I'm happy to get a good win and get it in before it rained." Desert Sun story

#5 s3 Maria Sharapova RUS d #90 Jamea Jackson USA 6-4, 6-3 Fri

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Maria dispatching a twist serve at Jamea, Maria demonstrating the meaning of "sweet spot" with her Lansdorp-shaped forehand,
Jamea's backhand, and Maria checking to see if the rain has resumed during a changeover

    Maria said: "[Jamea is] a great mover, and makes you play another ball, but I was ready for that." Reuters story - Desert Sun interview
Maria Sharapova postmatch soundbyte, 34 second mp3

#8 s4 Elena Dementieva RUS d #104 q Anastasiya Yakimova BLR 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 Sat

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Elena firing a forehand, smashing at net, and running down another forehand

    Elena said: "I think I lost my concentration in the second set, when it was 6-4, 2-love for me. Then it was difficult to put everything together and start to fight again in the third set.
    "I was trying to be positive, trying to be aggressive with [Anastasiya], but it was difficult because I had to go to the net, which is not my favourite thing to do. I had a feeling I was playing against the wall. She was playing every single ball back to me. She was so patient on the court." AFP story - Desert Sun story

#12 s5 Anastasia Myskina RUS d #96 Mashona Washington USA 6-2, 6-2 Fri

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Anastasia following a serve, and Mashona preparing to launch one

#17 s6 Flavia Pennetta ITA d #126 q Ivana Lisjak CRO 6-1, 6-2 Sat
#18 s7 Anna-Lena Groenefeld GER d #59 Julia Schruff GER 6-1, 6-0 Fri

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Katerina Bohmova, left, and Anna-Lena, center, did a little modeling in fashions by Trina Turk, right

#19 s8 Ana Ivanovic SCG d #119 Severine Bremond FRA 6-3, 6-2 Sat-ppd-Sun

    Ana said: "I think there is still a lot of aspects in my game I have to improve. Definitely physical preparation is one of them, also my serve, and consistency in my game, because still now I think I make sometimes too many mistakes. So that's what I'm trying to improve at the moment in my game, and I'm working pretty hard for this, so I'm sure it will come one day." interview fragment

*#77 Maret Ani EST d #20 s9 Nathalie Dechy FRA 2-6, 6-2, 6-2 Fri
#21 s10 Dinara Safina RUS d #55 Samantha Stosur AUS 6-3, 6-2 Fri
#22 s11 Maria Kirilenko RUS d #57 Shinobu Asagoe JPN 6-2, 6-1 Sat-ppd-Sun
#23 s12 Tatiana Golovin FRA v #54 Lourdes Dominguez Lino ESP Sat-ppd-Sun c4 m4
*#73 Eleni Daniilidou GRE d #24 s13 Anabel Medina Garrigues ESP 6-3, 6-4 Fri
#25 s14 Ai Sugiyama JPN d #84 Stephanie Foretz FRA 7-5, 6-0 Sat-ppd-Sun
*#62 Sybille Bammer AUT d #26 s15 Jelena Jankovic SCG 7-5, 6-4 Fri

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Sybille bamming a forehand

*#108 wc Vania King USA d #27 s16 Klara Koukalova CZE 6-3, 6-3 Sat
#29 s17 Gisela Dulko ARG d #133 Stephanie Cohen-Aloro FRA 7-6(3), 6-1 Sat-ppd-Sun
#30 s18 Lucie Safarova CZE d #186 q Jessica Kirkland USA 6(6)-7, 7-6(2), 6-1 Sat-ppd-Sun
#32 s19 wc Martina Hingis SUI d #118 q Camille Pin FRA 6-1, 6-3 Fri

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Martina delivering a slice serve to Camille, Camille chasing a forehand, and Martina after match point

    1998 Indian Wells champ Martina was pleased with the support she is receiving from the fans. Martina said: "It's great. Wherever I go, people are very welcoming and friendly... Maybe I have this little underdog thing now, not being out there for three years and coming back." LA Times story

#33 s20 Marion Bartoli FRA d #69 Ekaterina Bychkova RUS 6-3, 3-6, 6-3 Fri-rain-Sat-rain-Sun
#35 s21 Shahar Peer ISR d #98 Emmanuelle Gagliardi SUI 6-3, 6-7(4), 6-2 Fri
#36 s22 Anna Chakvetadze RUS d #86 Viktoriya Kutuzova UKR 6-4, 7-5 Sat-ppd-Sun
*#111 q Meng Yuan CHN d #38 s23 Catalina Castano COL 7-6(5), 6-2 Fri
*#70 Na Li CHN d #39 s24 Iveta Benesova CZE 6-0, 6-1 Sat
*#66 Aiko Nakamura JPN d #40 s25 Mara Santangelo ITA 6-3, 7-5 Sat
#41 s26 Anna Smashnova ISR d #97 Martina Sucha SVK 6-2, 6-2 Fri-rain-Sat-rain-Sun
#42 s27 Marta Domachowska POL d #85 M Shaughnessy USA 6-4, 3-6, 6-2 Fri
#45 s28 Sania Mirza IND d #115 q Bethanie Mattek USA 6-2, 3-6, 7-5 Sat-ppd-Sun
*#94 wc Shenay Perry USA d #47 s29 Amy Frazier USA 7-6(1), 6-3 Sat-ppd-Sun
*#68 Lisa Raymond USA d #50 s30 Emilie Loit FRA 6-7(5), 6-4, 6-4 Fri
#52 s31 Laura Granville USA d #88 Tathiana Garbin ITA 6-1, 6-2 Fri
*#67 Emma Laine FIN d #53 s32 Jill Craybas USA 7-5, 6-1 Sat-ppd-Sun

    Emma, who started playing at age 5, was Finnish national adult champion at age 14. Emma said: "The first set was tough... And second set, I start to play better. It wasn't so windy anymore and I felt good on the court after I took the first set. I felt like I played even better and it was good, good set." interview

Indian Wells, 3rd Rd, Sun-Mon 11am WTA Sun story - WTA Mon story
loser's prize: $9,475 US; points: 28
#3 s1 Justine Henin-Hardenne BEL d #66 Aiko Nakamura JPN 6-0, 6-0 Mon

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Justine reaching for a backhand, and Aiko's 2-handed forehand drive

    Justine said: "I will have to play tomorrow. So it's good to be quick... I played very consistent, and I had to play consistent because these kind of girls, if you just give the opportunities and the rhythm.
    "I don't have to hit too hard against these kind of player. They like the rhythm, always play the same kind of ball. I just try to mix it up a little bit...
    "I don't have to hit the ball so hard, like Davenport or Sharapova or the others, because it's not the way I'm going to beat them for sure. I'm moving well. I'm quick. That's probably my biggest quality. Then I have a good defense. I can use a lot of weapons in my game, and they probably don't like it very much. If I just play like them, hitting the ball so hard, the rhythm, for sure I lose, so I have to use something else...
    "That's why the comeback for Martina [Hingis] is good for the game. It's a little bit a similar game as mine. That's good. We can have different kind of games on the tour. That's very good for the crowd. It's good atmosphere. It's very important." interview - mp3 soundbyte

#4 s2 Lindsay Davenport USA d #52 s31 Laura Granville USA 6-4, 6-0 Sun

    About playing former # 1 Martina Hingis in the 4th round on Tuesday (Lindsay leads Martina 14-10 in career matches), Lindsay said: "With Martina, I have to play my game - that's going for shots, trying to keep her behind the baseline, not letting her dictate points and putting me on the run. And I've got to play well to do it. And if I don't, it's going to be a long day. I'm the one doing the running. She's very good at that. I always have to play at a high level to beat her...
    "I think Martina is more aggressive than you guys [reporters] give her credit for. She steps into some balls. Whether they're not coming as hard as some of the biggest hitters, she still takes the ball early. She still has the best hands out there. She gets incredible depth and obviously moves so well... you have probably a little bit more time than you would against one [Venus or Serena] Williams or Maria [Sharapova], but she does a pretty good job of kind of using the power that comes at her and hitting the ball back pretty hard...
    "The best opportunity you can get with her is her second serve. Now, saying that, I'm sure against me she'll try and make a high percentage of first serves, or go for a bigger second serve, and maybe, you know, give in to some double faults. I don't see her just kind of spinning them in, but that's your best shot against her, to create the point and to get her kind of reaching in on the run...
    "[Martina's] backhand was one of the best shots in women's tennis, but I felt like her forehand didn't come at the same trajectory as her backhand. It bounds up a little bit more. The theory is it might give you a little more time. She changes directions still pretty well with it." interview - soundbyte 1 - soundbyte 2

#5 s3 Maria Sharapova RUS d #68 Lisa Raymond USA 6-4, 6-0 Sun

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Maria keeping warm during a changeover and launching a slice serve at Lisa, Lisa chasing a forehand, and Maria after winning a game

    Maria said: "It was pretty cold. I usually don't wear pants when I play, but today was definitely the day to get them out...
    "It took a few games, took a few games to get used to the weather, to the lights, to my opponent, a little bit of everything. But I served well from the beginning... I was making a few errors on the return, until I just had to get a little rhythm on the return...
    "Today the ball was flying a little more than it was the other day. I thought the conditions on Friday were a lot heavier than today...
    "[Lisa is] a very experienced player. She's got a great slice, pretty flat slice. So you have to be ready... she's very patient out there, but has a good serve. So every match, I have to be ready." interview

#8 s4 Elena Dementieva RUS d #45 s28 Sania Mirza IND 5-7, 6-4, 6-4 Mon

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Elena following a forehand, and Sania belting a backhand

    Elena said: "I was very surprised with her forehand. She has such a good forehand, such a good acceleration from the elbow. I was in trouble the whole match...
    "I never played against Sania before. But I think she's a good player. She has some dangerous shots. I was in trouble to close the set. It was 4-2 in the first, 4-1 in the second, 5-1 in the third, but she never gave up, she was playing till the end. A lot of fight today.
    "I was trying to move her. From the forehand, it's very difficult to do something really because she hit it so fast and so powerful. You're really just trying to play it back. That's the way to play. You're just trying to move her, just play everything back. She's a big hitter. She goes for the winner. Maybe she doesn't have enough patience yet...
    "[Sania] has acceleration from the elbow, which is very unusual for a girl. That makes the ball goes very fast and flat. It's difficult to play this one back. She feel very confident with the shot. She always go for the winner...
    "[Compared to Sania's forehand, Lindsay Davenport is] different. She has a very heavy shot, deep and heavy. It's a completely different forehand." interview - mp3 soundbyte

#12 s5 Anastasia Myskina RUS d #42 s27 Marta Domachowska POL 7-5, 6-3 Sun
*#67 Emma Laine FIN d #17 s6 Flavia Pennetta ITA 1-0 retired-- r ankle sprain Mon
#18 s7 Anna-Lena Groenefeld GER d #41 s26 Anna Smashnova ISR 2-6, 6-1, 6-2 ppd-Mon
#19 s8 Ana Ivanovic SCG d #94 wc Shenay Perry USA 6-1, 6-3 Mon
#21 s10 Dinara Safina RUS d #111 q Meng Yuan CHN 6-3, 6-1 Sun
*#36 s22 Anna Chakvetadze RUS d #22 s11 Maria Kirilenko RUS 6-2, 6-3 Mon
*#29 s17 Gisela Dulko ARG d #23 s12 Tatiana Golovin FRA 1-6, 7-5, 7-6(5) Mon

click for WTA story with photo
Gisela (after match point?)

#25 s14 Ai Sugiyama JPN d #30 s18 Lucie Safarova CZE 6-3, 7-5 Mon

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Ai lining up a forehand

#32 s19 wc Martina Hingis SUI d #62 Sybille Bammer AUT 6-0, 6-3 Sun

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Martina's forehand, backhand, and service toss

*#77 Maret Ani EST d #33 s20 Marion Bartoli FRA 7-6(4), 6-2 Sun-ppd-Mon

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Maret watching her forehand fly

#35 s21 Shahar Peer ISR d #73 Eleni Daniilidou GRE 4-6, 7-6(4), 7-5 Sun
#70 Na Li CHN d #108 wc Vania King USA 6-2, 6-4 Mon
Indian Wells, 4th Rd, Tue 10am
loser's prize: $19,350 US; points: 45
#3 s1 Justine Henin-Hardenne BEL d #25 s14 Ai Sugiyama JPN 6-2, 6-1

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Justine's forehand, and Ai's backhand, and Justine after match point

    Justine said: "I think that my game is very clean. I'm hitting the ball pretty good. I still have to be a little bit more aggressive on my forehand, play a little bit longer. But the surface is very good for me. It's a good speed. It was pretty similar in Dubai, and that's really the surface I like a lot because I can organize my game. When I have to be in defense, I have time. So that's very good...
    "I always try to find what I can do better and how I can do it better. Sometimes you miss. That's normal. That's tennis. That's life. You cannot do always very good...
    "I think it's great how things happen for me from the beginning of the season. I'm still concerned about a few problems with my body, but everything should be fine. I'm very glad that I'm again in the quarters.     "Every match is different. It's another day. You have to start again. Today I think that Sugiyama was pretty dangerous for me. I had a little bit of revenge. I lost last time at The [WTA] Championships in 2003. That's the kind of situation I like a lot." interview

*#32 s19 wc Martina Hingis SUI d #4 s2 Lindsay Davenport USA 6-3, 1-6, 6-2

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Martina serving to Lindsay, Lindsay's backhand, Martina after scooping up a low backhand,
Martina after match point, and Lindsay congratulating Martina

    Martina's previous biggest win of 2006 was against Maria Sharapova, whom she was playing for the first time, in the Tokyo Indoor semifinals. Against Lindsay, it is different. Lindsay still leads Martina 14-11 in career matches. 15 of the previous 16 times they played were tourney finals. Of those finals, Martina won 6, and Lindsay won 9.

    Martina said: "I was probably a little more fresh... I ran down a lot of balls, which probably other girls try to overhit her or risk too early. Even I had a letdown a little bit in the second set, I just tried to focus in the third early on, just to put her under pressure, and it worked...
    "[Lindsay] was hitting the balls like this close to the lines. It's very hard to mentally stay focused all this time because you're under so much pressure. I mean, like no one else probably. She served very well. Her first and second shot are the best out there.     "She pushes you away from the [base]line. Everyone says you have to try to make her run, but it's very difficult. Once you get over a rally which is three, four points, then you have definitely a better chance. But usually you don't even get there."
    Told that Lindsay had said her balls were clearing the net by a wider margin, Martina said: "I'm trying to have more spin. It's a harder ball to take. I mean, sometimes it's slower, but it's more like probably the men would play, like heavier topspin. Don't get it there all the time, like behind the service line. Still a very tough one to control and do something out of it." interview - soundbytes: mp3-1 - mp3-2 - mp3-3

    Lindsay said: "[Martina] really makes you go for a lot and think about shots. Great mover. Places the ball extremely well... she was trying to be very, very consistent and get a lot of balls back, and it was working well.     "I think I had some opportunities early in the third set, especially that first game. Missed just a few balls going for a lot, was trying to keep the points shorter. That's what her game does. You know you have to hit really good shots. Just was off on a few balls that I needed to make today...
    "I felt like I didn't play great, but I thought she played very smart, which is very typical of her. That's what she does best. She's always going to be a good player and be dangerous to anybody."
    Lindsay reluctantly admitted that she is suffering from back pain due to a bulging disc ("I think L4. Does that sound right?"), which will likely cause her to skip the clay court season. Lindsay said: "[I've] been struggling with a couple problems with my back. For the most part it's okay... It's been a month... I have this tournament and then Miami, and then I think it's about probably four to six weeks off. I have a bulging disc... I can get it feeling okay for a little bit, then it will kind of stiffen up a little bit... Pretty much just pain... They said it was pretty far away from the nerve...
    "I still feel like I would have beaten a lot of players today. [Martina] is a very good player. She's going to be at the top as soon as she plays more and more. It's just a matter of her getting more tournaments under her belt." interview - soundbytes: mp3-1 - mp3-2

#5 s3 Maria Sharapova RUS d #35 s21 Shahar Peer ISR 7-6(2), 6-1

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Maria delivering a twist serve, Shahar's backhand, and Maria after match point

    Maria said: "I started off okay. I just tried to get used to her timing on [Shahar's] serve. It was a little bit difficult. She wasn't making a lot of first serves. The second serve kicked up pretty high. It took me a while to get used to that, try to attack it. As the match went on, I felt more confident about it. I should have taken my opportunity at 5-3, at 5-4, especially serving for the set. I don't think I should have let it go to a tiebreak." interview - mp3 soundbyte

#8 s4 Elena Dementieva RUS d #70 Na Li CHN 6-3, 6-2

    Elena said: "I feel I was playing pretty good today. First time we were playing against each other. I think [Na is] a good player. I think she did a lot of unforced errors today. My serve was good. It's unusual for me to finish that fast... Sometimes you really need to play some difficult three-set matches before you can get the rhythm and just find your game. I think that's what's happened to me here." interview fragment

*#21 s10 Dinara Safina RUS d #12 s5 Anastasia Myskina RUS 6-1, 6-3

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Anastasia running down a backhand, and Dinara walloping another

#18 s7 Anna-Lena Groenefeld GER d #77 Maret Ani EST 6-1, 6-4

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Anna-Lena following a backhand

#19 s8 Ana Ivanovic SCG d #36 s22 Anna Chakvetadze RUS 6-3, 6-3
#29 s17 Gisela Dulko ARG d #67 Emma Laine FIN 7-5, 7-6(3)
Indian Wells, QFs, Wed-Thu 11am WTA Thu story
loser's prize: $39,375 US; points: 81
#3 s1 Justine Henin-Hardenne BEL d #29 s17 Gisela Dulko ARG 6-3, 6-2 Thu

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Justine's flying forehand, Gisela's high-topspin forehand, Justine reaching for an overhead, and Justine after winning a point

    It was Justine's 18th win of 2006-- her only loss was in the Australian Open final, when she was forced to retire from the match due to stomach pain caused by medication she was taking for a shoulder problem. And Justine has been taken to a 3rd set only three times this year. Henin-Hardenne record
    Justine said: "It was a strange match. Not a lot of rhythm, not too many rallies. I, for sure didn't play my best tennis, but it's good to win that way sometimes against this kind of player; that's very important."

*#32 s19 wc Martina Hingis SUI d #21 s10 Dinara Safina RUS 6-3, 6-4 Wed

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Martina deciding where to deliver a slice backhand, Dinara's forehand,
Martina after slicing what looks to be a drop shot, and Martina after match point

    The win was Martina's 20th victory since her return to WTA play in January. Martina said: "Definitely I'm very happy with the progress I'm making. Today probably wasn't all the prettiest game, but it was effective at the end of the day. I'm happy to be through, in the semis again." interview - soundbytes: mp3-1 - mp3-2 - mp3-3

#5 s3 Maria Sharapova RUS d #18 s7 Anna-Lena Groenefeld GER 6-1, 6-3 Wed

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Maria watching her forehand volley, Anna-Lena fetching a forehand, and Maria following a backhand

    Maria said: "I thought I started off really well, and that was really, really important. From the beginning of the match, I didn't underestimate [Anna-Lena's] serve, or her big game. So I think I came out ready, ready for the challenge. It turned out well...
    "I try to forget the last time I played her. I try to forget the whole experience. It wasn't a great day for me. Neither was it for her [in Moscow last October, Anna-Lena led by a set and a break when she sprained her left ankle, giving Maria the match-- Maria then lost to Dinara Safina in the next round]. It didn't end on a good note...
    "I definitely stepped it up a little bit, especially when I needed to. I was a little patient in the end, which was important. Forced her to hit some errors in the end. I think that's also the little experience. I knew that she would come out having nothing to lose, so I had to be a little bit more patient, to force the errors from her." interview - soundbytes: mp3-1 - mp3-2

    About her semifinal opponent, Martina Hingis, whom she lost to in Tokyo but defeated in Dubai, Maria said: "In Dubai, I basically took my opportunities, the ones that I had. In Tokyo, even when I felt like I could get back in the match, I didn't take my opportunities, made a few errors. I think I was more focused on the match in Dubai. I really tried not to worry about what my opponent was doing.
    "You can never underestimate an opponent that you're going to be playing in a semifinal or a final match. Therefore, you have to be ready no matter who it is. But you cannot take your game away from that. It's very important that you maintain your form, and just try to do your best at whatever you're good at."

#8 s4 Elena Dementieva RUS d #19 s8 Ana Ivanovic SCG 2-6, 6-4, 6-2 Thu

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Elena and Ana fielding forehands, and Elena taking off after match point

    Both players scored 84 points in this very close match. Elena won despite 14 double faults (Ana: 6); Ana lost despite converting 7 of 8 break points (Elena: 8 of 17).
    Elena said: ""I just feel like I'm a very slow starter. I usually start really to play well when I'm in trouble, like today when I was one set, 1-love down. I just started to play a little bit more aggressively." soundbytes: mp3-1 - mp3-2
    Ana said: "It definitely was a very tough match. In the third set I think my serve was not working as well in the second. I think that was one of the reasons it was such a big difference because in the first set I think I served quite good. Then also [Elena] started playing much better; I lost a little bit of concentration."

Indian Wells, SFs, Fri 11am WTA story
loser's prize: $80,000 US; points: 146
*#8 s4 Elena Dementieva RUS d #3 s1 Justine Henin-Hardenne BEL 2-6, 7-5, 7-5

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Elena serving to Justine, Justine's forehand, Elena charging in for a backhand volley,
trainer Amber Donaldson examining Justine's knee, and Elena after match point

    Elena won the match after trailing 2-6, 2-5 in the 2nd set. Justine twice served for the match, but unfortunately sprained her right knee late in the 2nd set, after which she had trouble keeping up with Elena's drives.
    Elena said: "When I was 6-2, 5-2 down, I was like, 'Welcome to Miami, I have a flight tomorrow.' Really, I didn't expect myself to win this one. I was having some fun, some lucky shots. I was smiling. My mom, she was angry with me. She said, 'Are you playing semifinals or are you having some fun here?'" interview

    Justine did not blame the injury for her loss, but she might withdraw from the NASDAQ-100 in Miami because of right knee problems. Justine said: "I think I was dominating the match. I was up 6-2, 5-2, then I lost my concentration a little bit at that point. That cost me the second set. I really helped [Elena] to come back in the match. I was playing pretty good in the first set, then till 5-2.
    "Maybe I thought too early that the match was over. Just for one game I lost my concentration. Then she took the opportunities and the match turned completely. At the end, she deserved to win the match...
    "[The tape applied by trainer Amber Donaldson] gave me a lot of support on my knee. My knee is bothering me for a couple of weeks. I know that it's probably the fact that I'm playing on hard court. My knees are going to be happy when I play on clay again. I have a few problems on my right knee, but I hope it's going to be better soon... There are matches that I feel it and matches that I'm fine. But it's no excuse for me that I lost today. I never thought about leaving the court, because the tape really helped me to give me a lot of support in the third set."

    When asked, Justine also explained that the antinflammatory drugs she had been taking in January for a shoulder problem had led to an ulcer, which is why she had to retire from the Australian Open final.
    Justine said: "I cannot take antiinflammatories for anything now... [The ulcer is] not gone hundred percent, so I'm still on the medication probably for a couple weeks." interview - mp3 soundbyte

#5 s3 Maria Sharapova RUS d #32 s19 wc Martina Hingis SUI 6-3, 6-3

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Maria following a forehand, Martina's backhand, Maria following a backhand, and Maria after match point

    Maria said: "I think the level of tennis was definitely higher thatn I've played in the last few months. But thank god it just went my way.
    "I was really ready today, I really was. I knew it was going to be tough; I didn't underestimate [Martina's] level of play. I knew it was going to be a very tough match and I need to be ready for it." interview - soundbytes: mp3-1 - mp3-2

    Former longtime # 1 Martina is now 20-7 in 7 tourneys since her return from 3 years retirement due to ankle injuries; she will likely be ranked about # 26 next week. Rankings are determined by a players best points from up to 17 tourneys in the past 52 weeks.
    Martina said: "[Maria] didn't really give me many chances. I tried to play defense, more offense. But I just didn't get many opportunities to really do too much with balls." interview - soundbytes: mp3-1 - mp3-2

Indian Wells, Final, Sat, 2:30pm
loser's prize: $163,000 US; points: 228
winner's prize: $332,000 US; points: 325
#5 s3 Maria Sharapova RUS d #8 s4 Elena Dementieva RUS 6-1, 6-2

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Maria sending a twist serve to Elena, Maria's forehand, Elena reaching for a forehand, Maria's backhand, and Maria after match point

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Attendance was good for this final; Chris Evert, an expert in finals (she reached the final in 76% of the tourneys she entered)
was at the trophy ceremony with Elena and Maria

Indian Wells, Doubles Final, Sun
losers' prize: $45,500 US
winners' prize: $91,000 US
cdr3 s1 Lisa Raymond & Samanth Stosur d cdr13 s3 Virginia Ruano Pascual & Meghann Shaughnessy 6-2, 7-5

Indian Wells, Qualifying Finals, Tue Mar 7 10am
*#128 Katerina Bohmova CZE d #83 M E Camerin (LL) ITA 7-6(6), 2-6, 6-2
#104 Anastasiya Yakimova BLR d #131 Milagros Sequera VEN 7-5, 6-0
*#135 Nicole Pratt AUS d #109 Eva Birnerova CZE 1-6, 6-2, 6-4
#111 Meng Yuan CHN d #132 Varvara Lepchenko UZB 4-6, 6-2, 7-5
#112 Yuliana Fedak UKR d #130 Su-Wei Hsieh TPE 6-7(4), 6-3, 6-4
#113 Anastassia Rodionova RUS d #122 Nathalie Vierin ITA 5-7, 6-4, 6-2
#115 Bethanie Mattek USA d #129 Victoria Azarenka BLR 1-6, 6-4, 7-5
#118 Camille Pin FRA d #123 Rika Fujiwara JPN 6-4, 6-3
#126 Ivana Lisjak CRO d #175 Barbora Strycova CZE 6-4, 6-4
#137 Tatiana Poutchek BLR d #148 Ahsha Rolle USA 6-2, 4-6, 6-0
*#144 Anne Kremer LUX d #142 Meilen Tu USA 6-1, 6-0
*#186 Jessica Kirkland USA d #134 Liliah Osterloh USA 6-4, 7-5

Indian Wells, Withdrawals
#6 Mary Pierce FRA
#14 Nicole Vaidisova CZE
#34 Kveta Peschke CZE
#37 Roberta Vinci ITA
#51 Virginie Razzano FRA
#69 Elena Bovina RUS r shoulder
#84 Yoon Jeong Cho KOR
#97 Dally Randriantefy MAD
#292 Paola Suarez ARG ankle?

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