Sunday, 8 February 2009

WTA Pattaya City and Paris

The 17eme Open GDF SUEZ looks hot with so many top players in the draw. Serena Williams will headline this tournament but she is by no means alone there at the top. Joining her will be fellow top 10's Jelena Jankovic, Elena Dementieva and Agnieszka Radwanska as well as many other players just off from their Fed Cup expeditions.
Serena will play Iveta Benesova in the first round. Though Iveta is Czech Republics No.1 girl right now I doubt she would cause the necessary shock but after her recent exploits I have come to be interested in her again. I'm looking forward to seeing Nicole even though I know she will eventually lose out I still want to see if she could make it to at least the QF's. Elena Dementieva will have Ai Sugiyama to contend with. I'm not sure Ai would be to happy (even though she is the happiest person in the tour) after beaing bashed by the Serbians in the Fed Cup. Patty Schnyder and Alona Bondarenko who also led their countries in the Fed Cup (though not necessarily to victory) will face each other. The interesting match will be Mauresmo Vs. Errani - a rematch of the Fed Cup 4th Rubber. Though it was a dead rubber I still think this will be a close match.
Daniela showed a good performance in the Fed Cup so maybe there is a gilmmer of hope there. Compared to Alize, Daniela was ten times better this week so it could happen for Daniela Hantuchova. I'll also be interested in Na Li's exploits as she has the fallen teen Agnes Szavay to contend with. Overall this should be an interesting tournament even if the winner of the tournament seems to be restricted to 3 players.
In Pattaya thing will be less hot (not literally) but should still prove to be a tough tournament. Zvonareva is the top seed here. Her own section of the draw looks quite comprehensive to me but maybe Shuai Peng could cause a stir; doubt it though. Urszula Radwanska will be hoping to emulate her sisters exploits in order to make it 3 pairs of sisters in the top echelons of singles or doubles tennis. Nice to see Noppawan Lertcheewakarn (they have such long names nowadays!) in the draw; always refreshing to see junior players in main draws - even if they do lose early in the tournament. Shahar Peer however could be too tough an opponent for her because this weeks Fed Cup seems to have shown glimmers of hope for the Israeli. Other players of note will be Dominika Cibulkova; who should be a title contender, Kimiko Date Drumm and Ksenia Pervak; another junior tennis player who has just come off from a title at the Junior Australian Open. Well of course there is also Caroline Wozniacki!

Now onto the Fed Cup...
The Fed Cup dream was well and truly over for some teams with easy victories posted left, right and centre. France dismally lost to Italy 0-5; I had high hopes for this one. Now Italy will face Russia who equally thrashed their Chinese opponents 5-0. Unless the US send in the Williams sisters I doubt the winner won't be either Russia or Italy. I was putting to much hope on Spains team spirit because in the end Spain lost 1-4. Whilst Argentina Vs. Spain is still waiting to be completed.
In World Group II Serbia beat Japan easily and will contest for a World Group place. I'm hoping their opponents will be Spain because I'd love to see Spain in World Group II for a change; given their amazing record as I doubt Jankovic and Ivanovic wouldn't be able to destroy the Spanish team. Ukraine left it late but I always knew that the Bondarenko sisters would level the tie off anyway. I'd like to see them play China because China will probably send their best players in that situation. Germany is through but I doubt they will be able to advance into the World Group, the only hope I would expect is to play Argentina or the US actually because I doubt the Williams' will play if the US dropped to World Group II. Slovak Republic made it through 4-1 against Belgium; as expected. So therefore with only France left from the teams that have lost I would like to see Slovak Republic Vs. France in the World Group I playoffs as I think they are about equal - both have 1 potentially devastating player (Amelie and Daniela) both are led by a feisty teen (Dominika and Alize) and both have an Ok doubles squad.

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