Friday, November 11, 2005

WTA Tour Championships--the short version

Clijsters shows up in name only; Davenport brings it on, but a little late with regard to Sharapova; Schnyder chokes; Pierce kicks ass; Petrova lags behind; Sharapova hits hard but screams less; Dementieva tanks; and Mauresmo finds Andy's mojo and tries it on for size.

As of this writing, Davenport, Sharapova, Mauresmo, and Pierce go into tomorrow's semifinals, though the rankings aren't in until Mauresmo plays Pierce tonight. Kim Clijsters has complained of jet lag since she arrived, but maybe this has something to do with the fact that she arrived at the last minute and gave herself no time to adjust. Both Mary Pierce and Amelie Mauresmo, who usually have a hard time beating Clijsters, defeated her in the round-robin. Sometimes Clijsters goes on an unforced error spree, and this has been one of those times.

Patty Schnyder
forced Sharapova into three sets. Schnyder should have taken her second set against Davenport at 6-2, but lost it instead when she let one 40-love lead slip, and another 40-15 lead slip. Davenport then went on a double-fault spree against Sharapova, and was virtually out of the contest until Sharapova was serving for the match at the end of the second set. Davenport broke her twice, won the set, and came painfully close to taking the match.

Assuming that Sharapova will beat Petrova later tonight, Petrova will exit the championships with an 0-3 record. Ouch. And if Clijsters wakes up and beats Dementieva, likewise (or vice versa).

And assuming that Sharapova will emerge as number 1 in her group, she will face whoever loses the Pierce/Mauresmo match. The winner will face Davenport. Any of those combinations should guarantee good tennis, and semifinal matches are traditionally the best of any tournament.

Sharapova is the defending champion and will fight hard. Despite winning, she looked vulnerable against Davenport last night, and could be taken out by either Frenchwoman, assuming Mauresmo keeps up the aggression.

One thing has already been established: Lindsay Davenport will end the year as the number one player in the world.

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