Tuesday, October 25, 2011

King, Shvedova have extra incentive in elite tourney

   Of the four doubles teams in this week's TEB BNP Paribas WTA Championships in Istanbul, only Vania King and Yaroslova Shvedova did not win a Grand Slam title this year.
   Not that they didn't come close.
   As the defending U.S. Open champions, King and Shvedova lost to Liezel Huber and Lisa Raymond 4-6, 7-6 (5), 7-6 (3) in the final.
   Shvedova, a Moscow native who plays for Kazakhstan, served for the match at 5-4 in the second set. She also had the match on her racket at 5-4 in the second-set tiebreaker but double-faulted, and she and King, a member of the Sacramento Capitals living in Boynton Beach, Fla., lost the next point after Shvedova's 76-mph first serve.
   The top eight singles players and top four doubles teams in this year's point standings qualified for the WTA Championships.
   The tournament is being held in Istanbul for the first time after three years in Doha, Qatar. What, the WTA couldn't find somewhere more remote for its marquee event? Was Ulan Bator, Mongolia, booked?
   Competing in singles, in order of seeding, are Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark, Maria Sharapova of Russia, Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic, Victoria Azarenka of Belarus, Li Na of China, Vera Zvonareva of Russia, Samantha Stosur of Australia and Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland.
   Defending champion Kim Clijsters, plagued by injuries, finished 13th in the standings.
   The doubles field consists of, in order of seeding, Wimbledon champions Kveta Peschke of the Czech Republic and Katarina Srebotnik of Slovenia, Americans Huber and Raymond, King and Shvedova, and defending champions and Australian Open winners Gisela Dulko of Argentina and Flavia Pennetta of Italy and .
   French Open champions Andrea Hlavackova and Lucie Hradecka finished 11th in the standings.
   Of course, the Venus and Serena Williams would demolish any of these teams, but they haven't been healthy at the same time since the Bill Clinton administration.
   Besides Dulko and Pennetta, Huber and Raymond are the only other former WTA Championships titlists in the field but with different partners. Raymond has won the crown three times, with Rennae Stubbs of Australia in 2001 and Stosur in 2005 and 2006. Huber has captured the title twice, with Cara Black of Zimbabwe in 2007 and 2008.
   King and Shvedova made their WTA Championships debut last year, losing to Dulko and Pennetta in the semifinals (first round).
   King and Shvedova are blogging from Istanbul. Here's the link: www.wtatennis.com/blog/20111024/vania-slavas-istanbul-blog-monday_2257191_2492902.
   Tursunov falls in doubles -- Dmitry Tursunov, a Moscow native living in Folsom, and Igor Kunitsyn of Russia lost to Michael Kohlmann and Alexander Waske of Germany 7-5, 6-4 Monday in the first round of doubles at the $663,750 St. Petersburg (Russia) Open.
   Tursunov, seeded eighth in singles, will face a qualifier in the first round.
   New rankings -- Following are this week's world rankings of professional players with Northern California ties (change from last week in parentheses):
   Bob Bryan, 1998 NCAA doubles champion from Stanford -- No. 1 in doubles (no change), unranked in singles.
   Mike Bryan, 1998 NCAA doubles champion from Stanford -- No. 1 in doubles (no change), unranked in singles.
   Scott Lipsky, 2002 NCAA doubles runner-up from Stanford -- No. 27 in doubles (-1), unranked in singles.
   Mark Knowles, Sacramento Capitals of World TeamTennis (2001-07, 2009-11) -- No. 42 in doubles (+2), unranked in singles.
   Dmitry Tursunov, Folsom resident -- No. 39 in singles (+1), No. 234 in doubles (-83).
   Sam Querrey, San Francisco native -- No. 116 in singles (-2), No. 31 in doubles (no change).
   David Martin, 2002 NCAA doubles runner-up from Stanford -- No. 106 in doubles (+2), No. 663 in singles (+39).
   John Paul Fruttero, Cal All-American in 2001 and 2002 -- Career-high No. 133 in doubles (no change), 1,236 in singles (+10).
   Conor Niland, 2006 Pacific-10 Conference Player of the Year and two-time All-American at Cal -- No. 193 in singles (+10), unranked in doubles. 
   Jimmy Wang, Folsom resident -- No. 281 in singles (+99), No. 551 in doubles (+2).
   Dusan Vemic, Capitals (2010-11) -- No. 501 in doubles (no change), No. 1,525 in singles (+9).
   Kiryl Harbatsiuk, three-time Big Sky Conference MVP (2009-11) at Sacramento State -- No. 763 in singles (+1), No. 1,253 in doubles (+6).
   Vania King, Capitals (2010-11) -- No. 7 in doubles (+2), No. 77 in singles (+2).
   Raquel Kops-Jones, 2003 NCAA doubles champion from Cal -- No. 37 in doubles (no change), unranked in singles.
   Yasmin Schnack, Elk Grove resident, Sacramento Capitals of World TeamTennis (2011) -- No. 208 in doubles (career high, +4), No. 403 in singles (+3).
   Maria Sanchez, Modesto resident -- No. 377 in doubles (+1), No. 688 in singles (career high, +7).

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