Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Ana and I Size 'Em Up

And so the year-ending championships have begun - the female variety thereof. Three matches have been played so far in Doha, and two of the three results have been quite surprising to me. I would have picked Jelena Jankovic over Ana Ivanovic any day of the week, but I didn't pick Vera Zvonareva over Svetlana Kuznetsova, or (sob) Venus Williams over Dinara Safina. We all know Dinara is my special favourite, and Venus is, by the looks of things, probably the easiest of the opponents in that group - not that any of them are easy, but still. I was kind of counting on Dinara to pull that one out. Oh well. Two to go! And if she beats Serena, that US Open revenge will be sa-weeeeeeeeeeet!
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Ana Ivanovic went on record a day or two ago assessing each of the women in the Doha field - for fun today, I thought I'd see where my opinions and Ana's opinions matched up.
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Jelena Jankovic
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Ana says: I think Jelena, she's really good on the court and she's a great fighter and a great competitor. She's very consistent.
Jodi says: I think Ana's on the money here. Jelena's greatest asset is her consistency and her defensive play. Also her athleticism. I don't think we've seen anyone play quite like Jelena since Kim Clijsters. High injury rate, but good when she's on song.
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Dinara Safina
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Ana says: With Dinara, she never gives up. She's a very, very tough opponent, and so many times in this year she came with match points down, so that proves that.
Jodi says: Word, Ana. Dinara's extraordinarily talented, but she's won matches in the mind this year. You pretty much have to break her legs to break her spirit. Who can forget that epic against Sharapova at Roland Garros? When her mind hasn't been in a match (ie versus Serena in the US Open semis) she hasn't been half so good. Who'd ever think we'd be lauding a Safin for mental strength?
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Serena and Venus Williams
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Ana says: With Serena, she has an unbelievable powerful game. With Venus it's the same case. They are so powerful and they have a different game style than the other girls on tour.
Jodi says: I love that the Williams sisters are always grouped together as a unit. Normally I'd be up in arms about that, but their styles of play are so similar it's just easier to write about them together. Power is their main asset - of the two, I'd have to say Serena has a little more variety and game.
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Svetlana Kuznetsova
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Ana says: With Kuznetsova, she can be very dangerous, because she's very aggressive. She likes to dominate as well.
Jodi says: True, but Sveta's also got that monkey on her back re finals. All the aggression in the world isn't going to help her till she gets her head in the game. One of her greatest strengths used to be her consistency, but we haven't seen much of that this year.
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Vera Zvonareva
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Ana says: With Vera, she's also consistent. She likes to run, and she likes to take the speed of other opponents.
Jodi says: I think Ana's dead right - Vera's biggest asset is her speed. Because she's so little, she doesn't generate a whole lot of power (though it is surprising for her size!) but she's so fast and such a good returner she takes a lot of court away from her opponents.
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Elena Dementieva
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Ana says: Elena, she is very, very aggressive. She likes to dominate. She likes when the balls are coming, her hitting it. She's very good and very consistent.
Jodi says: Elegant Elena has to have game, because her serve is a joke. It's better than it was, but still a joke - she gets virtually no free points of it. If she had more of a serve, I could see her winning a lot more stuff than she does. Nonetheless, Ana is dead on about her game.
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Ana Ivanovic
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Ana says: And about myself - what can I say about myself? Maybe you can ask them. No, I think I'm a great fighter. I never give up. I just try until the last moment.
Jodi says: Ana knows herself best, I guess, but I can't say I've seen too much evidence of this... not this year at least. Ana's biggest weapon is the power she generates in her groundies and her placement: I would definitely not say her chief strength is in her mind!
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Anyone else care to add their opinions to mine and Ana's? It's interesting to see what players think of each other... much as it could get extraordinarily bitchy, it'd be nice to see everyone in Doha do it! From a journalistic perspective, anyway!
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Today's Results
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Sony Ericsson Championships 2008 (Doha)
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White Group
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Vera Zvonareva def. Svetlana Kuznetsova, 6-2 6-3
Jelena Jankovic def. Ana Ivanovic, 6-3 6-4
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Maroon Group
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Venus Williams def. Dinara Safina, 7-5 6-3

3 comments:

Naf said...

Ana forgot to mention that she's all over the place right now! :)

TopSpin said...

Nice post Jodi..
Re Your comment on bitchiness; Interestingly enough, the commentators during the Jankovic/Ivanovic match yesterday were mentioning how much these two dislike each other. They are of course very professional but they went into how they don't like to share tables, and just how unlikely it would be to see them two play doubles together for Serbia...

I've always thought their personalities were poles apart but never knew anything of this mutual dislike. Do you know anything about this?

I was really disappointed with Safina's meltdown yesterday - after such a promising start she should have been a set and 2-0 up. Must be that Safin gene.

Jodi said...

I had heard that Jelena and Ana don't like each other - in particular, that Jelena doesn't like Ana. It's understandable, really... they both come from such a small country, and they have to jostle for the limelight (not to mention the Djokovic factor as well.) Added to which I really don't think Jankovic liked it that Ivanovic won a Slam and reached #1 before she did, as Ivanovic is younger... I bet Jelena was laughing like a crazy person when Ana had her meltdown.

I was disappointed with Dinara too. Still, it might make Marat feel better and NOT RETIRE!