We've had our first three matches in Doha. In a tournament which is anyone-could-win because everyone is certainly capable of losing, any result is, by nature, interesting. But there was one I thought was especially interesting, and that was Venus being beaten by Dementieva.
In terms of ability, this is hardly surprising. Both Venus and Elena are exceptionally talented, and Elena, when she's firing, can take just about anyone. Look how much trouble Serena - an in-form Serena - had taking her out in Wimbledon: far more trouble than she had taking out Venus, that's for sure. But one always associates the Williams fire with Venus, the desire to win the big ones, plus the fact that she's the defending champion, and Elena is usually classed among the headcases. Because, you know, she is one.
But Elena didn't go all headcase on us today - and, I would like to point out, she fought her way back from the brink of defeat. From one set down, she won the second set breaker eight points to six and then roared away in the third. That shows admirable grit and, given that Elena isn't usually a player one associates with grit, a nice surprise. Well done.
In the other matches, Serena triumphed over Sveta in two close sets and Azarenka pummelled Jankovic into submission. I was really hoping Sveta could pull her match out but I guess Serena probably had a wee score to settle after Roland Garros which might have fired her up a bit. Azarenka making mincemeat of Jankovic is not surprising to me. I really don't think Jankovic belongs here this year. It should be Clijsters, man, it should be Clijsters. (Not that Azarenka has been especially impressive of late either, but she looked good today... all the compliment I'm prepared to pay her).
I'm going to be very interested to see who brings the goods to the table and qualifies for the semis in both groups. Like I said, it's anyone-can-win because everyone-can-lose, so no matter who wins, I think it's going to be a little surprising. What I do hope is that someone, you know, wins the tournament, instead of just not losing. Let's end the WTA year on a high!
Sony Ericsson Championships (Doha)
Victoria Azarenka def. Jelena Jankovic, 6-2 6-3
Serena Williams def. Svetlana Kuznetsova, 7-6 (8-6) 7-5
Elena Dementieva def. Venus Williams, 3-6 7-6 (8-6) 6-2
St Petersburg Open (St Petersburg)
Jeremy Chardy def. Petru-Alexandru Luncanu, 6-2 6-2
Igor Andreev def. Potito Starace, 6-4 6-2
Sergiy Stakhovsky def. Evgeny Korolev, 6-4 6-3
Horacio Zeballos def. Yuri Schukin, 7-6 (11-9) 6-3
Illya Marchenko def. Fabio Fognini, 6-4 6-1
Michail Elgin def. Mikhail Kukushkin, 6-3 6-3
Andrey Kuznetsov def. Marcel Granollers, 6-7 (4-7) 7-6 (8-6) 6-4
Oleksandr Dolgopolov Jr. def. Robby Ginepri , 6-2 1-0 retired
Bank Austria Tennis Trophy (Vienna)
Radek Stepanek def. Lukasz Kubot, 6-4 6-1
Philipp Kohlschreiber def. Dieter Kindlmann, 6-1 6-3
Feliciano Lopez def. Andreas Haider-Maurer, 6-4 6-4
Jurgen Melzer def. Marco Chiudinelli, 7-6 (7-4) 7-6 (12-10)
Michael Berrer def. Steve Darcis, 6-3 6-2
Jan Hajek def. Andreas Seppi, 7-6 (7-4) 5-7 6-3
Marin Cilic def. Alejandro Falla, 6-2 6-3
Grand Prix de Tennis de Lyon (Lyon)
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga def. Kevin Kim, 7-6 (7-5) 7-6 (7-5)
Ivan Ljubicic def. Martin Vassallo Arguello, 6-3 6-4
Benjamin Becker def. Paolo Lorenzi, 6-2 6-3
Albert Montanes def. Fabrice Santoro, 6-4 6-4
Michael Llodra def. Lamine Ouahab, 6-1 6-2
Marc Gicquel def. Jerome Haehnel, 6-1 6-4
Kevin Anderson def. Simon Greul, 6-4 4-6 7-6 (7-3)
David Guez def. Rajeev Ram, 6-2 6-4
3 weeks ago