26 September 2006

WTA Titles for Paszek, Hingis & Kuznetsova

Fifteen-year-old Tamira Paszek of Austria won her first WTA Tour title on Sunday, beating sixth-seeded Maria Elena Camerin of Italy 7-5, 6-1 at the Portoroz Slovenia Open.

Paszek, ranked 259th, played her first WTA tournament in October 2005 in Linz, Austria, where she reached the second round. She joined her country's Fed Cup team last year.

"I played eight matches in nine days," Paszek said. "It was hard, but unbelievable. I am very happy."

Tamira Paszek (right)

Martina Hingis defeated first-time finalist Olga Poutchkova of Russia 6-0, 6-4 Sunday to win the Kolkata Sunfeast Open for her second title since coming out from retirement.

"I'm happy with the way things have gone this year -- my climb in the rankings has been very satisfying," said Hingis, who was ranked No. 9 entering the final. "I'm now enjoying the game more than when I was 17."

The 18-year-old Poutchkova, who is based in Florida, lost in 55 minutes.

"It was a learning experience for me and I was a bit nervous," Poutchkova said. "I tried to make a comeback in the second set, but she doesn't give you many chances."

Martina Hingis

Also on the WTA tour, Russian Svetlana Kuznetsova won her second title in two weeks with a 6-4 6-0 victory over France's world number one Amelie Mauresmo in a rain-disrupted China Open final on Sunday.

The world number five, who also triumphed in Bali last week, claimed her eighth career title when top seed Mauresmo's game fell apart after a two-hour break for wet weather.

"I'm just so happy," said Kuznetsova, who was runner-up to Serena Williams here in 2004. "She was not playing great, not at her best, and I put pressure on her and played pretty well."

Mauresmo apologised to the crowd for not making more of a contest of the final.

"I'm disappointed, there's nothing much to say, she just played much better than me, especially after the rain," the 27-year-old said Mauresmo.

Svetlana Kuznetsova

"It's my goal to one day be number one but I'm not rushing to this, I'm just enjoying every moment," said the Russian champion. "I think I have the possibility of doing it but I'm not obsessed by it."

18 September 2006

Italy Wins the Fed Cup

This weekend saw the final of the Fed Cup - Belgium vs. Italy - played infront of a roaring crowd at the Stade Spiroudome, Charleroi, Belgium.

The final started with the fiery Francesca Schiavone vs. 98th ranked Kirsten Flipkens, after a few nervous games from both players the Italian showed her experience to easily come through in straight sets. Next match up was Belgian heroine Justine Henin-Hardenne vs. Italian hottie Flavia Pennetta. Any match against Henin-Hardenne was always gonna be tough and though Pennetta tried her hardest even with an injured wrist, nothing was good enough to stop the Belgian from winning the match and bringing the tie to Belgian 1-1 Italy.

Santangelo, Schiavone, Vinci

Day 2 began with high expectations from the fans from both sides - singing, cheering, chanting and flag waving gave the second day an atmosphere fitting for such a great clash of the tennis titans. Kim Clijsters was there to cheer on her compatriot Belgians as was Tathiana Garbin and boyfriend of Pennetta, Carlos Moya for the Italians.

First up was the battle of the one handed backhands - Justine Henin-Hardenne vs. Francesca Schiavone. The first set started once again with lots of nerves from both players and many breaks of serve. After a close set Henin upped the standard of her game to brake the Italian and take the first set 6-4, the second set was a bit more one sided with the mighty Italian showing what a great fighter she is and taking an early lead was a 4-0 advantage but after a few bad linecalls and a 'convenient' injury timeout from Henin, the whole momentum of the match changed. The Belgian managed to fight her way back into the match and took the second set and the match 6-4, 7-5 to bring a 2-1 lead for the local team.

Fourth match of the weekend - and a great turning point for Italy, was the clash of Mara Santangelo vs. Kirsten Flipkens. The young Belgian, affectionately nicknamed 'Flipper' by the fans, easily took the first set with the aid of the hugely partizan Belgian crowd - but the 26 year-old showed her real talent by dig deep and bring the game back level by taking the second set. The third set was always in totally control of Santangelo, playing with such style, focus and finesse - even though the rowdy Belgian fans shouted and booed her every shot. I think this match will be a great turning point in the career of Santangelo giving her the confidence to know she can win in these adverse conditions - and win she did, bagelling Flipkens in the process to win 6-7 (3-7), 6-3, 6-0.

The fifth and deciding match of the weekend was the doubles played by Schiavone/Vinci vs. Henin/Flipkens - the Belgian team worked very well together, both playing great volleys to take the first set. The Italians were a bit slow to get going, but in the second played some mighty tennis with Schiavone on the baseline and Vinci at the net - one point saw Schiavone high 4 overheads against Henin, perhaps the earlier defeat was the motivation needed to fire up Schiavone who played the leader of the Italian doubles team. As the game headed into the third set and Italian played with confidence and were leading the game 2-0 30-0 when Henin-Hardenne called for the trainer to tend a knee injury, even though she was showing no signs of a problem the Belgian decided (against the wishes of her team) to retire from the match, giving the win to the Italians and the Fed Cup 2006 title too!

The Fed Cup 2006 Champions

This is deja vu for Henin who retired from the finals at the Australian Open earlier this year, against French world No1 Amelie Mauresmo, handing the title to the French women without her getting the chance to feel that winning 'match point moment' - the Belgian suffered much criticism over her actions in Australia and it does not take a tennis expert to guess that she will face the same criticism after retiring from the Fed Cup final also. The Italian team was not disheartened by the why the weekend finished and didn't let it stop them from enjoying the occasion - the first time Italy has ever won the Fed Cup - I'm sure the party will continue for the Italian ladies all year and after the great heart and spirit that the team showed, they truly deserve it enjoy it!

Garbin, Schiavone, Pennetta, Santangelo, Vinci, Barazzutti (captain)

Congratulations Italy!!!

First Title for Baghdatis

We have seen some great results in the past few days and the ATP Beijing final was one of these!

Croatian heart throb Mario Ancic played the entertainer of the tour, Cypriot Marcos Baghdatis in the Chinese capital. The match was filled with exciting play from both players, the Cypriot took the first set and was leading the second when the Ancic fell, from there on it was easy for Baghdatis who won 6-4, 6-0. This victory gives Marcos Baghdatis his first ATP title.

"It's my first title," said Baghdatis, who became the first Cypriot in tour history to win an ATP tournament. "It's a great moment and I'm really happy about that, especially playing a great match today."

Baghdatis first made his name on the tour by his great winning streak at the Australian Open this year, after over coming rain delays, fireworks and many great names of the tour, he got into the grand slam final were he was eventually beaten by the great Roger Federer.

Marcos Baghdatis

Also Jurgen Melzer won his first ATP title by beating Filippo Volandri 6-1, 7-5 Sunday in the final of the BCR Open.

Melzer served well and came to the net often. He broke Volandri's serve twice in the first set. Volandri improved in the second set, but Melzer broke to lead 6-5 and served it out.

"I knew Volandri is a great baseliner," Melzer said. "I served much better, I put much more pressure on his serve and didn't give him time to get into his rhythm."

It was Melzer's fourth career final and second this year. He lost to Mardy Fish in the Houston final in April.

Volandri's only title came in 2004 at St. Poelten. He lost the Buenos Aires final to Carlos Moya in February.

"Sorry I beat you in the final," Melzer told Volandri after receiving the trophy. "I needed a title and you already had one."

In the WTA, top seeded Russian Svetlana Kuznetsova overcame a slow start to beat France's Marion Bartoli 7-5, 6-2 for her third Wismilak International title.

Kuznetsova and the sixth-seeded Bartoli played a close first set, but the Russian pulled away midway through the second to win her seventh career singles title. It was her second championship of the season, winning at Miami in March.

Svetlana Kuznetsova

A busy time for the WTA tour with week...

- China Open Official Site

- Sunfest Open, Kolkata, India

- Banka Koper Slovenia Open Official Site

WTA Live Scores

13 September 2006

The 'lovetennis' Gallery

lovetennis is proud to announce the launch of it's brand new exclusive photo gallery!


All photos in the gallery are taken by myself (Elisita) at Wimbledon, Roland Garros and Open Gaz de France.

The first ever tournament that I visited was Wimby 1996, I went there especially to see my first favorite player Gigi Fernandez, since then I have been to Wimby every year - I started going to the Open Gaz de France in Paris from 2002 and Roland Garros from 2003. Over the years I have seen nearly every player on the both tours at some time or another! As you can see from the gallery, my favorite players to photograph are Eleni Daniilidou and Amelie Mauresmo - but the gallery also features other players such as Conchita Martinez, Tathiana Garbin, Francesca Schiavone and many other players too.

Photography is very special to me - it gives me the chance to show others how I view things through my own eyes, my perspective on things. I'm sure we are all used to seeing the same sorts of stereotypical 'tennis shots' that grace the pages of tennis magazines around the world - you know the ones with the players grimmacing as they hit the ball! I prefer to take different types of photos to them, I like to show the beauty, humour and the personally of the players - I like to make them look damn hot! hahahahaha

Also included in the gallery is a section for some of the autographs I have collected for myself and for other friends over the years. Each signature has a story behind it, from the time I gave fan messages to Eleni Daniilidou to the time I had a lovely conversation with Conchita Martinez at Roland Garros. As they say...every picture tells a story!

We hope you will enjoy visiting our new gallery and hope you will come back often, as we will be continuing to update the gallery regularly with our lovetennis exclusive photos.

11 September 2006

US Open 2006

Maria Sharapova is no longer a 'one Slam wonder' after winning the million dollar title at Flushing Meadows yeasterday. The 19-year-old Russian showed determination and grit to overcome the shots of world number two Belgian Justine Henin-Hardenne 6-4 6-4 at Arthur Ashe Stadium in front of a crowd of 24,000 spectators.

The title marked the second grand slam of Sharapova's career, following her remarkable Wimbledon run in 2004.

"I experienced it two years ago, and I knew that I wasn't done, I had a lot more in me," she said. "That was just the beginning. This is not just preparation that happened a couple weeks before the tournament; this is preparation that I've done ever since I was a little girl."

Maria Sharapova - US Open Women's Champion

Roger Federer claimed his third U.S. Open title in a row with a flourish on Sunday, beating Andy Roddick 6-2 4-6 7-5 6-1 to capture his ninth grand slam singles crown.

The 25-year-old Swiss maestro captured the only service break of a tightly contested third set by breaking the ninth-seeded American in the last game and then charged to victory allowing Roddick just 13 points in the final set. Federer walked away with a winners cheque for $1.5 million dollars, a new Lexus car and a new record for being the only player to hold three consecutive Wimbledon titles and three consecutive US Open titles.

Roger Federer - US Open Men's Champion

In the women's doubles final, Nathalie Dechy of France and Russian Vera Zvonareva beat eighth seeds Dinara Safina and Katarina Srebotnik 7-6 7-5 to take the title.

The unseeded pair came through in just under two hours to give Zvonareva her third grand slam title and Dechy her first.

"That's what we work for, 20 years, to play in front of the crowd, in the center court of the grand slam in the finals," Zvonareva said.

"It's a great opportunity. You just got to enjoy. No matter how you play, try to do it."

The men's doubles title was won by the partnership of Leander Paes and Martin Damm, crowned with their first year as a team, after beating Jonas Bjorkman and Max Mirnyi 6-7 6-4 6-3 to win the men's doubles title at the U.S. Open.

"I don't think there are enough words to express how much fun and how much learning I've actually had playing with Martin, because we're actually opposites on the court," Paes said.

"It's been a fantastic year playing with him. I've really enjoyed it. I'd like to thank him for a wonderful year."

The victory gave Damm his first grand slam title, while for Paes it was his fourth men's doubles crown and seventh in all.

US Open mixed doubles title was won by the legend Martina Navratilova and her partner Bob Bryan. A month before her 50th birthday, navaratilova extended her already fantastic record to 59 Grand Slam titles with this win, but insisted this will be her last match as a pro player on the tour. She had originally retired in 1994, then returned to the tour in 2000 to play doubles and the occational singles match.

"You're only as old as you feel, and I certainly don't feel 49," Navratilova said. "I just wanted to inspire people."

09 September 2006

US Open Men's Final

Roger Federer
Andy Roddick

H2H - Federer leads 10-1

Livescores - US Open

US Open - Women's Final

Justine Henin-Hardenne
Maria Sharapova

H2H - Henin-Hardenne leads 4-1

Livescores - US Open

US Open - Men's Semi finals

Roger Federer
Nikolay Davydenko

H2H - Federer leads 7-0


Andy Roddick
Mikhail Youzhny

H2H - Roddick 2-2 Youzhny

Livescores - US Open

07 September 2006

US Open - Women's Semi finals

Justine Henin-Hardenne
Jelena Jankovic

H2H - Henin-Hardenne leads 1-0


Maria Sharapova
Amelie Mauresmo

H2H - Mauresmo leads 3-0

Livescores - US Open

01 September 2006

The Battle of the Brave

The fireworks, the rock concerts, the smell of burning hot dogs....oh and the small issue of a million dollar tennis tournament - this could only be the circus that is the US Open!

So far this week we have seen the early exits in the women's side, Anastassia Myskina, Martina Hingis and Nicole Vaidisova, we have had a day totally washed out by rain and we have seen probably one of the best matches of the tournament last night - Andre Agassi v Marcos Baghdatis.

The night session opened to rapturous applause as American hero Andre Agassi and Cypriot showman Marcos Baghdatis took to the court for their 2nd round encounter. The atmosphere was electric with the sort of energy and expectation usually kept for a heavy weight boxing bout, rather than for a simple game of tennis. This match was no simple game of tennis though...it had everything!

Played before a capacity crowd of nearly 24,000 on Arthur Ashe Court - the two men gave it their all in a three hour and 48 minute epic. After a close start to the match Agassi took the early advantage by leading the match by 2 sets to 0, but this was not enough to deter the mighty Marcos Baghdatis who managed to come back into the match and after playing some genius shot making took the next two sets to even up the score. After a fall on the court Baghdatis sustained a wrist injury which still was not enough to discourage the brave Cypriot.

Marcos Baghdatis

As they headed into the fifth set both men were playing at their best - and the crowd (predictably mostly biased in favor of the American) were loving every minute of the fight. Towards the end of the match the 21-year-old Cypriot suffered severe cramps in both legs and at one point was hardly able to stand but still managed to fire an ace down the court - this moment summed up the determination and couragous heart of both men in this great match! In the end Agassi was slightly the stronger mentally and managed to close the epic match with a 6/4 6/4 3/6 5/7 7/5 triumph.

"I just wanted to fight, you know? Playing Andre on the center court of Arthur Ashe, I was ready to die on the court." said Baghdatis in the post-match press conference.

"It's a guy like that that makes it easier to walk away from the game because you see what kind of hands it's in," said soon to be retiring champion Agassi

"He's just a true professional with a lot of style and a lot of charisma and a lot of talent."

Agassi now goes on to play German Benjamin Becker in the 3rd round.