The China Open in Beijing for the first time on the WTA Tour showcased a Premier Mandatory category event. The 10th year for the China Open had a very strong field as you would expect for one of the most prestigious events in women’s tennis.
The best result for a qualifier was making the 2nd round which was achieved by both Melinda Czink of Hungary and Ukranian Katernya Bondarenko. The other qualifiers were: China’s Chun-Mei Ji, Poland’s Urszula Radwanska, Kazakhstan representative Yaroslava Shvedova who was born in Russia, Olga Govortsova of Belarus, Russian Alla Kudryavtseva and Shahar Peer of Israel.
The wild cards that were awarded to Chinese players resulted in 2 first round loses and the best win thus far of Zhang Shuai’s career. The 20 year old Zhang Shuai is ranked at No.160 yet she defeated No.1 seed (1) Dinara Safina in the 2nd round. The 4th highest ranked Chinese woman was defeated in the round of 16 by (14) Marion Bartoli of France. Han Xinyun lost against (10) Flavia Pennetta of Italy 7-6 (7-2) 6-2 and Lu Jingiing narrowly missed out against Anabel Medina Garrigues of Spain 6-3 5-7 5-7.
Only 9 of the top ranked players won through to the last 16 in Beijing. In the top half of the draw the quarter finals saw (7) Vera Zvonareva fall to Bartoli 6-2 in the 3rd set after having a 6-3 5-1 lead. From that point on Zvonareva only won 7 more points in the 2nd set whilst (12) Agnieszka Radwanska defeated (4) Elena Dementieva 7-5 6-3.
In the bottom half (6) Svetlana Kuznetsova won 6-3 6-3 against the unseeded Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova who took out (3) Venus Williams. The best performed Chinese player in Beijing once again was Peng Shuai who defeated (8) Jelena Jankovic and Maria Sharapova before losing her quarter final match. The losing quarter finalists won 74,450 US dollars each and earned 250 WTA ranking points a piece.
In the semi-finals Agnieszka continued her fantastic run of form by beating Bartoli 6-4 6-3 to earn her spot in her 1st final of 2009. Kuznetsova defeated the conqueror of (2) Serena Williams , (13) Nadia Petrova 6-1 6-3 to progress to the final for a chance to improve on her runner-up effort in Beijing last year. Petrova and Bartoli both won 169,445 US dollars in prize money and collected 450 WTA ranking points each.
Pictured above is Agnieszka Radwanska playing a single handed backhand volley despite the fact that she plays her backhand ground strokes with two hands. The 20 year old Polish player is now 1 of 3 players left in contention for the last spot in the 8 player draw for the year-end WTA Championships.
The women’s singles final was won by the dual Grand Slam singles champion and more experienced Kuznetsova 6-2 6-4. Kuznetsova must love Beijing having played 4 straight finals with 2 runner-up results and 2 titles.
Agnieszka won 387,750 US dollars as the runner-up and more importantly for her, picked up 700 WTA ranking points. Kuznetsova was rewarded as the champion with 775,500 US dollars in prize money and 1000 WTA ranking points.
For more information on this tournament see an earlier post on this tennis website by clicking here -> WTA Major Tournament #9 Beijing, China.
Today’s POST is dedicated to Roscoe Tanner. Tanner was born on October 15 in 1951. The American won the Australian Open Grand Slam singles title in 1977. He 1st achieved his career high ranking of No.4 on 30 July 1979.
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