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2009 Sony Ericsson Championships

News

Below are news stories from the 2009 Sony Ericsson Championships relating to Russian tennis player Svetlana Kuznetsova. To view the most recent additions, please click the Refresh button on your browser.

 

Venus reaches Doha semis thanks to Kuznetsova
30th October, 2009
DOHA -- Venus Williams has reached the semifinals of the Sony Ericsson Championships with a little help from Svetlana Kuznetsova, whose 6-3, 6-2 victory over Elena Dementieva secured the American's passage into the knockout round.

Dementieva had a chance of joining Serena Williams and Jelena Jankovic in the semifinals, while French Open champion Kuznetsova had nothing to play for but cash. She had her best match of the tournament and never faced a break point.

Venus, Kuznetsova and Dementieva all finished with one win and two losses in their group, but the American won more sets. Serena won all three of her matches.

"I asked Venus before the game, 'Will you give me something if I win?'" Kuznetsova said. "She was like, 'If you win, it's good for yourself.' I say, 'OK, whatever.'"

The Russian qualified for the tournament for the fifth time but has never advanced to the knockout round, with a combined round-robin record of 3-12.

19-year-old Caroline Wozniacki took the last semifinal berth from the White Group.

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Serena reaches Doha semifinals with 3rd win
29th October, 2009
DOHA -- Serena Williams became the first player to clinch a spot in the semifinals of the WTA Sony Ericsson Championships on Thursday, defeating Elena Dementieva 6-2, 6-4 for her third straight win in the tournament's round-robin group phase.

Her sister Venus, the defending champion, stayed alive by beating Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-2, 6-7 (3), 6-4 for her first win in three matches. She needs Kuznetsova to beat Dementieva on Friday to have a chance of advancing to the semifinals.

Earlier, Caroline Wozniacki overcame severe leg cramps and a tenacious Vera Zvonareva to win 6-0, 6-7 (3), 6-4.

After the match, Zvonareva, who replaced the injured No. 1 Dinara Safina on Wednesday, pulled out the tournament citing a right ankle injury. Her place will be taken by the second alternate, Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland. She will play Victoria Azarenka on Friday but has no chance of advancing.

Serena was broken to trail 2-1 in the first set, but then won seven straight games to take control. She converted her third match point when Dementieva sent the ball into the net, then pumped her fist and yelled "Finally!"

Serena, who secured the year-end No. 1 ranking when Safina retired with a back injury, has failed to get out of the round-robin phase of the elite tournament for the last two years.

"I'm happy to finally do well," she said. "I'm kind of used to the elimination thing: If you lose, you're out. But I was just trying to do better than I did last year, and compete in all my matches, which sometimes is very hard."

Venus, who lost another three-setter to Serena on Thursday, broke Kuznetsova at love for a 5-4 lead in the third set and then converted her third match point when the Russian's backhand landed in the net shortly before 1 a.m. local time.

Venus dominated the first set but again struggled to put the match away, after wasting a one-set lead in both her previous matches.

"Svetlana just started to play really well in the second and third set," she said. "It's always great to win these kinds of matches."

Wozniacki needed two medical time-outs to treat her cramping left thigh in the third set and collapsed to the court sobbing and clutching both legs after netting a forehand at 30-15 in the last game. But she got back up and clinched the win when Zvonareva, who had saved two match points in the second set, netted a forehand on the third.

"I have absolutely no idea how I pulled it through, but I'm very happy about it," Wozniacki said.

It was the U.S. Open finalist's second win in the tournament, putting her on the verge of the semifinals.

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Injured Safina pulls out of WTA Championships
29th October, 2009
DOHA -- Dinara Safina pulled out of the Sony Ericsson Championships after just two games with a serious back injury on Wednesday, handing the year-end No. 1 ranking to Serena Williams.

Safina said a disk in her lower back was "starting to fracture" and the injury has been bothering her for three months. She said doctors told her she will be sidelined for at least six weeks, and that she may not be fit in time for next year's Australian Open.

"Maybe I had to stop after the U.S. Open. But then for two tournaments, let's say Beijing and Tokyo, it was quiet, it didn't bother me that much," she said. "But then my body just gave up."

The Russian said she took anti-inflammatory injections to try to defend her No. 1 ranking in Doha.

"I went yesterday to have injections, cortisone," she said. "But I just couldn't handle this pain. I did everything possible to play here," Safina said. "As I was chasing this No. 1 (ranking), I was fighting with my body."

Safina, the main No. 1 since April, regained the top ranking this week, but her margin over Williams was so slim that the player who performed best in Doha was guaranteed to end the year as No. 1.

Williams won her first match on Tuesday and beat sister Venus 5-7, 6-4, 7-6 (4) on Wednesday.

"It's such a great feeling," Williams said about being back at No. 1. "Dinara is such a great player. She must be really hurt, because she never gives up."

Williams, the Australian Open and Wimbledon champ, will end a year as No. 1 for the first time since 2002.

Safina was serving at 1-1 against Jelena Jankovic when she stopped play, walked over to her chair and covered her face with a towel. She then told the chair umpire she could not continue.

She was replaced in the White Group by compatriot and first alternate Vera Zvonareva, last year's runner-up to Venus Williams.

Doha is the season-ending tournament for the top eight players in the world, and Safina faces a tough task in the off-season to be fit in time for the Australian Open in late January. She lost this year's final to Serena Williams.

"When I speak with the doctors, it doesn't sound so good," Safina said. "It is possible I may have to skip it."

"It's the time, then it's the rehabilitation. I have to work on my muscles, on my core stability. As I'm tall, I need to be strong. This is going to be a very long procedure."

She was the runner-up this year to Williams and lost the French Open final to Svetlana Kuznetsova, leaving her still looking for her first Grand Slam title - a blotch on her record that has led to persistent questions about her claim to the top ranking.

But she has been one of the most consistent performers throughout the year, winning titles in Rome, Madrid and Portoroz, and holding the top spot for 26 weeks.

"Definitely I had my best year so far," she said. "I mean, I can just be proud of myself."

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Serena wins opener, Dementieva stuns Venus
28th October, 2009
DOHA -- Serena Williams stayed on course to end the year as world number one when she beat Russia's Svetlana Kuznetsova 7-6 7-5 on the opening day of the WTA Championships after sister Venus suffered a shock defeat on Tuesday.

Second-ranked Serena, who must better Dinara Safina's performance here to snatch the No.1 spot, served 11 aces under the Khalifa Stadium floodlights to get the better of the French Open champion who led 6-4 in the first-set tiebreak.

She will play Venus in her second round-robin match on Wednesday knowing that victory would almost certainly eliminate her older sibling who lost 3-6 7-6 6-2 to Elena Dementieva, the third Russian competing at the season-ending showpiece, in the day's outstanding contest.

Eleven-times grand slam champion Serena, bidding to end the year top of the WTA rankings for the first time since 2002, was far from her best in a scrappy slug-fest against Kuznetsova.

With the match starting around 10pm local time, only a sprinkling of fans remained in the 7,000-seater Centre Court and the subdued atmosphere appeared to affect both players as they regularly found the net in high humidity.

Kuznetsova looked poised to win the opening set when she came back from 1-3 down in the tiebreak to lead 6-4 but a Williams winner and an ace helped the American snuff out the danger and she won the next two points to move ahead.

“At that point I thought I had ruined it for myself because I missed an easy shot to go 4-1 up in the breaker,” Williams, who needed treatment on her ankle in the second set, told reporters.

World number three Kuznetsova, yet to survive the round-robin stage in four appearances at the Championships, gifted Serena a break of serve at 5-5 in a tight second set with a double-fault, effectively sealing her fate.

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Serena prepares to tear strip off rivals
25th October, 2009
DOHA -- Serena Williams, having stripped naked for an American magazine shoot, can lay bare her simmering frustration over losing her world number one ranking at the WTA Championships which start from Tuesday.

Despite winning the Australian Open and Wimbledon titles in 2009, taking her Grand Slam collection to 11, Williams has again been displaced at the top of the women's game by Russia's Dinara Safina who has yet to capture a major.

Williams's fourth career stopover at the top of the rankings lasted just two weeks.

Coming in the slipstream of her notorious, foul-mouthed US Open meltdown, which could still spark a Grand Slam ban, the 28-year-old American will be on a very personal mission at this 4.55 million dollar season-ending tournament.

The eight-woman field of Safina, Serena and Venus Williams, French Open winner Svetlana Kuznetsova, Elena Dementieva, Caroline Wozniacki, Victoria Azarenka and Jelena Jankovic, also boasts intriguing sub-plots.

Wozniacki, the world number six from Denmark, finds herself embroiled in a WTA probe following her controversial injury withdrawal in Luxembourg last week.

Players are also desperate to lay down markers ahead of the 2010 season before Kim Clijsters, the shock US Open champion, and fellow former number one Justine Henin start chipping away at newly-minted reputations after coming out of retirement.

Serena Williams has never hesitated to mock Safina's number one status already this year.

Safina, runner-up at the Australian and French Opens, has defended her position in the rankings, claiming it's a reward for playing more tournaments and performing consistently well at them.

For Williams, the Russian's promotion will appear particularly galling, coming on the back of Safina's second round defeat in Beijing against Zhang Shuai, a Chinese player ranked 226th in the world.

Venus Williams, who routed Safina for the loss of just one game in the semi-finals at Wimbledon, is the defending champion here and will be playing in her ninth WTA Championships.

Wozniacki and Azarenka, who was in the spotlight in the summer for her ear-piercing screeching at Wimbledon, are Championship newcomers.

Jankovic, who was world number one at the start of the year, was the eighth and final qualifier, squeezing through in Moscow last week.

The eight players are split into two groups of four with the top two in each making the semi-finals.

The champion takes home 1.55 million dollars.

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Jankovic qualifies for WTA final
22nd October, 2009
DOHA -- Qualifier Tsvetana Pironkova upset top-seeded Vera Zvonareva 6-0, 6-2 Thursday in the second round of the Kremlin Cup, sending Jelena Jankovic to the season-ending WTA Championships.

Jankovic, who is five points ahead of Zvonareva, will fill the final spot at the tournament in Doha, Qatar. Jankovic, the defending champion at the Kremlin Cup, defeated Lucie Safarova 7-6 (5), 6-3 later Thursday to reach the quarterfinals.

"I was really happy when I heard that I'd made it to Doha," Jankovic said. "It was very important for me."

Serena and Venus Williams, Dinara Safina, Svetlana Kuznetsova, Elena Dementieva, Caroline Wozniacki and Victoria Azarenka have already qualified for the championships and skipped the event in Moscow. Zvonareva and Agnieszka Radwanska will travel to Doha as alternates.

Zvonareva and Agnieszka Rodwanska will go to Doha as alternates.

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Venus and Azarenka qualify
Courtesy of official website
9th October, 2009
DOHA -- Venus Williams and Victoria Azarenka are the sixth and seventh players to qualify for the Sony Ericsson Championships - Doha 2009, set to take place from October 27 to November 1, 2009.

The pair will join Dinara Safina, Serena Williams, Elena Dementieva, Caroline Wozniacki and Svetlana Kuznetsova in the elite eight singles field of the season-ending event.

Williams' qualification for the Championships comes on the heels of a strong season, highlighted by winning her 40th and 41st Sony Ericsson WTA Tour singles titles in Dubai and Acapulco, as well as reaching finals at Wimbledon and Stanford.

She also won four doubles titles with Serena Williams, including three Grand Slams (Australian Open, Wimbledon, US Open).

"I am pleased to have qualified for the Sony Ericsson Championships and I look forward to defending my title," she said.

"Qualifying for the year-end tournament is always a goal I set for myself at the beginning of the season and I am excited to have an opportunity yet again to compete with the best players in the world."

Azarenka has enjoyed a stellar season as well, winning her first three career singles titles on the Tour at Brisbane, Memphis and Miami, a Premier-level event.

She won 24 of her first 26 matches of the season and cracked the Top 10 after Indian Wells, reaching a career-high No.8 after Miami. She also reached her first two Grand Slam quarterfinals at Roland Garros and Wimbledon.

"I am thrilled to have an opportunity to go to Doha for the Sony Ericsson Championships," Azarenka said. "Winning my first Tour title and reaching the Top 10 for the first time in my career have really made my year and I couldn't think of a better place to finish it than in Doha."

"Having an opportunity to travel to the year-end Championships is an accomplishment I am very proud of."

"Venus and Victoria have had great 2009 seasons and earned places among the elite group of players competing at the Sony Ericsson Championships," said Stacey Allaster, Chairman & CEO of the Tour.

"Venus is a true fan favorite around the world and it will be exciting to watch her defend her Championships title in Doha, and Victoria has had a breakthrough season and solidified her place as a formidable star on the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour."

"I wish Venus and Victoria luck in Doha and look forward to a great Championships and an exciting finale to the 2009 season."

"We congratulate Venus and Victoria on having great 2009 seasons," said Aldo Liguori, Corporate VP and Head of Global Communications & PR for Sony Ericsson. "Each year the excitement of the Sony Ericsson Championships eclipses the previous year and with Venus and Victoria heading to Doha, I am sure this trend will continue."

"We look forward to these stars joining the previously qualified players and wish them luck at what will be an exciting year-end Championships."

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Kuznetsova vaults into lucrative season-ender
4th October, 2009
DOHA -- Svetlana Kuznetsova on Monday became the fifth player to qualify for the women's tennis season-ending singles tournament in Qatar later this month.

The French Open champion joins fellow Russians Dinara Safina and Elena Dementieva as well as Serena Williams and Danish U.S. Open runner-up Caroline Wozniacki.

"In the last year I've worked really hard on my game and fitness and I am proud of the season I've had. I look forward to competing with the best tennis players in the world in Doha," Kuznetsova said in a statement.

The season-ender - named the Sony Ericsson Championships - boasts a prize pot of $4.55 million.

The world's top eight singles players and top four doubles teams from 2009 will compete.

This year's tournament will take place at the Khalifa International Tennis Complex in Doha, Qatar, from Oct. 27 to Nov. 1.

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Wozniacki, Dementieva qualify for Doha
Courtesy of official website
10th September, 2009
NEW YORK -- Sony Ericsson WTA Tour stars Caroline Wozniacki and Elena Dementieva have qualified for the season-ending Sony Ericsson Championships, set to take place for the second year in a row at the Khalifa International Tennis Complex in Doha, Qatar, from October 27-November 1, 2009.

Denmark's Wozniacki and Russia's Dementieva will join world No.1 Dinara Safina, world No.2 Serena Williams, and the world No.1 doubles team of Cara Black and Liezel Huber who have already qualified and will be headed to Doha.

The world's top eight singles players and top four doubles teams from the 2009 Sony Ericsson WTA Tour season will compete for the coveted Sony Ericsson Championships title and a share of the record Championships prize money of $4.45 million.

"2009 has been a dream season for me, highlighted by reaching the US Open final - definitely one of the best moments in my tennis career so far," said Wozniacki. "I always believed that I could be one of the best players in the world, I just didn't think that it would happen so soon."

"I am very excited about qualifying for the Sony Ericsson Championships and can't wait to get to Doha and have an opportunity to play on one of the biggest stages in women's tennis."

"Qualifying for the Sony Ericsson Championships is a great accomplishment for me as it's a goal I set for myself at the beginning of every season," said Dementieva.

"Heading to the Sony Ericsson Championships for the ninth time in my career is thrilling and I look forward to competing in what is always a great event."

"Caroline has been one of the brightest stars on the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour over the last few years, a great talent that is bound to see tremendous success for many years to come. Elena has had a terrific season, winning three titles along the way and playing in one of the most memorable matches of the year," said Stacey Allaster, Chairman and CEO, Sony Ericsson WTA Tour.

"I would like to congratulate Caroline and Elena on qualifying for the Sony Ericsson Championships and look forward to seeing both of them compete in what promises to be a terrific finale to the 2009 season."

"We are very excited to see Caroline and Elena qualify for Sony Ericsson Championships," said Aldo Liguori, Corporate Vice President and Head of Global Communications & PR at Sony Ericsson.

"Caroline is one of the brightest new stars on Tour with an exciting future and Elena is a terrific ambassador for women's tennis both on and off the court."

Wozniacki has enjoyed a stellar 2009 season, reaching eight finals, highlighted by a runner-up finish at the US Open (losing to Kim Clijsters), and winning three tournaments: MPS Group Championships (Ponte Vedra Beach), AEGON International (Eastbourne), and Pilot Pen Tennis presented by Schick (New Haven).

In 2009, Wozniacki has won more matches than anyone else (62). The first Danish woman to win a title on the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour, Wozniacki turned professional at the age of 15 and broke into the top 100 in 2007 and Top 10 in 2009.

The youngest player in the world Top 20, Wozniacki was voted Sony Ericsson WTA Tour Newcomer of the Year in 2008. At 19 years old, Wozniacki is the youngest player ranked in the Top 25 and will be making her Championships debut.

Dementieva has enjoyed a remarkable season that was begun by winning 15 consecutive matches, resulting in two back-to-back titles in Auckland and Sydney, followed by two semifinal appearances at the Australian Open and Wimbledon, where she lost both to eventual winner Serena Williams.

Dementieva played one of the most memorable matches on the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour in 2009 when she was defeated by Serena Williams in the semifinals of Wimbledon (6-7(4), 7-5, 8-6) in a marathon that lasted nearly three hours.

Dementieva's successful hard court season was highlighted by winning the Rogers Cup in Toronto, reaching the semifinals at the Bank of the West Classic in Stanford and the Western & Southern Financial Group Women's Open in Cincinnati, thus allowing her to clinch the title of 2009 Olympus US Open Series winner.

Dementieva's remarkable career goes back to 1998 when she turned professional at the age of 16, winning 14 titles along the way and reaching the finals of 2004 Roland Garros and US Open.

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Serena qualifies second for Doha
Courtesy of official website
19th August, 2009
DOHA -- Serena Williams has qualified for the Sony Ericsson Championships - Doha 2009, set to take place for the second year in a row at the Khalifa International Tennis Complex in Doha, Qatar, from October 27 to November 1.

World No.2 Williams joins world No.1 Dinara Safina, who was the first player to qualify two weeks ago.

The world's Top 8 singles players and Top 4 doubles teams from the 2009 Sony Ericsson WTA Tour season will compete for the coveted season-ending title and a share of the record prize money of $4.45 million.

Williams has had a stellar 2009 season, winning two of the first three Grand Slams (Australian Open, Wimbledon) and reaching another final at the Sony Ericsson Open in Miami.

She held the No.1 ranking for 11 weeks, from February 2 to April 19, before Safina took over. She also leads the prize money leaders this year with $3,950,466.

The 27-year-old has also won three doubles titles this year with Venus Williams (Australian Open, Wimbledon, Stanford); as a result, Serena and Venus Williams currently rank No.2 in the Doubles Race to Sony Ericsson Championships - Doha 2009.

"Serena has achieved great results this year, impressing everyone with her tremendous performances at the Grand Slams," said Stacey Allaster, Chairman and CEO of the Tour.

"I congratulate Serena on qualifying for the Sony Ericsson Championships and look forward to what promises to be one of the best Tour season finales in history."

"We congratulate Serena on qualifying for the Sony Ericsson Championships - Doha 2009 and look forward to another exciting Sony Ericsson Championships," said Aldo Liguori of Sony Ericsson.

"I am really excited about qualifying for the Sony Ericsson Championships for the ninth time in my career," Williams said.

"It's never easy and it's never a guarantee, so I am thrilled to be going to Doha and competing against some of the best players in the world."

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Safina qualifies first for 2009 Sony Ericsson Championships
7th August, 2009
The build-up to the 2009 Sony Ericsson Championships in Doha kicked off today with the announcement that Dinara Safina, world no. 1 female tennis player, is the first to qualify for the prestigious end-of-season tournament.

The Championships will again take place at the Khalifa International Tennis Complex in Doha, Qatar. From October 27 to November 1, 2009. The world's top, eight singles players and top four doubles teams from the 2009 Sony Ericsson WTA Tour season will fight it out for the coveted Sony Ericsson Championships title and a share of record prize money of $4.45 million.

"We congratulate Dinara on being the first player to have qualified for the 2009 Sony Ericsson Championships in Doha. We look forward to building on the excitement of last year's tournament," said Aldo Liguori, Corporate Vice President and Head of Global Communications & PR for Sony Ericsson.

"Dinara has achieved great results this year and earned her spot as the first player to qualify for the Sony Ericsson Championships," said Stacey Allaster, Chairman and CEO of the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour. "Dinara's impressive performance this year has included a terrific run which started in the spring and included winning three tournament titles and reaching the pinnacle of the sport as the World No. 1 along the way."

"Qualifying for the year-end Sony Ericsson Championships is one of the goals I set for myself at the beginning of the year," said World No. 1 Dinara Safina.

"I've accomplished a lot of milestones this season and am thrilled to be the first to qualify for the Championships. I look forward to returning to Doha and competing again for the Sony Ericsson Championships title."

Sony Ericsson is committed to bringing entertainment, innovation and glamour to tennis and this year they will be building on the huge success of 2008's 'Desert Island Tennis' which saw Ana Ivanovic and Elena Dementieva rally on a specially-built replica tennis court on Palm Island in the middle of Doha Bay held to mark the opening of the finale tournament.

Cara Black and Liezel Huber, defending champions in doubles, currently lead in the Doubles Race to Doha, followed by Anabel Medina Garrigues and Virginia Ruano Pascual.

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