Sunday, 5 September 2010

Off Court Photos: US Open


Spotlight On ... Beatrice Capra

Eighteen-year-old American Beatrice Capra made herself known at the 2010 US Open after reaching the third round as a wildcard (l. to Maria Sharapova) after wins over Karolina Sprem and 18th seed Aravane Rezai. Coming into the tournament, the teenager was ranked # 371 and has been plying her trade on the ITF circuit. She won a play-off competition to earn her US Open wildcard.

On the ITF circuit, she reached the semi-finals of $25k Osprey (USA), beating top seed Anastasiya Yakimova in the second round (l. to Florencia Molinero). Stepping up to the higher level ITF events and WTA tournaments didn't bring much notable success until her breakthrough moment at the US Open, which came largely out of the blue.

Beatrice trains at the Evert Academy in the USA. Despite her good run at the US Open, her WTA profile states that her preferred surface is actually clay.

Click here to read Beatrice's "Getting to Know..." interview on the WTA Tour website.

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

Spotlight On ... Tsvetana Pironkova

Bulgarian tennis player, Tsvetana Pironkova had her breakthrough tournament at Wimbledon, where she reached the semi-finals with wins over higher ranked players like Vera Dushevina (# 56), Regina Kulikova (# 69), Marion Bartoli (# 13) and Venus Williams (# 2). Prior to this success, she had never been beyond the second round of a Grand Slam event, and her run was all the more surprising given that in her previous tournament at Eastbourne, she had lost in qualifying to Britain's Heather Watson, who at # 346 was considerably lower ranked than herself. She has hit a career high ranking of # 35 (up from # 82) now that the WTA rankings have been updated.

Tsvetana hasn't emerged out of nowhere. Earlier this year in Warsaw, she beat Elena Dementieva, who was ranked # 5 and also scored a win over Aleksandra Wozniak (then ranked # 46) in an earlier round before losing in the quarter-finals to Alexandra Dulgheru. In previous seasons, she has had wins over Patty Schnyder in Hobart 2009 and Vera Zvonareva in Moscow 2009.

Monday, 5 July 2010

Off Court Photos: Wimbledon Ball

[Above: Serena Williams]

[Above: Serena Williams and Rafael Nadal]

[Above: Serena Williams and Rafael Nadal]

[Above: Kristyna Pliskova - Girls Champion]

[Above: Kristyna Pliskova]


Saturday, 3 July 2010

Spotlight On ... Yaroslava Shvedova

Yaroslava Shvedova was a surprise inclusion in the quarter-finals at Roland Garros, where she lost to 4th seed Jelena Jankovic after upsetting 8th seed Agnieszka Radwanska and 28th seed Alisa Kleybanova). Switching to the grass was more disappointing as she lost her opening match in Birmingham (l. to qualifier Sesil Karatantcheva) but rebounded to reach the quarter-finals in 's-Hertogenbosch ( 5th seed Alexandra Dulgheru). As the 30th seed at Wimbledon, she lost to Russia's Regina Kulikova in the second round.

Doubles has also become profitable for the former Russian, who is now representing Kazahkstan. Alongside Austria's Julian Knowle, she was a finalist in the Mixed Doubles at Roland Garros. They continued their partnership at Wimbledon, reaching the quarter-finals, where they lost to 11th seeds Wesley Moodie and Lisa Raymond. In the Women's Doubles, Yaroslava teamed up with American Vania King. They booked their place in the final alongside the Russian partnership of Elena Vesnina and Vera Zvonareva after wins over 14th seeds Monica Niculescu and Shahar Peer, 6th seeds Kveta Peschke and Katarina Srebotnik and 5th seeds Liezel Huber and Bethanie Mattek-Sands.

Spotlight On ... Alison Riske

America's Alison Riske made her big emergence at Birmingham just a few weeks ago, where she qualified and caused a string of upsets over players like Aleksandra Wozniak, Anna Chakvetadze and Yanina Wickmayer, before losing to Maria Sharapova in a three-set battle. Her exploits there were rewarded with a wildcard into the Wimbledon main draw., where she was again drawn against Wickmayer. On that occasion, it was the Belgian who triumphed after a three-set win.

Alison made her WTA debut on the clay in Charleston (USA) in April 2010, where she lost to # 64 Angelique Kerber in straight sets. Back on the ITF circuit, she had a couple of first-round exits to players who were slightly lower ranked than herself before reaching a semi-final in $50k Raleigh (USA) (l. to compatriot Lindsay Lee-Waters). She fell in the first round of qualifying at Roland Garros (l. to Anna Tatishvili) and reached the quarters at $50k Nottingham (l. to 6th seed Xinyun Han). Then came the breakthrough moment in Birmingham, which helped her to achieve her
career-high ranking of # 145 was achieved in June 2010 after her good run in Birmingham. Surprisingly, the ITF event in Nottingham the week before was her first grass court event.

She is coached by her sister, Sarah, who was also a tennis player.

Read Alison's "Getting to Know" interview on the WTA website here.

Friday, 2 July 2010

Upcoming Posts

It's going to be a busy week or so here at Drop Shots as I look to get some new (or updated) posts going again. Who can you expect to see some Spotlight On ... posts for?

Planned posts so far are:

  • Kristyna Pliskova
  • Sachie Ishizu
  • Tsvetana Pironkova (update)
  • Petra Kvitova (update)
If you've got any requests or suggestions for players that you want me to profile, feel free to leave a comment or Tweet me! The Twitter link is in the right sidebar or you can just go here.