Sunday, 19 April 2009

Spotlight On ... Roberta Vinci

Technically speaking, Roberta Vinci isn't a rising star on the WTA Tour. Back in March 2006, the Italian was ranked at a career-high # 37 but injuries saw her slip out of the world's top 100. Since then, she hasn't been able to match her best performance at a major (a third round showing at the 2006 Australian Open and 2005 Wimbledon), but has clawed her way back to the outskirts of the top 50.

Roberta has a game that many people have described as old-school. By that, I am referring to the fact that she isn't a big hitter and likes to come forward to the net frequently. Serve-and-volley players are few and far between on the WTA Tour these days, but she is one of the few who still does.

Despite only really coming to the fore in 2005, she has suffered from her fair share of injuries. In 2006, she missed six weeks during the summer after injuring her wrist. On her return, she won one WTA doubles title (w/ Flavia Pennetta) and two ITF singles titles. In 2008, she withdrew from numerous WTA events with shoulder problems. The 2009 season has seen her withdrew Bogota with a left foot injury, although she has since returned to action.

Her best result so far this season has been a quarter-final in Malaga (d. 8th seed Tsvetana Pironkova, l. to top seed and eventual champion Jelena Jankovic) but she has reached second rounds in Brisbane, Acapulco and Monterrey. She won a WTA event in Barcelona in April, beating 2nd seed Flavia Pennetta in the second round and 6th seed Maria Kirilenko for the loss of just four games in the final. This was her second career WTA title.

Saturday, 18 April 2009

Spotlight On ... Jarmila Groth

Jarmila Groth (formerly Jarmila Gajdosova) is a Slovakian-born tennis player, who is now married to Australian ATP player Sam Groth. She hit a career-high ranking of # 64 in September 2006 after reaching the third round of the US Open. This was the season in which she first achieved a ranking in the world's top 100. Her 2007 season was not as successful and this saw her drop out of the top 100.

In 2008, things picked up again and she made her first semi-final appearance at WTA level in Tokyo as a lucky loser, beating 6th seed Shahar Peer en route.

Her 2009 season has yet to really get going and she has not been able to progress past the second round of any tournament. She has had several first round exits, including losses to Elena Dementieva, Virginie Razzano, Galina Voskoboeva and Petra Cetkovska.