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.

Thursday, 1 July 2010

Off Court Photos: Wimbledon Player Party [Part 3]

[Above: Elena Baltacha]

[Above: Anne Keothavong]

[Above: Jelena Jankovic]

[Above: Maria Sharapova]

Off Court Photos: Wimbledon Player Party [Part 2]

[Above: Vera Zvonareva and Anna Chakvetadze; Gisela Dulko and Flavia Pennetta]

[Above: Dinara Safina]

[Above: Caroline Wozniacki and Agnieszka Radwanska]

[Above: Agnieszka Radwanska, Caroline Wozniacki]

Ana Ivanovic, Kimiko Date Krumm and Anne Keothavong on the way into the Wimbledon party.
[Above: Ana Ivanovic, Kimiko Date-Krumm]


Off Court Photos: Wimbledon Player Party [Part 1]

[Above: Venus Williams]

[Above: Agnieszka Radwanska]

[Above: Sorana Cirstea and Ana Ivanovic]

[Above: Sorana Cirstea and Ana Ivanovic]

[Above: Serena Williams]

[Above: Jelena Jankovic]


Monday, 7 June 2010

Saturday, 29 May 2010

Spotlight On ... Chanelle Scheepers

Chanelle Scheepers is a South African tennis player who has played on the ITF circuit for most of her career. She is currently ranked at # 131, just below her career-high ranking of # 127 that was achieved in December 2009). Her 2009 season started promisingly with qualification at the Australian Open in January, although she exited in the first round to 18th seed Dominika Cibulkova. The following month, she qualified for Memphis and won a round before losing to 8th seed Pauline Parmentier.

Her qualifying successes came to a halt in March 2009 as she failed to qualify for Monterrey, but she made up for that by winning an ITF title in Mexico. She failed in qualifying for Ponte Vedra Beach, Charleston, Stuttgart and Estoril but won an ITF doubles title in Saint Gaudens (w/Rika Fujiwara). She turned that around by qualifying for Roland Garros (l. to 4th seed Elena Dementieva in the opening round of the main draw), beating top 100 player Alla Kudryatseva in the first round of an ITF event in Nottingham (l. to Elena Baltacha in the second round), and qualifying for Birmingham (d. Yaroslava Shvedova in the opening round of the main draw).

In 2010, the South African really came to prominence at Roland Garros. So far, she has reached the fourth round with wins over Akgul Amanmuradova and Gisela Dulko and will face off against Elena Dementieva (who she lost to in the first round in 2009 after qualifying). Her progress through to the fourth round has been all the more impressive when you consider that she was almost down and out in her third qualifying match against Zuzana Ondraskova before regrouping to level the match and go onto win it. It's her best Grand Slam result and marks the first time that a South African woman has reached the fourth round since Amanda Coetzer back in 1997.

Chanelle is coached by Tony Huber, who is married to doubles specialist, Liezel Huber.

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

Sunday, 24 January 2010

Spotlight On ... Sally Peers

Australia's Sally Peers has been enjoying doubles success at the Australian Open alongside fellow young gun, Laura Robson. The duo were awarded a wildcard into the Women's Doubles competition and have successfully defeated a string of higher-ranked doubles players (including the 12th seeds) on their way to the quarter-finals.

Ordinarily, Sally spends most of her time on the ITF circuit. She was awarded a qualifying wildcard for WTA Brisbane, where she beat #174 Andrea Hlavackova in the first qualifying round before being knocked out by #89 Alla Kudryatseva. The previous week she received a qualifying wildcard for WTA Hobart, but was beaten in the first qualifying round by #83 Elena Baltacha. She hit a career-high ranking of #308 in January 2010, and is currently ranked just below that.

In doubles, she was ranked #22 going into the Australian Open, which is one place below the career-high doubles ranking that she achieved in December 2009. Throughout the 2009 season, she was partnered by several fellow Australians, including Alison Bai and Isabella Holland (with whom she reached several finals on the ITF circuit). Teaming up with compatriot Jessica Moore in WTA Brisbane, they were beaten by the Russian partnership of Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and Galina Voskoboeva in their opening match, and there was little indication that an impressive run in a Grand Slam doubles competition was on the cards.