in support of Janie's cause...
Pattaya City: Countdown Time
Pattaya City isn't automatically the end of the year for most of the women playing here. There will be Challengers played for another month, and the majority of the players in this field -- which included 23 players ranked below #80 -- spend at least part of their year in Challengers.
But all of the players in the quarterfinal were hoping for better things. Tatiana Panova, the #1 seed, has dreams of the Top 20 next year, and #2 seed Tamarine Tanasugarn was there for much of this year. Lina Krasnoroutskaya was Top 40 early this year, and Silvija Talaja was around #20 for much of the year in 2000. Shinobu Asagoe has Top 50 credentials. Pattaya could be a source of new hope -- or a graveyard.
For Tanasugarn, somehow, it seems to be pretty good at graveyard-dom. She's Thailand's top player, and has been a high seed here many times -- but it's just never worked out. So too this time. She lost 6-4 6-2 to Yoon-Jeong Cho, who at 23 is only now struggling her way into the Top 100.
Asagoe, now 26, seemed to be turning into a real prospect a couple of years ago. Since then, she's struggled with injuries and bad form; it took a quarterfinal here just to get her back into the Top 100. But then she ran into a current top prospect: 17-year-old Angelique Widjaja, who hasn't done much at big events since her Junior Wimbledon championship, but who won Bali last year on Asian hardcourts. Her Pacific Prospects continued to look good as she edged Asagoe 3-6 7-5 6-4.
#1 seed Panova didn't have much trouble beating #6 Adriana Serra Zanetti 7-5 7-5, but the other seed in action, #8 Talaja, had the bad luck to run into the other top prospect, Krasnoroutskaya. She lost 6-3 6-2.
The semifinals were, well, strange. The sure thing seemed to be Krasnoroutskaya, the top prospect, over Cho, the veteran. But it was Cho who made her first career final 6-4 7-6. Asagoe and Panova, fittingly, had a tougher battle, but it was Widjaja who advanced 2-6 6-1 6-3. That means Panova will end the year at #24 -- the same ranking she had at the start of the tournament.
The final at last brought Cho down to earth. She lost to Widjaja 6-2 6-4. Widjaja now has two career titles, both on Asian hardcourts. She'll move from #91 to about #75.
And since it wouldn't be Daily Tennis without a goofball footnote: Widjaja becomes the twenty-eighth, and obviously last, player to win a tournament this year without beating a single Top 20 player. The previous instances: Smashnova at Auckland, Smashnova at Canberra, Sucha at Hobart, Seles at Doha, Raymond at Memphis, Zuluaga at Bogota, Srebotnik at Acapulco, Montolio at Porto, Dokic at Sarasota, Serna at Estoril, Muller at Budapest, Svensson at Bol, Bovina at Warsaw, Seles at Madrid, Mikaelian at Tashkent, Dokic at Birmingham, Casanova at Brussels, Diaz-Oliva at Palermo, Wartusch at Casablanca, Safina at Sopot, Kuznetsova at Helsinki, Smashnova at Shanghai, Black at Big Island, Bovina at Quebec City, Kuznetsova at Bali, Craybas at the Japan Open, and Matevzic at Bratislava.
The doubles saw an even greater surprise: Kelly Liggan, who last year was the doormat of the WTA Tour but who this year is actually posting some wins at small events, brought home a title. She and Renata Voracova beat Krasnoroutskaya and Panova 7-5 7-6.
"For now, Roddick seems to play with the intelligence of a fence post."
Greg Couch, Chicago Sun Times