Re: Country's Best Player Vote Game 2012: Welcome to Madrid! Ivanović & Dementedrena
Ana Ivanović SRB beat Jelena Janković SRB [WC] | 3-6 6-3 7-5
Despite their dipping rankings over the course of the 2012 season, both Serbian former world number ones, Ana Ivanović and Jelana Janković enjoyed fantastic weeks to reach the final of the 2012 Country's Best Player Championships. The point of this game is a clash between the best players from each country, but due to Ivanović's higher ranking, Janković actually needed a wildcard to even gain a place in this year's tournament, which was awarded on account of her finishing the 2011 edition as runner-up in the doubles competition. This meant that the final would really determine the country's best player, since both Serbs had outmatched all the competition from other countries. The only set Janković dropped en route to the final came in the first round in a matched deemed "biggest upset" against Australian Samantha Stosur, so her form was arguably better than her opponent's going into this final. However, Ivanović had dropped her two sets of the week against fourth seeded Agnieszka Radwańska and fifth seeded Na Li respectively, so due to the caliber of those players, her form was hardly lacking either. Nevertheless, the wildcard looked sharper when the match began. The first set saw a contrast between Ivanović's all out power every point, while Janković played a more leveled counterpunching method of defense moving into occasional thumping backhands and moves to net. This game plan helped break down the unseeded player as the first set wore on, with Ivanović looking frantic and nervous as she missed several shots against the apparent wall of Janković. Hitting a textbook crosscourt backhand swinging volley put away, it was the lower-ranked wildcard that served out the first set. However, the unseeded player took a bathroom break after this setback to regroup and returned a changed player. Right from the get go, Ivanović's forehand was making its mark and when this clicked, there was little that her compatriot could do. By virtue of this confidence and shift in momentum, Ivanović capitalized to take a 5-0 second set lead. However, a strong service hold to love there but the wildcard back on the board, and she then won the next two games as well, narrowing her opponent's lead and showing that she wanted to end the match in straight sets, as she had in her last three. In the final game of the set, Ivanović saw a 40-0 lead evaporate to deuce and endured two doubles faults, but came through just when it mattered as Janković missed an overhead on set point to send the match to the distance. The unseeded player then made another strong start in the third, breaking and taking a 2-0 lead but her opponent held in their and broke back a game later to level the match at 2-all. Ivanović broke again in the fifth game on account of three consecutive blazing winners, and then held as the wildcard began to spray unforced errors while looking tired and negative. Janković held a game that involved six deuces in the seventh game, but her opponent then held her own serve to take a 5-3 lead. It was time for Janković to dig the deepest she had all week, and that is exactly what she did, delighting the Madrid crowd by only making one unforced error (a double fault) in the next two games to send this final set to 5-all. The eleventh game was closely contested once again, with Ivanović fist pumping nearly ever point she won and Janković looking extremely focused, with each showing their determination to win this title. Finally though, the unseeded player prevailed with the break. Serving for the match for the second time she showed no hesitation, losing the first point on a return winner from Janković before winning the next four before squealing gleefully and moving her face muscles into a giant smile that wouldn't leave her face for the remainder of her time on court, through the trophy ceremony. In the end, Ivanović's ranking prevailed over Janković's form in this tournament last year, but both players established themselves as strong prospects for success and career rebounds in the years to come with the great tennis each player and confidence they gained.
Sorana Cīrstea ROU/Su-Wei Hsieh TPE lost to Elena Dementieva RUS/Serena Williams USA | 1-6 3-6
For the past three years, either Serena Williams or Elena Dementieva has held the doubles title at the Country's Best Player Championships, starting with Serena Williams and Nicole Vaidķšovį in 2009 and continuing with Dementieva and Įgnes Szįvay in 2010 and the Russian with her compatriot Maria Sharapova last year. Owing to this success, this duo, two of the most accomplished singles players of their generation, were pegged as the unseeded team to watch in the first round in Madrid this year. The two absolutely did not disappoint this hype, marching through to the final without so much the loss of a set. On the other side of the draw, another unseeded team, Sorana Cīrstea and Su-Wei Hsieh had snuck through to the final with wins over a dangerous unseeded team in the first round, Petra Kvitovį and Anna Tatishvili, before knocking out the top seeds, Sara Errani and Chanelle Scheepers in the quarterfinals and fourth seeds, Kaia Kanepi and Tamira Paszek in the semifinals. These wins showed that their form could not be underestimated by their more famous rivals in the final. However, once the match began it became clear the the Russian-American duo had done anything but underestimate, as they came out guns blazing. The superior power and groundstrokes of Dementieva and Williams overwhelmed Cīrstea and Hsieh, who had relied on combining power with finesse. Yet with Cīrstea's power being outmatched and Hsieh's touch almost impossible to produce when the Romanian-Taiwanese team continuously got forced behind the baseline, there was little that Cīrstea and Hsieh could do. In the first set, Williams lost just one point on her serve, while Cīrstea and Hsieh came through in just one game of their own - just enough to get themselves on the board - in a dominant display of power and experience. The set ended on a ferocious forehand put away from the American that sailed between her shellshocked opponents. The teams exchanged holds in the first two games of the second set, but when Dementieva and Williams broke in the fourth game, they appeared to be running towards another dominant second set, snatching a three-one lead with a sizzling backhand winner from the Russian. However, a shocking turn of events came when Williams served at 3-1 and got broken, as Cīrstea notched two return winners and a gutsy net point from Hsieh brought the team their first break point on Williams's serve, before she uncharacteristically double faulted. Hsieh then held with some well placed serves to level the match at 3-all and put the momentum behind the Romanian-Taiwanese duo. Dementieva righted the ship in the seventh game by holding a tight service game, and she and Williams then broke Cīrstea to take a 5-3 lead for a chance to serve out the championship. Serving for the match, Williams again showed hesitation, hitting a double fault on the first point and then missing a backhand volley to go behind 0-30. However, a put away volley from Dementieva on the next point and a missed return from Hsieh put the Russian and American two points from victory. With a second championship in sight, Williams fired two consecutive aces to seal the victory. She looked thrilled after the match, hugging Dementieva and jumping up and down several times. Both players will be back next year to defend their titles as this event moves to Salzburg, Austria and both will be very dangerous forces after their stellar performances this year where the team didn't even drop a set.
My number one: Victoria Azarenka
ATP: Novak Djoković
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