J&S Cup is a large international women tennis tournament within the professional cycle Sony Ericsson WTA Tour. It is ranked Tier II – only 4 Grand Slam tournaments, 1 Masters tournament and 10 Tier I events are above. Prize money amount is 600 thousand USD. There will be other 14 similar to J&S Cup tournaments played in the whole 2006 season, but it is the largest professional tennis tournament in the world in the week of 1st May. Qualifying starts on 29th April.
It is the fifth edition of J&S Cup, and the fourth in such a high category ( in 2002 it was ranked Tier III and had prize money of 140 thousand USD ). The winners in previous editions were: Russian Elena Bovina, French Amelie Mauresmo, American Venus Williams and Belgian Justine Henin-Hardenne.
In 2003 the tournament took over the category and dates from the traditional event in Hamburg, by license purchased for 5 years from the Octagon agency. In 1995-2000 at the same venue of Warszawianka a smaller WTA Tour tournament was played – Warsaw Cup by Heros.
J&S CUP HISTORY
It is the fourth run of J&S Cup, and the third run in such a high category (in 2002 it was ranked Tier III and prize money of 140 thousand USD). The winners were, in sequence: Russian Elena Bovina, French Amelie Mauresmo and American Venus Williams.
In 2003 the tournament took over the category and dates from the traditional event in Hamburg, by license purchased for 5 years from Octagon agency. In 1995-2000 in the same venue of Warszawianka a smaller WTA Tour tournament was played - Warsaw Cup by Heros. In 2005 we are then celebrating a small jubilee - 10th anniversary of the great professional women tennis in the capital of Poland.
Finals WTA Tour in Warsaw
(1995-2000 Warsaw Cup by Heros, since 2002 J&S Cup)
1995 Barbara Paulus (Austria)
- Alexandra Fusai (France) 7:6, 4:6, 6:1
1996 Henrieta Nagyova (Slovakia)
- Barbara Paulus (Austria) 3:6, 6:2, 6:1
1997 Barbara Paulus (Austria)
- Henrieta Nagyova (Slovakia) 6:4, 6:4
1998 Conchita Martinez (Spain)
- Silvia Farina-Elia (Italy) 6:0, 6:3
1999 Cristina Torrens-Valero (Spain)
- Ines Gorrochategui (Argentina) 7:5, 7:6
2000 Henrieta Nagyova (Slovakia)
- Amanda Hopmans (Netherlands) 2:6, 6:4, 7:5
2002 Elena Bovina (Russia)
- Henrieta Nagyova (Slovakia) 6:3, 6:1
2003 Amelie Mauresmo (France)
- Venus Williams (USA) 6:7, 6:0, 3:0 ret.
2004 Venus Williams (USA)
- Svetlana Kuznetsova (Russia) 6:1, 6:4
J&S CUP HISTORY - EDITION 2002
After a year's absence great tennis returned to Warsaw thanks to J&S Energy (an insurance company Heros was the event's titular sponsor from 1995 to 2000). The very first J&S Cup was a Tier IV tournament with $170 000 up for grabs. This was not enough to attract the world's very best players. The Slovak Henrieta Nagyova, ranked 44 in the world at that time, was the tournament's top seed.
The popular Russian - Anna Kournikova was supposed to be the tournament's main attraction. She was. Crowds of spectators came to watch the number 3 seed practice. Which was pretty much all she got to do. Kournikova lost to the (at that time very much unknown) qualifier from her home country - Svetlana Kuznetsova.
The tournament did not go very well at all for seeded players. Only two managed to move past the first round - Nagyova and Spaniard Virginia Ruano Pascual, seeded 5. They met in the quarter, the top seed won.
Aside from Kournikova, Russians did exceptionally well. Three advanced to the quarterfinal - Kuznetsova , Jelena Bovina and Vera Zvonareva. Polish tennis fans were among the first to witness the awakening of the Russian Armada. Bovina, who had a very tough time against the Pole Joanna Sakowicz in the first round, was the tournament's winner (6:1, 6:1 against Nagyova in the final).
Aside from Sakowicz, Marta Domachowska was the only other Polish player to take part in the main event (both with a wild card). She lost in three sets to France's Celine Beigbeder. Three other Poles tried to qualify for the tournament. Only Katarzyna Strączy was able to win a match but one match was not enough.
The Croat Jelena Kostanic paired with Nagyova won the doubles title, beating Russian Evgenia Kulikovskaya and Croat Silvija Talaja in the final.
J&S CUP HISTORY - EDITION 2003
The year 2003 saw a raise in the rank of the tournament (Tier II) and in the amount of the prize money ($700 000). True "top ten" players came coveting the J&S Cup title. Venus Williams and Amelie Mauresmo allowed for no upsets. Amelie clenched the title in a truly dramatic final. The American was forced to retire in the middle of the third set due to a pulled muscle, which gave her trouble during the rest of the 2003 season.
Marta Domachowska was one set away from beating Czech Republic's Renata Voracova and playing Mauresmo in the second round. However the pressure was still too much for the young Polish player and she folded in the third. Joanna Sakowicz lost in straight sets to the 69th ranked player in the world, the Colombian Fabiola Zuluaga.
The qualifying draw seemed like a good omen for the future of Polish tennis. Out of the 15 Polish players qualifying, 6 made it into the second round. Even though none of them made it into the main draw, some had noteworthy victories: Karolina Kosinska defeated Juliana Fedak (Ukraine, 195 WTA) and Anna Zarska beat Olga Kalouzhna (Russia, 202 WTA).
The top seeded pair, Liezel Huber (RSA) and Magdalena Maleeva (Bulgaria) won the doubles title beating the Greek-Italian pair Eleni Daniilidou , Francesca Schiavone 3:6, 6:4, 6:2 in the final.
J&S CUP HISTORY - EDITION 2004
Not often do the top seeds' performance agree so well with their rankings. Seven seeded players made it into the quarterfinals of the 2004 J&S Cup. Swiss Patty Schnyder (nr 7), the only one that lost along the way was justified to do so, since she was overcome by Magdalena Maleeva - the world's 24th player. As many other top ten players will attest, there is no shame in losing to the Bulgarian.
One of them is Venus Williams , who beat Maleeva during the Warsaw tournament and brought her head to head record against Magdalena to a 3-3 tie. The American was in top form in 2004, losing only one set during the whole tournament against the Colombian Fabiola Zuluaga. Other players were lucky to get games. Maleeva got only one and the Russians Vera Zvonareva and Svetlana Kuznetsova got five each, the last losing 1:6, 4:6 in the final.
The crowd finally got what they were wishing for - a Polish win in the main draw of the J&S Cup. Marta Domachowska did a good job dispatching the qualifier Kristen Schlukebir (USA) and was very close to upsetting Silvia Farina-Elia (Italy, 16 WTA) in the second round, losing 4:6, 6:4, 4:6.
Farina-Elia and Francesca Schiavone defeated Argentineans Gisela Dulko and Patricia Tarabini 3:6, 6:2, 6:1 in the final.