View Full Version : 2004 Season: A Look Back

Dec 6th, 2004, 04:35 PM

Here's a look back at some of the highlights of the 2004 season on the WTA Tour:

Thirty-one winners from 17 countries (Russia being the most prolific with 14, followed by the United States with 12) in 60 WTA Tour events
Season’s first major, the Australian Open, was the 8th consecutive Grand Slam final to feature an either all-Belgian or all-Williams final, with world No. 1 Justine Henin-Hardenne triumphing over No. 2 Kim Clijsters in three sets
Kim Clijsters became the first Belgian winner of the Diamond Games tournament in Antwerp, winning her first title in her native country after five years as a professional
In February in the Middle East, Svetlana Kuznetsova made her first breakthrough, beating Venus Williams en route to the final of the Dubai event and ending world No. 1 Henin- Hardenne’s 2004 unbeaten run at 17 matches in the semifinals of Doha
The Doha event featured the first all-Russian singles final of 2004 (and only the second alltime) with Anastasia Myskina outlasting Kuznetsova in three sets
Henin-Hardenne won her fifth consecutive Tier I title (dating back to Miami 2003), beating Davenport in the final at Indian Wells
Serena Williams won her third title at Miami, returning in impressive style from an eight-month break; only Margaret Court (1972) and Monica Seles (1995) equaled that feat in the Open Era
Venus Williams ended a 14-month title drought, winning the prestigious Family Circle Cup in Charleston and went on to notch a 19-match winning streak before losing in the Roland Garros quarterfinals to eventual champion Myskina
Amélie Mauresmo won her first title of the year at the German Open in Berlin during its 25th anniversary, benefiting from a walkover in the final when Venus Williams injured her ankle in her semifinal versus Karolina Sprem
With her Berlin title, Mauresmo won back-to-back titles by winning the Italian Open final in Rome, saving a match point in the one of the best Tour finals in 2004 versus Jennifer Capriati; Mauresmo was only the third woman in the Open Era (behind Steffi Graf-1987 and Seles-1990) to claim both those titles in succession
No. 6 seed Myskina became the first Russian woman to win a Grand Slam at Roland Garros in the first-ever all-Russian final (only the fifth same-nation final in Roland Garros history after the United States, Australia, France and Belgium); she defeated Elena Dementieva in the final
The Birmingham event provided a glimpse of the future with 17-year-old Maria Sharapova defeating 16-year-old Tatiana Golovin in the third youngest Tour singles final ever
Sharapova turned the history books upside down at Wimbledon becoming the third youngest woman and lowest seed (No. 13) ever to win the singles title, defeating top seed and reigning two-time champion Serena Williams in the final
Fifth-ranked Lindsay Davenport turned up the heat in California, winning the Stanford title in possibly the most competitive match of the season over Venus Williams 76(4) 57 76(4), ending a four-year, 10-match losing streak at the hands of the Williams sisters
In Los Angeles at the JPMorgan Chase Open, Davenport became only the fifth woman ever (Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario-1998 Sydney, Graf-1999 Sydney, Martina Hingis-2001 Australian Open and Clijsters-2002 WTA Tour Championships) to beat both Williams sisters at the same event by defeating Venus in the semifinals and Serena in the final
Myskina won the longest singles third-set tiebreak in Tour history when she defeated Vera Zvonareva in the semifinals at San Diego 62 67(4) 76(17-15)
World No. 1 Henin-Hardenne returned to play after being sidelined with a virus to win Olympic Gold over No. 2 Mauresmo; she was the first top seed to win an event since Casablanca in April, ending a 21-event drought for top seeds – the longest ever in Tour history
China’s Ting Ling and Tian Tian Sun made Olympic history by winning Olympic Gold in doubles, the first medal in tennis for China
Kuznetsova became the lowest seed in the Open Era (No. 9) to win the US Open, ending Davenport’s hot summer streak at 22 unbeaten matches in the semifinals and beating Dementieva in the third all-Russian final this season; Dementieva became the first woman ever to reach a Grand Slam final by winning two matches 7-6 in the third (over Mauresmo in the quarterfinal and Capriati in the semifinals)
Following the US Open, an unprecedented nine women, led by Kuznetsova, passed the $1 mark in season earnings (only four women passed that milestone at the same point in 2003)
On September 14, Mauresmo became the first woman or man from France to rank No. 1 in the world, ending the Henin-Hardenne’s run of 44 straight weeks
Chinese tennis proved that it is booming when the fifth edition of the China Open, held in Beijing for the first time, was a huge success with sold-out crowds of almost 10,000; Serena Williams ended a five-month, eight-tournament title drought with a hard fought 46 75 64 win over Kuznetsova, saving two match points and ending the Russian’s 14-match win streak in the process
Davenport won the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix in Filderstadt with victories over World No.3 Myskina and No. 1 Mauresmo to move within 15 points of the No. 1 ranking, which she claimed the following week with a second-round win in Moscow
Myskina defended her Kremlin Cup title with impressive victories over Zvonareva, Davenport and Dementieva in the fourth all- Russian final of 2004
Alicia Molik had a late-season surge, winning Zurich (only sixth unseeded Tier I winner - after Lisa Bonder, Serena Williams, Iva Majoli, Magdalena Maleeva and Patty Schnyder - in past 24 years) and lowest-ranked player at No. 20 to win the European Indoors over three Top 15 players (Zvonareva, Nadia Petrova, Schnyder and Sharapova); followed up with title win at Luxembourg
Mauresmo also had a late-season surge, recovering from a groin strain in Filderstadt to win in Linz and Philadelphia before falling in the semifinals of the Championships to Serena Williams
Davenport finished the season as the Porsche Race Leader and as the season-ending World No. 1 for the third time in her career (after 1998 and 2001)
For only the fifth time in history and the first since 1989, the WTA Tour Championships final was a repeat of the Wimbledon final (Serena Williams vs. Sharapova); Sharapova prevailed, recovering from a 4-0 deficit in the third set 46 62 64
Five Russian women finished the season ranked in the Top 10 with three in the Top Five; in 2003, only two were in the Top 10 (Myskina at No. 7 and Dementieva at No. 8)
Four different women won a Grand Slam title in a single season, the third time in the last seven years and only the fourth since 1981
Amanda Coetzer, Barbara Schett and Iva Majoli announced their retirements from professional tennis

Dec 6th, 2004, 04:58 PM
nice stats !

Dec 6th, 2004, 05:06 PM
I love when K-Lina gets mentioned, even if it's a bit in passing. ;)

Dec 6th, 2004, 05:26 PM
Nice, interesting stats.

Do people think its's been a good year all round for the WTAtour or not? Maybe it would be worth starting a thread :shrug: I'd like to hear peoples opinions :)

Dec 8th, 2004, 03:25 AM
Here's my take on the big stories and memorable moments for the women's side.

Grand Slam champs:
Australian Open: Henin-Hardenne d. Clijsters
Roland Garros: Myskina d. Dementieva
The Championships (Wimbledon): Sharapova d. S. Williams
U.S. Open: Kuznetsova d. Dementieva
*WTA Tour Championships: Sharapova d. S. Williams (not a 'true' Slam)

Review of 2004:

Despite Davenport not winning one Grand Slam (close at the US Open, though), she went on an amazing streak during the summer hard court season, which I don't think anybody, including herself, had anticipated... Wow! What a year for the Russians. Though you gotta feel for Dementieva, her, Sharapova, Myskina and Kuzntesova had career-best years, and they are only looking to get better, especially Kuznetsova and Sharapova, though I am pulling for Dementieva (she's desperately working on her serve, her weakest feature). I'd include Zvonareva and possibly Petrova in there as well, because they are certainly contenders in, say, Tier I events. Come Grand Slam time, though, they haven't truly proven themself. Furthermore, Zvonareva's No. 10/11 ranking and berth into the WTA Tour Championships can be credited to the amount of tournaments she played in (26 - most out of something like the Top 40)... Despite Henin-Hardenne's injury, she managed to finish the year in the Top 10, winning a Slam, the Olympics and three Tier I events. When she's healthy next year, it will add even more dimensions to the women's game... Only one Slam final with a Williams sister in it. Impressive. I think that's a good thing for the game. In this way, the Williams sisters still content (which they do, despite an off-year), and it just goes to show that other women are stepping up their game... Russians won the Fed Cup. I'm not surprised, I don't think anybody should be.

Story of the year: I think most definitely Sharapova. She's on her way up, and she finished this year ranked as No. 4. What I think is her strongest weapon is her sheer determination. I mean, literally just watch her face during a match in between points. She knows what she's doing out there.

Preview of 2005:

Well, I think first and foremost, what we have to look forward to is returns of prominent players, including one very smart player... Martina Hingis will be playing in the Volvo Women's Open for charity. Though it's for charity in a shitty Tier IV event in which she'll absolutely rape the competition, it's still her playing... At long last, Monica Seles is expected to make her return from injury. I'm not aware of how her ranking will work, though it will be secured to some degree. She's hinted this will be her last year, but she won;t go on a 'farewell tour' of sorts. She wants to play a full 2005 season, and my understanding is that if she can't, she just won't play at all. But this won;t happen... Other 'returns' of sorts include: the Williams sisters hopefully returning to some of their original form, along with Rubin, Clijsters and Henin-Hardenne finally getting over gnagging injuries... Slam contenders will be: Davenport, Williams sisters, Myskina, Dementieva, Sharapova, Kuznetsova, Henin-Hardenne, Mauresmo and Clijsters, perhaps Capriati. As you can see, this is a deep field.