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ZeroSOFInfinity
Nov 5th, 2007, 11:44 AM
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Madrid Profile: Justine Henin

MADRID, Spain - Justine Henin has been the standout player on the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour in 2007, playing some truly magical tennis and firmly establishing herself as the world No.1 in the process. The peerless Belgian has captured a Tour-leading nine trophies since the turn of the year, including championship runs at the US Open and Roland Garros, and arrives in Madrid riding high on a 20-match win streak.
After missing the start of the season with personal problems, Henin returned to action with a semifinal run at the Paris Indoors before embarking on a 13 match win-streak – bringing tournament victories in Dubai and Doha – which was eventually brought to an end by Serena Williams in the final of Miami. She has suffered just two defeats since, a run which has seen title triumphs on all four surfaces (carpet, clay, grass and hard) and victories over all of her closest rivals.
Henin will be appearing in the Sony Ericsson Championships for the fifth time in her illustrious career and as defending champion she will be eager to put on a good showing for the spectators in the Spanish capital. Prior to last year's title run the 25-year-old had never been beyond the semifinal stage of the season-ending showpiece, but after enjoying such a fantastic season she will be highly confident of retaining her trophy a week on Sunday.
"I've such excellent memories of playing in Madrid last year and winning the Sony Ericsson Championships," Henin said. "The title meant a lot to me as I hadn't played since the US Open and was unsure of how I would do, yet I wound up beating the Top 2 players Mauresmo and Sharapova to finish the year No.1. I am proud of the fact that for the second year in a row, I am the first to qualify and can't wait to go back and experience the special atmosphere."

QUICK STATS

Race to the Sony Ericsson Championships standing: No.1
2007 Win-Loss Record: 58-4
2007 Highlights: Won (9): Roland Garros, US Open, Dubai, Doha, Warsaw, Eastbourne, Toronto, Stuttgart, Zürich; R-Up (1): Miami; SF (3): Paris , Berlin, Wimbledon
[I]Championships history: Fifth appearance at this event (seventh time to qualify); captured the title once, in 2006 (d. Petrova, Hingis and Sharapova en route to final; d. then-No.1 Mauresmo); in 2003 fell at semifinal stage; despite qualifying, did not compete in 2004 (cytomegalovirus) and 2005 (right hamstring strain)

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Madrid Profile: Jelena Jankovic

MADRID, Spain - Jelena Jankovic has undoubtedly been one of the standout players of the 2007 Sony Ericsson WTA Tour season, compiling a staggering 72 victories and capturing four titles in the process. This year has also seen the Serb establish herself in the world's Top 5 and she arrives in Madrid at a career-high ranking of No.3.
After opening up the year with an impressive title run in Auckland, Jankovic's season has been characterized by almost unrivaled consistency, with three more titles picked up in Charleston, Rome and Birmingham as well as an impressive semifinal showing on the Parisian clay of Roland Garros. The Serbian's athleticism and all court game has brought her success on all surfaces and after scoring victories over most of her principal rivals since the turn of the year, she will arrive in the Spanish capital in typically buoyant mood.
Although Jankovic will be competing at the Sony Ericsson Championships for the first time in her career, after the year she has enjoyed she will certainly be among the favorites to life the prestigious trophy. Alongside world No.1 Justine Henin, the 22-year-old from Belgrade was one of the first two players to qualify for the Spanish showpiece and few would bet against her adding to her burgeoning trophy cabinet a week on Sunday.
"I really can’t believe I'm, No.3 in the world and qualified for the Sony Ericsson Championships at such an early point in the season, it's amazing," Jankovic eulogized. "At the beginning of last year I was going through a really tough time and was considering quitting the sport and 15 months later it has all turned around. I'm delighted to be part of such an elite event, where only the best players play, in one of the most beautiful cities in the world."

QUICK STATS
Race to the Sony Ericsson Championships standing: No.2
2007 Win-Loss Record: 72-22
2007 Highlights: Won (4): Auckland, Charleston, Rome, Birmingham; R-Up (4): Sydney, 's-Hertogenbosch, Toronto, Beijing; SF (7): Roland Garros, Dubai, Doha, Warsaw, Strasbourg, Los Angeles, Stuttgart
Championships history: Debut appearance

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Championships Profile: Serena Williams

MADRID, Spain - The renaissance of Serena Williams as a major force on the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour has been one of the stories of the season and the American will be desperate to close out 2007 in style next week in Madrid. A string of injuries in 2006 meant that the powerful American started the year at a lowly No.94 in the world, but a spectacular championship run at the Australian Open announced her return to the upper echelons of the game in dramatic fashion.
After dismantling Maria Sharapova in the Melbourne final, Williams continued her rise up the rankings with an equally impressive title run in Miami. The 26-year-old's Roland Garros dream came to an abrupt halt when she was defeated by Justine Henin in the quarterfinals and the peerless Belgian also proved to be her nemesis at the same stage of the next two majors, Wimbledon and the US Open.
Williams will be appearing in the season-ending showpiece for the fourth time in her career and after a runner-up finish on the indoor courts of Moscow a few weeks ago she is sure to be confident of continuing her fine record at the event. The former world No.1 took home the title on her debut in 2001 and runner-up finishes in both 2002 and 2004 prove she certainly has the ability to triumph in the Spanish capital.
"I'm delighted and surprised to have made it to the Sony Ericsson Championships," Williams said. "When I started the year, I honestly never thought I would be in the position I am in now with a Grand Slam title under my belt and getting closer to playing some great tennis. I thought I missed my chance by not playing this summer, but I have been really excited to be playing in Europe the last few weeks and I made it sooner than I thought. I'm dying to visit Madrid, a city I have never been to before, and making the Sony Ericsson Championships is a double bonus for me. It's going to be great!"

QUICK STATS
Race to the Sony Ericsson Championships standing: No.5
2007 Win-Loss Record: 35-9
2007 Highlights: Won (2): Australian Open, Miami; R-Up (1): Moscow
Championships history: Fourth appearance at this event (seventh time to qualify); captured the title once, in 2001 (d. Farina Elia, Henin and Testud en route to final; w/o vs. Davenport); in 2002 and 2004 finished runner-up; despite qualifying, did not compete in 1999 (severe influenza), 2000 (inflammation of small bone in base of left foot) and 2003 (left knee quadriceps surgery)


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Madrid Profile: Anna Chakvetadze

MADRID, Spain - This year has seen Anna Chakvetadze emerge as the latest Russian superstar to establish herself in the world's Top 10 and last week she was rewarded for a wonderful season with qualification for the prestigious Sony Ericsson Championships. The elegant young Russian's intelligent game has seen her score wins over several of her Madrid rivals en route to capturing four titles in 2007 and reaching a career-high ranking of No.5.
Chakvetadze made the ideal start to the year with a near-faultless title run in Hobart and she continued this form right through to the end of the season, finishing the season with a highly credible 57-18 win-loss record. In addition to the championship run in Australia, the 20-year-old Muscovite lifted trophies in 's-Hertogenbosch, Cincinnati and Stanford as well embarking on a maiden Grand Slam semifinal run at the US Open.
This year will see Chakvetadze making her bow in the Spanish capital, but despite her lack of experience at the event, she certainly has the ability to go all the way to the title and after a slightly disappointing run in her past few tournaments she will be eager to finish off this breakthrough season in style.
"I'm so excited to play in my first Sony Ericsson Championships," Chakvetadze said. "I love the beautiful city of Madrid and I'm hoping to perform very well. This has been an amazing year for me, having reached the Top 5 in the world, and I am looking forward to finishing strongly in Madrid."

QUICK STATS
Race to the Sony Ericsson Championships standing: No.6
2007 Win-Loss Record: 57-18
2007 Highlights: Won (4): Hobart, 's-Hertogenbosch, Cincinnati, Stanford; SF (4): US Open, Antwerp, Miami, San Diego
Championships history: Debut appearance