Russia's newest wonder girl; Chakvetadze breaks Top 10
To face Mauresmo; Clijsters v. Golovin
FROM THE PROXIMUS DIAMOND GAMES IN ANTWERP – Anna Chakvetadze keeps on churning and after her 6-3, 6-4 win over Nadia Petrova in the quarterfinals, cracked the Top 10 for the first time.
Amazingly, the 19-year-old is 4-0 against her elder Russian, who has been a solid Top-10 player for two years.
"I don't know if her game suits me, I think she made a lot of unforced errors today," Chakvetadze told TRnet. "But she played a lot of matches lately so she could be tired. I didn't know I could reach the Top 10 today. It's nice, but I won't play in Dubai and Doha the next weeks so I will drop out again. I don't really care that much about my ranking anyway. I just want to improve my game, win matches and then my ranking will take care of itself."
Petrova came off a title run in Paris last week, where she beat red-hot Czech Lucie Safarova in the final. Chakvetadze lost in the French capital against Amelie Mauresmo in the quarters, but will have a chance to get her revenge on Saturday, when the two square off for a final berth.
Mauresmo convincingly brushed aside Dinara Safina, 6-3, 6-1.
The '07 Hobart champion looks forward to face Mauresmo in a neutral ambiance. "In Paris, the atmosphere was not nice," Chakvetadze said. "You know that the crowd will support Amelie, but they were not fair to both players. Here in Antwerp everyone is supporting Kim, but they show respect for the others as well."
Chakvetadze is not your average up-and-comer. Where most talented youngsters bring a flat-out power game to the court, Anna C. plays a little more with her head.
"First of all, I'm not as tall as [Nicole] Vaidisova or [Ana] Ivanovic," she says. "I can't hit as hard, so I need to find other ways to win. I try to look for weaknesses in my opponent's game and play accordingly."
The inventive and quick Russian, so reminiscent of Martina Hingis, had her breakthrough year in 2006, starting the season just inside the Top 40, but finishing strong with a career first title at the Tier III in Guangzhou and a Tier I win in Moscow. Her impressive year end run put the 19-year-old among the world's best 15 players.
"I never thought I would win a Tier I last year. When I won my first tournament in Guangzhou, that gave me a lot of confidence. This helped me to do well in Moscow."
In her early days on tour, Chakvetadze frequently lost control of her emotions on court, breaking into tears when a match didn't go her way. She starts laughing and says, "You haven't seen me play in the Under -14s."
On the Sony Ericsson Tour website, Chakvetadze has said she wants to break the Top 5 within three years. "No, no, that's not true," she said. "The WTA wanted to know my goals so I just said 'Top 5 would be nice,' but it's not something I'm really aiming for."
In order to settle in amongst the elite, Chakvetadze knows she still has work to do. She's 14-2 in 2007, and has won 24 out of her last 27 matches. "I need to further improve my confidence so I can play well on the important moments. And my serve and fitness need to get better, too."
At the Australian Open, Chakvetadze faced top-seeded compatriot Maria Sharapova in her first ever Grand Slam quarterfinal. She served for the first set at 5-4, but eventually went down in straight sets. She moved the ball around nicely, but couldn't hit her spots when it counted.
"People said I played well that match, but I didn't win the important points. Maria played better than I did that day, but it was good I made the quarters."
One might think that Chakvetadze would have Parisian dreams, but likes the bright big Apple better.
"I would love to win the US Open. It was the first Grand Slam I played in 2004 and I beat [the then No. 3 Anastasia] Myskina when I was just coming up. I just love the whole atmosphere in New York. I also have a lot of friends there."