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Old May 17th, 2006, 03:49 PM   #1
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Articles of Vera

Tennis: Russians coming, armed with rackets


23.11.05
By Terry Maddaford



The Russian invasion continues to grow, with world No 39 Vera Douchevina the latest player to be confirmed for the women's tournament at Auckland in January.

The highly promising Douchevina, who turned 19 last month, will be seeded as high as fifth when the ASB Classic final field is released today.

After starting the year ranked 64th, the Russian quickly climbed the rankings. In the Australian Open last January, she reached the fourth round after beating Jill Craybas, ninth seed and fellow Russian Vera Zvonareva - who today could be a surprise entry for the Classic - and German Anna-Lena Groenefeld, before losing to Russian Svetlana Kuznetsova.

Douchevina continued her good form on a variety of surfaces, reaching the quarter-finals on clay at Strasbourg, where she beat fourth-seed Shinobu Asagoe in the first round.

Her best result on grass came in the tier-two Eastbourne tournament where, after qualifying, she beat Katarina Srebotnik in the first round. She produced an upset win over world No 3 Amelie Mauresmo in the next, followed by further wins over Marion Bartoli and, in the semifinals, Roberta Vinci. She lost the final to Kim Clijsters 5-7, 0-6.

Those results helped to push her ranking to a career-high 31 in July.

Douchevina also had a strong year in doubles as her ranking, which started the year off the radar, come down to her current 45.

She and Israeli teenager Sharhar Peer, who reached the quarter-finals of the ASB Classic this year after coming through qualifying, made the doubles quarter-finals at the French Open.

They also reached the semifinals in Seoul, and Douchevina combined with Dinara Safina to reach the semifinals in Moscow.

She also found time to play in the Russian Fed Cup team.

As a junior, Douchevina reached the 2003 French Open final, losing to Groenefeld, and won Wimbledon 2002, beating Russian star Maria Sharapova in the final on her way to ending the year as the world's No 2 junior.

Tournament director Richard Palmer will receive his final entry list from the WTA this morning.

He has yet to allocate his two wildcards for the Classic, which starts at the ASB Bank Tennis Centre on January 2 after qualifying on December 31-January 1. He might have some indication of where the wildcards will go later today.

VERA DOUCHEVINA


Born: Khimki, Russia
Age: 19
Height: 1.80m
Weight: 73kg
Turned pro: 2003

PRIZEMONEY


Year-to-date: US$271,845
Career: US$510,310
Best ranking: 31
Russian Fed Cup Team, 2005
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Old May 17th, 2006, 03:51 PM   #2
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A New Russian Sensation Named Douchevina

08 February 2005 - Pierre-Olivier BOUCHE

Over the last few years, a Russian contingent has settled itself in force at the top level in women’s tennis. Every season, at least one new player from the former Soviet Union shines through. 2005 could be Vera Douchevina’s year. Indeed, the player remarkably qualified for the final sixteen.


This young woman aged 18 has the ambition to follow the footsteps of Myskina, Dementieva and Kuznetsova -who are older, and of course to quickly rise to the level of her now famous cadet, Maria Sharapova.

This ambition is only logical considering the record of this young player born in Moscow who also is a fan of… Jennifer Capriati. At junior level, Douchevina collected a several titles she would also like to win at senior level. She has good memories of the year 2002 when she prevailed at Wimbledon (winning over Sharapova) and at the orange Bowl, and finished the season ranked n°2 among the juniors. She became professional in 2003 and even played a few matches with the younger players (runner-up at the French Open). She really shone through at the Innsbruck tournament: lucky-loser, the player native from Moscow eventually won the event. At the end of 2003, she finished world n°108 thus progressing by 442 spots in WTA rankings!

As this consistent junior player developed her own style with a big first ball and a strong forehand, she started to be considered a threat. In 2004 she confirmed her rise by earning a spot in the Top 100 (n°63). However, to really assert herself in the powerful Russian armada, Vera knows that she has to explode in 2005 just like Sharapova and Kuznetsova, respectively winners of the British and the US Open, did last year.

Her weary look can be misleading because Douchevina actually has tremendous determination. The year 2005 started extremely well for her as she made it in the last sixteen at the Australian Open. In the process, she severely defeated Vera Zvonareva (seed player n°11) before giving in to Kuznetsova. This excellent performance put her in the Top 50 (n°44) right before the beginning of the Open Gaz de France. Seed player n°1 in the qualifications, Douchevina performed up to expectations as she earned a spot in the final draw. Opposed to Czech Benesova, she created the first surprise of the tournament by sweeping out her opponent in three hard-fought sets (6-4, 2-6, 6-3 ). “I was very tired in the third set. But I love Paris, it’s my favourite city in Europe,“ said the young player after her victory. In the last sixteen, she will be opposed to yet another contender to the title of Russian revelation of the year: Dinara Safina.

(Translated by Aurelia Ruetsch)
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Old May 17th, 2006, 03:53 PM   #3
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August 18, 2003

Getting to Know Vera Douchevina

At the tender age of 16 years, eight months, Russian Vera Douchevina waved goodbye to her junior career with a runner-up finish at Roland Garros this past June.
Wimbledon and Orange Bowl girls' singles champion in 2002, the Moscow native is the latest in a string of Russian girls making their first tentative, albeit very impressive, steps on the WTA Tour.

Vera, who lists her favorite player as Jennifer Capriati, plays an aggressive, baseline game, similar to that of her idol.

Earlier this year, she was ranked No.1 on the ITF Junior Singles Rankings and in the past few months has been trying her luck in the senior ranks.

Having made her WTA Tour event as an unranked qualifier at Warsaw last year (just her second senior outing), she qualified for the NASDAQ-100 Open in Miami this past March. In the first round she ousted world No.70 Patricia Wartusch 60 63 before putting in a strong showing against Justine Henin-Hardenne, falling 63 62.

A month ago, Vera picked up her first singles title, winning an ITF Women's Circuit tournament in Innsbruck. Under the WTA Tour's 'feed up' system, that win earned her direct entry into the Tier IV Tour event, the Nordea Nordic Light Open in Helsinki, Finland.

Not putting the opportunity to waste, Vera defeated 2002 runner-up Denisa Chladkova in the second round and went all the way to the semifinals, where she fell to talented Croatian Jelena Kostanic.

Having debuted on the WTA Singles Rankings just over a year ago at No.550, Vera is now No.143 with a bullet. Since the start of 2003 she has rocketed up 328 spots.


www.wtatour.com caught up with Vera during her recent run to the Helsinki semifinals.

How did you get started playing tennis?
My father introduced me to tennis when I was seven years old. He didn't play at all himself, but he wanted both my (older) sister (Sonia) and I to give it a go. My sister didn't really like it very much, but I really liked it.

What other sports did you play when you were younger? Why did you choose tennis over them?
I also used to play football and basketball, in fact I still do. But I liked playing tennis because I like the competition—to play points and tournaments. For me that is one of the best parts of tennis.

What have been your junior highlights so far?
I suppose the biggest win I’ve had is winning the Wimbledon girls' title last year. At the end of last year I also won the Orange Bowl. This year I got to the finals of Roland Garros. That was my last junior tournament.

So you're planning on playing only senior events, now?
Well, I'm only 16, so I can’t play all the time (under the WTA Tour's Age Eligibility Rule), but I'll play some ITF events and also try and play some WTA events as well.

What is the biggest difference between playing juniors and on the WTA Tour?
The competition is so much greater. When you're playing juniors, if you're up 5-love, you've won for sure. But on the Tour you have to fight for every ball. The players here (on Tour) never give up, so you can never think you've won a match until you win the last point.

How much do you practice on a normal training day?
If I'm not at a tournament I probably practice on-court anywhere from half an hour to two hours per day. Then I also do some cross-training for maybe another half an hour to one hour.

What types of things do you do for your cross-training?
Maybe some running. I also like to do some swimming.

As a junior and now as a player on the Tour, you're traveling quite a lot. Do you like all the travel you have to do?
Not really! I like seeing all parts of the world, but the actual travel I don't like so much. To get here (Helsinki) we traveled by train for 12 hours instead of flying. I prefer to travel in a train than to fly. You get to see more as you're going from one place to another.

Do you like to listen to music? If so, what types?
Yes, I really like to listen to music, especially when I'm away from home. I mainly like Russian pop music, but I listen to some American music too. I bought Justin Timberlake's album recently.
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Old May 27th, 2007, 10:23 PM   #4
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Re: Articles of Vera

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Old Jun 28th, 2007, 07:59 AM   #5
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Re: Articles of Vera

http://www.sport-express.ru/art.shtml?141414

Vera likes Hewitt serve
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