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Old May 17th, 2007, 10:13 AM   #16
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Re: Anna articles and interviews

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I might be able to scan it but not until the end of next week at the earliest.
OK, thanks!
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Old Jun 25th, 2007, 10:35 AM   #17
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Re: Anna articles and interviews

Chakvetadze claims Ordina Open title over Jankovic


FROM THE ORDINA OPEN IN ROSMALEN – Anna Chakvetadze and Ivan Ljubicic will be heading to Wimbledon high on confidence, after both Eastern European players claimed career first grass titles in The Netherlands on Saturday. Anna C. bested Jelena Jankovic 7-6(2), 3-6, 6-3, while Ljubicic outlasted No.488 Peter Wessels 7-6(5) 4-6, 7-6(4).
Chakvetadze had a false start in her first-round match against Belarussian up-and-comer Victoria Azarenka, when the 20-year-old Russian dropped the opening set, but she has been playing solid tennis for the rest of the week. She convincingly dispatched Daniela Hantuchova in straight sets for a final berth, after the 13th-ranked Slovakian had thrashed Roland Garros finalist Ana Ivanovic 6-3, 6-1, in the quarterfinals.
In the final, she faced red-hot Serb Jankovic, who had won the tournament of Birmingham last week, beating Maria Sharapova in three sets in the final. Jankovic had a pass to the quarterfinals in Rosmalen, with a bye and a walkover win over American Meilen Tu.
Amidst two rain delays early on in the match, Chakvetadze raced out to a 5-0 lead, but faltered when she had the set for the taking. Jankovic almost closed the gap, when more rain stopped play with the No. 3 serving at 4-5, advantage Jankovic.
The covers went on and off for the next three hours, and the players were called up twice during some of the dry spells, but not a single point was played over the entire second half of the afternoon. The clock had struck six when the skies finally cleared and play could be resumed.
Jankovic held for 5-5, but she had another cold start coming out of the rain delay, spraying numerous unforced errors, that helped Chakvetadze take the opening set in a tiebreak.
In the second set, Jankovic stepped it up a notch and she dominated most of the points. Chakvetadze was playing well herself, but Jankovic displayed the ability to up the pace and take control of the rally with a single shot. The Serb served out the set at 5-3, after having missed four set points in the previous game.
Jankovic was looking for the early break in the third set, but Chakvetadze hit some excellent serves from 1-1, 15-30 down to go up 2-1 and she pumped her fist in celebration.
With Jankovic serving at 2-3, deuce, Chakvetadze hit two cracking backhands to force the break, but she lost her next service game by sending a backhand wide on break point.
Where her emotions have let her down in big matches in the past, most recently against Sharapova in the quarterfinals of Roland Garros, Chakvetadze displayed the fighting spirit of a champion on Saturday, when the Russian rebounded directly after dropping the break. She aggressively pounced on Jankovic’ next service game to again take the advantage.
Serving for the match at 5-3, Chakvetadze faced three break opportunities, but she dominated each point with her backhand to hang in the game. With a forehand winner the Russian got her first match point, and she immediately claimed the win with a strong first serve.
“I was nervous in the last game,” Chakvetadze said, “because in the first set I was 5-0 up, and if I didn’t take my serve at 5-3, I know Jelena would fight for every point.”
Despite the nerves near the end of the match, Chakvetadze confirmed that she felt strong out there. “I didn’t have pressure. I like the tournament here, it’s nice and quiet and it almost feels like I’m playing exhibition.”
She said she feels no added pressure for Wimbledon, having beaten one of the hottest players on tour “It doesn’t put extra pressure on me, it just gives me more confidence.”
Chakvetadze also thinks having gone through the tough weather conditions on Saturday will help her in London.“It was the first time I stepped on court six times [for one match], so now I have experience,” she said with a smile.
It was the fourth career title for Chakvetadze, and her second in 2007. In January, she won the Tier IV tournament in Hobart. Her biggest win came in Moscow last year, where she won the Tier I Kremlin Cup. She is now 4-0 in finals.
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Old Jun 25th, 2007, 10:37 AM   #18
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Re: Anna articles and interviews

Four Finals, Four Titles for Chakvetadze


's-HERTOGENBOSCH, The Netherlands - Jelena Jankovic has been one of the hottest players on the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour this season, but coming into her championship match-up with Russia's Anna Chakvetadze in 's-Hertogenbosch, she knew there would be problems; Chakvetadze had won four of their six previous encounters, and was unbeaten in her career in finals. And on Saturday all of those problems became a reality as the Russian won the $175,000 Ordina Open.
Chakvetadze, the No.3 seed at the Tier III grass court event, came out on fire, reeling off the first five games of the match; and although the top-seeded Jankovic managed to even it up at 5-all and force a tie-break, it was just too late, and Chakvetadze grabbed a one set lead. Jankovic retaliated by claiming the second set but the gas seemed to run out late in the third, and the Russian emerged with her fourth career title, 76(2) 36 63.
"When I was up 5-3 in the third set I was just thinking about how I lost my 5-0 lead in the first set, so I knew I had to hold serve," Chakvetadze stated. "I knew Jelena would fight until the end, so it was important I won it right there at 5-3."
The final was played predominantly in pieces, as intermittent rain fell upon the Autotron Rosmalen throughout the day. Both players were bothered by the starts and stops, but in retrospect they realized neither gained an advantage from it.
"This was the first time in my life I went on court six times, so I have experience now," Chakvetadze said. "Later in the day the Sun came out and it was nice."
"It's always difficult to go on and off court but we all had to deal with it," Jankovic said. "In the end she was better. She took her chances and deserved to win."
By virtue of her quarterfinal win over the Ukraine's Alona Bondarenko, Jankovic was the first player since Chris Evert in 1974 to win 50 matches in a year this quickly. But next in line on the leaderboard so far this year is Chakvetadze, who notched the equal-best victory of her career over the No.3-ranked Serb.
The Russian also improved to 4-0 lifetime in finals.
"I'm just trying to play match by match; I don't really think about being in the final," Chakvetadze said. "Of course I want to win, but it's already good that I make finals. No pressure. I just like going out and playing... without rain!"
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Old Jul 3rd, 2007, 09:27 AM   #19
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Re: Anna articles and interviews

http://www.sport-express.ru/art.shtml?141729 in Russian
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Old Jul 3rd, 2007, 03:41 PM   #20
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I think this is the english summary of that interview.
http://english.sport-express.ru/news/13_781/
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Old Jul 19th, 2007, 10:58 AM   #21
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Re: Anna articles and interviews

http://news.enquirer.com/apps/pbcs.d...707190348/1062

Top-seeded Russian working her way up
Chakvetadze still building on 2006 breakout season
BY JASON WILLIAMS | ENQUIRER CONTRIBUTOR
E-mail | Print | digg us! | del.icio.us!


MASON - Top-seeded Anna Chakvetadze is the headliner of the Western & Southern Financial Group Women's Open.

W&S TENNIS COVERAGE
Rodionova disputes DQ
Top-seeded Russian working her way up
Emerging favorites in W&S
W&S Tennis notebook
Inside the W&S Tournament


Don't feel bad, Cincinnati, if you've never heard of the 20-year-old Russian.

Despite currently being ranked eighth in the world after finishing last year 13th, Chakvetadze says the general tennis world still doesn't know her because she hasn't accomplished anything significant yet.

"I think you should play better in the Grand Slams," Chakvetadze said. "After that, people will know you much more. That's my goal: to play better in the big tournaments."

But first, Chakvetadze is focused on making a good impression in her first career appearance in the W&S Women's Open. She has overcome sluggish starts in each of her first two matches to cruise to victory, including defeating unseeded Anda Perianu of Romania 6-4, 6-3 in the second round Wednesday night at the Lindner Family Tennis Center.

Chakvetadze, who made her professional debut in 2001, is building on a breakout 2006 season. Two of her four career tournament victories have been this year, and she was a quarterfinalist in both the Australian and French opens.

In both Grand Slam events, Chakvetadze lost to Russian megastar Maria Sharapova. Some fans have suggested that Chakvetadze plays in the shadow of Sharapova, who is popular for both her play (currently ranked No. 2) and cover-girl beauty.

Chakvetadze is 0-4 in her career against Sharapova. But Chakvetadze said she doesn't believe it will take a victory over Sharapova to be recognized as being an equal player.

"I don't think that I'm in her shadow, said Chakvetadze, who is a month older than Sharapova. "Every player is different. I just started to play better at the end of last year. Maria won Wimbledon when she was 17. She started to play well early. But for me, it's another story."

In the W&S Women's Open, it's been the same storyline for Chakvetadze. After being down 0-4 in the first set of Tuesday's match, she fell behind 0-3 to Perianu.

Chakvetadze cited fatigue for her sluggish play Tuesday, after having helped Russia beat the United Stated in the semifinals of the Fed Cup last weekend.

She said she was well-rested for Wednesday's match, but got off to a slow start partly because she was unfamiliar with Perianu. It was their first match together.

Chakvetadze also is considered a grass-court player, so she's making the adjustment to the hardcourt at the Lindner Family Tennis Center. She said the humidity is bothering her, too.

"It's tough to play," Chakvetadze said. "But I still think I can play better."
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Old Jul 23rd, 2007, 11:15 AM   #22
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Re: Anna articles and interviews

Thoughtful Play Makes Chakvetadze A Cerebral Champ

Photo By Getty Images By Joshua Rey
07/22/2007

Anna Chakvetadze’s star has risen quite high in 2007. The 20-year-old Russian reached her first Grand Slam quarterfinal at the Australian Open, then ascended into the top 10 for the first time in her career in February.
By the time she entered the Western & Southern Financial Group Women’s Open in Cincinnati, Chakvetadze had tied a career best with 37 wins on the season.
Facing 61st-ranked Akiko Morigami in the Cincinnati championship, Chakvetadze seemed to be the odds on favorite. But Morigami had beaten her all three times they’d played — on three different surfaces.
That wasn't enough to stop Chakvetadze from shining on Sunday. The Russian ran Morigami ragged with sharply-angled strokes en route to a 6-1, 6-3 victory and her third WTA Tour title of the season.
"Those three matches, I think we were both playing pretty good," said Morigami, 27. "But Anna is definitely a different player, even from last year. She's improved a lot. The difficult thing about Anna is she changes direction with every other ball so I had to run side-to-side all the time."
Chakvetadze is a rarity in professional tennis: a top-10 player and a college student at the same time. She'll do her tennis training with renowned coach Robert Lansdorp during the U.S. Open Series. All the while, she’ll travel with textbooks and take online exams, hoping to graduate with a psychology degree from the University of Moscow in 2008.
Learning psychology played a part in Chakvetadze forgetting about her three previous losses to Morigami.
"I needed to improve for the final," said Chakvetadze, the No. 8 player in the world. "I didn’t think about the fact that I lost to her three times because it was a long time ago — more than one year since the last match. I just wanted to play my best."
Playing in her seventh match in nine days, Chakvetadze jumped to a 40-15 lead in the opening game before double faulting twice to deuce. It was a sign of things to come as the Russian double-faulted 10 times throughout the match. She was only broken twice.
"I hit a lot of double faults," said Chakvetadze, who hit 34 doubles in five matches this week. "All week, I didn't serve well but I won the tournament with this kind of serve and hopefully I will improve it for the next week."
Chakvetadze’s serve may have been a bigger liability in Cincinnati had two-time Wimbledon champion Serena Williams and 2007 Wimbledon finalist Marion Bartoli not withdrawn prior to the event.
Still, Morigami seemed to be a formidable opponent. In May, she beat Bartoli in the Prague final to win her first career title. Then, the 10-year Japanese veteran reached the third round at Wimbledon, serving for the match at 5-3 in the third set against Venus Williams before the elder Williams’ sister made a comeback and won the tournament.
On Sunday, Morigami was unable to reprise her recent good form. After failing to break Chakvetadze in the opening game, Morigami dropped her serve when Chakvetadze blasted an inside-out forehand to draw an error. Morigami, who hits with two hands on both sides, was forced to stretch for a one-handed backhand, which she couldn't muster over the net.
At 2-0, Chakvetadze double-faulted twice to fall behind Love-30, but again dug herself out of trouble.
"I had so many opportunities in return games because she hit a couple double faults here and there," said Morigami. "But I was hitting unforced errors on my returns, or there was nothing on my balls, and she was attacking on the next shot. Basically, I was on the defense right away."
Chakvetadze won the first set 6-1 after Morigami hit a backhand long. On the first point of the second set, Morigami tried to change speeds by hitting a moon-ball to Chakvetadze’s backhand. But Chakvetadze responded with a short-angled backhand that dragged Morigami out wide, opening up the court for a backhand winner on the Russian's next shot.
"She’s a very smart player," said Morigami. "When you try to get the rhythm going, she never gives you the time to do that. She never really gives you any free points. Sometimes, you want to win two points in a row but you can never do that. You can win one point, and then all of a sudden she is aggressive on the next point."
Morigami managed to hold serve to open the second set following a down-the-line forehand winner, a cross court forehand winner and a service winner. Then she broke Chakvetadze for a 2-0 second set lead when the Russian double faulted at 15-40. But Morigami gave the break right back when she hit a forehand long.
"Even when I was up 2-0, I didn’t really feel like I was up 2-0," said Morigami. "Just because she was making a few unforced errors, I got the game. I tried to play my game but that never happened."
The psychology student/tennis player sliced a backhand down-the-line to set up an open court winner and reach Love-40 on Morigami's serve at 2-2. Chakvetadze broke serve, held, then broke again to take a 5-2 lead in the second set.
Just 18 hours earlier, she was struggling in the semifinals against Sania Mirza, her second straight three-set match. Against Morigami, Chakvetadze never looked threatened in baseline rallies.
"I was trying to play every point very concentrated because yesterday was really up and down and I thought, if it was like this today, it would be really tough because Akiko usually doesn’t make easy mistakes and she runs very fast," said Chakvetadze. "My gameplan was to make her run and to play more aggressive."
Chakvetadze was broken when she was serving for the match, but again, Morigami failed to consolidate. On her first match point, Chakvetadze pounded a forehand return that drew an error into the net by Morigami, sealing the championship in just under an hour.
Despite holding a 3-0 head-to-head record against Chakvetadze, Morigami was unable to break through for her second title of the year.
"I really didn’t know what I wanted to do on the court," said Morigami. "She likes the pace obviously, so I tried to mix it up, but my ball wasn’t going anywhere. Then she was hitting all over the place. I felt like I was missing so many balls. I just didn’t play well today."
One player’s loss is another player’s gain. Chakvetadze will leapfrog Serena Williams in Monday’s WTA rankings and match her career-high rank of No. 7. She improved to 5-0 lifetime in finals on the WTA Tour with her win Sunday, and she did it her way.
"I wish I had great shots like Venus or Maria (Sharapova) because they are really tall girls and have great serves," said Chakvetadze, the No. 3 Russian behind Sharapova and Svetlana Kuznetsova. "They hit the ball so hard and I wish I could hit as hard as they can. But I have to run more than they do and play smart because I don’t have the killer shots. I have to do other things."
If Chakvetadze’s star is to rise even higher, she'll need to join Sharapova and Kuznetsova as a Grand Slam champion. That may seem unlikely since she didn’t win a set against Sharapova in the quarters of both the Australian Open and Roland Garros this year.
But don’t tell a psychology student what she can and cannot do.
"A lot of things should come together in a grand slam," said Chakvetadze. "You should have a good draw. You should be healthy. You should be in good shape. I made the quarterfinals two times and I think I can do better. That's my goal: to do better and win a Grand Slam."
"I think I can because I think I can."
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Old Jul 23rd, 2007, 02:16 PM   #23
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Re: Anna articles and interviews

A non-emotional win
Chakvetadze remains cool
By Josh Katzowitz
Post staff reporter

AL BEHRMAN/

AL BEHRMAN/Associated Press

Anna Chakvetadze has a 5-0 record in championship finals after defeating Akiko Morigami on Sunday.

MASON, Ohio - When she played under-14 or under-16 tennis tournaments, Anna Chakvetadze could get quite emotional. She might cry during a match, she might yell at herself, she might laugh.
Sania Mirza knows. The two played doubles together on the junior circuit, and Mirza saw first-hand how short-tempered Chakvetadze could be, how much anger she could pour out.
But as she matures and gets more experienced, Chakvetadze is trying to hard to rectify that behavior.
When Chakvetadze disagrees with the judgment of the chair umpire - a regular occurrence during her Western & Southern Women's Open semifinal match against Mirza on Saturday - she'd cover her mouth in disbelief. That was it.
When seventh-seeded Akiko Morigami's two-handed forehand hit the net Sunday, giving the top-seeded Chakvetadze the 6-3, 6-1 victory in the final, Chakvetadze gave a little fist pump and walked nonchalantly to the net to shake hands. That was it.
For the 20-year-old Russian who admits she has struggled with outbursts before, she presented a perfectly calm disposition for most of the tournament.
So, it makes sense that when you ask Chakvetadze what she studies at Moscow University in her free time, the answer is perfectly simple.
Psychology, of course.
"I use that," said Chakvetadze after the 59-minute match improved her career record to 5-0 in tournament finals. "That's why I said I'm improving. I read so many books. In everything, psychology is really important in life. You can pick some stuff from everything that can help you in life and on the court."
She's been studying the subject for the past three years and has one more year of classes before she earns her degree. It's not easy, though. She doesn't spend much time on campus. Last year, she played 22 tournaments, and this year, she's competed in 13 so far and for her country's Fed Cup team.
She takes correspondence courses, but still, it's not the life of your typical college student.
"I'm away from home so much, and I take books and I do some tests on the Internet," said Chakvetadze, who was ranked eighth in the world before the W&S and will move to No. 7 in next week's rankings. "But of course, compared to other students, it's really tough, because I'm never there. They go there every day and they spend so much time there.
"It's very important to me. Not all of the teachers can understand that you are away from home for so many months. I started it because of my parents. I wanted to try it to see if I could study. The first year it was very tough for me. Then, I got used to it."
Morigami, also a W&S finalist in 2005, could see the results Sunday. Morigami could point to Chakvetadze's footwork on the court or her groundstrokes, but the No. 61 player in the world pointed to Chakvetadze's tennis intelligence as one her best attributes.
"She's definitely a very smart player," Morigami said. "When you try to get the rhythm going, she never gives you the time to do it. It's just difficult. She never gives you any free points. With something you want to get going, like two points in a row, she never does that."
It's born out of necessity. Chakvetadze knows she's not the most physically gifted player on the court, so she has to use a more cerebral approach.
"I wish I had great shots on the court like Venus (Williams) or Maria (Sharapova), because they're really tall girls and they hit the ball so fast," Chakvetadze said. "I wish I could hit as hard, but I just can't. I have to run more than they do, and I have to play smart, because I don't have such killer shots like they do. I have to use something else."
Keeping calm also helps.
"I've definitely been getting better," Chakvetadze said. "When people are telling me that I'm pretty emotional on the court, I am telling them that they didn't see my matches when I played under-14 and under-16. Then, I was really emotional. I'm improving every match with the way I play and with the way I act on the court. That's one of the parts on my game that I want to improve."
At times, though, her swing of emotions still is evident.
During the French Open, according to an account by the (London) Sunday Times, she was so happy with one of her shots against Agnes Szavay that she couldn't contain her laughter as she walked to the baseline. Later in the match, after Szavay won the second set, Chakvetadze began crying.
But she's getting better. Mirza notices the difference.
"She was very, very emotional," Mirza said. "When she used to play, she used to be very short-tempered, even when we played doubles. Just getting angry with herself. She's very calm now on the court, even when she's losing. She's very composed. That has a lot to do with the matches she's played and the confidence and the experience she gets playing. You look and you learn. That just comes with maturity. She's really matured as a player."
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Old Jul 25th, 2007, 10:27 AM   #24
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Re: Anna articles and interviews

Tourney lacks big names, but Chakvetadze a rising star
Russian is ranked 7th in world, believes her game will only improve
By David Kiefer
Mercury News
Article Launched: 07/25/2007 01:36:58 AM PDT


There is no Serena Williams at the Bank of the West Classic, or perhaps any other player recognizable to the mainstream public. But for truly hardy tennis fans, Anna Chakvetadze may be enough.
The 20-year-old Russian is a rising star on the women's circuit and opens the 37th annual tournament against Greece's Eleni Daniilidou at Stanford's Taube Family Tennis Stadium on Thursday (7 p.m.) as the top seed.
Ranked No. 7 in the world, Chakvetadze is coming off her third Women's Tennis Association tournament title of the season, Sunday in Cincinnati, and was a quarterfinalist at the Australian and French opens.
"I still feel like my best tennis is ahead of me," she said. "I'm working hard, but I feel I can get better."
Chakvetadze is unique in that she has no official coach and never has since she joined the tour. She travels with her family, usually her father Walter, who gave up his medical practice to oversee her career, though her mother and 9-year-old brother are accompanying her on their first visit to the United States.
But she also has sought the council of Robert Lansdorp, a Southern California-based coach who has mentored Pete Sampras, Tracy Austin, Lindsay Davenport and Maria Sharapova.
Chakvetadze will work with Lansdorp after competing in the WTA's San Diego tour stop next week. "He wants me to hit harder, to make my shots and serves more powerful," she said. "He's a great guy. We could practice three hours and I wouldn't get tired mentally at all."

Still, Chakvetadze prefers to pick and choose the advice she receives from any of several people she has sought guidance from. "All the coaches have something good to offer, but maybe another coach knows something better," she said. "Maybe, for you, it's good to try all of them and do what's good for your game. You're the one playing on the court, not the coach."
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Old Jul 30th, 2007, 07:22 AM   #25
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Re: Anna articles and interviews

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Tourney lacks big names, but Chakvetadze a rising star
Russian is ranked 7th in world, believes her game will only improve
By David Kiefer
Mercury News
Article Launched: 07/25/2007 01:36:58 AM PDT

[...]

Chakvetadze is unique in that she has no official coach and never has since she joined the tour. She travels with her family, usually her father Walter, who gave up his medical practice to oversee her career, though her mother and 9-year-old brother are accompanying her on their first visit to the United States.
LOL! I think he got her confused with Bartoli!
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Old Aug 1st, 2007, 05:02 AM   #26
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Chakvetadze snares the title - San Francisco Chronicle

If Anna Chakvetadze sits in bed all day today and eats nothing but ice cream, no one could blame her. The 20-year-old Russian played nine sets in less than 24 hours to win the Bank of the West Classic singles title and reach the final in doubles at Stanford's Taube Family Tennis Stadium.

With Justine Henin and the Williams sisters resting, Chakvetadze is the hottest player in tennis after taking her second straight tournament to vault her into the sixth overall world ranking. She switched rankings with Amelie Mauresmo with her latest wins.

Chakvetadze took the court at noon Sunday, after getting to sleep at 1 a.m. following her late-night doubles win. She then made surprisingly quick work of India's Sania Mirza, beating her 6-3, 6-2 in the final to win the $88,265 first prize.

She did it by tuning out an Indian contingent that chanted between games for Mirza.

Composed throughout the week, Chakvetadze was emotional Sunday, pumping her fist and yelling to inspire herself.

"She plays much better when people are against her," Mirza said. "Today, she played some pretty unbelievable tennis. She was very pumped today."

Chakvetadze said she felt as if she was playing in India in front of the capacity crowd of 3,733. According to tournament officials, it was the largest crowd since 2005, when Kim Clijsters met Venus Williams in the final.

At the end of the match, Chakvetadze disarmed the audience by saying over the public-address system, "Sania has a very nice crowd. I want to thank my crowd; it's a little bit smaller."

With that, she drew applause from everyone.

The comment summarized Chakvetadze's demeanor throughout the week. Her classic strokes and unrelenting consistency - coupled with her charm - made her an ideal winner.

She has won 46 of 57 matches this year and is riding a nine-match, hardcourt winning streak.

Asked what she likes best about the United States, she said the hard tennis courts, the grapes, pineapples and oranges.

The question remains if she has enough game to be a factor in a major tournament. If this tournament is an indication, she is developing the mental approach needed to succeed.

She was undeterred early in Sunday's match, despite having her racket nearly lassoed out of her hand by her long ponytail. She only could watch as a Mirza backhand whistled by her while she tried to get her racket untangled.

Later in the match, Chakvetadze won the tight points. Up 4-3 in the first set with Mirza serving, she went down an ad, before cracking a forehand winner, then she won the game a point later with an overhead.

On crucial points throughout the week, Chakvetadze was tough, something she didn't used to be.

"Sometimes it's a mood thing," Chakvetadze said. "Whenever you have a bad mood - especially a woman - ah, watch out."

The question is does Chakvetadze have enough game mentally and physically to challenge at an event such as the U.S. Open in August?

"A lot of things have come together when you are playing a Grand Slam," Chakvetadze said. "You have to be healthy, you have to be in good shape, you have to have a good draw, and just be lucky."

And, of course, make sure your ponytail is out of the way.

Briefly: The tournament announced a new five-year deal with Bank of the West. ... Mirza and Shahar Peer defeated Chakvetadze and Victoria Azarenka 6-4, 7-6 (5) to win the doubles title.

E-mail Kevin Lynch at klynch@sfchronicle.com.
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Old Aug 1st, 2007, 06:00 AM   #27
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Re: Chakvetadze snares the title - San Francisco Chronicle

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Originally Posted by cosmoose View Post
If Anna Chakvetadze sits in bed all day today and eats nothing but ice cream, no one could blame her. The 20-year-old Russian played nine sets in less than 24 hours to win the Bank of the West Classic singles title and reach the final in doubles at Stanford's Taube Family Tennis Stadium.

With Justine Henin and the Williams sisters resting, Chakvetadze is the hottest player in tennis after taking her second straight tournament to vault her into the sixth overall world ranking. She switched rankings with Amelie Mauresmo with her latest wins.

Chakvetadze took the court at noon Sunday, after getting to sleep at 1 a.m. following her late-night doubles win. She then made surprisingly quick work of India's Sania Mirza, beating her 6-3, 6-2 in the final to win the $88,265 first prize.

She did it by tuning out an Indian contingent that chanted between games for Mirza.

Composed throughout the week, Chakvetadze was emotional Sunday, pumping her fist and yelling to inspire herself.

"She plays much better when people are against her," Mirza said. "Today, she played some pretty unbelievable tennis. She was very pumped today."

Chakvetadze said she felt as if she was playing in India in front of the capacity crowd of 3,733. According to tournament officials, it was the largest crowd since 2005, when Kim Clijsters met Venus Williams in the final.

At the end of the match, Chakvetadze disarmed the audience by saying over the public-address system, "Sania has a very nice crowd. I want to thank my crowd; it's a little bit smaller."

With that, she drew applause from everyone.

The comment summarized Chakvetadze's demeanor throughout the week. Her classic strokes and unrelenting consistency - coupled with her charm - made her an ideal winner.
But I'm sure Anna made many new fans during the last couple of weeks.

Quote:
She has won 46 of 57 matches this year and is riding a nine-match, hardcourt winning streak.

Asked what she likes best about the United States, she said the hard tennis courts, the grapes, pineapples and oranges.

The question remains if she has enough game to be a factor in a major tournament. If this tournament is an indication, she is developing the mental approach needed to succeed.

She was undeterred early in Sunday's match, despite having her racket nearly lassoed out of her hand by her long ponytail. She only could watch as a Mirza backhand whistled by her while she tried to get her racket untangled.

Later in the match, Chakvetadze won the tight points. Up 4-3 in the first set with Mirza serving, she went down an ad, before cracking a forehand winner, then she won the game a point later with an overhead.

On crucial points throughout the week, Chakvetadze was tough, something she didn't used to be.

"Sometimes it's a mood thing," Chakvetadze said. "Whenever you have a bad mood - especially a woman - ah, watch out."


Quote:
The question is does Chakvetadze have enough game mentally and physically to challenge at an event such as the U.S. Open in August?

"A lot of things have come together when you are playing a Grand Slam," Chakvetadze said. "You have to be healthy, you have to be in good shape, you have to have a good draw, and just be lucky."

And, of course, make sure your ponytail is out of the way.

Briefly: The tournament announced a new five-year deal with Bank of the West. ... Mirza and Shahar Peer defeated Chakvetadze and Victoria Azarenka 6-4, 7-6 (5) to win the doubles title.

E-mail Kevin Lynch at klynch@sfchronicle.com.
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Old Sep 4th, 2007, 11:52 PM   #28
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Re: Anna articles and interviews

Matt Cronin -

Chakvetadze will face the familiar No. 18 Shahar Peer of Israel, who ended Agnieszka Radwanska's run 6-4, 6-1.
Chakvetadze has had the best summer of all the four, winning Cincy and Stanford and taking out Venus Williams in San Diego. She's still a little unsure of herself, but is as smooth as silk in conducting points and owns the corners with her quick hands.
"I was so confident today because I knew that she is a junior – she will be nervous – and I just have more experience than her. But anyway, I think she's a good player and she will improve a lot," the Russian said.
Chakvetadze said her biggest challenge will be keeping her emotions in check and knows she might have to go the wall against Peer, who upset her at Indian Wells. She still gets frustrated when she's not playing perfectly and she often rushes too much. Few players get up to the service line as quick as she does. Are you listening Novak "26 bounces" Djokovic?
" I had problems when I was playing under 14," she said. "I never bounce the ball. I serve straightaway. Opponents were not really ready to take my serve so I won a couple matches like that. Then the chair umpire said, 'You have to take your time a little bit.' "
There are times when you watch the 20-year-old where you think she's over thinking and that she play more by instinct. Her intelligence certainly is a crucial part of her success, but it can also lead to indecisiveness. But take it from the mouth of Little Ms. Perfect: When she stops thinking, reason goes out the window and she's left wrestling with her volatile emotions.
"It's better when I'm thinking, but sometimes when I'm too much [emotional], I can't think and that's why I losing. That's why I lost this year in Wimbledon match [to Michaella Krajicek]. I was so nervous that I couldn't control the game. I couldn't think where should I put the ball. For me much easier to play when I'm thinking... I'm trying to stay more calm on court because it's not all the time I can do that because sometimes it's too much emotion."
Chakvetadze spent four days with coach Robert Lansdorp in early August and he was also here during the first week. He just returned to LA, but she's talking to him every day and he may return if she reaches the semis. Lansdorp, who taught Tracy Austin, Lindsay Davenport and Maria Sharapova, teaches straight-ahead play where flat, powerful ground strokes make their way to the corners, which is why his relationship with Chakvetadze is odd, as she never hits a shot the same way.
But she's enjoying their relationship nonetheless.
"He wants me to hit every ball like Maria and I'm just different," she said. "I just take some little things what he teaches, because I will never play like Maria. I will never have such a powerful shots like Maria, because I'm just smaller and thinner I don't have so much power to hit so I have to play smart. And because I'm shorter I'm moving better, so I have to use that."
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Old Sep 6th, 2007, 11:27 AM   #29
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Re: Anna articles and interviews

Chakvetadze Grounds Peer To Reach Open Semifinals

Photo By Getty Images By Richard Pagliaro
09/06/2007

Hands on her hips, Anna Chakvetadze stared up at the video screen awaiting the verdict on the forehand she fired down the line on match point. The sixth-seeded Russian spent much of this U.S. Open quarterfinal against Shahar Peer calling the shots and when the Hawk-Eye line calling system confirmed her final shot had indeed hugged a sliver of the sideline, Chakvetadze saw the video view of the line suddenly supplanted by her own smiling face staring down at her.

That screen play was a fitting match-ending image: Chakvetadze's court sense and anticipation were so sharp she sometimes simultaneously seemed to be peering over Peer's shoulder as well as facing her across the net.
Continuing her tear through the U.S. Open draw with a shrewd ball-control attack, Chakvetadze pulled Peer around the court like a puppet in winning 10 of the last 11 games to advance to her first career Grand Slam semifinal with a 6-4, 6-1 decision.
"I'm so happy I got through," Chakvetadze said upon entering her post-match press conference and pulling back her pony tail back with her hand. "I don't have powerful groundstrokes. I just fight to the end and try to play smart. I'm trying to change the pace a lot."
A quarterfinalist at both the Australian Open and French Open this year, Chakvetadze was one of the most consistent performers throughout the U.S. Open Series in collecting her third and fourth tournaments titles of the season at Cincinnati and Stanford. She has elevated her level of play during the Open in surging to the semifinals without dropping a set.
Facing a top 20 opponent for the first time in the tournament, Chakvetadze rebounded from a slow start that saw her drop four of the first six games, by putting more spin and air under her shots and pressing Peer into defensive positions throughout the latter half of the match.
"I was in a rush a little bit from the beginning," Chakvetadze said. "I wanted to hit very hard. [i] wanted to blow Shahar from the court, but that's not the way how I'm playing. So I just had to play smart and not easy and not rush myself. Then I just started to do less mistakes. And on the other side also I was aggressive especially in the second set. That's why I think I won it so easy."
Svetlana Kuznetsova followed Chakvetadze on the stadium and ended the inspired U.S. Open debut of Agnes Szavay. Surrendering only six points on her first serve, Kuznetsova cruised to a 6-1, 6-4 victory to set up an all-Russian semifinal with Chakvetadze, ensuring a Russian women will contest the U.S. Open final for the third time in the past four years.
Chakvetadze has the court craft and accurate groundstrokes to trouble Kuznetsova. Seven of Chakvetdaze's 10 top 10 victories have come against Russian women, including a 7-6(3), 6-3, upset of then World No. 3 and reigning Roland Garros champ Anastasia Myskina including a 7-6(3), 6-3 upset of then World No. 3 and reigning Roland Garros champ Anastasia Myskina in the second round of the 2004 U.S. Open.
That match was a coming of age for Chakvetadze, but breaking through to her first major final against Kuznetsova will be problematic for several reasons: Kuznetsova is 2-0 lifetime against Chakvetadze, the 2004 U.S. Open champion is a more experienced big-match player and if she can withstand the pressure of performing as the favorite, Kuznetsova has bigger weapons than Chakvetadze and can determine the the direction of the rallies.
For many players, acknowledging pressure prior to the start of a major match can be like accepting te bill at a group dinner for top 10 players: no one really wants to pick up the tab. Though Chakvetadze is one win removed from her first career major final, she played the pressure and level of expectation squarely on Kuznetsova's broad shoulders.
"She's a favorite in this match so I have nothing to lose and no pressure," Chakvetadze said. "For me, it's much easier to play with no pressure, so I will try to do my best."
In this era of might makes right tennis, Chakvetadze is a different breed from the pack of power merchants who prowl the top 20 with one primary purpose: hit hard with a fall-back plan equally profound: hit harder. Top-ranked Justine Henin has shown the ability to diffuse bigger, stronger players with her quick court coverage and tremendous technique. Chakvetadze does not own all the options the multi-talented Henin possesses, but she is adept at taking the ball early, absorbing and altering the pace and changing direction with down the line drives.
It wasn't always that way. Chakvetadze recalls as recently as four years ago she played fast, flat groundstrokes until her results flat-lined prompting her to rethink her approach and re-design her game.
"A lot of people compare me to Martina [Hingis]," Chakvetadze said. "I never played like this when I was a junior. I was hitting really flat balls and after that I couldn't just win a match. That's why I change it. I knew that I needed to do something else."
Taking appropriate action, Chakvetadze transformed herself into a tennis thief.
Her long blond braid bouncing behind her back as if keeping time on her latest competitive caper, Chakvetadze is a tennis pick-pocket who pilfers power from opponents by stepping on top of the baseline to rob players' of their reaction time. The result is that oddly unsettling feeling Peer had coming off court: she believed she was in every point yet found herself shutout of winning games for long stretches of the second set.
A tenacious defensive specialist, Peer will compete her mandatory two-year service in the Israeli Army next month, but could not earn her semifinal stripes against an opponent who discharged her from the draw. A half hour after the match, Peer, who beat Chakvetadze, 6-4, 7-6(2), in their most recent meeting in the Indian Wells quarterfinals, could not precisely put her finger on how Chakvetadze controlled the match.
"I don't know. I think I'm also a tough player," said Peer, who has lost three of four meetings to the 20-year-old from Moscow. "I don't know what to tell you. She's a good player. She moves well and she put a lot of balls in the court. One day you win, and one day you lose. I just beat her in Indian Wells a few months ago so it's not that huge different. She's a good player like I was saying, but [in] tennis every day is a new day." Chakvetadze credits stroke surgeon Robert Lansdorp, who has worked with Tracy Austin, Lindsay Davenport and most recently Maria Sharapova, with helping her refine her serve, which was once pretty pedestrian but now serves as a solid set-up shot for her groundstrokes. The second set today was arguably Chakvetadze's best set of the tournament, but she believes she must pick it up even more if she is to reach the final. "I'm playing well, but still you know I'm not feeling I'm playing my best," Chakvetadze said. "Because even in Stanford I played better. But because these two weeks I'm feeling better the ball with each day, so hopefully I will do well on Friday and play even better than today."
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Old Sep 6th, 2007, 03:10 PM   #30
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Re: Anna articles and interviews

It's an all-Russian semifinal

Fast-rising Anna Chakvetadze will face former Open champion Svetlana Kuznetsova.

NEW YORK -- With the evening-match showdown between Jelena Jankovic and Venus Williams still to come, the semifinal bracket on the other side of the U.S. Open tennis tournament's women's draw was filled today with two Russians.

Fast-rising Anna Chakvetadze, 20, stopped New York favorite Shahar Peer of Israel, 6-4, 6-1, in the first quarterfinal of the day, on the Ashe Stadium court. A little more than an hour later, former champion Svetlana Kuznetsova, 22, reversed Chakvetadze's score and took out Agnes Szavay of Hungary, 6-1, 6-4.

Anna Chakvetadze
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Svetlana Kuznetsova
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The winner of the Jankovic-Venus Williams match will play top-seeded Justine Henin, who beat Serena Williams on Tuesday night in straight sets.

Chakvetadze, who is ranked and seeded sixth and who won this year's tournament at Stanford, had statistics similar to Peer's, but always seemed to produce on the big points.

"I don't have powerful ground strokes," she said, "and I just, you know, fight until the end and try and play smart."

Chakvetadze, always bubbly and upbeat, said she knew that she would be facing a stadium full of people rooting for Peer, who has captured the fancy of many New Yorkers as a player who serves in the Israeli army when she is at home.

"I was a little nervous today because all the crowd was against me," Chakvetadze said. "But I thought to myself, I will die on this court, but I will not lose."

She occasionally works with Robert Lansdorf, the Los Angeles tennis coach who has helped develop so many stars, most recently Maria Sharapova, the defending champion here until she was upset a few days ago. Chakvetadze said she wasn't sure whether Lansdorf would be here for her semifinal Friday, but she spoke highly of him.

"He gives me confidence," she said, "and he's a great guy."

Peer, who entered the tournament ranked No. 18, said she would return to Israel and serve a few more weeks of military service. She is allowed to come and go, and her two-year commitment will be filled out in short spurts away from tennis. She said her service was mostly clerical work, and that everybody in Israel had to serve, so she felt quite normal doing it when she was home.

She said she even had fond memories of her basic training three years ago.

"We were staying 17 girls in a tent and it was a lot different," she said. "But I was like a normal person."

Kuznetsova, the winner here in 2004, won the recent tournament at New Haven and has lost just one set in her five matches here so far.

"I just had so much energy out there today," she said.

The 18-year-old Szavay, playing in the main draw of the U.S. Open for the first time while making a quick rise in the rankings to No. 31, summed up her match with a bit of awe.

"She has everything, like serve, big forehand," she said. "Big, big forehand and backhand also good too. She's tough mentally, so I think she has good chances on this tournament."
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