WTA Year end championships kick off in Turkey

World #1 Victoria Azarenka leads the pack into the WTA year end championships in Istanbul, Turkey

The WTA year end championships begins today in Istanbul, Turkey, with the top 8 players competing in a round robin format.  There are two groups (Red and White) of four players each, with the top two from each group moving into the semifinals.  The Red Group is loaded up with world #1 Victoria Azarenka, red hot Serena Williams, Angelique Kerber (the tour’s leader in match wins this year), and Na Li.  In the White Group, Maria Sharapova headlines with Agnieszka Radwanska, Petra Kvitova and Sara Errani.

In other news…

Venus Williams won her first WTA title this past weekend since the beginning of 2010.

-Venus Williams won her first title since February of 2010, defeating Monica Niculescu in the Luxembourg final 6-2 6-3 this past weekend.  It’s her 44th career title, the second-most among active players behind only her sister Serena.

-Caroline Wozniacki won her 20th career title at the Kremlin Cup last week, defeating Samantha Stosur in a riveting final, 6-2 4-6 7-5.  Caroline built up a 6-2 4-3 lead, but the Aussie came storming back, winning five straight games, winning the second set and taking an early lead in the 3rd.  ‘Woz hung tough and battled back to take the deciding third set.

 

Caroline Wozniacki won her 2nd title of 2012 at the Kremlin Cup.

 

 

Stay tuned this week as the world’s best battle it out in Turkey for the year end championships!  Thanks for reading!

 

 

-AG

Surging Slovenian into the top 50!

Juan Martin del Potro took down Greg Zemlja in the Vienna finals this week.

The biggest jump in the ATP top 50 rankings this week was 26-year-old Grega Zemlja. After making the finals at last week’s ATP event in Vienna, Austria, the surging Slovenian has vaulted himself 23 spots in the rankings to a career high ranking of #50. Grega had the best tournament of his career, gaining wins over Xavier Malisse, Tommy Haas and Janko Tipsarevic before losing in the finals to Juan Martin Del Potro.

However, even though this might be the first time you’ve heard of him, Zemlja’s recent success hasn’t come from out of the blue. His final’s appearance in Vienna has been a manifestation of the career year he’s been having in 2012. Going into the US Open, Grega won 10 of 11 matches and two ATP Challenger events (the equivalent of the “minor leagues” of the ATP). He followed that up by winning 5 matches at the US Open (three in the qualifying and two in the main draw), firmly placing him in the top 100 for the first time in his career. A little over a month later, he won 6 matches, two over players in the top 20, and has gotten himself into the top 50. Let’s keep an eye on the surging Slovenian in the weeks to come!

In other news…

Novak Djokovic stays hot, winning the Shanghai ATP Masters 1000 event.

-Novak Djokovic saved 5 match points in the Shanghai Masters 1000 final against rival Andy Murray and won his 5th title of the year. Don’t look now, but Novak has only lost two matches since the Olympics and has a firm lead over Roger Federer to end the year as the world’s top ranked player for the second year in a row.

-Tomas Berdych has continued his strong play, winning the title in Stockholm last week over fellow top-10er Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. That’s the second time in as many weeks that the lanky Czech has beaten Tsonga, putting him in a great position to qualify for the year end championship in London in which the top 8 ranked players compete.

Tomas Berdych has had an excellent second half of 2012.

 

-Andreas Seppi won his second title of the year, taking the Kremlin Cup over Brazilian Thomaz Bellucci. The 28-year-old Italian has now won a title on every surface (hard, clay, and grass), and reaches a career high ranking this week of #22.

-This week, the ATP has two stops in Valencia, Spain and Basel, Switzerland before heading to Paris for the final Masters 1000 event of the year. Most of the top 20 will be in action jostling for the final positions in the ATP World Tour Finals in London in two weeks. With world #4 Rafael Nadal out, there are four spots up for grabs (with Djokovic, Murray, Federer, and Ferrer already in). Look for the action to heat up as the season comes to an end!

Thanks for reading!

AG

Get Your Head in the Game

Have you ever had a bad hair day? Have you ever had a bad hair day playing tennis? I happen to have a lot of hair on my head and playing tennis with it isn’t always easy. It gets in my face and eyes, sticks to the back of my neck when I sweat and never seems to stay put. I also play in both outdoors and indoors so sun/wind or having a roof above my head are all additional factors I have to deal with. I have tried pretty much every trick in the book to solve my hair dilemma, and luckily I have options.

Hats

Hats

A hat is the most basic head gear I can think of. Tennis Warehouse has a large selection of hats in a variety of colors and styles (check them out here). Hats are perfect for people who want full coverage from the sun and to keep the sun out of their eyes (unless you wear it backward as a fashion statement). I personally like it for two reasons: It keeps all my hair out of my face and hides my hair if it’s a little dirty. You can choose from your traditional cotton (60% cotton, 40% polyester) hat, like the Lacoste Trucker Hat that is more on the casual side, or you can choose a performance hat that is lighter and made from polyester, like the Nike Featherlight Hat.  A bonus is that there is specific fit for women.

Visors

Visors

A perfect alternative to the hat, the visor not as bulky as a hat and personally I like the fit better. Another plus is that I am able to put the height of my ponytail at any position (whereas the hat has limited positioning). It has many of the same perks as the hat, including keeping the sun out of your eyes and hair out of your face. Most visors are made of polyester. We have a wide selection of colors and styles at TW that are gender specific (check them out here). The visor (especially the adidas Women’s adizero Visor Super Cyan) is my go-to head gear for match play.

Headbands

Headbands

Some call the headband retro, some call it a staple. Nevertheless, our TW playtesters are known to break it out on some hot days (Spencer is the biggest fan!). The variety of colors and widths can please any tennis player.   found the headband the most helpful when playing indoors and trying to keep the sweat out my face without wearing my hat. Check out TW’s selection here!

Tie Headbands/ Bandanas

Tie Headbands/Bandanas

Players like Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer on the men’s side and Victoria Azarenka and Serena Williams on the women’s side have made this a popular option in the past year. It is similar to the headband except it is adjustable and thinner.  My top choice comes from Nike in the Fall Tennis Swoosh Bandana in volt for men and the Nike Dri-Fit Head Tie in blue glow/volt for women.

Hairbands

Hairbands

The lightest, most basic tool to keep the hair out of your eyes, the hairband is thin and keeps your hair in place. Two of my favorites here at TW are the Nike Sport Hairband 6-Pack and the Under Armour Sport Hairband 6-Pack.  Each 6-Pack comes in a variety of colors to match any outfit. I am a big fan of these both on and off the court.

Whether it is for function or style, head gear always makes an appearance on the court. What is your head gear of choice while playing?

Ad Out,

Brittany