Previewing the WTA Championships and JJ’s return

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October 21, 2013 by Parveer Mann

For the final WTA Championships held in Istanbul, the field seems awfully familiar. With seven of the eight women returning from the 2012 edition, the WTA seems to have moved toward stability at the top of its game. It is in quite contrast to only a few years ago when the WTA was supposedly overtaken with out of nowhere Grand Slam winners and world number ones who were less than accomplished.

Those players who took control of the game in 2008 often were unfairly criticized for inconsistency and achieving their best results against lackluster talent. The pressure and criticism saw many of them fade into the background so it is refreshing to see one of those players, Jelena Jankovic make her return to elite company after a multi-year absence.

Jelena’s Back

Jelena Jankovic makes her 5th WTA Championships appearance. First since 2010. (Image available on wtatennis.com)

Jelena Jankovic makes her 5th WTA Championships appearance. First since 2010. (Image available on wtatennis.com)

After finishing last year ranked 22nd, it seemed like Jankovic’s time as a top-10 player was over. Her counter-punching style relying on relentless court coverage and mental attrition was letting her down. When I saw her in Toronto this year, she was actually better in doubles (winning the title) and spoke about how she might put some more work into that part of her game.

Luckily, those plans seem to be on hold after her summer and fall charge back to relevance. Her performances in Cincinnati, New York and Beijing were perfect examples of how her irritating style can make her so difficult to beat. Add in her prickly but entertaining personality and having Jelena in Istanbul will add enough variety to keep me interested in this edition of the WTA Championships.

Previewing the WTA Championships

Red Group

[1] Serena Williams

[3] Agnieszka Radwanska

[5] Petra Kvitova

[8] Angelique Kerber

The most interesting player in this group will be Petra Kvitova who had a great September but has missed all of October. Kvitova

White Group

[2] Victoria Azarenka

[4] Li Na

[6] Sara Errani

[7] Jelena Jankovic

I think this group will end up being a three player race (apologies to Sara Errani) and each player will have extra motivation to finish first in order to avoid a crossover match against Serena. Despite Azarenka’s horrid results post-US Open, you have to like her matchup against any of the other three. For the second spot, I’ll narrowly go with Li Na who has a 5 to 4 career edge against Jelena.

Semifinals

[5] Petra Kvitova over [2] Victoria Azarenka

[1] Serena Williams over [4] Li Na

Finals

[1] Serena Williams over [5] Petra Kvitova

No surprise here. I think Serena wins her 11th title and shows us all that there is a chasm between her and the rest of the Top 7.

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One thought on “Previewing the WTA Championships and JJ’s return

  1. bobo says:

    Jelena is my fav tennis player. i love her

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