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Pro Tennis Showcase
November 11-12, 2005

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2005 WTA Tour Championships Part 2 of 3
Los Angeles, California - November 11-12, 2005
Photos by Pablo Sanfrancisco and Cliff Kurtzman


All Tennis Server photography is copyrighted by the photographer and/or the Tennis Server, and all rights are reserved. You may not copy these images without permission. While you are welcome to create hyperlinks to Tennis Server web pages, you may not embed these images into other web pages or blogs without permission. To request permission, please use this contact form. Please be sure to clearly indicate exactly which photograph(s) you are requesting permission to use, as terms and conditions will vary depending on the photographer and the photograph.


The End of the Round Robin on Friday

Mary Pierce

Our coverage continues with the final round-robin matches on Friday which were, er... lackluster, with the semifinalists already determined prior to the start of play. Mary Pierce and Amelie Mauresmo started off Friday with a match where the winner (Pierce) would have the draw of playing Davenport in the semi-finals, while the loser (Mauresmo) ended matched up with Sharapova. Neither Pierce nor Mauresmo seemed terribly inclined to invest a lot of energy in the match knowing that it was fairly meaningless, and that they would need their energy for a far more important match today. As Pierce stated in her post match press conference, "The first set for me was kind of weird. I just wasn't really motivated. And it was tough to get going. I was, you know, more or less just kind of having fun. And it was fun to be on center court with Amelie. And we will have a good time. And it doesn't really matter if I win or lose. But it kind of does matter. So I was kind of struggling with that. So that much didn't work for me because I wasn't playing well. So I made a lot of mistakes. So I sat down and had a change over after I lost the first set and said, 'What is goin on here? I don't like this. Win or lose I want to have a good match.' And the crowd was cheering for me. And I kind of felt bad for that too. Then I got into it and was able to start getting focused and raise my intensity level and started playing better and better."


In the second match Friday, Nadia Petrova, previously winless at the Championships, walked all over previously undefeated Maria Sharapova 61 62, who blamed her performance on lack of adequate rest, stating, "It is hard to get going when, you know, your body is just not there. Your mind is on the pillow." The reality is, the match was meaningless, and Sharapova was smart enough to know she was better off conserving her energy for her semi-finals match than in expending it in an effort to defeat Petrova. In the last match Friday, Kim Clijsters defeated Elena Dementieva, giving Dementieva the singular honor of being the only player at the event to go home without a win. At the men's season finale, the Masters Cup, there is a financial incentive for each match win, as well as a significant incentive to complete the tournament undefeated. The WTA Championships would benefit from adopting similar strategies.

Thursday's attendance was 6,111, while Friday's was 8,049, and the semi-finals Saturday were attended by 8,723, so at least the trend of decreasing attendance earlier in the week was reversed.

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The Semi-Finals on Saturday

The semi-finals on Saturday brought stellar tennis. Mary Pierce and Lindsay Davenport played an incredible two set match, with Pierce edging out Davenport 76 76. A net cord at 5-6 in the first set tiebreaker gave Mary Pierce the first set tiebreaker. Then Pierce edged out the second set tiebreaker at 8-6, with no unforced errors by either player in the tiebreaker. Both players won one break in the first set, and there were no breaks in the second. Pierce's statistics were phenomenal.... 70% of her first serves went in, she won 82% of her first serve points, and she had 40 winners with only 10 unforced errors. When you play percentage tennis the way Mary did, it is hard to lose. Davenport played well herself, with 49 winners and only 24 unforced errors, and winning 85% of her 13 net approaches. Any other day, it would probably have been good enough for a win, but not with the way Pierce was playing today. "What got me through it?" Pierce said in her post-match press conference, "A lot of prayers I guess. I don't know. Just yeah, really just fighting every point and not giving up. And that was pretty much it. Really."

Davenport ends her season with a world number one ranking but in a year where she failed to achieve either a Grand Slam win or a win at the Tour Championships.

In the Sharapova and Mauresmo semi-final, Sharapova started out strong, going to a 5-2 early lead, but then her play deteriorated into a steady stream of errors, allowing Mauresmo to get back into the set and take it into a tiebreaker. Sharapova barely showed up for the tiebreak, losing it 7-1 on a double fault. With a slow start in the second set, Mauresmo went out to a 5-1 lead on solid play coupled with Sharapova's errors. Then Sharapova found her mojo with some incredible shots as all appeared lost, and she worked her way back through one break to 5-3 before Mauresmo finally closed it out at 6-3. The match statistics told the story... 20 winners for Sharapova compared to 13 for Mauresmo, but with 39 errors for Sharapova against Mauresmo's 17.

Victories by Pierce and Mauresmo in Saturday's semifinals means that Sunday will bring the first French winner in history of the WTA Tour Championships.

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The Matches in Pictures

Below is photography of all three matches from Friday and the two Saturday singles semi-final matches. Most of the photography is by Pablo Sanfrancisco, with a few photographs by Cliff Kurtzman included as well.

Friday, November 11, 2005

(5) Mary Pierce (FRA) d. (4) Amelie Mauresmo (FRA) 26 64 64

Tennis - Mary Pierce

Tennis - Amelie Mauresmo

Tennis - Amelie Mauresmo

Tennis - Amelie Mauresmo

Tennis - Mary Pierce

Friday, November 11, 2005

(7) Nadia Petrova (RUS) d. (3) Maria Sharapova (RUS) 61 62

Tennis - Maria Sharapova

Tennis - Maria Sharapova

Tennis - Maria Sharapova

Tennis - Nadia Petrova

Tennis - Nadia Petrova

Tennis - Maria Sharapova

Tennis - Maria Sharapova

Tennis - Maria Sharapova

Tennis - Nadia Petrova

Friday, November 11, 2005

(2) Kim Clijsters (BEL) d. (8) Elena Dementieva (RUS) 62 63

Tennis - Kim Clijsters

Tennis - Kim Clijsters

Tennis - Kim Clijsters

Tennis - Elena Dementieva

Tennis - Elena Dementieva

Saturday, November 12, 2005

(5) Mary Pierce (FRA) d. (1) Lindsay Davenport (USA) 76(5) 76(6)

Tennis - Lindsay Davenport

Tennis - Mary Pierce

Tennis - Mary Pierce

Tennis - Mary Pierce

Tennis - Lindsay Davenport

Tennis - Lindsay Davenport

Tennis - Mary Pierce

Tennis - Lindsay Davenport

Tennis - Mary Pierce

Saturday, November 12, 2005

(4) Amelie Mauresmo (FRA) d. (3) Maria Sharapova (RUS) 76(1) 63

Tennis - Amelie Mauresmo

Tennis - Maria Sharapova

Tennis - Amelie Mauresmo

Tennis - Maria Sharapova

Tennis - Amelie Mauresmo

Tennis - Maria Sharapova

Tennis - Maria Sharapova

Tennis - Maria Sharapova

Tennis - Maria Sharapova

Tennis - Maria Sharapova - Amelie Mauresmo

Tennis - Amelie Mauresmo

Tennis - Maria Sharapova

Tennis - Amelie Mauresmo

To Part 1: November 8-10 Round Robin

To Part 3: November 13 Singles Finals and November 12-13 Doubles Semi-Finals and Finals

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