Dabrowski, Indian Wells among early WTA Awards

The WTA Tour’s annual player awards, voted on by the media, will be announced on Wednesday.

But Monday, the tour announced the awards that are voted on by the players themselves.  Click here to see the full roundup on the WTA Tour’s website.

And the players voted for Canada’s Gabriela Dabrowski for the Peachy Kellmeyer Player Service Award.

It recognizes “the work she has done to support her fellow players as well as the wider initiatives on behalf of the WTA.”

Chris Evert, Francesca Schiavone and Venus Williams are among the illustrious roster of previous winners.

Dabrowski, who spent last week at the Necker Island tennis event along with fellow Canadians Vasek Pospisil, Carol Zhao and Daniel Nestor, was elected to the WTA Tour Player Council this year. 

Call it the “Petra Award”

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Also in Monday’s announcement was the Karen Krantzcke Sportsmanship Award.

They might as well just start calling it the “Petra Award”.

Petra Kvitova has won it for the seventh straight year – and eighth time overall.

The Czech lefty is in major company. Previous winners are a literal who’s who of good citizens: Kim Clijsters, Elena Dementieva, Ana Ivanovic and Lindsay Davenport among them. 

Coach of the year to Oz’s Tyzzer

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Craig Tyzzer, the coach who helped Ashleigh Barty win her first Grand Slam title and reach the No. 1 ranking, received the second annual “Coach of the Year” award.

That award is voted on by members of the WTA Coach Program. Former Naomi Osaka coach Sascha Bajin won the first incarnation of the award in 2018.

Tyzzer has been working with Barty for four years.

The award recognizes Tyzzer “for success on the court, but also for serving as an ambassador of the sport and bringing coaching to the forefront of the game.”

Tournaments of the year

The “Tournament of the Year” awards are broken down by category. And it’s no surprise that the events that provide the sweetest goodies and amenities are usually the winners.

And in the Premier Mandatory category, the winner is the BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells for the sixth straight year.

The desert event has won the award every year, since the WTA divided up the awards into tournament categories in 2014.  

The Dubai Duty Free championships prevailed in the Premier 5 category.

Stuttgart (for the 10th time) and St. Petersburg were tied at the Premier level.

Finally, there also was a tiei n the International category. Acapulco, and the Auckland tournament that starts the season, both were recognized.

No. 1 Ashleigh Barty “just chipping away” (video)

TORONTO – The WTA’s No. 1 is a French Open champion.

But Ashleigh Barty said Sunday that her day-to-day life hasn’t changed at all. 

The work is the same. The mindset is the game. It’s just that the goals have been adjusted upwards a little bit.

The No. 1 ranking is in play again at this Rogers Cup, where the main draw begins Monday with notable former No. 1s Maria Sharapova, Angelique Kerber and Caroline Wozniacki scheduled to play.

For Barty, Monday will mark the seventh straight week she holds the top spot. She began the season at No. 15. And then she went from No. 8 to No. 2 after winning in Paris. After holding that spot for two weeks, she hit the top.

But per the WTA Tour website, there are two others who have a shot.

Naomi Osaka needs to go one round further than Barty to pass her. But Karolina Pliskova, who is in the same half as Barty, can muddy the waters. The Czech has to reach at least the semifinals. But even if she does, she would have to win the title if either Osaka or Barty reaches the semis.

On paper, if both Pliskova and Barty reach the semis, they would play each other in what could be a pretty fascinating showdown.

Three-time Toronto champ Serena in the house

 

WTA Ranking Report – June 24, 2019

With her win at Birmingham Sunday, 23-year-old Aussie Ashleigh Barty becomes the No. 1 player on the WTA Tour.

It’s an epic rise – not because of her talent, which has always been undeniable – but because it seemed to occur out of the blue.

Not many players go from winning at the French Open, head straight to the grass, and win again.

But Barty did it. She jumped into the top 10 after winning in Miami, and leaped to No. 2 after winning in Paris.

With the win in Birmingham, she took the final step to the top.

And in so doing, there’s no doubt she’s a big favorite for Wimbledon not only because of her current form, but because of her game.

Barty reached the third round at Wimbledon a year ago, losing to Daria Kasatkina (whose career, in 2019, has gone completely in the opposite direction after she hit the top 10 in 2018).

The Aussie has played on the final weekend at Wimbledon before. Back in 2013, she reached the doubles final (as well as the French and US Open doubles finals) with countrywoman Casey Dellacqua.

ON THE UPSWING

Ashleigh Barty (AUS): No. 2 =============> No. 1

Sofia Kenin (USA): No. 30 =============> No. 28 (This tough competitor wins in Mallorca, overcoming her last three opponents in three sets, and reaches a career high).

Jelena Ostapenko (LAT): No. 37=============> No. 35 (The Latvian won a couple of matches in Mallorca, but she has a long way to go).

Yulia Putintseva (KAZ): No. 43=============> No. 39 (Her second-round win over her in Birmingham helped knock Osaka out of the No. 1 spot).

Australia's Ashleigh Barty, left, shakes hands with Venus Williams of the U.S after beating her during day seven of the Nature Valley Classic at Edgbaston Priory Club, Birmingham, England, Friday, June 21, 2019. (Nigel French/PA via AP)

Venus Williams (USA): No. 55 =============> No. 44 (She turned 39 during Birmingham, at which she received a wild card and lost to eventual champion Ashleigh Barty in the quarterfinals).

Maria Sharapova (RUS): No. 85 =============> No. 80 (The Russian finally returned last week in Mallorca, and won a match. She’ll play an exhibition match at Hurlingham before Wimbledon).

Kristyna Pliskova (CZE): No. 112 =============> No. 95 (A win over her twin in their first professional meeting helps the lefty get back into the top 100).

Monica Niculescu (ROU): No. 142 =============> No. 113 (Niculescu, who had been out a few months with injury, wins the Ilkley ITF and with it, a wild card for the Wimbledon main draw. Four of her five matches went three sets).

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Sharapova returned for the first time in nearly five months in Mallorca, but lost in the second round to Angelique Kerber.

Barbora Krejcikova (CZE): No. 138 =============> No. 118 (Known mostly for her doubles success with Katerina Siniakova, the 23-year-old Czech has been winning at the ITF level in singles. She’s at a career high after winning a $60K event in Stare Splavy over Denisa Allertova in the final and stands at No. 6 in the doubles rankings).

Timea Babos (HUN): No. 139 =============> No. 124 (The French Open doubles champion with Kristina Mladenovic gets to the Ilkley final – with a Wimbledon main draw WC on the line – but falls in three to Niculescu. She had to get to London in a hurry to play the qualifying on Tuesday).

ON THE DOWNSWING

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Becoming a “huge deal” has been a challenge for Naomi Osaka in 2019. She lost the top spot in the rankings to Ashleigh Barty after Birmingham.

Naomi Osaka (JPN): No. 1 =============> No. 2 (After being No. 1 every single week since winning the Australian Open – despite a few close challenges from other top players that didn’t pan out – the Japanese star drops to No. 2 after Barty won Birmingham. Osaka lost in desultory fashion to Yulia Putintseva in the second round).

Camila Giorgi (ITA): No. 39 =============> No. 41 (She’s back for Eastbourne, but the Italian has played very little the last few months).

Mihaela Buzarnescu (ROU): No. 42=============> No. 47

Alison Riske (USA): No. 49 =============> No. 54

Tatjana Maria (GER): No. 54=============> No. 65

Eugenie Bouchard (CAN): No. 78 =============> No. 79

Taylor Townsend (USA): No. 109 =============> No. 120

Samantha Stosur (AUS): No. 115 =============> No. 132 (The 35-year-old qualified at Eastbourne, and will be looking to improve that ranking significantly).

Magdalena Rybarikova (SVK): No. 84 =============> No. 141 (The graceful 30-year-old Slovak, a Wimbledon semifinalist two years ago, reached the final at Surbiton to start the grass season but has won just one match since. A year ago, she reached the Birmingham final, beating Karolina Pliskova, Kristina Mladenovic and Barbora Strycova but losing to Petra Kvitova in the final).

Dalila Jakupovic (SLO): No. 120 =============> No. 143

Johanna Larsson (SWE): No. 147 =============> No. 165 (On the plus side, she and Kirsten Flipkens won the doubles in Mallorca. On the minus side, the Swede has played the main draw at Wimbledon eight times in singles and has never won a match. In two previous tries in the qualifying, she won one match. So Larsson will be there, but probably doesn’t have huge expectations).

(For the complete WTA picture, click here).