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STARS

Petra Kvitova beat Victoria Azarenka 7-5 4-6 6-3 to win the TEB BNP Paribas WTA Championships in Istanbul, Turkey

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga beat Juan Martin del Potro 6-7 (5) 6-3 6-4 to win the Erste Bank Open in Vienna, Austria

Marin Cilic beat Janko Tipsarevic 6-3 3-6 6-2 to win the St. Petersburg Open in St. Petersburg, Russia

Kimiko Date-Krumm beat Elena Baltacha 7-6 (3) 6-4 to win the Internationaux Féminins de la Vienne in Poitiers, France

Carlos Moya beat Younes El Aynaoui 6-2 7-6 (6) to win the Chengdu Open in Chengdu, China

Petra Kvitova

DAVIS CUP

Americas Zone Group I relegation round:

Columbia beat Mexico 5-0 at Mexico City, Mexico

SAYING

“When I started this season I didn’t have any goals. I just wanted to improve my game. But first Wimbledon, and now the year-end Championships and getting to number two in the world, it’s just a dream. We both played some of our best here in Istanbul today – it was a final, so why not.” – Petra Kvitova, who won the year-ending singles title in Istanbul, Turkey.

“I gave it my all today. The crowd kept me fighting all the way through – they were amazing today and all week. I have no words to describe it. It’s hard to lose, but I’m glad I lost to such a champion who deserved to win. Petra was amazing today. She really did a great job.” – Victoria Azarenka, after losing to Petra Kvitova in the WTA Championships final.

“It was very special because at the end there was the retirement of Thomas Muster, and Goran Ivanisevic, one of my favorite players, was there. It was a great final and it’s going to stay in my memories.” – Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, after winning in Vienna.

“I’m sad because I lost but it was a good tournament for me. Jo played much better in the important moments and took his opportunities. He’s difficult to play because he’s very fast and has a good forehand.” – Juan Martin del Potro, following his loss to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the title match in Vienna.

“It was a very good match at a high level. I managed to push myself into a higher gear in the last set. I was close in my other finals (this year) and I think I learned a little bit from them. Today, that pushed me, and in the third set I played my best tennis of the season.” – Marin Cilic, after beat Janko Tipsarevic in the St. Petersburg Open final.

“In order to beat Marin you need to play a certain style of game, and for me it was really tough. I gave everything I had in the second set and beginning of the third set. I didn’t manage to make a break and after that, I went completely down.” – Janko Tipsarevic, after losing to Marin Cilic.

“The first part of the season is long forgotten. We’ve worked very hard and have learned a lot about our own character. I think the chemistry now is that we really want to play together, and we’ll do anything to make it work. This is a fantastic moment for us right now.” – Liezel Huber, after teaming with Lisa Raymond to win the WTA Championships doubles.

“Istanbul is an absolutely beautiful city. But I think the highlight was the fact that we were able to pack this place for every session, singles and doubles. The crowds have been phenomenal… I have never played a doubles match in front of that many people – you know, even at a Slam, even in a final. That was awesome. I think that they love their tennis here. They’re proving that.” – Lisa Raymond.

“It feels good to get back in the winners’ circle. We haven’t won a title since Wimbledon. Hopefully it bodes well for the rest of the indoor season and hopefully we continue playing well and build toward London.” – Mike Bryan, who teamed with brother Bob to win the Erste Bank Open doubles.
“We’re pretty healthy physically and mentally, and we’re obviously happy to beat two legends out there today. Whenever you beat Danny and Max, you have to play your best tennis.” – Bob Bryan, who with his brother Mike beat Max Mirnyi and Daniel Nestor in the doubles final.

“It’s a fantastic day for us. We’ve played Alexander and Mikhail about four times in the past 12 months, and all were very close matches, so we knew they would play very well and bring a high level. They’re good tennis players so it was a tough match and we’re happy to get this one.” – Ross Hutchins, who teamed Colin Fleming to win the St. Petersburg Open doubles title.

STRIKE UP THE BAND

Petra Kvitova showed her Wimbledon title wasn’t a fluke. The Czech left-hander captured the TEB BNP Paribas WTA Championships and moved up to number two in the world rankings. Kvitova beat Victoria Azarenka 7-5 4-6 6-3 to become just the third player to make their debut in the season-ending Championships and leave with the title. Serena Williams did it in 2001 and Maria Sharapova three years later. Kvitova was ranked 34th in the world to begin the year, but has won six titles in 2011, tying top-ranked Caroline Wozniacki as the leader. “It’s unbelievable to play here,” Kvitova said of playing in Istanbul, Turkey. “I didn’t expect that I would be sitting here as a champion. It’s really a big step for me.” She also became the third Czech to win the season finale. Jana Novotna was victorious in 1997, while Martina Navratilova won the event in 1978-79 prior to becoming an American citizen. Kvitova earned USD $1.75 million for posting her fourth straight victory over Azarenka. The 22-year-old Azarenka collected USD $775,000 and raised her ranking to third in the world.

STILL ON TOP

Caroline Wozniacki finished the season as the WTA’s top-ranked player for the second straight year. The Dane, who won six tournaments in 2011, held the number one spot for the entire year with the exception of one week when Belgium’s Kim Clijsters took over. Wozniacki is the ninth longest-serving world number one and joins Chris Evert, Martina Navratilova, Steffi Graf, Monica Seles, Lindsay Davenport, Justine Henin and Martina Hingis as the only WTA players to be ranked number one in the world for consecutive seasons. “It’s amazing for me to finish the year as world number one once more,” Wozniacki said. “Only very few players have finished a year as number one, and to do it two years in a row is very special. I’m only in the beginning of my career, and to have achieved so much already, it’s a dream come true.”

Liezel Huber will finish the year ranked world number one in doubles for the fourth time in her career. Through the week of January 2, 2012, Huber will have extended her total number of weeks as doubles number one to at least 164, passing former partner Cara Black to move into second place on the all-time list behind Martina Navratilova’s 237 weeks.

Katarina Srebotnik and Kveta Peschke will conclude the season as the WTA’s number one doubles team. The pair won six doubles titles together this year, including Wimbledon for their first Grand Slam tournament title.

STILL IN THE HUNT

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga moved closer to clinching a berth in the season-ending Barclays ATP World Tour Finals by rallying to win the Erste Bank Open, defeating Juan Martin del Potro 6-7 (5) 6-3 6-4 in the final at Vienna, Austria. With his latest title, Tsonga moves past Mardy Fish to the seventh spot on the points list. The top eight qualify for the ATP World Tour Finals in London next month. It was Frenchman’s first victory over del Potro in four career meetings. It was the 12th ATP final this season that featured the top two seeds, but only the fifth time the number one seed actually won the title.

SEEKING FED CUP TITLE

Petra Kvitova, fresh off her victory in the year-ending WTA Championships, will lead the Czech Republic when it takes on Russia in the 2011 Fed Cup by BNP Paribas World Group Final on November 5-6. The competition will be held at Olympic Stadium in Moscow. Joining Kvitova will be Lucie Safarova, Lucie Hradecka and Kveta Peschke. The Russian team is composed of Vera Zvonareva, Svetlana Kuznetsova, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and Maria Kirilenko.

SWINGING IN BALI

The WTA season will wrap up this week with the Commonwealth Bank Tournament of Champions in Bali, Indonesia. The six who qualified for the season-ending event include Marion Bartoli of France, Sabine Lisicki of Germany, Roberta Vinci of Italy, Daniela Hantuchova of Slovakia, Anabel Medina Garrigues of Spain and Nadia Petrova of Russia. Defending champion Ana Ivanovic of Serbia and China’s Peng Shuai have been awarded wild cards, rounding out the field. Lisicki is also returning to Bali after playing in 2009. Making their T of C debuts are Vinci, Peng and Petrova.

SHANGHAI BOUND

Since she had already been eliminated from the season-ending WTA Championships in Istanbul, Turkey, top-ranked Caroline Wozniacki flew to Shanghai, China, to watch her boyfriend, golfer Rory McIlroy, win the Shanghai Masters. The playoff victory gave McIlroy the biggest payday of his career, a check for USD $2 million.

SAYS HE’S RETURNING

American John Isner will return to defend his title at the Campbell’s Hall of Fame Tennis Championships next year. The tournament will be played July 9-15 on the historic grass courts of International Tennis Hall of Fame in Newport, Rhode Island, USA. “Newport was a great week for me this year and I look forward to playing there again next summer,” said Isner. “It’s a great tournament, good fans and it’s a lot of fun to play in a venue with such an important history as the Hall of Fame.” This year, Isner beat Olivier Rochus of Belgium in the final, capturing the title without dropping a set. Isner is best known for winning an epic record-setting match at Wimbledon in 2010, defeating Frenchman Nicolas Mahut in a contest that last 11 hours, 5 minutes and set numerous records, including 113 aces by the winner.

SENIOR CHAMPION

By winning the Chengdu Open, Carlos Moya took over the top spot in the ATP Champions Tour rankings. The Spaniard defeated Younes El Aynaoui in the final 6-2 7-6 (6). Earlier in the Chengdu, China, tournament, Moya knocked off Pete Sampras and Marat Safin. “It’s obviously a good feeling to be number one,” Moya said. “It’s my first year, so having the chance to be number one is great for me. Just being out there and playing against all these familiar faces is such a great feeling in itself.” Sampras captured third place by besting Thomas Enqvist 6-4 6-4. Safin made his debut on the senior circuit.

SWITCH

Alex Bogomolov Jr. is America’s fourth-highest ranked ATP player. But he wants to play Davis Cup for Russia in February. The 28-year-old Bogomolov Jr. was born in Moscow but his family moved to Mexico when he was 9 years old, and to the United States in 1992. He’s currently is 36th in the ATP world rankings, behind fellow Americans Mardy Fish, Andy Roddick and John Isner. Bogomolov Jr., who has never represented the United States in Davis Cup, is the son of a renowned tennis coach in the former Soviet Union who coached Yevgeny Kafelnikov and Andrei Medvedev, among others. “It was my dream (to play for Russia) and I want to finish my career playing for Russia,” said Bogomolov Jr., who has dual citizenship in the United States and Russia. Austria and Russia meet in the first round of Davis Cup on February 10-12.

SAYONARA – FINALLY

Thomas Muster says he is retiring from the men’s tennis tour. Maybe. The 44-year-old Muster lost in straight sets to a teen-age compatriot at the Erste Bank Open in Vienna, Austria. “I never had a chance to say goodbye,” Muster told the crowd after his match. “This is such a great goodbye. This is definitely my last appearance on the ATP. It was my last match, it was very exciting to end it in Vienna and very emotional. It was such a send-off. I didn’t know whether to cry or play.” The Austrian never officially retired, but merely stopped playing for 11 years. He then made a return in September 2010, playing lower-level Challenger tournaments and winning just two of 25 matches over 14 months. He was the oldest player to compete on the circuit since 43-year-old Jimmy Connors in 1996.

SAFIN THE POLITICIAN

Former tennis star Marat Safin is running for parliament in Russia. “I am an intelligent guy and I have a lot to bring and a lot of ideas about things and what to do,” Safin said. “I am very committed to it.” The former world number one is up for election to the State Duma on December 4 and could join other Russian sports stars, including gold medalist Svetlana Khorkina, in the lower house of parliament. The 31-year-old Safin retired from the men’s tour in 2009 after winning two Grand Slam tournament titles and reaching the world number one ranking in 2000. In the last couple years Safin has been working for the Russian tennis federation and has become a member of the Russian Olympic committee. He also began playing last week on the ATP Champions Tour at the Chengdu Open in Chengdu, China. Safin participated in the primaries in the Nyzhny Novgorod region, and now awaits the December vote to take one of the 450 seats in the Duma. “I could be the best looking guy in the Duma,” Safin joked. “But that’s only because all the other guys are over 60.”

SUPER GIFT

Gaming pioneer Kirk Kerkorian has given a record USD $18 million to support the Andre Agassi College Preparatory Academy for at-risk students in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. Agassi said the donation will “outlive all of us” as the funds guarantee the charter school’s future in perpetuity. “If it wasn’t for Mr. Kerkorian’s kindness to my family long before I ever hit a tennis ball, I wouldn’t be here today,” Agassi told the Las Vegas Review-Journal newspaper. “He hasn’t just helped my family, but millions of people in the state of Nevada. For him to now give a gift that assures a future for Agassi Prep is a luxury I’m not sure I ever imagined.” A spokesman said the 16th annual benefit held at a Las Vegas hotel raised an estimated USD $26.1 million, including Kerkorian’s donation. The star-studded benefit concert is the main fundraiser for Agassi’s foundation. According to its website, the Andre Agassi College Preparatory Academy provides a tuition-free high standard of education through extended school days, small class sizes and advanced technology. The kindergarten through 12th grade school is home to 1,045 students, said Agassi, who added there is a lengthy waiting list. The tennis Hall of Famer said the endowment pays for the school’s mortgage, daily operations and the roughly USD $5,000 per pupil spending beyond annual state funding.

SHOWING OFF STARS

Tennis Channel will continue to show women’s tennis through 2016. The new six-year deal with the WTA keeps at least a dozen Premier-level tournaments on the cable network each season, as well as the season-ending WTA Championships. Tennis Channel has televised WTA tennis since 2004. Under the new agreement, the network will continue to hold US television rights to at least 12 Premier-level tournaments from Australia, Asia, Europe and the Middle East. Besides the TEB BNP Paribas WTA Championships, which is played in Istanbul, Turkey, other events that will televised in 2012 will be played in Brisbane and Sydney, Australia; Paris, France; Dubai, United Arab Emirates; Doha, Qatar; Stuttgart, Germany; Rome, Italy; Madrid, Spain; Brussels, Belgium; Eastbourne, England; Tokyo, Japan; Beijing, China, and Moscow, Russia.


SURPRISE

Viewers in Great Britain will be watching the French Open on ITV instead of the BBC. Under a three-year deal, ITV1 will air the men’s and women’s finals from Roland Garros as well as live coverage of two other matches during the two-week tournament. Digital channel ITV4 and ITV.com will show six hours of play each day as well as a highlight show. “It’s the first time that a Grand Slam has been shown live on ITV and with around six hours of coverage over each day of the tournament we’ll be offering viewers more free-to-air coverage of the tournament than ever before,” said Niall Sloane, ITV’s controller of sport. BBC will continue to broadcast Wimbledon until at least 2017.

SIGNED

Christine Frost has been appointed to the new position of chief development officer at the International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum in Newport, Rhode Island, USA. She will be responsible for developing donor relationships, leading targeted fundraising campaigns, and advancing the organization’s annual fund, planned giving and membership programs. Frost has more than 20 years of experience in fundraising, strategic planning and marketing. For the past 11 years she has been with Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, most recently serving as associate director, regional development.

STAYING ON

Stacey Allaster has had her contract as chairman and CEO of the WTA extended for an additional five years through 2017. The WTA Board of Directors announced the move during its meeting in Istanbul, Turkey. Since becoming head of the WTA in July 2009, Allaster has led women’s tennis to global expansion, record revenue gains, business success, prize money increases and greater broadcast exposure. With the extension, Allaster will become the second-longest serving CEO in the WTA’s history. “Stacey understands players incredibly well, most importantly when it comes to player health and player marketing,” said Venus Williams, chairman of the Player’s Council. “She has worked effectively with players by working in collaboration with us and our tournament partners to advance our collective interests and those of our fans and partners.”

SHARED PERFORMANCE

Istanbul:

Liezel Huber and Lisa Raymond beat Kveta Peschke and Katarina Srebotnik 6-4 6-4

Poitiers:

Alize Cornet and Virginie Razzano beat Maria Kondratieva and Sophie Lefevre 6-3 6-2

St. Petersburg:

Colin Fleming and Ross Hutchins beat Mikhail Elgin and Alexander Kudryavtsev 6-3 6-7 (5) 10-8 (match tiebreak)

Vienna:

Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan beat Max Mirnyi and Daniel Nestor 7-6 (10) 6-3

SURFING

Valencia:


www.valenciaopen500.com/

Basel:


www.swissindoorsbasel.ch/

Bali:


www.commbanktennis.com/

Taipei:


www.taipeiarena.com.tw/

Fed Cup:


www.fedcup.com

Paris:


http://www.fft.fr/bnp-paribas-masters-0

Phoenix:


www.goldwaterwomensclassic.org

Geneva:


http://www.atpgeneva.com/

Ortisei:


http://www.atpvalgardena.it/

TOURNAMENTS THIS WEEK

(All money in USD)

MEN

$1,872,387 Valencia Open 500, Valencia, Spain, hard

$1,690,254 Swiss Indoors Basel, Basel, Switzerland, hard

WOMEN

$600,000 Commonwealth Bank Tournament of Champions, Bali, Indonesia, hard

$100,000 OEC Taipei Ladies Open, Taipei, Taiwan, hard

FED CUP

Championship

Russia vs. Czech Republic at Moscow, Russia, hard

TOURNAMENTS NEXT WEEK

MEN

$3,155,000 BNP Paribas Paris Masters, Paris, France, hard

$90,600 Sparkasse ATP Challenger, Ortisei, Italy, carpet

$90,600 Geneva ATP Challenger, Geneva, Switzerland, hard

$75,000 Copa Topper, Buenos Aires, Argentina, clay

WOMEN

$75,000 Goldwater Women’s Tennis Classic, Phoenix, Arizona, USA



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About Bob Greene
Bob Greene, the esteemed former Associated Press tennis writer, wraps up the week that was in international tennis with his “Monday’s With Bob Greene” column – a revival of his popular weekly feature at the AP.

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