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A Tale Of Two Frenchmen: Tsonga In... Monfils Out

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Black Tennis Pro's Jo-Wilfried Tsonga Sony Ericsson OpenJo-Wilfried Tsonga, France


Both Gael Monfils and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of France have become very captivating players on the ATP Tour. Knowing that they have an upcoming match always gives me great anticipation to see the power and flair that I know each of them will bring.

Today was a split decision on all fronts.

Up first, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga's opponent was one of his very own, Frenchman Gilles Simon. Tsonga seemed to be a bit rocky at first. It is my understanding that he felt ill before the match. I thought he looked a bit ill during the changeovers in yesterday's match. Whatever the matter, after dropping the first set, Tsonga was able to pull himself together sufficiently to take the next two sets and defeat Simon 6-7(4-7), 6-3, 6-2.

Now in the quarterfinals, something no other Frenchman has done in Miami in the last ten years, Tsonga will face Serbian Novak Djokovic. Tsonga has had Djokovic's number over their last several meetings, we'll see if the trend continues.


Black Tennis Pro's Gael Monfils Sony Ericsson OpenGael Monfils, USA


Up next, Gael Monfils and American Andy Roddick. I am still so traumatized that it's difficult to speak on the match.

Monfils beautifully broke Andy Roddick at 5-5 in the first set to go up 6-5. He previously held serve relatively comfortably for every other game, but what does he do after breaking Roddick? He drops serve, gets into a tiebreak and forgets how to play tennis.

The balance of the match was an uphill battle for Monfils. A battle he lost to Roddick 7-6(2), 6-4.

I have a headache.



Photos by Getty Images

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The Power of Venus And Serena Sends Opponents Packing

Monday, March 30, 2009

Black Tennis Pro's Serena Williams Sony Ericsson OpenSerena Williams, USA


Don't tell me Serena doesn't take her tennis career seriously!

Three successive days of play may place wear and tear on the body, but not on the iron will of Americans Venus and Serena Williams. The sisters walked away winners on Monday, as well as quarterfinalists at the Sony Ericsson Open in Miami.

Up first was Venus against Poland's Agnieszka Radwanska, the two battled it out for over two hours. Radwanska was able to take advantage of Venus getting a slow start and took the first set. As she has done time and time again, Venus pulled it together and took the next two sets, defeating Radwanska 4-6, 6-1, 6-4.

Post match Venus said, "Every now and then everybody has those kinds of matches. I was hitting really well in the practice. Came out, and things weren't going the way I imagined they would, but that's tennis.

"I just had a lot of errors. Seemed like when I had the winner it became an error. On days like that, you just kind of have to let the errors go behind you and still continue to play aggressively and not pull back. Fortunately I've had experiences like that before, and thankfully I know how to get through it."

Venus will next face Iveta Benesova of the Czech Republic.


Black Tennis Pro's Venus Williams Sony Ericsson Open

Venus Williams, USA

Serena hit the courts against an opponent that usually gives her a bit of trouble, China's Zheng Zie. As usual, the combination did not disappoint. Serena took a quick lead over Zie to reach 5-0 in the first set. However, very soon after Serena made some costly errors and Zie was level at 5-5 causing Serena all kinds of frustration.

After Serena eventually took the the first set, Zie was able to come back and secure the second. The drama-filled hard shot making match was eventually won in the third set by Serena. She defeated Zie 7-5, 5-7, 6-3.

Post match Serena said, "I don't think I played great. I thought she played probably her best tennis yet. I think I started out great and then maybe my focus lost. Next thing I know, I was in a 5-5 in the first set, which should have never been. Just happy to get through it."

Serena also talked about her current World No. 1 status. "Most of all I enjoy winning slams and the big tournaments. I obviously do enjoy being No. 1. I think it's great. I think it's the epitome of a great athlete. At the end of the day, I've been No. 1 and I'll be No. 1. It seems like I'll be remembered more for how many Grand Slams I'll win. But No. 1 I think is also equally as important."



Photos by Getty Images




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Monfils And Safin Take It To The Limit!

Black Tennis Pro's Gael Monfils Sony Ericsson OpenGael Monfils, France

On Sunday Frenchman Gael Monfils and Russian Marat Safin played the best match of the Sony Ericsson Open thus far hands down. Okay, of all the matches I've seen - which has been most.

Monfils and Safin took fans through damn near every emotion possible - joy, pain, anger, elation, anticipation, and on and on and on. I was so glad when it was over, I couldn't take any more.

To achieve the victory Monfils rallied from 2-5 down in the third set, and saved two match points on his way to a win that concluded the only way that it could have... in a tiebreak. Fortunately for Monfils and very unfortunately for Safin, Safin's serve went way south during the tiebreak.

After nearly three hours Monfils defeated Safin 5-7, 7-5, 7-6(3).

Of his performance, Monfils said, “It wasn't a good match for me today, I played very badly. I mean, I just survived. I never give up on the court. I had luck because he missed two shots on his match point, but purely tennistically [sic] it was very empty today. Nothing. Maybe I have a good serve sometime.”

And you drove those of us watching nuts!! But congratulation nonetheless.

Next up for Monfils is American Andy Roddick in the round of 16.


Black Tennis Pro's Marat Safin Sony Ericsson OpenMarat Safin, Russia



Photos by Getty Images




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Blake! Blake? Blake...

Black Tennis Pro's James Blake Sony Ericsson OpenJames Blake, USA


American James Blake played a very competitive match and hit some of his usual amazing shots against Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic at the Sony Ericsson Open on Sunday, but it wasn't enough.

At the end of the impressive shot-making contest, Tomas Berdych walked away with the win defeating Blake 6-4, 6-7(3), 6-3.

I have other thoughts on the matter, but the picture says it all.


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Venus, Serena And Tsonga Prevail

Black Tennis Pro's Venus Williams Sony Ericsson OpenVenus Williams, USA

Sunday was neither a day of rest or salvation for top players Dinara Safina, Ana Ivanovic, Vera Zvonareva or Nadia Petrova. Each player was knocked out in the third round of the Sony Ericsson Open.

Americans Venus and Serena Williams did not fall victim to the Sunday blues of the other ladies. Both Venus and Serena displayed convincing wins as they moved into the round of 16.

German Anna-Lena Groenefeld fell in straight sets to Venus 7-5, 6-3, and China's Shuai Peng did likewise to Serena 7-5, 6-2.

Black Tennis Pro's Serena Williams Sony Ericsson OpenSerena Williams, USA

Up next for Venus is Poland's Agnieszka Radwanska and Serena will play China's Jie Zheng.



Black Tennis Pro's Jo-Wilfried Tsonga Sony Ericsson OpenJo-Wilfried Tsonga, France


In a fairly routine victory, Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga knocked out American qualifier Robert Kendrick 7-5, 6-4.

Tsonga will confront fellow Frenchman Gilles Simon in the round of 16.


Photos by Getty Images

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For The Healthy Lifestyle Conscious Little Ones... New Jammies

Saturday, March 28, 2009

A Healthy Lifestyle And Love For Sports Begins With Baby Pajamas


~New Jammies Introduces Organic Clothing Designs with a Companion Bedtime Storybook that Inspires Little Athletes to Get Out and Play~




NEW YORK- - Today, as national attention on unhealthy childhood habits grows, New Jammies introduces a playful and sporty spring collection of certified organic pajamas that promote healthy living through teaching children about the importance of exercise.

New Jammies founder Nicole Weinberger is making a name for herself and her business in the childrenswear industry by creating signature designs that offer much more than simply being adorable and comfortable clothing that is also environmentally responsible.

The new collection of New Jammies infant and children’s pajamas, playtime rompers, and “onesie’s” are decorated in one of four whimsical sports-themed patterns featuring: soccer balls, tennis balls and rackets, swimmers and waves, and golf balls and golf clubs. Beyond the concept that children will associate these sports images with a healthy lifestyle, there is a powerful story behind the fabrics themselves.

Each garment comes with an educational book, authored and illustrated by Weinberger, introducing babies and children to sports through colorful pictures, stories, and fairytales. The book Tales From New Jammie-Land: Tale 2: I Dream of Sports features P.J. the rabbit who explores various sports that children play. The cartoon-like character and illustrations capture the attention of little ones and familiarize them with many different sports and types of exercise.

The book expands on the first Tales From New Jammie-Land Tale 1: The Best Fruit of All that explored healthy eating through colorful fruit and vegetable designs.

“Parents all over the country have commented about their children’s positive response to the colorful fruit and veggie jammies and matching books. Young children just learning to speak could point at shapes on their jammies, and in the books, and recognize them as one of the foods they loved eating (especially the bananas and blueberries!). As I heard these stories from parents, I thought if children could identify these images as tasty, fun foods, then perhaps they could also recognize these sports activities as being fun” said Weinberger.

New Jammies also recently released nature patterns and a special, fun holiday pattern with timeless images from the game of “jacks.” The “jacks” prints come in snug-fit, long sleeve shirt and pant sets.

New Jammies products are available in select U.S. boutiques across the country and online, in sizes newborn to age 6 and are designed and manufactured in compliance with all consumer safety products regulations.

More information can be found at www.newjammies.com


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The Sisters Williams Roll Into Round 3 In Miami

Black Tennis Pro's Venus and Serena  Williams Sony Ericsson OpenVenus and Serena Williams

American sisters Venus and Serena Williams opened their bid for the Sony Ericsson Open title with victories over Israeli Shahar Peer and American Alexa Glatch.

Serena is currently tied with German Steffi Graff as a five-time title holder of the Sony Ericsson Open tournament. Should she defend her title, she would set a record at six.

As expected, Serena's match with Glatch posed little difficulty. In just over an hour she took the match 6-2, 6-3.

“I think Alexa played well today. I thought she had a really good game to watch, a really different game. You don't see that type of tennis being played too much, since a few years, or several years. I think she has a really good game. She's really young, so she has a bright future.

“I think I played okay. I definitely think I could have played better. But just a little jitters going out there, the first round no one wants to go out.”

Later on big sister Venus hit the courts and had to work a bit before she got into her stride, Peer initially went up 3-0.

Post match Venus said, "At that point I'm thinking I've got to get started. It was only one break, and I haven't played in almost four weeks, so just a little bit of a slow start. But I always felt confident."

Venus and Serena are on opposite sides of the draw, but in the same half, which sets up the possibility of them meeting in the semifinals.

Of that potential meeting Venus said, "she's obviously a great player and if I can beat her, then that means I'm on top of the game, so I hope we can meet in the semifinals."


Photos by Getty Images


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Monfils, Tsonga And Blake On The Money In Miami

Black Tennis Pro's Gael Monfils Sony Ericsson OpenFrenchman Gael Monfils


The always heavily gunned Frenchman Gael Monfils pulled out a well contested match against American qualifier Michael Russell at the Sony Ericsson Open on Friday. Monfils rode nine aces, along with six double faults, to a 6-2, 6-7 (5-7), 6-3 victory.

Fellow Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga made quick work of his opponent Argentine Agustin Calleri. In just under an hour Tsonga defeated Calleri 6-1, 6-1.

Keeping the numbers even in just over an hour, American James Blake defeated Frenchman Julien Benneteau 6-4, 6-4.

The three gentlemen advanced to the third round where Monfils will face Russian Marat Safin, Tsonga will oppose American Robert Kendrick and Blake's opponent will be Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic.

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Serena Williams Wins WTA Player Of The Year Award

Thursday, March 26, 2009

MIAMI (Reuters) - World number one Serena Williams has won her second WTA Player of the Year award, the tour announced on Thursday at a ceremony.

Williams, who did not attend the event, won the U.S. Open last year and reached the Wimbledon final. She also claimed a gold medal with sister Venus in the doubles at the Beijing Olympics.

In her career, the American has claimed ten grand slam titles and she was also the WTA Player of the Year in 2002.

"Winning the Player of the Year award for the second time in my career is a great personal achievement," Williams said in a statement released by the WTA.

Cara Black of Zimbabwe and Liezel Huber of South Africa won the doubles Team of the Year award.

Russia's Dinara Safina was Most Improved Player of the Year after finishing the season ranked second while China's Zheng Jie was awarded Comeback Player of the Year, after returning from injury to climb over 100 places in the rankings.

Denmark's Caroline Wozniacki was Newcomer of the Year after picking up three wins on tour while Serbian Ana Ivanovic was named Humanitarian of the Year for her work with the United Nations Children's Fund.


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Interesting... Larry Scott Began Consideration To Leave WTA When Proposal For Tour Merger Rejected


KEY BISCAYNE, Fla. (AP)—Outgoing WTA Tour chief Larry Scott says he began thinking about leaving tennis when his proposal for a merger with the men’s tour was rejected last year.

Scott will become Pac-10 Conference commissioner this summer after six years as chairman and chief executive officer of the WTA Tour.

Long an advocate for merging the women’s tour with the men, Scott met with the ATP board of directors in December to discuss his plan.

“For a variety of reasons it wasn’t accepted,” he said Wednesday. “It’s clear that tennis, for whatever reasons, isn’t ready for that vision to be realized.

“And then I realized, you know, I’ve done most of the major things that I could want to do. And if this coming together of the men’s and women’s tours is impossible right now, maybe it is a time to think about what else I could do that could be gratifying.”

Scott’s departure on July 1 was announced Tuesday. With three small children, he said the amount of travel was another reason for his decision.

“This Pac-10 opportunity really affords me the opportunity to sort of put away my passport for a little while,” he said.

Several top players said they were sorry to see Scott leave, and they praised his leadership in the growth of the sport. The women’s tour says revenue has increased 250 percent under Scott.

“We’re all sad,” Venus Williams said. “He had a special vision and the personality and character and talents and abilities to carry it out. It takes someone special like him.”

Scott said his greatest achievement was equal prize money for men and women at the sport’s 10 biggest events, including the four Grand Slam tournaments. He said he leaves the women’s tour in good shape financially despite the recession.

“All our major revenue contracts are long-term agreements that aren’t coming up soon,” he said. “We haven’t lost any tournaments or title sponsors. I think women’s tennis is holding its own extremely well compared to other sports.”

Speaking at the Sony Ericsson Open, Scott said he favors a merger of the tours because he believes both are hurt by differences in rules, branding and sponsorship.

“The easier we make it for fans to follow tennis and understand, the more following there will be, and the stronger we’ll be commercially,” he said. “We would present the sport in a less fragmented way if it was together.

“An example: This tournament, if you’re a fan in Europe, you watch the men’s matches on one channel, the women’s matches on a different channel. That can’t be the smartest way to present the sport.”

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Talk About Off Court Presence! Is That Really You Dinara?

CORRECTION: This is NOT Russian Dinara Safina. While the photo houses have it labeled as such, the very sharp eye of Facebook friend Molly James correctly identified the photo as Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland.


Black Tennis Pro's Dinara Safina Sony Ericsson Open Kick Off PartyWhoaaaaa!

I usually upload these photos, publish the post and that's that. However, an entire day later I am still looking at Russian Dinara Safina. When I originally posted the photos I was reluctant to put her name under the picture because I didn't think that it was her.

This young lady totally morphed into a glamazon! Her glam squad deserves every nickle. She even made sure not to have the "sock feet" that a number of other ladies neglected to address, and you all know who you are.

Very impressive - kudos Safina!



Photo by Marc Serota/Getty Images for Sony Ericsson

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Sony Ericsson Open Kick-Off Party At Liv Nightclub In Miami

Black Tennis Pro's 2009 Sony Ericsson Open Kick-Off PartyAmericans Serena Williams and James Blake

MIAMI - MARCH 25: Sony Ericsson Open players and others arrive on the red carpet of the Liv Nightclub at the Fountainbleu Hotel in Miami, Florida.


Black Tennis Pro's 2009 Sony Ericsson Open Kick-Off PartyJames Blake, USA

Black Tennis Pro's 2009 Sony Ericsson Open Kick-Off Party
Venus Williams, USA

Black Tennis Pro's 2009 Sony Ericsson Open Kick-Off PartyRafael Nadal, Spain

Black Tennis Pro's 2009 Sony Ericsson Open Kick-Off PartySerena Williams, USA

Black Tennis Pro's 2009 Sony Ericsson Open Kick-Off PartyAgnieszka Radwanska, Poland

Black Tennis Pro's 2009 Sony Ericsson Open Kick-Off PartyProducer Wyclef Jean

Black Tennis Pro's 2009 Sony Ericsson Open Kick-Off PartyJelena Jankovic, Serbia

Black Tennis Pro's 2009 Sony Ericsson Open Kick-Off PartyVania King, USA

Black Tennis Pro's 2009 Sony Ericsson Open Kick-Off PartyNovak Djokovic, Serbia

Black Tennis Pro's 2009 Sony Ericsson Open Kick-Off PartyBethanie Mattek-Sands, USA

Black Tennis Pro's 2009 Sony Ericsson Open Kick-Off PartyDominika Cibulkova, Slovakia

Black Tennis Pro's 2009 Sony Ericsson Open Kick-Off PartyMaria Sharapova, Russia

Black Tennis Pro's 2009 Sony Ericsson Open Kick-Off PartyActress Megan Goode and football player Thomas Jones

Black Tennis Pro's 2009 Sony Ericsson Open Kick-Off Party
Mary-Joe Fernandez, U. S. Fed Cup Captain

Black Tennis Pro's 2009 Sony Ericsson Open Kick-Off PartyCaroline Wozniacki, Denmark

Black Tennis Pro's 2009 Sony Ericsson Open Kick-Off PartyFernando Verdasco, Spain

Black Tennis Pro's 2009 Sony Ericsson Open Kick-Off PartySinger Santigold

Black Tennis Pro's 2009 Sony Ericsson Open Kick-Off PartyRyan Sweeting, Bahamas



Photos by
Marc Serota/Getty Images for Sony Ericsson
WireImage

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Serena Hopes To Mastermind U.S. Revival

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

By Simon Evans


MIAMI, March 25 (Reuters) - Serena Williams believes the United States needs to get more tour events if it is to address the lack of American women in the top 100 -- and she could be willing to play a role in bringing about that change.

The world number one is followed by her sister Venus, number six in the rankings, but the only other American women in the top 100 are Bethanie Mattek (37) and Jill Craybas (85).

The anticipated flood of talent following the emergence of the high-profile Williams sisters has not happened with the rankings dominated by East Europeans -- or as Serena puts it: "It seems like there are 12 Russians in the top 10".

"I just think, when I was growing up there were lots more tournaments in the United States, a lot more American players, now there are five or six tournaments and no American players.

"You don't see the players, they are in Europe and Asia which is where all the players are coming from," Williams told Reuters in an interview arranged by the WTA Tour's sponsor Sony Ericsson.

In recent years, a popular WTA tournament in San Diego has been dropped and Williams said this could have a knock on effect on attracting young girls to the sport.

"We have got to get tournaments back, like San Diego which was well established but was cancelled. Those tournaments were the ones I grew up watching. I grew up going to (the event at) UCLA because it was close to me. My Dad would take us there and I wanted to be a tennis player because of going there," she said.

ENTICE TALENT

The 27-year-old Williams said she could be interested in a role, after her playing days are over, trying to entice tournaments back to the U.S and developing young talent.

"That could be interesting it would be fun to get a lot of support back -- that is the only way we will get the players," she said.

Williams though has not completely given up hope on the next generation of players making the breakthrough.

"There are a few American players coming up, they are really, really young and haven't got attention yet and you never know.

"I didn't get much attention when I was very young, I came out of nowhere. I am hoping the same thing can happen," she said.

Despite her sadness at the decline of U.S. tennis, Williams boycotts one of the biggest events in Indian Wells -- where she was jeered by the crowd in 2001 after Venus pulled out of a semi-final clash with her sister.

Although that event has become one of the new mandatory tournaments, with penalties for non-attendance, Williams skipped this year's edition and says she has no intention of ever returning.

"I don't play Indian Wells, I haven't played it for forever and I will never play it again. After that bad experience there is no need for me to go back, I've been there and I left in glory," she said.



Photo By Getty Images
© Thomson Reuters 2009 All rights reserved.

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Serena's "Signature Statement" At HSN

Black Tennis Pro's Serena Williams Signature Statement at Home Shopping NetworkSerena Williams announced this week that she's partnering with the Home Shopping Network (HSN) to launch her new line of accessories and clothing called Signature Statement.

The collection will feature a wide range of jewelry, handbags and knits, starting around $29.95 and topping out at $100.

"I always want to make a statement both on and off the court," Williams told Women's Wear Daily. "One of my dreams has always been to share gorgeous gifts of fashion and luxury with the world. Off the court, my passion is fashion. Signature Statement is my own line of accessories and fashion, complete from jewelry to dresses."

The collection will be available April 30 and be exclusive to HSN. Williams has already been running her Aneres clothing line for the last five years, which is available in most department stores.

Black Tennis Pro's Serena Williams Signature Statement at Home Shopping Network Black Tennis Pro's Serena Williams Signature Statement at Home Shopping NetworkBlack Tennis Pro's Serena Williams Signature Statement at Home Shopping NetworkBlack Tennis Pro's Serena Williams Signature Statement at Home Shopping Network

Photos By WireImage

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James Blake and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga Among 2008 ATP World Tour Award Winners



FEDERER RECEIVES DOUBLE HONOUR

Roger Federer continues to shine as the fairest and most popular player on the ATP World Tour after the 2008 ATP World Tour Awards were announced in Miami today. Fellow players voted Federer the winner of the Stefan Edberg Sportsmanship Award for a record fifth consecutive year. Only Edberg himself won the award five times (over eight years). And in a poll of fans, Federer for the sixth consecutive year was voted ATPWorldTour.com Fans’ Favourite.

Of his dual honours, Federer said: “It is great to receive two more awards. It is always important for me to be a good sportsman on the court and give the right example for others to follow and hopefully inspire the next generation. It also means the world to me to be the fans’ favourite player for the sixth year in a row. The support I receive from the fans around the world is so motivating and it is humbling to receive this award once again."

ATP World Tour Champion Rafael Nadal and ATP World Tour Doubles Team Champions Daniel Nestor and Nenad Zimonjic were announced as the Player of the Year and Doubles Team of the Year respectively.

James Blake won the prestigious Arthur Ashe Humanitarian of the Year award for his many charitable efforts, including several fundraising initiatives for cancer research.


Arthur Ashe Humanitarian Of The Year

James Blake: In the summer of 2008, James Blake announced the creation of the Thomas Blake Sr. Memorial Research Fund at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, with the goal of raising $1 million for cancer research within 12 months. Important fundraising initiatives include his tennis charity exhibition Anthem LIVE! and the J-Block merchandise program. Blake also helps to raise funds for the Harlem Junior Tennis Program and hosts the organisation’s annual fundraising event each year.


Most Improved

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (No. 43 to No. 6): The top Frenchman broke into the Top 10 with two titles, including his maiden ATP World Tour Masters 1000 shield in Paris. He made an impressive showing at the year’s first Grand Slam, upsetting No. 9 Murray, No. 8 Gasquet and No. 2 Rafael Nadal before falling to No. 3 Djokovic in the Australian Open final. The 23 year old missed three months of the season after undergoing right knee surgery in May, but compiled a 16-4 record upon his return. He won his first ATP World Tour title in Bangkok (d. Djokovic), and beat three Top 10 opponents – Djokovic, Roddick and Nalbandian – to win the BNP Paribas Masters in Paris and clinch a Tennis Masters Cup berth. Tsonga won 20 more matches than the previous season, best among the Top 10.


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The Ladies Of The WTA Face The Media

Black Tennis Pro's Serena Williams Sony Ericsson OpenKEY BISCAYNE, FL - MARCH 25: Serena Williams and other ladies of the WTA talk to the media during day three of the Sony Ericsson Open at the Crandon Park Tennis Center on March 25.

Black Tennis Pro's Serena Williams Sony Ericsson OpenSerena Williams, USA


Black Tennis Pro's Jelena Jankovic Sony Ericsson OpenJelena Jankovic, Serbia


Black Tennis Pro's Ana Ivanovic Sony Ericsson OpenAna Ivanovic, Serbia


Black Tennis Pro's Venus Williams Sony Ericsson OpenVenus Williams, USA


Black Tennis Pro's Vera Zvonareva Sony Ericsson OpenVera Zvonareva, Russia


Photos by Al Bello/Getty Images

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