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Saturday, December 31, 2005

Tennis: Cruel turn of fate lands wildcard in top junior's lap:: New Zealand Herald

Tennis: Cruel turn of fate lands wildcard in top junior's lap:: New Zealand Herald ~~~

World Junior champion Viktoria Azarenka is the top junior in question, and she is replacing another highly ranked junior, Marina Erakovic of New Zealand, in the first WTA event of the year. Certainly the tournament organizers would have preferred the local girl, but Azakenka isn't a hard sell.

And while I'd like to end 2005 without carping, I can't let the errors in this story go uncorrected.

Azarenka was the dominant figure on the junior circuit this year, winning a remarkable 50 of her 53 games. She won the Grand Slam singles crowns at the Australian and French Opens, and the doubles titles in Australia, France and Wimbledon.

Azarenka actually won the Australian and U.S. Open junior singles titles, not the French. And I don't have a clue what that 50 of 53 games bit is about. She has 29 wins and two losses in singles this year on the ITF junior circuit and is 21 and one in doubles. That one doubles loss was, ironically, due to Erakovic. Azarenka was attempting to win all four Junior Grand Slam doubles titles in New York this year, but due to a back problem, her partner Erakovic was forced to withdraw before they took the court in their quarterfinal match. Azarenka was philosophical about it but could hardly have imagined that, just a few months later, she would benefit from another Erakovic injury.
She's determined to make it to the top, and the signs are encouraging. She has won an ITF singles and doubles title and this year made the semifinals of a WTA tournament in China.

I know tennis can be an alphabet soup to those not immersed in it, but Azarenka's Junior Grand Slam wins were ITF titles. I think he's referring to her Osaka Mayor's Cup victory this fall, but I can't be sure.

It's interesting that Liz Robbins of the New York Times, in a column that appeared the day after the U.S. Open, named Azarenka as the Wimbledon singles champion. Although I attempted to get NYT to correct that mistake, to my knowledge they never did.

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