Tuesday, December 16, 2003

2003 WTA Quiz

...the end of 2003 is the beginning of 2004. While you ponder that little riddle, here's the final Backspin quiz of the year. It's focus: the entire past season on the WTA Tour.


1.Serena Williams, Kim Clijsters and Justine Henin-Hardenne all spent time as the singles #1 during the past twelve months. Which one won her first title in her debut WTA performance?
BONUS- True/False. The occurrence of these three women holding the #1 position in singles during the same season matched a WTA record for the most different top-ranked women during a calendar year.
2.WHO SAID IT? - "I don't think it's really important to be the babe of tennis. I'm there to play tennis. That's my #1 priority. To be the babe, that's like the last thing on my mind."
a.Jelena Dokic
b.Anna Kournikova
c.Daniela Hantuchova
d.Maria Sharapova
3.16-year old Maria Sharapova was the youngest WTA titleist of 2003, but who was the youngest non-Russian to win a singles title this past season?
a.Arantxa Parra
b.Kim Clijsters
c.Marion Bartoli
d.Meghann Shaughnessy
4.There were three 30-something WTA singles champions in 2003. Who was the oldest?
a.Conchita Martinez
b.Silvia Farina Elia
c.Amanda Coetzer
5.True/False. This season, when Kim Clijsters won the Luxembourg title, she became the only active player with a current three-year title streak (2001-03) at the same event.
6.Which player ranked in the Top 20 at the end of the 2003 season rose from the lowest ranking one year ago?
a.Nadia Petrova
b.Conchita Martinez
c.Francesca Schiavone
7.Who has won at least one WTA singles title for the most consecutive seasons, the longest current streak by an active player?
a.Serena Williams
b.Kim Clijsters
c.Amelie Mauresmo
d.Venus Williams
e.Jennifer Capriati
8.WHO AM I? - "I'm a former Top 5 player who had back-to-back multiple WTA title-winning seasons in 2001-02. In 2003, though, I failed to win a crown of any kind, and was the only player ranked in the Top 50 in singles whose won/lost record in WTA events was two or more wins below .500."
a.Iva Majoli
b.Conchita Martinez
c.Jelena Dokic
d.Daniela Hantuchova
9.True/False. Maria Sharapova won WTA titles in Tokyo and Quebec City, as well as an ITF Challenger title in Sea Island, making her the only player to win at least singles crown on both tours in 2003.
10.Of the players ranked in the Top 20 at the end of the 2002 season, which one had fallen the most ranking spots at the end of the 2003 season?
a.Monica Seles
b.Alexandra Stevenson
c.Lisa Raymond
BONUS- Okay, for the final bonus question of 2003, we'll see how closely you were paying attention. Match the player with the Backspin nickname by which she was referred during this season's columns:

a.The Blue Angel...1.J.Dokic
b.Wonder Girl......2.M.Shaughnessy
f.Compton Sequel...6.V.Douchevina
g.The Debutante....7.E.Dementieva
h.Elle Dolce.......8.A.Hayes
j.Le Petit Taureau.10.J.Henin-H.
k.The Natural......11.C.Gullickson

==THE ANSWERS (1 pt. for each unless noted)==

1.Justine Henin-Hardenne. In Antwerp, Belgium in May 1999, 16-year old Henin made her debut on the WTA Tour, winning her first of 14 career singles titles by defeating Sarah Pitkowski in the final. JHH is one of just six (Petra Langrova in '88, Mirjana Lucic in '97, Katerina Srebotnik in '99 and Angelique Widjaja in '01 also did it) players to perform the feat in her debut event, and only the second (joining Tracy Austin in '77) of the thirteen who have held the #1 ranking to do so.
BONUS- False. In 2002, a record four women (Davenport, Capriati, V.Williams & S.Williams) held the #1 position during the calendar year. Besides 2003, three different #1's in the same season has occurred three other times, in 1980 (Navratilova-Austin-Evert), 1995 (Graf-Sanchez Vicario-Seles) and 2001 (Hingis-Capriati-Davenport).
2.D. Maria Sharapova
3.B. Surprisingly, Kim Clijsters was the youngest non-Russian to win a WTA tour singles title in 2003. She was just 19 years, 7 months old when she claimed the Sydney crown in January. By the end of the year, she was still the second-youngest player ranked in the Top 20 (behind 18-year old world #13 Vera Zvonareva). By the way, after Russian Sharapova, the next two youngest titleists were Russians Dinara Safina (17) and Zvonareva.
4.C. Coetzer (at 31 years, 4 months, 1 week) was the oldest champion last season, winning Acapulco in February. Farina Elia was five weeks younger than Coetzer when she won Strasbourg in May. The other 30-plus winner was Virginia Ruano-Pascual, 30, in Tashkent. World #18 Martinez was the only over-30 player ranked in the Top 20, but she failed to win a title last season.
5.False. Silvia Farina Elia has won the Strasbourg title from 2001-03.
6.A. #12 Petrova was ranked #111 at the end of the 2002 season, although her injury-protected ranked was #29 for seeding purposes after she missed seven months (February-August '02) with a foot injury.
7.D. Venus Williams' title in Antwerp in February extended her seasons streak with at least one WTA title to six, the longest amongst active players. The rest listed (S.Williams, Clijsters, Mauresmo & Capriati) all currently sport five-season streaks. The next-longest active streak is three seasons, by world #1 Justine Henin-Hardenne.
8.C. Jelena Dokic finished 28-30 in 2003, but still managed to be ranked #15 at the end of the season. The only other players in the Top 50 with sub-.500 marks in WTA events were #41 Emilie Loit (25-26) and #46 Laura Granville (25-26). The highest-ranked player who finished more wins below .500 than Dokic was #53 Nicole Pratt (21-25).
9.False. In the final week of the just past WTA season, Henrieta Nagyova won the Pattaya City title, the eighth WTA crown of her career. Earlier, she'd won the ITF Challenger in Biella.
10.B. Stevenson, who tumbled from #18 to #82, fell 64 spots over the past year while compiling a 13-27 singles record. Seles fell 53, from #7 to #60 after missing most of the season with a foot injury.
BONUS- (half-point for each correct answer) a-9, b-4, c-2, d-5, e-7 or 12, f-8, g-1, h-6, i-3, j-10, k-11, l-7 or 12


17-15...Justine Henin-Hardenne (a career year for you, too!)
14-10...Kim Clijsters (a super season, but still not quite good enough)
9-6...Serena Williams (too bad you didn't answer ALL the questions)
5-0...Anna Kournikova (because it's a rule that she must appear at least once in every Backspin quiz until the end of time)