Rome Masters Women’s Players

Jelena Jankovic

Rome, ITALY: Serbian Jelena Jankovic returns a forehand to Svetlana Kuznetsova of Russia in their final at the WTA Italian Tennis Open in Rome, 20 May 2007. Jankovic won 7-5, 6-1. AFP PHOTO / VINCENZO PINTO (Photo credit should read VINCENZO PINTO/AFP/Getty Images)
World number one as of Octber 2008, and defending champion for a second year in a row, Jelena Jankovic, only joined the WTA Tour in 2006, and although she is still to claim a Grand Slam singles title, the fact that she has consistently ranked in the top five after just three seasons on the professional tour is an indication of her enormous talent and work ethic.

In 2006 she reached the quarterfinals in Rome, losing out to American great, Venus Williams. A year later, as the third seed, she defied all odds by trouncing current world number two, Svetlana Kuznetsova in two sets (7-5 6-1) to claim the crown at the Foro Italico. In 2008, she defended her title and walked away with her second Internazionali BNL d’Italia crown after defeating Alizé Cornet of France.

Known as a tough competitor and classified as a counterpuncher, Jankovic has played more matches in a season than any other professional player. In 2007 she won four titles, defeating Kim Clijsters, Anna Chakvetadze, Justine Henin and Agnes Szaray.

She came close to winning a grand slam title at the 2008 US Open, but was defeated by the powerful Serena Williams in the final round, she grabbed another 4 titles at the Kremlin Cup, China Open, Porche Grand Prix and Rome Masters. Her overall clay win/loss record currently stands at 89–40.

Amelie Mauresmo

Amelie Mauresmo did not have a proficient 2008 season. The two-time winner of the Rome Masters only managed a single tournament title in 2007 at the Proximus Diamond Games in Antwerp. Since then she has struggled to maintain her excellent form of 2006 and did not participate in the 2008 Rome Masters.

Mauresmo has twice claimed a Grand Slam – the 2006 Australian Open and the Wimbledon championship. On both occasions she out-classed the legendary former WTA world number one, Justine Henin, proving that she has the ability to subdue the very best in professional tennis.

Her run at the Rome Masters has been auspicious – she claimed the crown in 2004 and 2005 and was a finalist in 2000, 2001 and 2003. Her luck changed in 2007 when she was knocked out in the second round by Australian Samantha Stosur in three sets 5-7 6-7(4) 7-6(7).

There is no reason why this Rome Masters women’s player cannot reach the heights of 2006. She has taken on the likes of Amanda Coetzer, Jennifer Capriati and Venus Williams on clay, and on each occasion has walked away triumphant. Her trademark one-handed backhand and strong net play make her an ideal clay court candidate, and although she is currently ranked number 24 in the world,  her overall clay win/loss record of121–47 speaks volumes.

Dinara Safina

Russian, Dinara Safina is ranked world number 2 (November 2008) and reached the quarterfinals at the 2007 Rome Masters – she did not compete at the 2008 event. The younger sister of Marat Safin, Dinara has shown a tendency to play well on clay, and in 2008 reached the finals at the French Open.

Safina has shown plenty of aptitude and has beaten fellow Russian Maria Sharapova at both the Kremlin Cup and the French Open. Her other big-name scalps include Kim Clijsters and world number two, Svetlana Kuznetsova.

Safina has shown promising results on clay and in the 2007 season she reached the quarterfinals at both Berlin and Rome Masters. Of her five singles wins, three have been contested on clay. She picked up 3 titles in 2008 in Moscow, Berlin and Tokyo.