Here are a few things we've learned in the past week:
-- It's now confirmed that Ana Ivanovic is back. The Serbian won the Linz title in the fastest final of the year. At the U.S. Open we spoke about the possiblity of her upward trend and it's becoming clear that it's true. Having Heinz Gunthardt, the former Steffi Graf mentor, by her side brings her the emotional component she needed to come back. You need confidence to improve, but you need to improve in order to get confidence. Ana is doing both.
-- It was the "old glory" final in Osaka. The battle between Kimiko Date Krumm and Tamarine Tanasugarn was the longest WTA final of the year and finally ended with a victory by the younger Tanasugran (who is 33). Date Krumm was obviously hampered by her tough matches of the week and overall by the whole Asian tour, in which she played a lot. Despite the loss in the three-hour-plus match, the 40-year-old Japanese player is back in the top 50 after resting her racquet for a dozen years. Amazing.
-- Aravane Rezaï (whom I have coached in the past), is ranked No. 15 in the world, is still the French No. 1. She'll play this week in Luxembourg.
-- Andrea Petkovic gave us two bits of news this week: One, she's improving. The German reached the semifinals in Linz to add to an excellent fall. Second: She's becoming a bit of an expert in winning long and nerve-wracking matches (she's played 17 three-set matches this season). She's only 23 and has a lot of room for improvement.
-- Julia Goerges reached the quarterfinals and is still making her way up. She's also young (born in 1988) and she's slowly, but surely, gaining confidence in her game and in her abilities. She's displaying more skills than her ranking would suggest.
-- Marion Bartoli will have to defend her Bali final at the end of the season or else her ranking will plummet. She took 420 points last year in that Masters-like event. (To qualify, one must have won a $220,000 in the season.) She played Osaka this week to try to get it but she missed the opportunity with losing in semifinals against Tanasugarn.
-- Yanina Wickmayer won in Torhout, but lost points and two spots in the ranking because last year she won in Linz at the same period. She chose to play at home instead and I like the decision. Sometimes it shouldn't always be about rankings and points. On Wednesday she'll face Patty Schnyder, Linz finalist, in the Luxembourg first round. A nice revenge match of their U.S. Open battle (won by Wickmayer in three sets) can be expected.