Let's see. The WTA in it's infinite wisdom moved Tokyo from earlier in the year to after the US Open to strengthen and boost the Fall Asian Swing. Tokyo became a Premier 5 Mandatory and except for Serena Williams all the top women arrived in Tokyo talking shit and taking names. Nothing wrong with that except that another Premier event starts qualifying play on October 3, 2009 in Beijing. All of the top players are entered there as well. What is a girl to do?
I'm not going to say that Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, Chang Kai-Chen of Taiwan and Andrea Petkovic of Germany didn't deserve their wins today. It's just that a fan has to wonder if the top women just came for the cheese offered at Tokyo (appearance fees, that sort of thing) and are now on their way to Beijing.
One would think that of the three top seeds that lost today Dinara Safina had the most incentive to win even though she wasn't originally entered here despite being the defending champion. I didn't see the match but I understand the warm and cuddly relationship between Dinara and her coach was once again on display. I also see that uncomfortable questions are now being asked about the WTA's most consistent player, questions that get to the heart of what is wrong with the WTA.
I mean when articles appear asking if your standard bearer is the worst Number One Ever? it can't be good. For the record the author reserved that distinction for Jelena Jankovic but it doesn't change anything about what is going on in the WTA. Many fan sites already feature threads by concerned fans of women's tennis asking what the hell is going on and what can be done about it. Those of us who asked those questions a few years ago were flamed and said to be haters.
Those of you who read this space regularly know I've gone on ad nauseam about the subject for the last two years. My mother, rest her soul, always told me that you reap what you sow. When the changes were made a few years ago to reward "consistency" instead of quality many said then that what we see today was what would happen. The new regime seems to be a continuation of the old one and unless things get worse - they can - no changes will be made any time soon.
Let's be clear here. Ana Ivanovic already crashed and burned as did newly minted top ten player Flavia Pennetta. Rumors are swirling that Caroline Wozniacki is sick with the flu and may withdraw. She is still listed on the Order of Play for tomorrow and I think if Caroline can breathe she'll be on the court. Unless of course she takes her sick time and a lucky loser steps in for her. There was talk that the LL would be Melanie Oudin but how can you know who a LL is in advance? I mean isn't that stuff random?
So now with Venus out, number one ranked Dinara out and Svetlana Kuznetsova out are we looking at a Premier event or an International event? I liked the Tier I, II and III designations better but I don't work for the WTA. I guess under the old designations this would now be a Tier II.
Jelena Jankovic, defending champion at Beijing, is set to play Sabine Lisicki tomorrow. Sabine is coming back from injury. Elena Dementieva, Vera Zvonareva, Maria Sharapova, Nadia Petrova, Victoria Azarenka and Aggie Radwanska are still in Tokyo as well. It's going to be a very interesting day tomorrow.