Saturday, March 19, 2011

The Indian Wells Women's Final - What It Says About the WTA

by Savannah

Many of the Tweeters watching the match between Maria Sharapova and Caroline Wozniacki called it the worst semi final they'd ever seen. There's not much to say to counter that statement. It was clear from the outset that unless Maria did something to force Caroline to play Wozniacki was simply going to stay on the baseline and push the ball over the net.

I think the style of tennis Maria plays, hit hard and harder, along with her limited ability to move around the court works when her opponent lets her set the pace. The problem with that is that when she plays a pusher who doesn't want to try and counter her game plan she is put in the position of having to scramble to find ways to counter her opponent. Scrambling is not something even the most ardent Sharapova fan wants to see her do. We saw a lot of it last night and it wasn't pretty.

What burned a lot of tennisheads is that Wozniacki won the first set 6-1 managing to hit only one winner. That's right: the top ranked woman in the world won a set hitting only one winner. Sharapova had double digit winners in the first set and got served a bread stick. I believe the final stats showed Wozniacki managing a total of six winners for a match she won 6-1, 6-2.

The argument is that Sharapova's unforced errors, which were also double digit, high double digit, were the reason she lost the match. When playing a pusher the opponent tends to start trying to force the issue and once that starts it's hard to stop. That is what I saw last night.

Wozniacki supporters say that as long as no one on the tour is forcing her to hit winners to have to win why should she and of course they have a point. If the WTA tour is so weak that someone can sit at number one doling out breadsticks while managing to hit one winner in a set that is not the pusher's problem. That is the WTA's problem.

As someone noted here awhile ago we are seeing the WTA of the future minus Venus Williams and Serena Williams. As long as the players continue to be mentally frail and content to be known as diva's instead of fierce on court warriors who demand that their opponent have to beat them playing tennis not playing at playing tennis the WTA's product will continue to be considered weak and unappealing.

End Note

Kim Clijsters minced no words about how she felt about the Premier Mandatory WTA tournaments. She said that if Indian Wells hadn't been mandatory for a top ten player she wouldn't have played. She went on to question a system where lower ranked players are able to pick and choose where they play calling it essentially unfair to the top players. No one raked her over the coals for saying that. I'm just saying.


vw said...

Guess it's up to Maid Marion now.

TennisAce said...

She is Saint Kim. Of course no one will rake her over the coals for saying what most people think. What is even funnier is how you now have journos who are giving fans updates on the health and well being of players. I don't mean updates, as in so and so is out because of a sore shoulder, but indepth reports because they have taken the time to talk to the player's camp to find out what ails so and so. As for last night's match. I thought Wozniacki did what she needed to do. I don't care that she did not hit double digit winners. We saw in Dubai that she can step in and hit winners. She did what she needed to do last night and that was take away Sharapova's game from her and impose herself on the court. This is essentially what Djokovic has been doing to Fed and to most of the men's tour this year. He has improved his serve, his fitness, his speed around the court was always there, but now he has confidence. When Novak does it, it is called extraordinary defence. When Woz does it they call her a pusher. She does what she needs to do. Why try and outhit Sharapova. That would be a losing proposition. What Woz did was use every single area of the court. Watch the match again and see how she places the ball. I wish I had her court sense. She placed the balls in the most awkward places on the court, forcing Sharapova to try and come up with something special. She just could not do it and that is why she imploded.

vw said...

Saint Kim won't be around after 2012 according to Lindsey.She wants more kids and may adopt. She also said that it's hard for Kim quitting while being on top or some b.s. like that. Guess she is thinking about the money.