Monday, January 19, 2015

The Massacre

by Savannah

Ana Ivanovic #5 seed. Gone.
Angelique Kerber #9 seed. Gone.
Lucie Safarova #16 seed. Gone.
Carla Suarez-Navarro #17 seed. Gone.
Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova #23 seed. Gone.
Svetlana Kuznetsova #27 seed. Gone.
Sabine Lisicki #28 seed. Gone.
Belinda Bencic #32 seed. Gone

The bottom half of the women's draw has been decimated. Like them or not you expect to see the likes of Ivanovic, Kerber, Safarova, Suarez-Navarro and yes, even Lisicki, winning a round or two and in the case of Ivanovic and Kerber maybe making it to the second week.

Day 3 play will feature matches between the following players:

Lucie Hradecka and Polong Hercog
Lara Arruabarrena and Yanina Wickmayer
Caroline Garcia and Stefani Voegele
Carina Witthoef and Christina McHale
Irina-Camellia Begu and Katerina Siniakova
Yaroslava Shvedoa and Monica Puig
Klara Koukalova and Julia Goërges
Kristina Mladenovic and Bethanie Mattek-Sands

The highlighted players are the seed slayers.

What does this mean? Bencic and sadly Kuznetsova are the only ones I wasn't surprised to see go out early. Some were saying that Kerber's back was bothering her. She seemed able to bend and move pretty easily. I have no idea what happened to Safarova. I didn't see her match. There were many who thought Ivanovic would go far. I didn't watch her match either. Instead I watched the despair of her fans on Twitter.

I'm wondering how the WTA will spin this? The old "depth of women's tennis" meme will surely be dusted off and dragged out. The flip side of that coin is the weakness of women's tennis. Two top ten seeds. A total of seven top twenty seeds wiped out in one day from the bottom half of the draw. Everyone will be watching to see how the top half of the draw shakes out. With some of the most absurd match scheduling I've seen in a very long time the matches everyone wants to see are on outer courts. I don't know if the Australian Open is like the US Open where if you have a ticket to Ashe you can go anywhere else on the grounds. Day 2 is a Grounds Pass kind of day. The folks who paid good money for seats in Laver paid more for their Grounds Pass than they should have.

End Note

Now we can officially say "Congratulations" to Li Na and her husband Jiang Shan on the pending birth of their first child in the summer. I guess they wanted her to make her announcement during the official opening ceremonies and that is why she danced around what was obvious to everyone at the live draw. Best wishes to the expectant parents.


Karen Williams said...

There is depth in women's tennis. That is not a meme. Wish I could say the same for the men. What happened on Day 1 can be summed up to players playing great on the day, and the top seeds having a bad day. I have watched highlights of Kerber's match and she really deserved to lose that match. Ivanovic did not seem as if she was ready to play & as much as Sharapova came through her match, she looked rusty and uncomfortable out on court. Sveta also looked a bit tired & Bencic looked clueless. I did not see Lucie's match but her "Almost" routine has become boring.

Savannah said...

The test of this depth will be the quality of the matches going forward.
Koukalova vs Goerges? Shvedova vs Puig? Arruabarrena vs Wickmayer? Voegele vs Garcia? Mladenovic vs Mattek Sands? Hradecka vs Hercog?
None of these matches pique my interest. The only match I'm interested in is Pliskova vs Dodin

I will say again that fans will get a look at the players who will be competing once the current greats/stars retire. We already know who the WTA is banking on to be its star of the future.

Savannah said...

I also want to add that matches like the ones I listed will make it easier for outlets like ESPN2 to do what they like to do and ignore WTA matches.

Karen Williams said...

Savannah, TV does not need a reason to ignore women's tennis. They do that just because. Commentators have for so long been fed the narrative of the women's product being less than or equal to men's tennis, that sometimes they are at pains to discuss what makes a player's game so great. For years we hear the same narrative about Serena's game. It is all about her serve. You and I watch a a lot of tennis, surely it can't just be all about her serve? It must be something else and I wish commentators would stop pushing the same tired narratives about the women.

Savannah said...

Your point is valid about how TV, especially in the US, covers womens tennis. I will also say that because the WTA (read Stacey Allaster) has not promoted WOMENS TENNIS. Instead she's promoted "Sunshine" and now another blonde from her native Canada. Unless tennis fans are given a reason to want to watch Caroline Garcia or Kristina Mldenovic they won't watch.

If women's tennis was promoted as a sport and not soft porn the situation could be different but at the moment it's not and I think the fault lies with the WTA's vision, or lack thereof.