Friday, October 23, 2015

The Final Eight

by Savannah

The Final 8 WTA YEC 2015 photo 16199557-eb2d-4ad7-983f-8ff4b3d1038e_zpsdksrpkjt.jpg
via @Getty

They're all there now. Some of the eight women who qualified for the WTA YEC in 2015 had a "long strange trip" to get to Singapore but I'm sure the WTA wants to let bygones be bygones. Fans of women's tennis shouldn't though but maybe now is not the time to talk about that.

The women have been grouped as follows:

Red Group

Simona Halep
Maria Sharapova
Agnieszka Radwanska
Flavia Pennetta

White Group

Garbiñe Muguruza
Petra Kvitova
Angelique Kerber
Lucie Safarova

Unlike Maria Sharapova who said she didn't understand how potential competitors could wish Serena Williams luck in her quest for the career year Grand Slam I wish all of the women well and hope they bring their best tennis to this tournament.

For fans this will be a chance to get a look at the post Serena era of the WTA. We know that Flavia Pennetta, 2015 US Open Champion, is retiring. I don't think Pova is retiring any time soon no matter what crap her people put out or imply but she is part of the old guard. Eliminating those two from the WTA of the future we have a collection of almost there's, women who have not and will never be superstars inside or outside the world of tennis. Petra Kvitova has won Wimbledon twice and pretty much flopped everywhere else with a few exceptions. Angelique Kerber just doesn't have 'that thing" Aga Radwanska, the most "feminine" of the group just doesn't have a game that is must see for a casual fan. Lucie Safarova is a fan favorite but again her charisma doesn't translate outside of tennis world. Neither Halep or Muguruza score highly on the charisma quotient.

Despite all of that the two most intriguing players in this tournament will be Simona Halep and Garbiñe Muguruza. Halep is 0-5 vs Sharapova, 4-4 vs Aga, and 1-4 vs Flavia. She'll be lucky to get out of her group with "guaranteed" wins only vs Aga, who has a lot to prove here.

Muguruza has never played Kvitova it seems. She's 3-3 vs Kerber and 0-1 vs Safarova. I do think that with Garbiñe her year has to be divided into pre and post US Open. She seems to be thriving under new coach Sam Sumyk and despite the head to heads with others in her group she has a good chance to make it out of her group and into single elimination play. She's not the same player she was earlier this year.

I think you can make the argument that Sharapova has been set up to win this event. Halep forgets how to play tennis when she's across the net from her. Flavia will be a bit jet lagged after her sojourn to Moscow and back to Singapore and has a 2-3 head to head with Sharapova, and Aga is 2-12 vs Sharapova.

There is nothing to say about Kvitova. If the player who shows up at Wimbledon makes an appearance she could dominate her group except for Muguruza. If the player who shows up every where else shows up it could be embarrassing.

In the end this is a lack luster field but they played well enough in 2015 to make the cut and appear at their sports championship event. They may not be the most charismatic group. They may not play a style of tennis that will make a casual fan sit up and take notice, but here they are. How they got there, how the WTA ruined it's image with the shenanigans at the end of the year should and will be discussed in another post. For now I've decided to praise these women for their achievement. There was a women's tour outside of Serena this year and I think it was very gracioius of her to step aside to and let someone else get the lime light don't you? There will be women's tennis after she retires too. Let's all sit back and see what we can expect from women's tennis in the years to come.

© Savannah's World 2015 All Rights Reserved except where otherwise indicated.

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