From the complaints about the heat to tennis fans bad mouthing tennis commentary in social media, to the rehashing of a long dead feud that never was, the first week of the year's first Major saw some big surprises happening in the women's draw, coupled with some head scratching play from some of the top women.
Our week 1 review saw top 6 seed and former Wimbledon champion, Petra Kvitova going down to Kumkhum from Thailand in the first round. I confess that I had never heard of Kvitova's opponent before that match and I made sure that I watched her next match. There is a lot to like about her game, and it will be interesting to see what happens to her during the rest of the season.
Mona Barthel remembers how it is to win matches and it was good to see her hitting her trademark backhand down the line shots. Unfortunately, she went out to Pennetta, who herself is on an upward curve since coming back from wrist surgery.
Maria Sharapova continues to struggle with her game and she has put this down to rust. Serena Williams continues to show us that even with a D game she is still head and shoulders above everyone else. 2 time defending champion and No. 2 seed, Victoria Azarenka battled her way through to the second week to face off against Sloane Stephens, the player she vanquished in the semifinals last year and who the media is convinced would have won that match if not for the MTO that Azarenka took.
Sloane Stephens, Eugenie Bouchard and Garbine Muguruza are showing us why the WTA is in such a good place right now. All 3 women made the second week of the year's first major. Muguruza did it in fine style taking out former No. 1, Caroline Wozniacki in a very nice 3 set battle.
Samantha Stosur lost the chance to make it to the fourth round of her home Major when she lost to Ana Ivanovic in a tough 3 set battle.
Day 7 beings tonight and sees the following 4 matches scheduled for the top half of the draw:-
Serena Williams goes up against Ana Ivanovic. Williams has never lost to Ivanovic in none of their 4 meetings and I don't think that today is that day either. Williams in straights sets.
Casey Dellaqua is the feel good story of this tournament. I recall sometime ago reading that Dellaqua had gotten her cosmetology licence. It is good to see her playing well again. She goes up against up and comer Bouchard from Canada. It will be interesting to see if Genie's Army will turn up today as they have done for most of her matches. I think the Aussies will have something to say about that.
Li goes up against another lefty and a player who loves playing Down Under, Ekaterina Makarova. I expect this one to be the upset of the day as Makarova has recovered from that early scare in the first round from Venus Williams. Then again Li also overcame her own scare in the previous round against Safarova, saving match points. This will be a battle and could very well be the match of the day.
Finally, we have Angelique Kerber, really flying under the radar here going up against Flavia Pennetta, the veteran from Italy. The head to head is tied at 2 a piece with Pennetta winning 1 each on clay and hard courts and a similar win record by Kerber. Funnily enough Kerber has beaten her twice at Majors so I am thinking to look for the same results here. However, this will be a hard fought match and the winner is a pick em.
THIS AND THAT
Am I the only one who sees a conflict of interest in Annacone doing commentary on Tennis Channel and possibly calling matches featuring his charge? I recall the constant hue and cry when Mary Jo Fernandez even sits with Federer's wife. Is there a different standard regarding conflicts when the only time it is pointed out is when it affects Roger Federer?
I love Cliff Drysdale. I really do, but the man needs to retire from tennis commentary. He is no longer aware of who is on court playing. He has clearly not kept up with the names of the players on Tour and he continues, after almost 20 years, of calling Venus, Serena and vice versa. Someone needs to make it stop.
Why is it that ESPN and Tennis Channel cannot find a way to have a pre-game show which precedes the opening day of play? They have a highlight show which features matches that you may have missed while you were sleeping. That is all well and good, but it would be nice if they did a pre-game routine which looks at the matches that are coming up, talk the potential strategy surrounding the matches, and get viewers interested in what is coming next. What seems to happen is that the commentators have all the time in the world and then as soon as play starts, they start talking about everything except the tennis. At some point they start throwing around keys to the match, and while it is nice that they are using the IBM slamtracker to give them the keys to the match, it would be nice if the analysts, many of whom are former players themselves, would at least give their views on the strategy that the players should employ during the match. I think that would enable viewers, some of whom are club level players themselves to really get into the match.
Could it be that the analysts have no clue about strategy?