Tuesday, March 09, 2010

All That's Well in Indian Wells

Ah, the Indian Wells draw.

Hmmm... there are four Belgians in the mix, but still no Williams Sisters after all these years. Svetlana Kuznetsova is the #1 seed... which is something of a damning indictment of the event, but who's going to argue with the rankings (or whatever the WTA is calling them this week), right? Poor Elena Dementieva might have to face her Melbourne conqueror again, only this time in the quarterfinals rather than the 2nd Round. Small favors. Meanwhile, a familiar Russian, fresh off a minor crown, comes to California a more major singles title away from officially earning back some of her supernovic credentials. And a certain Dane, seeded #2, will once again try to "start" her season after a couple of inconsequential months since New Year's Day 2010.

As for everyone else...

INDIAN WELLS, CALIFORNIA USA (Premier $4.5m-Hard Outdoor)
09 FINAL: Zvonareva d. Ivanovic
10 Top Seeds: Kuznetsova/Wozniacki

=Round of 16=
Barbie d. Kuznetsova
Pennetta d. Cibulkova
Azarenka d. Wickmayer
Zvonareva d. Pavlyuchenkova
Henin d. Lisicki
Dementieva d. Schiavone
Sharapova d. Li
Petrova d. Wozniacki

Jada's Mama d. Pennetta
Azarenka d. Zvonareva
Henin d. Dementieva
Sharapova d. Petrova

Azarenka d. Brian's Wifey
Henin d. Sharapova

Henin d. Azarenka

...remember how good Justine looked in Melbourne? Well, she's had a month of practice to further fine-tune LPT 2.0 and heads to Indian Wells as an unranked player for the final time this season. Azarenka has kept her head in crucial moments so far this season, but might have to knock off the three best Belgians to win this title.

All for now.


Blogger Karen said...

If Azarenka can keep it together I see her winning this one but I just dont see Justine having such a good tournament. She has never played well in the IW/Miami season and I do not see that changing here. I think Dementieva will take her out in the quarters. Dementieva has been looking good in the warm ups and I think that loss in KL was an anomaly. Sharapova may not get by Li and I really do not see Wozniacki even getting to the quarters. No love for JJ or Ana either I see - LOL. My how the mighty have fallen.

Tue Mar 09, 12:26:00 PM EST  
Blogger Todd Spiker said...

Yeah, I wondered about Henin's history here, too. But I looked it up and she DID win a title in IW in 2004, so I went ahead and went with her (I would have gone with Azarenka otherwise). Plus, if I didn't pick her and she wins, I'd be mad at myself for not sticking with her after how well she played in Brisbane and Melbourne. I'm interested to see what's changed after an extra month of prep.

It's hard to tell with Dementieva. She's played an awful lot of events so early in the season, I wonder if she's due for a bad result or two.

Li's injury/inconsistency issues always cause my picks for her to be on the "light" side. I'm always afraid to pick her to go too far for fear that she'll be a "bracket buster."

Wozniacki's been pretty invisible so far in '10, but she's got a good draw here. Bye in the 1st, King/McHale in the 2nd, maybe Kirilenko in the 3rd, Bondarenko or Petrova in the 4th. She could be worse off, but she has no momentum coming in.

Yeah, I guess a title and RU in IW the last two years get Ana no support. Her musical coaches act might work, but her main problem has seemed to be confidence and handling pressure since RG '08. Gunthardt never had to help Graf with such things. Years ago, Hantuchova hopped coaches to forestall her slide, and she never did ever climb back to where she once had been.

Wed Mar 10, 03:25:00 PM EST  
Blogger Karen said...

Todd, I see what you are saying about Justine and IW, but note that her lone title at IW was 7 years ago. There is a reason for that. Dementieva has had a couple of weeks to rest (or is that days) so hopefully she will come out a bit less tired than she did last year. Not a fan of hers even though I have already picked her to win the FO this year. I agree on Li. Blows too hot and cold - more cold than hot really. I think this year Wozniacki will begin her sophomore slump. Does not matter how many easy draws she gets this season she is due for a slump and unfortunately for her this year will be it. King can be a bracket buster so I never count her out. She is another player that just plays uninspiring tennis. Have you ever seen a more boring tennis player than Vania King. Ugh. As to Ana, she needs to realise that coaching is not the answer to the problems that she faces. No one can give you confidence. You either have it or you dont. I think Ana is also a bit of a control freak and perhaps that is one of the reasons why she is stagnating like this. You can read a lot into what coaches say about a player and what they dont say. I dont think I have ever heard a coach say that Ana is coachable. Most of what you hear is that she is a nice person and that she thinks about tennis a lot. She thinks about it a lot because she believes she knows what is best for her game and if anyone tries to tell her differently they are dismissed. It will be interesting to see how she does with Heinz but as an Ana fan I am not optimistic.

Thu Mar 11, 01:00:00 PM EST  
Blogger Todd Spiker said...

Being that March is right before the clay season, which was always Henin's focus in LPT 1, I think the final hard court events of the spring were probably down on her list of priorities with Roland Garros' lead-up coming soon. This year, we'll see. She's only played two events in the last twenty-two months, so she might place a little more emphasis on it this time around. With her focus supposedly being Wimbledon, her mindset might be different for '10. We'll see. Either way, one can expect she'll give it her all. That might be enough to win, though I could surely see her losing to a number of players (Dementieva, Sharapova, Azarenka, Barbie) if she has an iffy service day like she did a few times in Oz.

Wozniacki had a semi-slow start last year, as well, but once she got going she had a career year. Much like Jankovic, circa 2008, she has always been a momentum/groove player whose best results come when she's playing many weeks in a row without time in between to rest. If she could just notch one good result, it'd be interesting to see if she could once again string together a few of them.

Thu Mar 11, 01:49:00 PM EST  
Blogger jo shum said...

mmm... i think again it will go to who wants it more. if everyone playing consistently with their games, i'd still go for barbie and justine as both have something to prove after AO. and i'd like justine to win, and mentally should also improve.

Fri Mar 12, 11:45:00 AM EST  

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