Saturday, December 31, 2011

The Calm Before the Storm

Shoes are tied. Wristbands are pulled on. Racket handles are affixed with extra glue (Agnieszka Radwanska only). Yep, the 2012 season is ready to begin.

BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA (Premier $655K/hard outdoor)
11 Final: Kvitova d. Petkovic
11 Doubles Champions: Kleybanova/Pavlyuchenkova
12 Top Seeds: Stosur/Petkovic

#5 Clijsters d. #4 S.Williams
#2 Petkovic d. Voskoboeva
#5 Clijsters d. #2 Petkovic about an unbalanced draw -- Stosur, Clijsters and Serena are all in the top half. On the bright side, a few of the very interesting potential opening week matches seem to stand a good chance of happening -- including Clijsters/Ivanovic, Cibulkova/Hantuchova, Pervak/Voskoboeva (hi, new countrywoman!), Jankovic/Schiavone, Clijsters/Stosur and either Stosur/Serena or Clijsters/Serena. And all of those would happen BEFORE the final, which might turn out to be a bit anticlimactic.

AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND (Int't $220K/hard outdoor)
11 Final: Arn d. Wickmayer
11 Doubles Champions: Peschke/Srebotnik
12 Top Seeds: Lisicki/Peng

#1 Lisicki d. #4 Pennetta
#7 Wickmayer d. #8 Niculescu
#1 Lisicki d. #7 Wickmayer, here's the first reality check on whether or not Lisicki is going to have any shot to carry over her '11 success. Whether she can stay healthy might not be addressed this week, but whether she can continue to win WILL get its first test. That said, I can't say I wouldn't do a few backflips (well, at least wish I COULD do a few backflips) if a certain member of the Dokic family (possibly facing Lisicki in the 2nd Round) got a very welcome upset win to begin her season to allow her to head to Melbourne with visions of 2009 dancing in her head.

HOPMAN CUP; PERTH, AUS (Exhibition/hard indoor)
11 Final: United States d. Belgium (Serbia w/d from final)
12 Top Group Seeds: Czech Republic (A), France (B)

Czech Republic (Kvitova/Berdych) d. France (Bartoli/Gasquet)

...come on, how could I not go with Kvitova here? Err, I mean Kvitova AND Berdych. Speaking of which, with Kvitova coming into this event off a 21-0 indoor record in '11, Lucie's boyfriend had better not drop the ball. Of note here, world #2 Kvitova is set to face world #1 Wozniacki on the final day of Round Robin play.

All, but that's not all. Carl has managed to convince me (maybe it was our Christmastime truce?) to let him make picks every week. So, here he is:

stosur def. serena
petkovic def. jankovic
stosur d. petkovic

...Carl want to pick Kim, but Todd do. Carl no pick with Todd. Christmas over.

pennetta d. dokic
mchale d. peng
pennetta d. mchale

...Todd take Carl's Kim. Carl take Todd's Jelena. And keep Flavia from him, too.

france d. united states

...Berdych let Kvitova down. Carl will laugh at sullen Todd. Marion dance like Petko. Carl, too. This just start of Carl defeating Todd in picks over whole 2012 season.

[since 1999]
1999 Australia (Dokic/Philippoussis)
2000 South Africa (Coetzer/W.Ferreira)
2001 Switzerland (Hingis/Federer)
2002 Spain (Sanchez-Vicario/Robredo)
2003 United States (S.Williams/Blake)
2004 United States (Davenport/Blake)
2005 Slovak Republic (Hantuchova/Hrbaty)
2006 United States (Raymond/Dent)
2007 Russia (Petrova/Tursunov)
2008 United States (S.Williams-Shaughnessy/Fish)
2009 Slovak Republic (Cibulkova/Hrbaty)
2010 Spain (Martinez-Sanchez/Robredo)
2011 United States (Mattek-Sands/Isner)
[most titles]
6 - United States
3 - Slovak Republic, Spain
2 - Germany, Switzerland
1 - Australia, Croatia, Czechoslovakia, Czech Republic, Russia, South Africa, Yugoslavia

[active players; Wk.1 titles in parenthesis]
5 - Kim Clijsters (1), Serera Williams (0)
3 - Eleni Daniilidou (2)
2 - Petra Kvitova (1), Li Na (1), Alicia Molik (0)

=AUSTRALIAN OPEN - POWER RANKINGS... from two-plus weeks out=
1. Kim Clijsters: the defending champ, and in likely her last AO appearance in the nation that "adopted" her even after she broke up with its native son Lleyton
2. Serena Williams: a five-time champ at historically her "best" slam, and with something to prove
3. Petra Kvitova: her first "year after" test
4. Samantha Stosur: ditto
5. Li Na: back to the final or bust, with neither option more likely than the other
6. Caroline Wozniacki: Oz might be her best '12 chance to get the 'roo -- err, I mean monkey -- off her back
7. Victoria Azarenka: she's come close to conquering the moment in Melbourne in the past, but the heat and/or Serena has usually conquered her (think she'll be searching her draw for someone?)
8. Agnieszka Radwanska: can A-Rad 2.0 work in 2012, or has the new her already been corrupted by dad?
9. Maria Sharapova: it's been four years since she won slam #3 at the AO in '08, and she comes in dragging an injured ankle
10. Vera Zvonareva: holding on
Wild Card- Andrea Petkovic: Ms. Consistency in the slams
Wild Wild Card- Sabine Lisicki: if not, the countdown to Wimbledon begins
Just Because- Jelena Dokic: no player has recently ridden an emotional wave in Melbourne better (well, maybe one... a few times)

Until we have our first champions of 2012. All for now.

* - Grand Slam Master List
* - 'Twas the Backspin Before Christmas: The Search for Caroline's Roo
* - The Intriguing 100
* - Prediction Blowout
* - 2012 Week 1 Picks & AO Power Rankings (you are here)


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm at the moment following Hopmann cup for obvious reasons - Caroline is there and did well against your favorite USA yesterday - 2-1 to Denmark how about that. Well tht's not the reason I write this comment it's because of Bartoli which I've just wittnessed devastate Gajdosova with a double bagel - second this year in womens tennis. Bartoli made 12 aces and a bunch of winners and was all over the playing field. She's been practising for two weeks inPerth and you can see that so Todd have an eye on her - she's plans on moving up the rankings (she said in an interview). And you have to rewrite the things about Hopmann cup - USA in final - no way.

Tue Jan 03, 05:39:00 AM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry CARL has to rewrite YOU predict the possible finalists (red ears)

Tue Jan 03, 05:42:00 AM EST  
Blogger Todd Spiker said...

I just got word: Carl has put you on his "Squish List." Take it from me, that's something of a badge of honor. :D

Yeah, I really like Bartoli's chances in '12 (though she did lost to Li in her first match in Perth). If there's an "under the radar" potential slam finalist/winner, I think it's La Trufflette.

Tue Jan 03, 11:50:00 AM EST  
Blogger Carl Backspin said...

Hey, Carl speak for self!!

Haha. Carl type better than Hoergren! After Carl squish Todd, Carl squish Hoergren. You are warned, Dane.

In end, Carl be right on more than Todd or Hoergren.

Tue Jan 03, 12:43:00 PM EST  
Blogger Maxva said...

Hyundai Hopman Cup 2012 Schedule, Results and standings - Hopman Cup 2012

Tue Jan 03, 02:11:00 PM EST  
Blogger Maxva said...

Hyundai Hopman Cup 2012 Schedule, Results and standings - Hopman Cup 2012

Tue Jan 03, 02:11:00 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here is another strange coninsidence. In Sydney a game between Alexandra Dulgheru vs. Sofia Arvidsson - well shouldn't be strange if they hadn't met before in Sydney!- those two also met in the qualifying round where Arvidsson beat Dulgheru. Then Penneta and Lisicki withdraw and two Lucky losers came instead and one of them is Dulgheru. Never seen this before, that the same couple meet twice in the same tournament - have you?.
Congrats to your Dokic girl who came through to the second round witha a double bagel.
And Carl I agree that my spelling is not always correct but I'm just trying to do my best.

Sun Jan 08, 08:14:00 AM EST  
Blogger Diane said...

Hoergren, that is really odd. I actually do thing it's happened before, though, but I have no memory of where or when. But it's nagging at me that I may have seen that scenario before.

At any rate, it's most unusual.

Sun Jan 08, 12:24:00 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Do you want another odd thing then look at match 4 on court 6:

4. Arvidsson/Dokic vs. Dulgheru/Krajicek

Destiny or perhaps Carl has an idea what's behind?

Sun Jan 08, 04:48:00 PM EST  
Blogger Diane said...

I hadn't noticed that! They're going to be sick of each other :)

Sun Jan 08, 11:10:00 PM EST  
Blogger Todd Spiker said...

The whole meeting-twice-in-a-tournament (and maybe in back-to-back matches) thing happens occasionally. It seems like at least once a season, but it always seems like an amazing occurrence.

Reading the comments, I thought I recalled a particularly incredible occurrence in this area, so I had to go back and try to find it. And I did! Back in the Canberra event in 2005, Ana Ivanovic (then ranked #100) defeated Melinda Czink in the third round of qualifying. Czink got into the main draw as a lucky loser... then the two ended up meeting again IN THE FINAL. AnaIvo won again to claim her first tour title.

Mon Jan 09, 11:40:00 AM EST  

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