Monday, April 02, 2012

Wk.13- Watch Out... The Radwanska Might Get You

Thanks to a certain Polish go-getter, Maria Sharapova won't have any problems coming up with a scary story to impart to her future children if she wants to keep them in line.



Some day, when the kids won't listen, and their father is off somewhere, Sharapova might find herself needing to come up with something that will make them be quiet and allow her some time to decompress after a long day of business meetings and marketing presentations revolving around one of her many new product lines.

When the kids, at first, don't listen, Maria will sit them down in the side room in which she sometimes goes to be alone, locking the door behind her. It usually happens when she's reminded of a particularly bad memory from her past. "You know how mama comes in here and closes the door?," she'll ask. When the two blonde tots shake their heads, she'll impart her first bit of wisdom. "Well, I come in here to be alone. I think about how I managed to survive a few truly horrible days, five years apart." As they stare at her and silently blink, she'll lower her voice and utter, "And you should listen to what I have to say. Because, one day, The Radwanska might come to get you, too."

She'll tell them of having gone to New York City when she was just a teenager. Her experience there had been exquisite. Clad in a little black dress, her smile lit up the night sky. One year later, though, she faced off against The Radwanska there. At first glance, It seemed to be just a normal being you might pass on the street. But The Radwanska was very smart. And, back then, while It was still young and not yet as skilled in the art of deception and battle, The Radwanska liked to be demonstrative when It distracted and psyched out Its opponents. "Well," Maria will say, "at least that's the tactics It decided to use against me." She'll tell the kids about how right as she was about to attack The Radwanska, It'd hop around and make like It was going to charge her. It played with her mind, and caused her to make mistakes. Then, once the battle began, The Radwanska didn't really flash any big weapons. "Certainly not as big as mine," Maria will remember. "But it didn't matter. It expertly moved me around our agreed-upon place of battle, and tired me out. I didn't know what to do. I'd try too hard, and make a mistake. The Radwanska would counter my big punches with lighter ones from weird angles, and I'd have a hard time fighting back. It frustrated me, and I become a little unglued, to be honest. Oh, I didn't show it... but I made so many mistakes, it was sort of obvious. Especially to The Radwanska. It just emboldened It."

After leaving that battle battered and bruised, Maria will tell her offspring, she met up with The Radwanska many times over the years that followed. She always bested her adversary, making her wonder what had happened that time in New York that had rattled her so. After a while, she sort of forgot about that one bad fight, thinking that it was only an aberration. "The Radwanska had me right where It wanted me."

Almost five years after that first horrifying encounter, Maria will tell of how she and The Radwanska met again in Miami. It didn't take long for her to realize that some things had changed, while some had remained the same. Scarily so. Having forgotten about the frustrating tactics often employed by The Radwanska against her, Maria will recount how she'd gone into THIS contest without being as leery as she should have been. "I had no answers when The Radwanska started to cast It's spell on me all over again. Even worse, It had changed. It was stronger now. It had a few bigger weapons at Its disposal, and a willingness to use them whenever the mood struck. I could never tell when it was going to happen, though. The Radwanska's face never let on what was going on inside It's head. The craftiness. The mathematical equations and tables studied -- at least I'm guessing -- to determine what tactic to use and when, all timed out and selected to use right when I'd least expect it. Then, when you finally give in and admit defeat, The Radwanska smiles. It sends a shiver down your back. Was it all an illusion. Suddenly, The Radwanska didn't look as imposing as It had a few moments before. How could that be? What just happened? Was it me!? I didn't know what to do!"

The kids cautiously exchange glances as their mother puts a hand over her eyes and tries to contain herself. As usual, it only takes a moment. Probably less than a second. So quick that, unless someone knows her as well as they do, they wouldn't even have noticed the crack that developed behind her eyes before she shielded them from view.

"Well, let's just say that it was a horrifying experience. It was like I was living out the day from five years before all over again, only this time The Radwanska was more self-assured and confident in It's approach. More efficient, too. It didn't need to trick me to beat me. Or psych me out with idle threats. It was just better than me. Pardon my French, but it scared the crap out of me. It really did. Apparently, I hadn't learned anything, wasn't quite as good a fighter as I used to be... AND The Radwanska had become a more lethal opponent Itself. I tell you, if I wasn't who I was I'd probably been REALLY depressed. After all, I'd gotten through such a beating at The Radwanska's hands before, and climbed to the top of the pyramid to become declared the best fighter in the land. Well, at least I was ONE of them. No one ever said that about The Radwanska."

"What happened to The Radwanska, Mommy?," one wide-eyed munchkin will ask.

"I'm not sure, honey," Maria will whisper.

Then, with a hint of fear, one child queries, "Will The Radwanska ever come after me?"

"Oh, I'm sure The Radwanska doesn't have any interest in that," Maria will say, then begin to wonder. "But then I thought It was through coming after me, too. Sure, I'd heard rumblings that the Radwanska had been saying things about me behind my back for a while. I even made a crack about It losing a recent battle one time. Hmmm, maybe that was what got The Radwanska mad, and made It come after me again. Why did I make It mad?"

Maria gets a far off look in her eyes. "I'd faced such a foe before, but SHE didn't scare me like The Radwanska did. The Serena was The Best of Them All. I beat her at her own game. You'd think it would make you feel better about everything else. But it doesn't. Maybe it's because you can always see The Serena coming. You can prepare yourself and, if you lose, you're prepared for the pain. With The Radwanska, it's like It's not there and then -- poof! -- there It is. You don't see It coming until It's already got you. You know, I've stopped looking behind every tree, and around every corner. Maybe I'm doing it again. Maybe The Radwanska is still out there. Waiting for the perfect moment to pounce."

The kids are worried now. "How do we know when the Radwanska is coming, Mama?!"

"You can't. Not really.," Maria will haltingly say. "You probably should sleep with one eye open, a night light on, and a heavy racket right next to the bed. Just in case. The Radwanska COULD come calling in the middle of the night, and you'll be prepared when It shows up." She chuckles to herself. "That's what you tell youself. 'Next time, you'll be prepared.' You won't let The Radwanska scare you. You'll be prepared... you'll be prepared... you'll be prepared..."

After about ten minutes of hearing their mother repeat the line as if some sort of mantra, little Yuri and Yelena grab each other's hands and maneuver their way down the hall and back to bed. They pull the covers up over their heads, and try to block out the sound of their mother's voice as it drones on into the dead of night.

"You'll be prepared... you'll be prepared..."

Anyway, I just figure that Sharapova, one day, will have all sorts of stories to tell about encounters such as the one she had on Saturday afternoon. Oh, such a story might scare the kids, you say? They'll never get to sleep after hearing a tale such as that, you surmise. Well, yeah. Maybe. But that's something that Maria will have to deal with later, like it or not. You know, just like how she'll have to one day deal with the fact that the spells cooked up by The Radwanska, after all these years, still have the ability to perplex and befuddle her, leaving her without any more answers now than she had in NYC back in 2007.

Scary, indeed.



*WEEK 13 CHAMPIONS*
MIAMI, FLORIDA (Premier $4.828/HCO)
S: Agnieszka Radwanska/POL def. Maria Sharapova/RUS 7-5/6-4
D: Kirilenko/Petrova (RUS/RUS) d. Errani/Vinci (ITA/ITA)



PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Agnieszka Radwanska/POL

...while the players ranked above her have made much more noise -- literally, and figuratively -- Radwanska continues to sneak up behind them. Her latest "biggest title ever" in Miami puts her within striking distance of #3 Petra Kvitova, and if she could ever figure out a way to not have her second serve come back to bite her against an aggressive, hard-hitting and "on" player in a slam (she's lost to eventual champs Azarenka and Clijsters at the last two Australian Opens, a resurgent Sharapova in Paris and revelation Angelique Kerber in NYC last season), she might just eventually be more than a footnote in the "has a chance to be #1" storylines that she surprisingly found herself involved in during last year's WTA Championships. As it is, after her late-event wins over Venus Williams, Marion Bartoli and Sharapova in Miami got her her ninth career singles title (her fifth since last summer, after having gone three years without grabbing a crown), A-Rad doesn't have much room left to grow when it comes to bigger and better prizes for her trophy case. Unless she'd savor a Gold Medal as much as Elena Dementieva did, the only more prestigious hardware Radwanska has left to grab are the WTA Championships or a slam. Winning an event as big as Miami IS something to pay attention to. No other non-slam event approximates the feel of a major like this event, from the weather conditions, packed field, six-matches-over-two-weeks (for seeds, as it's seven for everyone else) format and combined men's and women's competitions, if a player can come through this and win a title (and A-Rad did it without dropping a set) then she's got a chance at one of the four biggest events on the schedule, as well. The past lineup of champions says it's so. As things stand right now, Radwanska is the ONLY women's Miami titlist who doesn't also own a slam singles championship. Before Azarenka won in Melbourne in January, the two-time Miami queen had been the only slam-less past champ. So, either A-Rad's run will turn out to be an aberration, or she just foreshadowed the next big step in her career. Speaking of Azarenka, Radwanska's six wins in Miami has pushed her into a tie with the Belarusian for most match wins on tour in 2012 (actually, if you count A-Rad's "not-worthy-of-being-counted-by-the-WTA" four Fed Cup zone play victories, she's got the most). But while Azarenka's 26-1 mark is spectacular, it's even more impressive when you consider that Radwanska's 26-4 mark is weighed down only by her 0-4 season mark against Vika. Forget about winning a slam -- I'd say that dealing with THAT is Radwanska's next order of business.
=============================
RISER: Dominika Cibulkova/SVK
...Cibulkova ended her '11 season by finally claiming her first WTA singles title in Moscow. The thought was that it would give her the dose of closing confidence that has so often eluded her in big matches during her career. Well, she came to Miami sporting a head-shaking 4-8 season record. Still, the hard-hitting, jitterbugging Slovak is always a potential upset waiting to happen when she faces the game's top stars, as the world #1 would soon find out. After crushing Zheng Jie 2 & 0, Cibulkova met up with Azarenka in a 4th Round match-up. The Slovak jumped on Azarenka's serve from the start and took it to her like no other player has in ages. She nearly bageled her in the 1st set, and led 6-1/4-0. She served for the match, but never quite got to match point. Azarenka ended up winning a tight three-setter filled with great strings of Cibulkova winners, though, and the Slovak displayed regret afterward that she wasn't as aggressive in some of the match's biggest moments as she'd been while grabbing her lead and during some of her more awesome displays during the contest. So, will this match get the current #18 back on the path to challenging for the Top 10? Will she remember only the loss, or how the way she played had made the loss so disappointing? Once again, it'll be a matter of which Cibulkova wins out.
=============================
SURPRISE: Sandra Zaniewska/POL
...it was a good week for Polish players. While A-Rad was winning in Miami, on the other side of the world, 20-year old Zaniewska was claiming her second ITF crown in the last two weeks Down Under. This one came in the $25K event in Bundaberg, where the Pole got victories over Sally Peers, Isabella Holland, Junri Namigata and Japan's Shuko Aoyama in the final.
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VETERANS: Maria Sharapova/RUS & Marion Bartoli/FRA
...essentially, Sharapova has had the best worst (or worst best) 1st Quarter by any player in the history of tennis 1st Quarters... or at least in the last quarter-century or so. With her loss in the Miami final, she's now reached -- and lost -- the final at all three of the 1Q's biggest events, after having already lost the Australian Open and Indian Wells deciding matches. Since all three events have been held on both tours since the mid-1980's, NO OTHER PLAYER HAS EVER DONE THAT. Male OR female. It'd been twelve years since any woman had played in all three finals, so she's to be commended for her consistency. But of the four other women who've reached all three finals in a single season, only Martina Hingis (in 2000) even managed to lose two of the matches. The rest won at least two, while Steffi Graf (1994) swept the trio of titles. Worse yet for Sharapova, she's now 0-4 in Miami finals in her career. Her recent run of big match defeats, and her perplexed and rattled reaction to Radwanska's gameplan in the final, will test her well-known ability to compartmentalize the lingering memories of her low points, put them behind her and move forward without looking back as we head into the clay court season. Thankfully, for her, that's really where her comeback began to take shape last spring. Bartoli, too, leaves Miami with bittersweet memories. She ended Azarenka's 26-match winning streak, jumping on the world #1 4-0 in the 1st set, then coming back from a 3-1 deficit in the 2nd in claiming the straight sets victory. But then, in the semifinals, she played through a thigh injury that hampered her during her own straight sets loss to Radwanska. At times, Bartoli looks capable of anything, including adding her name to the recent list of first-time slam champs, but then her history of nagging injuries comes back to pull the rug out from under her before she can accomplish something truly great. Still, I can't erase the belief that if she can ever get everything in working order, she could produce one of those Schiavonian moments that we'll remember forever. How long before everyone goes to Paris?
=============================
COMEBACK: Caroline Wozniacki/DEN
...were those the first signs of a "new" Caroline, or just a false alarm? Miami wins over Barbora Zahlavova-Strycova, Petra Cetkovska and Yanina Wickmayer were nice, but it was her first career victory over a Williams (Serena) in the QF that gets her this award. Sure, Serena's forehand was way off during the match, and her movement might have been even worse. But Wozniacki's serve was a bit bigger, too, and she actually took the initiative and played a little more aggressively without having to have her back pressed against the wall before it became a tactic she was willing to employ. If this was the Dane's response to dropping from #1 to #6 behind a handful of harder-hitting players (and one very smart not-as-hard-hitting one), it was a good start. Of course, what the Dane giveth, she also taketh away. In her next match against Sharapova, she showed nice fight, but when chair umpire Kader Nouni's correctly overruled a Sharapova serve on match point (it'd been called long, but hit the line), C-Woz went out looking closer to the immature star she's often been over the past year. First, she was upset that the call was made, then that she didn't have any challenges left to use (and whose fault is that?). Then, when Sharapova eventually won the point to put away the match, she petulantly refused to shake Nouni's hand and then scurried off the court sporting one of the "loudest" pouts on her face that you're ever likely to encounter from someone not in elementary school. If she was just upset because she wanted the win SO MUCH, then I'll give her a half-pass on it all. If it's the beginning of another unfounded everyone-is-out-to-get-me period, then I'll remember it as one of those straws that eventually breaks a certain Backspinning camel's back.
=============================
FRESH FACE: Melanie Oudin/USA
...ever since her huge QF run at the U.S. Open in 2009, Oudin's progress, when there's been any, has been measured in much smaller increments than the huge chunks of ground she covered with every leap and bound over that two-week stretch in Flushing Meadows. Last week was a good example. She began it by losing in the 1st Round of a $50K challenger event in Osprey, Florida to Alize Cornet. But she rebounded quickly, heading north to Charleston, where she made it through qualifying, getting a very nice three-set win over Heather Watson along the way. After splitting the first two sets against Anabel Medina-Garrigues today in Charleston, though, she dropped the 3rd set at love. On whole... progress, or no?
=============================
DOWN: Kim Clijsters/BEL & Rebecca Marino/CAN
...after finally returning from her post-AO injury break, Clijsters lost after just a few matches in Miami, sent packing at the hands of countrywoman Yanina Wickmayer. And now she's on ANOTHER injury break. A torn hip muscle will put her out for another month. She's scheduled to return in Madrid, in time to prepare for Roland Garros, Wimbledon and the Olympics in what is slated to be the final spring/summer time European swing of her career. Of course, schedules haven't been all that reliable over the back-half of KC 2.0, have they? Meanwhile, Marino's troubles are a little harder to grasp and diagnose. A couple of season's ago, Venus Williams said she saw some of herself in the Canadian, and the hard-serving Marino looked ready to have an impact on the tour. It hasn't happened and, now, after notching just one main draw tour win since the end of last summer, she's decided to take an indefinite leave from the sport. It'll probably mean she won't be playing in her first Olympics this summer, but she's trying to look long term. Maybe a little time away will recharge her batteries, but it goes without saying that when a player who should be entering the prime of her career is instead setting her rackets DOWN (however temporarily), it's hard to see it as a 100% GOOD thing.
=============================
ITF PLAYER: Arantxa Rus/NED
...the 21-year old Dutch player made a splash last year with her 2nd Round upset of Clijsters at Roland Garros, but her win in the $50K Osprey, Florida event last week was her first ITF title since 2009. The world #105 got wins over Misaki Doi, Irina Falconi, Florencia Molinero and Edina Gallovits-Hall before taking out Sesil Karatantcheva (hey, look who finally decided to show her face around these parts again!) 6-4/6-1 in the final.
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JUNIOR STAR: Anna Schmiedlova/SVK
...an Australian Open Girls quarterfinalist in 2011, the 17-year old Slovak is still a Top 20 junior. Ranked just outside the WTA Top 500, Schmiedlova claimed the $10K challenger in Antalya over the weekend, taking down Germany's always-a-threat-on-the-ITF-circuit Anna-Lena Friedsam (yes, I remember how to spell her name by thinking of some imaginary Seuss-like character named Fried Sam) 7-6/6-4 in the final. It's her second career ITF title.
=============================


1. Mia 4th Rd - Azarenka d. Cibulkova
...1-6/7-6/7-5.
#26, the hard way. I've already done a separate post on this match, in which Azarenka held her head (though you could almost see the steam coming out of her ears a few times) and overcame a 6-1/4-0 deficit in a match in which Cibulkova got to within two points of the win on five different occasions.
=============================
2. Mia QF - Bartoli d. Azarenka
...6-3/6-3.
Unlike many of the opponents during Azarenka's about-to-end 26-match win streak, Bartoli wasn't intimidated in the slightest. It's just not in her make-up. Once she got up on Azarenka in the 1st, you could just see Vika fighting against a "here we go again" redux right after the Cibulkova match (or maybe that was just me rolling MY eyes and thinking that). At least she finally got a chance to rest up for the long EuroClay season to come.
=============================
3. Mia QF - Wozniacki d. S.Williams
...6-4/6-4.
Finally, down 6-4/5-2 with the Dane serving, Serena started to look a little like herself. Thing is, ever since she lost the Open final last year, the not-moving-her-feet, hang-dog, misses-more-than-she-hits vision she often showed here has sort of been her norm.
=============================
4. Mia 4th - S.Williams d. Stosur
...7-5/6-3.
Serena had a personal stake in this rematch of the U.S. Open final, and the results showed it. Of course, Stosur's double-faulting issues helped.
=============================
5. Mia SF - Sharapova d. Wozniacki
...4-6/6-3/6-4.
Sharapova was barely holding things together by the time she got to this match, so maybe the final shouldn't have been unexpected in any way. She ping-ponged from pillar to post against the Dane, serving great and going up 4-1 in the 1st, only to fall apart and lose the set. Up two breaks again the 3rd, things got far closer than they should have. A Sharapova who wants to win that fourth slam title has to take out Wozniacki in short order in that situation. It didn't happen that way, though.
=============================
6. Mia Final - A.Radwanska d. Sharapova
...7-5/6-4.
Sharapova is not only the first player to ever lose Australian Open, Indian Wells and Miami finals in the same season, but no other women has ever even managed to just lose both I.W. and Miami in back-to-back fashion. At least she's not alone there, though. Andre Agassi (1990) and Rafael Nadal (2011) have gone 0-2 in the events on the men's side. Not bad company to keep if you've got to keep it, I guess.
=============================
7. Mia SF - A.Radwanska d. Bartoli
...6-4/6-2.
Bartoli's thigh injury and the stadium power failure sixteen games into this semifinal get the most attention, but that there were fifteen breaks of serve in the match's eighteen games might say more about the potential for A-Rad to thrill, but also eventually disappoint, come grand slam time.
=============================
8. Mia Doubles 2nd Rd - King/Niculescu d. Shvedova/Voskoboeva
...7-5/6-2.
Oh, the upcoming Olympic competition is sometimes making for strange doubles bedfellows... and, in Miami, opponents. Usual doubles duo King/Shvedova faced off against each other in Miami, with the all-Kazakh team coming up on the short end. It made a difference, too. Because of their Miami results, King passed Shvedova in the doubles rankings and bumped her out of the Top 5. Whoops.
=============================
9. $50K Osprey 1st Rd - Eugenie Bouchard/CAN d. Laura Robson/GBR 6-3/6-7/6-4
Charleston Q1 - Melanie Oudin/USA d. Heather Watson/GBR 6-4/1-6/6-4
...
hey, two cheers for THIS side of the pond! Heehee.
=============================
10. $25 Phuket Final - Marta Sirotkina/RUS d. Claire Feuerstein/FRA
...7-5/7-6.
No Russian women won a WTA singles title during the 1st Quarter, but Sirotkina has grabbed two challenger crowns.
=============================
HM- $10K Le Havre FRA Final - Myrtille Georges/FRA d. Ysaline Bonaventure/BEL
...5-7/7-5/6-0.
For the second straight event, the 17-year old Waffle, still ranked outside the WTA Top 1000, made it through qualifying and all the way to the final. She's 0-2 in those matches, but such results surely make her someone to at least keep one eye on.
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1. Charleston Q2 - Karolina Pliskova d. Michelle Larcher de Brito 6-4/6-2
Charleston Q2 - Iveta Benesova d. Kristyna Pliskova 6-1/4-6/6-3
...
here they... err... SHE comes!
=============================
2. $25K Phuket QF - Marta Sirotkina/RUS d. #1 Erika Sema/JPN 6-2/6-0
$25 Bundaberg QF - Shuka Aoyama/JPN d. #1 Yurika Sema/JPN 6-2/4-6/7-5
...
two weeks of events with the Sema sisters installed as #1 seeds in challengers = a 0-4 record in quarterfinals. Maybe they should go back to playing in the same events and give the family more of a fighting chance.
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**REACHED FINALS AT AO, INDIAN WELLS & MIAMI IN SEASON**
[WTA]
1991 Monica Seles W-L-W
1994 Steffi Graf W-W-W
2000 Lindsay Davenport W-W-L
2000 Martina Hingis L-L-W
2012 MARIA SHARAPOVA L-L-L
[ATP]
1990 Stefan Edberg L-W-L
1994 Pete Sampras W-W-W
1995 Pete Sampras L-W-L
1998 Marcelo Rios L-W-W
2001 Andre Agassi W-W-W
2006 Roger Federer W-W-W
2011 Novak Djokovic W-W-W

**WTA FINALS AT INDIAN WELLS & MIAMI IN SEASON**
1991 Monica Seles L-W
1994 Steffi Graf W-W
1996 Steffi Graf W-W
1999 Serena Williams W-L
2000 Lindsay Davenport W-L
2000 Martina Hingis L-W
2005 Kim Clijsters W-W
2006 Maria Sharapova W-L
2012 MARIA SHARAPOVA L-L

**2012 WTA FINALS**
4...Victoria Azarenka, BLR (4-0)
3...MARIA SHARAPOVA, RUS (0-3)
2...AGNIESZKA RADWANSKA, POL (2-0)
2...Daniela Hantuchova, SVK (1-1)
2...Flavia Pennetta, ITA (0-2)

**2012 WTA SF**
4...Victoria Azarenka, BLR (4-0)
4...AGNIESZKA RADWANSKA, POL (2-2)
4...Angelique Kerber, GER (1-3)
3...MARIA SHARAPOVA, RUS (3-0)
3...MARION BARTOLI, FRA (1-2)

**2012 WEEKS IN TOP 20**
[of 14 weeks, CAPS = current Top 20]
14...VICTORIA AZARENKA
14...MARIA SHARAPOVA
14...PETRA KVITOVA
14...AGNIESZKA RADWANSKA
14...SAMANTHA STOSUR
14...CAROLINE WOZNIACKI
14...MARION BARTOLI
14...LI NA
14...VERA ZVONAREVA
14...SERENA WILLIAMS
14...ANDREA PETKOVIC
14...FRANCESCA SCHIAVONE
14...SABINE LISICKI
14...JELENA JANKOVIC
14...DOMINIKA CIBULKOVA
11...Peng Shuai
11...Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova
9...ANA IVANOVIC
7...JULIA GOERGES
7...ANGELIQUE KERBER
7...Svetlana Kuznetsova
5...DANIELA HANTUCHOVA
4...Kim Clijsters
4...Flavia Pennetta
3...ROBERTA VINCI

**BACKSPIN MARCH AWARDS**
TOP PLAYER: Victoria Azarenka, BLR
RISER: Agnieszka Radwanska, POL
SURPRISE: Jamie Hampton, USA
VETERAN: Maria Sharapova, RUS
COMEBACK: Alisa Kleybanova, RUS
FRESH FACE: Sloane Stephens, USA
DOWN: Petra Kvitova, CZE
ITF PLAYER: Ana Savic, CRO
JUNIOR STAR: Anna Danilina, KAZ





CHARLESTON, SOUTH CAROLINA (Premier $740K/green clay outdoor)
11 Final: Wozniacki d. Vesnina
11 Doubles Champions: Mirza/Vesnina
12 Top Seeds: #2 Stosur/#3 Bartoli (#1 Radwanska w/d)
=============================

=SF=
#3 Bartoli d. Wozniak
#2 Stosur d. #6 Lisicki
=FINAL=
#3 Bartoli d. #2 Stosur

...oh, with both Sisters in this draw, it's so tempting to go with one. I suspect a certain former cave-dweller will take advantage of that. Lisicki made one of her first big splashes at this event a few years ago, but she's in the super-tough bottom half of the draw (she could have to face Wickmayer, Serena and either Venus or Stosur just to get to the final), and this isn't Wimbledon. Maybe she'll catch a wave, though. It'd be nice to see. But I'll split the difference and pick her no better than the semis. Bartoli is coming in with the leg injury she suffered in Miami, but she might have an easier go of things in the top half than whoever emerges from the bottom.





Well, darlings, it looks like Carl is late, so I guess I'll be picki-

(doors slams in background, heavy breathing gets closer)

CARL: Carl here! Carl pick now!

CARLA: Now, now. I was here first, dear.

CARL: CARL here! CARL pick now! Carla no pick good as Carl last two events. Time for change!

CARLA: (sigh) Not even a hello, huh? You just start right in how you did better than me.

CARL: HELLO! Carl just tell truth. Carl pick now!

CARLA: (sigh) Fine. Carl pick now, then. But Carla pick again soon. Oh, no. Now you've got me doing it.

CARL: Doing what?

CARLA: Nevermind. Go ahead. I'll just go read about what Diane is seeing in Charleston.


CHARLESTON
=SF=
#4 zvonareva d. #3 bartoli
#5 s.williams d. (wc) v.williams
=FINAL=
#5 s.williams d. #4 zvonareva

...Serena no like losing to Wozniacki. She erase from memory quick. Just like Carl will do to Todd once gets close enough again.


THIS WEEK: 1st Quarter Backspin Awards

All for now.

20 Comments:

Blogger jo shum said...

what imagination! A-Rad now becomes a monster?! haha.

it's probably good that vika takes a long break to regroup, while aga is smart to not play after winning a biggie. why is caro not playing?

i like the entirely different picks from carl and todd.

Mon Apr 02, 10:58:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Zidane said...

I rarely comment if I don't have anything useful to add, but tonight is an exception: I've been reading your blogs for about 7 years now, and this one is one of the best posts of all! Possibly THE best!

But Wozniak in the semifinals?????

Tue Apr 03, 01:15:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Zidane said...

I just saw the draw for Charleston. I'm suddenly less flabbergasted about your Wozniak pick. Now that she beat McHale and that the remaining seeds in her quarter are Zvonareva and Safarova, her recent good form dictates that she has as good a chance as anybody else.

Unfortunately, we probably both jinxed her. Sorry Wozniak...

Tue Apr 03, 05:39:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Todd.Spiker said...

Jo-

Hey, now. It's an eerie force that scares children -- and Russians -- because they don't know when or where It'll strike. Don't call It a monsters... It might come after YOU next! :D

Hmmm, well, I'm not going to complain about Wozniacki taking a week off for once. That said, if I see her in the gallery following McIlroy's group during a few rounds of the Masters this week, I WILL wonder if that was the true reason she skipped Charleston.


Zidane-

Thanks. ;)

Ah, you figured it out. Because I didn't really like the other options, I actually had picked McHale to reach the semis. But I waited to post because I saw that Wozniak looked like she might win. Since she did, I went with her. Otherwise, I wouldn't have gone that way. If we jinxed her, then at least I'll get to share the blame this time. :D

(I accept no blame for Marino, by the way.)

Tue Apr 03, 11:19:00 AM EDT  
Blogger jo shum said...

monster-rad, monster-rad, come after me in the dreams....

i was too curious to know for what caro is forsaking the charleston tournament since she was bragging about wanting to play there in only last few weeks. and so the internet provides the following:

'She confirmed that she recorded the single this morning on her Twitter timeline, A couple of busy days in Poland, shooting a music video for the charity song I recorded:) — Caroline Wozniacki (@CaroWozniacki) April 3, 2012 '

apparently her new song is called oxygen and on youtube too!

Tue Apr 03, 01:18:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Todd.Spiker said...

So busy. You wonder how she ever finds time for tennis. (wink, wink) ;)

Tue Apr 03, 01:26:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Diane said...

Where I'm from, they scare kids by telling them that the Rougarou is coming to get them. But that probably doesn't cause any permanent psychological damage. But imagine living with the fear that--when you least expect it--The Radwanska is coming for you!

Tue Apr 03, 02:18:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Todd.Spiker said...

Poor Yuri and Yelena. ;)

Tue Apr 03, 09:44:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Hoergren said...

Again a brilliant blog from you with a manus for the next scary movie ;-) Fun, fun. Caroline is not taking part in Charleston because she never committed to this tournament - same goes for New Haven (but here I actually expect her to take part). If she wanted to go to Charleston she couldn't because of too many top 6 players (although Aga withdrew).
Perhaps one of you know why Stuttgart can have ALL top 6 players and only be a premier 700 tournament - it shouldn't be possible according to the WTA rules?

Wed Apr 04, 09:03:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Todd.Spiker said...

Oh, Hoergren, you beat me to it. I just read this in this article:

Still one of the best-known WTA-only tournaments but now a Premier 700, the Family Circle Cup field cannot include more than two of the top six players. This is why Wozniacki, who eventually decided she wanted to play this year, wasn’t allowed to enter.

Wed Apr 04, 10:45:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Zidane said...

OMG! OMG! OMG!!!! I just heard Wozniacki's song, Oxygen. The music and electronic voice effects reminded me so much of Britney Spears' Toxic. Needless to say, badly.

There are SOOOOO many things to make of that! First, a style that could sound ok in 2005, but that is so archaic nowadays. Second, the titles of the songs (Toxic/Oxygen) are quite ironic when put aside. Third, and most importantly, does this loom of a Britney-like career for Wozniacki? Reaching the top very quickly, but without really contributing to music/tennis, to then stay a very mediatic figure, often derided, continuing to sing/play without much enthusiasm, but still sometimes getting a lot of attraction for their career? I sincerely hope this is not ominous. Wozniacki has the potential to contribute much more than that to tennis.

Thu Apr 05, 02:43:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Todd.Spiker said...

Everything I'm finding has it blocked for copyright purposes. :(

I did find the "great" lyrics, through. :)

You're in the air so I can keep on breathing, breathing
You know exactly how to keep my world spinning, spinning
Won't let you go, boy don't you know you are the air I breathe, the air I need
When you're around me I can feel my heart is beating, beating
I wanna show you, wanna tell you how I'm feeling, feeling
So come with me, so I can touch your body
Don't make me wait, don't hesitate

You're my OX-OX-OXYGEN
I'm breathing you, I'm breathing you, breathing you, I'm breathing you in
OX-OX-OXYGEN
I'm breathing you, I'm breathing you, breathing you, I'm breathing you in
O-X-Y-G-E-N, OXYGEN
Ey yeah, ey yeah, ey yeah, ey yeah
Ey yeah, ey yeah, ey yeah, ey yeah

You're like the gravity that's pulling me, it's pulling me
And every time you take a look at me I'm falling, falling
Just scream my name, scream it again and again
You turn me on, you're in my zone
Yeah
Yeah

You're my OX-OX-OXYGEN
I'm breathing you, I'm breathing you, breathing you in, I'm breathing you in
OX-OX-OXYGEN
I'm breathing you, I'm breathing you, breathing you in, I'm breathing you in
O-X-Y-G-E-N, OXYGEN
Ey yeah, ey yeah, ey yeah, ey yeah
Ey yeah, ey yeah, ey yeah, ey yeah

Yo, what's your name girl?
My name is Caroline
Yo, what's your name girl?
My name is Caroline
Yo, what's your name girl?
My name is Caroline
Caroline, you're my match point
Boy, you're my match point

You're my OXYGEN
You're my
You're my
You're in my zone

Thu Apr 05, 05:47:00 PM EDT  
Blogger jo shum said...

Errrrrrrrr
Focus focus play tennis pls

Thu Apr 05, 10:53:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Zidane said...

I found it on a Eurosport link after googling "Caroline Wozniacki Oxygen".

Sorry jo shum... it's somehow tennis-related... and less painful than to remind ourselves that we DID jinx Wozniak.

Thu Apr 05, 11:21:00 PM EDT  
Blogger jo shum said...

No worries zidane. I was referring to Caro to focus on her tennis. Applaud to you guys to watch the video. ;)

Fri Apr 06, 12:38:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Hoergren said...

Ok ok you've all had your laughs and fun - here is the story behind. Translated from Polish and there might be a few errors but the meaning should be clear enough:

Wozniacki: Helping others is my duty
Thursday, April 5 (16:21)
The Danish tennis player with Polish roots Caroline Wozniacki completed work on a music video for her song "Oxygen". The income will be devoted to charity - a tennis academy in Torun will have her name.
- This is a very important issue to help others. It is my duty - she said at Thursday's press conference..

The Wozniacki tennis Academy in Torun will take the education of children and youth tennis. Funds from the sale of the video also contribute to the construction of the center of preparations for Paralympic wheelchair tennis in Wrocław and for scholarships for young tennis players. The initiative will also have support from the Ministry of Sport and Tourism - as told at a press conference by the current secretary of state Grzegorz Karpinski. Caroline and Agnieszka Radwanska - ensures that they'll share the idea with their colleagues from the court, and will do so already during the next start in Stuttgart.

The only such academy in the world. (Not entirely true - the first Wozniacki acadamy is in Copenhagen)

So to end this - to save your ears NO new career in singing but maybe anotheer one for charity later. I think epople should back up these plans when they have stopped LOLing :-)

Fri Apr 06, 03:24:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Todd.Spiker said...

I'll agree with you on this one, Hoergren. She IS doing it for charity, so it IS unfair to club her over the head for having visions of musical grandeur. That she's willing to expose herself to ridicule (at least I hope she wasn't taking it seriously) for a good cause is something to commend her for.

Of course, when she does something like that she's almost making it TOO easy for people to continue to make fun of her, you know? Oh, well. Sticks and stones, right? That's how she SHOULD look at it.

Sat Apr 07, 02:22:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Diane said...

The scary part is that this is someone's idea of something that will raise funds for a good cause. Will it? I guess if people bought "Money Can't Buy You Class," they might buy this.

Sat Apr 07, 04:24:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Todd.Spiker said...

:D

Sat Apr 07, 07:44:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Hoergren said...

Just a small comment to end this charity talk. You can support any charity WITHOUT having to take the product offered. AND even bad publicity is better than none. Now all and everybody knows about this project and then a few will support it sending some money. Well enough of this - hope she'll get a good tournament in Copenhagen.

Sun Apr 08, 07:37:00 AM EDT  

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