Saturday, December 29, 2012

2013 Pre-Game Post

2013 is still about a couple of days away, but the early results of the new WTA season are already beginning to trickle in.

But, first, a quick offseason awards session:

FAVORITE PHOTO:


...Vika, taking her pick of a future endorsement?

FAVORITE PHOTO (runner-up):


...Petra Kvitova being felt up by a koala.

LEAST FAVORITE PHOTO:


...Andrea Petkovic, already injuring her knee in her first match of the new season (after winning the 1st set against Ashleigh Barty at the Hopman Cup). It's the same knee she had reconstructive surgery on in 2008, and injured again last season before returning with some good late-year results. Sigh... does this mean that Sabine Lisicki is now what passes for a "reasonably healthy" German?

And, finally...

THE "BEST MAGIC ACT OUTSIDE LAS VEGAS" AWARD GOES TO..:




...Caroline Wozniacki! I mean, you have to give her SOME credit for managing to keep her name in the headlines all offseason, while somehow also having her continued lack of a slam title AND fall from #1 to #10 in 2012 NOT talked about. First, love it or loathe it or fail to see the big deal, there was her Serena impersonation in Brazil. After Williams defended her (sort of), we got the almost-too-self-consciously-cutesy Geek/Nerd Christmas photo with Rory McIlroy. And then there was the ooh-she's-wearing-a-ring-is-she-engaged? speculation after she arrived in Brisbane sporting a big some rock on her finger.

Bravo, Caro. I suppose.




=AUSTRALIAN OPEN - POWER RANKINGS... from 2-plus wks. out=
1. Serena Williams: while SW19 has gained ground, Oz has generally been her "best" slam
2. Li Na: she reached the final in '11, and comes to Melbourne w/ Carlos Rodriguez in her corner
3. Victoria Azarenka: hoping to click the heels on her ruby slippers and go back "home" to Oz for a second straight January
4. Petra Kvitova: ready? Or maybe not?
5. Angelique Kerber: is the German the next to make a slam final leap?
6. Maria Sharapova: lost out to Vika in last year's final, and has had a hard time putting away big hard court titles post-shoulder surgery (and she's got a slight collarbone injury, too)
7. Agnieszka Radwanska: the less said the better... but she's often a slam disappointment
8. Nadia Petrova: see #7
9. Venus Williams: an intriguing prospect, and she feels well enough to begin her season in Perth this week
10. Svetlana Kuznetsova: because it'd be just like her to rise up after everyone has seemingly forgotten that she's still there
Wild Card- Laura Robson: the Brit's first slam since NYC
Still Wild Card- Sara Errani: her Oz QF last season foreshadowed a stunning rise
Third Time's the Charm?- Ekaterina Makarova: Round of 16 and QF (w/ win over Serena) in her last two trips to Melbourne




**HOPMAN CUP CHAMPIONS - 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)
2012 Czech Republic (Kvitova/Berdych)

**BACKSPIN WEEK 1 PLAYERS-OF-THE-WEEK**
2002 Venus Williams
2003 Serena Williams
2004 Lindsay Davenport, Eleni Daniilidou (co-PoW)
2005 Elena Dementieva
2006 Lucie Safarova
2007 Dinara Safina
2008 Li Na
2009 Victoria Azarenka
2010 Kim Clijsters
2011 Vera Zvonareva
2012 Petra Kvitova





BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA (Premier $1m/hard outdoor)
12 Final: Kanepi d. Hantuchova
13 Top Seeds: Azarenka/Sharapova
=============================

=SF=
#3 S.Williams d. #1 Azarenka
#6 Kvitova d. #2 Sharapova
=FINAL=
#3 S.Williams d. #6 Kvitova

...there are a whole slew of intriguing possibilities here. U-Rad/C-Woz (possibly) in the 2nd, with the winner meeting Vika. A possible Vika/Serena semi. Kvitova/Kerber in the QF, with the winner maybe facing Sharapova in the SF, with the winner likely playing Serena or Vika for the title. Whew! Come the first Monday of 2013, much will be made of what happened in Brisbane. Of course, last year's winner was Kanepi, who defeated Hantuchova in the final. So, you know, take it for what it's worth. Hmmm, maybe it means the runner-up will eventually pose naked for ESPN the Magazine this coming year? Just theorizing.


AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND (Int'l $235Khard outdoor)
12 Final: Zheng d. Pennetta
13 Top Seeds: A.Radwanska/Goerges
=============================

=SF=
#1 A.Radwanska d. #4 Zheng
#7 McHale d. (WC) Vandeweghe
=FINAL=
#1 A.Radwanska d. #7 McHale

...I'm under "orders" to call this one this way.


SHENZHEN, CHINA (Int'l $500K/hard outdoor)
12 Final: new event
13 Top Seeds: Li/Bartoli
=============================

=SF=
#1 Li d. #4 Hsieh
#7 Robson d. #2 Bartoli
=FINAL=
#1 Li d. #7 Robson

...an early-season look at the success of the Li/Rodriguez offseason teamwork.


HOPMAN CUP; PERTH, AUS (team exhibition/indoor)
12 Final: Czech Republic d. France
13 Top Seeds: SRB (Djokovic-Ivanovic)/USA (Isner-V.Williams)
=============================

=GROUP A=
(1) Serbia (Ivanovic/Djokovic) 3-0*
(3) Italy (Schiavone/Seppi) 1-2
(5) Germany (Petkovic/Haas) 0-3
(8) Australia (Barty/Tomic) 2-1)
=GROUP B=
(2) United States (V.Williams/Isner) 3-0*
(4) Spain (Medina-Garrigues/Verdasco) 2-1
(6) South Africa (Scheepers/Anderson) 0-3
(7) France (Johansson/Tsonga) 1-2
=FINAL=
USA def. SRB

...hmmm, does Petkovic, a pre-season Top 10/11 pick, qualify as 2013's first "Kuznetsova Curse" victim?

But it's not even 2013 yet! Geez.


All for now.


7 Comments:

Blogger jo shum said...

serena was very focused on her first match. looked unstoppable.
kvitova looked okayish. can't wait to see vika and pova on courts.

vika looked pretty careless in the exo match with li. think she had too much fun during off season. :D

petkovic.... oh mine. feel so sorry for her. almost every eary match back from injury to injury.

why did you put sharapova below kerber and kvitova in AO power ranking? thought she played pretty well in istanbul.

Sun Dec 30, 02:10:00 AM EST  
Blogger Todd.Spiker said...

Well, mostly for the reasons I mentioned about her inability to win titles on hard courts of late (0-5 last year) and her records vs. Vika and Serena. I put Kvitova there because she was so close against Sharapova in their meetings in '12, and I'm hoping she'll take that extra step this season.

Honestly, I probably could have/should have put her above Kerber. But sometimes Melbourne IS the site where first-time slam finalists become reality.

Sun Dec 30, 10:32:00 AM EST  
Blogger Todd.Spiker said...

Hmmm, not a good start to 2013 for Kvitova. Ousted by Pavlyuchenkova and looking much like the player that didn't take step forward last season after '11 campaign. Maybe the Russian will finally make a big move soon, though.

Meanwhile, A-Rad's first scheduled opponent of '13 (Mladenovic) has already pulled out of Auckland rather than face her. Of course, she said it was due to "inflammation," but, well, hmmmm... :D

So Aga took down a lucky loser instead.

Tue Jan 01, 12:20:00 PM EST  
Blogger Zidane said...

Hmm, I just saw a picture of Pavlyuchenkova. I do agree that she is probably ready for her big move; I think that for the first time in my life, I saw her fit.

Tue Jan 01, 01:43:00 PM EST  
Blogger Todd.Spiker said...

Better late than never. Maybe Petra will get the message, as well?

Tue Jan 01, 04:34:00 PM EST  
Blogger jo shum said...

todd, from what i see from petra's showing, she looked like the same player as in 2012 with good and bad shots all mixed in one bag.

as for kerber, mmm she looked tired for a player who just started the season. wondering if she is still paying her due in so much match play? maybe she was overachieving from her breakthrough in 2012?

Wed Jan 02, 12:16:00 PM EST  
Blogger Omair said...

Well, I will keep my finger cross for Kvitova. But 3 of her last 4 looses at AO have come at the hands of Azarenka, Williams and Sharapova. She may have to go through all 3 or two of them depending on the draw, and it will be a tough ask, very tough in fact.

Fri Jan 04, 01:42:00 PM EST  

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