Sunday, January 31, 2016

Djokovic Blots Out the Sun

Hail the future all-time slam king, for Novak Djokovic is at it again. Or I should say, he's STILL at it. As a result, the ATP tour continues to experience a full-on Serbian eclipse.

Make no mistake about it, the unchallenged world #1 currently blankets the men's tour like not even Serena Williams has covered the WTA landscape in recent and past seasons. Djokovic's command of the moment is more akin to the dominant runs put together by Martina Navratilova or Steffi Graf, only without even one in-their-prime future star reliably capable of rising up and truly challenging him for the tour lead. As 2016 stands just one month old, there are no men in position to play the same role of "eventual power usurper" as Graf did vs. Navratilova, or as Monica Seles later did vs. Graf. Milos Raonic seems to be methodically getting closer, but he's still only a mushy "maybe." Only maybe Stan Wawrinka, in something of a Chris Evert/Hana Mandlikova hybrid sort of role, seems capable or rising up under the right circumstances and truly making a push vs. Djokovic, but not on a weekly basis over the course of a long season.

As for fellow Australian Open finalist Andy Murray, well, the Scot continues to fill the "professional final opponent" slot in Melbourne. So much so that he should maybe consider donning a Washington Generals uniform-inspired outfit next year. Playing in his fifth AO final in seven years, there was little doubt on Sunday that he'd sport a mark of 0-5 in the those matches once Djokovic was through with him.

The Scot had just one brief glimpse of daylight offered up to him by Djokovic in this final, but it was quickly snuffed out.

Djokovic jumped out of the starting gate with great force, taking a 5-0 1st set lead before Murray got on the board. He won the set 6-1, as Murray won just 20% of his second serve points. In the 2nd, the two men exchanged breaks in games #7 and #8, setting the stage for the key eleventh game of the set.

Serving at 5-5, Murray led 40/love. But he was wrong on a replay challenge on a forehand called out on his first game point, meaning Djokovic had indeed lived to play another point in the game. Little did the Scot know that the millimeters by which he'd missed the shot had essentially taken away his only chance to make a match of things. Or maybe he did know. No player in men's tennis can carve out a comeback from less than Djokovic. A small hint of life, however short the breath, be it one game or a single point, is often the spark that lifts him from a seemingly "dead" position. That missed shot from Murray would prove to be just the latest example.

At 40/15, Djokovic's crosscourt shot was his first forehand winner of the 2nd set. At 40/30, a 36-shot rally highlighted by tremendous defense from the Serb ended with an extracted Murray error. At deuce, Djokovic reached BP with a backhand passing shot when Murray moved toward the net just a little too early and became a sitting duck/Scot. At break point, Murray clipped the net cord twice in the rally, while Djokovic was steady until his opponent fired a shot long to hand the Serb the break for 6-5.

A game later, Djokovic's back-to-back double-faults gave Murray a BP and a shot to crack open a small window, but when he didn't challenge a Djokovic first serve (it was out, replay showed) and then lost the point he didn't force the Serb to hit a second serve and try to avoid a third straight DF. After Murray pulled a backhand wide, Djokovic reached set point and when the Scot netted a forehand up the line he won the 2nd 7-5.

From there, it was essentially over. Everyone knew it. But the two still had to play the 3rd set to make it official. Djokovic got an early break, only to see Murray get things back on serve at 3-3, converting his second BP of the match after previously being 1-for-5. The set concluded with a tie-break dominated by Djokovic. He grabbed a mini-break lead at 1-0, then ran away to a 6-1 bulge. Finally, on his third MP he fired an ace to close Murray out 6-1/7-5/7-6(3).

Djokovic's sixth Australian Open title ties American Roy Emerson for the all-time AO lead, while career slam crown #11 brings him even with Bjorn Borg and Rod Laver, who was in attendance for the final in the stands of the stadium named in his honor.

Eight years after he burst onto the scene as a 20-year old slam winner in Melbourne in 2008, Djokovic is now an Australian Open living legend. But that's only a small pleat in the cape he currently sports as he surveys the landscape of the sport from her perch high above the rest of the field.

From the start, Djokovic was a quick riser. He reached his first slam quarterfinal in the sixth major draw of his career (it took Federer, for example, eight), the semifinals in his tenth (Federer-17), and the final in his twelfth (17). At his thirteenth major, he won slam title #1. It took Djokovic three years to win #2 in 2011, the second longest stretch (12 slams) between any male slam champ's first two titles, behind only Marat Safin's 14-slam gap. But the big Russian never won another major title, while the occasion of HIS second crown shot Djokovic down the runway at great speed.

He's been busy hitting his stride every since. Now, he's sprinting.

At this AO, Djokovic ran his mark in Melbourne since 2011 to 39-1. He's 34-1 in his last thirty-five slam matches. He just played in his fifth straight slam final, his seventh in eight majors, and 17th of 22. He's reached 27 consecutive slam quarterfinals, and 22 of 23 semifinals. 94-6 overall since the start of the 2015 season, Djokovic has played in seventeen straight tour finals, is 39-2 in Masters events, has won four slam crowns and thirteen titles over the thirteen-month span. He's 36-5 vs. the Top 10 during the stretch, and has pushed his career head-to-head over the others in the "Big 4" of the era in his favor -- 23-22 vs. Federer, 24-23 vs. Nadal, and 22-9 vs. Murray. Djokovic was one match (the RG final vs. Wawrinka) from a Grand Slam last year when, frankly, he had a better season than even Serena Williams, and one of the best seasons the sport has EVER seen.

In a year in which a Grand Slam is once again in play, as is a "Golden Slam" -- the only major singles honor he may be yet to claim, much like Federer, is individual Olympic Gold... assuming he wins in Paris this spring -- there seems to be no quick end in sight to the Serbian eclipse.

At 28, an age which no longer has the same the-end-is-near connotation it once did in the sport, Djokovic is in his physical prime at the moment. His enhanced training techniques and diet, along with coach Boris Becker's guidance in playing/practicing in such a way early in slams that Djokovic doesn't sap his energy (something which likely cost him a few slam titles earlier in his career during that three-year drought), allowing himself to be mentally fresh in the latter stages of a major. It's put the Serb in the position of being THE favorite to win in every event he plays. And he almost always lives up to the expectation, or close to it. It's a "burden" he seems to have no problem shouldering.

With eleven major titles, Djokovic stands one from Emerson on the all-time list, and just three behind Nadal and Sampras (a gap which could be closed within the next year). At the moment, Federer stands six away, but that number is sure to shrink before the end of 2015. It's why it is essential for Federer to find a way to somehow chip out one more major title from the growing Djokovic numbers edifice if he wishes to have a chance to stay atop the all-time title list that, surely, a few years ago, he thought he'd be looking down from for the rest of his days, or most of them. Well, either that, or one of the NextGen challengers must truly emerge to take away a few of Djokovic's seemingly endless major trophy opportunities. If not Raonic or Grigor Dimitrov, then Nick Kyrgios or Dominic Thiem or another "mystery" candidate. Truthfully, though, none of those scenarios seem likely. Djokovic is going to catch, and surpass, Federer. It's just a matter of time.

And, somewhere, that Numbers Guy is rubbing his hands together with an evil grin on his face. He knew it all along.

=DAY 14 NOTES= the mixed doubles final, #5-seeds Elena Vesnina & Bruno Soares defeated unseeded CoCo Vandeweghe & Horia Tecau 6-4/4-6 [10-5] as the Hordette picks up her first career mixed title to go along with her two in women's doubles with Ekaterina Makarova. Soares also won this year's AO men's doubles title, becoming the first man to sweep the titles at the event since Mark Woodforde in 1992. The last man to do it at any other slam was Bob Bryan at the 2010 U.S. Open.

The active women who have won both slam WD and MX in their careers:

Martina Hingis (12/4)*
Andrea Hlavackova (2/1)
Lucie Hradecka (2/1)
Ekaterina Makarova (2/1)
Bethanie Mattek-Sands (2/2)
Sania Mirza (3/3)
Katarina Srebotnik (1/5)
Samantha Stosur (2/3)*
Elena Vesnina (2/1)
Serena Williams (13/2)*
Venus Williams (13/2)*
Vera Zvonareva (2/2)

ALSO: Cara Black (5/5) & Liezel Huber (5/2)
* - won women's singles slam ITF action, Sorana Cirstea's comeback continued this weekend in Bertioga as the Swarmette reached her second straight challenger final in Brazil. This time, though, she won the title, defeating Argentine Catalina Pella in the final to pick up her first singles title of any kind since 2011.

In Maui, 17-year old Bannerette Raveena Kingsley has reached her first pro singles final, where she'll face countrywoman Christina McHale, looking for her first singles title in four and a half years (she played in a tour-level final in Acapulco two years ago). Kingsley pulled off a big upset over Samantha Crawford during the week, while McHale knocked off Nicole Vaidisova, Paula Kania (in Hawaii for the USA/POL tie) and Naomi Broady.

In Andrezieux-Boutheon, France, Swiss Stefanie Voegele defeated An-Sophie Mestch to take the $50K challenger crown. The 25-year old's last singles title came in November 2012. always, the Top 10 looks a little different after a slam:

Also, Belinda Bencic is up to #11, while Venus Williams falls to #12. Madison Keys slips from #17 to #24, while Daria Gavrilova is up to #33.

Daniela Hantuchova? Well, she'll be down to #100. Ouch. I don't believe she's been that low since around 2000. You have to wonder, considering the 32-year old does have a Career Mixed Doubles Slam (completed ELEVEN years ago) to her name, when or if she might want to shift to being a doubles specialist if she wants to extend her career. Although, in truth, she really doesn't play doubles on a regular basis, nor with any sort of regular partner when she does. In the last six years, she's only finished a season higher than #49 in doubles once despite having success early in her career (five Top 20 doubles years from 2002-11), and has won just one doubles title (five years ago) since the end of the 2006 season. Meanwhile, she's seen her singles ranking slide every season since 2011. Hantuchova was actually the player who coaxed Martina Hingis out of her most recent retirement in 2013, but while the Swiss Miss has gone about gilding her Hall of Fame legacy the Slovak (even with her first singles title in two years last season) has simultaneously slipped into WTA irrelevancy. Odd.

...and, finally, the first monthly BSA's of 2016 will arrive in a few days, but here's a quick rundown of the Elite 8 of the season's opening weeks:

1. Angelique Kerber - her '15 slam issues have been solved just four weeks into '16, to say the very least
2. Martina Hingis/Sania Mirza - the '15 co-"Ms.Backspin" winners are on a 36-match, 8-event win streak and have already locked away three titles in 2016
3. Victoria Azarenka - Brisbane's champion was the stepping stone Kerber utilized to boost herself into slam contention in Melbourne, but she's still well positioned to become a Top 5 factor again this season
4. Aga Radwanska - her great 2015-16 run in Asia/Pacific continued with a Week 1 title and semifinal result in Melbourne, but she'd be wise to pay attention to what increased aggression did for Kerber's slam chances
5. Serena Williams - she proved she's still the best player on tour, even if she wasn't on one particular night in Melbourne
6. Daria Gavrilova - in her first month of play as an Aussie, Backspin's Official Unicorn won the Hopman Cup, lit up the Melbourne night and reached the AO Round of 16. A star is born.
7. Johanna Konta - the Aussie-born Brit's AO semifinal was the best slam result by a woman from the U.K. in over thirty years
8. Zhang Shuai - on the way to possible retirement, Zhang's frustration-ending detour included barely escaping qualifying then going on a slam QF run for the ages after previously having been 0-14 in main draw matches in her slam career. Umm, she's changed her mind about the retirement thing.

Also, this week...

...LIKE FROM DAY 14: A champion's work is never done...

...LIKE FROM DAY 14: Tell me about it, sister

Slam's over! Time to sleep!

...DAY 14 TRIO, in descending order: Legend, future Hall of Famer, USTA President

...LIKE FROM DAY 14: Serena has company in the "Six Club"

...LIKE FROM DAY 14: Going "au naturel"

#7 Angelique Kerber/GER def. #1 Serena Williams/USA 6-4/3-6/6-4

#1 Novak Djokovic/SRB def. #2 Andy Murray/GBR 6-1/7-5/7-6(3)

#1 Hingis/Mirza (SUI/IND) def. #7 Hlavackova/Hradecka (CZE/CZE) 7-6(1)/6-3

#7 J.Murray/Soares (GBR/BRA) def. Nestor/Stepanek (CAN/CZE) 2-6/6-4/7-5

#5 Vesnina/Soares (RUS/BRA) def. Vandeweghe/Tecau (USA/ROU) 6-4/4-6 [10-5]

#5 Vera Lapko/BLR def. #2 Tereza Mihalikova/SVK 6-3/6-4

Oliver Anderson/AUS def. #7 Jurabek Karimov/UZB 6-2/1-6/6-1

#2 Kalinskaya/Mihalikova (RUS/SVK) def. #6 Yastremska/Zarytska (UKR/UKR) 6-1/6-1

De Minaur/Ellis (AUS/AUS) def. #8 Klein/Rikl (SVK/CZE) 3-6/7-5 [12-10]

#1 Jiske Griffioen/NED def. Aniek Van Koot/NED 6-3/7-5

Gordon Reid/GBR def. Joachim Gerard/BEL 7-6(6)/6-4

#2 Buis/Kamiji (NED/JPN) def. #1 Griffioen/Van Koot (NED/NED) 6-2/6-2

#1 Houdet/Peifer (FRA/FRA) def. #2 Reid/Kunieda (GBR/JPN) 6-3/3-6/7-5

2002 Daniela Hantuchova & Kevin Ullyett
2003 Martina Navratilova & Leander Paes
2004 Elena Bovina & Nenad Zimonjic
2005 Samantha Stosur & Scott Draper
2006 Martina Hingis & Mahesh Bhupathi
2007 Elena Likhovtseva & Daniel Nestor
2008 Sun Tiantian & Nenad Zimonjic
2009 Sania Mirza & Mahesh Bhupathi
2010 Cara Black & Mahesh Bhupathi
2011 Katarina Srebotnik & Daniel Nestor
2012 Bethanie Mattek-Sands & Horia Tecau
2013 Jarmila Gajdosova & Matthew Ebden
2014 Kristina Mladenovic & Daniel Nestor
2015 Martina Hingis & Leander Paes
2016 Elena Vesnina & Bruno Soares

2006 Yan Zi & Zheng Jie, CHN/CHN
2007 Liezel Huber, USA
2008 Alona & Kateryna Bondarenko, UKR/UKR
2009 Sania Mirza, IND
2010 Cara Black, ZIM
2011 Gisela Dulko & Flavia Pennetta, ARG/ITA
2012 Bethanie Mattek-Sands, USA
2013 Jarmila Gajdosova, AUS
2014 Kristina Mladenovic, FRA
2015 Bethanie Mattek-Sands & Lucie Safarova, USA/CZE
2016 Martina Hingis & Sania Mirza, SUI/IND

17 - Roger Federer, SUI
14 - Rafael Nadal, ESP
14 - Pete Sampras, USA
12 - Roy Emerson, USA
11 - Bjorn Borg, SWE
11 - Rod Laver, AUS
10 - Bill Tilden, USA
17...Roger Federer, SUI
14...Rafael Nadal, ESP
2...Andy Murray, GBR
2...Stan Wawrinka, SUI
1...Marin Cilic, CRO
1...Juan Martin del Potro, ARG

[Open era]
4...Andre Agassi
4...Roger Federer
3...Mats Wilander
6...Roy Emerson
4...Andre Agassi
4...Jack Crawford
4...Roger Federer
4...Ken Rosewall
4...Pat Wood
3...Rod Laver
3...Adrian Quist
3...Mats Wilander

27...Roger Federer, SUI (17-10)
20...Rafael Nadal, ESP (14-6)
9...ANDY MURRAY, GBR (2-7)
2...Stan Wawrinka, SUI (2-0)
27 - Roger Federer (17-10)
20 - Rafael Nadal (14-6)
19 - NOVAK DJOKOVIC (11-8)
19 - Ivan Lendl (8-11)
18 - Pete Sampras (14-4)
17 - Rod Laver (11-6)
16 - Bjorn Borg (11-5)
16 - Ken Rosewall (8-8)

8 - Roger Federer/Rafael Nadal
7 - Rafael Nadal/Novak Djokovic
5 - Andre Agassi/Pete Sampras
5 - Ivan Lendl/Mats Wilander

2008 def. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 4-6,6-4,6-3,7-6
2011 def. Andy Murray 6-4,6-2,6-3
2012 def. Rafael Nadal 5-7,6-4,6-2,6-7,7-5
2013 def. Andy Murray 6-7,7-6,6-3,6-2
2015 def. Andy Murray 7-6,6-7,6-3,6-0
2016 def. Andy Murray 6-1,7-5,7-6

2010 lost to Roger Federer 6-3,6-4,7-6
2011 lost to Novak Djokovic 6-4,6-2,6-3
2013 lost to Novak Djokovic 7-6,6-7,3-6,2-6
2015 lost to Novak Djokovic 6-7,7-6,3-6,0-6
2016 lost to Novak Djokovic 1-6,5-7,6-7

2011 Australian Open - Djokovic 6-4,6-2,6-3
2012 U.S. Open - Murray 7-6,7-5,2-6,3-6,6-2
2013 Australian Open - Djokovic 6-7,7-6,6-3,6-2
2013 Wimbledon - Murray 6-4,7-5,6-4
2015 Australian Open - Djokovic 7-6,6-7,6-3,6-0
2016 Australian Open - Djokovic 6-1,7-5,7-6

TOP EARLY ROUND (1r-2r): #14 Victoria Azarenka/BLR
TOP MIDDLE-ROUND (3r-QF): #1 Serena Williams/USA
TOP LATE ROUND (SF-F): #7 Angelique Kerber/GER
TOP QUALIFYING MATCH: Q2 - Virginie Razzano/FRA d. #6 Francesca Schiavone/ITA 6-1/4-6/6-1 (ends streak of 61 con. slam MD)
TOP EARLY RD. MATCH (1r-2r): #7 Angelique Kerber/GER d. Misaki Doi/JPN 6-7(4)/7-6(6)/6-3 (saved MP)
TOP MIDDLE-RD. MATCH (3r-QF): 3rd Rd. - Daria Gavrilova/AUS d. #28 Kristina Mladenovic/FRA 6-4/4-6/11-9
TOP LATE RD. MATCH (SF-F/Jr./Doub.): Final - #7 Angelique Kerber/GER def. #1 Serena Williams/USA 6-4/3-6/6-4
TOP LAVER/MCA NIGHT MATCH: 3rd Rd. - Daria Gavrilova/AUS d. #28 Kristina Mladenovic/FRA 6-4/4-6/11-9
FIRST VICTORY: #6 Petra Kvitova/CZE (def. Q/Kumkhum, THA)
FIRST SEED OUT: #17 Sara Errani/ITA (lost 1st Rd. to Gasparyan/RUS)
NATION OF POOR SOULS: Australia (1-8 in 1st Rd.; only AUS-born in 2nd Rd. is a Brit)
LAST AUSSIE STANDING: Daria Gavrilova/AUS (4th Rd.)
Ms. OPPORTUNITY: Johanna Konta/GBR
IT (NextGen Belarusian): Vera Lapko/BLR
COMEBACK PLAYERS: Andrea Hlavackova/Lucie Hradecka, CZE/CZE
CRASH & BURN: #2 Simona Halep/ROU (lost 1st Round to Q/Zhang Shuai, CHN - first Top 2 AO seed out in 1st since Ruzici/ROU in '79)
ZOMBIE QUEEN: Monica Puig/PUR (2nd Rd. - saved 5 MP vs. Kr.Pliskova/CZE, who set WTA record w/ 31 aces in match)
DOUBLES STARS: Martina Hingis/Sania Mirza, SUI/IND

All for now.


Blogger Eric said...

I'm still thinking about the women's final.

- Are the Germans, the new Italians? Kerber's breakthough will prompt Petko, Lisicki, Giorgi, others to reach slam finals and possibly win? Kerber and Schiavone were also about the same age.

- Kerber's breakthough also reminds me of Wawrinka's 2012, 2013... where he lost so many close Kerber's 2015.

- Even though Serena lost...and she didn't get 22...I have to say that I feel like she's a winner too. I feel like her grace in defeat was amazing. She's grown so much since 2009. It's so amazing to see. It just makes me want to make similar positive changes in my own life. She even makes changing herself seem easy. She really is the People's Champion. (She's raw and unfiltered; she makes mistakes; unlike someone like Maria Sharapova, who never seems to make a wrong move.)

- So Zidane and I both have 10ish years (I think I started reading in 03 or 04...bc I remember the Kuznetsova curse vividly) we get some swag? Membership card? :)

Mon Feb 01, 01:40:00 AM EST  
Blogger Todd.Spiker said...

That's funny, because I was wondering the exact same thing today. Of course, Lisicki was the first of the current "Big 4" Germans (Kerber, Petkovic, Lisicki and, I suppose, Goerges... though Beck might be challenging there soon) to reach a slam final, but Kerber is now in the "Schiavone" slam winner role. Eventally, all four Italians reached slam finals. Petko, of course, is the key component in this scenario. She's capable of it, but injuries have always been an issue.

I think Kerber would take the comparison as a compliment, since Wawrinka went on to win another slam and, frankly, he's probably the most likely to win the next non-Djokovic slam title, too. (Well, barring a Rafa resurgence in Paris, of course.)

As much as Serena has rankled some people (rightly or wrongly) over the years, you can really see the perception having started to make that big turn over the last year or two. The SI honor, while it brought out some of those same old detractors, was a sure sign of that (long overdue) transformation of public opinion. As is so often the case, when she's out of the game ALL thoughts of her from people will be good ones, and then EVERYONE will miss her. It shouldn't have to be that way.

Haha! We'll have to see about that! (A "face-to-face" meeting with Citizen Anna, maybe!) :)

Mon Feb 01, 02:28:00 AM EST  
Blogger Eric said...

I just meant that in some ways personal growth and inner peace are more important than tennis records in the grand scheme of things. So a winner in life so to speak.

Mon Feb 01, 08:40:00 AM EST  
Blogger Diane said...

I'd love to see Petko rise to the occasion, but I'm afraid that's not going to happen. Goerges and Lisicki are chronic head cases; I don't see that happening, either. Kerber is the lone big star, as far as I can tell.

And maybe I'm the only one, but I liked pre-charm school Serena better. She seemed more authentic to me.

Mon Feb 01, 10:29:00 AM EST  
Blogger Todd.Spiker said...

Yeah, I tend to call BS on players in these situations.

A little bit with Serena here, and even with someone like Azarenka. Sometimes Vika tries too hard to be on people's good sides, I think. Serena is able to "pull it off" a little less awkwardly, though. Unfiltered and natural is to be preferred... so what if not everyone can handle it.

(It's sort of why I don't really go after Kyrgios. If he acts a certain way, well, that's just him. Everyone doesn't have to be liked by everyone all the time.)

Serena did seem to be trying really hard after the final, didn't she? You had to wonder a little if she was doing what she's "supposed to" do so everyone can just move on and she won't have to be bugged by questions from people who didn't like what she said/did or how she said/did it. Of course, a case could be made that a small part of her was relieved that she now won't have to hear the Grand Slam talk this year, and maybe will be more relaxed the rest of the season. You take a breath wherever you can, I guess.

Oddly enough, Venus was the Williams who had the more natural reaction after her loss at this AO, skipping the press conference and getting fined.

I can't help but think it'd been a far bigger story if Serena had done that.

I guess it just goes with the territory of being Serena.

Mon Feb 01, 01:10:00 PM EST  
Blogger Eric said...

Well, I've always like Serena -- Galileo tells me that I'm a super fan -- so I liked her before too. LOL

I know what you're saying, Diane. I think that sometimes she isn't as genuine anymore...however, her post-match comments seemed very genuine.

For me, the person I want to see breakthrough the most is Aga. I really want her to win a slam.

Mon Feb 01, 01:11:00 PM EST  
Blogger Diane said...

Vika appears to have gone to the same charm school as Serena, only she took different classes! Her antics now have a tinge of desperation to them, kind of like Woz's, back when she was in the limelight.

I do draw the line at someone like Kyrgios. I'm okay if he's a brat (who cares?), but the public demeaning of others needs to go. I have fewer problems with him, though, than I do with ATP players who are chronically sexist and gay-hating.

I'm with you, Eric--I would love to see Aga do it. Simona, too.

Mon Feb 01, 01:20:00 PM EST  
Blogger Todd.Spiker said...

Yeah, of course, some of Kyrgios actions go over the line. I was talking about all the little things that (mostly Australian) media harp on and call "unprofessional," like dumping a game to get to the next or other things that truthfully wouldn't even be noticed if someone else did them but are egregious offenses in his case. Anyway, you can only go so far in defending him, though, since you never know when he might do something that can't be defended, so...

Of course, many of those same people who harp on Kygrios praise Monfils for his entertainment skills, so consider the source, I guess.

Mon Feb 01, 01:58:00 PM EST  
Blogger colt13 said...

Regarding the rankings-Halep has so many points to defend that not only do I not expect a Halep 1/4, there may not be a Halep 1/8.

Kerber's slam losses don't look as bad in hindsight as the were Begu, Azarenka and Muguruza twice.

Gavrilova's 2015 losses portend greatness. For someone who started the season at 231, she lost 21 times in tour level events. I won't list them all, But Kerber 4 times, then Svitolina, Halep, Pliskova, Sharapova, Lisicki, Begu, Vinci, Safarova, Kvitova, Jankovic, Stephens and Pennetta make 16. The other 5 were not in the Top 50.

Mon Feb 01, 10:08:00 PM EST  
Blogger Todd.Spiker said...

On the bright side (ranking-wise) for Halep, while she won't be able to defend title points from Dubai and IW, she didn't win any titles after March in '15, so she might be able to recoup later in the season on the clay and grass (though she did have some very good, though title-less, runs on the summer hard court season in N.A.).

Gavrilova surely seems to be a big stage/big moment sort of player, and I'd think this year she'd win at least 1/3 of those matches against the players she lost to last year (and some of those losses, I believe, came while she played with an abdominal injury and was a bit limited). She should be seeded at the slams now, too, which can only give her second week chances there an additional boost, as well.

Tue Feb 02, 11:34:00 AM EST  

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