Amy and Jeff talk about Monte-Carlo, Wawrinka, Djokovic, Nadal, Fed Cup, Aga, Cibulkova, Barcelona, Stuttgart, and Halep. They also take an early look at the women’s Roland Garros field.
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– Stephens lost to Garcia, not Cornet.
– Cibulkova didn’t “cruise” to the Kuala Lumpur final.
– You mentioned Poland made WG for first time ever. You failed to mention that Canada did the same.
– You talk about Halep’s chances on clay, but did not mention Ana beating her in straight sets in Fed Cup.
– Wozniacki also has a wrist injury.
– Sorry Jeff, but your pronunciation of “Stuttgart” is like hearing nails on a chalkboard. It’s “Shtoot-gart.”
So sorry you had to suffer through that, Mark.
I see that Mark has pointed out that Stephens didn’t lose to Cornet, in fact she didn’t even play Cornet.
I was also disappointed that in your discussion of Roland Garros you didn’t even mention Garcia (or Cornet, for that matter) as French players who have shown flashes of brilliance this year.
Garcia has always had the talent; but this year her shot selection seems more assured, and she is serving very well. If she continues to play with confidence, she could be a threat.
With Serena’s form being perhaps more in question than it has been at any time in the past two years, and the uncertainties surrounding Sharapova and Azarenka, I think another Wimbledon-like final with a couple of players outside the top ten is not at all unlikely. Look at Cibulkova at Melbourne — IIRC, she had dropped down to about #20. Or Pennetta at Indian Wells.
In the WTA right now, the gap in TALENT between the top five and the players ranked in the high 20’s and 30’s is miniscule. What the lower seeds lack is consistency, which stems from confidence. The talent is there.
The players ranked #25-32 at the moment are Pavlyuchenkova, Safarova, Cirstea, Petkovic, Kuznetsova, Hantuchova, Koukalova and Venus Williams. Would any of them (with the possible exception of Daniela and Klara) be a BIG underdog against Radwanska, Azarenka, Halep, Kvitova, Kerber, Jankovic, Sharapova, or Cibulkova (the players ranked #3-10)?
If a bracket were to open up a bit, I wouldn’t be stunned to see a young, non-seeded talent like Garcia, or Muguruza or Giorgi or Karolina Pliskova or Keys, or maybe even Bencic or Vekic, find their way into the semi-finals.
That said, if Serena is in the right place physically and mentally, she could win the tournament without losing a set — or her serve.
There was a great passage in “Game of Thrones” last year, when someone warned the devious Petyr Baelish that if such and such happened, chaos might ensue. And without an in form Serena, the WTA “is” rather chaotic, in a good way — lots of talented challengers, but without a clear favorite.
In the tone of a man who had been pondering the nature of chaos all his life, Baelish replied, “Chaos is a ladder.”
A ladder of opportunity for those who, like Baelish, are bold enough to grasp it and climb it without peering down fearfully into the abyss. (That’s not a spoiler — I haven’t read the bookss — Baelish/Littlefinger may fall off the ladder next week for all I know).
It will be interesting to see who climbs the ladder leading to victory at Roland Garros in the coming weeks.
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