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Blondes Away! 10/30/2010 - 11:09 PM

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by Pete Bodo

As Caroline Wozniacki prepares to play for the WTA Championships title (a win there would be Wozniacki's most significant title to date), we're entitled to wonder: Is she the next dominant WTA champion, plucking titles off the Grand Slam tree as if they were low-hanging fruit (see "G" for Graf, or "S" for Serena), or the next...Elena Dementieva?

Dementieva stole some of Wozniacki's thunder this week, choosing to retire from tennis at the same time that Wozniacki sewed up the year-end No. 1 ranking. So one blonde is out, one blonde is in, maintaining a tradition while also paring it down. Wozniacki, of course, has already surpassed Dementieva's career-high ranking of No. 3. But can she build a comparable resume, which includes two Olympic medals (including a gold in singles at the 2008 Beijing Games), nine semifinal—or better—finishes at Grand Slam events, and a 22-5 singles record in Fed Cup?

Two of those Fed Cup wins came in the 2005 final against a strong French squad. Dementieva put on a master class. She beat Mary Pierce and Amelie Mauresmo in singles, and partnered with Dinara Safina to win the critical fifth doubles (defeating the same two women Dementieva subdued in singles) in one of her career-best moments. And it was a championship tie played away from Dementieva's Moscow home, at the home of the French Open, Stade Roland Garros. In a way, that performance is emblematic of the realities that govern the WTA (as well as ATP): If you're not winning majors, you're chopped liver, at least as far as broad acclaim goes. But really, there's a lot more to having as long and rich a career as was Dementieva's.

A player like Dementieva—ask the next cab driver you hail if he recognizes the name—wins an awful lot of tennis matches. Many of those wins are resonant and certainly deeply satisfying. Kind of like writing a novel that's highly praised by your peers, and the most discerning of critics, but fails to crack the all-important best seller list, or attract a big, fat option deal from some movie producer. Why not me?, you may find yourself wondering. To which the only real answer is, Who knows? The prize-money check may balm what wounds a Slamless pro sustains, as does the respect of her peers and the cognescenti. But there's a bigger prize out there, and everyone knows it.

But it's easy to place so much emphasis on the majors, especially when it comes to players not our own. As important as the majors are, they're also to some degree a least-common denominator, universally used to judge players in who we don't necessarily have some vested interest. When you judge a player by her success at the majors—and it's not as if Dementieva has been a total Grand Slam flop—it's a little bit like adopting money earned as a baseline measure of success in business. (Or in the arts, although we're not supposed to say that. But would you really love, say, a Julian Schnabel—or even know who the hail he is—if his work wasn't going for $5 million a pop?) Or put it this way: If that cabbie to whom you put that question about Dementieva picked you up in Moscow, I'd bet dollars to donuts that he or she certainly would recognize her name and her accomplishments. But would he know the name Francesca Schiavone, or Gaston Gaudio?

Wozniacki in some ways has a tougher row to hoe than did Dementieva, despite having jumped out to a significantly better start. Dementieva, who's 29, didn't hit her career-high ranking until last season; Wozniacki, ranked No. 1, is all of 20. With 12 singles titles to her credit, Wozniacki is already just four short of Dementieva's career haul (16). And despite their age difference (even top players are generally thought to need a significant period of apprenticeship before ascending to No. 1, even if they win majors long before), Wozniacki has a winning head-to-head record against Dementieva (4-3).

Those statistics are prohibitively positive for Wozniacki. Yet somehow if I ask myself, Will Wozniacki have a better career than Dementieva?, I find myself balking at making what would be the obvious reply, and why that's so is a question that's more easily answered than the original one.

Dementieva had the misfortune to be a contemporary of Venus and Serena Williams. She played Serena surprisingly close, finishing 5-7 (and who can forget that epic Wimbledon win by Serena, 8-6 in the third, in last year's semis?), but had more trouble with Venus (3-9). Dementieva played Martina Hingis well seven times (3-4), but she was generally crushed by Lindsay Davenport (5-11). Against other Grand Slam champs or No. 1 players, Dementieva was 3-7 against Jelena Jankovic, 4-2 versus Ana Ivanovic, and 6-5 against Dinara Safina. Dementieva was hammered 11-3 by Kim Clijsters and even more savaged by Justine Henin, 11-2. She struggled against Svetlana Kuzentsova (4-7) but fared slightly better against Mauresmo, going 6-10.

By my unreliable math, Dementieva was 44-74 against the best players of two generations. Just for kicks, I checked to see if she'd ever played Steffi Graf, and came up blank. I don't have the patience to add up all the Grand Slam titles accounted for by the women represented in this head-to-head, but suffice it to say that it's mildy surprising that a woman who has a better than .500 record against the cream of the crop didn't hit paydirt on at least one occasion at a major.

Wozniacki is 0-2 against Serena Williams, and 0-4 against Serena's sister Venus. She won the only match she played against Mauresmo, lost her only match with Kim Clijsters (whom she'll face today) as well as her one encounter with Henin. She's 1-2 vs. Ivanovic and 0-4 vs. Jankovic. Davenport won the only time she played Wozniacki, and Hingis crushed her twice. Safina won her only match against Wozniacki. Wozniacki is 3-2 against Kuznetsova. All told, by my count, she's 5-19 against the best players she's faced, and two of those players (Jankovic and Safina) have, like Wozniacki, failed thus far to win a major.

106307504 Five of 24 is a far cry from 44-74, but it's also true that Wozniacki is at the very beginning of her career; I doubt that Dementieva's winning percentage was much higher against the best players at a comparable age. But the critical detail is that Dementieva was nowhere near the No. 1 ranking when she was 20 (she finished 2001 ranked 15th, and actually fell back four places the following year). So what we have in Wozniacki is the apprentice in charge of the workshop, and we'll just have to wait to see how that all works out. It's absurd to challenge or attempt to discredit that No. 1 ranking. It's a fact, although we can while away hours discussing how it came to pass. But the burdens that are passed along to the player who's no. 1 are not to be dismissed.

The great advantage Wozniacki enjoys, which Dementieva never had, is that she's free to write her personal history on what looks more and more like the proverbial tabula rasa. Her path isn't exactly strewn with roadblocks. Three of her main rivals—Jankovic, Ivanovic and Safina—have one major between them. Maria Sharapova hasn't been the same since her shoulder injury of over a year ago, and the Williams sisters are banged up, their future uncertain. Clijsters returned, but has put up exactly the kind of results you can expect from a part-time employee who's secure—she appears to be working only because she needs to fill her days and the money, which after all, is pretty darned good. Henin has retreated to lick the wounds inflicted during her brief return to the fray. Hail, even Kuznetsova's future is clouded, although I imagine Wozniacki wouldn't mind battling her, given how Sveta has provided Caro with more than 50 percent of her wins over top players.

Dementieva is a superior athlete to Wozniacki, but then tennis isn't a game ruled by athleticism, even if it's the value-added element that tends to lift great champions above merely good ones. That raises an interesting point: Was Dementieva a better "athlete" than "tennis player?" And if so, does it mean that Wozniacki, who's clearly more tennis player than athlete, ought to fare better in the long term?

Wozniacki hasn't exactly lit it up at the majors (the U.S. Open excepted), but she's demonstrated a great deal of consistency—more than was ever shown by Dementieva. In tennis, winning begets winning; it's a simple as that. And Dementieva's failure to win a major is less of a comment on her athletic abilities than on some flawed component of her make-up as a tennis player—a shortcoming she was able to overcome on only a few occasions, like the Beijing Olympics, or in that Fed Cup final against France. Call it choking, call it falling prey to a bad day on an important day, or call it the quality of competition—it amounts to the same thing: An inability to raise her game and tighten down the mental screws when it most counted. The failure of a habitual consistency.

So there is Wozniacki's position in a nutshell. The WTA is there for the taking, and Wozniacki has shown signs of being the kind of player who can put the hammer down on her rivals, week-in, week-out. But she has yet to prove herself by the most reliable measure of all, winning the biggest of titles. The opportunity for her is enormous, partly because at the moment there is a surprising lack of potential resistance. And until we see a player whose combination of desire, dedication, fitness and talent exceeds that of Wozniacki's present rivals, it's her game to lose.


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Posted by Master Ace 10/30/2010 at 11:16 PM

Sunday Order of Play:

WTA at Doha

11 AM - Kim Clijsters(39-7; 9-1) vs Caroline Wozniacki(62-16; 8-3)
1 PM - Gisela Dulko and Flavia Pennetta vs Kveta Peschke and Katarina Srebotnik


ATP
Vienna at 8:30 AM - Jurgen Melzer vs Andreas Haider-Maurer
St. Petersburg at 9 AM - Mikhail Youzhny vs Mikhail Kukushkin
Montpellier at 11:30 AM - Ivan Ljubicic vs Gael Monfils

Posted by waylandboy 10/30/2010 at 11:19 PM

Dementieva was a class act and will be missed.

Posted by Master Ace 10/30/2010 at 11:28 PM

Since Caroline has already reached number 1, you can say that her path is similar to the person that she is playing in the final(Kim). Kim was the first player ever to become number 1 without winning a Slam. After Kim accomplished the goal, it took her about 2 to 3 years until she won her maiden Slam at 2005 USO. Kim was known to choke in big matches especially against the Williams Sisters and Justine. Saying that, a win by Caroline at Doha would be huge and it may slow the critics on saying that she can not win against a Belgian lady or WS. Also, it may be similar to what Amelie accomplished as she won a WTA Championships title in 2005 then she followed it with 2 Slams in 2006. I say Caroline win her maiden Slam before 2012 is done and dusted.

Posted by VE 10/30/2010 at 11:42 PM

Interesting article Pete, but I can sum it up in one sentence. "The top of the WTA sure ain't what it used to be."

For good measure, I'll add that Dementieva was 1-3 versus 3-time major champ Jennifer Capriati. Make that 45-77. Better luck Woz.

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President.Yes Indeed I am A One Woman Show 10/31/2010 at 12:32 AM

Pete Many thanks for this post

I have to agree with Master Ace and his insightful post in regards to Caroline and her path.

I feel this year she has improved on many levels.I have always been an admirer of her mental strength which I feel has been a plus to her in matches and winning tournaments.She is a good match player I think we have all seen that.Her next step of course is to win a GS title which I feel she will.To me she is mature beyond her years and is well grounded and likeable.

I remember her words when this year she had to go on court around midnight and she said later when she won "I dont mind what time I play I just want to play good tennis and win" those word still stick in my mind.That to me is a real sign of a professional at the young age she is.

She has a opportunity to win the championship at Doha.I wish her well.

Posted by manuelsantanafan 10/31/2010 at 02:01 AM

Pete:

44-74 being labelled a .500 winning percentage is consistent with "unreliable math."

When the history of my unexceptional (except for some serious boneheaded plays) baseball career is written, would you be so good as take on the task of calculating my batting averages.

Posted by Thomas 10/31/2010 at 03:48 AM

manuelsantanafan wrote:
"Pete:

44-74 being labelled a .500 winning percentage is consistent with "unreliable math."

When the history of my unexceptional (except for some serious boneheaded plays) baseball career is written, would you be so good as take on the task of calculating my batting averages."

LOL!
True 44 wins in 118 matches is a .373 winning percentage. (.369 if you inlude Capriati matches)

Posted by Thomas 10/31/2010 at 03:58 AM

Pete:
"Wozniacki is 0-2 against Serena Williams, and 0-4 against Serena's sister Venus."

True Caro is 0-6 against the Williams sisters. But she haven't meet any of them since Doha 2009, where she retired with injury against Serena.
She hasn't meet Venus since Miami 2008, when she was just 17!!!

Her only match against Henin was very close and her only match against Kim was in her first major final...

Posted by Jankofan 10/31/2010 at 04:33 AM

It's not fair to Elena to be compare with Caroline. She had a great career and will be missed.

Caroline's achievements has already surpassed Elenas and if not it's so closed that a victory today would seal it, although I like Kim's chances today

And Pete - stop the hatred of Caroline. It is becoming boring.

Posted by PapaQ 10/31/2010 at 05:28 AM

Jankofan,
I'm sorry, but I don't see the "hatred of Caroline" in Pete's article (and I'm a die hard Caro fan from Denmark). What I see is realism. Let's not kid ourselves - Caro has had a stellar rise to the top in a very short amount of time, but it's pretty obvious she's still no Serena or Steffi. She may get there in time, she's definitely still improving.

Of course it's ok to compare her to Elena. And yes, by the looks of things she's bound to surpass Elena's achievements (that unfortunately aren't what they should have been), but like Elena, Caro is indeed struggling against some of her main competitors - beating Kim today would help her gain some more respect for her #1 spot from some of the people who still have their doubts about her.

I also agree with Pete that the future is looking bright for Caroline because some of the competition, she'll be facing for the next decade, is less intimidating for her than it was Elena in her day. However that's out of her control and should hardly be held against her...

No matter what, for me Caro is destined for great achievements, and she's off to a flying start. I know, she's not the youngest #1 (Graf, Seles and Hingis beat her to that), but it's certainly going to be hard to get there much faster today with the current age regulations (which were implemented after Hingis won a Slam at 16, I believe).

Kom så, Caro! Beat Mother Kim today, please.

Posted by Roddick fan from Virginia 10/31/2010 at 05:47 AM

Good article Pete. Some good comments here and on racket reaction about CWoz. With her youth on her side it seems as if it boils down to 3 possible futures. 1) She could become the winnest slamless wonder in tennis history. That would please many who don't like her. 2) She could win 10 or more slams in a coming very weak era of women's tennis. That would please her fans.
3) She could win a few slams as or right after the Williams/Belgians fade/retire until their replacements come. I have absolutely no idea what the under 18 crowd can do to even comment.

Posted by manixdk - Caro: is she starting to find her game? 10/31/2010 at 07:37 AM

What I think bodes well for Caro is that the other young players around her age just play one style: hard baseline hitting with a big serve. That's fine as far as it goes, but if you're going to be a one-trick pony, it better be one heck of a trick.

I just don't see players like Petkovic, Görges, Kleybanova etc. running from the baseline cross court after a drop shot, then hitting a forehand winner like Caro did yesterday against Vera.

It seems like tennis trainers in Europe saw the future in Sharapova, Ivanovic, Davenport etc and are concentrating on those types. Maybe if Caro starts dominating, we'll see a return to players with all-round games. It's heartening to see players like Oudin and Peer do well, because they play an interesting game.

But I don't see that many players around at the moment (emphasis) who have what is perhaps the most important component of a winner: a tennis brain.

Let's hope that they're on the way, and that coaches and trainers look long term and can recognize potential.

As for a coming weak era of tennis, I hear that every time there's a generation change. I'm 59, and have seen a few of them.

Could write more, but gotta make lunch, I'm starving :)

Posted by lilscot 10/31/2010 at 08:14 AM

Hey Pete, well-balanced article. And welcome back from vacation! I do believe, however, that Caroline has yet to accumulate the kind of career results that Elena has. Other than reaching #1 Caro hasn't really surpassed Elena's career yet, but I'm sure she will.

It's actually easy to forget sometimes just how long Elena's been around until you start thinking back to great matches against Capriati, Davenport, Pierce, etc. And, she's got some kind of Dorian Grey thing going on because she still looks exactly the same as she did back then! :)

Still, I'm picking Kim to win the final today. Her record against Caro in big finals is pretty good, 2-0 right? I almost feel as though Kim didn't want to win her match against Vera so that she could play Sam, who she owns so far, in the semis. Knowing she has a good record against Caro in finals, and struggles against Vera sometimes. It's worked out nicely for Kim.

Posted by manixdk - Caro: is she starting to find her game? 10/31/2010 at 08:26 AM

@lilscot Actually, Kim's record against Caro is 1-0. They'd never met before the USO. And that was Caro 1.0. Today she's playing against Caro 2.0 :) Should be a fun match.

Posted by Jankofan 10/31/2010 at 08:33 AM

In my book it's a bigger achievement to become YE No. 1 than winning the Olympics. And if Caroline wins today, she has also won the greatest victory. But still great respect for Elena, who has always been one of my favorite players. But it's still silly to compare now.

Posted by Jamaica Karen (dem a go tired fi see mi face - Bob Marley) 10/31/2010 at 08:43 AM

Morning All.

JankoFan, you really think that becoming a long line in a list of YE#1s a greater accomplishment than winning an Olympic gold medal. FWIW not many tennis players can lay claim to that accomplishment. Serena, Sharapova, Federer, Hingis and the list goes on have never won an Olympic gold medal in singles but they have been YE#1s multiple times.

I am not a fan of Elena but that gold medal is a great accomplishment. Think I am wrong, just ask any Nadal fan which title they prefer over any other and they will tell you that it is a toss up between his first Wimbledon title and the Olympic gold medal in singles.

Ask any Federer fan which title that Federer won over any other and they will tell you that it is a toss up between his Olympic gold medal in singles and his French Open title.

Venus Williams (that player who is not a patriotic American) values her Olympic gold medals in both singles and doubles above any Wimbledon title that she has won. So yeah, I think it is a great accomplishment for Elena and that is why I think she is satisfied with her decision to retire.

In today's match I have no preference in the race though I would like Wozniacki to take it. For some reason Clijsters coming back from her sabbatical and beating up on the Tour, while playing a limited schedule (something she seems to get a pass on because she is a mother) leaves a very bad taste in my mouth.

Posted by lilscot 10/31/2010 at 09:00 AM

manixdk: 8:26 a.m.

Yes, you are correct. I was thinking they met twice in a row in the USO final but it was against Vera this year that Kim won. My bad! :)

Posted by Master Ace 10/31/2010 at 09:04 AM

Jamaica Karen,
Maria never ended the year as number 1. Lindsay, Justine and Jelena ended those years as number 1 when Maria climbed to the top spot during that year.

Posted by Samantha Elin, Caro 2010 YE #1 10/31/2010 at 09:05 AM

Great post Pete and has a fellow blonde I love the title. I don't see any hatred for Caro in this blog and I really enjoyed. When people do Caro H2H against Vee, Ree, and Kim, please remember that she hasn't played any of those players this year and most people would agree that she has improved tremendously since last playing them. Last year, she couldn't beat Sharapova but this year took her out in straight easy sets. This is the new improved Caro with a better serve and ground game, and she is more aggressive. Blond power, get used to it. Caro is the first Scandinavian girl to end the year as world's no l. I'm Swedish and Danish, lived in Denmark for a while so I'm very proud of our great champion. Caro has proven she is the best of the new young players and she has also proven that she can change, grow and adjust her game to win and that means at only 20 she can go so far. Maria was a big step for her because she had never beat her, next up Kim and then Vee and Ree. The sky is the limit for this beautiful and talented Scandinavian girl who is setting the tennis world on fire. Blond power, deal with it. Kom sa, Caro.

Posted by Jamaica Karen (dem a go tired fi see mi face - Bob Marley) 10/31/2010 at 09:08 AM

Thanks for the clarification MA

Posted by Roddick fan from Virginia 10/31/2010 at 09:08 AM

Our dear Kim will probably have a difficult time with Caro. I wonder if she rolled over for Vera because she didn't want to play Caro early, feeling more comfortable with Sam.

Posted by Samantha Elin, Caro 2010 YE #1 10/31/2010 at 09:15 AM

What seperates Caro from Vika, Sorana, Lisicki, Klebey and the other young player who have not lived up to their high expectation like her. Mental toughness, you have to take it away from her because she gives you nothing and isn't afraid and feels like she can beat anybody. Kom sa!

Posted by manixdk - Caro: is she starting to find her game? 10/31/2010 at 09:26 AM

@JamaicaKaren
"In today's match I have no preference in the race though I would like Wozniacki to take it. For some reason Clijsters coming back from her sabbatical and beating up on the Tour, while playing a limited schedule (something she seems to get a pass on because she is a mother) leaves a very bad taste in my mouth. "

100% agree. Make no mistake, I'm a huge fan of Clijsters, and love her style of play. I hate that "wow, you're a mommie and are so successful" stuff, without mentioning that she's rich, and can afford the best daycare. Heck, here in Scandinavia, most mommies are working, and having pretty good careers. Having a baby is not an illness! I hate the fawning. She plays along because she knows which side of the bread has butter.

Kim hasn't shown consistency this year, and has had some meltdowns, most noticeably against Petrova.

She won the USO, but what else? I'm trying to be objective in the face of "Oh it's Kim". But the point is, that was then, this is now. A lot of the younger players have hardly played against her before, and don't know her.

I think Caro will win today because she's played against Kim, knows her style, knows it won't change. We'll see if it's enough.

Posted by Texastennis 10/31/2010 at 09:33 AM

Kim won Miami too which is often described as the fifth most important tournament of the year after the slams. It's a bigger tournament than Caro has won this year, pending today...
I don't care who wins and hope for a good match, but there's irrational hostility to Kim on this board. I don't think she's responsible for all the media "wow you're a mommy" slant. As we all know, journalists get their angle and run with it. Why blame her for it?

Posted by lilscot 10/31/2010 at 09:38 AM

It's strange to hear such criticism of Kim just because the commies go on and on about her being a mommy. Kim doesn't do that and in every interview I've heard her give where the commies ask her, "how do you do it Kim, being a mom on tour, blah blah blah," she's always replied, "well, we're very lucky that we are in a position to be able to afford lots of help."

I've never heard her say otherwise. To say that she comes back on tour and beats up on everyone and not really being totally committed leaves a bad taste in someone's mouth only speaks to the lack of quality players at the top of the women's tour right now, and less about anything Kim has or hasn't done.

Caro's a great player and she is most likely going to go on and have an amazing career at the top, but there's really no need to talk Kim down because she's kind of a part-time player and full-time mom. She's worked her rear off and she's earned everything she's got; money, titles, fame, popularity.

Actually, Caroline is a lot like Kim when Kim was young. Everyone talked about how she was just the nicest girl on tour and how she was the best player to not win a slam, etc. So, I see them as being very similar.

Posted by cimmerian 10/31/2010 at 09:38 AM

Hey all. Any suggestions for a live stream to watch the St. Petersburg final? Following the score online is just increasing my tension; I want to watch!

Posted by Jamaica Karen (dem a go tired fi see mi face - Bob Marley) 10/31/2010 at 09:44 AM

Uhm, make no mistake, Kim plays up the mommy angle as well. When she finished her late night match against Vika, I think it was, she made mention of the fact that it was well past her bedtime (suggesting as a mother she goes to bed early).

In addition, the headlines after her win against Stosur yesterday was this "Clijsters survives car crash and then goes on to win match". If that is not playing up the tough as nails angle and playing regardless of what is happening in your life, I don't know what is.

Being a mother myself and raising 2 children in less than ideal conditions and without the millions and millions of dollars to hire the best nannies, having a husband who stayed home and played house husband while I am away on the hustings, I cannot identify with her. If she is supposed to appeal to a certain demographic, then clearly I am not a part of that maternal demographic that tennis is reaching out to.

In addition to all of that she does play a very limited schedule. She skipped most of the clay season, all of the fall season and is playing her first tournament since winning the USO. She is not derided by this by the commentators, but commended for managing her schedule. If it was Serena who had picked and choose her way to tournament victories, she would not by any means be commended for managing her schedule well, but would instead have been decried as not being committed to the Tour.

Anyway, not wanting to start a Clijsters' war, but that is my view on this situation.

Posted by MikeDC 10/31/2010 at 09:44 AM

Sorry to pile on the math but this premise is obviously flawed:

"it's mildy surprising that a woman who has a better than .500 record against the cream of the crop didn't hit paydirt on at least one occasion at a major."

Actually looking at this stat it is not very surprising that Elena never won a slam, because she did not have a better than .500 against the cream of the crop. As Thomas pointed out she has a win percentage of around .370 agiainst the best players. So the head to head review is really helpful and interesting in explaining why she never won a slam... Or am I missing something?

Still surprising that she never got enough breaks in the draw though to snag one. (2004 and 2010 French come to mind).

Posted by Jamaica Karen (dem a go tired fi see mi face - Bob Marley) 10/31/2010 at 09:47 AM

cimmerian, live streams of all tennis matches can usually be found at livescorehunter.com. Go there and then click on tennis and you will find lots of live streams. You can also try atdhe.net and fromsport.com

Posted by Jamaica Karen (dem a go tired fi see mi face - Bob Marley) 10/31/2010 at 09:49 AM

Mike, I was truly convinced that Dementieva would have won the FO this year. The draw did open up for her. I mean Schiavone. She could have taken her with her eyes closed and what happened. Injury. I was as shocked as everyone else as I felt that she had been playing very good tennis coming into the FO. Her serve had improved and her mental game seemed to be as solid as a rock. However, it was not to be and I doubt if it takes away from her career.

Posted by Thomas Christiansen 10/31/2010 at 09:50 AM

The year end top 10 (pending todays final)

1 Wozniacki 8035 (8485 if she wins today)
2 Zvonareva 6785
3 Clijsters 6185 (6635 if she wins today)
4 Serena Williams 5355
5 Venus Williams 4985
6 Stosur 4982
7 Schiavone 4935
8 Jankovic 4416
9 Dementieva 4335
10 Azarenka 4185

Na Li at #11 can NOT catch Azarenka by winning Bali.

Posted by MikeDC 10/31/2010 at 09:52 AM

JK - Yeah... I also feel like Elena playing Serena tough speaks well of her career. But the head to head against Serena is a bit misleading when thinking slams. Even when Elena was at the peak of her powers, Serena's mental strength always seemed to allow her to find another gear to overcome her (in this case Wimby 2009, and even more Aussie 2009 - When Elena was almost the favorite are the best examples)

Posted by Just a little collar 10/31/2010 at 09:55 AM

Happy Halloween from Transylvania County (yes, that's actually where I live; each year there's a downtown festival and the hospital has its annual blood drive).

Wearing my Halloween moniker. Can you guess who I am?

Posted by Thomas Christiansen 10/31/2010 at 09:55 AM

Texastennis:
"Kim won Miami too which is often described as the fifth most important tournament of the year after the slams. It's a bigger tournament than Caro has won this year, pending today..."

Caro won Beijing, a Premier Mandatory event like Miami.
To say Miami is bigger than Beijing is like saying Wimbledon is bigger than the US Open.
You may 'feel' it's bigger, but to the WTA they're equals.

Posted by Jamaica Karen (dem a go tired fi see mi face - Bob Marley) 10/31/2010 at 10:00 AM

Mike, I was always surprised that Elena always played Serena so tough. It was like she knew Serena's every play. As a Serena fan it made for some tough times LOL

In terms of Wozniacki one thing that rested on my mind yesterday while watching her and Vera was this - put away shot. It was absent from both women yesterday. That I think is the difference between Wozniacki and the rest of the top 10. There were so many balls that she could have come in and put away for winners, and yet she chose every single time to restart the point. Same thing with Vera.

Have these women never heard of a swing volley? Have they never heard of stepping inside the court and just putting the ball where your opponent is not? I found it tiring just looking at the rallies yesterday and thinking to myself, either this court is as slow as molasses or these women's shots have absolutely nothing on them.

I thought to myself that if this were Serena or Venus that point would have been won or lost a long time ago. When Vera had 2 set points with 2 serves to come, I said to myself, hit an ace and finish this. Nope, it was not to be. She hit 2 serves which were a bit amateurish and then positioned herself 10 feet behind the baseline and decided to slug it out with Wozniacki. You cannot do that. Wozniacki anticipates better than most players that I have seen out there. She puts the ball in places where you have to hit it back to her (not literally, but it is very hard to hit the ball behind Wozniacki and that is what those who have success against her have been able to do.

In watching matches between her and Serena, Ivanovic, Jankovic, Sharapova etc, you can see that most of those players take an aggressive stand point. They stand on top of the baseline, do not allow themselves to be pushed back by all the top spin that she uses, and they hit behind her or take control of the forecourt by moving in. We will see whether Clijsters uses that tactic today.

Posted by Angel of the Surf (Flavia and Gisela Moscow Doubles Champion) 10/31/2010 at 10:01 AM

So far the tennis day is not going so well for me. Both Melzer and Youzhny are are down a set. I hope this is not an omen for Flavia and Gisela.

Is this post for match calling or do we have to be on topic.

Posted by sharky 10/31/2010 at 10:04 AM

at least Dementieva went through the career on her own, without mommy's help on court, unlike Caro aka "Can't win without daddy's help"

Posted by Texastennis 10/31/2010 at 10:09 AM

Miami and Beijing are the same - lol. They're not equal to the WTA, to media, to tennis history or anyone else (except diehard Caro fans apparently). You could ask every pro player on the tour whether they would rather win Miami or Beijing and you'll get 100% choosing Miami.

Good morning, JK. Hoping for a great match here. I'm the working mother of two too:-)

Pete's been making lots of strange mistakes recently - I'd attribute this perhaps to the pressure of churning out so many pieces for the websites, this one and espn.

Posted by Thomas Christiansen 10/31/2010 at 10:10 AM

Btw, did you all know Caro has a 34-4 win/loss record against Russian players since april 2009? And 24-2 since august 2009!

...oh and one of those losses was the charleston SF where she twisted an ankle and retired.

Posted by Pierre 10/31/2010 at 10:11 AM

I think a comparison between Wozniacki and Jankovic seems to be more pertinent. A retrieving player can often rise up the ranks quickly, but then the other players figure out their weakness and soon the newcomer falls back in the rankings.

Players with weapons, like the Williams, tend to have longer careers at the top because they always have a threat and can't be exploited. The days of the Chris Evert types are over because the modern racquets and strings reward the player with weapons.

And why Oh Lord am I discussing women's tennis?

Posted by Jamaica Karen (dem a go tired fi see mi face - Bob Marley) 10/31/2010 at 10:13 AM

Press conference given by Stacey Allaster on the future of the WTA. It is a pretty long read but very informative and for those of us who are fans of the WTA an eye opening read in terms of where the WTA is now and where it is headed in the future.

Thanks to GVGirl at GVTennis News for the link

http://tinyurl.com/23bmczy

Posted by Master Ace 10/31/2010 at 10:13 AM

Angel of the Surf,
Match calling should be OK today on this thread as it is championship day. Ready for Gisela and Flavia?

Posted by IR 10/31/2010 at 10:17 AM

Does anyone know how many of Caro's titles are tournaments without on court coaching?

Posted by Jankofan 10/31/2010 at 10:19 AM

@jk
I think that Elena would like to swap her victory in the Olympics with a victory at Wimbeldon.
Previously under the current rankingsystem, only 10 of the greatest players joined as YE No 1. It's also why there are really big bonuses associated with being YE no.1 from the sponsors. (The bonuses may explain why Serena tried hard to get ready for Linz instead of Doha only - I'm sure it cost her several millions)

Posted by Jamaica Karen (dem a go tired fi see mi face - Bob Marley) 10/31/2010 at 10:20 AM

Morning TT - LOL on the mother of two. Yes, I too am hoping for a good match.

@Pierre, you are discussing women's tennis because like it or not there is more to discuss about women's tennis than men's tennis. A discussion of men's tennis never ever looks at players from 1-20. It usually starts with Nadal and ends with Federer. Now and again some FOOP will try and insert Murray and Djokovic into the discussion but that usually falls dead. At least with a discussion of women's tennis you will find fans of every player giving this opinion on everyone in the WTA.

SamE made the point (once again) of discussing how out of all the young players, Wozniacki has made the transition to the top of the game better than anyone else. That is so true, but one has to remember this. The other players who Wozniacki left behind play a different game than Caro.

Wozniacki's game is one that uses a lot of energy. The others that you have mentioned are more based on power. Wozniacki's game is one that can withstand the test of time as it usually means keeping the ball in play. The others take a lot longer to develop. Think I am wrong. Look back at matches between Venus and all around players early in her career. Venus would lose matches or win them sometimes, making 60+ errors.

The minute she got her game under control and stopped hitting so wildly, she became a champion that was unbeatable. Does Wozniacki have it in her to leave the defensive mind set behind and go for a more attacking game? Rumour has it that she is shopping around for a different racquet. If she goes to Wilson, then that means she is going for power. If she switches to Head it means that she is going for even more consistency in her shots, although I cannot for the life of me think that she would leave Babolat and the black strings for Head.

Posted by Jamaica Karen (dem a go tired fi see mi face - Bob Marley) 10/31/2010 at 10:22 AM

@JankoFan, maybe but I think Elena is one of the few players out there who is satisfied with her career and in that regard I do not think she is too concerned.

Posted by Angel of the Surf (Flavia and Gisela Moscow Doubles Champion) 10/31/2010 at 10:25 AM

Out of the four semi finalists Caro was the only one who received on court coaching while the other three decided to go it alone. I wish Caro would have enough belief in herself to tell her coach to not to come on court. Even Vera doesn't need her coach though I wouldn't mind seeing her coach on court.

During the championships did any of the other coaches come on court?

Posted by Jankofan 10/31/2010 at 10:26 AM

@JK I totally agree with you here.

Posted by Jamaica Karen (dem a go tired fi see mi face - Bob Marley) 10/31/2010 at 10:26 AM

Angel, I think Vika and Fran's coach came down court side. I actually did not see Fran's coach but I did see Vika's coach.

Posted by Angel of the Surf (Flavia and Gisela Moscow Doubles Champion) 10/31/2010 at 10:27 AM

Thanks Karen for the info.

Posted by cimmerian 10/31/2010 at 10:28 AM

Thanks for the streaming suggestions, Karen! Watching now ... Mischa up a break in the second, but just called the trainers. Ugh.

Posted by Jamaica Karen (dem a go tired fi see mi face - Bob Marley) 10/31/2010 at 10:31 AM

Tiebreak in St. Petersburg. Melzer trying to force a third set

Posted by Angel of the Surf (Flavia and Gisela Moscow Doubles Champion) 10/31/2010 at 10:31 AM

Ok guys I am off to bed enjoy the today's matches.

Hoping any of my favs come through.

Posted by sokol (good buy, Olympic Champion Elena Dementieva. You'll be missed) 10/31/2010 at 10:31 AM

"I think that Elena would like to swap her victory in the Olympics with a victory at Wimbeldon."

Jankofan, I can't be sure but I could question this statement. Lena is Russian and for Russian athletes the title of "Olympic Champion" is the ultimate goal, so I don't think she'll swap her Olympic gold medal for anything. Do you know that Elena is more known in Russia for that reason than Svetlana, who has 2 Slams. She was like a hero in 2008 :-). I personally don't think it's fare, but Olympics are viewed the highest achievement in sports in Russia for many decades, it's an honor for the country. Tennis as sport in new in the country, not many people know what Slam is (only real tennis fans).
You need to be Russian to understand the importance of gold Olympic Medal and how proud people in Russia for their Olympic Champions. They're real stars in the country when they come back with those medals.
While I wished that Lena would win that illusive Slam, I'm really happy she's got gold Olympic medal.

watching Misha play is probably not good for my health :-)

Posted by Jamaica Karen (dem a go tired fi see mi face - Bob Marley) 10/31/2010 at 10:36 AM

1-0 Melzer - nice big forehand - Melzer with the mini-break
2-0 Melzer - UFE forehand side Haiden
2-1 Melzer - nice rally with lots of cat and mouse at the net with winning point by Haider (applauded by Melzer)
3-1 Melzer (missed that point)
3-2 Melzer - nice return clipping the back of the court
3-3 Melzer - honours even as they change ends

Posted by Jamaica Karen (dem a go tired fi see mi face - Bob Marley) 10/31/2010 at 10:39 AM

4-3 Haider - back in the lead. still on serve
4-4 - good serve by Melzer, Haider misses the backhand pass
5-4 Melzer - rocket like first serve that Haider could not control
6-4 Melzer, good first serve but even better return up the line, clips the baseline for a return winner
Double fault on set point by Haider gives Melzer the second set 7-6(4)

On to a third set

Posted by Jamaica Karen (dem a go tired fi see mi face - Bob Marley) 10/31/2010 at 10:41 AM

OK I am off as well to try and find something for brunch. Take care guys. Will perhaps be back for the Battle of the Blondes (ugh that made me feel icky just typing it).

Posted by lilscot 10/31/2010 at 10:44 AM

"Suggesting as a mother she needs to go to bed early." Hmm, what's so strange about that? Doesn't sound like she was offering that up as some kind of excuse for anything. Just plain fact. As a mother I'd think you'd know that.

And Kim has no control over what headlines newspapers want to print. If they printed a headline saying, "Kim wins match after car-accident," what's wrong with that? Isn't it the truth? Did she pay the paper to print that to get sympathy? Come on, you're just grasping at straws and trying to be confrontational.

Everyone gets your're a Caro fan, a lot of people are, but criticizing Kim because commies and papers say and write stuff you don't like just isn't fair.

Again, you're picking her apart because of an image the press has painted. As I said before, she always mentions that she's lucky she can afford a lot of help. I've hear her before say that she was one of they lucky ones and that most mothers don't have the resources she has. What else should she do? Give her child away? Never mention she's a mommy?

And, as far as there being far more to talk about in women's tennis these days than in the men's that's very funny. Sure, there's lots of talk in the women's game these days, and most of it not good. Most of the talk is all about head-cases and injuries. So, it that's what constitutes great tennis talk to you, have at it mate.

Posted by Woz 10/31/2010 at 10:44 AM

Thanks, Pete. :)

I really worry for women's tennis. Their only hope is Sunshine (Not that I'm dissapointed with that). I hope that we may see a newbie sometime soon. Once the Williams and the Belgians have retired, I'd like to see Sunshine fortify a rivalry with someone. Eg: Steffi-Monica, Hingis-Davenport, Serena-Venus.
With Caroline's game, played right and tweaked a little (+ aggression), she could dominate the tour, really.

Posted by pov 10/31/2010 at 11:02 AM

I criticize articles by Bodo (and many other sportswriters)often. So I'm really happy to be able to express "Great article Bodo!" Simply an excellent piece of writing. Thank you.

Posted by Jamaica Karen (dem a go tired fi see mi face - Bob Marley) 10/31/2010 at 11:05 AM

@lilscot, LOL at your 10:44 post. Me, a Wozniacki fan. LOL. Clearly, you are new here and have hardly read my posts.

I am a fan of women's professional tennis. I am not into personalities. I like my players to come on court without all the back story and just play tennis, which is perhaps why I appreciated Dementieva, rather than being a fan.

I hate that the media, and sometimes the players themselves choose to write narratives about players, and there are players who play up the media narrative and contribute to it in their own subtle ways. This was never more apparent than when Justine and Kim first came on the scene. The narrative written then was that Justine was a cold hearted professional player, while Kim was this really nice girl who was to be applauded because she is so nice, hence the name Champagne Kimmie.

She even went one step further during her return to the Tour when after winning Brisbane and beating Justine she decided right then and there to donate her prize money to a children's hospital. It was a very kind gesture but imagine how her opponent felt standing there accepting not only her runner up trophy, but her cheque and the fact that she chose not to give up her runner up cheque to help a needy hospital.

Sometimes it is not what you do, but the way in which you do it that makes people not buy into the whole "oh she is a nice person" mantra.

Posted by Jamaica Karen (dem a go tired fi see mi face - Bob Marley) 10/31/2010 at 11:06 AM

And before you brand me as a Justine fan, I am not a Justine fan either. I just felt that she was hard done by in that particular situation. It also did not help that before Kim's father died he implied on more than one occassion that Justine was not playing clean, a fact that Clijsters did nothing to distance herself from.

I could go on but I think you get my drift.

Posted by Jamaica Karen (dem a go tired fi see mi face - Bob Marley) 10/31/2010 at 11:11 AM

As to discussions about women's tennis, injuries are a part of the sport, and one cannot discuss tennis, and women's tennis without looking at the elephant in the room, which is injuries. A lot of what has happened on the Tour this year has had a lot to do with the injuries, some of which are not even work related that has taken out some of the biggest names in tennis this year.

As to headcaseyness (is that even a word?) the tennis world is filled with them. The most famous of the headcases in the tennis world is Marat Safin followed by a close second to Roger Federer. Tennis is more a mental sport than it is physical and if you play the game, like I do, you will realise that a lot of what happens on the court is due to your ability to stay in the game on a consistent basis.

That is the reason why people like Nadal, Venus, Sharapova, Serena, Justine, Wozniacki, Hingis and many others are able to be at the top of the sport. It is the same reason why players like Ivanovic, Safina, Sveta, Amelie and many others either went unrewarded or they shone bright for a minute and then the fire went out.

Posted by Jamaica Karen (dem a go tired fi see mi face - Bob Marley) 10/31/2010 at 11:13 AM

Can someone tell me why I am watching a documentary on TC when the finals are now going on?

Posted by Jamaica Karen (dem a go tired fi see mi face - Bob Marley) 10/31/2010 at 11:19 AM

Livestream link for Doha finals

www.livescorehunter.com, fromsport.com and atdhe.net

Posted by mellow yellow 10/31/2010 at 11:20 AM

Jamaica Karen, apparently ESPN2 is showing the final at 1pm EST. So Tennis Channel had all the matches through SF live, and then the final gets shown tape delay on ESPN2. How ridiculous.

Posted by Jamaica Karen (dem a go tired fi see mi face - Bob Marley) 10/31/2010 at 11:21 AM

Wozniacki pressing so far in this match. Running down a lot of balls. Kim making her move. Good match so far. Still 0-0

Posted by Jamaica Karen (dem a go tired fi see mi face - Bob Marley) 10/31/2010 at 11:21 AM

Now we know why Wozniack never goes to net. Awful volleys
BP Clijsters

Posted by Jamaica Karen (dem a go tired fi see mi face - Bob Marley) 10/31/2010 at 11:22 AM

Woz saving break points with some really good serve. 7 minute game, but who is counting

Posted by lilscot 10/31/2010 at 11:23 AM

JK:

Lol right back at ya. I've been a poster here for over two years and have read many many of your posts. And I always enjoy your spirit and ability to see other angles. I just happen to disagree with you on these points about Kim and women's tennis.

Gotta love democracy!

Okay, we don't get the match until 8 p.m. taped tonight so I'm signing off the computer for the day so I don't accidentally see the scores.

Posted by Jamaica Karen (dem a go tired fi see mi face - Bob Marley) 10/31/2010 at 11:23 AM

Kim finally breaks when Woz unable to handle yet another volley. Woz opening game took almost 10 minutes. I think we may see a break of serve here by Woz.

Posted by mellow yellow 10/31/2010 at 11:25 AM

why does epsn have to get involved and f-k everything up? Are they going to do this with WTF too?!?

Posted by Jamaica Karen (dem a go tired fi see mi face - Bob Marley) 10/31/2010 at 11:26 AM

lilscot, no worries, that is what democracy is all about, the ability to air everyone's viewpoint.

Twitter is blowing up in relation to this decision. Absolutely apalling decision

Posted by Jamaica Karen (dem a go tired fi see mi face - Bob Marley) 10/31/2010 at 11:27 AM

See what I am talking about Woz not able to put away a ball. Whole backhand side of the court open and she hits it straight to Kim. Ugh

Posted by Northernboy 10/31/2010 at 11:29 AM

I think it is worth bearing that Wozniacki appears in an era where there are truly no dominant players that show up regularly. The 'poaching' argument that people brought up for Kim could easily be applied to S&V.

Imagine a player like Dementieva appearing at age 20 at this point in tennis history. There's simply no way she wouldn't have come away with a major. The point I think is that Dementieva has MULTIPLE wins over the best in her generation, which, quite frankly, have been some of the best and most gifted players in women's tennis history.

Wozniacki has the luxury of playing in an era of inconsistent Tier II type players, and her Chris Evert style game is more than enough to make work of them. I sincerely doubt that would have been the case 10 years ago.

Wow what a final in Austria, those two were going hammer to hammer.

Posted by Northernboy 10/31/2010 at 11:30 AM

Btw anyone have a functional link for Kim/Caro?

Posted by Northernboy 10/31/2010 at 11:32 AM

Never mind found it, wow what a great point already between these two. Some unreal gets by Kim. I can see that Caro has really improved her attack off her FH wing, certainly by using angles.

Posted by Jamaica Karen (dem a go tired fi see mi face - Bob Marley) 10/31/2010 at 11:35 AM

NB, links are at livescorehunter.com, fromsport.com and atdhe.net.

As to your assertion that "poaching" can be applied to S&V. Come on now. S&V have been mainstays on the Tour. They have never taken a sabbatical in the way that Clijsters has. The only time where both sisters went without doing much damage on the tour was late 2003 through 2004 (Serena had knee surgery and was out for quite some time and Venus had wrist surgery and in 2006 when both of them were trying their best to return to the Tour.

Since 2007, Serena has played on average 13 tournaments, Venus a lot more. Who can forget the classic matches between Serena and Maria and Justine in Miami and Charleston respectively. Who can also forget Rome, Madrid, Marbella, Beijing, Tokyo, Korea etc. It may not look as if they S&V play a lot of tournaments, but they actually do.

Posted by Master Ace 10/31/2010 at 11:35 AM

Mellow Yellow,
When I saw that ESPN2 was going to do the coverage on a delayed basis at 1 PM, I thought Tennis Channel would get shafted but the doubles final will be live around the same time.

Posted by manixdk - Caro: is she starting to find her game? 10/31/2010 at 11:37 AM

Good match so far, good tennis 2-2

Posted by Jamaica Karen (dem a go tired fi see mi face - Bob Marley) 10/31/2010 at 11:38 AM

Gotta love Serena - football time, go Dolphins, FINS UP!!! LOL

Posted by cimmerian 10/31/2010 at 11:39 AM

Ugh, ugh, ugh. I think Mischa was worn out from recovering from his infection and playing far too many hours this week. But he could have really used the extra 100 points from winning today. Get rest soon, buddy: You need to do well in Valencia.

Posted by Master Ace 10/31/2010 at 11:40 AM

Was that Victoria in the booth with Stacey Allaster?

Posted by Northernboy 10/31/2010 at 11:40 AM

Jamaica K - I was referring of course to their recent play - Serena and Venus have for the past few years always playd substantially fewer tourneys than everyone else, and while Venus has had good smaller tournament wins, Serena's record outside the slams has been pretty dismal the last 2-3 years.

Hadn't realized Clijsters was 5-0 in finals since her return, though I had seen all the matches. 6-0 vs. Serena, Venus and Justine.

I have to say I'm impressed with Caroline in this match so far - the level of aggression is just so much higher than I'm used to seeing from her. More pace on the groundies, stepping in to take the ball earlier, huge overhead. She's actually being the aggressor in a reasonable # of these points, over the more powerful Kim.

Posted by Jamaica Karen (dem a go tired fi see mi face - Bob Marley) 10/31/2010 at 11:43 AM

NB, you cannot look at recent play to say that they are poaching. They are both eligible for gold exempt status in the WTA but have chosen not to do that. Why play a whole lot of events, get injured and then complain about the season being too long.

Posted by Northernboy 10/31/2010 at 11:44 AM

This is turning out to be a good match. Caro is really working severe angles and stepping forward, great BH DTL just now. Kim is really the only player who could hang with her the way she's playing at the moment. 3 straight service returns right at Woz's feet on the baseline.

Posted by Jamaica Karen (dem a go tired fi see mi face - Bob Marley) 10/31/2010 at 11:44 AM

Now I know why she does not do swing volleys. Very bad at them

Posted by mellow yellow 10/31/2010 at 11:47 AM

Master Ace, I hope ESPN doesn't f-k up WTF next month. I'm assuming they have the rights to show that (hopefully live)?

Posted by Jamaica Karen (dem a go tired fi see mi face - Bob Marley) 10/31/2010 at 11:47 AM

Caro's forehand is going to be her downfall.

NB the only reason why Kim is playing so much defence right now is because the court is playing so slow. A faster court and we would not be 32 minutes in and only through 5 games. Not sure if this is a good indication of how both women are playing or whether neither women is able to put away the point because the court is so slow. It is like watching clay court tennis on a hard court.

Anyone can translate what Woz' father is saying to her?

Posted by Northernboy 10/31/2010 at 11:48 AM

Jamaica Karen I'm not saying S&V are doing anything wrong - I just think it's the same thing Kim's doing eg. you can't call Kim's playing schedule poaching when she has had a major injury this year and a another surgical emergency. And yes she's a mom and wife, with obvious off court priorities.
And it's freaking smart - look how easily your season at age 27-30 can be thrown off with injury. All of the big 4 S&V K&J have missed big sections of this year with serious injury.

What a game there, Wozniacki looked to be in control and was in charge of all of the rallies but Kim's defense won the break.

Posted by mellow yellow 10/31/2010 at 11:49 AM

Why are the courts so slow? WTA tour doesn't have a Nadal that they have to prop up with slow, high bouncing courts.

Posted by Jamaica Karen (dem a go tired fi see mi face - Bob Marley) 10/31/2010 at 11:49 AM

I really wish I had another commentator other than Tracy Austin. Am about to turn off the sound.

Posted by Immy 10/31/2010 at 11:51 AM

I read the forum carefully and in my opinion everybody has the same kind of perspective on the 'old generation' vs the 'new kids on the block'. I ain't a tennis pundit but i reckon Its still to soon to tell if CARO will be able to solidify her position at the top spot. She has a great game but my worry for her future is the the type of game she plays: its so physical demanding that as soon a injury or inconsistency will creep in she won't be able to maintain her position in the top echelon. She has solid ground strokes but lacks any real 'pop' that can put points away at will. She proved that in the 1st game (first set) against Vera, it took around 12 min. Imagine that against someone like Serena.

Must say that I these are interesting times for tennis. Lets hope that someone will be able to step it up and wow us with great tennis. Must admit that I hope it will be the more crafty players.....

Posted by Jamaica Karen (dem a go tired fi see mi face - Bob Marley) 10/31/2010 at 11:51 AM

NB, Kim just out hitting Caro from the baseline and outplaying her on all other aspects right now. I really wanted Caro to win this match as I think it would do her well going into the new season. It would also be the icing on what has been a spectacular fall season.

It just seems wrong that Caro has worked so hard winning all these tournies and here comes Kim playing her first match since the USO and she is about to put a beatdown on Caro. Come on Woz, do it for all the young uns.

Posted by Northernboy 10/31/2010 at 11:51 AM

Whoa! First ever return winner I have ever seen Wozniacki hit - positively Serena/Maria like.

That's the thing - if this match continues the way it has, I will be giving much kudos to Caroline even if she loses. Kim is having to play at a completely different level to stay ahead of Caro compared to their previous match. You can see every facet of her game has improved, and she's just that more dangerous a player in addition to being a backboard.

Posted by Master Ace 10/31/2010 at 11:52 AM

Jamaica Karen,
I am listening to the stream of the EuroSport commentary team with Jo and Chris. If I recall, Aussiemarg said that the courts are medium pace which leads to the defensive play by both players.

Posted by Northernboy 10/31/2010 at 11:57 AM

Jamaica K - I would agree with you about their respective playing schedules, but in this case I don't think it's a significant factor. Caroline, smartly , gave herself a week off prior to playing this event. After that they both played 3 singles matches, Kim has actually played 5 in 5 days, while Caro had a day off in there.

So I think in terms of freshness, they are on even footing. They are both terrifically athletic and Caro is 7-8 years younger than Kim, so I can't bring myself to think fatigue is a factor for her here.

With the closer camera angle, I hadn't noticed the courts were slow, but maybe that's also colouring why I think Caro's hitting the ball harder than she has in the past.

Oooh bad shot choice there Kim, but credit to Caro for the great pass. Now there's the BH pass that would have gotten Dementieva to the Wimbledon final.

Wow - what an intense rally, Kim plays great D and comes up with the winner. Caro's BH is on fire though.

Posted by Northernboy 10/31/2010 at 12:00 PM

Kim needs to move to cover Woz's serves out wide, her down the T serve is nowhere near as potent. Kim has gotten behind in too many points because of it.

Commentators mention the crowd doesn't suck for once - I noticed the cheers are actually decently loud.

Posted by Northernboy 10/31/2010 at 12:02 PM

ugh horrible shank there from Kim on a 2nd serve that would have given her set point

Posted by Northernboy 10/31/2010 at 12:04 PM

OH DAMN Kim that was terrible - same play you hit a poor swinging volley to Caro's BH and she makes you pay. Did you not do your homework and realize Caro's BH is easily the strongest shot in her game??

Woz making slightly more errors but Kim is really forcing her to go for the lines.

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