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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 Northernboy 10/31/2010 at 01:13 PM

I suspect you're right Jamaica K about 3 set records and Caro. Though a supplementary questions would be why she's had to play as many 3 setters with her grinding playing style.

Posted by Jamaica Karen (dem a go tired fi see mi face - Bob Marley) 10/31/2010 at 01:13 PM

What I don't understand with Woz is this. She hits a pretty good serve, gets a short return and instead of coming in and taking care of the short ball, she waits for the second shot and then tries to hit the winner off that.

Posted by Master Ace 10/31/2010 at 01:14 PM

Set 2 - Kim 17/10 Caroline 19/8 W/UFEs

Posted by manuelsantanafan 10/31/2010 at 01:14 PM

Caro and Daddy not on same page.

When I've seen Daddy on court, she often ignores him.

On this occasion, Caro orally disagreeing with Daddy.

Posted by manixdk - Caro: is she starting to find her game? 10/31/2010 at 01:14 PM

Papa Wozniacki: Concentrate, you're playing well, don't stray from the game plan (I think - from what I understood from my rudimentary understanding of Polish because of some rusty Russian)

Posted by Carol 10/31/2010 at 01:14 PM

JK I take offense just when someone says something really offensive against Nadal same like you if someone says something offensive against Federer. By the way I don't think that you've read something bad from me about Federer. Also I'm disagree with his name is involved in that theme about gambling, it's something completely silly, it doesn't have any sense

Posted by tennisesq. 10/31/2010 at 01:15 PM

Even if she loses, I have gained so much respect for Caro thanks to the way she fought to win that 2nd set after being down 1-4.

Posted by Aube,Intimidation has never worked with me,even if I had to be the looser!!!categorically refuse to be weak!!! 10/31/2010 at 01:15 PM

good morning,
hahahah temes,I refuse that offer of yours but I sure will be partying for her today because I do not want mother Kim to win,but when the heck what I want matters to the tennis players/han?
Enjoy the match everyone!

Posted by Northernboy 10/31/2010 at 01:16 PM

One criticism I do have of Wozniacki is that her game is somewhat predictable. She very rarely hits the ball in a direction the opponent can't anticipate. You know most of her shots are going Xcourt, esp that FH.

Getting her dad to come coach her twice at the YECs doesn't reflect all that well on her though. At a smaller tourney perhaps...still, anything to get the job done.

Kim almost makes the Dshot, but comes back with the inside out FH and big serve.

Posted by manixdk - Caro: is she starting to find her game? 10/31/2010 at 01:17 PM

Pierre, it was Polish

Posted by Master Ace 10/31/2010 at 01:18 PM

Caroline to serve 3-6,7-5,2-3.

What a way to end(almost with Bali and Fed Cup next week) to end 2010 with a 3 set WTA Championship final.

Posted by yello fuzzy 10/31/2010 at 01:18 PM

JK
I didn't even know the H2H numbers between Maria and Kim, but it seemed like a nobrainer to me. Maria is so one dimensional and that is a liability in todays game. Davenport was a similar player and she played more doubles and developed her net play , something Maria has not done.

Posted by Northernboy 10/31/2010 at 01:19 PM

Hrm, interesting commentator point. Is this the first time ever the YECs have had women from 8 different countries? Usually there's been 2 Belgians, 2 Americans, or 2 French players...nope forgot Zvonerave and Dementieva are both Russian.

Posted by yello fuzzy 10/31/2010 at 01:20 PM

Monfils up a break in the 3rd

Posted by Northernboy 10/31/2010 at 01:21 PM

Hrm bad call from Nuni there - Caro should not have been allowed to challenge that call because she waited to see if Clijsters hit the next shot in. Great rally though.

Posted by Jamaica Karen (dem a go tired fi see mi face - Bob Marley) 10/31/2010 at 01:21 PM

Carol, I am never offended when anyone says anything about Federer. I am not as invested in him as I am with Venus and Serena. It was those 2 ladies who brought me to the sport and from ever since they have always been described as having manly games and some have even gone as far as to say that they should be playing on the men's tour.

Commentators as well have spoken about how they hit harder and more powerfully than the men while at the same time saying that their games are limited. I listened to Mary-Jo Fernandez in the booth during this year's AO, breaking down for all the world to hear, just how awful Venus' game was. I have never heard any commentator talk about a player's game in more withering tones than the way how commentators talk about the Williams Sisters, so with them, I do get my back up when these things happen.

Federer has been the anointed for a long time and so has Nadal. They are met with reverence and their every words are as gospel. Their games have no chinks etc and that is why I get upset when fans of both Federer and Nadal engage in these useless FeDal wars because they are fans of 2 of the biggest names in sport.

Venus and Serena on the other hand are met with opposition at every given turn, and women's tennis is usually treated as the step child in tennis. For example, most of us have to be watching a very important match on a livestream and I bet you any money that when the time comes for the men's tournament, you will not see anyone watching on a live stream because it will be on tv live and in living colour.

Posted by Master Ace 10/31/2010 at 01:23 PM

15-40 for Kim as Caroline DF
Kim 5/12 BP(Caroline 4/9)
30-40 Kim nets FH return
Kim breaks as she steps inside the court and hit FH winner

Kim to serve 6-3,5-7,4-2

Posted by Texastennis 10/31/2010 at 01:23 PM

Manixdk - Polish! Caro's Scandanavian down to her little finger, haven't you noticed SamE telling us that:-)

Posted by Northernboy 10/31/2010 at 01:23 PM

Jamaica Karen - while you have a fair point re: S&V, I think Mary Jo Fernandez and her even worse ounterpart Pam Shriver denigrate almost every women's player in the game except perhaps Graf. Remember me saying how bad they were in that Zvonereva-Azarenka match at the AO? Practically taking bets on who would cry first and comparing the women unfavourably to the men.

Great game to break there from Kim. Now HOLD! This has really been a terrific and high level match so far. Credit to both. Should definitely make one of the top 10 matches of the year.

Posted by MikeDC 10/31/2010 at 01:24 PM

Kim matches up well with Maria, so I'd side with the Kim crowd on who wins "at their best". A long while back, I remember hearing from Kim's coach at the time breaking down who Kim had trouble with and who she had sucess against. Bascially, he said she did well against the big hitting (but slower players) like Maria and Lindsay. She had more trouble with variety/spin (a la Henin) and big serves (Venus). He also said she had trouble with Serena because well... everybody does!

Seems accurate then and now to me.

Posted by temes (Caroline, the beautiful and talented world's n.1) 10/31/2010 at 01:24 PM

Hmm Aube seems like I won't be needing this moniker either lol...

Posted by Master Ace 10/31/2010 at 01:25 PM

Kim consolidated at love. Caroline serving to stay in the title match 3-6,7-5,2-5

Posted by manixdk - Caro: is she starting to find her game? 10/31/2010 at 01:25 PM

@Jamaica That's not true here in Europe, here the Williams' sisters are goddesses

Posted by Jamaica Karen (dem a go tired fi see mi face - Bob Marley) 10/31/2010 at 01:25 PM

NB, I remember and I think it is all about trying to ingratiate themselves with the men. Clearly, they do not realise that the racquet smashing by the men is akin to the women breaking down. Oh well.

I think this is it for poor Wozniacki. She played well and has nothing of which to be ashamed. Her fans should be very proud. Going to prepare dinner so talk to everyone later. I have to say that the conversation has been very good today.

Bye folks.

Posted by yello fuzzy 10/31/2010 at 01:26 PM

JK
I am watching Monfils vs Luby on a live stream, TTC chose not to televise this event. Seems like since they were not going to show the final of the womens YEC why not show another live event!!?

Posted by Northernboy 10/31/2010 at 01:27 PM

lol what a great line from the male commentator, wonder how long he's been working on this chestnut..

"In order to win her 1st 3 titles this year she had to beat former #1's - Henin, Venus and Maria Sharapova - now she's on the verge of beating the current #1!"

Really intriguing changes in momentum. From 4-1 in the 2nd Caro went on a 6-1 stretch. From down 0-1 in the 3rd, Kim has gone 5-1.

Posted by Texastennis 10/31/2010 at 01:28 PM

MJF and Shriver absolutely denigrate Graf - one of the many reasons they are hopeless as commentators is their inability to discuss players past or present without trashing (except their handful of favorites).

Posted by Master Ace 10/31/2010 at 01:28 PM

Caroline holds at love. Kim serving for the title 6-3,5-7,5-3

Posted by Northernboy 10/31/2010 at 01:28 PM

I say from experience as a competitive 5.0 player - no position more dangerous than being up 5-2 in the 3rd, thinking you have it won, but in reality you're only up 1 break. lol

Come Kim serve this puppy out.

Nice stats from commentator dude. Martina has 8 YECS wow.

Posted by manixdk - Caro: is she starting to find her game? 10/31/2010 at 01:29 PM

What a cross court forehand winner by Caro!

Posted by Northernboy 10/31/2010 at 01:32 PM

Do they Texastennis? I haven't heard them do it but I wouldn't be surprised. I just assumed because I didn't think it was possible to find anything about Graf to denigrate lol - she was pretty perfect. Shriver in particular is just awful - her only claim to fame was being Navratilova's doubles partner - easy to talk big when you've got the best doubles player in history in your corner.

What?? Crap come on Kim bad DF. One BP saved by Kimmy. Another tense rally and Kim elicits the wide FH frm Caro, giving the first scream.

Good finish there by Caro. Come on Kim!! Hold!!!

Posted by Carol 10/31/2010 at 01:32 PM

That is correct JK. Unfortunately the women tennis does'n have so many followers like men. I remember last year here in Miami I went to Key Biscayne , Clijsters was playing and the Stadium was almost empty later came the men match and it was full

Posted by Northernboy 10/31/2010 at 01:33 PM

Oh wow what a point.... great way to bring up champ point, great running by Caro, bad shot choices by Kim, barely avoided netting that last OH.

OMG champ point #1 wasted with a bad DF. COME ON KIM! Use the rally ball!

Posted by MikeDC 10/31/2010 at 01:34 PM

The Kim choke-o-meter is going throug the roof! Ugh!

Posted by Master Ace 10/31/2010 at 01:35 PM

0-15 Kim nets FH
0-30 Kim FH wide after Caroline hit wicked angle with FH
15-30 Kim BH winner
15-40 Kim DF called by Kader Nouni
30-40 Caroline FH long
Caroline 4/10 BP
40-40 Caroline FH wide after Kim hit BH with depth
40-A Caroline volley winner coming forward behind BH
40-40 Caroline BH return long
A-40 Caroline FH wide after Kim came forward and hit 2 smashes
40-40 Kim DF(4)
A-40 Kim smash winner coming forward behind FH
Kim wins the match as Caroline nets FH return

Kim Clijsters defeated Caroline Wozniacki 6-3,5-7,6-3

Posted by tennisesq. 10/31/2010 at 01:35 PM

Meh, big deal. Mother Superior comes through to win a YEC with the weakest field in recent memory.

Posted by temes (Kim, Super Mommy!!!) 10/31/2010 at 01:35 PM

Congrats to Kim! Great fighting from Caro, not quite enough.

Posted by Carol 10/31/2010 at 01:36 PM

Congratulations Clijsters, you have played great!

Posted by Master Ace 10/31/2010 at 01:36 PM

Yello Fuzzy,
ESPN2 decided to cover the Doha final on a tape delayed basis therefore, no Tennis Channel coverage.

Posted by Papo (Got Nadal?) 10/31/2010 at 01:36 PM

Congrats to Kim! Three YECs now ; )

Commies the Woz. Maybe she'll back up her ranking with a major next year.

Posted by Northernboy 10/31/2010 at 01:37 PM

Kim has been so clutch this tournament, this whole year really - coming up with big shots when she needs them.

Caro nets a 2nd serve FH and Kim takes her 3rd YEC.

All credit to Caroline as she really did play extremely well in this match, I was impressed. But Kim is just too strong.

Have to laugh because of tennis magazine - anyone else remember when they had a little blurb saying 'Clijsters includes the 2010 YECs on her calendar...is she being realistic or optimistic?'

What I'm really impressed with is Caro took it Kim as she knew she had to. Normally Caros winners and errors are both much lower than her opponents, but both Kim and Caro had almost identical W/UFE, 39-38 for Kim and ~35 each for Caro. Congrats to Caro for stepping up her game and we all look forward to seeing her continue to improve.

ALL HAIL QUEEN KIMMIE!

Great match, glad I got up to watch it.

Posted by Jankofan 10/31/2010 at 01:37 PM

Gratz to Kim - WD!

Posted by yello fuzzy 10/31/2010 at 01:38 PM

Master ace
what about the other finals today? Monfils wins

Posted by sokol 10/31/2010 at 01:39 PM

Congrats to Mommy Kim! Well done! Very good year for her, 3 big titles, including Slam.

Commies to Caro fans

Posted by Northernboy 10/31/2010 at 01:40 PM

Tennisesq says: Meh, big deal. Mother Superior comes through to win a YEC with the weakest field in recent memory.

You've said a few things I didn't agree with, but in this statement you're flat out wrong as wrong can be buddy. I actually made a point of checking out the YEC fields over the past 10 years, and you shoudl do the same. Check out some of the paltry YEC fields the years that Henin won it. Players like Petrova (x2) Ai Sugiyama, Patty Schnyder, Anna Chakvetadze, even Kuznetsova, have been in the WTA finals. This year's field was actually extremely strong, and very well played after the first day.

Very unclassy to denigrate Kim's win with such sour grapes, esp after the sterling effort from Caro to make it a great match.

Posted by Lynne (Rafalite) 10/31/2010 at 01:40 PM

Congratulations to Kim and fans. Commiserations to Caroline and her fans.

Caroline deserves her #1 ranking, she's a great fighter. I felt that JJ and Dinara also deserved their respective #1 spots too.

Posted by temes 10/31/2010 at 01:41 PM

This tournament was like some eccentric exhibition.

Posted by Texastennis 10/31/2010 at 01:42 PM

Excellent win for Clijsters - should have done it in straights but just lost concentration there in the second set. Very good season overall ie the USO and the two other most important non GS tournaments despite some injuries etc. Second to Serena.

JK - I'm surprised the coaching with Caro's father doesn't drive you mad!

Kim is just a superior player to Caro at this point in their careers - better athlete and thus excellent defender (although Caro is an excellent athlete, not as good, and it's unusual for her to play a player who is better in this department)); much better basic groundstrokes in terms of pace and depth; far better at putting away the ball when she has an opening, much better volley and overhead; usually better serve (although she's had some serving yips this year on occasion).

Caro's improved this year and had a very good year. But she still needs to make some more improvement to challenge the very top tier players in the top tournaments. No shame for her at all in losing to a player who's a legit hall of famer and playing very well this week despite lack of preparation play coming in. Gotta to love how she fights to the last point - very Serena like.

Posted by manuelsantanafan 10/31/2010 at 01:43 PM

Clijsters has to be one of the few, if not the only, WTAer who can grind down Caro from the baseline.

If not always mentally strong, Clijsters certainly is tremendously fit.

Seems to me that Caro has been incorporating point-shortening tactics into her game--not always successfully.

But, these tactics probably will pay off in majors titles/YECs in the next few years.

Posted by Carol 10/31/2010 at 01:45 PM

Hi Lynne. how are you? long time that I don't see you. Maybe because we are more men folowers?:-)

Posted by tennisesq. 10/31/2010 at 01:45 PM

Northern Boy,
Relax, it's only tennis.

Posted by Papo (Got Nadal?) 10/31/2010 at 01:48 PM

So is women's tennis pretty much over for the year? They have a much longer off season than the men. Good for them, I guess. I imagine some fans experience tennis withdrawl though, hehe.

The men still have Basel, the Paris Masters and the World Tour Final. A lot of tennis left to play.

Posted by Carol 10/31/2010 at 01:48 PM

"Relax, it's only tennis"

I love it!

Posted by KL 10/31/2010 at 01:48 PM

there is one more title for Samantha Ellin to add now: reigning YEC finalist :-)

Posted by Northernboy 10/31/2010 at 01:48 PM

Never heard of Karim Alami before as a player, but the man is a good looking - google some of his pics, great body. Cleans up nice too

Posted by Lynne (Rafalite) 10/31/2010 at 01:52 PM

Carol : I'm just fine, how are you ? I was away in UK for a while, then had a friend from Indiana visiting me so no, I haven't been here for a while. Also she was delayed returning to Indiana due to the bad weather there.

I like the WTA but have to admit to not being so much into it as when Graf, Seles, Sabatini and Sanchez Vicario where playing.

Posted by Lynne (Rafalite) 10/31/2010 at 01:55 PM

Oops can't evern spell now ! Should have been were.

Posted by Just a little collar 10/31/2010 at 01:57 PM

Congrats to BOTH players. Great win for Kim. And Caro's continuing "evolvement" is as impressive as her "fight," imo.

Posted by MikeDC 10/31/2010 at 01:58 PM

So now that the "Greatest Mother and nicest person in the in the world" or "the Spawn of Satan who pretends to be nice and only won three grand slams and sucks in every way compared to Serena and Venus" (depending on your alliegiences) has wrapped that up...

Was there a shortage of great women's matches this year?

Off the top of my head the candidates for best matches are Serena-Henin at the Aussie and Serena-Stosur at the French. 2nd tier Henin-Sharapova at the French, Stosur-Dementieva at the US, Dementieva-Henin at the Aussie, Jankovic-Serena at Rome and Schiavone-Stosure at the Fench (sentimental bonus value)? Serena gets bonus points for best performance at a tournment at Wimby. Anything else?

Posted by Carol 10/31/2010 at 01:58 PM

Lynne, that exactly is happening to me. I like Kim, Serena, Caro etc, but I really miss Henin and the "old ones" like Graf, Seles, Sanchez....

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President.Yes Indeed I am A One Woman Show 10/31/2010 at 01:58 PM

I am throwing my alarm clock out it didnt go off and I missed the match Ugh!

Congrats to Kim I thought she would win.

Congrats to Caroline ending the year as no 1 player

Will someone buy me a decent and reliable alarm clock I have a birthday coming up.

Thanks.

Posted by Carol 10/31/2010 at 02:00 PM

AM, I'll send to you one, LOL

Posted by manixdk - Caro: is she starting to find her game? 10/31/2010 at 02:00 PM

One more tournament for the rest of the WTA field: http://2009.commbanktennis.com/2009-views.php?subaction=showfull&id=1216106664&archive=&start_from=&ucat=11&.

Great match, too bad Caro couldn't take advantage of her chances, but woulda coulda shoulda and pocket change don't buy a bowl of rice (to paraphrase my late Dad). Quarters semis and finals from Bali will be on CanalDigital Sport 2 Scandinavia from Thursday, I think. We're spoiled here. :)

Posted by Lynne (Rafalite) 10/31/2010 at 02:00 PM

Aussiemarg : coming right over, one decent alarm clock !

Posted by london 10/31/2010 at 02:02 PM

congrats to kim. twas a good match. prob wont watch bali because of the time difference but it is a much better line up than last year.

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President.Yes Indeed I am A One Woman Show 10/31/2010 at 02:02 PM

Thanks Carol and Lynne

Now with 2 new alarm clocks

I am in Alarm Clock Heaven lol!

Surely they both cant go wrong?

Here hoping

Posted by tennisesq. 10/31/2010 at 02:03 PM

LOL MikeDC,
Brilliant. I thought Schiavone-Caro from this year's YEC was pretty darn entertaining. Same for Venus-Vika from Dubai & Serena-Vika from AO.

Posted by manixdk - Caro: is she starting to find her game? 10/31/2010 at 02:05 PM

Sorry, I posted a link to Bali's player lineup from last year. http://2009.commbanktennis.com/index.php and look at the Road to Bali on the right hand side. London, right, some good players, should be interesting, if they all feel like playing :(

Posted by Fern 10/31/2010 at 02:05 PM

Congrats to Kim and fans and commis to Caro and her fans ... a competitive 3 setter in a final - WTA need more of these! Like other posters upthread, i'm tired of the Kim 'mother superior' bashing that goes on here. That she's 27, took time away from the tour and wins back to back USO and can beat the current 20 year old world no.1 is a credit to her (and is not a knock on Caro, who is continually improving her game and was really gritty in some of her matches this week).

Posted by manixdk - Caro: is she starting to find her game? 10/31/2010 at 02:06 PM

AM, no replay on Fox?

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President.Yes Indeed I am A One Woman Show 10/31/2010 at 02:08 PM

MikeDC Thanks you lised great choices there.

The one that stands out in my mind cause I was in a Coma for most of the match was Sam v Elena at the USO

It was a marathon match with each girl having chances to win before it went into a 3rd set it was the longest mental match for me as a fan

I never wont to go there again lol!

I am not getting any younger

Hang on age is just a number thats right isnt it? lol!

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President.Yes Indeed I am A One Woman Show 10/31/2010 at 02:10 PM

manidxk Yes thank goodness.Though I now know the score it dosent have the same impact though lol!

Posted by Tim (Moonpies lead to violence!) 10/31/2010 at 02:11 PM

Carol said...I hate when some posters take comments in the WRONG way

oh the irony! moonpies, anyone? youve taken most of my posts the wrong way from day one, and the irony of your earlier post amused me!

make a note, please...

Posted by Jankofan 10/31/2010 at 02:15 PM

A shame Kim only wants to play 12-13 tournaments per year.(I guess the same for Serena/Henin)

But in that way they can take care og their bodies and show up fit (when they show up)

Posted by manixdk - Caro: is she starting to find her game? 10/31/2010 at 02:17 PM

AM, I'm watching the match again (PVR) and we're seeing a Caro 3.0, going for more winners, being more aggressive, building on her solid foundation. She showed signs of this already in Tokyo and Beijing, making more UEs, but also hitting way more winners. In both tournos she was winning over 50% of her second serves. She's a work in progress, and exciting and interesting to follow.

Posted by Tim (Moonpies lead to violence!) 10/31/2010 at 02:17 PM

and im stunned that some ofyou dont rmember the Champagne Kimmie roots...

In Belgium, Kim offered to guy the whole stadium bottles of Champagne one night, as some gesture of thanks not sure exactly, and Pete thought it was manipulative and not exactly sincere, so ever since, she's been Champagne Kimmie

ta da! lol

Posted by Jamaica Karen (dem a go tired fi see mi face - Bob Marley) 10/31/2010 at 02:17 PM

I cannot remember who said it but I am the biggest opponent of on-court coaching this side of the Atlantic. I hate it so much that I actually started a Facebook group to try and outlaw the darned thing.

Perhaps the reason why I do not harp on it so much is that it is like beating a dead horse. It is gaining traction in the main stream with many commentators trying to have it incorporated in the majors, but also at the ATP level. As far as I am concerned this is only being done not because on court coaching has proven to be beneficial to those who use it, but because they are trying to legitimise inappropriate coaching from the stands.

It was for this very reason why on court coaching was brought in to the WTA after one of its golden girls after winning the 2006 USO was met with questions about Bananagate.

I do not like it. I think it makes the women look weak and ineffective and I just think it is another reason for those on the sidelines to try and ingratiate themselves into the game. They cannot believe that the game has passed them by or that they are no longer relevant so why not allow me to go on court and coach some uber tennis player about how to win a match. People like Brad Gilbert and Darren Cahill are all for it.

My best memory of the 2010 season was watching Venus Williams out think and out play Darren Cahill in Miami. Frankly speaking if I was Darren Cahill I would be against on court coaching in all its facets.

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President.Yes Indeed I am A One Woman Show 10/31/2010 at 02:19 PM

Well no offence to Kim though I feel she is just a one dimensional player in respects.Yes she can play on hard courts.Though she hasnt won at the AO? to me I like a player who can also play and do well on other surfaces like the clay and grass.

Posted by Master Ace 10/31/2010 at 02:21 PM

Monday ATP Order of Play

Valencia at 8 AM - Wawrinka vs Seppi followed by Verdasco vs Russell then to Stakhovsky vs Simon ending with Gabashvili vs Clement
Basel at 9:30 AM - Bohli vs Haase
Basel at 1:30 PM - Federer vs Dolgopolov followed by Isner vs Llodra

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President.Yes Indeed I am A One Woman Show 10/31/2010 at 02:21 PM

manixdk I think Caroline has to play more aggressive on a hard court and take her chances.I know she will make more u/errors.

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President.Yes Indeed I am A One Woman Show 10/31/2010 at 02:23 PM

JK You will always have my 100% support to wipe out the insane rule on

"On Court Coaching" I personally feel it has brought the womens game down a notch since its inception.

Posted by Carol 10/31/2010 at 02:26 PM

Oooooh Tim, nah! forget it, I'm not going to say anything

I'm off guys, I'll see you later

Posted by Jamaica Karen (dem a go tired fi see mi face - Bob Marley) 10/31/2010 at 02:26 PM

There were some fantastic matches at the beginning of the year.
Serena v. Rezai; Kim v. Henin; Venus v. Azarenka; Elena v. Safarova (Paris Indoors); Jheng v. Wozniacki at Indian Wells; Hantuchova v. Pavlyenchenkova (Monterey); Jankovic v. Semastova (Monterey).

2010 also saw a lot of players that I had never heard of make their mark. Players like Simona Halep who played a very good match in Marbella against Cirstea (what happened to her?). Halep also played Stosur very tough at the French Open this year, taking the first set. There was also the Stosur v. Henin match in Stuttgart and the Jankovic v. Henin match also in Stuttgart.

Very compelling matches and it is unfortunate that people only saw a few of them.

For me one of the better matches at Wimbledon was certainly not Serena v. Sharapova. It was actually Serena v. Cibulkova. Cibulkova if she had a serve to speak of or had more variation in her game would have been able to at least take Serena to a tie-break. She played fearless tennis in the second set and I thought that match was really discounted in favour of the Sharapova match.

Posted by manixdk - Caro: is she starting to find her game? 10/31/2010 at 02:28 PM

AM, I agree, I liked seeing Justine showing that not only could she own the FO, but win the AO and USO. Grass is such a special surface, you really have to change your game, hit low etc. Remember how Bartoli beat Henin? I have that game recorded, and watch it once in a while to remind myself that nothing in tennis is given, and anyone can beat anyone on the day.

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President.Yes Indeed I am A One Woman Show 10/31/2010 at 02:31 PM

manixdk Yes I remember that game well.Marion to me is quite unorthodox.I still feel with Justine her biggest down fall at Wimbeldon is her serve.

Posted by Jamaica Karen (dem a go tired fi see mi face - Bob Marley) 10/31/2010 at 02:31 PM

Bye Carol, it has been fun, and please, try not to take too much offense at what is said about your faves, unless it is truly derogatory then you have my blessing to give people a new one :)

AM, thanks for the support. I really hate that it is getting so much traction in mainstream media as this usually means that they are really thinking of going ahead with it. What baffles me though is which player out of those in the top 10 who will call their coaches down court side while playing for a Grand Slam title?

Will we as fans put an asterisk next to a player who calls their coach court side when they are being singularly outplayed in a Grand Slam event? I know I will.

Posted by tennisesq. 10/31/2010 at 02:34 PM

JK,
Thanks for reminding me about Rezzie!!! She was absolutely brilliant during Madrid. I nominate Aravane for standout performance at a tournament.

Posted by manixdk - Caro: is she starting to find her game? 10/31/2010 at 02:36 PM

AM: "I think Caroline has to play more aggressive on a hard court and take her chances.I know she will make more u/errors."

Absolutely. She's ranked #1, and will be meeting a very different level of players on a day-to-day basis, and some of them several times. She can't keep playing same-old same-old. Being able to switch smoothly from defence to offence and back when required is an absolute necessity for her.

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President.Yes Indeed I am A One Woman Show 10/31/2010 at 02:36 PM

JK I would also like to see it banned at the end of year championships?

This is where we have the top 8 players competing

Goodness me if they cant work things out for themselves at this level

I personally feel for each player.

Posted by Master Ace 10/31/2010 at 02:39 PM

Manixdk,
After today's final, I am more convinced that Caroline will get her Slam before 2012 is done.

Aussiemarg and Jamaica Karen,
The WTA coaching rule has to go immediately especially the way the WTA wants to market their new YE number 1.

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President.Yes Indeed I am A One Woman Show 10/31/2010 at 02:40 PM

Master Ace I agree with your comment 100%

Posted by Tim (Moonpies lead to violence!) 10/31/2010 at 02:41 PM

of course not Carol, how can you argue with logic? im just sayin, if you get frustrated when others misread YOUR posts, you better be willing to accept there's a flip side and you may do the same to others ...

end of story, life isnt all one way traffic

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President.Yes Indeed I am A One Woman Show 10/31/2010 at 02:43 PM

Manixdk When playing defense to ofense its quite a fine line.You have to be aware when to change or else it can bring you undone.The Master of this to me is Rafa.He knows when to change at the right moment.

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President.Yes Indeed I am A One Woman Show 10/31/2010 at 02:45 PM

Tim

Have a GE on me.Its nearly my birthday and I am in a good mood for once lol!

Posted by manixdk - Caro: is she starting to find her game? 10/31/2010 at 02:46 PM

I think on court coaching is the future. Personally, I couldn't care less, but the media does. Tennis on a world basis is a niche sport, and making the sport more TV friendly is probably the way forward. Heck, players and coaches are micd in so many other sports, why not tennis? Hearing coaches giving advice to players might give the casual tennis fan more insight into the game. Maybe they'll turn out when there's a local tourney. Lord knows, seeing all the empty stands at WTA and ATP events, they need more spectators.

Posted by manixdk - Caro: is she starting to find her game? 10/31/2010 at 02:48 PM

AM, offence to defence, absolutely right. It's something learned.

Posted by Tim (Moonpies lead to violence!) 10/31/2010 at 02:49 PM

too early marg, how about another Starbucks instead?

but sorry i cant stand hypocrisy and cant help it have to point it out, I kept it brief, no?

you cant get all bent out of shape if one of your posts is (you feel) taken wrongly, when you do it to others all the time!

Posted by caps321 10/31/2010 at 02:50 PM

If Caroline wants to improve her game rather than losing against the best players.. She needs to give her dad the boot and get a new coach.

Translation: Her forehand is erratic at best with any kind of pace on it.

And if he hasn't fixed it by now what makes ya think he ever will?

Posted by Samantha Elin, Caro 2010 YE #1 10/31/2010 at 02:52 PM

Hi guys, I was out at a Halloween party so I missed the entire match. Good fight by Caro from what I read. In reading over some of the post, LOL on people who want to compare Serena to Kim. Serena 13GS, Kim 3. H2H 7-2 Serena, they're not in the same league, period. No bad feeling here, Caro had an outstanding year. Won more titles than any other player.

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President.Yes Indeed I am A One Woman Show 10/31/2010 at 02:52 PM

Tim

Hmmm I am not a lover of Starbucks ok though seeing it is your choice

I will pass one over ok

Hey remember I am half Italian we love our coffee strong and black lol!

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