Monday, October 31, 2011

A Preview of Coming Attractions?

I am a football fan, and, at this time of the year, my weekends are typically spent with my TV tuned to football games, but I must admit that yesterday afternoon I periodically monitored ESPN's coverage of the WTA finals in Istanbul.

I found it compelling. Wimbledon champ Petra Kvitova defeated Victoria Azarenka to clinch her first WTA title.

The match also decided who would be ranked second in the world behind Caroline Wozniacki — who won no Grand Slams this year and, in fact, lost to Kvitova last week.

Reportedly, Wozniacki was ailing — and things might well have been different if she had been healthy. She lost to Kvitova in straight sets and managed to win only six games — not the kind of performance one would expect from the world's top–ranked player.

Anyway, Wozniacki secured the top spot in the WTA's ranking system when Maria Sharapova had to withdraw with an ankle injury. And then the Kvitova–Azarenka match was guaranteed to result in the #2 ranking for the winner. Azarenka, who was ranked fourth going into the match, moved up one spot to third and Sharapova dropped to fourth.

This brings me to the really compelling part — what will this mean when the first Grand Slam event of 2012, the Australian Open, commences in January?

Wozniacki made it to last year's semifinals in Australia. Kvitova fell in the quarterfinals, and Azarenka didn't make it out of her section. Neither did Sharapova.

I'm not really sure what significance that will have — if any — in Australia.

Kvitova, though, seems to have momentum on her side. She won Wimbledon, as I said before, and she won the WTA championship to wrap up the year. It is reasonable to conclude that she will be a force to reckon with in Melbourne.

I haven't been this intrigued by women's tennis since the Evert–Navratilova days.

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