After reading a blog post about the lack of star power in the latter part of tournaments in both Charleston and Rome (not necessarily my opinion), I thought it would be interesting to look at last year's Rome quarterfinalists:
Tsvetana Pironkova--Flavia Pennetta took her out in the first round this year. She was not considered a star in 2008, nor is she now.
Anna Chakvetadze--She lost to Venus Williams in the third round today. A former star, she was considered a disaster last year. She now has a rather low profile.
Alize Cornet--A rising star last year, Cornet is now considered somewhat of a mess. She had a stomach virus this year and went out in the second round.
Serena Williams--A big star then and now, Williams lost to Patty Schnyder last night in the second round.
Venus Williams--Always a big star, Williams is through to the quarterfinals, after getting past Anna Chakvetadze today.
Jelena Jankovic--A big star last year and this year, the defending champion is easily through to the quarterfinals, thanks to Kateryna Bondarenko's viral illness.
Patty Schnyder--A star in her own right, if not a "star," Schnyder lost in the third round this year, after defeating Serena Williams.
Maria Sharapova--Maria and her shoulder are not in Rome this year.
This year's quarterfinalists:
Dinara Safina--She's the world number 1.
Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez--The Spaniar is a surprise (a good one) quarterfinalist in Rome.
Venus Williams--She beat Chakvetadze in a really strange match.
Agnieszka Radwanska--Radwanska is a low-key, very talented player, who took out mega-star Ana Ivanovic in the third round.
Svetlana Kuznetsova-Kuzzy is a star by any standard, and especially on clay.
Jelena Jankovic--Say no more.
Victoria Azarenka--Azarenka won Miami, which gives her star status.
Kai Kanepi--Kanepi is one of my very favorite under-the-radar players--certainly not a star.
So last year, there were four and a half (Cornet) stars, and this year there are five. Fact and perception do not always go well together.