Sunday, October 5, 2014

Who is next?

If you had to answer the question, "Who will be the next player to win her first major?" you'd probably say Genie Bouchard--and you would likely be correct in your prediction. In 2014, Bouchard pulled herself away from any perceived pack of peers, reaching the semifinals of both the Australian Open and the French Open, and the final of Wimbledon. She also won her first WTA title, in Nurnberg, and reached the final in Wuhan.

Bouchard injured her knee at the French Open and has continued to have some problems with it. Her last quarter has not been as stellar as the rest of her year, but she has a chance--at the WTA Finals--to make a strong comeback. The sports marketing machine has already anointed Bouchard, which undoubtedly makes her progress more complicated.

However, a strong argument can also be made for Simona Halep, who is a threat on all surfaces, and who played an outstanding final against Maria Sharapova at this year's French Open. Halep, however, has to find a way to end her chronic injury problem so that her momentum will not be constantly interrupted.

So here are two questions:

Genie Bouchard (photo by Daniel Ward)
1. If Bouchard does become the next woman to claim a major title, which title will it be? (Logic dictates that the French Open would be the most likely event for Halep to win, though arguments against that theory are welcome.)

2. Could another player beat the Canadian or the Romanian to the trophy? Who? "Sentimental" favorites like Jelena Jankovic, Caroline Wozniacki and Sara Errani cannot be ruled out. And then there's that group of young players of whom the standouts at this time are Belinda Bencic, Garbine Muguruza, Elina Svitolina, and Karolina Pliskova. A year ago, Sloane Stephens was on the list, and it's possible that she could put herself back on it.

Who else could surprise us and lift a big trophy in the near future?


Anonymous said...

I'd place a bet on Carla Suarez Navarro. I think she's going to break through in the next couple of years. Maybe snag a Roland Garros or two.

Diane said...

We used to say that if she could get past her choking habit, there would be no telling what she could do. She's come a long way in the nerves department, so thanks for throwing her name in! Glad for her, too--she always had the game.

Todd.Spiker said... mention of our favorite Pole? ;)

Wild card possibility: Peng, maybe filling the Li void in Melbourne.

Diane said...

You know, I toyed with the idea of including you-know-who in there. But she's not exactly a sentimental favorite, and she's not making a big comeback like Woz or AnaIvo. If she can get her act together again, though, she probably does belong there.

My wild card pick would be Makarova.

bill said...

If Petko is healthy and has a few good tournaments, I can see her shocking the world.

Eric said...

I think if Jamie Hampton could hire Li Na's newly released physio, she could make some waves as well.

Anonymous said...

Indeed Makarova can beat anyone, I dread seeing her name in the draw versus some of my favorites.

Diane said...

If Makarova could believe in herself (this has to be a belief problem) enough to go "one more match," I think she could do something really big.

Jamie Hampton is very talented. She says that her condition flares without warning, but I, also, wonder whether she could get a new kind of help. It's impressive that she plays at all.

Ah, Petko. Wouldn't that be fun?! Her injuries did cause her to improve her game, and I'm eager to see what happens in 2015.

Eric said...

I actually think Jamie and Venus would make a good doubles team, if they both decided to switch concentrations...

sunny nine said...

Well I have nothing much to say. I mean there is a woman here who has won a couple titles, there is a woman here who has made a good run. there are women who have made good runs at majors. there are too many women coming up. each making a mark. the depth of field allows for that many. so you have this person knocking out 2 seeds and another doing the same and yet they get no where. I am charting the rankings to see who is slowly going up and staying up (maybe they go down a few spaces but...) some of the new faces make a run, win a title then the next you know they are way down in the rankings again. well i am watching but it is too complicated.