Friday, August 12, 2016

Wild card Serena to defend title(s) in Cincinnati

Two-time defending champion Serena Williams has accepted a wild card into the main draw of the Western & Southern Open, and will face either Christina McHale or--of all people--Elina Svitolina in the second round. Williams is also the top seed. The top qualifying seed is Misaki Doi, replacing Laura Siegemund.

Jelena Jankovic had to withdraw from Cincinnati because of a shoulder injury.

The other wild cards are McHale and Louisa Chirico. Cirico's first round opponent is Monica Puig, who will play in the Olympic gold medal match tomorrow against Angelique Kerber.

If Williams, who has been dealing with a shoulder injury, reaches the quarterfinals in Cincinnati, she will keep her number 1 ranking. If she loses before the quarterfinals and Kerber wins the tournament, Kerber will be the new world number 1.

Should McHale lose her opening match, that would leave Svitolina--the player who took Williams out of the Olympics--to face the world number 1 again, which would be an interesting twist. Should Williams win her second round match, she could then play Karolina Pliskova. Or Jelena Ostapenko. Or maybe even Anna Karolina Schmiedlova, who came back to life at the Olympic Games.  Coming up next would be Timea Bacsinszky, Svetlana Kuznetsova, Lesia Tsurenko, or a qualifier.

"A qualifier" really means something here, too. The qualifying draw contains the likes of Eugenie Bouchard, the increasingly dangerous Timea Babos,  Daria Gavrilova, Alize Cornet, Kirsten Flipkens, Monica Niculescu, and Camila Giorgi. That's quite a tournament in itself.


Todd.Spiker said...

I'm wondering what the case would have been had Rio included ranking points as in previous years. It's possible removing that for the Olympics this time around could ultimately prevent Kerber from reaching #1. She might get there anyway, but her medal run is a whole heap of potential points that she won't be getting.

Looking at the U.S. Open Series standings, it looks like that stupid if-you-play-three-events-you-triple-your-race-points rule will determine the winner yet again (really, it should have at least been removed from the equation in an Olympic year, with players a bit "occupied" in the middle of the summer). Currently, Halep leads Konta 100-95, but with Konta in the Cincy draw (unless Halep plays New Haven via a WC, which would be hard to envision) she's really the only player of significance at this point who'll play in three events leading into the final week before the U.S. Open.

So, unless Konta loses early, even if Halep wins the title (she'd go to 200 pts, but wouldn't double since it's only her second USOS event), going undefeated in the Series while winning two Premier 5 events vs. Konta's one lower-level Premier win in Stanford, Konta would win due to her points being doubled (190 or so without doing anything, as long as she plays one Cincinnati match).

Of course, it's a little better than the joke standings of '15, when Pliskova won while actually winning nothing, just because she played in more tournaments than any of the actual singles champions in the Series. But still...

Diane said...

The point "rules" for the USO Series are ridiculous, and the pkayers are ridiculous for putting up with this nonsense. Taking away Olympic points was, imo, also a bad move. Nothing to see here, move on....