Friday, October 28, 2011

The drama of Istanbul

I prefer WTA drama when it takes place on a tennis court, such as we saw when Vera Zvonareva played Agnieszka Radwanska this week in Istanbul. However, there's plenty of drama to be found off the court these days, too:

The "t" word is being used a lot to describe Victoria Azarenka's loss to Marion Bartoli today. Given Azarenka's physical fragility, given the fact that Azarenka was already a lock for the semifinals, and given the fact that this match was scheduled as the last of the night--was it really a surprise that Azarenka perhaps didn't put forth her best effort? I'm not making an argument for or against the Belrusian player; I'm just saying that I wasn't surprised by the outcome (and credit to Bartoli, please). I would like to know, however, why this particular match was scheduled the way it was.

Caroline Wozniacki, the second biggest actual grunter on the tour (perhaps we can all agree that Schiavone is the biggest actual grunter), suggested this week that some players may "grunt" (that is to say, scream, etc.) on purpose to throw their opponents off track. A loud "Oompa!" apparently is not a distraction. Is Wozniacki that sure that her own sounds are "not on purpose" and other players' sounds are? And why has she so suddenly decided to take a stand on this (in my opinion, sexist and irrelevant) issue? 

Perspective is everything, isn't it?

Is this Hurl Vika Under the Bus Week and no one bothered to tell me?

An off-court feature I've enjoyed is Renee Stubbs' reporting on the pleasures of Istanbul. I laughed out loud when she called herself "Reasonable Renee" as a retort to rug salesman Reasonable Charlie. Stubbs' features, in fact, have been the bright spots for me in Tennis Channel's coverage of the Championships. 

I've also found myself looking forward to Petra Kvitova's post-match interviews. She likes indoor courts because she doesn't have to deal with "the windy and the sunny." 

And I've really enjoyed the blog written by Vania King and Yaroslava Shvedova. 

There's undoubtedly more drama to come--here's hoping that it takes place during the matches. The doubles semifinals will be played tomorrow, as well as the singles. Both the Wimbledon and the U.S. Open champions are still in the mix, as well as the unpredictable Vera Zvonareva and the ever-climbing Victoria Azarenka. I like the fact that we have four distinct personalities (all of which I like) remaining, and that's enough drama for me.

Gisela Dulko and Flavia Pennetta, by the way, are the defending champions in doubles, though it should be noted that both of them have been dealing with injuries for several weeks. They play U.S. Open champions Liezel Huber and Lisa Raymond tomorrow. Two-time major winners Vania King and Yaroslava Shvedova play the world number 1 team of Kveta Peschke and Katarina Srebotnik. 

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