Saturday, January 10, 2015

The season's first stars

Maria Sharapova, Venus Williams, Simona Halep--and Aga Radwanska. The first three won Brisbane, Auckland and Shenzhen, respectively, and A-Rad was half of the Polish team that won the 2015 Hopman Cup. Does any of it mean anything? Yes--and no. Yes, if we're talking about points and ranking (except for Hopman Cup play). But no, if are expecting it to translate to a win in Melbourne.

On the other hand, meaning can be found. Sharapova was just great in Brisbane, often looking like the 'Pova of old, and turning herself into a true Australian Open contender. That, in my opinion, would be the biggest news.

And what of the runners-up? Sharapova had to go three sets to beat Ana Ivanovic in the final, which means that Ivanovic has begun this season with the momentum she established in 2014. The same, kind of, can be said about Caroline Wozniacki. The final between her and Williams wasn't that pretty, and Wozniacki's 2014 momentum looked a bit shaky. Still, a final is a final, and Woz reached one.

As for Halep, she had to play Timea Bacsinszky, instead of her expected opponent, Petra Kvitova. Halep beat Bacsinszky in straight sets, but it was very impressive for the talented Bacsinszkty to get to be one of the last two women standing in Shenzhen.

Which brings me to Hopman Cup--and Serena Williams. Williams, who--with partner John Isner (a replacement for the injured Jack Sock)--reached the final, appeared to be kind of just fooling around in Perth. She ordered an espresso to neutralize a bagel set from Flavia Pennetta, and was beaten soundly by Genie Bouchard. In the final, she  lost to Radwanska, who is generally deer-in-the-headlights against her.

Again, what does it mean? I think it means either (a) something not good is going on with Serena, or (b) Serena is resting and pacing herself to mow down the field in Melbourne.

But it could mean something else, I guess, given that this is "the crazy women's tennis tour."


Todd.Spiker said...

Hmmm, another little Week 1 footnote that is a little bit crazy and, oh, a whole lot Cornet: she went 1-3 in Hopman singles last year and France won the title, she went 3-0 this year and the team didn't get out of group play.

Diane said...

I felt bad for her, too. She played her heart out, in her own "let me make this as complicated as possible" way, and yet France had so little to show for it. Good for her confidence, though, I would think. I'm so glad she's "back"--next to you-know-who, Cornet is my favorite slice of drama on the tour.