Friday, September 9, 2016

Angie, Karolina and that uninvited guest, Pressure

Billie Jean King is famous for saying "Pressure is a privilege," a remark I've never truly understood. I think pressure is a pain in the ass. At this point  Angie Kerber may be inclined to agree with me. Which is worse: having to beat Serena Williams in a final in order to become number 1 in the world, or becoming number 1 and then having to win the U.S. Open in order to "validate" your ranking?

I like to think that Kerber doesn't care, but she might. Standing in the new world number 1's way is Karolina Pliskova, who--during the last few weeks--has finally made good on the massive potential she's displayed for a long time.

Pliskova has the serve, Kerber has the speed and movement. Both have tremendous return games. The final is almost guaranteed to be good. Kerber has the advantage of having been there before; she won the Australian Open and was the runner-up at Wimbledon. Pliskova has the advantage of not being judged regarding her "worthiness."

Paths to the final:

round 1--def. Sofia Kenin (wc)
round 2--def. Montserrat Gonzalez (q)
round 3--def. Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (17)
round of 16--def. Venus Williams (6)
quarterfinals--def. Ana Konjuh
semifinals--def. Serena Williams (1)

round 1--def. Polona Hercog
round 2--def. Mirjana Lucic-Baroni
round 3--def. CiCi Bellis (q)
round of 16--def. Petra Kvitova (14)
quarterfinals--def. Roberta Vinci (7)
semifinals--def. Caroline Wozniacki

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