The top players’ jinx Wednesday started when second seed Victoria Azarenka gave Flavia Pennetta a walkover into the third round, succumbing to the knee injury sustained in her opening match, but the upset day was just beginning. What followed was the fall, often literal, of numerous big WTA names, including third seed Maria Sharapova. This is the first time that two of the top three women’s seeds have been knocked out before the end of the second round.As if I knew, yesterday I featured a childhood photo of Eugenie Bouchard, alongside Laura Robson who took out tenth seed Maria Kirilenko in round one, and the Canadian No.1 followed in the footsteps of her best friend and upset seed No.12 Ana Ivanovic 6-3 6-3 in the second round. Bouchard was playing her first Wimbledon main draw, while she was a junior champion last year.
The biggest shock of the day was Maria Sharapova‘s loss to fellow Bollettieri graduate Michelle Larcher De Brito which included three falls on the grass by the Russian and she had never before fallen that many times in a match. The Portuguese 19-year-old found the opportunity in Sharapova’s flat display and recorded the big 6-3 6-4 victory. Sharapova hadn’t lost to a player outside Top 20 in 59 matches. The highest remaining seed in the bottom half of the draw is now erratic Petra Kvitova, who advanced to the third round when her opponent Yaroslava Shvedova pulled out with an arm injury.
Ninth seed Caroline Wozniacki also slipped on the grass, injured her foot and went out to Petra Cetkovska, 6-2 6-2. The Czech may be ranked low, No.195, but her Wimbledon history includes a fourth-round appearance in 2011, en route to which she upset Agnieszka Radwanska and Ana Ivanovic.
Another interesting outcome is the one between Jelena Jankovic and Vesna Dolonc, an all-Serbian encounter between world No.14 and world No.97, which ended in the triumph of the lower ranked Dolonc, 7-5 6-2. Last year Dolonc switched from representing Russia to representing Serbia, when she acquired Serbian citizenship.
My my goodness – the bottom half of the draw has been decimated and is wide open now. Possibly the strangest Wimbledon is living memory? Just hoping Bartoli doesn’t get to the final!
This Wimbledon is just such a disappointment! Woz, JJ, Ana, Vika, Maria, Tsonga, Hewitt and Fed out today. This is a joke, i can’t believe! And what about the grass? The amount of the injuries… just completely unrealistic! I’m so upset right now, it is the worst GS that i’ve ever seen.
livi, darling, don’t get too ‘upset’, don’t do anything to become, eh, ‘livid’… And if it all gets just too hard to bear, there are those colourful little pills (and/or, to cite your own line, “what about the grass?”)… You know: “Whatever gets you through the (dark) night (of the soul)” – or,to quote another silly song from my youth: “Hang on, livi, livi, hang on!” For, if you don’t, you may miss the “worstest” GS you’ve ever seen – and that would be the uttermost pity!
P.S. This is no joke, believe me.
This is hell. I don’t like it one bit. I also don’t like that my beloved Jelena Jankovic wore long leggings disallowing proper scrutiny of her perfect thighs. It seems like nothing went right. I just don’t feel good about this result.
That aside, let’s begin.
First of all, it needs to be said that Pam Shriver did (and is doing) an excellent job of commentary this Wimbledon. In the past, I’ve lambasted her because she would make airy remarks about Jelena Jankovic. Things that were nonsensical. In the past week, I’ve watched Pam with Chris Evert make time on the TV that was compelling and very informative. For that, I thank her.
During another broadcast, I heard Jim Courier speaking to Mary Cute Carrillo (yes, that her name because that’s what she is). Jim was commenting about Kamiko Date’s move into the third round at the age of 43. Jim asked this:
“[If a 43 year old can advance this far in the women’s draw] what does that tell you about women’s tennis?”
Mary was visibly forcing herself not to answer. The other commentator (a great one who’s name escapes me) was silent. Somewhere in the room, a white elephant took a giant dump. Jim goaded the mute co-anchors.
“Anyone want to jump on that grenade?”
And if I were in that studio, I’d be motioning as if I were pulling the pin on a grenade, then chewing on it as if it were a peach.
First, let’s talk about statistics. The statistics of distributions. In any given population, for example, “the population of IQ scores for tennis announcers,” or “the age of tennis grand slam event players that reach the third round” there is a distribution reflecting the range and number of instances, or value of, in these cases, IQs and ages. The fact that one player is 43 and reaches the third round out of hundreds of teenagers and twenty-somethings in the current and past Wimbledon events is what is called an “outlier.” Like a BMW automobile that reaches 20 service visits without something costing over $1000. It’s rare. It’s not reflective of the normal circumstance. It can not be used to draw conclusions about the total population. In Kamiko’s case, it says much more about her unusual ability and physical health — not about woman’s tennis.
Jim. The unsaid conclusion that I think you implied is that women’s tennis or women players are not as capable of high quality as the men.
Actually, a similar argument is extant that states the converse. The men who take up tennis early on used to be described as the ones who were not big, fast and strong enough to do well in basketball, football and the other Budweiser sports. I don’t believe it, but there is contradictory evidence to your unsaid assertion — the perception that if the Michael Jordans, Jerry Rice’s and Labron James’ had taken up tennis today you’d be recognizable only because your name appears on BMW oil filter change receipts.
To the contrary, the statistical data shows that tennis IS the #1 woman’s sport and one look at Sam or JJ’s bodies will tell you that women’s tennis is getting more than its fair share of physical marvels — with all of the speed, stamina and strength the Y chromosome was intended to supply in today’s milieu.
Got it? Arguably, to some, not me, men’s tennis = the NBA/NFL Couldn’t-bes. Women’s tennis = Aw Yeah. And I DO associate myself with those who say “aw yeah.” Google Jelena Jankovic. Select “images.” Make sure you’re not wearing restrictive clothing when you do.
Seriously, what else does it say?
That the way that women’s tennis is played is healthier and more sustainable. What is it that is laudable about a sport that can not be played seriously by someone beyond the age of 40?
James Scott Conners. US Open. Pat McEnroe. Enter those words into your browser and after you are then smitten with the irony of your statement about players over 40 in grand slams tell your network to broadcast Jelena The Body Jankovic’s doubles matches.
Aw yeah. That’s the pill.