Our hard-working tennis-loving photographer Jimmie48 is back home and I hope that you enjoyed his four-day coverage of the Generali Ladies Linz. Now at the second half of the second-round stage, I’ve taken charge again, and I can say that the few seeded players left in Linz are now even fewer, actually, now that the quarterfinals are set, the only seed left standing is No.7 Karolina Pliskova, who has recently won Seoul.
The biggest loss this Thursday was the withdrawal of top seed Eugenie Bouchard, who left the tournament due to a left leg injury and because she wants to give her body some space ahead of the grand event in Singapore, thus handing Tsvetana Pironkova a free passage into the quarterfinals. Another retirement today was that of Magdalena Rybarikova, who gave up after playing one set against Karin Knapp, the player who had eliminated Sabine Lisicki.
In the matches actually played, world No.94 Anna-Lena Friedsam, a day after disposing of third seed Dominika Cibulkova in a tense three-setter, took out Jana Cepelova 6-0 6-4, the Slovakian player who is ranked more than 40 spots higher than her conqueror, and the Pliskova twin defeated Mona Barthel 6-4 6-2.
Quarterfinal pairs: Tsvetana Pironkova vs. Karin Knapp, Camila Giorgi vs. Marina Erakovic, Stefanie Voegele vs. Anna-Lena Friedsam and Karolina Pliskova vs. Madison Brengle.
Pauline Parmentier (who lost against Ivanovic on first round) tweets:
What the hell are those girls doing @WTALinz? What a shame! Thanks to the appearance fees. Good luck for your masters LADIES #bouchard#ivanovic
Of course, WTA isn’t going to say a word and certainly not offend the stars. Difference between men and women. Even ill, Nadal played Shanghai
Let’s not mention Wozniacki just withdrawing from Moscow. And then everybody will be present for IPT, Necker cup and other big fee shows.
She is definitely right!
It’s an unfortunate situation for the tournament organizers. Tournament director Sandra Reichel is trying very hard to put together a good event and to be let down by their star players (either because poor on-court showings or withdrawals) must be highly frustrating.
The extra effort this tournament makes in all areas is clearly visible, they always attract big name players, get creative with their player parties, attract a decent crowd etc.
There’s few European WTA indoor tournaments left and situations like this one don’t help their case. Ivanovic & Bouchard have been used front & center for promoting the event and now none of them will even play their second-round match. A very unfortunate situation.
Tournament directors are the complete collateral damage in such case.
Ana has a great year and she is capable of outstanding matches – against Sharapova in Cincinnati for instance. But she has always something. Seriously, has she managed to play a full tournament this year without retiring or having medical timeout on court?
I start to be in favor of Sharapova suggestion: invoicing medical time-out. And then medical/retiring fees should be a percentage of annual gains – including sponsorship 😉 Some players will start thinking a little bit more.
I think we also have to understand the players and their perspective. Look, the very Serena Williams owes a portion of her good results to tactics – stretching the rules where she can, playing less, saving her body. If Ivanovic and Bouchard overstress their bodies here, they will be much less ready for Singapore, and they want to increase their chances there. We have to admit that even the audience is tough. At the end of the day, the public remembers and counts only big tournaments (in cases of top players) and had Ivanovic for example won Linz but then because of it lost early in Singapore, she would have been considered unwise, and not to mention the difference in prize money. Therefore, players have to play it smart and, as everywhere in life, there is collateral damange.
Put yourself in their situation.
Ivanovic has repeatedly mentioned since years ago that one of her goal is to be in WTAFinal. Bouchard is in her 1st elite 8.
Now they achieved what only few can have, is it smart to not be fully ready for the sake of small event like Linz? Obviously the have their priorities good.
About the invoicing medical time out, as said by Ivanovic, most players will be happy to pay for their health. Good enough to answer this issue.