Flipper and PB
Singles – First Round (Late Wednesday): Madison Keys def. (WC) Anett Kontaveit 6-3 6-2
Whenever poor Anett Kontaveit gets a WTA chance, she seems to end up tossed into a very tough situation and losing badly. You really wonder how much mental scarring she is suffering. The win will likely let Madison Keys stay Top Forty.
Singles – Second Round: (1) Serena Williams def. Yaroslava Shvedova 7-6(9-7) 6-2
Yaroslava Shvedova should probably have won the first set. But once Serena Williams won it, it was lights out. Serena of course stays #1; Shvedova will be in the #55 range.
Singles – Second Round: (4) Maria Sharapova def. Kurumi Nara 6-3 6-4
Maria Sharapova suffered an early break in the second set, but she steadied down, broke back, and finally won. But Sharapova, who is defending finalist points, is still a mere #10 in safe points. Kurumi Nara will probably be just above #45.
One thing that should probably set both players to thinking: Both Sharapova and Nara had better success on second serves than first!
Singles – Second Round: (5) Angelique Kerber def. Peng Shuai 6-3 1-6 7-6(7-5)
Mark down Peng Shuai as another victim of point table change: She matched her result from last year, but that result is worth 15 fewer points this year, and so she will fall at least two ranking spots.
Singles – Second Round: (8) Petra Kvitova def. Paula Ormaechea 6-3 6-4
This wasn’t really a very good-looking win for Petra Kvitova; she won only 34% of points on second serve, and was broken three times. But it helps her odds of rising to at least #7.
Singles – Second Round: (9) Sara Errani def. (Q) Patricia Mayr-Achleitner 6-1 6-4
Sara Errani hasn’t been doing too well lately, but it helps to face an opponent as clay-specialized as she is! This is a slight but genuine boost to Errani’s chances of staying Top Ten.
Singles – Second Round: (12) Ana Ivanovic def. Lauren Davis 6-1 6-1
Lauren Davis was defending 80 points, so she will fall below #60. It still looks as if she will be ranked ahead of where she was prior to Indian Wells, though.
Singles – Second Round:(14) Sabine Lisicki def. (WC) Nadia Petrova 3-6 6-4 6-4
This is the best Nadia Petrova has looked in a long time, but unfortunately for her, she was defending third round points. So she will fall from #205 to around #235. Sabine Lisicki, who wasn’t defending anything, has yet to move above her current #15, but her grip on the #15 ranking is getting stronger.
Singles – Second Round: (16) Samantha Stosur def. (Q) Kiki Bertens 6-3 6-2
Everything Samantha Stosur does here adds to her total, so this makes it quite likely that she will retain the Top Twenty ranking she came in with.
Singles – Second Round: (19) Kirsten Flipkens def. (Q) Virginie Razzano 6-1 3-6 6-3
An important victory for Kirsten Flipkens, who was defending quarterfinalist points. Even with the win, she is far from clinching her Top 25 spot.
Singles – Second Round: (20) Flavia Pennetta def. (Q) Olga Govortsova 6-3 6-3
Flavia Pennetta extends her winning streak to seven and keeps her Top Ten hopes alive, although for the moment she is still at #12.
Singles – Second Round: (Q) Coco Vandeweghe def. (21) Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 7-6(9-7) 7-5
Clearly Coco Vandeweghe wants to be back in the Top Hundred — and she’s going to make it. It looks as if she’ll be close to #90. She leaves Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova still below the Top Twenty.
Singles – Second Round: (23) Ekaterina Makarova def. (WC) Rebecca Peterson 6-1 6-1
Ekaterina Makarova was another who wasn’t defending anything. This just about assures that she will stay Top 25.
Singles – Second Round: Tsvetana Pironkova def. (25) Sorana Cirstea 6-3 6-3
Sorana Cirstea made the fourth round last year, so she will fall at least somewhat. Fortunately for her most of the players around her are also out, so she ought to stay Top Thirty.
Singles – Second Round: (26) Lucie Safarova def. Vania King 6-3 7-6(7-2)
Vania King ends up around #70. Lucie Safarova might hit the Top 25 if she wins her next match.
Singles – Second Round: Caroline Garcia def. (27) Klara Zakopalova 7-6(7-3) 7-6(7-3)
If there is any crumb of comfort for Klara Zakopalova here, it’s that she won’t have to face Serena Williams next. But it’s small comfort indeed, because she was defending 140 points and will fall out of the Top Thirty. Caroline Garcia is around #70.
Singles – Second Round: (Q) Donna Vekic def. (28) Svetlana Kuznetsova 7-6(7-5) 7-5
Svetlana Kuznetsova continues to struggle this year. This might cost her her Top Thirty ranking.
Doubles – First Round: (5) Black/Mirza def. H Chan/Y Chan 6-3 6-7(6-8) 10-8
No points that matter yet for either Cara Black or Sania Mirza, but Mirza’s Top Ten spot looks secure and Black also seems fairly likely to stay there. We currently show the Top Ten as follows:
1..(1) PENG ……………9105*
2..(2) HSIEH …………. 8985*
3..(3) ERRANI ………….7045*
3..(3) VINCI …………. 7045*
5..(6) VESNINA ……….. 6705*
6..(7) MAKAROVA ………..6495*
7..(5) SREBOTNIK ……… 6265*
8..(8) MIRZA …………. 5655*
9..(9) PESCHKE ……….. 5365*
10.(10) BLACK …………. 5250*
Doubles – First Round: Kudryavtseva/Rodionova def. (7) Barty/Dellacqua 7-6(7-2) 3-6 10-8
A tough first round for Barty/Dellacqua; Kudryavtseva/Rodionova are having a very good year. The loss ends any hopes the Australians had of reaching the Top Fifteen.
Doubles – First Round: Kalashnikova/Kleybanova def. Chuang/Scheepers 6-3 1-6 11-9
Doubles – First Round: Goerges/Groenefeld def. Hradecka/Krajicek 2-6 6-3 11-9
This was the day of long doubles matches — all were settled by match tiebreaks that went at least to 10-8! The loss means no return to the Top Ten for Lucie Hradecka.
****** TODAY’S FEATURE ******
The Fifth Slam?
It comes up every year around this time. Is Miami the “fifth Slam”? That is, is this — long the largest tournament after the Slams — in the same league as the “Big Four”?
Many people give dogmatic responses. In fact, the matter is complicated, especially on the WTA side, because Miami’s status has changed. Until a few years ago, it was “just another Tier I.” Then it became the only mandatory non-Slam, giving it a special elevated status. But as of 2009, there are three other mandatory events, so it in fact has lost some importance compared to other events. So we’ll try for something a little more nuanced: Our answer is “It is and it isn’t.”
In some ways, Miami has actually become more like the Slams in the past decade or so: On the women’s side, it is now required, just as they are Slams. Again, the Slams now have 32 seeds, as Miami has had for years. Miami now starts on Tuesday, making it 13 days long — only one day shorter than some of the Slams.
On the other hand, the Slams are all currently 128 draws, and Miami is 96. (We should note, of course, that the Slams have used other formats in the past.) The men’s matches at Miami are best of three, not best of five. The Slams offer mixed doubles; Miami no longer does, though it did in the past. And, since 2004, Indian Wells follows the same format (96-draws for both men and women) that Miami has used for years. So there is still a “format difference” between the Slams and Miami, and the format at Miami no longer sets it apart from all other regular Tour events.
In addition, Indian Wells now has the larger purse. It also has better grounds, although some players don’t like the surface much.
Until recently, there hadn’t been much difference between the Miami and Slam fields. For the men, Miami is often stronger than Wimbledon; clay-courters often find an excuse to skip the grass season, but they don’t skip spring hardcourts. On the women’s side, until 2004, Miami was stronger than the Australian Open; a lot of top women skipped Melbourne (in 2002 and 2003, it was Jelena Dokic, and Amelie Mauresmo was also out in the latter year; before that, it was the serve-and-volleyers, Jana Novotna and Nathalie Tauziat). Even as recently as 2007, Justine Henin skipped the Australian Open (admittedly for personal reasons) but played Miami.
In 2004, with Henin not playing and Kim Clijsters injured, Miami lost a bit on the women’s side. Lindsay Davenport backed out in 2005, based on a superstitious history of injuries (even though her track record says she could have avoided the injuries just as easily by skipping Indian Wells). Victoria Azarenka pulled out in 2013, and she’s missing this year, too. On the other hand, Miami is almost the only non-Slam where both Williams Sisters play when they’re healthy.
But there is another measure of how strong Miami is: The players who have won it. Let’s take a look. We’ll cut off the list at 1987. Prior to that, there was a large “Lipton Championships,” but it wasn’t at the current site.
2013: Andy Murray
2012: Novak Djokovic
2011: Novak Djokovic
2010: Andy Roddick
2009: Andy Murray
2008: Nikolay Davydenko
2007: Novak Djokovic
2006: Roger Federer
2005: Roger Federer
2004: Andy Roddick
2003: Andre Agassi
2002: Andre Agassi
2001: Andre Agassi
2000: Pete Sampras
1999: Richard Krajicek
1998: Marcelo Rios
1997: Thomas Muster
1996: Andre Agassi
1995: Andre Agassi
1994: Pete Sampras
1993: Pete Sampras
1992: Michael Chang
1991: Jim Courier
1990: Andre Agassi
1989: Ivan Lendl
1988: Mats Wilander
1987: Miroslav Mecir
2013: Serena Williams
2012: Agnieszka Radwanska
2011: Victoria Azarenka
2010: Kim Clijsters
2009: Victoria Azarenka
2008: Serena Williams
2007: Serena Williams
2006: Svetlana Kuznetsova
2005: Kim Clijsters
2004: Serena Williams
2003: Serena Williams
2002: Serena Williams
2001: Venus Williams
2000: Martina Hingis
1999: Venus Williams
1998: Venus Williams
1997: Martina Hingis
1996: Steffi Graf
1995: Steffi Graf
1994: Steffi Graf
1993: Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario
1992: Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario
1991: Monica Seles
1990: Monica Seles
1989: Gabriela Sabatini
1988: Steffi Graf
1987: Steffi Graf
Until 2012, the picture for the women was pretty clear: Every player who has won Miami in its time in Key Biscayne has been a Slam winner (though some had not yet won a Slam at the time of their victory), and all but Gabriela Sabatini won multiple Slams, and all but Sabatini and Svetlana Kuznetsova spent time as the world’s #1. This extends before 1987, we might add; before that, Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova took home titles in Florida. This isn’t true for the other Tier I (Premier Mandatory/Premier Five) events, as the following list shows:
Indian Wells: Caroline Wozniacki took home the trophy in 2011, Jelena Jankovic won it in 2010, Vera Zvonareva won in 2009 (the first-ever Premier/Tier I Mandatory other than Miami itself), and Daniela Hantuchova won it in 2002 and 2007 before it became required.
Madrid: It has been played as a Premier event only four times, but Dinara Safina won it in 2009 and Aravane Rezai in 2010.
Beijing is also new to top-tier status, but Wozniacki won it in 2010, and Agnieszka Radwanska in 2011 — plus Jelena Jankovic won it in 2008 when it was a Tier II that knew it would be upgraded to a Premier Mandatory.
Doha was won this year by Simona Halep. The other winners in its four years as a Premier Five were Victoria Azarenka (twice) and Maria Sharapova (in 2008, in an earlier spell as a top-tier event)…But Vera Zvonareva, e.g., won it in 2011 when the tier was lower.
Dubai, a one-time Premier Five in 2011 (now back to a lower tier), was won by Caroline Wozniacki in that year.
Rome: Jelena Dokic won Rome in 2001 and Jankovic took the title in 2007 and 2008; Safina won in 2009; Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez won it in 2010.
Canadian Open: Pam Shriver won the Canadian Open in 1987, Safina claimed the title in 2008, Elena Dementieva in 2009, and Wozniacki in 2010.
Cincinnati is only five years old as a Premier Five, but already it has a non-Slam winner: Jankovic took home the title in 2009.
Pan Pacific: Kimiko Date won in 1995, Dementieva in 2006, Safina in 2008, Wozniacki in 2010, Radwanska in 2011, and Nadia Petrova in 2012.
Berlin (since downgraded, and then dropped from the calendar): Mary Joe Fernandez won in 1997, Nadia Petrova won there in 2006, and Safina in 2008
Charleston (since downgraded): Petrova won Charleston in 2006, Jankovic won it in 2007, and Amanda Coetzer won it at its old Hilton Head site in 1998.
Moscow (since downgraded): Nathalie Tauziat won Moscow in 1999, Dokic won it in 2001, Magdalena Maleeva took home the title in 2002, Anna Chakvetadze in 2006, Dementieva in 2007, and Jankovic in 2008 in its last year as a Tier I (making it evidently the easiest High Premier for a lesser player to win).
San Diego (eliminated; now re-established at a lower tier): This event had Slam winners every year for its final ten years, but back in its Tier II days, Kimiko Date won it in 1996.
Zurich (downgraded, then eliminated): Magdalena Maleeva won it in 1994 and Alicia Molik in 2004.
It’s a pretty clear picture: Every Premier Mandatory/Premier Five that has been in existence for at least four years has produced at least one winner who never won a Slam.
Until 2009, when Victoria Azarenka won the title, Miami was the only exception. Is it coincidence that Miami had its first non-Slam champion in the same year that three other events became mandatory, and five others became near-mandatory? Well, yes, it probably is partly coincidence, since Azarenka now has Slams to her name. But it’s certainly interesting. And, in 2012, Agnieszka Radwanska again made Miami an event won by a no-Slams-ever player. And, frankly, not many people seem to expect her to change that situation. At least not as long as she plays her current absurd schedule.
The men were never as clear-cut; 1998 Miami champion Marcelo Rios never won a Slam, but he was #1; 1987 winner Mecir never won a Slam, but had assorted finals and would have been a genuine candidate except for his back problems — and, in any case, that was more than twenty years ago. It was 2008 which gave us our real oddball winner: Nikolay Davydenko has never been #1, and is highly unlikely to gain that ranking; he has never won a Slam, and although he was considered a serious contender a few years ago, his body seems to be breaking down on him. Then, in 2009, Andy Murray won Miami, and he had never won a Slam either — but, of course, he has now cured that. Every other Miami winner has won Slams; most of them have multiple Slams. Even with those exceptions, Miami has the strongest list of winners of any of the Masters. We’d have to say: If you’re good enough to win Miami, you’re probably good enough to win Slams.
So we’d have to say that, at least these days, Miami is not really the Fifth Slam. Although, historically, it has had fields at least as strong as the Slams, under the rules it is simply another tournament for the men — “just” another Masters. In terms of points, it is exactly identical to the other eight Masters on the men’s side. It’s one of four Premier Mandatory events on the women’s side. In the past, you could almost as well call San Diego or Filderstadt/Stuttgart the Fifth Slam. And from now on, we’ll have to see how the other Premier Mandatory events do in terms of champions. As for the men, with injuries being what they are, it’s hard to get any required event up to full strength — but Miami 2013 missed two of the top four….
************ STATS AND FACTS ************
Estimated WTA Rankings As of March 20, 2014
Rank …Name …………. Points
1..(1) SWILLIAMS ……… 11670*
2..(2) LI ……………..6945*
3..(3) ARADWANSKA ………5775*
4..(4) Azarenka ………..5441
5..(5) HALEP …………. 4705*
6..(8) KVITOVA ……….. 4220*
7..(6) JANKOVIC ………..4150*
8..(9) KERBER ………….4035*
9.(10) ERRANI ………….3645*
10..(7) SHARAPOVA ……… 3636*
11.(11) CIBULKOVA ……… 3340*
12.(12) PENNETTA ………..3270*
13.(13) IVANOVIC ………..3065*
14.(15) LISICKI ……….. 2720*
15.(14) VINCI …………. 2685*
16.(17) SUAREZ NAVARRO …..2550*
17.(18) WOZNIACKI ……… 2535*
18.(16) STEPHENS ………..2495*
19.(20) STOSUR ………….2485*
20.(19) BOUCHARD ………..2445*
21.(21) PAVLYUCHENKOVA …..2245
22.(24) MAKAROVA ………..2185*
23.(22) CORNET ………….2100*
24.(25) KANEPI ………….2055*
25.(23) FLIPKENS ………..2030*
26.(27) SAFAROVA ………..1940*
27.(26) CIRSTEA ……….. 1780
28.(29) Kirilenko ……… 1516
29.(30) KUZNETSOVA ………1513
30.(31) VWILLIAMS ……… 1507*
Miami — week of March 17, 2014
1 S Williams………(1)S.Williams
29 V Williams
3 A Radwanska
15 Suarez Navarro
STATUS OF SEEDS:
1 S Williams
3 A Radwanska
15 Suarez Navarro
21 Pavlyuchenkova….lost 2R (Vandeweghe)
25 Cirstea………..lost 2R (Pironkova)
27 Zakopalova……..lost 2R (Garcia)
28 Kuznetsova……..lost 2R (Vekic)
29 V Williams
******** SCORES ********
Singles – Second Round
(1) Serena Williams def. Yaroslava Shvedova 7-6(9-7) 6-2
(4) Maria Sharapova def. Kurumi Nara 6-3 6-4
(5) Angelique Kerber def. Peng Shuai 6-3 1-6 7-6(7-5)
(8) Petra Kvitova def. Paula Ormaechea 6-3 6-4
(9) Sara Errani def. (Q) Patricia Mayr-Achleitner 6-1 6-4
(12) Ana Ivanovic def. Lauren Davis 6-1 6-1
(14) Sabine Lisicki def. (WC) Nadia Petrova 3-6 6-4 6-4
(16) Samantha Stosur def. (Q) Kiki Bertens 6-3 6-2
(19) Kirsten Flipkens def. (Q) Virginie Razzano 6-1 3-6 6-3
(20) Flavia Pennetta def. (Q) Olga Govortsova 6-3 6-3
(Q) Coco Vandeweghe def. (21) Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 7-6(9-7) 7-5
(23) Ekaterina Makarova def. (WC) Rebecca Peterson 6-1 6-1
Tsvetana Pironkova def. (25) Sorana Cirstea 6-3 6-3
(26) Lucie Safarova def. Vania King 6-3 7-6(7-2)
Caroline Garcia def. (27) Klara Zakopalova 7-6(7-3) 7-6(7-3)
(Q) Donna Vekic def. (28) Svetlana Kuznetsova 7-6(7-5) 7-5
Doubles – First Round
(5) Black/Mirza def. H Chan/Y Chan 6-3 6-7(6-8) 10-8
Kudryavtseva/Rodionova def. (7) Barty/Dellacqua 7-6(7-2) 3-6 10-8
Kalashnikova/Kleybanova def. Chuang/Scheepers 6-3 1-6 11-9
Goerges/Groenefeld def. Hradecka/Krajicek 2-6 6-3 11-9