Monday, October 24, 2011

Are you all ready, are you set?

Its that time of year again, the Year End Championships are here! In a long road to Istanbul which came down to the final week of tour tournaments in a battle for the final spot between Agnieszka Radwanska and Marion Bartoli. Radwanska clinched the final spot when the french woman failed to win the title in Moscow.

As you would probably expect I am going to try, and try being the key word, to do a bit of a preview, prediction analysis of the draw. What better way to start than with the head to heads of the eight competitors.
Petra Kvitova and Maria Sharapova have the most impressive overall percentage, and as it happens are in opposite draws, could be a sign of what will come?

The Red Group

[1] Caroline Wozniacki 
Defending final points from last years edition, Wozniacki has a very tough draw and will have to find her form, somehow, to advance to the semi final stage. Despite favourable head to head records against Kvitova and Radwanska, the Dane has struggled with Zvonareva in the past and lets not forget Radwanska is in the form of her life and Kvitova will be heavily favoured on the fast paced indoor courts of Istanbul, and as seen most famously at Wimbledon 2010, Kvitova can dispatch Wozniacki quite easily on fast courts.
Prediction  - RR. 1-2. Group position - 3rd

[3] Petra Kvitova
It will either be a spectacular performance of a dismal and disappointing one. Its interesting to note that Petra Kvitova is undefeated on indoor hard courts this year, winning Paris and Linz, and well if you can count it Brisbane, simply based on the fact that centre court has a permanent roof in place. The Czech does have a chance to claim the year end number one rank, if she goes 3-0 and wins the title, however to do so I think Wozniacki has to go 0-3, which means the chances are low. I shouldn't expect Kvitova to struggle with Zvonareva or Radwanska but I do think that the match with Wozniacki will be very interesting.
Prediction - advances to SF. 3-0. Group position - 1st

[6] Vera Zvonareva
Well, compared to her late 2010 high level of play, Zvonareva has disappointed throughout the 2011 season despite a strong start. Inconsistencies and lacking mostly mental strength and checking out every now and then doesn't put the Russian in a good position to defend her semi final points from last year.
Prediction - RR. 0-3. Group position - 4th

[8] Agnieszka Radwanska
Well is there any other way to say it? Best form of her life. I can only, in reality, picture Radwanska losing to Kvitova. Though, she has never played too impressively against Wozniacki except the she has never played against in this kind of form, which sets her up for good a chance this time around.
Prediction - advances to SF. 2-1. Group position 2nd

The White Group

[2] Maria Sharapova
The last time Sharapova stepped onto a tennis court, she had to leave due to injury, spraining her ankle trailing Petra Kvitova 3-4 in Tokyo. 2011 is the first year the Russian has been impressive since her return from a career treating shoulder injury, there is still always that question mark over her shoulder and her serve in particular. Like Kvitova, Maria can also claim the year end number one rank by making the final or winning if Wozniacki fails to make the semi final and does some other stuff...I think
Prediction - advances to SF. 2-1. Group position 2nd

[4] Victoria Azarenka
Victoria has had a stand out year, making her first slam semi final, winning Miami (again), and reaching a career high rank of number 3. Azarenka looks to be in a good position to advance to semi final of the YEC's for the first time, and winning Luxembourg just today as a final tune up for some indoor form, and did it well with out the loss of a set.
Prediction - advances to SF. 3-0. Group position 1st

[5] Li Na
Well in the words of the french open champ her self, "Right now I've just lost all confidence. On the court I don't know what I can do. I felt even winning one point was tough for me." It should be more, predict how game games Li Na wins. Not even sets, definitely not matches.
Prediction - RR. 0-3. Group position 4th

[7] Samantha Stosur
I find the grouping for Stosur hilarious. The tennis gods gave her Sharapova and Azarenka who she trails 0-9 and 0-4 respectively in head to head, then they felt bad and gave her Li Na who she lead 5-0. One would expect not much would change in these head to heads.
Prediction - RR. 1-2. Group position 3rd


[3] Petra Kvitova vs [2] Maria Sharapova
I just can't wait. A Wimbledon final replay on well the most similar surface there is. It will be very tough, and in the end I think it will come down to how Maria serves and how tired the shoulder is. It will hopefully live up to expectations and go the distance.
Prediction - Kvitova in 3

[4] Victoria Azarenka vs [8] Agnieszka Radwanska
I would expect to see Azarenka continue her momentum into the final here, although Radwanska could always suprise and continue to shine, and bring the form that saw her win Tokyo and Beijing. The only reason I am going to tip Azarenka to prevail is the fact that indoor courts probably suit her game more that the would Radwanska's
Prediction - Azarenka in 2


[3] Petra Kvitova vs [4] Victoria Azarenka
IndoorGOAT to remain undefeated indoors. By this time she will be all guns blazing. Except don't expect it to be easy, Azarenka will put up some resistance and make Petra earn it.
Prediction Kvitova in 3

Finally, the competitors happy snap has been taken, of course Vika is missing as she was busy winning Luxembourg

Best dressed - Caro, I like the cut and colour. Petra, she looks good. Li Na, impressive. Aggie, looks quite fine, I really like the dress!

The worse - Sam...there are unexplained dangly things on your dress. Maria, going for the yellow banana nun look? Vera, show off your arms! 


Anonymous said...

10-24-11 Rankings

Kvitova, Petra 3 (4)
Azarenka, Victoria 4 (3)
Li, Na 5 (7)
Williams, Serena 12 (14)
Cibulkova, Dominika 17 (20)
Niculescu, Monica 29 (34)
Kanepi, Kaia 34 (43)
Halep, Simona 50 (56)
Vesnina, Elena 56 (64)
Cirstea, Sorana 61 (67)
Jovanovski, Bojana 68 (72)
Radwanska, Urszula 93 (88)
Sevastova, Anastasija 96 (107)
Cadantu, Alexandra 98 (104)
Oudin, Melanie 136 (138)

Carlos said...

The video wasn't available, Captain.

Caps do you like Urszula's blonder hair?

BTW Caps, if you don't mention Mr. Oudin I would have not remembered her.

My breakdown, this is field is the most flawed field that I've seen at the YEC.

Divapova: Inconsistency is her style now with a dash of snap crackle and pop. This is suppose to be the tournament that she does good, as the story goes she does well in one tournament and bad on the next one. I have her in the semis.

Angry Bird: Not sold, so what else is new. She still doesn't have the mental capacity to win matches that will excel her to the next level. Either she will lose or get injured. To quote Mr. Caps321, "She is a strange character".

Li Na: What she needs is a sports psychologist. I would like everyone to meet the newest WTA head case. Her game is gone after she won RG along with her sense of humor.

Aggie: Needs mental toughness. Like Angry Bird she punks out when every thing is on the line or in pressure cooker situations. She holds her nerves and she would be a lethal land mind for her foes.

Carlos said...


Ostrich: What happened to her game? Even though she won last week at Linz I wonder if she can stay consistent. She was injured after Wimbledon it might have the cause why she had such a terrible summer. If she finds her high level play she can easily win her second Ring of Hell. I have her in the semis.

Stosur: The reason that the Captain likes her now is because Stosur's name reminds the Captain of her significant other. :P Was USO 11 a fluke? She hasn't been tearing the courts up since. Lost in Japan in the final against Square Pants but it wasn't a convincing run. I have to agree with the Captain she is done before she sets a foot on court.

Vera Z. Permanent resident of WTA's head case penthouse. She has the game to qualify to the semis but that's it, she will find a way to self destruct, of what is typical of Russians players.

The Big Stuff Bunny: Her tennis play has been going down the tubes. What saves her Bunny butt is that she won at New Haven yet again and reached the semis at the USO 11. Her game and relationship are lame (hi Clefairy). She can easily go win less and be the big turkey in Istanbul -horrible joke I know-. Her focus seems to be in her relationship, don't know how is her relationship with her father, and her coaching situation. Internal problems, lack of focus, and knowing she is a full drama queen/attention wh... will make a don't miss episode of "As The World Of Tennis Turns".

Speaking of which it was so anti-climatic when Sponge Bob S.P. pulled out ad giving Aggie the pass to the YEC

My semis prediction:

Ostrich and Vera.

Divapova, and Angry Bird (hopefully she will not let me down by getting injure).

The only player capable of pulling a surprise is Aggie. I almost had Aggie in the semis but I'm going with Vera even though Aggie seems to have the upper hand on Vera. Vera is capable of winning in the early rounds on pressure situations Aggie is no there yet.

Anonymous said...

Carlos I didn't even notice Ula's hair changed color. Thought it was always blonde-ish but have now refreshed myself and notice it was brown-ish. Guess she got slick with subtle changes and pulled wool over my eye!

Her game and relationship are lame

hahahahaha Bunny's paltry ploy on getting her self imposed nickname of 'Wozzilroy' to stick was a huge bust!

I see 3 matches for tomorrow, I'm only interested in the first two:

Eastern timezone

10:00 Kvitova - Zvonareva
11:30 Wozniacki - Radwanska
13:30 Sharapova - Stosur

Anonymous said...

The Ostrich's signature 'squawk' is in full effect! And she wins the first set 6-2.

Anonymous said...

Vera had it 4-4 in the second set but folded up like a cheap tent.

Ostrich is victorious 6-2, 6-4!

Next up is hopefully an Aggie win against Bunny.

Anonymous said...

Aggie was up 3-1/4-2 then she was down 4-5 with 3 set points against her. And proceeds to come back from 0-40 and evens the score 5-5!

Now Aggie just broke to love and is up 6-5.


Anonymous said...

Aggie loses the second set 2-6 which also included a medical timeout for her shoulder.

On to set 3....

Aggie had 3 break points to go up 1-0 but failed on that front.

Not sure how her gimpy shoulder is affecting game play at this point.

Anonymous said...

Aggie loses 6-4 and I'm thoroughly disgusted.

Carlos said...


My prediction on Divapova's match: she will be bitching and moaning for playing late and late the start. Boohoohoo.

Carlos said...

Divapova loses in straight sets 1-6, 5-7. She had 3-0 lead in the second set.

Emily or as Carlos likes to call me "Captain" said...

To make it worse for Maria she had 3-0 40-0! I think she can pretty much say good bye to ending the year number one now!

Carlos said...

She can have her full focus on the wedding now. When is Divapova's wedding anyways?

Your thoughts on Aggie's loss, Captain?

Emily or as Carlos likes to call me "Captain" said...

I did not see that match, however I have see snips. She played well and I think it put her in a good position going into her other matches. In the end I think she may have been a little fatigued, but she played well.

Anonymous said...

Diva lost today, pulled out, and Bartoli will replace her.

Vera won the first set against Bunny 6-2 and is tied up 1-1 in the second. Just started watching at the end of the first set.

Anonymous said...


Wozniacki: Players grunt on purpose in matches

Caroline Wozniacki weighs in on the grunting debate and says that offenders have an unfair advantage by distracting foes when they emit loud noises. "I think there are some players who do it on purpose," Wozniacki told reporters. "They don't do it in practice and then they come into the match and they grunt. I think they [officials] could definitely cut it. If you grunt really loudly your opponent cannot hear how you hit the ball. Because the grunt is so loud, you think the ball is coming fast and suddenly the ball just goes slowly. In tight moments, maybe the grunt helps them with getting less nervous."

Wozniacki's close friend Victoria Azarenka, who is one of the WTA’s loudest grunters, told reporters in Istanbul that everyone should mind their own business and "I can't stop, and I won't."

A little friction brewing between BFF's Bunny and Bird?

Agnieszka Radwanska says the court at the WTA Championships in Istanbul is problematic. The temporary indoor hard court is built on top of a basketball court. "It's pretty slow. It's weird bounces, and surface very sticky so it's hard to run, as well," she told reporters.

Caroline Wozniacki added: "It's slow and doesn't bounce very high. It's sticky and you feel it in the legs. It's a little bit uneven too. But for me I like it. You just need to be prepared for longer matches."

Vera had a 4-1 lead in the third set... But, ends up holding on with a 6-2, 4-6, 6-4 win along with Bunny's stash!! Vera did a lot of hitting behind Bunny and/or in the opposite corner.

Emily or as Carlos likes to call me "Captain" said...

From what I saw Vera was the better player in this match and deserved the win. She was playing Wozniacki well.

Tomorrow its win or die for Caro, if she loses she can pack her bags. GO PETRA!

The court is hard for watching as well, lots of complaints about the low visibility of the ball.

Maybe Woz and Vika have decided to go their separate ways, hahaha.

Speaking of Vika, Clefairy's squeal of excitement woke me from 900kms away! Stosur got bought back to earth after a 2 and 2 beatdown

Carlos said...

It's called a "phone call" Captain. :P

Bunny has played two straight days with both matches lasting 2+ hours. Petra did not play today and three straights days of matches will take a toll on the Bunny. Somebody show the Bunny the door.

I think this is bush league from Divapova. She loses her two matches, instead of facing the possibility of a third straight loss, she pulls out in a chiken-esque style with an "injury". Why didn't you pulled out after the first match and give Square Pants a chance?

Thanks for the article Caps. Serena should also place a call to the Bunny. 5 Australians dollars on Angry Bird to kick the Bunny's cotton tail butt. :P

Off topic Captain, because I'm a trouble maker I'll say this, someone can NOT claim to be unbiased when they are:

Just saying.

Anonymous said...

Bird spanks Na Li 6-2, 6-2.

Ostrich with the early break against Bunny now up 1-0.

Anonymous said...

The BIG BAD Ostrich has taken the first set 6-4.

Anonymous said...

Bunny's medical timeout between the first and second set looked rather suspicious. I think she was stalling and hoping to get Ostrich out of her groove.

Anonymous said...

Ostrich just dominated that Bunny 6-4, 6-2!


Carlos said...

Ostrich victory is triple Niiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiice!!!

Bunny always take suspicious injury time outs.

Hey Bunny, don't let the door hit your cotton tail on your way out.

Anonymous said...

WOW! The third set of Aggie vs. Vera was a serious treat.

Unsure if Vera's meltdown or Aggie's refusal to give up is bigger triumph.

Aggie wins 1-6, 6-2, 7-5!!

Anonymous said...

triumph = story

The announcer said Aggie has been nicknamed the little magician...

Carlos said...

Big victory for your Aggie Caps. I think Vera had two match points when she was up 5-4. I was sort of scoreboard watching.

Aggie sure has the number on Vera.

The announcer saw from Aggie what we been seeing for awhile, her bag of tricks. It was an early "Trick or Treat".

At 5'8 she is taller than I am so she is not little, except for the Captain's standards. :P

Emily or as Carlos likes to call me "Captain" said...

Carlos...everyone is little to me :P

I am embarrassed to be a WTA fan with Caro as the number one. How can people celebrate her "achievements" She wont even make it past the RR stage of the YEC.

Ranking = Flawed

Carlos said...

Captain, remember this is the same player that avoided playing top 10 players for a year and a half, this is why.

In my books The Big Stuffed Bunny still is a "Faux Number One player".

If Aggie loses to the Ostrich in straight sets does she advances to the semis? Bunny, Vera, and Aggie will be 1-2 with set records 3-5 all.

Emily or as Carlos likes to call me "Captain" said...

To find a winner, we must go to percentage of games won. In that case, Zvonareva will be the second semifinalist unless Radwanska beats Kvitova or wins a set off of her. If Radwanska wins a set she is 4-5 in sets while the others are 3-5. If she loses to Kvitova in straight sets at 7-6 7-6 or worse, she is, at best 39 wins to 44 losses for 46.98%. Zvonareva won 35 games and lost 37 for 48.611% and Wozniacki won 34 games and lost 41 for 45.333%. Thus Zvonareva is the second Red Group semifinalist unless Radwanska wins 1 or more sets from Kvitova. Cool, huh?

From WTB

Anonymous said...

I realize Bunny has points to defend but seems to me she almost ALWAYS plays the smaller tournament when two are going on at the same time. Therefore the quality of players she beats while padding her titles stash are usually ham-and-eggers.

I don't expect Aggie to beat Kvitova but if she wins 1 set off her she goes to the semi finals.. According to

Carlos said...

Thank you Captain and Caps and to at some extent WTB.

There is a possibility that the Ostrich can lose on purpose to save energy, although I doubt it.

Carlos said...

What's up with this match? Aggie was leading 5-2 in the first set. The Ostrich has stormed back to tied things at 5.

Anonymous said...

Ostrich was doing her best 'Kimmie on a bad day' impression and then snapped out of it.

Aggie up 6-5.

IMO, Aggie HAS to win this first set because I don't see her winning another one with the way Ostrich is teeing off on everything.

Carlos said...

To the tie break we go.

Carlos said...

Aggie loses in the tie break 4-7.

Ostrich did to Aggie what Aggie did to Vera.

Marine said...

Haha, I knew you would all be so bitter about Caroline's success. Well, I am celebrating :-)))
For me she is without a doubt the best player in the world after Kim Clijsters.

If Caro was not so ill she would have taken this one,too. Unfortunately it wasn't meant to be. Anyway, a great year for her.

All the slam winners (except Kim) have their five minute of fame and then slipped back to their usual crappy standards.

As for the championships Vika looks OK. Not great but OK,just when I thought she was a convincing fave to win YEC she loses/tanks against Bartoli.
So now, I don't know who to pull for. Go Marion :-P

Carlos said...

Hey, "I think I'm better than the rest of world because I'm European" Marine, aaaaaaaah it seems you are the one with the bitter ass. Her record speaks volumes, have you seen it? Do I need to ask a surgeon to remove your lips from the Big Stuffed Bunny's cotton tail butt. Let me give you the bad news sweety, the Bunny is going home because she finish last. She can NOT handle playing top opponents, like a coward she avoids them. Are you writing about this in your silly little blog? Don't tell you are biased and take everything personal. I like this blog because it sticks to facts, great points, and great analysis, wether a player is put in a good light or not!

Emily or as Carlos likes to call me "Captain" said...

Marine I am not bitter, and there isn't really any success to be bitter about anyway? Caro was the best player at the end of last year and the start of this year and that showed. Unfortunately after IW something happened and she has never found that level again.

If she was so "ill", she maybe shouldn't have played at all. An alright year for Caro, were no one could capitalize on her poor form.

Kvitova and Azarenka are the form players and that showed. Azarenka's tank was disappointing. I assume they will meet in the final. Win or lose Petra will, rightfully earn Player of The Year award.

I do respect your opinion Marine and I respect Caro. I wanted one of two things in the YEC. For Caro to win, going 3-0 in RR and finally prove she can win something big and earn "worthiness" to her rank, or for Maria or Petra to do enough to win and end the year number one.

Carlos, as you said, Caroline can't play well against top players.

Marine said...

Carlos, you are one pathetic childish hater. If someone needs a surgery it's yourself. A brain implant is badly needed.
What's this to do with me being European I don't know but I guess it's just that you are one of the dumb Americans who are bitter about the success of players from other countries.
You repeating the same old nonsense about Caroline is not going to change anything about the fact that she is the best player right now who dominated the field for a few years.

Emily,if she was not able to play well against top players she wouldn't have a positive H2H against them. What you write about Caroline is just ridiculous. Well, compared to her your faves look pretty bad, but that's their fault,really.

Emily or as Carlos likes to call me "Captain" said...

Its ridiculous to state the truth? That after Indian Wells Caroline's level dropped off? And ridiculous to praise her in her efforts at the end of last and the start of this year?

No one is dominating women's tennis and Caroline as turned that around to her favour by getting super fit and playing loads.

Marine said...

Also, I don't think anyone who was able to hold on to no.1 for over 50 weeks has had a poor year, lol.

Other players had a good year, the problem is that winning big tournaments did nothing for their game, instead of proving their worth as a slam winner they all went into slump righ after that, literally,some of them never recovering,sadly

I mean when you look at current rankings it's still quite possible that the highest where slam winner made it will be no.3. Maybe to no.2 and that also thanks to the fact that Maria is now out injured and onlcy played two matches.

As far as POY trophy, they don't always award it to slam winners so there are several players who have a chance and I think Caro is in the mix.

As for you respecting Caroline, hmm, doesn't seem so. You are not as bad as Carlos, though, to sink to his low would be pretty tragic, to be honest.

Marine said...

I agree that in the second part of the season she did not play as well but it was no disaster. She won New Haven and had a nice result at US Open.
There are things she needs to work on, of course, but this year overall is very successful.

Carlos said...

Are you mad little girl? Booohoohooo "I think I'm better than the rest of the world because I'm European" Marine, pointing out the obvious doesn't make me a hater. We are not jealous of players out side of the U.S. being successful. Almost all my favorites are from Europe. Who is the dumd dumb now? I'll give you a hint look in a mirrow. The Stuffed Bunny is not the best player out there, did she prove it at the YEC? If you think Caroline is the best player out there than you are a bigger idiot than I thought. I'll end it with words of my generation, "Eat it!". Oh, and have a nice day. :)

I like your blog Captain, but there is a troll I the midst.

Marine said...

Yes, I am mad. I don't like dumbasses who are not respectful and all they can do is insult me, you know. But if that's all you can do, poor little sod so be it. I am better than that.

You and objectivity are the main enemies. Objective = in agreement with you. Nah, Carlos it doesn'work like that.

Btw, are you the same Carlos who was pushed out from WTB, am I right? Well,people can tolerate you only for so long for a good reason...

I am not going to waste any more lines on you. So, stuff you, moron. And I don't care what day you will have.

Marine said...

Just one more thing. There is a troll: you, Carlos!

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