PostHeaderIcon First 2 Days of Wimbledon 2011 for the Women: Organized Chaos!

We all had a feeling this might happen, and it is becoming a reality… The women’s draw at Wimbledon is disintegrating as I type.  Well maybe not disintegrating, but you know what I mean.  As with my men’s tournament bracket, 17 of my picks are already on their way home after first round losses. Click here or on the graphic to see my bracket choices. Red denotes a first round loss.
Click for full Wimbledon 2011 Women's bracket picks

Two of the more notable losses were Sam Stosur and Jelena Jankovic. Granted Sam hasn’t traditionally played her best tennis at Wimbledon, but one would certainly expect her to do better than a straight sets first round loss. Her opponent Czink is ranked 262. Stosur is 10. She’s got to be able to do better than this and give herself better chances to advance in the majors. Roddick (ATP #10) hasn’t always played his best this year, but I can’t see him losing to Alberto Brizzi (ATP #262) in straights on the first day of Wimbledon. Jankovic is a disappointment too. I had picked her to make it to a round of 16 clash with Andrea Petkovic. She hasn’t played her best tennis in awhile, but she seemed to be gaining a measure of momentum that is now pretty much gone.

Mixed in with the losses were some good victories. Francesca Schiavone scrapped out her first win ever over Jelena Dokic on Centre Court. It was a 3 set battle that ended with the roof closed on Centre Court. Dokic had her chances, but Francesca used her tools of slice and net play to stay out of protracted baseline rallies which she frequently lost. A good strategy that ended up turning the match in her favor.

Ana Ivanovic had a great victory too. She has played some good tennis during the grass swing, which she continued today with a 6-0 6-1 beat-down of Melanie Oudin. For someone who has had a hard time showing a killer instinct on court, this was a good win that should give her good confidence as the draw quality increases. For Oudin, this is about as low as it gets for her. Many are saying she should just shut it down for a while and retool her team. She doesn’t seem inclined to change her team though, saying that the fault lies with her for her lack of performance. Either way this is a sad decline of a once promising prospect.

One rising prospect who delivered on her potential was Christina McHale. She infamously blew a 5-1 third set lead at the French Open to lose her match to Sara Errani. Rather than let the loss break her spirit and send her game spiraling, she gave herself two days to feel bad and then called a challenger tournament director for a wild card. She got back on the horse, so to speak, and ended up taking out the seeded Marakova in a tough 3rd set for her Wimbledon debut. She had lessons to learn after her French performance and clearly she learned them well.

Moreover the favorites performed as expected. Caroline won in straights, Maria won in straights, Kvitova won in straights, Petkovic won in straights, Bartoli won in straights, Hantuchova won in straights, and Azarenka won in straights with her opponent retiring instead of her (now there’s a first).

The organized chaos aspect of the winners’ circle refers to the Williams sisters in their return to Wimbledon. Having been off the tour for 5 and 11 months respectively for Venus and Serena, they both have come out showing that they have the goods to go deep in this tournament and perhaps even take the title for a family total of 10. I didn’t pick either of them for my bracket winners because I’m still not convinced that either can come back and win 7 matches for the title given their circumstances of low match prep and potential fitness issues in hard 3-setters. But they have both done it before (Venus at Wimbledon and Serena at the Australian) so you never know.

Either way, it’s good to have them back playing decent ball. Venus was at her best in her first round win over her taller opponent (I’m sure that rarely happens). She served well, defended well, and kept the errors low on her forehand wing. Serena had a dogfight with Aravane Rezai from France. Rezai came out blistering the ball with pace and going for broke on all her shots. Serena rose to the challenge early and battled hard, even after losing the second set. She kept up the pace and intensity into the third and Rezai finally wilted.

After it was over there were tears… of joy, relief, disbelief that she was there after sinking so low health-wise and with depression, and probably other emotions too numerous to count. It was touching to see. For all the crap she gets from the haters, she still really loves to do this and loves trying to be the best. She is especially grateful to be given a second chance to be out there doing it again at a place that means so much to her and Venus. And ultimately, she is grateful for a chance to again prove herself as the best. A side note to Serena’s triumph is Rezai’s tough 2011 which includes a falling out with her father, assault charges against him for threats to her boyfriend, and now accusations that he has taken money from her. How many more stories like this will we continue to hear about from the women’s tour?

I chose Bartoli to take the title over Kvitova in the final. Caroline will be outhit at some point and lose in 3, Maria will have an awful service day in the second week, Petkovic will come up short in the latter rounds, Hantuchova will come up short AND injured in the latter rounds, and Azarenka will retire at some point with an unspecified injury. A little flippant yes, but a good bet on all fronts. Venus and Serena could completely upend my picks… and that would be okay. I can forgo a mediocre bracket showing for the chance to see either of them come back from the brink and take another title. It wouldn’t be an indictment of the women’s tour and it’s lack of talent. Rather, it would be a testament to the incredible talent of these two women.

Here’s to Round 2!

One Response to “First 2 Days of Wimbledon 2011 for the Women: Organized Chaos!”

Leave a Reply

Captcha Verification * Time limit is exhausted. Please reload CAPTCHA.

Follow SFTennisFreak on Twitter
Blog Search