PostHeaderIcon Gurrl Down: Vika Claims The Top Spot On An Inaugural Indian Wells “Shock or Not”

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Though some might disagree, there haven’t been any draw-shattering upsets/losses these past couple of days at the BNP Paribas Open. But there has been enough action that I’d be remiss if i didn’t highlight a handful of notable losses, as well as the stories behind them. Let’s start with Vika and work our way down the list to Sam, Donald, Jerzy, and Madison.

Lauren Davis defeats Vika Azarenka: Shock or Not? Surprisingly Not

As Kathy Griffin would say, “GURRL DOWN!”
I called this loss when I wrote my preview piece. However, let’s be honest. It doesn’t exactly take a rocket scientist to know that Vika probably wouldn’t get past the first couple of rounds after 1) hearing her say that she’d come play and “Give it a try”, 2) find out that she was still feeling pain in her foot, and 3) she hadn’t played since her loss in Australia. Lauren’s a solid player, but all she had to do was keep the ball in play long enough to get the win.

Vika told the press afterward that, owing to criticisms of her past retirements, she wanted to tough it out and push herself. I’m not sure what she, or anyone, can accomplish when playing on an injury that has been as debilitating as this. Miami isn’t looking too good in her cards right now. Then again, she’d have plenty of time off for those wedding rumors that have been making the rounds.

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Andreas Seppi defeats Sam Querrey: Shock or Not? Not

When I interviewed Jim Courier at the PowerShares Champions Shootout, I asked about his ‘takeaway’ on the US squad’s losing Davis Cup effort in San Diego. After the strategic nuts and bolts on Sam’s two huge losses in singles, he ended by saying “You need to move forward.  So that’s what I’ll do from my perspective (as coach), and I’m hoping that’s what Sam’s doing too.”

That’s what Sam seemingly did for a set and a half in his match against Andreas Seppi. All of a sudden, the wheels fell off and he started playing passive tennis. Meanwhile on the other side of the net, Andreas finally settled in and found his groove. By the time Sam lost the second set tiebreak, the match was pretty much lost. Sam is at a real crossroads right now, and I’d hate to see him have a Donald Young-esque slide into confidence oblivion. Speaking of Donald Young…

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Michael Russell defeats Donald Young: Shock or Not? Not…

Donald Young’s flagging career continues to be both shocking and sad! Earlier in the year, he’d managed to gain momentum on the Challenger circuit, and was slowly building confidence as the results started to come. Then came a dispiriting loss to Kei Nishikori at the Australian Open, and a beating by Andy Murray in Davis Cup. After witnessing such epic losses in matches that could competitive, one has to wonder if Donald is simply too mentally fragile for the pro tour.

Michael Russell is by all measures, the definition of a diminutive journeyman. Yet he approaches his game with a level of professionalism that should be copied by any junior looking to succeed with the big guys. He’s a small guy with limited weapons in his arsenal. But that doesn’t stop him from plugging away, and continually working to be better.

Donald has more natural gifts at his disposal, but no idea how to maximize any of them. Contrary to popular belief, this isn’t about the fact that his mom and dad are his coaches. It’s about him and the size of his heart. I’ve heard Donald’s self-deprecating match dialogue while sitting courtside, and it’s hard to hear someone talk to himself in a manner that they would never accept from someone else.

At a certain point, he’s got to ask himself if this is what he really wants to do. If not, he should stop and find what does make him happy. If it is what he wants to do, then EVERYTHING about his approach to the game MUST change.

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Alejandro Falla defeats Jerzy Janowicz: Shock or Not? Shock

Falla is a solid veteran who maximizes his game, knows what he’s about, and works incredibly hard on court to put himself into good ball-striking positions. I mean no disrespect to him.  Jerzy, on the other hand, is an extremely talented player who has a knack for making his life harder than it needs to be. His temperament issues are going to be the thing that keeps his enormous amount of talent from becoming great if he or his coach don’t get a handle on it … and soon.

Roberta Vinci defeats Madison Keys: Shock or Not? Not

I’m not shocked, but I’m becoming weary of constantly hearing how this or that up-and-comer is the next great thing only to see them regularly crash and burn in the early rounds. Can we agree to stop talking about players’ Grand Slam potential when they can’t consistently make it deep in smaller tournaments? (Wishful thinking, I know.)

One Response to “Gurrl Down: Vika Claims The Top Spot On An Inaugural Indian Wells “Shock or Not””

  • David says:

    What about

    Rafa loses, Maria loses, Berdych loses, Tsonga loses? (yes I was there for all of them)

    And then Stan loses in R16 – is that a shock or is it not? Stan won a slam, but is he really still that number 8 guy who has a hard time getting to quarters at Masters?

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