Backhands and Compliments – WTA Edition








Girl, Where You At?

I’m pitching that for the new WTA slogan. Since Petra Kvitova took home the Wimbledon title, exactly where have the women been playing? I’ve heard of “B” leagues but come on, the women have played in Baastad, Bad Gasten, Budapest and on Sunday Vera Zvonareva took the title in Baku. Girl, where you at? The capital of Azerbaijan, of course. Apparently, the name Baku is derived from Persian and is roughly translated as “wind pounded city.” What a perfect place to host a tennis tournament. I didn’t catch the event but Zvonareva took down a draw filled with former Soviet bloc countries including fellow Russian K$enia Pervak in the final. Ksenia’s about a second away from the nickname “The Perv.” The only other news in Baku was the inability of Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova to make the final. After AP’s near victory over Francesca Schiavone at Roland Garros there was renewed talk about her potential. AP gets a lot of “You have such a pretty game. If you just lost a little weight you would be number one.” Or, “She just reminds me of Lindsay Davenport when she started on the tour.” Let’s see if she can turn it around during the North American circuit and make Lindsay proud.

Battle of the Banks: Citi Open

It is interesting both tournaments this week have a bank as the title sponsor and both take place on a college campus. The international ladies are playing in Maryland where the top seed is Shahar Peer and Nadia Petrova is number two. Really makes you want to see what’s in the middle, right? There are a couple of matches worth checking out. Melanie Oudin takes on Tamira Paszek right away. After crashing out in the first round of a challenger last week, Oudin desperately needs a win. I’m thinking she might as well take a tour of the University of Maryland campus during her free time. Maybe she and Sloane Stephens (also entered in the tournament) could be roommates.

That brings us to Heather Watson. She’s been whispered about for a while now and although she’s still pretty much a rookie, she really needs to do something. These international events aren’t really for the veterans (even though they’ve been collecting titles all season). They’re an opportunity for the young and hungry to make a mark. If Watson can step up, the Citi Open could be worth watching. And what about Bojana Jovanovski? She looked so good during the Australian circuit in January. Tease.

Battle of the Banks: Bank of the West Classic

Serena Williams is here on a protected ranking. Apparently the rules state she can enter up to eight tournaments and one slam while ignoring her current rank of 172. Hard to imagine Serena using eight chances up and also hard to imagine the Australian Open not giving her a wildcard and hard to imagine anyone enforcing any kind of rule when it comes to Serena and Venus. Didn’t you know? Venus and Serena share the middle name “Special Exemption.” Hopefully Serena and Maria Sharapova can reach the quarters so everyone can have a little fun at the tournament. Otherwise, we’ll be forced to deal with the unpredictables also entered: Sam Stosur, Ana Ivanovic, Julia Goerges, Daniela Hantuchova and Victoria Azarenka. Of course hard court lover and sister slayer Marion Bartoli is also here. While Sloane and Melanie are checking out the University of Maryland, why not have Coco Vandeweghe and Christina McHale check out Stanford? Or, maybe not.  No one likes to talk about college tennis apart from Lisa Raymond unless it is tied to a bank. At least Venus got her degree just in case things don’t pan out for her on the pro tour.

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