Interesting comment about the YEC
Women's Match of the Day
Beijing - Final
Serena Williams (1) def. Svetlana Kuznetsova (2) 4-6 7-5 6-4
There was a certain symmetry to it all: This spring, at her first event under an injury ranking, Serena Williams won Miami. Since then -- nothing. Now, at her last event under an injury ranking, she finally has another title.
It wasn't easy. Had Kuznetsova not been so tired -- this was her fifteenth match in the last four weeks, plus a lot of doubles -- it might well have turned out differently. Kuznetsova had match points in the second at 5-4, but couldn't convert, and Serena took the second chance and ran, rattling off seven straight games as Kuznetsova just couldn't get any energy into her serve. The Russian did get a bit of a second wind after that, but it was far too late.
Ironically, Serena has very little else to show for the win other than the title. Maria Sharapova had another disappointing event, but she earned enough points to stay ahead of Serena, meaning that Serena, who came in at #10, stays at #10. And Kuznetsova stays at #5. The week might almost not have happened.
It's a measure of how tough this year has been for Serena that this was only her second Top Five win of the year -- and the other was over an injured Amelie Mauresmo at Wimbledon in a match she was losing at the time Mauresmo's back flared up (though, to be fair to Serena if not to Mauresmo, the Frenchwoman might well have clutched up mentally if she hadn't clutched up physically).
Serena's win does make things very interesting in the WTA Race. Kuznetsova, because she lost, remains barely behind #2 Amelie Mauresmo, and more than 600 points behind #1 Lindsay Davenport. Still, Davenport, Mauresmo, Kuznetsova, and Anastasia Myskina are sure to be going to Los Angeles (and Kuznetsova still has a real chance to end the year at #2, and a theoretical chance even for #1). In practice, Justine Henin-Hardenne is also in, and probably Elena Dementieva as well. The last two spots, though, are tricky. According to our calculations, the win moves Serena up to #7 in the Race. (We have to be cautious about this, because the WTA's totals for the Race do not match the week-by-week rankings figures they have published. It appears that they have retroactively changed the rankings totals of five different players; this affects this historical rankings; it appears that in at least one case a player lost a match she should not have been required to play. We hope to have a fuller story on this later this week once we have tracked down all the implications.) By our numbers, Jennifer Capriati is #8, Maria Sharapova #9, and Venus Williams #10. The WTA can wildcard one player into the Championships. Sharapova is the only Slam winner who isn't sure to qualify, and the WTA, as is its wont, has been giving her a disgusting and excessive amount of publicity. But would they boot Capriati to put her in? Or Serena? And where does Venus fit in? One suspects they did not anticipate this when they cut the Championships field down to eight....