Re: Are the IW results of the "other" girls catching up or a lack of REAL tour talent
This is sure to draw ire, but IMO of the current players, there are five--Henin, Williamses, Sharapova, Clijsters--who, when healthy, are head and shoulders above the rest and can pretty much determine their own fates against the rest. Yes, they occasionally suffer upsets. IW is a likely place for this because the conditions (i.e. WIND) are so variable. Many IW matches in the afternoon feature 20 or more DFs, as opposed to night matches when the quality of serving is much better. There is no doubt in my mind that the wind plays a major factor in the tennis at IW and can give a "pusher" a much bigger advantage over a power player, especially in daytime matches.
I mean no disrespect to Kuznetsova, Dementieva, Wozniacki, Jankovic, etc., all of whom are excellent players who can win on any given day, and whose strengths can be consistency, movement, defense, court cunning, etc. Those qualities make them formidable on a consistent basis but are probably not quite enough to get the job done against one of the Big Five when those players are playing their best. We can debate that, but that's my theory.
Outside of the Big Five, I think there are a number of players who can fill the ranks of positions 6-20. A lot of those players have the ability--if not yet perhaps the confidence or experience--to be a top ten player. Many of them can boast of big wins over #1s or top fives, or isolated excellent results in majors. What separates Dementieva, Kuzy, Wozy, JJ, etc. is experience, not necessarily skill. How many times do you see the "up and comers" get to the verge of winning but not quite do it. That isn't "choking", it's called learning by experience. As those younger players get some vital experience under their belts, they will eventually close out those matches, be more consistent week to week, and yes, some will replace many of the current top ten mainstays in the rankings. The players that are there now had to learn, too.
So, to sum, rather than see IW as "upset-filled", or a "chokefest", maybe the right word is really "breakthrough"....