Uhhh I only mentioned the $10K because it was part of Friedsam's winning streak. I agree that results in $10K are pretty meaningless and to be honest I don't even really follow/look at $10K results period. But the fact that players are able to win multiple/back to back $25Ks as a 17/18 year old something to take notice of. You're telling me that Gasparyan winning three $25Ks in a row as a 17 year old is something to take lightly? Players like Kvitova and Kerber were tearing up the European $25K events in 2006/2007. It shows they're consistently winning matches at this level at a young age and it's definitely a good sign.
None of these players in discussion have really achieved anything of note on the WTA tour, with the exception of Muguruza Blanco who reached 4R of Miami (beating Zvonareva and Pennetta) and QF of Fes. Witthoeft had the win over Pironkova in Stuttgart. That's about it. So that's why you need to look at ITF results if you're trying to look at who might be a top player in 4-5 years time, because realistically the players aren't going to have decent WTA results until they're 18/19 years old and by then they're breaking Top 100 and everybody knows about them (like Stephens, Babos, Robson).
And just to reiterate I'm not saying that any of this suggests that all of these players will be great, but it's pretty much guaranteed that at least a few of the players I talked about will be Top 10. I mean, players don't just appear on the WTA tour out of nowhere. If a player from 1993/1994 was going to be any good, we would've most likely heard about them by now ("we" being tennis nerds). If you look at the top players now they all started off their careers with strong performances in $25Ks and such as teenagers and worked their way up. Even Sharapova played $10Ks and $25Ks. That's why I guess I kept talking about the $25K tournament wins, because junior results are much less relevant with this sort of thing. Of course it's equally guaranteed that a lot of these players will never achieve anything special, but I think that's something we both agree on.
I agree "flop" was a poor choice of word, that's why I put it in quotation marks. I didn't mean to be so harsh.
Oh yes, absolutely, looking at ITF results is the only way we can get any indication of who the stars of tomorrow are. Certainly they provide a much better indication for future success than do junior results. No disagreements there. But because we are dealing with humans there are always surprises and predicting stars of the future is not easy. There are always surprises. So we can get indications of which players have a good shot at a WTA level career but we can never get more than that.
It is not actually true that all of the top 10 excelled on the ITF circuit at an early age, although of course most did it's true. Sammy Stosur never won an ITF event and didn't reach the top 100 till she was 20. Sara Errani won one ITF event at the age of twenty which was also the age she reached the top 100. Li Na didn't reach the top 100 till she was 22, although she did win quite a few ITF titles in her teens, albeit mostly 10ks. None of these players however looked like they were heading for the top 10 as teenagers.
Tennis is always producing surprises and so often we see good results on the ITF circuit that lead no where while other players on the circuit will come from nowhere and emmerge from mediocre or worse results.
For example, Dinah Pfizenmaier at the age of 19 had played 19 ITF events and come away with 1 single 10k main draw win. I don't suppose at that point many people (outside of perhaps her immediate family) would have been predicting any sort of tennis future for her. But now one year later she is 140 and looking a good bet to be top 100 by the end of the year and likely to have a pretty decent career.
On the other hand, Magda Linette went 32-3 on the ITF circuit with 4 titles and two other finals during the summer of 2010. Yet today, 2 years on, she is only ranked 283. I suppose time hasn't run out on her but the likelihood of her having a career on the WTA tour certainly doesn't look anything like as promising as it did two years ago.
Maria-Teresa Torro-Flor, Margarita Gasparyan & Anna-Lena Friedsam are all on pretty good rolls right now. But really their results aren't that different to the results Magda Linette was getting a couple of years ago. These are girls that certainly warrant keeping an eye on but none has yet demonstrated an ability to regularly beat top 200 players, let alone top 100 players. These girls could all end up very successful or not. They do look promising but they have a long way to go.
In all honesty I am more inclinded to be encouraged when I see a young player demonstate that they can compete, even in competitive losing matches, against top 100, or better yet top 50, opponents, than I am players of 18 years old who are simply good at winning 25ks against players generally ranked outside the top 200. Have to say I like Alison Van Uytvanck's chances at establishing herself on the WTA tour more than I do players like Maria-Teresa Torro-Flor, Margarita Gasparyan & Anna-Lena Friedsam.