First, what's this "secured 8 seed by skin of teeth" news? Is this her projected USO seeding? Where's the discussion and analysis?
Second, I'm tired of the doom and gloom. I don't care about her results in Cincy and Canada. I do like the fact that she is looking fitter. Ultimately, that's what will help. Petra is a top ten fixture, and even if she falls out of the top ten briefly this year, she will easily regain her spot at the beginning of next year.
Third, it occurs to me as I watch her old 2011 matches that her limbs are considerably more solid now than they were back then. She has possible grown a bit, and has put on muscle in her legs and arms. Yes, she's not yet quite as lean as in 2011 either, but her body doesn't put fat on her legs anyway. If you compare 2013 Petra's build to 2011, you'll see what I mean. I think some really great things could happen as she gets fitter. Those 2011 results happened mostly because of her fitness improvement. Mentality and execution followed. That is just the way it goes. (It's also why Vika is IMO doomed unless she turns her own fitness around.)
I have got used to the roller coaster by now, and I think Petra can have another 2011 year next year if her fitness continues on this new trajectory. She is too talented a player not to win more slams, and her shrinking belly perhaps shows that she is serious, even if results are not yet following. The loss to Cirstea was nothing to be ashamed of, IMO. As for the loss to Caro, who knows. The report from most who watched the match was that Petra didn't play badly. I was disappointed, but I'm happy to keep hoping and remain a dedicated Petra fan.
She said after Wimbledon that she was working hard on her fitness and it's clear that has been the case. Still, there's only so much you can do in a relatively short number of weeks.
It's likely going to take some time for everything to come together on a regular, reliable and consistent basis. I'm not really expecting that to happen until the start of next year at the earliest - any success in the interim will be a bonus. To me, just getting herself into good shape is already a big win of sorts, and not one we could necessarily have expected.
Hopefully between now and the end of the season she can start to pick up a few more straightforward victories. This season has been such a grind for her, with echoes of the Robson match in Australia (the double faults and inability to push home the advantage) lingering on. Winning the occasional 3 set match when you're not at your best - 'winning ugly' - can be good for your confidence. Constantly having to do this makes it difficult to build confidence and, (especially) when you're not in good physical condition, is probably rather draining.
A win today would be nice. Would provide some validation of the hard work she has been putting in and a boost to morale for the remainder of the year. However, it's not the be all and end all - there's a bigger picture at play. Also, it should be noted that Halep is playing some excellent tennis these last few months. I thought she was quite impressive last night.