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Old Feb 13th, 2013, 06:53 PM   #1
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The Niculescu / Rybarikova factor AKA Ms Invisible

Here's an idea I stumbled over some time ago about players who:

1) are never regarded as major threat/favorites in virtually all the events they enter (MM included)
2) whenever they lose to a lower ranked player it's usually "expected" and doesn't cause much shock
3) can't seem to score that one big shock win and always lose to a elite player
4) are not a classic journeywomen having been on the verge of Top 30 at their peak and even won some relatively major events
5) don't cause much stir because of their physical presence / spotlight behaviour off court to justify their profile

The couple of prime culprits I would consider are Monica Niculescu and Magdalena Rybarikova despite the latter's not-so-shabby physical looks, she always seems to be sneaking under the radar and even her slump few years back went rather unnoticed. Niculescu is the main suspect though, I can't possibly think of another ex-Top 30 player who doesn't seem to create any sorts of reaction rather than "meh". Of course I realize Shvedabarilescu has somehow managed to connect the dots with both those names but apart from fellow compatriots the fanbase of Rybarikova is almost non-existent to me which probably is caused by living in the shadows of Hantuchova and Cibulkova. However Magda does seem to have enough in her to get a following on her own and she's won more titles than Cibulkova after all, yet she's almost a stand-out mug for whatever reason. Any other names you'd like to mention?
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Old Feb 13th, 2013, 06:56 PM   #2
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Re: The Niculescu / Rybarikova factor AKA The Perfect Mug

The way you've set up this thread (your first post description), I can't see it as anything more than a bashing/trolling thread. Maybe if you redefine your terms and not use that MTF term, "mug," I wouldn't see it that way.
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Old Feb 13th, 2013, 06:58 PM   #3
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Re: The Niculescu / Rybarikova factor AKA Ms Invisible

OK, how about Ms Invisible?
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Old Feb 13th, 2013, 06:59 PM   #4
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Re: The Niculescu / Rybarikova factor AKA The Perfect Mug

Rybarikova is definitely a mystery. She's won 3 WTA-Titles but NEVER managed to build any momentum.
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Old Feb 13th, 2013, 06:59 PM   #5
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Re: The Niculescu / Rybarikova factor AKA Ms Invisible

Well, that might be better. Stealthy.
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Old Feb 13th, 2013, 07:02 PM   #6
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Re: The Niculescu / Rybarikova factor AKA Ms Invisible

I agree with the analysis, some players are always considered irrelevant and never a factor but have relatively successful careers.
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Old Feb 13th, 2013, 07:04 PM   #7
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Re: The Niculescu / Rybarikova factor AKA Ms Invisible

Peng Shuai at her current level never seems to beat anyone good

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Old Feb 13th, 2013, 07:08 PM   #8
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Re: The Niculescu / Rybarikova factor AKA Ms Invisible

Quote:
Originally Posted by Melange View Post
Peng Shuai at her current level never seems to beat anyone good

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Well, at least Peng has the cute girl factor enabling her to win all those PYW polls and just like pre-Hobart Vesnina most of TF probably cheer for her to finally win that maiden WTA event. I can't imagine TF losing their sleep over Niculescu doing likewise
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Old Feb 13th, 2013, 07:11 PM   #9
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Re: The Niculescu / Rybarikova factor AKA Ms Invisible

Lepchenko comes to my mind

Suddenly she has been top 20 and you wonder why (with wins over passed beens like Schiavone or Jankovic), after being a 80 - 120 player for years. I have rarely seen a fan of her on TF.
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Old Feb 13th, 2013, 07:13 PM   #10
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Re: The Niculescu / Rybarikova factor AKA Ms Invisible

I agree with the OP, but I guess that's a thing that is most likely to fit for many experienced players who will have a career hovering around #50 in the rankings with some peaks on the verge of Top 30, but also some lows after bad patches of play.

Especially at the current state of the WTA, many girls around #50 are able to have a good run here and there, even at bigger tournaments and can easily beat any player between 10 or 20 on any given day, but most of them are still quite inexperienced in their careers and therefore don't have that much on their vita than Monica or Magda.
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Old Feb 13th, 2013, 07:15 PM   #11
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Re: The Niculescu / Rybarikova factor AKA Ms Invisible

Anyone think Dulko was kinda similar? Never a fave even in MM draws although she did have the odd big scalp and a decent number of fans. When she would lose to scrubs nobody was ever shocked
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Old Feb 13th, 2013, 07:16 PM   #12
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Re: The Niculescu / Rybarikova factor AKA Ms Invisible

Quote:
Originally Posted by Monzanator View Post
Well, at least Peng has the cute girl factor enabling her to win all those PYW polls and just like pre-Hobart Vesnina most of TF probably cheer for her to finally win that maiden WTA event. I can't imagine TF losing their sleep over Niculescu doing likewise
I dont get what you are looking for. Are you looking for a mug or a player without fans or both? Almost all players who ever got near top 30 werent really mugs and could cause an upset occasionally.
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Old Feb 13th, 2013, 07:16 PM   #13
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Re: The Niculescu / Rybarikova factor AKA Ms Invisible

Quote:
Originally Posted by Drimal View Post
Lepchenko comes to my mind

Suddenly she has been top 20 and you wonder why (with wins over passed beens like Schiavone or Jankovic), after being a 80 - 120 player for years. I have rarely seen a fan of her on TF.
Lepchenko was constantly injured in 2011. In 2012 she was healthy, and she resolved her citizenship issues. Therefore, I think she was more focused than in previous years. Her game is nothing exciting, but it is steady, so she was able to outsteady a lot of opponents and gained the points to achieve her ranking. I don't think most top players see her (so I guess she is invisible) as a real threat, but she can surprise you (not Serena, of course). Lepchenko said she was dismal against Serena in Brisbane. Bad match for her. She didn't even play up to her own level.
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Old Feb 13th, 2013, 07:16 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Drimal View Post
Lepchenko comes to my mind

Suddenly she has been top 20 and you wonder why (with wins over passed beens like Schiavone or Jankovic), after being a 80 - 120 player for years. I have rarely seen a fan of her on TF.
I got bad repp'ed during the Australian Open by some American fan of Lepchenko for asking how she ever got into the top 20

So I know if at least one :P


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Old Feb 13th, 2013, 07:19 PM   #15
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Re: The Niculescu / Rybarikova factor AKA Ms Invisible

Quote:
Originally Posted by KournikovaFan91 View Post
Anyone think Dulko was kinda similar? Never a fave even in MM draws although she did have the odd big scalp and a decent number of fans. When she would lose to scrubs nobody was ever shocked
I think Dulko was quite popular because of her looks and teaming up with Pennetta She was much closer to Kournikova factor than Niculescu. Besides whenever she beat an elite player she was destined to lose another match And of course but for Kudryavtseva, she'd have scored the biggest GS upset over Sharapova so at least that grabbed some headlines. I can't remember Niculescu upstaging a former #1 and GS winner during a Slam
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