Re: Grass summer wildcard speculation
Sam lost pretty comfortably in the end 3-6 0-6. I don't think you can award a MDWC on the back of reaching the semi final when you consider Bouzkova was the only top 200 win, and Broady, Muhammed and Kostic is very much W25 level, and even the Bouzkova win, which was incredible, was indoors, so that kind of defeats the object as well. She really needed to win it or at least get to the final to justify it IMO, and the score line doesn't really help either, 4-6 6-3 7-5 or equivalent might have strengthened her case.
Still a superb week for her though considering she was ranked 466 coming into this and even those 'W25' type wins were all still higher ranked players, so she has done very well and I think should now be in QWC contention.
Rybakina also lost, as expected to Bertens, 4-6 4-6, in her semi final, so she probably hasn't done enough to really turn heads and make it impossible not to include her, but if the committee wanted to reward a player (regardless of nationality) these past 2 weeks, rather than simply give it next in, then I think she should be the front runner.
I guess they'll announce (assuming all fit) Watson, Boulter, Swiatek, Dart, Swan and probably Katy, and hold 2 back, one for a potential Ilkley winner and 1 elsewhere, whether that be a Brit like Naiktha or Maia, an overseas performance reward like Rybakina, someone who does well at either Birmingham or Mallorca, or simply next in.
That's the 4 grass events now - Surbiton, Manchester, 's-Hertogenbosch and Nottingham, where all 8 finalists have already qualified for Wimbledon, so no automatic picks - it's just a shame there's not currently more proper worthy Brits in and around the top 200 to take proper advantage of it. Naiktha could really do with a really good result or performance, and she has made a fast start today.