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Not just the new rule.

Check the entry list of Southsea 100K ITF starting Monday:

Petra MARTIC
Johanna LARSSON
Monica NICULESCU
Carina WITTHOEFT
Tatjana MARIA
Kirsten FLIPKENS
Kateryna KOZLOVA
Magda LINETTE
Pauline PARMENTIER
Anna Karolina SCHMIEDLOVA
Vera LAPKO
Alison RISKE
Jennifer BRADY

All players that could have easily be into Eastbourne Quali, or even MD, but have instead preferred a supposed easier tournament that gives any way a lot of points.

It is ITF that is making a serious competition to WTA.
Last year, Eastbourne also went H2H with Southsea and had a great Q-draw:

http://wtafiles.wtatennis.com/pdf/draws/2017/710/QS.pdf
 

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Great win for Katy Dunne 6-2 6-2. Best career win.
 

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How common were situations like Mertens-Vickery?

It seems as though the new rules have screwed about a hundred players, and massively weakened the Q-draws of the pre-slam tournaments, for the sake of avoiding what was a pretty rare occurrence.

Maybe a rule that you can't enter a Q-draw of a slam if you retire from a tournament in that week would have sufficed. And obvious tanking can already be penalised by rules covering "best effort".
I remember this forum making a big fuss about the Mertens-Vickery situation last year. Personally I thought at the time it is what it is and these sort of things happen from time to time and it's bit unfortunate but what can you do? But everyone here seemed to over-react a bit and obviously the WTA/ITF over-reacted as well and now we have this ridiculous rule to prevent a Mertens-Vickery situation from occurring again. It's insane, it is like sawing off one's leg because one has a blister. Okay the blister is gone and it won't be coming back, but so bloody what?

To answer the "how common were situations like Mertens-Vickery?" question, I'd say that was an extreme case and a rather amusing one as well, on some levels, but yeah, these sort of things did happen in less dramatic and overt ways probably on average once or twice per slam. But I really don't think it was such a big deal that this draconian rule that players can't play tournaments qualies when they have to play slam qualies later that week was necessary. I think a lot of players benefited by playing one or two matches in the qualifying of tournaments like Sydney, Eastbourne and New Haven. It gave them some much needed match play to prepare for their Grand Slam qualifying matches. This opportunity has sadly now been taken away from all the players.
 

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I remember this forum making a big fuss about the Mertens-Vickery situation last year. Personally I thought at the time it is what it is and these sort of things happen from time to time and it's bit unfortunate but what can you do? But everyone here seemed to over-react a bit and obviously the WTA/ITF over-reacted as well and now we have this ridiculous rule to prevent a Mertens-Vickery situation from occurring again. It's insane, it is like sawing off one's leg because one has a blister. Okay the blister is gone and it won't be coming back, but so bloody what?

To answer the "how common were situations like Mertens-Vickery?" question, I'd say that was an extreme case and a rather amusing one as well, on some levels, but yeah, these sort of things did happen in less dramatic and overt ways probably on average once or twice per slam. But I really don't think it was such a big deal that this draconian rule that players can't play tournaments qualies when they have to play slam qualies later that week was necessary. I think a lot of players benefited by playing one or two matches in the qualifying of tournaments like Sydney, Eastbourne and New Haven. It gave them some much needed match play to prepare for their Grand Slam qualifying matches. This opportunity has sadly now been taken away from all the players.
Players also couldn't defend points from last year because of the rule. Reigning French Open doubles champion Krejčíková for example could not defend her Nürnberg points (F) playing RG qualies (and doubles) which caused her to drop in ranking just in time to miss Wimbledon singles completely (drop to 230ish now hovering at the very end of top 200 with French Open points counted. I think they should have adjusted the qualification cuts deadlines so players forced not to play by the rule could make up for the missing points with the points from the Grand Slam that is causing them not to play. Otherwise players in 200-300 range closing in to break into top 200 or to whatever will be eventual cut off for next slam qualies have artificial advantage over players having rank to play the previous slam already.

Granted Krejčíková had been awful resultwise this year in singles till the French Open qualification and quite a fight against Plíšková in first round of the main draw but still. There are other players affected like this most not that severely though.
 
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