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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Women's Look Forward: Stanford


Call it The Big Prelude. The six weeks following Stanford are, arguably, the busiest of the year, with strong tournaments every week: San Diego is, in many ways, the biggest and strongest Tier II of the year. Los Angeles, the week after, is a little weaker, but still big. The Canadian Open is the only Tier I event of the summer. And New Haven is the last chance to get ready for the U. S. Open.

Is it any wonder that Stanford ends up being a little weaker as players try to balance off the desire to play all these events with the desire to be rested and ready for the Open?

Ironically, defending champion Venus Williams's injury was supposed to make the event stronger. With Venus unable to play, Serena Williams had entered the tournament, highlighting a field which also features Kim Clijsters, and Jennifer Capriati, Daniela Hantuchova, Jelena Dokic, and Meghann Shaughnessy. Lindsay Davenport was also supposed to be here, but her foot injury is keeping her out -- which tells us that the foot injury is very bad; she wouldn't skip this event if she could play.

But then Serena withdrew, citing pain in her left knee. Which makes things even more interesting for the #1 ranking, since she's out of the Canadian Open also. One reason Serena might have wished to play here (aside from swapping off with Venus) was to keep Kim Clijsters from taking the #1 ranking. It probably can't happen this week, even if Clijsters wins (and she has won this event in the past, and now finds herself as the clear favorite) -- but the Belgian could bring herself to within a win or two of Serena with a good result here.

Below the top, the field gets shallow rather quickly. The #7 seed is Eleni Daniilidou; #8 is Nadia Petrova. Lisa Raymond was promoted to #9 upon Serena's withdrawal. Alexandra Stevenson, Francesca Schiavone, Laura Granville, and Marie-Gaineh Mikaelian are some of the top unseeded players; we also have several solid hardcourters in Amy Frazier and Yoon Jeong Cho. But Sarah Taylor (ranked #75) is the last player to earn direct entry, and her promotion from qualifying has produced a rather crazy qualifying draw. Normally, Tier II qualifying would have 32 players. But this draw has only 23; every one of the eight qualifying seeds, plus unseeded Kim Grant (ranked #697 last week) were given byes. 13 of those 23 players in qualifying are ranked below #300; ten are below #500; four are unranked. (Though all four unranked players, Leslie Cavanaugh, Jamie Lieberman, Dewonder Davis, and Jennifer Poulos, lost in the first round, all by bagel; Lieberman and Davis were double-bagelled and Cavanaugh and Poulos won one game each. Against players ranked too low to be seeded in qualifying. Tells you something or other....)

Obviously we can't recommend spending too much time watching the qualifying; this is weaker than most Challengers. The main draw is more interesting; most of the seeds will face at least something of a challenge. The major exception is #2 seed Clijsters, who as one of the top four seeds, will get a first round bye; she was supposed to open against Lisa Raymond, but with Raymond promoted, now will take on Amber Liu or one of those weak players out of qualifying. #3 seed Capriati, who finds herself in Serena's spot, will start against tenacious Marion Bartoli or solid hardcourter Laura Granville -- the latter facing the interesting task of learning to defend points. #4 Hantuchova, who is in the worst shape anyway, faces either Cara Black or Amy Frazier; given Frazier's hardcourt record, that has very strong upset potential. #5 seed Dokic, promoted into Capriati's spot, will probably face Stevenson in the second round.

#6 seed Shaughnessy, now the top player in the draw to play a first round match, will open against Jelena Jankovic, and should be tested in the second by Marie-Gaianeh Mikaelian (or a qualifier). #7 Eleni Daniilidou will start against a fellow one-hander in Tina Pisnik, then either Francesca Schiavone or Jill Craybas; there is a lot of clay and not much hardcourt skill in that section. #8 seed Nadia Petrova may have it easiest of all; she'll face a qualifier, then either Taylor, the lowest-ranked direct entrant, or Anca Barna, just in from playing Fed Cup in Indonesia. #9 seed Raymond, who is in what used to be Dokic's #5 spot, has a still worse opening match as she faces hardcourt-loving Yoon Jeong Cho. That match has upset possibilities, and if Raymond wins that, she'll get a distinct change of look (though not a lot of pace) from Rita Grande.

The quarterfinals will pit Capriati against Raymond, Clijsters against Shaughnessy, Dokic against Petrova, and Hantuchova against Daniilidou. Given how most of those players are playing now, only Clijsters seems like a strong bet for the semifinals.

The Rankings. This, it appears, will be a very quiet week, rankings-wise. With Clijsters defending finalist points and Serena defending nothing, Serena is set at #1 even though she isn't playing. Justine Henin-Hardenne isn't here, so Clijsters is safe at #2, and Henin-Hardenne is set at #3. #4 Venus Williams, the defending champion, will lose some ground, but Lindsay Davenport's absence means that Venus's #4 ranking is safe -- for this week. Davenport will stay #5. Our first possible move is at #6; if Capriati can win Stanford, she'll take that spot away from Amelie Mauresmo. It doesn't look like a very good bet. If Capriati doesn't win, she'll stay #7. Chanda Rubin is safe at #8 unless Daniela Hantuchova wins the event (and maybe even if she does win). Hantuchova is safe at #9. Anastasia Myskina will remain #10 unless Jelena Dokic wins.

In terms of points to defend, the players with the most on the line are winner Venus Williams, finalist Kim Clijsters, semifinalist Lindsay Davenport -- and semifinalist Lisa Raymond. Raymond has 166 points to defend; a first round loss could take her out of the Top 30.

We should note in addition that Sopot was played at this time last year. Last year's champion Dinara Safina will lose her Top 50 spot (at least for the moment); she'll end up around #80. Finalist Henrieta Nagyova will fall to about #110. Tathiana Garbin, who has already fallen out of the Top 100, will lose several dozen more spots. Monica Seles, with 64 points to defend, will end up around #27. Vera Zvonareva, with 80 points on her record, should lose a ranking spot or two. And Anna Kournikova, with 76 points to defend, will probably fall below #90. We find ourselves wondering if this won't push the WTA to fiddle with the injury rules; Kournikova has played only five events in the past six months, and won only one match. A small change in the rules -- and a reasonable change -- would give her a Top 50 injury ranking, and let her be Gold Exempt next year.
 
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Below the top, the field gets shallow rather quickly....

Obviously we can't recommend spending too much time watching the qualifying; this is weaker than most Challengers. The main draw is more interesting
story of women's tennis...:eek:

thanks for posting...;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
yukon145 said:
Can some please explain what Gold exempt is.
The Tier 1's and Tier 2 tournaments provide a spot for a Gold / Silver exempt player to enter the tournament later than the committment deadline. Being a Gold Member gives you higher status than anyone else. However, they rank the Gold Members. If two Gold Members want a WC, the higher of the two on the Gold Member list gets the WC. Serena is the #1 Gold Ranked Player because shs is #1. Basically, since she is #1, this can get her into any tournament she wants. If Serena and Kim wanted one of the WC's into, say Scottsdale, Serena would receive it. She is guaranteed the spot. Basically, Kim would have to hope that the tournament gives her one of the remaining WC's, but she is still not guaranteed to get one.

I hope that gives you some help to what it really is. It just helps certain players get into tournaments easier.
 

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VeNuS FoReVeR said:
The Tier 1's and Tier 2 tournaments provide a spot for a Gold / Silver exempt player to enter the tournament later than the committment deadline. Being a Gold Member gives you higher status than anyone else. However, they rank the Gold Members. If two Gold Members want a WC, the higher of the two on the Gold Member list gets the WC. Serena is the #1 Gold Ranked Player because shs is #1. Basically, since she is #1, this can get her into any tournament she wants. If Serena and Kim wanted one of the WC's into, say Scottsdale, Serena would receive it. She is guaranteed the spot. Basically, Kim would have to hope that the tournament gives her one of the remaining WC's, but she is still not guaranteed to get one.

I hope that gives you some help to what it really is. It just helps certain players get into tournaments easier.
Thanks alot, I always thought it was more confusing than it really is.
 

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yukon145 said:
Thanks alot, I always thought it was more confusing than it really is.
There's more. Kim is not the #2 Gold Exempt player. The Gold Exmept list was determined after last years US Open, and covers all of this year. So Venus, Jennifer, and probably Monica are all ahead of Kim on the list. Also, it follows the rankings fairly closely but also counts marketability.
 

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disposablehero said:
There's more. Kim is not the #2 Gold Exempt player. The Gold Exmept list was determined after last years US Open, and covers all of this year. So Venus, Jennifer, and probably Monica are all ahead of Kim on the list. Also, it follows the rankings fairly closely but also counts marketability.
Thanks to you too.
 

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Unfortunately, the WTA reserves the right to name an at-large Gold Exempt player, and for 2003 that privilege was bestowed upon one Anna Kournikova. The ex-Mrs. Sergei Fedorov can receive a wild-card entry into any event she chooses; is that unfair or what? Fortunately, with all the injuries Anna has suffered this year, it appears as if the :devil: is collecting on the deal she made with him. ;)
 

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TheBoiledEgg said:
for a full explanation go here:

Gold Exempt Rules
2003 Gold Exempt List*

1. Serena Williams
2. Venus Williams
3. Jennifer Capriati
4. Martina Hingis
5. Lindsay Davenport
6. Monica Seles
7. Amelie Mauresmo
8. Jelena Dokic
9. Kim Clijsters
10. Justine Henin
11. Anna Kournikova (wc)
12. Daniela Hantuchova
13. Anastasia Myskina
14. Chanda Rubin
15. Silvia Farina Elia
16. Elena Dementieva
17. Magdalena Maleeva
18. Alexandra Stevenson (wc)
19. Amanda Coetzer (wc)
20. Mary Pierce

7. Amelie Mauresmo and 8. Jelena Dokic are ranked higher in this list than Justine and Kim. Justine was ranked a lot higher than those two after the US Open last year. This means that last year tournament directors thought Amelie and Jelena were more interesting than the two Belgian players (eg. to pull spectators).

I'm interested if this will be the case after the US Open 2003.
 
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