WTA Diary: Doubles, Top Spot And Marital Bliss
Published January 22, 2013 03:27
Every week there's a lot happening on the WTA - on the court, off the court, by the numbers, even a few tweets... catch up on it all in this week's WTA Diary.
New partnerships, early season rustiness and the x-factor of Grand Slam competition often sees the Australian Open doubles throw up a few surprises, and this year has been no different.
In fact, such has been the unpredictability that seven seeds failed to make it beyond the second round. Thankfully, their number did not include either top seeds Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci or the Williams sisters who met in a blockbuster quarterfinal on Tuesday.
The match certainly lived up to its billing, with the Italian duo staging a miraculous recovery to fight back first from a set and 5-3 down and then a 3-0 deficit in the decider to prevail, 36 76(1) 75.
Race Hotting Up For No.1 Spot
As well as the Daphne Akhurst Memorial Cup, there is another prize up for grabs in Melbourne: the WTA's No.1 ranking.
Serena Williams is in pole position, knowing that by reaching the final she is guaranteed of returning to No.1 for the first time since October 2010. To complicate matters further, even if she falls prior to that then she can still take top spot should current No.1 Victoria Azarenka or No.2 Maria Sharapova slip up.
Clear as mud? It's all pretty complicated, so click here to read about all the possible permutations.
The battle for No.1 is just one of a number of subplots in Melbourne. Of the others, the one that has garnered most media headlines has been the emergence of the WTA's next wave of teenage stars.
Eleven teenagers survived the first round (last year it was three) and, at the time of writing, one is still standing - Sloane Stephens.
What's the key to marital bliss? Simple, hire a new coach.
Since joining forces with Carlos Rodriguez last August, Li Na has not only seen an improvement in her game, but also in the work-life balance with occasional coach and permanent husband Jiang.
"Jiang is happier with the arrangement, for sure," Li said. "I think the two of us feel a bit more relaxed about things. We've never quite been able to find the perfect balance between life and work. So there would be some friction at times.
"But now he's just my husband. So now both of us are thinking, 'why didn't we do this earlier?'"
Maria's Twitter Update
With an Australian Open title to win, Maria has understandably been pretty busy over the past week. Nevertheless, she still found time to send out a couple of Tweets and further enhance her reputation as tennis' Willy Wonka.
Sergiy Stakhovsky just asked me for some Sugarpova, noting he only sees empty bags in the men's locker room bins.
Ever wondered just how important those people sitting in the players' box are? Well, wonder no longer.