Now, here is something I completely forgot to write about last week, what with all the shenanigans of Davis Cup... and also because the women's tour is not so interesting right now. Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, a personal favourite of mine, won a tour title - a tour title which I am pretty sure is her first - in Monterrey.
Coming right on the heels of Ernests Gulbis' first tour title, this makes me feel very vindicated. Pavlyuchenkova was an extraordinarily talented junior - I think she won a good half dozen junior Slams - but she came up at the same time as Alize Cornet, who obviously bloomed a little earlier. However, you'd be excused for saying 'who?' about Cornet at the moment - seriously, when is the last time she won a match? whereas Pavlyuchenkova has made some good steady progress.
I'm pretty sure it was Indian Wells last year where she made the semis - either there or Miami, anyway. That was her really big coming out party, the first really epic result she had on tour. However, she's been making good progress for a while now - she's very much a slow and steady wins the race sort of player in that sense.
But I was super glad to see her win this title in Monterrey because she really is incredibly awesome. In my mind, she really will be the next successor to that uber-Russian crown that Sharapova and Dementieva and Safina and Kuznetsova and Zvonareva and all those kids toss around among themselves. She's mentally steadier than more than a few of the players on that list and if she keeps progressing the way she is, she can do pretty much anything. And it's not as if she beat a whole crowd of nobodies in Monterrey - she ran up against Daniela Hantuchova in the final and lost the first set badly before gritting it out in three. That's some toughness right there.
Considering Indian Wells (I think) was her first breakout last year, I'll be interested to see how she backs that up - that can often be a test. But let us just say this - Jodi's picks are starting to come good. Now if only Sabine Lisicki could get her arse into the top ten and Gulbis could keep winning stuff, I could legitimately be a super genius.
Roger: older and not quite out
6 months ago