Tournament Expectations and Wrap-up: Western and Southern Open

We all know that I am a tennis virgin. I have never played so I can’t even claim the novice card. I would accept a master tennis watcher card though! I think I have at least 10, 000 hours watching matches and reading/listening to the sane and insane thoughts of tennis writers, bloggers, tweeters and podcasters. So this series is an attempt to think beyond the tennis tropes and narratives that do nothing to engage, inform or entertain. Hey, or maybe it will simply be a space for be to think about the tournament I will be watching. We will see.

Even after many years, I won’t tell you how many as I am sensitive about my shit–Badu and Tech N9ne lovers get this, I often don’t know the weight of tournaments on the WTA and ATP Tours, much less how they compare between the tours. @CarosWrist’s Chart resolved this for me. Thanks @carosWrist!

 

TOURNAMENT INFO

LOCATION: 20 miles north of Cincinnati in Mason, Ohio, at the Lindner Family Tennis Center
TIER: WTA Premier & ATP Masters 1000
PRIZE MONEY: $2,400,490
SURFACE: Hard
AIRED: ESPN
NOTES:
  1. Though it has been a joint event since 2011, the ATP winner will be awarded 731,000 and the WTA winner 495,000.  Equal Prize?
  2. It is the only tennis site in the nation outside of the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center to have four permanent stadiums – each of which has lights for night play.
TOURNAMENT QUERIES
  1. Will Drake pop-up at this tournament? He was seen at Wimbledon and the Roger’s Cup supporting Serena.
  2. Will players be successful in using this tournament to prepare for the US Open? This includes Serena, Federer, Halep and Vika to name but a few.
  3. Will all the top seeds and fan favorites play? There was anticipation for Sharapova and Venus to take the court since they did not play much after Wimbledon. Unfortunately they both pulled out with injuries, leg and viral respectively. Though I wonder if Sharapova is nursing a shoulder injury… and Serena and Halep look like they may have injuries from Toronto.
  4. Will Bencic crash and burn in her opener to Kerber? The phenom won her second title last week and has expended a lot of energy on the court. Not sure how much more she has in the tank. Same must be said for Halep given the amount of time she has spent on court since her four-week break.
  5. Serena did not play Stanford and she lost in round Bencic in the semi-finals of Roger’s Cup so this tournament will be important in her run for the calendar slam and slam #22 to reach Graff.
  6. Many will also be watching Kvitova given her mono diagnosis.
  7. On the ATP side, will there be any movement among the top 4?
  8. Will Murray continue on the ride of success he is having?
  9. Did Federer take a break for a training block and how fresh will he be?
  10. Will Nadal’s body hold-up?

TOURNAMENT WRAP-UP

PREVIOUS: Rogers’ Cup

NEXT: New Haven ESPN is only covering the later rounds on TV. Early rounds on ESPN3.

Tournament Score:   8/10

There were many great match-ups and matches. The stans were filled and the entire tournament was aired. The commentator pairings were good, especially since one of my favorites Cahill was front and center. The players seemed relaxed and focused even though many have logged many miles on court in the last few weeks. The chairs were on top of it this tournament almost like they were unmuzzled and freely snapped fans and players into acceptable behavior. I look forward the next stop in the US Open Series and a return to this tournament next year.

W an S Tournment Winners

  1. Serena struggled all tournament. Some called her game drama filled while others’ relied on the only Serena can beat Serena trope. Serena’s serve was playing peak-a-boo; her focus and footwork was inconsistent; she did not look confident, indeed the her anxiety was clear. From   to   her serve percentage. In the final
  2. Halep has been dealing with a lot of late, but the four-week break has served her well. She has dealt with the sophomore slump troupe the best! In case sarcasm is missed, I don’t think she has really had  a slump though she has obviously been overwhelmed by her rise. The expectations of the Romanian fans and a crazed stalker is more than enough to rattle anyone. She has shown a Williams like constitution.
  3. Sloan and Bencic were impressive.
  4. Bouchard even won a match. Though she still seems rather thin compared to last year when she broke through.
  5. Federer looked really good. Though his new trick, isn’t that new but it was just enough to rattle Djokovic. Standing in on return and rushing the net is something all the commies loved and Djokovic refused to discuss…
  6. The most exciting match was Serena vs. Ivanovich.
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