Julia Goerges


ATP — Shanghai Masters — Shanghai, China

Final — 4:30 AM EST (TTC)

Andy Murray:  + 145

Novak Djokovic:  – 170

……..

Sorry for the shallow analysis, but we think Murray is in trouble this morning.  We thought a good Roger would beat him yesterday, as well.  For us, Roger didn’t play that well, and we aren’t that surprised, though we aren’t about to chalk it up to Murray being the greatest player on earth.  Murray was talking afterward about his new aggressive demeanor and the kid should face up to the fact that grinding won him the US Open, not shot making.  Roger had a lot going on in China, where he is revered, and he had the top ranking back and it was his first and only event in the far east.

Murray is a consecutive champ here so he obviously likes the conditions.  But Djokovic should be amply motivated to start getting the edge back in his Murray rivalry.  And Djokovic, not Murray, is the best player on hards in the world.

WTA — Generali Ladies — Linz, Austria

Victoria Azarenka:  – 1500

Julia Goerges:  + 1000

……

Azarenka.  In a walk.  We hate money lines like these, but really it is a bargain for Azarenka anyway because if she were (– 5000) we would still believe in her very much.  Betting against Azarenka is becoming very risky business, even when Serena is the opponent.

We like the favorites straight and will parlay them as well, theoretically.  Also, very bad job by The Tennis Channel for not airing the Azarenka match.

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The Radwanska sisters (above), never to be confused with the Williams sisters or even the Bryan brothers.

We may have given the impression earlier that the field in Dubai was anything but stellar.  How could we not?  The style we favor, if you could even say that we favor that style, has no real entrant in the draw.  No Williams, no Kvitova, no Azarenka, and with what we’ve seen this week, any of them would be waltzing out of here with the big oil check.  It’s hack tennis at it’s worst, or it’s finest, take your pick, with roiling tussles such as Jankovich-Radwanska, 3 set barn burners.

So I’m watching that match and I’m saying ‘now which player is going to do enough to lose this match?’, as that is the pertinent question when 2 masters of the pop gun pusher realm such as these strut out to center court to let their errors do the talking.  And weren’t we so gratified when Radwanska, our favored hack, prevailed over Jankovic, our least favored hack.  In answering myself the question, more questions came to be posed.  Like, which player will convert more overheads to forehands or backhands?  Which will throw in more double faults?  Which will convert more volleys into topspin groundstrokes?  Which will assault the net with half hearted volleys?

Well, we firmly believed that Jankovic would do enough to lose the match and Radwanska wouldn’t, picturing Jankovic, the worst female volleyer on the planet, in all sorts of hijinx.  And then, after the obligatory first set in the grand coward’s tet a tet went to Jankovic, there she was, moving backward on the court, actually approaching and coming in and then receding toward the baseline to lose the point.  Bravo!!  For that requires so much inanity that it must be commended.  Jankovic, the hack of all hacks, made twice as many errors, and Radwanska, who we knew we could count on for at least a bit of instinct and fundamentals, came through, seeing the obvious opportunity that is Jelena Jankovic and capitalizing on it.

Bravo to that, as well.  And as we try to decipher today’s final between Radwanska and Goerges, we are forced to consider our other least favored hack, and how these hacks have fared with Julia Goerges, who, technically, has the kind of game that we can root for in a girl who plays tennis.  A girl with weapons.  An electric forehand, and an at times, very decent first serve game.  In highly technical theory.  In strict actuality, Goerges can not get her act together worse than Wozniacki, who she has ironically beaten three times in a row.  For whatever reason, Goerges does enough to win against Wozniacki who does enough to lose, and yet when Goerges plays Radwanska and Jankovic, two similarly ugly grunts, she can barely get a game.  We think the reason is that Goerges is a terrible head case, and that Jankovic and Wozniacki, two family coached players, do not have the sound fundamental base in their tennis game to take advantage of simple things, like overheads, but that Radwanska does, and so Goerges’ many doubles and bad errors mean a very pricey luxury auto and a fat check are in Radwanska’s immediate future.

In Melbourne, Radwanska pasted Goerges, 6-1, 6-1.  Since Radwanska needs a player like Goerges, or pretty much, all players, to lose the match because she can’t win it on her own, and won in that fashion suggests that Goerges lost that match really well.  As much as I’d like to think Goerges is gonna seize an opportunity here tomorrow, I don’t think it.  I’ll be rooting for her, but with no theoretical units on the line, because we just do not have faith in Goerges at all, in this kind of match on a tacky faux clay hard court, the same as where she lost really well to Radwanska last month.  She’s not a good bet, but that said:

Dubai Duty Free Tennis Ladies Final

_____________________________________

Goerges:  + 220

Radwanska:  – 300

……….

We like Goerges.  Theoretically.  As a player, not as a winner tomorrow.  And we like Radwanska.  She’s kinda like a Polish Wozniacki to us.  Theoretically.  As a player, who we know will not seize the moment in a big match against a decent player no matter what the result of the first set is, and as an actual winner tomorrow.

It really is stellar tennis though, this Dubai quagmire, in its own way.  And we’ll be watching this morning utterly fascinated.  Until we have to turn it off.

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Last week, world #1 Victoria Azarenka won her third straight event, and extended her unbeaten streak to 17-0 this year with a resounding 6-1, 6-2 victory over US Open Champion Sam Stosur.  And it was a complete smackdown in Doha for Stosur, who may have come into the match thinking she had a chance.   Azarenka sprained her ankle in Saturday’s semi-final versus Agnieszka Radwanska, whom she easily defeated 6-1, 6-1.  Azarenka’s mobility was a question mark coming in, but one that was pretty much set to rest when she broke Stosur in the 3rd game of the 1st set, and then rolled.  Judging by the last 2 hardcourt majors, Stosur and Azarenka are the top hard courters in the world, and we thought Stosur, who caved to the usual pressures in Melbourne, had gotten her game back, and that considering Azarenka’s ankle issue, she might have been due for a victory in this matchup.  Azarenka, 5-0 in the matchup head to head coming in, seemed like she might have been due to drop one, in a lot of respects.

Don’t get us wrong because we have always had a lot of respect for her, but Azarenka is opening our eyes in a way we were not quite expecting yet.  She has progressed so far from this summer, and this year, has announced that her time is now.  Good show.  We just didn’t see her as being offensive minded enough last summer to win big yet, and thought that her composure was an issue in the big spot.  While that seemed to be the case even in Melbourne against Clijsters, she pulled herself out of it, and is currently unbeatable.  Her offense has been fantastic.  She was hitting frozen ropes off her forehand all last week, decidely her weaker wing.  Also, she is not making errors on the forehand, and her winners have been finely placed.  This kid is exploding with confidence.  She is going for lines and coming that close, without missing.

She dismantled Stosur, who on paper, had a pretty good chance, if she could line up her own big forehand, running around the backhand, as she likes to do.  Azarenka did not let her control points with her forehand.  She exposed Stosur’s backhand enough to cruise, and perhaps more impressively, she went after Stosur’s forehand, and it produced errors.  Azarenka’s pace off the ground was staggering.

On a bad ankle, Azarenka did not face one break point while breaking Stosur’s serve 5 times.  Stosur’s strengths, her first serve and her forehand, were ravaged today by Azarenka.  Azarenka won 50% of the points on Stosur’s first serve, and quite frankly, she made Stosur, a well conditioned player who has some weapons, look old.  We’re gonna call it the brilliance of Azarenka.  Electric ground strokes.  You could see Stosur, so anxious to step around her backhand, and when she had the chance, Azarenka’s pace was too much for Stosur to handle, even on her vaunted forehand wing.

Last week was a command performance by Victoria Azarenka, who is now hanging bagels on people like Novak Djokovic.  After her bye, she dispatched a very hot Mona Barthel 6-1, 6-0, then had an easy time of it with Simona Halep (6-3, 6-1), and then beat up on Yanina Wickmayer, a player with weapons, 6-4, 6-0.  After the easy win over Stosur in Doha, Azarenka decided to withdraw from Dubai this week, where a weak field produced these dubious semi-finalists:  Caroline Wozniacki, Julia Goerges, Jelena Jankovic, and Agniezska Radwanska.

Funny how Azarenka had been so effusive in her praise of Wozniacki for taking the pressure off of her, crediting that as a factor in why she has ascended to the top spot.  Wozniacki, the fair haired lass, could not have taken kindly to the um, backhanded compliment.  But she has probably been too busy making Rolex commercials lately to do much about it on the court.  Why would Rolex even want her, we have to muse?  She is not a winner, after all, but the watchmaker may be more interested in signing good aryans as opposed to good tennis players.  Wozniacki did little to reach the semis this week with victories over Simona Halep and Ana Ivanovic, before Goerges sent her packing today by playing the “german aggressive style” that Corina Morariu was so impressed by.  We think that’s just a bit of code for non puke tennis, which is obviously being played by more than just the Germans.  But even puke tennis, played with a little touch, ala Radwanska in Sydney, will give Wozniacki fits.  And if she can’t take big hitters and also fails at mirror image tennis, her current game is failing her miserably.  To break Goerges 5 times and still lose is the height of um, small time.

Wozniacki has now lost to Radwanska, Clijsters, Safarova, and Goerges this year, has won no tournaments, and has only 7 match wins.  The losses, while one can not be faulted for losing to Clijsters, have otherwise come against less than stellar competiton.  Only Radwanska resides in the top ten.  The Clijsters loss at Melbourne in the round of 16 means that Wozniacki did not defend her semi-finalist points from Melbourne from last year.  Today’s 7-6 (3), 7-5 loss to Goerges means that Wozniacki does not defend her points from Dubai last year, which she won.  In short, the Dutch Miss may slide out of the top 5 on Monday, as Stosur and Radwanska, who will compete in the final at Dubai, are poised to climb.

From first to 7th in less than a month is a precipitous drop indeed.  While we may have been too hard on Rolex earlier, they have made a serious mistake by backing an unproven player.  All the other players at one time or currently in the Rolex stable (Federer, Roddick, Del Potro, Li, Ivanovic) were major champions worthy of wearing that brand.  If Rolex is gonna speculate, they must feel it’s best to do so on a vapid blonde, or so it seems.

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