statology: runnings the #s on the wta sec field

By Christopher Phillips 


Maria is rearin’ to go.
(Getty Image)

Who said the numbers don’t matter?
TSF’s resident bracketologist, Chris Phillips, has run the numbers on the upcoming WTA Season Ending Championships to try to shed some light on just what, exactly, may come of the tennis being played in Istanbul. Will Caroline crumble on the pressure? Is Maria meant to be an afterthought for the rest of her carry? Chris carries the 3′s and breaks down the head-to-heads to help us understand.1. Lay off, will ya? Despite all the crap on Caroline Wozniacki not doing well at the Slams, she has the second most points of all the players accumulated at Slams with 3240 point accumulated. That puts her behind Li Na with 3505 — pretty much all from Australia & Roland Garros). Wozniacki maybe hasn’t won one, but she’s definitely the most consistent at them.  The next closest is Petra Kvitova (2785), and then Maria Sharapova(2740).2. Dark horses in a field of eight? Agnieszka Radwanska and Victoria Azarenka are clearly the players to beat this fall. Aggie is 11-1, winning Tokyo and Beijing and perhaps serendipitously losing in her opener against Lucie Safarova in Moscow. Vika is 9-2, winning last week in Luxembourg.

3. H2Hs m-a-t-t-e-r. Kvitova has the best record against the rest of the field (8-4) followed by Sharapova (7-5). The worst? Azarenka (4-8).

4. Play it, girl. Vera Zvonareva has the most matches against the field with 14 meaning … she’s generally the most consistent out of everyone? It’s hard to say exactly what it means, but Vera’s consistency has helped pay off in the past. Perhaps she can conjure up a big title in Istanbul.

5. A new No. 1? Wozniacki is 1025 points ahead of Sharapova, 1425 ahead of Kvitova and 1805 ahead of Azarenka.  1500 points go to the tournament winner if they don’t lose a round robin match. That means that Sharapova and Kvitova are the only players with a chance of finishing 2011 No. 1.  All Wozniacki has to do is play two round robin matches and Kvitova is out of the running for the top spot. If Sharapova wins the title and Wozniacki fails to make it to the semifinals, Maria is your new No. 1.

6. Li Nahasn’t beat a top 10 player since the French Open. And all five of her wins over the field came from the Australian and Roland Garros.

7. Playing indoors could give Sam Stosur and her booming serve an edge. And she won’t need to worry about Maria Kirilenko.

8. Apart from Auckland and Stanford, Sharapova has only played the Slams and Premier tournaments. She is the only player in the field to win at least one match at every tournament she entered – everyone else had one first-round loss (or second-round loss if receiving a bye).

Chris’ picks: Red Group
1. Kvitova 3-0 2. Wozniacki 1-2 (def. Zvonareva) 3. Radwanska 1-2 (def. Wozniacki) 4. Zvonareva 1-2 (def. Radwanska)
With a three-way tie for second, I’d give the final spot to Wozniacki.
White Group
1. Sharapova 2-1 (lost to Azarenka) 2. Azarenka 2-1 (lost to Stosur) 3. Stosur 2-1 (lost to Sharapova) 4. Li Na 0-3
With a three-way tie for first, I’d give the SF spots to Sharapova and Azarenka.
Semifinals: Kvitova def. Azarenka and Sharapova def. Wozniacki
Finals: Kvitova def. Sharapova
***Wildcard?! Sharapova’s ankle. Chris says: If she doesn’t finish RR then that gives Azarenka and Stosur a good chance to get in there. 

After the jump: Chris breaks down the ladies number by number to give you a clear head on what might/could/should happen. Hey, it’s the WTA!

Thought process: If I do my nails like Serena, maybe I’ll PLAY like Serena. (Getty Images)

Caroline “No, guys… I can doooooo this” Wozniacki
• Slams: Australian and US Open SFs, French 3rd round, Wimbledon 4th round (3240)
• Titles: Dubai, Indian Wells, Charleston, Brussels, Copenhagen, New Haven
• Record against the field: 5-3
• Fall: Tokyo R16 lost to Kanepi, Beijing QF lost to Pennetta
• Last Year’s SEC: Finalist. Lost to Clijsters; 2-1 round robin.

Maria “Sure, I’ll at least show up” Sharapova
• Slams: Australian 4th round, French SF, Wimbledon F, US Open third round (2740)
• Titles: Rome, Cincinnati
• Record against the field: 7-5
• Fall: Tokyo QF retirement to Kvitova
• Last Year’s SEC: Didn’t qualify

Petra “To first round? Or to take the title?” Kvitova
• Slams: Australian QF, French 4th round, Wimbledon W, US Open 1st round (2785)
• Titles: Brisbane, Paris, Madrid, Wimbledon, Linz
• Record against the field: 8-4
• Fall: Tokyo SF lost to Zvonareva (def. Sharapova), Beijing 2nd round lost to Arvidsson, Linz W (def. Cibulkova, Jankovic, Hantuchova)
• Last Year’s SEC: Didn’t qualify

Victoria “Just call me ‘Semifinalist Sally’” Azarenka
• Slams: Australian 4th round, French QF, Wimbledon SF, US Open 3rd round (1840)
• Titles: Miami, Marbella, Luxembourg
• Record against the field: 4-8
• Fall: Tokyo SF lost to Radwanska, Beijing R16 lost to Pavlyuchenkova, Luxembourg W
• Last Year’s SEC: 1-2 round robin

Na “How did I get invited to this thing?!” Li
• Slams: Australian F, French W, Wimbledon 2nd round, US Open 1st round (3505)
• Titles: Sydney, Roland Garros
• Record against the field: 5-4
• Fall: Beijing 1st round loss to Niculescu
• Last Year’s SEC: Didn’t qualify — was alternate

Vera Zvonareva
• Slams: Australian SF, French 4th round, Wimbledon 3rd round, US Open QF (1840)
• Titles: Doha, Baku
• Record against the field: 5-9
• Fall: Tokyo F lost to Radwanska (def. Kvitova), Beijing R16 loss to Ivanovic, Moscow QF
• Last Year’s SEC: Semifinalist l to Wozniacki; 3-0 round robin

Samantha Stosur
• Slams: Australian 3rd round, French 3rd round, Wimbledon 1st round, US Open W (2325)
• Titles: US Open
• Record against the field: 7-6
• Fall: Tokyo and Beijing 2nd round losses to Kirilenko, Osaka F lost to Bartoli

Agnieszka Radwanska
• Slams: Australian QF, French 4th round, Wimbledon 2nd round, US Open 2nd round (980)
• Titles: Carlsbad, Tokyo, Beijing
• Record against the field: 5-6
• Fall: Tokyo & Beijing W (Tokyo d Azarenka & Zvonareva), Moscow 1st round
• Last Year’s SEC: Didn’t qualifyThe WTA breaks down the SEC with its history by the numbers and how the players have fared this year coming into the “elite eight” in Istanbul.

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