New Not a fan of the trend of Simona looking brilliant for a couple of matches, then getting absolutely blown out of the court by someone with a decent amount of power. I don't see her ever winning a slam on hardcourt now. In fact, I'd say Wimbledon is her most likely, if she avoids Kvitova and Muguruza, and the AO version of Serena

This is fair enough I think as any big hitter on a good day can blow Simona off the court BUT she's never done particularily well indoors and she came into this tournament having dealt with a nagging shoulder injury.

Of course, Sabalenka was sublime for the most part in their match, however I have a feeling Simona took a look at the draw, saw Vondrousova and Alexandrova in her path -she has a negative H2H against both-, dealt with both playing great tennis and that was pretty much it. Obviously if Sabalenka was gonna display a poor level, Simo would take it and run but that wasn't the case and I think she also maybe chose not to push her body to some great lengths trying to counterattack Aryna's missiles in Stuttgart of all places with the entire clay season ahead of her.

We'll see what comes next for her.

Today, a player I have been following for years has done very well for herself. Almost 13 years after winning her first WTA trophy in Tashkent, Sorana Cirstea defeated Elise Mertens in straight sets in the Istanbul final. Now, if you know Sorana you also know that on a good day she can compete with the very best in the game however her fluctuations during a match can easily give her fans symptoms of heart attack and, at the very least, general fatigue and nausea. Not the case today or this week, as Sorana didn't lose a single set and came back from being lead several times in her matches, such as today in the second set as well. This is, all in all, a great story for her and there's potential for more as the year goes on if she keeps this level and focus. With powerful strokes, great net game and a good serve, the potential has been there all this time. Keep it up, Sorana!

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That must break a record for longest gap between a first and second WTA title, surely?

It's now the third longest! Mirjana Lucic Baroni owns the record, with a 16 years wait before 1998 Bol and 2014 Quebec City while Kimiko Date-Krumm comes second with her 1996 San Diego - 2009 Seoul gap.

Worth noting both Mirjana and Kimiko were inactive for a nice chunk of those years while Sorana has been active during her entire gap. Sori did make two more finals following her 2008 Tashkent run; the most notable being the Premier 5 Rogers Cup one back in 2013 during which she defeated, in order, Wozniacki, Jankovic, Kvitova and Li Na on her path to the final but Serena was just too much for her that day.
Osaka's clay woes continue, but I'm more interested to see how she looks at Wimbledon this year, to be honest. She actually did decently on the red in 2019, which passed me by, but I wonder if she's gonna increase her schedule at some point. Obviously if she keeps getting a slam a year, it's rather moot how she does in Rome and Madrid.

Praying for a Vika-Simona quarterfinal, but Sabalenka will probably crush both of them if she keeps it up, and then collapse 3-6 6-4 1-6 against Pavlyuchenkova or whoever emerges from that section. And Iga and Barty is probably the biggest clash of on-form players so far this year? I still think it'll be straight sets for whoever wins, though.
Osaka's clay woes continue, but I'm more interested to see how she looks at Wimbledon this year, to be honest. She actually did decently on the red in 2019, which passed me by, but I wonder if she's gonna increase her schedule at some point. Obviously if she keeps getting a slam a year, it's rather moot how she does in Rome and Madrid.

Whether it's the right attitude or not, Naomi will be focused on Tokyo for this year.
I don't she's banking on getting too many results on clay or grass.

2022 should be a different story though and I really hope she starts focusing on playing regularly and doing what she needs to do to improve on the natural surfaces.
Hm, I’ve seen Mertens take out Halep before, but I wonder if this season is taking on a downswing for Simona.

It was a pretty great match to be fair, but the moments where I expected Halep to have that killer instinct and close out, she just collapsed mentally, regrouped, got ahead again, then blanked again. She just doesn't have that mental edge over people that could have allowed her to dominate on clay for the last 4/5 years or so. The last time she had established any kind of aura, she ran into Iga at the French, and since then she's looked completely stoppable, even when she's had 6-0 sets this week.

At the moment I think she's in a spot where she's always in the conversation for the big titles, but never a big shock to lose.

I feel so sorry for Azarenka, I hope she can show some more form this season, but this is like the third tournament she's had to withdraw from...
I want to go all in for Naomi, but if she’s only going to show up twice a year, it leaves you wanting.
I know they both lost today but the fact that Serena - knocking 40, nothing left to prove, very likely on her farewell tour - put up the bigger fight is a very poor reflection on Naomi. She shouldn't be writing off clay as a lost cause, certainly not this early on.
An exciting few weeks ahead, for sure. I would love to see Tsitsipas make a run for it in Paris, he seems the most likely to do it of the young guns, but I think Rafa has a couple left in him yet.

For the women, it's hard not to think of Swiatek as the favourite after today - depending on how serious Barty's injury is and which version of Muguruza turns up. Halep (if she plays at all) hasn't looked herself recently, Ostapenko is showing signs of life but a run at the title looks unlikely, Osaka seems ambivalent to clay at best, Serena may have a slam left in her but it isn't this one, Pliskova and Svitolina (the former especially) seem to be settling rather too well into their roles as the eternal bridesmaids of the WTA. Sabalenka should be a major contender on recent form, and I think this is the slam where she finally makes a quarter final at least (at number 4 in the world, questions will be asked soon if she doesn't) but her tendency to let emotions get the better of her worries me.

Wimbledon is even more intriguing because none of the young guns on either tour have really broken out there yet, and I'm very interested to see who will be first. It's going to be a bittersweet one though, because I think between one and all of Roger, Andy, Venus, Serena and Angie will be taking to the grass for the final time.
Definitely agree with pretty much everything you've said @Someboy, with Barty and Swiatek riding at the top tier, then Sabalenka/Kvitova/Muguruza bringing it up. It'll be interesting to see if Kenin can make another hail mary run, or (more likely) be a non-factor.

Such a shame for Halep, especially as she was just starting to show a flicker of form, but I'm more interested for her on the grass (if she makes it), along with Osaka and a few others.

Tsitsipas is definitely the prime challenger to both Novak and Rafa, and I think Thiem would raise his game if he made it anywhere near them, which isn't certain. We've actually got a bit of interesting depth in the men's side that intrigues me more than usual - Karatsev, Sonego, Musetti, Ruud, Opelka could all make runs, not to mention Rublev and Diego especially.

I'm really just hoping that Wawrinka can get some good matches in, to make up for all the gutting slam quarterfinals he's had in the past few years.
Also, apropos of nothing, but Wawrinka's 2014 outfits were literally the gay awakening for 12 year-old me.

No confirmation from her or her team directly, but multiple sources are reporting that Simona is out of Roland Garros.
I think anything less than the semifinals would be disappointing for Tsitsipas at this point. It really feels like it could be his chance, after so many others... to lose to Nadal in a GS final.

Speaking of Thiem, it feels like there's almost no pressure on him at this point? He could literally go out in R1-3, or make the quarters, and I wouldn't bat an eyelid either way.
I like this version of Coco Gauff who picks up small titles on the tour when no one’s looking. It’s only in her best, long term interests I think if she has these smaller victories for a year or two more before she picks up a big title and the whole world starts looking again.

I think a quarter-final run would set Coco up perfectly here. She'd be going the furthest she's gone in a slam, but be still hungry for more on the grass and especially the Olympics. Imagine a 1992-Capriati-like run, that would be insane (and immediately send the hype train skyrocketing again, which would not be ideal).
I'm surprised it's taken this long for someone to do this, to be honest. How many press conferences actually throw up any interesting quotes or insight whatsoever? About 1%?