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Thursday, June 28, 2018

Wimbledon - Seeding makes Serena happy - leaving Cibulkova unhappy

One would have witnessed some people jumping Queue (say in trying to get a train seat or in a Ration shop) – so, when a person or a group of persons – cut the queue and surge ahead, they actually prevent those legitimately in the queue in getting their due share !! ~ I had posted earlier on Wimbledon seeding and Serena’s comeback after giving birth to a child.

Dominika Cibulková  is a Slovak professional tennis player who has  won eight WTA singles titles and two on the ITF circuit.  In 2014 she appeared in the finals of Australian open becoming the first female Slovak to reach the championship round of a grandslam.   She also won the WTA Finals in 2016, becoming the fourth player (after Serena Williams in 2001, Maria Sharapova in 2004 and Petra Kvitová in 2011) to win the tournament on debut.

Remember Cawley playing in a Wimbledon finals.  Evonne Fay Goolagong Cawley,   was one of the world's leading players in the 1970s and early 1980s, during which she won 14 Grand Slam titles: seven in singles (four at the Australian Open, two at Wimbledon and one at the French Open), six in women's doubles, and one in mixed doubles.

Now comes the news that Seven-time Wimbledon champion Serena Williams is the 25th  seed for this year's tournament, despite being outside the top 32 in the rankings.  Serena Williams, whose world ranking is No. 183 after she took time off to have a baby last year, has been seeded 25th  in the singles draw at Wimbledon, the tournament announced this day.  Serena Williams’s elevated status was the only deviation from the world rankings made by the seeding committee, made up of the tournament referee; representatives from the All England Club, the tournament host; and representatives from the Lawn Tennis Association, the governing body for tennis in Britain.

A seeding of 25 at Wimbledon, while much higher than someone with Williams’s world ranking could normally expect, still brings a difficult road as the tournament progresses. Seeds from 25 – to – 32  are drawn to face one of the top eight seeds in the third round.   The top eight players are Simona Halep, the French Open champion; Caroline Wozniacki, the Australian Open champion; Garbiñe Muguruza, the defending Wimbledon champion; Sloane Stephens, the United States Open champion; Elina Svitolina; Caroline Garcia; Karolina Pliskova; and Petra Kvitova.

The 36-year-old American  returning to the thick was in news as she was away from play after giving birth to her first child in September. Williams, a 23-time Grand Slam singles winner, has played only three tournaments in the past 12 months and is ranked 183rd in the world… .. .. and that brings some agony to - Slovakia's world number 32 Dominika Cibulkova who now would be unseeded. On Tuesday, Cibulkova said it would not be fair for Williams to be seeded ahead of her. "I don't think it's the right thing to do," said the 29-year-old. "I think it's just not fair. I have tried and I should be seeded. If they put her in front of me then I will lose my spot that I am supposed to have."

Simona Halep is the top seed, with Roger Federer her counterpart in the men's draw.  Federer is seeded a place higher than his world ranking, with world number one Rafael Nadal the second seed. With the exception of Williams, and perhaps Cibulkova,  all of the women are seeded in line with their WTA ranking. Williams is seeded one place lower than Maria Sharapova, who she was due to meet in the fourth round of the French Open before pulling out because of injury. Her sister Venus is the ninth seed.

However, due to  different rules in the two draws, Andy Murray cannot be seeded as he sits outside the top 32 in the rankings. Britain's three-time Grand Slam champion is returning from a hip injury. Williams will not have to face another seeded player before the third round, but at that stage should expect to run into one of the top eight in the world. So the protection a seeding offers her will be limited – that may be bane not for her, but for that seed !

Though  the committee clearly felt  Williams is a unique case: an extraordinary champion who has only been able to play three events in the past year after giving birth to her first child in September.   By elevating Williams to the No. 25 seed, the Wimbledon committee edged Dominika Cibulkova, ranked No. 32, out of the seedings. Cibulkova, who reached a career high of No. 4 in March last year, has had more middling results this year, with a 14-13 record. She lost in the first rounds of the Australian Open and French Open.

In 1980 in the finals the good looking Chris Evert Lloyd played against  and lost to Evonne Goolagong Cawley.  Martina Navratilova was the defending champion, but lost to her rival Chris Evert Lloyd in the semifinals.  Cawley defeated Evert Lloyd in the final, 6–1, 7–6(7–4) to win the Ladies' Singles tennis title at the 1980 Wimbledon Championships. The second-set tiebreaker in the final was the first tiebreak ever played in the ladies singles final at Wimbledon and the match was the first ever singles final (men's or women's) to end on a tiebreak. 

Goolagong realized during the 1976 US Open final that she was pregnant and did not play again on the regular tour until the late summer of 1977, continuing through to Wimbledon 1978. An ankle injury forced her to miss the remainder of 1978  and she did not return to competitive play until March 1979.  In 1980, She withdrew from the US Open where she had been seeded fourth, due to a recurring back injury and in the early stages of her second pregnancy.  She is the only mother to have won the Wimbledon title since Dorothea Lambert Chambers in 1914.

Interesting !

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
28th June 2018..

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