January 15, 2019

Earning a number one ranking in the world gives you first dibs on opening discussions regarding important matches at any of women’s professional tennis grand slams.

Currently Romania’s Simona Halep is number one in the world.

Regarding where her game is at right now is open for discussion.

Lots of discussions, especially since she hasn’t won a match since her 2018 tournament in Cincinnati. That ladies and gentlemen is approximately 150 days ago.

She did win in the first round of the 2019 Australian Open defeating Estonia’s Kaia Kanepi 6-7, 6-4, 6-2.

Hooray.

We mean that with sincerity because nothing makes a slam more fascinating than Simona Halep firing on all cylinders.

fciwomenswrestling.com femcompetitor.com article, ausopen.com photo via YouTube

She’ll need it.

Guess who is on her side of the draw?

Serena and Venus Williams.

Yes, that is not a typo. Both of them.

Stated another way, in order for Simona to make it to the Semi-Finals, she has to finish ahead of both Williams sisters.

Defeating one is a monumental feat.

Well, this is what makes the Grand Slams so special.

In terms of her match with Ms. Kanepi you could feel the groans simmer through the audience after Simona lost the first set. In part why?

Well, first off, she hadn’t won a match in 150 days. There are human days, dog days and tennis days.

When it comes to tennis days, that’s a very long time.

Adding to the groan factor was the element that the two played recently at another slam called the 2018 US Open and as reported on August 27, 2018 by bbc.com, here is what occurred. “World number one Simona Halep became the first top-seeded woman to lose in the US Open first round, falling to a 6-2 6-4 defeat against Kaia Kanepi.”

Why was that loss so significant?

They add, “Before Monday’s defeat, no women’s top seed had lost in the opening round at the US Open since the professional era began in 1968.”

Headlines like this one from theguardian.com on January 9, 2019, leading up to the Grand Slam tournament were becoming all too common. “Ash Barty has delivered a warning to Australian Open title hopefuls with a straight-set victory over the world No 1 Simona Halep. That will do wonders for her before heading to Melbourne Park next week.”

We can understand why Simona did not want history to repeat itself.

The world’s number 4 player Naomi Osaka won the 2018 US Open and here cruised to an impressive first round win over Poland’s Magda Linette 6-4, 6-2.

It was a day when Naomi seemed to have more trouble with the bugs on the court as she asked the young ball persons to gently remove them.

How well do you play a first major championship after winning one? Most top players do not fare well.

Naomi is off to a great start by defeating Ms. Linette.

Lots of fans from Japan make their vacation plans to attend and enjoy the Australian Open so Naomi has a strong contingent to cheer her on.

By contrast to Simona’s draw, the strongest tests that Naomi could possibly face is Belgium’s number 12, Elise Bertens and America’s number 17, Sloane Stephens.

In other action most of the top players including Denmark’s Caroline Wozniacki  and the Americans Serena and Venus Williams along with Madison Keys and Sloane Stephens all won their first round matches.

American Women’s Tennis is alive and very well.

So often when players do exit in the first round, it is easy for the public to quickly forget who they are and their significance to the game.

Let’s take a closer look at two very exciting players in Kaia Kanepi and Magda Linette.

“Without leaps of imagination, or dreaming, we lose the excitement of possibilities. Dreaming, after all, is a form of planning.”… Gloria Steinem

Kaia Kanepi is an Estonian professional tennis player. She achieved her career-high ranking of world No. 15 on August 20, 2012 and has won four singles titles on the WTA Tour.

Estonia is a country in Northern Europe which borders the Baltic Sea and Gulf of Finland. Including more than 1,500 scenic islands, its diverse terrain spans rocky beaches, old-growth forests and many lakes.

If you visit Estonia you will walk with history. Formerly part of the Soviet Union, it’s dotted with castles, churches and hilltop fortresses.

The territory of Estonia has been inhabited since at least 9,000 B.C. Ancient Estonians were some of the last described European pagans to be Christianized,

Ms. Kanepi reached her first final in 2006, becoming the first Estonian player to do so, at the Gaz de France Stars where she lost to Kim Clijsters.

She then won her first singles title in Palermo in 2010, becoming the first Estonian player to win a title. She has also reached six Grand Slam quarterfinals in three different Grand Slams (French Open in 2008 and 2012, Wimbledon in 2010 and 2013, and the US Open in 2010 and 2017), becoming the first Estonian to achieve this and was the first Estonian to be ranked inside the world’s top 20.

Her numerous achievements have made her Estonia’s most famous and successful professional tennis player in history.

She reached the quarterfinals at the Brisbane International, beating rising Russian star Daria Kasatkina, currently ranked number ten and Lesia Tsurenko along the way.

This helped propel her back into the top 100 for the first time since August 2015.

At the 2018 Australian Open, she upset 24th seed Dominika Cibulkova in the opening round. Kanepi followed that up with a straight sets victory over Monica Puig to advance to the third round of the Australian Open for the first time since 2009, losing in three sets to Carla Suárez Navarro.

Despite losing her first-round match at the French Open to Kasatkina, Kanepi returned to the top 50 of the WTA rankings for the first time since May 2015.

Why might her hopes approaching the 2019 Australian Open be so high?

To highlight again, she defeated Simona Halep 6–2, 6–4 in the first round of the 2018 US Open, becoming the first player in US Open history and just sixth in Grand Slam history to beat the top-seeded player in the first round.

Our Estonian star made it to the fourth round of that highly watched tournament where she was defeated by the eventual 2018 US Open finalist, Serena Williams.

Magda Linette is a Polish professional tennis player. Her highest WTA singles ranking is Number 55, which she reached on February 12, 2018.

fciwomenswrestling.com femcompetitor.com article, Australian Open photo via YouTube

Her career high in doubles is number 95, which she achieved on 27 July 2015.

Magda made her first appearance in a WTA main draw at the Internationaux de Strasbourg in May 2013, where she also scored her first win at this level.

The same year, she reached her first WTA semifinal in Baku, coming from qualifying. Linette won her first WTA 125K title at the 2014 Ningbo International Women’s Tennis Open. She reached the final of 2015 Japan Women’s Open. Her best result in WTA Premier Tournaments is quarterfinal of 2016 Toray Pan Pacific Open.

We hope to see more of both of these talented Fem Competitors in the future.

Opening discussions about the world’s number one is understandable.

Follow up conversations about the excitement generated by this year’s 2019 Australian Open women’s draw is inevitable.

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OPENING PHOTO  ausopen.com photo via DNA India 

https://www.theguardian.com/sport/live/2019/jan/09/bernard-tomic-v-nick-kyrgios-kooyong-classic-live

https://www.apnews.com/a7abe2cae7d14d3fb5b63ce2f5874921

https://www.bbc.com/sport/tennis/45324260

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kaia_Kanepi

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magda_Linette

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Estonia

https://www.brainyquote.com/topics/excitement