Radwanska and Vandeweghe Try To Jump Out As “First Name” Players in San Diego
by Erik Gudris
This week, thanks to Global Village Tennis News, I was able to cover thefinal rounds of the Mercury Insurance Open down in Carlsbad, CA. Asidefrom it being a WTA Tour event, itâ€™s been a little different covering atournament from the middle to end instead of starting at day one.Although we are in the final stages where, supposedly, the best actiontakes place, sometimes it feels like Iâ€™ve missed out on some the biggerstories earlier this week, like Dinara Safina and Ana Ivanovic stillbeing unable to get a string of wins together in their comebackattempts. But I think yesterdayâ€™s action for me proved to be the realstories this week, if nothing else in that it showcased a newcomer and,if you can believe it, a veteran of sorts, who could both findthemselves in the elite tier, not of the top five, but a small group ofplayers that everybody knows on first name basis.
Take for example the impressive run of 18-year-old CoCo Vandeweghe whowent from the qualifying rounds to the quarterfinals, taking outWimbledon finalist Vera Zvonareva before losing yesterday to SvetlanaKuznetsova, Vandeweghe, who lives in the San Diego area, received atremendous amount of local support and looks to be a potential new staron the WTA Tour. Vandeweghe, despite her loss, was already lookingforward to her next tournament in Cincinnati after receiving a wildcardentry there for her efforts this week. If she can climb the ranks asquickly as Melanie Oudin remains to be seen, but her game definitely hasthat potential considering sheâ€™s almost a foot taller than Oudin andpossesses a lot of raw power on her forehand and serve. Her last namemight give some fans trouble, but with a first name like â€œCoCoâ€, theyoung American definitely has first name star status written all overher.
Meanwhile, with the absence of the Williams sisters or even MariaSharapova, this weekâ€™s event has allowed other players to shine thatotherwise tend to get lost in the draw sheets of the major events.Agnieszka Radwanska, long one of the most consistent players on tour, isfinding herself more often in the later rounds of tournaments thisyear. Casual fans that have seen Radwanska play maybe once or twiceprobably expect her to retrieve every ball and not much else. Latelythough, Radwanska continues to show very nice touch and an instinct toclose off points with volley winners at the net. A lot of people likecomparing her to Martina Hingis but when asked herself about thatcomparison, Radwanska, and I think rightly so, doesnâ€™t get it. Radwanskacertainly exhibits Hingis-like qualities but Radwanskaâ€™s game is muchmore suited to dealing with the constant bludgeoning many WTA playersgive the ball these days. Itâ€™s only Radwanskaâ€™s touch that gives her anextra card to play so to speak in tight matches.
Radwanska proved last week in Stanford in her three set loss to MariaSharapova that she can hold her own against the â€œone-nameâ€ players ontour who dominate Grand Slam events and the mediaâ€™s attention. IfRadwanksa can use her all her talents to find herself in the finalstages of this yearâ€™s U.S. Open, she herself could find enter â€œfirstnameâ€ status if only for her nickname alone â€“ Aggie.
Erik Gudris is reporting for Global Village Tennis News this weekend at the Mercury Insurance Open. In addition to his articles he'll be tweeting live updates, photos and commentary from our twitter account @GVTennisNews. He is the editor of Adjusting The Net. Find him on twitter @AdjustingTheNet.