Kvitova over Serena, Sabalenka bounces Pliskova

Petra Kvitova played terrific on Tuesday at night in Cincy, beating Serena Williams 6-3, 2-6, 6-3. At Wimbledon, the Los Angeles resident played pretty well, reaching the final — again. Still feeling the effects of motherhood, she was still a little bit slow against Angie Kerber.

Like Kim Clijsters, Serena is finding coming back takes more time than expected. If Serena is patient, then the 36-year-old will play more often and win more frequently.

A few weeks ago, Williams was crushed in California, losing to Jo Konta. Now she goes down against Kvitova but she didn’t play poorly. At the US Open, Serena might be nervous, but she has won it six times, If she reaches the second week, watch out.

Win or lose, Aryna Sabalenka is coming up fast. She is powerful and head strong. On Wednesday, 20-year old Sabalenka eliminated the former No. 1 Karolina Pliskova 7-5 in the third. Good for the Belarus, mediocre the Czech, who is sputtering this year.

About the months ago, Pliskova reached the semis in Madrid, beating Vika Azarenka, Sloane Stephens and Simon Halep, before losing to Kvitova. After that, there is not much for Pliskova.

So yesterday, she decided to hire Rennae Stubbs as her coach. A former player and current broadcaster, Stubbs is very smart. But will Pliskova focus? And actually listen, all the time? That is hard to say, because on court, she can be mentally out of it. But when she is locked in, she can beat anyone. It should be fascinating at the US Open.   

Azarenka has been given a wild card at the US Open, but in Cincy, she lost to Caroline Garcia  6-4, 7-5. Garcia is substantially better over the past year and a half, but just like Serena, Azarenka has to readjust after becoming a mom.

Here’s a good win: Elina Svitolina beats Svetlana Kuznetsova in a marathon: 7-6(1), 3-6, 6-4. Svitolina may be reviving. 

Miami champion Naomi Osaka is suffering, losing  early again. Time to pick it up …

CoCo Vandeweghe is still hurt, I would imagine, when she was smoked by Kiki Bertens. The next day, the Belgian won easily as the No.  2 Caro Wozniacki has to retire with an injury. Caro is getting hurt a lot, again.

How many injuries? A billion, in the summer.

Wimbledon seeds Serena at 25

March 08, 2018: Serena Williams (USA) hits a backhand in her match against Zarina Diyas (KAZ) at the BNP Paribas Open played at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden in Indian Wells, California. ©Mal Taam/TennisClix/CSM

Well, look at Wimbledon, as they decide to allow Serena Williams into the top 32 seeds. 

The great player has won 23 Grand Slam titles. She had her first child last year, so she stopped playing for 13 months. She was thrilled and happy. However, when she returned in March, she needed to adjust, to take time, to be patient. As she has said, she needs to be keep steady and not think about losing.

Here and there, over the past five months, she has been frustrated, but eventually, the 36-year-old will get better, month after month.

However, Williams has not played a lot this season and right now, she is ranked No. 183. But the decision by Wimbledon to allow her higher — much higher — seeding. When they announced the seedings, Serena is ranked No. 25.

I can live with that. 

In many respects, it is better than just handing out wild cards, as the tournament say ‘yes, no problem, come on in.’ A lot of tournament directors and/or owners do it all the time. Like for Maria Sharapova, for instance. Over the past year, Sharapova received a ton of wild cards at various tournaments, but she wasn’t given seeds until she cracked the top 30. Now she is seeded, No. 24 at Wimbledon.  

The fact is that on grass, in England, at Wimbledon, people pay attention. Serena has won that tournament seven times. I repeat: seven huge titles. Are we going to say that: “Hey, when you come back, you have to start again at zero. Nothing.”

But Serena is not nothing. If Wimbledon is going to rank the top 32, let them go to it. It is not like she is coming back from nowhere.

Whether to not Serena wins again, at least a number of people will go out to watch her on court. After all, she was the dominator, and she could be dominate on grass once again next week. Don’t complain about her, just watch her.