5 Things On My Mind As The 2011 Australian Open Ends

1. The WTA Ranking Computer needs to be reprogrammed.

Yes, Caroline Wozniacki is consistent and won 6 tournaments last year. But Kim Clijsters won 5 last year playing a much shorter schedule,  had a high match winning percentage and has started this year with a final and a Slam win. More importantly, she has now won the last three big events on the WTA schedule, The US Open, The Tour Championship and the Australian Open. Yet somehow she is not ranked #1 when the consensus is that she is the best player in the world in Serena’s absence.

2. It was a thrilling women’s draw even without Serena.

Highlighted by three superb match-ups; the high quality marathon between Francesca Schiavone and Svetlana Kuznetsova, the comeback win by Li Na over Caroline Wozniacki in the semis and the comeback win by Kim Clijsters over Li Na in the final. And before anybody dismisses Kim’s title because Serena didn’t play and Venus suffered an injury, keep in mind that Kim beat Venus on the way to all of her US Open wins (2005, 2009, 2010) and beat Venus and Serena in 2009.

3. Novak Djokovic can be #1 in the world.

It wasn’t just that he torched Andy Murray and Roger Federer in back to back matches. It was his new maturity and calm, coupled with an incredible level of fitness. It seems that leading Serbia to the Davis Cup final has changed something in Djokovic. He is not the same player that won the 2008 Australian Open. He is much better now, a real threat to Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer.

4. Li Na has a chance to do for China and the WTA what Se Ri Pak did for South Korea and the LPGA.

But while the country still loves her after her final loss, she needs to win a Slam to really open up the floodgates. Se Ri Pak was the pioneer that opened South Korea’s eyes to what was possible on the LPGA when she won the US Open and LPGA Championship her rookie year. But Se Ri was 20 at the time. Li Na, at 28, needs to win soon if she is to be the pioneer that Pak is.

5. Don’t underestimate Francesca Schiavone.

After winning her epic match with Kuznetsova, she had Wozniacki on the ropes and let her off. She played a set and a half of the most artistic tennis I saw the entire tournament, pulling out every shot in the book from everywhere on the court. But midway through the second set, when it looked like Caroline had no shot, Francesca helped her out by playing back to back loose games, which gave Caroline hope and boosted her game. Francesca could never get her rhythm back. How much of it had to do with the long matches Frannie played leading into that match, I don’t know. What I can say is that two weeks ago I would not have made Francesca one of the favorites at Roland Garros, despite her 2010 win. Now, I would say it will take an A-game effort for somebody to beat her on the clay in Paris.

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