Tomorrow begins the end for the women's season, and let's be honest: It should have happened right after the U.S. Open. The fact that five women have held the No. 1 slot this season might suggest a high level of competition to some.
Well, only two guys held No. 1 on the ATP tour. So I'm gonna nix that theory.
The women's tour has lacked any real rivalries, few really good matches, and about as much depth as my bathroom sink. If this season's to be saved, this year-end event in Doha is going to have to be a classic.
It's almost like the organizers knew it, too. The Serbians are together in one group. The Williams girls are in the other. A look at the first day in the desert:
Svetlana Kuznetsova v. Vera Zvonareva: This is going to sound terrible, but has anyone else wondered if Zvonareva's wearing that much eye makeup as a preventive measure against crying? Anyway, there's a big-time head case in this match-up, and it's not Zvonareva. Kuznetsova's had a good year, but has come up short in the big matches. Although Kuznetsova owns Zvonareva big-time in career meetings, that goes out of the window until Kuzzy proves she can close.
Jelena Jankovic v. Ana Ivanovic: Ooh. My interest is piqued. Right after I questioned whether Ivanovic is a one-Slam wonder, she stepped up, playing Venus Williams tough in Zurich and then won in Austria. (I'm gonna go ahead and take credit for that.) So Ivanovic is warming up just as her countrywoman's getting ready to shut it down for the season, after this, her 73rd tournament of the year. I don't think Jankovic's got enough left in the tank to get out of the round-robin, um, round.
Has anyone seen those "Looking for a Hero" commercials with Jankovic, by the way? While she's becoming a "superhero" by going through those revolving doors, I can't help but think that in real life, she would have definitely injured herself doing that stunt.
Dinara Safina v. Venus Williams: A match-up between the Jan Bradys of their families. I think that next year, this match will be more competitive, but Venus will probably steamroll Safina until she believes she belongs in the upper echelon. It's all in Safina's head right now.
Quick note about Shanghai: Rafa Nadal is OUT! We can blame the schedule or Nadal's wildly successful year, but the year-end championships should have THE best, so this is bad news! So this means Gilles Simon is in. I'm already way more excited about Shanghai without Nadal than a "full" field in Doha. Sad.