Liguori: US Open Seeding Controversy For The Williams Sisters

By Ann Liguori
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The women’s seeding at the US Open often provides fuel for discussion for various reasons.

The top seed for the past two years, Caroline Wozniacki, has never won a Grand Slam event. Denmark’s Wozniacki is ranked number one in the world though, and will again be the top seed at the US Open. She was No. 1 last year as well and got to the finals, where she lost to Kim Clijsters.

Clijsters would have been going for her third consecutive US Open title, but delivered a blow to the women’s draw when she announced last week that a stomach muscle injury forced her to withdraw from the tournament.

Then there is the case of Serena Williams, who when healthy, is the best female player on the planet. She has won 13 Major Championships and is a three-time winner at the US Open – 1999, 2002 and 2008.

The problem is, she is coming back from a series of health issues and injuries — and her ranking dropped considerably. But she has returned with a purpose and won back-to-back hard-court titles at Stanford and Toronto, before withdrawing from Cincinnati last weekend to rest her toe (or was it to attend Kim Kardashian’s wedding?).

Serena at No. 28 doesn’t make sense. She’ll face top players early in the women’s draw and prevent better players from getting to the later rounds — where they should be competing. That is what the seeding system is all about!

The WTA Rankings determined the seeds in the women’s draw this year, just as the ATP Rankings determined the men’s seeds.

In the past and at other majors, other factors, rather than rankings, are considered when seeding players. In Serena’s case, she should have been seeded higher. And Venus should have been seeded, given her number of US Open titles and career achievements.

At Wimbledon, the seeds are not entirely based on rankings. Serena was seeded No. 7, nineteen places higher than her ranking at the time. Venus, winner of five Wimbledon titles, was moved up there as well. Venus is ranked No. 36 this week despite winning two US Opens (2000 and 2001) and 7 total Major Championships. And how about the fact that she is still one of the top players in the game healthy?

Venus is not seeded at all this year! Something is wrong with that picture!

2011 US Open Women’s Singles Seeds

1. Caroline Wozniacki, Denmark

2. Vera Zvonareva, Russia

3. Maria Sharapova, Russia

4. Victoria Azarenka, Belarus

5. Petra Kvitova, Czech Republic

6. Na Li, China

7. Francesca Schiavone, Italy

8. Marion Bartoli, France

9. Samantha Stosur, Australia

10. Andrea Petkovic, Germany

11. Jelena Jankovic, Serbia

12. Agnieszka Radwanska, Poland

13. Shuai Peng, China

14. Dominika Cibulkova, Slovakia

15. Svetlana Kuznetsova, Russia

16. Ana Ivanovic, Serbia

17. Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, Russia

18. Roberta Vinci, Italy

19. Julia Goerges, Germany

20. Yanina Wickmayer, Belgium

21. Daniela Hantuchova, Slovakia

22. Sabine Lisicki, Germany

23. Shahar Peer, Israel

24. Nadia Petrova, Russia

25. Maria Kirilenko, Russia

26. Flavia Pennetta, Italy

27. Lucie Safarova, Czech Republic

28. Serena Williams, United States

29. Jarmila Gajdosova, Australia

30. Anabel Medina Garrigues, Spain

31. Kaia Kanepi, Estonia

32. Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez, Spain

Do you agree with the seeding? Let Liguori know in the comments below!


One Comment

  1. Chris Leavey says:

    It should be about rankings, but past champions should get “points” to move up in the rankings. Golf does that, you’ll get “a pass” and be ranked for a previous championship for a period of years. But should the Williams be top 10? No, that would not be fair to all the others who travel the challenger circuit and play their tails off to get that deserved ranking. A ranking is just that: a ranking. It’s not perfect, but it is fair, maybe a tweak here and there, but don’t reward injury.

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