Saturday, November 29, 2014

How'd I do? WTA version

I think I did pretty well.

As a reminder, here was my prediction for the Top 10 ranked WTA players from the USA at the end of 2014 -- and where I thought they'd finish in the rankings:

How I thought they'd do.\:
1. Serena Williams (2)
2. Sloane Stephens (20)
3. Madison Keys (25)
4. Venus Williams (30)
5. Jamie Hampton (40)
6. Christina McHale (50)
7. Alison Riske (60)
8. CoCo Vandeweghe (70)
9. Varvara Lepchenko (75)
10. Lauren Davis (80)

How they actually did: 
(11/24/2014 ranking) | how far away I was in the order | (how far away I was in their ranking)
1. Serena Williams (1) correct (+1)
2. Venus Williams (18) +2 (+12)
3. Madison Keys (30) correct (-5)
4. Varvara Lepchenko (35) +5 (+40)
5. Sloane Stephens (36) -3 (-16)
6. CoCo Vandeweghe (39) +2 (+31)
7. Alison Riske (43) correct (+17)
8. Christina McHale (52) -2 (-2)
9. Lauren Davis (55) +1 (+25)
10. Shelby Rogers (73) n/a (n/a)
32. Jamie Hampton -27 (-289)

All in all, I did not too shabbily. 9 out of 10, including 3 in the correct position. Of course, the wild card was Hampton's catastrophic injury, which skewed everything. It's not hard to imagine a world in which a healthy Hampton finished ahead of Rogers...

If we were to use the Tennis Grandstand scoring method, I had 21 "points" off. (By that system, the Hampton pick would be replaced with points from the next-worst pick: Lepchenko.)

Generally, I knew I was being a bit conservative in my rankings, and that proved to be the case, with 6 of the players outperforming my guess.  Interestingly, the only player (not counting the injured Hampton) who did significantly worse than I predicted was Stephens - and I thought I was being cautious by picking her at #20! Given that halfway through the season she was still at #24 in the Road to Singapore, with Wimbledon and North American hard courts ahead of her, it still felt like a safe bet. But then her season fell apart, and she only notched 7 more wins (3 on grass, 4 on hard courts) and shut her season down after one match in Guangzhou.

The most pleasant surprises to me were Lepchenko, Vandeweghe, and Rogers.  All three reached finals this year, with CoCo taking her first title. Lepchenko showed her mettle with three-set wins over Radwanska, Jankovic, and Kuznetsova (but also had some tough three-set losses, to Kvitova, Kerber, and in the Seoul final to Pliskova). Rogers, with 513 of her 731 points (70%) coming in just 4 second-half tournaments, would benefit greatly from a solid start to 2015.

And yes, I underestimated Serena and Venus. Foolishly. And not for the first time.

Tomorrow, see how three of us did in our ATP predictions. And then next month I'll feature predictions for 2015.

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