Thursday, May 7, 2015

Extremely quiet and incredibly close: Women's 2015 #USTAHTWCC

Last week, the men's USTA Har-Tru Wild Card Challenge came down to the wire, and generated a remarkable amount of buzz. Jared Donaldson, Tennys Sandgren, and Frances Tiafoe all made the semis and all would have won it with a title. Facundo Arguello had other ideas, however, and won the title, handing Tiafoe the wild card.

This week, with three days left to go in the women's USTAHTWCC, the permutations of who can win and how are extensive.  Three young women started the week in contention, and all three are still in contention after two rounds.  Yet it feels like the buzz is considerably less.  Which is unfortunate, as it's really an exciting race between Louisa Chirico, Katerina Stewart, and Allie Kiick, all of whom won their second round matches.

Here's where we stand after Thursday's matches:

Stewart has 96 points but can only add to her point total with a final
Chirico has 95 points and the highest ranking, so controls her own destiny
Kiick has 95 points and also controls her own destiny

In Friday's quarterfinals, all three will be playing non-Americans, each of whom who would love nothing better than to ruin her opponent's day.  Stewart will be up first, against the highest remaining seed, Argentina's Paula Ormaechea (3). Kiick comes next, against Australia's Jessica Moore, who survived a 3.5 hour deathmatch against Brazil's Gabriela Ce. Then Chirico hits the courts against young Canadian Francoise Abanda, winner of a very tight match against Samantha Crawford, 7-5 in the 3rd.

The nice thing about this order of play is that each player will go into the match with the wild card still in doubt.

Here are the scenarios, as I understand them:
  1. All 3 women lose tomorrow. In this case, Stewart wins the wild card with 96 points.
  2. 2 of the 3 women lose tomorrow. In this case, the 1 woman who wins her match wins the wild card. Stewart with 96 points, Chirico or Kiick with 109 points.
  3. 1 of the 3 women loses tomorrow. If that happens, the one who loses is out of the running.
    1. If only Chirico loses, then Kiick wins the wild card with 109 points UNLESS Stewart wins the title (128 points). That would make the Kiick/Stewart semifinal huge.
    2. If only Kiick loses, then Chirico wins the wild card with 109 points UNLESS Chirico then loses her semifinal AND Stewart wins the title (128 points). In other words, a Chirico semifinal win would secure her the wild card (she'd have 128 points and the higher ranking), as would a Stewart final loss (she'd be stuck at 96 points).
    3. If only Stewart loses, then whoever advances farther between Chirico and Kiick wins the wild card. If both lose in the semis, then Chirico gets the wild card - both would have 109 points but Chirico would have the higher ranking. If both win their semis then the winner of the title would win the wild card with 160 points.
  4. All 3 women win tomorrow. This would give both Chirico and Kiick 109 points, while Stewart would still have 96 points. Then it would come down to Saturday's semifinals (Chirico vs. Maria Sanchez or Storm Sanders, Kiick vs. Stewart), giving us the following final scenarios:
    1. Chirico/Kiick final: winner wins the wild card with 160 points.
    2. Chirico/Stewart final: Chirico wins the wild card with 128 points. Even if Chirico lost to Stewart in the final, both players would have 128 points but Chirico would have the higher ranking.
    3. Kiick/Sanchez or Kiick/Sanders final: Kiick wins the wild card with 128 points.
    4. Stewart/Sanchez or Stewart/Sanders final: Stewart wins the wild card with a title (128 points). Chirico wins the wild card with a Stewart final loss. Chirico would have 109 points and Stewart would be stuck with 96 points.
As you see, all three women have multiple scenarios by which they'd claim the French Open wild card. Here's hoping for good weather, fair play, and a result that makes everyone happy! Well, two of those three at least.

1 comment:

  1. What a great way to end the wild card race, may the best player win this weekend.