Baghdatis Finally Wins; ATP/WTA Weekend Wrap; Tennis-X Notes
by Staff | October 25th, 2009
  • 15 Comments

Kremlin Cup
MOSCOW, Russia

Mikhail Youzhny kept the title in the family Sunday is Moscow, becoming the sixth straight Russian to win the Kremlin Cup. Russians have won in 14 of the tournament’s 20 years. He topped Sebia’s Janko Tipsarevic 6-7(5), 6-0, 6-4, improving his 2009 record in finals to 1-2. “I had never played well here, I was always too nervous,” Youzhny said. “If I can play well now and win under this pressure, it is very important for me…Twenty years ago, for the first Kremlin Cup, I was here watching the matches with my father and I was also a ball kid here. It means so much to finally win here.” Tipsarevic was seeking his first ATP title.


In the women’s final, Italy’s Francesca Schiavone, the No. 8 seed, beat unseeded Belarussian Olga Govortsova 6-3, 6-0 to improve to 2-10 in career finals. “At the start it was a fight. We had a big game, the sixth game of the first set, that lasted about 15 minutes. I won it to go up 4-2, then I won the first set,” Schiavone said. “In the second set I was very solid. When I got to 4-0 in the second set I looked at the trophy and said to myself, ‘I’m coming to get you!’”

If Stockholm Open
STOCKHOLM, Sweden

Cypriot Marcos Baghdatis benefited from top-seeded Robin Soderling pulling out lame in the semifinals, and in the final topping Belgian Olivier Rochus 6-1, 7-5 to win his first title in almost three years at the If Stockholm Open on Sunday. “I played really well in the first set,” said the unseeded Baghdatis. “It was important to get a good start, but then in the second set Olivier stepped it up. I was a bit lucky to win in two sets in the end. I wanted to win this so badly.” Last week Baghdatis was on the Challenger circuit, winning the Tashkent title. “I’m going to rest for a few days before playing my last tournament, a Challenger in South Korea,” said the former world No. 8. Rochus dropped to 3-4 career in ATP finals.

BGL Luxembourg Open
LUXEMBOURG

Swiss Timea Bacsinszky won her first WTA title in her first final on Sunday at Luxembourg, beating Sabine Lisicki 6-2, 7-5 for the BGL Luxembourg Open crown. “I played in a smart way and just went for it. I wasn’t nervous at all,” Bacsinszky said. “It’s great to win my first title. I don’t think I’ve realized what it means for me yet.” Lisicki complained of a leg injury after the final. Top-seeded Caroline Wozniacki retired in her first-round match with a left hamstring strain, while Kim Clijsters was upset by Patty Schnyder in the second round.

TENNIS-X NEWS, NOTES, QUOTES AND BARBS

WOZ’S LOOSE LIPS — So who is more to blame: Caroline Wozniacki and her on-court coach/dad for telling her to tank the match (in Polish) where Polish-speaking fans hear it on TV then place on-line bets, or the WTA Tour’s dumb-ass on-court coaching experiment? Careful WTA as you might get what you wish for — on-court coaching is popular! (with on-line betters)!

WILANDER QUITS SWEDISH DAVIS CUP — Mats Wilander has quit as Sweden’s Davis Cup coach, along with assistant coach Joakim Nystrom. “I will not continue. It’s private reasons behind the decision. I want to be home more, spend more time with the kids,” Wilander told Swedish daily Aftonbladet. “It was a difficult decision. I made up my mind three days ago.” The underpowered Swedes lost in the first round this year to Israel, then kept their place in the World Group by beating Romania in the World Group Playoffs. Wilander will be replaced as captain by Thomas Enqvist.

GOLOVIN DONE? — France’s Tatiana Golovin speaking to L’Equipe on her potentially career-ending ailment, spondylitis of the back: “Learning my condition was a big shock, but now I know what I have and what I have, you can’t cure. Do I have any chance to play again? It’s not advised, but I’m still young. The pain may suddenly disappear.”

PETE VS ANDRE AGAIN; TENNIS PLAYERS BEST ATHLETES? — Pete Sampras on playing Andre Agassi in the exhibition Sunday in Macau, China: “As much as it’s an exhibition, there’s still a lot of pride. Our egos are pretty big. Once the first point starts, I’m going to want to beat him. Whenever I stepped out against Andre when we were playing, it was like a heavyweight fight. That’s one thing I miss.” Sampras adds that pro tennis requires the top athletic skills of all sports: “People don’t talk about it. I mean, in tennis, these athletes are incredible. What these guys do on the run…the guys that aren’t maybe playing well and they come back — they’re down two sets to love and they have the resolve to come back and can go on and on. You look at the NBA and you look at some of these guys and they’re doing all these things and I think ‘that’s the best athlete’. But I think tennis players are the best athletes, in my opinion. I’m not being biased. I know what it takes. I know hand-eye co-ordination.”

KIM-POSSIBLE LIKES TENNIS AGAIN — Kim Clijsters on quitting tennis in 2007, speaking to the Wall Street Journal: “I had the feeling that I was not happy playing. I knew I wasn’t doing everything I could to be the best player, but I couldn’t force myself. I met Brian, now my husband, and I just wanted to have that normal life that I never really had. I remember playing those last few tournaments, and my reaction after a loss or a win was the same. I even remember crying after some matches I won, and I thought, “This is just not right.”


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15 Comments for Baghdatis Finally Wins; ATP/WTA Weekend Wrap; Tennis-X Notes

Hypnos Says:

Fodder for the “tennis players are best athletes” debate:

http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/page2/sportSkills

Obviously, this table ranks sports by their athletic demands, not by which ones actually get the most athletic participants. I wonder if Allen Iverson or Steve Young would’ve been a good tennis players …


ripple Says:

Fodder for the “tennis players are best athletes” debate:

http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/page2/sportSkills

Obviously, this table ranks sports by their athletic demands, not by which ones actually get the most athletic participants. I wonder if Allen Iverson or Steve Young would’ve been a good tennis players …

——-

The ranking methodology is flawed (you cannot average scores and then sum them up, for obvious reasons…).

And who exactly are these experts?

I never comment on this site but it really gets to me seeing “ranking” tables comparing things that there are uncomparable..


Hypnos Says:

ripple,

* Why can’t you add up average scores, if you assume that the different categories contribute equally and independently to your figure of merit?

* There’s a link on that page describing the expert panel:

http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/page2/story?page=degree/bios


ripple Says:

Hypnos,

* Why can’t you add up average scores, if you assume that the different categories contribute equally and independently to your figure of merit?

Yuo cannot take averages because the scale used is not a ordinal scale, it is a categorical scale. You cannot take averages of categorical scales. The people behind chose a 1 to 10 scale but could easilly have chosen a 1 to 20 – had they done so the results would have been widely diferent (even in the ranking.). To ilustrate further: by saying that box is a 10 in endurance (or whatever) and fishing is 5 this does not mean that boxing requires twice as much endurance as fishing.

You cannot add them up because it is like adding apples and bananas…


sensationalsafin Says:

For whoever said Safin never defended a title to point out how Djokovic never having defended a title is not that uncommon, you are incorrect. Safin won in St. Petersburg in 2000 and 2001.


Kimmi Says:

Interesting article about Basel Tournament and Tobacco sponsorship.
________________________________________________
One of the world’s largest cigarette companies, Britain’s Imperial Tobacco, has been drawn into a row over the sponsorship of a major televised European tennis event.

Health organisations are furious that the main sponsor of the Basle ATP World Tour 500 tournament in Switzerland is Davidoff, the luxury brand that covers everything from cigarettes to cigars and aftershave. Davidoff’s cigarette brand is owned by Imperial.

The EU banned all tobacco advertising in its member states in 2005. But Switzerland is not in the EU and tobacco sponsorship is legal. Satellite broadcaster Eurosport has dropped plans to carry the event after French anti-tobacco campaigners threatened legal action if the tournament was screened in France. Instead, the event will now be carried by a German satellite broadcaster.

The tournament’s close association with tobacco has prompted fury from the World Health Organisation and European campaign groups, including the UK’s Action on Smoking and Health (Ash). More than 500 eminent health experts have signed an open letter calling on Roger Federer, the Swiss world number one player, to pull out of the tournament. Federer has declined to respond.

Unesco, the UN’s cultural arm, which received a donation from the event’s organisers, has returned the money and demanded it no longer be associated with the tournament. A spokesman for Imperial declined to comment

http://www.guardian.co.uk/global/2009/oct/25/roger-federer-tobacco-tennis-swiss


Hypnos Says:

ripple,

It seems that your objection is that the different categories do no scale linearly (or similarly), so even if you do weight them equally any averages are nonsensical.

I guess they have different assumptions than you! Perhaps it would have been better if they judged how many standard deviations out of average the different skills had to be for a given sport, then come up with a total chi-squared type figure.

Then, sports with certain scores very high — like gymnastics in flexibility or race car driving in nerve, would leap up in the rankings.


jane Says:

margot – not sure where to post this, but I’ve just read that Andy Murray will team up with Laura Robson for the Hopman cup in January; they should make a great team. :)

http://bleacherreport.com/articles/279593-murray-and-robson-to-play-hopman-cup


ripple Says:

Hypnos,

If I understand correctly what you sugest does make sense and is the most “correct” procedure, but it puts a lot of cognitive burden on the experts – it is very difficult to judge how many s.d. a measure is from the average without hard data.

I would have prefered for the experts (together) to rank each sport in each category and then take some sort of weighted average rank. Sports that come high in most categories would rank high overall. This caries many of the problems of the methodology used by ESPN but does not have the ambiguity of assigning a score from an arbitrary scale.


ripple Says:

Hypnos,

Another thing:

My problem is not that the categories do not scale linearly. But that the scores do not scale linearlly or otherwise.

To see better what I mean: imagine you’re trying to assess the hottest countries in the world. You could take the temperatures, in centigrades, at different times of the year (equivelent to the different expert assesing a score) in different cities (equievelent to the different categories) taking the average for each citie and them add them up to come up with a number and then just rank all countries according to that number. This does not make sense! but it is even worst if you consider that you would get totally different results if instead of measuring in centigrades you had measured in Farenheit.

This is due to the fact that taking averages you are assuming a particular algebra that you cannot possible have. (i.e. if a city is 20C and another is 40C this does not mean that the second one is twice as hot – just convert to faranheit…). When you’re taking averages of values you are assuming that if you have a measurement x and another 2x the second “means” twice as much as the other…


Hypnos Says:

Ripple,

Thanks for the explanation — I see what you’re getting at. Even though you *can* assign the same range of numbers to different measures, you still need to specify how the same number in each category maps between categories. Otherwise, comparing them is meaningless; moreover, to add them up, they must scale lineary.

An example of your methodology would be the US News reports on universities: the top school in every category gets 100, and then these subranking-based scores are averaged. They had no choice to do this, of course, because SAT scores are very different from graduation rates both in range and scaling.

It’s possible that the experts on the ESPN study had this in mind when assigning scores, e.g. giving race car driving a 10 for nerve because nothing else requires more. However, unless they are explicitly working under this model the scores are meaningless.

I learned something today!


Hypnos Says:

Actually, how US News gets the composite score for each college, which it then ranks in the end, is not entirely clear (apart from the weightings of the different categories). I should find a different example …

If they fall into the same trap as these sports skill rankings, then they assume their experts can create a figure of merit within each category that maps consistently to the figures from the other categories. However, unless they specify what that figure of merit is (e.g., minimum z-score needed) then it’s cognitive mush …


ripple Says:

Hypnos,

I do not know how they do the university rankings. I suppose they get the figures and then rebase them so that the best one has score 100. They will not have the same problem has the sport ranking if they do not average the scores in each categorie and the scores are based in hard measures (and not subjective scales as in the sport ranking case – if they use subjective measures then it has to be done like you said, i.e. come up with a figure of merit and assess how much it deviates from it).

I would have much less problem if the sport people had scored each sport in each categorie like you indicated: 10 for the best sport in that categorie and all others relative to that. Note that had they done that then it would be the case that a score 10 vs a score 5 would mean that the sport that got 10 requires twice as much skill as in the other one. In this case the aggregation should be done with averaging the results across categories instead of summing them.


jane Says:

Don’t know where to write this since there are no threads on the on-going tournaments, but how cool would it be if Safin won in Moscow? His last event. :-(

Also Cilic, Monfils, Tsonga, Simon – all still in contention for the final 8, and all still alive in their respective events this week. Seems Tsonga plays well this time of year – too bad he hasn’t been able to peak for a slam yet.

Top story: Nadal in Barcelona, Sharapova in Stuttgart: Previews
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Rankings
ATP - Apr 14 WTA - Apr 14
1 Rafael Nadal1 Serena Williams
2 Novak Djokovic2 Na Li
3 Stanislas Wawrinka3 Agnieszka Radwanska
4 Roger Federer4 Victoria Azarenka
5 Tomas Berdych5 Simona Halep
6 David Ferrer6 Petra Kvitova
7 Juan Martin Del Potro7 Angelique Kerber
8 Andy Murray8 Jelena Jankovic
9 Richard Gasquet9 Maria Sharapova
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