Dominika Cibulkova, Monica Puig, and 2017 Australian Open Slumpers
The winners from the 2017 Australian Open are clear enough. However, here’s a look at players that underachieved at the first Grand Slam of the season.
Grand Slam tournaments have the potential to change up the rankings. The 2017 Australian Open certainly did that as Serena Williams reclaimed top spot on tour. Angelique Kerber is now ranked second in the world again following a 20-week stay at the top. With a fourth-round exit at Melbourne Park as the No. 1 seed, Kerber was definitely one of the tournament’s disappointments. She’s among the players that were just a little bit too quiet at the first Grand Slam of the season.
Monica Puig of Puerto Rico is a player who seemed to have a better opportunity than her round of elimination suggests. The reigning Olympic gold medalist for women’s singles has yet to recapture her best form. Puig went out early at the Australian Open and only to unseeded Mona Barthel. The Puerto Rican certainly could have done a lot more with the draw she had, including giving eventual finalist Venus Williams a run for her money in the fourth round.
However, Puig continues to slump since winning in Rio and it now shows in her ranking. As of January 30th, she is ranked just 46th in the world with a 1-3 record on the season to date.
Simona Halep started the season with a questionable result at Shenzhen. She carried that poor form into the Australian Open, losing in the opening round to American Shelby Rogers 6-3, 6-1. Like Puig, Halep was in a section of the draw where she realistically could have hoped for a deep run. However, the Romanian has certainly started the season in a slump with just a 1-2 record. She still remains ranked 4th in the world, but Indian Wells, Miami, and Madrid are big tournaments for her to do well at in the months ahead if she hopes to stay in the top five.
Agnieszka Radwanska entered Melbourne Park with a lot of ranking points to defend following a semifinalist appearance last season. However, she went out in the 2nd round to semifinalist Mirjana Lucic-Baroni. Radwanska dropped a full three spots with January 30th’s rankings and she is now ranked 6th in the world.
The third hurdle clipped Wozniacki’s heels at the 2017 Australian Open. The Dane drew Britain’s Johanna Konta in a match that seemed like a major showdown in the early goings of the tournament. However for the Dane’s part the match was not competitive as she fell 6-3, 6-1 to Konta. Wozniacki has started the season with a 6-3 record but still may be disappointed with what she accomplished in the South Pacific. Certainly after how strong she finished 2016, the start of the 2017 season so far is not too impressive.
Dominika Cibulkova, like Wozniacki, also got tripped out in the third round of the tournament. The Slovak is similar to the Dane for her finish to the 2016 season as well. Cibulkova won the WTA Finals in Singapore to conclude the 2016 season. However, a third-round loss to Ekaterina Makarova really slows down Cibulkova’s momentum. In a season where she actually has a chance to get into the mix for No. 1 at some point, she certainly missed a chance to start the season off right at Melbourne Park.