x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Chance for unheralded pros to take the stage

And we must concede that the notion of a Zahlavova Strycova-Marina Erakovic match with a trophy, and a nice payday awaiting the winner has its attractions.

As if to emphasise the onset of the annual Silly Season, Ksenia Pervak and Barbora Zahlavova Strycova won the WTA events over the weekend.

The former began was ranked No 52 in the world and the latter No 75, but someone has to win in this season, and these two now have a first championship on their CVs.

The period from the conclusion of the US Open to the end of the year is devoid of grand slams and nearly empty of major tournaments. The women have big-money events in Tokyo and then Beijing in a few weeks, and the WTA Championships are in Istanbul in late October.

But interspersed are tiny tournaments in Seoul, Osaka and Luxembourg which offer opportunities for the Pervaks of the world to cash a big cheque.

The men have two Masters events left, in Shanghai next month and in Paris in November, and the ATP Finals in London, but they also have several lesser events, too, including those in Metz and Bucharest this week. From the perspective of the fan, some tennis is better than no tennis.

And we must concede that the notion of a Zahlavova Strycova-Marina Erakovic match with a trophy, and a nice payday awaiting the winner has its attractions.

This time of year also affords a chance to consider the unsung pros. Zahlavova Strycova was born in the Czech Republic, is married to her coach and lives in the US. Erakovic is from Croatia but lives in New Zealand, and her favourite player is Monica Seles.

Thanks to the Silly Season, now we know.


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