Logo for the DFR Audible post categoryA headline from the Australian Open:

Wozniacki suffers surprise first-round loss

One of the words in that headline does not belong there. See if you can guess which one…

Surprise! It’s “surprise”–because it’s not a surprise when Caroline Wozniacki loses, in the first round or in any other part of a tournament draw. Wozniacki has been underwhelming on the court for years now, and her one-time #1 ranking looks more and more like a mirage now.

Of course, she’s not alone. Simona Halep just got dumped in the opening round, so there goes your #2 seed. Sam Stosur and Sloane Stephens were quickly swatted away as well. At least Eugenie Bouchard–she of the awfully high expectations–made it into the second round.

All of this should be is good news, and bad news, for Serena Williams. Good news because, naturally, all the upsets clear her path of any particularly strong challengers. It should be bad news as well, because there are no particularly strong challengers in the women’s field, a fact laid bare by the relative ease with which the other ranked players have been sent packing (especially notably, Zhang’s two-set beat down of Halep). As noted before, much of Serena’s accomplishments have come at the expense of a field of cardboard cutouts, and the victories should be diminished accordingly. But as the media covering tennis are more interested in writing hagiography rather than journalism, Williams will once again be lauded for beating a weak and cowering field.

At least there’s still the men’s draw, where even the early departure of Rafael Nadal still leaves plenty of intriguing players.

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