Posted: Sunday January 23, 2011 11:30AM ; Updated: Monday January 24, 2011 2:08AM
Jon Wertheim

Midterm Grades: Wozniacki shines, while fashion suffers Down Under

Story Highlights

Carolina Wozniacki's tennis was only part of a winning week at the Australian Open

Venus Williams bowed out early, but she gets credit for playing through an injury

Venus and Wozniacki didn't score as well in attire as fashion took a hit at the event

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Caroline Wozniacki has impressed on and off the court, but what's up with that Stella McCartney-designed dress?
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As I write this there are 24 players left in the draw and there have been zero huge upsets. Which makes for a promising final seven days. Herewith, our 2011 Australian Open midterm grades All marks given on the "Gentleman's C" curve...


Caroline Wozniacki: In one gutsy two-minute monologue, the top seed did more to endear herself than any million dollar marketing campaign ever could. Plus her tennis -- so shaky going in -- has been beyond reproach.

Francesca Schiavone: She beat Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-4, 1-6, 16-14 in a third-round marathon. Here is it mid-January and we have our match of the year, a nice reminder how exceptional women's tennis can be.

The Spanish Armada: At a time of relentless globalization, five of the 16 remaining players are Spanish, stating of course with Rafael Nadal, who's yet to drop a set. Now, if only they could play on clay.

Milos Raonic: Break out the Labatt's. The hard-serving Canadian had a breakthrough first week, reaching the round of 16 and leading the tournament in aces.

The courtside interview: Between Jim Courier jousting with Andy Roddick and Todd Woodbridge getting served by Kim Clijsters, these sessions have made for some of the tournament's best viewing so far.

Nicolas Lapentti: The South American veteran calls it a career at age 34.


The tournament in general: A bit sleepy so far. No titanic matches or staggering upsets or sizzling controversies or exceptional weather. But this usually bodes well for Week 2.

Aggie Radwanska: Fair Pole advances to the second week. But she lost her head, while others were keeping theirs.

Venus Williams: A big disappointment, retiring in the third round with an injury. But credit her for going out and trying.

Justine Henin: Her tennis is as ravishing as ever. Alas, the blunted power and curious tactics have led to another short outing, this one a third-round defeat at the hands a Svelte-lana Kuznetsova.


Dinara Safina: OK, she got her Richard Mille cleaned 6-0, 6-0 by Clijsters, a brutal loss for a player ranked No.1 a mere 18 months ago. But you have to respect the withering self-assessment: "Embarrassing. To lose two tournaments in a row six-love, six-one, six-love, six-love, it's really to scratch the head and think what the hell am I doing?" Asked if she can return, she responds, "Can I clear up my mind?" Wish her luck on all counts.


Former No.1's: Safina, Ana Ivanovic and Jelena Jankovic -- all recent inhabitants of the WTA's top spot-bounced early.

Sam Querrey: No disrespect to Cool Hand Luke Kubot, but that's a first-round match Querrey has to figure out a way to win.

Ernests Gulbis: Like Querrey, he's too good to abide by a first-round exit. He's beaten Roger Federer and climbed back to the top 25, but he hasn't won a round at a major in more than a year.

This jackass: It's hard to imagine any context in which stalking is even plausibly funny.

Fashion: From Venus' basket weave to Wozniacki's ballerina number (Stella!) to Fernando Verdasco's faux hawk to the line judges' sunglasses. Well, where's Anna Wintour when you need her?
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