The key matches to look for on Day 2, already an intriguing day:
Wozniacki/Townsend & Stephens/Azarenka - The toughest section of the draw just to get to the Round of 32, where two young American top talents going in slightly different paths face two recent formidable number ones also going in contrasting directions. All four differently cringed at their draw, with the lefty of the quartet maybe the most frustrated by it.
After a close first set in Auckland two weeks ago against the Danish #1, Townsend just was overwhelmed by Wozniacki's return to top form and bowed out in straights. Although dangerous on any day against any player right now, Townsend knows in the back of her mind that she hasn't improved that fast enough in a fortnight's time to get through Wozniacki, who despite her wrist ailments coming in seems to be ready to go.
Although Wozniacki is the sound favorite in that eye-opening contest, Azarenka can't be given that label despite beating Stephens the last two years in Melbourne. A frustrating, close loss to Karolina Pliskova in Sydney again puts questions marks into the head of the two time Australian Open winner, as this is the last place she defends major points on her ranking. A loss here to Stephens and Azarenka could be out of the Top 70 after the first month of 2015.
But Stephens still is one of the tour's major mysteries, a continuous display of instability on and off the court. Now with her third major coach in the last year watching her in Nick Saviano, the capriciousness of the Under Armour client's game and attitude are the only things predictable about her at the moment. That will further make Azarenka feel a bit more comfortable at believing she would play her former (and at times still) BFF Wozniacki in Round 2, as last year's regression by Stephens in their Round of 16 rematch of their much discussed 2013 Australian Open semifinal encounter is likely to happen again.
Stosur/Niculescu- Another Scared Sam at home adventure awaits in in the all spin and slice match with Niculescu.
Also of Note: Putinsteva-Svitolina - All emotional Match Pennetta- Giorgi - Another feisty Italian matchup between these two, with the stoic, energetic Girogi against the always determined & still determined Pennetta.
This is serving as the current inform, smooth song in the urban black young world still admired by the rest of the planet's youth, despite depicting images that would make kids outside America's hoods (including American suburban kids) not want to admire those hoods.
It's from Detroit's latest figure to make a dent in the game, and it's actually a female. It's "Try Me" from Def Loaf, mixing a serene beat with hard lyrics from Motown (and Michigan in general) 'hoods.
Most people thought it was another annoying guy using autotune or a teenage boy in the mode of Rae Sremmurd. I was one of those people when I heard it being played in the club last month as it gained steady momentum. Instead, what makes this song more intriguing is Loaf being, again, a female.
Though she's pointing a gun and hosting a set of bullets on her kitchen table, I'm not too bothered this time by those still hood images that most should avoid. The reason why is because her flow works well with the beat thanks to her actually rhyming a lot on the song. She extends the first verse past the regular 16 bars and keeps the dedication to rhyming on verse two. For how terrible the standard of the game currently is, "Try Me" does its job of standing out a bit and Loaf definitely could build on this if she continues to get beats that mesh with her flow & dedication to rhyming.
The return of TWD and its music series threads, it's Def Loaf with "Try Me."
This is probably the kindest DJ request song without cursing out the said DJ. This 1993 classic from Queen Latifah's once lead duo Zhane has served as a smooth party groove song that still is top class to this day.
Although this was the highest point the duo reached, the Naughty by Nature produced track featured an energetic verse from Rottin Razkals rapper Fam that added to this song's greatness. It deserving reached #6 on the Billboard charts and is a fitting choice for today's first flashback Friday video selection.
To continue off from yesterday, Colorado was left off the list with North Dakota and Tennessee on placing pro-choice under the microscope. The personhood amendment, labeling unborn human beings under the definition of "person" and "child" in the Colorado criminal code, looks set to be sensibly slapped down as polling shows a majority in opposition against it.
Marijuana decriminalization is on the line in Alaska and Oregon, with Florida having "medical marijuana" on the ballot.
On the vital tax ballot measures, Georgia's right wing group is trying to be slick and see that the maximum state income rate is not increased. Unfortunately, many idiots in the middle class are being willing doped and look set to help the rich men keep most of their money as the polls indicate. Also trying to pull a fast one on their middle class and poor is Michigan, as they try to get rid of the personal property tax and likely give a whole corporate giveaway to Rick Snyder and the powerful. And Tennessee Republicans are hell bent on seeing their government be denied the ability to place a tax on earned personal income.
Also of note, Louisiana wants to make tax collectors even more scary, bullying, and annoying by allowing agents to assist in the tax sale process or recovery of tax costs.
Criminal justice measures also warrant key ballot measure attention today. North Carolina has a measure that will or will not allow criminal defendants to waive a jury trial, while New Jersey potentially could place a harsh measure on criminal defendants by placing them in jail for good before their trial. California could take a key step in showing common sense by lowering nonviolent crimes from a felony to a misdemeanor.
Protecting voting rights are key, with Connecticut, Missouri and Montana seeking to expand early voting. Illinois, again, looks to protect the right of anyone to vote in midst of a voter ID law being floated in the state.
Missouri holds the one initiative across the country attacking teachers, with a ballot measure that will determine teacher's pay and raises to their "performance evaluations."
Washington has two ballot measures on the gun issue, with the anti-NRA one requiring background checks for all gun purchases, and the half pro-NRA/anti-NRA one preventing confiscation of firearms without due process and implementation of more extensive background checks than those at the federal level. Washington is also seeking to reduce the students' class size with their school measure helping teachers.
Oregon is seeking to hit at the food giants who don't want them to know what's in their food, with labeling of GMO's on the line today.
(More to add in a bit on these key ballot measures here at TWD).
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