Yet again, the ASB Classic reminds us of the reality of sport.

At the start of this week, no one could have predicted the semi-final lineup that we will have on Friday, with all four players outside the top 40.

With two days of the tournament still to play, the top six seeds have gone, including Serena Williams, sister Venus and another former World No1 Caroline Wozniacki.

It's been a mini-disaster for the organisers, who would have ideally wanted one or two of their big names to be around on Saturday. Though the tickets and corporate boxes are already sold out, the absence of the stars will affect the profile of the event over the next two days.

Advertisement

But that's what happens with sport. There are no guarantees, as much as some people would like them.

Tennis is particularly unpredictable - and especially at this time of year. The place on week one of the calendar is a blessing for the ASB Classic, as it allows for much better fields than would be available at any other time during the season, with players keen for match practice before the Australian Open. But it also means that the rankings are often irrelevant, as players are searching for form and match fitness.

So upsets happen. Last year the ASB Classic lost defending champion Venus Williams and Ana Ivanovic in the first round, then saw Wozniacki dip out before the final. This year there was even more carnage, which shows how special the 2014 and 2015 tournaments were with marquee finals (Ivanovic vs Williams and Williams vs Wozniacki).

But there are still some positives. Firstly, yesterday's match between Wozniacki and Julia Goerges will be long remembered. It featured a stunning comeback from Goerges, which the German labelled "the best of her career", and provided two hours of stunning theatre for the large crowd.

And teenagers Ana Konjuh and Jelena Ostapenko are great prospects, who are likely to go deep in Grand Slams in years to come. Maybe the Auckland tournament, like it has been on several occasions, will witness the birth of another future star.