Sunday, July 16, 2017

2017 Grass Court Awards


Wimbledon is over. And the grass court season, too. So it's time for a quick review of the top performers on the lawns...


1. Garbine Muguruza, ESP
...lifting her game, and keeping her frustrating "alternate" self at bay while putting together her third slam final run in the last three years, Muguruza became the first Spanish woman to win Wimbledon since 1994, when her coach for this Wimbledon, Conchita Martinez, was the unexpected champion. With her second major win serving as a reminder of how just how special a talent she truly is, will Garbi finally embrace her position and now produce similar results on the regular tour?
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2. Martina Hingis, SUI (w/ Chan Yung-Jan/TPE & Jamie Murray/GBR)
...the Swiss Miss, 36, was the thirtysomething woman who walked away with a title at this year's Wimbledon, picking up her sixth mixed doubles crown while partnering Jamie Murray. The title run made up for her and Chan's shocking meltdown in the women's doubles QF at SW19 after leading by a double-break at 4-1 in the 3rd vs. Groenefeld/Peschke, then never winning another game. The loss proved to be Hingis' only defeat on the grass this summer, as she and Chan had swept both the Mallorca & Eastbourne titles before arriving at the All-England Club. She ends up with a combined record of 15-1 over the past month.
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3. Venus Williams, USA
...she didn't get the storybook ending of a sixth SW19 Ladies crown, but the 37-year old's appearance in her second 2017 slam singles final officially moves the living legend out of the role of simply being a nostalgia-laced centerpiece at season's celebratory dinner. While she hasn't collected the hardware that a certain Swiss tennis legend (no, not that one... the OTHER one... yeah, HIM) has this season, both have proven themselves to be genuine forces to contend with (yet again) in what most might have thought not that long ago would by now be their post-tennis lives.


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4. Karolina Pliskova, CZE
...her Wimbledon was a disappointing one, but the Eastbourne champ still made off with the #1 ranking after Angelique Kerber was mercifully relieved of the responsibility (and can maybe now get back to being Angie again), then Simona Halep (sigh) came up two points shy of clutching the brass ring herself in the Wimbledon QF. Now what will the Czech do when there's a "1" next to her name when she returns to the summer hard court season where she truly changed the trajectory of her career last year?

Photo shooting ??#1

A post shared by Karolina Pliskova (@karolinapliskova) on


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5. Ekaterina Makarova & Elena Vesnina, RUS/RUS
...a year ago, Vesnina reached the Wimbledon singles semifinals. This year, she and Makarova bull-rushed their way to the doubles title while dropping just one set along the way, becoming the first Russians to lift the SW19 winner's trophy after completing the first double-bagel slam WD final win in forty-six years. They're now three-quarters of the way to a Career Doubles Slam, and if they pick up that needed win in Melbourne they'd become the first women's duo to ever claim titles at all four majors, the Olympics and WTA Finals.
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6. Johanna Konta, GBR
...no one put in more work this grass season than Konta, who played all three tune-up weeks -- reaching the Nottingham final and Eastbourne semis -- and then put on the first run to the Wimbledon semis by a British woman since 1978. A true future contender for the title, she'll now carry her momentum to a service on which she's ever better -- hard courts.

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7. Magdalena Rybarikova, SVK
...Konta may have been a grass court workhorse, but Rybarikova compiled an 18-1 record on all levels this grass season, hitting full stride after her comeback from two '16 surgeries. She won a pair of $100K challengers, reached the Nottingham semis and then put on a magical run to the Wimbledon final four (after never advancing past the 3rd Round in her previous 35 slams) after knocking out would-be #1 Karolina Pliskova in the 2nd Round.

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8. Petra Kvitova, CZE
...while she wasn't up to a Wimbledon run despite her role as "favorite" in the Serena-less draw, Petra was still the feel-good story of the grass court season. She won Birmingham in just her second event back from offseason hand surgery after that home invasion knife attack, and managed to legitimately bring out the good in pretty much everyone simply by just showing up. May it be the opening chapter of another lovely story.

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9. Anett Kontaveit, EST
...the big-hitting Estonian picked up her first career tour title at Rosmalen, took down Daria Kasatkina at Wimbledon and had Caroline Wozniacki on the ropes at SW19 before squandering a big lead (twice serving for the match) in the 3rd Round.

FIRST WTA TITLE!!!! ?????? @ricohopen #adidastennis #babolat

A post shared by Anett Kontaveit (@anett_kontaveit) on


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10. Donna Vekic, CRO
...finally coming into her own after failing to follow up her early-career teen success, the Croat picked up her first WTA title since 2014 in Nottingham, winning in a three-set final (7-5 3rd) over Johanna Konta in what turned out to be the first of TWO battles against the Brit this grass season (she fell in a 10-8 3rd set in a 3:10 2nd Rounder at SW19, a contest that included nearly 100 combined winners).

2nd @wta title !!! So happy!! ??????????????

A post shared by Donna Vekic (@donnavekic) on


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HM- Diede de Groot, NED
...the 20-year old would-be wheelchair superstar finally made her Wimbledon debut, and all she did was dominate the field (losing just fourteen games while never dropping a set) en route to the singles title to pick up first career slam crown, then come within a set of sweeping the event with a victory in the doubles, as well. Oh, well. There's 2018 for that. Or 2019, or 2020, or...

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*RISERS*
Jelena Ostapenko/LAT, Caroline Garcia/FRA and Shelby Rogers/USA
*FRESH FACES*
Ana Konjuh/CRO, Ash Barty/AUS and CiCi Bellis/USA
*SURPRISES*
Arina Rodionova/AUS, Veronica Cepede Royg/PAR and Makoto Ninomiya/Renata Voracova (JPN/CZE)
*VETERANS*
Anastasija Sevastova/LAT, Svetlana Kuznetsova/RUS and Caroline Wozniacki/DEN
*COMEBACKS*
Victoria Azarenka/BLR, Petra Martic/CRO and Polona Hercog/SLO
*JUNIOR STARS*
Claire Liu/USA, Ann Li/USA and Kaja Juvan/SLO
*DOUBLES*
Barty/Dellacqua (AUS/AUS), H.Chan/Niculescu (TPE/ROU) and Bellis/Vondrousova (USA/CZE)
*WHEELCHAIR DOUBLES*
Yui Kamiji/Jordanne Whiley, JPN/GBR
*DOWN*
Dominika Cibulkova/SVK, Kristina Mladenovic/FRA and Bethanie Mattek-Sands/USA

*MOST IMPROVED*
1.Donna Vekic, CRO
2.Maria Sakkari, GRE
3.Beatriz Haddad Maia, BRA
*ITF*
1.Magdalena Rybarikova, SVK
2.Zarina Diyas, KAZ
3.Heather Watson, GBR
4.Tatjana Maria, GER
5.Monique Adamczak/Storm Sanders, AUS/AUS
=FED CUP (Zones)=
1.Valentini Grammatikopoulou, GRE
2.Alexandra Perper, MDA


All right, summer hard court season... whatta YOU got?



=DAY 13 NOTES=
...the fortnight came to a close with the Mixed Doubles final on Centre Court. A year ago, Heather Watson (w/ Henri Kontinen) claimed her first slam title under the same circumstances, and was back to attempt to finish off the first successful defense of a slam MX crown since 1997.

But it wasn't meant to be, as top seeded Martina Hingis & Jamie Murray won 6-4/6-4, though the win DID still produce a British champ in the form of the older Murray brother, who won a previous SW19 Mixed title with Jelena Jankovic back in 2007. For Hingis, it's career slam title #23 (5-12-6), tying her with Venus Williams amongst active WTA players, while her sixth MX win puts her in sole possession of first on the active women's list, as well as in a third place tie (w/ Margaret Court) behind Martina Navratilova (10) and Billie Jean King (7) in the Open era.



...in the girls doubles final, the all-Sweet 16 Serbian/Slovenian pair of Olga Danilovic & Kaja Juvan prevented a Bannerette sweep of the titles, defeating #4-seeded Caty McNally & Whitney Osuigwe 6-4/6-3. It's Daniliovic second slam GD title, having won in Paris last year, while for Juvan this title was a nice rebound after her 1st Round loss in singles following her appearance in the Roehampton final (losing to Claire Liu, who'd go on to win at SW19, too) the week before junior play began at Wimbledon. Juvan reached the girls doubles semis (w/ Iga Swiatek) at the AELTC last year.



...there was no U.S. sweep of the junior titles, and there is no "Strawberry Slam" for Diede de Groot, either. At least not this year... but give her time, this was only her first Wimbledon.

In the wheelchair doubles final, Yui Kamiji & Jordanne Whiley claimed their fourth straight SW19 crown with a 2-6/6-3/6-0 (what is it with love close-out sets in the women's finals at this Wimbledon?) victory over #2-seeded de Groot and fellow Dutch Marjolein Buis.

Wimbledon champions!!!!!!!!!! ???????? #4inarowbaby

A post shared by Jordanne Whiley (@jordanne_joyce) on



For Kamiji, it's career slam #15 (4 WS/11 WD), while Whiley has ten (1 WS/9 WD). They've won nine slams doubles crowns and two WC Masters as a duo.

...in this week's ITF action, two red clay $100K challengers were contested. Jana Cepelova defeated Danka Kovinic in the Budapest final, picking up the biggest singles title of her career. Of note: the Slovak defeated Garbine Muguruza in the 2nd Round of last year's Wimbledon. When you think about it, then, this weekend sort of defines Cepelova's career, in an odd (and almost cruel) way.

????Winner 100k ITF Budapest!!????

A post shared by Jana Cepelova (@cepi93) on



Johanna Larsson took home the title in the $100K Contrexville, France challenger, defeating Tatjana Maria in the final. It's the Swede's biggest title since she won the tour-level event in Bastad in 2015.

Elswhere, on the Sister Watch, Olga Ianchuk got the win at the $25K Moscow tournament, defeating Hordette Valentyna Ivakhhenko in a 7-5 3rd set tie-break in the final.



In Winnipeg, 18-year old Bannerette Caroline Dolehide claimed career title #3 (and was a WD RU) with a victory in the $25K challenger final there over Mayo Hibi of Japan.

Thank you Canada ????????

A post shared by Caroline Dolehide (@caroline_dolehide) on



And in the $15K event in Catanhede, Portugal, 22-year old Irish NCAAer (Univ. of Miami) Sinead Lohan picked up her second ITF singles crown, defending the title she won a year ago with a win over Brit Alicia Barnett in the final. After dealing with a foot injury last season, Lohan is looking for a bounce back senior campaign this coming season.



IS IT JUST ME? ON DAY 13: ...or does the new Wimbledon boys champ sort of resemble what it'd look like if Boris Becker and Stefan Edberg had a baby?



OOPS ON DAY 13:



HMMM... ON DAY 13: Either very cute... or like a scene from "The Shining" X 2.



"Come play with us."


"Redrum"..."Federer"... not that many letters off, you know. "Here's Rogie!"


LIKE ON DAY 13: Vergeer congratulating de Groot...



WHAT DO YOU DO THE DAY AFTER WINNING WIMBLEDON? ON DAY 13:



THE TRUTH ON DAY 13: The real big news that had everyone on the edge of their collective seats on Sunday was the announcement of the thirteenth Doctor Who on BBC to come *after* the men's final...








And after so much handwringing...



Just kidding...




Cue the "end of the universe"...




Good thing there's a Doctor around to help, I guess.





...and, finally...



BUCHAREST, ROMANIA [Int'l/Red Clay]
16 Singles Final: Halep d. Sevastova
16 Doubles Final: J.Moore/Varat.Wongteanchai d. Cadantu/Piter
17 Top Seeds: Sevastova/Suarez-Navarro
=============================

=SF=
#1 Sevastova d. Sasnovich
#7 Begu d. #8 Maria
=FINAL=
#1 Sevastova d. #7 Begu

=DOUBLES FINAL=
Mertens/Schuurs d. Piter/Zanevska


GSTAAD, SWITZERLAND [Int'l/Red Clay]
16 Singles Final: Golubic d. Bertens
16 Doubles Final: Arruabarrena/Knoll d. Beck/Rodina
17 Top Seeds: Garcia/Bertens
=============================

=SF=
#1 Garcia d. #6 Witthoeft
#2 Bertens d. #4 Barthel
=FINAL=
#1 Garcia d. #2 Bertens

=DOUBLES FINAL=
Bertens/Larsson d. Knoll/Komardina




=LADIES' SINGLES FINAL=
#14 Garbine Muguruza/ESP def. #10 Venus Williams/USA 7-5/6-0

=LADIES' DOUBLES FINAL=
#2 Makarova/Vesnina (RUS/RUS) def. #9 H.Chan/Niculescu (TPE/ROU) 6-0/6-0

=MIXED DOUBLES SF=
#1 Hingis/J.Murray (SUI/GBR) def. Watson/Kontinen (GBR/FIN) 6-4/6-4

=GIRLS SINGLES FINAL=
#3 Claire Liu/USA def. Ann Li/USA 6-2/5-7/6-2

=GIRLS DOUBLES FINAL=
Danilovic/Juvan (SRB/SLO) def. #4 McNally/Osuigwe (USA/USA) 6-4/6-3

=LADIES WHEELCHAIR SINGLES FINAL=
Diede de Groot/NED def. Sabine Ellerbrock/GER 6-0/6-4

=LADIES WHEELCHAIR DOUBLES FINAL=
Kamiji/Whiley (JPN/GBR) def. #2 Buis/De Groot (NED/NED) 2-6/6-3/6-0




*WIMBLEDON "DOUBLES STAR" WINNERS*
2006 Yan Zi & Zheng Jie, CHN
2007 Cara Black, ZIM
2008 Samantha Stosur, AUS
2009 Serena & Venus Williams, USA
2010 Vania King & Yaroslava Shvedova, USA/KAZ
2011 Kveta Peschke, CZE
2012 Lisa Raymond, USA
2013 Kristina Mladenovic, FRA
2014 Sara Errani & Roberta Vinci, ITA/ITA
2015 Sania Mirza, IND
2016 Heather Watson, GBR
2017 Yui Kamiji & Jordanne Whiley, JPN/GBR

*RECENT SLAM MX CHAMPIONS*
2014 AO: Kristina Mladenovic & Daniel Nestor, FRA/CAN
2014 RG: Anna-Lena Groenefeld & Jean-Julien Rojer, GER/NED
2014 WI: Samantha Stosur & Nenad Zimonjic, AUS/SRB
2014 US: Sania Mirza & Bruno Soarex, IND/BRA
2015 AO: Martina Hingis & Leander Paes, SUI/IND
2015 RG: Bethanie Mattek-Sands & Mike Bryan, USA/USA
2015 WI: Martina Hingis & Leander Paes, SUI/IND
2015 US: Martina Hingis & Leander Paes, SUI/IND
2016 AO: Elena Vesnina & Bruno Soares, RUS/BRA
2016 RG: Martina Hingis & Leander Paes, SUI/IND
2016 WI: Heather Watson & Henri Kontinen, GBR/FIN
2016 US: Laura Siegemund & Mate Pavic, GER/CRO
2017 AO: Abigail Spears & Jean Sebastian Cabal, USA/COL
2017 RG: Gaby Dabrowski & Rohan Bopanna, CAN/IND
2017 WI: Martina Hingis & Jamie Murray, SUI/GBR

*SLAM MX TITLES - active*
6...MARTINA HINGIS, SUI
5...Katarina Srebotnik, SL
3...Sania Mirza, IND
3...Samantha Stosur, AUS
2...Victoria Azarenka, BLR
2...Anna-Lena Groenefeld, GER
2...Liezel Huber, USA
2...Bethanie Mattek-Sands, USA
2...Kristina Mladenovic, FRA
2...Serena Williams, USA
2...Venus Williams, USA
2...Vera Zvonareva, RUS
[Open era]
10 - Martina Navratilova
7 - Billie Jean King
6 - MARTINA HINGIS*
6 - Margaret Court
5 - Cara Black
5 - Lisa Raymond
5 - Anne Smith
5 - Katarina Srebotnik
5 - Helena Sukova
5 - Wendy Turnbull

*WIMBLEDON WHEELCHAIR DOUBLES WINNERS*
2009 Korie Homan/Esther Vergeer (NED/NED)
2010 Esther Vergeer/Sharon Walraven (NED/NED)
2011 Esther Vergeer/Sharon Walraven (NED/NED)
2012 Jiske Griffioen/Aniek van Koot (NED/NED)
2013 Jiske Griffioen/Aniek van Koot (NED/NED)
2014 Yui Kamiji/Jordanne Whiley (JPN/GBR)
2015 Yui Kamiji/Jordanne Whiley (JPN/GBR)
2016 Yui Kamiji/Jordanne Whiley (JPN/GBR)
2017 Yui Kamiji/Jordanne Whiley (JPN/GBR)

*RECENT WIMBLEDON GIRLS DOUBLES CHAMPS*
2002 Elke Clijsters & Barbora Strycova, BEL/CZE
2003 Alisa Kleybanova & Sania Mirza, RUS/IND
2004 Victoria Azarenka & Olga Govortsova, BLR/BLR
2005 Victoria Azarenka & Agnes Szavay, BLR/HUN
2006 Alisa Kleybanova & Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, RUS/RUS
2007 Anastasia Pavlychenkova & Urszula Radwanska, RUS/POL
2008 Polona Hercog & Jessica Moore, SLO/AUS
2009 Noppawan Lertcheewakarn & Sally Peers, THA/AUS
2010 Timea Babos & Sloane Stephens, HUN/USA
2011 Eugenie Bouchard & Grace Min, CAN/USA
2012 Eugenie Bouchard & Taylor Townsend, CAN/USA
2013 Barbora Krejcikova & Katerina Siniakova, CZE/CZE
2014 Tami Grende & Ye Qui Yu, INA/CHN
2015 Dalma Galfi & Fanni Stollar, HUN/HUN
2016 Usue Arconada & Claire Liu, USA/USA
2017 Olga Danilovic & Kaja Juvan, SRB/SLO



TOP QUALIFIER: Petra Martic/CRO
TOP EARLY-ROUND (1r-2r): #6 Johanna Konta/GBR
TOP MIDDLE-ROUND (3r-QF): #14 Garbine Muguruza/ESP
TOP LATE-ROUND (SF-F): #14 Garbine Muguruza/ESP
TOP QUALIFYING MATCH: Q3: Petra Martic/CRO def. #1q Aleksandra Krunic/SRB 3-6/7-6(4)/7-5 (saved 6 MP)
TOP EARLY-RD. MATCH (1r-2r): 2nd Rd. - #6 Johanna Konta/GBR def. Donna Vekic/CRO 7-6(4)/4-6/10-8 (3:10; nearly 100 total winners)
TOP MIDDLE-RD. MATCH (3r-QF): 4th Rd. - #15 Garbine Muguruza/ESP def. #1 Angelique Kerber/GER 4-6/6-4/6-4
TOP LATE-RD. MATCH (SF-F/Jr.): Mixed Doubles SF - H.Chan/Niculescu d. Ninomiya/Voracova 7-6(4)/4-6/9-7 (2:58)
=============================
FIRST VICTORY: Wang Qiang/CHN (def. K.Chang/TPE)
FIRST SEED OUT: #31 Roberta Vinci/ITA (1st Rd. - lost to Kr.Pliskova/CZE)
UPSET QUEENS: USA
REVELATION LADIES: GBR (two women -- Konta & Watson -- in 3rd Rd. for first time since '86; WC Boulter played well vs. McHale)
NATION OF POOR SOULS: CZE (0-6 2nd Rd., including"co-favorites" Kvitova & Ka.Pliskova w/ two other seeds; first time no Czechs in Wimb. 3r since '09, second time since '04)
LAST QUALIFIER STANDING: Petra Martic/CRO (4th Rd.)
LAST WILD CARDS STANDING: Heather Watson/GBR and Zarina Diyas/KAZ (3rd Rd.)
LAST BRIT STANDING: Johanna Konta (in SF, best British result since 1978)
IT ("Next WC Great?"): Diede de Groot/NED
Ms.OPPORTUNITY: Magdalena Rybarikova/SVK
COMEBACK: Victoria Azarenka/BLR
CRASH & BURN: Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova/RUS (1st Rd. loss to Ar.Rodionova after having 7 MP, one year after Wimb. QF and "Career QF Slam" completed at this year's AO; won two titles '17)
ZOMBIE QUEEN: Arina Rodionova/AUS (1st Rd. - qualifier saved 7 MP vs. Pavlyuchenkova; won 9-7 3rd for first career GS MD win; lost 2nd Rd.)
DOUBLES STAR(s): Yui Kamiji & Jordanne Whiley, JPN/GBR (4th consecutive Wimbledon WC Doubles title)
VETERAN PLAYER (KIMIKO CUP): Venus Williams/USA (37 - oldest finalist since 1994)
JUNIOR BREAKOUT: Ann Li/USA
THE RADWANSKA DAY REMEMBRANCE AWARD
June 26 official: Eastbourne DC Dominika Cibulkova loses opening match to WC Heather Watson; 4 LL's win MD matches (one LL vs. LL match-up); LL Tsvetana Pironkova advances to 2nd Rd. w/ 1st Rd. bye when Petra Kvitova withdraws, gets 2nd Rd. win
Day 3 observed: On "Flying Ant Day," newly-emerged insects swarm the AELTC grounds. Meanwhile, six women's seed fall, including two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova.
"Alternate" Rad Day (Day 4): In muggy conditions, four women's seeds (and four men's) fall, including "favorite" #3 Karolina Pliskova, as no Czech woman reach the 3rd Round for the first time in eight years. Bethanie Mattek-Sands suffers a devastating knee injury. Aga Radwanska saves two MP vs. Christina McHale to advance.




All for Wimbledon.

Read more...

Saturday, July 15, 2017

The Caracas Conqueror

Twenty-three years ago, a Spanish woman showed up at Centre Court and ripped a storybook slam singles title from the clutches of a 37-year old Wimbledon legend, denying her a chance to relive her former glory one more time. Today, it happened again.



In 1994, when Conchita Martinez defeated all-time great Martina Navratilova in the aforementioned SW19 Ladies final, Garbine Muguruza was a nine-month old Venezuelan. Born in Caracas the previous October, Muguruza would first wield a tennis racket at age three, move to Spain along with her family at age six, where she'd train at the Bruguera Tennis Academy near Barcelona and ultimately decide to represent her adopted nation as she began her tennis career. In 2015, she became the first Spanish woman since the Martinez/Sanchez glory years to reach a slam singles final, falling to Serena Williams at Wimbledon. A season later, she'd defeat Williams to claim her maiden slam crown at Roland Garros. Thirteen months later, on the third Saturday of July, she played in another Wimbledon championship match, this time against another Williams, 37-year old Venus, who was looking to cap off yet another of her recent resurgent runs with her eighth career slam win, her first major title since 2008 and one which would make her the oldest women to win a slam singles crown in the Open era. But serving as the "secret weapon" in Muguruza's corner -- her players box, in fact, serving as her coach while Sam Sumyk has been away -- was none other than Spanish Fed Cup Captain Martinez, who knows a little something about defeating a 37-year old legend with "USA" next to her name on the most fabled tennis court in the world.

It was almost as if history was destined to repeat itself. And it did, too.

Williams arrived on the final Saturday of play with a racket bag filled with history, and looking to add still more. In her ninth Wimbledon final, twenty years after her SW19 debut, she was playing in her second slam final of 2017 alone, having lost to Serena in January as her 35-year old sister became the oldest Open era slam champ. After coming into the fortnight riding a wave of unwelcome headlines following her involvement in a tragic auto accident in Florida in June, she altered the narrative of her story by turning back the clock with a series of vintage performances in which she expertly downed two rising teenagers, the 20-year old reigning Roland Garros champion, and Britain's first female Wimbledon semifinalist in thirty-nine years, serving with great force and firing penetrating forehands with a furious tenacity that allowed her to control the court against her much younger opponents, handcuffing their ability to adequately fight for their Wimbledon lives.

But would all that Williams had going for her be enough to overcome Muguruza, who'd been displaying a Serena-like dominance for most of the tournament? The 23-year old, while garnering far fewer headlines, had gone about *her* business at this tournament with a ruthless efficiency. Free of the self-imposed shackles that her year-long stint as RG champ turned out to be -- she was playing in her very first final since winning in Paris in 2016 -- Muguruza had for two weeks controlled her sometimes troublesome mental game while also flashing a nearly untouchable physical one, especially on serve, where she was broken just four times in six matches, three of those coming in her 4th Round clash with then-#1 Angelique Kerber before the Spaniard finally ended her stay atop the WTA rankings. She'd lost just one of thirteen sets while advancing to her third career slam fnal.

In the first Wimbledon women's singles final to take place under the Centre Court roof, in front of a throng of tennis luminaries that included the likes of Billie Jean King and, yes, Navratilova, both woman arrived hoping to impose their game on the other, to control the rallies with power strokes that would thwart any aggressive tendencies that their opponent might wish to employ. What happened, though, was a 1 set which would often be a contest in which one, and then the other, attempted to corral a wayward forehand wing, hoping that it wouldn't become a lethal liability on the biggest points of the day. Ultimately, the match turned on a proverbial dime, as Muguruza battled her way out of a corner when her back was seemingly plastered against the wall, then used the momentum she achieved to grab a bigger advantage, quickly seizing total control of the match. As her game strengthened, that of Williams began to lose the strong grip it'd shown throughout this Wimbledon and, in the end, left Venus to lament her missed opportunity late in the opening set in a game that turned out to be *the* key swing moment of the final. While Williams' latest fairytale run came to an end by the close of the day, Muguruza had managed to start yet another chapter in a story of her own that is largely still unwritten.

In contrast to how she'd finish it, Muguruza was a little shaky at the start of the match. Venus, meanwhile, was not. She fired a ace on the very first point. A long Muguruza forehand of a Williams 2nd serve gave her the opportunity to secure the hold, which she did with a backhand winner down the line. The Spaniard then double-faulted to begin game #2. But she quickly recovered, moving forward and putting away a backhand volley to go up 40/15, then utilizing a body serve to kick off a point that included a series of big shots from both women from the baseline, then ended with Muguruza venturing inside the lines to execute a drop shot from the middle of the court to hold for 1-1. While the Spaniard would continue to hold serve to stay even in the set, she did so while overcoming a series of forehand errors. But when the moments were big, she maintained her focus and kept the ball in the court. It would be a skill that would serve her well in the second half of the opening set.

After a DF to even the game #6 score at 30/30 (she'd hit a DF on both of her first two second serves of the match), Muguruza saw a Williams forehand passing shot produce the first break point of the day. But Venus netted an open forehand shot down the line. A Muguruza ace and long Williams forehand got the hold for 3-3. Venus would save a BP on her own serve a game later with Muguruza's long forehand return of a deep second serve. Overcoming a few DF in the game, Williams' ace got her to game point, and she secured the hold.

Serving down 5-4, back-to-back Muguruza forehand errors put her behind 15/40, giving Venus a pair of break point/set point opportunities. But, when the stakes were their highest, the Spaniard got control of her forehand, winning a big-hitting, 19-shot rally that ended with a Williams error. A long Venus forehand return on SP #2 got things back to deuce. She held for 5-5 after another forehand error from Williams, then got her own BP chance a game later when Venus netted a forehand down the line. A wild Muguruza forehand squandered her first chance, but on her second of the game, on a point in which Venus had been moving the Spaniard side to side along the baseline, Williams pulled a forehand out and Muguruza grabbed a break lead at 6-5.

We didn't know it at the time, but at that point the match was over, as Williams wouldn't win another game.

Muguruza's defensive lob turned into an offensive winner when it carried over Venus' shoulder without an attempt to take it out of the air, landing in the corner. Williams saved a SP with a forehand winner, but a backhand into the net game Muguruza the set at 7-5.



With a 1-7 record in slam finals after dropping the opening set, Williams already found herself in a tough situation after losing her lead and failing to close out the 1st. But then the 2nd set saw more and more errors creep into her game just as Muguruza's own level of play began to resemble the dominating force it'd been in the first six rounds of this Wimbledon. Often looking off balance, sometimes because of Muguruza's shot and sometimes not, Williams struggled to hold in the opening game. After saving one BP, she fired an ace on another, only to see Muguruza successfully challenge it and force her to re-serve, then she double-faulted to fall down a break at 1-0. In Venus' next service game, Muguruza's backhand pass off a Williams deep approach shot put her up 15/30. A backhand winner down the line off another approach shot gave her a BP at 30/40. Williams knocked a volley attempt wide and she was suddenly down two breaks at 3-0.

With a look of determination on her face and the confident body language that have become a common sight at this Wimbledon, Muguruza would not be slowed. She held for 4-0, then saw Williams' now error-strewn arsenal lead to a love/40 advantage. A backhand down the line gave Muguruza a triple break lead at 5-0. Her dominance at this event was no longer a "quiet" one. In control of all within her reach, she took a 40/love lead while trying to serve out the title. It took her three MP attempts to get the job done, with a failed replay challenge on the first, then ending with a successful one on the third that overturned a bad line call of a Williams baseline shot, but she once again closed the door without a break in stride. The call change, somewhat anticlimactically, ended the match, but it made Muguruza's 7-5/6-0 victory official.



With the win, Muguruza becomes the first Spanish woman to win Wimbledon since Martinez and the first to become a multiple slam winner since Arantxa Sanchez Vicario won her second crown at Roland Garros in '94, a month before Martinez's sole win in London. Muguruza is now the only player to defeat BOTH Williams Sisters in a slam final. Her blistering, nine-straight-games finish here to close out a magical two-week run of phenomenon performances will return her to the Top 5 on Monday, and her second career slam title will once again place her squarely in the middle of the discussion about which woman is best equipped to not only assume the lead role on the women's tour during the temporary absence of the pregnant Serena, but also to consistently contend for major titles for the foreseeable future once she returns in '18, and beyond.



While the variety of passing shots that allowed Martinez to defeat Navratilova in '94 brought an end to Martina's long run of appearances in major singles finals, Venus may not be out of chances. At least she doesn't seem to think so, as after the match she stated her belief that there will be "other opportunities" for her. She may be right, especially when you consider that a Serena-less U.S. Open will likely only open the door for more night matches on Ashe Court for Venus, keeping her out of the brutal summer heat that might serve to be a detriment to another deep slam run should she be forced to play a few too many three-setters.



Recounting the words of encouragement she received from her first Wimbledon final appearance in 2015, Muguruza said, "Two years ago I lost to Serena and she told me maybe one day I would win. Here I am!" Since then, she's won both of her major titles. So, aside from everything else, Serena can see the future, too. Of course she can.



But, now, the question that begs to be asked is, "What happens next?" The third player (once Karolina Pliskova becomes the top-ranked player on Monday) with slam wins over Serena and Venus to never be ranked #1, Muguruza (23y,9m) is the youngest player to win a SECOND slam since Victoria Azarenka (23y,6m) defended her Australian Open title in 2013. But, unlike the returned new mother from Belarus, the Spaniard has won slam crowns on two different surfaces, and surely has the ability to win one on hard courts, as well. Her Melbourne quarterfinal in January is her best result at either the Australian or U.S. Open. But, as of yet, Muguruza hasn't exactly embraced the title of "slam champion" beyond the immediate emotional high such an accomplishment produces. Her year as Roland Garros champion often more resembled a "sentence" than a reign, and her relief was evident once it was over.

Still, it's encouraging that she (unlike, say, an AnaIvo), seemed determined at this slam to seek the winner's circle yet again so soon after having vacated it. No matter her previous experience, she wasn't afraid to return. A big event player, two of her four career singles titles have come at majors, and few players have the sort of game that its owner can rightfully believe that it can the rule the court on any occasion. Muguruza, when she's on a roll like she was at this Wimbledon, is one of those players. It's just a matter of whether she is now ready to fully embrace and accept the challenge. By this time next year, will she have taken her turn in the #1 position, be contending for it, or maybe even be positioned there atop a full women's field?



It's your move, Garbi.



=DAY 12 NOTES=
...late in the day, after a long men's final forced the closure of the Centre Court roof (because of lack of light, not potential weather) and threatened to carry things over to Sunday (with the Saturday night curfew of 11PM), Ekaterina Makarova & Elena Vesnina arrived and played as if they had a flight to catch. Which, you know, they sort of did.

In the most dominant performance in a slam WD final in over forty-six years ('71 AO - Court/Goolagong), the Hordettes became the first-ever Russians to claim the Wimbledon women's doubles title with a crushing 6-0/6-0 win over Chan Hao-Ching & Monica Niculescu in around fifty-five minutes. The only other Wimbledon WD to end with the double-bagel scoreline came in 1953.



The win adds to the Hordette pair's great big event results, bringing them one RG title away from completing not only a Career Doubles Slam, but a Career Golden Doubles Slam. With their Rio Gold last summer, they only need the win in Paris to join the Williams Sisters (and Bryan twins and the Aussie "Woodies" on the men's side) with all four major titles, plus the Olympics, on their resume. They also won the WTA Finals last year, meaning they have five of the six biggest WD titles out there. Even Serena & Venus haven't pulled that one off (mostly because they've hardly ever played doubles at the season-ending championships, but still).

...in the wheelchair singles final, "Diede the Great" has ascended to her expected thrown. The 20-year old (whoops -- I forgot earlier that she'd celebrated her birthday right before the start of the year, so she's not 19 anymore), in her Wimbledon debut, walked away with her first slam title in yet another dominating performance, defeating 41-year old Sabine Ellerbrock 6-0/6-4. The Dutch champ dropped just fourteen total games in her three SW19 wins over the German, Aniek van Koot and Jordanne Whiley, who've combined for five slam singles crowns in their careers. With 31 winners today (vs. 14 for Ellerbrock), de Groot had a 90-39 edge over her opponents for the tournament.


This win is surely just the beginning of her major title trophy collection, and maybe even just the first of this weekend. Her Wimbledon singles win now goes right next to her teenage highs of 2016: a Masters Doubles title, Rio Paralympic Doubles Silver, 3rd place Masters Singles finish and 4th place in the Paralympic Singles. She might not be finished with the AELTC, either. De Groot has been using the hashtag "#StrawberrySlam" this week on social media. I think she was just referencing the tournament as a whole, but it could very well take on a different meaning on Sunday, when she'll join with countrywoman Marjolein Buis to try to sweep the titles in her first appearance in London. The Dutch pair will face Yui Kamiji & Jordanne Whiley, who are playing to claim their fourth straight Wimbledon WC doubles crown.

...in the juniors, #3-seeded Claire Liu won the all-Bannerette singles final with a 6-2/5-7/6-2 victory over unseeded Ann Li. Liu, trying to avoid becoming the first girl to lose back-to-back slam finals since 2011 (Monica Puig AO & RG), served for the match at 6-2/5-4, and had triple MP before Li forced a 3rd set. Liu reclaimed control here, becoming the first U.S. girl to win the SW19 title since Chanda Rubin in 1992.


Meanwhile, Carson Branstine's quest for girls doubles Grand Slam ended today as she and Marta Kostyuk (the #1 seeds) lost to the all-Bannerette pair of Caty McNally & Whitney Osuigwe (#4). They face Olga Danilovic & Kaja Juvan (SRB/SLO) for the title.



THE NEW SPANISH ARMADA ON DAY 12: First it was AMG coaching Ostapenko in Paris, now Martinez with Muguruza.



"Hey, Arantxa, are you busy in late August/early September? And will you be anywhere near New York City?"

KUDOS ON DAY 12: ...to ESPN's Chris Fowler, at least, who managed to note on several occasions the storyline of 37-year old Martina Navratilova losing to Conchita Martinez in the '94 Wimbledon final, and Martinez being Muguruza's coach today as another Spaniard tried to take down another 37-year old for a title at SW19. The "all-inclusive" pre-match coverage couldn't bother to even take note of it today while everyone (as anticipated) was picking Venus to win the match, not seeming to even really entertain the notion that Muguruza, in top form all fortnight (and being a former slam champ and Wimbledon finalist), might actually, you know, be able to win, and that the match should have been considered, at worst, a "pick 'em" situation.



WERE WE FORTUNATE ON DAY 12...?: ...that things didn't turn out to ultimately be close enough that line calls made a huge difference? I mean, some of the missed calls -- and there were many, most thankfully overturned by replay -- weren't even close to being correct judgments by the linespeople, right down to what turned out to be the last point of the final. It's the story of the match that won't actually be a story of the match.

LIKE ON DAY 12: Angie Kerber. She should feel good about how this Wimbledon ended. After all, she broke the Wimbledon champ three times in her match against her, while Muguruza's other six opponents managed the same feat a combined ONE time during the tournament. Maybe the German IS close to getting that elusive "it" back.

REALIZATION ON DAY 12: So, officially, Karolina Pliskova will become #1 on the seventeenth day of the seventh month of the year 2017. That HAS to mean something significant, right?

THE PROOF IS IN THE PUDDING ON DAY 12: And the dish.

When asked if she had a message for Sam Sumyk, Muguruza simply smiled and said, "Yes, well, here it is," as she looked into the camera and held up the Venus Rosewater Dish. The reality of her holding up the trophy today is precisely what Sumyk has been trying to convince her was possible since he originally signed on, and stuck around through all those (sometimes embarrassing) changeover "coaching sessions."

Maybe even Garbi believes it now.

VENUS... ON DAY 12: ...on the other thirtysomething Wimbledon legend going for a singles title this weekend: "I've always been a Federer fan. I think if you're not, it's kind of uncool. So I wish him the best of luck."


...and, finally... "Calculated and Combustible Colt Championships Challenge Competition" shoots one final time, and juuuust misses. But maybe the third time will be the charm in New York.

Cibulkova
Garcia
Halep
Kerber
Keys
Konjuh
Pavlyuchenkova
Ka.Pliskova
Sevastova
Vandeweghe
Vesnina
V.Williams (RU)
Wozniacki

After all, as I've noted before, my "unscientific" tactic of picking Jelena Ostapenko to win a junior slam title in 2014 took three attempts before the odds finally went in my favor. The Latvian destroyed the FIRST "Colt Challenge" in Paris, so maybe there's a winning connection in there somewhere.




=LADIES' SINGLES FINAL=
#14 Garbine Muguruza/ESP def. #10 Venus Williams/USA 7-5/6-0

=LADIES' DOUBLES FINAL=
#2 Makarova/Vesnina (RUS/RUS) def. #9 H.Chan/Niculescu (TPE/ROU) 6-0/6-0

=MIXED DOUBLES SF=
#1 Hingis/J.Murray (SUI/GBR) vs. Watson/Kontinen (GBR/FIN)

=GIRLS SINGLES FINAL=
#3 Claire Liu/USA def. Ann Li/USA 6-2/5-7/6-2

=GIRLS DOUBLES FINAL=
#4 McNally/Osuigwe (USA/USA) vs. Danilovic/Juvan (SRB/SLO)

=LADIES WHEELCHAIR SINGLES FINAL=
Diede de Groot/NED def. Sabine Ellerbrock/GER 6-0/6-4

=LADIES WHEELCHAIR DOUBLES FINAL=
Kamiji/Whiley (JPN/GBR) vs. #2 Buis/De Groot (NED/NED)





*WIMBLEDON FINALS SINCE 2000*
2000 Venus Williams/USA d. Lindsay Davenport/USA
2001 Venus Williams/USA d. Justine Henin/BEL
2002 Serena Williams/USA d. Venus Williams/USA
2003 Serena Williams/USA d. Venus Williams/USA
2004 Maria Sharapova/RUS d. Serena Williams/USA
2005 Venus Williams/USA d. Lindsay Davenport/USA
2006 Amelie Mauresmo/FRA d. Justine Henin-Hardenne/BEL
2007 Venus Williams/USA d. Marion Bartoli/FRA
2008 Venus Williams/USA d. Serena Williams/USA
2009 Serena Williams/USA d. Venus Williams/USA
2010 Serena Williams/USA d. Vera Zvonareva/RUS
2011 Petra Kvitova/CZE d. Maria Sharapova/RUS
2012 Serena Williams/USA d. Aga Radwanska/POL
2013 Marion Bartoli/FRA d. Sabine Lisicki/GER
2014 Petra Kvitova/CZE d. Genie Bouchard/CAN
2015 Serena Williams/USA d. Garbine Muguruza/ESP
2016 Serena Williams/USA d. Angelique Kerber/GER
2017 Garbine Muguruza/ESP d. Venus Williams/USA

*RECENT WOMEN'S SLAM WINNERS*
2014 RG: Maria Sharapova, RUS
2014 WI: Petra Kvitova, CZE
2014 US: Serena Williams, USA
2015 AO: Serena Williams, USA
2015 RG: Serena Williams, USA
2015 WI: Serena Williams, USA
2015 US: Flavia Pennetta, ITA (ret.)
2016 AO: Angelique Kerber, GER
2016 RG: Garbine Muguruza, ESP
2016 WI: Serena Williams, USA
2016 US: Angelique Kerber, GER
2017 AO: Serena Williams, USA
2017 RG: Jelena Ostapenko, LAT
2017 WI: Garbine Muguruza, ESP

*DEFEATED BOTH VENUS & SERENA IN A SLAM, NEVER RANKED #1*
Ekaterina Makarova = Serena (2012 AO), Venus (2014 AO)
Garbine Muguruza = Serena (2014/16 RG), Venus (2017 WI)
Sloane Stephens = Serena (2013 AO), Venus (2015 RG)
--
PREVIOUSLY ON LIST: Angelique Kerber (became #1 in 2016)
TO BE REMOVED FROM LIST ON 7/17/17: Karolina Pliskova (def. Serena & Venus at '16 US)

*CAREER SLAM FINALS - ACTIVE*
29...Serena Williams (23-6)
16...VENUS WILLIAMS (7-9)
10..Maria Sharapova (5-5)
[5=Hingis 5-7]
4...Svetlana Kuznetsova (2-2)
4...Victoria Azarenka (2-2)
3...Angelique Kerber (2-1)
3...GARBINE MUGURUZA (2-1)

*WIMBLEDON FINALS - ACTIVE*
9...Serena Williams (7-2)
9...VENUS WILLIAMS (5-4)
2...Petra Kvitova (2-0)
2...GARBINE MUGURUZA (1-1)
2...Maria Sharapova (1-1)
[1=Hingis 1-0]
1...Genie Bouchard (0-1)
1...Angelique Kerber (0-1)
1...Sabine Lisicki (0-1)
1...Agnieszka Radwanska (0-1)
1...Vera Zvonareva (0-1)

*2017 WTA TITLES BY NATION - multiple different winners*
4 CZE - Kvitova,Ka.Pliskova,Siniakova,Vondrousova
3 RUS - Kasatkina,Pavlyuchenkova,Vesnina
2 AUS - Barty,Stosur
2 GER - Barthel,Siegemund
2 LAT - Ostapenko,Sevastova
2 UKR - Svitolina,Tsurenko
2 USA - Davis,S.Williams
[titles by one player]
BEL,CRO,ESP,EST,FRA,GBR,HUN,ITA,LAT,NED,ROU

*WIMBLEDON GIRLS FINALS - since 2002*
2002 Vera Dushevina/RUS d. Maria Sharapova/RUS
2003 Kirsten Flipkens/BEL d. Anna Chakvetadze/RUS
2004 Kateryna Bondarenko/UKR d. Ana Ivanovic/SRB
2005 Agnieszka Radwanska/POL d. Tamira Paszek/AUT
2006 Caroline Wozniacki/DEN d. Magdalena Rybarikova/SVK
2007 Urszula Radwanska/POL d. Madison Brengle/USA
2008 Laura Robson/GBR d. Noppawan Lertcheewakarn/THA
2009 Noppawan Lertcheewakarn/THA d. Kristina Mladenovic/FRA
2010 Kristyna Pliskova/CZE d. Sachie Ishizu/JPN
2011 Ashleigh Barty/AUS d. Irina Khromacheva/RUS
2012 Eugenie Bouchard/CAN d. Elina Svitolina/UKR
2013 Belinda Bencic/SUI d. Taylor Townsend/USA
2014 Jelena Ostapenko/LAT d. Kristina Schmiedlova/SVK
2015 Sofya Zhuk/RUS d. Anna Blinkova/RUS
2016 Anastasia Potapova/RUS d. Dayana Yastremska/UKR
2017 Claire Liu/USA d. Ann Li/USA

*ALL-U.S. JUNIOR GIRLS SLAM FINALS*
[Australian Open]
1989 Kim Kessaris def. Andrea Farley
[Roland Garros]
1980 Kathy Horvath def. Kelly Henry
2017 Whitney Osuigwe def. Claire Liu
[Wimbledon]
1977 Lea Antonpolis def. Mareen "Peanut" Louie
1979 Mary-Lou Piatek def. Alycia Moultron
2017 Claire Liu def. Ann Li
[U.S. Open]
1979 Alycia Moulton def. Mary-Lou Piatek
1980 Susan Mascarin def. Kathrin Keil
1981 Zina Garrison def. Kate Gompert
1982 Beth Herr def. Gretchen Rush
1986 Elly Hakami def. Shaun Stafford
1992 Lindsay Davenport def. Julie Steve

*RECENT SLAM WD CHAMPIONS*
2014 US: Ekaterina Makarova & Elena Vesnina, RUS/RUS
2015 AO: Bethanie Mattek-Sands & Lucie Safarova, USA/CZE
2015 RG: Bethanie Mattek-Sands & Lucie Safarova, USA/CZE
2015 WI: Martina Hingis & Sania Mirza, SUI/IND
2015 US: Martina Hingis & Sania Mirza, SUI/IND
2016 AO: Martina Hingis & Sania Mirza, SUI/IND
2016 RG: Caroline Garcia & Kristina Mladenovic, FRA/FRA
2016 WI: Serena Williams & Venus Williams, USA/USA
2016 US: Bethanie Mattek-Sands & Lucie Safarova, USA/CZE
2017 AO: Bethanie Mattek-Sands & Lucie Safarova, USA/CZE
2017 RG: Bethanie Mattek-Sands & Lucie Safarova, USA/CZE
2017 WI: Ekaterina Makarova & Elena Vesnina, RUS/RUS

*SLAM WD TITLES - active*
14 - Serena Williams, USA
14 - Venus Williams, USA
12 - Martina Hingis, SUI
5 - Sara Errani, ITA
5 - Liezel Huber, USA
5 - Bethanie Mattek-Sands, USA
5 - Lucie Safarova, CZE
5 - Roberta Vinci, ITA
3 - EKATERINA MAKAROVA, RUS
3 - Sania Mirza, IND
3 - ELENA VESNINA, RUS
[Open era]
31 - Martina Navratilova
21 - Pam Shriver
18 - Natasha Zvereva
15 - Gigi Fernandez
14 - Serena Williams*
14 - Venus Williams*
12 - Martina Hingis*
12 - Jana Novotna

*WIMBLEDON WHEELCHAIR SINGLES WINNERS*
2016 Jiske Griffioen, NED
2017 Diede de Groot, NED

*U.S. OPEN SERIES WINNERS*
2004 Lindsay Davenport, USA
2005 Kim Clijsters, BEL *
2006 Ana Ivanovic, SRB
2007 Maria Sharapova, RUS
2008 Dinara Safina, RUS
2009 Elena Dementieva, RUS
2010 Caroline Wozniacki, DEN
2011 Serena Williams, USA
2012 Petra Kvitova, CZE
2013 Serena Williams, USA *
2014 Serena Williams, USA *
2015 Karolina Pliskova, CZE
2016 Aga Radwanska, POL
--
* - also won U.S. Open title



TOP QUALIFIER: Petra Martic/CRO
TOP EARLY-ROUND (1r-2r): #6 Johanna Konta/GBR
TOP MIDDLE-ROUND (3r-QF): #14 Garbine Muguruza/ESP
TOP LATE-ROUND (SF-F): #14 Garbine Muguruza/ESP
TOP QUALIFYING MATCH: Q3: Petra Martic/CRO def. #1q Aleksandra Krunic/SRB 3-6/7-6(4)/7-5 (saved 6 MP)
TOP EARLY-RD. MATCH (1r-2r): 2nd Rd. - #6 Johanna Konta/GBR def. Donna Vekic/CRO 7-6(4)/4-6/10-8 (3:10; nearly 100 total winners)
TOP MIDDLE-RD. MATCH (3r-QF): 4th Rd. - #15 Garbine Muguruza/ESP def. #1 Angelique Kerber/GER 4-6/6-4/6-4
TOP LATE-RD. MATCH (SF-F/Jr.): Nominee: MX SF - H.Chan/Niculescu d. Ninomiya/Voracova 7-6(4)/4-6/9-7 (2:58)
=============================
FIRST VICTORY: Wang Qiang/CHN (def. K.Chang/TPE)
FIRST SEED OUT: #31 Roberta Vinci/ITA (1st Rd. - lost to Kr.Pliskova/CZE)
UPSET QUEENS: USA
REVELATION LADIES: GBR (two women -- Konta & Watson -- in 3rd Rd. for first time since '86; WC Boulter played well vs. McHale)
NATION OF POOR SOULS: CZE (0-6 2nd Rd., including"co-favorites" Kvitova & Ka.Pliskova w/ two other seeds; first time no Czechs in Wimb. 3r since '09, second time since '04)
LAST QUALIFIER STANDING: Petra Martic/CRO (4th Rd.)
LAST WILD CARDS STANDING: Heather Watson/GBR and Zarina Diyas/KAZ (3rd Rd.)
LAST BRIT STANDING: Johanna Konta (in SF, best British result since 1978)
IT ("Next WC Great?"): Diede de Groot/NED
Ms.OPPORTUNITY: Magdalena Rybarikova/SVK
COMEBACK: Victoria Azarenka/BLR
CRASH & BURN: Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova/RUS (1st Rd. loss to Ar.Rodionova after having 7 MP, one year after Wimb. QF and "Career QF Slam" completed at this year's AO; won two titles '17)
ZOMBIE QUEEN: Arina Rodionova/AUS (1st Rd. - qualifier saved 7 MP vs. Pavlyuchenkova; won 9-7 3rd for first career GS MD win; lost 2nd Rd.)
DOUBLES STAR(s): Nominees: Watson, Makarova/Vesnina, Kamiji/Whiley
VETERAN PLAYER (KIMIKO CUP): Venus Williams/USA (37 - oldest finalist since 1994)
JUNIOR BREAKOUT: Ann Li/USA
THE RADWANSKA DAY REMEMBRANCE AWARD
June 26 official: Eastbourne DC Dominika Cibulkova loses opening match to WC Heather Watson; 4 LL's win MD matches (one LL vs. LL match-up); LL Tsvetana Pironkova advances to 2nd Rd. w/ 1st Rd. bye when Petra Kvitova withdraws, gets 2nd Rd. win
Day 3 observed: On "Flying Ant Day," newly-emerged insects swarm the AELTC grounds. Meanwhile, six women's seed fall, including two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova.
"Alternate" Rad Day (Day 4): In muggy conditions, four women's seeds (and four men's) fall, including "favorite" #3 Karolina Pliskova, as no Czech woman reach the 3rd Round for the first time in eight years. Bethanie Mattek-Sands suffers a devastating knee injury. Aga Radwanska saves two MP vs. Christina McHale to advance.




All for Day 12. More tomorrow.

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