Friday, May 27, 2016

RG.6- Test Day

At grand slam time, every round is a "test day."

It's an opportunity for players to answer the lingering questions regarding whether or not they're a legitimate major title contender in their current form and mindset. Be it their unique personal histories, injuries, foibles, follies, mind games or other such wild card issues, nearly everything comes into play at some point along the long two-week grand slam haul, a path that must be traversed in order to attain one of four ultimate tennis prizes.

Usually, it's a case of trying to manage to juggle all of it, keeping every proverbial ball in the air until the very end. If the player is just a little bit lucky, that is.

On Friday, many players passed their scheduled 3rd Round "pop quiz" with flying colors. Another received a tentative passing grade (with the chance for extra credit that might ultimately go on her "permanent record"), and one more was a living example of the notion that sometimes whenever something CAN go wrong it most definitely will. Let's call that one "Petra's Law."

As usual, it was the only result that was TRULY definitive.

...the bottom half of the 3rd Round draw was up first in Paris as sixteen women paired up to determine which eight would advance to the Round of 16.

- One of the most encouraging test takers on Day 6 was Simona Halep. At least I think so... but I'm not quite sure.

A round after the Swarmette looked as if she could have been pushed over the Cliffs of Simona had Zarina Diyas been ready to seize the opportunities provided, she faced off with a potentially even more dangerous, but far less experienced, foe in Naomi Osaka. The 18-year old from Japan was playing her first Top 10 opponent on her first show court match at a slam. Not that she showed any real nerves under the circumstances. Osaka has a big game and is willing to use it, going for her shots (sometimes to her own detriment) with a "no fear" approach that will allow her to notch more big wins in the future but, for now, her willy-nilly approach to shot and decision-making and wild inconsistency will produce more near-misses like the one she had today against Halep.

The story of this match revolved around just a few key games. In game #9 of the 1st set, after Halep had broken serve for a 4-2 lead only to see Osaka immediately break back, the Romanian served at 4-4. Up 30/love, a double-fault and forehand error allowed Osaka into the game. The teenager's backhand winner gave her a break point. An error prevented her from cashing in, but Halep's backhand error gave her another chance. She didn't need it, as Halep double-faulted to hand her the break, and the most important game in the opening stanza. Serving for the set, Osaka went up 40/15 and won the set 6-4 off a Halep error.

In the 2nd it was Halep's ability to hold the opening game of the set that provided her with the ability to stay one half-step ahead throughout. In game #1, she squandered a 30/love lead before Osaka began to dictate play with her power and aggression. Halep failed to put away four game points, losing three with errors, but still found her way to an important hold for 1-0. Two errors and a DF contributed to Osaka dropping serve a game later, but she got on board two games after that with a hold for 3-1. She then took a 40/love lead on Halep's serve with three consecutive winners. She got the break to get back on serve at 3-2, but reclaimed the larger advantage when Osaka's long backhand handed the break back. Having never allowed Osaka to get to even on the scoreboard, Halep climbed out of a love/30 hole to hold for 5-2, then broke a game later to secure a 6-2 set win.

Still, even while she was back even in the match, Halep was openly frustrated with her play early in the 3rd as her perfectionism was threatening to rear its sometimes-ugly head once more. It's the same sort of moment that has led to mounting frustration in previous slam defeats when it caused her to lose her focus. She kept the potential flaw in check this time, though. Osaka reached BP again in another game #1, but again the Romanian managed to hold. Three games later, Halep surged back from 30/love down to break for a 3-1 lead as Osaka's errors threatened to be too much for her to overcome. Still, she'd manage one more run at Halep, who would again turn her away. The Japanese teen fired a lethal backhand service winner to break for 3-2, then held for 3-3. For a brief moment, the momentum seemed to be turning in her favor.

But Halep stopped the surge, playing a good, focused game #7 to hold for 4-3. It was the most positive moment of the day for the Swarmette, as a breakdown there might have soon afterward sent her over the Cliffs of Simona. Instead, she kept her footing, then saw Osaka's hail of errors dominate down the final stretch. Three consecutive Osaka errors -- she spread around her mistakes like jam on toast, dropping points with a double-fault and both an errant forehand and backhand -- handed Halep a break for 5-3, then three more errors in the first four points of game #9 brought a match point for the Romanian. Halep's forehand winner finished things off, ending the 4-6/6-2/6-3 match after 1:44 of play.

For Osaka, this was another successful slam run. She's got big weapons, but hasn't yet found a way to get a consistent handle on her power. While she's a dangerous force lurking in any draw she needs to clean things up if she's going to anything more than a floater with potential. Thankfully, she realizes this.

For Halep, the efforts to read the Romanian tea leaves for her remaining time in Paris may prove inconclusive after this one. But she showed enough to make one believe she may be on the right track. Maybe. We'll see next time out.

She'll face '10 RG finalist Samantha Stosur, who more than surpassed expectations by putting up just her fourth win in fifteen matches against '15 RG finalist Lucie Safarova. The Aussie lifted her game in (nearly all) the big moments vs. the Czech, breaking her for 5-3 in the 1st and staving off two BP before holding to serve out a 6-3 set with an ace.

A nip-and-tuck 2nd set ended with Safarova dominating a 7-0 tie-break to knot the match, but then the 1st set scenario returned for the 3rd. Another late break of serve put Stosur up 4-2. Safarova went up 40/love on Stosur's serve a game later, but the Aussie fired another ace to reach deuce. Safarova broke on her fourth BP of the game. On serve at 6-5, Stosur took a 40/15 lead on Safarova's serve in game #12, pulling off another break to end the match when the Czech missed on a forehand. Stosur won 6-3/6-7(0)/7-5.

While Osaka was experiencing her first of what she hopes will be many shots at a big stage win over a top tier opponent in a slam, 32-year old Stosur is at the point in her career where any legitimate shot she has at a second slam title run could be her last. It's been six years since her only final appearance in Paris, and five since her sole major title at the U.S. Open in 2011. She's gone thirteen slams without reaching a QF, and time is now getting short for the elusive "one more big turn." The two women are tied 3-3 in career head-to-head meetings, with the Romanian winning their last three meetings, including a 2 & 0 crushing of the Aussie earlier this month in Madrid during Halep's title run. But Stosur is 2-0 vs. her at Roland Garros, winning a pair of straight sets matches in 2010 and '11.

- Meanwhile, we got another version of Petra Kvitova on Friday in Paris. "Extreme Bad Petra." You sort of get the idea that, with her, just signing her name to the exam paper today was an act of rebellion.

Unseeded Bannerette Shelby Rogers continued her unexpected Paris run with a 6-0/6-7(3)/6-0 (yes, that's correct) victory. The 1st set lasted just twenty-one minutes, with Kvitova's winner/unforced errors numbers (2/14) about as ugly as they can get. The Czech was down a break in the 2nd set, but managed to push things to a tie-break, which she won 7-3. But then it was right back on the hamster wheel. Kvitova fell apart even further, while Rogers soared. She got a break to start the set and never looked back.

Of course, this sort of scoreline isn't exactly a unique thing for Rogers.

Wins over #17 Karolina Pliskova, Elena Vesnina and now #10 Kvitova have the world #108 into her first slam Round of 16. As for Kvitova, something is just wrong. She can't blame this on being "rusty" as she did a loss a few weeks ago.

Considering all her health issues, some further investigation is really necessary. Overdue, really. As it is, though, we're left with an extreme example of just how low Bad Petra can go. For the match, she had 35 errors (lower than they may have been since she won so few points in the two sets) to Rogers' 18, while she had zero aces and six DF (Rogers, in contrast, had six aces and one DF). Rogers was 6-of-10 on BP chances, while Kvitova was 1-for-5. The 1st and 3rd set stats, separated from the competitive 2nd, only further belabor the point: Rogers won 50 of 73 points, and had 17/6 winner/UE numbers vs. Kvitova's 6/19.

#PetrainParis wasn't supposed to look like this. But, really, who can REALLY be suprised that it did?

Rogers will next face another seed, #25 Irina-Camelia Begu, who continued to screw with the entire class' grading curve by carrying over her great spring run to yet another round in Paris. Of course, the Romanian, bless her, just couldn't help herself and had to play yet another three-setter on Day 6, her third in a row this week. This time she defeated Annika Beck 6-4/2-6/6-1 to reach her second slam Round of 16 (w/ '15 AO).

- Meanwhile, Garbine Muguruza tested out pretty well in HER 3rd Round match vs. Yanina Wickmayer. Except for that stretch when she didn't. But then she finished up strong. So, you know... a bit of "the old usual" from her.

Garbi weathered a shaky stretch in the 1st set as she ping-ponged from good to bad. Up a break, she double-faulted twice and lost her advantage at 3-3. It wasn't a "Full-On Bad Petra," though. She pulled her fortunes back from the Cliffs of Simona and closed out the opening set in thirty-eight minutes. She then jumped out to an early lead in the 2nd as Wickmayer never gained any sort of foothold in the set. Muguruza's ace put her up 5-0, and she broke to close out a 6-4/6-0 win. She won twelve of fifteen return points in the set, converting all three of her BP chances. In all, the Spaniard won 26 of the set's 35 points.

Her Round of 16 opponent will be Svetlana Kuznetsova. The Russian wasn't totally satisfied with her efforts vs. fellow Hordette Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova. But she won 6-1/6-4... so it's probably best to just let all the usual which-Sveta-will-show-up so-far-sleeping dogs snooze for as long as possible.

- the other Round of 16 match that resulted from today's matches will give us -- drumroll, please -- a Radwanska vs. Pironkova Movie Monster Special.

Unseeded Tsvetana Pironkova, in the middle of another of her out-of-nowhere slam runs, destroyed Sloane Stephens, winning 6-2/6-1. Stephens defeated the Bulgarian 4 & 1 in the 3rd Round in Paris a year ago. This time, Pironkova won 57 of 82 points, including 28 of 45 on the Bannerette's serve. So she lost just eight of thirty-seven on her own serve.

She'll face Aga, who led Barbora Strycova 6-2/3-0 and seemed on her way to a straight sets win in the 2nd set tie-break (she led 5-3), only to be forced to a 3rd. There, Radwanska broke the Czech to open the set on her fourth BP of the game, took another 3-0 lead and finally secured a 6-2/6-7(6)/6-2 win.

And, of course, you can't mention this match without having a look at this:

Sheesh. That gets a very odd "A" grade -- for CRAAAAAAAAAAAAZY -- every time.

For the record, Aga is 11-2 all-time vs. Pironkova (who's also 0-1 vs. Ula). But one of her wins came in Paris... even if it WAS in the old indoors event held there almost a decade ago. doubles, the likes of Hingis/Mirza, Bertens/Larsson, Makarova/Vesnina, Hlavackova/Hradecka, Babos/Shvedova, Krejcikova/Siniakova, Zhang Yifan/Zheng Saisai and Krunic/Lucic-Baroni (go Bracelet!) all advanced to the Round of 16, while Garcia/Mladenovic got a 1st Round win. But it was the Alize Cornet/Magda Linette vs. Madison Brengle/Tatjana Maria match that got the attention.

Of course, it wasn't because of the doubles action. The tournament seemed to do everything it could to hide the match from as many eyes as possible, perhaps fearing what might happen (or maybe trying to shield Pastry Cornet from too much heated attention after yesterday's controversial singles win over Maria).

Maria got some measure of "revenge" in a 6-4/2-6/6-1 win, but that was a secondary (if that) part of Day II's story here.

Rather than just accept that she lost, even with all the overt dramatics and stretching/breaking of trainer's visit/treatment rules yesterday during Cornet's very Alize-like in-match actions (which is why no one should really be TOO surprised by what happened there -- the Pastry's drama/pain/excitement numbers always tend to "pull a Spinal Tap" and get "turned up to the 11" under ALL circumstances, after all), Maria seems intent on pushing this into ridiculous territory, possibly by seeking legal action of some kind because of the rulings during the match.

I mean, really? Can one be a worse loser? Which she did do, after all.

Be upset. Demand some accountability from the Powers That Be for a lack of consistency in enforcing the rules. But also know when to say when.

Here, I'll help -- "when."

...LIKE FROM DAY 6: Any Na is good Na.

...LIKE FROM DAY 6: Fancy meeting you here...

...VOICES FROM THE GRAVE ON DAY 6: "What did we do!?!?!?!?"

..."Hmmmm..." FROM DAY 6: Maybe Pat Cash's checked headband was (sort of) the forerunner of the latest black-and-white look back in 1987?

...LIKE FROM DAY 6: Courtney Nguyen and Gigi Salmon silently listening on Roland Garros Radio as the microphones catch a certain male French player re-arming his racket with a new tacky grip, with the process producing an audible (tight, sticky... if that makes sense) sound. Intimate, fascinating and hilariously absurd all rolled into one!


...LIKE FROM THE NIGHT BEFORE DAY 6: The Most Interesting Bee in the World

...and, finally, another Lenglen moment.

Today, a few notes about how La Divine's influence stretched beyond a racket and ball. She was also a fashion icon. As noted on the Museum at FIT blog, "Lenglen fully embodied the idea of a liberated, active woman, and her fashion choices were a visible extension of her spirit and tenacity, on and off the court."

She is forever linked with French designer Jean Patou, known for his designing of sportswear for women, including being credited with inventing the tennis skirt. Patou created the then-shocking outfits worn on court by the French superstar, as she played in sleeveless dresses cut at the knee at a time when women dressed covered from head to toe. Designing with the idea of "femme moderne," the designed crafted clothes that were elegant, but also true to the newly-realized female athleticism of the day.

Here is a brief interview with Ariele Elia, the Assistant Curator of Costume + Textiles at the Museum at FIT (The Fashion Institute of Technology) in New York, in which she touches on Patou, Lenglen and active wear from the era connected to an exhibition at the museum in 2014. The interview is followed by a short piece on Patou which includes photos and more on his connection to Lenglen.

Celebrated as an "Icon of the Week" a few years ago on, Lenglen's place in fashion history was put into greater context.>


"She was great entertainment. Her temperament drove spectators to tears. But even the fainthearted couldn’t look away. After all, she introduced glamour to the court.

Lenglen’s earlier tennis outfits went along with her time. She paired short-sleeved white blouses and mid-calf white cotton skirts with a wide brimmed bonnet for sun protection. Her twist to the status quo was in skipping traditional corsets and heavy underwear.

What set her further apart was a trademark cropped bob she kept until her retirement. Early into her career, she began wrapping it around a wide silk scarf. Her version of a feminine sportsband was the first of its kind.

At her 1920 Wimbledon finals, she made headlines with a change in appearance. Decked in full makeup, Lenglen walked onto court sporting a full-length fur coat only to unsheath it to reveal a tight-fitting sleeveless top and a scandalously short skirt. God forbid, it was knee-length! Of her outfit, (men's tennis star) Bill Tilden remarked, “Her costume struck me as a cross between a prima donna’s and a streetwalker.”

Her daring wear was crafted by Jean Patou, a designer most revered for eradicating the flapper look by lengthening women’s skirts. Once he started designing her cutting edge tennis wear, Lenglen became a pinnacle athletic figure for the Jazz Age.

Her career was about the time women’s suffrage met its peak; when greater opportunities for equality started to emerge. What Lenglen contributed to her time was incredibly significant. She turned women’s tennis from a game to a sport through and through.

And while her on-court outfits scandalized, they more importantly paved the way for flexibly convenient sportswear for women. To the practical attire, Lenglen also added a personalized touch of glamour – her shiny white stockings rolled to the knee for example, caused a bit of perverse outrage.

What we’ll appreciate most in retrospect today, is how Lenglen moved in her outfits. Combining balletic styles to her tennis strokes gave Lenglen enough of an edge to make her sportswear high fashion, even in the midst of a game."

Lenglen's influence and inspiration continues today. The Hermes 2010 Spring Collection saw the 1920's Frenchwoman serve as the muse of designer Jean Paul Gaultier.

The Hermes link shows many of the looks that were created. Here's an example of two (on the left), along with images of Lenglen (right) that resemble what Gaultier produced ninety years later.

#25 Irina-Camelia Beug/ROU vs. Shelby Rogers/USA
#13 Svetlana Kuznetsova/RUS vs. #3 Garbine Muguruza/ESP
#6 Simona Halep/ROU vs. #21 Samantha Stosur/AUS
Tsvetana Pironkova/BUL vs. #2 Aga Radwanska/POL

#1 Hingis/Mirza (SUI/IND) vs. Krejcikova/Siniakova (CZE/CZE)
xx vs. #6 Hlavackova/Hradecka (CZE/CZE)
xx vs. Brengle/Maria (USA/GER)
#10 Goerges/Ka.Pliskova (GER/CZE) vs. #7 Makarova/Vesnina (RUS/RUS)
Krunic/Lucic-Baroni (SRB/CRO) vs. #9 Xu Yifan/Zheng Saisai (CHN/CHN)
xx vs. #4 Babos/Shvedova (HUN/KAZ)
xx vs. xx
xx vs. Bertens/Larsson (NED/SWE)

#1 HC.Chan/J.Murray (TPE/GBR) vs. xx
Voskoboeva/Martin (KAZ/FRA) vs. #6 Hlavackova/Roger-Vasselin (CZE/FRA)
#4 Shvedova/Mergea (KAZ/ROU) vs. Hingis/Paes (SUI/IND)
Klepac/Huey (SLO/PHI) vs. #5 Vesnina/Soares (RUS/BRA)
#8 Vandeweghe/B.Bryan (USA/USA) vs. Chuang/Kontinen (TPE/FIN)
Xu Yifan/Draganja (CHN/CRO) vs. xx
#7 YJ.Chan/Mirnyi (TPE/BLR) vs. Jankovic/Zimonjic (SRB/SRB)
xx s. #2 Mirza/Dodig (IND/CRO)

2006 Wimbledon 2r (Grass) - A.RADWANSKA 7-5 (7-6(5)
2007 Stockholm SF (Hard) - A.RADWANSKA 6-4,6-3
2007 Wimbledon 1r (Grass) - A.RADWANSKA 6-2,6-1
2007 Warsaw 1r (Clay) - A.RADWANSKA 7-5,6-1
2007 Fed Cup (Clay) - A.RADWANSKA 6-2,6-3
2007 Paris QF (Hard) - PIRONKOVA 3-6,6-4,6-3
2008 Istanbul SF (Clay) - A.RADWANSKA 7-6(1),3-6,6-1
2009 Stuttgart 2r (Clay) - A.RADWANSKA 6-3,6-3
2011 Fed Cup (Hard) - A.RADWANSKA 6-2,6-4
2012 Eastbourne 1r (Grass) - PIRONKOVA 6-2,6-4
2013 Wimbledon 4r (Grass) - A.RADWANSKA 4-6,6-3,6-3
2013 Madrid 1r (Clay) - A.RADWANSKA 6-2,6-4
2015 Eastbourne QF (Grass) - A.RADWANSKA 6-2,6-2
2016 Roland Garros 4r (Clay) - ?

*FRENCH WOMEN IN RG ROUND OF 16 - since 1997*
1997 Mary Pierce
1998 Sandrine Testud
1999 Julie Halard-Decugis
2000 Amelie Mauresmo, Mary Pierce
2001 Sandrine Testud
2002 Amelie Mauresmo, Mary Pierce
2003 Amelie Mauresmo
2004 Amelie Mauresmo
2005 Mary Pierce
2006 Amelie Mauresmo
2007 Marion Bartoli
2008 -
2009 Virginie Razzano, Aravane Rezai
2010 -
2011 Marion Bartoli
2012 -
2013 -
2014 Pauline Parmentier
2015 Alize Cornet
2016 ?

TOP QUALIFIER: Viktoriya Golubic/SUI
TOP EARLY-ROUND (1r-2r): #11 Lucie Safarova/CZE
TOP QUALIFYING MATCH: Q3: Lucie Hradecka/CZE d. Grace Min/USA 6-7(4)/6-1/11-9 (saved 4 MP)
TOP EARLY-RD. MATCH (1r-2r): 2nd Rd. - #25 Irina-Camelia Begu/ROU d. CoCo Vandeweghe/USA 6-7(4)/7-6(4)/10-8 (3:38)
FIRST VICTORY: #24 Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova/RUS (def. Sorribes Tormo/ESP
FIRST SEED OUT: #32 Jelena Ostapenko/LAT (lost 1st Rd. to Osaka/JPN)
UPSET QUEENS: The South Americans (players from three S.A. nations in 2nd Round)
REVELATION LADIES: The French (second most players in 2nd Rd.)
NATION OF POOR SOULS: Italy (remaining Quartet members Vinci, Errani & Schiavone 0-3; retired Pennetta last not in MD in 2002)
LAST QUALIFIER STANDING: C.Buyukakcay/TUR, V.Cepede Royg/PAR, L.Chirico/USA and V.Golubic/SUI (all 2nd Rd.)
LAST WILD CARD STANDING: M.Georges/FRA, V.Razzano/FRA, and T.Townsend/USA (all 2nd Rd.)
LAST PASTRY STANDING: In 3rd Rd.: A.Cornet, K.Mladenovic, P.Parmentier
IT "??": Cagla Buyukakcay/TUR (first Turk w/ GS match win)
CRASH & BURN: #3 Angelique Kerber/GER (1st Rd./Bertens - fifth AO champ out RG 1st Rd. in Open era)

Artist: Paul Thurlby (2013)

All for Day 6. More tomorrow.


Thursday, May 26, 2016

RG.5- Serena & Venus, Suzanne & Helen

Day 5 on Suzanne Lenglen wasn't exactly a case of partying like it was 1926. It more resembled the period on the WTA tour between 2000 and 2003.

Courtesy of the Williams Sisters.

[ More on that 1926 reference later in this post ]

Today it was almost as if we all hoped into a time machine and turned back the clock. There they were, Serena and Venus Williams. Both sporting Top 10 seeds. Both scheduled on Lenglen Court, in consecutive matches to close out the day. If you didn't know any better, you might have thought it was the early 2000's again. You know, when Venus won back-to-back Wimbledon and U.S. Open titles in successive summers, then reached five finals in six slams from 2002-03, facing off with Serena in each one as the younger Williams completed Serena Slam I and officially threw her hat into the ring with the sport's all-time greats seemingly a blink of an eye after Venus herself had built her own legacy while instantly taking the WTA tour by storm by reaching her first slam final in New York in just her third major main draw appearance.

As the Sisters complete the journey of the back half of their thirties, they aren't old. They're just drawn that way.

But, still, one had to wonder heading into Thursday in Paris just how many more times, if any, we'll be privileged to see the two of them featured on a show court, one after the other, on the grand slam stage.

As it turned out, it was day to savor for the memory banks, as both Williams produced a performance worthy of all the honors they'll continue to have bestowed upon them once they're no longer lugging racket bags on and off the major tennis courts around the world.

Serena was up first. Firing thirty-one winners to her opponent's six, she defeated Teliana Pereira 6-2/6-1, outdistancing the Brazilian 62-36 in total points as the defending champ moved one step closer to winning a third Roland Garros crown in three years.

Up next was Venus. Perhaps having risen from bed this morning feeling GREAT, inspired by the close proximity of her sister on Lenglen, or quite simply once again wishing to get every last ounce out of every remaining moment of her tennis career, she put on a show vs. 20-year old Bannerette Louisa Chirico, a qualifier who was playing in the biggest match of her young career (even after having reached a very important semifinal in Madrid just a few weeks ago).

While Chirico will need some time to be comfortable on such a stage, Venus has been here, done that. And it showed.

She not only equaled Serena's performance, she arguably surpassed it. She matched her sister's 6-2/6-1 score, winning 55 of 84 points and never facing a break point. Waking the echoes of her former serving dominance, Venus won 33 of 41 points on serve (23 of 28 on her 1st serve, 10 of 13 on 2nd). She even won all ten of her net approaches in the match.

While Serena advanced to the 3rd Round in Paris for the thirteenth time in fifteen visits, this is Venus' best result there since reaching the Round of 16 in 2010. It's been a decade since she advanced any further than that. Situated in the top half of the draw, they could even meet in a semifinal if things went according to history's plan. They haven't played each other in Paris since, you guessed it, the 2002 final, their only RG match-up. It's the match where Serena picked up the first leg of the original Serena Slam, wouldn't you guess.

But that's the (possible) future, and the (definitive) past. Today was a day to remember all on it's own... though made all the more meaningful by what has already happened, and what still could.

...the day began on Court Chatrier with Timea Bacinszky making her debut on the tournament's biggest court. Maybe it was a slight case of nerves that hindered her early, or it could have been Genie Bouchard showing the type of 2016 tennis that has at times resembled her breakout '14 form. But the Canadian has been unable to consistently maintain that level of play thus far this season, and she couldn't hold the 4-1 lead she had against the Swiss here, either.

Once Bacsinszky got hold of this match, the '15 semifinalist refused to let it go. She ran off eleven of the final fifteen games to win 6-4/6-4. After a 2nd Round exit in Melbourne, she's now in her fourth slam 3rd Round in her last six majors. She'd reached one in nineteen slam MD before the start of last season.

...on Day 5, Kiki Bertens didn't fall into the trap that so often befalls players who eliminate high seeds in the opening rounds of a major. The Nurnberg champ defeated #5 seed and Australian Open champ Angelique Kerber two days ago, and she didn't slow down at all today. The Dutch woman added the name of Camila Giorgi to the list of the fallen with a 6-4/6-1 victory to attain her second-best career slam result, behind only her Round of 16 run in Paris two years ago as a qualifier.

She didn't stop there, though, as this wasn't even Bertens' biggest win of the day, or even this event. She and fellow Nurnberg doubles champion Johanna Larsson took down '15 RG WD champs Bethanie Mattek-Sands & Lucie Safarova 6-4/6-3 in the 1st Round.

...after French wild card Virginie Razzano got off to a quick start against Daria Kasatkina it appeared as if the teenage Russian might not be up to taking advantage of the potential opening in the draw provided by Kerber's early exit. Silly humans. While Razzano won the 1st set, the Hordette came charging back immediately afterward for a 3-6/6-1/6-3 victory to reach the 3rd Round in a third consecutive major.

Of course, her next opponent -- Bertens, who has won nine straight singles matches -- will have something to say about what happens next. Of note, Kasatkina had a courtside seat for the Bertens-led monster Fed Cup upset of the Russians by the Dutch women in February. Kasatkina teamed with Ekaterina Makarova in doubles to record the Hordettes' only match win in that Moscow tie.

...three Pastries advanced to the 3rd Round today. Pauline Parmentier is probably considered the biggest surprise, but she actually had the best spring of the trio of remaining Frenchwomen. The 30-year's win over Irina Falconi gives her her third career slam 3rd Round, though it's not her best RG result. She reached the Round of 16 in 2014.

Kristina Mladenovic increased her career singles head-to-head with sometimes-doubles partner Timea Babos (3 titles in '15) to 4-1, while Alize Cornet's three-set win over Tatjana Maria is her third 2nd Round win in the last three years in Paris.

Naturally, with Cornet there comes drama, controversy, over-celebration and charges of "bending the rules" (conservatively). In this case, it all revolved around cramping, questions about said cramping, medical timeouts, questions about said medical timeouts, and the scene of the Pastry not looking like she was cramping during points but then complaining of severe pain between them. Needless to say, Maria wasn't please.

Ah, the Most Interesting Tour in the World rarely ever disappoints.

Oh, and Cornet and Maria are scheduled to face each other again in the next round of doubles.

Ah, the Most Interesting Tour in the World rarely ever never disappoints.

Cornet faces Venus in the 3rd Round of singles. Remember, she upset Serena at Wimbledon in 2014. In their first meeting, Venus defeated Cornet in the 1st Round in Paris nine years ago in 2007. She's 0-5 vs. Venus, last losing to her 6-1/6-1 in the Hong Kong QF last October. She hasn't won more than four games in a set off Williams since the very first set they played in their maiden contest at Roland Garros.

...elsewhere, Ana Ivanovic defeated Kurumi Nara to reach her fifth consecutive 3rd Round in Paris, and her tenth in twelve career appearances. '08 champ AnaIvo is 37-10 for her career at Roland Garros, her best mark at any slam. So, there's at least one zebra left in the WTA herd, reduced to thirty-two at the conclusion of Day 5.

Carla Suarez-Navarro advanced past Wang Qiang, also reaching her fifth straight RG 3rd Round. The Spaniard has done so in seven of her eight RG MD, advancing deeper to the QF in her '08 debut and again in 2014, as well as the 4th Round in '13.

Karin Knapp is the only Italian left in the women's draw, matching Bertens by not succumbing one round after pulling off a 1st Round upset (def. Azarenka). Her win over Anastasiya Sevastova produces her third career Paris 3rd Round, but first since back-to-back such runs from 2007-08. Dominika Cibulkova took down Ana Konjuh in a love 3rd set. It's the Slovak's seventh 3rd Round in nine RG trips, but her first since 2014 after missing the tournament last year following Achilles' surgery. Madison Keys has matched her 2015 result in Paris with her win over Nurnberg finalist Mariana Duque.

'15 quarterfinalist Elina Svitolina ended wild card Taylor Townsend's run, leaving the Bannerette in a tie with Razzano and Myrtille Georges for Last Wild Card Standing. Meanwhile, Last Qualifier Standing is a FOUR-way tie, with Chirico, Cagla Buyukakcay, Veronica Cepede Royg and Viktoriya Golubic sharing the honor.

...unfortunately, Andrea Petkovic didn't make much impact on this Roland Garros. You could sort of see her 6-2/6-2 loss today to Yulia Putintseva coming. The German is under .500 this season and falls to 3-9 in her last twelve with today's loss, all since reaching the semis in Doha with wins over Makarova, Gasparyan, Vandeweghe and Muguruza amid an 8-4 start to 2016. But she's been dealing with injury worries once again of late and hasn't had much of a clay court season (3-6). Meanwhile, Putintseva has put up two QF (Charleston/Rabat) this spring, and has notched wins over Venus, Kurumi Nara and Petkovic's countrywoman Sabine Lisicki. This is the Kazakh's second straight slam 3rd Round result.

Of course, in the end, Petko is still going to be Petko.

Monica Puig completed the final match of the day, defeating Julia Goerges. Three years ago the Puerto Rican made her slam debut in Paris, reaching the 3rd Round. She hadn't had a win there since, until this week. It took a while, as in three hours to complete a 7-5/6-7(4)/7-5 triumph completed on her sixth MP. doubles, Xenia Knoll & Klaudia Jans-Ignacik fell to Aleksanda Krunic & Mirjana Lucic-Baroni, who staged a comeback to win 2-6/6-1/6-3. Friends Krunic & Knoll combined to win a tour-level title in Rabat (and reach a $100K final a week ago) last month.

(Go Bracelet!)

Finally, what was once a brilliant junior girls doubles duo -- Katerina Siniakova & Barbora Krejcikova, who combined to win three-fourths of a Grand Slam in GD in 2013 -- are joining forces as professionals. The Czechs, in their third '16 event as a duo, lifted their record to 2-2 today with a win over Chuang/Hsieh. Along with their doubles success, Siniakova/Krejcikova went 14-4 in pro events in 2013-14, winning a pair of $25K titles.

Oh, of course, they were also know for their victory dances in the past:

Makarova/Vesnina defeated Sam Stosur & Zhang Shuai. Stosur defeated Zhang yesterday in singles. And the Chans joins the Kichenoks and Williams Sisters as all-sibling pairs in the 2nd Round, defeating Kateryna Bondarenko (another sister) & Olga Savchuk. Others tennis sisters in the 2nd Rd.: Naomi Osaka (w/ Doi), Karolina Pliskova (w/ Goerges) and Michaella Krajicek (w/ Strycova), with Naomi Broady (w/ Chirico) still to play in the 1st Round. mixed, the SuperVet pair of Hingis/Paes advanced, as did Hingis' doubles partner Sania Mirza (w/ Dodig). And in a match featuring three tennis siblings, Chan Hao-ching (w/ J.Murray) knocked off Daria Gavrilova (w/ J.Peers). "unofficial" Top 10 Players for the first two rounds:

1. Lucie Safarova, CZE: the '15 finalist has dropped six games (not counting the doubles upset... which might help her in the long run, anyway, considering she's probably not quite 100% back to health just yet)
2. Serena Williams, USA: she's lost just five games and looks solid. Not good news for the other 31 women left.
3. Kiki Bertens, NED: knocked off the AO champ in singles, then the RG doubles DC, too.
4. Irina-Camelia Begu, ROU: no longer under the radar with back-to-back three-setters, including the 3:38 marathon vs. CoCo
5. Timea Bacsinszky, SUI: the semifinalist who had Serena (seemingly) dead to rights a year ago looks in-form and on-point
6. Aga Radwanska, POL: not necessarily her slam, but she's still alive (losing just 8 games) and hoping for chaos
7. Venus Williams, USA: don't look back, somebody might be gaining on you. Hey, she looks familiar.
8. Kristina Mladenovic, FRA: rockin' the stripes... if only she was the only one wearing them. Call it the "Lenglen Pastry Exception to the Fashion Rule."

9. Madison Keys, USA: when in Rome, act like you're in Paris. When in Paris, play as if you're still in Rome.
10. Shelby Rogers, USA: wins over Karolina Pliskova and Elena Vesnina have her in second 3rd Round in three slams
HM- Naomi Osaka, JPN: knocked off First Seed Out, and now gets a shot at Halep

...LIKE FROM DAY 5: To the victors go one more spoil...

...LIKE FROM DAY 5: Sharapovic reflection...

...DISLIKE FROM DAY 5...and beyond?: Seriously, just leave it alone. Calling out what you see as bad sportswomanship only really makes you look like a bad sportswoman, too.

...LIKE FROM DAY 5: Moves like Jagger?

...LIKE FROM DAY 5: Timi wins, Martina wins...

Meanwhile, another Swiss waits in the wings back home. Get well and be ready soon!

Hmmm. 44%? Someone needs to think about re-charging.

...LIKE FROM DAY 5: Speaking of the Swiss, with a side of Turk...

...and, finally, another Lenglen moment. Actually, THE moment, one could make a case.

Before Martina faced off with Chrissie, Steffi and Monica met to decide slam titles, or Serena and Venus moved the Williams Family Practice Session onto the grand slam stages, there was the idea of Suzanne Lenglen, recognized as the greatest women's tennis player alive, and Helen Wills.

The only problem with their "rivalry," though, was that they only ever met once on a tennis court. It happened ninety years and three months ago, on February 16, 1926. And when it happened, it was called "The Match of the Century."

But, first, some context...

Frenchwoman Lenglen, of course, was the winner of eight slam singles titles from 1919-26, including six Wimbledon crowns. She compiled a 341-7 match record, and once won 181 matches in a row. In 1920, she won Olympic singles Gold, losing just four total games en route to the victory stand in Antwerp. Lenglen reached the final at Roland Garros (then a French-only event) in 1914 at age 14. At 15, she became the youngest winner of a major championship (it's still a record) when she won the World Hard Court Championships. World War I, though, caused her to miss five years of her career, as the sport didn't appear again in Europe until 1919.

A flamboyant, fashion trendsetter (and French, too... go figure?), Lenglen was the first true female tennis celebrity. The sport's biggest star attraction in the late 1910's and early 1920's, Lenglen was dubbed "La Divine" (The Goddess) by the French press. Lenglen famously gained attention for (gasp) appearing at Wimbledon in a forearm-baring dress cut just above the calf. Predictably, the Brits were shocked by the bold Pastry, who was also known for sipping brandy from her "emergency kit" between sets of play.

American star Wills was six and a half years younger than Lenglen, and different from her (near)-contemporary in so many ways. Well, other than on-court dominance, that is. By 1926, the 20 year-old California native had already won three U.S. Open titles and Olympic Gold in 1924 in Lenglen's Paris hometown.

{from Wikipedia} "Wills was the first American woman athlete to become a global celebrity, making friends with royalty and film stars despite her preference to stay out of the limelight. She was admired for her graceful physique and for her fluid motion. She was part of a new tennis fashion, playing in knee-length pleated skirts rather than the longer ones of her predecessors. Unusually, she practiced against men to hone her craft, and she played a relentless game, wearing down her female opponents with power and accuracy.">

While Lenglen was flamboyant, Wills was described as introverted and detached. She rarely showed emotion. Famed sportswriter Grantland Rice dubbed her "Little Miss Poker Face," and she was said to ignore both her opponents and the crowd during matches.

Kitty McKane Godfree, the only player to ever defeat Wills at Wimbledon, said, "Helen was a very private person, and she didn't really make friends very much." Wills, especially as she became more successful (shocker), was considered an unpopular public figure, and was desparagingly called "Queen Helen" and "The Imperial Helen." Hazel Hotchkiss Wightman (a four-time U.S. Open champ) offered a reason, saying, "Helen was really an unconfident and [socially] awkward girl -— you have no idea how awkward.... I thought of Helen as an honestly shy person who was bewildered by how difficult it was to please most people."

In her autobiography, Wills said, "I had one thought and that was to put the ball across the net. I was simply myself, too deeply concentrated on the game for any extraneous thought."

The playing styles of the two women were in direct opposition to one another. Wills was blessed with a natural physical presence, but was seen as having less overt athleticism and what we would now call a "Plan B" course of action. She employed a serve-and-volley game and powerful groundstrokes that drove opponents deep in the court and served to cover her vulnerable forward movement toward the net; while the light-footed and imaginative Lenglen played a more varied game, mastering the drop shot and known for brilliant shot-making. She was at her best on grass courts. And then, of course, there were the sips of alcohol during matches, an act which, really, we could do worse than seeing some player attempt to employ today, as I right? (Wink, wink.)

After having never met in a match, the two woman -- who would both be considered "the greatest ever" during their day -- finally faced off for what would be the only time in the final of a tournament at the Carlton Club in Cannes, France in February 1926. The match -- dubbed "The Match of the Century" -- was anticipated much like a fabled heavyweight championship boxing match. Ultimately, Lenglen won the contest, benefiting from a few questionable calls that went her way, though she and the 4000-strong crowd had previously celebrated prematurely after her first MP when Wills' shot was called out. The court was cleared and play resumed after a linesperson said that he had declared the ball in and the out call that had "ended" the match had actually been made by someone in the stands!

Fifteen minutes later, Lenglen finally won 6-3/8-6. She was said to be close to collapse several times during the match, and some believe she was exhausted and in a nervous state because by simply playing the match the 26-year old was defying her father for essentially the first time. He'd forbidden her to play Wills, and she apparently had a sleepness night on the eve of the match-up.

Later that season at Wimbledon, in what would be her final appearance there, Lenglen unknowingly kept Queen Mary waiting in the Royal Box for her appearance in a match. The Frenchwoman had been told the match would start much later in the day, and fainted upon hearing of the error. The act was viewed as an "insult to the monarchy." Lenglen withdrew from the tournament, and never played there again.

It is believed by some that Lenglen purposely avoided Wills the rest of the year in 1926. Wills' emergency appendectomy during Roland Garros that spring sent her out of Paris and kept her from playing Wimbledon, as well. Lenglen then turned professional after the '26 season, taking up U.S. entrepreneur Charles Pyle's offer of $50,000 to tour the U.S., where she played in a series of exhibition matches vs. U.S. Open champ Mary Browne. Criticized for her decision, and AELTC at Wimbledon revoked her honorary membership.

Lenglen, though, described her decision as "an escape from bondage and slavery" and said in the tour program, "In the twelve years I have been champion I have earned literally millions of francs for tennis and have paid thousands of francs in entrance fees to be allowed to do so... I have worked as hard at my career as any man or woman has worked at any career. And in my whole lifetime I have not earned $5,000 – not one cent of that by my specialty, my life study – tennis.... I am twenty-seven and not wealthy – should I embark on any other career and leave the one for which I have what people call genius? Or should I smile at the prospect of actual poverty and continue to earn a fortune – for whom?" Concerning the amateur tennis set-up of the day, Lenglen said, "Under these absurd and antiquated amateur rulings, only a wealthy person can compete, and the fact of the matter is that only wealthy people do compete. Is that fair? Does it advance the sport? Does it make tennis more popular – or does it tend to suppress and hinder an enormous amount of tennis talent lying dormant in the bodies of young men and women whose names are not in the social register?"

Lenglen won all 38 matches she played on the tour vs. Browne, and was exhausted by the time it was over. Rather than rest and return to the game later, she retired to run a Paris tennis school. Health issues were with Lenglen throughout her life and career. She suffered from chronic asthma as a child, and picked up tennis partly as a way to gain strength to combat her numerous health problems. She won every Wimbledon title but one from 1919-25, having been forced to withdraw from the '24 tournament in the QF due to health problems associated with jaundice. In June of 1938, Lenglen was diagnosed with leukemia. She went quickly as three weeks later, she went blind, and on July 4 she died in Paris of pernicious anemia at age 39.

Meanwhile, Wills went on to dominate the sport more thoroughly after Lenglen's 1926 exit. She added sixteen additional slam singles titles after '26 to up career total to nineteen, inheriting Lenglen's crown (and replacing her in the minds of many) as the greatest player in the sport's 20th century era. In 1933, Wills defeated Phil Neer, the #8-ranked U.S. male player at the time, in an exhibition match, 6-3/6-4. She won her record eighth Wimbledon title in 1938, a mark that wasn't surpassed until Martina Navratilova won her ninth crown fifty-two years later in 1990.

So, who was better? Lenglen or Wills?

When asked what he believed to be the most beautiful sight he had ever seen, movie legend Charlie Chaplin replied, "the movement of Helen Wills playing tennis." But Elizabeth Ryan, who faced both in her career and played doubles with both women, said, "Suzanne, of course. She owned every kind of shot, plus was a genius for knowing how and when to use them."

While Lenglen died young, Wills (who won half of her major titles as "Helen Wills Moody" after marrying in 1929), lived to be nearly 100. She died in 1998 at age 92 in Carmel, California.

The Goddess and the American Girl: The Story of Suzanne Lenglen and Helen Wills,
by Larry Englemann (1988)

There was an entire book devoted to the lives of the two tennis greats who played just once: The Goddess and the American Girl: The Story of Suzanne Lenglen and Helen Wills. It's out of print, but can be purchased cheaply on Amazon and eBay. In fact, I'm awaiting the arrival of my copy right now.

Below is an extended excerpt from the book from, where additional excerpts can be found. What I've pulled out focuses on the Lenglen/Wills match. I especially liked the mention of Lenglen's "emergency kit" and its immediately positive impact on her game in the heat of battle.

Further text from the book (along with some discussion) can be found on a forum thread on

[From The Goddess and the American Girl]

In the fourth game Lenglen seized control of the [1st] set. She exchanged long backhand drives with Wills, staying behind the baseline on her backhand side, clearly tempting her to go for the easy winner down the forehand side. But Helen Wills did not go for those winners. She hit ball after ball deep to Lenglen's backhand... one newsman wrote that Helen Wills played as though she believed Suzanne Lenglen's weakness was her backhand. It wasn't... Lenglen took... a 3-2 lead.

Lenglen won the 1st set 6-3. Between sets she had "two deep swallows" from her "emergency kit" -- said to be iced cognac. "There was a noticably new spring in her walk when she returned to the baseline to receive Helen's serve."

Wills served the opening game of the second set. She sliced her first service wide to Lenglen's forehand, drew the Maid Marvel off the court, then moved in quickly and took the return with a winning volley to the backhand side. The crowd loved it. She took three more points in rapid succession and without much difficulty. The last point of the game was nearly unbelievable: a beautiful topped backhand shot straight down the line. The shot completely outwitted Lenglen and left her standing flatfooted in the backcourt. Wills had raised the level of play once again.

[After 7 games the score stood at Wills 4, Lenglen 3...] Before serving the eighth game, Suzanne Lenglen took another gulp from her emergency kit. Then she served and won the first point. But Helen Wills again came back and took two points and the lead. The fourth point of the game involved an exceptionally long rally. Then Lenglen returned one of Wills's long forehand shots with a powerful forehand angled return. Helen moved for the ball near the juncture of the service line and the sideline. But then she held back on her swing and watched the ball bound well outside. Newsman Don Skene, sitting near where the ball came down, watched it hit wide by "three inches at least." Associated Press correspondent Ferdinand Tuohy also had no doubt about the ball. "It struck far outside," he wrote.

Cyril Tolley, the line judge, remained silent. Helen Wills stood for a moment near where the ball went down, listening for the call. Then, in an extremely rare gesture, she abandoned her silence and her serenity and her poker-faced look. In a loud and clear voice, almost a desperate shout that betrayed her anger, she demanded of Tolley, "What did you call that ball?"

"Inside," he responded. "The shot was good!"

Fred Moody, Helen's regular Riviera escort, was sitting near the line too, and he knew that the ball was out. He had no doubts at all. "The ball was out and Helen was robbed..."

In the eleventh game Lenglen... broke Wills's service at 30 and appeared to be in control of the match. She now led 6-5 with her own service coming. Then, with renewed confidence she jumped out to a 40-15 lead and double match point in the twelfth game. She hit her first match point down the middle to Wills's backhand and then stayed back for the return. There were several long exchanges as Helen tried pull Suzanne into the forehand corner with some powerful crosscourt blasts. Eventually, Wills sent a sizzling drive deep into that corner. Lenglen moved over for the return, hesitated, and then stopped. Then she heard a wonderful wonderful wonderful sound as a loud and clear voice roared "Ouuuut!" Suzanne Lenglen flung the remaining two tennis balls she held high into the sky and skipped quickly to the net, a smile of relief on her face, her right hand extended. Helen Wills met her at the net and grasped her hand.

The tennis court was almost instantly engulfed by a mob.

Meanwhile, from the far end of the court Lord Charles Hope frantically fought his way through the crowd, swimming through the shouting celebrants to the umpire's chair. When he was within a few feet of Commander Hillyard, he shouted out a shocking statement. "The shot was good!" he said. "I didn't call it out!"

...once Hillyard was certain that he had heard Hope right, he turned apologetically to Suzanne. "The match is not over," he said cautiously. "That ball was good."

Suzanne Lenglen gave the umpire a stunned look as the remark registered. The she responded in a calm and deliberately measured tone, "Then we must go on."...

...Helen Wills... saved the second match point and brought the game to deuce. Then with her hard drives and sharp crisp angles she took two more points and the twelfth game. Six to six.

...Suzanne Lenglen [now leading 7-6] served cautiously in the fourteenth game, placing each service with meticulous care... Finally, with one of her pretty placements she arrived once more at match point. This was fifteen minutes after she believed she had won the match.

She served to Wills's backhand once again and took the strong return with her forehand, punching over a drop shot just to the left of the center line. Wills responded wtih a running desperate save that was high over the net. Too high... Lenglen... caught it near the service line, shoulder high and slapped it back at an angle across the court for a winner. The match was over.

[YouTube description]
Suzanne Lenglen and Helen Wills played only once, at a small tournament in the south of France in 1926. It was billed as the Match of the Century, and 3000 spectators and media from all over the world crammed into the stands at the Carlton Club. Lenglen won the first set 6-3 and led 6-5 40-15, and on the next point she thought she won the match when she heard an "Out" call on one of Wills' drives. As spectators crowded the court and bouquets of flowers were given to the victor, a linesman made his way through the crowd to tell the chair umpire that the "Out" call came from someone in the stands, and that the ball was actually good. When Lenglen heard this she was mortified but said, "Then we must continue playing." The court was cleared, and play resumed. Wills won the game to tie the set at 6-6, then Lenglen needed to call on all of her reserves to win the next two games for the match. In this video, you will see Lenglen (left side of screen) shake hands with Wills as photographers crowd the court. Then you will see Wills put on her dark sweater, and then remove it. There is then another sequence of photographers coming onto the court, and if you look closely you will see that Lenglen is now on the right side of the screen when the two players shake hands (for the second time).

Yep, Caro was at it again on a Throwback Thursday.

2006 Nicole Vaidisova, CZE
2007 Ana Ivanovic, SRB
2008 Dinara Safina, RUS
2009 Dominika Cibulkova, SVK
2010 Ons Jabeur, TUN (Jr.)
2011 Caroline Garcia, FRA
2012 Sara Errani, ITA
2013 [post-Vergeer WC champ] Sabine Ellerbrock, GER
2014 [Spaniard] Garbine Muguruza, ESP
2015 [Swarmette] Andreea Mitu, ROU
2016 [Turk] Cagla Buyukakcay, TUR

5...USA (Keys,Rogers,Stephens,S.Williams,V.Williams)
3...CZE (Kvitova,Safarova,Strycova)
3...FRA (Cornet,Mladenovic,Parmentier)
3...RUS (Kasatkina,Kuznetsova,Pavlyuchenkova)
2...ESP (Muguruza,Suarez-Navarro)
2...ROU (Begu,Halep)
1...AUS (Stosur)
1...BEL (Wickmayer)
1...BUL (Pironkova)
1...GER (Beck)
1...ITA (Knapp)
1...JPN (Osaka)
1...KAZ (Putintseva)
1...NED (Bertens)
1...POL (A.Radwanska)
1...PUR (Puig)
1...SRB (Ivanovic)
1...SUI (Bacsinszky)
1...SVK (Cibulkova)
1...UKR (Svitolina)

2002 (Week 1 POW) Serena Williams, USA *
2003 (Week 1 co-POW) Serena Williams, USA & Kim Clijsters, BEL
2004 (Week 1 POW) Amelie Mauresmo, FRA
2005 (Week 1 POW) Kim Clijsters, BEL
2006 Amelie Mauresmo, FRA
2007 Justine Henin, BEL *
2008 Ana Ivanovic, SRB *
2009 Dinara Safina, RUS
2010 Venus Williams, USA
2011 Samantha Stosur, AUS
2012 Maria Sharapova, RUS *
2013 Serena Williams, USA *
2014 Simona Halep, ROU
2015 Angelique Kerber, GER
2016 Lucie Safarova, CZE
* - won title

2006 (3rd) Julia Vakulenko/UKR & Aravane Rezai/FRA
2007 (3rd) D.Cibulkova/SVK, A.Kudryavtseva/RUS & R.Olaru/ROU
2008 (QF) Carla Suarez-Navarro/ESP
2009 (3rd) Michelle Larcher de Brito/POR & Yaroslava Shvedova/KAZ
2010 (4th) Chanelle Scheepers/RSA
2011 (3rd) Chan Yung-Jan/TPE & Nuria Llagostera-Vives/ESP
2012 (QF) Yaroslava Shvedova/KAZ
2013 (3rd) Paula Ormaechea/ARG & Dinah Pfizenmaier/GER
2014 (4th) Kiki Bertens/NED
2015 (2nd) L.Dominguez-Lino/ESP, P.Kania/POL, S.Karatantcheva/BUL & T.Pereira/BRA
2016 (2nd) C.Buyukakcay/TUR, V.Cepede Royg/PAR, L.Chirico/USA & V.Golubic/SUI

2008 Mathilde Johansson/FRA & Olivia Sanchez/FRA (2nd Rd.)
2009 Olivia Rogowska/AUS (2nd Rd.)
2010 Jarmila Groth (Gajdosova/Wolfe)/AUS (4th Rd.)
2011 I.Bremond/FRA, C.Garcia/FRA & P.Parmentier/FRA (2nd Rd.)
2012 C.Feuerstein/FRA, M.Oudin/USA & I.Pavlovic/FRA (2nd Rd.)
2013 Virginie Razzano/FRA (3rd Rd.)
2014 Pauline Parmentier/FRA (4th Rd.)
2015 Virginie Razzano/FRA & Amandine Hesse/FRA (2nd Rd.)
2016 M.Georges/FRA, V.Razzano/FRA & T.Townsend/USA (2nd Rd.)

TOP QUALIFIER: Viktoriya Golubic/SUI
TOP EARLY-ROUND (1r-2r): #11 Lucie Safarova/CZE
TOP QUALIFYING MATCH: Q3: Lucie Hradecka/CZE d. Grace Min/USA 6-7(4)/6-1/11-9 (saved 4 MP)
TOP EARLY-RD. MATCH (1r-2r): 2nd Rd. - #25 Irina-Camelia Begu/ROU d. CoCo Vandeweghe/USA 6-7(4)/7-6(4)/10-8 (3:38)
FIRST VICTORY: #24 Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova/RUS (def. Sorribes Tormo/ESP
FIRST SEED OUT: #32 Jelena Ostapenko/LAT (lost 1st Rd. to Osaka/JPN)
UPSET QUEENS: The South Americans (players from three S.A. nations in 2nd Round)
REVELATION LADIES: The French (second most players in 2nd Rd.)
NATION OF POOR SOULS: Italy (remaining Quartet members Vinci, Errani & Schiavone 0-3; retired Pennetta last not in MD in 2002)
LAST QUALIFIER STANDING: C.Buyukakcay/TUR, V.Cepede Royg/PAR, L.Chirico/USA and V.Golubic/SUI (all 2nd Rd.)
LAST WILD CARD STANDING: M.Georges/FRA, V.Razzano/FRA, and T.Townsend/USA (all 2nd Rd.)
LAST PASTRY STANDING: In 3rd Rd.: A.Cornet, K.Mladenovic, P.Parmentier
IT "Turk": Cagla Buyukakcay/TUR (first Turk w/ GS match win)
CRASH & BURN: #3 Angelique Kerber/GER (1st Rd./Bertens - fifth AO champ out RG 1st Rd. in Open era)
ZOMBIE QUEEN (TBA at QF): Nominee: #10 Kvitova (1st Rd.-Kovinic served for match at 5-4, two pts. from win)

Artist: Paul Thurlby (2013)

All for Day 5. More tomorrow.