Friday, January 27, 2006

Oz Open Day 12: Sammy Up a Gum Tree

Samantha Stosur had two opportunities to shine on Friday. Unfortunately, things didn't turn out as well as she (and the Aussie faithful) would have hoped.


...the #12-seeded Cookies became the first ever Chinese players to win a grand slam title (Ting Li & Tiantian Sun won Athens Gold in '04), besting Raymond/Stubbs after overcoming a 3-1 deficit in the 2nd set and two match points in the tie-break. They withstood three match points against Ruano-Pascual/Suarez in the QF, too.
SHEILA: Martina Hingis
...Hingis will get her shot at her first slam title in four years, as she and Mahesh Bhupathi will face Likhovtseva/Nestor in the Mixed Doubles Final.
GOBSMACKER: Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova
...the #8-seeded 14-year old from Russia knocked out my junior pick, Dominika Cibulkova in the Girls QF, 6-4/6-3. Guess I'll have to pick her to win now. It's never a bad decision to go with the Russian. (Well, unless it's Sharapova in a slam SF, right?).
AUNTIE EM: Elena Likhovtseva
...who thought she'd be the last remaining Russian? Sure, it's in the Mixed Doubles, but it's something. She and Daniel Nestor knocked out Dechy/Paes 3-6/6-4/7-6 in the SF.
MUNCHKIN: Ayumi Morita
...the Japanese 15-year old, the #4 Girls seed, advanced to the SF. She'll face top-seeded Dane Caroline Wozniacki next.
WALKABOUT: Samantha Stosur
...two wrongs didn't make a right for Sammy on Day 12. She lost in the Doubles Final (with Lisa Raymond) to Yan/Zheng. Then she lost in the Mixed Doubles SF (with Paul Hanley) to Hingis/Bhupathi. Australia's last chance for a home grown AO champion will come in the Boys Final, where either Nick Lindahl or Ryan Bellamy will be playing for the title. From here, though, Sammy was still this AO's "It" girl.

1.Doubles F - #12 Yan/Zheng d. #1 Raymond/Stosur
...2-6/7-6/6-3. Sammy will have to be content with the two slam titles she already has (Oz Mixed with Scott Draper, and U.S. Doubles with Raymond, both in 2005), and look forward to her remaining six opportunities in 2006.
2.Mixed SF - Hingis/Bhupathi d. #5 Stosur/Hanley
...6-3/6-3. (See above.)
3.Girls QF - #1 Wozniacki d. #12 Paszek
...3-6/6-1/6-3. By the way, the #1-seed-won't-win-the-slam streak doesn't carry over to the junior competition.

==DAY 12 ODDS & ENDS==

[JHH leads 4-3]
1999 US Open 1st - Mauresmo 6-1/6-4
2003 Berlin SF - JHH 7-6/6-4
2003 YEC SF - Mauresmo 7-6/3-6/6-3
2004 Sydney F - JHH 6-4/6-4
2004 A.Island SF - Mauresmo 6-7/7-5/6-3
2004 Olympic F - JHH 6-3/6-3
2005 Toronto SF - JHH 7-5/3-6/6-1

**JHH IN AUSTRALIA - 2004-06**
2004 Sydney (W) - 3-0/1 walkover
2004 Australian (W) - 7-0
2006 Sydney (W) - 4-0/1 walkover
2006 Australian...6-0 (vs.Mauresmo)

10...Justine Henin-Hardenne (current)
7....Michaella Krajicek
6....Amelie Mauresmo (current)
6....Marion Bartoli

**DAY 12 QUESTION**'s been reported that Martina Hingis bested Maria Sharapova for the most number of times her bio has been viewed (at the end of the week, by a 407,000+ to 272,000+ margin). I wonder if Cammie Neviere, Marcos Baghdatis' girlfriend, would have topped both of them had she had a bio on the tournament's official site? She's surely gotten as much TV time as either of them. Not that anyone's complaining...


#3 AMELIE MAURESMO vs. #8 JUSTINE HENIN-HARDENNE can a woman as slight as Henin-Hardenne manage to be so imposing? Winning with great heart is the ultimate weapon. Le Petit Taureau is 4-1 in slam finals, with four wins in her last four appearances. She's won 13 straight in Melbourne, and 20 in a row in Australia. Mauresmo hasn't been in a slam final since 1999. I already made this pick with my original AO preview, and again before the semifinals. You don't think I'm going to change my mind now, do you? Allez, Queen Justine... lift a fifth slam title, days after new world-#1 Kim Clijsters left Melbourne Park in a wheelchair as she prepares to sit out at least two months with a torn ankle ligament.

Hingis/Bhupathi def. #6 Likhovtseva/Nestor
...why spoil a good story?

All for now. More tomorrow.


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