Monday, November 16, 2009

ITF Backspin (Wk.45)- Bagels, a Kiwi and Ukrainian Twins

The "Season-Ending" Championships are long since over. The Tournament of "Champions" is a thing of the past. The Italians might even be all washed up from their Fed Cup hangover.

But, until everyone packs up and heads Down Under this January, there's enough ITF action every week to fill a weekly update... and allow me to continue to talk about those on-the-move twin sisters from Ukraine.

American (by way of Russia) Lepchenko, 23, didn't just win the $50K challenger in Phoenix, Arizona (I say the state because I noticed that the scheduled event in that other Phoenix -- in Mauritius, who knew? -- was cancelled), she took it to recent ITF star Sacha Jones in the final, winning 6-0/6-0. In fact, she actually won the final eighteen games she played in the event after getting a 3rd set bagel in the SF against Rossana de los Rios, as well. Her other victim of note during the week was '08 U.S. Open junior champ Coco Vandeweghe.
RISER: Anna Lapushchenkova/RUS
I've always hoped that the 23-year old Lapushchenkova would make a splash on the regular tour, just so people would have to learn to spell her name (or that she'd at least become part of a Lapushchenkova/Pavlyuchenkova doubles team that would test scoreboard lettering capacities all over the world). So far, no such luck. She did win a $50K event in Minsk this weekend, though, getting wins over the likes of youngsters Ksenia Pervak, Kristina Kucova, Vitalia Diatchenko and Lyudmyla Kichenok in the final (oops, there's one of those Ukrainian twins -- more on her and her sister in a moment).
the 22-year old Korean swept both the singles and doubles titles at the $10K in Manila.
VETERANS: Rossana del los Rios/PAR & Mashona Washington/USA
in Phoenix, DLR, as noted earlier, reached the SF after getting victories over Anastasia Pivovarova, Lauren Albanese and Olga Puchkova. Washington, apparently no longer tearing up hotel rooms, won the same event's doubles title with parter Sharon Fichman of Canada, defeating the team of Pelletier/Tatishvili in a 10-8 3rd set tie-breaker.
FRESH FACES: Lyudmyla & Nadiya Kichenok/UKR
Alona & Kateryna no longer have the market cornered when it comes to Ukrainian tennis playing sisters. The 17-year old twins have been showing up more and more often in the latter stages of ITF events, and last week was no exception. Lyudmyla qualified and reached the Minsk singles final, losing in three sets to Lapushchenkova after notching wins over Melanie South, Vesna Manasieva, Tathiana Poutchek and Simona Halep. Nadiya fell in the second round of qualifying, but the duo teamed to win the doubles title, getting a 1st Round win over #1-seeded Poutcheck/Rodionova and then taking out Manasieva/Rodina in the final. I'm not sure which of the twins is the "one" and which one is the "two," but at the moment it looks like Lyudmila is the more advanced player.
DOWN: Alexandra Stevenson/USA
yep, a decade after her shocking Wimbledon semifinal result and her subsequent dropping off the tennis map, Stevenson is still plugging away on the challenger circuit. For a bit, it looked like her run in Phoenix was going to be fruitful, as wins over Edina Gallovits and Rebecca Marino put her in the QF. But once there, she retired after playing just four games against Anna Tatishvili.
JUNIOR STAR: Kyle McPhillips/USA
the 15-year old American won the ITF junior event held at the Evert Academy in Boca Raton. She claimed the singles title without dropping a set, defeating Caitlyn Williams 6-2/6-0 in the final, and also won the doubles with Chanelle Van Nguyen.

1. $50K Phoenix Final - Lepchenko d. S.Jones
Kiwi Jones' trip to the USA suddenly got ugly. Where's the hospitality, V?
2. $50K Minsk QF - Diatchenko d. Robson
Russia's Diatchenko then went on to retire after just one game in the SF against Lapushchenkova. I'm sure Robson must have had something cheeky to say about that.
3. $50K Minsk Doubles Final - Kichenok/Kichenok d. Manasieva/Rodina
Anyone else waiting for the first Kichenok/Kichenok vs. Bondarenko/Bondarenko match?

2...Irina Falconi
2...Laura Granville
2...Melanie Oudin
2...Shenay Perry
2...Abigail Spears
1...Jacqueline Cako
1...Beatrice Capra
1...Alexa Glatch
1...Kristie Haerim Ahn
1...Jamie Hampton
1...Macall Harkins
1...Lindsay Lee-Waters
1...Elizabeth Lumpkin
1...Alexandra Mueller
1...Alison Riske

All for now.

NEXT: The "Top 25 Players of the Decade - #1-5" and 2009 WTA Yearbook


Blogger Zidane said...

Robson's loss is understandable. She probably didn't get over Safin's retirement. :P

Mon Nov 16, 08:19:00 PM EST  
Blogger Todd Spiker said...

Haha. Good point. I wonder who'll be her dream dance partner now? :D

Tue Nov 17, 09:45:00 AM EST  

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