Monday, July 16, 2012

Wk.28- Overnighting in Sunny California

Usually, the week after a slam is pretty slow and without much happening of any consequence. That wasn't really the case with Week 28, though.

Instead, we got the Wimbledon champion flying across an ocean and a continent to play her only tournament between two stints at the All-England Club. Of course, she won another title, running her record to 28-1 in her last twenty-nine matches.

Elsewhere, a Radwanska suffered... and no melons were sacrificed. A little Italian moved into a tie with the world #1 -- and maybe a soon-to-be #1 -- for the most singles titles won on tour in 2012. A "lucky loser" reached a WTA singles final, but didn't become the second LL to ever win a tour crown... though, honestly, I think there's a lingering question about whether ANY LL has ever won a WTA title, as the information presented on the tour bio (which says she won 13 straight matches in pre-qualifying and qualifying and main draw action to take the title in question) and career activity listings of Andrea Jaeger seem to contradict the reports this weekend that the American teenager accomplished the feat in a Las Vegas event back in 1980. And I won't even get started on how, until just recently, the "official" WTA Guide actually listed a DIFFERENT player as the only LL champion, then her name suddenly disappeared from the listing, only to see her "LL" tag just-as-suddenly begin to be attached to Jaeger on the list (on which she'd appeared earlier, but not as a LL).

But that's a headache for another day... you know, like when a LL wins a WTA crown and the tour has to try to get its "official" records in order.

Oh, and then there was the sassy quote from Victoria Azarenka about the dreaded "decibel meter" issue (thanks to Jo for pointing it out, by the way). She said, "People complain about the noise I make, but I can get louder. Maybe I should get to 100. I haven’t had any luck so it may help me put more of myself into my matches."

(snicker, snicker)

Ahh, Vika strikes again. With every passing month, she gets a little bit closer to a certain Backspinner's heart.

STANFORD, CALIFORNIA (Premier $740K/Hard Outdoor)
S: Serena Williams/USA def. Coco Vandeweghe/USA 7-5/6-3
D: Erakovic/Watson (NZL/GBR) d. Gajdosova/King (AUS/USA)

S: Sara Errani/ITA def. Barbora Zahlavova-Strycova/CZE 6-1/6-3
D: Voracova/Zahlavova-Strycova (CZE/CZE) d. Jurak/Marosi (CRO/HUN)


...with her game still in tune following her victory at Wimbledon (speaking of, don't even ask me to try to demonstrate exactly how that woman in the post-match ceremony mangled the name of the event held at SW19... making Hannah Storm actually look competent), Serena didn't need to be as awesome as she was in London to make her way through the field in Stanford and defend her title. Sure, we could do without the you-know-it-can't-really-be-genuine "I'll be happy for her if she wins" comments that Serena made about fellow finalist Coco Vandeweghe before the championship match, but it's a minor quibble when you get to see Serena simply being Serena again. Her wins over NCAA champ (and Stanford Cardinal) Nicole Gibbs, Chanelle Scheepers, Sorana Cirstea and Vandeweghe pushed her current winning streak to eleven matches. It's her 43rd career title, putting her into a log jam of tennis greats tied for 10th place on the all-time WTA title list. She's locked up with Justine Henin, Martina Hingis and her sister Venus. Somehow, though, I don't think Serena will be keeping company with the other three for very much longer. In fact, she might "go out on her own" on, oh, I don't know, maybe August 4th?
RISER: Sara Errani/ITA
...Roland Garros final loss to Maria Sharapova aside, no player has been better on clay this year than Errani. She won her WTA-best fourth CC singles crown of the season in Palermo with wins over (a strew of three-named players calling themselves) Edina Gallovits-Hall, Patricia Mayr-Achleitner, Irina-Camelia Begu and Barbora Zahlavova-Strycova. Errani had been the doubles champ at this event the last two years, but although Roberta Vinci (her partner for the '11 title) was in the draw, the Italians didn't attempt to add to their 27-match clay court winning streak. They aren't in the doubles draw this week in Bastad, either.
SURPRISE: Coco Vandeweghe/USA wasn't exactly the way she expected her breakthrough event to go, but I suspect she'll take it. After losing in Stanford qualifying to Noppawan Lertcheewakarn, Vandeweghe entered the draw as a "lucky loser" and ended up becoming the first LL to reach a tour final since Melinda Czink in 2005. Naturally, with the Tennis Gods giggling at their own cleverness, the very first player that Coco knocked off in the Stanford main draw was Czink herself. She followed that up with wins over Jelena Jankovic (JJ is always involved in these things... those sneaky TG's), Urszula Radwanska (all right -- enough already!) and Yanina Wickmayer before losing to Serena in the final. You know, the same Serena who'd defeated Nicole Gibbs in the 2nd Round, the same Gibbs who'd defeated Lertcheewakarn in the 1st Round, who'd defeated Vandeweghe in qualifying. Ooh, I think I'm felling a little dizzy.
VETERAN: Barbora Zahlavova-Strycova/CZE Palermo, the 26-year old Czech became the ninth player to reach both the singles and doubles finals at the same event this season (well, seventh, really, since Errani has done it three times). While Zahlavova-Strycova had a nice run of wins over Silvia Soler-Espinosa, Julia Cohen, Julia Goerges and Laura Robson, she lost the singles final to, you guessed it, Errani. She did win the doubles title with Renata Voracova, though. It's the seventeenth of her career (and second with countrywoman Voracova).
COMEBACK: Yanina Wickmayer/BEL
...Wickmayer reached the Stanford semifinals on the strength of wins over Chang Kai-Chen, Marion Bartoli and Heather Watson. While it's not really a "comeback" in a normal sense, when you look at the numbers, it's interesting to note that the SF result is Wickmayer's best on the North American summer hard court circuit since her breakout semifinal run at the U.S. Open in 2009.
FRESH FACES: Heather Watson/GBR & Laura Robson/GBR
...stand up, Mr. Murray. The women are passing. Watson dominated the British women's tennis headlines at Wimbledon, then opened up her week in Stanford by taking out Sloane Stephens. Meanwhile, in Palermo, Robson met Watson's challenge, then raised the stakes with her first career semifinal result -- the first on tour by a British woman this season -- after getting wins over Roberta Vinci and Carla Suarez-Navarro. After Robson's week had ended, Watson played on in Stanford and ended up winning her first tour doubles title, taking the crown with Marina Erakovic.
DOWN: Marion Bartoli/FRA a best case scenario, knowing that she wasn't going to be able to play in the Olympics later this month, Bartoli would have taken her disappointment out on her opponents on the court over the last few months. It hasn't happened, though. Instead, it's been a summer of La Trufflette discontent. She lost a big lead against Tamira Paszek in the Eastbourne semis, unleashing the Austrian Zombie Queen on the rest of an unsuspecting WTA field on the grass courts of England, then had a disappointing 2nd Round exit at Wimbledon. Last week, after getting just a single win over college star Mallory Burdette, Bartoli was ejected from the Stanford field by Wickmayer in the QF. Since she ended Victoria Azarenka's 26-match winning streak in Miami, Bartoli has gone just 8-10. She's the #1 seed this week in Carlsbad, but there's little recent evidence that she'll be able to live up to her high position in the draw.
ITF PLAYER: Romina Oprandi/SUI
...the 26-year old with dual Italian and Swiss citizenship finally won her first title since she began representing Switzerland in January. And it was a pretty big one, too. A $100K challenger in Biarritz, France, where Oprandi pieced together a streak of five straight wins over a nice group of opponents: Mathilde Johansson, Stefanie Voegele, Magdalena Rybarikova, Arantxa Rus and Mandy Minella in the final.
JUNIOR STAR: Antonia Lottner/GER
...the 15-year old German, the Girls #14-ranked player, has already banked a pair of junior slam semifinals this season. This weekend in Berlin, Lottner grabbed the first Grade 1 title of her career, winning the Allianz Kundler German Juniors event with a victory in the final over Ukraine's Anhelina Kalinina.

1. Stan Final - S.Williams d. Vandeweghe
This was the the first all-American final on tour since Serena and Venus met in the 2009 WTA Championships decider. Her week's work pushed Coco into the Top 100 and should get her direct entry into the U.S. Open main draw next month.
2. Stan 2nd Rd - Vandeweghe d. Jankovic
Hmmm, I'm not sure if losing to a "lucky loser" counts as a Queen Chaos sighting. But just in case it does.
3. Palermo Final - Errani d. Zahlavova-Strycova
Hmmm, does Errani actually have a shot at leading the tour (or sharing the honor) in singles titles in 2012? Well, this week's tournament in Bastad -- where she's the #1 seed -- is the last clay court event on the schedule, so she likely needs to win it if she hopes to keep pace in the race. Even with a title there, which would be her fifth, the Italian would probably have to find her way to at least one crown on another surface to put up a real fight against the likes of Azarenka, Sharapova, Serena & A-Rad for the tour lead.
4. Palermo 2nd Rd - Cadantu d. Cornet
Cadantu led 6-3/4-1, and held five match points at 5-4 before Cornet forced a 3rd set. Cadantu still won, but the 3:17 match ended up being the longest WTA main draw match so far this season.
5. Stan 1st Rd - Watson d. Stephens
"Future Sloane" is probably really ticked off about this one.
6. Palermo 1st Rd - Camerin d. Medina-Garrigues
First, AMG exits yet another slam before the quarterfinal round, then she loses in her opening match of a title defense attempt.
7. $50K Yakima Final - Shelby Rogers/USA d. Samantha Crawford/USA
The march of the Bannerettes continues. The 19-year old claims her first professional tournament title.
8. $50K Waterloo Final - Sharon Fichman/CAN d. Julia Glushko/ISR
The march of the Canadians continues. The 21-year old defended her 2011 crown, and took home the doubles title, too.
9. Mediterranee Avenir Jr. G1 Final (Morocco) - Ioana Ducu/ROU d. Christina Makarova/USA
The 16-year old Swarmette, the #5 seed, knocked off top-seeded Elise Mertens, then defeated Makarova in the final. She also took the doubles with Serbia's Nina Stojanovic, defeating (again) both Mertens and Makarova, who'd teamed up, in the final.
10. $25K Aschaffenburg Final - Anna-Lena Friedsam/GER d. Kathrin Woerle/GER
The German's fifth ITF title of the season ties her with Croatian Ana Savic for the circuit lead.

1. Stan QF - Vandeweghe d. U.Radwanska
Ula was also forced to retire due to heat illness in the doubles quarterfinals. Dues must be paid.
2. Stan Doubles SF - King/Gajdosova d. Chan/Chan
Chan Yung-Jan had a singles qualifying date to make in Carlsbad, and this loss allowed her to keep it.
3. Carlsbad Q1 - Chan Yung-Jan d. Erika Sema
And she won it, too. Though it was assured that ONE tennis sibling was going to lose in this match.

**2012 WTA LEADERS**
[singles titles]
4...Victoria Azarenka, BLR
3...Maria Sharapova, RUS
3...Agnieszka Radwanska, POL
2...Angelique Kerber, GER
2...Kaia Kanepi, EST
[singles finals]
6...Victoria Azarenka (4-2)
6...Maria Sharapova (3-3)
5...SARA ERRANI (4-1)
4...Agnieszka Radwanska (3-1)
3...Angelique Kerber (2-1)
[singles win streaks]
26...Victoria Azarenka, January-March
17...Serena Williams, April-May
15...Maria Sharapova, May-June
11...SERENA WILLIAMS, June-current
11...Kiki Bertens, April-May
[titles on most surfaces]
4...SERENA WILLIAMS [green clay+red clay+grass+hard]
2...Agnieszka Radwanska [hard+red clay]
2...Kaia Kanepi [hard+red clay]
[finals on most surfaces]
4...SERENA WILLIAMS [green clay+blue clay+grass+hard]
3...Victoria Azarenka [hard+red clay+blue clay]
3...Agnieszka Radwanska [hard+red clay+grass]
[consecutive titles won]
4...Victoria Azarenka (Sydney+Australian Open+Doha+Indian Wells)
2...Sara Errani (Barcelona+Budapest)
2...Serena Williams (Charleston+Madrid)
2...Maria Sharapova (Rome+Roland Garros)
2...SERENA WILLIAMS (Wimbledon+Stanford+????)
[worst semifinal records - 2+ finals]
0-4...Petra Kvitova, CZE
0-2...Roberta Vinci, ITA
0-2...Klara Zakopalova, CZE
0-1...Kim Clijsters, BEL (+1 walkover loss)

Doha - Victoria Azarenka
Indian Wells - Victoria Azarenka
Budapest - Sara Errani
Brussels - Agnieszka Radwanska

Pattaya - Daniela Hantuchova
Rome - Maria Sharapova

Acapulco - Errani d. Pennetta [Italy]
Stanford - S.Williams d. Vandeweghe [United States]

Hobart - (q) Mona Barthel, GER (W)
Kuala Lumpur - (q) Hsieh Su-Wei, TPE (W)
Fes - (q) Kiki Bertens, NED (W)
Birmingham - (q) Melanie Oudin, USA (W)
's-Hertogenbosch - (q) Urszula Radwanska, POL (L)

#208 - Melanie Oudin ,USA (Birmingham) - W
#174 - Lara Arruabarrena-Vecino, ESP (Bogota) - W
#149 - Kiki Bertens, NED (Fes) - W
#124 - Hsieh Su-Wei, TPE (Kuala Lumpur) - W
#120 - COCO VANDEWEGHE, USA (Stanford) - L

7...Victoria Azarenka, BLR
6...Petra Kvitova, CZE
6...Caroline Wozniacki, DEN
5...Maria Sharapova, RUS

167...Martina Navratilova
154...Chris Evert
107...Steffi Graf
92...Margaret Court
68...Evonne Goolagong
67...Billie Jean King
55...Lindsay Davenport
55...Virginia Wade
53...Monica Seles
43...Justine Henin
43...Martina Hingis
43...Venus Williams
41...Kim Clijsters

CARLSBAD, CALIFORNIA (Premier $740K/hard outdoor)
11 Final: A.Radwanska d. Zvonareva
11 Doubles Champions: Peschke/Srebotnik
12 Top Seeds: Bartoli/Cibulkova

#7 Wickmayer d. #5 McHale
#4 Petrova d. #2 Cibulkova
#4 Petrova d. #7 Wickmayer

...A-Rad's not here to defend, so someone new will get to sit at the head of the table. (On a side note, there's no Bojana Jovanovski, either... so there'll be no drama about whether she shows up in Carlsbad, California or Carlsbad, New Mexico THIS year.) If Bartoli seemed capable of stringing together enough victories, she'd be the choice. But, unfortunately, that hasn't seemed to be the case for a while. So, I'll do something I rarely ever do: go with Nadia.

BASTAD, SWEDEN (Int'l $220K/red clay outdoor)
11 Final: Hercog d. Larsson
11 Doubles Champions: Dominguez-Lino/Martinez-Sanchez
12 Top Seeds: Errani/Goerges

#1 Errani d. #6 Zakopalova
Rus d. Hradecka
#1 Errani d. Rus

...Errani gets one more shot to get a clay court title this season, so it'd be a shame to waste it. If she wins, at least briefly, she'd take over the tour lead in '12 singles titles.

What this!?!?! Is WTA out to get Carl???? Carl is NOT bad!!!! Carl is Carl!!!! Why Allaster name tournament so that insults Carl???? But Carl no sue. Instead, Carl will squish!!!!!!

EDITOR: Umm, Carl. No one is saying that you're bad. It's not "Carl's Bad," it's "Carlsbad." It's the name of the town where the event is being held. So....

Oh. Well, Carl still wants to squish. Maybe Carl squish "Editor" instead. Carl know "Editor" really Todd trying to make Carl look like fool. Why hide behind "Editor?" Afraid of Carl? Well, SHOULD be afraid of Carl!!!

EDITOR: (rolls eyes)

5 mchale d. 3 jankovic
2 cibulkova d. lepchenko

2 cibulkova d. 5 mchale

All for now.

COMING THIS WEEK: Part 3 of the Backspin MVP List, and a new Olympic Quiz


Blogger Diane said...

Yo Carl! Go ahead and squish Allaster. But if you're busy--no worries--Vika will do it for you :)

Mon Jul 16, 08:00:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Zidane said...

Interesting Canadian tennis news of the day:

Eugénie Bouchard is back here. She gave an interview (in French, so no point giving you the link). I heard very interesting stuff that makes me much more confident of her future than I originally was:

- she describes her game as very aggressive;
- her favourite player on tour is Sharapova;
- her dream is to win a senior Slam, especially now that she felt the feeling of winning on a big stage;
- she did not react much following her victory because, she says, she truly believed coming into the tournament that she was ready to win, and so winning didn't come as a surprise;
- she is aware that what needs to be worked most if she wants to ever win Slams is the mental game;
- her junior career is now over;
- her next tournaments are Washington D.C., Montréal's Rogers Cup and the US Open qualifications.

I really liked her attitude in this interview. I would describe it as a "smiling Azarenka". Her head was clearly on the ground, and she's ready to work on improving her game further. Note of interest: despite her French-ringing name, her first language is English (but her French is excellent in this cute English accent). She was raised in Westmount, an English-speaking neighbourhood in Montréal.

As for Fichman, a Canadian winning in Waterloo is quite ironic right now. The latest reasons for bringing up Waterloo in the news, RIM's issues (RIM is based in Waterloo), are nothing to foresee or celebrate Canadian successes.

Tue Jul 17, 03:35:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Todd.Spiker said...


Yeah, Carl might have to hurry up before someone else does it first. Hmmm, does a Canadian WTA head shriek during a Carl squishing? Does she get penalized if she does? ;)

Speaking of Canadians...


Good news on Bouchard. Geez, the Canadians -- male and female -- really are making a lot of moves lately. Someone must be doing something right.

Allaster does sort of count as something of "black mark" in the whole uprising, though. Two steps forward, a quiet half-step back? :D

Tue Jul 17, 11:18:00 AM EDT  

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