Sunday, July 29, 2012

Wk.30- Where in the World is Bojana Jovanovski? (and other things we learned)

Treachery is eventually reciprocated... even if you're The Radwanska.

*A FEW THINGS WE LEARNED OVER THE PAST WEEK*
While The Radwanska's powers are indeed lethal and to be respected, they are apparently no match for the "magic" of the Games. After reaching the Wimbledon final earlier this months, Aga didn't make it out of the 1st Round at the Olympics. Oh, well... at least she'll always have the opening ceremonies.


Agnieszka (with flag)... leading some of The Radwanska's Minions?
=============================
Tsvetana Pironkova has a very well-tuned sense of place
=============================
Tamira Paszek... maybe not as much
=============================
Aravane Rezai is -- so far -- curse-free (umm... oops?)
=============================
Bannerette success is apparently contagious
=============================
"Wrong-Way" Bojana Jovanovski, who famously showed up in Carlsbad, New Mexico for a tournament in Carlsbad, California last year, then was involved in a courtesy car fender-bender en route from her hotel to the tournament grounds earlier this season in Sydney, apparently CAN find Baku, Azerbaijan on a map, and show up on time, and without incident, bodily harm or embarrassing turn of events. Good for her... and look what happens when she can get all her proverbial ducks in order, too.
=============================
They can take Wimbledon (mostly) out of June (starting in 2015), but you can't take the rain out of London... not even in July, or during the Olympic tennis tournament
=============================
And that Olympic mascot is, well, rather strange-looking. But the Centre Court roof is divine. So it's something of a wash... even if The Radwanska might have a dissenting opinion.







*WEEK 30 CHAMPIONS*
BAKU, AZERBAIJAN (Int'l $220K/HCO)
S: Bojana Jovanovski/SRB def. Julia Cohen/USA 6-3/6-1
D: Buryachok/Solovieva (UKR/RUS) d. Birnerova/Brianti (CZE/ITA)



PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Bojana Jovanovski/SRB
...Backspin has been keeping an eye on Jovanovski for a couple of seasons now, reveling in predicting her first career QF, then SF in 2011. It was also great to see her, with the absence of AnaIvo and an injured JJ, put the Serbia Fed Cup team on her back last season and get the ball rolling toward what eventually became her nation's first-ever birth this year in the FC final. Naturally, I failed to include her in my preseason "first-time finalist" or "first-time champion" predictions for '12, after having done so last season, but I was surely still happy to see BoJo finally come through with those two career milestones this week in Baku. Of course, that doesn't mean I won't still have a little more fun with her directionally-challenged, transportation-wary traits -- hey, it's part of Backspin's wacky Serbian-related tradition. Coming in as the world #97, Jovanovski put up wins over Lesia Tsurenko, Valeria Solovieva, countrywoman Aleksandra Krunic, Alexandra Panova and Julia Cohen to win her first career tour title.
=============================
RISERS: Tsvetana Pironkova/BUL & Julia Goerges/GER
...the 1st Round has yet to be completed at the London Olympics, but both Goerges and Pironkova surely made their presence felt this weekend. Pironkova, the former SW19 semifinalist who was denied a Top 32 seed and then drew the short straw last month at Wimbledon when she had to face Maria Sharapova early, didn't let her lack of a seed trip her up this time. Even with all the color on the walls and on either side of the net at the All-England Club, Pironkova didn't forget where she was. It was still Wimbledon, and Pironkova is better there than she is anywhere else. Pity poor #12 seed Dominika Cibulkova, hot off her Carlsbad title, who was unlucky enough to draw -- and lost to -- the Bulgarian in the 1st Round. One day later, Julia Goerges took her first steps ever onto Centre Court. Facing off there with #2 seed and Wimbledon runner-up Agnieszka Radwanska, the German took it to the Pole, never letting her alter ego get a foothold in the battle. Racking up over twenty aces, she out-hit A-Rad and put her out of the tournament. Her win opens up the bottom quarter of the draw for a potentially unseeded semifinalist who might, at the very least, get a shot to play for a Bronze Medal. Of course, #6 seed Petra Kvitova is still the favorite to reach the semis from that section of the draw, but if she has can't pull herself out of her next set-long, then big-point funk (which she did in HER 1st Rounder against Kateryna Bondarenko after dropping the 2nd set, then failing to serve out the match in her first opportunity in the 3rd) the door would swing WIDE open. In fact, these two might end up meeting in the QF to fight for that semifinal berth.
=============================
SURPRISE: Valeria Solovieva/RUS
...the "Pocket Hordette," 19, had a career week in Baku. In singles, the world #225 qualified and got a main draw win over Olga Savchuk. But it was in doubles that Solovieva made her mark, teaming with Ukraine's Irina Buryachok to claim her first career tour doubles crown. It was 26-year old Buryachok's first career title, as well.
=============================
VETERAN: Severine Beltrame/FRA
...the 32-year old Pastry won her second ITF title of the season in Les Contamines-Montjoie, France, defeating Croatia's Tereza Mrdeza in the final to claim the $25K challenger. The last time Beltrame won two ITF titles in a single season was 2003.
=============================
COMEBACK: Olga Puchkova/RUS
...back when she was a teen sensation, Puchkova was a face to watch. Sure, her status was partly self-anointed, but there was also some talent there, too. She reached two tour finals in '06 in Kolkata (losing to Hingis) and Quebec City (double-bageled by Bartoli... ouch), and climbed as high as #32 in the rankings in '07. Now 24, and with a ranking of #174, Puchkova went to Baku and put up her best WTA result since that loss in Canada nearly six years ago, reaching the semifinals after knocking off Akgul Amanmuradova, Alberta Brianti and Mandy Minella.
=============================
FRESH FACES: Julia Cohen/USA & Aleksandra Krunic/SRB
...Cohen, at 23, might be a tad over-aged for a "Fresh Face" award, but the world #134 has come a long way, so who am I to deny her? After previously having gone 0-for-34 in her attempts to qualifying for tour events before finally breaking through in February, Baku was only Cohen's third main draw WTA event. And the five-time ITF champion made the most of it, outlasting top-seeded Ksenia Pervak in the 1st Round (the Kazakh was carried off on a stretcher due to heat exhaustion), then following up with victories over Alla Kudryavtseva, Magdalena Rybarikova and Olga Puchkova en route to, naturally, her first career tour final. Meanwhile, Krunic, 19, who's come up big in important doubles matches for the Serbian Fed Cup team the past two years, made some music on her own in the same Baku event. After getting through qualifying, she got wins over Andrea Hlavackova and Laura Pous-Tio to reach her first career tour QF.
=============================
DOWN: Agnieszka Radwanska/POL & Ksenia Pervak/KAZ
...maybe The Radwanska tried to bully a few too many Tennis Gods this summer? If so, They surely got back at It -- at Aga's expense -- on Sunday. In something of a match with a very PRE-Rad look to it, Aga was out-hit by Goerges under the Centre Court roof, and just committed too many (21) errors than she could find a way to overcome. Not that she didn't have a chance as, at 4-4 in the 3rd, she was one point away from getting the chance to serve for the match. But Goerges played the biggest points better. Needless to say, although carrying the flag in the opening ceremonies will be a great memory, A-Rad probably won't call THIS week in London the "best" in her life. But, hey, at least the lives of a few more innocent melons will now be spared. In Baku, Pervak came in as the #1 seed one year after having reached the final. Unfortunately, she ended up suffering from heat illness in her first match and exited in a very Lisicki-like way... on a stretcher. Thus, the wait for the first WTA champion representing Kazakhstan (whether she was born there or, as in most cases, wasn't) continues.
=============================
ITF PLAYER: Maria-Teresa Torro-Flor/ESP
...Torro-Flor continues to cut a wide swatch through the ITF in '12. Her win in Olomouc, Czech Republic gives her back-to-back $100K challenger titles, and her 6-0 record in season finals leads the circuit. In Olomouc, MTTF took out Barbora Zahlavova-Strycova, Elena Bovina, Tatjana Malek, Yvonne Meusburger and Alexandra Cadantu (who she also beat en route to her other $100K win in Bucharest) in the final. After neglecting to give the Spaniard an "ITF Player of the Week" award for much of this season, she's now convinced me to hand her the honor three times in the past five weeks.
=============================
JUNIOR STAR: Petra Uberalova/SVK
...at the European Junior Championships in Switzerland, the 17-year old Slovak upset #1-seeded Margarita Gasparyan (RUS) and then knocked off Turkey's Basek Eraydin (5-0 in ITF challengers finals this season) to take the title.
=============================


1. Olympics 1st Rd. - Cornet d. Paszek
...7-6/6-4.
This grass court season, Paszek went 0-2, then 9-0, then 0-2. The Tennis Gods just think they are SOOOOO clever. Which they are, of course.
=============================
2. Baku 1st Rd. - Cohen d. Pervak
...6-4/3-6/3-2 ret.
I picked Pervak to win the title in Baku last week. Sorry, Ksenia.
=============================
3. Olympics 1st Rd. - Suarez-Navarro d. Stosur
...3-6/7-5/10-8.
At Wimbledon, Stosur said that she felt a little better on grass than she had in her previous unsuccessful forays at Wimbledon. That notion may have swung back the other way after this weekend.
=============================
4. Baku QF - Jovanovski d. Krunic
...5-7/7-6/6-3.
Don't worry, BoJo and the Serbian Girl Wonder will be back to being on the same side in the Czech Republic in a few months. Speaking of...
=============================
5. Olympics 1st Rd. - S.Williams d. Jankovic
...6-3/6-1.
JJ still has that Fed Cup final on her long-range radar. And for most of the last few months, it's a good thing, too. Really, though... this draw was just "unfair."
=============================
6. Baku Final - Jovanovski d. Cohen
...6-3/6-1.
Cohen is the third first-time American finalist this season, after there'd been just one (Mattek in '08) in the previous five seasons. BoJo is the eighth first-time tour champion in '12, after there were just six in the entire 2011 season.
=============================
7. Olympics 1st Rd. - Pironkova d. Cibulkova
...7-6/6-2.
Tsvetana was no Tamira this weekend. New grass or not, it was still Wimbledon grass.
=============================
8. College Park Q: Aravane Rezai d. Tornado Alicia Black
...6-1/6-2.
The Opinionated Pasty's good times continue. Maybe she'll even get the chance to offer up some opinions, too. Quick, Aravane -- shouldn't the D.C. area WTA event be part of the U.S. Open Series, just like this week's ATP event nearby?
=============================
9. $100K Astana KAZ Final - Maria Joao Koehler/POR d. Marta Sirotkina/RUS
...7-5/6-2.
The 19-year old from Portugal gets her first ITF title since 2009, and by far her biggest yet. After two previous $10K wins, she skipped over those "meaningless" $15K, $25K, $50K and $75K events.
=============================
10. $25K Wrexham GBR Final - Carina Witthoeft/GER d. Donna Vekic/CRO
...6-2/6-7/6-2.
In an all-NextGen match-up, the 17-year old takes down the 16-year old.
=============================
HM- $10 Palic SRB Final - Victoria Kan/RUS d. Doroteja Eric/SRB
...6-1/6-4.
The 16-year old Uzbeki-born Hordette grabs her second challenger title of 2012.
=============================


1. Olympics 1st Rd. - U.Radwanska d. Barthel
...6-4/6-3.
Maybe Ula used up all that was left of the Radwanska "juice" at the All-England Club for his summer, considering what happened on Day 2 (and #2). Of course, U-Rad gets Serena next.
=============================
2. Olympics 1st Rd. - Goerges d. A.Radwanska
...7-5/6-7/6-4.
During Bravo's coverage, Rennae Stubbs went all Backspinner on us, talking about the vast difference between off-court Aga and on-court Radwanska. She's almost "bipolar," she said. Between the lines, A-Rad has a "machine-like personality," described Stubbs, adding, "She's a little killer." Awwwl, Stubbsy... I think I love you. Thanks for that.
=============================
3. $10K Bad Waltersdorf AUT - Julia Mayr/ITA d. Zuzana Zalabska/CZE
...6-3/6-3.
And in the semifinals, Julia defeated Reka-Luca Jani. (Altogether now, with pep.) "Reka-Luca Jani! Reka-Luca Jani! Reka-Luca Jani! Ah, that feels so good.
=============================


**2012 FINALS w/ TWO TITLE-LESS PLAYERS**
Bogota - Lara Arruabarrena-Vecino/ESP def. Alexandra Panova/RUS
Monterrey - Timea Babos/HUN def. Alexandra Cadantu/ROU
Kuala Lumpur - Hsieh Su-Wei/TPE def. Petra Martic/CRO
Fes - Kiki Bertens/NED def. Laura Pous-Tio/ESP
BAKU - BOJANA JOVANOVSKI/SRB def. JULIA COHEN/USA

**LOW-RANKED FINALISTS IN 2012**
#208 Melanie Oudin, USA - Birmingham (def. Jankovic)
#174 Lara Arruabarrena-Vecino, ESP - Bogota (def. Panova)
#149 Kiki Bertens, NED - Fes (def. Pous-Tio)
#134 JULIA COHEN, USA - Baku (lost to Jovanovski)
#124 Hsieh Su-Wei, TPE - Kuala Lumpur (def. Martic)
#120 Coco Vandweghe, USA - Stanford (lost to S.Williams)

**2012 SEMIFINALISTS - BY NATION**
16...RUSSIA
14...Italy
11...Germany
10...France
9...Poland, Romania, UNITED STATES

**LOW-RANKED 2012 SEMIFINALISTS**
#262 - Kirsten Flipkens/BEL - 's-Hertogenbosch (SF)
#208 - Melanie Oudin/USA - Birmingham (W)
#174 - Lara Arruabarrena-Vecino/ESP - Bogota (W)
#174 - OLGA PUCHKOVA/RUS - Baku (SF)
#161 - Chan Yung-Jan/TPE - Carlsbad (SF)
#159 - Hsieh Su-Wei/TPE - Pattaya (SF)





COLLEGE PARK, MARYLAND (Int'l $220K/hard outdoor)
11 Final: Petrova d. Peer
11 Doubles Champions: Mirza/Shvedova
12 Top Seeds: Pavlyuchenkova/Scheepers
=============================

=SF=
#7/WC Vandeweghe d. Jovanovski
#3 Stephens d. #5 Zahlavova-Strycova
=FINAL=
#7/WC Vandeweghe d. #3 Stephens

..."Future Sloane" keeps sending me messages to pick her to do well. So far, either I'm hearing her wrong or she's a secret minion of The Radwanska. Either way, I'll go with two Bannerettes to continue the American momentum.


London Olympics (grass/Wimbledon)

...the Olympic mixed doubles draw won't be released until Tuesday. I figure the pick will be a team with a Williams on it.


All for now.



THIS WEEK: Olympic Time Capsule

29 Comments:

Blogger Eric said...

Matt Cronin ‏@TennisReporters
BREAKING: Li Na hires Carlos Rodriguez as coach on trial basis thru end of year. Will start Aug. 16. He'll travel fulltime

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Mon Jul 30, 11:50:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Todd.Spiker said...

That is just an international incident waiting to happen. :D

Mon Jul 30, 12:33:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Todd.Spiker said...

Day 3 Update:

-- Azarenka has to go three sets to defeat Begu after going 1-for-8 in BP attempts in the 2nd set. She won MP on a net cord shot, then kissed the net after the match. As long as we don't have another AnaIvo "Kiss of Life" situation brewing.

-- typical Kvitova: a close 1st set vs. Peng (which she won with a late break and hold, despite a 12/15 winner-to-UE ratio), major slippage in the 2nd, then a dominating win in the 3rd over Peng. I'm wondering if some sort of medal run in London might finally get her over the hump for '12 and push her into a final or two in the 4Q. But matches like this make you wonder.

-- a strong comeback from Lisicki, who dropped the 1st set against Jabeur (really, Sabine?). She won 4-6/6-0/7-5.

-- Venus looked good today. And Serena took out the last Radwanska... though they still have to play doubles today, so ALL the melons of London aren't safe just yet.

(to be continued)

Mon Jul 30, 12:46:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Leif Mortensen said...

Caroline won a fantastic match. One of the best from both players specially 3rd set was superb and especially the 5t game where Caroline won the point with her 10th gamepoint. Well done ladies you played very well. 2hr and 30 min, 7 aces from Caro, 30 winners and only 15 unforced errrors. The statistics for Wickmayer were also fine.

Mon Jul 30, 03:21:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Todd.Spiker said...

Day 3 Update, Pt.2:

-- as Leif said, a good result from Wozniacki, but one wonders how long she can ride the three-set rollercoaster

-- "Luckiest" player: Laura Robson, who wasn't even in the original singles draw, but got added when Petra Martic pulled out. Today, she got a 1st Round win over Lucie Safarova. There are two Brits in the 2nd Round, and both play Russians named Maria next.

-- Tsvetana Pironkova is gone, though. Flavia Pennetta, the "First Seed Out" at both Wimbledon and the AO this year, beat her in straight sets.

-- meanwhile, the Radwanskas are still alive! They defeated Cibulkova/Hantuchova (so Dominika is now 0-2 at this Olympics, having lost to The Pironkova and the Rads) today. British melons are once again quaking in fear. Poor things. They've had a very frightful summer.

Mon Jul 30, 04:56:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Eric said...

I think you mean luckiest player in the draw is Vishnu Vardhan -- doesn't qualify for singles or doubles yet ends up in both draws due to political drama and injury.

Well, I guess that's true of Robson too, but Robson is (barely) in the Top100.

Mon Jul 30, 07:29:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Diane said...

You had me at "Pocket Hordette." It sounds just vaguely, you know, pornographic, and now I can't get the phrase out of my mind.

"Send off today for your own Pocket Hordette and find out why these ladies are smiling!"

"Tired of being ignored by women? Try the Pocket Hordette today and return it, no charge, if you aren't completely satisfied!"

Stop me......

Mon Jul 30, 11:52:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Todd.Spiker said...

:D :D

And to think I started calling her that just because she was short. But there are other players shorter than her... but I just can't throw that one out.

Maybe now I know why! :)

Tue Jul 31, 01:10:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Eric said...

The pace of play in Sharapova/Robson is SO SLOW. There's no reason why this match shouldn't be over in 75 minutes. There were hardly any rallies...very few exchanges were >5 strokes.

Instead, the match took well over 2 hours.

It was hardly "riveting."

Tue Jul 31, 01:33:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Todd.Spiker said...

Day 4 Update #1:

-- Venus is STILL looking good. Her biggest issue against Wozniak was that she broke a nail during the match. Afterward, she even had the mind to add to her Olympic pin collection from fans in the stands -- she said she got pins for Bermuda and the Bahamas.

-- the Sharapova/Robson scoreline -- 7-6/6-3 -- was the same as the one when they met at Wimbledon two years ago.

-- it's Vika's 23rd birthday!

-- no Venus or Serena in the Mixed. I'd still probably go with an all-American final, with #3 Raymond/M.Bryan and #2 Huber/B.Bryan, though. Azarenka/Mirnyi is the top-seeded team, while A-Rad & Matkowski are #4. Unseeded Mirza/Paes, even with all the off-court stuff, is surely a team to be reckoned with, as well.

-- whew! Tsonga def. Raonic in an Olympic record 25-23 3rd set. Overall, Raonic won more points, 180-178, but Tsonga won the 3rd set 129-128.

-- LIKE: the streaming tennis coverage on NBCOlympics.com. Probably because you don't have to listen to any commentators. :) It's sort of like you're actually in the stands.

-- in College Park, by the way, Rezai continued her comeback... defeating Oudin 6-4/6-7/7-6 last night.

-- Lisicki was at it again. She went three sets against Shvedova. She got a break for 6-5, then found herself down 30/40 on serve. Naturally, she hit an ace (and Li Na, somewhere in London, felt a chill go down her spine and didn't know why... should she maybe think of it as a foreshadowing event prior to her work with Carlos Rodriguez?). Lisicki won 4-6/6-3/7-5, outdoing Shvedova 47-17 in winners and 12-3 in aces.

-- the Radwanskas are close to pushing #1-seeded Huber/Raymond to a 3rd set...

(to be continued)

Tue Jul 31, 02:18:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Todd.Spiker said...

Day 4 Update #2:

-- ah, and more melons are safe. Huber/Raymond def. Radwanska/Radwanska in straights, avoiding a 3rd by winning a 2nd set tie-break. Of course, there are still a few Mixed Doubles melons that are still in jeopardy.

Tue Jul 31, 02:43:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Eric said...

Petra not in mixed doubles. Sort of glad she's not paired with Stepanek. I feel like any female WTA player he's associated with combusts...He must be a good romancer... Poor Hradecka.

Ivanovic/Zimonjic will also be tough.

Robson and Murray have a shot.

I think that Azarenka/Mirnyi are going to be super tough customers.

Tue Jul 31, 03:04:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Eric said...

Todd,

Have you been having trouble finding certain matches? I wanted to tune in to the Williamses Doubles match today...but they changed the court and I could never figure out what court they were actually on... And when I went through the "watch live" link on nbcolympics, it took me to Court 2 where they were originally scheduled...

Tue Jul 31, 03:21:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Todd.Spiker said...

Well, most of the matches I've looked for specifically were scheduled for the court I checked, so I haven't noticed that.

Some confusion might come from that they "renamed" a few of the courts with different numbers from the ones they usually have at Wimbledon. Why that was necessary is beyond me.

Tue Jul 31, 03:43:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Eric said...

It seems the schedule changed after the Tsonga/Roanic match...but they didn't update the links...

Tue Jul 31, 03:49:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Leif Mortensen said...

Only players who have played all matches on cc are Murray and Wozniacki - yes! And all haters have a good time and the only one who can't do anything is Caroline. Well to me it shows how popular she is in England and people should remember that it's ITF that's behind this. She's a Liverpool fan, wear English clothes, Rory's girlfriend, most photographed tennis player no wonder they look upon her as half British and where do you place the best British players - on CC.

Wed Aug 01, 01:25:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Leif Mortensen said...

Sorry not the ITF but the London organizers are behind this. Have always wondered why tennis journalists, commentators, other players fans are poking on her. Jealousy?

Wed Aug 01, 02:07:00 AM EDT  
Blogger jo shum said...

Once again Nadia can be so good. But no use, as she just can't hold at cruch time.......

Can't get stream to see venus and Angelique.....

Wed Aug 01, 12:28:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Eric said...

Jo,

You didn't miss anything with the venus/angelique match...The play wasn't outstanding from either of them...it came down to Kerber being rock solid and not giving away easy mistakes. Unfortunately, Venus was not as sharp as she has been this tournament. I only saw the second set, but every time she had worked the rally to an advantageous position, she missed the finishing shot. And she threw in two bad double faults in the tie break.

And i got the sense that she wasn't watching the ball as well as she has before...

And I wonder if her disease causes her to lose feel for the ball...which may be why she misses shots erratically. Her disease symptoms cause joint pain, swelling, and loss of feeling...and people proficient at tennis often speak of "feeling the ball"...so I wonder if that's a factor she has to deal with now too.

But her serving seems to be better than recent years...but her footwork (small stutter steps) seems a tad slow...and sometimes she was caught out of position.

This was the first time I had seen Kerber play...and I was impressed. She doesn't do any one thing exceptionally well...and her game isn't "beautiful" ala Roger Federer or Justine Henin...but she does all things very well and she's solid mentally too. Her serve is very good too. The toss can go off though. She plays within herself and she doesn't crumble in the tight moments of the match.

Wed Aug 01, 12:59:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Todd.Spiker said...

Day 5 Update #1:

Kerber def. Venus 7-6(5)/7-6(5)

Kerber had a few moments in the 1st set that might have brought back memories of her Eastbourne collapse against Bartoli, but she held on. She served at 4-3, and 6-5, but was broken both times. Venus even had two set points at 5-4. Venus forced the 1st set tie-break after a great backhand down-the-line shot gave her a BP. But while Kerber let things slip away there, it was Williams that let things slip in the tie-break.

Venus led 5-2, only to see Kerber storm back with five straight points, the last coming when Williams ran for a short ball at the net, then fired her own ball beyond the baseline.

As Rennae Stubbs noted in the 1st set, with her illness, Venus really needs to win these sort of matches in straights, or at least take the opening set so she doesn't have to battle uphill for most of the match.

She just couldn't quite take that advantage today, and her serve (7 DF) really failed her in the clutch down the stretch. Kerber has a few "wobbly" moments once in a while, but she's got a nice determination streak in her. It served her well today.

Wed Aug 01, 01:17:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Todd.Spiker said...

Day 5 Update #2:

-- you know, this '12 Olympic tennis thing is finally starting to feel like a REAL honest-to-goodness major tournament. It had a weird feeling early-on, what with all the SW19 "newness," but things have kicked in big-time the last couple of days.

-- after having a woeful year, Zvonareva, the only returning women's singles Medalist from '08, made a nice comeback at these Olympics. But, after today, considering how she sometimes takes big losses, one wonders if it was all worth it. Harkening back to when Vera was at the top of her game and reaching slam finals, only to be destroyed by her opponent once she got there, the Russian met Serena Williams in the 3rd Round in a rematch of the '10 Wimbledon final. Williams won handily 6-3/6-2 two years ago, and had an even easier time today. In the only match played under the Centre Court roof today, she won 6-1/6-0, leading 32-3 in winners, and 53-23 in points. Zvonareva won just 27% of her first serve points, while Serena won 83%. Ouch.

-- oh, Nadia. Petrova led Azarenka 6-3 in the 1st set tie-break, only to drop the final five points. Vika, rockin' a green headband and skirt, won 7-6/6-4.

-- shocking! Kvitova had a quick day. She defeated Pennetta 3 & love.

-- same with Wozniacki, who DIDN'T have to go three sets against Hantuchova. Of course, she'll face Serena next.

-- Lisicki put up a fight in yet another Wimbledon match with Sharapova, but the Russian -- more emotional, from angry reactions to lost points to pure happiness in the late goings-on -- was up to the challenge. You can tell she REALLY wants a medal. After failing to convert three SP in the 1st, Sharapova saw Lisicki take the set in a 10-8 tie-break on HER 4th SP. Sharapova won the 2nd, then got a late break for a 5-3 lead in the 3rd. She served it out, 6-7/6-4/6-3.

-- yet again, Huber and Vesnina faced off on the doubles court. The Tennis Gods are turning this into the women's version of Isner-vs.-Mahut. I don't think anything extracurricular went on. Huber & Raymond defeated Makarova & Vesnina, though. So I'm sure the Russian wasn't happy this time, either.

-- was that Venus essentially telling Jon Wertheim on Bravo that she intends to play in Rio in 2016? She was obviously disappointed by her loss, but it was nothing like how things were after her Wimbledon loss last month. Thankfully.

-- and, finally, all the melons are now safe in London. Stosur & Hewitt took out A-Rad & Marcin Matkowski in Mixed Doubles. Of course, now The Radwanska can prowl the London streets at night with no standing commitments for the morning. Shudder.

P.S. -- oh, and can you believe I was wrong about where the local D.C. WTA event is being held this week? Last year, it was held in College Park, Maryland. But it's actually IN Washington, D.C. this year (says something about the promotion of the event, as it has already been played for a couple of days before the Washington Post even had anything detailed about the event in its coverage). They're playing at the same Rock Creek Park site during at which I nearly threw up in the stands during a Boris Becker/Brad Gilbert match many years ago. Ah, memories.

P.P.S. - I'm hoping to have the Olympic Time Capsule up tomorrow. Hoping to put the finishing touches on it tonight.

Wed Aug 01, 04:30:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Leif Mortensen said...

Funny that they place Caro and Serena on court 1 tomorrow - have they something against Serena since such a match can't bring her back to CC? Well court 1 is ok too. 2nd match.

Wed Aug 01, 04:58:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Todd.Spiker said...

Hmmmm, just realized that I think I was thinking "Ricardo Sanchez" (JJ's old coach, and Caro's "whatever-you-want-to-call it") rather than "Carlos Rodriguez" (Henin's old coach) with the news about Li hiring him on a part-time basis.

Li + Sanchez = insanity.

Li + Rodriguez = might be interesting.

So, I stand corrected (by myself, I guess).

Thu Aug 02, 01:57:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Eric said...

It's all those Spanish names! I was confused at first too.

From a networking perspective, Sanchez and Li makes sense since JJ and Li are good friends...but I guess JJ and Sanchez didn't end on a good note so...never mind...

From a style stand point, Li and Sanchez wouldn't make any sense. Sanchez values the steady baseliner...and Li...is not steady...

I'm hoping that Carlos drills the patterns he taught Justine (steady backhand, forehand finishing shot) with Li. I think Li needs someone to remind her what's her bread and butter.

What do you think Rodriguez will bring to the table? Since he never switched pupils, it was hard for me to tell what was Carlos' impression on Justine's game...and what was Justine's innate feeling.

Thu Aug 02, 02:44:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Diane said...

I can hear it now:

"So have I told you about Jack the Ripper and Sweeney Todd?"

"No, Mama, tell us something really scary, like when The Radwanska prowled the streets of London one summer.

Thu Aug 02, 09:48:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Todd.Spiker said...

Eric-

Since the relationship with Henin was so unique, it's hard to tell what Rodriguez would bring. One would think, though, he'd try to find ways to help her attain some better consistency, and maybe better prepare and train between matches/tournaments. It's getting a bit late in Li's career to make any BIG changes, though, one would think.


Diane-

Well, at least we know where It is right now. (Hopefully) There'll be no sneak attacks under the cover of darkness here. Of course, that's assuming It and the Minions haven't already left London.

Thu Aug 02, 12:31:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Todd.Spiker said...

Day 6 update #1:

-- the difference between Petra Kvitova and Victoria Azarenka this season has been that Vika, even after some shaky moments, has more often than not risen to the occasion in the biggest moments/points, while Kvitova (Fed Cup being the exception) has not (example: all those lost break point attempts in semifinals against Sharapova). The same thing occurred in today's QF. Azarenka served at 4-2 against Angelique Kerber in the 1st set, but was broken. But she bounced back and broke the German on a hard-hitting, 23-shot rally on break point to win 6-4. She was up a break in the 2nd, only to give it back, as well. But, again, she came back late to break for 5-3, gave her edge back again, then ultimately made another push and won 6-4/7-5.

Kvitova, meanwhile, after an easy day yesterday, had quite the opposite today. She lost a 1st set tie-break to end a tight opening stanza against Maria Kirilenko. Things were on serve until late in the 2nd, but a Kvitova forehand error (into the net rather than the usual long) gave the Russian a break for a 5-3 lead. On match point, Kirilenko was the last one standing on a neat little battle of short, sharply-angled crosscourt shots. She fell on her back in delight. Once again, at least one Hordette will be playing for an Olympic singles medal. The stats told the story: Kvitova's 1st serve percentage (it WAS windy, though) was just 57%. And while the Czech led Kirilenko 23-10 in winners, the Russian had just ONE unforced error to Kvitova's 21 (hmmm... does Maria think she's Aga or something?). Kvitova was broken just once (Kirilenko was 1/4 on BP attempts), but never even held a break point on the Russian's serve.

-- whew! Can one match undue a decent amount of good through three rounds? Well, I guess we'll find out on North American hard courts the rest of this summer, based on what Caroline Wozniacki does. After playing tough and winning two three-setters, then straight-setting Hantuchova yesterday, C-Woz faced Serena today. Not good. Williams bageled her in the 1st set, doing pretty much what she did against Zvonareva one round earlier -- winning 89% of her 1st serve points, while allowing Wozniacki just 31% on hers. The final score ended up being 6-0/6-3. She had 30 winners to Caro's 7, while the Dane never held a break point. Serena has lost just thirteen games in four matches in London, and has now won 15 straight matches overall. The only longer '12 streaks were Vika's 26-match run to start the season, and Serena's own 17-match undefeated streak on the clay.

Talking with Rennae Stubbs after the match, Serena didn't even know anything about the draw. She thought she was scheduled to play Sharapova next, but Stubbs had to inform her that she'll be playing Vika. With another player, that'd probably be a bad sign... but with Serena, it just says that she's playing so well that she maybe thinks it doesn't matter WHO her opponent is right now.

Thu Aug 02, 01:07:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Eric said...

I just had a feeling that Huber would go out early in Mixed after fighting so hard for the spot.

Did anyone see the match? Was she the weak link? I would assume B.Bryan's chemistry with her is good since they've played so many times before...

Thu Aug 02, 01:13:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Todd.Spiker said...

Day 6 update #2:

-- so, Kim Clijsters has just one more event (the U.S. Open) before the Official Backspin Goodbye Letter will go public. She lost in the QF to Maria Sharapova, 6-2/7-5. Sharapova will meet Kirilenko in the semis, meaning that four years after the Russians swept the Medal stand they're at least assured of one medal, and could still fill two of the three positions.

Kirilenko, with Petrova (the #3 seeds), is also alive in the doubles semis (Maria K. will get the chance to play for TWO medals), joining #1 Huber/Raymond, #4 Hlavackova/Hradecka and the unseeded Williams Sisters. In Venus & Serena's win over #2 Errani/Vinci, the sisters had an almost-scary collision when both chased after a short ball on the left sideline, with Venus getting clipped at the hip by Serena, who actually undercut Venus and sort of flipped her into the air and deposited her with pretty good force on the grass. She limped around for a while, but played on. Even if she's okay, I'm sure she'll be sore next time out. After all, getting knocked over by Serena is surely different than if it'd been, say, the much tinier Errani doing the honors.

-- in Mixed, Robson & Murray survived a 10-7 3rd set tie-break to defeat Hradecka/Stepanek and reach the QF (they'll play Stosur/Hewitt). #2 Huber/B.Bryan lost to Lisicki/Kas. I actually picked #3 Raymond/M.Bryan to win the Gold, so I'm still alive in that one. :)

Thu Aug 02, 04:23:00 PM EDT  

Post a Comment

<< Home