Wk.12- A Kvitova Crash, a Serena Save & Caro Knowing How Rory Feels
Hmmm, what's been going on in Miami over the past week or so? I mean, other than Vika not playing, recent "big-name" players flaming out and Dominika Cibulkova, for the second straight year, having a huge win seemingly on her racket only to see it float away like the hint of spring on a March day that suddenly turns very "cold." But, then again, the Slovak has been there before. 364 days ago, in fact.
Of course, none of it is likely as interesting as the conversation that might soon take place between Caroline Wozniacki and Rory McIlroy now that the Dane is no longer the only "former #1-ranked player" in the relationship (courtesy of Tiger Woods' weather-delayed victory on Monday that pushed HIM past McIlroy and back atop the world golf rankings).
Hmm, maybe there was a reason #1-ranked Serena was "illegally" taking those photos of Woods the other week.
RISER: Sorana Cirstea/ROU
...a former slam quarterfinalist (RG '09), and one of the few of the Swarmette Romanians who have actually won a tour singles crown (even if it was back in '08, when she had her only year-end Top 40 ranking), Cirstea has been upping the consistency of her results over the past year. As a result, she came to Miami fresh off recent wins over Sloane Stephens and Anabel Medina-Garrigues and pushing Agniewszka Radwanska to three sets, ranked #27 in the world and within striking distance of soon rising above her career-high rank of #23. So far, so good in Florida, too. Wins over Siliva Soler-Espinosa and Angelique Kerber (in which she went had an un-goddessly streak of domination) put her into a 4th Round match with Jelena Jankovic, one of the players she's hot on the heels of in the current WTA singles rankings.
SURPRISE: Lauren Davis/USA
...the Bannerette failed in her attempt to get past Alize Cornet in the 3rd Round (a match which which left both players worse for wear), but she had quite a wild ride getting there. After losing in the final round of Miami qualifying to Mallory Burdette (who'd go on to lose her 1st Round match), Davis continued to travel to the tournament grounds every day with the hope that a seeded player would pull out and she'd get a late Lucky Loser pass into the main draw, skipping the 1st Round altogether. When, not unexpectedly, Victoria Azarenka pulled out late with her lingering ankle injury (which looks like it'll probably curtail her clay season participation, or at least delay it), Davis was shifted into the #2-seed slot in the draw against Madison Keys. In the match-up with her fellow American, Davis saved three match points and got the win. Not a conventional week of work for the teenager, but a good one in the end, even with the injury Davis picked up during the Cornet match.
VETERANS: Kirsten Flipkens/BEL & Li Na/CHN
...with Kim Clijsters gone and Yanina Wickmayer a you-never-know proposition, Flipkens (as long as she's not playing in Fed Cup) has become the best Belgian player on tour. Miami wins over Stefanie Voegele, Petra Kvitova and Ajla Tomljanovic has her into the quarterfinals. Meanwhile, Li, finally recovered from her injuries in Melbourne, is there, too, after she followed up her wins from last week over Kiki Bertens and Varvara Lepchenko with a victory Monday over Garbine Muguruza.
COMEBACK: Andrea Petkovic/GER
...slowly, though while never what one could say is surely, Petkovic is making her way back from her latest battle with injury. Wins over Bojana Jovanovski and Marion Bartoli (who, ironically, retired to give Petko the WIN) put the German into the 3rd Round, where she lost to Ajla Tomljanovic.
FRESH FACES: Garbine Muguruza/ESP & Ajla Tomljanovic/CRO
...both 19-year old wild cards battled their way into the Miami 4th Round before losing on Monday. Muguruza, quickly becoming a player to watch in '13, as she also just qualified in Indian Wells and reached the Round of 16 there (she lost to Sharapova), got upset wins over Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and Caroline Wozniacki before being taken down in straights, 7-6/6-2, against Li Na. Tomljanovic, who trains at the Evert Academy in Florida, took out both Ksenia Pervak and Julia Goerges before her 4th Round loss to Kirsten Flipkens.
DOWN: Petra Kvitova/CZE & Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova/RUS
...back to what has often become "normal" for her over the last almost two years since she won Wimbledon, the asthmatic Kvitova wasn't prepared to take on the heat and humidity of Miami. After having to come back from a set down to win in three in her first match against Peng Shuai, the Czech was bounced out in three sets -- she won just one game in the 1st and 3rd sets combined -- by Flipkens in the 3rd Round. Remember how great the newly-fit Pavlyuchenkova looked at the start of the season when she coasted into the Brisbane final with two Top 10 wins, only to be shellacked by Serena once she got there? Well, she's lost her opening match in five of the six events she's played since (with a Kuala Lumpur SF thrown in), most recently being upset in the 2nd Round in Miami by Garbine Muguruza.
ITF PLAYER: Reka-Luca Jani/HUN
...the 21-year old Hungarian is, quite simply, cleaning up on the ITF circuit this season, This weekend, for the second straight week in Madrid, she put away a $10K challenger title, defeating American Bernarda Pera in the final, 2-6/6-4/6-4. Jani is leading the ITF tour in 2013 in finals (five, while no one else has more than three), as well as titles (four, one ahead of a few others). "Reka-Luca Jani! Reka-Luca Jani! Reka-Luca Jani!"
JUNIOR STAR: Ipek Soylu/TUR
...top-seeded Soylu, 16, won the G1 International Junior Championships in the Philippines, defeating Sara Tomic (yes, HIS sis) in the semis before defeating Brit Katie Boulter in three sets in the final.
[Miami Week 1]
1. Miami 2nd Rd - V.Williams d. Date-Krumm
...7-6/3-6/6-4. Combining for neary 75 years of life experience, the meeting of the tour's two most accomplished and veteran players once again made for compelling tennis. Two years ago at Wimbledon, Venus survived an 8-6 3rd set against KDK, and this time she saw herself broken while serving at 3-1 and 5-3 in the final set. On her sixth match point, Venus prevailed, but then pulled out of her next match with a back injury. Date-Krumm, with Casey Dellacqua, had another hard luck loss in the doubles, as the pair fell to top-seeded Errani/Vinci in an 11-9 3rd set tie-break.
2. Miami 4th Rd. - S.Williams d. Cibulkova
...2-6/6-4/6-2. It was just about this time last year in Miami that Cibulkova held a 6-1/5-2 lead on Victoria Azarenka, only to see it slip away and the Belarusian maintain her season-opening 26-match winning streak (though it'd end a round later). This time, the Slovak led 6-2/4-1 against the seemingly unmotivated Williams. Of course, we're talking about Serena, so we know what CAN happen in this sort of situation. And, well, it did. Serena got wind of her "dire" situation, shot an ace to hold for 4-2, broke back, held at love and wiped Cibulkova's advantage off the board by winning four straight games to knot the match. When Cibulkova double-faulted on break point to open the 3rd, you could see the ending to this story. So could Cibulkova, even if she did get the break back soon afterward, only to lose it again. Ultimately, after struggling with her second serve during the first set and half of action, Serena fired her 13th ace of the day on match point to send Cibulkova packing, 364 days after Vika did the same in this event last year.
3. Miami 3rd Rd - Flipkens d. Kvitova
...6-0/4-6/6-1. The U.S. Open Series last summer is looking like a North American aberration for Kvitova. Hopefully, her recent nearly-back-to-form stretch in the Middle East won't turn out to be a career one.
4. Miami 3rd Rd - Cirstea d. Kerber
...6-4/6-0. Kerber, still playing every week with her lingering back injury, lost twelve straight points to end the 1st set, then saw the slide carry over into the 2nd, too. In total, the German lost 28 of 31 points in one stretch en route to dropping the final eight games of the match.
5. Miami 2nd Rd - Petkovic d. Bartoli
...6-3/4-1 ret. I guess we should forgive Petkovic if she asked the umpire is she was SURE she was actually going to WIN a match via retirement.
HM- Miami 4th Rd - A.Radwanska d. Stephens
...4-6/6-2/6-0. The defending champ faces Sloane, minus any time machines. After an encouraging start for the American, it wasn't pretty. A-Rad double-faulted on SP for Stephens to drop the 1st set on the Grandstand court (why there, with last year's winner and the "next American star" in action?), but then pretty quickly strangled her opponent into submission with all her weird/clever shots, as well as getting an assist from Stephens, who's back to being unable to close out wins against top players. Radwanska went up 3-0 in the 2nd and never looked back, finishing Sloane off with an ugly bagel in the 3rd.
1. Miami Q2 - Ka.Pliskova d. Vandeweghe 6-2/6-3
Miami Q2: Cepelova d. Kr.Pliskova 1-6/6-2/7-5
...one Pliskova qualifies. One does not.
2. $25K Ipswich AUS QF - Storm Sanders d. Y.Sema 6-1/6-4
$25K Ipswich AUS SF - Storm Sanders d. E.Sema 6-3/6-3
...the Aussie took out both Japanese sisters, but failed to get past the single Croatian Pandzic (Jelena) in her way the final.
**RECENT MIAMI FINALS**
2005 Kim Clijsters d. Maria Sharapova
2006 Svetlana Kuznetsova d. Maria Sharapova
2007 Serena Williams d. Justine Henin
2008 Serena Williams d. Jelena Jankovic
2009 Victoria Azarenka d. Serena Williams
2010 Kim Clijsters d. Venus Williams
2011 Victoria Azarenka d. Maria Sharapova
2012 Agnieszka Radwanska d. Maria Sharapova
**REACHED BACK-TO-BACK IW/MIAMI FINALS**
1991 Monia Seles (L-W)
1994 Steffi Graf (W-W)
1996 Steffi Graf (W-W)
1999 Serena Williams (W-L)
2000 Lindsay Davenport (W-L)
2000 Martina Hingis (L-W)
2005 Kim Clijsters (W-W)
2006 Maria Sharapova (W-L)
2012 Maria Sharapova (L-L)
2013 Maria Sharapova???? (won '13 I.W. final)
All for now.