Tuesday, May 28, 2013

RG.3- The Air is Stuffy with Strangeness

Maybe it's just the dark, Radwanskian clouds gathering above the grounds at Roland Garros, but this slam's early days have been a little strange, if not legitimately "off."

A few cases in point:

-- we began this slam with one less Russian in the main draw than we thought we'd see, as Nina Bratchikova suddenly began to represent Portugal beginning with this event. She's still to face ACTUAL Hordette Maria Kirilenko in her opening match.

-- maybe even more strangely, Russia only has three wins so far (and was lucky to get all of those... right, Anastasia?), with only two more Hordettes left to complete 1st Round matches. One of those women is Elena Vesnina, who'll face Victoria Azarenka. Those three total wins are the same number as the nation of Kazakhstan (undefeated at 3-0) and just one more than the women of South America (2-0).

-- not only is Kazakhstan undefeated, but so is Canada. And Puerto Rico, too.

-- on Day 3, in the section of the draw that is not built for stability -- it includes the like of JJ, Kvitova, Peng, Safarova, Rezai, and Wickmayer, to name a few -- one Sam Stosur looked the very picture of sturdiness and consistency in her dominating 6-0/6-2 win over Kimiko Date-Krumm, the 42-year old who defeated her the only other time they'd met, in 2010 in Osaka, where Stosur was attempting to defend her very first career tour singles title. Date-Krumm beat her in the QF.

-- while there was some thought that Rafa Nadal, on such a great clay run this spring, might not lose a set at this Roland Garros -- at least not until he'd meet Novak Djokovic in the semifinals -- he actually lost the very first one he played against Daniel Brands.

-- and, of course, as Day 4 arrives on Wednesday, last year's #1 women's seed (Vika) and one of 2012's semifinalists (Petra Kvitova) still haven't played a single point at this tournament. This is the only slam with a Sunday start, yet with today's rain delays and the already stretched-out scheduling, the 1st Round is now set to take four days to complete (ten women's opening matches have yet to even start) rather than the customary two that it takes to complete the 1st at the other three slams.

Meanwhile, the Radwanskas -- or should I say, The Radwanska, one and all? -- rests. And waits. Until Wednesday, when both Aga and Ula are scheduled to play.

Cross your fingers for the world.

...in a battle of which woman could be her own worst enemy MOST, Daniela Hantuchova triumphed over Jelena Jankovic. Meaning JJ got the win, but only after allowing Queen Chaos to see a LITTLE light of day in the City of Light, which saw very little sunshine on Tuesday. Jankovic took five set points to finally put away a 6-4 1st, and then was trailing 5-2 in the 2nd set when one of the day's rain delays interrupted play. JJ came back strong when play resumed, erased six Hantuchova set points and forced a tie-break, then took three match points to finally close out the 6-4/7-6 victory. Whew! But typical stuff from ol' QC.

Elsewhere, in 3:15, Marion Bartoli carried along the French wave -- well, at least when it comes to the women and Gael Monfils -- and eliminated the OTHER Belarusian in the draw, Olga Govortsova, by a 7-6/4-6/7-5 score. Seriously, if Bartoli ever made a deep(er) run at this tournament (she reached the semis in '11) it would inevitably be the craziest sight RG has ever seen. Even wilder than Francesca Schiavone's run in '10.

QUALIFIER WIN: Mariana Duque-Marino/COL
PASTRY WINS: Marion Bartoli, Alize Cornet, Kristina Mladenovic


the lively rain delay discussions on the Tennis Channel set that involved names like McEnroe, Carillo, Navratilova and Stubbs, especially the one on the effect of racket technology on today's game compared to the wood rackets & strung-with-gut days of the past. Even Johnny Mac looking a bit irritated when Stubbsy would interrupt his line of thought by immediately interjecting her opinions rather than waiting for him to finish his was quite entertaining.

...and, finally, we have our first title defense of the week! No, not in Paris -- in Urbana, Illinois at the NCAA Championships. Stanford's Nicole Gibbs has defeated Nebraska's Mary Weatherholt to defend her 2012 Women's title, becoming the sixth two-time NCAA women's champ, and the fifth to win back-to-back crowns. Last year, Gibbs shared the Women's Doubles title, and last week was named "Most Outstanding Player" for Stanford's winning run through the team competition. Colette Lewis' write-up about the finals is great over at Zoo Tennis.

9-5...United States *
1-0...Puerto Rico
* - Jamie Hampton to play 1st Rd.

[recent singles winners]
2009 Mallory Cecil, Duke
2010 Chelsey Gullickson, Georgia
2011 Jana Juricova, California
2012 Nicole Gibbs, Stanford
2013 Nicole Gibbs, Stanford
[two-time champions]
1986-87 Patty Fendick, Stanford
1989,91 Sandra Birch, Stanford
1992-93 Lisa Raymond, Florida
2000-01 Laura Granville, Stanford
2003-04 Amber Liu, Stanford
2012-13 Nicole Gibbs, Stanford

TOP QUALIFIER: Anna Schmiedlova/SVK
TOP EARLY-ROUND (1r-2r): xx
TOP QUALIFYING MATCH: Q2: #24q Barbora Zahlavova-Strycova/CZE d. Alexandra Panova/RUS 1-6/7-5/10-8
TOP EARLY-RD. MATCH (1r-2r): xx
FIRST VICTORY: #5 Sara Errani/ITA (def. Rus/NED)
FIRST SEED OUT: #11 Nadia Petrova/RUS (lost 1st Rd. to Puig/PUR)
UPSET QUEENS: Nominees: USA, North America, SVK
REVELATION LADIES: Nominees: North America, USA, KAZ, FRA, ESP, SVK, South America
LAST QUALIFIER STANDING: 1st Rd. wins: Duque-Marino/COL, King/USA, Z.Kucova/SVK, Ormaechea/ARG, Pfizenmaier/GER, Voskoboeva/KAZ
LAST WILD CARD STANDING: 1st Rd. wins: Garcia/FRA, Razzano/FRA, Rogers/USA
LAST PASTRY STANDING: 1st Rd. wins: Bartoli/FRA, Cornet/FRA, Garcia/FRA, Johansson/FRA, Mladenovic/FRA, Razzano/FRA
IT "??": xx
CRASH & BURN: Nominee: #11 Petrova/RUS (1st Rd./Puig)
ZOMBIE QUEEN: Nominee: #19 Pavlyuchenkova/RUS (1st Rd. - down set & 4-2 vs. Hlavackova, who served for match)
JOIE DE VIVRE: Nominees: V.Williams/USA, Bartoli/FRA
AMG SLAM FUTILITY UPDATE: lost 1st Rd. to #6 Li Na, once again failing to reach a slam QF in her career (so Anna Smashnova still has a buddy)

All for Day 3. More tomorrow.


Blogger jo shum said...

Oh no, no rad vs rad. I was listening to the RG radio. And they were saying red wine, red clay and Radwanska. So funny.
Kvitova not looking good

Wed May 29, 09:22:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Todd.Spiker said...

Pfizenmaier saves the world! :D

Wed May 29, 10:55:00 AM EDT  

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