Thursday, May 30, 2013

RG.5- Once Upon a Time in Paris...

And on the fifth day, The Radwanska decided to have a little "fun with water and seeds."

Already beset by rain delays that set back half the draw -- the one without any Radwanska sisters in it, it should be noted -- earlier in the tournament, as soon as the 2013 edition of Roland Garros got back on schedule, Day 5 saw one rain delay followed by another, a power outage on the grounds (but not, hopefully, inside the torso of one Marion "La Trufflette" Bartoli), the loss of weather radar as dark clouds were literally surrounding Paris, and the upset of a former RG champion (#6-seed Li Na) being coached by the former coach of a four-time winner in Paris (Justine Henin).

Arrgggh, The Raaaadddd! Grrrr.

Thus, as we head into Day 6, five 2nd Round women's matches have yet to be completed, though one of them got close today, as defending champ Maria Sharapova (naturally, considering Its long-time fondness for messing with the mind and body of the Siberian-born blonde candyseller) got within two games of avoiding having to head back out on Friday along with the top half of the draw completing their 3rd Round matches, but a 'Pova being allowed an extra anxiety-free night just wasn't in the clouds and her match with Eugenie Bouchard was called with the Russian leading 6-2/4-2.

In other words, it was just a normal day at a grand slam when The Radwanska is a bit cranky. And after what Dinah Pfizenmaier did yesterday, It IS a bit perturbed.

...only eleven of the sixteen scheduled women's matches were completed on Day 5, but three seeds still managed to fall. Along with Li, who was brought down rather hard in the 3rd set (technically, not by the Minions who tripped her up in Melbourne, but by Bethanie Mattek-Sands, who led 5-0 in the set before closing out a 5-7/6-3/6-2 win), #16 Dominika Cibulkova (lost to Marina Erakovic) and #27 Yaroslava Shvedova (Paula Ormaechea) also were sent packing.

Mattek-Sands was joined in the 3rd Round by two other Bannnerettes -- Sloane Stephens and Jamie Hampton. A little surprisingly, Petra Kvitova advanced with little note, taking out Peng Shuai in straight sets, 6-4/6-3, without having to feel her heart rising into her throat somewhere in the middle of the 2nd set. And, hardly surprisingly, Victoria Azarenka got some push back from the Parisian crowd, herself (taking a 5-0 1st set lead before a rain delay, then holding on for a 6-4 win) and '12 RG Girls champ Annika Beck, as well, in a 6-4/6-3 victory.

PASTRY WIN: Alize Cornet
QUALIFIER WIN: Paula Ormaechea/ARG doubles, the Williams Sisters pulled out, handing a walkover win to Alla Kudryavtseva & Anastasia Rodionova.

...and, while The Rad's machinations have prevented the 2nd Round from being completed and the Early-Round Award winners to be crowned without matches yet to be completed, I will not let IT stop me from my self-appointed duties. Thus...

=EARLY-ROUND AWARDS - 1st/2nd Rounds (Days 1-5)=
1. Serena Williams, USA far, so good. But The Rad lurks in the shadows... or maybe it's just Parisian gargoyles.
2. Maria Sharapova, RUS
...running out of pins yet for your Serena voodoo doll, Maria?
3. Samantha Stosur, AUS
...amazingly, she's avoided any drama.
4. Agnieszka Radwanska, POL's best to just not say anything, I think. Safer.
5. Victoria Azarenka, BLR, the crowd was against Vika from the start of her 2nd Round match with Annika Beck? Ahh, back to normal. I was beginning to worry. She'll face Cornet next, so the crowd will be able to get into a pretty good anti-Azarenka groove then, too. (Expectantly rubbing hands together with glee.)
HM- Sloane Stephens, USA
...see Stosur above. And, remember, she reached the Round of 16 in Paris a year ago.

RISERS: Sara Errani/ITA & Carla Suarez-Navarro/ESP
SURPRISES: Dinah Pfizenmaier/GER & Paula Ormaechea/ARG
VETERANS: Virginie Razzano/FRA & Zheng Jie/CHN
COMEBACKS: Svetlana Kuznetsova/RUS & Bethanie Mattek-Sands/USA
FRESH FACES Monica Puig/PUR & Jamie Hampton/USA
DOWN: Caroline Wozniacki/DEN & Nadia Petrova/RUS

"Clay probably is not my favorite surface." - Caroline Wozniacki, after another early slam loss, following previous early exits in London and New York... on grass and hard courts

Love-Love... both Caro & Nadia are gone? Is there a Ricardo Sanchez Curse going on here? JJ, though, not surprisingly, seems to be immune so far, winning her 2nd Round match over Garbine Muguruza today 6-3/6-0.
Love-15... AMG, still missing from a slam quarterfinal, and now (bonus!) complaining about Sharapova's on-court noise during a match which didn't even involve Sharapova. Methinks one shouldn't complain about unfair rules when oneself was just caught illegally fluffing balls in an attempt to slow down the shots of her opponent, Serena Williams.
15-15... all hail Dinah Pfizenmaier. At least for one more day.
30-15... even with her 1st Round loss, the champion's will shown by Venus Williams in her loss to Urszula Radwanska is still one of the lingering moments of the tournament.
30-30... one year after defeating Serena in Paris, Virginie Razzano has advanced farther at this RG than she did at THAT one.
40-30... speaking of that loss, Serena is "only" 69-3 since.
Game... and a Williams ace to close things out.

Well, except for...

"..." - The Radwanska, when asked for a comment on the proceedings at this Roland Garros

...and, finally, while this video is actually from LAST year's Roland Garros, it's never a bad idea to take a look at some behind-the-scenes moments with one half of The Radwanska's human alter ego. So, here's Aga on her way to the RG grounds one year ago. Hmmm, I wonder if Roger should be worried about what A-Rad said here? He's on Aga's radar, which means he's also on ITS radar.

[through Day 5]
15-10...United States
5-5...Russia, Spain
4-8...Czech Republic
2-0...Argentina, New Zealand, Puerto Rico
1-0...Canada, Colombia, Estonia
[no players left in draw]
5-6 = SVK
3-3 = KAZ
1-3 = UKR
NOTE: still five 2nd Rd. matches to be completed

2002 (Week 1 POW) Serena Williams, USA *
2003 (Week 1 co-POW) Serena Williams, USA & Kim Clijsters, BEL
2004 (Week 1 POW) Amelie Mauresmo, FRA
2005 (Week 1 POW) Kim Clijsters, BEL
2006 Amelie Mauresmo, FRA
2007 Justine Henin, BEL *
2008 Ana Ivanovic, SRB *
2009 Dinara Safina, RUS
2010 Venus Williams, USA
2011 Samantha Stosur, AUS
2012 Maria Sharapova, RUS *
2013 Serena Williams, USA
* - won title

2008 Serena Williams, USA (lost 3rd Rd.)
2009 Elena Dementieva, RUS (lost 3rd Rd.)
2010 Dinara Safina, RUS (lost 1st Rd.)
2011 Kim Clijsters, BEL (lost 2nd Rd.)
2012 Serena Williams, USA (lost 2nd Rd.)
2013 Caroline Wozniacki, DEN (lost 2nd Rd.)

TOP QUALIFIER: Anna Schmiedlova/SVK
TOP EARLY-ROUND (1r-2r): #1 Serena Williams/USA
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): 1st Rd. - #13 Marion Bartoli/FRA d. Olga Govortsova/BLR 7-6/4-6/7-5
FIRST VICTORY: #5 Sara Errani/ITA (def. Rus/NED)
FIRST SEED OUT: #11 Nadia Petrova/RUS (lost 1st Rd. to Puig/PUR)
UPSET QUEENS: Slovak Republic
NATION OF POOR SOULS: Czech Republic (2-8 in 1st Rd.)
LAST QUALIFIER STANDING: in 2nd Rd.: Ormaechea/ARG, Pfizenmaier/GER (still to play: Duque-Marino/COL)
LAST WILD CARD STANDING: in 2nd Rd.: Razzano/FRA (still to play: Barty/AUS)
LAST PASTRY STANDING: in 2nd Rd.: Cornet/FRA, Razzano/FRA (still to play: Bartoli/FRA)
IT "??": xx
COMEBACK PLAYER: Nominees: Kuznetsova/RUS, Ivanovic/SRB, Mattek-Sands/USA, Jankovic/SRB
CRASH & BURN: #10 Caroline Wozniacki/DEN (4 of 5 pre-4th Rd. slam exits since lost #1 ranking, before which had reached 4th Rd.-or-better 10 of 11 times)
JOIE DE VIVRE: Nominees: V.Williams/USA, Bartoli/FRA, Razzano/FRA, Pfizenmaier/GER
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 5. More tomorrow.


Blogger Jeppe said...

How about Li Na for Crash&Burn? Apart from Australian Open, she has lost to players ranked outside the Top 50 in six straight slams since her Roland Garros triumph in 2011...

Fri May 31, 04:01:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Todd.Spiker said...

Yeah, it was neck-and-neck between Wozniacki, Li and Petrova. But I went with Caro because, in a way, it's almost "expected" (or hardly stunning, considering their history) that either Li or Petrova might lose early. With Wozniacki, apart from the last year, she was always a consistently good bet for the second week of a slam. Also, she'd entered the EuroClay season on a high note with a runner-up in Indian Wells, but totally fell off the table this spring, then lost a second straight match to Jovanovski on the clay in recent weeks.

Although, since I've been piling on Caro a bit with "Crash & Burn" wins, I'm going to have to bar her from contention for Wimbledon and the U.S., I think. ;)

Fri May 31, 12:12:00 PM EDT  
Blogger jo shum said...

that's funny. bar wozzy from predicting early exit....
kerber is having a marathon match right now. ana is actually in good form. her slice and drop shots work pretty well on clay.

let's see how tomorrow goes. am going to paris next week to watch a few matches live! sincerely hope the high seeds are still in by then.

Fri May 31, 12:43:00 PM EDT  

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