Sunday, June 23, 2013

Wk.25- Eastbourne Elena & 's-Hertogenbosch Simona Mow the Grass

No Carl, but a healthy dose of Swarmettes, Hordettes, Bannerettes and Waffles... with a perplexing Dane thrown in for a little spice.

EASTBOURNE, ENGLAND (Premier $681K/Grass)
S: Elena Vesnina/RUS def. Jamie Hampton/USA 6-2/6-1
D: Petrova/Srebotnik (RUS/SLO) d. Niculescu/Zakopalova (ROU/CZE)

S: Simona Halep/ROU def. Kirsten Flipkens/BEL
D: Begu/Medina-Garrigues (ROU/ESP) d. Cibulkova/Parra-Santonja (SVK/ESP)


...Vesnina, after entering the season 0-6 in tour singles finals, has been an all-surface Hordette in 2013. The fiery 26-year old won her maiden WTA crown on hard courts in Hobart, took the Roland Garros doubles on red clay with Ekaterina Makarova, and then grabbed a grass crown this weekend in Eastbourne. The Russian's string of wins included victories over Ana Ivanovic, Heather Watson, Li Na, Yanina Wickmayer and a straight sets win over Jamie Hampton in very windy conditions in the final, proving that since Vesnina learned how to win a final she's retained the information for use at (many) later dates.
RISER: Simona Halep/ROU

...suddenly, Halep can't be stopped. First it was on the red clay, and then last week she carried over her success to the grass at Rosmalen. Wins over Annika Beck, #1-seed Roberta Vinci, Lesia Tsurenko, Carla Suarez-Navarro and Kirsten Flipkens ties her with Alexandra Dulgheru for the most career tour singles titles (2) amongst active Romanian players.
SURPRISES: The Romanians
...suddenly, years after they were first spotted on the horizon, the Swarmettes are, well, swarming the last two weekends. Last week, Romanians Halep (singles) and Raluca Olaru (doubles) were crowned champions, and this week Halep was bestowed with hardware once again in the Netherlands, while half the winning doubles team there was her countrywoman Irina-Camelia Begu. Monica Niculescu reached, but lost, in the Eastbourne doubles final. Still, after going 1-7 in tour singles finals the last two years, Romanian finalists are 3-0 this season.
VETERANS: Nadia Petrova/Katarina Srebotnik (RUS/SLO) & Kirsten Flipkens/BEL
...Petrova & Srebotnik are now tied with top-ranked Errani/Vinci when it comes to 2013 titles, winning #3 on the grass to go with their hard court titles in Sydney and Miami. The pair have now won four crowns as a duo, counting the one they won in Moscow back in 2008. A year ago, Petrova won the grass title in the Netherlands, and reached the doubles final with Maria Kirilenko. Meanwhile, Flipkens reached the s'-Hertogenbosch final -- just the second of her WTA career, after having won Quebec City in '12 -- following wins over Francesca Schiavone, Michaella Krajicek, Urszula Radwanska and Garbine Muguruza.
COMEBACK?: Caroline Wozniacki/DEN
...two steps forward, one step back? Or one step forward, two steps back? I guess we'll see at Wimbledon whether Caro's Eastbourne SF run -- with wins over Paszek, Robson and Makarova -- will mean much in the immediate, pre-new coach future. She rightfully should have reached her first Eastbourne final since winning the title in '09, but she lost break leads in two different sets and failed to serve out the match against Jamie Hampton.
FRESH FACES: Jamie Hampton/USA & Garbine Muguruza/ESP
...Hampton just keeps getting better and better results. Since opening the season with an Auckland semi (a career first) and a near-upset of Vika Azarenka in Melbourne, Hampton had gone on to reach semis on red clay (Brussels) and grass, reaching her first career tour final in Eastbourne after wins over Agnieszka Radwanska, Hsieh Su-Wei, Lucie Safarova and Caroline Wozniacki. Now the third-ranked American behind Serena and Stephens, Hampton will get her shot at Sloane in the 1st Round of Wimbledon. Muguruza qualified on the grass in Rosmalen, then notched Netherlands wins over Mona Barthel, Lauren Davis and Dominika Cibulkova to reach her first career semifinal.
DOWN: Petra Kvitova/CZE & Tamira Paszek/AUT
...a year ago, Paszek was winning Eastbourne, and then reaching the Wimbledon QF for a second straight year. This year, coming off a 2nd Round loss in Birmingham to Alison Riske, she retired against Wozniacki in the 1st Round at Devonshire Park. As Brett Haber noted on Tennis Channel Saturday morning, the Austrian might be getting ready to experience what it feels like to have the bottom drop out of her singles ranking. Meanwhile, Kvitova lost early in Eastbourne, too. Naturally. She had a 3-1 3rd set lead over Yanina Wickmayer. Also, naturally. The Czech is now 5-5 in grass court matches outside of the All-England Club, but heads to London holding onto the fact that at least she's 19-5 on the courts there. So, does hope spring eternal? We'll see.

1. East SF - Hampton d. Wozniacki
In a nutshell, this match pretty much told the tale of the Dane's season. She showed some guts in coming from behind -- down 3-1, 4-2, 5-3 and a set point -- to force a tie-break, then coming back -- down 3-0, 5-2 and down two more set points -- once more there to win the set. In the 2nd, Wozniacki was up a break at 2-0, led 4-2 and served for the match, only to drop the set and then squander an early break at 2-1 in the 3rd, as well.
2. East 1st Rd. - Wozniacki d. Paszek 6-2/2-2 ret.
East 2nd Rd. - Wozniacki d. Robson 6-4/6-4
East QF - Wozniacki d. Makarova 4-6/6-0/6-3
but, considering how things played out in the semis, what are we NOW to make of Wozniacki's three other impressive wins? Hard to tell.
3. Neth - Halep d. Flipkens
With ten consecutive wins, the only players with longer win streaks than Halep this season all reside in the Top 4. All FOUR of them.
4. Neth 1st Rd. - Tsurenko d. Hantuchova
...5-0 ret.
Right after her Birmingham win, too. A precautionary early exit, or a sign of a disappointing Wimbledon to come?
5. East Final - Vesnina d. Hampton
And Melanie Oudin is STILL the only American not named Williams to win a tour singles title over the last five seasons. One thinks Little MO will have some company on that list by the end of '13, though. Weirdest sight in the final: a Vesnina service toss being blown literally over her head. Well, unless you want to substitute that with the notion of Mariana Alves giving the Russian a time violation for not serving quickly enough in the gusting winds, because "we can't wait all day."
HM- East 2nd Rd. - Wickmayer d. Kvitova
Ah, where's Pammy Shriver when you need her?

1. East Q3 - Kr.Pliskova d. Ka.Pliskova
In the most competitive sister-vs.-sister match-up on tour, Karolina now leads Kristyna 5-4 in head-to-head meetings.
2. East 1st Rd. - Hampton d. A.Radwanska
Naturally, Hampton didn't go on to win the title, finishing as runner-up.
3. Neth QF - Flipkens d. U.Radwanska
Naturally, Flipkens didn't go on to win the title, finishing as runner-up. Is there an echo in here?

6...Serena Williams, USA
2...Victoria Azarenka, BLR
2...Maria Sharapova, RUS
2...Agnieszka Radwanska, POL
2...Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, RUS

5...Serena Williams (April-June) *
2...Agnieszka Radwanska (January)
2...Victoria Azarenka (January-February)
2...SIMONA HALEP (June) *
* - active streaks

31...Serena Williams *
15...Victoria Azarenka #
13...Agnieszka Radwanska
11...Maria Sharapova
* - active streak
# - Azarenka won 17 straight, with two walkover losses during stretch

5...Maria Sharapova (2-3)
3...Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (2-1)
1...Maria Kirilenko (1-0)
1...Olga Puchkova (0-1)

Paris - Mona Barthel, GER (Final def. #1 Errani)
Monterrey - A.Pavlyuchenkova, RUS (Final def. #1 Kerber)
Katowice - Roberta Vinci, ITA (Final def. #1 Kvitova)
's-Hertogenbosch - SIMONA HALEP, ROU (2nd Rd. def. #1 Vinci)


Kuala Lumpur - Karolina Pliskova/CZE d. Bethanie Mattek-Sands/USA (WC)
Florianopolis - Monica Niculescu/ROU d. Olga Puchkova/RUS
Birmingham - Daniela Hantuchova/SVK d. Donna Vekic/CRO

Paula Ormaechea, ARG (#198, age 20) - Bogota (L)
Karolina Pliskova, CZE (#127, age 20) - Kuala Lumpur (W)
JAMIE HAMPTON, USA (#41, age 23)- Eastbourne (L)

3...Errani/Vinci, ITA/ITA
2...Makarova/Vesnina, RUS/RUS
2...Mattek-Sands/Mirza, USA/IND
2...Babos/Minella, HUN/LUX

All for now. The Daily Backspin begins on Monday.


Blogger Todd.Spiker said...

The Radwanska is up early at this slam: one Top 5 seed down, another on shaky ground (even after a win) after a bad fall, and still another being tested by a long-legged blonde.

Meanwhile, Aga has the day off. Ula, too.

Suspicious, I tell you! :D

Mon Jun 24, 10:33:00 AM EDT  
Blogger jo shum said...

That fall was scary. For a moment I was so sure she was to call it a day. She was very brave. Once again great character to fight on. And lucky her opponent seemed as scared as she was.

Errani was out before I even knew it.

Mon Jun 24, 10:41:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Todd.Spiker said...

Oh, the way Vika initially reacted with the scream and cries it surely looked like it was going to be a situation where it wasn't going to just be this match, but probably the season and an absence that wouldn't end until after a long rehab.

Errani was almost out even earlier than she ultimately was. Puig had a bit of difficulty putting her away at the end, needing seven MP, or after being the first player to get a win in Paris, Errani might have been the very first PLAYER ousted in London, and not just the First Seed Out. As it turned out, the match was the sixth to finish.

Of note, Puig also ejected the first seed at Paris (Petrova), too.

Mon Jun 24, 12:19:00 PM EDT  
Blogger jo shum said...

I think puig broke through during the Brisbane tournament in jan. she was one to look at , at that time.

Mon Jun 24, 12:32:00 PM EDT  
Blogger jo shum said...

The Rad stroke out nadal!! I like darcis but....... I am now fuming!

Mon Jun 24, 01:09:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Todd.Spiker said...

The You-Know-What is not kidding around at this slam. Slash and burn.

Mon Jun 24, 01:19:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Zidane said...

Me, checking Wimbledon news:
"Nadal Suffers Early Loss at Wimbledon". Wow, they haven't updated last year's headlines yet... Oh, they did...

Shouldn't London have thought of a Rad-proof bunker instead of a roof?

Mon Jun 24, 01:27:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Diane said...

So are they living in that gothic mansion again, slicing melons with old swords and stirring the cauldron? Or are they staying in a more secret location (like maybe a hidden room in La Conciergerie)?

Mon Jun 24, 07:49:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Todd.Spiker said...

I fear that anyone who knows for sure may have already been eliminated... eek.

Mon Jun 24, 08:27:00 PM EDT  

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