Monday, July 29, 2013

Wk.30- The Best Laid Plans of Agas and Slovaks

Well, if there's hope for Dominika Cibulkova, then maybe fate will be on ALL of our sides in the end.

2013 couldn't have started off any better for Agnieszka Radwanska, or any worse for Cibulkova. In Week 2 in Sydney, A-Rad faced off with the Slovak in the final and simply destroyed her, putting up a 6-0/6-0 win for her second of back-to-back titles to open the season and raising her career mark against Cibulkova to 4-0. Flashforward twenty-eight weeks and the two met once again in the Stanford final.

For a while, even with the diminutive Cibulkova possessing the sort of the-motor's-always-revving power and tenacity that sometimes gives Radwanska's clever game trouble, it looked as if A-Rad was going to have the last laugh once again. While Cibulkova had break point chances throughout the first set and a half of action, she wasn't able to convert them. Instead, Radwanska would calmly utilize some good serving to make risky holds look almost routine in the end. The Slovak was 0-for-3 in BP chances in the 1st set, and 0-for-4 on four more chances mid-way through the 2nd. Already a set down and looking ready to be dispatched in straight, though not bagel-laden, sets, Cibulkova finally broke Radwanska's serve on her eighth attempt and managed to push things to a 3rd set. In the deciding stanza, after the two exchanged early breaks, Cibulkova found a way to maintain her confidence after twice falling down a break. Serving up 4-2, 40/15, A-Rad was well on her way to career title #13, her first since defeating the Slovak in Sydney.

But it didn't work out that way.

Cibulkova kept charging and blasting groundstrokes, and, eventually, Radwanska blinked. The Slovak broke for 5-4 with a hellacious outright return winner, then saw the Pole make a rare blaring error when she attempted a (very poor) drop shot on a service return at 15/15 to bring Cibulkova within two points of the title. Soon, three match points came and went as Cibulkova failed to put the match away when she fired shots beyond the baseline to end rallies. Radwanska got to break point, but, just like at Wimbledon against Sabine Lisicki, she couldn't put away the big point late in the match. Moments later, Radwanska saved MP #4 when her volley bounced just out of reach of a racing Cibulkova (although I'll admit to having hopeful visions of the Slovak attempting a diving shot on that MP, ala Andy Roddick's successful one in the Memphis final in '11 on his 5th MP vs. Milos Raonic), only to see the Slovak get yet another chance two points later. It was then that, finally, Radwanska was unable to keep up in another hard-hitting rally that concluded the match, as Cibulkova got her first win in five tries against the world #4 when she put away with a crosscourt winner that ended the 2:28 match, giving her a 3-6/6-4/6-4 victory as she successfully tempted fate against Radwanska and lived to tell about it. Heck, she even beat Aga's sister Ula earlier in the tournament, as well. Talk about living dangerously!

It's great performances like this that make you wonder why Cibulkova has won just three titles in her career, but also the sort of vulnerable display that makes one question Radwanska when it comes to facing the hard hitters on tour for, even with her mastery of the craft and all the personal improvements in her game the last two years, she can still be hit off the court if her opponent finds her groove and doesn't divert from it.

As Serena Williams used Bastad last week to exorcise some of her lingering Wimbledon demons, Radwanska seems to be planning on using the North American hard court circuit to do the same to her bad memories of her most recent trip to London. Notice I said the "circuit," but not the U.S. Open. Remember, A-Rad has never advanced past the QF in NYC, so it would seem right to assume that her pre-Open gameplan isn't designed to allow her to peak at the season's final slam, but instead to take advantage of the weeks leading up to it. Her schedule has her playing every week, save New Haven the week before the Open begins, and more than hints that she's going for broke in an attempt to take the U.S. Open Series, considering most top players will play only once or twice in the participating tune-up events.

Although she came up short in Palo Alto, Aga might very well pull it off, even if, say, Cibulkova were to defend her Carlsbad title this week. But Aga's sort of developing a "best laid plans" trend in 2013. She opened her campaign with two titles, but hasn't won one since. At the upset-filled Wimbledon, she was the highest-ranked player remaining in the SF, but tired out after multiple three-setters and failed to return to the final one year after pushing Serena there in '12. In Stanford, the title seemed to be hers, but she walked away empty-handed. Geez, even her stint as a nude model for ESPN Magazine didn't turn out quite the way she'd planned or expected.

Might her run at a U.S. Open Series crown suffer the same fate? Hmmm...

S: Dominika Cibulkova/SVK def. Agnieszka Radwanska/POL 3-6/6-4/6-4
D: Kops-Jones/Spears (USA/USA) d. Goerges/Jurak (GER/CRO

S: Elina Svitolina/UKR def. Shahar Peer/ISR 6-4/6-4
D: Buryachok/Kalashnikova (UKR/GEO) d. Daniilidou/Krunic (GRE/SRB)

Washington Kastles d. Springfield Lasers 25-12

PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Dominika Cibulkova/SVK

...for a few seasons, it looked as if Cibulkova might be indefinitely fated to be one of the highest-ranked players in the world without a tour singles title. But that changed in 2011 when, after three seasons ranked in the Top 31, she finally got her maiden title late in the year in Moscow. Last year, she won in Carlsbad, and title #3 came this weekend in Stanford, once again on hard court, as were her previous crowns. Maybe more important, though, was her ability to put behind that double-bagel loss to A-Rad in Week 2 in Sydney and stage a come-from-behind win in the 3rd set of the final on Sunday. Cibulkova hadn't advanced past the QF (and had only one of those, as well, on the grass in Rosmalen) in any event since that beatdown in Australia, so this win surely takes it's place alongside some of the Slovak's best career victories, including over Sharapova (2009) and Azarenka in Paris (2012), the latter after having failed to end Vika's season-opening winning streak in '12 a few months earlier.
RISERS: Shelby Rogers/USA & Raquel Kops-Jones/Abigail Spears (USA/USA)
...20-year old Rogers was declared the victor in the USTA's U.S. Open main draw wild card competition with her winning run at the $50K challenger in Lexington, Kentucky, where she defeated Julie Coin in the final. She'd earlier reached the semifinals in another of the $50K challengers (Portland, Oregon) that were used as the USTA's "proving grounds." Rogers is developing a nice history of earning her way into slams, having emerged victorious in a similar stretch of challengers that gained her the USTA's MD wild card for Roland Garros this season, as well. In Stanford, Kops-Jones and Spears teamed for their seventh career tour title as a duo, but their first this season. The American pair won four of their previous six crowns last season, all of them coming between Weeks 29-41, including their just-as-big-as-Stanford win in Carlsbad.
SURPRISES: Magda Linette/POL & Irina Buryachok/UKR
...Linette, 21, made her WTA main draw debut just a few months ago in Strasbourg (she reached the 2nd Rd.), and her qualifying run (def. Buryachok, see below) last week in Baku allowed her to make her second MD appearance. It turned out pretty well. Wins over '12 Baku runner-up Julia Cohen, Kristyna Pliskova and Ons Jabeur carried the world #226 into her maiden career semifinal, making her the first non-Radwanska Pole to reach a WTA SF since Marta Domachowska in 2006. Meanwhile, Elina Svitolina wasn't the only Ukrainian crowned champion in Baku. In fact, this was the second straight year in which Buryachok, 27, won the doubles in Azerbaijan. A year ago, she claimed her first career WTA title with Valeria Solovyeva, and this time around she got #2 with Oksana Kalashnikova.
VETERAN: Shahar Peer/ISR
...two weeks ago, it was cause to celebrate when Peer reached her second QF of 2013. Last week in Baku, she reached her first tour final in two years, defeating Chanelle Scheepers, Tadeja Majeric and Magda Linette to get within one win of her first title since 2009 (Tashkent). It didn't happen, as the 26-year old lost to teenager Svitolina. But, either way, Peer seems to finally be back in the land of the WTA living.
COMEBACKS: Vera Dushevina/RUS & Lauren Albanese/USA
...while she was under the radar in comparison to her slam-winning countrywoman, Dushevina arrived on the scene right in the thick of the Russian Revolution in the early 2000's. In 2005, she climbed to a career-high rank of #31 and reached her first of four career tour finals. In 2009, she won her first title in Istanbul in final #4, but she's yet to reach another since. After eight straight year-end Top 100 rankings, she fell to #141 in 2012, and the 26-year old came into Stanford last week ranked #154. As it turned out, she caused a bit of a stir, qualifying and then getting upset wins over Marina Erakovic (a tour champ in Memphis this year) and Madison Keys, the brightest young Bannerette star not named Sloane, en route to the QF. Meanwhile, in a $10K challenger in Austin, Texas, 23-year old Lauren Albanese woke up at least a couple of the echoes of the time when SHE was considered a potential American hope, albeit in what turned out to be a "lost generation" of non-stars. Albanese won her first ITF title back in '06, and climbed into the Top 200 in '09, but has mostly dropped off the radar since. She finished 2012 at #648, and came into last week at #766 with just a 1-7 record in ITF action on the season. Still, she got things together well enough to string a handful of wins together, including one in the semifinals over Beatrice Capra before taking out Ema Burgic in the final to claim her third career circuit title, and first since 2010.
FRESH FACES: Elina Svitolina/UKR & Ons Jabeur/TUN

...Svitolina's rise continues. A week ago, she reached her first career tour International level SF in Bad Gastein. This week, she jumped into her first "regular" tour level final in Baku with wins over Aleksandra Krunic, Nastassja Burnett, Donna Vekic and Alexandra Cadantu, then defeated veteran Shahar Peer in the final to take the title. Late last year, the 18-year old won the WTA 125 challenger crown in Pune (over another far more experienced vet, Kimiko Date-Krumm), so she's not an "official" first-time champion, but this title does make her the second player (after Lara Arrubarrena, following her Cali 125 win earlier this season) in tour history to ever claim ITF, WTA 125 and WTA International level-or-better tour singles titles in her career. Tunisia's Jabeur, who lost to Svitolina in the Roland Garros girls final in 2010 before becoming the first North African junior slam champ in Paris one year later, received a wild card into the Baku draw. The world #204 got her first career tour main draw win in the 1st Round over Daria Gavrilova, then came back one round later and upset #1-seed and defending champ Bojana Jovanovski to reach the QF.
DOWN: Yanina Wickmayer/BEL & Samantha Stosur/AUS
...sometimes, it's difficult to remember that Wickmayer is a former U.S. Open semifinalist (2009), while Stosur was crowned champion in Flushing Meadows just two years ago. Both lost their opening matches in Stanford last week: Wickmayer to Daniela Hantuchova, and Stosur to Olga Govortsova. While Wickmayer has been passed in the rankings by countrywoman Kirsten Flipkens, Stosur, having fallen out of the Top 10 while still searching for her first SF berth in '13 (Wickmayer has two, and one final), likely has a couple of years before she has to worry about looking up and seeing the likes of an Ashleigh Barty ahead of her on the WTA rankings pages. But the trend is surely heading in that direction.
ITF PLAYER: Nadiya Kichenok/UKR
...the 21-year old Ukrainian won the biggest of her six career ITF singles crowns at the $100K challenger in Astana, Kazakhstan. After wins over Yuliya Beygelzimer, Alexandra Panova and Luksika Kumkhum, Kichenok defeated Maria Joao Koehler in the final. In doubles, Nadiya teamed with twin sister Lyudmyla to win their 16th career ITF title as a duo.
JUNIOR STAR: Barbora Krejcikova/CZE
...the #17-year old Czech Maiden, the #4-ranked junior in the world, captured the European Junior Championships in Switzerland, defeating home favorite Karen Kennel in the final after having ended Belinda Bencic's 39-match junior winning streak in the semis. Krejcikova also took the doubles with fellow Czech Katerina Siniakova, with whom she also won the girls titles at Roland Garros and Wimbledon this year.
WTT MVP: Martina Hingis/SUI

...the Washington Kastles wrapped up a third straight WTT title, and fourth in five seasons, Sunday evening in D.C., sweeping all five sets in the final against the Springfield Lasers in a 25-12 win. Leading the way was recent Hall of Fame inductee Hingis, 32, who last week was named the league's Female MVP for the season. In the final, she had a hand in three of the five winning sets, teaming with Anastasia Rodionova in doubles (def. Vania King/Alisa Kleybanova), wrapping up the title in singles over Kleybanova and then joining Leander Paes in mixed doubles to complete the sweep over Kleybanova and Andy Roddick. Hingis, while stating that she has no plans to return to the tour in singles, comes out of retirement for the second time in her career this week in Carlsbad as she teams with Daniela Hantuchova in doubles.

1. Baku Final - Svitolina d. Peer
Svitolina has notched those WTA 125, ITF and tour-level titles in just a short nine-month span, all since turning 18.
2. Stanford 2nd Rd. - Cirstea d. Vandeweghe
Last year, Coco got into the draw at Palo Alto as a "Lucky Loser" and went all the way to the final. This year, she made it through qualifying and lost in the 2nd Round. It doesn't pay to win, I guess.
3. Baku 1st Rd. - Linette d. Cohen 6-2/6-1
Baku 2nd Rd. - Jabeur d. Jovanovski 6-2/7-5
BoJo defeated Cohen in the Baku final a year ago.
4. Stanford 2nd Rd. - Hampton d. Gibbs
A good showing from NCAA champion Gibbs, playing on what served as her home court as a Stanford Cardinal.
5. DC Q1 - Usue Arconada d. Maria Irigoyen
The 14-year old American, who trains nearby in College Park, Maryland, was given a wild card into the Washington qualifying and got a come-from-behind (she trailed 5-2 in the 1st) win over the #5 Q-seed, making her the youngest player to register a win at a tour event since Madison Keys in 2009 (also at 14). Arconada lost in the final qualifying round to Alexandra Mueller.
HM- $10K Palic Final - Jani d. Spremo
Reka-Luca Jani! Reka-Luca Jani! Reka-Luca Jani! For the sixth time on the ITF circuit this season, more than any other woman in 2013.

1. Stanford Final - Cibulkova d. A.Radwanska
Frustration has been slipping into Aga's game lately, mostly in the late stages of matches she should have won, both in her SF loss at Wimbledon and here. It's been twenty-eight weeks since she won a title. When the stoic exterior begins to crack, what does that say for what's going on inside?
2. $100K Astana 2nd Rd. - Bratchikova d. L.Kichenok 6-3/6-4
$100K Astana Doubles Final - L.Kichenok/N.Kichenok d. Bratchikova/Solovyeva 6-2/6-2
sweet Kichenokian revenge.
3. Baku 1st Rd. - Majeric d. Ka.Pliskova 7-5/6-3
Baku 2nd Rd. - Linette d. Kr.Pliskova 3-6/6-1/6-2
Baku Doubles SF - Buryachok/Kalashnikova d. Pliskova/Pliskova 6-1/6-4
it just wasn't a week that the Pliskovas will highlight in their diaries.
HM- $25K Les Contamines-Montjoie Final - Kr.Kucova d. De Bernardi
The 23-year old grabs her fourth career circuit crown.

**WTA TITLES, age 18 or under - since 2007**
5...Caroline Wozniacki (2008-09)
2...Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (2010-11)
2...Agnieszka Radwanska (2007)
2...ELINA SVITOLINA (2012-13)
2...Agnes Szavay (2008)
1...Timea Babos (2012)
1...Sorana Cirstea (2008)
1...Alize Cornet (2008)
1...Petra Kvitova (2009)

5...Serena Williams vs. Maria Sharapova (SW 2-0 & 3-0)
4...Victoria Azarenka vs. Maria Sharapova (VA 3-1 in '12)
4...Serena Williams vs. Victoria Azarenka (SW 2-0 & tied 1-1)
2...Maria Sharapova vs. Li Na (MS 1-0 & 1-0)

4 - RUS (Kirilenko, Pavlychenkova, Sharapova, Vesnina)
3 - ITA (Errani, Schiavone, Vinci)
2 - CZE (Kvitova, Ka.Pliskova)
2 - FRA (Bartoli & Cornet)
2 - ROU (Niculescu & Halep)
2 - SVK (Cibulkova & Hantuchova)

#228 Catalina Castano/COL (Cali 125) - RU
#198 Paula Ormaechea/ARG (Bogota) - RU
#197 Bethanie Mattek-Sands/USA (Kuala Lumpur) - RU
#195 Paula Ormaechea/ARG (Cali 125) - SF

18 - Russia
15 - Italy
12 - Germany, Romania
2013: 160 total semifinalists from 31 different nations
2012: 34 nations
2011: 31 nations
2010: 32 nations

Wimbledon - Sabine Lisicki, GER [4r-S.Williams, reached final]
Baku - ONS JABEUR, TUN [2r-Jovanovski, reached QF]

Sydney - Katarina Srebotnik, SLO
Kuala Lumpur - Chang Kai-Chen, TPE
Miami - Nadia Petrova, RUS
Charleston - Lucie Safarova, CZE

CARLSBAD, CALIFORNIA USA (Premier $794K/hard court outdoor)
12 Final: Cibulkova d. Bartoli
12 Doubles Final: Kops/Spears d. King/Petrova
13 Top Seeds: Azarenka/A.Radwanska

#1 Azarenka d. Cibulkova
#2 A.Radwanska d. Kuznetsova
#1 Azarenka d. #2 A.Radwanska

...Vika's back. Could Aga's frustration be about to get still deeper?

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Int'l $235K/hard court outdoor)
12 Final: Rybarikova d. Pavlyuchenkova
12 Doubles Final: Aoyama/Chang d. Falconi/Scheepers
13 Top Seeds: Kerber/Stephens

#3 Makarova d. #1 Kerber
#2 Stephens d. #5 Cirstea
#2 Stephens d. #3 Makarova

...Sloane is pretty much the only woman included in the promotion for the dual WTA/ATP events in D.C. this week who is being promoted. One could say that organizers don't expect anyone would recognize the name of anyone else in the draw, or that they might be onto something. While I KNOW the former is the truth, there's also the chance that they could luck out and the latter might turn out to be true, as well. This thing is tailor (though not Taylor, as in Townsend, who might match up with Madison Keys in an interesting 2nd Rounder) made for Stephens to, at the very least, reach her first tour final. I'll go one step further.

What this!?! WTA still out to get Carl???? Like Carl said LAST year -- Carl is NOT bad!!!! Carl is just Carl!!!! Why WTA name tournament so it insults Carl???? Carl no sue last year, and no this time either. Carl will SQUISH!!!!!!

Now, now, Carl. Calm down. I told you LAST year it has absolutely nothing to do with you. And, anyway, you can't go off looking for people to squish when I'm almost ready to pop. When the time comes -- and it will be soon -- you're going to have to escort me out of this cave and to the hospital so that we can welcome in our little bundles of joy and mayhem. Yes, I said bundles, with an "s" -- we're going to be doubling the size of our family! One each!

Psssst, everyone out there. Don't worry, Carl is just trying to play the "role" that he thinks the world expects him to play. He's actually become quite domesticated the last few months. As you can see by his cave drawing of me, he's even taken up art. Did you know that his great great great great great great great great great great great great grandfather was the first caveman to draw cave art that depicted a pterodactyl carrying off a man into the sunset? Isn't that amazing?

Man name was Leander.

Your great, great, great -- oh, forget it -- your grandfather?

No... man carried off. Him great caveman. Booohooohooohooo...

Are you crying, Carl?

Carl no cry, Carla. (sniffle) Carl just have something in eye. Carl going to take walk. (sniffle) Put up Carl picks.

Well, all right. If you say so.


Oh, look at him go. He really has become very sensitive. Poor thing. I think I'm going to have to take care of HIM when this is all over.

cibulkova d. 1 azarenka
3 kvitova d. 2 a.radwanska

3 kvitova d. cibulkova

All for now.


Blogger Will Corby said...

Sorry to add to all the confusion of the WTA 125 tournaments but all the over the WTA website today is stuff saying that Svitolina just won her first WTA title in Baku yesterday.

Mon Jul 29, 12:01:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Todd.Spiker said...

Yeah, I know. And last year when she won in Pune it was saying the same thing, leading to all sorts of confusion around here about whether or not it "counts" as a WTA title.

Of course, now I see that those articles on the WTA site from November refer to Pune as "by far the biggest title of her career", something which I"m 99.9% sure has been edited because I was specifically looking for confirmation on the site back then whether or not they were going to list 125 titles along with regular tour events, and the story from the tour at the time was that Date-Krumm was looking to become the oldest singles champion in tour history in Pune, and a few weeks earlier when Mladenovic won the first 125 in Taipei she was credited as having won her first tour singles title. Add to that, since last year, both Mladenovic and Svitolina's site bios have listed them as having won "1 WTA singles title" -- Svitolina's now lists her as having won "2" -- and it's clear that someone really should have figured out how to categorize the 125 events as far as career stats when they started the series last season.

I will say, though, that the articles on the tour site now about Svitolina refer to her having won her first "WTA title," which IS technically different from a "WTA 125" one.

As it is, I'll continue to list 125's as "tour titles" as long as they're listed that way on the players' bio stat page, but when a player also has a "first" on the "regular" tour I will include notes -- especially in lists -- concerning that fact. I've already made notes that involved "125" in past lists, but Svitolina is, of course, the first case where a player has technically had TWO "firsts."

You know, all they ever had to do was include an extra line in the WTA bio stats that lists "125" titles separate from "WTA" and "ITF" crowns and it wouldn't even be a point of issue to ponder and question. But, then again, for many years they handed out awards from the previous season 1/3 of the way into the next one, so sometimes logic doesn't apply. ;)

Mon Jul 29, 12:40:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Todd.Spiker said...


Elena Vesnina, RUS (age 26, Hobart)
Marina Erakovic, NZL (age 24, Memphis)
Karolina Pliskova, CZE (age 20, Kuala Lumpur)
Monica Niculescu, ROU (age 25, Florianopolis)
Simona Halep, ROU (age 21, Nuremberg)
Yvonne Meusburger, AUT (age 29, Bad Gastein)
Elina Svitolina, UKR (age 18, Baku)*
* - first WTA title, won WTA 125 in '12

Also, upon further inspection, actually Lara Arruabarrena has also won WTA, WTA 125 and ITF titles, and was the first to do so when she won in the Cali 125 earlier this year. Svitolina is the SECOND.

Mon Jul 29, 12:53:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Todd.Spiker said...

Svitolina IS the youngest to win all three titles, though, and she IS the only (so far) with two "first" moments, since Arruabarrena won her WTA title the season before her 125. There, now at least THAT's cleared up. :D

If Mladenovic can win a regular tour crown, she'll be in the same boat as Svitolina. Oh, no.

Mon Jul 29, 01:03:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Will Corby said...

Sounds like the WTA needs to have some interdepartmental communication improvement, or something. Or maybe their news articles are worded to create the most sensation and get the most readers. Player X winning her first career title is sure to get more clicks than Player X Wins Random Tournament in the Middle of Nowhere When the Last Direct Entry Was Ranked Outside the Top 200.

And by the way, you catching any of this break-fest Schiavone/Pennetta match? In the first set tiebreak right now and there has yet to be a hold.

Mon Jul 29, 04:59:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Todd.Spiker said...

Schiavone... still older than Hingis, by the way. And a singles champion in 2013, too.

Mon Jul 29, 06:44:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Diane said...

I just look at it as a WTA--as opposed to ITF--title.

(Present Sloane just got knocked out of DC in the 1st round.)

Mon Jul 29, 08:52:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Todd.Spiker said...

Yeah, until further notice at least, I guess. :)

Just saw that about Stephens... I guess they won't be able to promote the WTA event the rest of the week in the Washington area now, since for the two weeks leading up to it she was apparently the only woman actually playing in it. ;)

Mon Jul 29, 09:39:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Todd.Spiker said...

Ha! Well, unless you count "Kay Nishikori," maybe. Of course, it's Kei and he's an ATP player... but I wonder how many people who heard the recent radio ads on the the city's #1 sports station that included him in the lineup figured he/she was actually a WTA player? I bet there were more than anyone would like to admit.

Mon Jul 29, 09:43:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Diane said...

Maybe "Kay" can get some tips from Novak!

Mon Jul 29, 11:39:00 PM EDT  
Blogger jo shum said...

what happened to kuzzy, anyone?

Mon Jul 29, 11:48:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Eric said...


I think Kuzzy has an abdominal injury. She had it before her match with Serena and it also took her out of Wimbledon.

Tue Jul 30, 02:31:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Eric said...

Would Hingis be considered the Brett Favre of tennis?

Or maybe Davenport...

I suppose Brett Favre could be considered the Jimmy Connors of the NFL.

Tue Jul 30, 02:33:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Todd.Spiker said...

Eric -

Hmmm, but Favre never REALLY "retired" until he actually retired, though. He just liked playing drama queen every summer, with all the TV trucks parked outside his farm. Hingis has now come back from actual retirement twice.

If it didn't sound awful, for obvious (and unintentional) reasons, one might bring Lance Armstrong's name into the conversation, when it comes to Hingis' previous retirement, drug test and off-court break-up history... but that would make it sound like I'm knocking her, which I'm really not trying to do.

Hey, here's a good one: Michael Jordan, like Hingis, was #1 in his sport, then retired. Then came back again, then retired again, just like Hingis. Then he came back again, and played for a team in Washington, just like Hingis.

So, there, Hingis is the Michael Jordan of tennis. That sounds WAY better than the other alternative. :D

Diane -

They took the easy way out -- they're still running the old ads promoting Stephens in the tournament! :D

Tue Jul 30, 02:11:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Penny said...

For a moment there I thought Carl was trying to illustrate that Carla was pregnant.
Is it wrong to feel relieved?

Wed Jul 31, 08:23:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Todd.Spiker said...

Don't be relieved too soon -- Carla is preggers! Due date is just before the U.S. Open. :D

Wed Jul 31, 01:37:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Todd.Spiker said...

Kvitova def. Robson 6-1/6-2... Carlsbad is not Melbourne under Moonlight.

Ivanovic def. Cibulkova 4-6/6-3/6-2... nor is it Stanford, or even Carlsbad, circa 2012, for that matter.

Wed Jul 31, 07:35:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Eric said...


LOL. MJ and MH, one and the same.

Nice touch with the Washington detail. :)

Thu Aug 01, 12:43:00 AM EDT  
Blogger jo shum said...

Ah nice to see. Top 8 seeds going through

Thu Aug 01, 10:20:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Todd.Spiker said...


So far, no event this year has seen all eight seeds reach the QF (closest: 7/8 in Doha, w/ #10 instead of #5 advancing). It's still possible in Carlsbad, though.

Thu Aug 01, 11:26:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Todd.Spiker said...

And #8 CSN loses, so... no.

Thu Aug 01, 05:06:00 PM EDT  
Blogger jo shum said...

7 out of 8 seeds, not bad. CSN was always a risk on hard court.

didn't get to see kvitova play, is she playing much better? the scoreline looked very easy against robson.

Thu Aug 01, 11:54:00 PM EDT  
Blogger jo shum said...

oh sorry, jankovic out, so 6 seeds only.

Thu Aug 01, 11:56:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Todd.Spiker said...

Didn't get to see that one, but apparently Kvitova did serve much better. Of course, that could change.

Two Radwanskas in the final 8! ;)

Fri Aug 02, 02:31:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Todd.Spiker said...

And down goes Kvitova... after being up a set and w/ BP at 5-5 in the 2nd vs. Razzano.

Kvitova saved 3 MP at 5-4 in the 3rd, held two MP of her own in the deciding tie-break and then saw Razzano win on MP #5 to end a 3:38 contest with a 6-7(6)/7-5/7-6(8) victory.

Good Petra. Bad Petra

Fri Aug 02, 06:49:00 PM EDT  
Blogger jo shum said...

sometimes i don't get vika. sure she wants to win every match, but also a lot times she wasn't determined enough to win. can't judge the back injury but i would think it's not serious. the fact that she took the Toronto wild card signaled that she wasn't confident about first tournament back. as soon as she got the final and regain number 2, her play just deteriorated like waterfall. it's not like last year USO where the match was good quality, this is pure shitty play from her. i think she is a bit like the old serena whom never really cared about tournaments outside the slams.

Mon Aug 05, 03:34:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Todd.Spiker said...

Well, she never has been all that great in the past with playing with injuries, even slight ones. Hence, all the mid-tournament withdrawals and in-match retirements in the not that distant past. If the back was bothering her prior to the match, a few seasons ago, she might not have even played the final.

Another week of practice, tactics and mechanics -- the latter of which seemed to totally escape her on serve at times on Sunday -- will probably do her good.

Unlike, say, A-Rad, she doesn't seem to be focusing on racking up U.S. Open Series points rather than being prepared for a good run in NYC, especially after her near-miss in the final last year.

Mon Aug 05, 12:36:00 PM EDT  

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