Saturday, August 31, 2013

US.6 - Sixteen in the City

The Round of 16 is set... and you know what that means.

NUMBER OF DIFFERENT NATIONS REPRESENTED: eleven. Nations with more than one: United States (3), Italy (3) and Serbia (2).

FIRST-TIME SLAM ROUND OF 16ers: #21 Simona Halep and wild card Alison Riske. Halep has gone 31-3 in her last thirty-four matches, but this is still the first time she's won three in a row at a slam. Of course, the Romanian didn't advance to a QF in her first ten tournaments of the season, then reached the semis in Rome as a qualifier. In her eight tournaments since, not counting this Open, she has won four titles. Riske had a career-best slam 3rd Round result as a wild card at Wimbledon, and two months later she's already made that a thing of the past. As far as U.S. Open 4th Round newbies, there are five -- #15 Sloane Stephens, #24 Ekaterina Makarova, qualifier Camila Giorgi, along with Halep and Riske.

PLAYERS WHO'VE REACHED THE ROUND-of-16 AT ALL FOUR 2013 SLAMS: Serena Williams, Sloane Stephens and Agnieszka Radwanska. Serena and Aga have done so at six straight slams.

LAPPING THE FIELD: Serena Williams' 44th grand slam Round-of-16 is more than twice the career total of the next best number of appearances by any of the remaining women in the draw. Jelena Jankovic and Aga Radwanska are both in their eighteenth slam Round of 16. Williams' thirteen U.S. Open 4th Round results outdistance any of the surviving women by a similar margin -- second-best is Ana Ivanovic, with five.

HOME SWEET HARD COURT?: Of the sixteen remaining women, half of them also reached the Round of 16 at this season's other hard court slam in Melbourne back in January. Although, only six of last year's U.S. Open 4th Rounders have returned one year later.

[by ranking]
#1 - Serena Williams
#2 - Victoria Azarenka
#4 - Agnieszka Radwanska
#6 - Li Na
#9 - Angelique Kerber
#12 - Jelena Jankovic
#13 - Roberta Vinci
#15 - Ana Ivanovic
#16 - Sloane Stephens
#19 - Simona Halep
#20 - Carla Suarez-Navarro
#25 - Ekaterina Makarova
#48 - Daniela Hantuchova
#81 - Alison Riske
#83 - Flavia Pennetta
#136 - Camila Giorgi
[by age]
31...Serena Williams
31...Flavia Pennetta
31...Li Na
30...Daniela Hantuchova
30...Roberta Vinci
28...Jelena Jankovic
25...Ana Ivanovic
25...Angelique Kerber
25...Ekaterina Makarova
24...Victoria Azarenka
24...Carla Suarez-Navarro
24...Agnieszka Radwanska
23...Alison Riske
21...Camila Giorgi
21...Simona Halep
20...Sloane Stephens
[by nation at 2013 slams]
11...United States (Riske,Stephens,S.Williams)
9...Italy (Giorgi,Pennetta,Vinci)
9...Russia (Makarova)
6...Serbia (Ivanovic,Jankovic)
5...Germany (Kerber)
4...Poland (A.Radwanska)
3...Belarus (Azarenka)
3...China (Li)
3...Spain (Suarez-Navarro)
1...Czech Republic
1...Great Britain
1...Puerto Rico
1...Romania (Halep)
1...Slovak Republic (Hantuchova)
[by career slam Round-of-16's]
44...Serena Williams
18...Jelena Jankovic
18...Agnieszka Radwanska
17...Ana Ivanovic
16...Victoria Azarenka
15...Daniela Hantuchova
15...Li Na
10...Flavia Pennetta
7...Angelique Kerber
6...Carla Suarez-Navarro
5...Ekaterina Makarova
5...Sloane Stephens
5...Roberta Vinci
2...Camila Giorgi
1...Simona Halep
1...Alison Riske
[by consecutive slam Round of 16's]
6...Agnieszka Radwanska
6...Serena Williams
4...Sloane Stephens
3...Carla Suarez-Navarro
3...Roberta Vinci
2...Li Na
2...Flavia Pennetta
[by career U.S. Round of 16's]
13...Serena Williams
5...Ana Ivanovic
4...Jelena Jankovic
4...Li Na
4...Flavia Pennetta
4...Agnieszka Radwanska
3...Victoria Azarenka
3...Daniela Hantuchova
3...Angelique Kerber
2...Carla Suarez-Navarro
2...Roberta Vinci
1...Camila Giorgi
1...Simona Halep
1...Ekaterina Makarova
1...Alison Riske
1...Sloane Stephens
[by consecutive U.S. Round of 16's]
13...Serena Williams [missed 2 U.S. Opens in span]
4...Ana Ivanovic
3...Angelique Kerber
2...Victoria Azarenka
2...Flavia Pennetta [missed 1 U.S. Open in span]
2...Agnieszka Radwanska
2...Roberta Vinci
[by preseason "Grand Slam Master List" rankings]
1 - Serena Williams
3 - Victoria Azarenka
5 - Li Na
6 - Agnieszka Radwanska
7 - Angelique Kerber
12 - Ana Ivanovic
25 - Flavia Pennetta
26 - Jelena Jankovic
28 - Ekaterina Makarova
30 - Sloane Stephens
37 - Roberta Vinci
44 - Daniela Hantuchova
46 - Camila Giorgi (see, I had a good feeling about her way back then)
unlisted - Simona Halep
unlisted - Alison Riske
unlisted - Carla Suarez-Navarro (yeah, I know, she SHOULD have been on that list)
[WTA career slam Round of 16's - active]
40...Venus Williams
28...Maria Sharapova
26...Svetlana Kuznetsova
21...Nadia Petrova
18...Francesca Schiavone
16...Vera Zvonareva
15...LI NA
[WTA slam Round of 16's since 2010 - active]
11...Maria Sharapova
9...Petra Kvitova
9...LI NA
9...Caroline Wozniacki
8...Svetlana Kuznetsova
8...Francesca Schiavone
7...Maria Kirilenko
[2013 slam Rd. of 16's - youngest]
19 - Laura Robson (WI)
19 - Monica Puig (WI)
19 - Sloane Stephens (AO)
20 - Sloane Stephens (RG)
20 - Sloane Stephens (WI)
20 - Sloane Stephens (US) *
21 - Camila Giorgi (US) *
21 - Simona Halep (US) *
21 - Bojana Jovanovski (AO)
[2013 slam Rd. of 16's - oldest]
32 - Francesca Schiavone (RG)
31 - Serena Williams (US) *
31 - Serena Williams (WI)
31 - Serena Williams (RG)
31 - Serena Williams (AO)
31 - Flavia Pennetta (US) *
31 - Flavia Pennetta (WI)
31 - Li Na (US) *
31 - Li Na (WI)
30 - Li Na (AO)
30 - Daniela Hantuchova (US) *
30 - Roberta Vinci (US) *
30 - Roberta Vinci (WI)
30 - Roberta Vinci (RG)
[2013 slam Rd. of 16's - unseeded]
AO - Kirsten Flipkens, BEL
AO - Bojana Jovanovski, SRB
AO - Svetlana Kuznetsova, RUS
AO - Elena Vesnina, RUS
RG - Jamie Hampton, USA
RG - Svetlana Kuznetsova, RUS (2)
RG - Bethanie Mattek-Sands, USA
RG - Francesca Schiavone, ITA
WI - Kaia Kanepi, EST
WI - Karin Knapp, ITA
WI - Flavia Pennetta, ITA
WI - Tsvetana Pironkova, BUL
WI - Monica Puig, PUR
WI - Laura Robson, GBR
US - Camila Giorgi, ITA (Q)
US - Daniela Hantuchova, SVK
US - Flavia Pennetta, ITA (2)
US - Alison Riske, USA (WC)
[2013 slam Rd. of 16's - 1st-time GS 4th Rd.'s]
AO - Kirsten Flipkens, BEL
AO - Bojana Jovanovski, SRB
RG - Jamie Hampton, USA
WI - Karin Knapp, ITA
WI - Monica Puig, PUR
US - Simona Halep, ROU
US - Alison Riske, USA
[2013 slam Rd. of 16's - lowest-ranked]
#166 - Flavia Pennetta, ITA (WI)
#136 - Camila Giorgi, ITA (US) *
#104 - Karin Knapp, ITA (WI)
#83 - Flavia Pennetta, ITA (US) *
#81 - Alison Riske, USA (US) *
#75 - Svetlana Kuznetsova, RUS (AO)
#72 - Tsvetana Pironkova, BUL (WI)
#67 - Bethanie Mattek-Sands, USA (RG)
#65 - Monica Puig, PUR (WI)
#56 - Bojana Jovanovski, SRB (AO)
#54 - Jamie Hampton, USA (RG)
#50 - Francesca Schiavone, ITA (RG)


...during the daytime hours on the Saturday of this Labor Day weekend in New York, the women's action was about a few young players having the chance to seize a big moment in their careers. Could they do it? Thrown into the mix was also a few veterans looking to re-live past exploits. Oh, and there was also Vika Azarenka... who was made to sweat, at least a little, on Day 6.

As far as the young players go, no one had an easier time of it than #21 seed Simona Halep. Her win over #14 Maria Kirilenko wasn't unexpected, but her 6-1/6-0 destruction of the Hordette was. Kirilenko had just three winners to Halep's 13 today, and 24 unforced errors to the Romanian's eight. While Halep won 79% of her 1st serve points, the Russian won a paltry 41%. Halep only faced one break point all day, while converting six of the seven she saw on Kirilenko's serve.

Hmmm... is it time to cue up the old Irina Spirlea video yet?

(rubbing hands together and letting loose an evil laugh)

If only American Christina McHale had had such ease of victory. After going up an early break against #13 Ana Ivanovic, she claimed the 1st set 6-4. Soon she was serving for a straight sets win at 5-4 in the 2nd.

And that's when things got rough.

A service game that included a poorly-timed double-fault, quickly followed by an error, led to a break and, well, you can probably guess the rest. While McHale was one of the first Bannerettes to begin putting up good results a couple of seasons ago, she's fallen back since then. Rather badly over the course of 2013, in fact, as she came to the Open on a five-match losing streak and ranked outside the Top 100 after finishing last year at #33. Her 3rd Round result in NYC was a real uptick for her, but the way her Open ended might send her back in the other direction, I'm afraid. While McHale had tenacity during her run of four straight 3rd Rounds at slams starting with the '11 U.S., she's also been hounded by an inability to close out matches. Well, let's call it what it's been, really... she's choked away quite a few matches the last few years.

Most notably, in 2012, she failed to defeat Angelique Kerber in Indian Wells after holding three match points and, in 2011 at Roland Garros, squandered a 5-0 3rd set lead against Sara Errani. Today wasn't THAT bad, but it's still a symptom of a career-long trend.

McHale's ability to rise up the rankings has always been slightly in question, what with her decided lack of big shots. But, really, it's the mental part of the game that has knocked her down the most. After dropping her final two service games in the 2nd set, McHale lost the set to Ivanovic at 7-5. Both held serve in the 3rd until McHale served down 4-5, then everything slipped away. She quickly fell behind, saving one match point. She couldn't do it a second time, as AnaIvo broke to close out a 4-6/7-5/6-4 victory to reach her fourth straight (a surprising stat?) U.S. Open Round of 16.

As it turned out, wild card Alison Riske was the American star of the day, taking out #7 Petra Kvitova 6-3/6-0 to reach her first slam 4th Round, as the Czech was treated by a physio during the match and later complained of flu-like symptoms a day after being stuck in bed with illness (sort of like before last year's Fed Cup final). As this point, though, it's always something with Kvitova, isn't it? If it's not her health that's leading to large errors totals (27 in 15 games today, with seven double-faults in eight service games), there's another culprit.

For Riske, this is her first Top 10 win (she'd gone three sets with defending champ Kvitova last week in New Haven), and her maiden slam Round of 16 comes -- shockingly! -- not at Wimbledon, but at Flushing Meadows. Before this summer, the 23-year old late bloomer had never won a main draw tour match on hard court. She'll now rise into the Top 60, at least, and will face Daniela Hantuchova for a shot to reach the quarterfinals.

Hantuchova, one of those veterans I talked, about saved four match points against qualifier Julia Glushko and won in a 3rd set tie-break. It's her first U.S. Open Round of 16 appearance since 2009. Earlier, Flavia Pennetta continued her comeback with a 7-5/6-1 win over #27 Svetlana Kuznetsova, leaving Serena as the only former women's champ left in the draw. Pennetta, who also advanced to this point in London, has now reached the Round of 16 in four of her last five trips to New York.

Ah, and then there was Azarenka. Against #26 Alize Cornet, Vika was troubled by some of things that she's had to fight against during her nevertheless-successful summer. Namely, issues with her serve and unforced errors. She fell down a break early against the Pastry, and served to stay in the set at 5-6, falling behind 15/40. She held to reach a tie-break, but Cornet quickly took the advantage there, going up 5-1 and winning 7-2. In the opening set, Azarenka was just 1-for-10 in break point chances.

It took a bit of doing for Vika to get out of her own way in the 2nd, too. She had to save a pair of break points in her first two service games before she was finally able to right the ship. After seemingly putting away the set while serving at 5-3, only to see a replay overturn the call on set point and send her back to the service line, a perturbed Vika saw the game go to deuce. A few years ago, it all might have led to a look-out-below situation for the Belarusian. But the tough cookie has grown up a bit since then. Vika held for 6-3, then raced to an early 3rd set lead after opening things with a break of serve. As Cornet's shotmaking began to slide back in the opposite direction, Azarenka won 6-7(2)/6-3/6-2.

For the day, she committed thirty-eight unforced errors, and had six double-faults.

Vika's draw has opened up considerably in Section Four, with the #13-seeded AnaIvo the highest-ranked player remaining, and with #10 Roberta Vinci the highest-seeded other players left in the entire bottom half of the draw after #6 Caroline Wozniacki, showing a bit of her old lack of aggression (until it was too late), was ousted in three sets by little, nifty, athletic Italian qualifier Camila Giorgi in the night session (the world #136 also reached the Round of 16 at Wimbledon in '12).

In other words, Azarenka has some room to work her way into this slam, it would seem. She's looking like she needs it, too, even if her heart and will have been enough to get her through so far. At some point, though, that won't be enough.

Tick-tock, Vika. Tick-tock.

...LIKE FROM DAY 6...or 5, really:

one nice thing about having the U.S. Open on ESPN2 is that the late sign-off has generally led into Keith Olbermann's new 11pm show (there to compete with the one with Andy Roddick on Fox Sports 1 in the same timeslot, by the way), which had its premiere just a few days ago. I might not normally have watched the show, but I caught the opening segment of it a few times this past week. Friday was one of those nights, and I'm glad I did because I got to see Olbermann's expert, epic take down of an essentially moronic, unapologetically heartless column on by (American) football columnist Pete Prisco about the NFL's recent nearly $1 billion dollar settlement with the players union concerning a series of lawsuits dealing with concussions incurred during former players' careers. While many have had issues with some of Olbermann's (mostly political) opinions in the past, it sometimes takes someone like him to shine a harsh light on a supposed professional who more than could stand the criticism he's now receiving for being such an uncaring ass in the face of ex-athletes' very serious health problems brought on by the sport that provides Prisco with employment.

I know this isn't an NFL blog, but I think the whole issue is a more-than-light reminder that while the athletes we watch provide us with entertainment and sometimes seem "replaceable" in the landscape of their chosen sport, it hardly seems too much to ask for those who comment about them to never forget that they are also human beings worthy of at least a modicum of respect and understanding.

Here's Olbermann's report from Friday night. Even if you have no interest in football or the whole issue of concussions, it's a good listen/view just for the brilliant way in which it is put together. At least, in my humble opinion.

...and, finally, I found it interesting how Serena was barely able to veil her far-from-enthusiastic opinion about being the second match up on Friday night, following the Hewitt/del Potro thriller, when she was interviewed on court by Pam Shriver after 1 o'clock in the morning (I loved the reaction of Mike Tirico and Chris Evert when Pammy kept the interview going and going, talking about Serena's fancy nails, though).

Williams and Shvedova didn't begin their match until 11:49 p.m., and finished at 1:05 a.m.. Afterward, as she left the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, Serena noted on Twitter that it was finally leaving... at 2:14 a.m.! It was clear she wasn't happy about it. So far, two women's matches have started at nearly midnight this past week, with both ranking in the top five latest-starting matches in U.S. Open history (see list below), and finishing at around 1 a.m.. And both were quick two-setters, so it could have been MUCH later before things were wrapped up.

That can be tough on any player, be they possibly the greatest of all time or not.

Thing is, flashback to a few years ago, when no women had ever even been given the "top slot" in the Ashe night session as the concluding match of the evening. It was a big deal when a women's match was scheduled there for the first time. While the time crunch, because of the potential of a VERY extended men's five-set match pushing things very late into the night, is a problem and an arguable reason for maybe keeping the men's matches in the "featured" slot, it's actually a GOOD thing that the women are now in the position at this slam to be angry about starting/finishing so late. So maybe complaining about such things should be shelved, you know?

Take one for the WTA team, I say.

#1 Serena Williams/USA vs. #15 Sloane Stephens/USA
#18 Carla Suarez-Navarro/ESP vs. #8 Angelique Kerber/GER
#3 Agnieszka Radwanska/POL vs. #24 Ekaterina Makarova/RUS
#9 Jelena Jankovic/SRB vs. #5 Li Na/CHN
(Q) Camila Giorgi/ITA vs. #10 Roberta Vinci/ITA
#21 Simona Halep/ROU vs. Flavia Pennetta/ITA
(WC) Alison Riske/USA vs. Daniela Hantuchova/SVK
#13 Ana Ivanovic/SRB vs. #2 Victoria Azarenka/BLR

xx vs. xx
xx vs. xx
xx vs. xx
xx vs. xx
#8 Richard Gasquet/FRA vs. #10 Milos Raonic/CAN
#18 Janko Tipsarevic/SRB vs. #4 David Ferrer/ESP
xx vs. #19 Tommy Robredo/ESP
#22 Philipp Kohlschreiber/AUT vs. #2 Rafael Nadal/ESP

**Latest-Starting Scheduled Night Session Match**
12:00am - 1987, Gabriela Sabatini vs. Beverly Bowes
11:52pm - 2013, Sloane Stephens vs. Urszula Radwanska
11:51pm - 2010, Caroline Wozniacki vs. Chelsey Gullickson
11:50pm - 2011, Roger Federer vs. Juan Monaco
11:49pm - 2013, Serena Williams vs. Yaroslava Shvedova

2006 E.Birnerova/CZE, Y.Fedossova/FRA, K.Flipkens/BEL, V.Lepchenko/UZB, A.Radwanska/POL (2nd Rd.)
2007 Alize Cornet/FRA & Ekaterina Makarova/RUS (3rd Rd.)
2008 Anna-Lena Groenefeld/GER (4th Rd.)
2009 Anastasia Rodionova/AUS (3rd Rd.)
2010 Lourdes Dominquez-Lino/ESP & Mandy Minella/LUX (3rd Rd.)
2011 Silvia Soler-Espinosa/ESP (3rd Rd.)
2012 Olga Puchkova/RUS (3rd Rd.)
2013 Camila Giorgi/ITA (in 4th Rd.)
AO: Valeria Savinykh/RUS & Lesia Tsurenko/UKR (3rd Rd.)
RG: Paula Ormaechea/ARG & Dinah Pfizenmaier/GER (3rd Rd.)
WI: Eva Birnerova/CZE, Petra Cetkovska/CZE & Michelle Larcher de Brito/POR (3rd Rd.)
US: Camila Giorgi/ITA (in 4th Rd.)

[Fresh Face]
JAN: Sloane Stephens, USA
FEB: Mona Barthel, GER
MAR: Garbine Muguruza, ESP
APR: Annika Beck, GER
MAY: Laura Robson, GBR
JUN: Jamie Hampton, USA
JUL: Kristina Mladenovic, FRA
AUG: Eugenie Bouchard, CAN
[Junior Star]
JAN: Ana Konjuh, CRO
FEB: Ana Konjuh, CRO
MAR: Katerina Siniakova, CZE
APR: Jelena Ostapenko, LAT
MAY: Belinda Bencic, SUI
JUN: Belinda Bencic, SUI
JUL: Barbora Krejcikova, CZE
AUG: Katerina Siniakova, CZE
[2013 Weekly Fresh Face/Junior Star Award Wins]
6...Belinda Bencic, SUI
6...Eugenie Bouchard, CAN
6...Madison Keys, USA
5...Jamie Hampton, USA
5...Ana Konjuh, CRO
5...Kristina Mladenovic, FRA
5...Sloane Stephens, USA
5...Elina Svitolina, UKR
4...Ashleigh Barty, AUS
4...Louisa Chirico, USA
4...Mayo Hibi, JPN
4...Ons Jabeur, TUN
4...Elise Mertens, BEL
4...Jelena Ostapenko, LAT
4...Laura Robson, GBR
4...Katerina Siniakova, CZE
3...Annika Beck, GER
3...Anhelina Kalinina, UKR
3...Anett Kontaveit, EST
3...Antonia Lottner, GER
3...Garbine Muguruza, ESP
3...Ksenia Pervak, KAZ
2...Mallory Burdette, USA
2...Anna Danilina, KAZ
2...Nicole Gibbs, USA
2...Beatriz Haddad Maia, BRA
2...Barbora Krejcikova, CZE
2...Barbora Krejcikova/Katerina Siniakova, CZE/CZE
2...Michelle Larcher de Brito, POR
2...Monica Puig, PUR
2...Yulia Putintseva, KAZ
2...Magdalena Rybarikova, SVK
2...Anna Schmiedlova, SVK
2...Ajla Tomljanovic, CRO
2...Taylor Townsend, USA
2...Donna Vekic, CRO
2...Wang Qiang, CHN
2...Heather Watson, GBR

TOP QUALIFIER: Michelle Larcher de Brito/POR
Co-TOP EARLY-ROUND (1r-2r): #1 Serena Williams/USA & #2 Victoria Azarenka/BLR
TOP QUALIFYING MATCH: Q3: Chanel Simmonds/RSA d. (WC) Taylor Townsend/USA 2-6/6-2/7-5
TOP EARLY-RD. MATCH (1r-2r): 1st Rd. - (Q) Vicky Duval/USA d. #11 Samantha Stosur/AUS 5-7/6-4/6-4
TOP MIDDLE-RD. MATCH (3r-QF/Doub.): xx
FIRST WINNER: Carla Suarez-Navarro, ESP (def. Davis/USA)
FIRST SEED OUT: #29 Magdalena Rybarikova/SVK (lost to LL Mayr-Achleitner/AUT)
UPSET QUEENS: United States
NATION OF POOR SOULS: Australia [1-4 overall, Stosur out 1st Rd, Rogowska double-bageled, only WC Barty advanced to 2nd Rd.]
CRASH & BURN: #11 Sam Stosur/AUS - '11 champ, lost 1st Rd. to Duval/USA, 17-yr. old qualifier in second career slam match, ranked #296
ZOMBIE QUEEN: Nominees: #15 Stephens/USA def. Minella/LUX in 1st Rd. after being down break at 4-2 in 3rd; #13 Ivanovic/SRB def. McHale/USA in 3rd Rd., McHale served for straight sets win; Hantuchova/SVK def. (Q) Glushko/ISR in 3rd Rd., saved four match points
AMG SLAM FUTILITY UPDATE: lost 1st Rd. to Mladenovic/FRA, once again failing to reach a slam QF in her career (so Anna Smashnova still has a buddy)
LAST QUALIFIER STANDING: Camila Giorgi/ITA (in 4th Rd.)
LAST WILD CARD STANDING: Alison Riske/USA (in 4th Rd.)
LAST BANNERETTE STANDING: In 4th Rd.: Riske, Stephens, S.Williams
IT: Nominees: V.Duval/USA, Stephens/USA, Riske/USA, Halep/ROU, Giorgi/ITA
COMEBACK PLAYER: Nominees: Kleybanova/RUS - first slam win/appearance since AO '11, prior to Hodgkin's diagnosis; Pennetta/ITA, Jankovic/SRB, Ivanovic/SRB, Hantuchova/SVK
BROADWAY-BOUND: Nominees: Stephens/USA, Giorgi/ITA
LADY OF THE EVENING: Nominees: S.Williams/USA, Duval/USA, Stephens/USA, Giorgi/ITA

All for now. More tomorrow.


Blogger Eric said...

what is with all of this isner defending?

"isner disappointed by split crowd"

isner tweet: "miss playing in the south. #godcountry"

sara foster tweet: "Pretty pathetic @JohnIsner wasn't put on ASH once.Williams doubles over Male American #1 singles.Baffled by so many things in this sport."

Where do I begin:
- the reason John Isner isn't on Ashe is because he's barely in the top 20.
- in fact, he has NEVER made it past the fourth round of a slam -- worse than James Blake
- his matches are boring since he cannot return serve or break serve. the supposedly "tense" tiebreaks are not, because his matches always go the same way. No breaks of serve. Quick service games. 5 sets. And the kicker: a loss.

Try winning a few matches. Earn your Ashe spot.

And another thing, besides boring/predictable losses by John Isner, he's mopey/sandbaggey. Who wants to watch that? Yes, you are exerting energy. Yes, it's hot. We, the audience, weren't aware.

And Sara Foster, your husband, who recently stated that technically he's an American citizen but hasn't officially changed the country for which he plays for due to "wanting to avoid negative media backlash"...he also says that Americans can consider that he plays for them too.

Well, perhaps all the heat has gone to his head too...if you want Americans to consider that you play for the US, then make the official change. Maybe the GER by your name is why people don't consider you as an American player? Rocket science is hard.

Cakes. Can't eat it mister.

I don't care that he doesn't play for America. But I don't like false platitudes where people try to endear themselves to the audience with misinformation to get fans. Nay to populism. There's an entrance fee. Pay to play.

You too MaSha. (Unless the Russian mafia is threatening your relatives in Russia. Then it's understandable.)



I totally knew that Petra was going to lose today. That's her modus operandi. 3 sets. A great 2 set match. A loss. C'est la tenis.

Didn't know she was sick. Hope she gets better soon.

Sat Aug 31, 11:04:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Diane said...

Maybe I'm just anxious because it's hurricane season (I've usually evacuated by now), but--are we getting close to needing a Radwanska Threat Level?

Sat Aug 31, 11:48:00 PM EDT  
Blogger jo shum said...

Vika didn't take her chances in the opening game with multiple bps, it came back to haunt her for the rest of the match. I think that was the crunch. In fact I think vika always underestimate other players not named Serena that's why she is always in trouble at first. Actually it is dangerous for her to play unseeded players, it takes her a while to get her engine going.

Petra, no surprise, these days she can lose to anyone.

Wozzy, I thought the night Ashe would pull her through.

Halep, played like a top 5 player with confidence.

Pennetta , she is dangerous.

And last, what a strange day of upsets and near-upsets on day 6. For a second, felt like day 3 of Wimbledon revisited.

Sun Sep 01, 12:47:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Todd.Spiker said...


Well, Blake didn't really earn his numerous night spots, either, and he was several notches down in the American rankings when he got then. Isner IS the top-ranked U.S. man, and had a great hard court season. The match with Monfils probably should have been on Ashe, but Nadal hadn't played there yet. He was given that chance, even if it was in a crappy match-up with Dutra Silva. Understandable, but there was room there for a different decision.

Last year's Isner loss to Kohlschreiber at the Open was in a night match, so one could see it happening again... but Federer hadn't played in a night session yet due to the rain-out earlier in the week. So, he was given that chance. Understandable, even if it was another crappy match-up.

But I get your point. Especially in a five-set format, Isner's matches aren't exactly of the crowd-pleasing variety. Although, I'm sure Nadal/Isner WOULD have been scheduled for an evening on Ashe had it happened. Whoops. So much for that. :)

So, you're right... win more matches and you'll get that shot.


Hmmm, you know, The Rad HAS been curiously silent this summer since all the havoc at Wimbledon, hasn't It? It certainly abandoned Ula on Ashe the other night. And Aga has had a lot of disappointment since losing to Lisicki, as well.

I wonder if that's a good sign for the future of humanity? Maybe Citizen Anna, Vika, Future Sloane, JJ and all the rest are kicking butt and have It trapped in a great big spider hole somewhere?

So far, no warning signs have been picked up while monitoring the chatter in and around NYC, so I don't THINK there's going to be any need at this Open to sound the alarm... of course, considering The Rad WAS "technically" born in NYC a few years ago, things could change.

It's possible that, after SW19, It's only concerned with Aga in New York... and she's possibly got some potentially very big matches coming up. ;)


Interesting theory about Vika. I, too, sometimes have a few more questions about her focus in matches against lower-ranked players. You always know, win or lose, she's going to be ready to go against one of the top women.

Sun Sep 01, 01:13:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Eric said...

Riske is 23.


I just finished reading thru your post. Didn't know you were an Olbermann fan...didn't know he was back on the air (wasn't he fired or censored twice)...and yes, you're right, workplace safety is important.

back to studying... :/

Sun Sep 01, 01:44:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Eric said...

thought you might bring up the ichiro mini-controversy too :)

Sun Sep 01, 01:44:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Todd.Spiker said...

Thanks. I'd said she was 23 in the body of the post, but for some reason had 21 one that one list. Fixed.

Ermm, not sure I'd say I'm necessarily an Olbermann "fan," but he's good at what he does. And I thought that was a good example. Yeah, he tends to not get along with his bosses. ESPN fired him years ago (or maybe it was a mutual decision), then he went the political route on MSNBC & Current TV (Al Gore's short-lived channel, which he sold and is now Al-Jazeera America, by the way). He's always been entertaining, whether one agreed with what he said or not. He's not quite as polarizing when he's commentating on sports, though, and I think it's a better fit. Sort of like how Dennis Miller used to be funny when he went after both sides of the political aisle... but not nearly so much when he picked a side and was no longer an equal opportunity comedian.

Well, what I was getting at was more about the columnist than the concussion story, per se. ;)

Ichiro? The baseball player? Or am I lost in the weeds of the middle of a two-week slam?

Sun Sep 01, 02:57:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Zidane said...

Hmm, Isner vs. Nadal, I don't think that would have been that much of an excitement anyway. I remember in the Rogers Cup final between Nadal and Raonic, all the home media were salivating at the idea that Raonic's extraordinary serve could trouble Nadal. Then Nadal crafted an expert demonstration that you can't win against him with only a serve, far from it.

At least, it would have fallen into the pattern of what the Open's schedule organizers like of their night matches.

With Nadal's current form, I don't see anyone beating him, except maybe a top-form Federer or Berdych. Even Djokovic hasn't shown any kind of form that can beat Nadal right now.

So far, this tournament lacks excitement. It must have been one of the most boring first weeks of a slam in quite a while.

Sun Sep 01, 08:28:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Diane said...

I guess that, after Wimbledon, Zidane, anything would be boring. But havoc could still occur.....!

Olbermann is, without a doubt, the biggest misogynist I have ever seen on television (well, the biggest who isn't a famous "liberal" comedian on HBO), but then, I used to call MSNBC The Misogyny Network, what with Olbermann and Chris Matthews.

Naturally, none of of Olbermann's woman-bashing ever got him into any trouble--it was other things.

Isner is a bit of a mystery. He had such a great summer, I thought he had finally crossed over to the next phase of his career. And maybe he has. Maybe the U.S. Open loss was just one of those things.

Sun Sep 01, 09:32:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Todd.Spiker said...

Isner loss to Nadal in the Cincinnati final was a pretty competitive match, but it was a best-of-3. It might be that Isner played a bit too much this summer. Some bodies and games thrive with loads of match play, while others don't. His body doesn't... yet his almost always leads to the longest matches possible. Not a good combination, especially in a best-of-5 set format tournament.

Yeah, it's hard to see anyone beating Nadal in his current form. But a final w/ Djokovic or Murray would be highly anticipated, especially if one of those didn't have to play four+ hours to get out of a SF against the other.

Sun Sep 01, 02:21:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Eric said...

THis is the best I've ever seen Sloane serve. She must have a live does she generate so much power? I didn't know she could almost serve 120mph. I thought she was around 109.

and yes, ichiro the baseball player

Sun Sep 01, 06:02:00 PM EDT  

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