Wednesday, September 04, 2013

US 10.5 - It Can't Be the Dress


Well, practice supposedly makes perfect. And while Vika Azarenka still has a bit of practicing to do if she has plans on having a chance to win this U.S. Open, she was at the very least a wide step CLOSER to "perfect" on Night 10 than she was on Day 9.

Of course, she still has to contend with this:



But, really, one potential (or very real) disaster -- fashion or otherwise -- at a time, please.

Opening up the night session on Ashe under windy conditions, both Azarenka and quarterfinal opponent Daniela Hantuchova took a bit of time to adjust. The player staring into the wind was broken at love in the first two games of the match, and lost the first ten points. But when Azarenka pulled off the third straight break to start the night, taking a 2-1 lead, the closeness of the two on the scoreboard had come a end. Vika pulled out her "French Touch" drop shot at 40/40 to reach game point on her own serve in Game #4, then held to take a 3-1 lead. Converting her third of three break point attempts in the set, she went up 5-2 and ran off ten straight points. After getting to a Hantuchova drop shot and putting it away for a winner, Azarenka took the set with a hold for 6-2, winning eleven of the final twelve points.

In the 2nd, after a brief blip that saw Hantuchova take a 2-0 lead, Azarenka quickly righted things and broke the Slovak in her final four service games, the last of which coming (as occurred vs. Ana Ivanovic last round) after Vika had failed to serve out the match a game earlier. So, even with her 6-2/6-3 win, Azarenka's search for her peak performance at this Open continues to be an ongoing quest.

Maybe the moment will come sometime late Sunday afternoon?

Of course, as previously noted, the one thing that was most definitely the same about Vika tonight from yesterday was that dress. Although, I will say that it looked SLIGHTLY better at night under the lights than it does during the day. Not as good as it would at night with the lights turned off, of course... but, hey, one can't expect perfection in a slam quarterfinal, right?

That's what finals are for.



=NIGHT 10 NOTES=
...in Women's Doubles, the Williams Sisters finally advanced to the quarterfinals with a victory over Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova & Lucie Safarova. They'll face #1-seeded Italians Sara Errani & Roberta Vinci, the defending U.S. Open champions. Venus & Serena won the title in 1999 and 2009. Of course, their participation in the doubles at this Open is only their third such appearance in the draw in the last twelve years at Flushing Meadows.

...in Mixed, Wimbledon champions Kristina Mladenovic & Daniel Nestor were eliminated by Lucie Hradecka & Max Mirnyi (who has won two past slam Doubles titles w/ Nestor, by the way). The Czech/Belarusian pair will face the slam-less American/Mexican duo of Abigail Spears & Santiago Gonzalez in the final. In contrast, Mirnyi has won a total of six Men's Doubles slams and three Mixed (two w/ Serena, one with Vika, with whom he also won Olympic Gold last summer) over the last fifteen years. Hradecka won the Roland Garros Mixed earlier this year with Frantisek Cermak, and the RG Women's Doubles with Andrea Hlavackova in 2011. Hradecka & Hlavackova are still alive in the Doubles SF, as Hradecka is the only woman still with a shot to sweep both titles.


...LIKE FROM NIGHT 10:

--
Vika's can-we-please-get-this-over-with-because-I-have-something-I-have-to-do pre-match interview with ESPN2's Pam Shriver. Most players -- except for maybe those who've never played on Ashe under the lights before -- have little interest in breaking from their routines and doing those things. But, really, no one makes that fact quite as patently clear as Azarenka, whose low-voiced, paint-by-number answers while she still has her earphones on are as curt as curt can be, without being downright rude.

The best part tonight, though, was the camera shot of her walking away and flipping up her hoody right before she stepped out onto the court.

...LIKE #2 FROM NIGHT 10:

--
Shriver's post-match interview was more "enlightening," as she got Azarenka to say that her pre-match music routine for the Open doesn't include the Beastie Boys, her selection a few weeks ago, but DOES feature the music of Motown. Rightly so, Shriver noted that Redfoo (Stefan Gordy) is the son of Motown Records founder Barry Gordy (and did I detect a hint of blushing on Vika's face when she did?), but Azarenka didn't take the bait and shrugged that one off, instead noting that when Sam Sumyk heard of her new musical selection, he'd happily told her that, "There's hope for you!"

Moments later, Vika was dancing around the court, hitting balls into the stands. Yep, New York City fits her pretty well.

...and, finally, there are no women's singles matches on Day 11, as the men's QF, doubles, and juniors are in play, as well as the first day of wheelchair action. German Sabine Ellerbrock, the RG WC singles champ is the top seed, while Aniek Van Koot of the Netherlands, the reigning Australian Open WC champ, is #2.



*WOMEN'S SINGLES SF*
#1 Serena Williams/USA vs. #5 Li Na/CHN
Flavia Pennetta/ITA vs. #2 Victoria Azarenka/BLR

*MEN'S SINGLES QF*
#1 Novak Djokovic/SRB vs. #21 Mikhail Youzhny/RUS
#3 Andy Murray/GBR vs. #9 Stanislas Wawrinka/SUI
#8 Richard Gasquet/FRA def. #4 David Ferrer/ESP
#2 Rafael Nadal/ESP def. #10 Tommy Robredo/ESP

*WOMEN'S DOUBLES QF*
#1 Errani/Vinci (ITA/ITA) vs. Williams/Williams (USA/USA)
#5 Hlavackova/Hradecka (CZE/CZE) def. #3 Petrova/Srebotnik (RUS/SLO)
#10 Mirza/J.Zheng (IND/CHN) def. #4 Hsieh/Peng (TPE/CHN)
#8 Barty/Dellacqua (AUS/AUS) def. #2 Makarova/Vesnina (RUS/RUS)

*MEN'S DOUBLES SF*
#1 Bryan/Bryan (USA/USA) vs. #4 Paes/Stepanek (IND/CZE)
#10 Dodig/Melo (CRO/BRA) vs. #2 Peya/Soares (AUT/BRA)

*MIXED DOUBLES FINAL*
Spears/S.Gonzalez (USA/MEX) vs. #7 Hlavackova/Mirnyi (CZE/BLR)

*WOMEN'S WC SINGLES QF*
#1 Sabine Ellerbrock/GER vs. Jordanne Whiley/GBR
Lucy Shuker/GBR vs. Marjoelin Buis/NED
Yui Kamiji/JPN vs. Kgothatso Montjane/RSA
Jiske Griffioen/NED vs. #2 Aniek Van Koot/NED




*2013 U.S. OPEN FINAL FOUR*
[by career slam SF]
24...Serena Williams (20-3)
7...Victoria Azarenka (3-3)
5...Li Na (3-1)
1...Flavia Pennetta (0-0)
[by career US Open SF]
8...Serena Williams
2...Victoria Azarenka
1...Li Na
1...Flavia Pennetta
[by their nation's 2013 US Open won/lost]
20-18...United States [S.Williams]
15-5...Italy [Pennetta]
8-4...China [Li]
5-0...Belarus [Azarenka]
[WTA most career slam SF - active]
24...SERENA WILLIAMS (20-3)
19...Venus Williams (14-5)
17...Maria Sharapova (8-9)
7...VICTORIA AZARENKA (3-3)
6...Jelena Jankovic (1-5)
5...Svetlana Kuznetsova (4-1)
5...LI NA (3-1)
[WTA most slam SF since 2010 - active]
7...VICTORIA AZARENKA
7...Maria Sharapova
7...SERENA WILLIAMS
5...LI NA
4...Petra Kvitova
[2013 WTA slam SF - by nation]
3...BLR (Azarenka), USA (S.Williams)
2...CHN (Li), ITA (Pennetta), RUS
1...BEL, FRA, GER, POL
[WTA slam SF since 2010 - by nation]
11...Russia
9...UNITED STATES
7...BELARUS
6...CHINA, ITALY
5...Belgium
4...Czech Republic, Germany
3...Australia, Denmark
2...France, Poland
1...Bulgaria, Serbia
[2013 WTA SF]
11...SERENA WILLIAMS (9-0 +W)
8...VICTORIA AZARENKA (5-1 +L)
7...Maria Sharapova (5-2)
7...Sara Errani (4-3)
7...Agnieszka Radwanska (3-4)
7...LI NA (3-3)
5...Simona Halep (4-1)
5...Jelena Jankovic (2-3)
[2013 WTA SF - by nation]
22...USA (S.Williams)
19...RUS
16...ITA (Pennetta)
14...ROU
13...GER
11...CZE
10...CHN (Li)

*LOWEST-SEEDED WOMEN IN US OPEN SF, since 2000*
Unseeded - 2000 Elena Dementieva, RUS
Unseeded - 2009 Yanina Wickmayer, BEL
Unseeded - 2011 Angelique Kerber, GER
Unseeded - 2013 FLAVIA PENNETTA, ITA
Wild Card - 2009 Kim Clijsters, BEL (W)
#28 - 2011 Serena Williams, USA (RU)
#19 - 2006 Jelena Jankovic,SRB
#12 - 2005 Mary Pierce, FRA (RU)
#12 - 2007 Venus Williams, USA
#10 - 2001 Serena Williams, USA (RU)
#10 - 2002 Amelie Mauresmo, FRA
#10 - 2012 Sara Errani, ITA

**RECENT US OPEN WOMEN'S SEMIFINALISTS**
=2004=
Svetlana Kuznetsova (W), Elena Dementieva (RU), Jennifer Capriati, Lindsay Davenport
=2005=
Kim Clijsters (W), Mary Pierce (RU), Elena Dementieva, Maria Sharapova
=2006=
Maria Sharapova (W), Justine Henin-Hardenne (RU), Jelena Jankovic, Amelie Mauresmo
=2007=
Justine Henin (W), Svetlana Kuznetsova (RU), Anna Chakvetadze, Venus Williams
=2008=
Serena Williams (W), Jelena Jankovic (RU), Elena Dementieva, Dinara Safina
=2009=
Kim Clijsters (W), Caroline Wozniacki (RU), Yanina Wickmayer, Serena Williams
=2010=
Kim Clijsters (W), Vera Zvonareva (RU), Venus Williams, Caroline Wozniacki
=2011=
Samantha Stosur (W), Serena Williams (RU), Angelique Kerber, Caroline Wozniacki
=2012=
Serena Williams (W), Victoria Azarenka (RU), Maria Sharapova, Sara Errani
=2013=
Victoria Azarenka, Li Na, Flavia Pennetta, Serena Williams




TOP QUALIFIER: Michelle Larcher de Brito/POR
Co-TOP EARLY-ROUND (1r-2r): #1 Serena Williams/USA & #2 Victoria Azarenka/BLR
TOP MIDDLE-ROUND (3r-QF): #1 Serena Williams/USA
TOP LATE-ROUND (SF-F): xx
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.): 4th Rd. - #18 Carla Suarez-Navarro/ESP d. #8 Angelique Kerber/GER 4-6/6-4/7-6(3)
TOP LATE-RD. MATCH (SF-F/Jr.): xx
TOP ASHE NIGHT SESSION MATCH: 3rd Rd. - (Q) Camila Giorgi/ITA d. #6 Caroline Wozniacki 4-6/6-4/6-2
=============================
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
REVELATION LADIES: Italy
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: Daniela Hantuchova/SVK - 0-5 in last five slams, 3rd Rd. def. (Q) Glushko/ISR, down set and 5-2 and 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 (4th Rd.)
LAST WILD CARD STANDING: Alison Riske/USA (4th Rd.)
LAST BANNERETTE STANDING: Serena Williams/USA (in SF)
IT GIRL: Vicky Duval/USA
Ms.OPPORTUNITY: Li Na/CHN
COMEBACK PLAYER: Flavia Pennetta/ITA
BROADWAY-BOUND: Camila Giorgi/ITA
LADY OF THE EVENING: Serena Williams/USA
DOUBLES STAR: Nominees: A.Spears/USA, A.Hlavackova/CZE, Barty/Dellacqua (AUS/AUS)
JUNIOR BREAKOUT: xx




All for now. More soon.

2 Comments:

Blogger jo shum said...

I love your headline! I am absolutely going to blame everything on a dress when things go wrong.

Thu Sep 05, 06:42:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Todd.Spiker said...

:D

Thu Sep 05, 02:37:00 PM EDT  

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