Sunday, March 23, 2014

Wk.12- My-ami + Your-ami = Our-ami

The first Sunday in Miami has come and gone, and perceptions have been shaped by what has occurred so far.

Hmmm, but what does the Lisicki say?

Before Miami: Coco Vandeweghe was at her most dangerous as a qualifier in Stanford in 2012
Miami: Coco Vandeweghe is at her most dangerous (again) as a qualifier in Miami in 2014
After Miami: Well, she lost to Serena in the Stanford final, and guess who she plays next in Miami
Before Miami: Genie Bouchard's "Sloaney" efforts since her AO semifinal run were fit for wink-win, nudge-nudge jokes
Miami: Oh, no. There she goes again.
After Miami: Is Bouchard's rest-of-2014 going to be just like Stephens' rest-of-2013 after HER AO semifinal run?
Before Miami: Team Sloane Motto: "Things are looking up"
Miami: Team Sloane Motto: "So Far, So Good... for one match." Hmmm, maybe a few less gifts from Target, and a little more work on targeting your propensity to give up the moment you get a break down to Caroline Wozniacki just because she doesn't commit a slew of errors and you've never taken a set off her?
After Miami: Team Sloane Motto: "Seeing the Past, Present and Future... and wondering if Paul Annacone is getting paid enough to make Sloane see the latter"
Before Miami: Venus Williams might have a shot at a late run in Miami, if her Dubai form maintains, the Sjogren's is controlled/limited and she avoids long three-setters.
Miami: Point-extending Simona Halep's exit made Venus' chances to reach the semis even better, but her three-setter on Sunday with Casey Dellacqua might sap her energy and make her Monday meeting with Dominika Cibulkova an obstacle that can't be overcome.
After Miami: To be continued...
Before Miami: Rising star Garbine Muguruza's post-AO loss to Radwanska and the short-term pattern of two recent come-from-ahead defeats in Pattaya and Florianopolis could be seen, if you squinted, as mere aberrations
Miami: Three times is not a charm, as the Spaniard fumbled away another seemingly-sure win
After Miami: Aga's powers to confound and leave a lasting, detrimental impression on a young opponent know no bounds
Before Miami: It's good that Vika Azarenka pulled out with her foot injury, since it allows her to finally get fully healthy
Miami: It's good that Simona Halep pulled out late with a toe injury, since it allows her to avoid overplaying heading into the clay court season
After Miami: It wasn't good that Sabine Lisicki once again pulled out in the middle of the tournament with the stomach flu. What does the Lisicki say? Well, for one, that "Doin' it Again" isn't a catch phrase that goes well with the German's propensity to exit via injury or illness. Well, so far, at least Petra Kvitova hasn't suffered the same fate in Miami. Speaking of the Czech...
Before Miami: Petra won't be able to last in the Miami heat without her health getting her in the end.
Miami: So far, she's gone two matches without dropping a set, somewhat surprising even herself. She Tweeted: " ...2 wins in straight sets. What is happening? ;) "
After Miami: Well, we'll cross that road when we come to it.
Before Miami: Yay! Martina Hingis is playing doubles with Lisicki.
Miami: Yikes! Martina Hingis is playing doubles with Lisicki.
After Miami: Well, the wild cards got a victory, and are still in the doubles draw even with Lisicki's various issues. The doubles draw has opened up with many of the top teams losing. But whether the full complement of Hingis/Lisicki can make it to the court is questionable.
Before Miami: An Italian rose in Indian Wells, as Flavia Pennetta reigned supreme
Miami: Pennetta went out in the 3rd Round, just like skidding countrywoman Sara Errani. Worse for Italy, their results were better than those of the other Italians: Camila Giorgi (Q1), Karin Knapp (1st Rd.), Francesca Schiavone (1st Rd.) and Roberta Vinci (2nd Rd.) exited even faster.
After Miami: Hey, the clay court season is almost here! Things will turn around again.

RISERS: Coco Vandeweghe/USA & Caroline Garcia/FRA
...once again, Vandeweghe's talent is enticing. In 2012, she rode a qualifying run all the way to the Stanford final, knocking off four Top 100 and two Top 50 players. Back on American hard court in Miami, after not having a tour MD win to her name since last year's U.S. Open, Coco qualified again (def. Alison Van Uytvanck), and has so far run off victories over Marina Erakovic, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and Sam Stosur to reach the Round of 16. Garcia, once again flashing the form that made her a player to watch a few seasons ago, has come into '14 hot off her first Top 100 season (#75) a year ago. In Acapulco, the Pastry upset Genie Bouchard on her way to her first WTA semifinal, and in Miami she knocked off Aleksandra Wozniak and Klara Zakopalova, then in the 3rd Round pushed Serena Williams to three sets -- even avoiding the expected el-foldo after a rain delay came when she was serving at 30/30, down 1-3 in the 3rd. She still lost, but she made a set of it before finally going out 6-4. Garcia has already set a career-high rank of #71 in '14, and came into Miami at #74. A new career-best mark looks about to be bestowed upon her next week.
FRESH FACES: Elina Svitolina/UKR & Ajla Tomljanovic/SRB
...the 19-year old from Ukraine has so far notched Miami wins over Bethanie Mattek-Sands, Genie Bouchard and Barbora Zahlavova-Strycova to reach the Round of 16, where she'll face off with Aga Radwanska. Svitolina reached a career-best #38 in January and came to Florida as the world #42. No matter what happens next, her upward mobility will continue beyond Miami. Tomljanovic, 20, knocked off generational co-stars Kristina Mladenovic and Garbine Muguruza before falling to Varvara Lepchenko in the 3rd Round. The Croat put up a fight against the Bannerette, though, coming back from a break down in the 2nd to win the set, then from a break down (and 5-2) in the 3rd to force a deciding tie-break before finally going out.
...the 19-year old Bannerette won the Innisbrook, Florida $25K clay event for the second time, having also won the title in 2012. The road to Min's fourth career challenger crown went through ITF headline-grabber Jovana Jaksic and reigning Yucatan Cup junior champ Alejandra Cisneros. In the final, Min took out countrywoman Nicole Gibbs, the two-time NCAA singles champ who'd reached the final after struggling to finally put down Louisa Chirico in the semis after having held three match points in the 2nd set, by a 7-5/6-0 score. Of course, Gibbs should be used to losing to Min in notable settings, as she's done so several times in recent seasons. On the way to her 2011 U.S. Open junior title, Min defeated Gibbs in the semis, then also took her out in an early match in December's USTA Australian Open Wild Card Playoff tournament.
JUNIOR STARS: Varvara Flink/RUS & Aliona Bolsova Zadionov/ESP
...17-year old Flink, the current #2-ranked junior behind the still-ranked-but-playing-as-a-pro Belinda Bencic, got a wild card into Miami qualifying and put up a nice win over Misaki Doi, though she failed to get past Kazakh Zarina Diyas to reach the main draw. Meanwhile, 16-year old Spaniard Bolsova Zadionov took the Banana Bowl Grade 1 title in Brazil. The #13 seed, she pulled off upsets over #1-seed Fiona Ferro (FRA) in the 3rd Round, Week 11 Junior Star Fanny Stollar (HUN) in the QF and then #9-seeded Renata Zarazua of Mexico in the final. It's her first Grade 1 title. While Zarazua failed to pick up her first Grade 1 singles crown, she did take the doubles, giving her three straight Grade 1 doubles titles in 2014.
DOWN: Garbine Muguruza/ESP
...since coming back from ankle surgery, Muguruza's season can be broken into two distinct parts -- Before Aga and After Aga. Before the Spaniard met Radwanska in the Australian Open Round of 16, she'd gone 12-1 in '14 and picked up her first title. After Aga vexed and confounded her in a straight sets win that had seemed about to be dominated by the harder-hitting Muguruza in the early moments of the opening set, she's gone 4-4, with three losses coming via collapses in should-have-been winning efforts. In the 1st Round in Pattaya, her first post-Aga match, Muguruza failed to convert two MP vs. Kimiko Date-Krumm and lost in three sets. After rebounding with four wins to reach the Florianopolis final, Garbi led Klara Zakopalova by a set and a double-break in the 2nd, only to lose once more in three. She hasn't notched a win since, losing her overall third straight match this week in Miami in a 2nd Round three-setter against Ajla Tomljanovic after being up a set and 4-2, serving at 5-3 and then leading 5-3 in the 2nd set TB. On the bright side, Muguruza and Carla Suarez-Navarro have ridden their doubles wild card entry to the QF after getting a win over Sara Errani & Roberta Vinci.

[Miami Week 1]
1. Miami 2nd Rd. - Lepchenko d. Jankovic
JJ didn't have -- or give -- as much fun in Miami as she did in Indian Wells. She led Lepchenko 5-1 in the 3rd, and served for the match at 5-2 and 5-4.
2. Miami 2nd Rd. - Tomljanovic d. Muguruza
Not to be outdone, the Spaniard led 6-3/4-2 and served for the match at 5-3. At this rate. Muguruza won't be outdone -- in a bad way -- for a while yet.
3. Miami 2nd Rd. - Kerber d. Peng
Peng didn't have a good week in Miami when it came to singles OR doubles, where she and Hsieh Su-Wei lost before the QF just days after winning in IW. She led Kerber 5-2 in the 3rd, but still found a way to lose despite winning more points than the German in the match. Angie sort of enjoyed the end result.

4. Miami 2nd Rd. - Stephens d. Diyas 7-5/6-3
Miami 3rd Rd. - Wozniacki d. Stephens 6-1/6-0
another Future Sloane preview, as Stephens overcomes Diyas' 4-2 and serving at 5-3 lead in the 1st, saving a set point and breaking the Kazakh in her final three service games of the set. But, unfortunately, another Current Sloane rehash, as Stephens seemed to have lost the match to Wozniacki before the first ball in the match with the Dane had even been struck. As soon as something didn't go her way, she gave up the ghost.
5. Miami 2nd Rd. - Svitolina d. Bouchard
Meanwhile, in the camp of the other much-talked-about North American twentysomething.
6. Miami 3rd Rd. - Sharapova d. Safarova
Sharapova overcome a two-break deficit at 4-1 in the 2nd, but poor play in the clutch brought the set to a tie-break, where Sharapova held two MP. But "New Lucie," as the Czech's coach called her during an on-court coaching session, didn't let her lost lead get her down as it would have "Old Lucie." She pushed the Russian to three and, about an hour after Sharapova's first two MP in the 2:56 match, staved off six more MP at 5-2 in the final set before Sharapova won on her ninth MP of the match when Safarova netted a crosscourt forehand pass attempt.
7. Miami Q1 - Lucic d. Oudin
Oudin makes her return from a muscle-damaging condition in her first match of 2014, though she wasn't out there very long.
8. Miami 3rd Rd. - Vandeweghe d. Stosur
They wrapped things up at 2:30 a.m.
9. Miami 3rd Rd. - Li d. Keys
Keys took Li to three sets in the Sydney QF in 2013, and had her chances here. She served at 5-3 in the 1st and held three set points, but lost the 1st set tie-break. Then Keys had four break points for a double-break 3-0 lead in the 2nd. After failing to get it, she was immediately broken, then double-faulted on BP two games later. The shots and power are there, but Keys still has some work to do. She doesn't turn 20 until next February, though... so could she be on a similar early '15 schedule as that of then-19 year old Stephens and Bouchard, who saw some big dividends Down Under the last two Januarys right before they exited their teen years?
10. Miami 3rd Rd. - Ivanovic d. Pennetta
On the bright side, it gives her more time to celebrate Indian Wells?
HM- Miami Doubles 1st Rd. - King/J.Zheng d. Huber/Raymond
Huber & Raymond play as a duo for the first time since 2012, but the Miami reunion -- where they've both won titles, but never with each other -- lasted just one match. Oh, well... at least there was less of a chance that Liezel would do something that might embarrass Lisa, who was an NCAA singles champ while playing for the University of Florida.

[Miami Week 1]
1. Miami 2nd Rd. - Serena Williams d. Shvedova
As she did against Serena at Wimbledon in 2012, Shvedova had chances. She served at 5-4 in the 1st, and led 6-3 in the tie-break. She then lost both serve points, saw Williams hit back-to-back aces, then lost the set when Serena hit a winner off a Shvedova net cord shot to take the 1st after having faced three set points. At Wimbledon two years ago, Williams went on to defeat Aga in the final. I'm just sayin'.
2. Miami Q2 - Date-Krumm d. Francoise Abanda
The age difference between the 43 and 17-year olds might not hold a full-sized Pironkova with room to spare, but a Radwanska would fit quite comfortably. Abanda, by the way, got to this point after a Q1 win over Anabel Medina-Garrigues, who was only fourteen years the Canadian's senior.
3. Miami 3rd Rd. - Serena Williams d. Garcia
Proof that Serena can win without her serve always being there for her to lean on. But for how many rounds can that be the case?
4. Miami 2nd Rd. - Venus Williams d. Anna Schmiedlova
One older sister shows another older sister how it's done.
5. Miami 1st Rd. - Petrova d. Urszula Radwanska
Ula is still finding her way back. You can see the bread crumbs, though.
HM- Miami Doubles 1st Rd. - Black/Mirza d. Chan Hao-Ching/Chan Yung-Jan
Two Chan sisters weren't better than a Zimbabwe-India two-fer.

2005 Kim Clijsters d. Maria Sharapova
2006 Svetlana Kuznetsova d. Maria Sharapova
2007 Serena Williams d. Justine Henin
2008 Serena Williams d. Jelena Jankovic
2009 Victoria Azarenka d. Serena Williams
2010 Kim Clijsters d. Venus Williams
2011 Victoria Azarenka d. Maria Sharapova
2012 Agnieszka Radwanska d. Maria Sharapova
2013 Serena Williams d. Maria Sharapova

6...Serena Williams (2002-04, 07-08, 13)
5...Steffi Graf (1987-88, 1994-96)
3...Venus Williams (1998-99, 01)
2...Victoria Azarenka (2009, 11)
2...Kim Clijsters (2005, 2010)
2...Martina Hingis (1997, 2000)
2...Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario (1992-93)
2...Monica Seles (1990-91)

2004 Nadia Petrova & Meghann Shaughnessy
2005 Svetlana Kuznetsova & Alicia Molik
2006 Lisa Raymond & Samantha Stosur
2007 Lisa Raymond & Samantha Stosur
2008 Katarina Srebotnik & Ai Sugiyama
2009 Svetlana Kuznetsova & Amelie Mauresmo
2010 Gisela Dulko & Flavia Pennetta
2011 Daniela Hantuchova & Agnieszka Radwanska
2012 Maria Kirilenko & Nadia Petrova
2013 Nadia Petrova & Katarina Srebotnik

Victoria Azarenka
Kim Clijsters
Steffi Graf
Martina Hingis
Martina Navratilova
Monica Seles
Serena Williams *
[active, won IW but not Miami]
Daniela Hantuchova
Ana Ivanovic *
Jelena Jankovic
Flavia Pennetta
Maria Sharapova *
Caroline Wozniacki *
Vera Zvonareva
* - still alive in 4th Rd.

1...Francoise Abanda, CAN
1...Grace Min, USA
1...Katerina Stewart, USA

All for now.


Blogger Leif Mortensen said...

I must say SLoane must have felt quite sore in her behind after this third round match - she didn't win one of her own service games in her 16 06 defeat to the PLAYING Caroline Wozniacki. Isn't Sloane a BIT overrated?

Mon Mar 24, 09:20:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Leif Mortensen said...

BTW the dress Caroline is using is a special developed dress for moist areas which Adidas has developed:

so no fuzz about that :)

Mon Mar 24, 11:24:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Todd.Spiker said...

Oh, she definitely overrated at this point in her career. The potential is there, but unless she does something about that's all it will ever be. And that hot Sloaney mess in that match isn't the way to go about it.

Mon Mar 24, 12:51:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Todd.Spiker said...

Geez... a player won today 3-6/6-0/6-0.

And I bet you could've guessed it was Petra Kvitova within three tries, at most. One of the wrong answers might have been Ana Ivanovic. Naturally, she was the one who lost.

Mon Mar 24, 05:57:00 PM EDT  
Blogger jo shum said...

Miami is turning into an interesting tournament
Petra won relatively easily compared to her other tournaments
Caro won very easily in last 2 matches.
Maria still in and li seems to be better

Mon Mar 24, 10:35:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Todd.Spiker said...

Oh, you could feel just how close Venus Williams was to pulling off something remarkable against Dominika Cibulkova on Monday night, but it just wasn't quite there for her. At times, she flashed her Dubai (and years ago) form, but an extremely slow start on the heels of her three-set win on Sunday over Casey Dellacqua made the 1st set a lost cause. She took the 2nd 7-5, but consistently had to battle from behind in the 3rd as Cibulkova refused to give in, completely reversing her Miami fate of the last two years.

Remember, in 2012 she led Azarenka 6-1/5-2 and lost, then led Serena 6-2/4-1 a year ago but she was taken out yet again.

She flirted with disaster in the 3rd against Venus, too. Twice she went up a double-break only to give back one. Serving at 4-3, she held despite facing BP and having two DF when it seemed as if Williams might have seized control of the night had she been able to get back on serve and the crowd would have suddenly become the third player in the match.

But the Cibulkova of 2014 isn't the same one we saw in 2013, '12 or earlier. She won 6-1/5-7/6-3 and will now face Aga Radwanska, who she's been putting a hurtin' on in recent match-ups.

Oh, and did you see the Order of Play for the Stadium court in Miami on Tuesday? It includes Djokovic, Sharapova, Kvitova, Murray, Federer, Serena and Nadal. That group has only won a combined total of SIXTY slam singles titles. That's all.

Tue Mar 25, 12:01:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Todd.Spiker said...

Hmmm, Kvitova goes up 2-0 on Sharapova, with her 13th and 14th straight games, and leads 4-2. She gets a bad call on a ball bounce as Sharapova breaks for 4-4, but drops the set, being broken at love in the final game, and loses seven straight games as she falls behind 7-5/5-0 before holding to avoid a single serving of a bagel after dishing out two to AnaIvo yesterday.

Sharapova wins 7-5/6-1.

Czechs are notoriously unpredictable but, in her own way, this one isn't at all.

Tue Mar 25, 03:10:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Todd.Spiker said...

What does the Lisicki say now?

Well, that she and Hingis are still alive. Winners today over Cirstea/Pavlyuchenkova. :)

Tue Mar 25, 06:13:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Diane said...

The Lisicki says that Petra is Doin' it Again :(

Tue Mar 25, 09:16:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Todd.Spiker said...

Ha! She needs to give Petra that shirt. Of course, she might already have one.

Tue Mar 25, 11:12:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Todd.Spiker said...

Oh, the double-bagel loss is SO in the past now.

Of course, Aga Radwanska SHOULD have gotten a win over Dominika Cibulkova today. Even while not serving particularly well, she won the first set 6-3. In the first seventeen games, there were fourteen breaks of serve, but Aga came back from 3-1 down in the 2nd to serve at 4-4. Down love/40, she held to take a 5-4 lead.

A game later, on match point, A-Rad took a second serve return and planted a shot on the baseline to win the match. But wait. Cibulkova challenged the call and got a reversal and a new lease on life. She saved two more MP in the game, then erased a 5-2 tie-break deficit to take the breaker 7-5 and knot the match.

Aga was obviously emotionally taken down by the falter, and that combined with her match-long tactic of not taking opportunities to move forward and attempt to take control of and end rallies was not a good situation for her. Cibulkova, meanwhile, continued to show why she's so much mentally stronger than she used to be. She went up 40/love on the Radwanska serve in the 3rd with the Slovak up 4-3, then multiple Aga errors offered up the break. Serving up 5-4, Cibulkova faced break point but held to win the match 3-6/7-6(5)/6-4. She reaches the semis and will climb into the Top 10 for the first time.

Cibulkova will face the winner of Li/Wozniacki, a match which should give us a better gauge on the Dane. After all, she had to go three to take out the more aggressive Monica Puig in 2nd Round, then easily dispatched a defeatist Sloane Stephens next, then did the same to Varavara Lepchenko, whose tennis has been on a swift downturn in recent months. But if Caro can battle with Li and possibly even get a rare Top 5 win, maybe all the coaching chaos won't be so easy to make the butt of jokes. Maybe. :)

Wed Mar 26, 05:45:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Todd.Spiker said...

Wozniacki's dad Piotr was listed as "Victor" when he had his on-court coaching session tonight. No, it's not another "mystery coach" situation.

Here's some measure of explanation.

Wed Mar 26, 08:48:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Eric said...

Ugly tennis from Li Na...she's letting Woz back in...repeatedly.

Is Woz's serve better? Can't tell if it actually is or if Li Na is just playing badly...

Wed Mar 26, 08:56:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Todd.Spiker said...

Li's been winning ugly a lot lately. In the past, she'd just lose rather than win, but still...

Thu Mar 27, 01:50:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Todd.Spiker said...

Another Serena/Sharapova match. Same old story for now nearly a decade.

Sharapova plays all right, and has some chances. She went up an early break at 3-1 in the 1st, and led 4-1. She got within a point of serving for the set, but Williams threw in some big serves and got out of it. Serena then won five straight games to take the set. In the 2nd, Sharapova went up an early break for 2-0, but couldn't back up the break. She had GP for 3-0, but ended up double-faulting on BP. Williams then got a break for 4-3 and didn't look back, winning 6-4/6-3.

She's one win away from her record seventh Miami title.

Thu Mar 27, 03:09:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Todd.Spiker said...

You weren't all hopped up for the blockbuster Bedene/Becker match the other day? What's wrong with you? Interesting story in the NY Times about the inequity of the women's matches covered in Miami as opposed to those of the men. Informative, but, sadly, not surprising.

Fri Mar 28, 06:02:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Diane said...

The commentators on one of the channels--I forget which--made a continuing big deal over how empty the seats were for the ATP match that followed the Serena-Maria match, and what a let-down it was to look at anything after seeing Serena and Maria. I don't know where that came from, but it was really interesting.

And today, of course, the total absence of any ATP semifinal at all. Groin injury and intestinal virus.

Sat Mar 29, 12:32:00 AM EDT  
Blogger colt13 said...

Is Hingis the player of the week? I know that players normally pull out of doubles at a slam(Kirilenko types) when still in singles, but when is the last time someone pulled out of singles(Lisicki) and won a doubles title?

Sun Mar 30, 02:21:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Todd.Spiker said...

Well, I don't think she'll be overall POW, but she'll surely find her way into the weekly awards. :)

Speaking of Kirilenko, she's finally back this week in Charleston.

Sun Mar 30, 03:24:00 PM EDT  

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