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.
ITF PLAYER: Grace Min/USA
...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
...6-2/2-6/7-6(2). 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
...3-6/7-6(6)/6-1. 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
...6-3/1-6/7-6(5). 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
...1-6/6-1/6-2. Meanwhile, in the camp of the other much-talked-about North American twentysomething.
6. Miami 3rd Rd. - Sharapova d. Safarova
...6-4/6-7(7)/6-2. 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
...6-1/6-3. 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
...5-7/7-5/7-5. They wrapped things up at 2:30 a.m.
9. Miami 3rd Rd. - Li d. Keys
...7-6/6-3. 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
...6-4/6-3. On the bright side, it gives her more time to celebrate Indian Wells?
HM- Miami Doubles 1st Rd. - King/J.Zheng d. Huber/Raymond
...7-6(3)/7-6(3). 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
...7-6(7)/6-2. 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
...7-6(4)/4-6/6-4. 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
...6-4/4-6/6-4. 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
...6-3/6-4. One older sister shows another older sister how it's done.
5. Miami 1st Rd. - Petrova d. Urszula Radwanska
...7-5/1-6/6-4. 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
...6-3/6-7/10-8. Two Chan sisters weren't better than a Zimbabwe-India two-fer.
**RECENT MIAMI SINGLES FINALS**
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
**MOST MIAMI SINGLES TITLES**
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)
**RECENT MIAMI DOUBLES CHAMPIONS**
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
**PLAYERS WHO HAVE BOTH IW/MIA SINGLES**
Serena Williams *
[active, won IW but not Miami]
Ana Ivanovic *
Maria Sharapova *
Caroline Wozniacki *
* - still alive in 4th Rd.
**2014 ITF TITLES - NORTH AMERICANS**
1...Francoise Abanda, CAN
1...Grace Min, USA
1...Katerina Stewart, USA
All for now.