Friday, June 06, 2014

RG.13- The Day Before the Day


It's championship eve, do you know where your finalists are?



*SHARAPOVA vs. HALEP head-to-head*
2012 Beijing 1st Rd. (hard) - SHARAPOVA 7-5/7-5
2012 Indian Wells 3rd Rd. (hard) - SHARAPOVA 6-3/6-4
2014 Madrid Final (clay) - SHARAPOVA 1-6/6-2/6-3
2014 Roland Garros Final (clay) - ??

To be continued...



=DAY 13 NOTES=
...while there have been eight different women's singles finalists at the last four slams, a fourth straight different major champion will be crowned tomorrow, and if it happens to be Simona Halep the Romanian will become the eight different woman in the last eight years to life the Coupe de Suzanne Lenglen, things couldn't be more opposite on the men's side.

Even while Stan Wawrinka's AO title run shook things up a bit, and the NextGen ATP stars are knocking on the door, the return to the RG final after wins today by Rafa Nadal and Novak Djokovic maintains the hegemony at the top of the men's game by a very select group of three. Or four. Or even two, of late. Some things are now assured, as after Sunday...

Federer/Nadal/Djokovic will have won 33 of 37 slam titles, and 35 of 40. Throw in Murray and it's 35/37, and 37/40. This is the 37th straight slam in which at least one of the Federer/Nadal/Djokovic trio has appeared. While Djokovic is trying to join Federer and Nadal with a Career Grand Slam, Nadal is trying to match the Open era slam record (Borg at Wimbledon 1976-80, and Federer at Wimbledon 2003-07 and the U.S. Open 2004-08) with a five-peat at Roland Garros. His current four-year run is his second in Paris, as the Spaniard won four straight before his only career loss at RG to Robin Soderling in 2009. The Nadal/Djokovic match-up is already atop the all-time ATP list, as this will be their 42nd meeting. It'll be their 22nd match-up in a final, another record (two more than #2 Federer/Nadal), and their seventh grand slam final clash puts the combination just one behind the all-time record of eight held by... you guessed it, Federer/Nadal once again.

...speaking of holding form, the women's doubles final will pit top-ranked Hsieh Su-Wei & Peng Shuai, looking for their second slam crown, against #2-seeded Sara Errani & Roberta Vinci, the '12 RG champs who are seeking their fifth major title, all having come since 2012. The reigning AO champs, the Italians could get half-way to a true Grand Slam for '14 with the win, making them the only people in any of the women's or men's competitions with such an opportunity at the half-way point of the slam season. The only major crown they've yet to win is Wimbledon.



...#1-seeded Ivana Jorovic defeated #10 Francoise Abanda of Canada in the junior singles semifinals, giving her a chance this weekend to become the first girl representing Serbia to grab a junior slam. Jelena Jankovic won at Wimbledon 2001, but was still representing Yugoslavia at the time. Jorovic will face #8-seed Darya Kasatkina, who defeated Czech Marketa Vondrousova. Kasatkina will try to become the first Russian to win the RG girls title since Nadia Petrova in 1998, and to give the NextGen Hordettes their second straight slam girls title in 2014, after Elizaveta Kulichkova (pictured below on the right, with Kasatkina on the left) won in Melbourne in January.



The last time two different Russian girls won back-to-back junior slams was 2002, when Vera Dushevina took Wimbledon and Maria Kirilenko followed up by winning the U.S. Open. Over the 2006-07 seasons, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova pulled off the feat all by herself, winning in New York and then at the Australian Open the following season.

When girls, Russian and otherwise, were representing the Soviet Union, Elena Granatourova (RG) and Marina Kroshina (WI) accomplished the feat, as did Natasha Chmyreva (WI/US) in '75, and Natalia (later Natasha) Zvereva won THREE in 1987, sweeping the Roland Garros, Wimbledon and U.S. Open titles. A year later, Zvereva (who was born in Belarus) reached the women's final at Roland Garros, losing to Steffi Graf 6-0/6-0 in maybe the most painful to watch final in grand slam history.

Speaking of Zvereva, who went on to become a Hall of Fame doubles player with Gigi Fernandez, she's been in Paris this week playing the Legends event. Here she is today with Jana Novotna:



...in junior doubles, Vondrousova and CiCi Bellis, the latter of which has managed to salvage a disappointing Roland Garros in singles, reached the final. They'll face off with the all-Swarmette (and all-Iona) pair of Ioana Ducu & Ioana Loredana Rosca.

...meanwhile, the Wheelchair competition has crowned its champions. Top-seeded Yui Kamiji of Japan, the AO runner-up, defeated Aniek van Koot of the Netherlands to claim her first slam singles title. One has to wonder if we might be witnessing the birth of the "new Esther Vergeer," as Kamiji is just 20, and today she also added the RG doubles crown (w/ 21-year old Brit Jordanne Whiley) to the one she won in Melbourne five months ago, also with Whiley.



Shingo Kuneida made it a sweep of the WC singles for Japan, as he won his fifth RG singles title, and sixteenth overall for his career. The 30-year old also won the AO this year.

...and, finally, answering the question, "What do tennis players do between Roland Garros and Wimbledon when they're not playing tennis?," at least if your name is Donna Vekic, you play some cricket with a Serb...



And you head to the television studio to dispense some wisdom...



Not only on tennis, but the upcoming World Cup. Not surprising, Vekic predicts Croatia to defeat host Brazil 2-1 in the opening match next week.




=WOMEN'S SINGLES FINAL=
#7 Maria Sharapova/RUS vs. #4 Simona Halep/ROU

=MEN'S SINGLES FINAL=
#1 Rafael Nadal/ESP vs. #2 Novak Djokovic/SRB

=WOMEN'S DOUBLES FINAL=
#1 Hsieh/Peng (TPE/CHN) vs. #2 Errani/Vinci (ITA/ITA)

=MEN'S DOUBLES FINAL=
#12 Granollers/M.Lopez (ESP/ESP) vs. #11 Benneteau/Roger-Vasselin (FRA/FRA)

=MIXED DOUBLES FINAL=
Groenefeld/Rojer (GER/NED) def. #8 Goerges/Zimonjic (GER/SRB) 4-6/6-2 (10-7)

=GIRLS SINGLES FINAL=
#1 Ivana Jorovic/SRB vs. #8 Darya Kasatkina/RUS

=BOYS SINGLES FINAL=
#7 Jaume Antoni Munar Clar/ESP vs. #4 Andrey Rublev/RUS

=GIRLS DOUBLES FINAL=
#7 CiCi Bellis/Marketa Vondrousova (USA/CZE) Ioana Ducu/Ioana Loredana Rosca (ROU/ROU)

=BOYS DOUBLES FINAL=
Benjamin Bonzi/Quentin Halys (FRA/FRA) vs. Lucas Miedler/Akira Santillan (AUT/AUS)

=WOMEN'S WC SINGLES FINAL=
#1 Yui Kamiji/JPN def. Aniek Van Koot/NED 7-6(7)/6-4

=MEN'S WC SINGLES FINAL=
#1 Shingo Kunieda/JPN def. #2 Stephane Houdet/FRA 6-4/6-1

=WOMEN'S WC DOUBLES FINAL=
#2 Yui Kamiji/Jordanne Whiley (JPN/GBR) def. #1 Jiske Griffioen/Aniek Van Koot (NED/NED) 7-6(3) 3-6 (10-8)

=MEN'S WC DOUBLES FINAL=
#1 Joachim Gerard/Stephane Houdet (BEL/FRA) def. Gustavo Fernandez/Nicolas Peifer (ARG/FRA) 4-6 6-3 (11-9)




*2014 WTA CONSECUTIVE DOUBLES FINALS*
4...ERRANI/VINCI, May-active (2-1)
3...Peng Shuai, February (3-0)

*ROLAND GARROS GIRLS FINALS - since 1998*
1998 Nadia Petrova/RUS def. Jelena Dokic/AUS
1999 Lourdes Dominguez-Lino/ESP def. Stephanie Foretz/FRA
2000 Virginie Razzano/FRA def. Maria-Emilia Salerni/ARG
2001 Kaia Kanepi/EST def. Svetlana Kuznetsova/RUS
2002 Angelique Widjaja/INA def. Ashley Harkleroad/USA
2003 Anna-Lena Groenefeld/GER def. Vera Dushevina/RUS
2004 Sesil Karatantcheva/BUL def. Madalina Gojnea/ROU
2005 Agnes Szavay/HUN def. Raluca Olaru/ROU
2006 Agnieszka Radwanska/POL def. Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova/RUS
2007 Alize Cornet/FRA def. Mariana Duque-Marino/COL
2008 Simona Halep/ROU def. Elena Bogdan/ROU
2009 Kristina Mladenovic/FRA def. Daria Gavrilova/RUS
2010 Elina Svitolina/UKR def. Ons Jabeur/TUN
2011 Ons Jabeur/TUN def. Monica Puig/PUR
2012 Annika Beck/GER def. Anna Schmiedlova/SVK
2013 Belinda Bencic/SUI def. Antonia Lottner/GER
2014 Ivana Jorovic/SRB vs. Darya Kasatkina/RUS

*RG "DOUBLES STAR" WINNERS*
2006 Lisa Raymond & Samantha Stosur, USA/AUS
2007 Katarina Srebotnik, SLO
2008 Anabel Medina-Garrigues & Virginia Ruano Pascual, ESP/ESP
2009 Virginia Ruano Pascual, ESP
2010 Katarina Srebotnik, SLO
2011 Andrea Hlavackova & Lucie Hradecka, CZE/CZE
2012 Sara Errani & Roberta Vinci, ITA/ITA
2013 Ekaterina Makarova & Elena Vesnina, RUS/RUS
2014 Anna-Lena Groenefeld, GER

**ALL-TIME RG MATCH WINS -- MEN**
65...RAFAEL NADAL*
61...Roger Federer*
56...Guillermo Vilas
53...Ivan Lendl
51...Andre Agassi
49...Bjorn Borg
--
NOTE: Djokovic (42)

**SLAM FINALS - ACTIVE MEN**
24...Roger Federer, SUI (17-7)
20...RAFAEL NADAL, ESP (13-6)
13...NOVAK DJOKOVIC, SRB (6-6)
7...Andy Murray, GBR (2-5)
4...Lleyton Hewitt, AUS (2-2)




TOP QUALIFIER: Grace Min/USA
TOP EARLY-ROUND (1r-2r): #4 Simona Halep/ROU
TOP MIDDLE-ROUND (3r-QF): #18 Eugenie Bouchard/CAN
TOP LATE-ROUND (SF-F): xx
TOP QUALIFYING MATCH: Q2: Cagla Buyukakcay/TUR d. Alberta Brianti/ITA 6-3/5-7/10-8
TOP EARLY-RD. MATCH (1r-2r): 2nd Rd: (WC) Taylor Townsend/USA d. #20 Alize Cornet/FRA 6-4/4-6/6-4
TOP MIDDLE-RD. MATCH (3r-QF): 3rd Rd: #27 Svetlana Kuznetsova d. #5 Petra Kvitova 6-7(3)/6-1/9-7
TOP LATE-RD. MATCH (SF-F/Jr.): xx
=============================
FIRST VICTORY: Aga Radwanska/POL (def. Sh.Zhang/CHN)
FIRST SEED OUT: #25 Kaia Kanepi/EST (lost 1st Rd. to Niculescu/ROU)
UPSET QUEENS: The French
REVELATION LADIES: The Spaniards
NATION OF POOR SOULS: The Chinese (0-4 in 1st Rd.)
LAST QUALIFIER STANDING: Kiki Bertens/NED (4th Rd.)
LAST WILD CARD STANDING: Pauline Parmentier/FRA (4th Rd.)
LAST PASTRY STANDING: Pauline Parmentier/FRA (4th Rd.)
MADEMOISELLE OPPORTUNITY: Simona Halep/ROU
IT "Spaniard": Garbine Muguruza/ESP
COMEBACK PLAYER: Andrea Petkovic/GER
CRASH & BURN: #1 Serena Williams/USA (DC, lost 2nd Rd./Muguruza) & #2 Li Na/CHN (lost 1st Rd./Mladenovic - 1st AO champ out early since 2000)
ZOMBIE QUEEN: #27 Svetlana Kuznetsova/RUS (3rd Rd.: Kvitova up 3-1 in 3rd, twice served for match; Kuznetsova wins 9-7)
JOIE DE VIVRE: Kristina Mladenovic/FRA (last player alive in singles, doubles & mixed)
DOUBLES STAR: Anna-Lena Groenefeld/GER
AMG SLAM FUTILITY UPDATE: Medina-Garrigues lost in second round of qualifying to Smitkova/CZE (ends streak of 41 con. appearances in slam main draws)
JUNIOR BREAKOUT: Nominees: D.Kasatkina/RUS, I.Jorovic/SRB




All for Day 13. More tomorrow.

3 Comments:

Blogger Percival Adonis Casiño said...

Hi Todd!

It's been a pleasure reading your blog everyday. :)

I'm curious though as to how the wheelchair event players get their seeding. Do they also play tournaments on a year-long basis? If yes, how distributed are those tournaments?

I just find it very impressive for them to play tennis given the circumstances.

Fri Jun 06, 07:08:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Todd.Spiker said...

Thanks, Percival! ;)

Yeah, they have a sponsored tour -- separated into paraplegic and quadriplegic circuits. Kamiji, for example has played six or seven events this season so far.

Here's the ITF's official site section, as well as some additional information on the tour on Wikipedia. I wish there was more coverage of it, as it'd been nice if Esther Vergeer had gotten more attention when she was dominating for a decade.

Actually, I watched some of the Paralympic Games in Sochi this past winter, and some of the events were very interesting to watch. The downhill skiing, for example, was quite remarkable, not to mention crazy dangerous in icy conditions. Some of the paraplegic skiers were going down on sitting sleds and they were quite literally flying off the course. I seriously thought someone was going to die. At one point, in a span of about five or six skiers going down the hill, about three had to be helicoptered off the mountain for medical treatment after being trown around like rag dolls during crashes. Never quite seen anything like that before.

Fri Jun 06, 11:14:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Percival Adonis Casiño said...

That's an interesting info, thanks! I'm glad the HOF is giving a nod to the wheelchair players (esp. to Vergeer), especially that they definitely play spectacular tennis that not everyone can do.

Also interesting of note is that the past 3 winners of the Madrid Open (2011-2013) would win a slam or two later in the year. Consequently, the past two final match-ups (2012-2013) and also this year would feature the same final slam match-up later the same year.

Coincidence you think, Todd? :)

Sat Jun 07, 03:59:00 AM EDT  

Post a Comment

<< Home