Sunday, July 06, 2014

At Fortnight's End

At the end of a Wimbledon that was highlighted by the emergence of a new generation of stars, the men's final featured a continuation of what has been "the norm" over the past decade -- another match-up of two men from a small group of elite players who have dominated the sport's major titles for what seems like ages.

Well, if you can call taking 36 of the last 38 slams "dominating" for what seems like "ages." And I think we can.

In the men's final, top-seeded Novak Djokovic faced off with seven-time Wimbledon champion Roger Federer, with both men looking for a bit of redemption on a Sunday afternoon in London. Djokovic, the 2011 champ at SW19, came into today having lost in his last three appearances in slam finals, and in five of six over the last three seasons; while Federer, still looking for career major #18 and trying to end a two-year slam title drought since winning at the AELTC in '12, was seeking to extend his amazing era of heroics into an area of a tennis career where few players in the sport have ever thrived. After all, only five times had men older than the 32-year old Swiss legend managed to lift slam singles trophies in the Open era. Yet, here he was... looking for still more.

Federer, who would become the oldest Wimbledon men's champion in the Open era with a victory (topping the run by a 31-year old Arthur Ashe in 1975), has been written off by some as a continued slam contender more times than one can count over the last few seasons, only to win #17 and briefly return to the top ranking just the year before last. But after an early exit at Roland Garros, the whispers grew louder even as the Swiss legend got an early start on his grass court preparation. As it turned out, he seemed to turn back the clock at the All-England Club over the past two weeks, serving as well as he has in years and easily putting young up-and-comers in their place en route to his record twenty-fifth appearance in a slam final.

Time has been infringing on the property of the 27-year old Serb, as well. Set to soon join Federer as the only members of the "Big 4" who have dominated the men's game over the past decade to become a married man and, in a few months, a father for the first time, Djokovic came to Wimbledon off yet another failed attempt to complete a Career Slam in Paris, being unable to take out Rafa Nadal in the final as the Spaniard claimed career Roland Garros crown #9. After fighting to escape his early-career label of a player who couldn't win the big match, Djokovic's recent slam results were bringing back a slew of bad memories, even if he IS still a player against whom no lead is safe, and no close match isn't capable of being taken over by the six-time slam champ down the stretch. Just ask Grigor Dimitrov, Djokovic's fallen semifinal opponent. Looking to make a '14 slam stand at Wimbledon, even before his loss to Nadal last month, the Serb brought former Wimbledon champ Boris Becker on as his "head coach," seeking to utilize the history of big match prowess sported by the Hall of Fame German at the AELTC (he won three Wimbledon titles) to help him get "over the hump" and return to the top of the men's game.

In just the second slam final match-up ('07 U.S.) between the two, Federer played as well as he has in years at the All-England Club, maybe even better than he did while winning the final over Andy Murray in '12. Still, he had a hard time shaking Djokovic. In the 1st set, which was ultimately decided in a tie-break, Federer saved two set points before converting the first of his own to take the TB 9-7 and grab the lead in the match. After Djokovic took the 2nd set at 6-4, Federer put on a serving display of great mastery in the 3rd, firing in thirteen aces in the set. Still, it wasn't enough, as the Serb went a third straight set without dropping serve in the final and took a 7-4 TB to edge ahead in the match.

In the 4th, Djokovic looked ready to close out his second Wimbledon title, getting a break to go up 4-2 and then serving for the title at 5-3. But Federer broke his serve for the second time in the set, putting away a forehand winner into the open court as Djokovic slipped and fell behind the baseline. A game later, Djokovic held a match point, only to see Federer save it with an ace -- ruled his point via a replay challenge -- and hold, and then break the Serb yet again, on his third break point of the game after having taken a 40/love lead on Djokovic's serve. Suddenly looking the fresher of the two men, Federer was in control, with the Centre Court crowd decidedly on his side, as he closed out a 7-5 set and forced a deciding 5th set.

Djokovic, 2-0 vs. Federer in five-set matches, led 2-1 in the 5th when he called for a trainer to look at the calf he'd injured in game #3. After the break, the Serb seemed to be refreshed, or maybe pain-free, down the stretch. Federer held a BP at 3-3, but Djokovic held. After falling down 15/40, Federer saved three BP in game #8, holding the final one with a masterful half-volley that barely cleared the net, to which Djokovic raced to collect the ball and scoop it back, only to see the Swiss precisely angle a backhand volley that the Serb couldn't get back. Federer held for 4-4, but at 15/15 a game later, he failed to put away a leaping overhead that might have given him the momentum to take control in the closing moments. Instead, Djokovic held as the 35th match-up between the two men became their longest ever, edging past 3:50.

In the tenth game of the set, Djokovic went up 30/love on Federer's serve then reached his second MP when a Federer forehand went long. A netted backhand quickly ended things as the Serb grabbed career slam win #7 with a 6-7(7)/6-4/7-6(4)/5-7/6-4 victory.

Federer isn't going anywhere, as he made crystal clear in his post-match comments. And the game he displayed in London makes it easy to believe he still might be able to make room for a future 18th slam trophy on his mantle, after all. But Djokovic's staying power likely will be longer lasting.

In this era of Roger and Rafa (and, to a lesser degree, Andy Murray), Djokovic will always be a "third wheel" in the minds of many, but he's still managed to put together a career that would rank as one of the all-time best, even with such fierce competition standing guard at the four majors over the last decade. Djokovic has now won as many slam crowns as John McEnroe, and he now stands just one behind Jimmy Connors, Ivan Lendl and Andre Agassi. Just beyond that? The likes of Bjorn Borg and Rod Laver. And, remember, the Serb is still the youngest spoke in the "Big 4" wheel and will likely be the last of the group to still be winning slam titles a few seasons from now. Well, I guess we can't rule out Rafa winning in Paris even as he creeps into his 30's... but Novak would surely be able to swipe ONE RG crown from the Spaniard's grasp at some point, right? Come tomorrow, Djokovic is back in #1 ranking, knocking Nadal off the top perch, and could be coming to New York as the favorite to win there.

The NextGen is barking at the door, but the current owners of the ATP home aren't ready to sell. Not yet.

To be continued in NYC...

=DAY 13 NOTES= the junior singles final on Sunday, played on Court 1 while the men's championship was being contested on Centre Court, 17-year old Latvian Jelena Ostapenko grabbed the girls crown, becoming the first player representing her country to win a junior slam with a come from behind 2-6/6-3/6-0 victory over Slovak Kristina Schmiedlova. Ostapenko hit 40 winners in the match, while 16-year old Schmiedlova had just 17.

So, hey, at least I got one grass court champion pick right this year (and picking Ostapenko to win a slam at the third straight major proved to be the charm, too). Bam! Victory! (Or close enough.)

Also, you've got to hand it to the Latvian, as she's already an expert when it comes to buttering up the AELTC. After the match, she said, “I love everything here because I think it’s one of the best grand slams. The atmosphere here is really nice, the people are really nice, also the grass courts. That everyone is playing in white clothes. I think it looks really nice.”

So, she had a nice time, I'm surmising.

She even managed to scratch the back of Genie Bouchard on her way out the door. Said Ostapenko of the '12 Wimbledon girls champ and '14 Ladies runner-up, "I think I have to maybe follow her and try to do the same. I will try my best. I think she improved really a lot and she’s one of the best players on the tour.” The Latvian, who sports a career 13-0 record in ITF singles & doubles finals, admitted she hadn’t even considered what sort of outfit she might wear to the Club's Champions Ball.

Shocking, I know. Maybe this focus on winning tennis matches thing will catch on, after all. “Maybe, after winning junior grand slam, I will try to improve my ranking in the WTA and try to, in the end of the year, be maybe top 300, 200 in the WTA," Ostapenko added. Go-go, Jelena-O.

The boys title was won by qualifier Noah Rubin, who defeated fellow American Stefan Kozlov with a bagel 3rd set in the the first all-American final at SW19 since 1977. The last U.S. player to win the boys title was Donald Young in 2007. Kozlov got the bad end of the boys doubles final, too, losing with Russian Andrey Rublev to Brazilians Orlando Luz & Marcelo Zormann in an 8-6 3rd set.

Tami Grende (INA) and Qui Yu Ye (CHN) won the girls doubles, defeating Maria Bouzhova & Dalma Galfi (CZE/HUN) in straights. They're the first all-Asian duo to win the Wimbledon juniors, and just the second pair of girls to do so at any slam, joining Chan Yung-Jan & Sun Sheng-nan (TPE/CHN) at the Australian Open in 2004. the Wheelchair Doubles final, 20-year old Yui Kamiji & 22-year old Brit Jordanne Whiley won their third slam doubles title of 2014, surging back (after a head-clearing bathroom break following the 1st set) to win a 2-6/6-2/7-5 match over the duo of Jiske Griffioen & Aniek Van Koot, matching their victory over the same pair last month in the RG final (as well as an AO final win over Griffioen, who was paired with another player while Van Koot was out injured). The Dutch women won a single season Grand Slam last season, taking all four major titles, an accomplishment that Kamiji & Whiley will attempt to match at the U.S. Open later this summer.

I said after Roland Garros that if Kamiji picked up the doubles title here, giving her titles in four of the five WC slam competitions held this season, that I'd give her the "It [New WC Star]" honor for Wimbledon. And so it is. Of course, this sort of leaves out Whiley, so I suppose I'll make the promise now that if the duo complete a 2014 Grand Slam in New York then they'll both be awarded the "Doubles Star" award for the Open. the Mixed final, Samanatha Stosur and Nenad Zimonjic defeated Chan Hao-Ching and Max Mirnyi 6-4/6-2. It's Stosur's third career Mixed win, while the Wimbledon crown captures the previously missing piece of Serbia's Zimonjic's Career Mixed Slam. Week 27 honors, "ITF Player of the Week" goes to Swarmette Irina-Camelia Begu, who defeated Kaia Kanepi on the red clay of the $100K Contrexeville, France challenger final, winning 6-3/6-4. The 23-year old, who grabbed her third ITF crown of '14, got additional victories over Melanie Oudin, Anna Tatishvili, Mathilde Johansson and Sofia Arvidsson.

Elsewhere around the ITF circuit, another Romanian, Andreea Mitu, defeated 17-year old Fiona Ferro in the Pastry's first career pro final, winning 4-6/6-2/6-1 in the $25K in Denain, France; and Czech Barbora Krejcikova, 18, defeated Greece's Maria Sakkari in the $25K event in Torun, Poland.

**Through Week 27, with post-RG POY ranking in parenthesis**
1. Maria Sharapova, RUS (1)
...not the best Wimbledon result, but the most consistent and complete season of the 2014 slam winners. Well, unless maybe you count...
2. Sara Errani & Roberta Vinci, ITA/ITA (7)

...the Italians have won two slams, completing a Career Doubles Slam at SW19, and lead the tour in total titles. The last "Ms.Backspin" honor shared by a doubles team came in 2008 when Cara Black & Liezel were co-POY. A win at the Open for these two and they might just be the leaders on this list coming out of NYC.
3. Hsieh Su-Wei & Peng Shuai (2)
...the defending Wimbledon champs were succeeded by Errani/Vinci, the only other duo competing with them for Doubles Team of the Year honors for a second straight year. As of now, these two friends have slipped behind the competition at 2014's mid-way point.
4. Li Na, CHN (3)
...the AO champ drops yet another spot on this list, and could slip even more at the end of the summer if the Rodriguez-less Li ship starts to list.
5. Simona Halep, ROU (5)
...holding steady, with the chance to climb higher if she can just regain the knack of picking up titles. With Serena's issues, the Swarmette still has a shot to lead the tour in titles if she can stop her one good week, one bad week pattern and string together a double-digit, multiple title win streak like she did in '13. Next stop: Bucharest.

6. Eugenie Bouchard, CAN (8)
...a continued step in the right direction. If she'd gotten a set off Kvitova in the Wimbledon final, as Halep did vs. Sharapova in Paris, Bouchard might have edged out the Romanian for #5 here heading back to North America.
7. Petra Kvitova, CZE (-) much room for growth, but it says a lot about the lackluster nature of Kvitova's '14 WTA season to only be at #7 even with her second Wimbledon title under her belt. Still, with a Fed Cup final still to come, and if no player can put together a sterling back half, the scenario for a great Kvitova 3Q/4Q push to contend for POY honors -- just like in '11 -- isn't out of the question.
8. Ana Ivanovic, SRB (10)
...her Birmingham title edged her up this list, but a mediocre Wimbledon (3rd Rd.) again serves as a weight tied to AnaIvo's ankle.
9. Czech & German Fed Cup team (6) be determined, in what will be a star-stubbed final that could feature Kvitova, Safarova, Petkovic, Kerber, Lisicki, Koukalova and Zahlavova-Strycova.
10. Serena Williams, USA (4)
...she still leads the tour with three titles, but, you know, Serena is judged by what happens in the slams. And that hasn't been good at all.

11. Andrea Petkovic, GER (9)
...just staying healthy all season and getting to play in the FC final has to be the goal. But she can still do some additional damage in singles, too.
12. Dominika Cibulkova, SVK (11)
...a decent Wimbledon run might have kept the AO runner-up from slipping off this list after such a quick start.
13. Flavia Pennetta, ITA (12)
...Indian Wells is getting smaller and smaller in the rear view mirror.
14. Alize Cornet, FRA (13)
...a second '14 win over Serena keeps her at the top of the "Most Improved Player" list.
15. Angelique Kerber, GER (-) some point, she's got to WIN SOMETHING (but her "upset" of Sharapova DOES finally get the three-time '14 singles finalist on this list). At least the Fed Cup final is on the horizon.
HM- Garbine Muguruza/ESP (14), Klara Koukalova/CZE (14), Yui Kamiji & Jordanne Whiley/JPN-GBR (15)
...the grass season didn't work out as well for the Spaniard, but the hard court season provides her with the opportunity to shine again. Koukalova hasn't had the same '14 success she had as "Zakopalova," but she added a grass court SF at Rosmalen the week before Wimbledon. The Wheelchair stars will go for a calendar year Grand Slam at the Open later this summer.


...and, finally...

BUCHAREST, ROMANIA (Int'l $250K/red clay outdoor)
13 Final: new event
13 Doubles Final: new event
14 Top Seeds: Halep/Vinci

#1 Halep d. #3 Koukalova
#6 A.Schmiedlova d. Begu
#1 Halep d. #6 A.Schmiedlova

...going against Halep's usual good result/bad result pattern but, even with her injured ankle from Wimbledon, you'd think if she was going to put together a second straight successful tournament it'd be back home in Romania. So, while I'd really like to go for first-timer Schmiedlova, I'll stick with the Hordette on the clay in this new event.

BAD GASTEIN, AUSTRIA (Int'l $250K/red clay outdoor)
13 Final: Meusburger d. Hlavackova
13 Doubles Final: Klemenschits/Klepac d. Barrois/Daniilidou
14 Top Seeds: Pennetta//Errani

#4 Petkovic d. Barthel
#2 Errani d. #3 Suarez-Navarro
#2 Errani d. #4 Petkovic

...unless Errani is too celebrated-out from completing the Career Doubles Slam at Wimbledon, that is. Of some note, a rematch of the Charleston final between Petkovic and Jana Cepelona takes place in the 1st Round. Since the Slovak's recent slide began with that match, maybe seeing Petko on the other side of the next will shake her out of it. Hmmm, unless the sight gives her a bad flashback and makes things even worse!

#6 Petra Kvitova/CZE def. #13 Eugenie Bouchard/CAN 6-3/6-0

#1 Novak Djokovic/SRB def. #4 Roger Federer/SUI 6-7(7)/6-4/7-6(4)/5-7/6-4

#2 Sara Errani/Roberta Vinci (ITA/ITA) def. #14 Timea Babos/Kristina Mladenovic (HUN/FRA) 6-1/6-3

Vacek Pospisil/Jack Sock (CAN/USA) def. #1 Bob Bryan/Mike Bryan (USA/USA) 7-6(5)/6-7(3)/6-4/3-6/7-5

#15 Samantha Stosur/Nenad Zimonjic (AUS/SRB) def. #14 Chan Hao-Ching/Max Mirnyi (TPE/BLR) 6-4/6-2

Jelena Ostapenko/LAT def. #8 Kristina Schmiedlova/SVK 2-6/6-3/6-0

(Q) Noah Rubin/USA def. #6 Stefan Kozlov/USA 6-4/4-6/6-0

Tami Grende/Qiu Yu Ye (INA/CHN) def. Maria Bouzkova/Dalma Galfi (CZE/HUN) 6-2/7-6(5)

#3 Orlando Luz/Marcelo Zormann (BRA/BRA) def. #1 Stefan Kozlov/Andrey Rublev (USA/RUS) 6-4 3-6 8-6

#1 Yui Kamiji/Jordanne Whiley (JPN/GBR) def. #2 Jiske Griffioen/Aniek Van Koot (NED/NED) 2-6/6-2/7-5

#1 Stephane Houdet/Shingo Kunieda (FRA/JPN) def. #2 Maikel Scheffers/Ronald Vink (NED/NED) 5-7/6-0/6-3

2003 Roger Federer, SUI
2004 Roger Federer, SUI
2005 Roger Federer, SUI
2006 Roger Federer, SUI
2007 Roger Federer, SUI
2008 Rafael Nadal, ESP
2009 Roger Federer, SUI
2010 Rafael Nadal, ESP
2011 Novak Djokovic, SRB
2012 Roger Federer, SUI
2013 Andy Murray, GBR
2014 Novak Djokovic, SRB

17...Roger Federer *
14...Rafael Nadal *
14...Pete Sampras
12...Roy Emerson
11...Bjorn Borg
11...Rod Laver
10...Bill Tilden
8...Andre Agassi
8...Jimmy Connors
8...Ivan Lendl
8...Fred Perry
8...Ken Rosewall
8...Max Decugis
7...Henri Cochet
7...Rene Lacoste
7...Bill Larned
7...John McEnroe
7...John Newcombe
7...William Renshaw
7...Richard Sears
7...Mats Wilander
* - active

25...ROGER FEDERER, SUI (17-8)
20...Rafael Nadal, ESP (14-6)
7...Andy Murray, GBR (2-5)
4...Lleyton Hewitt, AUS (2-2)
[Open Era]
25...ROGER FEDERER (17-8)
20...Rafael Nadal (14-6)
19...Ivan Lendl (8-11)
18...Pete Sampras (14-4)
17...Rod Laver (11-6)

1998 Roger Federer, SUI
1999 Jurgen Melzer, AUT
2000 Nicolas Mahut, FRA
2001 Roman Valent, SUI
2002 Todd Reid, AUS
2003 Florin Mergea, ROU
2004 Gael Monfils, FRA
2005 Jeremy Chardy, FRA
2006 Thiemo de Bakker, NED
2007 Donald Young, USA
2008 Grigor Dimitrov, BUL
2009 Andrey Kuznetsov, RUS
2010 Marton Fucsovics, HUN
2011 Luke Saville, AUS
2012 Filip Peliwo, CAN
2013 Gianluigi Quinzi, ITA
2014 Noah Rubin, USA

2006 Andy Ram & Vera Zvonareva, ISR/RUS
2007 Jamie Murray & Jelena Jankovic, GBR/SRB
2008 Bob Bryan & Samantha Stosur, USA/AUS
2009 Mark Knowles & Anna-Lena Groenefeld, BAH/GER
2010 Leander Paes & Cara Black, IND/ZIM
2011 Jurgen Melzer & Iveta Benesova, AUT/CZE
2012 Mike Bryan & Lisa Raymond, USA/USA
2013 Kristina Mladenovic & Daniel Nestor, FRA/CAN
2014 Samantha Stosur & Nenad Zimonjic, AUS/SRB

5...Katarina Srebotnik, SLO
5...Cara Black, ZIM
5...Lisa Raymond, USA
4...Daniela Hantuchova, SVK

2002 Elke Clijsters & Barbora Strycova, BEL/CZE
2003 Alisa Kleybanova & Sania Mirza, RUS/IND
2004 Victoria Azarenka & Olga Govortsova, BLR/BLR
2005 Victoria Azarenka & Agnes Szavay, BLR/HUN
2006 Alisa Kleybanova & Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, RUS/RUS
2007 Anastasia Pavlychenkova & Urszula Radwanska, RUS/POL
2008 Polona Hercog & Jessica Moore, SLO/AUS
2009 Noppawan Lertcheewakarn & Sally Peers, THA/AUS
2010 Timea Babos & Sloane Stephens, HUN/USA
2011 Eugenie Bouchard & Grace Min, CAN/USA
2012 Eugenie Bouchard & Taylor Townsend, CAN/USA
2013 Barbora Krejcikova & Katerina Siniakova, CZE/CZE
2014 Tami Grende & Qui Yu Ye, INA/CHN

2002 Vera Dushevina/RUS def. Maria Sharapova/RUS
2003 Kirsten Flipkens/BEL def. Anna Chakvetadze/RUS
2004 Kateryna Bondarenko/UKR def. Ana Ivanovic/SRB
2005 Agnieszka Radwanska/POL def. Tamira Paszek/AUT
2006 Caroline Wozniacki/DEN def. Magdalena Rybarikova/SVK
2007 Urszula Radwanska/POL def. Madison Brengle/USA
2008 Laura Robson/GBR def. Noppawan Lertcheewakarn/THA
2009 Noppawan Lertcheewakarn/THA def. Kristina Mladenovic/FRA
2010 Kristyna Pliskova/CZE def. Sachie Ishizu/JPN
2011 Ashleigh Barty/AUS def. Irina Khromacheva/RUS
2012 Eugenie Bouchard/CAN def. Elina Svitolina/UKR
2013 Belinda Bencic/SUI def. Taylor Townsend/USA
2014 Jelena Ostapenko/LAT def. Kristina Schmiedlova/SVK

2007 Urszula Radwanska, POL
2008 Laura Robson, GBR
2009 Timea Babos, HUN & Miyabi Inoue, JPN
2010 Kristyna Pliskova, CZE
2011 Ashleigh Barty, AUS
2012 Eugenie Bouchard, CAN
2013 Louisa Chirico, USA
2014 Jelena Ostapenko, LAT

AO: Karolina Pliskova, CZE
RG: Elina Svitolina, UKR
WI: Kristyna Pliskova, CZE
US: Daria Gavrilova, RUS
AO: An-Sophie Mestach, BEL
RG: Ons Jabeur, TUN
WI: Ashleigh Barty, AUS
AO: Grace Min, USA
AO: Taylor Townsend, USA
RG: Annika Beck, GER
WI: Eugenie Bouchard, CAN
US: Samantha Crawford, USA
AO: Ana Konjuh, CRO
RG: Belinda Bencic, SUI
WI: Belinda Bencic, SUI
US: Ana Konjuh, CRO
AO: Elizaveta Kulichkova, RUS
RG: Darya Kasatkina, RUS
WI: Jelena Ostapenko, LAT

2006 Li Na, CHN
2007 Ana Ivanovic, SRB
2008 Agnieszka Radwanska, POL
2009 Sabine Lisicki, GER
2010 Petra Kvitova, CZE
2011 Sabine Lisicki, GER
2012 [Alter Ego] "The Radwanska"
2013 [Upstart] Michelle Larcher de Brito, POR
2014 [New Wheelchair Star] Yui Kamiji, JPN

2004 Lindsay Davenport, USA
2005 Kim Clijsters, BEL *
2006 Ana Ivanovic, SRB
2007 Maria Sharapova, RUS
2008 Dinara Safina, RUS
2009 Elena Dementieva, RUS
2010 Caroline Wozniacki, DEN
2011 Serena Williams, USA
2012 Petra Kvitova, CZE
2013 Serena Williams, USA *
2004 Lleyton Hewitt, AUS
2005 Andy Roddick, USA
2006 Andy Roddick, USA
2007 Roger Federer, SUI *
2008 Rafael Nadal, ESP
2009 Sam Querrey, USA
2010 Andy Murray, GBR
2011 Mardy Fish, USA
2012 Novak Djokovic, SRB
2013 Rafael Nadal, ESP
* - also won U.S. Open title

"Wimbledon By the Numbers," courtesy of Wimbledon Debenture Holders. Click on image for larger version.

TOP QUALIFIER: Michelle Larcher de Brito/POR
TOP EARLY-ROUND (1r-2r): #5 Maria Sharapova/RUS
TOP MIDDLE-ROUND (3r-QF): #6 Petra Kvitova/CZE
TOP LATE-ROUND (SF-F): #6 Petra Kvitova/CZE (2nd Wimbledon title)
TOP QUALIFYING MATCH: Q3: Paula Kania/POL d. Shelby Rogers/USA 7-6(12)/4-6/6-3
TOP EARLY-RD. MATCH (1r-2r): 1st Rd. -Coco Vandeweghe/USA d. #27 Garbine Muguruza/ESP 6-3/3-6/7-5 (on 13th MP, 9th in final game)
TOP MIDDLE-RD. MATCH (3r-QF): 4th Rd. - #9 Angelique Kerber/GER d. #5 Maria Sharapova/RUS 7-6(4)/5-6/6-4
TOP LATE-RD. MATCH (SF-F/Jr.): WC Doubles Final: #1 Yui Kamiji/Jordanne Whiley (JPN/GBR) def. #2 Jiske Griffioen/Aniek Van Koot (NED/NED) 2-6/6-2/7-5
FIRST WINNER: Elena Vesnina/RUS (def. Patricia Mayr-Achleitner/AUT)
FIRST SEED OUT: #17 Samantha Stosur/AUS (lost 1st Rd. to Wickmayer/BEL)
UPSET QUEENS: USA (def. 3 seeds and one ex-semifinalist in 1st Rd.)
NATION OF POOR SOULS: SVK (1-4 in 1st Rd.)
LAST QUALIFIER STANDING: Tereza Smitkova/CZE (4th Rd.)
LAST WILD CARD STANDING: Vera Zvonareva/RUS (3rd Rd.)
LAST BRIT STANDING: Naomi Broady & Heather Watson (2nd Rd.)
IT ("??"): [Wheelchair Star] Yui Kamiji/JPN
Ms.OPPORTUNITY: Lucie Safarova/CZE
COMEBACK: Vika's white shorts
CRASH & BURN: Sloane Stephens/USA (lost 1st Rd. to Kirilenko/RUS, ending 6 con. slam Round of 16 streak)
ZOMBIE QUEENS: A.Pavlyuchenkova/L.Safarova, RUS/CZE (saved 9 MP vs. Black/Mirza in Doubles 2nd Rd.)
DOUBLES STARS: Sara Errani & Roberta Vinci (ITA/ITA)
AMG SLAM FUTILITY UPDATE: DNP - singles (first time Medina-Garrigues didn't play Q/MD singles at a slam since 2003 Wimbledon, ending a 43-tournament appearance streak)

All for now. 2Q BSA's this week.


Blogger jo shum said...

this year's semi finals in both men and women seemed boring. but the finals were spectacular.

for petra, i saw how well she played against venus (i thought venus may win, her desire and tactic), but was very impressed with petra's mental state in her fierce concentration. and the final, i think it was the best i have seen her play. my take is that she was better than 2011. clean strikes and most impressive was her defense. those running backhands / forehands passing shots were a bit out of reality. but they all went in. i wonder how much the mental coach has to do with her win? i am really glad he won so cleanly and powerfully. i also think bouchard is still a bit more hyped (she is good but she is not consistent in other tour tournaments). i also like the fact that all the slam winners till date were previous slam winners. that says a lot about being champions.

for the men, federer was playing more brilliant tennis at times than djokovic, i thought federer really had a chance here esp in wimbledon ( and i secretly think if he managed to beg this, he may call it quit altogether). djokovic's stamina was amazing, i don't think he played his best tennis, but his outlasting skills was incomparable, remind me of his win against nadal in AO last few years.

Sun Jul 06, 10:29:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Todd.Spiker said...

Thing is, before this Wimbledon, the mental coach and whatever Kvitova has apparently done to get herself out of her three-year rut over the past two weeks didn't really look like it had had much impact. The first five months of this season, Fed Cup play aside, were pretty much the same disappointing up-and-down rollercoaster that has been her "norm" the last two seasons.

Maybe it's just Wimbledon that helps, or maybe a corner really HAS been turned and she'll now be more consistent. I guess we'll find out between now and next year's Wimbledon. :\

Sun Jul 06, 10:59:00 PM EDT  
Blogger colt13 said...

So is Wimbledon now the unpredictable slam? Normally it is though that the French is wide open, but Graf in 99 is the last person to win that as their first title of the year. Yet Bartoli and Kvitova won Wimbledon the last 2 years without winning a title beforehand. Which is a legit reason for Kvitova not to have been a favorite coming in.

Bouchard is interesting. Doesn't have the serve of Serena, the backhand of JJ, not as good inside the baseline as Maria, etc. There isn't one thing she does better than anyone, but she's only going to get stronger, and has belief and expectation that she's going to win. She doesn't go as far as a young Hingis or Serena, but her belief will carry her before her game catches up.

Mon Jul 07, 04:41:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Todd.Spiker said...

Truthfully, it probably SHOULD be unpredictable, what with the surface being an anomaly in an event with only a two-week (three starting next year) tune-up season. It just so happens that in recent eras the top players -- Navratilova, Graf, the Williams Sisters -- have been players whose games might have been best suited to grass courts.

Of course, if Serena isn't a consistent threat in the next few seasons, it could become a trend to have "different" winners at SW19.

Then again, of course, maybe Kvitova will become the dominant player at the tournament over the next 5-6 years and win most of the titles.

Mon Jul 07, 10:28:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Eric said...

@colt13 I tend to think that Bouchard takes the ball on the rise better than just about everyone with the exception of Vika. With her crouching position (low center of gravity) and then virtually flinging her whole body into every groundstroke, her shots become very powerful. I sometimes wonder about how her shot is it heavy or just fast..

She's also able to redirect well. I think she's also very conscious of court position. She is always very close to the baseline and moves in immediately for short replies.

@Todd - I agree with you. Petra was very up and down prior to Wimbledon. I really think that the win over Venus allowed her to believe.

What I really want to see is Petra Wimb 2014 final form vs. Serena AO 2007 final form. It's about time that the women had a "Greatest of Match of All Time" where both final contenders are playing at an equal excellent level.

Tue Jul 08, 12:00:00 AM EDT  

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