Tuesday, September 02, 2014

US.9 - A Moment Thirty-Seven Years in the Making

As this Open gets longer in the proverbial tooth, the schedule is starting to thin out. So...

I didn't have to come up with a big lead story today. Hey, after eight days, it's a bigger sigh of relief than you'd think.

One thing I forgot to mention the other day was that the loss by Genie Bouchard in the Round of 16 assured that we'll have eight different finalists at the four majors in 2014, making it the first time since 1977 that no woman was a multiple slam finalist in any given season. Actually, in that season thirty-seven years ago, there were actually ten different finalists in the calendar year since the Australian Open was held in both January and December of '77 as the event was shifted into a new position on the schedule. The 1977 finalists:

1977 AO(J): K.Reid d. D.Fromholtz
1977 RG: Jauvosec d. Mihai
1977 WI: Wade d. Stove
1977 US: Evert d. Turnbull
1977 AO(D): Goolagong d. Gourlay

If neither Serena Williams nor Victoria Azarenka -- the '13 finalists -- reach the final in the top half, it'll be twelve different finalists at the last six slams. That'd be an Open era first if it were to happen, as even that 10/10 run in '77 can't be extended back to late '76 (US: Evert/Goolagong) or into early '78 (though Virginia Ruzici's appearance in the RG final vs. Mima Jausovec made it 11/12 different finalists over that six-slam span), and I failed to find an Open era instance in which the final three slams of one season and the first three of the next coordinated to make it possible. Hopefully, I didn't miss one... but I don't THINK I did. (Crossing fingers.)

2013 WI: Bartoli d. Lisicki
2014 US: S.Williams d. Azarenka
2014 AO: Li d. Cibulkova
2014 RG: Sharapova d. Halep
2014 WI: Kvitova d. Bouchard
2014 US: ??

Needless to say, it also means we'll have four different slam winners this year. There have been four different champions in a season twice in the last seven years: 2011 (Clijsters, Li, Kvitova and Stosur) and 2008 (Sharapova, AnaIvo, Venus and Serena). If anyone other than Serena takes the title the run will reach six different winners at the last six slams. It'd be the longest span without a multiple slam winner since there were seven straight different champs from the 2011 Australian to the 2012 Wimbledon. Before that, there were eight different from Roland Garros '04 to Australia '06.

Maybe it'd been better to have had a worthwhile match to talk about here. Hmmm...

...in the women's quarterfinal that WAS played during the day on Tuesday, well, there isn't much to say. Peng Shuai handled 17-year old Belinda Bencic with ease, winning 6-2/6-1. The 28-year old thus becomes the third Chinese woman to reach a slam semifinal (Li Na & Zheng Jie), and the second in New York, and she does so without having been broken in thirty-seven service games. She hasn't even faced a set point. Today, she only faced two break points.

Neither player had ever been this far in a major before, but the 28-year old veteran was far more stable and less error-prone of the two. Peng committed only seven unforced errors in the entire match.

...in doubles, Ekaterina Makarova & Elena Vesnina took out the Williams Sisters in straight sets, 7-6(5)/6-4 to advance to the semifinals. It's the second time the Russians have defeated Venus & Serena, also having won against them earlier this season in Dubai. Makarova won the Mixed Doubles title in New York in 2012.

In the 2nd set, Serena was treated by trainers, who removed her right shoe and sock to treat her ankle, which was re-taped. Might that mean something for the singles? Hmmm, maybe... but Serena has often had her heavily-taped ankles re-taped during matches for one reason or another. She later double-faulted on the last two points of the match.

Serena could see Makarova again in this tournament in the semifinals, and the Hordette already has one slam win ('12 AO) over the world #1.

In the other doubles quarterfinal completed during the day, Martina Hingis' quest for her first slam title since 2002 continues as she and Flavia Pennetta advanced to the final four teams.

...the Sisters weren't the only #1 seeds to fall on Day 9. First week "It Girl" and junior top seed CiCi Bellis went out in three sets to Hordette Natalia Vikhlyantseva, 7-6(9)/2-6/6-1, ending the Bannerette's crazy week in the city. During the match, Bellis often admonished herself for poor shots, saying, "Where's your game?" and "That is so lame!"

Bellis wasn't the only seed to go out. #2-seed and Wimbledon girls champ Jelena Ostapenko lost to Czech Maria Bouzkova. It wasn't a very happy day for the Arconada family, either. Usue lost her 2nd Round girls match to #16 Olga Fridman, while her brother Jordi fell to #1 boys seed Andrey Rublev.

The Calm before the storm.

...WAITING WITH BATED BREATH FROM DAY 9: #PicaPowerofSuggestion?

...LIFE ON THE TENNIS TOUR DAY 9: Hair Dye Edition.

...LIVIN' ON THE EDGE FROM DAY 9: Team Madison Rebel #1

..."OUCH!!" FROM DAY 9: Sometimes the world is just lined up against a Bannerette.

...NOT HATING IT FROM DAY 9: And that's a big compliment from this corner when it comes to Monfils. And, no, it has nothing to do with Vika. I actually picked Monfils to reach the QF at this Open because he seems to be taking things a bit more seriously in recent weeks. Shockingly -- NOT -- his results have been good and he seems like he could be more of a legitimate contender. Imagine that. Long time coming.

...BLAST FROM THE PAST FROM DAY 9: From the player who reached the U.S. Open semifinals at age 15 in 1991.

...AND A WINNER FROM DAY 9: And after an intense competition, I'm sure.

...WHAT SHE SAID, FROM DAY 9: From the former U.S. Open semifinalist from 1991, and the three-time champion from 2005, '09 and '10.

...and, finally, in the night session that concludes the hottest day of this U.S. Open, Caroline Wozniacki and Sara Errani will face off in what will surely be a more competitive contest than the other women's QF match played today. At least one would hope so.

#1 Serena Williams/USA vs. #11 Flavia Pennetta/ITA
#16 Victoria Azarenka/BLR vs. #17 Ekaterina Makarova/RUS
Peng Shuai/CHN def. Belinda Bencic/SUI
#10 Caroline Wozniacki/DEN vs. #13 Sara Errani/ITA

#1 Novak Djokovic/SRB def. #22 Philipp Kohlschreiber/GER
#8 Andy Murray/GBR def. #9 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga/FRA
#3 Stan Wawrinka/SUI def. #16 Tommy Robredo/ESP
#10 Kei Nishikori/JPN def. #5 Milos Raonic/CAN
#6 Tomas Berdych/CZE vs. Dominic Thiem/AUT
#14 Marin Cilin/CRO vs. #26 Gilles Simon/FRA
#20 Gael Monfils/FRA def. #7 Grigor Dimitrov/BUL
#17 Roberta Bautista-Agut/ESP vs. #2 Roger Federer/SUI

Hingis/Pennetta (SUI/ITA) def. #5 Peschke/Srebotnik (CZE/SLO)
#3 C.Black/Mirza (ZIM/IND) vs. Diyas/Y.Xu (KAZ/CHN)
#4 Makarova/Vesnina (RUS/RUS) def. S.Williams/V.Williams (USA/USA)
#8 Hlavackova/J.Zheng (CZE/CHN) vs. Date-Krumm/Zahlavova-Strycova (JPN/CZE)

#1 B.Bryan/M.Bryan (USA/USA) vs. #7 Marrero/Verdasco (ESP/ESP)
Lipsky/R.Ram (USA/USA) vs. #12 Butorac/Klaasen (USA/RSA)
Berlocq/L.Mayer (ARG/ARG) vs. #4 Dodig/Melo (CRO/BRA)
#11 Granollers-Pujols/M.Lopez (ESP/ESP) vs. #2 Peya/Soares (AUT/BRA)

#1 Mirza/Soares (IND/BRA) vs. YJ.Chan/Hutchins (TPE/GBR)
Spears/S.Gonzalez (USA/MEX) vs. [wc] Townsend/Young (USA/USA)

Natalia Vikhlyantseva/RUS vs. Greetje Minnen/BEL
Katerina Stewart/USA vs. Anna Bondar/HUN
x vs x
x vs. x
x vs. x
x vs x
Raveena Kingsley/USA vs. #11 Anna Kalinskaya/RUS
#16 Olga Fridman/UKR vs. Marie Bouzkova/CZE

#1 Andrey Rublev/RUS vs. #14 Taylor Harry Fritz/USA
#9 Marcelo Zormann/BRA vs. #6 Francis Tiafoe/USA
x vs. x
x vs. x
#7 Duckhee Lee/KOR vs. Henrik Wiersholm/USA
Omar Jasika/AUS vs. #3 Jared Donaldson/USA
x vs. x
x vs. x

Unseeded - 2000 Elena Dementieva, RUS
Unseeded - 2009 Yanina Wickmayer, BEL
Unseeded - 2011 Angelique Kerber, GER
Unseeded - 2013 Flavia Pennetta, ITA
[ Unseeded - Peng Shuai, CHN ??? ]
Wild Card - 2009 Kim Clijsters, BEL (W)
#28 - 2011 Serena Williams, USA (RU)
#19 - 2006 Jelena Jankovic,SRB
[ #17 - Ekaterina Makarova, RUS ??? ]
[ #16 - Victoria Azarenka, BLR ??? ]
[ #13 - Sara Errani, ITA ??? ]
#12 - 2005 Mary Pierce, FRA (RU)
#12 - 2007 Venus Williams, USA
[ #11 - Flavia Pennetta, ITA ??? ]
#10 - 2001 Serena Williams, USA (RU)
#10 - 2002 Amelie Mauresmo, FRA
#10 - 2012 Sara Errani, ITA
[ #10 - Caroline Wozniacki, DEN ??? ]

**Latest Scheduled Night Session Match Conclusion**
2:26am - 1993 2nd Rd. - Mats Wilander d. Mikael Pernfors
2:26am - 2012 4th Rd. - Philipp Kohlschreiber d. John Isner
2:26am - 2014 4th Rd. - Kei Nishikori d. Milos Raonic
2:14am - 2002 4th Rd. - Younes El Aynaoui d. Wayne Ferreira
2:11am - 2008 QF - Rafael Nadal d. Mardy Fish
1:35am - 2010 4th Rd. - Samantha Stosur d. Elena Dementieva

AO: Aniek Van Koot/NED def. Sabine Ellerbrock/GER
RG: Sabine Ellerbrock/GER def. Jiske Griffioen/NED
US: Aniek Van Koot/NED def. Sabine Ellerbrock/GER
AO: Sabine Ellerbrock/GER def. Yui Kamiji/JPN
RG: Yui Kamiji/JPN def. Aniek Van Koot/NED
US: ??

JAN: Laura Siegemund, GER
FEB: Jovana Jaksic, SRB
MAR: Irina-Camelia Begu, ROU
APR: Taylor Townsend, USA
MAY: Denisa Allertova, CZE
JUN: Heather Watson, GBR
JUL: Jarmila Gajdosova, AUS
AUG: Laura Pous-Tio, ESP
[2014 Weekly ITF Player Award Wins]
3...Denisa Allertova, CZE
2...Irina-Camelia Begu, ROU
2...Jarmila Gajdosova, AUS
2...Elizaveta Kulichkova, RUS
2...Grace Min, USA
2...Andreea Mitu, ROU
2...Laura Siegemund, GER
2...Heather Watson, GBR

TOP QUALIFIER: #32q Aleksandra Krunic/SRB
TOP EARLY-ROUND (1r-2r): #1 Serena Williams/USA
TOP QUALIFYING MATCH: Q3: Duan Yingying/CHN d. Irena Pavlovic/FRA 6-3/1-6/7-6(5) [Pavlovic up 5-1 3rd, held MP]
TOP EARLY-RD. MATCH (1r-2r): 1st Rd. - (WC) CiCi Bellis/USA d. #12 Dominika Cibulkova/SVK 6-1/4-6/6-4 (Bellis world #1208)
TOP MIDDLE-RD. MATCH (3r-QF): Nominee: 4th Rd. - #16 V.Azarenka d. (Q) A.Krunic 4-6/6-4/6-4
TOP ASHE NIGHT SESSION MATCH: Nominee: 4th Rd. - #16 V.Azarenka d. (Q) A.Krunic 4-6/6-4/6-4
FIRST WINNER: #4 Aga Radwanska/POL (def. S.Fichman/CAN)
FIRST SEED OUT: #25 Garbine Muguruza/ESP (lost to M.Lucic-Baroni/CRO)
UPSET QUEENS: United States
REVELATION LADIES: United States (12 Bannerettes 2nd Rd.)
NATION OF POOR SOULS: France (1-5 in 1st Rd.; only win in Pastry-vs.-Pastry match-up)
CRASH & BURN: #12 Dominika Cibulkova/SVK (AO runner-up; lost 1st Rd. to Bellis/USA, 15-year old in slam debut)
ZOMBIE QUEEN: Mirjana Lucic-Baroni/CRO (in Round of 16 for first time in 15 years, after family's abusive background<)
LAST QUALIFIER STANDING: Aleksandra Krunic/SRB & Mirjana Lucic-Baroni/CRO (both 4th Rd.)
IT ("Girl"): CiCi Bellis/USA (15-year old Wild Card; youngest MD win since 1996 - Anna Kournikova)
Ms.OPPORTUNITY: Nominees: E.Makarova/RUS, S.Peng/CHN
COMEBACK PLAYER: Caroline Wozniacki/DEN
BROADWAY-BOUND: Nominee: B.Bencic/SUI (Swiss Miss understudy), V.Azarenka/BLR
LADY OF THE EVENING: Nominee: S.Williams/USA, V.Azarenka/BLR
DOUBLES STAR: Nominees: T.Townsend/USA, S.Mirza/IND, A.Spears/USA, YJ.Chan/TPE, Hingis/Pennetta, Diyas/Xu, Date-Krumm/Zahlavova-Strycova

All for now. More later.


Blogger Diane said...

Peng gets more fit every season. Fitness gives you confidence. And yes, she's not standing in Li's shadow, and I do believe that's a factor. But mostly, I think her fitness is at a new level. Even her posture has improved.

Tue Sep 02, 08:59:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Todd.Spiker said...

Yeah, she mentioned her fitness during her on-court interview. She wasn't as entertaining as Li, of course... but no one could ever live up to those standards. ;)

Tue Sep 02, 10:13:00 PM EDT  
Blogger jo shum said...

monfils surprised me. i wonder, just a bit, if vika's comment about him not used to winning matches when he was supposed to.

peng shui, yeah! looking calm and good. but, i have this lingering question, she doesn't even have a WTA title and was in finals many times and lost. really, is there a chance of winning even if she reaches the final? (which i think she has a good chance to go to the final). is there an example in the history?

Tue Sep 02, 10:20:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Eric said...

Diane, I'm really curious if becoming number 1 in doubles also gave her more belief. I kind of want to track her posture from before and after lol.

Tue Sep 02, 10:27:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Todd.Spiker said...


I think the only people who'd fit in that category are a pair of Australian Open champs:

1978 Chris O'Neil
1979 Barbara Jordan

Neither ever won another tournament other than their slam victory. Of course, that was in an era when most of the top players didn't travel to Australia to play the tournament. So if Peng were to win it'd be the first time it happened in a fully-attended slam.

Iva Majoli (RG '97) is one of the more recent slam winners with very little else of note in her career, but she had won a few singles titles before she upset Hingis in Paris.

Wed Sep 03, 12:46:00 AM EDT  
Blogger colt13 said...

Jo Shum, Normally people who haven't won a tournament get knocked out in the SF- ie. Cibulkova/Stosur 09-F, Pironkova 10-W, Kerber 11-USO, even Bouchard 14-AO. But you don't need a boatload of titles to win a slam. If Makarova wins, it would only be her 3rd title, but Stosur's slam was her 3rd, Schiavone her 4th, and even Serena's first here in 99 was only her 4th career title.

Wed Sep 03, 12:30:00 PM EDT  

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