Wednesday, January 28, 2015

AO 10 - A Tale of Two Sisters...and their heir apparent

In the second half of the women's quarterfinals in Melbourne, it was "turn back the clock" day as three of the four players in action hailed from the U.S., including both Williams Sisters and their 19-year old heir apparent, Madison Keys.

As it turned out, the first match of the day involving Keys and Venus was something akin to a middle distance run, with the second that featured Serena and 2014 finalist Dominika Cibulkova comparing favorably to a sprint. While first-time slam semifinalist Keys proved to have the better finishing kick in her battle, Serena once again proved that, when she's "right" -- which she most surely was on this day -- it's still a fact that no one on tour can knock out an opponent any faster than the 18-time slam champ.

As a result, we'll have an all-American semifinal in the top half of women's draw, a first in a major since 2002. Serena will be looking to reach her twenty-third career slam final, while Keys will try to become the first non-Williams American woman to reach a slam singles final since 2005 when Lindsay Davenport, her coach, lost in the Wimbledon final to Venus, the player the teenager had to climb over to get to such a stage today. The last U.S. woman other than Serena or Venus to become a maiden slam finalist was Jennifer Capriati in Melbourne in 2001. Capriati, just like the others, was also linked with Keys on this day... but that's another story altogether.

The Venus/Keys match took a bit longer to sort out than the one that followed, but in the end the more deserving of the two on the day was the one that moved on.

Early on against her idol -- a 4-year old Madison saw Venus playing at Wimbledon, liked her dress and wanted to play tennis just like her -- Keys once more flashed the same calm demeanor in the face of things she's never stared down before that she'd shown all tournament, which kicked into high gear for her with an upset of #4 Petra Kvitova and picked up momentum in the "Battle of the Madisons" against fellow Bannerette Madison Brengle. The early games of the match were somewhat sleepy, but both women held serve through the first six games. Keys broke through first, hitting a return winner to go up 40/15 on Williams' serve, then reaching a drop shot and following it up with a volley and overhead winner to get the break for 4-3. With the look of a would-be star who'll really be going places soon, patiently progressing while also advancing at an accelerated rate, Keys held for 5-3 and smacked a return winner to break Venus at love to take the 1st set 6-3 in just twenty-nine minutes.

At that point, pulling out the victory seemed like a big ask for the 34-year old Williams, now forced into having to win a third consecutive three-set match. Playing in her thirty-fourth career slam QF, the seven-time slam singles champ had already outlasted most of the Australian Open field at a time when the tennis landscape is finally starting to reflect the revolutionary force that she and her sister were when they came onto the scene in the late 1990's. Eighteen years after Venus reached the final in her U.S. Open debut at age 17, there are now a bevy of African-American females rising through the ranks, most of their careers likely never having taken shape without the rise of the Williams Sisters. With Keys seemingly having grown ten sizes in stature over the past two weeks, this generational match-up seemed destined to go her way.

But Venus is still Venus. And even after Keys held a 14-4 advantage in winners in the 1st and allowed Williams no break point opportunities, the veteran wasn't going to fold up her tent and head home.

Finally, in the third game of the 2nd set, Venus got her first break point. A Keys double-fault gave Williams a 2-1 lead, as Keys' error totals began to increase. Two games later, an unforced error by the teenager -- her eleventh in five games after having nine in the 1st set -- put Venus up a double-break at 4-1. Keys then called for a trainer, having felt something in the same abductor muscle in her left leg that led to her retiring from her 3rd Round match at Wimbledon last summer.

Keys left the court for treatment, later saying she was trying to catch the injury and have it taped up after having made a mistake by allowing it to get worse without such precaution, and then tearing the muscle, at SW19. When she returned from the seven-minute session, Keys' game picked up while Venus, who'd sat in her chair during the delay, had a hard time getting going again. The 19-year old won the first six points out of the break, breaking Venus at love and then holding for 4-3. As Williams' errors mounted -- she'd hit just three winners to eleven unforced errors in the 2nd, getting just 48% of her 1st serves in -- a set in which she'd gained a double-break edge while essentially holding back and allowing Keys to commit a series of errors suddenly looked like it might slip away, with the match going with it. Keys broke to get back on serve at 4-4, and once again she seemed destined to win.

But Venus wasn't through. Not yet.

Getting three break points in game #9, Williams, in wiley veteran mode, broke to re-take the lead, then aced Keys to hold and take the 2nd set at 6-4. While she hadn't played particularly well and based on her numbers really was fortunate to still be in the match, Williams was one set away from her first slam semifinal since 2010.

Early in the 3rd, Keys seemed hampered by her injury, especially on the backhand side. She staved off two break points in game #1, holding with a backhand winner. Venus broke Keys' serve two games later, then held for 3-1. Neither was playing her best tennis, as Keys was sporting a 3-to-9 winner to UE ratio, was Venus was 1-to-7.

But, just as she did when facing Kvitova earlier in the tournament, and against Brengle when she might have had a case of nerves down the final stretch, the level of Keys' game rose, and her composure allowed her to put on a good final kick that would make any middle distance runner proud. After falling behind 15/30, she managed a hold for 3-2, then broke Williams on her third BP of the game to get back on serve a game later. After falling behind 15/40 and seeing Venus break for a 4-3 lead with a crisp forehand winner, Keys settled down and went about winning the match. She'd generally been in control of the action when she could avoid unforced errors, as Venus rarely asserted herself from the baseline and never did get her serve going as she in her Round of 16 match against Aga Radwanska, and the time had come for her to assert herself and all that she's learned over the past year, both before and after bringing Davenport aboard.

Attacking the Williams second serve, Keys reached break point with a big return, then a forehand winner got things back on serve at 4-4. A backhand down the line and a game-finishing ace put her up 5-4. Playing smoothly and without a touch of nerves right as the match was about to be decided, Keys was at it again. Suddenly playing cleanly, with her earlier errors well in her rear view mirror, the teenager ended with a closing burst and leaned into the match's finish line. She took a 40/love lead with a forehand winner into the open court, then another big forehand was too much for Williams to handle, as the ball failed to get back over the net and sent Keys to her first slam semifinal courtesy of a 6-3/4-6/6-4 victory.

In the stands, coach Davenport teared up as her new charge continued to make the most of her last slam as a teenager (Keys turns 20 in February). Having twice come back from break down in the 3rd set, she prevented Williams from using a bit of "slight of hand" and winning a final set in which she was outdistanced in winners 14-3 (34-10 for the match), and match during which Keys was 7-for-9 in converting break point attempts. After putting together a nine-match winning streak, this was Venus' worst match of the season... but she still almost found a way to eke out a victory. If she can find a way to maintain her form, Williams could be a major threat at Wimbledon this summer.

Keys, too, could be a contender on the grass. But she's still got some work to do in Melbourne before she can begin to look into a potentially sunny future that has gotten quite a bit brighter over the last ten days.

In the day's other quarterfinal, the Williamses tried to avoid going 0-2. Luckily, the family name was in very good hands.

After having such a difficult time at the start of her matches throughout this Australian Open, with her sister out of the draw just a few moments before she walked on court, Serena had no such difficulty getting her game honed in today. Her and Cibulkova's arrival on Laver was delayed for a bit after an ill Serena experienced a coughing fit before joining the Slovak in the corridor leading to the court, but we saw no indication that her health had any negative impact on her game. In fact, it might have helped her focus on trying to get off the court as quickly as possibly, especially with the semifinals scheduled for tomorrow.

Poor, Domi.

Serena blasted out of the starting gate in this match, breaking Cibulkova to take a 1-0 lead and then leaving her in her rather considerable dust. Unlike in the first of yesterday's quarterfinals, though, the Slovak didn't give up. She did what she could to remain competitive, but Serena was intent on ending this one early. And she wasn't going to be denied. Reaching inside for her inner Serenativity and allowing it to spread its wings just like in successful slam runs from the past, Williams fired a forehand winner to take a 3-1 lead and was already flashing a clenched fist.

She hasn't even done that when she's won sets to even matches on a few occasions at this tournament.

Allowing just six points on her serve in the entire 1st set, Williams fired as many aces (8) as she had unforced errors in taking the opening stanza at 6-2. She hit back-to-back-to-back aces in the concluding game, coming back from 15/30 down to erase any thought that she might have a brief downturn in her level of play. In the 2nd, it was more of the same. She broke Cibulkova in the opening game, and every aspect of her play remained sky high. Cibulkova did all she could to remain one break back and harbor hopes of an opening, but it never came. Down 4-2, she actually had a pair of break points (her only ones of the day) to get back on serve. But Serena brushed them aside to hold, then broke in the next game to wrap up her 6-2/6-2 victory, ending the 65-minute match with fifteen aces.

Serena's win over the #10-ranked Cibulkova gives her a 52-5 record against Top 10 players since 2012. In the end, her biggest problem today might have been the chest cold that was more than apparent in her post-match interview.

So, we'll have another generational Bannerette contest in the semifinals. While Keys very well could be the heir apparent to the role as the U.S.'s top player in the post-Williams era, even after calmly and professionally knocking off some big names in her breakthrough slam and fulfilling her promise by matching the Melbourne result's of fellow teenagers Sloane Stephens and Genie Bouchard the last two years, one might wonder if the next step is a bit too large for even her to pull off. After all, while fellow semifinalist Ekaterina Makarova is the only player never to be ranked #1 to have defeated both Williams Sisters in a slam, no non-#1 has ever done it at the SAME major (only ex-#1's Hingis, Henin and Clijsters are on that very short list). That's the next task on Keys' agenda in Melbourne.

Good luck with that, Madison. With slam #19 so close to being within the Williams grasp, it would seem we might have moved into the "foregone conclusion" stage of this Australian Open.

Of course, if Keys does fully morph into Future Madison tomorrow, well, we could be looking at a story for the slam ages.

...if Serena reaches the final she'll assure herself of holding onto the #1 ranking on Monday. If she loses, though, then Sharapova would reclaim the top spot by winning the title. The last time she held the #1 ranking was for four weeks in 2012.

...the junior singles QF are set, and the final eight girls consist of players from eight different nations. The big upset on Day 10 came in the form of #14-seeded Brit Katie Swan taking out #1-seed Xu Shilin of China. She'll next face the remaining Bannerette entry in the field, #11 Raveena Kingsley, with the other match-up in the top half being a match-up of #4 Aliona Bolsova Zadoinova (ESP) and #5 Dalma Galfi (HUN). But while the top half is made up of four seeds, the bottom half has none. The name that sticks out the most is probably Charlotte Robillard-Millette, who is trying to join Genie Bouchard ('12 Wimbledon) as the only Canadian girl to win a junior slam singles crown. CRM has knocked off two seeds so far, including a win over #6-seeded Aussie Kimberly Birrell today.

...the women's doubles final is set, the first discipline to get down to a final two at this AO. Going into the semifinals, there were only two seeded teams remaining, and they were just the #14 and #16 duos. Today, Bethanie Mattek-Sands & Lucie Safarova took out #16 Julia Goerges & Anna-Lena Groenefeld, who'd knocked off #1-seeded and two-time defending champs Errani/Vinci. BMS will be looking for her first slam women's doubles title to go along with her AO Mixed win in 2012, while the Czech will be seeking her maiden career slam title.

They'll face #14 Chan Yung-Jan & Zheng Jie, who defeated Michaella Krajicek & Barbora Zahlavova-Strycova. While Chan has never won a slam title, she reached a pair of major doubles finals (AO/US) back in 2007, while a win for Zheng would add to the titles she previously won in 2006 at the Australian Open and Wimbledon with the retired Zi Yan.

...half the mixed doubles draw had the day off today, but it should be noted that defending champs Kristina Mladenovic & Daniel Nestor are still alive in the quarterfinals, joining men's singles semifinalist Stan Wawrinka as the only '14 champions harboring repeat title hopes. Mladenovic/Nestor are one win away from facing off with #1-seeded Sania Mirza & Bruno Soares, who won the crown at the U.S. Open last summer and advanced to the semifinals today. In the '14 AO final, Mladenovic & Nestor defeated Mirza, who was then partnering Horia Tecau.

Martina Hingis & Leander Paes play in the concluding match tonight on Laver, as the Original Swiss Miss continues her quest for her firt slam title of any kind since she won the AO Mixed with another Indian doubles star (and Paes' former partner), Mahesh Bhupathi in 2006. wheelchair action, the power of the Dutch continues, as Aniek Van Koot (a two-time slam winner in '13) and Jiske Griffioen (Van Koot's doubles partner in their Grand Slam sweep that same season) will meet in one semifinal, while the other will pit two-time slam winner Sabine Ellerbrock of Germany and top-seeded Yui Kamiji in a rematch of the 2014 AO women's WC final won by the German. It was the only slam title not won by the 20-year old Kamiji last year, as she took the singles crowns at Roland Garros and the U.S. Open and swept all four doubles slams with Brit Jordanne Whiley.

...the chance for a ninth and tenth different slam singles finalist at the last five slams -- a stretch that would match the Open era record set in 1977 -- is still alive, but we'd have to see a Keys/Makarova championship match for it to happen. Could it? Yes, of course. But Sharapova is 5-0 against Makarova, not to mention 22-1 vs. fellow Hordettes since 2011 and 30-2 since losing to Maria Kirilnko in the 1st Round in Melbourne in 2008. Meanwhile, Serena is 22-3 in career slam semifinals, 8-0 since 2010. So, it COULD happen. Buuuuut...

The return of the old Russian and American dominance in slam semifinals gives us the first all-Hordette semi since 2009 (Safina/Zvonareva at the AO), and the first featuring two Bannerettes since 2002 (S.Williams and, ironically, Keys' coach Davenport at the U.S. Open). In the twenty-one slams held this decade, here's the semifinalist breakdown by nation:

12...United States
6...Czech Republic, Italy
5...Belgium, Germany
3...Australia, Canada, Poland
2...France, Romania
1...Bulgaria, Serbia, Slovak Republic

...DAY 10 LIKE #1: Venus being Venus, as always, looking forward to the "next time."

...DAY 10 LIKE #2: LPT Flashback!

...DAY 10 ANSWERING THE QUESTION, "What does a proud coach look like?":

...DAY 10 "Umm, wait a second...": on Tennis Channel, when a graphic flashed on the screen saying that Venus was looking to become the oldest women's slam semifinalist since a 39-year old Billie Jean King at Wimbledon in 1983, commentator Martina Navratilova said rather matter of factly, "That's not right."

Of course, she would know... because Venus was actually trying to become the oldest slam semifinalist since Martina herself reached the Wimbledon final at age 37 in 1994.

The graphic was later presented again, with Navratilova getting her due.

...DAY 10 "Meanwhile, on Caro Corner":

...DAY 10 DISLIKE: the Twitter war against Jennifer Capriati after her compliments to Keys (since deleted, and replaced with other Tweets) on her QF win, inciting an internet riot against her because her comments were interpreted as being disrepectful toward Venus, who the detractors made a point to note she never beat during her career. Let it go, people.

...and, finally, everything is a go for the semifinals tomorrow, the only round in Melbourne without a day between matches (but only for the top half of the draw). And with Williams' cold and Key's abductor injury, that could play a role in the match. Of course, based on today, ummm, it might be a bigger issue for Madison than Serena.

Little Vika and friend.

#1 Serena Williams/USA vs. Madison Keys/USA
#10 Ekaterina Makarova/RUS vs. #2 Maria Sharapova/RUS

#1 Novak Djokovic/SRB vs. #8 Milos Raonic/CAN
#4 Stan Wawrinka/SUI def. #5 Kei Nishikori/JPN
#7 Tomas Berdych/CZE def. #3 Rafael Nadal/ESP
#6 Andy Murray/GBR def. Nick Kyrgios/AUS

Mattek-Sands/Safarova (USA/CZE) vs. #14 YJ.Chan/J.Zheng (TPE/CHN)

#6 Rojer/Tecau (NED/ROU) vs. Bolelli/Fognini (ITA/ITA)
#4 Dodig/M.Melo (CRO/BRA) vs. Herbert/Mahut (FRA/FRA)

#1 Mirza/Soares (IND/BRA) def. (WC) Dellacqua/Peers (AUS/AUS)
#3 Mladenovic/Nestor (FRA/CAN) vs. #5 C.Black/Cabal (ZIM/COL)
#7 Hingis/Paes (SUI/IND) vs. #4 Hlavackova/Peya (CZE/AUT)
SW.Hsieh/Cuevas (TPE/URU) vs. #2 Srebotnik/M.Melo (SLO/BRA)

#14 Katie Swan/GBR vs. #11 Raveena Kingsley/USA
#4 Aliona Bolsova Zadoinov/ESP vs. #5 Dalma Galfi/HUN
Manca Pislak/SLO vs. Greet Minnen/BEL
Charlotte Robillard-Millette/CAN vs. Tereza Mihalikova/SVK

#1 Roman Safiullin/RUS vs. Marc Polmans/AUS
#14 Stefanos Tsitsipas/GRE vs. Djurabeck Karimov/UZB
#7 Seong-chan Hong/KOR vs. #3 Taylor Harry Fritz/USA
#6 Duck Hee Lee/KOR vs. #16 Akira Santillan/AUS

Arbuthnott/Francati (GBR/DEN) vs. Hobnarski/Minnen (GER/BEL)
#4 Tomic/S.Xu (AUS/CHN) vs. #2 Kolodziejova/Vondrousova (CZE/CZE)

Delaney/Polmans (AUS/AUS) vs. Valkusz/Wessels (HUN/GER)
#3 Kecmanovic/Mmoh (SRB/USA) vs. #8 Hurkacz/Molcan (POL/SVK)

#1 Yui Kamiji/JPN vs. Sabine Ellerbrock/GER
Jiske Griffioen/NED vs. #2 Aniek Van Koot/NED

#1 Shingo Kunieda/JPN vs. Gustavo Fernandez/ARG
Joachim Gerard/BEL vs. #2 Stephane Houdet/FRA

#1 Yui Kamiji/Jordanne Whiley (JPN/GBR) vs. Sharon Walraven/Katharina Kruger (GER/NED)
Marjolein Buis/Sabine Ellerbrock (NED/GER) vs. #2 Jiske Griffioen/Aniek Van Koot (NED/NED)

#1 Shingo Kunieda/Stephane Houdet (JPN/FRA) vs. Nicolas Peifer/Adam Kellerman (FRA/AUS)
Gordon Reid/Gustavo Fernandez (GBR/ARG) vs. #2 Joachim Gerard/Maikel Scheffers (BEL/NED)

**CAREER SLAM SF - active**
19...Venus Williams (14-5)
7...Victoria Azarenka (4-3)
6...Jelena Jankovic (1-5)
5...Svetlana Kuznetsova (4-1)
5...Petra Kvitova (2-3)
5...Caroline Wozniacki (2-3)

**SLAM SF - 2010-15**
7...Victoria Azarenka (4-3)
6...Li Na (2-3) - ret.
4...Caroline Wozniacki (1-3)
3...Kim Clijsters (2-1) - ret.
3...Samantha Stosur (2-1)
3...Vera Zvonareva (2-1)
3...Genie Bouchard (1-2)
3...Sara Errani (1-2)
3...Aga Radwanska (1-2)

2005: S.Williams (W) - Davenport (RU) - Dechy/Sharapova
2006: Mauresmo (W) - Henin-Hardenne (RU) - Sharapova/Clijsters
2007: S.Williams (W) - Sharapova (RU) - Clijsters/Vaidisova
2008: Sharapova (W) - Ivanovic (RU) - Jankovic/Hantuchova
2009: S.Williams (W) - Safina (RU) - Zvonareva/Dementieva
2010: S.Williams (W) - Henin (RU) - Li/Zheng
2011: Clijsters (W) - Li (RU) - Zvonareva/Wozniacki
2012: Azarenka (W) - Sharapova (RU) - Clijsters/Kvitova
2013: Azarenka (W) - Li (RU) - Sharapova/Stephens
2014: Li (W) - Cibulkova (RU) - Bouchard/A.Radwanska
2015: Keys,Sharapova,Makarova,S.Williams

52...Chris Evert
44...Martina Navratilova
37...Steffi Graf
21...Arantxa Sanchez Vicario
19...Evonne Goolagong
19...Martina Hingis
19...Venus Williams #
18...Lindsay Davenport
18...Billie Jean King
18...Gabriela Sabatini
18...Monica Seles

Unseeded - 2000 Jennifer Capriati, USA
Unseeded - 2007 Serena Williams, USA (W)
Unseeded - 2010 Zheng Jie, CHN
Unseeded - 2015 Madison Keys, USA
Wild Card - 2010 Justine Henin, BEL (RU)
#32 - 2004 Fabiola Zuluaga, COL
#30 - 2014 Eugenie Bouchard, CAN
#29 - 2013 Sloane Stephens, USA
#22 - 2004 Patty Schnyder, SUI
#20 - 2014 Dominika Cibulkova, SVK (RU)
#19 - 2005 Nathalie Dechy, FRA
#16 - 2010 Li Na, CHN
#12 - 2001 Jennifer Capriati, USA (W)
#11 - 2012 Kim Clijsters, BEL
#10 - 2000 Conchita Martinez, ESP
#10 - 2007 Nicole Vaidisova, CZE
#10 - 2015 Ekaterina Makarova, RUS

un Capriati - 2000 Australian
un Dokic - 2000 Wimbledon
un Dementieva - 2000 U.S. Open
un C.Fernandez - 2002 Roland Garros
un Petrova - 2003 Roland Garros
un S.Williams - 2007 Australian (W)
WC J.Zheng - 2008 Wimbledon
WC Clijsters - 2009 U.S. Open (W)
un Wickmayer - 2009 U.S. Open
un J.Zheng - 2010 Australian
WC Henin - 2010 Australian (RU)
un Kvitova - 2010 Wimbledon
un Pironkova - 2010 Wimbledon
WC Lisicki - 2011 Wimbledon
un Kerber - 2011 U.S. Open
un Pennetta - 2013 U.S. Open
un Peng - 2014 U.S. Open
un Keys - 2015 Australian
#32 Zuluaga - 2004 Australian
#30 Stosur - 2009 Roland Garros
#30 Bouchard - 2014 Australian
#29 Stephens - 2013 Australian
#28 Petkovic - 2014 Roland Garros
#28 S.Williams - 2011 U.S. Open (RU)
#23 Safarova - 2014 Wimbledon
#23 V.Williams - 2007 Wimbledon (W)
#23 Lisicki - 2013 Wimbledon (RU)
#22 Schnyder - 2004 Australian
#21 Zvonareva - 2010 Wimbledon (RU)
#21 Pierce - 2005 Roland Garros (RU)
#21 Errani - 2012 Roland Garros (RU)
#20 Flipkens - 2013 Wimbledon
#20 Cibulkova - 2009 Roland Garros
#20 Cibulkova - 2014 Australian (RU)
#19 Jankovic - 2006 U.S. Open
#19 Dechy - 2005 Australian
#18 Bartoli - 2007 Wimbledon (RU)
#18 Bouchard - 2014 Roland Garros
#17 Schiavone - 2010 Roland Garros (W)
#17 Makarova - 2014 U.S. Open
#16 Likhovtseva - 2005 Roland Garros
#16 Vaidisova - 2006 Roland Garros
#16 Li - 2010 Australian
(W)-won title; (RU)-finalist

5...Svetlana Kuznetsova (4-1)
4...Vera Zvonareva (2-2)
2...Nadia Petrova (0-2)

2004 RG: Dementieva, Myskina
2004 WI: Sharapova
2004 US: Dementieva,Kuznetsova
2005 AO: Sharapova
2005 RG: Likhovtseva,Petrova
2005 WI: Sharapova
2005 US: Dementieva,Sharapova
2006 AO: Sharapova
2006 RG: Kuznetsova
2006 WI: Sharapova
2006 US: Sharapova
2007 AO: Sharapova
2007 RG: Sharapova
2007 WI: -
2007 US: Chakvetadze,Kuznetsova
2008 AO: Sharapova
2008 RG: Kuznetsova,Safina
2008 WI: Dementieva
2008 US: Dementieva,Safina
2009 AO: Dementieva,Safina,Zvonareva
2009 RG: Kuznetsova,Safina
2009 WI: Dementieva,Safina
2009 US: -
2010 AO: -
2010 RG: Dementieva
2010 WI: Zvonareva
2010 US: Zvonareva
2011 AO: Zvonareva
2011 RG: Sharapova
2011 WI: Sharapova
2011 US: -
2012 AO: Sharapova
2012 RG: Sharapova
2013 WI: -
2013 US: Sharapova
2014 AO: -
2014 RG: Sharapova
2014 WI: -
2014 US: Makarova
2015 AO: Makarova,Sharapova
NOTE: Russians have reached SF in 35 of 43 slams since Myskina def. Dementieva in '04 RG final

2004 Fabiola Zuluaga, COL
2005 Nathalie Dechy, FRA
2006 Martina Hingis, SUI
2007 Serena Williams, USA
2008 Daniela Hantuchova, SVK
2009 Vera Zvonareva, RUS
2010 Zheng Jie, CHN & Li Na, CHN
2011 Li Na, CHN
2012 Sara Errani, ITA
2013 Sloane Stephens, USA
2014 Dominika Cibulkova, SVK
2015 Ekaterina Makarova, RUS

2007 Serena Williams, USA *
2008 Maria Sharapova, RUS *
2009 Elena Dementieva, RUS
2010 Serena Williams, USA *
2011 Li Na, CHN
2012 Maria Sharapova, RUS
2013 Maria Sharapova, RUS
2014 Li Na, CHN *
2015 Maria Sharapova, RUS
* - won title

2011 Andrea Petkovic, GER
2012 Victoria Azarenka, BLR (W)
2013 Laura Robson, GBR
2014 Li Na, CHN (W)
2015 Genie Bouchard, CAN

TOP QUALIFIER: Renata Voracova/CZE
TOP EARLY ROUND (1r-2r): #7 Genie Bouchard/CAN
TOP MIDDLE-ROUND (3r-QF): #2 Maria Sharapova/RUS
TOP QUALIFYING MATCH: Q1 - Renata Voracova/CZE def. #17 Zhu Lin/CHN 5-7/7-6(5)/6-2 (saved MP in 2nd set)
TOP EARLY RD. MATCH (1r-2r): 2nd Rd. - #2 Maria Sharapova/RUS d. (Q) Alexandra Panova/RUS 6-1/4-6/7-5 (saved 2 MP)
TOP MIDDLE-RD. MATCH (3r-QF): 4th Rd. - Madison Keys/USA d. #4 Petra Kvitova/CZE 6-4/7-5
TOP LATE RD. MATCH (SF-F/Jr./Doub.): xx
TOP LAVER/MCA NIGHT MATCH: Nominee: 4th Rd. - Keys/USA d. #4 Kvitova/CZE 6-4/7-5
FIRST VICTORY: Julia Goerges/GER (def. #32 Bencic/SUI)
FIRST SEED OUT: #32 Belinda Bencic/SUI (lost 1st Rd. to Goerges/GER)
NATION OF POOR SOULS: China (year after Li wins title, 1-5 in 1st Round)
LAST WILD CARD STANDING: Chang Kai-Chen/TPE, Oceane Dodin/FRA & Irina Falconi/USA (all 2nd Rd.)
LAST AUSSIE STANDING: Casey Dellacqua, Jarmila Gajdosova, Samantha Stosur & Alja Tomljanovic (all 2nd Rd.)
Ms. OPPORTUNITY: Ekaterina Makarova/RUS
IT (??): [Madisons] Madison Keys/USA & Madison Brengle/USA
COMEBACK PLAYER: Victoria Azarenka/BLR
CRASH & BURN: #5 Ana Ivanovic/SRB (lost 1st Rd. vs. qualifier Hradecka/CZE; one of eight seeds to lose on Day 1)
ZOMBIE QUEEN: Maria Sharapova/RUS (2nd Rd.: saved 2 MP vs. Panova/RUS)
LADY OF THE EVENING: Genie Bouchard/CAN (2-0 in night session matches on MCA, with her Army serenading her from the stands)
DOUBLES STAR: Nominees: Mirza/IND; Hingis/SUI; Mladenovic/FRA; Black/ZIM; Mattek-Sands/Safarova (USA/CZE); YJ.Chan/TPE
JUNIOR BREAKOUT: Nominee: C.Robillard-Millette/CAN

All for Day 10. More tomorrow.


Blogger Zidane said...

Your section "WOMEN'S SINGLES SF" is all mixed up. Also, it's been twice that you mention in-text an AO semifinal in 2009 between Safina and my dear Kuznet, but then in your lists for 2009 AO semifinalists, we see Serena, Safina, Dementieva and Zvonareva, no Kuznet. I honestly don't have any memory of that edition, so I somehow doubt Kuznet made the semis.

Like you, I discovered Charlotte Robillard-Millette (pronounced Ro-bee-yar-Mee-yet) during this tournament. I'm not sure if you can see this video: it dates from last April, when she entered the juniors. Her interview segments are in French (she has a thick French-Qu├ębec accent, unlike Bouchard who's more fluent in English), but her coach's interviews segments are in English, so you might get something of it. Also, we see her hit a few balls - she's a lefty.

Wed Jan 28, 01:43:00 PM EST  
Blogger Zidane said...

Oh, I just checked for the 2009 AO. Now I remember that edition, with that tough quarterfinal loss by Kuznet against Serena, before taking her revenge at RG a few months later.

Wed Jan 28, 01:47:00 PM EST  
Blogger Todd.Spiker said...

Sheesh... yeah those women's singles SF were all mixed up: at first I thought I just took out the wrong player who'd lost so it changed the match-ups, but I'm actually not quite sure how that all happened. I suspect the culprit is probably, quite simply, ten days of the Australian Open. :)

Yeah, that was supposed to be Zvonareva in the 09 AO semis, not Sveta. I made that error yesterday, then just repeated it because I rememberd saying it the day before. Grrr.

Anyway, thanks. I changed those. ;)

I'm half afraid to try to go to that page again. I tried to go there, and right as I did my computer went all wacky, I lost internet access and was blocked from all my files. After I did a security scan, disinfected adware and restarted it twice, everything was all right. Anyway, it may have been just a coincidence, but I'm a little gun shy to try it again. :(

Wed Jan 28, 02:35:00 PM EST  
Blogger Eric said...

LIKE: KDK Cup!!! Is that new? I don't remember seeing it before.

Wed Jan 28, 02:56:00 PM EST  
Blogger Zidane said...

That's weird, it's a link from the French CBC (Canadian Brooadcast Service), the Canadian equivalent of PBS or the BBC. It should be totally safe to access.

Wed Jan 28, 04:34:00 PM EST  
Blogger Todd.Spiker said...

I'm sure it was all on my end, but maybe I'll access that page on another device just to be safe. It was just an odd coincidence, I'm sure.

I was wondering if maybe the video wasn't accessible outside Canada, but it likely is.

Yeah, I added that on Day 7 (with an explanation in the Notes section) when I didn't have much to go with that day (I mean, Bouchard's barely-newsworthy bad few games in a three-set win was my lead, so...). ;)

Wed Jan 28, 05:13:00 PM EST  
Blogger Galileo said...

Hey Todd. Any news on Nadia? I know Petrova won or made the final somewhere in the Orient recently, like Beijing or Tokyo. Is she retired or just slowly coming back?

Wed Jan 28, 08:48:00 PM EST  
Blogger Todd.Spiker said...

I don't know about anything in Beijing or Tokyo. Her most recent tour activity was last spring. Maybe there was an exhibition or something?

Of course, she's had injuries, and then she took time off after her mother died. Last September, Shamil Tarpishchev said that she would be announcing her retirement, but then she denied that she'd made any sort of decision.

I hope she comes back, at least to play doubles. At 32, that'd probably be her best best.

Wed Jan 28, 09:11:00 PM EST  
Blogger Galileo said...

Yeah turns out recently in my head is 2012. It seems recent. How can that be more than two years ago? She beat Radwanska in the final. Sorry, that's not really recent :)

Wed Jan 28, 09:25:00 PM EST  
Blogger Todd.Spiker said...

Hey, it's Day 11 of the Australian Open... you're expected to be turned around backwards and not know exactly what day it is. ;)

(True: This morning, I thought today was Tuesday, then learned it was actually Wednesday, though at first I thought it might be Thursday. I THINK I know now. Maybe.)

Wed Jan 28, 11:30:00 PM EST  

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