Monday, March 23, 2015

Wk.11- A Serb is Led to Water, but She Can't Prevent a Swarmette From Drinking It

Ah, Li Na. You didn't know how correct you were. One year after the now-retired Chinese star arrived in California and dubbed the WTA "the crazy women's tennis tour," Simona Halep and Jelena Jankovic showed up for a singles final in Indian Wells and gave Li's words new life.

Thankfully, at least for the Romanian, in the desert, only the Tennis Gods can hear you scream.

"I didn't play my best tennis but I wanted to fight until the end. I will fight til the end. Always." - Simona Halep

One would usually expect Halep's fellow Indian Wells finalist Jelena Jankovic to be the one who ultimately thrived the most amid chaos. But that wasn't the case when the two faced off in a final that included the usual sort of antics we've always associated with Queen Chaos matches -- code violations, blown break leads, animated coaching sessions and incessant grumbling -- as well as at least few new ones (the chair umpire calling a double-fault after just one serve, and various classic Pam Shriver interview moments on ESPN, right down to her "magically" appearing in a chair next to Halep in the changeover area immediately after the match).

For a bit, it looked as if the story of the final was going to be about Halep learning another lesson about how the world's #3-ranked player can't play "in a bubble" and must learn to deal with frustrating opponents, stressful matches and days when her game isn't in top form. Jankovic maintained her own good form in the early going in the match, flashing her defensive skills and a top-notch overhead to take the 1st set at 6-2 and go a break up on three separate occasions in the 2nd. Meanwhile, Halep struggled mightily to string together enough good points to stay in the match while she hobbled about with another lower body injury and visibly wrestled with her inner Swarmette and its inclination to throw up both hands in frustration just like she did against Ekaterina Makarova in Melbourne. She almost wasn't able to fight off the urge, either. But the stick-around skills she honed in Dubai came in handy on this day. While she was never "good," by her standards, Halep was "good enough" to hang around long enough for Jankovic to let the match slip through her Serbian fingers.

Jankovic broke Halep for 5-4 in the 2nd and served for the match. She got within two points of the title, but Halep's ability to extend and close out several important rallies enabled her to pull the match from the brink of defeat. She won the final three games of the set to force a 3rd, where JJ could never really get out of her own way.

The Serb still managed to take a break lead twice, but she wasn't able to hold onto the advantage either time. Both players produced far too many untimely, unnecessary errors more and more as the match wore on, but Jankovic's proved the most damaging. While Halep failed to serve out the match at 5-3, Jankovic dropped her last four service games as the match stumbled across the finish line with everyone watching trying to shake away their dizziness by the time it was all over.

Halep won 2-6/7-5/6-4. And, quality of play issues aside, make no mistake, this was an important result.

While Jankovic still hasn't won a title in her last forty-four attempts, her two weeks of work in Indian Wells makes one believe she COULD win again soon. Meanwhile, Halep is the first woman to win three titles in 2015 alone, and has nearly won a dozen in less in than two years. For a player who thrives on control, winning her biggest career crown after claiming a match in which she was really NEVER in control of anything could open the door to a period in her career when winning ugly is a virtue. After all, it a building block upon which grand slam champions are often made. Rarely can even the very best and most successful players be at their very best and most successful ALL the time... but that doesn't mean they still can't win on those days.

Halep is learning that lesson, and it could prove to be a very big one come, oh, maybe later this spring. Possibly in Paris.

S: Simona Halep/ROU def. Jelena Jankovic/SRB 2-6/7-5/6-4
D: Martina Hingis/Sania Mirza (SUI/IND) d. Ekaterina Makarova/Elena Vesnina (RUS/RUS) 6-3/6-4

PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Simona Halep/ROU hasn't always been pretty, but Halep is slowly but surely learning how to win when she's not at her best. Four of the five matches she played in Indian Wells went three sets, with the Romanian being forced to rally from a set down three times (vs. Daria Gavrilova in the 2nd Rd., Carla Suarez-Navarro in the QF and Jelena Jankovic in the final). She didn't have to deal with Serena Williams in the semis, as the world #1 pulled out with a knee injury, giving whichever player ultimately took the crown an "asterisk moment" on her career ledger. But tennis is a results-based sport, and while Halep has often not looked in great form in '15, has openly talked about her difficulty with dealing with the stress of expectations, has admitted to being frustrated and essentially giving up in her embarrassing effort vs. Ekaterina Makarova in the Australian Open and then was blasted off the court in an important Fed Cup match soon after, the facts are that Halep is 20-2 on the season, is currently on a ten-match winning streak and has won three of the four tour events she's played in 2015. Career title #11 (all claimed in the last twenty-two months), the biggest of her career, moves her within one title of matching all-time Romanian WTA title leader Virginia Ruzici, and her I.W. title run makes her just the fourth woman (since 1990) to sweep the season's first two Tier I/Premier Mandatory-Premier 5 events, having also won in Dubai in February. Maybe it has something to do with the company she keeps?


RISERS: Timea Bacsinszky/SUI & Sabine Lisicki/GER
...Bacsinszky has picked up far too many new admirers to count in recent weeks, as her comeback from a bad tennis childhood (you know the drill) and injuries that brought her THIS CLOSE to giving up the game has suddenly revealed her to be the most likeable and crafty player this side of Aga Radwanska. For the most part, nothing changed in Indian Wells, as the 25-year old Swiss remained convincingly stunned by and grateful for her hard-won success. After winning back-to-back titles in Mexico, in Indian Wells she extended her winning streak to fifteen matches with victories over Marina Erakovic, Ekaterina Makarova (coming back from 3-0 and 4-2 in the 3rd set) and Elina Svitolina (another three-set comeback) as she ran her '15 record to 10-1 in matches that have gone the distance. The streak came to an end in a QF match against Serena Williams, but Bacsinszky played well and, quite frankly, she probably needed the added rest the exit provided her. Already closing in on the Top 20 (now #23), Bacsinszky didn't need to do anything else to earn anyone's respect, but she still managed to do it. I mean, I suppose some respect should be given for her managing to change her dress on court without the assistance of an army of towel-holders, or stirring up any faux controversy by, you know, actually being seen wearing the under-the-dress attire that many players publicly practice in, anyway.

Let's be honest, there was ZERO reason to believe that Lisicki was going to put up a good result in the desert. For one, she had gone 1-6 this season heading into Indian Wells. Secondly, the German was 0-6 in career main draw matches at the tournament. And, maybe most importantly of all, it wasn't a grass court event! Yet, there was Lisicki putting on an Italian-destroying (wins over Roberta Vinci, Sara Errani and Flavia Pennetta, the latter after saving three MP), Pastry-burning (def. Caroline Garcia) string of excellence that didn't come to an end until she lost a set and a break lead over Jelena Jankovic in the semifinals. No matter, the result still was enough to lift Lisicki from #30 to within in eyelash of the Top 20 (#21, 14 points behind #20 Peng Shuai) in the new rankings.

SURPRISES: Lesia Tsurenko/UKR & Lucie Kankova/CZE
...the #85-ranked Tsurenko had quite the two-week run. First, the Ukrainian qualified in Indian Wells, then she notched main draw wins over Germans Annika Beck and Andrea Petkovic. In her second week in the desert, she took down Alize Cornet and Genie Bouchard (w/ Petkovic, her second Top 10 win at the event). While Bouchard had an abdominal injury, Tsurenko played with an injured ankle that nearly forced her retirement against the Canadian, then ultimately did just that a round later against Jelena Jankovic. Still, Tsurenko was the first qualifier to reach the Indian Wells final eight since 2004 (Gisela Dulko). Look out, here comes another Czech Maiden! In the Sarawak Chief Minister's Cup in Malaysia, 15-year old Kankova won her first career Grade 1 title. The #16-seed put up wins over top-seeded Naiktha Bains as well as the #7 and #9-seeds before defeating #5 Olivia Tjandramulia in the final when the Aussie retired with the match in a virtual dead heat at 6-2/6-7(5)/2-2. Tjandramulia, 17, was also playing her first Grade 1 final after posting wins over the #3, #6 and #10 seeds.
VETERANS: Serena Williams/USA & Flavia Pennetta/ITA
...things didn't end well for Serena in Indian Wells, as she ultimately pulled out of the semifinals with a knee injury. But before that point, her return to the desert after a fourteen year absence looked as if it was going to end with her third title run at the event, sixteen years after her first in 1999. She dropped just one set against the likes of Monica Niculescu, Zarina Diyas, Sloane Stephens (the one lost set came here, though Serena held set point) and Timea Bacsinszky (ending her 15-match win streak). Unfortunately, we didn't get to see what was a hotly-anticipated semifinal against Simona Halep, and Williams' 12-match winning streak (15-match run dating back to the WTA Finals) came to a "technical end" when she awarded the Romanian a walkover into the final. But Serena is still undefeated for '15 (those matches in Perth don't count), and her careful handling of her injury will likely prevent her from slipping from "odds-on winner status" in any event she enters when the tour shifts to Europe in a few weeks. Indian Wells defending champ Pennetta didn't see her return to the desert end as she'd hoped, either, but in between a few emotional moments she had some pretty big ones at -- like the Open -- another tournament that has to now be considered a Flavia Favorite. Early on, she downed Madison Brengle, then upped the ante in successive match wins over Samantha Stosur and Maria Sharapova (she's 3-2 vs. the Russian, with three straight wins since '09 -- Sharapova last defeated the Italian in '06). With a return to the final within reach, Pennetta had three match points in a QF loss to Sabine Lisicki. So, while her run came to an end on a Lisicki ace on MP, Pennetta is now 7-3 in her last three events.

COMEBACKS: Jelena Jankovic/SRB & Alexa Glatch/USA
...JJ's great moments have had ample room the breathe the last few years. Since she won the title in Indian Wells in 2010, she's won just a single title (Bogota '13). But, true to Queen Chaos form, one year after Li Na uttered the brilliant, "Welcome to the crazy women's tennis tour" as a prelude to her last run to a WTA final in Miami, JJ followed in her footsteps with a final (but hopefully not similarly last) run of her own. While Jankovic's three-set loss in this year's championship match in the desert drops her to 1-6 in her last seven singles finals, it's difficult to not see her stop in California as a potentially season-turning moment. Remember, the Serb came to Indian Wells having opened '15 on a 2-4 slide while possibly being hampered by a back injury, falling in the 1st Round in Melbourne (to Bacsinszky, so hardly a "bad" loss, in retrospect) and recently dropping out of the Top 20. The 30-year old seemingly turned back the clock over the past two weeks, knocking off four 21-or-under players in Lauren Davis, Madison Keys (JJ's first Top 20 win since August), Sloane Stephens (now 22) and Belinda Bencic -- all in three sets -- before advancing past a retiring Lesia Tsurenko and taking out Sabine Lisicki in yet another three-set comeback. The final turned out to be all about lost opportunities for JJ, as she was up a break three times in the 2nd set and served for the match at 5-4. In the 3rd set, she was up a break twice, but never quite seemed to fully put that squandered 2nd set behind her. She ultimately dropped her final four service games of the match as she began to tire and admittedly felt her nerves. Still, she was up for trophy ceremony jokes about the tournament physios doubling as her hairdressers during her time on grounds and was all smiles even as Halep lifted -- umm, or didn't -- the heaviest tennis championship trophy on earth. Maybe that's what Queen Chaos looks like when she's relieved. Maybe "the end" isn't as near as it appeared to possibly be a few weeks ago. Whew! JJ has returned to the Top 20 in the new rankings.

Glatch, 25, is a former junior star who was ranked in the girls Top 5 in 2005, when she was runner-up to Vika Azarenka in the U.S. Open junior final. Soon afterward, she broke her wrist and elbow in a motor scooter accident and was out eight months. As with many Bannerettes from the era, her WTA career never really took off, though she did have her moments. In 2009, her ranking topped out at #102, a season which included a Roland Garros upset over Flavia Pennetta and straight sets Fed Cup victories as a rookie over both Iveta Benesova (Melzer) and Petra Kvitova in a tie against the Czech Republic. She took off nearly fifteen months following Wimbledon in '13, having hip and wrist surgeries before finally returning last October following a lengthy rehab period. In January, she reached the third round of Australian Opening qualifying. This weekend in the $25K challenger in Irapuato, Mexico she won her first ITF singles title since 2012, defeating veteran Czech Renata Voracova in the final to claim her eighth career crown.


FRESH FACES: Belinda Bencic/SUI, Elina Svitolina/UKR & Dalma Galfi/HUN
...sure, Bencic was wearing an outfit that sorted looked a bit like a candy wrapper, but it was hard to argue with her results. After opening with a victory over Bojana Jovovanski, the newly-eighteen year old put up her first career Top 5 win in a straight sets victory over Caroline Wozniacki. Svitolina notched wins over Mona Barthel and Lucie Safarova en route to the 4th Round, where she lost a three-set match to Timea Bacsinszky (just like most everyone else has in '15). Galfi, 16, continued to recent hot streak. The Hungarian, who ended '14 by picking up the Eddie Herr junior title, grabbed her third career ITF singles crown at the $10K challenger in Solarino, Italy. Her path included victories over #2-seeded Irina Ramialison, as well as #5 Deniz Khazaniuk, #7 Lisa Sabino and #8 Gloria Liang of Canada in the final.
DOWN: Genie Bouchard/CAN & Sara Errani/Roberta Vinci (ITA/ITA)
...Bouchard's up-till-then good run in Indian Wells ended when an abdominal strain that that made it difficult to serve proved to be too much to overcome against an also-injured Lesia Tsurenko (ankle) in the 4th Round. The Canadian had served for the match at 5-4 in the 2nd set, and was up a double-break in the 3rd. A series of injuries put a damper on the back half of Bouchard's breakthrough '14 campaign, and is already acting as a set of handcuffs on her '15 progress, as well. Off court, co-#1's Errani & Vinci, after recently vacationing together and showing no signs of strife (aside from that Fed Cup implosion), unexpectedly announced the end of their partnership without any "real" explanation, adding their names to yet another new tombstone in the suddenly-crowded graveyard of former WTA doubles duos. The Italians have won twenty-two titles together (more than any twosome on tour, including the Sisters), five majors and completed a Career Doubles Slam in 2013. Hmm, so maybe I was correct in more ways than one when I wondered if Team Italia's FC collapse against France last month was "the end of an era."

ITF PLAYERS: Olga Govortsova/BLR & Claire Liu/USA
...the 26-year old Belarusian became the latest two-time 2015 ITF champion, adding the $25K Seville title to a $50K event she won earlier this season. Govortsova's fifth career title came with wins over a variety of players, from a veteran (Virginie Razzano) to a youngster (Aliona Bolsova Zadoinova) and a few somewhere in between (including Richel Hogenkamp and, in at 7-5/6-2 final, Maryna Zanevska).

While the big names were in California, on the other side of the U.S. in a $10K challenger in Orlando, 14-year old Claire Liu won her first career professional title, taking the singles crown after putting up wins over Sonya Kenin (2nd Rd.), Irina Khromacheva (SF) and 16-year old Fanni Stollar (who'd defeated Week 11 ITF champ Katerina Stewart a few days earlier) in the final. Liu, the #81-ranked junior (WTA #1221), was playing in just her fourth pro event and entered the week having never post a main draw singles win in a professional tournament. Just to make you feel old, here's where I'll note that Liu was born in May... in 2000. Two weeks ago, she became the first player born in the 2000's with a singles ranking, and now she's already a champion. I know they grow up fast, but this is ridiculous.


JUNIOR STARS: Katie Swan/GBR & Usue Arconada/USA
...15-year old Swan, the Australian Open junior runner-up in January, qualified and then reached her first pro final, winning her maiden title at the $10K Sharm El Sheikh challenger, defeating Bulgarian Julia Terziyska 6-2/6-2 in the decider. This was just her fourth pro event, and her second time in a professional main draw. She also reached the doubles final. Meanwhile, a week after she won her first career Grade 1 crown at the Banana Bowl in Sao Jos dos Campos, Brazil, 16-year old Arconada won her first career Grade A title a little ways down the Brazilian coast in Porto Allegre. The #3-seeded Arconada put up wins over the #2 and #7 seeds to reach the final, where she took down top-seeded Argentine Julieta Estable, 6-2/6-4.


DOUBLES: Martina Hingis/Sania Mirza (SUI/IND) & Victoria Rodriguez/Marcela Zacarius (MEX/MEX) the search over? Have Martina and Sania finally found their personal doubles "true north" in a teaming with each other? It sure looked that way in the desert. After occasional, haphazard and sometimes lacking success with other partners, the two Top 7 doubles veterans split with their most recent partners to team up in Indian Wells. As the #1 seeds, they barreled through the competition in Marvel Team-Up superhero fashion, never dropping a set in five matches and taking out the teams of Raymond/Stosur and Makarova/Vesnina to close out their title run, the second women's doubles crown for both in '15. Hall of Famer Hingis, a winner of the title back in '99 with Anna Kournikova, has now won forty-two career WTA doubles titles with sixteen different women; while Mirza, the '11 I.W. champ and runner-up in '12 and '14, has claimed twenty-four with thirteen partners. Add to this the announcement this past week of the end of the teaming of top-ranked Errani/Vinci, and my prediction in December that 2015 would include Mirza becoming the first Indian woman to be ranked #1 (Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi have done it in men's doubles) is suddenly looking better and better. Hingis has held the #1 doubles ranking on six occasions during her career for a total of thirty-five weeks, and was last in the top stop in 2000. Down a level, the Mexican duo of Victoria Rodriguez & Marcela Zacarius continue to spin quite a successful partnership. The 19 and 20-year old countrywomen teamed to win the $25K Irapuato, Mexico challenger doubles crown this weekend, claiming their seventh ITF crown (in their ninth final) over the past year. Meanwhile, Zacarius was also announced as a Fed Cup Heart Award nominee last week.


Lauren Davis post-nap cookie binge break!

Break over.

1. IW QF - Lisicki d. Pennetta
If this had been the final, it'd been an instant classic. It was still a dramatic quarterfinal, though. Lisicki held a match point in the 2nd set, only to see defending champ Flavia! battle back and hold three of her own in the 3rd. But the Italian's tentative play down the stretch doomed her chances, as the German sealed the win with an ace on her second MP.
2. IW 3rd Rd. - Sharapova d. Azarenka
It wasn't a classic, but it was far more interesting than the scoreline would indicate. In the 1st set, a bad call on a hold point for 5-5 caused Azarenka to lose her previous focus. She was broken to drop the set, then fell behind 5-1 in the 2nd. But then she rallied, saving four match points on serve, then breaking Sharapova a game later. The Russian needed six match points to finally put her away in a straight sets (but not straightforward) match that lasted nearly two hours. The head-to-head between the two is now knotted at 7-7.


3. IW 4th Rd. - Pennetta d. Sharapova
Did Sharapova's difficulty in closing out Azarenka carry over to this match one round later? Maybe. Maybe not. But it's rare to see Maria squander a lead as she did her. Consider it a learning experience.

4. IW 4th Rd. - Tsurenko d. Bouchard
This one turned multiple times. Bouchard led 3-0 and 4-1 in the 1st, breaking Tsurenko three straight times to begin the match, but was pushed to a tie-break. She served for the match at 5-4 in the 2nd, but an abdominal injury made serving difficult and Tsurenko pushed things to a 3rd set. Bouchard took a two-break lead there, but became less and less effective as Tsurenko, injured ankle and all, found a way to wait out the storm and prevail.

5. IW Final - Halep d. Jankovic
For the fifth time in five meetings, Simona and JJ went three sets, with Halep winning for a fourth time. Things weren't as great as the scoreline might make them appear, though. Although the Romanian showed a better ability to hold on and wait out her opponent than she did in Melbourne, especially in turning around the 2nd set just as most hope seemed lost, this one was mostly about which player would string together enough untimely errors to lose. As it turned out, that player turned out to be JJ, who was up a break on five different occasions in the 2nd and 3rd sets but failed to hold onto any of her advantages, including when she served for the match at 5-4 in the 2nd after arguing with coach Chip Brooks about how his advice wasn't really helping her because he made it seem far easier than it actually was... brother!

6. IW 3rd Rd. - Stephens d. Kuznetsova
The last time Sloane won three matches in an event? Last spring at Roland Garros. Of course, it didn't come without some drama. She led 4-0 in the 3rd, and served at 5-3. She missed all her first serves in the game and was broken, but then broke Kuznetsova to get the victory. Still, Stephens has slipped to the eighth-highest ranked U.S. woman, as both Alison Riske and Madison Brengle have passed her by in the new rankings.
7. IW 3rd Rd. - Garcia d. Ivanovic
Hmmm, didn't we just see this result? Pastry Caro has AnaIvo's number.
8. $10K Port El Kantaoui QF - Myrtille Georges d. Cristina Sanchez-Quintanar
There was no FIFTH straight final in the cards for CSQ.
HM- IW Final - Hingis/Mirza d. Makarova/Vesnina
Did this match mark the official start of the "Race for #1 in the post-Errani/Vinci Era?" These are the four players-most-likely to contend, so Martina & Sania get the early nod.


Meanwhile, on Caro Corner... what is it they say about working with children and animals?

If Bruno starts donning a bikini... look out! But when all else fails, go with mom...

1. IW QF - Serena Williams d. Timea Bacsinszky
With a combined streak of 29 match wins (Serena w/ 14 going back to Singapore '14, and Timea w/ 15 since February) between the two of them, this will probably be the "in-form" match-up of all match-ups for 2015. Of course, it ended with the Swiss heading home without playing another match (have no fear, the sombrero made it without a scratch)... and then Serena doing the same soon after (sans nifty sombrero, but with some new reading material... though maybe she should have waited until AFTER the Indian Wells final to show everyone what she's doing on her leisure time. I'm just sayin'.).


A photo posted by Serena Williams (@serenawilliams) on

2. IW SF - Halep walkover Serena Williams
fourteen years later, a similar (but, thankfully different) ending.

3. IW 4th Rd. - Serena Williams d. Stephens
Sloane had a two-break lead at 3-0 in the 1st, but soon saw Serena holding a set point at 5-4. Rather than fold, though, Stephens held on and won the set in a tie-break. Williams seized control after that but, hey, Current Sloane not putting her head down and slinking away in the opening set counts as a good result considering we've seen quite the opposite on many occasions over the past two years. At least it might have made her 22nd birthday on Friday a little better.
4. IW 4th Rd. - Halep d. Karolina Pliskova
For all that the Czech has accomplished in 2015, one thing she hasn't done is take a set off The Pride in two matches this season. It's a familiar feeling. Karolina lost in straights to Halep in their only junior meeting in '06, as well. She did have SOMETHING to celebrate, though.

5. $10K Gonesse Final - Bukta/Simion d. Elizaveta Ianchuk/Olga Ianchuk 6-4/3-6 [10-6]
$10K Gonesse SF - Honcova d. Elizaveta Ianchuk 6-1/0-6/6-3
$10K Gonessa Final - Olga Ianchuk d. Honcova 3-6/7-5/6-3
the Ianchuk sisters were all over a challenger for a second straight week. Again, they lost in the doubles final, and Olga won her second straight singles crown. The siblings didn't have to play each other in singles this time around, though, as Michaela Honcova nipped that possibility in the bud in the semis. There wasn't enough room in her tummy to devour BOTH Ianchuks, though.

BIG ANNOUNCEMENT: a Baby Frussian Pastry is on the way...

One step forward, and onto Miami.

**WTA FINALS, 2012-15**
28...Serena Williams (26-2)
21...Maria Sharapova (10-11)
17...Victoria Azarenka (9-8)
15...SIMONA HALEP (11-4)
12...Sara Errani (6-6)

1994 Steffi Graf (Tokyo & Miami)
2011 Caroline Wozniacki (Dubai & Indian Wells)
2012 Victoria Azarenka (Doha & Indian Wells)
2015 Simona Halep (Dubai & Indian Wells)

15...Timea Bacsinszky, SUI (FEB-MAR, ended by S.Williams)
12...Serena Williams, USA (JAN-MAR, ended by walkover)
11...Maria Sharapova, RUS (JAN, ended by S.Williams)
10...SIMONA HALEP, ROU (FEB-current)

**CAREER WTA/Mixed DOUBLES TITLES w/ partners**
[Martina Hingis]
11 - Anna Kournikova (1999-02)
8 - Jana Novotna (1997-99)
3 - Arantxa Sanchez Vicario (1997)
3 - Helena Sukova (1996,98)
2 - Sabine Lisicki (2014-15)
2 - Mirjana Lucic (1998)
2 - Flavia Pennetta (2014)
2 - Mary Pierce (2000)
2 - Natasha Zvereva (1997-98)
1 - Mahesh Bhupathi (2006 Mixed)
1 - Lindsay Davenport (1997)
1 - Gigi Fernandez (1995)
1 - Mary Joe Fernandez (1997)
1 - Maria Kirilenko (2007)
1 - Sania Mirza (2015)
1 - Leander Paes (2015 Mixed)
1 - Barbara Schett (2002)
1 - Nathalie Tauziat (2000)
[Sania Mirza]
5 - Cara Black (2013-14)
5 - Bethanie Mattek-Sands (2007,12-13,15)
3 - Liezel Huber (2004-06)
2 - Mahesh Bhupathi (2009 Mixed,2012 Mixed)
2 - Elena Vesnina (2011)
1 - Chuang Chia-Jung (2009)
1 - Edina Gallovits (2010)
1 - Martina Hingis (2015)
1 - Vania King (2007)
1 - Shahar Peer (2007)
1 - Anastasia Rodionova (2012)
1 - Mara Santangelo (2007)
1 - Yaroslava Shvedova (2011)
1 - Bruno Soares (2014 Mixed)
1 - Zheng Jie (2013)

3...Martina Hingis, SUI (2/1)
2...Bethanie Mattek-Sands, USA (2/0)
2...Sania Mirza, IND (2/0)

Meanwhile, at the Grand Canyon...

Well, Miami is up next. Once again, we won't be seeing Petra:

But we will see this:

Quite smashing, I'd say. But is it the outfit of a potential champion? With all the talk of 2001 over the last couple of weeks, it might be noteworthy that the last time Venus was the champion in Miami was... yep, 2001. Hmmm.

The Miami picks will be in the next post. Hmmm, whom shall I curse this time? (Venus, you can try to avert your eyes all you want -- but it might not protect you from being called upon in class.)

[cue tense, suspenseful music.]

All for now.


Blogger Diane said...

" the desert, only the Tennis Gods can hear you scream"

Best summary of Indian Wells final, hands-down! (almost spilled my coffee)

My lasting memories of this event (singles) will be of Bacsinszky and Tsurenko. I can't believe both JJ and Simona did what they do--yet AGAIN. You knew it was going to be either wonderful or really ugly.

Poor JJ. As she gets her athleticism and court feel back, she loses her edge. Very glad for Halep, but I hate to see this mental thing with JJ become so predictable.

She has a big chance in Charleston, as does Safarova.

Mon Mar 23, 11:47:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Todd.Spiker said...

Thanks, Diane. ;)

Oh, and just to fix a slight mix-up from later on in the post, while Li DID utter the "welcome to the crazy women's tennis tour" comment in Indian Wells last year, the last final of her career was right after IW in Miami, of course, not this tournament. I just corrected that.

Here's what I said last year about the circumstances of Li's "crazy" comment ("Backspin immortalized" with its permanent spot in the sidebar), by the way:

IW 4th Rd. - Li d. Wozniak
...6-1/6-4. Disaster finally caught up to Li in the semifinals vs. Pennetta, but her battle with her still lingering tennis demons was a crazy one in the final game of this match. The contest lasted just 1:33, but twenty minutes were taken up by the final game alone. Li took a 40/love lead on serve and it seemed as if it would all be a breeze from there, but she ended up having to save two break points, survive a bad call from the umpire on a shot that Wozniak couldn't reach and blow four MP via double-faults before she finally put things away on the ELEVENTH MP of the game. Afterward, Li told the crowd, in typically charming fashion, "Welcome to the crazy women's tennis tour."

I'm sure JJ's run in California HAS spiked your hopes for something similar in Charleston. For good reason. Hopefully this was the start of a very good spring/summer for Queen Chaos. ;)

Mon Mar 23, 12:28:00 PM EDT  

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