Monday, April 13, 2015

Wk.14- The Dream Team Does Charleston

In the week that was, an Indian Princess and her Swiss Miss partner ruled the land.

One rose to new heights...

While one returned to her former place of honor...

Together, they were a Dream Team of seemingly unlimited power...

Until they are beaten, well, then they are officially "unbeatable." 'Nuff said.

Of course, there's probably nothing that beats the stylings of the tour's best comedy duo, either.

And, really, "Southern JJ" is classic JJ.

Any day of the week.

S: Angelique Kerber/GER def. Madison Keys/USA 6-2/4-6/7-5
D: Martina Hingis/Sania Mirza (SUI/IND) d. Dellacqua/Jurak (AUS/CRO)

S: Anna Schmiedlova/SVK def. Camila Giorgi/ITA 6-4/6-3
D: Ysaline Bonaventure/Demi Schuurs (BEL/NED) d. Barbieri/Knapp (ITA/ITA)

"I'm so happy to give this No.1 back to my country. I'm so proud of this accomplishment."
- Sania Mirza
"I don't want to make you feel old, but I did watch you as a kid! You were an idol to most young girls at the time. You made it when you were 15!" - Mirza, to Martina Hingis

Co-PLAYERS OF THE WEEK: Martina Hingis & Sania Mirza, SUI/IND's a rarity that the PoW is a doubles team, but I think circumstances more than warrant it here. (Sorry, Angie.) So, the beat goes on, and on, and on. Three Premier tournaments, three titles for Hingis/Mirza. 14-0. Although, they DID slip a little in Charleston, as they opened with a tight three-set match against the Rodionova sisters (joining Makarova/Vesnina in having lost to the Dream Team twice), then dropped a set each against defending champs Medina-Garrigues/Shvedova and Hordettes Kudryavtseva/Pavlyuchenkova (another twice-victimized duo) before taking out their anger about all that extra work in the final by blitzing Dellacqua/Jurak 6-0/6-4 to claim the title. Of course, the result of all this is that Mirza is now the #1-ranked doubles player in the world, the first Indian woman to ever hold the top spot on the WTA computer. With both woman having won titles with other partners in '15 -- Mirza with Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Hingis with Sabine Lisicki -- this was the fourth season title for each, with Hingis also having won the Australian Open Mixed with another Indian partner, Leander Paes. Mirza had a runner-up result with Hsieh Su-Wei before teaming with the Original Swiss Miss, as well, so she's now played in four consecutive finals. But there IS a little footnote that goes with Mirza's accomplishment. While she's the 33rd woman to be ranked #1 in doubles, while she has three Mixed slam crowns, she's the only one without a women's doubles slam title on her resume. She's not going to be hounded like a certain Dane about that little fact, but it's surely a glaring -- and surprising -- omission that needs to be addressed. Going into the final, Hingis stated that her goal was to get Mirza that #1 ranking. Well, mission accomplished. Now onto the next challenge. Hint, hint... I don't think she'll have to look very far to find it.

RISERS: Anna Schmiedlova/SVK, Camila Giorgi/ITA & Madison Keys/USA
...Schmiedlova, 20, reached her second 2015 final and became the season's first maiden singles champion with her win in Katowice. The Slovak defeated the #2 (Alize Cornet, the defending champ) and #3 (Camila Giorgi, the two-time finalist) seeds in the tournament, as well as Katerina Siniakova and Alison Van Uytvanck. Already a back-to-back year-end Top 75 finisher as a teenager, Schmiedlova is now up to a career-best #46. Giorgi, the Slovak's final victim in Katowice, had yet another good week but once again failed to produce a finishing touch. The fightin' Italian -- do they make them any other way? -- put up wins over Denisa Allertova, Magda Linette, Elizaveta Kulichkova and Aga Radwanska (running her impressive career record vs. Top 10 players to 6-4), but dropped her third tour singles final in the past year -- and her second straight in the event -- with her loss to Schmiedlova. Keys' disappointing 1-2 mark during the Indian Wells/Miami swing was put into a corner in Charleston, as the AO semifinalist served through a surely-not-as-menacing-as-Petra list of foes that included two qualifiers (Kateryna Bondarenko & Lucie Hradecka), Andreea Mitu and Lauren Davis to reach her second career final. Once she got there, she found the same woman she'd defeated to win her maiden title in Eastbourne last summer -- Angelique Kerber. After not losing her serve all week, though, Keys dropped it in three of her first four service games in the final. Still, she battled through error-strewn strings, windy conditions and the German's tireless defense to serve up 4-2 in the 3rd. But she was broken again, then once more when serving at 5-5 in a dramatic game #11. Just when the title seemed to be hers, it wasn't.

But Keys (see FC vs. France, circa 2014... and maybe I.W./Mia '15, too) has shown an ability to learn and improve, and this experience will likely serve the same purpose.

SURPRISES: Lucie Hradecka/CZE & Danka Kovinic/MNE
...29-year old Hradecka has been attempting to follow in the footsteps of Sam Stosur, focusing more on her singles after years as a successful doubles star (world #4, U.S. Open champ). Sometimes it can get complicated. She and Andrea Hlavackova were playing in the Miami doubles semis last week, and she had to hustle to get north in time to play singles qualifying in Charleston. Playing her first match just a few hours after arriving in town, Hradecka made it through to the main draw (she's successfully qualified in five of her eight singles events in '15), then knocked off Zarina Diyas, Kristina Kucova, Caroline Garcia and Sara Errani to become just the second qualifier (Bencic '14) to reach the semis of the event in the last twenty years. Hradecka noticeably -- and understandably -- ran out of gas in her SF match against Madison Keys, but she won over the crowd and, with her ranking now at #72, she shouldn't have to battle her way through the Q-rounds quite as often the rest of this season. Kovinic was another qualifier who took the Charleston event by storm last week. A protege of her idol, none other than JJ herself, the 20-year old Montenegrin with a big serve put up main draw wins over Christina McHale and Belinda Bencic to set up a 3rd Round match-up with Jelena Jankovic. But JJ's foot injury forced her withdrawal (boo!), though she was on hand in the stands to lend support as Kovinic lost in the QF to another player with a Queen Chaos connection, good friend Andrea Petkovic. Kovinic is up to #109 in the new rankings, one good week from jumping into the Top 100 for the first time.


VETERAN: Angelique Kerber/GER
...before her great run in Charleston, Kerber had been flagging a bit lately, to say the least. After a strong QF/SF start to her season, she lost in the 1st Round at the Australian Open and the bottom dropped out of her 1st Quarter campaign. A Fed Cup match loss nearly cost the Germans a spot in this weekend's semis, then Kerber cut loose her coach and dropped out of the Top 10 for the first time in 143 weeks. She was on a 3-7 skid heading into South Carolina, but after picking up her fourth career singles title (her first since Linz '13) all seems well once more as Kerber attempts to help push Germany into a second straight FC final in Sochi against the Russians. "It's unbelievable. To win here after the really difficult weeks I had, I'm feeling great. Last year I had four finals and I didn't win any of them, so it's great that I actually won this one today," Kerber said. Her run in Charleston included wins over Evgeniya Rodina, Irina-Camilia Begu (who defeated her in the 1st Round in Melbourne), FC teammate and friend Andrea Petkovic (the defending champ) and Madison Keys in a rematch (and reversal) of their meeting in the Eastbourne final last summer.
COMEBACKS: Anastasiya Sevastova/LAT & Mihaela Buzarnescu/ROU
...Sevastova, 24, returned to action earlier this season after a nearly two-year injury-related retirement. The former Top 40 player has so far only lost one singles match in her comeback, and this weekend the Latvian notched her third ITF challenger win of 2015 (tying for the circuit lead) and ran her record on the year to 18-1. Sevastova claimed the $25K Ahmedabad, India title after making it through qualifying then knocking off Fatma Al Nabhani, #1-seeded Nao Hibino, Miyabi Inoue and #2-seeded Ankita Raina (the highest-ranked Indian woman in SINGLES at #248) in straight sets in the final. The title is Sevastova's biggest since her return. The last time she won a larger event came when she won her only WTA level crown in Estoril in 2010. In the $10K Port El Kantaoui challenger, 26-year old Swarmette Buzarnescu won her second title in as many weeks, nearly double-bageling Natalija Sipik in a 6-1/6-0 final, and winning the doubles (her third '15 win there, as well). A former Top 5 junior in 2006, Buzanescu was a rising Top 200 player in 2011-12 (reaching #141) before she first began to experience pain that eventually led to knee surgery. She was out two full years from September '12 until last autumn, and in the last few weeks all her hard work to get back has started to pay off. With her 13th ITF singles win in hand, Buzarnescu's WTA standing jumps from #765 to #630 in the new rankings. One step at a time.

FRESH FACES: Lauren Davis/USA, Anhelina Kalinina/UKR & Alison Van Uytvanck/BEL
...21-year old Davis doesn't get nearly as much attention as many of her fellow young Bannerettes, but her fiery competitiveness hasn't prevented her from getting quite a bit out of her five-foot-two frame. Take a little Italian, make her American with a hard court preference who admires Rafa Nadal because they "have similar games and he fights no matter what"... and the mixture you end up with is Davis. Last season, she notched wins over Peng Shuai (just before her U.S. Open SF run), Flavia Pennetta (at Wimbledon), Karolina Pliskova, Daniela Hantuchova (on grass), Sara Errani and Vika Azarenka. Already this season she's added wins over the likes of Sloane Stephens and Anna Schmiedlova, then last week in Charleston got her first career Top 10 victory with a straight sets take down of #1-seeded Genie Bouchard. Avoiding a big letdown, she then followed up the win by defeating Mona Barthel before ultimately losing to Madison Keys in the QF. Davis is up to #57, within striking range of her career high of #43 from last summer. In the $25K challenger in Jackson, Mississippi it was Kalinia, 18, notching her first career ITF singles win. A girls finalist at last year's U.S. Open, the Ukrainian defeated Brit Johanna Konta in the final. Van Uytvanck, 21, reached her second career WTA semifinal (Hong Kong in September '14) in Katowice with wins over Magdalena Rybarikova, Carina Witthoeft and Kirsten Flipkens.
DOWN: Genie Bouchard/CAN, Aga Radwanska/POL & Mirjana Lucic-Baroni/CRO
...welcome the land of quickly diminishing returns. Bouchard once again faltered badly in an event in which she was the #1 seed. In Charleston, the Canadian's non-slam outings continued to produce starkly different results from what she's done in the slams. This time she exited in her opening 2nd Round match, losing in straights sets to Lauren Davis. Bouchard is just 2-4 since her Australian Open QF run, but the pattern goes back quite a bit further. 23-5 in her last five slams, she's just 8-12 in non-slam tour level events since reaching the Wimbledon final last summer.

Radwanska, the Katowice #1 seed, entered the week having never won a tour title in Poland (and with just one singles and two doubles wins on the ITF circuit a decade ago) and she ended it the same way. After stringing together three easy wins, Aga was bounced in the semis in straight sets by Camila Giorgi. She's 19-17 since winning the title in Montreal last summer, and one has to wonder just how long it'll be before there's a major shake-up in the Radwanska camp, whether it would involve coach Tomasz Wiktorowski or "advisor/consultant" Martina Navratilova. Radwanska's father has already recently weighed in with his thoughts on the future of Polish Fed Cup captain Wiktorowski, so it's fair to wonder just how long it might be before Aga might react, as well. Meanwhile, at least Aga still has the fan vote on her side.

Meanwhile, back in Charleston, after Lucic-Baroni's inspiring and heartfelt win last year in Quebec City, it still feels bad to include her in this category. Up until now, I've avoided it. But after her 1st Round loss last week to Kristina Kucova, the Croat has now lost four straight matches this season. She's 5-9 in '15, and 5-10 since winning and ending her sixteen-year title drought last September. Sigh... it is what it is.
ITF PLAYERS: Teliana Pereira/BRA & Danielle Lao/USA the $50K Medelin challenger, 26-year old Brazilian Pereira claimed the 22nd circuit singles crown of her career, and her biggest ever. The #6 seed, she took out Katerina Stewart, Patricia Mayr-Achleitner, Mariana Duque and Veronica Cepede Royg in the final. #130 Pereira is the highest-ranked player from South America.

Meanwhile, enter "The Little Giant." Five-foot-three Lao, 23, is a former two-time All-American and team captain at USC. The ex-Trojan claimed both the singles (her first) and doubles (second) career ITF circuit titles in the $15K in Leon, Mexico. The journey was quite a ride, too. In the QF, #6-seeded Lao (the world #457) saved a handful of match points against #1-seed Mayo Hibi (the 3rd set alone lasted over ninety minutes). In the final against Alexandrina Naydenova, she overcame a 4-1 3rd set deficit, served for the match at 5-4 only to be broken, then broke back to serve once more for the title at 6-5. When she finally converted match point, she'd literally edged her opponent by a single point, winning the overall match stat by a 95-94 total. And she did it while Naydenova fired seven aces to her zero (naturally, with her height), while Lao had eight DF (Naydenova had nine). Two years ago, Lao actually co-authored a tennis book with Rick Limpert. "The Invaluable Experience" recounts Lao's college tennis career and explains why playing a sport in college might be the best decision one could ever make.

Cannot tell you how much this strong finish means to me. Thank you Leon! I'll never forget this week. #soblessed

A photo posted by Danielle Lao (@thelittlegiant) on

This is what it's all about. No guarantees...just pursuing the grind. #mananaagain #unomas #soblessed

A photo posted by Danielle Lao (@thelittlegiant) on

...this girl just won't go away. After becoming the first player born in the 2000's to earn an official ranking earlier this season, then winning a $10K challenger in Orlando shortly afterward, 14-year old Liu was once again playing with her head handily above deep water while winning the 18-singles in the Easter Bowl junior event in Indian Wells. The #12 seed, Liu took out Ingrid Neel, #4-seed Raveena Kingsley and #5 Katie Swan, the Brit who reached the Australian Open girls final this year, in a three-set final. Swan won the Easter Bowl doubles with Sonya Kenin, and defeated Liu in the 1st Round of the girls competition at last year's U.S. Open.

DOUBLES: Ysaline Bonaventure/Demi Schuurs (BEL/NED)
...while Hingis & Mirza (and, in January, Bethanie Mattek-Sands) have been stealing the doubles headlines all season, Bonaventure has quietly climbed nearly one hundred spots in the doubles rankings since the start of the year, and this weekend the Waffle became the fourth woman to claim multiple doubles titles in 2015. Two months after a surprise title run with Rebecca Peterson (the Swede with whom she's also won an ITF title this year) in Rio, the 20-year old Bonaventure took home another crown this weekend in Katowice with Demi Schuurs. Schuurs is just 21, but she's already put together an impressive history as a doubles specialist (though the Dutch woman did manage to slip in one singles title in a $10K challenger last February, as well). As a junior, she very nearly won a Doubles Grand Slam, winning girls doubles titles at the Australian and U.S. Open and reaching the finals of Roland Garros and Wimbledon in 2011. Schuurs has already won fourteen ITF doubles titles with twelve different partners (and reached five additional finals with three more), and has now added her maiden tour-level honor, as well, in just her seventh tour event over the last four years. Both players rise to new career-high rankings on Monday, with Bonaventure moving into the Top 100 at #84, while Schuurs is at #113. Oh, and Schuurs -- I hope, I hope, I hope... well, I think so -- may have started a whole new trend by wearing plaid shorts in the final, as well.


It was quite a week for the Murray/Mauresmo camp...

Amelie's already coaching the tyke on what shoes to wear in order to get the best traction

1. Chas Final - Kerber d. Keys
Things got off to an error-heavy start for both, but as the match went on it transformed into both an offensive (Keys) and defensive (Kerber) clash full of momentum swings, ultimately becoming a pretty tense and dramatic contest down the stretch. Keys' errors ultimately did her in, though, as she failed to hold in three of her first four and two of her last three service games in the match, losing a 4-1 3rd set lead. Serving at 5-5, Keys led 40/love, but Kerber edged back and the American double-faulted to give the German a break point. An unforced error gave Kerber a 6-5 lead, and she then served out the match at love.

Really, I think the immediate post-match reaction of both players says it all.

2. Chas 2nd Rd. - Davis d. Bouchard
This sort of thing isn't really a big surprise anymore.

3. Chas 3rd Rd. - Hradecka d. Garcia
A preview of next weekend's CZE/FRA FC semifinal (even if Hradecka won't be there)? The Czech blew a 4-1, two-break lead in the 3rd, but won anyway. Of course, this sort of thing wouldn't happen with Amelie around.
4. Chas 1st Rd. - Cepelova d. Vesnina 6-2/6-7(5)/7-6(4)
Chas 2nd Rd. - Errani d. Cepelova 6-3/7-6(5)
for a brief moment, surprise '14 finalist (she defeated Serena, remember) Cepelova was re-living her glorious Charleston past. Then Errani put an end to that. Lately, she knows a lot about putting an end to things.
5. Chas Final - Hingis/Mirza d. Dellacqua/Jurak
But at least Casey had this...

6. Chas 1st Rd. - Vekic d. Watson 6-3/4-6/7-5
Chas 2nd Rd. - Brengle d. Vekic 6-1/6-3
in a rare win for the Croat, Vekic comes back from a break down twice in the 3rd to defeat Watson. The euphoria didn't last long.
7. Chas 3rd Rd. - Petkovic d. Brengle
. Petko gets some revenge for BrengleFly's AO upset.

8. Chas SF - Kerber d. Petkovic 6-4/6-4
Kato QF - Van Uytvanck d. Flipkens 6-2/6-4
all-Germans. All-Waffles. But do Angie or Andrea have a personal logo like Flipper? (Dolphin sounds... dolphin sounds!)

9. Chas 2nd Rd. - Barthel d. Stephens
Ah, but Sloane did win SOMETHING last week.

10. Kato 2nd Rd - Barbieri/Knapp d. Mladenovic/Jans-Ignacik 6-3/6-4
Chas QF - Erakovic/Petkovic d. Babos/Groenefeld 6-1/6-2
Kiki and Timea didn't fare as well apart from each other last week. On the bright side, Mladenovic hired a new fitness coach.

11. Chas 3rd Rd. - Kovinic walkover Jankovic
Chas QF - Petkovic d. Kovinic 2-6/6-3/6-1
where there's a will there's a JJ. Kovinic hit a 122-mph serve on Petko's first MP. Yeah, just like Jankovic would have done.

12. $15K Dijon Final - Jana Fett d. Maryna Zanevska
The Force continues to be strong with this one. 18-year old Croat Fett wins her third career ITF title.
HM- $25K Chiasso Final - Reka-Luca Jani d. Alexandra Cadantu
Reka-Luca Jani! Reka-Luca Jani! Reka-Luca Jani! The 23-year old Hungarian, claiming her first '15 title in three final appearances, locks up career win #19.

Bacsinszky is goin' places...

The People's Timea strikes again!

Best hashtag I've seen in a while: #shedoesntknowhowtocountpointsintennis

1. Kato Final - Anna Schmiedlova d. Giorgi
Hey, at least Giorgi didn't hold match point and lose in her THIRD straight career final. Still, it has to be getting a little old, this coming in second place thing.

2. $25K Barnstaple Final - Kristyna Pliskova d. Zander
Kristyna's results have picked up since Karolina started winning so much. This is her second challenger win of the season. Maybe it'll inspire Karolina to get her first '15 title on the WTA tour soon?
3. Chas 1st Rd. - Hingis/Mirza d. Anastasia Rodionova/Arina Rodionova
...6-7(7)/6-3 [10-5].
The Chan sisters made the final in '14. That wasn't going to happen with the Rodionovas. Not with the Dream Team around. But, still, this was a little too close for comfort.

4. Kato Q2: Kulichkova d. Nadiia Kichenok 6-2/6-7(4)/6-3
Kato 1st Rd. - Kulichkova d. Ula Radwanska 6-0/6-1
Kulichkova, who reached the Katowice draw as a lucky loser, should be winning some awards around here soon. The 19-year old (her birthday was Sunday!), who swept the AO girls singles and doubles a year ago, has gone 14-4 in her last eighteen and is 19-8 on the season. After reaching the Katowice QF, she's up to #113.
5. Kato QF - Anna Schmiedlova d. Cornet
The '14 champ was felled by the Slovak, but also a thigh injury that has to call into question whether she'll be ready to go next weekend in France's Fed Cup semi vs. the Czechs.
HM- Kato SF - Giorgi d. Aga Radwanska 6-4/6-2
Kato SF - Barbieri/Knapp d. Lyudmyla Kichenok/Nadiia Kichenok 6-3/6-1
defeating sisters in the Katowice semis didn't bode well for your immediate future.

Guess who'll be wearing the red-and-green again this week!

Meanwhile, on Caro Corner...

The week was about rolling Easter eggs on the White House lawn and "playing tennis" with President Obama.

Hitting tweeners in practice (I think the SloMo is the key here).

And hanging out -- and lighting up Twitter with speculation -- with Houston Texans' defensive end extraordinaire J.J. Watt.

**WTA DOUBLES #1's**
[33 = by year first reached #1]
1984 Martina Navratilova
1985 Pam Shriver
1990 Helena Sukova
1990 Jana Novotna
1991 Gigi Fernandez
1991 Natasha Zvereva
1992 Larisa Savchenko (Neiland)
1995 Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario
1997 Lindsay Davenport
1998 Martina Hingis
1999 Anna Kournikova
2000 Corina Morariu
2000 Lisa Raymond
2000 Rennae Stubbs
2000 Julie Halard-Decugis
2000 Ai Sugiyama
2002 Paola Suarez
2003 Kim Clijsters
2003 Virginia Ruano Pascual
2005 Cara Black
2006 Samantha Stosur
2007 Liezel Huber
2010 Serena Williams
2010 Venus Williams
2010 Gisela Dulko
2011 Flavia Pennetta
2011 Kveta Peschke
2011 Katarina Srebotnik
2012 Sara Errani
2012 Roberta Vinci
2014 Peng Shuai
2014 Hsieh Su-Wei
2015 Sania Mirza
[by weeks at #1]
237...Martina Navratilova
199...Liezel Huber
163...Cara Black
137...Lisa Raymond
124...Natasha Zvereva
111...Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario
110...Roberta Vinci
87...Paola Suarez
87...Sara Errani
80...Gigi Fernandez
68...Helena Sukova
67...Jana Novotna
65...Virginia Ruano Pascual
61...Samantha Stosur
48...Pam Shriver
45...Ai Sugiyama
35...Martina Hingis
32...Lindsay Davenport
24...Gisela Dulko
20...Peng Shuai
18...Flavia Pennetta
14...Julie Halard-Decugis
10...Anna Kournikova
10...Kveta Peschke
10...Katarina Srebotnik
8...Venus Williams
8...Serena Williams
7...Corina Morariu
5...Hsieh Su-Wei
4...Kim Clijsters
4...Larisa Savchenko Neiland
3...Rennae Stubbs

5...MARTINA HINGIS (4 + 1 Mixed)
2...Bethanie Mattek-Sands

22...Heather Watson, GBR (Hobart)
23...Simona Halep, ROU (Shenzhen)
23...Simona Halep, ROU (Dubai)
23...Simona Halep, ROU (Indian Wells)
#73 - Daniela Hantuchova, SVK (Pattaya)
#67 - ANNA SCHMIEDLOVA, SVK (Katowice)
#49 - Heather Watson, GBR (Hobart)
#37 - Timea Bacsinszky, SUI (Acapulco)

Carla Suarez-Navarro, ESP (0-2)
Anna Schmiedlova, SVK (Outdoor=L, Indoor=W)

Hobart - Madison Brengle/USA (0-0) + L
Pattaya - Ajla Tomljanovic/AUS-CRO (0-0) + L
Rio - Anna Schmiedlova/SVK (0-0) + L
Katowice - Anna Schmiedlova/SVK (0-1) + W
Katowice - Camila Giorgi/ITA (0-2) + L

7...S.Williams/Azarenka (SW 5-2)
6...S.Williams/Sharapova (SW 6-0)
4...Azarenka/Sharapova (VA 3-1)
2...A.Radwanska/Cibulkova (1-1)
2...Azarenka/Stosur (1-1)
2...S.Williams/Jankovic (SW 2-0)
2...Halep/Stosur (SH 2-0)
2...Koukalova/Muguruza (1-1)
2...Sharapova/Halep (MS 2-0)
2...Sharapova/Ivanovic (MS 2-0)
2...Bacsinszky/Garcia (TB 2-0)
2...KERBER/KEYS (1-1)
2...Sharapova/Li (MS 2-0)
2...S.Williams/Li (SW 2-0)

CZE - Kvitova,Safarova
GER - Petkovic,Kerber
SVK - Hantuchova,A.Schmiedlova
USA - S.Williams,V.Williams

#181 Hsieh Su-Wei/TPE - Kuala Lumpur
#158 Sesil Karatantcheva/BUL - Acapulco
#110 Lucie Hradecka/CZE - Charleston
#105 Alison Van Uytvanck/BEL - Katowice

4 - SANIA MIRZA, Feb-Apr (3-1) *
3 - HINGIS/MIRZA, Mar-Apr (3-0) *
2 - Bethanie Mattek-Sands, Jan (2-0)
* - active streaks

RU - Madison Brengle, USA (#84) - Hobart
SF - Tsvetana Pironkova/BUL (#67) - Sydney
SF - Lucie Hradecka/CZE (#110) - Charleston

The birthdays never stop!

Yikes! It's been sixteen years since The Fair One made her mark at the All-England Club with an upset of then-#1 Martina Hingis.

And remember when Jada was just a tiny little thing?

And when Maria was THIS young?

Well, maybe not. I think I'm caught in a time loop.

Still, this retweeting of fans is a nice little habit that Sharapova has gotten into of late.

14 Final: Garcia d. Jankovic
14 Doubles Final: Arruabarrena/Garcia d. King/Scheepers
15 Top Seeds: Svitolina/Puig

#1 Svitolina d. (Q) Haddad Maia
#2 Puig d. Maria
#1 Svitolina d. #2 Puig

...the first red clay court event of the spring, taking place during a Fed Cup week. Yeah, pretty much anything could happen, with ANYONE winning.

France at Czech Republic
Germany at Russia
=World Group Playoffs=
=World Group II Playoffs=
Asia/Oceania II
Europe/Africa III

...I'll have a short Fed Cup weekend preview later this week, when the rosters are finalized after some of the injuries from this past week. Quick semifinal shorthand: Amelie & Co. are really up against it this time... but we've heard that before, and Germany hopes that an invasion of Russia works a little better this time around. (Oh, sorry... too soon for that joke?)

Oh, well.

Meanwhile, in Flushing Meadows...

All right, Maria. Take us out. Abbey Road... Sharapova style.

Hey, what's happening...!?!??!

Well, I guess it was bound to happen. I should have known that two would stage a hostile takeover at some point.

All for now.


Blogger Diane said...

It may have been hard to detect during the final because she was playing Keys, but Kerber was a real crowd favorite all week long. She had to fight so hard against Rodina and Begu (who was very impressive), and she efficiently managed Petko (no surprise--Petko was very tired, and Angie is kind of her nemesis, anyway). It's fair to say that Kerber was the most match-tough player in the field, and it didn't go unnoticed.

Mon Apr 13, 08:43:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Eric said...

Is Schmiedlova really tall? I thought Giorgi was rather tall...but then Anna is much taller than her in the photo you posted...maybe Giorgi is standing slightly behind....


I always thought that Kerber and Petko got along well...there was a story about how Kerber wanted to quit and then gained confidence after Petko told her to believe in herself...and then Kerber went on her run to the top 10. At the time Petko was closing in on the top 10 and then got injured...and Kerber kind of supplanted her.

Petko is one of those "a rising tide lifts all ships" types of people.

They're the same age so they must have been playing against each other for a long time.

Mon Apr 13, 10:14:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Todd.Spiker said...

Giorgi is five-six, and Schmiedlova is 5-9. I've always thought of Giorgi as being one of the shorter players, making her power a bit of a surprise at first, but she's actually almost two inches taller than, say, Errani.

So I guess the reality was somewhere between our perceptions. :)

Mon Apr 13, 11:01:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Eric said...

I thought Giorgi was 5'10" I'm really shocked.

So there's a lot of little players with lots of power. Cibulkova, Krunic, Giorgi, Henin...Halep isn't that big either...or maybe I'm just wrong on everyone's heights.

Mon Apr 13, 12:22:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Diane said...

Eric, Petko said in press conf. that Kerber owned her when they were juniors and that she finds it really hard to play her to this day. Angie leads her 7-3.

Mon Apr 13, 09:49:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Eric said...

Davis replaces Venus against Italy... Um...what happened to the 10 US girls in front of Davis in the rankings? I don't see Davis taking out Giorgi or Errani... and who's the US's doubles specialist?

#uh oh

Tue Apr 14, 12:39:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Todd.Spiker said...

MJF's poor roster-compiling/convincing-to-play skills might just come home to roost this weekend.

Serena can only do so much to save her from herself. Venus did it in February.

And it's no given that Serena defeats Pennetta and wins both her singles matches. This is Serena's season debut on clay, remember, and the atmosphere in Italy is going to be decidedly Serena-vs.-Simona-in-Miami like. Plus, it's Flavia in Fed Cup. ;)

Tue Apr 14, 12:57:00 PM EDT  
Blogger colt13 said...

I love Bogota because it is a week where somebody will make a name for themselves. I would like it to be Minella, but realistically Panova, Kovinic, Periera and Haddad Maia have already made the 2nd round, so it will probably be one of them.

Giorgi has McKayla Maroney face in her pic.

One question. I had forgot Clijsters had reached #1 in doubles. Who was her regular partner? Elke?

Wed Apr 15, 01:17:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Todd.Spiker said...

Ha! I was thinking the same think about Giorgi's facial expression in that one. :D

(I guess going 0-3 in finals will do that to an Italian.)

The player Clijsters played the most often -- and won her slams -- with was Ai Sugiyama. KC is actually one of six players who have been simultaneously ranked #1 in BOTH singles and doubles.

102 wks - Navratilova (19 85-86,86-87)
29 wks - Hingis (1998,99,00)
8 wks - S.Williams (2010)
7 wks - Sanchez-Vicario (1995)
3 wks - Davenport (2000)
3 wks - Clijsters (2003)

Wed Apr 15, 01:49:00 PM EDT  

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