Wk.16- Is Kerber's Future Now?
So, when things are wrapped up in Paris in a few weeks, will we look back at what happened in Stuttgart and realize that we witnessed the future? Angelique Kerber surely hopes so.
After all, the last three EuroClay seasons have kicked off with concluding images of Maria Sharapova scooting around the court in Germany behind the wheel of a Porsche after claiming the Stuttgart title on three consecutive occasions. All three of those clay court seasons ended with the Russian playing in the Roland Garros final, and she lifted the Coupe Suzanne Lenglen in 2012 and '14.
Sharapova didn't four-peat this week, though. Thank/blame Kerber for that. The German knocked off the Russian in the first match of her latest title defense, then went on to take down two more Top 10 players en route to extending her current winning streak to eleven games and wrapping up her second straight clay court title of the spring.
This time, it was Kerber who capped the weekend by commanding the German driving machine.
In the same event, Simona Halep, the most likely RG favorite not named Maria or Serena, was frustrated by Caroline Wozniacki's defensive tactics in the semifinals in a three-set defeat. The Romanian, a finalist in Paris a year ago, may yet end the spring talking about the wonders of the red stuff, as she did this week when she said, "On clay you have to think about points and I like to think and be creative." But at least for one week, she's left open the door to the possibility that one of the other slam-less woman of the WTA tour might take their turn at breaking through in a major way on the grand slam stage.
It could be Kerber who grabs that moment, or maybe even the Dane, who looked title-worthy all week until Kerber's aggressive play won the big points down the stretch in the final. Wozniacki, who knocked off a pair of Top 10ers herself in Stuttgart, served for the title at 5-3 in the 3rd set, and twice came within two points of her first clay title since 2011 just a week after officially adding three-time Roland Garros champ Arantxa Sanchez to her coaching team. Speaking of Spaniards, Garbine Muguruza is certainly a name to watch in Paris, as well. Remember, she handed Serena her worst-ever slam loss there a season ago. But she lost a break -- and nearly two-break -- lead against Halep in their 2nd Round match-up this past week, so any talk of her ascendency comes with some semi-serious reservations at this point.
Of course, it also pays to remember that the aforementioned Williams is still alive for a true Grand Slam this season, and has yet to lose a match that counts in 2015. If she arrives in Paris with historic intent, well, what everyone else is planning might not matter all too much.
As it is, just a few sunrises away from May, it's Kerber who is this season's Queen of Clay. As of today, at least.
But, hey, who knows. Maybe the future IS now. After all, it's happened before.
*WEEK 16 CHAMPIONS*
STUTTGART, GERMANY (Premier $740K/RCI)
S: Angelique Kerber/GER def. Caroline Wozniacki/DEN 3-6/6-1/7-5
D: Bethanie Mattek-Sands/Lucie Safarova (USA/CZE) d. Caroline Garcia/Katarina Srebotnik (FRA/SLO) 6-4/6-3
PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Angelique Kerber/GER
...a few weeks ago, Kerber sat at 8-9 for this season, with just three wins in her last ten matches. Well, things have changed. The clay -- be it the green or red variety -- has been very, very good to the German. In fact, she hasn't lost in her last eleven matches. Her title run in Stuttgart, her second in a row after winning Charleston, gives her back-to-back wins in finals for the first time since she won the Paris Indoors and in Copenhagen to grab the first two titles of her career in 2012. She lost eight of her next nine championship matches before ruling the courts in April (though not for that extra match on Fed Cup weekend vs. Russia... but, hey, no one said Angie's perfect, even if she HAS been for a month now). Kerber knocked off three Top 10 players in Stuttgart: #2 Maria Sharapova in the 2nd Round, #8 Ekaterina Makarova in the QF and #5 Caroline Wozniacki in a seesaw final that included a comeback after the Dane served for the match at 5-3 in the 3rd and twice got within two points of victory. Kerber becomes the fourth German winner of the Stuttgart event, joining Anke Huber (1991 & '94) and Julia Goerges (2011, when she also def. Wozniacki in the final), and will rise to #12 in the new rankings.
Angelique Kerber fights back to win Porsche Grand Prix: Germany's Angelique Kerber came from a set down to out... http://t.co/GtGbaS8SjX— ICE-CREAM MAN (@Segzy006) April 26, 2015
Current scenes in Stuttgart: pic.twitter.com/ijvUmbscXs— Courtney Nguyen (@FortyDeuceTwits) April 26, 2015
RISERS: Caroline Wozniacki/DEN & Madison Brengle/USA
...so, was it a two steps forward and one step back week for the Dane, or the other way around? There was surely a great deal to get excited about in Stuttgart regarding Arantxa Sanchez's current clay court science project, but something to continue to worry about, as well. Wozniacki opened with a win over #13 Lucie Safarova, then had back-to-back Top 10 wins over Carla Suarez-Navarro and Simona Halep, the latter an impressive showing in which Caro's defense frustrated the Swarmette and made one wonder if maybe she could actually be a factor in Paris later this spring. The results put Wozniacki into her first clay final since 2011, and at her first Premier event since 2012. She opened up the final in aggressive form, taking the 1st before having Angelique Kerber turn the tables on her in the 2nd. The 3rd played right into the Dane's hands. Well, until it didn't. She served for the title at 5-3, coming within two points of the win before being broken. She was two points from the title a game later, as well. But as has been the case on more than one occasion against top players in '15, Wozniacki failed to win the big points down the stretch. In the Auckland final, Caro lost to Venus Williams after taking the 1st set, then did the same vs. Halep in the Dubai semis. Twice, she's been obliterated by Vika Azarenka in '15. Against Kerber, she saved three match points while impressively winning a series of long points in game #12 of the final set, but the German wasn't to be denied on MP #4. All in all, it was a very good week for Wozniacki. But the way it ended left a few dangling questions about her season that she'd been wise to cut off when she had the chance. Now, they'll linger a while longer until, well, she takes the clippers to them. If she does, that is.
If Madison Brengle is this good on clay, why wasn't she invited to Fed Cup? #Stuttgart— merlisa (@merlisa) April 24, 2015
As for Brengle, the biggest question is whether or not the current U.S. Fed Cup Captain is totally oblivious to the field of Americans at her disposal when it comes to constructing a FC roster, or if Mary Joe just has something against Madison. After all, Brengle has been one of the surprise stories on tour over the last year. After a decade of trying, as well as twenty-seven failed slam qualifying attempts, BrengleFly finally notched her first career MD win at a major at last year's U.S. Open. Since then, she hasn't looked back. At 24, she reached her first tour QF late last season in Linz, climbed into the Top 90 for the first time in October and had her first Top 100 finish She reached her maiden tour final in Hobart in January, then the Round of 16 at the Australian Open. She entered Stuttgart ranked in the Top 50, after having seen the similarly-ranked Alison Riske chosen for FC duty vs. Italy on clay (a surface on which she's had spotty-at-best results) last weekend as Brengle prepped for the start of her EuroClay campaign. All she did in Germany was open with a win over ITALIAN Alberta Brianti (the Tennis Gods are so cheeky), then notched her first career Top 10 victory over #4 Petra Kvitova (FC star), and took out Caroline Garcia (who bedeviled MJF's squad in last year's FC) to reach her first career Premier semifinal. She lost there to eventual champ Kerber, but she'll rise to yet another new career-best ranking (#36) on Monday, and now sports a 33-22 record on clay the last three years. You know, just in case anyone is paying attention... which we know she isn't.
SURPRISES: Petra Martic/Stephanie Vogt (CRO/LIE) & Marina Melnikova/RUS
...well, they did it. Some team was bound to at some point, and it turned out to be Martic/Vogt. In their first-ever match as a duo, they took out the Dream Team doubles combo of Martina Hingis & Sania Mirza in the 1st Round in Stuttgart, ending their 14-0 run. Of course, it might have helped a LITTLE that both vets had to fly in from Fed Cup action last weekend (Mirza all the way from India), and that Hingis was essentially run into the ground playing two singles matches in two days for Switzerland (going solo in full matches for the first time since '07), literally limping to the finish last Sunday with a leg injury. She was treated for a back injury during this match in Stuttgart, as well. Still, all congrats to Martic/Vogt, who went on to defeat Goerges/Lisicki (also in post-FC action) and reach the semifinals, where they suffered a rare shutout (10-0) in a deciding match tie-break loss to Mattek-Sands/Safarova.
??????? https://t.co/x7nLFIZa7N— Steffi Vogt (@Steffi_Vogt) April 22, 2015
Meanwhile, 26-year old Melnikova (#194) notched a career-best victory over #69 Kirsten Flipkens in the Stuttgart Q-rounds when the Waffle retired. But Melnikova failed to make it through qualifying, losing to countrywoman Evgeniya Rodina and failing for the 23rd time in twenty-three career attempts to reach a tour-level main draw. Ah, but her week wasn't through, as a slew of FC-related pull-outs resulted in the Hordette making her WTA MD debut as a lucky loser and putting up her first tour victory in the 1st Round over -- making her second appearance in this category this week! -- Petra Martic. Melnikova would fall once again to another Russian, Ekaterina Makarova, in the 2nd Round. But it didn't put a damper of what turned out to be a career week.
VETERANS: Sara Errani/ITA & Alexandra Stevenson/USA
...Errani for following up her FULL Fed Cup weekend with more good tennis, and Stevenson for, well, just still being around after all these years. After wearing down Serena Williams and then taking her out in doubles (w/ Flavia's help) in Brindisi, the Italian knocked off Aga Radwanksa in Stuttgart to notch her first Top 10 win of the season (though that designation might not apply to A-Rad for much longer), then got a win over Zarina Diyas to reach the QF. As for Stevenson, she didn't win a title this week, but she WAS playing as a wild card entrant in the $50K Dothan challenger in Alabama. The 34-year old, who reached the semis as a qualifier in her Wimbledon debut back in '99 (having beaten fellow qualifier Jelena Dokic in the QF, and joining equally surprising Mirjana Lucic in the AELTC final four), opened with a victory over #1-seeded Grace Min (she was 5 -- not in ranking, but in years alive on earth -- when Stevenson made her SW19 run), then defeated two-time '15 ITF champ Olga Ianchuk before losing in the QF to Paula Cristina Goncalves (who won the doubles last week in Bogota). Stevenson hasn't won an ITF title since 1998, and after getting five MD slam wins at Wimbledon sixteen years ago she's had four the rest of her career (she hasn't played in the MD in a major since 2004). She finished at #18 in 2002 and finished '03 in the Top 100, though she hasn't had a Top 200 season since. But she's still out there (last week she was ranked #473), and will soon play her 750th career match as a professional. She's already started playing in a $50K event in Charlottesville this weekend, opening with a Q-round win on Sunday. Sometimes, longevity is an accomplishment in and of itself.
COMEBACK: Shahar Peer/ISR
...it seems like every time Peer shows up here I end up pulling out the, "I can't believe she's still only (insert current age)" line. Well, it's time to do it again. I can't believe she's still only 27. On Friday, I'll be able to change the "27" to a "28," by the way... so wish The Corporal an early happy birthday (whew! I haven't used THAT nickname in a while). The Israeli picked up her first ITF title in eleven years at the $50K challenger in Istanbul with a 1-6/7-6(4)/7-5 win in the final over Kristyna Pliskova. It was a match in which the vet held just one break point on the Czech's big (though not likely as big as her sister's) serve, but converted it at 5-5 in the 3rd set and then served out the championship, winning on her fifth match point. Pliskova won more points (106-95), but the #124-ranked Peer was the last woman standing. The tour has missed Peer in recent seasons, as she's fallen a bit off the radar after making so much noise early in her career. She reached a pair of slam QF in 2007, and put up five Round of 16 results in majors from 2006-08. In 2011, she reached #11 and came within one match victory of being the first Israeli to reach the Top 10. Since then, she's slowly slid down the rankings. When she finished last season at #119 it ended her nine-year run of Top 100 finishes (Top 80, actually). Peer had a losing record for 2015 before this past week's run, which included additional wins over Indy De Vroome, Jana Fett, Olga Govortsova and Anett Kontaveit. Her fifth career ITF title joins with her five WTA singles crowns (the last of which came in 2009, though she won a WTA $125K Series title in '13).
FRESH FACE: Belinda Bencic/SUI
...the Swiss didn't need BB to take out the Poles in last week's Fed Cup World Group Playoffs, so the teenager was well-rested heading into Stuttgart. As it turned out, she needed everything she had to take out Fed Cupper Julia Goerges in the 1st Round. Bencic trailed the German 4-5, love/40 in the 3rd set but overcame that triple match point moment and went on to take the final set at 7-5. She went down to Carla Suarez-Navarro a round later, but her Houdini-esque feat surely won't be forgotten come time for the year-end Backspin Awards. It'll be on the "Comeback of the Year" list.
DOWN: Maria Sharapova/RUS, Ana Ivanovic/SRB, Garbine Muguruza/ESP & Aga Radwanska/POL
...my, these "Down" categories have been crowded lately. Makes you wonder what kind of a slam Roland Garros is going to be this year. A year ago, the Stuttgart final was contended between Sharapova and Ivanovic. AnaIvo jumped out 5-0 in the 1st set, and held a 6-3/3-1 lead, as well as a point for 4-1. Sharapova saved it, then won eleven of thirteen games to win her third straight title at the event. This year the finalists went a combined 0-2 in their return to Germany. Ivanovic lost in the 1st Round, falling for the third time this season to Caroline Garcia; while Sharapova (2nd Rd.) suffered her third straight one-and-out result with her three-set loss to Angelique Kerber. After quick starts to her clay season ultimately led to three straight RG finals (and two titles in Paris) from 2012-14, might this signal a very different EuroClay campaign for the Russian? Showing a few competitive cracks in three-set matches in recent months, and nursing a leg injury, Sharapova is just 3-2 on clay in '15. Muguruza is once again having trouble holding onto leads, something which has occasionally dragged her down in between her other eye-popping results on tour. She went into her 2nd Round match in Stuttgart vs. Simona Halep with a 2-0 career mark against the Swarmette Queen, and had every opportunity to make it a three-peat. She had a break lead in the 3rd set, with break points for a double-break advantage, before the Romanian found a way to win. And, lastly, Aga lost early again in the same tournament, following up her 1-2 Fed Cup overall performance with a 1st Round defeat at the hands of FC star Sara Errani. Oh, and then her team lost a Hall of Famer soon afterward... though we sort of saw that coming a few weeks ago.
Hmmm, maybe Andre was his own Kuznetsova Curse this week? Well, either that or he transferred all their mojo to Steffi. Who, let's be honest, already had more than enough to spare...
I give up. pic.twitter.com/QDJuHnPe25— Andre Agassi (@AndreAgassi) April 24, 2015
ITF PLAYER: Louisa Chirico/USA
...it was an all-Bannerette final at the $50K Dothan, Alabama challenger in the first leg of the USTA's Wild Card Playoff for a spot in the Roland Garros main draw. 18-year old Louisa Chirico defeated 17-year old Katerina Stewart to win her third career ITF crown, and her biggest yet. Chirico defeated tour-level Monterrey (2014) finalist Jovana Jaksic in the semis before ending Stewart's hopes for her third '15 title and her sixth straight win in a final. In the championship match, Chirico took a pair of tie-break sets by a combined 14-1 score in a 7-6(1)/3-6/7-6(0) victory. Stewart served for the match at 5-3 in the 3rd, and led 30/love.
Charlotte Robillard-Millette wins her 2nd straight ITF jr title & her 1st G1 trophy 6-4, 7-5 over Bianca Andreescu! pic.twitter.com/5Ii6Ohv99Q— Tennis Canada (@TennisCanada) April 26, 2015
JUNIOR STARS: Charlotte Robillard-Millette/CAN & Bianca Andreescu/CAN
...it was an all-Canadian final at the Grade 1 junior event in Beaulieu-sur-Mur, France. #5-seeded Charlotte Robillard-Millette, 16, knocked off #9 Bianca Andreescu, 14, in straight sets in what was the first career G1 final for both girls. CRM, who reached the Australian Open junior QF in January and won a Grade 2 event last week, also knocked off the #3, #10 and #12 seeds in the event. Andreescu, for her part, defeated the #7, #11 and #14 seeds.
DOUBLES: Bethanie Mattek-Sands/Lucie Safarova (USA/CZE)
...well, they're at it again. After the first-time teaming of BMS and Safarova resulted in an Australian Open title in January, but a 1st Round exit in their second outing in Indian Wells, the duo got back on the brilliant side of the ledger in Stuttgart. With the Dream Team going out early, the title was there for the taking. And the #3 seeds took advantage with a win over Martic/Vogt (#1 Hingis/Mirza's conquerors) in the semis, then a straight sets triumph in the final over the #2 duo of Caroline Garcia & Katarina Srebotnik. It's Mattek-Sands' fifteenth career title (three this year) and her second in Stuttgart ('09 w/ Nadia Petrova), while Safarova now has six. Before she proved that an American CAN indeed play doubles on red clay (not that MJF is ever paying attention), BMS also made it through singles qualifying, ending the three-match losing streak she carried into Germany after her last successful Q-run in Monterrey. So far, Mattek-Sands is 10-7 in singles and 15-3 in doubles this season after having returned late last year from hip surgery.
Not surprisingly, having Flavia Pennetta in your corner is a good thing...
UPSET ALERT: Fabio Fognini d. eight-time Barcelona champ Rafael Nadal, 6-4, 7-6 (6). Second win this season for Italian over Rafa.— TENNIS.com (@Tennis) April 23, 2015
Being in charge of administering Laura Robson's drug test? Not so much.
Feel sorry for the drug testers that get assigned to my house. 2 hours and 4 cups of tea later... #happyfriday— Laura Robson (@laurarobson5) April 24, 2015
But, being Sam Stosur on an off week? Priceless.
1. Stutt Final - Kerber d. Wozniacki
...3-6/6-1/7-5. Kerber spoiled the day for Caro's home fans in the Copenhagen final in 2012, but the Dane couldn't do the same in front of a German crowd on Sunday. She came close... but this ain't horseshoes.
2. Stutt SF - Wozniacki d. Halep
...7-5/5-7/6-2. In this one, Halep was the one who couldn't win the big points. The Romanian was 0-for-5 on break point chances in the 1st set, and very nearly blew a two-break lead in the 2nd (the Dane closed to 5-5). After being frustrated by Wozniacki's defense, which dragged out rallies and forced her to hit extra shots, Halep showed the fight that she said a while back that she'd always have. Wozniacki got to within two points of a straight sets win before Halep forced a 3rd. In the final set, she saved three MP at 5-1 before Wozniacki finally converted on #4. The win raised the Dane's mark to 9-10 vs. Top 10 players the last two seasons. She's 4-6 vs. players in the Top 5.
3. Stutt 2nd Rd. - Brengle d. Kvitova
...6-3/7-6(2). BrengleFly celebrated, but Petra didn't let it get her down for long. A BMW will tend to do that.
4. Stutt QF - Wozniacki d. Suarez-Navarro
...6-0/6-3. The win is good. The scoreline is super impressive vs. CSN on clay. It was her first Top 10 win in 2015.
5. Stutt 2nd Rd. - Kerber d. Sharapova
...2-6/7-5/6-1. Kerber has now defeated Sharapova twice in a row.
6. Stutt 1st Rd. - Bencic d. Goerges
...3-6/6-3/7-5. Down 4-5, love/40 in the 3rd, the New Swiss Miss prevailed. Hmmm, if the Swiss team hadn't won last weekend vs. Poland would Captain Heinz Guenthardt have been heavily criticized for not getting Bencic onto the roster while Hingis' singles game was brought out of moth balls and went 0-2? Another reason to be thankful for The People's Timea.
7. Stutt 2nd Rd. - Halep d. Muguruza
...3-6/6-1/6-3. Muguruza was up 2-1 with a break in the 3rd, and had two BP for a double-break lead. Halep might have lost this match a few months ago, but she won it in April. She's back up to #2 in the new rankings.
8. Stutt QF - Brengle d. Garcia
...3-6/6-3/6-3. This wasn't one of them, as Garcia is at #29, but Brengle has posted three Top 25 wins since she won her first slam match at the Open last August.
9. Stutt 1st Rd. - Garcia d. Ivanovic
...7-6(6)/6-4. Garcia didn't get upset about France's Fed Cup loss. She just came to Germany and took down AnaIvo for the third time (already) this season.
10. Stutt 1st Rd. - Diyas d. Lisicki
...6-0/6-0. Did someone say something about not allowing a bad Fed Cup aftertaste to carry over? Umm, yeah... Sabine didn't do that.
11. Stutt 1st Rd. - Martic/Vogt d. Hingis/Mirza
...6-3/6-3. How long will Martic & Vogt be members of an exclusive club? Well, it might depend on just how healthy Hingis is after her you've-got-to-question-the-intelligence-of-it-now Fed Cup sojourn, even if it did serve to make her eligible for Rio.
12. Stutt 1st Rd. - Chan Chin-Wei/Liang Chen d. Bencic/Halep
...6-1/5-7 [10-8]. The clay court transition often leads to strange doubles court bedfellows.
13. Stutt Q3: Mattek-Sands d. Brianti 6-1/6-2
Stutt 1st Rd. - Brengle d. (LL) Brianti 6-4/6-4
...TWO different Americans take down an Italian on clay. It was a week too late for it to matter to MJF, though. Not that she takes note of such results or anything. By the way, BMS is now 17-7 on clay since 2013, and well above .500 for her career.
14. $50K Istanbul QF - Margarita Gaspayan/RUS d. Donna Vekic/CRO
...2-6/6-4/7-6(6). Vekic stepped down to the challenger level in a $50K event in which she was the #1 seed. She produced essentially the same result she's had on tour over the last year, though.
15. Marrakech Q1: Siegemund d. Riske
...6-4/6-3. Sheesh! It's a good thing Riske wasn't called upon to win a big match on clay anytime recently or anything. Oh, wait.
16. $25K Pula Final - Anne Schaefer/GER d. Alize Lim/FRA
...6-4/6-3. The German grabs her third ITF title of the season. Schaefer has played in six challenger finals in the first sixteen weeks of 2015.
17. $10K Heraklion Final - Raluca Georgiana Serban/ROU d. Anna Bondar/HUN
...4-6/6-1/6-4. The 17-year old Swarmette wins her second title in as many weeks. Bondar, who won the doubles, denied Cristina Sanchez-Quintanar her sixth '15 final with a defeat in the SF.
18. $15K Guadalajara Final - Marcela Zacarias/MEX d. Victoria Rodriguez/MEX
...4-6/6-4/7-5. Zacarias and Rodriguez have teamed to win seven ITF doubles crowns over the last twelve months, but the Mexican pair didn't play together this week in Guadalajara. In fact, 21-year old Zacarias and Laura Pigossi downed 20-year old countrywoman Rodriguez and Kim-Alice Grajdek in the semis, then went on to take the title. She then completed the V-Rod sweep in the singles final, winning her ninth career circuit crown.
19. $10K Port El Kantaoui Final - Jenny Claffey/Kathinka von Deichman (IRL/LIE) d. Eetee Maheta/Greta Mokrousova (IND/RUS)
...6-4/6-2. 24-year old Claffey, a player/coach from Dublin, made her ITF pro debut last month after playing three Fed Cup ties for Ireland from 2009-13. Last week in Tunisia she put up a win over the event's #4 seed (world #637 Deborah Kerfs) and reached the semifinals (she's 6-3 the last three weeks), then won her first career pro title in doubles. She'll have her first world ranking on Monday. When she made her debut a few weeks ago, she reported about her experiences on Facebook via Tennis Coach Ireland, saying, "Being apart of a professional tournament is a great environment to be in. It is something you don't get to experience when you are training. You see all the different styles of players, attitudes, and you learn a lot by watching other players. Some of the girls are not friendly whatsoever and then there are others who are if you make the effort." And, no, Felina wasn't there.
20. Prague Q1: Vondrousova d. Hlavackova
...2-6/6-3/6-3. A generational clash, as the junior Czech takes out her veteran countrywoman in front of a Prague crowd. [Side note: Yikes! I think this is a "Matches of the Week" record number of entries!]
HM- Marrakech Q2: Pereira d. Melnikova
...6-2/6-2. Bogota champ Pereira, when you factor in her ITF wins while claiming a $50K challenger in Medellin two weeks ago, has now strung together twelve straight victories. She'll have to take down a Radwanska -- Ula -- in the final round of qualifying to make it thirteen.
Rumor has it that Genie Bouchard unfollowed Madison Keys after this Tweet because she couldn't be associated with such sentiments.
1. Stutt 1st Rd. - Errani d. Aga Radwanska
...7-6(8)/6-4. For what it's worth, this will serve as the "line of demarcation" which will serve as 2015 ground zero, as we'll see how things have gone with Aga from this point when we check back in on her in a few weeks. Martina Navratilova ("officially," because she doesn't have enough time to fully commit to her role on the Radwanska team) jumped off the sinking ship... err, I mean... decided to part ways with A-Rad a few days after the Pole's latest disappointing result.
Not a surprise, whether Martina was being 100% truthful, or if it was a mutual decision just for the sake of change. Although, now we won't get to see Navratilova confer with Radwanska on how to win ON GRASS. Perhaps the two sides should have made it a "grass season only" connection in the first place, which would have taken less of Navratilova's time and might have led to better short-term results, as well. Other than their similar love of the lawns, it always seemed like a odd combination of forces to begin with. Of course, this move now leaves ACTUAL RADWANSKA COACH Tomasz Wiktorowski alone on the deck of what's looked a little like the Titanic for much of the last year and a half. Is it time to rearrange ALL of the deck chairs?
2. $50K Istanbul Final - Lyudmyla Kichenok/Nadiia Kichenok d. Ivakhnenko/Monova
...6-4/6-3. The Ukrianians add a nineteenth ITF title as a sisterly duo to the one WTA title they claimed earlier this season in Shenzhen.
3. $25K Shenzhen Final - Hsieh Su-Wei d. Yang Zhaoxuan
...6-2/6-2. The 29-year old has had mixed (and mostly disappointing) doubles results in '15, but she picked up her 24th career ITF singles title in Shenzhen.
Meanwhile, all critters great and small are drawn to Timea...
**2015 WTA FINALS**
3...Simona Halep, ROU (3-0)
3...Timea Bacsinszky, SUI (2-1)
3...CAROLINE WOZNIACKI, DEN (1-2)
**2012-15 WTA FINALS**
29 - Serena Williams (27-2)
21 - Maria Sharapova (10-11)
17 - Victoria Azarenka (9-8)
15 - Simona Halep (11-4)
13 - ANGELIQUE KERBER (4-9)
12 - Sara Errani (6-6)
12 - CAROLINE WOZNIACKI (5-7)
**2015 DEFEATED TOP SEED & DEFENDING CHAMPION**
Monterrey - Caroline Garcia, FRA (SF-Ivanovic) [RU]
Stuttgart - Angelique Kerber, GER (2nd-Sharapova) [W]
**2015 DEFEATED DEFENDING CHAMPION, WON TITLE**
Auckland - Venus Williams, USA (F-Ivanovic)
Sydney - Petra Kvitova, CZE (SF-Pironkova)
Katowice - Anna Schmiedlova, SVK (QF-Cornet)
Charleston - Angelique Kerber, GER (SF-Petkovic)
Stuttgart - Angelique Kerber, GER (2r-Sharapova)
**2015 LONG WINNING STREAKS**
15...Timea Bacsinszky [ended by S.Williams]
14...Simona Halep [ended by S.Williams]
12...Serena Williams [ended by walkover] #
11...ANGELIQUE KERBER [active]
11...Maria Sharapova [ended by S.Williams]
#- has won 8 matches since walkover; also won final three matches of '14
**REACHED 2015 FINAL IN HOME NATION**
Miami - Serena Williams, USA [W]
Charleston - Madison Keys, USA [L]
Stuttgart - Angelique Kerber, GER [W]
Shenzhen - Liang/Y.Wang, CHN [L]
Pattaya - Tamarine Tanasugarn, THA [L]
Antwerp - Mestash/Van Uytvanck, BEL [L]
**2015 WTA FINALS ON MOST SURFACES**
2 - Anna Schmiedlova, SVK = Red Clay,Hard
2 - Angelique Kerber, GER = Green Clay,Red Clay
2 - Caroline Wozniacki = Hard,Red Clay
**BEST 2015 RESULTS BY LUCKY LOSERS**
Acapulco - Sesil Karatantcheva, BUL
Brisbande - Alla Kudryavtseva, RUS
Katowice - Elizaveta Kulichkova, RUS
Sydney - Nicole Gibbs, USA [had 1st Rd. bye]
Pattaya - Yuliya Beygelzimer, UKR
Pattaya - Zhu Lin, CHN
Acapulco - Mariana Duque, COL
Miami - Zheng Saisai, CHN
Stuttgart - Marina Melnikova, RUS
"We were not rewarded in the end. The disappointment is immeasurable. At some point we will win this f---ing thing." - Rittner, on Germany's Fed Cup loss... and future
So, riding a camel worked well for Simona in Dubai. How do you think it will work out for Christina in Marrakech?
Yeah, I don't think it'll make much difference, either.
MARRAKECH, MOROCCO (Int'l $250K/RCO)
14 Final: Torro-Flor d. Oprandi
14 Doubles Final: Muguruza/Oprandi d. Piter/Zanevska
15 Top Seeds: Muguruza/Bacsinszky
#1 Muguruza d. #3 Pennetta
#2 Bacsinszky d. #4 Svitolina
#2 Bacsinszky d. #1 Muguruza
...can Timea be the Queen of Morocco, too? Or are there rules about these sort of things?
PRAGUE, CZECH REPUBLIC (Int'l $250K/RCO)
=new tour event=
14 $100K Singles Final: Watson d. A.Schmiedlova
14 $100K Doubles Final: Hradecka/Krajicek d. Hlavackova/Safarova
15 Top Seeds: Ka.Pliskova/Safarova
#1 Ka.Pliskova d. Niculescu
#2 Safarova d. Brengle
#1 Ka.Pliskova d. #2 Safarova
...a Czech -- SOME Czech, ANY Czech -- HAS to win the Prague Open, right? And if the winner isn't a Maiden then, gosh darn it, they'll MAKE her one. Just ask Heather Watson(ova), the champion of last year's $100K Prague Open challenger...
"When in doubt, hug a tree." - said by someone, surely, at some point in time... right?
All for now.