Sunday, June 14, 2015

Wk.23- Oh, Giorgi Girl... the Grass, the Grass is Calling

Well, it's the first week of the grass court season. Do you know where your Radwanska is? How about your Genie, in or out of a bottle?

Well, at least we know where Camila Giorgi is. In the winner's circle... finally.

Por Tu Ejemplo , por Tu Apoyo , por Tu Dedicacion , por Tu Amor , por Todo y Mas. Gracias Papà ????

A photo posted by Camila Giorgi (@camila_giorgi_official) on

Hey, all it took was four finals, two unconverted match points on Championship Point and a whole lot of Italian fight and drama, both on the court and off.

Not that anyone was cataloging all that or anything. (Clears throat.)

S: Camila Giorgi/ITA def. Belinda Bencic/SUI 7-5/6-3
D: Asia Muhammad/Laura Siegemund (USA/GER) d. Jelena Jankovic/Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (SRB/RUS) 6-3/7-5

S: Monica Niculescu/ROU vs. Ana Konjuh/CRO
D: Raquel Kops-Jones/Abigail Spears (USA/USA) d. Jocelyn Rae/Anna Smith (GBR/GBR) 3-6/6-3 [11-9]

The awarding of the first Baltacha Trophy in Nottingham will have to wait until Monday.

MONDAY UPDATE: after a slow, heavy-legged start after her long weekend, Ana Konjuh rebounded from dropping the opening set of the Nottingham final vs. Monica Niculescu on Monday. It was the first set the 17-year old Croat lost in the tournament. She then swept through the Romanian to win 1-6/6-4/6-2 to claim her maiden tour title and become the youngest WTA singles champ since Tamira Paszek (15) in 2006. She's now risen to a career-best #55 in the new rankings.

...finally, Giorgi found out how the other half lives. Last year, the Italian reached two finals, going 0-2 despite holding match points in both. After losing earlier this year in the Katowice final, it was apparent that the experience was getting old for the 23-year old. In 's-Hertogenbosch, Giorgi did what she often does best -- fight and survive. She opened with a win over Irina Falconi, then found a way past Michaella Krajicek despite the Dutch woman firing 21 aces (a tour-best for '15) before saving three MP vs. Yaroslava Shvedova in the QF. She defeated another Dutch woman (Kiki Bertens) in the Netherlands in the semis, then showed none of the nerves she had in her previous finals in the championship against Belinda Bencic. Giorgi is the fourth woman to win a WTA singles title this year after being down MP (and there could still be a fifth if Niculescu wins on Monday), as well as the third maiden champion. Usually after matches like this we see a player roll around on the ground in celebration, but Giorgi was so struck by her accomplishment that she seemed totally stunned by it and had little visible outward reaction to the win at all. Naturally, she dedicated her win to her crazy-haired, exuberant coach/father who is always sitting in the front row of all her matches.


RISERS: Monica Niculescu/ROU & Alison Riske/USA
...a week after she claimed a $100K challenger event on clay, Niculescu turned things around in Nottingham and has put together her fifth run to a tour-level singles final in the last five seasons (she's won the last two). Due to all the rain, the singles final won't be played until Monday (vs. Ana Konjuh), but it meant the Swarmette didn't have to play TWO matches on Sunday as her future Croat opponent did. Niculescu opened with a win over Varvara Lepchenko, saved five match points vs. Olga Govortsova, then took out Johanna Konta and #1-seeded Aga Radwanska (w/ a love 3rd set) to reach the championship. Meanwhile, Riske's early career was essentially made on the back of her grass court results, so it's no shock when the American puts up good results at this time a year. In 2009, she was set to attend Vanderbilt, but decided to be a full-time pro two weeks before classes were set to begin. In her first full season on tour in 2010, she originally sparked on grass, reaching the Birmingham semis (losing to Sharapova in three sets) as a qualifier and earning a wild card into Wimbledon, where she made her slam debut. Another Birmingham QF, and then a second SF (2013) pushed her career still higher, as she reached the Top 100 for the first time. She got to the 3rd Round at Wimbledon in both '13 and '14, finished in the Top 60 both years, and has since put up a Round of 16 hard court result at the U.S. Open and a 3rd Round in Melbourne, as well. Last year, she won her first tour title in Tianjin. This this time of year is something like a homecoming for the Pittsburgh native, and she reacted accordingly with another grass court semi in Nottingham with wins over Zheng Saisai, Mirjana Lucic-Baroni and Yanina Wickmayer (the Belgian was even one of her victims in that original 2010 run) before losing to Ana Konjuh in the pushed-back semi on Sunday. Riske also had a semi earlier this year in Hobart, and her result this week will lift her ranking up to around #44-45, just behind the career-best of #40 she attained last season.


SURPRISES: Johanna Konta/GBR & Sachia Vickery/USA
...Aussie-born Brit Konta was given a wild card into the main draw in Nottingham, and her results showed that her inclusion was worthwhile. A pair of Top 100 wins over Magdalena Rybarikova and Monica Puig put the #147-ranked 24-year old into a tour-level QF for the first time since she reached the Final 8 in Guangzhou in September '13 (also the last time she notched two Top 100 victories in a single tournament). In that same much-delayed Nottingham event, 20-year old Vickery was the one caught up in the weather report. Her QF match with Ana Konjuh was postponed both Friday AND Saturday before she ultimately lost on Sunday. Still, it was a great week for the young Bannerette, as she completed a qualifying run and put up wins over Wang Qiang and Zarina Diyas, the latter after saving six match points.

VETERANS: Jelena Jankovic/SRB & Raquel Kops-Jones/Abigail Spears (USA/USA)
...30-year old world #30 (ah, only JJ) Jankovic came to the Netherlands having gone just 5-4 (with a walkover and a retirement) since reaching the Indian Wells final in March. Back in better health, her results picked up last week as she pulled double-duty in singles and doubles, and saw success in both. Wins over Tereza Smitkova, Andrea Hlavackova and Annika Beck put the Serb into the singles semis (she lost to teen Belinda Bencic), while JJ and Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova put up a win over Babos/Mladenovic and reached the doubles final. All in all, a very good bounce back week on the grass. Although, it should be noted that Jankovic has gone just 1-4 at Wimbledon since 2011... so don't let it go to anyone's head. In Nottingham, they managed to sneak the doubles final in late on Sunday, and the veteran American pair of Kops-Jones (32) & Spears (33) took their 12th title as a duo in their 19th final. It's their second grass court title, having won in Birmingham last year. They also won on hard court in Doha earlier this season, defeating Hsieh Su-Wei & Sania Mirza in the final in the last match before Mirza ended that partnership to join up with Martina Hingis.

COMEBACKS: Kiki Bertens/NED & Alexandra Cadantu/ROU
...a week after she failed to back up her 2014 Roland Garros Round of 16 result, falling from #90 all the way out of the Top 100 to #132, Bertens played back home in the Netherlands and reclaimed at least a decent-sized chunk of her lost ranking ground with a semifinal run that included victories over Zhang Shuai, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (do you realize she's barely ranked in the Top 40 now... is there any more underachieving player on tour?) and defending champ Coco Vandeweghe. It's Bertens' first tour-level SF result since she reached the final four at the Paris Indoors in 2013. She'll be back at #110 on Monday. Meanwhile, Cadantu is the latest Swarmette striving to re-climb the tennis mountain. Fellow Romanians Mihaela Buzarnescu and Madalina Gojnea have returned to great ITF success already in '15, and now the injury-marred 25-year old Cadantu is attempting to do the same. She was a Top 100 player from 2011-13 (reaching #59 at her height, and reaching a tour final in Monterrey in '12), but after playing through injury last season she fell all the way down to #235. She skipped the first few months of '15, but has since returned and found early success (though she's alredady had to fight through a new shoulder injury). After reaching a final earlier this season, now-#329 Cadantu reached her second of '15 this weekend in the $25K in Galati, Romania, where she won her first ITF singles title since 2011 with a three-set win over Cristina Dinu.

FRESH FACES: Belinda Bencic/SUI & Ana Konjuh/CRO
...the two players who split the junior slam titles -- Konjuh won in Melbourne and New York, Bencic in Paris and London -- in 2013 once again are sharing headlines this week. In the Rosmalen event in 's-Hertogenbosch, 18-year old Bencic reached her second career WTA singles final with wins over Jessica Pegula, Alison Van Uytvanck, Kristina Mladenovic (saving 3 MP) and Jelena Jankovic. It's the New Swiss Miss' first semifinal result of '15, and her first since reaching the Tianjin final last October. She'll rise to #31 in the rankings on Monday, and looks like a good bet to get a Wimbledon seed after having to go the unseeded route at Roland Garros after having been the "First Seed Out" earlier this year at the Australian Open. She made a QF run in her U.S. Open debut last summer. Konjuh has reached her first career tour final in Nottingham, and will face Monica Niculescu on Monday in the delayed final after all the rain late last week in England. She came in at #87, so she'll set a new career high (so far, it's #84) when the new rankings are released no matter what happens on Monday. The Croat put up wins over Shelby Rogers, Casey Dellacqua, Sachia Vickery and Alison Riske (the last two BOTH being completed on Sunday), and if she does win the title she'll become -- at 17 years, 5 months and 19 days -- the youngest WTA singles champ since a 15-year old Tamira Paszek won in Portoroz in 2006. Donna Vekic is the most recent 17-year old to claim a singles title, winning last year at Kuala Lumpur at 17 years, 10 months.

DOWN: Genie Bouchard/CAN & Aga Radwanska/POL
...quick! Somebody put out a net to catch Bouchard before she hits rock bottom! Hmmm, on second thought, maybe that's precisely what needs to happen for things to change. At Rosmalen, it was the same old story for "the most marketable athlete in the world." As the #1 seed, Bouchard faced off with Yaroslava Shvedova in the 1st Round. Things went to a 3rd set, where the Canadian led 4-0 before she collapsed down the stretch as the Kazakh (who's just as likely to lose a similar lead as she is to erase it) swept the final six games, winning the final ten points of the match. Bouchard is now 1-9 in her last ten matches, and 7-11 on the season (with four of those wins coming in Melbourne). She's 8-16 since she reached the Wuhan final late last season. I guess it says a lot about how much you can really learn from the Hopman Cup in Week 1 when you consider that Bouchard actually defeated Serena Williams in Perth. Already having dropped out of the Top 10, Bouchard has her Wimbledon '14 RU points defense staring her in the face in a few weeks. So, I guess "rock bottom" is still out their to be found. Kindly remove the net, please. In Nottingham, it seemed for most of the week that Radwanska wouldn't land in this category as she had seemed to have finally rediscovered her form.

No, not that form. But it doesn't look too bad... I guess. As a #1-seeded wild card, Aga took it to three straight opponents, dropping just eleven total games in three matches vs. Alla Kudryavtseva, Christina McHale and Lauren Davis. But then the rain delayed play, and while Radwanska was ahead of the weather and got her QF match in on Friday, she found herself facing the unorthodox game of Monica Niculescu in a semi on Sunday, knowing she'd likely have to play again that day if she won. As it turned out, she wouldn't have... but as it REALLY turned out, it didn't matter at ALL. She won the 1st set, but was forced to a 3rd by the Romanian... where she dropped the deciding stanza at love to leave yet another tournament with a whimper. In her last six events, Radwanska's losses have included four straight set defeats and a pair of three-setters that have ended with her winning a total of one combined game.
ITF PLAYERS: Anett Kontaveit/EST (Wk.22) & Vitalia Diatchenko/RUS (Wk.23)
...a slight look back here, with Kontaveit getting an official "share" of this award for her grass court title run in the $50K Eastbourne event during the concluding week of action at Roland Garros. The 19-year Estonian (#163) put up victories over An-Sophie Mestach, Oceane Dodin, Julia Boserup and Alla Kudryavtseva in the final to win her tenth career challenger title, and her biggest yet. Kontaveit was in the Surbiton $50K grass event this past week, losing to 17-year old Naomi Osaka in the semifinals. Osaka ultimately lost the final to Diatchenko, the 24-year old Russian who recently faced off with Maria Sharapova at Roland Garros. Diatchenko notched additional wins over Naiktha Bains, Tamira Paszek, Naomi Broady and Tara Moore. Yes, THAT Moore. You know, the one that was so impressed with Serena's "acting skills" in her RG semi win over Timea Bacsinszky last week.

Maybe Tara never saw Serena's guest stint on that episode of "Law & Order: SVU."
JUNIOR STARS: Aliona Bolsova/ESP, Tamara Zidansek/SLO & Karman Kaur Thandi/IND
...a pair of 17-year old juniors won $10K challengers on the ITF circuit, as both Bolsova and Zidansek picked up their second career pro singles titles. The Spaniard won in Madrid, defeating countrywoman Lucia Cervera Vazquez in the final after having teamed up with her to reach the doubles final, while the Slovenian took the Banja Luka event in Bosnia. Zidansek (the current #19 junior) defeated top-seeded Viktoriya Tomova in the QF, then took out Serbian Marina Kachar in the final. On the junior level, 16-year old Indian Thandi won the Grade 1 event in Offenbach, Germany. It was just her second appearance in a G1 event. The #157-ranked junior, she defeated the #5 and #8 seeds en route to the final, where she outlasted Mexico's Jessica Honojosa Gomez. Thandi won the 16-and-under Future Stars competition (going 7-0) at the WTA Finals in Singapore last October. Li Na presented her with the trophy. Here she is in an interview on the BBC after her title run:


DOUBLES: Asia Muhammad/Laura Siegemund (USA/GER) & Jocely Rae/Anna Smith (GBR/GBR)
...while things in Nottingham were backed WAY up because of late week/weekend rain, Muhammad and Siegemund got things out of the way early in 's-Hertogenbosch, winning the doubles final on Saturday as both claimed their first career tour titles. It was 24-year old Bannerette Muhammad's first tour final, while Siegemund, 27, previously reached a '15 final in Marrakech with Maryna Zanevska. The British duo of Rae & Smith failed to win their first tour-level title in their home nation when they lost in the Nottingham final to the veteran Bannerette pair of Kops-Jones/Spears. Rae & Smith won the 1st set, leading the deciding super tie-break 7-4 and getting within two points of the title at 9-9 before the Americans edged them out 11-9. Still, it's worth noting that the Brits have combined to win eleven ITF titles, and this was their seventeenth final as a duo on the ITF and WTA circuits (they were the Bastad RU last July) since November '13. A week ago, they reached the $50K challenger final on the grass in Eastbourne, losing to Coco Vandeweghe & Shelby Rogers.

Maybe Aga got tired out on the practice courts?

Still, she ALWAYS wins "Shot of the Month."

Meanwhile, American sensibilities are finally rubbing off on Vika.

1. Nott 2nd Rd. - Davis d. Linette
This one was all over the place. Davis led 5-2 in the 1st set, but lost it. Linnette led 5-2 in the 2nd, but she lost it, too. But only after holding two MP, then six more in the TB after taking a 6-2 lead. Davis ended up pushing things to a 3rd set after converting her sixth set point, then she pulled away.

2. Nott 2nd Rd. - Niculescu d. Govortsova
Govortsova led 6-2/5-3 and had five match points. Niculescu could very well ride her comeback all the way to the title on Monday.
3. Nott 2nd - Vickery d. Diyas
What exactly was going on in the 2nd Round in Nottingham, anyway? Diyas had three MP at 5-4 in 2nd set, then three more at 6-5. Naturally, Vickery won.

4. 's-Herto QF - Bencic d. Mladenovic
Bencic had a MP in the 2nd, but Mladenovic saved it and went on to a 3rd set. Not content with a comeback victory, Kiki had three MP of her own at 5-4 in the final set before the Swiss teen went on to win the 2:55 match.

5. 's-Herto QF - Giorgi d. Shvedova
Shvedova led 3-1 in the 3rd set, but Giorgi forced a TB and had a MP at 6-5. Shvedova saved that and had three MP of her own before the Italian converted her own second attempt and went on to win her maiden tour title.
6. 's-Herto 1st Rd. - Shvedova d. Bouchard
Bouchard led 4-0 in the final set. By the end of the week, Shvedova was having an MRI. It's nothing serious, but she'll be out of Birmingham this week.

7. 's-Herto Final - Giorgi d. Bencic
Giorgi is the third different Italian (Errani & Knapp) to win a singles title this year, matching the Czechs (Kvitova, Pliskova & Safarova) with the deepest pool of champions in 2015.
8. 's-Herto 1st Rd. - Mladenovic d. Babos
Once again, the doubles BFF's meet on the singles court. So far, Kiki is 2-1 in WTA events, 1-0 on the ITF circuit and 1-0 in juniors. Babos got her only victory earlier this year in the Marrakech SF.
9. Nott Doub QF - C-W.Chan/Y.Xu d. Black/Raymond
Black/Raymond, who won their first of two titles as a duo back in 2003, haven't played together since 2010.
10. Birm Q1 - Gibbs d. Witthoeft
Witthoeft led 7-6/5-3 and held four MP in the 2nd set.
11. Birm Q1 - Krunic d. Askew
This was The Bracelet's first career grass win. She got another on Sunday over Gibbs to reach the main draw.
12. 's-Herto QF - Bertens d. Vandeweghe
Come on, you didn't think I was going to NOT give a special mention to this one, did you? I mean, how often do we get a Kiki vs. Coco match-up? I mean, ANYWHERE ON EARTH... well, besides maybe a poodles-only dog park somewhere, I mean.


That's some great hat, Maria.

Messy hair, I don't care...because I have a great hat! :)

A photo posted by Maria Sharapova (@mariasharapova) on

1. 's-Herto SF - Niculescu d. Aga Radwanska
Making it's debut... "oh, Aga."
2. 's-Herto 1st Rd. - Beck d. Ula Radwanska
Beck has something against Poles, I guess. In Paris, she knocked off Aga and Paula Kania. Here, she made it a Radwanska two-fer with a win over Ula.
3. 's-Herto Q3 - Ula Radwanska d. Arina Rodionova
Early in the week, things were going well for BOTH Radwanskas. Ula trailed 6-3/5-0 and saved a MP. She won the last two games of the match at love.
4. 's-Herto Q2 - Arina Rodionova d. Anastasia Rodionova
Arina is 2-1 in all-Rodionova match-ups. Both wins have come in 2015.
5. $25K Kashiwa Final - Erika Sema d. Sawayanagi
Sema wins her 10th ITF singles title, her first since 2013.
HM- $10K Bol Final - Pantuckova d. Sally Peers 6-3/6-2
$10K Sharm El Shiekh Final - Matteucci d. Sara Tomic 6-4/6-2
neither Aussie sister won their singles final this weekend. 24-year old Peers (sister of John) is 0-2 in '15 finals, while this was 17-year old Tomic's (sister of Bernard) first career pro singles final.

Vika and her dad.

Vika & Sascha and a genie in a bottle... but they're not talking about Bouchard. THAT Genie is in a whole heap of trouble... but, so far, Christina Aguilera hasn't recorded a song about it. Hmmm, maybe Justin B. will?

Dr.Oz sold Caro some magic beans that he says will cure all her future illnesses for the rest of her life... and turn her toe nails gold. No, I mean REAL GOLD. Dr.Oz says it's so, so it MUST be true, right?

Honors for last month.

While scratching the surface of the new one.

Just chatting to one of the Wimbledon members ?? what a lovely afternoon ??

A photo posted by Daria Gavrilova (@daria_gav) on

Antwerp - Andrea Petkovic, GER (8 MP - 2r/Van Uytvanck)
Rio - Sara Errani, ITA (3 MP - QF/Haddad)
Pattaya - Daniela Hantuchova, SVK (2 MP - SF/Erakovic)
's-Hertogenbosch - Camila Giorgi, ITA (3 MP - QF/Shvedova)
NOTE: Nottingham finalist Niculescu saved 5 MP in QF vs. Govortsova

Katowice - Anna Schmiedlova (SVK/20, #67) - d. Giorgi
Bogota - Teliana Pereira (BRA/26, #130) - d. Shvedova
's-Hertogenbosch - Camila Giorgi (ITA/23, #35) - d. Bencic
NOTE: Konjuh (CRO/17, #87) in Nottingham final

Hobart - Madison Brengle, USA - lost to Watson
Pattaya - Ajla Tomljanovic, CRO-AUS - lost to Hantuchova
Rio - Anna Schmiedlova, SVK - lost to Errani
Bogota - Teliana Pereira, BRA - def. Shvedova
Strasbourg - Kristina Mladenovic, FRA - lost to Stosur
Nottingham - Ana Konjuh, CRO - vs. Niculescu

**WTA TITLES, 18-or-under - since 2007**
5 - Caroline Wozniacki (2008-09)
2 - Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (2010-11)
2 - Aga Radwanska (2007)
2 - Agnes Szavay (2008)
1 - Timea Babos (2012)
1 - Sorana Cirstea (2008)
1 - Alize Cornet (2008)
1 - Petra Kvitova (2009)
1 - Elina Svitolina (2013)
1 - Donna Vekic (2014)
NOTE: Konjuh (17) in Nottingham final

Hobart - Heather Watson/GBR d. (Q) Madison Brengle/USA
Pattaya - Daniela Hantuchova/SVK d. Ajla Tomljanovic/CRO-AUS
Doha - Lucie Safarova/CZE d. (WC) Victoria Azarenka/BLR
Nottingham - Monica Niculesu/ROU vs. Ana Konjuh/CRO

Katowice - A.Schmiedlova/SVK (0-1) d. Giorgi/ITA (0-2)
's-Hertogenbosch - Giorgi/ITA (0-3) d. Bencic/SUI (0-1)

6...Serena Williams
6...Venus Williams
3...Maria Sharapova
2...Petra Kvitova
2...Tammy Tanasugarn

#251 - Virginie Razzano/FRA (Strasbourg)
#181 - Hsieh Su-Wei/TPE (Kuala Lumpur)
#158 - Sesil Karatantcheva/BUL (Acapulco)
#134 - Mariana Duque/COL (Bogota)
#132 - KIKI BERTENS/NED ('s-Hertogenbosch)
#130 - Teliana Pereira/BRA (Bogota) [W]
#110 - Lucie Hradecka/CZE (Charleston)
#105 - Alison Van Uytvanck/BEL (Katowice)

Giving credit where (probably just a fluke) credit it due.

Just so no one can say I wasn't on top of things early.

Or hold grudges too long...

BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND (Premier $665.9K/Grass)
14 Final: Ivanovic d. Strycova
14 Doubles Final: Kops-Jones/Spears d. Barty/Dellacqua
15 Top Seeds: Halep/Ivanovic

#1 Halep d. Riske
#12 Azarenka d. #13 Kuznetsova
#4 Kerber d. #11 Cornet
#2 Ivanovic d. #8 Lisicki
#12 Azarenka d. #1 Halep
#4 Kerber d. #2 Ivanovic
#12 Azarenka d. #4 Kerber

...Vika's never won a grass court singles title (though she was the Eastbourne RU in '10, '12 Olympic Bronze winner and Mixed Doubles Gold, and the Wimbledon junior doubles champ in 2004-05), so now would be as good a time as any to complete that Career Surface Slam (yes, she's won on clay -- at Marbella in '11).

Hey, she's trying to blend in, so...

Meanwhile, did you miss the announcement this week of another Timea milestone?

Or Martina in a hat?

And then there was this...

All for now.


Blogger Diane said...

Ha. I almost wrote a "Genie In A Battle" song last year. No surprise--you know how we are about these things :D

Daria Gavrilova has a lot of potential, and I don't mean "just" as a tennis pro (though I think she could very well sneak past some "rising stars" soon). She's kind of twisty and cheeky, and I hope she keeps it up. (Oh, how I miss the wonderful Laura Robson.)

So, speaking of LR--back to Genie in a bottle....I'm getting a not very good vibe about her "slump," which we can trace back to when she was blown off the court by Petra a year ago after Petra's demise was predicted by the entire tennis press machine.

What does it mean? I don't know.

Sun Jun 14, 09:20:00 PM EDT  
Blogger jo shum said...

genie is playing doubles with sveta, so i guess sam wants to get her more time on courtm and playing singles against possible mladenovic again could be fun. i guess we never know about this thing, kerber didn't do much until clay season this year, kvitova didn't do much until grass season last year.

i look back at first half of 2015, i really feel that the WTA is doing much better in terms of quality of play. every match, first round to last there are always some interesting fights. and quite a few of them were really good stuff. players are more aggressive, more athletic, deploy better defense and offense mechanism too. most of them are quite fearless, winning from match points down. it's getting hard to predict who comes out on top, the only unfailing one is serena. will she win 4 this year? i can't imagine, but yet i can.

Sun Jun 14, 10:04:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Todd.Spiker said...

As far as Gavrilova, I think I was hooked when she posted a tweet about "nobody getting her humor. Ever." But I got it... and a Gavrilovian mind needs a safe haven. :D

Sun Jun 14, 10:20:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Todd.Spiker said...


Oh, all the match points that have been saved on grass in just one week already is more than a little astounding, truthfully.

Sun Jun 14, 10:22:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Todd.Spiker said...

Added a little update to the post following Konjuh's win in the final in Nottingham to become the youngest singles champ in nine years.

Hmmm, a tour where 33-year olds and 17-year olds both win titles is a good thing. One generational hand washing the other.

Also, the beat goes on...

Krajicek/Strycova d. Bouchard/Kuznetsova 6-2/6-3

Mon Jun 15, 12:29:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Todd.Spiker said...

Katie Swan makes her WTA debut... and she faces Pironkova on grass?

Poor thing.

She lost 6-2/6-2. But it could have been worse. ;)

Mon Jun 15, 02:08:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Eric said...

Why did you stop at 2007? I feel like there's only been a few more teen winners in the early aughts...

Vania King, Vaidisova, Sharapova, Kuznetsova, Safina, Myskina, Zvonareva, Paszek, Hantuchova, Dokic.

Obviously the Big 4 of the 2000s - Clijsters, Venus, Henin, Serena.

Szavay and Golovin won titles at 19.

Wed Jun 17, 12:47:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Eric said...

Oops, I miscounted for Szavay.

Wed Jun 17, 12:49:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Todd.Spiker said...

The list I keep up to date only goes back to 2007. I probably originally started it there to show that Wozniacki had been the most successful teen champ in recent years, but looking back to the lists I'm able to get info from back to 2002, all the players who won as teenagers from 2002-06 were different from the 2007-present champions. So I guess 2007 was essentially a "generational cut-off/starting point."

Here's the 2007-15 list again:

**WTA TITLES, 18-or-under - since 2007**
5 - Caroline Wozniacki (2008-09)
2 - Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (2010-11)
2 - Aga Radwanska (2007)
2 - Agnes Szavay (2008)
1 - Timea Babos (2012)
1 - Sorana Cirstea (2008)
1 - Alize Cornet (2008)
1 - Ana Konjuh (2015)
1 - Petra Kvitova (2009)
1 - Elina Svitolina (2013)
1 - Donna Vekic (2014)

Here's the previous 5-yr list (from what I can tell, at least):

**WTA TITLES, 18-or-under - 2002-06**
15 - Maria Sharapova (2003-06)
7 - Kim Clijsters (2002-03) + 6 from 1999-01
6 - Nicole Vaidisova (2004-06)
5 - Svetlana Kuznetsova (2002-04)
4 - Dinara Safina (2002-05)
3 - Michaella Krajicek (2005-06)
3 - Shahar Peer (2006)
3 - Lucie Safarova (2005-06)
2 - Elena Bovina (2002)
2 - Anna Chakvetadze (2006)
2 - Jelena Dokic (2002)+ 3 in 2001
2 - Ana Ivanovic (2005-06)
2 - Vera Zvonareva (2003-04)
1 - Myriam Casanova (2002)
1 - Elena Daniilidou (2002)
1 - Daniela Hantuchova (2002)
1 - Jelena Jankovic (2004)
1 - Vania King (2006)
1 - Maria Kirilenko (2005)
1 - Marie Gaianeh Mikaelian (2002)
1 - Sania Mirza (2005)
1 - Martina Muller (2002)
1 - Tamira Paszek (2006)
1 - Angelique Widjaja (2002)
* - Henin had 1 in 1999

Honestly, I just don't have the energy to dig up beyond that.

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

That second list is actually ALL teenagers. Here's the 18-and-under from 2002-06:

**WTA TITLES, 18-or-under - 2002-06**
11 - Maria Sharapova (2003-06)
6 - Nicole Vaidisova (2004-06)
3 - Michaella Krajicek (2005-06)
3 - Svetlana Kuznetsova (2002-04)
3 - Lucie Safarova (2005-06)
3 - Dinara Safina (2002-05)
2 - Ana Ivanovic (2005-06)
1 - Myriam Casanova (2002)
1 - Kim Clijsters (2002)
1 - Jelena Dokic (2002)
1 - Daniela Hantuchova (2002)
1 - Vania King (2006)
1 - Maria Kirilenko (2005)
1 - Marie Gaianeh Mikaelian (2002)
1 - Sania Mirza (2005)
1 - Tamira Paszek (2006)
1 - Shahar Peer (2006)
1 - Angelique Widjaja (2002)
1 - Vera Zvonareva (2003)

Sorry about that. ;)

Wed Jun 17, 03:01:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Eric said...

Thanks Todd. Didn't mean to make work. Also didn't realize the list was so long. Totally forgot about Mikaelian and hadn't heard of Casanova.

Maria Sharapova really has had an excellent career. Especially when compared to all the other breakout stars that have fizzled. A reader on Wertheim's Mailbag noted that her sophomore slump was SF, QF, SF, SF at the four Grand Slams in 2005. She lost to the eventual winner in all of them. Those winners were Serena, Henin, Venus, Clijsters. Not too shabby. (You know, the big 3 plus Murray.)

The only other player I can think of who hasn't had a major drop in level after her breakout year is Halep. Serena and Kvitova's level didn't drop out of the top 10 after their major victories...but their level wasn't the same for 2-3 years after.

Do you have a rank for "sophomore" year? Or a rough ranking (don't research!).

Thanks again.

Wed Jun 17, 05:09:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Todd.Spiker said...

Yeah, the difference in length with the two lists really illustrates how tennis changed -- with the veterans rising, power players becoming more prevalent, and more likely the "Capriati rule" taking effect on the generation, bringing them along more slowly -- between the group that came up in the late 1990s/early 2000s, and the ones a decade later.

Although, there HAS been a recent jump in teen success of late. Not sure what the reason for that is. Maybe the veteran generation that bloomed "late" 4-5 years ago (Schiavone, Li, Bartoli, Stosur, etc.) either having left the game or had less of an impact, opening up room for success for the younger set? Also, the huge group of Russians who won so many of those teenage titles haven't been replaced by other Hordettes who have done the same, and that's left a big hole.

Ha! No, I don't have a "sophomore" rank, but just memory brings some to mind. After winning RG, AnaIvo fell form Top 5 to outside the Top 20. We know about Vaidisova, too, though she never won a slam. And then there's Stephens, and now Bouchard (ouch -- another love 3rd set loss today).

Wed Jun 17, 05:31:00 PM EDT  
Blogger colt13 said...

I am going on record early. Siniakova is my sleeper pick for Wimbledon if she doesn't face a top 8 seed in the first round. Same with Larcher de Brito. Lisicki isn't a sleeper. And don't have the guts to say Vandeweghe, even though she has the physical game to be a QF. Mentally, not so much.

Wed Jun 17, 07:31:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Todd.Spiker said...

Yeah, there's always a shot at something of note from Larcher de Brito on grass.

Wed Jun 17, 08:16:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Leif Mortensen said...

I feel for Buchard it's her 7th first match loss in 2015 - she doesn't deserve that - must be horrible for her.

Boom Boom made another record in Birmingham 27 aces in one match!

Rumor says this - which could be fun:

Nick McCarvel @NickMcCarvel
I'm told that Wozniacki & Kvitova will play doubles together at Eastbourne. 1st for Caro since Copenhagen 2012(!!!); Petra in Montreal 2014

looking forward to Eastbourne ;)

Fri Jun 19, 04:09:00 AM EDT  

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