Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Grass Court BSA's: Serena Doubles Down on 21

"We just saw today why Serena is #1. I haven't seen her play like this, honestly." - Victoria Azarenka, on Serena Williams

*2Q Grass Court Court Awards - Weeks 23-27*
1. Serena Williams, USA
...another slam, a boat-load of more historical accomplishments to ponder... and with a few more now within reach by the end of the summer. Williams' sixth career Wimbledon title gives four straight major titles to match the "Serena Slam" feat she pulled off twelve years ago, moves her within one major win of tying Steffi Graf's 22 Open era slam crowns and if she wins the U.S. Open she'll become just the second singles player (WTA or ATP) to record a Grand Slam in the last 45 years (w/ Graf '88). Serena is 39-1 on the season, and with two more three-set victories at this year's Wimbledon she's 14-0 in such matches (9-0 in slams) in 2015. Is there something that's even greater than "Serenativity?"
2. Garbine Muguruza, ESP
...the 21-year old Spaniard's big game has flashed great promise in the past (def. Serena in Paris last year, for example), but her inconsistency often prevented any sustained runs of great success. That part of Garbi's game was kept (mostly, but not entirely) at bay over the two weeks of play at the All-England Club as things came together like never before. Muguruza has spent most of '15 going in and out of the Top 20, and she was just 1-2 on the grass this summer when she arrived in London. But something clicked there, and three Top 15 wins and three three-set victories later and she was a maiden slam finalist, the first Spanish woman to play for the Wimbledon title since 1996. With back-to-back QF-or-better slam results, and three straight Round of 16's in majors (only Serena and Sharapova -- the world #1 and #2 -- can say the same in '15), Muguruza is now a Top 10 player at #9. Of course, with such a run and the expectations that go with it, she now enters the phase of her career that has caused many other of her generational counterparts to take a step or two (or three or four) back the last couple of years. Make no mistake about it, though, Muguruza has the goods to become the third woman from Spain to win a grand slam title. Well, you know, if Serena ever wants to loosen her grip a little.

3. Martina Hingis, SUI & Sania Mirza, IND
...the Dream Team lived above the clouds at SW19. As a pair, they won the doubles crown by staging a 3rd set comeback from 5-2 down in the final vs. Makarova/Vesnina. Their fourth title -- on grass, green clay and hard court-- since teaming up early this spring gives world #1 Mirza her overdue first women's doubles slam crown (she'd been the only doubles #1 without one), while Hingis picked up her tenth, but her first at Wimbledon in seventeen years. Ah, but the Swiss Miss wasn't finished. She took the Mixed title with Leander Paes (their second of '15), as well, in a dominant performance in the final against Babos/Peya in the last match to be contested at this year's Wimbledon. Hingis is the first woman in eleven years to sweep both titles at the AELTC, and she now has eighteen career slam titles. So, I guess the comeback has been pretty successful, huh?

4. Aga Radwanska, POL
...two inconsistent and frustrating years after her collapse in the Wimbledon semifinals, Radwanska re-emerged as a tricky, masterful and consistent force on the grass this past month. Her semifinal in Nottingham, Eastbourne final and Wimbledon semi (her third since 2012, when she reached the final) often highlighted some of the best stuff that the Pole has to offer on the court as she battled Plan "A" power players with multi-layered creativity and intelligence. This past spring, A-Rad dropped out of the Top 10 after a 187-week occupancy. She entered Wimbledon ranked #13 and with her (then) 384-week Top 20 streak not guaranteed to carry through to the end of 2015. Her grass run (12-3) puts her back in the Top 10, though, and her confidence seems to be in far better shape, as well. Good thing, too, since she has those Montreal title points to defend next month in Toronto.

5. Belinda Bencic, SUI player won more matches this grass season than Bencic. She played every week, going 14-3, reaching two finals, winning her maiden tour singles title in Eastbourne and becoming the only teenager to reach the QF at Wimbledon. Not only that, but she was 5-0 in three-setters on the grass after having gone just 2-6 in such matches on other surfaces in 2015. Bencic jumps to #21 in the rankings this week, as she has her U.S. Open QF points to defend at the end of the summer.
HM- Angelique Kerber, GER
...the German has been at her best this season in the weeks leading up to the slams, but not in them. It was the same this grass season. Before the Australian Open, she went 5-2... but lost her first match in Melbourne. She won two titles and went 15-2 on the clay, but lost in the 3rd Round in Paris. On the grass, she won her first grass title in Birmingham in her only outing, but then was again ousted (though by eventual finalist Muguruza) in the 3rd Round at Wimbledon. It's all equaling up to what may be Kerber's career-best season on the regular tour, but her worst slam year since 2010. Of course, she could change that with a nice run in NYC.

Yui Kamiji/Jordanne Whiley, JPN/GBR
Victoria Azarenka, BLR
Maria Sharapova, RUS
Timea Bacsinszky, SUI
Jelena Jankovic, SRB
Coco Vandeweghe, USA
Raquel Kops-Jones/Abigail Spears, USA/USA

1. Garbine Muguruza, ESP
2. Aga Radwanska, POL
3. Angelique Kerber, GER
4. Heather Watson, GBR
5. Yui Kamiji/Jordanne Whiley, JPN/GBR (WC)
6. Timea Bacsinszky, SUI

7. Coco Vandeweghe, USA

8. Camila Giorgi, ITA
9. Madison Keys, USA
10. Caroline Wozniacki, DEN
11. Sloane Stephens, USA
12. Karolina Pliskova, CZE
13. Zarina Diyas, KAZ
14. Monica Niculescu, ROU
15. Timea Babos, HUN
16. Kristina Mladenovic, FRA
17. Irina-Camelia Begu, ROU
18. Alison Riske, USA
19. Kiki Bertnes, NED
20. Christina McHale, USA
HM- Lara Arruabarrena, ESP & Michelle Larcher de Brito, POR

1. Belinda Bencic, SUI
2. Ana Konjuh, CRO

3. Margarita Gasparyan, RUS
4. Katerina Siniakova, CZE
5. Sachia Vickery, USA
6. Richel Hogenkamp, NED
7. Kristyna Pliskova, CZE
8. Daria Gavrilova, AUS/RUS
9. Elizaveta Kulichkova, RUS
10. Jelena Ostapenko, LAT

11. Denisa Allertova, CZE
12. Anett Kontaveit, EST
13. Naomi Osaka, JPN
14. Lauren Davis, USA
15. Jamie Loeb, USA
HM- Astra Sharma, AUS

1. Sofya Zhuk, RUS
2. Dalma Galfi, HUN

3. Anna Blinkova, RUS
4. Dalma Galfi/Fanni Stollar, HUH/HUN
5. Vera Lapko, BLR
6. Katie Swan, GBR
7. Victoria Kuzmova, SVK
8. Vera Lapko/Tereza Mihalikova, BLR/SVK
9. Marketa Vondrousova, CZE
10. Ingrid Neel, USA
11. Tornado Black, USA
12. Michaela Gordon, USA
13. Miriam Kolodziejova/Marketa Vondrousova, CZE/CZE
14. Katharina Hobgarski, GER
15. Sara Tomic, AUS
16. Karman Kaur Thandi, IND
17. Anastasia Potapova, RUS
18. Anna Brogan, GBR
19. Maia Lumsden, GBR
20. Olesya Pervushina, RUS
21. Kayla Day, USA
22. Ioana Diana Pietriou, ROU
23. Claire Liu, USA
24. Sonya Kenin, USA
25. Caroline Dolehide, USA
HM- Usue Arconada, USA & Anna Brogan/Freya Christie, GBR/GBR

1. Johanna Konta, GBR
2. Olga Govortsova, BLR

3. Duan Yingying, CHN
4. Aleksandra Krunic, SRB
5. Anna-Lena Friedsam, GER
6. Asia Muhammad & Laura Siegemund, USA/GER
7. Laura Siegemund, GER
8. Tatjana Maria, GER
9. Aliaksandra Sasnovich, BLR
10. Xu Yifan, CHN
11. Magda Linette, POL
12. Jessica Pegula, USA
13. Naomi Broady, GBR
14. Tara Moore, GBR
15. Maria Sanchez, USA
HM- Lee So-Ra, KOR

1. Serena Williams, USA
2. Martina Hingis, SUI
3. Sania Mirza, IND

4. Maria Sharapova, RUS
5. Jelena Jankovic, SRB
6. Venus Williams, USA
7. Lucie Safarova, CZE
8. Jiske Griffioen, NED (WC)
9. Andrea Petkovic, GER
10. Bethanie Mattek-Sands, USA
11. Tsvetana Pironkova, BUL
12. Sabine Lisicki, GER
13. Klara Koukalova, CZE
14. Hsieh Su-Wei, TPE
15. Alla Kudryavtseva, RUS
HM- Cara Black/Lisa Raymond, ZIM/USA

1. Aga Radwanska, POL
2. Victoria Azarenka, BLR

3. Jelena Jankovic, SRB
4. Sloane Stephens, USA
5. Petra Cetkovska, CZE
6. Bethanie Mattek-Sands, USA (singles)
7. Tamira Paszek, AUT
8. Dominika Cibulkova, SVK
9. Alexandra Cadantu, ROU
10. Ula Radwanska, POL
HM- Laura Robson, GBR & Melanie Oudin, USA


1. Petra Kvitova, CZE
2. Simona Halep, ROU
3. Genie Bouchard, CAN
4. Ana Ivanovic, SRB
5. Alize Cornet, FRA
6. Barbora Strycova, CZE
7. Roberta Vinci, ITA
8. Sabine Lisicki, GER
9. Ekaterina Makarova, RUS
10. Flavia Pennetta, ITA
11. Karolina Pliskova, CZE (in slams)
12. Caroline Garcia, FRA
13. Carla Suarez-Navarro, ESP
14. Ekaterina Makarova/Elena Vesnina, RUS/RUS
15. Yanina Wickmayer, BEL
HM- Michelle Larcher de Brito, POR

1. Martina Hingis, SUI
2. Martina Hingis/Sania Mirza, SUI/IND
3. Yui Kamiji/Jordanne Whiley, JPN/GBR
4. Raquel Kops-Jones/Abigail Spears, USA/USA

5. Caroline Garcia/Katarina Srebotnik, FRA/SLO
6. Garbine Muguruza/Carla Suarez-Navarro, ESP/ESP
7. Dalma Galfi/Fanni Stollar, HUN/HUN
8. Chan Yung-Jan/Zheng Jie, TPE/CHN
9. Ekaterina Makarova/Elena Vesnina, RUS/RUS
10. Timea Babos/Kristina Mladenovic, HUH/FRA
11. Timea Babos, HUN
12. Anabel Medina-Garrigues, ESP
13. Bethanie Mattek-Sands, USA
14. Asia Muhammad/Laura Siegemund, USA/GER
15. Vera Lapko/Tereza Mihalikova, BLR/SVK
16. Miriam Kolodziejova/Marketa Vondrousova, CZE/CZE
17. Andrea Hlavackova/Lucie Hradecka, CZE/CZE
18. Jocelyn Rae/Anna Smith, GBR/GBR
19. Michaella Krajicek/Barbora Strycova, NED/CZE
20. Jelena Jankovic/Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, SRB/RUS
HM- Jiske Griffioen/Aniek Van Koot, NED/NED (WC)

1. Anett Kontaveit, EST

2. Alla Kudryavtseva, RUS
3. Vitalia Diatchenko, RUS
4. Naomi Osaka, JPN
5. Magda Linette, POL
6. Naomi Broady, GBR
7. Julia Boserup, USA
8. Denisa Allertova, CZE
9. Michelle Larcher de Brito, POT
10. Tara Moore, GBR
11. Oceane Dodin, FRA
12. Shelby Rogers/Coco Vandeweghe, USA/USA
13. Jocelyn Rae/Anna Smith, GBR/GBR
14. Lyudmyla Kichenok/Xenia Knoll, UKR/SUI
15. Raluca Olaru/Xu Yifan, ROU/CHN
HM- Tamira Paszek, AUT
1. Alexandra Dulgheru, ROU
2. Carina Witthoeft, GER
3. Tamara Zidansek, SLO
4. Darya Kasatkina, RUS
5. Irina Khromacheva, RUS
6. Giuliana Olmos, MEX

7. Anastasiya Komardina, RUS
8. Lourdes Dominguez Lino, ESP
9. Aliona Bolsova, ESP
10. Alexandra Nancarrow, AUS
11. Ipek Soylu, TUR
12. Yulia Putintseva, KAZ
13. Danielle Lao, USA
14. Alice Matteucci, ITA
15. Alize Lim, FRA
16. Wang Qiang, CHN
17. Lisa Sabino, SUI
18. Kristina Kucova, SVK
19. Marketa Vondrousova, CZE
20. Paula Badosa, ESP
21. Risa Ozaki, JPN
22. Jamie Loeb, USA
23. Sofia Arvidsson, SWE
24. Mathilde Johansson, FRA
25. Sara Tomic, AUS
26. Astra Sharma, AUS
27. Gao Xinyu, CHN
28. Elyne Boeykens, BEL
29. Basak Eraydin, TUR
30. Ola Abou Zekry, EGY
HM- Christiana Ferrando, ITA

1. Bianca Botto, PER
2. Charlotte Roemer, ECU

#1 - Serena Williams completes her second "Serena Slam," winning her fourth straight major title, her sixth Wimbledon crown and her 21st slam. She's currently on a 28-match slam winning streak and now heads to the U.S. Open with a chance at her first Grand Slam (the last to accomplish the feat was Steffi Graf in 1988). Not only that, but Williams topped Martina Navratilova to become the oldest women's slam champ in the Open era at 33 years, 263 days. Serena has won eight major titles since turning thirty. Only two other woman (Navratilova and Margaret Court) in the Open era have won as many as three.

And finally... Only Novak Djokovic @djokernole could get the Official dance back at the champions dinner #Wimbledon

A photo posted by Serena Williams (@serenawilliams) on

#2 - Martina Hingis & Sania Mirza ruled the doubles courts at Wimbledon. The world's #1-ranked team won the women's doubles to claim Hingis' first title in the event since 1998 and finally got Mirza her first career slam women's doubles title (she'd been the only one of the thirty-three women ranked #1 in doubles who hadn't yet won a WD major). Hingis wasn't finished, though. A day later, she returned to Centre Court and won the Mixed doubles with Leander Paes (they won this year's AO, too) to become the first woman to sweep the Wimbledon doubles titles since Cara Black in 2004. Hingis now had eighteen career titles in slam singles, doubles and mixed.
#3 - Angelique Kerber wins her first career grass title in Birmingham, taking her third 2015 crown with wins over Tsvetana Pironkova, Jelena Jankovic, Katerina Siniakova, Sabine Lisicki and Karolina Pliskova. The German has now completed a "Career Surface Slam" in singles titles.


[First-Timers Galore]
The three-week long grass tune-up season produced a trio of first-time tour singles champions in Camila Giorgi, Ana Konjuh and Belinda Bencic. Giorgi survived a gauntlet in 's-Hertogenbosch, defeating Michaella Krajicek despite the Dutch woman hitting 21 aces, saving three match points against Yaroslava Shvedova and then defeating Bencic in her fourth career final after failing to win twice in '14 after holding MP in both matches. The same weekend, 17-year Konjuh won in Nottingham to become the youngest singles champion on tour since 2006, then in the final pre-Wimbledon event 18-year old Bencic matched her old junior rival (they split the four junior slams titles in '13) by making her grass season a sterling one with a maiden title run in Eastbourne in which she defeated #5 Caroline Wozniacki, '14 Wimbledon RU Genie Bouchard, defending champ Madison Keys and former SW19 finalist Aga Radwanska in the championship match. The Swiss would go on to be the only teenager to reach the Round of 16 at the All-England Club.

[To Serve Well is Divine...but it doesn't always get you a title]

In a 2nd Round match in Birmingham, Sabine Lisicki defeated Belinda Bencic while hitting a tour-record 27 aces in the two-set match. Additionally, the German's barely-out serve just missed matching the tour-record 131-mph record she set last season. Lisicki lost in the semifinals to countrywoman Angelique Kerber, then had her worst Wimbledon result (3rd Rd.) since 2008 and was the focus of public comments by Toni Nadal about Lisicki actually being the best player from Germany, but that her lack of fitness is holding her back, and that it is something "that everybody can see."

In her 1st Round match at Wimbledon, a merciless Petra Kvitova took out Kiki Bertens 6-1/6-0, winning twenty-eight of twenty nine service points, including 22/22 on 1st serves. Her only lost point came on a double-fault. The defending SW19 champion lost two rounds later to Jelena Jankovic.

[Best/Worst Decade-Long Beat Down x 17]
Serena Williams celebrated the eleventh anniversary of her loss in the 2004 Wimbledon final to Maria Sharapova with a thorough destruction of the Russian in the 2015 semifinals, running her career record in their head-to-head to 18-2, with seventeen straight victories. Williams went on to win the title, while Sharapova moved to #2 in the WTA rankings. Rarely, if ever, has then been a wider gap between the #1 and "#2" ranked players in the world... and I'm not even talking about Williams' huge 13161-6490 edge in actual ranking points.

[Best Non-Championship Feats]
Garbine Muguruza becomes the first Spanish woman to reach the Wimbledon women's singles final since 1996 (when Garbi was in the "terrible twos.") It's the sixth straight year in which a first-time slam finalist has reached the championship match at SW19. She's now the fourth Spanish woman to reach the Top 10.

Aga Radwanska rediscovers her form during the grass season, putting up semifinal and runner-up results in tune-up events before reaching her third career semi at Wimbledon, where she lost a three-setter to Muguruza. The Pole returned to the Top 10 after the fortnight.

Sloane Stephens records her first Top 10 victory (CSN) since 2013, as well as a win over Heather Watson (who would go on to nearly upset Serena at Wimbledon) on her way to the Eastbourne semifinals. It Stephens' second SF result this season, after having had none since the '13 Australian Open.
Speaking of Watson, even in defeat she became a British tennis heroine at Wimbledon. Showing that she could play with the best, she led Serena Williams by a double-break in the 3rd set in their 3rd Round match, serving for the match and getting to within two points of what would have been a history-altering upset. It was the sternest test faced by the eventual champion all tournament.
While her twin sister Karolina (#11 seed) once again failed to achieve a breakthrough slam performance at Wimbledon (losing in the 2nd Round), the less heralded Kristyna Pliskova upset Tereza Smitkova (who reached the '14 Round of 16) and #26-seed Svetlana Kuznetsova to reach the 3rd Round. Kristyna won the Wimbledon girls title in 2010.


Unseeded 15-year old Russian Sofya Zhuk wins the Wimbledon junior title, defeating fellow Hordette Anna Blinkova (#12) in the final to become just the second girl from her country to win the SW19 crown (2002 Vera Dushevina). Zhuk, who trains at the Justine Henin Academy, didn't lose a set the entire tournament.
Hungary's Dalma Galfi didn't win THE biggest junior titles of the grass season, but she claimed arguably the SECOND biggest ones. The 16-year old won the Roehampton singles title and the Wimbledon doubles title (w/ Fanni Stollar).

[The Best Doubles Duo in the World?]
SW19 champs Martina Hingis & Sania Mirza are the top-ranked team on the WTA tour, while Bethanie Mattek-Sands & Lucie Safarova have won two '15 slams. But the Wheelchair division team of Yui Kamiji & Jordanne Whiley have now won six of the last seven slam titles after their latest championship turn at Wimbledon. The Japanese-British duo defeated the Dutch combo of Jiske Griffioen & Aniek Van Koot at SW19 in the seventh consecutive slam final match-up between the two teams. Griffioen/Van Koot had ended Kamiji/Whiley's five-straight title run a month earlier in Paris.

[Best/Worst AnaIvo Impersonation?]
Echoing what has become a common occurrence in the career of Ana Ivanovic, Simona Halep fired coach Victor Ionita right before Wimbledon, then couldn't follow up a great result with another. A year after reaching the semis at the AELTC she lost in the 1st Round this year. Incidentally, AnaIvo, less than a month after reaching the Roland Garros semifinals (her first at a slam since '08), lost in the 2nd Round at Wimbledon. To take things another step, Halep ended the clay season by losing in the 2nd Round at RG one year after reaching the final there. Make of it all what you will.

[Best Centre Court Balancing Act]

[Best Performance by a Seagull]


Wimbledon 3rd Rd. - Serena Williams def. Heather Watson
As she often does, Serena had to wobble on the edge of defeat before she turned her nose toward the finish line in a slam. This time, though, she really DID looked doomed as Watson's expert defense and smart, big-point play put her on the verge of pulling off what may have been the biggest win by a British woman at Wimbledon in nearly forty years (the last time a Brit defeated a world #1 was in 1979). Watson was up a double-break at 3-0 in the 3rd, and Williams needed six BP chances to win the 18-point game #4 to begin her climb back. Still, after Williams got back on serve, Watson broke her at love (in an error-strewn game by Serena) and served for the match at 5-4, coming within two points of victory. Williams finally got the break on her fourth BP try and bulled her way to the win. The rest was history. Literally.


Wimbledon 4th Rd. - Aga Radwanska def. Jelena Jankovic
Great defense, a little Radwanska magic, JJ nearly wiping out a ball kid, Aga almost cutting herself in half while running into the net cord, a backhand drop shot from behind the baseline and the Pole's eagle-eyed challenge that overturned a call and gave her a break for 5-4 in the 2nd. This match had it all... well, except for a 3rd set. Acting in the role of a cat toying with a mouse in the 2nd, Radwanska dispatched JJ in straights to deny us untold gifts that may have awaited with a another 30-60 minutes of play. But, still, we were left to thrill in the short-term pleasure of a match that didn't overstay its welcome and, instead, left us begging for a little more.

Wimbledon QF - Serena Williams def. Victoria Azarenka
Williams slowly assumed control of this one, but Vika was at her self-assured best in the early going, and then battled back after dropping seven straight games, staying close until, at the end, she held a BP in the final game that would have gotten the 3rd set back on serve. This was the third high quality match between these two in 2015. Williams is so far 3-0 (Vika had 3 MP in one, and was up a set and a break in the other), but Azarenka's is rounding into form quite nicely in her comeback... and hopefully we'll get a couple more 2015 versions of this match-up between the now-legendary Serena and the only player whose seems to be able to deliver consistently good performances against her.
Birmingham Final - Angelique Kerber def. Karolina Pliskova
In a match-up of two of the three women (w/ Serena) to reach finals on three different surfaces in 2015, Kerber dropped the 1st set after leading 5-3 and holding 4 SP. After putting herself in position to win again in the 3rd, she couldn't serve things out at 5-4, but took out the Czech in a deciding TB. The win completes a full Career Surface Slam for the German, as she's now won titles on hard court, red clay, green clay and grass.
Wimbledon QF - Maria Sharapova def. Coco Vandeweghe
Sharapova wins a spirited battle with the brash, blunt Bannerette, whose biggest weapons (her first serve and forehand) often let her down in this match. Still, Vandeweghe took what at the time was the first set lost by Sharapova at this Wimbledon, stoking the crowd with near-Connorsesque tactics all the way. Afterward, though, her complaints about Sharapova's "unsportsmanlike" moving before her second serve rang a bit hollow, and slightly whiny. Still, finally coming into her own at 23 and seemingly committed to getting in the sort of shape that will improve her biggest liability (her on-court speed and defense), Vandeweghe is a player to keep a very close eye (and now, ear) on.

Wimbledon Q2 - Elyse Mertens def. Kateryna Bondarenko
The 19-year old Waffle advances but -- whew! -- it wasn't easy. She got the break for a 6-4/5-2 lead, getting to within a game of the lead by converting on her 7th BP chances in game #7. She then served for the match at 5-2 and 5-4, held four MP at 5-3 and four more at 5-4. After being broken by Bondarenko, Mertens lost a lightning fast return game at love and K-Bond held SP a game later. But the Belgian pushed things to a TB, where Bondarenko held a second SP before Mertens finally put away MP #9. A Bondarenko hasn't appeared in the Wimbledon MD since 2012.
's-Hertogenbosch QF - Camila Giorgi def. Yaroslava Shvedova
Shvedova led 3-1 in the 3rd, but the Italian pushed things to a TB, where Giorgi held a MP at 6-5. She'd save three Shvedova MP before finally putting away #2 of her own. She went on to win her maiden tour title.

's-Hertogenbosch QF - Belinda Bencic def. Kristina Mladenovic
Bencic held a MP in the 2nd. Mladenovic had three in the 3rd. The New Swiss Miss finally won the the match in 2:55.
Nottingham 2nd Rd. - Lauren Davis def. Magda Linette
Davis led 5-2 in the 1st and held a set point, but the Pole prevailed. Linette led 5-2 in the 2nd, holding two MP before Davis forced a TB, then held six more there. The Bannerette won 15-13 on her sixth SP, then took the 3rd for the win.
Wimbledon Q3 - Tamira Paszek def. Wang Yafan
Paszek held four MP in the 2nd set TB, then Wang served at 5-4 in the 3rd. The Austrian won on her sixth MP.
Wimbledon Final - Serena Williams def. Garbine Muguruza
Williams had three DF in the first game of the match and was broke by Muguruza, who jumped out to a 4-2 lead. Serena surged back and won the set even without her serve firing on all cylinders (49% 1st serve pct., 4 DF). Muguruza, in her first career slam final, put up a fight after falling down a double-break at 5-1 in the 2nd, getting back on serve at 5-4 before Williams collected a final break to end the match and win slam title #21, one behind Steffi Graf's Open era record.


[A Contrast in Styles x 2]
Wimbledon QF - Aga Radwanska def. Madison Keys 7-6(3)/3-6/6-3
Wimbledon SF - Garbine Muguruza def. Aga Radwanska 6-2/3-6/6-3
Radwanska engaged in a pair of compelling battles of differing styles that pitted her crafty, variety-filled game against a pair of ball-blasters with the tendency to run either hot or cold. Against AO semifinalist Keys, the American's errors allowed the Pole to grab the 1st set before her power seemed to put Keys in the driver's seat over the next set and a half. But when Radwanska got a sudden break of serve in game #8 of the 3rd, Aga seized the moment and struck quickly to hold and reach her third career Wimbledon semi. A round later, in a three-Act contest that saw Muguruza impose her power early, only to be unable to maintain such a perfect form for long, Radwanska would take advantage of the lull to employ her spins and creativity, coming in behind her shots to take control of many rallies and turn the momentum of the day in her favor. In the end, Muguruza's power flashed again late as the 21-year old became the first Spanish woman in the Wimbledon final in nineteen years.

Wimbledon 3rd Rd. - Garbine Muguruza def. Angelique Kerber
Muguruza's road to the final was paved by a gem of a tie-break way back in the 3rd Round against Birmingham champ Kerber. The German led the 1st set 3-0, and held five set points at 6-5 before the Spaniard forced the breaker. In a 26-point tussle, after servers held the first two points, twelve of the next sixteen points featured mini-breaks. Kerber jumped to a 5-2 lead and eventually held four more SP, while Muguruza finally put away the set on her fourth SP, as servers held on seven of the final eight points.

Wimbledon Girls QF - Anna Blinkova def. Tornado Black
...1-6/6-3/12-10 .
In a remarkable three-hour struggle, Blinkova finally defeated Black after serving for the match six different times, winning on her second MP. For the match, Blinkova led Black 63-12 in winners, but needed every last one since she also outdistanced her 77-21 in unforced errors. In all, there were 41 break point chances on the day, with Black converting 10-of-27 and Blinkova 10-of-17. Blinkova would go on to lose in the final to fellow Hordette Sofya Zhuk.

[Sister-vs.-Sister XXVI]
Wimbledon 4th Rd. - Serena Williams def. Venus Williams
In their 26th career meeting, the fifth all-Williams match at Wimbledon was the first at SW19 since the '09 final, and the earliest ever in the event (3 Finals, 1 SF). It wasn't a classic, as Serena dominated, winning the first eight points of the day and the last five, but it COULD be their last meeting. Probably not... but one never knows.

Wimbledon Doubles Final - Martina Hingis/Sania Mirza def. Ekaterina Makarova/Elena Vesnina
A year and a half after losing in the AO final after leading 5-1 in the 3rd, former RG & U.S. champs Makarova/Vesnina missed out on a another major title after leading 5-2 in the 3rd in this one. Led by the efforts of the Swiss Miss, the Dream Team battled to get back on serve, finally converting on a seventh BP over back-to-back service games to close to 5-4. After the Centre Court roof was closed due to the lack of light at 5-5, Hingis & Mirza came back on fire while Vesnina lost a shaky service game. Hingis then served out the match at love, winning her first Wimbledon title since she was 17 years old in 1998, and finally getting Mirza her long overdue first slam WD crown at age 28.
Birmingham 2nd Rd. - Michelle Larcher de Brito def. Ana Ivanovic
AnaIvo led 3-1 in the 3rd, served at 5-4 and twice had a break advantage. After saving MLdB's first two match points, the Serb double-faulted on the 3rd.
's-Hertogenbosch Q3 - Ula Radwanska def. Arina Rodionova
In an all-sister, cross-family battle it was U-Rad who overcame a 6-3/5-0 deficit, saving a MP in the 2nd set and then going on to take the 3rd at love, sweeping the final two games without dropping a point.
Eastbourne 2nd Rd. - Daria Gavrilova def. Camila Giorgi
After failing to win two '14 finals in which she had MP, Giorgi won her first WTA in the Netherlands after saving two MP early in the tournament. Two weeks later, though, the Italian was back to her old tricks, holding a MP in the 2nd set TB before eventually going out at the hands of the "lucky loser" Russo-Aussie who'd only gotten into the tournament because of the late withdrawal of #1-seed Petra Kvitova.
Wimbledon Q1 - Michelle Larcher de Brito def. Ysaline Bonaventure 1-6/6-3/12-10
Wimbledon Q2 - Jessica Pegula def. Michelle Larcher de Brito 1-6/7-6(7)/5-4 ret.
After reaching the Wimbledon women's 3rd Round the last two years, MLdB barely escaped the opening round of qualifying. Bonaventure served for the match at 5-3, had three MP at 5-4 and a fourth at 7-6. A round later, Larcher de Brito failed to put away a pair of her own MP in the 2nd set TB, then eventually had to retire in the 3rd set with a wrist injury.
Wimbledon 1st Rd. - Lucie Safarova def. Alison Riske
Riske found herself up a set and 4-2 against the Roland Garros finalist. She served at 5-4, and even led 3-0 in the 3rd. But Safarova, a semifinalist at Wimbledon in '14, showed her experience and found a way to survive en route to a ranking points-saving Round of 16 result.
Wimbledon 3rd Rd. - Belinda Bencic def. Bethanie Mattek-Sands
BMS failed to back up her AnaIvo upset, losing a 4-0 lead in a 1st set in which she twice served for the set and held three set points. She lost her last four service games of the opening set, then could never grab a similar advantage in the 2nd.
Wimbledon 1st Rd. - Jelena Jankovic def. Elena Vesnina
Vesnina's Wimbledon doubles meltdown was preceded by something similar in singles. She led Jankovic 4-2 in the 3rd and served at 7-6 before losing the eighteen-game deciding set.
Wimbledon 1st Rd. - Kristyna Pliskova def. Tereza Smitkova
Kristyna's SW19 bragging rights over sister Karolina almost didn't happen. She had to scrape to survive her first match against fellow Czech after falling down 6-3/4-2m with Smitkova serving for the match at 5-4.
Wimbledon Q1 - Julie Coin def. Lesley Kerkhove
Kerkhove led a set and 5-2, and served at 5-3 in the 2nd. Pastry Coin won fifteen of the final eighteen points in the set, the took the match in three.
Wimbledon 1st Rd. - Madison Keys def. Stefanie Voegele
Voegele led 7-6/3-1 before Keys righted her error-strewn game and won the last five games to stay alive and extend the late-in-the-day battle. Play was stopped at 2-2 in the 3rd, and when the match resumed a day later it didn't take long for the AO semifinalist to assert her dominance, opening with a break of serve and never looking back en route to an eventual QF run.

Wimbledon 1st Rd. - Heather Watson def. Caroline Garcia
The Serena-vs.-Heather 3rd Round match almost never happened. The Pastry held three MP at 5-4 in the 3rd in a match that stretched over two days. Garcia has lost in the 1st Round at five of her last seven slams.

[More Comebacks from MP Down Than You Can Shake a Zhuk At]
Nottingham 2nd Rd. - Monica Niculescu def. Olga Govortsova 2-6/7-5/7-5
...Olga led 6-2/5-3 and had five MP.
Nottingham 2nd Rd. - Sachia Vickery def. Zarina Diyas 4-6/7-6(5)/6-1
...Diyas had three MP at 5-4 in the 2nd, then three more at 6-5.
Birmingham Q1 - Nicole Gibbs def. Carina Witthoeft 7-6(5)/6-7(1)/7-5
...Witthoeft led 5-3 in the 3rd and had four MP.
Eastbourne 2nd Rd. - Sara Errani def. Barbora Strycova 6-2/6-76(1)/7-6(7)
...the Czech led 4-2 in the 2nd, and had two MP in the deciding TB of the 3:05 match.
Wimbledon Q2 - Luksika Kumkhum def. Stephanie Vogt 5-7/7-6(4)/6-2
...Vogt led 7-5/4-1, and held MP at 6-5.
Wimbledon 1st Rd. - Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova def. Mona Barthel 6-7(3)/7-6(4)/6-2
...the German served up 5-4 and held a MP.
Wimbledon 1st Rd. - Elizaveta Kulichkova def. Yanina Wickmayer 3-6/7-6(6)/10-8
...the Waffle held a MP in the 2nd set TB.

[REAL Comebacks]
Eastbourne Q1 - Daria Gavrilova def. Laura Robson 6-0/6-1
Wimbledon Q1 - Melanie Oudin def. Akgul Amanmuradova 6-3/6-1
Robson's long-delayed return from wrist surgery finally ended after seventeen months. Her return to health earned her a wild card into the Wimbledon main draw, where she lost 6-4/6-4 in the 1st Round to Evgeniya Rodina in her first match at the AELTC since 2013. Oudin played her first match since October after having eye and heart procedures.

Thank you so much Pearl ?

A photo posted by Daria Gavrilova (@daria_gav) on

*PUTTING THE "UP" in UPSET, and taking home the "set" for safe keeping*

Wimbledon 3rd Rd. - Jelena Jankovic def. Petra Kvitova
Good Petra, Bad Petra... Good Petra, Bad Petra. Let's call the whole thing off. And that's what happened, too, as far as Kvitova's defense of her Wimbledon title was concerned. The Czech led JJ 6-3/4-2, winning thirteen straight points in one stretch and still having not been broken in the tournament. But once Jankovic got a break to get back on serve at 4-4, the slide began, then a second break to win the 2nd set sent Kvitova "down the other side." A nearly ten-minute off-court break between sets didn't turn the match in her favor, as errors and a curious case of brain lock (stopping play to challenge a line call when she up was up 30/15 on JJ's serve at 4-4, and in complete control of the point -- the ball was in, and instead of having two BP for a shot to serve FOR the match Kvitova was soon serving to stay IN it) proved to be Petra's final undoing against the resurgent Serb.


Wimbledon 1st Rd. - Duan Yingying def. Genie Bouchard
The freefall of the 2014 Wimbledon finalist continued against the world #117 Duan, a qualifier whose rangy size has led her to be dubbed the "Lindsay Davenport of China." It's Bouchard's second straight 1st Round slam loss, as she dropped to 2-12 in her last fourteen matches.

Wimbledon 1st Rd. - Jana Cepelova def. Simona Halep
A healthy Cepelova (unfortunately, a rare sight) is a dangerous Cepelova, and the world #106 was just that against the #2-seeded Halep. The Romanian won the 1st set and seemed on her way to victory before dropping her last two service games in the 2nd. Halep nearly got back on serve late in the 3rd, getting to 40/love on the Slovak's serve as she tried to finish things off at 5-3. But Cepelova swept the final five points of the match to record her second career Top 5 win (w/ that win over Serena in Charleston last year).
Eastbourne 2nd Rd. - Johanna Konta def. Ekaterina Makarova 6-2/6-4
Eastbourne 3rd Rd. - Johanna Konta def. Garbine Muguruza 6-4/4-6/6-3
the Brit notched her first career Top 10 win over the Russian in a result that foreshadowed the then-Top 10er's disappointing Wimbledon (2nd Rd.), then followed up with a win over then-Top 20 player Muguruza in a result which hardly told us anything about what would happen at Wimbledon. The Spaniard would reach her first career slam final in London, climbing into the Top 10 for the first time at #9. Her jump pushed Makarova down to #11.

Wimbledon 2nd Rd. - Bethanie Mattek-Sands def. Ana Ivanovic
The American qualifier, a former Round of 16er (2008) staging a successful comeback from '14 hip surgery, took it to AnaIvo. "Old school" style. In a performance filled with net rushes and continual movement, BMS converted 28/39 net points, including 19 volley winners (she led the #7-seeded Serb 32-15 in overall W's).
Wimbledon QF - Raqual Kops-Jones/Abigail Spears d. Bethanie Mattek-Sands/Lucie Safarova
The #5-seeded veteran American pair was coming off a title turn in Nottingham, but this win over the #3-seeded Dynamic Duo ended the bid of the AO and RG champs for a 2015 Grand Slam.
Wimbledon Q1 - Katie Swan def. Kristina Kucova
The 16-year old British junior, ranked #866 on the WTA computer, takes out a player ranked 748 spots above her.

[The Radwanskian Massacre: Junior Edition?]
Wimbledon Girls 1st Rd. - Anna Brogan def. #1 Marketa Vondrousova 6-1/6-2
Wimbledon Girls 1st Rd. - Maia Lumsden def. #3 Dalma Galfi 7-5/6-3
Wimbledon Girls 1st Rd. - Viktoria Kuzmova def. #4 Anna Kalinskaya 7-6(4)/6-4
on Day 7, evil lurked in the shadows of the All-England Club. At least for the juniors. Three of the top four seeds lost in a matter of hours, including both of the Roehampton finalists (Galfi and Vondrousova) and the Roland Garros girls RU (Kalinskaya). On the same day on the women's side, Aga Radwanska won a crazy good 4th Round match against Jelena Jankovic en route to the semifinals. Hmmm. A classic case of misdirection? Or maybe the You-Know-What has an apprentice...?

So, remain ever vigilant...

In the meantime, Rufus will be on the perch... err, I mean watch.

*2015 Weeks in Top 20*
28 weeks...Serena Williams *
28 weeks...Maria Sharapova *
28 weeks...Simona Halep *
28 weeks...Carolina Wozniacki *
28 weeks...Petra Kvitova *
28 weeks...Ana Ivanovic *
28 weeks...Aga Radwanska *
28 weeks...Lucie Safarova *
28 weeks...Carla Suarez-Navarro *
28 weeks...Ekaterina Makarova *
28 weeks...Angelique Kerber *
28 weeks...Venus Williams *
28 weeks...Andrea Petkovic *
28 weeks...Sara Errani *
27 weeks...Genie Bouchard
24 weeks...Karolina Pliskova *
21 weeks...Madison Keys *
15 weeks...Garbine Muguruza *
14 weeks...Jelena Jankovic
13 weeks...Sabine Lisicki
11 weeks...Flavia Pennetta
8 weeks...Elina Svitolina *
8 weeks...Dominika Cibulkova
7 weeks...Alize Cornet
6 weeks...Timea Bacsinszky *
5 weeks...Peng Shuai
4 weeks...Svetlana Kuznetsova
3 weeks...Barbora Strycova
1 week...Victoria Azarenka *
1 week...Samantha Stosur
* - in current Top 20

*Active Top 20 Weeks Streaks*
386 - Aga Radwanksa
259 - Caroline Wozniacki
248 - Maria Sharapova
232 - Petra Kvitova
199 - Serena Williams
179 - Ana Ivanovic
177 - Angelique Kerber
161 - Sara Errani
112 - Carla Suarez-Navarro
97 - Simona Halep
57 - Andrea Petkovic
53 - Lucie Safarova
53 - Ekaterina Makarova
48 - Venus Williams
22 - Karolina Pliskova
6 - Timea Bacsinszky
6 - Elina Svitolina
4 - Garbine Muguruza
1 - Madison Keys
1 - Victoria Azarenka

So, until next time, just remember that JJ will continue to be JJ...

Petko will continue to be Petko...

And one of the greatest athletes ever will...

Swimming... Not my thing... Lol working on my dive.

A video posted by Serena Williams (@serenawilliams) on

Ummm. Hmmm. Well, I guess that Olympic Gold in platform diving won't be coming anytime soon, huh? Let's try this again. And one of the greatest athletes ever will continue to be just that...

And, also...

Yes. That's even better.

Hmmm, is there something that I'm forgetting? Oh, yeah.

WAKE UP, JELENA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Whew! I thought she going to go traipsing through time again. That was a close one. Okay... my work here is done.

All for now.


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