US.Q- The Week Before the Open
The roof on Arthur Ashe Stadium is a work in progress.
And so in this year's U.S. Open. But the first pieces of the 2015 puzzle have already been put into the place... in the qualifying rounds.
Here's a quick recap of the qualifying rounds...
1. Jessica Pegula, USA (#257): the 21-year old qualifying WC will make her slam MD debut after putting up wins over Aoyama, #1-seeded Gasparyan and Oudin
2. Mayo Hibi, JPN (#177): the 19-year old California native (since she was 2) from Japan, with a nifty one-handed backhand, knocked off a trio of Romanian-born woman -- Gallovits-Hall (now USA), #18 Tig and Cirstea -- to reach her first career slam MD
3. Shelby Rogers, USA (#154): after reaching the Open 2nd Round in '14, Rogers knocked off Min, Minella and #15 Kudryavtseva to get back into the action this year
4. Maria Sakkari, GRE (#206): the 20-year old, a three-time ITF champ this year, makes her slam MD debut after upsetting Sevastova, #4 Mestach and #32 Martic
5. Alexandra Panova, RUS (#132): the always-fiesty Hordette, the #26 Q-seed at age 26, has one MD slam win in her career. She'll have a shot at a second after Q-wins over Kania, Brianti and 15-year old American Claire Liu. This is Panova's second successful (w/ AO) 2015 slam qualifying run.
Kiki Bertens, NED (#109): the Dutch woman reached the Open 2nd Round in 2012
Kateryna Bondarenko, UKR (#104): the Bondarenko mom/sister, 29, reached the U.S. QF in 2009, but hasn't been in the MD since 2012
Johanna Konta, GBR (#96): the Brit's great summer continues. She's already won $50K and $100K titles after qualifying at Roland Garros in the spring. She was the highest Q-seed (#3) to reach the MD at the Open, where she has her only career slam match victory (2012).
Anett Kontaveit, EST (#152): the 19-year old makes her U.S. debut after wins over Vogt, #19 Torro-Flor and Broady
Kateryna Kozlova, UKR (#208): the 21-year old Ukrainian will make her slam MD debut
Elizaveta Kulichkova, RUS (#107): the '14 AO Jr. champ reached the Wimbledon 2nd Round this summer. Now the 19-year old is in her first U.S. Open 1st Round. The NextGen Russians are here.
Tereza Mrdeza, CRO (#193): the Croat's MD slam debut comes after saving 3 MP vs. Shvedova in the final qualifying round
Jelena Ostapenko, LAT (#114): at 18, she's the youngest slam qualifier this season, taking down Bellis in the final round to advance. Ostapenko won a MD match at Wimbledon as a WC earlier this summer.
Aliaksandra Sasnovich, BLR (#118): the Belarusian qualifies for her second straight Open (she reached the 2nd Rd. in '14)
Laura Siegemund, GER (#126): the 27-year, who has won a pair of tour doubles titles this season, qualifies for her second consecutive slam. She's making her Open debut.
Anna Tatishvili, USA (#121): the Bannerette reached the U.S. Round of 16 while playing for Georgia in 2012. Also a '15 qualifier in Melbourne, Tatishvili double-bageled Pous-Tio in the second Q-round this week.
COMEBACKS: Vicky Duval/USA & Melanie Oudin/USA
...Duval didn't get the WC into the MD that she deserved in her comeback from Hodgkin's lymphoma. After reaching the QF of her only other tournament (a $25K challenger), Duval won a three-setter in the opening Q-round over Luksika Kumkhum, then lost another three-setter in the second round to #15-seeded Alla Kudryavtseva. Not unexpectedly, she ran out of gas in the end, going out 6-0 in the final set. Duval wasn't going to have a deep MD run, but considering her last appearance in the Open MD (2013) included an upset of former champ Sam Stosur in the 1st Round, it'd been nice to see what excitement/good feelings she might have been able to cook up in a match or two next week. But, you know, you can always expect the USTA to look bad in situations involving tennis... (cough, cough) see Karolina Pliskova's U.S. Open Series "title run," which involved a concluding loss to a "lucky loser," zero titles and a mediocre 6-4 overall record.
Had a tough one today but I'm not disappointed. I've come a long way and just have to keep pushing!! Thanks so much for the support ??????— Vicky Duval (@vicky_duval95) August 27, 2015
Oudin, also a former U.S. Open MD star (remember her Hordette massacre en route to the '09 QF?), didn't reach the MD, either. But she's on her way back from more health scares than anyone her age should have to have deal with by now. She put up Q-round wins over Kostova and Wang Yafan before falling to Backspin Q-POW Pegula on Friday.
JUNIOR: Claire Liu/USA
...the 15-year old lost in the final round, but what a show she put on. The first player born in the 2000's to earn a WTA ranking (earlier this season), last week Liu saved MP to upset Cepede Royg, then knocked off #9 Cepelova before falling in the final Q-Round to veteran Panova. She'll be back.
DOWN: Kristyna Pliskova/CZE & Yaroslava Shvedova/KAZ
...ever since Pliskova's career-best 3rd Round slam run at Wimbledon, when she lasted longer than her Top 10-ranked sister Karolina, Kristyna has been searching in vain for a win. Any win. Her opening round qualifying loss to Maryna Zanevska drops her to 0-4 since leaving London, and is her fifth consecutive loss. Her last win came in the 2nd Round at SW19 against Svetlana Kuznetsova. So... does that mean she's a victim of an entirely new "Kuznetsova Curse? Meanwhile, Shvedova was the highest-remaining seed (#2) still alive in the final round of qualifying. She held three MP in the contest against Tereza Mrdeza but, as is often her way, the Kazakh found a way to avoid winning.
Q1: CiCi Bellis d. Kimiko Date-Krumm
...4-6/6-1/6-4. The 17-year old stages a comeback to take out the 44-year old.
Q1: (WC) Claire Liu d. Veronica Cepede Royg
...4-6/7-5/6-2. The 15-year old survives Cepede serving up 6-4/5-3 and holding a match point at 5-4 in the 2nd set.
This is how I will walk out to the court tomorrow! ?????? pic.twitter.com/eooVelT1Us— Vicky Duval (@vicky_duval95) August 24, 2015
Q1: (WC) Vicky Duval d. Luksika Kumkhum
...5-7/6-3/6-1. Duval, in her first U.S. Open-related match since 2013, had reason to celebrate AFTER the match, too. She may have been denied the main draw wild card that she deserved, but getting a 2.0 Open win of any kind is its own reward.
Q1: Naomi Osaka d. Katerina Stewart
...7-6(8)/7-6(5). Speaking of deserving wild cards withheld. Ever since Stewart's 13-2, three final, one title run that should have earned her the USTA's wild card into the Roland Garros main draw, the 18-year old has gone 2-5, failing in all four of her attempts to qualify (three times at slams).
Q1: Naomi Broady d. Barbora Krejcikova
...3-6/6-4/7-6(8). Krejcikova led 4-1 in the 3rd and held a match point in the tie-break. Broady finally won on her own sixth MP in the tie-break.
Q2: (WC) Jessica Pegula d. #1 Margarita Gasparyan
...6-3/6-3. The Baku champ fails to qualify at her third consecutive slam.
Q2: #15 Alla Kudryavtseva d. (WC) Vicky Duval
...7-6(5)/4-6/6-0. All good things must come to end, but this end is also a new beginning.
Q2: (WC) Claire Liu d. #9 Jana Cepelova
...7-6(4)/6-4. The 15-year old takes down Cepelova, who came in at the ripe "old" age of 22. And, remember, this is the same Cepelova who has defeated Serena (Charleston '14) and Halep (Wimbledon '15) in the last sixteen months.
Q2: Sorana Cirstea d. #23 Donna Vekic
...7-6(4)/2-6/6-4. Well, at least that's one less reason to bring up THAT story next week.
Q2:#16 Anna Tatishvili d. Laura Pous-Tio
...6-0/6-0. Ouch. Although, you could be served bagels in far worse places than New York City.
Q3: Tereza Mrdeza d. #2 Yaroslava Shvedova
...5-7/7-6(8)/7-6(4). In a 3:12 match, Mrdeza saves a MP in the 2nd, then saw Shvedova serve for the match at 5-3 in the 3rd. Mrdeza saved two more MP there. A typical Shvedova loss, to be honest.
Q3: #26 Alexandra Panova d. (WC) Claire Liu 6-4/6-1
Q3: #11 Jelena Ostapenko d. CiCi Bellis 6-3/6-2
Q3: (WC) Jessica Pegula d. Melanie Oudin 7-6(8)/6-0
...a lot of Bannerette hearts were broken on the final day of qualifying. But as one of only three Americans to make it through to the main draw, Pegula's spirits are soaring. But as for the 2015 season hopes for the Bills...
Jessica Pegula, daughter of NFL Buffalo Bills owner Terry Pegula, wins 1st set of #USOpen final round qualie match with Mel Oudin 76 (10-8)— Randy Walker (@TennisPublisher) August 28, 2015
Q3: #7 Elizaveta Kulichkova d. #27 Daria Kasatkina
...6-2/6-4. The Hordette who won the 2014 AO girls title takes out the Hordette who won the 2014 RG girls title. Naturally.
=Things Weren't Equisite in the City for These Sisters...=
Q1 - #22 Romina Oprandi d. (WC) Tornado Alicia Black 6-4/6-0
Q1 - #9 Jana Cepelova d. Lu Jia-jing 6-4/6-2
Q1 - Maryna Zanevska d. #10 Kristyna Pliskova 7-5/7-6(5)
Q1 - Tereza Mrdeza d. Kristina Kucova 7-5/7-5
Q1 - #19 Maria-Teresa Torro-Flor d. (WC) Usue Arconada 6-0/7-5
Q1 - Alize Lim d. Anastasia Rodionova 6-3/6-4
Q1 - Laura Pous Tio d. Varatchaya Wongteanchai 6-1/6-2
=If You're a Sister and from Asia, it wasn't a good day=
Q2 - #3 Johanna konta d. Naomi Osaka/JPN 6-4/6-4
Q2 - Renata Voracova d. Chan Yung-Jan/TPE 6-3/6-2
Q2 - Alize Lim d. #12 Hsieh Su-Wei/TPE 7-5/7-6(1)
=...while only one sibling survives to continue to tell her tale=
Q3 - #6 Kateryna Bondarenko d. #18 Nao Hibino 6-1/6-1
...a Bondarenko hasn't been seen in these parts in three full years.
*U.S. OPEN "Q-PLAYER OF THE WEEK" WINNERS*
2006 Chan Yung-Jan, TPE
2007 Alina Jidkova, RUS
2008 Yaroslava Shvedova, KAZ & Barbora Strycova, CZE
2009 Eva Hrdinova, CZE
2010 Michelle Larcher de Brito, POR
2011 Romina Oprandi, ITA (now SUI)
2012 Magdalena Rybarikova, SVK
2013 Michelle Larcher de Brito, POR
2014 Aleksandra Krunic, SRB
2015 Jessica Pegula, USA
AO: Renata Voracova, CZE
RG: Veronica Cepede Royg, PAR
WI: Petra Cetkovska, CZE
US: Jessica Pegula, USA
Louisa Chirico/USA - 19-year old was also awarded '15 RG WC (lost 1st Rd.)
Samantha Crawford/USA - 20-year old '12 U.S. Open girls champ won USTA WC playoff berth
Oceane Dodin/FRA - big-hitting Pastry's third '14 slam WC; making U.S. Open debut
Nicole Gibbs/USA - fourth con. U.S. Open WC (2 as NCAA champ); reached 3rd Rd. in '14
Sonya Kenin/USA - 16-year old won U.S. 18s National Championship; making slam debut
Jamie Loeb/USA - '15 NCAA champ; won '14 Billie Jean King Invitational; making U.S. Open debut
Bethanie Mattek-Sands/USA - 30-year old was Wimbledon qualifier; five-time U.S. Open 2nd Rd.
Sachia Vickery/USA - 20-year old was Wimbledon qualifier; reached 2013 U.S. 2nd Rd.
none so far
Late Update: Sharapova withdrew on Sunday, to be replaced by LL Daria Kasatkina, RUS (18 years old, #133)
*YOUNGEST 2015 SLAM...*
US - Sonya Kenin, USA (16)
AO - Oceane Dodin, FRA (18)
RG - Fiona Ferro, FRA (18)
RG - Oceane Dodin, FRA (18)
RG - Louisa Chirico, USA (18)
WI - Jelena Ostapenko, LAT (18)
WI - Anett Kontaveit, EST (19)
US - Louisa Chirico, USA (19)
US - Jelena Ostapenko, LAT (18)
US - Mayo Hibi, JPN (19)
US - Anett Kontaveit, EST (19)
US - Elizaveta Kulichkova, RUS (19)
AO - Ons Jabeur, TEN (20)
RG - Margarita Gasparyan, RUS (20)
WI - Sachia Vickery, USA (20)
WI - Margarita Gasparyan, RUS (20)
US - Maria Sakkari, GRE (20)
*OLDEST 2015 SLAM...*
AO - none
RG - Virginie Razzano, FRA (32)
RG - Mathilde Johansson, FRA (30)
WI - none
US - Bethanie Mattek-Sands, USA (30)
AO - Stephanie Foretz, FRA (33)
AO - Renata Voracova, CZE (31)
US - Kateryna Bondarenko, UKR (29)
AO - Lucie Hradecka, CZE (29)
RG - Lourdes Dominguez-Lino, ESP (34)
WI - Petra Cetkovska, CZE (30)
WI - Bethanie Mattek-Sands, USA (30)
WI - Hsieh Su-Wei, TPE (29)
=MOST 2015 SLAM Q=
2 - Margarita Gasparyan, RUS (RG/WI)
2 - Richel Hogenkamp, NED (AO/WI)
2 - Johanna Konta, GBR (RG/US)
2 - Petra Martic, CRO (AO/RG)
2 - Alexandra Panova, RUS (AO/US)
2 - Laura Siegemund, GER (WI/US)
2 - Anna Tatishvili, USA (AO/US)
=MOST 2015 SLAM WC=
3 - Oceane Dodin, FRA (AO/RG/US)
2 - Louisa Chirico, USA (RG/US)
=CONSECUTIVE SLAM Q - active streak=
2 - Laura Siegemund, GER (WI/US)
=CONSECUTIVE U.S. OPEN Q=
2 - Aliaksandra Sasnovich, BLR (2014-15)
=CONSECUTIVE SLAM WC=
=CONSECUTIVE U.S. OPEN WC=
4 - Nicole Gibbs, USA (2012-15)
*BEST 2015 SLAM RESULTS*
4th Rd. AO - Lucie Hradecka, CZE
4th Rd. WI - Olga Govortsova, BLR
3rd Rd. WI - Bethanie Mattek-Sands, USA
2nd Rd. AO - Denisa Allertova, CZE
2nd Rd. AO - Alexandra Panova, RUS
2nd Rd. AO - Anna Tatishvili, USA
2nd Rd. RG - Lourdes Dominguez-Lino, ESP
2nd Rd. RG - Paula Kania, POL
2nd Rd. RG - Sesil Karatantcheva, BUL
2nd Rd. RG - Teliana Pereira, BRA
2nd Rd. WI - Duan Yingying, CHN
2nd Rd. WI - Richel Hogenkamp, NED
2nd Rd. WI - Aliaksandra Sasnovich, BLR
2nd Rd. AO - Chang Kai-Chen, TPE
2nd Rd. AO - Oceane Dodin, FRA
2nd Rd. AO - Irina Falconi, USA
2nd Rd. RG - Amandine Hesse, FRA
2nd Rd. RG - Virginie Razzano, FRA
2nd Rd. WI - Jelena Ostapenko, LAT
1st Rd. AO - Yulia Putintseva, KAZ
All for now.