Saturday, September 05, 2015

US.6 - Voracious Vika & Angie Excellent are a Smash on Ashe

It was pretty clear heading into Saturday that the best 3rd Round match on the schedule was #11 Angelique Kerber vs. #20 Victoria Azarenka. A former U.S. Open semifinalist vs. a two-time finalist in the event.

They didn't disappoint. Not by a long shot.

In a perfect tennis world, the match-up would have been given the jewel of the night session on Ashe Court. It surely deserved as much to be given the chance to provide the proper follow-up under the lights to the fabulous drama of Nadal/Fognini the went deep into Friday night/Saturday morning on Day 5. Of course, the USTA is making up the schedule, so #2 Simona Halep vs. American Shelby Rogers -- a match that "checks the boxes" that the tournament likes to mark while setting up the evening schedule, but one which would take something special from the Bannerette to surpass anything other than "routine Romanian victory" status -- was given the opening spot for Night 6.

Oh, well, that didn't prevent Azarenka and Kerber from doing what they're capable of in the late afternoon on Ashe. Even with Vika holding a 5-0 lead in their head-to-head, there was no reason to believe THIS one wouldn't be a great, high quality contest, especially with the way the German has played in 2015. And that's what it was, too Less than twenty-four hours after Ashe played host to the men's match of the tournament through the first week, it did so again on the women's side as the two women put on an exhilarating show that doubled as a tennis test of will.

In the early going, Kerber was at the top of her game. She got an early break advantage, leading 3-1. Azarenka had immediately employed an aggressive gameplan from the start, but the German was up for it and more, using her quickness to chase down balls behind the baseline, into the sidelines and at the net, putting away spectacular running winners and expert flip-of-her-wrist shots into the corners. It was an example of the upper level of her game that has gotten Kerber back to within a stone's throw of the Top 10 and helped her have a career year on the regular tour, winning titles on four different surfaces.

Kerber served an ace to take a 5-2 lead, and Angie Excellent looked ready to take the 1st set. But Azarenka, still working her way back to the Top 20 (and, soon, Top 10) after an injury-plagued 2014 season, was not to be overlooked. The same guts-and-glory Vika who won multiple slams, rose to #1 and consistently challenged Serena Williams like no other player over the last five years hasn't gone away. She's just been (not-so-patiently) waiting for a moment to sparkle on the big stage yet again. Today, the moment arrived.

Never wavering from her initial gameplan, and avoiding the sort of shots that were earlier setting up Kerber's hair-raising down the line winners (when Vika often put the ball right in her wheelhouse, Azarenka stepped up her game when down 5-3 with the German serving for the set. In a ten-minute game, Kerber double-faulted three times, but still held a set point. Finally, on her sixth BP of the game, Azarenka got the break for 5-4.

Voracious Vika and her aggressive approach really began to pay off now. She held for 5-5, then broke Kerber again for a 6-5 lead. Azarenka then held at love to snatch the 1st set 7-5, looking for all the world like a player capable of making a deep second week run (and maybe having a say in Serena's march toward history?). The converted on 16-of-24 on net approaches and her winners (20) doubled her unforced errors (10) in the 1st.

With Azarenka sporting 24-1 record at the Open after winning the 1st set, and with Kerber having won just one set off her in their previous five meetings, the German was going to have to turn over history in order to make up for her lost opportunity in the 1st. She set about her attempt to do so by once again taking an early lead in the 2nd, breaking for 3-1, holding for 4-1 and then reaching set point on Azarenka's serve at 5-2. The Belarusian saved it, but on her second try Kerber's picture-perfect drop shot secured a 6-2 set and sent things to a 3rd.

In the deciding set, Azarenka opened fast with a break in the opening game, smacking a crosscourt backhand return winner. But in the next game, continuing to put on a spectacular defensive display, Kerber brought herself right back into the match. Azarenka double-faulted to give Kerber a break point chance, but saved it. Then she saved another. Another DF gave Kerber a third opportunity, though, and this time the German took advantage. Extending the point with her defense, she took an Azarenka volley ball that spun into the doubles alley and turned it into a down the line forehand winner to get back on serve at 1-1. Two games later, Kerber held two more BP on the Azarenka serve. Vika saved them both and held, then immediately broke the German to grab a 3-2 lead. After taking a 40/love lead on serve, Azarenka was forced to save a BP, but held again to go up 4-2.

Azarenka was winning what had turned out to be a classic battle. But it wasn't over yet.

Down 5-3 and serving to stay in the match, Kerber fell behind love/30. Azarenka's crosscourt return forced a Kerber error, giving her match point. Kerber saved it. And another. Azarenka's forehand put away at the net gave her a third. Kerber saved it, too. With the match on her racket, Azarenka missed an open down the line forehand, netting the shot while Kerber watched from the other side of the court, too far away to for even HER to reach the ball had Vika been able to place it inside the lines.

The trading of points continued. A Kerber backhand sailed to set up MP #4, but then she strung together a squat shot from the baseline and a backhand down the line to save it, as well. A double-fault gave Azarenka MP #5, but the German saved it, too, with still another forehand winner. Kerber yelled and raised her arms, clenching her fists and shaking in celebration. If it could have, the crowd would have picked her up and carried her around the court in appreciation, no matter it be in victory or defeat.

Azarenka saved a game point as she continued her aggressive style, moving forward (she won 17 of 22 net approaches in the set, and 37/51 for the match) to put away a swing volley. Kerber held for 5-4, forcing Azarenka to serve out the match. Whether her nerves would interfere was a real question, considering her difficulty in several matches this season (most notably in Madrid, when she held triple match point against Serena Williams, only be broken after hitting three consecutive DF).

But any worries proved to be unfounded. Azarenka, who looked be in rounding into match-tough form earlier this week, proved to be even more solid on this day.

Taking a short ball and moving forward for the put-away in game #10, she took a 30/love lead on serve. She raced to a drop shot and hit a backhand down the line to reach triple match point. A Kerber shot that bounced off the net cord and out of bounds ended things, as Azarenka won 7-5/2-6/6-4, advancing to her twenty-first career slam Round of 16, and her fifth at the U.S. Open.

Azarenka might not be one of the two players left in the draw not named Serena who have won this title before, but one can't help but salivate at the prospect of her possibly standing in the way of Williams in the final with the world #1 looking to complete a Grand Slam. That's still a few rounds away from a reality, but Azarenka has already shown that her ability to hang with and challenge Serena has not left her, and that's something to think about. Especially on a hard court that would surely be Vika's surface of choice.

As Chris Evert noted during ESPN's broadcast, while pretty much every other player has talked about wanting Williams to complete her goal at this Open, the competitive and unyieldingly confident Azarenka's response when asked about the looming moment was a little different. "I'm not the one making history, so I'm not looking to make a contribution to that," she said. "“I’m here to win and I don’t want to settle for any other result."

As one of the few players in the draw who has actually beaten Williams on anything resembling equal footing, and one of an even smaller (minuscule, really) group who truly BELIEVE that they can, and should, that's the right answer. A million times over.

If a Serena vs. Vika final does happen, Azarenka may very well lose it. But it's not going to happen BEFORE she walks onto the court.

We deserve that sort of final with history to be made. And Serena does, too.

Good luck with that. To everyone.

...weeks after officially being diagnosed with mono, and then going on to win New Haven, Stereo Petra has pushed her stay at this Open into the second week. On a less humid day than has been the case while everyone was being carted off during the week, #5-seeded Petra Kvitova took on #32 Anna Schmiedlova on Saturday in the Slovak's very first career match vs. a Top 5 player.

Kvitova had little trouble, holding serve all seven times she attempted to do so, never facing a break point in a 6-2/6-1 victory. The Czech reaches her third career U.S. Open Round of 16 (first since 2012), while Schmiedlova will leave New York with her best-ever slam result (matching '14 RG) in hand, as well as a likely new career-high ranking inside the Top 30 (depending on what a few other players currently ranked below her do the rest of this Open).

...the Last Qualifier Standing is STILL a race. One day after Anett Kontaveit advanced to the Round of 16, Australian-born Brit Johanna Konta took on #18-seeded Andrea Petkovic in an attempt to extend her undefeated hard court summer run. And she did, winning 7-6(5)/6-3 to record her sixteenth straight victory (two ITF titles, w/ U.S. qualifying) and once again top the career-best slam result she achieved one round earlier. She'd been 1-7 in slam MD, with six straight losses at majors, heading into this Open.

The German has been ill this week, but her 3rd Round matches her result from a year ago. And she put up a good fight in this one, too. The two women exchanged breaks in game #2 and #3, #7 and #8 and then again in #11 in #12 as things went to a tie-break after Konta failed to serve out the 1st set at 6-5. In the TB, Petkovic held a mini-break at 2-0, but Konta surged to take the set by winning seven consecutive points to win 7-5. In the 2nd set, Konta took a 3-0 lead and served for the match at 5-1. In an 8-plus minute game, Konta held three match points before Petkovic got the break on her fifth BP of the game. Serving again for the win at 5-3, Konta finally put things away on MP #6.

Konta is the first British woman to go through qualifying and reach the U.S. Open Round of 16, and will rise into the Top 60 once the tournament is over.

A third qualifier, Shelby Rogers, fell to Simona Halep on Ashe in the night session, losing 6-2/6-3. (surprisingly) their first match-up since they met in round robin play at the 2012 WTA Championships, #22 Samantha Stosur (one of three former U.S. Open women's champs still in the draw) defeated #16 Sara Errani in a match filled with streaky runs. Stosur took at 3-0 lead in the 1st, only to see Errani win four straight games, then Stosur three of four to take the set. Errani was the one to take a 3-0 lead in the 2nd, an advantage she held throughout to force a 3rd. There, again, Stosur was the one to go up 3-0. She ultimately won 7-5/2-6/6-1 to reach just her second Round of 16 at a slam since playing in the 2012 U.S. Open quarterfinals.

Stosur will next meet #26 Flavia Pennetta, the fifth thirtysomething player in the women's final sixteen.

After an horrendous 1st set, Pennetta righted her game against Dane-conquering Petra Cetkovska. Did her start have something to do with her late night viewing on Friday?

Pennetta dropped the 1st set 6-1, but by the time she'd gotten a break lead in the 3rd it was apparent that the Italian's affinity for this tournament had kicked in once again. She won 1-6/6-1/6-4 to reach the 4th Round at this slam for the sixth time in her last seven appearances. She's reached at least the QF in each of the previous times, going 5-0 in Round of 16 matches in New York.

So, it was a triple good day for Flavia. Fabio Fognini won last night, she did today... and she didn't have to deal with this sort of thing again, either:

Varvara Lepchenko, eight and a half months shy of making it SIX women in their 30's in the 4th Round, reached her first Open Round of 16 (she also reached the same stage at RG in '12) with a three-set win over Mona Barthel.

The other women's Round of 16 match of the later afternoon/early evening -- #24 Sabine Lisicki vs. Barbora Strycova -- was tasked with following up some great stuff. Not just Azarenka/Kerber, but also the Young/Troicki match that preceded it on the Armstrong schedule, as the American came back from two sets to love to win for the second time at this slam. Speaking of which, wouldn't a Round of 16 match of Donald Young vs. Stan Wawrinka be a good night match? The Donald (no, not THAT one) vs. Stan the Man. If Pam Shriver & Co. thought today's atmosphere felt "like a Davis Cup match" on Grandstand, imagine what it might be like on Ashe at around midnight. Remember, Young defeated Wawrinka in a 5th set TB at the Open in 2011. A lot has changed since then, though. For both of them.

But, as things turned out, Lisicki/Strycova WAS somehow able to pull off the trick of being utterly memorable. Thanks to, as an ESPN3 announcer called the German as she charged back from 1-5 down in the 3rd to win 7-5, the tennis version of "Sybil," who is actually named Sabine.

Lisicki won the 1st set and was up a break 2-0 in the 2nd, but Strycova took the 2nd and was in total command in the 3rd. Lisicki called for a trainer down 4-1, and could barely keep a ball in the court. The Czech took a 5-1 lead and things seemed elementary. Oh, but they weren't.

From that point on, as Strycova twice served for the match, Lisicki transformed into the greatest player on earth. She ran off six straight games in the blink of an eye with a ridiculously brilliant play. By the time she'd actually won 6-4/4-6/7-5, she'd won twenty-four of thirty-one points after falling behind 5-1, including eleven of the last twelve. Winning in 2:45, the German will now play Halep in her second career U.S. Open Round of 16. doubles, winners included top-seeded Hingis/Mirza and Babos/Mladenovic, as well as the scattered remnants of the Career Slam-winning duo of Errani/Vinci. Roberta Vinci won w/ Karin Knapp, while Errani did the same with Pennetta.

In Mixed, 42-year old Lisa Raymond still had a little bit of work to do in her playing career, teaming up with Brit Jamie Murray on Saturday. But now it's officially over, as the two lost to Shvedova/Cabal in a 10-8 3rd set super tie-break.

Also, Bethanie Mattek-Sands is STILL alive, teaming with Sam Querrey to knock out Daria Gavrilova & John Peers today. With good, comes bad.

...meanwhile, there's a final on real note on the ITF circuit on Sunday, as 36-year old Patty Schnyder will be attempting to win her first singles title in seven years in a $10K challenger in Prague after getting into the draw via qualifying.

In her fourth tournament back from her 2011 retirement, Schnyder has already knocked off three seeds en route to her first singles final of any kind since losing in the tour-level Linz championship match to Ana Ivanovic in 2010. Her victims have included #1-seeded Czech Jesika Maleckova in the 2nd Round and #7 Laura Pigossi of Brazil. After dropping the first two matches in her comeback bid about six weeks ago, Schnyder has qualified at back-to-back challengers, putting up a 10-1 mark over the stretch.

She'll face Slovak Zuzana Luknarova in the final. Schnyder's last title came in Bali in 2008, over Tamira Paszek.

She reached two QF at the U.S. Open. The first came seventeen years ago in 1998, while the other was in 2008. The Swiss won more slam matches (32) in New York than at any other major during her career (though her best overall result was a semi at the Australian in '04).

...the junior draws are out:

1. Marketa Vondrousova, CZE
2. Dalma Galfi, HUN
3. Anna Blinkova, RUS
4. Tereza Mihalikova, SVK
5. Katie Swan, GBR
6. Anna Kalinskaya, RUS
7. Charlotte Robillard-Millette, CAN
8. Usue Arconada, USA
9. Sonya Kenin, USA
10. Sofya Zhuk, RUS
11. Fanny Stollar, HUN
12. Luisa Stefani, BRA
13. Vera Lapko, BLR
14. Zheng Wushuang, CHN
15. Pranjala Yadlapalli, IND
16. Katharina Hobgarski, GER

#3 Blinkova d. #9 Kenin
#10 Zhuk d. #4 Mihalikova
#10 Zhuk d. #3 Blinkova

...another all-Russian girls final, with the Wimbledon junior champ making in back-to-back summer slam titles.

As for the boys, I'll go with an all-American final with #1 Harry Taylor Fritz taking on #5 Tommy Paul, with Paul winning in a repeat of the result of the Roland Garros junior championship match from this spring. Paul made it through qualifying and into the Open men's draw last week.

QUESTION ON DAY 6: And what were you doing at 1:26 a.m. in the morning?

MOST-ACCIDENTS-OCCUR-IN-THE-HOME FROM DAY 6: After previously touting the fact that she was the only woman alive in singles, doubles and mixed at this slam the news came down on Satruday that Genie Bouchard pulled out of her Day 6 doubles and mixed matches because of a head injury she sustained after slipping and falling in the locker room last night following her win with partner Nick Kyrgios.

The withdrawal prevented what would have been an intriguing mixed match today between Bouchard/Kyrgios and Hingis/Paes.

Speaking of the Canadian...

LIKE FROM DAY 6: That after a false start (w/ Sharapova) and an it-just-didn't-work-as-well-as-hoped (w/ Roddick) stint as a coach in the past, any good results from a player after talking with Jimbo is good to hear. He doesn't need any image-rebuilding or anything, but still. I mean, the perception of Lendl and Mauresmo surely hasn't been hurt by getting results out of Murray, right? Same with Edberg working with Federer.

ANTICIPATION FOR DAY 6: Serena vs. Madison

...and, finally... it's tradition! It's Lists-a-Palooza! It's here!

[by ranking]
#1 - Serena Williams
#2 - Simona Halep
#4 - Petra Kvitova
#13 - Ekaterina Makarova
#19 - Madison Keyes
#20 - Victoria Azarenka
#22 - Samantha Stosur
#23 - Venus Williams
#24 - Sabine Lisicki
#25 - Genie Bouchard
#31 - Samantha Stosur
#33 - Flavia Pennetta
#40 - Kristina Mladenovic
#43 - Roberta Vinci
#97 - Johanna Konta
#152 - Anett Kontaveit
[by age]
35...Venus Williams
33...Flavia Pennetta
33...Serena Williams
32...Roberta Vinci
31...Samantha Stosur
29...Varvara Lepchenko
27...Ekaterina Makarova
26...Victoria Azarenka
25...Petra Kvitova
25...Sabine Lisicki
24...Johanna Konta
23...Simona Halep
22...Kristina Mladenovic
21...Genie Bouchard
20...Madison Keys
19...Anett Kontaveit
[by nation]
4...United States (Keys, Lepchenko, S.Williams, V.Williams)
2...Italy (Pennetta,Vinci)
1...Australia (Stosur)
1...Belarus (Azarenka)
1...Canada (Bouchard)
1...Czech Republic (Kvitova)
1...Estonia (Kontaveit)
1...France (Mladenovic)
1...Germany (Lisicki)
1...Great Britain (Konta)
1...Romania (Halep)
1...Russia (Makarova)
[by career slam Round-of-16's]
50...Serena Williams
43...Venus Williams
21...Victoria Azarenka
14...Petra Kvitova
14...Flavia Pennetta
11...Ekaterina Makarova
10...Samantha Stosur
8...Sabine Lisicki
6...Genie Bouchard
6...Simona Halep
6...Roberta Vinci
3...Madison Keys
2...Varvara Lepchenko
1...Johanna Konta
1...Anett Kontaveit
1...Kristina Mladenovic
[w/ consecutive slam Round of 16's]
5...Serena Williams
2...Victoria Azarenka
2...Madison Keys
2...Venus Williams
[by career US Round of 16's]
15...Serena Williams
13...Venus Williams
6...Flavia Pennetta
5...Victoria Azarenka
4...Samantha Stosur
3...Petra Kvitova
3...Ekaterina Makarova
3...Roberta Vinci
2...Genie Bouchard
2...Simona Halep
2...Sabine Lisicki
1...Madison Keys
1...Johanna Konta
1...Anett Kontaveit
1...Varvara Lepchenko
1...Kristina Mladenovic
[w/ consecutive US Round of 16's]
5...Serena Williams (2011-15; in 15 consecutive Open appearances since '99)
4...Victoria Azarenka
3...Ekaterina Makarova
3...Flavia Pennetta (2013-15; in 4 consecutive Open appearances since '11)
2...Genie Bouchard
[by preseason "Grand Slam Master List" rankings]
Green 1-3
Blue 4-6
Pink 7-13
Orange 14-22
Red 23-28
Purple 29-41
White 42-81
1 - Serena Williams
3 - Simona Halep

4 - Victoria Azarenka
5 - Petra Kvitova

7 - Genie Bouchard
11 - Ekaterina Makarova

16 - Sabine Lisicki
17 - Flavia Pennetta
18 - Venus Williams

24 - Madison Keys
30 - Samantha Stosur
41 - Roberta Vinci

46 - Kristina Mladenovic
Unlisted - Johanna Konta
Unlisted - Anett Kontaveit
Unlisted - Varvara Lepchenko
[WTA career slam Round of 16's - active]
35...Maria Sharapova
27...Svetlana Kuznetsova
22...Jelena Jankovic
22...Aga Radwanska
21...Nadia Petrova
19...Ana Ivanovic
18...Francesca Schiavone
16...Caroline Wozniacki
16...Vera Zvonareva
15...Daniela Hantuchova
10...Kimiko Date-Krumm
10...Angelique Kerber
[WTA slam Round of 16's since 2010 - active]
18...Maria Sharapova
14...Aga Radwanska
12...Caroline Wozniacki
10...Ana Ivanovic
10...Jelena Jankovic
10...Angelique Kerber
[2015 slam Rd. of 16's - youngest]
18 - Belinda Bencic (WI)
19 - Madison Keys (AO)
19 - Anett Kontaveit (US)*
20 - Madison Keys (WI)
20 - Madison Keys (US)*
20 - Elina Svitolina (RG)
20 - Genie Bouchard (AO)
21 - Zarina Diyas (WI)
21 - Alison Van Uytvanck (RG)
21 - Garbine Muguruza (AO)
21 - Garbine Muguruza (RG)
21 - Garbine Muguruza (WI)
21 - Genie Bouchard (US)*
[2015 slam Rd. of 16's - oldest]
35 - Venus Williams (US)*
35 - Venus Williams (WI)
34 - Venus Williams (AO)
33 - Serena Williams (US)*
33 - Serena Williams (WI)
33 - Serena Williams (RG)
33 - Serena Williams (AO)
33 - Flavia Pennetta (US)*
33 - Flavia Pennetta (RG)
32 - Roberta Vinci (US)*
31 - Samantha Stosur (US)*
30 - Jelena Jankovic (WI)
29 - Peng Shuai (AO)
29 - Varvara Lepchenko (US)*
[2015 slam Rd. of 16's - unseeded]
AO - Victoria Azarenka, BLR
AO - Irina-Camelia Begu, ROU
AO - Madison Brengle, USA
AO - Julia Goerges, GER
AO - Madison Keys, USA
AO - Yanina Wickmayer, BEL
RG - Julia Goerges, GER
RG - Andreea Mitu, ROU
RG - Sloane Stephens, USA
RG - Alison Van Uytvanck, BEL
WI - Zarina Diyas, KAZ
WI - Olga Govortsova, BLR (Q)
WI - Monica Niculescu, ROU
WI - Coco Vandweghe, USA
US - Johanna Konta, GBR (Q)
US - Anett Kontaveit, EST (Q)
US - Kristina Mladenovic, FRA
US - Roberta Vinci, ITA
US - Varvara Lepchenko, USA
[2015 slam Rd. of 16's - 1st-time GS 4th Rd.'s]
AO - Irina-Camelia Begu, ROU
AO - Madison Brengle, USA
AO - Madison Keys, USA
RG - Timea Bacsinszky, SUI
RG - Andreea Mitu, ROU
RG - Elina Svitolina, UKR
RG - Alison Van Uytvanck, BEL
WI - Olga Govortsova, BLR
WI - Coco Vandweghe, USA
US - Johanna Konta, GBR
US - Anett Kontaveit, EST
US - Kristina Mladenovic, FRA
[2015 slam Rd. of 16's - lowest-ranked]
#152 - Anett Kontaveit, EST (US)*
#122 - Olga Govortsova, BLR (WI)
#100 - Andreea Mitu, ROU (RG)
#97 - Johanna Konta, GBR (US)*
#93 - Alison Van Uytvanck, BEL (RG)
#80 - Yanina Wickmayer, BEL (AO)
#73 - Julia Goerges, GER (AO)
#72 - Julia Goerges, GER (RG)
#64 - Madison Brengle, USA (AO)
[2015 slam Rd. of 16's]
4...Serena Williams (US)
3...Victoria Azarenka (US)
3...Madison Keys (US)
3...Ekaterina Makarova (US)
3...Garbine Muguruza
3...Maria Sharapova
3...Venus Williams (US)
2...Timea Bacsinszky
2...Genie Bouchard (US)
2...Julia Goerges
2...Simona Halep (US)
2...Petra Kvitova (US)
2...Flavia Pennetta (US)
2...Aga Radwanska
2...Lucie Safarova
[2015 slam Rd. of 16's - by nation]


#1 Serena Williams/USA vs. #19 Madison Keys/USA
#23 Venus Williams/USA vs. (Q) Anett Kontaveit/EST
Kristina Mladenovic/FRA vs. #13 Ekaterina Makarova/RUS
Roberta Vinci/ITA vs. #25 Genie Bouchard/CAN
#5 Petra Kvitova/CZE vs. (Q) Johanna Konta/GBR
#22 Samantha Stosur/AUS vs. #26 Flavia Pennetta/ITA
Varvara Lepchenko/USA vs. #20 Victoria Azarenka/BLR
#24 Sabine Lisicki/GER vs. #2 Simona Halep/ROU

#1 Novak Djokovic/SRB vs. #23 Roberto Bautista Agut/ESP
#18 Feliciano Lopez/ESP vs. #32 Fabio Fognini/ITA
Benoit Paire/FRA vs. #19 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga/FRA
#9 Marin Cilic/CRO vs. #27 Jeremy Chardy/FRA
#5 Stan Wawrinka/SUI vs. Donald Young/USA
#15 Kevin Anderson/RSA vs. x
#6 Tomas Berdych/CZE vs. #12 Richard Gasquet/FRA
#13 John Isner/USA vs. #2 Roger Federer/SUI


Another thing that Sascha Bajin has added to the Azarenka camp. And by that, I mean, creating a new word, of course... I don't mean he's added a, well, you know...


JAN: Elina Svitolina, UKR
FEB: Anna Schmiedlova, SVK
MAR: Belinda Bencic, SUI
1Q: Belinda Bencic, SUI
APR/MAY: Elina Svitolina, UKR
MAY/JUN: Daria Gavrilova, RUS/AUS
RG: Elina Svitolina, UKR
2Q Clay Court: Elina Svitolina, UKR
JUN: Belinda Bencic, SUI
2Q Grass Court/WI: Belinda Bencic, SUI & Ana Konjuh, CRO
JUL/AUG: Margarita Gasparyan, RUS
AUG: Belinda Bencic, SUI
[2015 Weekly FRESH FACE Wins]
7...Belinda Bencic, SUI
7...Elina Svitolina, UKR
4...Yulia Putintseva, KAZ
3...Denisa Allertova, CZE
3...Margarita Gasparyan, RUS
3...Davia Gavrilova, RUS/AUS
3...Ana Konjuh, CRO
3...Elizaveta Kulichkova, RUS
3...Jelena Ostapenko, LAT
3...Carina Witthoeft, GER
2...CiCi Bellis, USA
2...Lauren Davis, USA
2...Beatriz Haddad Maia, BRA
2...Ons Jabeur, TUN
2...Anna Schmiedlova, SVK
2...Marcela Zacrias, MEX
2...Zheng Saisai, CHN

TOP QUALIFIER: (WC) Jessica Pegula/USA
TOP EARLY-ROUND (1r-2r): #2 Simona Halep/ROU
TOP QUALIFYING MATCH: Q3: Tereza Mrdeza/CRO d. #2 Yaroslava Shvedova/KAZ 5-7/7-6(8)/7-6(4) [3:12; saved 3 MP]
TOP EARLY-RD. MATCH (1r-2r): 2nd Rd. - #12 Belinda Bencic/SUI d. Misaki Doi/JPN 5-7/7-6(3)/6-3 (down 3 MP in 2nd; outburst/crying/no shake umpire's hand)
TOP MIDDLE-RD. MATCH (3r-QF): Nominee: 3rd Rd. - #20 Azarenka d. #11 Kerber 7-5/2-6/6-4
TOP ASHE NIGHT SESSION MATCH: Nominee: 2nd Rd. - Cetkovska/CZE d. #4 Wozniacki/DEN 6-4/5-7/7-6(1) (saved 4 MP; ended 12:12 a.m. after 3:02)
FIRST VICTORY: Mariana Duque/COL (def. Kenin/USA)
FIRST SEED OUT: #7 Ana Ivanovic/SRB (lost 1st Rd. to Cibulkova/SVK)
UPSET QUEENS: United States
NATION OF POOR SOULS: Serbia (1-4; #7 Ivanovic, #21 Jankovic and '14 star Aleksandra Krunic out in 1st Rd.)
CRASH & BURN: #8 Karolina Pliskova/CZE (1st Rd. loss to Tatishvili/USA; :52; U.S. Open Series "winner")
ZOMBIE QUEEN: (LL) Daria Kasatkina/RUS (lucky loser, reached3rd Round after wins over Gavrilova & Konjuh -- best LL slam result since 1997, best at Open since 1993)
IT ("xx"): Nominees: Mladenovic, Kontaveit, Keys
Ms.OPPORTUNITY: Nominees: Mladenovic, Konta, Stosur, Bouchard
LAST WILD CARD STANDING: Bethanie Mattek-Sands/USA (3rd Rd.)
LAST BANNERETTE STANDING: In 4th Rd.: Keys, Lepchenko, S.Williams, V.Williams
COMEBACK PLAYER: Nominee: Azarenka, Bouchard
KIMIKO DATE-KRUMM VETERAN CUP (KDK CUP): Nominee: Vinci, V.Williams, Raymond, Stosur, Pennetta
BROADWAY-BOUND: Nominee: Bouchard
LADY OF THE EVENING: Nominees: Kvitova, Cetkovska, S.Williams

All for Day 6. More tomorrow.


Blogger jo shum said...

i did stay up to watch nadal lost the match, but missed vika's battle against kerber. should have done the other way around. cos it's kind of depressing to see nadal losing his sparks, his shots were shots and not with enough angles, was always pushed backwards to chase down balls. have seen some highlights of vika picking up some nice volleys though, esp those at the feet. amazing. i hope someone will upload the last 2 games of kerber saving 5 mps and vika holding at love. just hope her legs hold up for next match and beyond. it's such a tough draw, if we want to see her run deep, it's kerber, halep, kvitova and williams?? sigh...

excited to see if keys will hold up her part or williams will just raise her game.

federer looking really good...interesting.

Sat Sep 05, 11:46:00 PM EDT  
Blogger jo shum said...

watched nadal last night and missed vika today. should have done the other way around. sad to see nadal losing his spark. short length, soft serve, not enough angles and forced to run around. love the highlights of vika picking up those amazing volleys, esp at the feet. would someone pls upload the last 2 games of kerber insanely saving mps and vika serving out at love?

can't wait to see keys and williams. hope it's competitive.

federer looking really good...

Sat Sep 05, 11:49:00 PM EDT  
Blogger jo shum said...

watched nadal last night and missed vika today. should have done the other way around. sad to see nadal losing his spark. short length, soft serve, not enough angles and forced to run around. love the highlights of vika picking up those amazing volleys, esp at the feet. would someone pls upload the last 2 games of kerber insanely saving mps and vika serving out at love?

can't wait to see keys and williams. hope it's competitive.

federer looking really good...

Sat Sep 05, 11:50:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Todd.Spiker said...

Geez, Jo... when you put it that way (Kerber, Halep, Kvitova, Williams) it's sort of depressing. :)

Of course, the way this Open has gone, what are the odds anything lines up as expected? Only four of the Top 18 seeds are in the Final 16, and only one is from the #6-18 range.

Sun Sep 06, 12:03:00 AM EDT  

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