Monday, September 21, 2015

Wk.37- Out with the Old, In with the New

Out with the old, in with the new.

It may sound harsh, but it's really just the cruel reality of the WTA. Time, nor the tour, stops for no one.

It's been one year since Li Na walked away from the WTA, and while we're all still pining for the moments she'd often provide, things have gone on.

Flavia Pennetta just won the U.S. Open, then announced that she was retiring. While there may never be another Italian generation quite like the one she's led, the Quartet will surely be replaced in some -- though never all -- ways by a surprising generation of achieving women from another country without any real women's tennis legacy on which to build. And one day, they'll be replaced by another version, as well. Not the same, but wonderful in their own right, for totally different reasons.

It's just the way it is. We've gotten to the point where the tour is big enough, and its reach far and wide, for the talent pool to be replenished many times over, generation after generation.

Just this week, we saw two more first-time finalists in a Pole NOT named Radwanska, and a Latvian teen who was crowned a junior slam champion barely a year ago. While we're still waiting for the next GREAT Belgian champ, a Waffle DID win her first title in five years this weekend, too. And there to congratulate her was... well, you can probably guess.

One week after Pennetta and Roberta Vinci played in the oldest (33 vs. 32) final on tour in 2015, this weekend we saw the youngest between 21-year old Annika Beck and 18-year old Jelena Ostapenko. Six different women have played in all-thirtysomething finals the last two seasons, but we've also seen three match-ups of two players 21-or-under facing off to decide a champion just this year. We've had three 18-or-under singles winners this year, as many as the last three seasons combined (and there was just one each in 2010 and '11, as well), but players 30+ have grabbed ten crowns (and Serena only has five of them).

Interestingly enough, the aforementioned Belgian in question last won a title by defeating an Italian in the Auckland final in 2010. Her name? Why, Flavia Pennetta, of course. Shake it up... it all comes out perfectly blended together in the end.

Those Tennis Gods... they're just smartypants like that sometimes.

TOKYO, JAPAN [Japan Open] (Int'l $227K/HCO)
S: Yanina Wickmayer/BEL def. Magda Linette/POL 4-6/6-3/6-3
D: Chan Hao-Ching/Chan Yung-Jan (TPE/TPE) d. Misaki Doi/Kurumi Nara (JPN/JPN) 6-1/6-2

S: Annika Beck/GER def. Jelena Ostapenko/LAT 6-2/6-2
D: Barbora Krejcikova/An-Sophie Mestach (CZE/BEL) d. Maria Irigoyen/Paula Kania (ARG/POL) 4-6/6-3 [12-10]

...late last season, Beck won her maiden tour title in Luxembourg and finished up 2014 at #55, the fifth consecutive rise in her year-end ranking. Playing in the shadows of the more well-known German stars, Beck's '15 campaign has put down the groundwork for another season-closing rise in standing. She reached the 3rd Round at Roland Garros, but heading into Week 37 she hadn't yet had a real "signature moment" for her season. She put together a good candidate for such an honor in Quebec City, though. The 21-year old reached her second '15 final (w/ Florianopolis) with wins over Sharon Fichman, Andrea Hlavackova & Lucie Hradecka (both in singles, not doubles), defending champ Mirjana Lucic-Baroni and Jelena Ostapenko, the teenager who just upset her in the 1st Round of the U.S. Open, in the final. Of Beck's four career finals, three of them have now been at indoor events (w/ Luxembourg 2013-14). She's up to #43 in the new rankings, tying her career-best standing... and still looking for more.


RISERS: Zheng Saisai/CHN & Ajla Tomljanovic/CRO-AUS
...Zheng, 21, has been spreading herself around quite nicely of late. She's won a tour-level doubles title at Stanford (one of two WTA titles this season), played in the second-longest women's match in U.S. Open history vs. Madison Brengle and swept the singles and doubles titles at the WTA $125K Series event in Dalian, China. Last week, she reached her second WTA-level QF of '15 in Tokyo with victories over Alison Riske and Irina Falconi. This week marked a full year without Li Na on tour, and so far this season Zheng is the only Chinese woman to reach as many as two singles QF.

Also in Tokyo, Tomljanovic reached the semifinals, defeating Timea Babos, Kimiko Date-Krumm and Madison Brengle to put up her best result since reaching the Pattaya City final in February. This was only the Croatian-Aussie's second multiple win event (w/ Stanford) since May, but it improved her season mark to nearly .500 (21-22) and has almost returned her to the Top 50 (#53). Tomljanovic reached a career-high #47 seven months ago.

SURPRISES: Magda Linette/POL & Naomi Broady/GBR
...Polish women's tennis isn't just about the Radwanskas anymore. Just this week alone, Paula Kania reached the Quebec City singles QF and doubles final, while Magda Linette advanced all the way to the Tokyo final, bettering the career-best semifinal she had in Baku last year. The 23-year old, ranked #84, put up victories over Lauren Davis, #2-seed Zarina Diyas (the runner-up when the tournament was held in Osaka last year), Hsieh Su-Wei and Christina McHale before losing in three sets to Yanina Wickmayer. Linette has won two $25K challengers this year, and reached the final of a $50K, as well, to help her compile what is now a nice 40-20 record that has lifted her to a career-best #64 in the new rankings.

Apparently, 2015 is the year of the lucky loser. Or so it seems. With Brit Naomi Broady's LL run the Quebec City semis, three such entrants in tour-level draws have reached the final four this season, as well as three more who have reached the QF... and that's not even counting the most celebrated of them all, recent U.S. Open LL Daria Kasatkina, who reached the 3rd Round at Flushing Meadows. Broady, 25, had already been having a good summer on the courts as she's focused on taking advantage of her big serve. She qualified in Washington, won a $25K challenger event in Landisville, and nearly qualified for the U.S. Open (losing in three sets in the final round to Anett Kontaveit, who'd reach the Round of 16). She lost in Quebec qualifying to Jessica Pegula, then joined the MD when Klara Koukalova withdrew due to illness. The world #157 then put up wins over Alla Kudryavtseva, Alexa Glatch and Anna Tatishvili to reach the semis, falling to Jelena Ostapenko, but getting the attention of the ATP Tour's Patron Saint of WTA Fandom Andy Murray, who tweeted his congratulations on her accomplishments. Broady is up to a career-best #127 this week.

VETERANS: Yanina Wickmayer/BEL & Kateryna Bondarenko/UKR
...Wickmayer, a U.S. Open semifinalist six years ago in just her seventh career slam appearance, hasn't had the sort of career that such a result might have created hope for, but she's been a capable player who sometimes pulls off big wins on big stages. She's got four Top 20 wins over the last two years, and all have come against former slam finalists (at least) in big events -- Sara Errani ('15 Australian Open), Samantha Stosur ('14 Wimbledon), Caroline Wozniacki ('14 Roland Garros and '14 Doha premier event). Tokyo wasn't quite such a stage, but the Belgian still reached her tenth career final, winning for the first time since 2010 (Auckland) -- the longest title drought by any '15 singles champion -- to grab career title #4. Ranked #86 at the start of the week, Wickmayer didn't have to defeat any player ranked higher than #61, putting up victories over Katerina Siniakova, Johanna Larsson, Kateryna Bondarenko, Ajla Tomljanovic and Magda Linette. She climbs to #56 in the new rankings.

Bondarenko's post-motherhood resurgence has been a season-long process. She's successfully qualified at eight tour events (three in a row heading into last week), reached the Istanbul QF, defeated Venus Williams and reached the 2nd Round of the U.S. Open. Last week in Tokyo she got her second Top 20 win of '15 by knocking off #1 seed Carla Suarez-Navarro and reached the QF after a win over Jarmila Gajdosova. This weekend, she made it through the qualifying rounds of her ninth tournament of the season in this week's Premier level event in Tokyo. Up to #83 in the rankings, Bondarenko, who sat out the '13 season having her baby, has a good chance to have her best season-ending ranking since she finished #32 in 2009. All she has to do now is climb into the Top 80 and stay there until November.
COMEBACKS: Christina McHale/USA & Vania King/USA
...McHale's recent upswing in results -- multiple wins at five of her last seven events -- continued in Week 37's International level event in Tokyo, as she strung together wins over Yulia Putintseva, Risa Ozaki and Zheng Saisai to reach the semifinals, her best result since reaching the stage in Seoul last September. Meanwhile, in the $25K challenger in Redding, California King put her best singles result in any event since a WTA-level semi in Bogota of April of last year. The former doubles #1 missed eight months after the '14 U.S. Open dealing with a herniated disc (rest avoided surgery), returning to action in May. She'd only gone 1-4 heading into last week, but wins over #1-seeded Jennifer Brady, Julia Jones and #6 Caitlin Whoriskey put King into the final four of the event, where she lost to eventual champ Heidi El Tabakh.

FRESH FACES: Jelena Ostapenko/LAT & Samantha Crawford/USA
...the former junior slam champions are climbing the ladder. Ostapenko, 18, made a HUGE leap this past week. The Latvian, 2014's Wimbledon girls champ, had put up her first MD slam wins at Roland Garros and SW19 earlier this season, but she hadn't reached a tour-level QF (she's won seven ITF titles). Coming in at #101 in the world, she defeated Mona Barthel, staged a comeback against Jessica Pegula (who served for the match twice), Paula Kania and Naomi Broady to make it all the way to her first tour final in Quebec City. She failed to become the first Latvian to win a tour title since Anastasija Sevastova in 2010, but she makes her Top 100 debut at #77 on Monday. Crawford, 20, was the 2012 U.S. Open girls champ, and has put up some good challenger results in North America in recent months. She reached a $50K final in Lexington and another in a $25K in Raleigh, with a $25K Baton Rouge semi, as well. Still, she arrived for Quebec City qualifying riding a four-match losing sterak. She made it through with wins over Marie-Eve Pelletier (in her first match since the '13 Australian Open) and Maria Sanchez, then pulled off MD upsets over Mandy Minella and Evgeniya Rodina to reach her first tour-level QF. She'll rise to a career-best #178 this week.

DOWN: Carla Suarez-Navarro/ESP & Mirjana Lucic-Baroni/CRO
...Genie Bouchard may have pulled out of her tailspin in Flushing Meadows (well, before, you know...), but CSN is still in a full-on descent at break-neck speed. The #1 seed in Tokyo, she nevertheless dropped her eighth consecutive match with a 1st Round loss to Kateryna Bondarenko. She'll face a qualifier in the 1st Round of THIS week's event in Tokyo in an attempt to slow the slide that had knocked her out of the Top 10 before she slipped back in at #10 this week as Karolina Pliskova and Ana Ivanovic fall out after losing a week's worth of '14 points. A year ago, Lucic won the title in Quebec City, her first on tour since taking a title as a 16-year old sixteen years earlier. Things haven't gone nearly as well since, but she was back as the #2 seed at this year's event despite a #104 ranking -- and she effectively became the top seed when #1 Madison Keys withdrew. She put up a good effort, getting wins over Francoise Abanda, Tamira Paszek and Samantha Crawford, but her efforts hit a wall in the semis vs. eventual champion Annika Beck. To show how fluid the rankings are from #75-100+, it was enough to jump her all the way back up to #85. Still, even with her best result since winning the tournament last year, she's still just 19-24 on the season.
ITF PLAYERS: Daria Kasatkina/RUS & Cristina Sanchez Quintanar/ESP
...don't toss out those "Fear the Kasatkina" signs just yet. The U.S. Open lucky loser star was at it again at the $50K challenger in Saint Malo, France. The 18-year old Russian, seeded #6, took out #2-seed Kaia Kanepi, #3 Lourdes Dominguez-Lino, Irina Khromacheva, Nastja Kolar and #5-seeded Laura Siegemund (who won a $100K last week) in the final to claim her circuit-leading fifth title of the season. In fact, she's still undefeated in pro singles finals in her career, going 7-0 to date. She makes her Top 100 debut (#93) this week.

Sanchez-Quintanar's story is still the same as it was earlier this season. Well, almost. Born in Campo de Criptana, Spain, CSQ's "first love" was soccer. But she was pretty good at tennis, too, and the opportunities there were greater, so she ended up traveling to the University of Maryland on a tennis scholarship in 2009. She arrived there mid-semester, and received permission to play on the soccer team, but she eventually had to give that up in order to fulfill her tennis commitments. When her coach left for Texas A&M in 2011, she went with him, and was able to play soccer there, as well. She ended up playing in the NCAA postseason tournaments for tennis, soccer and basketball. But her tennis scholarship came first, and the sport soon became her #1 priority again. In her last year of tennis eligibility, Sanchez-Quintanar climbed as high as #5 in the NCAA rankings and A&M reached the women's team final in the NCAA Championships in 2013. With one year left on campus, CSQ once again fed her soccer desire. In late October of last year, she played in her first professional tournament as a pro (she won a pair of ITF doubles titles back in '09, and reached her first singles final that year, too). CSQ had a devil of a time trying to get her first pro singles title during the opening months of 2015, reaching and losing six finals, the last coming in May. As she moved up to bigger challenger events, things slowed down in recent months. She lost seven consecutive MD matches... but she surely wasn't going to be discouraged. As it turned out, the end result she was hoping for was waiting for her back home in Spain. In the $10K Madrid challenger this weekend, Sanchez-Quintanar won her fourth '15 doubles title... and her FIRST singles title (in her eighth final) with a victory over Russian Ekaterina Yashina. CSQ moves up to a career-best #422 in the new rankings. Whew! Okay... now what's next, Cristina?

JUNIOR STAR: Tamara Zidansek/SLO
...17-year old Slovenian Zidansek hasn't played a junior event since Roland Garros (where she def. soon-to-be U.S. Open girls runner-up Sonya Kenin), but she's been tearing up the ITF circuit during the spring and summer. Running off seventeen straight wins in $10K events, she won three singles titles. She's currently on another 14-1 run that has included a fourth $10K title, a $15K final and, this weekend, her biggest-yet $25K crown in a challenger in Dobrich, Bulgaria with a win over Polina Leykina in the final. Ranked at a new career-best #397 this week, she's tied (w/ Daria Kasatkina and Israel's Denis Khazaniuk) for the ITF circuit lead with five titles in 2015.
DOUBLES: Chan Hao-Ching & Chan Yung-Jan, TPE/TPE
...the recent Cincinnati champions added yet another piece of hardware (two, actually) to their shared trophy case with a title run in Tokyo, defeating home favorites Misaki Doi & Kurumi Nara in the final. It's the sisters' third title of '15, and their fifth as a team, padding their position as the second-most successful all-sibling doubles team (behind Venus & Serena, winners of twenty-one titles) in WTA history.




Meanwhile, in other Canadian tennis news:

1. Quebec Final - Beck d. Ostapenko 6-2/6-2
Tokyo JO Final - Wickmayer d. Linette 4-6/6-3/6-3

this weekend's finals were about rematches, in the here-and-now and to-come. Ostapenko upset Beck in three sets in the 1st Round of the U.S. Open almost three weeks ago, while Wickmayer and Linette are set to meet AGAIN in the 1st Round this week in Guangzhou. Both instances -- and the rounds of the matches -- gives a hint as to how unlikely these two final match-ups really were. Meanwhile, Ostapenko is the first Latvian to reach a tour singles final this season, while Wickmayer is the first Waffle. That makes it twenty-four different nations with finalists through thirty-seven weeks of play, and if you factor in the WTA $125K Series events the number goes up to twenty-seven.
2. Quebec 2nd Rd. - Ostapenko d. Pegula
Pegula, a U.S. Open qualifier (Backspin's Q-PoW, actually), led 4-1 in the 3rd here, and served for the match at 5-4 and 6-5.
3. Quebec SF - Beck d. Lucic-Baroni
We're not one year into the 16-year gap between Lucic-Baroni WTA singles titles are we?
4. Tokyo JO 1st Rd. - Date-Krumm d. Doi
KDK, still showin' the whippersnappers how it's done.

5. $25K Monterrey 1st Rd. - Hsu Chieh-yu d. Laura Robson
Robson, still ranked outside the Top 500, managed to get a qualifying win to get into the MD of this challenger, but she wasn't able to put away the 23-year old world #309 from Taiwan.
6. $25K Podgonia Final - Barbara Haas d. Doroteja Eric
The Austrian, 19, wins her seventh career ITF title, and second this year.
7. $10K Hyderabad Final - Fatma Al-Nabhani d. Prerna Bhambri
The 24-year old from Oman claims her fourth ITF title of 2015, and the eighth of her career. I expect she'll be making an appearance in Backspin's "Regional Honors" lists later this year.

8. $10K Sharm El-Sheikh Final - Jaqueline Adina Cristian d. Madrie Le Roux
The next wave of Swarmettes are stirring. 17-year Cristian, who came in at a cool #1234 (#44 jr.) grabbed her first career singles crown over the weekend with a win in Egypt over a South African. Spanning the globe.
HM- Quebec Final - Krejcikova/Mestach d. Irigoyen/Kania
...4-6/6-3 [12-10].
Krejcikova & Mestach saved a MP in the deciding TB.

I think someone in the the WTA's social media department had a little extra time on their hands.

Meanwhile, Sloane didn't even need hands. Just lips.

And, since you have hands (or even if you don't)... why not vote Arruabarrena this fall?

1. Tokyo JO Final - Chan Hao-Ching/Chan Yung-Jan d. Doi/Nara
The Chan sisters' three hard court titles in Pattaya, Cincinnati and Tokyo are matched this year only by Hingis/Mirza's three on the surface at Indian Wells, Miami and the U.S. Open.
2. Quebec QF - Naomi Broady d. Anna Tatishvili 3-6/7-5/6-3
Quebec SF - Ostapenko d. Naomi Broady 6-4/6-2
Naomi's brother is ATP player Liam. Naomi's not the only Broady who's gotten Murray's attention, either, as he also congratulated Liam on a comeback win at Wimbledon earlier this summer.

Of course, if Naomi wants to come out on top of this sibling Twitter rivalry, she'll need to keep it up.

3. Tokyo JO 1st Rd. - Kateryna Bondarenko d. Suarez-Navarro
K-Bond is just the second player this year to post two wins over a tournament's #1 seed (she also defeated #1 Venus in Istanbul this summer). The other player to accomplish the feat is Kristina Mladenovic.

4. Quebec Q1 - Sanchez d. Malika Auger-Aliassime
16-year old Malika's younger brother Felix just won a share of the U.S. Open boys doubles title with fellow Canadian Denis Shapovalov.

5. Quebec 1st Rd. - Anna Tatishvili d. Nadiia Kichenok
Like Broady, Kichenok got into the draw as a lucky loser, moving into Madison Keys' spot in the draw when the #1 seed withdrew on Wednesday. Unlike Broady, she didn't last long. But what was Nadiia, who'd lost in weekend qualifying, still doing in town in the middle of the week, anyway? Playing doubles with her sister Lyudmyla, that's what. They reached the QF.

Vika binge watches, too.

And coming back soon to a network near you... never mind that pesky detail about the main character dying and all.

When she's not re-watching a revived Fox series...

Another cover.

The Flying Dane.

Making people who post photos with a "#nofilter" hashtag wonder if they're doing something wrong.

Scaryyyyyy #usesunscreen #grumpygranny

A video posted by Daria Gavrilova (@daria_gav) on

Our new puppy Aceyyyy

A photo posted by Daria Gavrilova (@daria_gav) on

**2015 WTA LOW-RANKED...**
#130 - Teliana Pereira, BRA (Bogota)
#112 - Margarita Gasparyan, RUS (Baku)
#87 - Ana Konjuh, CRO (Nottingham)
#78 - Teliana Pereira, BRA (Florianopolis)
#154 - Patricia Maria Tig, ROU (Baku)
#130 - Teliana Pereira, BRA (Bogota-W)
#112 - Margarita Gasparyan, RUS (Baku-W)
#101 - JELENA OSTAPENKO, LAT (Quebec City)
#99 - Ula Radwanska, POL (Istanbul)
#251 - Virginie Razzano, FRA (Strasbourg)
#188 - Anastasiya Sevastova, LAT (Florianpolis)
#181 - Hsieh Su-Wei, TPE (Kuala Lumpur)
#158 - Sesil Karatantcheva, BUL (Acapulco)
#157 - NAOMI BROADY, GBR (Quebec City)
#154 - Patricia Maria Tig, ROU (Baku) [RU]

**MOST 2015 WTA TITLES - by nation**
7 - United States
6 - Germany
5 - Czech Republic
4 - Italy, Switzerland
3 - Romania, Russia, Slovak Republic
[most different champions]
4 - ITA [Errani,Giorgi,Knapp,Pennetta]
3 - CZE [Kvitova,Ka.Pliskova,Safarova]
3 - GER [Beck,Petkovic,Kerber]
3 - USA [Stephens,S.Williams,V.Williams]
2 - RUS [Gasparyan,Sharapova]
2 - SVK [Hantuchova,A.Schmiedlova]
2 - SUI [Bacsinszky,Bencic]
2 - UKR [Svitolina,Tsurenko]

**2015 WTA YOUNGEST...**
39 yrs - Quebec City = Beck (21) d. Ostapenko (18)
41 yrs - Marrakech = Svitolina (20) d. Babos (21)
41 yrs - Baku = Gasparyan (20) d. Tig (21)
41 yrs - 's-Hert. = Giorgi (23) d. Bencic (18)
41 yrs - Toronto = Bencic (18) d. Halep (23)
[singles champions]
17 - Ana Konjuh, CRO
18 - Belinda Bencic, SUI (2)
20 - Margarita Gasparyan, RUS
20 - Anna Schmiedlova, SVK (2)
20 - Elina Svitolina, UKR
[doubles champions]
18 - Belinda Bencic, SUI (2)
18 - Beatriz Haddad Maia, BRA
19 - Rebecca Peterson, SWE
19 - Katerina Siniakova, CZE

5y,8m,1w - Yanina Wickmayer (Tokyo JO) = January '10 Auckland
5y,4m - Timea Bacsinszky (Acapulco) = October '09 Luxembourg

Hobart - (un) Watson d. (Q) Brengle
Pattaya - (un) Hantuchova d. (un) Tomljanovic
Doha - (un) Safarova d. (WC) Azarenka
Nottingham - (un) Konjuh d. (un) Niculescu
Istanbul - (un) Tsurenko d. (un) U.Radwanska
Baku - (un) Gasparyan d. (Q) Tig
Washington - (un) Stephens d. (un) Pavlyuchenkova
Tokyo JO - (un) Wickmayer d. (un) Linette

Hobart - Madison Brengle (24/USA)
Pattaya - Ajla Tomljanovic (20/CRO-AUS)
Rio - Anna Schmiedlova (20/SVK)
Bogota - Teliana Pereira (26/BRA) [W]
Strasbourg - Kristina Mladenovic (22/FRA)
Nottingham - Ana Konjuh (17/CRO) [W]
Istanbul - Lesia Tsurenko (26/UKR) [W]
Baku - Margarita Gasparyan (20/RUS) [W]
Baku - Patricia Maria Tig (21/ROU)
Washington - Sloane Stephens (22/USA) [W]
Tokyo JO - Magda Linette (23/POL)
Quebec City- Jelena Ostapenko (18/LAT)

4- Kerber = Green Clay,Red Clay,Grass,Hard
3- Ka.Pliskova = Hard,Red Clay,Grass
3- S.Williams = Hard,Red Clay,Grass
2- BECK = Red Clay,Carpet
2- Bencic = Grass,Hard
2- Giorgi = Hard,Grass
2- Kvitova = Hard,Red Clay
2- Safarova = Hard,Red Clay
2- A.Schmiedlova = Red Clay,Hard
2- Sharapova = Hard,Red Clay
2- Suarez-Navarro = Hard,Red Clay
2- Vinci = Red Clay,Hard
2- Wozniacki = Hard,Red Clay

5...Hingis/Mirza, SUI/IND
4...Mattek-Sands/Safarova, USA/CZE
3...Babos/Mladenovic, HUN/FRA
2...Kops-Jones/Spears, USA/USA
2...Bertens/Larsson, NED/SWE

21...Serena & Venus Williams
3...Karolina & Kristyna Pliskova
3...Alona & Kateryna Bondarenko

Auckland - Venus Williams, USA (F def. Ivanovic)
Sydney - Petra Kvitova, CZE (SF def. Pironkova)
Katowice - Anna Schmiedlova, SVK (QF def. Cornet)
Charleston - Angelique Kerber, GER (SF def. Petkovic)
Stuttgart - Angelique Kerber, GER (2nd def. Sharapova)
Strasbourg - Samantha Stosur, AUS (1st def. Puig)
Bastad - Johanna Larsson, SWE (F def. Barthel)
Quebec City - Annika Beck, GER (SF def. Lucic-Baroni)

[advanced past 1st Rd.]
SF...Acapulco - Sesil Karatantcheva, BUL
SF...New Haven - Lesia Tsurenko, UKR
QF...Brisbane - Alla Kudryavtseva, RUS
QF...Katowice - Elizaveta Kulichkova, RUS
QF...Eastbourne - Daria Gavrilova, RUS/AUS
3rd...U.S. Open - Daria Kasatkina, RUS
2nd...8 players
2nd (w/ 1st Rd. bye)...2 players

As noted, Andy is always watching. And the proper reciprocation is undertaken by the Brits on the women's tour, as well.

Better week.

Good week. Still.

Good week... then really bad week.

They meet again... is a second title in their future?

Kiki & Belinda are in the doubles draw... but there's a chance they could meet in the Tokyo SINGLES semis, too.

TOKYO, JAPAN [Toray Pan Pacific Open] (Premier $881K/HCO)
14 Final: Ivanovic d. Wozniacki
14 Doubles Final: C.Black/Mirza d. Muguruza/Suarez-Navarro
15 Top Seeds: Wozniacki/Ivanovic

#5 Kerber d. #8 Bencic
Svitolina d. #2 Ivanovic
#5 Kerber d. Svitolina

...some interesting possibilities here, including a U.S. Open rematch of Ivanovic/Cibulkova (the Serb was the First Seed Out) and Kerber/Mladenovic (can Angie add another entry on the "Match of the Year" ballot, which already includes a least half a dozen of her outings?) in the QF. The German is finally back in the Top 10 this week at #9, so this would be a nice consolidating-the-break sort of effort.

And, yes, this is the second consecutive week with an event in Tokyo. Last week's was actually the Japan Open, formerly held in Sam Stosur's old stomping grounds (she won three titles there, and reached a fourth final) in Osaka.

SEOUL, KOREA (Int'l $427K/HCO)
14 Final: Ka.Pliskova d. Lepchenko
14 Doubles Final: Arruabarrena/Begu d. Barthel/Minella
15 Top Seeds: Begu/A.Schmiedlova

#4 Lepchenko d. #1 Begu
#2 A.Schmiedlova d. #3 Stephens
#2 A.Schmiedlova d. #4 Lepchenko

...'14 champ Karolina isn't in the draw this time around, but KRISTYNA Pliskova is. Schmiedlova plays her in the 1st Round. So, would defeating the Czech be a case of "passing the baton by proxy" if she went on to win the title?

14 Final: Niculescu d. Cornet
14 Doubles Final: Chuang/Liang d. Cornet/Linette
15 Top Seeds: Halep/Petkovic

#1 Halep d. #3 Errani
#4 Jankovic d. #6 Niculescu
#1 Halep d. #4 Jankovic

...mostly because I want to see a rematch of the Indian Wells final.

Nothing to do with tennis, but because this is quite the striking photo.

Since things can't end with that, let's go with... when you turn around and see yourself turning around to see yourself turning around to see... well, you get the idea.

No big deal ?? #NYC #TechPack

A video posted by Maria Sharapova (@mariasharapova) on

All for now.


Blogger Diane said...

If you're right, then someone better tell Schmiedy that Lepchenko is Italian!

Mon Sep 21, 07:40:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Todd.Spiker said...

Ha! At least she passed the Pliskova Test. ;)

Not that it was easy.

With no Italians in the draw at all (and only Gaia Sanesi even in the Q's), maybe the Tennis Gods are really testing her this time. "Prove you can beat someone other than an Italian in a final!"

But maybe I'm thinking too much. :)

Mon Sep 21, 08:22:00 PM EDT  

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