Sunday, December 06, 2015

Backtalk - December 6

Back so soon?

Well, not offcially. While the first "Backspin Backtalk" -- the offseason version of the weekly update -- in quite a while arrives at pretty much the same time as a "regularly scheduled" post, it just sort of worked out that way. Go figure.

Quite simply, there was enough that happened over the past week to warrant a non-BSA related check-in.

So, away we go...

Introduction... Bannerette Kylie McKenzie won the big Eddie Herr junior 18s title in Bradenton, Florida. The unseeded 16-year old from Arizona had to come back from 5-1 down (and MP) in the 3rd set against qualifier Hanna Chang in the 3rd Round, then ultimately upset girls #1 and defending champ Dalma Galfi in the semifinals. She defeated 18-year Tamara Zidansek (SLO) 3-6/6-3/6-4 in the final to claim the most prestigious title of her career.

McKenzie has been putting up some very good results over the back half of '15, but this is the first time SHE was the "big name" still standing at the end of the week. This season she reached the U.S. Open QF (she'd gotten an early win over Wimbledon runner-up Anna Blinkova), the Easter Bowl SF (she'd defeated soon-to-be U.S. Open runner-up Sonya Kenin) and the Pan-American Championships QF (def. Kayla Day, who just recently claimed the Yucatan Cup championship).
Coin toss...

China's Han Xinyun won the playoff tournament to win Asia/Pacific's wild card berth in the 2016 Australian Open main draw. The #2-seed in the competition, Han defeated top-seeded Wang Yafan 6-1/6-0 in the final. The 25-year old, ranked #157, will be making just her second appearance in a slam MD. Her only other match came at the 2010 Australian Open. After making it through qualifying, Han lost that year in Melbourne in the 1st Round in a three-set match against Samantha Stosur.
Warm-up... It wasn't a non-newsy week for Australian tennis. While Daria Gavrilova finally made her switch from Hordette to Sheila official (though her WTA bio page hasn't yet been made to show her updated status)...

Casey Dellacqua announced that she'll miss the Aussie summer season, including the Australian Open and her hometown Hopman Cup competition in Perth, while she continues to deal with lingering concussion symptoms after having been injured a fall during the China Open in October.

[Insert not-so-sly, totally unrelated to this situation, USTA insult here. Ah, doesn't it feel good?]

Jarmila Gajdosova will replace Dellacqua as Lleyton Hewitt's partner in the Hopman Cup. Gavrilova will join with Nick Kyrgios as Australia will field TWO teams for the first time in the event's 28-year history.

Andrea Petkovic announced that Jan de Witt, former coach of Gael Monfils, will join her team on a trail basis heading into 2016. After ending the '15 season questioning her desire to continue with her career, the German seems to have gotten a second wind in recent weeks and vows to play on. “Rio is an overarching goal," she said, adding, "I am a bit excited. I’m looking forward to it like a little kid.”

Good for us. Hopefully, good for Petko, too.

She also lost a bet (it had something to do with soccer... but I suppose you can make your own joke about the photo, as well):

Speaking of Andrea "getting her kick on" (starting at around 2:40)...


In ITF action, Veronica Cepede Royg, who won the doubles at last week's WTA 125 Series event in Carlsbad, took the singles title at a $25K challenger in Santiago, Chile. The 23-year from Paraguay defeated Julieta Estable, Daniela Seguel, Victoria Bosio and Germany's Anne Schaefer in a 7-5 3rd set in the final. It's Cepede's fourteenth career ITF crown, but her first since April '14.

In the Santiago doubles, the all-Mexican team of Victoria Rodriguez (20) and Renata Zarazua (18) won their first title as a duo, though both have won quite a few with other partners. V-Rod has gone 9-5 in ITF finals with Marcela Zacarias alone since April of last year, while Zarazua is now 6-1 in pro doubles finals in her career.

Meanwhile, Bulgarian Isabella Shinikova moved into sole possession of first place in '15 ITF singles titles with her win in the $10K in Port El Kantaoui, Tunisia. The 24-year old won her seventh title (in eight finals) on the season with a win over Russian Yana Sizikova (in contrast, now 0-6 in '15 singles finals), and swept the doubles, too, with partner Karin Kennel.

In Ramat Gan, Israel's Deniz Khazaniuk defeated Russia's Olga Doroshina in the final to win her sixth title of '15. It's the 21-year old seventeenth career ITF title, and her total of ten challenger finals this season leads the circuit.

And in Antalya, Alisa Kleybanova was at it yet again. The comeback Russian reached her third final in her fourth event over the past month, coming through qualifying yet again to win title #2 with a 6-4/6-3 win over Armenia's Ani Amiraghyan. Kleybanova has gone 18-1 (w/ an additional walkover defeat in qualifying in her second event) since her return.
15/Love (ace!)... EXACTLY what you want to here from Garbine Muguruza. Is it the prelude to even bigger things in 2016? (Crossing fingers.)

30/Love (backhand winner!)... you know we can't have a Backspin update without an appearance (or two) from Vika.

Or, of late, Caro (but, contrary to the photo, NOT "the late Caro!")...

And a certain Russian's posts have been mightly popular, as well. Be she tired...

Fully in (Instagram) form...

Or posing with another former #1-ranked Russian...

30/15... this isn't another Sharapova photo example. But it COULD be!

Now if only AnaIvo could do a right good Maria impersonation ON THE COURT in 2016. Yeah, umm, not holding my breath on that one.

1993 Tatiana Panova
1994 Anna Kournikova
1995 Eugenia Kulikovskaya
1996 Andrea Sebova
1997 Zsofia Gubacsi
1998 Virginie Razzano
1999 Aniko Kapros
2000 Edina Gallovits
2001 Jelena Jankovic
2002 Ana Ivanovic
2003 Kateryna Bondarenko
2004 Monica Niculescu
2005 Dominika Cibulkova
2006 Ula Radwanska
2007 Melanie Oudin
2008 Lauren Embree
2009 Daria Gavrilova
2010 Samantha Crawford
2011 Yulia Putintseva
2012 Ana Konjuh
2013 Jelena Ostapenko
2014 Dalma Galfi
2015 Kylie McKenzie

2013 Zhang Yuxuan, CHN
2014 Tang Hao-chen, CHN
2015 Chang Kai-chen, TPE
2016 Han Xinyun, CHN

**2015 ITF TITLES**
7...ISABELLA SHINIKOVA, BUL (7-1 in finals)
6...Daniela Seguel, CHI (6-1)

40/30 (double-fault)... in IPTL news:

All right, that's more than enough on that.

Well, I guess this is SOMETHING more. But not REALLY.

Match Point Converted!...

Naomi Broady did this:

While Ula Radwanska did some other things (not that she likely remembers many of them):

Handshake at the net...

In the offseason, tennis players CONTINUE to travel the world. Example: Vania King. At the start of the week, she was in Montana...

By the end, she was in Thailand...

Others, of course, contemplate a "second career"...

But since not everyone is Ash Barty, they usually settle for possibly just creating a new sport that they're awesome at...


And, finally, ever wonder what it looks like when you go to the supermarket and spot a Sveta? Well, wonder no more.

The "Ms. Backspin" unveiling is up next, with the 2015 WTA Yearbook still anxiously waiting in the wings.

All for now.


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