Friday, January 29, 2016

AO 12.5 - 36 Up, 36 Down... naturally

Sorry, Serena... but if you win the singles title you STILL won't be the "least surprising" women's champion at this Australian Open. Nope, that'd be the Dream Team.

World co-#1's Martina Hingis & Sania Mirza won their third consecutive women's doubles slam crown on Friday with a 7-6(1)/6-3 win over #7-seeded Czechs Andrea Hlavackova & Lucie Hradecka, playing in their first slam final together since winning the '13 U.S. Open and subsequently parting ways as a duo for a brief period.

It wasn't exactly a "clean" match. Hingis' opening serve game included two double-faults and an error as she and Mirza were broken for 2-1. Mirza double-faulted and was broken two games later, as well. But it was a pattern for the whole set for both teams, as eight of the first ten games featured breaks of serve -- two each for all four players. Hingis & Mirza dominated the tie-break, though, winning 7-1.

In the 2nd, Hingis was treated for a sore shoulder, which might have at least explained some of her earlier issues (which she surely made up for with her great anticipation at her net position). At 5-2, Mirza served for the title, but was broken. The Dream Team quickly reached triple MP at 40/love in the Czechs' service game immediately afterward, though. Still, it took four MP to finally secure the title.

But, hey, all history will say is that Hingis & Mirza are the champions of the 2016 Australian Open.

For the Dream Team, their victory gives them thirty-six straight match wins and eight consecutive titles (three already in '16). They last loss in a tight semifinal in Cincinnati against the Chan sisters last August. The title is Hingis' twelfth WD slam title, and the twenty-first overall slam crown in her Hall of Fame career. Mirza now has six slams title, three each in WD and MX.

The duo now heads to Paris with a shot at a fourth straight major -- a Dream Slam (I won't be using the other "S-word" for them, I guess). They have to be looking even farther down the road, though, at a possible true Grand Slam in 2016. Hingis has already accomplished the feat once, sweeping the women's doubles slams in 1998 as a 17-year old (winning the AO w/ Mirjana Lucic, and the other three w/ Jana Novotna... before winning a fifth straight in Melbourne w/ Anna Kournikova in '99).

Hmmm, what do the 2015 "Ms. Backspin" winners do for an encore? Well...

...both before and after the WD final, the mixed finalists were determined.

CoCo Vandeweghe, showing some nice doubles skills at this AO, advanced to her first career slam final with Horia Tecau. Vandeweghe also had a nice run in the women's doubles and was just named to the U.S. roster for next weekend's WG II tie vs. Poland in a rare versatility/Plan B selection by Mary Joe Fernandez, who normally doesn't provide her roster with any real depth or emergency options.

After Mirza won the women's doubles title with Hingis, she had a chance to keep alive the hopes of a doubles title sweep (as Hingis did in Wimbledon and the U.S. Open by winning both the WD and MX last year, after Bethanie Mattek-Sands had done so at Roland Garros). But it didn't happen, as the #1-seeded Mirza & Ivan Dodig lost to #5 Elena Vesnina & Bruno Soares 7-5/7-6(4). Vesnina has won a pair of WD slams with Ekaterina Makarova, but is seeking her first MX title.

The other active women who have won both in their careers:

Martina Hingis (12/4)
Andrea Hlavackova (2/1)
Lucie Hradecka (2/1)
Ekaterina Makarova (2/1)
Bethanie Mattek-Sands (2/2)
Sania Mirza (3/3)
Katarina Srebotnik (1/5)
Samantha Stosur (2/3)
Serena Williams (13/2)
Venus Williams (13/2)
Vera Zvonareva (2/2)

ALSO: Cara Black (5/5) & Liezel Huber (5/2) the junior semis, 17-year old Tereza Mihalikova (#2 seed) and Vera Lapko (#5) won to advance to the final. Slovak Mihalikova, the defending AO girls champ, defeated #9-seeded Swiss Rebeka Masarova 6-3/6-3 and will be looking to become the first girl to defend a junior slam crown since Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova won back-to-back titles in Melbourne in 2006-07. Lapko defeated Aussie qualifier Sara Tomic 6-2/6-3. She'll be seeking to become the first girl from Belarus to win a slam singles title since Victoria Azarenka was U.S. Open champ in 2005, and the first to do so in Melbourne since Vika won there that same season. That was quite a year for Azarenka, the junior #1, as she also won three of the four girls doubles slam titles in '05.

As for the awards associcated with the juniors, since I'm not going to award the "Junior Breakout" honor to the girls slam title winners this year (it's happened too much of late), I'll hold it back and split it with the "It" award depending on what happens in the final.

IF MIHALIKOVA WINS: Mihalikova wins "It," while Lapko gets "Breakout"
IF LAPKO WINS: Lapko gets "It," while Tomic gets "Breakout"

...rain forced the rescheduling of some of the other finals scheduled on Day 12 (with MCA and Hisense closed down... for now, anyway, with more rain maybe backing up the schedule on the weekend), including the girls doubles and womens WC doubles finals.

#1 Serena Williams/USA vs. #7 Angelique Kerber/GER

#1 Novak Djokovic/SRB vs. #2 Andy Murray/GBR

#1 Hingis/Mirza (SUI/IND) d. #7 Hlavackova/Hradecka (CZE/CZE) 7-6(1)/6-3

#7 J.Murray/Soares (GBR/BRA) vs. Nestor/Stepanek (CAN/CZE)

#5 Vesnina/Soares (RUS/BRA) vs. Vandeweghe/Tecau (USA/ROU)

#5 Vera Lapko/BLR vs. #2 Tereza Mihalikova/SVK

Oliver Anderson/AUS vs. #7 Dzhurabek Karimov/UZB

#6 Yastremska/Zarytska (UKR/UKR) vs. #2 Kalinskaya/Mihalikova (RUS/SVK)

#8 Klein/Rikl (SVK/CZE) vs. De Minaur/Ellis (AUS/AUS)

#1 Jiske Griffioen/NED vs. Aniek Van Koot/NED

Gordon Reid/GBR vs. Joachim Gerard/BEL

#1 Griffioen/Van Koot (NED/NED) vs. #2 Buis/Kamiji (NED/JPN)

#1 Houdet/Peifer (FRA/FRA) vs. #2 Reid/Kunieda (GBR/JPN)

2007 Serena Williams, USA
2008 Zi Yan & Zheng Jie, CHN
2009 Jelena Dokic, AUS
2010 Justine Henin, BEL
2011 Agnieszka Radwanska, POL
2012 Maria Sharapova, RUS
2013 Svetlana Kuznetsova, RUS
2014 Ana Ivanovic, SRB
2015 Victoria Azarenka, BLR
2016 Andrea Hlavackova & Lucie Hradecka, CZE/CZE

13 - Serena Williams, USA
13 - Venus Williams, USA
5 - Sara Errani, ITA
5 - Roberta Vinci, ITA
2 - Andrea Hlavackova, CZE
2 - Lucie Hradecka, CZE
2 - Hsieh Su-Wei, TPE
2 - Vania King, USA
2 - Svetlana Kuznetsova, RUS
2 - Ekaterina Makarova, RUS
2 - Bethanie Mattek-Sands, USA
2 - Anabel Medina-Garrigues, ESP
2 - Peng Shuai, CHN
2 - Lucie Safarova, CZE
2 - Yaroslava Shvedova, KAZ
2 - Samantha Stosur, AUS
2 - Elena Vesnina, RUS
2 - Zheng Jie, CHN
2 - Vera Zvonareva, RUS
ALSO: C.Black (5), L.Huber (5)

[combined titles]
36 - Serena Williams [21/13/2]
22 - Venus Williams [7/13/2]
21 - MARTINA HINGIS [5/12/4]
6 - Samantha Stosur [1/2/3]

[combined titles]
36 - Serena Williams, USA
22 - Venus Williams, USA
6 - Katarina Srebotnik, SLO
6 - Samantha Stosur, AUS
5 - Sara Errani, ITA
5 - Maria Sharapova, RUS
5 - Roberta Vinci, ITA
ALSO: C.Black (10), L.Huber (7)

1997 Martina Hingis / Natasha Zvereva
1998 Martina Hingis / Mirjana Lucic
1999 Martina Hingis / Anna Kournikova
2000 Lisa Raymond / Rennae Stubbs
2001 Serena Williams / Venus Williams
2002 Martina Hingis / Anna Kournikova
2003 Serena Williams / Venus Williams
2004 Virginia Ruano-Pascual / Paola Suarez
2005 Svetlana Kuznetsova / Alicia Molik
2006 Yan Zi / Zheng Jie
2007 Cara Black / Liezel Huber
2008 Alona Bondarenko / Kateryna Bondarenko
2009 Serena Williams / Venus Williams
2010 Serena Williams / Venus Williams
2011 Gisela Dulko / Flavia Pennetta
2012 Svetlana Kuznetsova / Vera Zvonareva
2013 Sara Errani / Roberta Vinci
2014 Sara Errani / Roberta Vinci
2015 Bethanie Mattek-Sands / Lucie Safarova
2016 Martina Hingis / Sania Mirza

2001 Jelena Jankovic/SRB def. Sofia Arvidsson/SWE
2002 Barbora Strycova/CZE def. Maria Sharapova/RUS
2003 Barbora Strycova/CZE def. Victoriya Kutuzova/UKR
2004 Shahar Peer/ISR def. Nicole Vaidisova/CZE
2005 Victoria Azarenka/BLR def. Agnes Szavay/HUN
2006 Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova/RUS def. Caroline Wozniacki/DEN
2007 Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova/RUS def. Madison Brengle/USA
2008 Arantxa Rus/NED def. Jessica Moore/AUS
2009 Ksenia Pervak/RUS def. Laura Robson/GBR
2010 Karolina Pliskova/CZE def. Laura Robson/GBR
2011 An-Sophie Mestach/BEL def. Monica Puig/PUR
2012 Taylor Townsend/USA def. Yulia Putintseva/RUS
2013 Ana Konjuh/CRO def. Katerina Siniakova/CZE
2014 Elizaveta Kulichkova/RUS def. Jana Fett/CRO
2015 Tereza Mihalikova/SVK def. Katie Swan/GBR
2016 Tereza Mihalikova/SVK vs. Vera Lapko/BLR

All for Day 12.5 -- more after the women's final.


Blogger Zidane said...

I knew she could do it, but dared not believe it. :D I haven't been that emotional in a match for quite a while!

Sat Jan 30, 05:54:00 AM EST  
Blogger colt13 said...

Touched by the trophy presentation. Serena was extremely gracious, and Kerber was rambling, but that should be expected. Good stuff from both.

Sat Jan 30, 06:11:00 AM EST  
Blogger Zidane said...

I loved how Kerber didn't really care about the trophy and left it aside for her whole speech, and waited a minute or two after the end of her speech to retrieve it. The knowledge that she had done it was much more important than the hardware that showed it.

Sat Jan 30, 06:13:00 AM EST  

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