AO 6.5 - Lists-a-Palooza!
(And another squandered AnaIvo match, too)
*2016 AUSTRALIAN OPEN WOMEN'S FINAL 16*
#1 - Serena Williams
#4 - Aga Radwanska
#5 - Maria Sharapova
#6 - Angelique Kerber
#11 - Carla Suarez-Navarro
#13 - Belinda Bencic
#16 - Victoria Azarenka
#17 - Madison Keys
#24 - Ekaterina Makarova
#39 - Daria Gavrilova
#47 - Johanna Konta
#48 - Barbora Strycova
#55 - Annika Beck
#58 - Margarita Gasparyan
#72 - Anna-Lena Friedsam
#133 - Zhang Shuai
3...Germany (Beck, Friedsam, Kerber)
3...Russia (Gasparyan, Makarova, Sharapova)
2...United States (Keys, S.Williams)
1...Czech Republic (Strycova)
1...Great Britain (Konta)
[by career slam Round-of-16's]
[w/ consecutive slam Round of 16's]
NOTE: Sharapova 8 straight (non-consecutive) slam Round of 16's = '15 U.S. Open DNP
[by career AO Round of 16's]
[w/ consecutive AO Round of 16's]
5...Serena Williams [2012-16; in 9 consecutive AO app. since '07 = DNP 2011]
Annika Beck, GER
Anna-Lena Friedsam, GER
Margarita Gasparyan, RUS
Daria Gavrilova, AUS
Johanna Konta, GBR
Barbora Strycova, CZE
Zhang Shuai, CHN (Q)
=Tiers: Green 1-2, Blue 3-7, Pink 8-15, Orange 16-26,
Red 27-34, Purple 35-42, White 43-50, Off-Book (10)=
2 - Maria Sharapova
6 - Belinda Bencic
8 - Angelique Kerber
9 - Aga Radwanska
10 - Victoria Azarenka
11 - Ekaterina Makarova
15 - Madison Keys
18 - Daria Gavrilova
26 - Carla Suarez-Navarro
[Red - none]
38 - Margarita Gasparyan
41 - Johanna Konta
[White - none]
Off-Book - Barbora Strycova
Unlisted - Annika Beck
Unlisted - Anna-Lena Friedsam
Unlisted - Zhang Shuai
ALSO: Petrova (21)
[WTA slam Round of 16's since 2010 - active]
...in the only three-set women's 3rd Round match played on Day/Night 6, '15 semifinalist Madison Keys outlasted '08 AO finalist Ana Ivanovic in an odd contest that saw the Serb (hardly shockingly) blow multiple leads over the course of a match that included a 50-minute 2nd set break while medics treated Ivanovic coach Nigel Sears, who was taken from the Laver Arena stands and hospitalized after collapsing (he apparently suffered a heart attack, or some other health issue -- though he seems to be doing better now). To add another layer to the story, while all this was happening, Sears' son-in-law, Andy Murray, was ALSO busy playing HIS match one court over on MCA.
AnaIvo took the 1st set at 6-4 as Keys, yet again at this AO, got off to a slow start as she was in the low 50% on her first serves and was making far too many errors -- especially on her return of serve, seventeen of which were unreturned in the set -- for her game to withstand for very long.
The extended Sears-related delay came with Ivanovic up 6-4/1-0. After righting her head in the locker room, AnaIvo came out firing, breaking to take a 2-0 lead. But, being who she is, Ivanovic lost the advantage one game later... then got the break lead back with a huge return to go up 4-2. Serving for a 6-4/5-2 lead, one would think that a former #1 and slam champion would have her opponent -- who hasn't really won anything yet in her career -- right where she'd want her, right?
Come now, we're talking about AnaIvo. Keys had HER right where she wanted her.
It was here that the Serb's service toss began its slow devolution, leading to a double-fault and a love/30 deficit. Keys' backhand pass got things back on serve yet again, then she held and took a break lead with a big forehand winner. With Keys serving for the set at 5-4, AnaIvo opened the game with a beautiful volley winner and the Bannerette soon fell behind love/40. She battled back to deuce, and went on to save a total of six BP in the game, finally putting away her third set point when Ivanovic fired a return long as she dropped her fourth straight game.
Not content to have lost two potentially match-securing leads to Keys, Ivanovic was at it again in the 3rd. She went up a break at 2-0, then held for 3-0. But two games later, a big Keys return gave the American triple BP at 40/love. As Keys' shots, after finally being corralled as the 2nd set wore on, suddenly went off again and Ivanovic got the game to deuce. She saved a fourth BP, but soon held a game point for a 4-1 lead. She failed to put it away, then saw Keys' big return and forehand combo surge back. She broke the Serb on her fifth BP of the game to pull to within 3-2.
Keys scrambled to hold from 15/40 a game later, then took a 40/love lead on Ivanovic's serve in game #7. AnaIvo's double-fault broke herself and Keys went up 4-3. Down 5-3, Ivanovic took a 40/love lead before seeing the game go to deuce, but she managed to hold for 5-4 to end Keys' latest game-winning streak at five. Serving for the match, Keys reached MP when Ivanovic sprayed a short forehand put-away shot. The Serb saved it with a backhand winner. On her second MP, Keys continued to struggle with the lead, double-faulting and opening the door for Ivanovic to get back into the match. But she couldn't do it. On MP #3, Keys put away a volley to finish off a 4-6/6-4/6-4 win, reaching the Round of 16 for a fourth time in her last five majors.
Suddenly, Keys in just two matches away from equaling her '15 semifinal run in Melbourne, while Ivanovic has failed to reach the 4th Round at six of her last nine slams, and nineteen times in the thirty-one slams since she won her only major title at Roland Garros in '08. Before that stretch, AnaIvo had put together a F-SF-4th-F-W run in 2007-08 that lifted her into the #1 ranking spot in the world.
Some might want to use the incident with Sears as a reason for Ivanovic's squandering (on multiple occasions) of this match. But, come on, this has been her pattern for the past eight years. Unfortunately, as a player, it's just who she is.
We still don't know for sure just who Keys will be as a player, but the way she's battled her way back to win her three matches in Melbourne, after having arrived at this AO with the pressure of defending her '15 SF points on her shoulders from Day 1, is a very good sign.
...in the final 3rd Round match, qualifier Zhang Shuai continued her unexpected run, taking out Bannerette Varvara Lepchenko 6-1/6-3 to officially claim the "Last Qualifier Standing" honors.
*AO "LAST QUALIFIER STANDING" WINNERS*
(3rd Rd.) Olga Savchuk, UKR
(2nd Rd.) A.Kremer/LUX, A.Kudryavtseva/RUS, T.Paszek/AUT, J.Vakulenko/UKR, R.Voracova/CZE
(4th Rd.) Marta Domachowska, POL
(2nd Rd.) E.Baltacha/GBR, A.Brianti/ITA, S.Karatantcheva/KAZ
(4th Rd.) Yanina Wickmayer, BEL
(3rd Rd.) Vesna Manasieva (Dolonc/SRB), RUS
(3rd Rd.) Nina Bratchikova, RUS
(3rd Rd.) Valeria Savinykh/RUS, Lesia Tsurenko/UKR
(3rd Rd.) Zarina Diyas, KAZ
(3rd Rd.) Lucie Hradecka/CZE
(in 4th Rd.) Zhang Shuai/CHN
...in Mixed Doubles, Sania Mirza won her 1st Round match with partner Ivan Dodig. The Indian/Croatian duo are the #1-seeded team and, wouldn't you know it, there's a chance we could have a Dream Teamer vs. Dream Teamer match-up in the QF if unseeded Martina Hingis/Leander Paes -- seeking their second consecutive AO crown and third straight slam title -- win two matches in Melbourne (and Mirza/Dodig win one more).
...well, I guess that's about it. I've put it off long enough, so it's time to start some preliminary shoveling to avoid more work later. So far, HQ has been buried in about 33-35 inches of snow, and it's not finished yet.
They were out of AT-ATs yesterday. Grrr. I managed to find a second-hand tauntaun, though. Come on, boy... you can do it!
*WOMEN'S SINGLES ROUND OF 16*
#1 Serena Williams/USA vs. Margarita Gasparyan/RUS
#12 Belinda Bencic/SUI vs. #5 Maria Sharapova/RUS
#4 Aga Radwanska/POL vs. Anna-Lena Friedsam/GER
#10 Carla Suarez-Navarro/ESP vs. Daria Gavrilova/AUS
#7 Angelique Kerber/GER vs. Annika Beck/GER
#14 Victoria Azarenka vs. Barbora Strycova/CZE
Johanna Konta/GBR vs. #21 Ekaterina Makarova/RUS
#15 Madison Keys/USA vs. (Q) Zhang Shuai/CHN
*MEN'S SINGLES ROUND OF 16*
#1 Novak Djokovic/SRB vs. #14 Gilles Simon/FRA
#9 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga/FRA vs. #7 Kei Nishikori/JPN
#3 Roger Federer/SUI vs. #15 David Goffin/BEL
#14 Roberto Bautista Agut/ESP vs. #6 Tomas Berdych/CZE
Andrey Kuznetsov/RUS vs. #23 Gael Monfils/FRA
#13 Milos Raonic/CAN vs. #4 Stam Wawrinka/SUI
#8 David Ferrer/ESP vs. #10 John Isner/USA
#16 Bernard Tomic/AUS vs. #2 Andy Murray/GBR
All for Day 6.5 -- more later.