RG.15- Pastries Unite!
Caroline Garcia and Kristina Mladenovic have dominated the clay court season, so it goes to reason that they SHOULD have ended up as the women's doubles champions in Paris. But it's never just that easy, is it? They won titles in Charleston, Stuttgart and Madrid, clinched France's berth in the Fed Cup final, twice defeated world #1's Hingis & Mirza in finals and took out '15 RG winners Mattek-Sands/Safarova in another title-decider, but they were still required today to knock off '13 RG champs Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina in the final to get the conclusion they desired, and deserved.
It took three sets, and some tense moments in the closing games, but the match that resulted eventually put a sweet and fitting cherry on top of what was a great spring sundae (and Sunday) for the two French women, as well as a very interesting -- if not packed with remarkable matches -- women's competition at this second slam of 2016.
It took Garcia seven minutes to hold serve in the opening game of the match, but her success opened the floodgates for an early French surge. Mladenovic held in her first service game for 3-0, and the two French woman led 5-0 before the Russians finally got into the match. Garcia/Mladenovic saw their lead shrink to 4-3, but they collected themselves and claimed the 1st at 6-3.
Makarova/Vesnina forced a 3rd set with a 6-2 win in the 2nd. In the final set, Mladenovic, whose net play highlighted the day, tried to turn the setting into something resembling a Fed Cup tie, imploring the crowd to cheer and generally upping the decibel level and tension all by her exuberantly French self. After not having been able to hold serve since her first attempt in the opening set, Mladenovic finally did so again to level the set at 4-4 as the title was truly on the line. A break of the Russians a game later gave Garcia the chance to close the match just as she'd started it.
A few weeks after winning a singles title in Strasbourg, and after being a solid force all year for the French FC squad, Garcia made short work of the task. A long Makarova return ended it, as the Pastries won 6-3/2-6/6-4 to both gain their first slam WD titles (Kiki has two Mixed, as well) and give France its first all-French women's doubles champions in nearly fifty years (or even longer, depending on which records you go by). The duo have gone 21-1 in their last twenty-two matches.
Oh, and Mladenovic made "championship face" a phrase to remember, too...
The last French woman to win a slam title of any kind in Paris was Nathalie Dechy in Mixed Doubles in 2007. But an ALL-Pastry RG women's doubles championship duo is even more rare. It's been forty-five years since Gail Chanfreau & Francoise Durr lifted their second of back-to-back titles in 1971. But since Chanfreau was Aussie-born and played under the Australian flag before marrying French player Jean-Baptiste Chanfreau and moving to France in the late 1960's, you have to go back to 1945, when sisters Paulette Iribarne-Fritz and Simone Iribarne-Lafargue won, for the last time two French-BORN Pastries won the WD in Paris. Until today, that is. Lenglen would be proud.
[ ADDITIONAL NOTE: the French championships held during World War II from 1941-45 -- called the "Tournoi de France" --aren't "officially" recognized as RG champions. Thus, under those rules, you'd have to go back even further for an all French-born team... to 1926, when Didi Vlasto won with, yes, Suzanne Lenglen. Bam. ]
Next up? Fed Cup? Yep. Hmmm, should be interesting.
This could end up just being a practice run for Caro & Kiki. Bring on the Czech Maidens!
=DAY 15 NOTES=
...Roland Garros crowned a third different Swiss girl as its junior singles champion on Sunday.
#12-seeded Rebeka Masarova defeated #2 Amanda Anisimova (USA) 7-5/7-5 to win her first major junior title, one round after having knocked off #1-seeded Olesya Pervushina in the semifinals. The 16-year old has been the most consistent junior slam performer this season, as she also reached the semifinals in Melbourne. Only she and Hordette Anastasia Potapova (QF in AO, SF at RG) reached the final eight in both 2016 slams.
In the junior doubles, the Russians lost again. Days after they both lost in the singles semis, the all-Hordette, #1-seeded team of Pervushina/Potapova lost to the duo of Paula Arias Manjon (from resurgent Spain, a year after Paula Badosa won the girls singles, and a day after Muguruza took the women's title) and Serbian Olga Danilovic (a possible FC doubles protege for The Bracelet?).
- In the WTA 125 Series event in Bol, veteran Mandy Minella from Luxembourg won the biggest title of her career. The 30-year old defeated Polona Hercog 6-2/6-3 in the final. Minella, who was as high as #66 less than four years ago, was ranked #186 heading into the event.
- on the ITF circuit, Montenegrin Danka Kovinic claimed the $100K title in Marseille, defeating Hsieh Su-Wei in the final. It's the 21-year old's second career $100K win, having won in Trnava last season. She's reached two tour-level singles finals, last year in Tianjin (lost to Aga) and earlier this season in Istanbul (losing to Buyukakcay).
Xenia Knoll, who is winning titles all over the place in 2016, took the doubles with Petra Martic. This season the (another!) Swiss has now won doubles titles in WTA (Rabat w/ Krunic), WTA 125 and ITF (w/ Bonaventure) events. The 23-year old has twenty-two overall pro doubles titles (1/1/20).
...LIKE ON DAY 15:
Feeling like.. ???? pic.twitter.com/aY8XlAqbpy— Garbiñe Muguruza (@GarbiMuguruza) June 5, 2016
...LIKE ON DAY 15: Yui Kamiji is half-way to another Grand Slam.
Bye Paris.. You've been wonderful ???? pic.twitter.com/IOyhg7msN8— Jordanne Whiley MBE (@jordannejoyce92) June 5, 2016
Also... Wheelchair Singles is coming up, for the very first time at Wimbledon.
...LIKIN' ON DAY 15: The trophy photo session dress...
Oh, and a belated nod for Muguruza's outfit during the entire tournament not looking exactly like that of twenty other players in the draw. Or should I thank Stella McCartney?
...HMMM... ON DAY 15:
Serena said "Ann Kerber" today and all I can think is this and I just can't stop laughing. pic.twitter.com/MRD2VKGs7e— Courtney Nguyen (@FortyDeuceTwits) June 4, 2016
Flashforward to later this summer? "Geraldine played so well in Paris."
...APPARENTLY-THIS-IS-A-THING-NOW ON DAY 15:
Met a lovely friend here at Nottingham!— ???~YungJan Chan (@YungJan_Chan) June 4, 2016
...UNREALIZED FEAR AFTER DAY 15: Don't, Garbi... just don't. Please.
"Muguruza=new big thing. But then we did think the same about Ana Ivanovic" pic.twitter.com/hAlaLLOXll— garbae muguruthless (@IdemoAna) June 5, 2016
...CORRECTION ON DAY 15: As opposed to what what was noted in USA TODAY and elsewhere on Friday, Sharapova's social media presence really wasn't just "a place of curated brand placement" (though there was some of that, as with most players with major endorsers) before her suspension and recent t-shirt fan revolution.
Altough this sort of thing IS new:
Seeing that smile after a first grand slam accomplishment is what this game is played for. Nothing else really matters #respect— Maria Sharapova (@MariaSharapova) June 4, 2016
Hmmm. The first step in a Sharapova tour-level charm offensive? (Because apparently you have to be buddy-buddy with everyone in order to not be diced up the minute your back is turned... Yes, I see you, Kiki. I still like you and root for your success, but I don't forget.)
Might be interesting to see how Sharapova interacts with other players on tour when (if?) she gets back soon. Could the icy (at best) reaction to her plight from some of her fellow players have stung a little?
...DISLIKE ON DAY 15: Mary Carillo continuing her slide down the commentating ladder. And this after being one of the best -- if not THE best -- commentator on the air quite a few years ago.
Of course, it should come as no shock when after making her name in tennis coverage two decades ago following her injury-plagued playing career, then expanding to other events and journalistic efforts, most notably on HBO's "Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel," she pulled way back on her tennis duties a year or two ago. We're seeing her more again now, but one wonders how much she really wants to be there. She's often crabby, judgmental, whiny (see the Bartoli rant on Saturday, or any of the others of recent vintage that didn't involve La Trufflette) and, on the whole, unpleasant most of the time. You get the occasional flash of the old funny and irreverent Carillo, but it's usually just a brief glimpse.
In the NBC Sports Network coverage of the women's doubles final, Carillo even had a reporting lapse that was hard to fathom. In mentioning Masarova's junior title win, she noted that the other Swiss player to win the RG girls title was Martina Hingis. There was even a graphic that showed a young Martina. Aside from leaving out that there was another WHOLE Swiss girl (Belinda Bencic) who won the title just the other year ago, Carillo, even after mentioning Hingis' post-Hall of Fame induction success with Sania Mirza in WD, somehow overlooked the fact that just two days ago Hingis completed her Career Mixed Slam with a title in Paris, as well. The Carillo of a decade ago would have tapped herself on the shoulder and asked, "Hey, what's the deal?"
During the match, in discussing Mladenovic and Garcia, she noted that Mladenovic is a "very successful singles player," with her lack of an immediately similar note about Garcia making it appear as if she was saying Mladenovic was a far more successful singles player than her partner. Problem is, while Mladenovic has the only slam singles QF between the two, she has zero singles titles. Garcia has two, including a win in Strasbourg just days before play started in Roland Garros this year. Then, once the duo had won the title, no mention was made that two French women hadn't won the RG doubles since 1971 (I'd never expect them to take the time to check about the last French-born pair of champions coming in 1945/1926), either.
Of course, the network then further "distinguished" itself (meaning the opposite of that) by beating a hasty retreat from the live WD match, not bothering to show the trophy ceremony (with French players winning in France!), either live or via clips later, and instead spent over an hour showing replay coverage of Friday's men's singles semifinals.
...DISLIKE ON DAY 15: That at the end of this RG I have to utter the line, "I'm so glad ESPN will be covering Wimbledon."
Who'd ever think that an ESPN-free grand slam zone could actually be WORSE than the long-time denigrated coverage presented for years by "the worldwide leader?" But yet it was. By a long shot.
Thanks, Tennis Channel and NBC. Or not.
...LIKE ON DAY 15: Meanwhile... one last thanks to Radio Roland Garros. It kept me from having to listen to any of NBC's commentary during the men's final. Gigi, Courtney, Craig & Co. rule.
(Citizen Anna-like clenched fist pump.)
...ONE MORE LENGLEN REFERENCE ON DAY 15: I spoke too soon again. One day after "occasional in-point Lenglen pose" producer Garbine Muguruza won the singles title, two French-born woman won the women's doubles title for the first time since 1945... or 1926, that is.
Actually, I was doubling up on Mladenovic/Lenglen pics long before RG, when Kiki's outfit for Paris was first revealed, and the headscarf immediately brought to mind the look of a certain 1920's superstar.
Ah, this was La Divine's plan all along, I suspect.
So... one more:
...and, finally... well, here we go again... oh, nevermind...
Just discovered Jack Black was dead then not dead within about 30 seconds. Don't do that to me.— PLESTED (@PlestedMusic) June 5, 2016
So, back to the final regularly scheduled "and, finally..." for this Roland Garros...
NOTTINGHAM, ENGLAND (Int'l/Grass)
15 Final: Konjuh d. Niculescu
15 Doubles Final: Atawo/Spears d. Rae/Smith
16 Singles Top Seeds: Ka.Pliskova/Konta
#1 Ka.Pliskova d. #6 Watson
Riske d. #2 Konta
Riske d. #1 Ka.Pliskova
...Caro Wozniacki returns, as does Vicky Duval and Peng Shuai (in a WTA MD). The Pliskova twins could face off in the 2nd Round.
's-HERTOGENBOSCH, NETHERLANDS (Int'l/Grass)
15 Final: Giorgi d. Bencic
15 Doubles Final: Muhammad/Siegemund d. Jankovic/Pavlyuchenkova
16 Singles Top Seeds: Bencic/Jankovic
#1 Bencic d. Bertens
#6 Vandeweghe d. #4 Ostapenko
#1 Bencic d. #6 Vandeweghe
...Bencic (finally) returns. So do Bertens and Mladenovic, though you wonder how much they'll have left for this one after Paris (they could play each other in the QF -- Kiki vs. Kiki: Non-Fed Cup Edition -- after a possible Dutch Kiki vs. Bouchard 2nd Rounder). Vandeweghe & JJ (the subject of one of CoCo's twitter jabs last year after a particularly dramatic match -- which the Bannerette was watching, not participating in) could have a go in the final eight, as well.
*WOMEN'S SINGLES FINAL*
#4 Garbine Muguruza/ESP def. #1 Serena Williams/USA 7-5/6-4
*WOMEN'S DOUBLES FINAL*
#5 Garcia/Mladenovic (FRA/FRA) def. #7 Makarova/Vesnina (RUS/RUS) 6-3/2-6/6-4
*MIXED DOUBLES FINAL*
Hingis/Paes (SUI/IND) def. #2 Mirza/Dodig (IND/CRO) 4-6/6-4 [10-8]
*GIRLS SINGLES FINAL*
#12 Rebeka Masarova/SUI def. #2 Amanda Anisimova/USA 7-5/7-5
*GIRLS DOUBLES FINAL*
Manjon/Danilovic (ESP/SRB) def. #1 Pervushina/Potapova (RUS/RUS) 3-6/6-3 [10-8]
*WOMEN'S WC SINGLES FINAL*
Marjolein Buis/NED def. Sabine Ellerbrock/GER 6-3/6-4
*WOMEN'S WC DOUBLES FINAL*
#2 Yui Kamiji/Jordanne Whiley (JPN/GBR) def. #1 Jiske Griff#1oen/Aniek Van Koot (NED/NED) 6-3/4-6 [10-6]
*RG "DOUBLES STAR" WINNERS*
2006 Lisa Raymond & Samantha Stosur, USA/AUS
2007 Katarina Srebotnik, SLO
2008 Anabel Medina-Garrigues & Virginia Ruano Pascual, ESP/ESP
2009 Virginia Ruano Pascual, ESP
2010 Katarina Srebotnik, SLO
2011 Andrea Hlavackova & Lucie Hradecka, CZE/CZE
2012 Sara Errani & Roberta Vinci, ITA/ITA
2013 Ekaterina Makarova & Elena Vesnina, RUS/RUS
2014 Anna-Lena Groenefeld, GER
2015 Bethanie Mattek-Sands, USA
2016 Caroline Garcia & Kristina Mladenovic, FRA/FRA
**RG "KDK CUP FOR VETERAN ACHIEVEMENT" WINNERS**
2015 Lucie Safarova, CZE
2016 Martina Hingis/SUI and Samantha Stosur/AUS
*RG "JUNIOR BREAKOUT" WINNERS*
2007 Mariana Duque-Marino, COL (RU)
2008 Simona Halep, ROU (W) & Elena Bogdan, ROU (RU)
2009 Daria Gavrilova, RUS (RU)
2010 Elina Svitolina, UKR (W)
2011 Monica Puig, PUR (RU)
2012 Anna Schmiedlova, SVK (RU)
2013 Belinda Bencic, SUI (W)
2014 Daria Kasatkina, RUS (W)
2015 Paula Badosa Gibert, ESP (W)
2016 Rebeka Masarova, SUI (W)
*ROLAND GARROS GIRLS FINALS - since 2006*
2006 Agnieszka Radwanska/POL def. Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova/RUS
2007 Alize Cornet/FRA def. Mariana Duque-Marino/COL
2008 Simona Halep/ROU def. Elena Bogdan/ROU
2009 Kristina Mladenovic/FRA def. Daria Gavrilova/RUS
2010 Elina Svitolina/UKR def. Ons Jabeur/TUN
2011 Ons Jabeur/TUN def. Monica Puig/PUR
2012 Annika Beck/GER def. Anna Karolina Schmiedlova/SVK
2013 Belinda Bencic/SUI def. Antonia Lottner/GER
2014 Daria Kasatkina/RUS def. Ivana Jorovic/SRB
2015 Paula Badosa Gibert/ESP def. Anna Kalinskaya/RUS
2016 Rebeka Masarova/SUI def. Amanda Anisimova/USA
*RG GIRLS CHAMPIONS - SWISS*
1993 Martina Hingis
1994 Martina Hingis
2013 Belinda Bencic
2016 Rebeka Masarova
**RECENT GIRLS SLAM CHAMPIONS**
AO: Karolina Pliskova, CZE
RG: Elina Svitolina, UKR
WI: Kristyna Pliskova, CZE
US: Daria Gavrilova, RUS
AO: An-Sophie Mestach, BEL
RG: Ons Jabeur, TUN
WI: Ashleigh Barty, AUS
AO: Grace Min, USA
AO: Taylor Townsend, USA
RG: Annika Beck, GER
WI: Eugenie Bouchard, CAN
US: Samantha Crawford, USA
AO: Ana Konjuh, CRO
RG: Belinda Bencic, SUI
WI: Belinda Bencic, SUI
US: Ana Konjuh, CRO
AO: Elizaveta Kulichkova, RUS
RG: Darya Kasatkina, RUS
WI: Jelena Ostapenko, LAT
US: Maria Bouzkova, CZE
AO: Tereza Mihalikova, SVK
RG: Paula Badosa, ESP
WI: Sofya Zhuk, RUS
US: Dalma Galfi, HUN
AO: Vera Lapko, BLR
RG: Rebeka Masarova, SUI
*RECENT RG CHAMPIONS*
2006 Lisa Raymond & Samantha Stosur
2007 Alicia Molik & Mara Santangelo
2008 Anabel Medina-Garrigues & Virginia Ruano Pascual
2009 Anabel Medina-Garrigues & Virginia Ruano Pascual
2010 Serena Williams & Venus Williams
2011 Andrea Hlavackova & Lucie Hradecka
2012 Sara Errani & Roberta Vinci
2013 Ekaterina Makarova & Elena Vesnina
2014 Hsieh Su-Wei & Peng Shuai
2015 Bethanie Mattek-Sands & Lucie Safarova
2016 Caroline Garcia & Kristina Mladenovic
1999 Flavia Pennetta & Roberta Vinci, ITA/ITA
2000 Maria Jose Martinez & Anabel Medina, ESP/ESP
2001 Petra Cetkovska & Renata Voracova, CZE/CZE
2002 Anna-Lena Groenefeld & Barbora Strycova, GER/CZE
2003 Marta Fraga & Adriana Gonzales, ESP/ESP
2004 Katerina Bohmova & Michaella Krajicek, CZE/NED
2005 Victoria Azarenka & Agnes Szavay, BLR/HUN
2006 Sharon Fichman & Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, CAN/RUS
2007 Ksenia Milevskaya & Urszula Radwanska, BLR/POL
2008 Polona Hercog & Jessica Moore, SLO/AUS
2009 Elena Bogdan & Noppawan Lertcheewakarn, ROU/THA
2010 Timea Babos & Sloane Stephens, HUN/USA
2011 Irina Khromacheva & Maryna Zanevska, RUS/UKR
2012 Daria Gavrilova & Irina Khromacheva, RUS/RUS
2013 Barbora Krejcikova & Katerina Siniakova, CZE/CZE
2014 Ioana Ducu & Ioana Loredana Rosca, ROU/ROU
2015 Miriam Kolodziejova & Marketa Vondrouosva, CZE/CZE
2016 Paula Arias Manjon & Olga Danilovic, ESP/SRB
TOP EARLY-ROUND (1r-2r): #11 Lucie Safarova/CZE
TOP MIDDLE-ROUND (3r-QF): #1 Serena Williams/USA
TOP LATE-ROUND (SF-F): #4 Garbine Muguruza/ESP
TOP QUALIFYING MATCH: Q3: Lucie Hradecka/CZE d. Grace Min/USA 6-7(4)/6-1/11-9 (saved 4 MP)
TOP EARLY-RD. MATCH (1r-2r): 2nd Rd. - #25 Irina-Camelia Begu/ROU d. CoCo Vandeweghe/USA 6-7(4)/7-6(4)/10-8 (3:38)
TOP MIDDLE-RD. MATCH (3r-QF): 3rd Rd. - Kiki Bertens/NED def. #29 Daria Kasatkina/RUS 6-2/3-6/10-8 (Bertens 5-2 3rd, for match and 5 MP in game; Kasatkina twice for match; Bertens on 7th MP)
TOP LATE-RD. MATCH (SF-F/Jr.): Women's Doubles Final - #5 Garcia/Mladenovic (FRA/FRA) d. #7 Makarova/Vesnina 6-3/2-6/6-4 (first all-FRA WD since '71, first all-French born since '45)
FIRST VICTORY: #24 Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova/RUS (def. Sorribes Tormo/ESP
FIRST SEED OUT: #32 Jelena Ostapenko/LAT (lost 1st Rd. to Osaka/JPN)
UPSET QUEENS: The South Americans (players from three S.A. nations in 2nd Round)
REVELATION LADIES: The French (second most players in 2nd Rd.)
NATION OF POOR SOULS: Italy (remaining Quartet members Vinci, Errani & Schiavone 0-3; retired Pennetta last not in MD in 2002)
LAST QUALIFIER STANDING: C.Buyukakcay/TUR, V.Cepede Royg/PAR, L.Chirico/USA and V.Golubic/SUI (all 2nd Rd.)
LAST WILD CARD STANDING: M.Georges/FRA, V.Razzano/FRA, and T.Townsend/USA (all 2nd Rd.)
LAST PASTRY STANDING: A.Cornet, K.Mladenovic and P.Parmentier (all 3rd Rd.)
MADEMOISELLE/MADAM OPPORTUNITY: Kiki Bertens/NED and Shelby Rogers/USA (two of four unseeded quarterfinalists, most at RG since 1988)
IT "Turk": Cagla Buyukakcay/TUR (first Turk w/ GS match win)
COMEBACK PLAYERS: Ekaterna Makarova/Elena Vesnina, RUS/RUS)
CRASH & BURN: #3 Angelique Kerber/GER (1st Rd./Bertens - fifth AO champ out RG 1st Rd. in Open era)
ZOMBIE QUEEN: Tsvetana Pironkova/BUL (4th Rd. vs. Radwanska, down 6-2/3-0 and rain suspension, no play next day, then ten straight games on rainy 3rd in 2-6/6-3/6-3 win; 3-11 vs. A-Rad)
DOUBLES STARS: Caroline Garcia/Kristina Mladenovic (FRA/FRA)
KIMIKO DATE-KRUMM VETERAN CUP (KDK CUP): Martina Hingis/SUI and Samantha Stosur/AUS
JUNIOR BREAKOUT: Rebeka Masarova/SUI
Légion de Lenglen HONOREE: Alize Lim/FRA ("shorteralls" outfit)
Coupe LA PETIT TAUREAU: Yulia Putintseva/KAZ
Artist: Paul Thurlby (2013)
All for now. 2Q.1 Awards soon!