Sunday, July 10, 2016

W.14- Closing the AELTC Gates

And then there was the final day...

...after some other match was played on Centre Court earlier on Sunday, the Mixed Doubles final was contested to bring this Wimbledon to its official close. After a disappointing singles effort (a 1st Round loss after nearly upsetting Serena last year), Heather Watson ended her fortnight in London with a flourish, becoming the first British woman to win the title since Jo Durie in 1987.

The first and only break of the match came in game #7 of the 2nd set, and Watson & Henri Kontinen (the first Fin to win a slam title in the Open era) got it when Anna-Lena Groenefeld hit a DF on BP. After two more holds of serve, Kontinen served for the match. On MP, he followed up a wide serve by drifting to the net, where he put away the game-ending smash as the pair won 7-6(5)/6-4 over ALG & Robert Farah.

...earlier in the day, Usue Arconada & Claire Liu had become the first all-Bannerette duo to lift the Wimbledon girls doubles trophy (and simultaneously kiss the hardware, to the delight of the crowd) since Jennifer Capriati & Meredith McGrath in 1989.

The U.S. team were in control for most of the match vs. fellow Bannerette Caty McNally & Mariam Bolkvadze of Georgia, who both (especially McNally) pretty much wore their frustration and disheartened emotions on their sleeves all day. Arconada/Liu dropped the first two games of the match, but then swept six straight to take the 1st set and never really looked back, winning 6-2/6-3, though it took a little bit of work to finally serve out the final game.

The result put a nice capper on the week for the U.S. pair, who both also had nice singles runs to the QF (filling half the four-strong Bannerette contingent that reached the final eight). #9-seeded Arconada put up wins over Iga Swiatek of Poland (oh, to dream of an Aga vs. Iga slam 1st Rounder in a couple of years) and #6-seed Bianca Andreescu before losing to eventual champ Anastasia Potapova. The unseeded Liu knocked off #15-seeded Hordette Elena Rybakina (a winner of two Grade 1 events in '16) as well as #3 Amanda Anisimova (USA) before falling to finalist Dayana Yasremska. Qualifier Bolkvadze had reached the 3rd Round with wins over #12 Katie Swan (via the Brit's retirement) and India's Karman Thandi. McNally lost in three sets in the 1st Round to Crumpet Jodie Anna Burrage.

You never know how things will eventually play out for juniors in their pro careers, but at the very least one would think that, for one, Arconada will be a tour-level doubles champ (maybe of the highest order, as in slam-winning) down the line. With her volleying skills, the diminutive Buenos Aires-born 17-year old played the starring role in both the doubles semis and final. the women's Wheelchair Doubles, common foes met for a 13th time, and the 10th time in a slam final. #1 Yui Kamiji & Jordanne Whiley, seeking their third straight Wimbledon title, faced off with #1 Jiske Griffioen & Aniek Van Koot (fresh off of meeting in the singles final yesterday). Griffioen was playing in her sixteenth straight slam doubles final (6-9), fifteen (and ten straight) of them with Van Koot by her side. With both Griffioen and Kamiji having occasional different partners, the two women were meeting in their thirteenth straight slam final, with the Japanese woman coming in sporting an 8-4 record in those matches.

Combining Whiley's power and Kamiji's touch and variety, the best friends duo of the former WC #1 from Japan and the reigning U.S. Open singles champion Brit were a tough nut to crack, and the Dutch pair didn't have much luck at it. Kamiji/Whiley handled them while winning the 1st set 6-2. After falling down 0-2 in the 2nd they reeled off five straight points, winning 12 of 15 points, to reach 5-2 and serve for the title. Kamiji held serve and, on the final point, she provided the final four shots -- all taken out of the air, from the mid-court sideline to her final volley at the net -- to put away the duo's eighth slam title together, and extending their lead in the head-to-head to 8-5 (7-3 in slam finals).

Championssssssss!!!!!! #wimbledon2016 #3times ???????? it's a hat-trick!!!!!

A photo posted by Jordanne Whiley (@jordanne_joyce) on

For Kamiji, it's actually her ninth slam WD win (all in the last eleven slams), having also won this year in Melbourne with Marjolein Buis as Whiley played with upcoming Paralympic partner Lucy Shuker. In the past, there has been no U.S. Open WC competition in Paralympic years. At first, I thought that there may be this year, as it didn't appear as if the competition in Rio would overlap with Flushing Meadows as it has in past Olympic years. But it looks as if that actually isn't the case (the Rio WC tennis competition will be held Sept. 8-17, with the Open's second week taking place from Sept. 5-11), so Kamiji will have to wait until 2017 for a shot at another true Grand Slam season (she and Whiley pulled off the feat in 2014). But the WC equivalent of a "Golden Slam" (three majors + Paralympic Gold) IS still in play.

If Kamiji can will all four events, she'd become the first to ever do it. No, not even the great Esther Vergeer won a four-piece doubles "Golden Slam." She sort of did it in singles twice (taking the three-part sweep in '08 and '12, also winning the WC Masters event in the former year), but the closest she came in doubles was 2012, when she won the AO, RG and London Paralympics, but Griffioen/Van Koot won the Wimbledon crown after having defeated Vergeer & Majolein Buis in the semis. the Invitational doubles competition, wouldn't you know it, Martina Navratilova was a Wimbledon champion yet again. At age 59 (she turns 60 after this year's U.S. Open, which marks the ten-year anniversary of her final pro slam title in the Mixed Doubles in 2006, 32 years after she won her first slam crown in 1974). She and Selima Sfar won the final today over Lindsay Davenport & Mary Joe Fernandez after taking a 1st set TB 7-5, and then Davenport essentially forced MJF to retire in order to not hurt herself seriously. Fernandez had injured her left leg just prior to the TB, but eschewed any medical attention and went ahead and played the breaker. But she could barely move around the court, limping and hunched over in a way that often made her to resemble a 90-year old man. Well, not really... but if you squinted your eyes, maybe. Anyway, MJF and LD led early, but Fernandez's lack of mobility eventually led to the lead slipping away as Navratilova/Sfar couldn't help but hit her the ball. Although, the TB did feature MJF/LD winning the point of the match, which featured all four players getting back reflex volleys at the net and Sfar chasing down a wide shot before the U.S. pair won the point.

For Navratilova, if you count her regular wins during her career, has now won 23 overall Wimbledon titles (9 singles, 7 doubles, 4 mixed, 3 Invitational). The oldest to win the Invitational event, this is her third Invitational win, with the others coming in 2009 (w/ Helena Sukova) and '10 (w/ Jana Novotna). You know, before Martina Hingis came in and won three straight titles (2011-13 w/ Davenport) before heading back to the regular tour.

Go, Original Martina!

Here's a short clip from her first Wimbledon singles final victory in 1978. Which, by the way, was two years before Venus Williams... was BORN. Week 27 ITF action, there were two $100K challengers contested. Pastry Pauline Parmentier, having a very good season at age 30, won in Contrexeville, France over fellow Frenchwoman Oceane Dodin, 6-1/6-1. She has now won three $100K events (in nine finals) in her career, and this win helps massage her disappointing 2-9 mark in challenger singles finals since 2012 before this one. She put up additional wins over Fiona Ferro, Sherazad Reix, Maria Sakkari and Amandine Hesse.

In Budapest, Bulgarian Elitsa Kostova, 26, defeated countrywoman Viktoriya Tomova in the final. It's Kostova's biggest career title, as she improves to 5-16 in challenger finals. 21-year old Tomova has reached seven finals (4-3) on the ITF circuit in 2016. Kostova is currently set to play the final Q-round of the WTA Budapest event for this coming week, as is Tomova.

Meanwhile, 19-year old German Antonia Lottner won her sixth career ITF title with a win over Czech Tereza Smitkova in the $50K Versmold event, notching additional wins over Ipek Soylu and Sorana Cirstea along the way. Of note, Anna Karolina Schmiedlova played this event. She even got a match victory over Arantxa Rus. In the 2nd Round, she served up 6-1/5-4 vs. Serbia's Nina Stojanovic, coming within two points of her first back-to-back wins since last October. Sigh... but she ultimately lost in three sets. Now she heads to Bucharest as the #3 seed. The Slovak won the singles title there a year ago.

LIKE ON DAY 14: Serena getting real.

LIKE ON DAY 14: Oh, Venus. The latest example of the future Hall of Famer's by-now-legendary single-mindedness/in-her-own-worldness/what-were-you-doing-Venus?-ness (pick one), which pops up on occasion to give us a reason to think about her and shake our heads and smile about something that has nothing to do with tennis, per se.

BLISS ON DAY 14: Viewing all the Final Sunday matches on Watch ESPN and just taking an entire pass on the men's final.

I'm curious, do the finalists get paid less since it only went three sets? I mean, I thought I heard something about the length of matches being the sole decider when it comes to quality, worthiness and value in this sport.

So does that mean that Federer gets the biggest prize money check/cheque for this Wimbledon then? Hmmmm.

Hmmm... ON DAY 14: Yet another take on the whole numbers game...

NOTE ON DAY 14: But it's the WOMEN'S game that should step back, have a look at itself and worry about the future without its current aging top player(s)?

Still, congrats to Milos Raonic. If for nothing else, maybe not being Dimitrov, or Monfils, or Gasquet, or Berdych, or Querrey, or Nishikori, or Young, or Janowicz, or...

Of course, there's still time for that.

INTERESTING... ON DAY 14: Now Jim Courier and Lindsay Davenport have now BOTH managed to get overwhelming congratulations for their commentary work in the U.K. after, quite honestly, they have for years (in my opinion, at least) at times been either a condescending know-it-all (JC) or an overly biased and judgmental embarrassment (LD) for quite a long time while performing the exact same task on U.S. television coverage.

I'm not sure if that says more about the tennis coverage here, or there.


You're welcome... and enjoy. Or not.

HOPEFUL ON DAY 14: A message from Marion Bartoli, and a fashion preview.

Earlier this week, the former Wimbledon champ was removed from the Invitational doubles competition by tournament doctors, who feared for her health as it was revealed that she is fighting a mystery virus that she says is the cause of her dramatic recent weight loss. She reports that her body is rejecting most foods. “I fear for my life. I worry that one day my heart will stop,” the 2013 champ said. “This is not life. I am just surviving.”

She took to Facebook to thank fans for supporting her and expressing concern, and also gave everyone a sneak peek at some of her sketches for her next tennis fashion line.

DISLIKE ON DAY 14: After producing all those neat little GIFs all tournament, the Wimbledon Twitter account had nothing (even with her legs-flailing fall onto her back after a volley) representing Serena's MP in the final. I thought, well, maybe it'll be up TODAY. Ummm, nope.

NOTE ON DAY 14: I haven't talked much about the men's side of this tournament this year, and said nothing about the boy's. Until now, that is. Keep an eye on the OTHER Canadian in a singles final today, Wimbledon junior champ Denis Shapovalov. Tall and with big weapons to spare (though he still needs to find a way to harness them all a bit, with a hockey player's name and long blond hair that makes him look like a cross between a Viking and a secondary member of a boy band, from a marketing standpoint, Shapovalov might soon be the ATP version of "The Next Big Thing" in a few years. There really hasn't been a men's player with the combination of true marketing appeal (i.e. blond, teeney-bopper friendly, etc.) as well as with a game built for big things in North America since Andre Agassi. Maybe this kid could be the next one in a few years.

Shapovalov also played in the doubles final today with fellow Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime, but they lost, preventing the first sweep of the boys singles and doubles titles since 2003.

...and, finally...

15 Final: Anna Karolina Schmiedlova d. Sara Errani
15 Doubles Final: Kalashnikova/Schuurs d. Mitu/Tig
16 Singles Top Seeds: Halep/Errani

#1 Halep d. Sasnovich
#5 Niculescu d. Tig
#1 Halep d. #5 Niculescu

...when we last saw Halep, all seemed moving along fairly well. Her first post-SW19 test: winning in Romania.

New Event (last held in 1994
16 Singles Top Seeds: Bacsinszky/Jankovic

#1 Bacsinszky d. #3 Bertens
#4 Garcia d. #5 Beck
#4 Garcia d. #1 Bacsinszky

...ah, the long-delayed Part III of 2015's "Battle of Mexico" trilogy between Timea and Caro... in Switzerland. Maybe it'll confuse Bacsinszky, and Garcia will avoid going 0-3? Hey, why not?

Oh, and starting tomorrow, it's "La Petit Taureau Week!"

#1 Serena Williams/USA def. #4 Angelique Kerber/GER 7-5/6-4

Williams/Williams (USA/USA) def. #5 Babos/Shvedova (HUN/KAZ) 6-3/6-4

Watson/Kontinen (GBR/FIN) def. #15 Groenefeld/Farah (GER/COL) 7-6(5)/6-4

#4 Anastasia Potapova/RUS def. #7 Dayana Yastremska/UKR 6-4/6-3

#4 Arconada/Liu (USA/USA) def. Bolkvadze/McNally (GEO/USA) 6-2/6-3

#1 Jiske Griffioen/NED def. Aniek Van Koot/NED 4-6/6-0/6-4

#1 Kamiji/Whiley (JPN/GBR) def. #2 Griffioen/Van Koot (NED/NED) 6-2/6-2

Martina Navratilova/Selima Sfar (USA/TUN) def. Lindsay Davenport/Mary Joe Fernandez (USA/USA) 7-6(5) ret.

The world's worst boomerang #ballerina ???? #graceful

A video posted by Daria Gavrilova (@daria_gav) on

Another Sharapova album cover shot?


A photo posted by Maria Sharapova (@mariasharapova) on

2007 Jelena Jankovic & Jamie Murray, SRB/GBR
2008 Samantha Stosur & Bob Bryan, AUS/USA
2009 Anna-Lena Groenefeld & Mark Knowles, GER/BAH
2010 Cark Black & Leander Paes, ZIM/IND
2011 Iveta Benesova & Jurgen Melzer, CZE/AUT
2012 Lisa Raymond & Mike Bryan, USA/USA
2013 Kristina Mladenovic & Daniel Nestor, FRA/CAN
2014 Samantha Stosur & Nenad Zimonjic, AUS/SRB
2015 Martina Hingis & Leander Paes, SUI/IND
2016 Heather Watson & Henri Kontinen, GBR/FIN

2002 Elke Clijsters & Barbora Strycova, BEL/CZE
2003 Alisa Kleybanova & Sania Mirza, RUS/IND
2004 Victoria Azarenka & Olga Govortsova, BLR/BLR
2005 Victoria Azarenka & Agnes Szavay, BLR/HUN
2006 Alisa Kleybanova & Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, RUS/RUS
2007 Anastasia Pavlychenkova & Urszula Radwanska, RUS/POL
2008 Polona Hercog & Jessica Moore, SLO/AUS
2009 Noppawan Lertcheewakarn & Sally Peers, THA/AUS
2010 Timea Babos & Sloane Stephens, HUN/USA
2011 Genie Bouchard & Grace Min, CAN/USA
2012 Genie Bouchard & Taylor Townsend, CAN/USA
2013 Barbora Krejcikova & Katerina Siniakova, CZE/CZE
2014 Tami Grende & Ye Qui Yu, INA/CHN
2015 Dalma Galfi & Fanni Stollar, HUN/HUN
2016 Usue Arconada & Claire Liu, USA/USA

2006 Yan Zi & Zheng Jie, CHN/CHN
2007 Cara Black, ZIM
2008 Samantha Stosur, AUS
2009 Serena & Venus Williams, USA
2010 Vania King & Yaroslava Shvedova, USA/KAZ
2011 Kveta Peschke, CZE
2012 Lisa Raymond, USA
2013 Kristina Mladenovic, FRA
2014 Sara Errani & Roberta Vinci, ITA/ITA
2015 Sania Mirza, IND
2016 Heather Watson, GBR

2009 Korie Homan/Esther Vergeer, NED/NED
2010 Esther Vergeer/Sharon Walraven, NED/NED
2011 Esther Vergeer/Sharon Walraven, NED/NED
2012 Jiske Griffioen/Aniek Van Kook, NED/NED
2013 Jiske Griffioen/Aniek Van Koot, NED/NED
2014 Yui Kamiji/Jordanne Whiley, JPN/GBR
2015 Yui Kamiji/Jordanne Whiley, JPN/GBR
2016 Yui Kamiji/Jordanne Whiley, JPN/GBR

**WC SLAM TITLES - since 2013**
[doubles - duos]
8 - Kamiji/Whiley, JPN/GBR
6 - Griffioen/Van Koot, NED/NED (+1 pre-2013)
1 - Buis/Kamiji, NED/JPN
[doubles - individuals]
9 - Yui Kamiji, JPN
8 - Jordanne Whiley, GBR
6 - Jiske Griffioen, NED (+7 pre-2013)
6 - Aniek Van Koot, NED (+3 pre-2013)
1 - Marjolein Buis, NED (+1 pre-2013)

2004 Lindsay Davenport, USA
2005 Kim Clijsters, BEL *
2006 Ana Ivanovic, SRB
2007 Maria Sharapova, RUS
2008 Dinara Safina, RUS
2009 Elena Dementieva, RUS
2010 Caroline Wozniacki, DEN
2011 Serena Williams, USA
2012 Petra Kvitova, CZE
2013 Serena Williams, USA *
2014 Serena Williams, USA *
2015 Karolina Pliskova, CZE
* - also won U.S. Open title

TOP EARLY-ROUND (1r-2r): #5 Simona Halep/ROU
TOP MIDDLE-ROUND (3r-QF): #4 Angelique Kerber/GER
TOP LATE-ROUND (SF-F): #1 Serena Williams/USA
TOP QUALIFYING MATCH: Q3: #7 Tamira Paszek/AUT d. Andrea Hlavackova/CZE 6-3/5-7/10-9 ret. (Paszek MP in 2nd, ankle injury; Paszek up 5-3 3rd; Hlavackova ret. w/ cramps, collapses onto back after match)
TOP EARLY-RD. MATCH (1r-2r): 2nd Rd. #3 Aga Radwanska/POL d. Ana Konjuh/CRO 6-2/4-6/9-7 (3 MP, one on net cord; Konjuh rolled ankle stepping on ball)
TOP MIDDLE-RD. MATCH (3r-QF): 4th Rd. - #19 Dominika Cibulkova/SVK d. #3 Aga Radwanska/POL (6-3/5-7/9-7; 3:00; Radwanska MP, Cibulkova served for match three times, on MP #3)
TOP LATE-RD. MATCH (SF-F/Jr.): Girls Final [last game]: #4 Anastasia Pervushina/RUS d. #7 Dayana Zastremska/UKR - in final game of match, saves 2 BP and has 2 MP overturned via replay challenge, finally winning on 7th MP of game
FIRST WINNER: #29 Daria Kasatkina/RUS (def. Duval/USA in :51)
FIRST SEED OUT: #25 Irina-Camelia Begu/ROU (lost 1st Rd. to Witthoeft/GER)
NATION OF POOR SOULS: China (1-4 1st Rd.; only win by LL Duan Yingying)
LAST QUALIFIER STANDING: Jana Cepelova/SVK, Marina Erakovic/NZL, Julia Boserup/USA (all 3rd Rd.)
LAST WILD CARD STANDING: Tara Moore/GBR and Evgeniya Rodina/RUS (both 2nd Rd.)
LAST BRIT/CRUMPET STANDING: Johanna Konta/GBR and Tara Moore/GBR (both 2nd Rd.)
IT ("WC First"): Jiske Griffioen/NED
COMEBACK: Serena Williams & Venus Williams, USA/USA
CRASH & BURN: #2 Garbine Muguruza/ESP (reigning RG champ and '15 Wimbledon finalist; lost 1st Rd. in under an hour to qualifier Cepelova/SVK)
ZOMBIE QUEEN (TBD at QF): #19 Dominika Cibulkova/SVK & #3 Aga Radwanksa/POL (Cibulkova saved MP and won 9-7 3rd vs. Radwanska in 4th Rd.; Radwanska won 2nd Rd. vs. Konjuh, saving 3 MP, one on a net cord; Konjuh turned ankle stepping on a ball in game #15 of 3rd set, Radwanska won 9-7)
THE RADWANSKA DAY REMEMBRANCE AWARD (June 26 official/Day 3 observed): 74 s/d matches are scheduled: due to rain, 41 are cancelled, 15 suspended and 18 completed. Only 6 matches were both started and finished solely on Day 3, with 4 of those played under the Centre Court roof. But Aga Radwanska opens the Centre Court schedule and wins without incident, while her '16 RG conqueror Tsvetana Pironkova loses in previously unscheduled C.C. match.
DOUBLES STAR: Heather Watson/GBR
JUNIOR BREAKOUT: Dayana Yastremska/UKR

All for now. Grass Court Awards this week, and "La Petit Taureau Week" celebrations throughout.


Blogger colt13 said...

You left out Tsonga. How does he not have a slam?

Last Stat of the Day(for this tournament)-18- In honor of Raonic, the number of women from Canada that have reached a singles or doubles final in the Open Era.

Genie Bouchard
Carling Bassett*
Helen Kelesi*
Aleksandra Wozniak
Maureen Drake
Helene Pelletier
Patrica Hy-Boulais*
Renata Kolbovic
Rene Simpson*
Sonja Jeyaseelan*
Vanessa Webb
Stephanie Dubois
Sharon Fichman
Rebecca Marino
Gabriela Dabrowski
Vicky Berner*
Marjorie Blackwood*
Jill Hetherington*

The top 4 on the list are Canada's big 4, but I will spotlight a couple of the overlooked ones. And in one case way overlooked. I cheated with Hy-Boulais. She actually won her singles title for Hong Kong, but did win a doubles title for Canada, as well as representing then in the 1996 Olympics. Berner was the first to reach a final(doubles in 72). She spent most of her career as Fed Cup member in the 60's and 70's. Blackwood was a pretty good doubles player in the early 80's, winning a title in 82.

By the way, I don't consider Drake one of the big 4, as her highest ranking was 47.

So that gets us to Jill Hetherington, who ranked in the Top 20 in doubles 4 times(88-89,91-92). She not only won her only singles title in 88, but in 88-89 reached 13 doubles finals,including the 88 USO and 89 AO, winning 8, playing primarily with Patty Fendick(who also won a Junior Wimbledon title with Hy-Boulais).

Dabrowski has taken over the doubles mantle, having won 3 titles, one as recently as last month, and has a current ranking of 44.

Players with asteriks are members of Tennis Canada's Hall of Fame.

Sun Jul 10, 06:03:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Todd.Spiker said...

Yep, there's another one. I initially wasn't going to use him because he's actually older than Djokovic, Nadal and Murray, but then I added Berdych and Gasquet (who somehow feel like even bigger disappointments) who are essentially the same age. I guess he goes in the endless list of "and..." players over the last 10-13 years who've put up so little resistance and allowed 3-4 players to run roughshod over them for for their entire careers.

But, hey, it's the "Golden Age" of men's tennis, don't you know. Or so I hear.

Sun Jul 10, 09:29:00 PM EDT  

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