Sunday, August 07, 2016

Wk.31- Ring Around the Rio

Hey, there's a tennis player in my nature photo...



You know, sort of like how there's a Week 32 Olympics competition in my WTA Week 31, complete with an haboob all its own.



But we soldier on, trying to co-exist while also leaving room for Rio to have its own wrap-up about this time next week.

So...



*WEEK 31 CHAMPIONS*
FLORIANOPOLIS, BRAZIL (Int'l/Hard)
S: Irina-Camelia Begu/ROU def. Timea Babos/HUN 2-6/6-4/6-3
D: Lyudmyla Kichenok/Nadiia Kichenok (UKR/UKR) d. Timea Babos/Reka-Luca Jani (HUN/HUN) 6-3/6-1

NANCHANG, CHINA (Int'l/Hard)
S: Duan Yingying/CHN def. Vania King/USA 1-6/6-4/6-2
D: Liang Chen/Lu Jingjing (CHN/CHN) d. Shuko Aoyamo/Makota Ninomiya (JPN/JPN) 3-6/7-6(2) [13-11]




PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Irina-Camelia Begu/ROU
...the Romanian summer continues. A week after Simona Halep found her way into the winner's circle in Montreal, Begu stopped off in Florianoplis before heading off to Rio and picked up career title #3. The 25-year old, who put together such a great spring run on clay (QF in Charleston and Madrid, a SF in Rome and Round of 16 in Paris), didn't have much success on the grass, going 1-3. But the hard court summer has given her new life once again. The Swarmette suffered through a four-match losing streak on hard courts earlier this season, but put up a season-igniting 4th Round result on the surface in Miami, and she picked up right where she'd left off on the surface last week in Brazil. Wins over Laura Pigossi, Montserrat Gonzalez, Nao Hibino and Monica Puig advanced her into her sixth career tour final, where she came back from a set down to defeat Timea Babos in three. It's Begu's first title since winning in Seoul last September. In the new rankings, she'll match the career-high standing of #25 she attained last October.

Begu will have a little extra time to celebrate her win, I guess, as on Sunday she dropped her opening match in Rio to Hibino, just days after having beaten her in the QF en route to her singles title.
===============================================
RISERS: Timea Babos/HUN and Duan Yingying/CHN
...in Florianopolis, Babos reached the finals of both the singles and doubles, but left title-empty at the end of the weekend. The Hungarian's third career singles final (her only title came in 2012) came after wins over Nadia Podoroska, Alize Lim, Jelena Ostapenko and Ana Bogdan. She let loose a set lead in the final match vs. Irina-Camelia Begu. In doubles, she reached the final with countrywoman Reka-Luca Jani (her first tour-level final... Reka-Luca Jani! Reka-Luca Jani! Reka-Luca Jani!) without losing a set, but then fell in straights to the Kichenok twins. Babos is 0-3 in 2016 doubles finals, having lost two other season finals with Yaroslava Shvedova, including the Wimbledon final to the Williams Sisters.



In Rio, Babos met up with the force known colloquially as "Good Petra," losing in the 1st Round by a 6-1/6-2 score. We'll soon see if she's the only one with the misfortune to come across such a creature in Rio.

In Nanchang, 27-year old Duan became this season's sixth maiden singles champion, and the fourth on tour this summer since the conclusion of Wimbledon. Wins over Marina Melnikova, Han Xinyun, Kurumi Nara and Misa Eguchi put Duan in her first career final, making her the first Chinese woman to play for a WTA singles title since Zheng Jie at Rosmalan two years ago. Her come-from-behind win over Vania King crowned her the first Chinese singles champ on tour since Li Na took the Australian Open title in January 2014. It's a big "next step" for the rangy Duan, whose big-serving game had already flashed potential on the big stage of the AELTC. In 2015, she upset Genie Bouchard at SW19 in the 1st Round, and this summer she did the same thing there to Kristyna Pliskova. At #163, she's the lowest-ranked tour-level champion of the season, and the third-lowest since 2012. Duan will rise to around #105 in the new rankings, just a shade off her career-best of #100.


===============================================
SURPRISES: Lyudmyla Kichenok/UKR and Ana Bogdan/ROU
...what began as a disappointing week for the Ukrainian turned into one of the best of her career. 24-year old Lyudmyla (world #363) lost in the final round of Florianopolis qualifying to her twin sister Nadiia, but she got into the main draw as a lucky loser. Her opponent was crowd favorite and defending champ Teliana Pereira, who she dispatched in straight sets before also knocking off Tereza Martincova to reach her first career tour-level singles quarterfinal. Later, she and Nadiia also picked up a doubles title (see below).



The player who ended Kichenok's singles run was #127 Bogdan, yet another Romanian putting her name in the headlines this summer. The 23-year old wild card's biggest victory in Brazil came at the expense of top-seeded Jelena Jankovic, as Bogdan eventually found her way into the first tour-level semifinal of her career. She'll be at a new career-high of #111 on Monday. Meanwhile, JJ pulled out of the Olympic singles with a shoulder injury.
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VETERANS: Kirsten Flipkens/BEL and Caitlin Whoriskey/USA
...four years ago, Flipkens missed out on playing in the London Olympics after life-threatening blood clots were discovered in her calf during the spring. During her two months of inactivity, her ranking fell outside the Top 250 and she lost her funding from the Flemish Tennis Association. That was surely the Belgian's low point, but the former Wimbledon junior champ (2003), who couldn't help but play in the long shadow of the likes of Henin and Clijsters for most of her career, has been battling her way back for seemingly her entire existence on tour. Back and wrist injuries have plagued her over the years, but she's always found a way to flip the script back in her favor. So it should have come as no surprise that back in '12 she went from being essentially abandoned in the spring to winning the first title of her WTA career (Quebec City) by the end of the summer, finishing the season at #54. A year later, she reached the Wimbledon semifinals and climbed as high as #13 in the rankings. Last season, a cyst in her wrist caused her to miss still more time and dropped her outside the Top 100 again, once more threatening her Olympic dream. She finished '15 at #93.

Flipkens opened '16 by qualifying in Auckland and reaching the QF. In February, she played in the Monterrey final, her first on tour in nearly three years. But the wrist was bothering her once again this spring, when she had just a single win during the clay season, and lost 1 & love to Alize Cornet in the 1st Round of Roland Garros. But this is Flipkens we're talking about... you know what comes next. An upset of RG champ Garbine Muguruza on the grass in Mallorca set her summer on a better course, as did her pushing of Madison Keys to three sets in the 2nd Round at Wimbledon. Then, Saturday happened.



On Day 1 in Rio, the 30-year old Waffle finally made her Olympic debut on Centre Court vs. Venus Williams. Characteristically, the Flipkens fight came with her. And, in 3:13, Flipkens pulled off the biggest win of her career, as she (naturally) staged a comeback from a set down, survived Venus serving for the match at 5-3 in the 3rd (getting within two points of victory), didn't collapse after being broken at love when serving for the match herself at 6-5, nor when she lost a 4-1 lead in the 3rd set TB and found Williams once again two points from the win at 5-5. Flipkens may have been given up on in the past, but she never gives up on herself. She won 4-6/6-3/7-6(5) and the Rio Olympics had produced its first genuine tennis moment for the ages. Several of them, in fact, as Flipkens collapsed onto her back on the Olympic rings painted on the court, then went back to kiss them a few moments later.




Meanwhile, in Fort Worth, Texas, 28-year old Bannerette Whoriskey won her second career ITF challenger title -- her first since 2014 -- with a week that included upset victories over #1-seeded Elise Mertens, former UCLA star Chanelle Van Nguyen and Brit Tara Moore in a 6-4/6-3 final. Although, I guess it should be noted that Moore celebrated her 24th birthday the night before that match. Maybe a little TOO much? At any rate, she won just six points in the 1st set, two on serve, and threw in twelve DF on the day. I'm just sayin'.


===============================================

COMEBACK: Vania King/USA
...King's comeback continued in Nanchang, but not quite enough to win her first tour singles title since 2006 (or get me what would have been a much-appreciated Backspin Picks checkmark in the "W" category, as for the eighth time this season my champion pick ultimately reached, but lost, the final... if anyone is counting, I mean, which I guess I just did). Victories over Storm Sanders (seriously, I've always admired that name -- she sounds like a member of the Fantastic Four or The Avengers or something), Zhang Ying, Zhang Kailin and Risa Ozaki without dropping a set to reach her first final since 2013. After winning the 1st set over Duan Yingying and taking a break lead early in the 2nd, King fell in a 6-2 3rd set to the maiden tour title winner. The key reason for her defeat? Her inability to take full advantage of a boat-load of BP chances vs. the Davenport-like big hitter from China. #106 King will rise to #90 in the new rankings, but she would have been back in the Top 80 with the win, as well as become the player with the third-longest gap between tour titles (nearly 9 years, 10 months - Bangkok '06 at age 17) behind only Mirjana Lucic-Baroni (16 years) and Kimiko Date-Krumm (13).

Hmmm, did someone mention KDK?


===============================================
FRESH FACES: Tamara Korpatsch/GER and Natalia Vikhlyantseva/RUS
...the 21-year old German was back for another big week, winning her third consecutive challenger title in the $25K in Bad Saulgau, Germany. Wins over Julia Grabher, #6 seed Ipek Soylu, #3 Viktoriya Tomova and #5 Dalila Jakupovic before defeating Italian Jasmine Paolini in a 6-2/6-3 final. With this win, Korpatsch's winning streak has reached eighteen matches.


She'll now reach a new career-high ranking, as she did after her two previous title runs, jumping from #211 into the Top 175. Korpatsch was ranked outside the Top 300 at the end of June.

In Plzen, Czech Republic, 19-year old Natalia Vikhlyantseva defeated fellow Russian teen Anna Kalinskaya 6-1/6-3 in the final to claim her first career pro singles title. The Hordette, who got additional wins last week over veteran Alberta Brianti and Tereza Smitkova, earlier this season made her way through Rosmalen qualifying on the grass in the Netherlands, defeating Denisa Allertova in the MD and then pushing Kristina Mladenovic to three sets. Vikhlyantseva came into last week at #236, and will reach a new high of approximately #213 in the new rankings.

Won my first 25k title in singles ??????

A photo posted by Natalia Vikhlyantseva (@nataliavikhlyantseva) on


===============================================
DOWN: Teliana Pereira/BRA, Aga Radwanska/POL and Caroline Garcia/Kristina Mladenovic (FRA)
...whew! Where do we even begin?

While veterans such as Jelena Jankovic and Daniela Hantuchova surely earned a possible place here, I'll be kind and leave them for later. The same can't be said of Pereira. Last season, heading into a '16 campaign in which her nation would host the Olympics, she gave women's tennis the sort of shot in the arm it hadn't really come close to experiencing since the Maria Bueno era. Pereira became the first WTA singles champion from Brazil in twenty-seven years, winning two titles, including on home soil in Florianopolis, and finishing in the Top 50. Things haven't gone so well in 2016. She didn't get a win in a WTA event until March, fell in the 1st Round in Bogota in her first title defense attempt and went into last week ranked #135. In her second title defense try, in Florianopolis, Pereira fell again in the 1st Round, in straight sets to lucky loser Lyudmyla Kichenok. At 4-17 in tour-level events this season, she's set to drop a few more spots (#139) in the next rankings. Oops, make that 4-18, as she also lost Sunday to Caroline Garcia in the 1st Round in Rio, as well. Sigh.

Meanwhile, on Saturday, it didn't take long for Rio to begin to discard Olympians in brutal fashion. On Day 1 alone, three Top 6 singles seeds fell, including Venus Williams and Roberta Vinci (to AKS!). But I'll focus on Aga Radwanska, who essentially had to go on a unscheduled "world tour" in order to make her way by air from Montreal to Rio earlier in the week. Once she got to Brazil, her practice time was limited, and the slow court didn't particularly meet her fancy. But all that had nothing on what happened on the court, as she was shipped out by Zheng Saisai 6-4/7-5 in a match that saw her commit an uncharacteristic 24 unforced errors, while Zheng out-hit her 37-21 in winners. She even went so far as to crush a racket at one point, as she added another early Olympic exit to her previous 2nd and 1st Round exits at the last two games.



Thankfully, at least she managed to pull off the handshake at the net without any international incidents taking place. The same might not be said for Garcia & Mladenovic, though at least the "international" part of the equation is more about the setting than the incident, as most of the post-match howling is "in-house."



The #2-seeded Pastries were lucky to avoid disqualification when they arrived on court for their 1st Round match vs. the Japanese duo of Misaki Doi & Eri Hozumi. Apparently, there was a clothing rule that prevented the pair from wearing different color outfits, something which the French tennis federation (FFT) failed to inform the players about. Luckily, the DQ was avoided since Mladenovic had an extra outfit to lend Garcia, whose outfit was the (truly, stupidly) "offending" issue, but Garcia had to wear it inside out over her regular dress to cover up a sponsor's logo, etc. Basically, it was all a mess. And the (easily?) distracted French duo then went out and dropped the 1st set at love, winning just seven total points. They rebounded to take the 2nd (at love... welcome to Li Na's "crazy" tour), but lost the 3rd by a 6-4 score to fall to 4-3 as a pair (never advancing past a QF) since winning the Roland Garros crown. But that wasn't the end of the matter. Afterward, Mladenovic publicly blasted the FFT regarding the oversight, blaming the French organization's "incompetence" for the stress that caused the duo's loss.

Garcia was upset, as well, but was a bit more diplomatic about the whole thing, at least.



Of course, maybe the bigger question here SHOULD be why the doubles duos HAVE to wear the same colors in the first place.
===============================================
ITF PLAYERS: Jennifer Brady/USA and Jaqueline Cristian/ROU
...in the biggest challenger of the week, the $50K in Granby, Quebec, UCLA's Brady claimed her second high-level challenger title (w/ $75K she won in Indian Harbour Beach in May) of the season with a 7-5/6-2 win in the final over Olga Govortsova. The 21-year old's week also included wins over Greet Minnen and veteran Aleksandra Wozniak. Having come in at #147, Brady will come close (if not set) her new career-best ranking, a #133-standing in July.



Of note, it was a great comeback week for Govortsova, as the Belarusian had been just 3-15 this season before winning five matches in Granby, including a string of twelve straight losses from February to June. She mowed through a series of Canadians (Robillard-Millette, Zhao and Abanda), as well as Melanie Oudin, en route to the singles final. The 27-year was the also the runner-up in doubles, with Julia Glushko.

In Targu Jiu, Romania, the Swarmette summer invasion continued with 18-year old Cristian (#421) improving to 6-0 in career ITF finals. The #2 seed in the challenger, Cristian knocked off the #4 and #6 seeds en route to the $10K final, where she took down #5 Anastasia Vdovenco 7-5/6-3. The Romanian won the doubles title, as well, to improve her combined s/d record since the start of June to 30-3, a period in which she's won five singles titles to move within one of the season circuit lead (Isabella Shinikova, with six).

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JUNIOR STAR: Eva Guerrero/ESP
...the 16-year old Spaniard, currently the #27-ranked junior, grabbed her second ITF challenger crown in two weeks on Saturday. A week after winning a $10K in Knokke, Belgium, Guerrero won another in Valledolid, Spain. Her victory in the final over Italian Giulia Gatto-Monticone gives her eleven straight wins, and an overall 18-2 record on the ITF circuit in 2016. Guerrero was the champion of a Grade 1 junior event in Santa Croce as recently as May.

So happy to have won another 10k here in Valladolid ???? Ahora vacacioneeess

A photo posted by Eva Guerrero (@_evaguerrero) on


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DOUBLES: Lyudmyla Kichenok/Nadiia Kichenok (UKR/UKR) & Liang Chen/Lu Jingjing (CHN/CHN)
...the Ukrainian twins took the Florianopolis title, the second of their careers after winning in Shenzhen last season, without dropping a set. A 6-3/6-1 win over Babos/Jani came in the sisters' fourth WTA final together. 21-19 in ITF finals, they're the fifth all-sibling pair to win multiple doubles titles on the WTA tour.

The sisters' roll didn't continue in Rio, as they lost 6-0/6-3 on Sunday to Xu Yifan & Zheng Saisai.

In Nanchang, Liang & Lu completed the Chinese sweep of the event titles, taking out the Japanese pair of Shuko Aoyama & Makota Ninomiya in the final. It's 27-year old Liang's fifth career tour-level doubles crown, her first since taking the Elite Trophy title in Zhuhai last November with Wang Yafan (they followed up with a WTA 125 win in Thailand a week later). Liang was 0-2 in '16 WTA finals before this weekend, losing in Kuala Lumpur with Wang, as well as Strasbourg while partnering Maria Irigoyen. Lu, 27, picked up her maiden WTA title (she's won twelve ITF events) in the same week in which she made it through singles qualifying and lost in the 1st Round to Zhu Lin.

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SOME Russians are in Rio. (Psst, the best part of the video is Czarina Myskina's cameo.)




Simona won Shot of the Month. Still all-in.





1. Nanchang Final - Duan d. King
...1-6/6-4/6-2.
King led 6-1/2-0, but Duan broke back in game #3, saved six BP in her next three serve games and carried over the momentum all the way to the finish.


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2. Florianopolis Final - Begu d. Babos
...2-6/6-4/6-3.
The Romanian comes back from a break down in the 3rd to further solidify her affinity for Brazil. "This country is really special for me," she said. "In 2014, I was around #130, #140, I don't really remember, and I started with the small tournaments, then Florianopolis and Rio. Being here for five weeks I got to see that the people are really nice, the food is great, too. I was also doing well, winning some of the tournaments, the $25K's, so it was a nice comeback for me. If I have the chance I will come back again!"

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3. Florianopolis 2nd Rd. - A.Bogdan d. Jankovic
...6-2/7-5.
JJ. That outfit. What were you thinking?


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4. Florianopolis SF - Begu d. Puig
...6-3/6-3.
Puig is 1-3 in 2016 semifinals, but at least she got to Rio with extra time to spare.


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5. Florianopolis 1st Rd. - Savchuk d. Haddad
...5-7/7-5/6-0.
Pereira lost in the 1st Round, while Haddad led 7-5/5-4, then dropped the last nine games. Ummm, her mind was elsewhere?
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6. Rio Olympics 1st Rd. - Suarez-Navarro d. Ivanovic
...2-6/6-1/6-2.
I'd say I was shocked that AnaIvo won the 1st set, but ultimately lost the match. Except that, you know, I'm not surprised. At all.
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7. Rio Olympics 1st Rd. - Kasatkina d. Jabeur
...3-6/7-6(4)/6-1.
When the Russian teenager was down 6-3/3-1, I thought I'd gone and Kuznetsova Cursed Dasha by picking her to win a Bronze. But then she broke the Tunisian and led 4-3, only to give the break back and see Jabeur serve for the match at 5-4. But Kasatkina got the break, and it was time to start to breathe again. She went up 6-0 in the 2nd set TB, winning it 7-4 after a brief "alert," then pulled away quickly in the 3rd.


But love the Dashas...


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8. Rio Olympics 1st Rd. - Zhang Sh. d. Bacsinszky
...6-7(4)/6-4/7-6(7).
Timea's Olympic experience has been a bit incomplete so far. She missed the opening ceremonies because she had an early match scheduled the next day, then once that began she struggled mightily with AO superhero Zhang Shuai, falling behind 4-2 in the 3rd but fighting back to hold -- and fail to convert -- three MP opportunities, the last up 6-5 in the deciding TB. Zheng ultimately won 9-7 on her own second MP when the Swiss flared a backhand wide to become the first (but hardy the only) seed ousted on Day 1.



At least Timea won her opening round WD match with Martina Hingis to avoid a TOTALLY disasterous 24-hour period.
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9. Rio Olympics 1st Rd. - Doi/Hozumi d. Garcia/Mladenovic
...6-0/0-6/6-4.
Considering their recent form (and the less-intimate setting than the wrapped-in-the-French-tricolor-with-Amelie-a-few-feet-away feeling that goes on during Fed Cup), I wasn't really expecting much from the Pastries at these games. But who could have foreseen (well, maybe the FFT might have) the calamity over the duos' outfits, the poor reaction Caro & Kiki would have to the stressful moment after the issue was "settled" and then their inability to close out the match in the 3rd after making up for having lost the opening set at love? Either way, it was an ugly situation from start to, literally, finish (and beyond, thanks to the she-only-burns-white-hot-when-she's-upset reaction by Mladenovic).


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10. Rio 1st Rd. - Bouchard d. Stephens
...6-3/6-3.
All things being the way they should be, these two should not even be meeting in a 1st Round match. Of course, based on Genie's recent inability to back up good results, she'd be expected to lose her next match. Her opponent is Kerber, so the chances would seem good for the tradition to continue.
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11. $10K Tarvisio Final - Manca Pislak d. Federica Bilardo
...6-1/6-0.
The 18-year old from Slovenia takes home her first pro title.
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12. Rio Olympics 1st Rd. - Makarova d. Buyukakcay
...3-6/6-0/7-6(6).
Buykakcay's ride has been a wild and rewarding one in 2016. It ALMOST added yet another successful chapter on Sunday, as she nearly took out Makarova, failing to convert a MP up 6-5 in the TB. The Russian rebounded to take the final three points to get the win.
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HM- $25K Fort Worth QF - Chanelle Van Nguyen d. Chanel Simmonds
...6-1/6-4.
You find connections where you can, I suppose.


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[Strycova Break!]

Getting ready for Rio!! #dream #exited #crazy #kdyznemuzespridej #backpacking #keeptraveling ??????

A video posted by Barbora Strycova?? (@barborastrycova) on




Meanwhile, the act now known as "pulling a Broady?"








1. Rio Olympics 1st Rd. - Flipkens d. VENUS WILLIAMS
...4-6/6-3/7-6(5).
Venus, fighting an undisclosed virus that led to her spending quite a bit of time off court between the 2nd and 3rd sets, still managed to have the chance to serve for the match at 5-3 in the final set. She also broke Flipkens at love when the Belgian was serving for the match at 6-5. But, in the TB, it was Flipkens who grabbed the early lead, going up 4-1 before Williams battled back to 5-5. But Flipkens swept the final two points, as the match ended with a Venus forehand error on MP.



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2. Rio Olympics 1st Rd. - SERENA WILLIAMS d. Gavrilova
...6-4/6-2.
Yeah, we sort of knew Dasha drew the short straw in this draw, didn't we? Speaking of length, Serena is really rockin' the hair at these Olympics. Is it just me or is this maybe the best of her many, many looks over the years? (It's very Venus-esque, dare I say.).


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3. Rio Olympics 1st Rd. - Safarova/Strycova d. SERENA WILLIAMS/VENUS WILLIAMS
...6-3/6-4.
It wasn't known just what Venus had left after her 1st Round loss and lingering illness, while Serena was throwing in a doubles match after her 1st Round win earlier in the day. Coming in with a 15-0 Olympic record and seeking a fourth Gold medal, they seemed an easy medal pick even with a challenging draw. But the Sisters fell down a set and a break to the Czechs at 6-3/1-0, got back to even, gave the break back and then failed to convert on multiple chances to go up 5-3 in the 2nd set. The Maidens held for 4-4, as they focused their efforts on Venus' side of the court as the night went on. It was Venus' serve that was broken for 5-4, and the Czechs pulled their Fed Cup card and served out a deciding game to get, maybe, THE biggest tennis upset at these games, even with the history of doubles success under the belts of both Safarova and Strycova. So, one round in, BOTH the top two seeds are gone. Some team is about to experience a wild ride to the Gold.



I guess we'll see if, health improving, this changes Venus' plans whether or not to play Mixed Doubles this week. And, well, you know...


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4. Rio Olympics 1st Rd. - Zheng Sai. d. AGA RADWANSKA
...6-4/7-5
The slow court bedeviled the Pole, but she still had a shot to get back into this match. Zheng served for the win at 5-4 in the 2nd, but Radwanska broke to level things in game #10. But she gave the break back a game later, and then the Chinese woman held and won on her second MP with... wait for it... a drop shot. Oh, the irony.


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5. Rio Olympics 1st Rd. - ANNA KAROLINA SCHMIEDLOVA d. Vinci
...7-5/6-4.
Oh, my. AKS won. In straight sets. Moving on... nothing to see here... don't make any sudden movements... you might spook the wild life.
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6. Florianopolis Q2 - NADIIA KICHENOK d. LYUDMYLA KICHENOK 6-3/6-2
Florianopolis 1st Rd. - LYUDMYLA KICHENOK (LL) d. Pereira 6-3/6-2
Florianopolis Final - LYUDMYLA KICHENOK/NADIIA KICHENOK d. Babos/Jani 6-3/6-1
Rio Olympics 1st Rd. - Xu Yi./Zheng Sai. d. LYUDMYLA KICHENOK/NADIIA KICHENOK 6-0/6-3
...
little did the twins know what the week had in store for them.
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7. Nanchang 1st Rd. - LU JIAJING d. Hantuchova
...5-7/6-4/7-5.
Hantuchova was up love/40 on Lu's serve to go up 4-2 in the 3rd, but the #271-ranked wild card, despite thirteen DF, notched her first career MD tour win in 2:47 over the former Top 5-ranked Slovak. Hantuchova, 1-9 in MD tour matches on the season, will fall to #257 in the new rankings. Oh, my.



Why she's never transitioned into playing doubles, I have no idea. Remember, it was Hantuchova who lured Hingis out of retirement to play doubles a few years ago. They didn't really click as a duo, but Hantuchova completed a Career Mixed Slam all the way back in 2005 when she was just 22, so she has SOME doubles skills. And age 33, she could still have another career chapter if she'd choose to go that route.
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8. $10K Tarvisio 1st Rd. - ALONA BONDARENKO d. Vogelsang
...2-6/7-6(4)/6-0.
Kateryna's sister, who never "officially" retired, finally returned to the court and notched her first victory in five years. She ranked as high as #19 in 2008. She hadn't played since the Kremlin Cup in 2011.


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Weekend memories ??

A photo posted by Victoria Azarenka (@vichka35) on






#exploring

A photo posted by Victoria Azarenka (@vichka35) on















#OpeningCeremony ? unreal #Rio2016 #oneteam

A video posted by Daria Gavrilova (@daria_gav) on




Look at Sam's hair!








Maria in a capture from an old movie? You know, Hitchcock usually cast blond leading ladies...

Food prowl

A photo posted by Maria Sharapova (@mariasharapova) on






**ALL-SISTERS DOUBLES DUOS w/ MULTIPLE WTA TITLES**
22 - Serena & Venus Williams, USA
7 - Chan Hao-Ching & Yung-Jan, TPE
3 - Karolina & Kristyna Pliskova, CZE
3 - Alona & Kateryna Bondarenko, UKR
2 - LYUDMULA & NADIIA KICHENOK, UKR

**2016 DOULBES TITLE RUNS WITHOUT LOSING A SET**
Kaohsiung - Chan/Chan, TPE/TPE
Acapulco - Medina-Garrigues/Parra-Santonja, ESP/ESP
Madrid - Garcia/Mladenovic, FRA/FRA
Strasbourg - Medina-Garrigues/Parra-Santonja, ESP/ESP
Mallorca - Dabrowski/Martinez-Sanchez, CAN/ESP
Montreal - Makarova/Vesnina, RUS/RUS
Florianopolis - KICHENOK/KICHENOK, UKR/UKR

**LOW-RANKED...**
[2016 finalists]
#186 Marina Erakovic, NZL (Rabat)
#170 Silvia Soler-Espinosa, ESP (Bogota)
#163 DUAN YINGYING, CHN (NANCHANG- W)
#132 Francesca Schiavone, ITA (Rio WTA - W)
#131 Shelby Rogers, USA (Rio WTA)
#122 Lauren Davis, USA (Washington)
#118 Cagla Buyukakcay, TUR (Istanbul - W)
#106 VANIA KING, USA (NANCHANG)
#105 Viktoriya Golubic, SUI (Gstaad - W)
[champions since 2012]
#208 - Melanie Oudin, USA (2012 Birmingham)
#174 - Lara Arruabarrena, ESP (2012 Bogota)
#163 - DUAN YINGYING, CHN (NANCHANG)
#149 - Kiki Bertens, NED (2012 Fes)
#132 - Francesca Schiavone, ITA (2016 Rio WTA)
#130 - Teliana Pereira, BRA (2015 Bogota)
#127 - Karolina Pliskova, CZE (2013 Kuala Lumpur)
#124 - Hsieh Su-Wei, TPE (2012 Kuala Lumpur)

**2016 FIRST-TIME WTA FINALISTS*
Bogota - Irina Falconi, USA (W)
Stuttgart - Laura Siegemund, GER
Istanbul - Cagla Buyukakcay, TUR (W)
Gstaad - Viktoriya Golubic, SUI (W)
Stanford - Johanna Konta, GBR (W)
Washington - Lauren Davis, USA
Bastad - Katerina Siniakova, CZE
Nanchang - DUAN YINGYING, CHN (W)

**2016 FINALISTS - U.S.**
5...Serena Williams (2-3)
3...Sloane Stephens (3-0)
3...Madison Keys (1-2)
2...Venus Williams (1-1)
2...Alison Riske (0-2)
1...Irina Falconi (1-0)
1...CoCo Vandeweghe (1-0)
1...Lauren Davis (0-1)
1...VANIA KING (0-1)
1...Shelby Rogers (0-1)

**2016 SINGLES/DOUBLES FINALS IN SAME EVENT**
Brisbane - Angelique Kerber, GER (0-2)
Doha - Carla Suarez-Navarro, ESP (won WS)
Istanbul - Danka Kovinic, MNE (0-2)
Nurnberg - Kiki Bertens, NED (2-0)
Birmingham - Barbora Strycova, CZE (won WD)
Wimbledon - Serena Williams, USA (2-0)
Washington DC - Yanina Wickmayer, BEL (2-0)
Montreal - Simona Halep, ROU (won WS)
Florianopolis - TIMEA BABOS, HUN (0-2)

**2016 BEST LUCKY LOSER RESULTS**
SF - Virginie Razzano, FRA (Strasbourg)
QF - Tamira Paszek, AUT (Nottingham)
QF - LYUDMYLA KICHENOK, UKR (FLORIANOPOLIS)
3rd Rd - Varvara Lepchenko, USA (MontreaL)

**2016 DEFENDING CHAMPIONS w/ 1st ROUND LOSSES**
Auckland - Venus Williams (lost to Kasatkina)
Katowice - Anna Karolina Schmiedlova (lost to Parmentier)
Bogota - Teliana Pereira, FRA (lost to Pella)
Istanbul - Lesia Tsurenko (lost to Cirstea)
Bucharest - Anna Karolina Schmiedlova (lost to Sasnovich)
Washington - Sloane Stephens (lost to Ozaki)
Florianapolis - TELIANA PEREIRA (lost to L.Kichenok)

**2016 WTA EVENTS w/ MULTIPLE #100+ SEMIFINALISTS**
4/4 - Rio (WTA)
4/4 - NANCHANG
3/4 - Istanbul
2/4 - Bogota
2/4 - Gstaad
2/4 - Washington

**CAREER WTA TITLE - active Romanians**
14...Simona Halep
3...IRINA-CAMELIA BEGU
2...Alexandra Dulgheru
2...Monica Niculescu
1...Sorana Cirstea

**2016 FIRST-TIME WTA DOUBLES CHAMPIONS**
Veronica Cepede Royg, PAR
Han Xinyun, CHN
Eri Hozumi, JPN
Miyu Kato, JPN
Xenia Knoll, SUI
LU JINGJING, CHN
Christina McHale, USA
Elise Mertens, BEL
Andreea Mitu, ROU
Jessica Moore, AUS
Ipek Soylu, TUR
CoCo Vandeweghe, USA
Varatchaya Wongteanchai, THA
Yang Zhaoxuan, CHN

**2016 ITF TITLES**
6...Isabella Shinikova, BUL
5...JAQUELINE CRISTIAN, ROU
4...Marie Bouzkova, CZE
4...Susanne Celik, SWE
4...TAMARA KORPATSCH, GER
4...Angelica Moratelli, ITA
4...Viktoriya Tomova, BUL


Elsewhere, the future (or is it the recent past?) finally arrived at Flushing Meadows.



And last year's Serena Williams U.S. Open 1st Round victim had a big day. (Someone should wear a dress something like this one on court... your move, Vee.)




Speaking of Serena. Now that she only has one thing to focus on this week...

Look who I met at the opening ceremony! ???? Hi @serenawilliams! Good to see you ?? #olympia2016 #rio

A photo posted by Angelique Kerber (@angie.kerber) on



Serena: "Until we meet again?"
Angie: "How about in about a week?"
Serena: "Sounds good to me."
Angie: "See ya."


All for now.

9 Comments:

Blogger Leif Mortensen said...

Can you tell me why players are gaining 9 points in Rio? They had points in London whats's the reason - if I haven't misunderstood everything?

Mon Aug 08, 08:19:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Leif Mortensen said...

ZERO points not 9 - sorry.

Mon Aug 08, 08:20:00 AM EDT  
Blogger colt13 said...

Leif, they go back and forth on this. They have given points before, but feel the players get penalized the next year because they can't defend those points.

Mon Aug 08, 09:44:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Todd.Spiker said...

Somehow, though, I find it difficult to believe that the no-points decision had anything to do with "helping" the players because they can't defend the points in 2017. Especially when you consider they forced them all to play additional FC/DC weekends (more performances where they gave up point-making/prize money opportunities) this time around just to become eligible for these Olympics.

I think it's probably more of an over-inflated self-importance that wants to push the notion that simply playing in the Olympics at all is "reward enough."

Meanwhle, they make all the money they can off the athletes (tennis or otherwise). But, hey, at least they get "the experience."

Ummm, okay.

Mon Aug 08, 10:49:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Diane said...

There is only one known reason for the occurrence of a haboob: Jankovic

Mon Aug 08, 10:59:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Leif Mortensen said...

Well abyway it's fun then that Caro is rising 6 (six) places because she has a 16th result of 1 (one) which is replaced by 90 points so now she is #47 and other players will move around in the other direction because they can't defend - like Bencic - who loses 900 points - the tournament from this time last year - what's the difference?

Tue Aug 09, 02:57:00 PM EDT  
Blogger colt13 said...

Nishikori and Del Potro in the Final Four? I think that says something about how similar the courts are to the US Open.

Going on record now to say half of the qualifiers in Cinci will win their first round match. A task made easier because there are 16 1st rd byes, and women ranked as high as 37 in qualies.

Sat Aug 13, 10:48:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Leif Mortensen said...

And what a stupid schedule WTA has chosen there should not have been a tournament after the Olympics - well at least NOT a premier 5. We'll see withdrawals - first has done so Petra Kvitova. It's not respect for the Olympics me thinks.

Sun Aug 14, 02:51:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Todd.Spiker said...

And, to think, the ATP actually had a tournament DURING the Olympics. :\

Mon Aug 15, 12:33:00 PM EDT  

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