Monday, September 05, 2016

US.8 - That'll Do, Karolina

This Labor Day holiday was set up to be the most recent celebration of the ongoing Williams era of professional tennis. But a tall, big-serving wrench was thrown into the works.

Her name: Karolina Pliskova. (And, no, "Labor Day" is not a natural equivalent to "April Fool's Day.") See?

Both Venus Williams and Karolina Pliskova, Rio notwithstanding (Venus lost early, Pliskova skipped the games entirely), have had very good summers. Once-again-a-Top-10er Williams reached the Wimbledon semifinals at age 36, while the 24-year old Czech won titles on grass and hard courts, the latter the biggest of her career in Cincinnati, bringing the tour's ace leader close to her own return to the Top 10. While Williams reached the final in her Open debut in Flushing Meadows nineteen years ago in 1997 as a 17-year old, Pliskova just two days ago finally got over the proverbial "hump" by reaching her first Round of 16 at a major in her eighteenth appearance in the main draw of a slam.

Their 4th Round meeting on Monday provided the first true "moment" in the women's event at this U.S. Open, with both women combining to provide a look at what success looks like at both ends of what is now the long career spectrum of a WTA player. While Williams brought all of her experience to the table in the most crucial points in the match in her (seemingly) gazillionth match on Ashe Stadium, it was ultimately the great promise of Pliskova rising to the occasion during her very first battle on the biggest court in the world that would prove to be the difference.

Williams jumped on Pliskova early in the 1st set, closing on the net and essentially looking like the Venus of our tennis dreams. She got the early break and led 5-1. But when serving for the set at 5-3, her game dipped as Pliskova's lifted just enough for the Czech to take a love/30 lead. Williams held a set point, but Pliskova reached break point and converted it when Venus double-faulted to bring things back on serve at 5-4. Serving to stay in the set, though, Pliskova immediately fell behind love/40. She saved two more SP, but missed on a backhand down the line to give Venus a 6-4 1st set victory.

Williams grabbed a break lead in the 2nd, as well. Once again, she lost that lead. Only this time Pliskova didn't waste the moment. After falling behind 3-0, and with Venus serving up 3-1, 30/15, the Czech got the break, held, then went up love/30 on Venus' serve at 3-3. At 15/40, a Williams forehand error handed over the break. Serving at 5-4, Pliskova was solid. Big serving put her up 40/15, then she blasted an ace past Williams into the corner to take the set and send things to the 3rd.

It set up what would be a classic 3rd set battle.

With Venus seemingly tiring early in the set as the rallies grew longer, Pliskova went up a break at 2-1. Down 15/40 a game later, the Czech fired an ace on Williams' first BP, then saved the other with a big wide serve that produced an error on the return. After another big serve up the "T" gave Pliskova a game point, she double-faulted and was soon forced to save a third BP. She called upon her serve once again to reach her second GP, then saw a Williams return skid off the net cord and go out to give Pliskova a hold for a 3-1 lead. Things settled over the next few games, as a series of holds put Pliskova up 4-3 after Venus held at love.

With the Ashe crown definitively (as one would expect) on the side of Williams, Pliskova stepped up to the baseline to attempt to hold serve for a seventh straight time and get within four points of the win. But Williams moved in to put away a volley to take a 15/30 lead, then Pliskova missed a volley of her own to go down BP. A backhand error gave Williams the break as things were again even at 4-4. Two games later, Pliskova served to stay in the match. A netted backhand from the Czech brought the game to 30/30, then a Venus return at her feet elicited an error from the Czech that gave Williams a match point.

Pliskova's Open epitaph seemed to have already been written. But it really wasn't.

Rather than accept an unwanted fate, Pliskova did what too few players looking to make a breakthrough do -- she threw caution to the wind and settled in behind her biggest weapons. Coming into the net behind her serve she swatted a swing volley winner to save MP, then fired a crosscourt forehand winner to reach game point. Another big serve got her a miraculous -- and frighteningly efficient in its closing points -- hold for 5-5.

Suddenly hitting full out on all her shots, after having briefly been tentative and trying to avoid mistakes while seeing her 3rd set lead slip away, Pliskova came back from love/30 down on the Williams serve. Venus netted a mid-court ball and Pliskova reached BP. After Williams saved it with a forehand winner down the line, the Czech's second BP saw her crosscourt backhand bound off the net cord and over the racket of Venus, who'd been in perfect position for an easy put-away volley. Pliskova's break gave her a 6-5 lead and a chance to serve out the match.

With her summer of progress hanging in the air and in the balance, Pliskova hit a service winner and ace to go up 30/love. A forehand winner gave her triple MP. But then the "fun" began.

With Pliskova seemingly trying to fire a match-ending ace on every serve, she failed to pull it off each time. Instead, she double-faulted on MP #1, then saw Williams put away and volley on MP #2 and get back to deuce with a MP #3-saving crosscourt backhand winner that looked remarkably like the one that the Czech hit to break Venus for a 6-5 lead. Williams stepped into the court to put away a forehand winner to reach BP, then whacked another behind Pliskova at the baseline to record her fifth straight point after falling down triple MP, getting the break to force a deciding tie-break.

Pliskova took a mini-break lead at 1-0, but saw Venus get it back two points later with a backhand down the line. From there, while Pliskova's game held steady, it was the veteran Williams whose errors brought her down to earth. A netted backhand put the Czech up a mini-break again at 3-1. Serving up 3-2, Pliskova fired a serve up the middle that Williams reacted to with a backhand down the line, only to see the Czech's half-volley drop shot put her up 4-2. Back-to-back Williams errors made it 6-2, as Pliskova upped the ante from her earlier triple match point by being up quadruple match point.

On her fourth MP, Pliskova saw Williams' shot go wide to end the match. But Venus challenged the Czech's ball at the baseline before her own reply. Replay showed that it was out, handing Williams the point and extending the TB. On the next point, though, Pliskova put in another big serve to Venus' backhand. Williams' return flew out, giving the Czech a 7-3 TB win and a 4-6/6-4/7-6(3) victory to reach her first career quarterfinal at a major.

After acing Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova on MP in the 3rd Round to seal her first slam Round of 16 result, saving MP here AND overcoming failing to serve out the match while holding three MP of her own AND not being bothered by a partisan crown (ah, her Fed Cup play comes in handy there, I bet) OR the prospect of an all-time great on the other side the net to make more personal history of her own, how can you not be impressed by Pliskova today?

It can now be said that a corner has been turned in the career of the Czech, and now it'll be about to what level her talent can bring her rather than how much is has YET to produce.

It's quite a weight to be lifted from the shoulders of a player. Not that she habitually shows such pressures on her face or in her demeanor on court... which can be a plus in a big-time moment like the one she faced today. If Pliskova had gone off in an Halepian fit and thrown her racket or carried on a rough-and-tumble argument with a tiny Karolina on her shoulder, it would have only incited the Ashe crowd more, and been a sign to her opponent that she was feeling the pressure. While the Czech failed in her first HUGE opportunity to close out the biggest match of her singles career so far, she kept her composure and was the steadier player down the stretch. For once, maybe her stoic mannerisms can now be commended rather than criticized (today by none other than ESPN's Chris Evert, for one, which is odd when you consider that her own "ice princess" stoicism on court was looked at as an asset in the prime of her career).

Although, it should be noted, while Pliskova might not be an extroverted look-at-me celebrator in the Vandeweghe vain, she DOES show positive outward emotion when appropriate... and sneaks in her own personal encouragements without screaming them, too. It's just her way. And, today, it worked for her.

Venus isn't finished by any means. This match proved it. And maybe it NEEDED to be proved to some after what happened in Rio, too. Good for her. But even better for Pliskova.

More may be yet to come for Karolina. So far, she's held up remarkably well this summer, as one broken-down barrier has led to another, from Europe to North America, as her confidence and big match experience has grown, leading up to today's latest "best-ever" moment. The career firsts, already stacking up on one another now, could yet have another (or two) placed atop the pile in the coming week.


No matter what happens next, it's hard not to be proud of her for cutting through all the whispers about her underachievement and finally finding a way to do something truly special.

Sniff, sniff.

Even if it all ends soon, no matter what, she's done good.

That'll do, Karolina. That'll do.

...the first women's Round of 16 match of the day was mostly a drama-free affair. Well, except for the occasional "occupational violence" displayed by Simona Halep against her racket in full public view, that is.

Playing against Carla Suarez-Navarro, the Romanian never really allowed the Spaniard to get into the match, closing her down at almost every turn by being appropriately aggressive throughout. She took a 3-0 lead in the 1st, held it throughout and won the set 6-2. In the 2nd, she grabbed a late break advantage at 4-3 and served at 5-4.

Then the you-know-what happened.

After going down love/15 (love/15!) Halep angrily threw her racket toward the wall behind the backcourt, then proceeded to show her nerves as the mph's fell off her serve and allowed CSN a chance to get a foot in the set's door. She got a break to level things at 5-5.

But Halep didn't let the little angry Simona on her shoulder get in her ear TOO much. She jumped on Suarez-Navarro's second serve in game #11, stepping in to fire a forehand return winner on back-to-back points to get the break back and serve for the match again. She fell down love/30, but corrected her course. She fired an ace to reach 30/30, then made a miraculous pick-up of a ball off the baseline, getting off a half-swing backhand and directing the ball down the line for a winner (see below) to reach MP. A backhand pass off CSN's racket ended things, giving Halep a 6-2/7-5 win to move into her second straight U.S. Open quarterfinal.

In all, Halep aggression and big point prowess were witnessed in her 25 winners and six breaks on fifteen BP opportunities in the match. She seemed especially giddy after the match, probably because of the brilliance of her match-closing stretch after having been in a bit up of a pinch (and nearly a pickle) about 10 minutes earlier.

But the "grading on a (slight) curve" and "margin for error" regarding Halep's 2016 Open ends with this match. A certain someone will be across the net in the quarterfinals.

And she never faced a BP, either.

...the final quarterfinalist (who'll face Pliskova) will be determined tonight under the lights, as 18-year old Ana Konjuh gets another slam shot at Aga Radwanska in the closing Labor Day act on Ashe Stadium.

Depending on how the Croat handles the pressure of such a big stage, this one could be quite interesting (though Konjuh admits to grass being her favorite surface, as does Aga... so maybe the hard court surface takes away any advantages). If it's Radwanska who wins yet another match in a major between the two, Pliskova (in another sister-vs.-sister, possibly with still another sister awaiting the winner in the semis) will have another career hurdle to clear in her next match, as she's 0-6 vs. the Pole, having never won a set off her (though she did force her first TB in their last meeting earlier this year in Stuttgart). On the other hand, the Czech has never faced Konjuh.

But previous slam history has meant little to Pliskova at this U.S. Open, so why shouldn't she be "rooting" for Aga to win in order to keep the tide rollin'? juniors, some big(ger) names were sent packing, including #6-seeded Russian Amina Anshba, knocked off by the U.S.'s Taylor Johnson in three sets, and #12 Katarina Zavatska (UKR), the three-set victim of another Bannerette, Natasha Subhash. Spain's Paula Arias Manjon defeated #11-seeded Serb Olga Danilovic, and Russian Elena Rybakina retired down 6-2/3-0 to Norway's Malene Helgo.

India's Pranjala Yadlapalli defeated Poland's Wiktoria Kulik, as well. Yadlapalli won the 2015 16-and-under Future Stars title in Singapore in the junior competition held during the WTA Finals.

...a few more ITF tip-ins from the weekend:

At the $10K challenger in Batumi, Georgia, a now 28-year old Olga Puchkova advanced to the semifinals. About a decade ago, the Russian was one of the young Hordettes to watch (she was in my Top 5 "Fresh Faces" for the 2006 season, I just realized while looking back), as well as being on the leading edge of trying to make an online push to follow in the marketing/modeling footsteps of the likes of Kournikova and Sharapova. I remember noting then how she had her very own website to promote herself, which wasn't the common thing that it is now.

Well, her career, as is the case with so many, has been injury-riddled. After ranking as high as #32 in 2007, Puchkova went into last week ranked #701. Her semifinal was her best singles result of any kind since February 2013, when she reached a WTA final in Florianopolis, her first singles final on tour since 2006 (she went 0-2). She lost her third final to Monica Niculescu after, get this, having put up wins over the likes of Kirsten Flipkens, Caroline Garcia, Jana Cepelova and Venus Williams. Here's my recap from that week.

Also of some note from Puchkova's run was her 1st Round opponent: Elena Bovina!

Bovina, another Russian whose promising career was ripped to threads due to injury, is now 33. In August, she played in back-to-back $10K challenger events in Moscow, posting two qualifying wins while going 0-2 in MD matches (the other being a three-set loss to Hordette junior Elena Rybakina, 17). She also went 1-1 while playing doubles with Puchkova. A former #14-ranked player and U.S. Open quarterfinalist (2002), it was Bovina's first action since an October '14 doubles match, which itself was her first match play since 2012.

Just to note, Bovina came up at about the same time as one Jelena Dokic. They met three times, with Bovina going 2-1, including wins at the U.S. Open and Paris Indors, while Dokic won their match at Indian Wells. At the moment, JD is also 33, and has played just one doubles match (AO '14) since 2012. So...?

I'm just sayin'. Hey, a Backspinner can dream, right?

THE PERILS OF LISTENING TO ESPN (in the background) ON DAY 8: Because you, once again, hear Hannah Storm float the stupid notion that Vinci's win last year over Serena was "the biggest upset many of us could remember in sports history."

Umm, no. It was not that.

Even before that match was played, Vinci was a potential Hall of Famer due to her near-spotless Fed Cup history, #1 doubles ranking, Career Doubles Slam and decent-to-good singles results (which have actually taken a big jump since age 29-30). She had been a quarterfinalist at the U.S. Open two of the three years BEFORE she upset Serena in the '15 semifinals, preventing Williams from doing something that has only been accomplished on the women's tour once in the last forty-six years.

So, yes, while it was a significant "upset" (mostly because of what was at stake), it was hardly the "biggest upset in sports history." Not even close.

Oh, and speaking of following the "party line" about things in this sport, I forgot to give a nod yesterday to one of the commentators on WatchESPN (I'm not sure who she was since they never put their names on the screen, and rarely ever say who they are). It was a breath of fresh air on Sunday to hear someone in a commentating position during one of the women's matches refuse to refer to a Grand Slam as a "Calendar Slam," and remark in a peeved tone how much that turn of phrase irks her since, while referencing the words of none other than Bud Collins, she noted that a "Grand Slam" is a "Grand Slam." She also said she won't call a "major" a "grand slam" (lower case "g" and "s"), either, for the same reason.

Why can't we get HER (whoever she was -- I think she may have been a former player from the U.S., but I don't think it was Chanda Rubin, who plays a role in the coverage, but I could be wrong) on the regular ESPN broadcast?

LIKE ON DAY 8: Hey, maybe it's catching on. More players need to get on the bandwagon and attempt to shame tennis commentators/broadcasters into being more respectful and professional.

That is, if most tennis commentators/broadcasters actually had any shame. Sadly, most don't.

(See ESPN conducting an interview with a New York Giants wide receiver while a BP was being faced in the Kerber/Kvitova match last night... and then spending the next few minutes determining whether or not Odell Beckham Jr. REALLY COULD catch a John Isner 140 mph serve with one hand. Like Gaby said, "#syfu."

LIKE ON DAY 8: Challenge accepted.


LIKE ON DAY 8: Just because.

...and, finally...

#1 Serena Williams/USA def. Yaroslava Shvedova/KAZ
#5 Simona Halep/ROU def. #11 Carla Suarez-Navarro/ESP
#4 Aga Radwanska/POL vs. Ana Konjuh/CRO
#10 Karolina Pliskova/CZE def. #6 Venus Williams/USA
Caroline Wozniacki/DEN def. #8 Madison Keys/USA
Anastasija Sevastova/LAT def. #13 Johanna Konta/GBR
#7 Roberta Vinci/ITA def. Lesia Tsurenko/UKR
#2 Angelique Kerber/GER def. #14 Petra Kvitova/CZE

#1 Garcia/Mladenovic (FRA/FRA) vs. #7 Mirza/Strycova (IND/CZE)
#16 Krejcikova/Siniakova (CZE/CZE) vs. #6 Hingis/Vandeweghe (SUI/USA)
#12 Mattek-Sands/Safarova (USA/CZE) vs. (WC) Muhammad/Townsend (USA/USA)
#5 Makarova/Vesnina (RUS/RUS) vs. #13 Klepac/Srebotnik (SLO/SLO)

Krejcikova/Draganja (CZE/CRO) vs. #7 Vandeweghe/Ram (USA/USA)
Groenefeld/Farah (GER/COL) def. Dabrowski/Bopanna (CAN/IND)
(WC) Gibbs/Novikov (USA/USA) vs. Siegemund/Pavic (GER/CRO)
Y-J.Chan/Zimonjic (TPE/SRB) vs. #2 Shvedova/Soares (KAZ/BRA)

Mood!!!! @usopen ????

A photo posted by Caroline Wozniacki (@carowozniacki) on

Lovely to meet you! #Home ??

A photo posted by Daria Gavrilova (@daria_gav) on

There was really nothing from Maria today, so I'll go with Carina, instead.

Bye bye New York

A photo posted by Carina Witthöft (@carina_witthoeft) on

[by career slam QF]
46...Serena Williams, USA
8...Caroline Wozniacki, DEN
7...Simona Halep, ROU
7...Angelique Kerber, GER
4...Roberta Vinci, ITA
1...Karolina Pliskova, CZE
1...Anastasija Sevastova, LAT
*...A.Radwanska (12) vs. Konjuh (0)
[by career US QF]
14..Serena Williams, USA
5...Caroline Wozniacki, DEN
4...Roberta Vinci, ITA
2...Simona Halep, ROU
2...Angelique Kerber, GER
1...Karolina Pliskova, CZE
1...Anastasija Sevastova, LAT
*...A.Radwanska (12) vs. Konjuh (0)
[w/ consecutive slam QF]
9...Serena Williams
2...Simona Halep
2...Angelique Kerber
[w/ consecutive US QF]
6...Serena Williams (last 9 appearances)
2...Simona Halep
2...Roberta Vinci
[2016 slam QF - unseeded]
AO - Johanna Konta, GBR
AO - Zhang Shuai, CHN (Q)
RG - Kiki Bertens, NED
RG - Tsvetana Pironkova, BUL
RG - Yulia Putintseva, KAZ
RG - Shelby Rogers, USA
WI - Yaroslava Shvedova, KAZ
WI - Elena Vesnina, RUS
US - Anastasija Sevastova, LAT
US - Caroline Wozniacki DEN
** - [Konjuh to play]
[2016 1st-time GS QF]
AO - Johanna Konta, GBR
AO - Zhang Shuai, CHN
RG - Kiki Bertens, NED
RG - Yulia Putintseva, KAZ
RG - Shelby Rogers, USA
WI - Elena Vesnina, RUS
US - Karolina Pliskova, CZE
US - Anastasija Sevastova, LAT
** - [Konjuh to play]
[2016 slam QF]
4 - Serena Williams (3-0)*
3 - Angelique Kerber (2-0)*
2 - Simona Halep (0-1)*
* - [Aga Radwanska, 1-0]
[2016 slam QF - by nation]
6...USA (Rogers,S.Williams-4,V.Williams)
3...GER (Kerber-3)
3...RUS (Pavlyuchenkova,Sharapova,Vesnina)
2...ESP (Muguruza,Suarez-Navarro)
2...KAZ (Putintseva,Shvedova)
2...ROU (Halep-2)
1...AUS (Stosur)
1...BLR (Azarenka)
1...BUL (Pironkova)
1...CHN (Sh.Zhang)
1...CZE (Ka.Pliskova)
1...DEN (Wozniacki)
1...GBR (Konta)
1...ITA (Vinci)
1...LAT (Sevastova)
1...NED (Bertens)
1...POL (A.Radwanska)*
1...SUI (Bacsinszky)
1...SVK (Cibulkova)
*...[Radwanska/POL vs. Konjuh/CRO]
[WTA career slam QF - active]
36...Venus Williams, USA
24...Maria Sharapova, RUS
16...Victoria Azarenka, BLR
15...Svetlana Kuznetsova, RUS
12...Aga Radwanska, POL* (to play 4th Rd.)
9...Petra Kvitova, CZE
8...Ana Ivanovic, SRB
8...Jelena Jankovc, SRB
ALSO: Petrova (9)
[WTA slam QF in 2010's]
14...Victoria Azarenka, BLR
11...Maria Sharapova, RUS
9...Petra Kvitova, CZE
9...Aga Radwanska, POL* (to play 4th Rd.)
8...Li Na, CHN (retired)
7...Sara Errani, ITA

Belinda Bencic, SUI
Sorana Cirstea, ROU
Kirsten Flipkens, BEL
Anna-Lena Groenefeld, GER
Michaella Krajicek, NED
Mirjana Lucic-Baroni, CRO
Kristina Mladenovic, FRA
Melanie Oudin, USA
Peng Shuai, CHN
Alexandra Stevenson, USA
Barbora Strycova, CZE
Elina Svitolina, UKR
Tamarine Tanasugarn, THA
CoCo Vandeweghe, USA
Alison Van Uytvanck, BEL
Yanina Wickmayer, BEL
[2016 additions]
AO: Kiki Bertens, NED
AO: Johanna Konta, GBR
AO: Zhang Shuai, CHN
RG: Yulia Putintseva, KAZ
RG: Shelby Rogers, USA
WI: Elena Vesnina, RUS
US: Karolina Pliskova, CZE
US: Anastasija Sevastova, LAT
NOTE: Ana Konjuh/CRO to play for first slam QF

2008 Serena Williams (W)
2009 Serena Williams (SF)
2010 Venus Williams (SF)
2011 Serena Williams (RU)
2012 Serena Williams (W)
2013 Serena Williams (W)
2014 Serena Williams (W)
2015 Serena Williams (SF)
2016 Serena Williams (in QF)
AO/AUS: Dasha Gavrilova, AUS (4th)
RG/FRA: A.Cornet, K.Mladenovic & P.Parmentier, FRA (3rd)
WI/GBR: Johanna Konta & Tara Moore, GBR (2nd)
US/USA: Serena Williams, USA (in QF)

JAN: Martina Hingis/Sania Mirza, SUI/IND
FEB: Chang Hao-Ching/Chan Yung-Jan, TPE/TPE
MAR: Bethanie Mattek-Sands, USA
APR: Ipek Soylu, TUR
MAY: Anabel Medina-Garrigues/Arantxa Parra-Santonja, ESP/ESP
JUN: Caroline Garcia/Kristina Mladenovic, FRA/FRA
JUN: Karolina Pliskova/Barbora Strycova, CZE/CZE
JUL: Serena Williams/Venus Williams, USA/USA
JUL: Ekaterina Makarova/Elena Vesnina, RUS/RUS
AUG: Ekaterina Makarova/Elena Vesnina, RUS/RUS
[2016 Weekly DOUBLES Award Wins]
4...Chan/Chan, TPE/TPE
4...Hingis/Mirza, SUI/IND
3...Garcia/Mladenovic, FRA/FRA
3...Makarova/Vesnina, RUS/RUS
3...Schuurs/Voracova, NED/CZE
2...Atawo/Spears, USA/USA
2...Bertens/Larsson, NED/SWE
2...Burrage/Udvardy, GBR/HUN
2...Goerges/Ka.Pliskova, GER/CZE
2...Hozumi/Kato, JPN/JPN
2...Kamiji/Whiley, JPN/GBR (WC)
2...Xenia Knoll, SUI
2...Medina-Garrigues/Parra-Santonja, ESP/ESP
2...Ka.Pliskova/Strycova, CZE/CZE

TOP QUALIFIER: Taylor Townsend/USA
TOP EARLY-ROUND (1r-2r): #1 Serena Williams/USA
TOP QUALIFYING MATCH: Q2: Eri Hozumi/JPN d. (WC) Amanda Anisimova/USA 6-1/2-6/7-6(1) [Hozumi trails 4-0 in the 3rd, saves a MP vs. the 14-year old]
TOP EARLY-RD. MATCH (1r-2r): 2nd Rd. - Kateryna Bondarenko/UKR d. Zheng Saisai/CHN (5-7/7-6(5)/7-5; Zheng served up 5-4 2nd and 5-3 in TB; 3:01)
FIRST VICTORY: Cagla Buyukakcay/TUR (def. Falconi/USA)
FIRST SEED OUT: #30 Misaki Doi/JPN (lost 1st Rd. to Witthoeft/GER)
NATION OF POOR SOULS: Belgium (0-4 in 1st Rd.)
CRASH & BURN: #32 Monica Puig/PUR (Olympic Gold medalist; lost 1st rd. to Sai.Zheng/CHN)
ZOMBIE QUEEN (TBD at QF): Nominees: #5 Halep (3rd Rd. - down 3-1 vs. Babos in 3rd set); #10 Ka.Pliskova (4th Rd. - down set and 3-1 vs. V.Williams, saved MP in 3rd set, wins on 5th MP)
IT ("??"): Nominees: Konjuh/CRO, Ka.Pliskova/CZE
Ms.OPPORTUNITY: Nominees: A.Sevastova/LAT, Ka.Pliskova/CZE, A.Radwanska/POL, R.Vinci/ITA
LAST WILD CARD STANDING: Lauren Davis/USA, Kayla Day/USA, Vania King/USA (all 2nd Rd.)
COMEBACK PLAYER: Caroline Wozniacki/DEN
BROADWAY-BOUND: Nominee: M.Keys/USA, A.Sevastova/LAT, S.Williams/USA
LADY OF THE EVENING: Nominee: M.Keys/USA (won latest-ending women's match - 1:48 a.m.), S.Williams/USA (2-0 under the lights in "superhero" garb)

All for Day 8.


Blogger colt13 said...

So who is winning the sister battle tonight? Fun fact- In 2012, in her 2nd career ITF event, Ana played doubles with her sister Andrea. It was her only event.

So 3 of the 8 QF skipped Rio? Sevastova was #82.

Stat of the Day-32- Now that the QF field is almost set, one name is absent. Victoria Azarenka, with the talk about Nadal not reaching a slam QF for the first time in 11 years, continued her streak, which now reaches 8. Also reached the QF the last 4 years at the US Open. So the number 32 belongs to the number of titles won by Margaret Court after she had her first child.

Court, and Billie Jean King to a lesser extent, and the ones that are done worst by history. Wills Moody and Lenglen are old school, Graf and S.Williams are WTA new school. But Court and King fall in that half closed era, half Open Era. Part Virginia Slims, Grand Prix, and WTA.

Won a Grand Slam in the Open Era. Won 13 of her slams away from Australia. 11 of her slams came after her 1 year retirement in 67. Another fun fact-When she came back from her first pregnancy break(72), the first tournament she won(Cincinnati) she beat Goolagong,who is one of the few moms to have won a slam-Wimbledon in 1980.

Mon Sep 05, 09:09:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Diane said...

I missed that commentator; I might have sent her flowers. I did hear a male commentator use the correct terms.

Mon Sep 05, 11:27:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Todd.Spiker said...

Wow, I didn't realize that with Konjuh and her sister. Looks like her sister really just "dipped her toe" into pro tennis (0-5 in singles), but it does say something about the genes, I suppose.

I think they just exist in an alternate universe on WatchESPN.

Tue Sep 06, 12:34:00 AM EDT  

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