Monday, September 19, 2016

Wk.37- NextGen Conventions-Я-Us

A week after a major, there's always a little more "elbow room" on tour.

The result: dueling NextGen conventions half a world apart.

TOKYO, JAPAN (Japan Open) (Hard/Outdoor)
S: Christina McHale/USA def. Katerina Siniakova/CZE 3-6/6-4/6-4
D: Shuko Aoyama/Makoto Ninomiya (JPN/JPN) d. Jocelyn Rae/Anna Smith (GBR/GBR) 6-3/6-3

S: Oceane Dodin/FRA def. Lauren Davis/USA 6-4/6-3
D: Andrea Hlavackova/Lucie Hradecka (CZE/CZE) d. Alla Kudryavtseva/Alexandra Panova (RUS/RUS) 7-6(2)/7-6(2)

...nobody worked harder -- or longer -- than McHale in Week 37. So it's fairly fitting that she was rewarded with her first tour singles final in Quebec City on Sunday. You know, for the effort.

And it only took thirteen hours (and change) on court over the course of five matches to pull it off, too.

The 24-year old's week in Tokyo (where she reached her second career WTA final) included wins over Kateryna Kozlova (2:53; 7-6 3rd), Rebecca Peterson (2:25; 7-6 3rd), Viktoriya Golubic (2:37), Jana Cepelova (2:28; 7-5 3rd) and Katerina Sinikova (2:47) in the final, in her fifth straight three-setter at the event.

Of course, one could sort of see McHale heading this way all season long, taking the "long route" with every step. Four seasons past her career-best year (2012, high of #24), she was trapped outside the Top 60 and lost three of her first four matches. Then she stopped off in Hawaii on her way back from Down Under and everything changed. She played in and won a $50K challenger (w/ both the SF/F going three-sets, naturally) there, claiming her first singles title in five years. Soon after came a tour-level semi in Acapulco (she played three three-setters), an Indian Wells upset of Garbine Muguruza and another three-setter (a loss, but still) vs. Serena Williams in Miami. She then made Captain Mary Joe Fernandez look both good and bad at the same time in Fed Cup play, knocking off Sam Stosur (yes, in three) in a surprising shutout of Australia in a rare "good hunch" move by MJF, who'd consistently left an available McHale off FC rosters for years, onto to see her put up her first win since 2012 right when even the USTA head honchos had to be wondering just how much longer Fernandez's teams could be allowed to underachieve without someone saying "you're fired" (no, not him... though he'd probably fit in temperamentally with that lot). Clay court victories over Karolina Pliskova (in TWO!) and Ana Ivanovic followed, as well as another tough match (w/ a 1st set TB) vs. Serena in Rome. McHale didn't waver on the grass, either, getting wins over two of this weekend's other three finalists (Siniakova & Lauren Davis), as well as Naomi Osaka in Birmingham, and then (again) pushing Serena to three sets at Wimbledon.

In the final throes of the waning season, McHale finally got her signature North American summer result in Quebec, coming out into the light to tell everyone that she'd been right there all along, if only someone had pulled back the curtain to see. Her win will lift her to #42 in the rankings, making her the sixth-ranked Bannerette on tour... and maybe securing her role as a key post-Rio cog when it comes to MJF's Fed Cup machinations in 2017-18.

(Although, one can never assume such things, can one? We ARE talking about Mary Joe, after all.)

RISERS: Jiske Griffioen/NED, Katerina Siniakova/CZE and Lauren Davis/USA
...well, it's official. After a few years of jockeying for position, Griffioen has inherited the throne as THE top wheelchair champion of the post-Esther Vergeer era, which ended when the dominant Dutch future Hall of Famer swept Gold at the Paralympics in London in 2012. Four years later in Rio, 31-year old Griffioen kept the Gold medals -- all the Gold medals -- in "the family." Just like Vergeer, Griffioen swept the Paralympic singles and doubles Gold, meaning she's won five of the last seven slam/Olympics singles titles (and 6 of 8 of the sport's biggest events, when you include the season-ending Masters event in 2015). As is so often the case, Griffioen went through her doubles partner, Aniek Van Koot, to achieve all this. After already defeating her in the Australian Open and Wimbledon finals this year, she defeated Van Koot again in the Rio final. As if to further be the linking agent connecting Vergeer and Griffioen, it was Van Koot (five years younger than the current #1, and nine years than the former) who earned the Silver while losing to Vergeer in HER Paralympic singles swan song in '12. Van Koot & Griffioen joined forces to win the doubles Gold, defeating another all-Dutch duo -- Marjolein Buis & Diede de Groot -- in the final.

19-year old de Groot could very well be "the next" in the long line of Dutch WC champs. Not only did de Groot -- or, @DiedetheGreat, if we're to believe her Twitter handle -- win Silver in doubles, but she finished fourth in singles as the #6 seed, defeating #3 Jordanne Whiley in the QF before losing to Griffioen in the semifinals, then Yui Kamiji in the Bronze match.

Meanwhile, Siniakova and Davis were the unfortunate runners-up in the weekend's dualing pair of finals between women vying for their maiden tour singles title.

Siniakova, 20, reached her second summer-of-'16 final in Tokyo, two months after losing in Bastad to Laura Siegemund. While the Czech's final opponent, Christina McHale, had played four straight three-setters heading into the championship match, Sinikova had lost just one set -- in a 3:00 match vs. Louisa Chirico, her second of four wins over Antonia Lottner, Alison Riske and Zhang Shuai. The fifth highest-ranked Czech on tour, Siniakova will move to a career-high #53 on Monday.

The week's other runner-up was #104-ranked Davis. The 22-year old Bannerette, like Siniakova, was playing in her second tour-level final of the summer, having lost in Washington, D.C. in July. A qualifier who posted wins over Marie Bouzkova and Nao Hibino, Davis took down Carol Zhao, Samantha Crawford, Alla Kudryavtseva and surprise semifinalist Tereza Martincova before facing first-time finalist Oceane Dodin, losing in straight sets to the big-hitting (albeit sometimes, well, often erratic) Pastry. Still, the win will move her back into the Top 100 to #83, though it's still a far cry from the career-high ranking of #43 she enjoyed two summers ago.

SURPRISES: Tereza Martincova/CZE, Julia Boserup/USA and Danielle Lao/USA
...a week after a slam, surprises are to be expected. This week's included:

World #233 Martincova making her way through Quebic City qualifying (def. Robillard-Millette and Panova), then becoming the latest Czech to make her mark in a WTA event with MD wins over Barbora Krejcikova (a fellow Maiden -- is that legal!), Ekaterina Alexandrova (Wimbledon's darling, remember) and Jessica Pegula to reach her first career tour semifinal. She'll now jump to #169 in the rankings. But it's not a new career-high -- was was #167 back in February.

In the same Quebec event, #125-ranked Boserup, just off a career-best major run (3rd Rd.) at Wimbledon, reached her own maiden tour semifinal with wins over Amra Sadikovic, Evgeniya Rodina and CiCi Bellis. The 25-year old be at a career-best of #116 on Monday.

Meanwhile, former USC All-American Lao, 25, made her way through qualifying in Quebec, pulling off upsets of Sesil Karatantcheva and Jovana Jaksic. Then the world #365 pulled an even bigger rabbit out of her hat, a win over 2014 (sixteen years after her most previous tour title) champ Mirjana Lucic-Baroni. "The Little Giant," indeed.

VETERANS: Zhang Shuai/CHN, Olga Govortsova/BLR and Alexandra Stevenson/USA the start of the '16 season, after ending last year at #186, Zhang was on the verge of calling it a career in January. But a QF run in Melbourne (w/ upsets of Halep, Cornet, Lepchenko & Keys) changed all that. A $25K challenger win and victory over Caroline Wozniacki soon followed, but next came a spotty season on the clay and grass courts. The return of hard courts this summer has once more injected life into the Chinese vet, though. An upset of Timea Bacsinszky at the Olympics foreshadowed another nice slam result (U.S. Open 3rd Rd., w/ a win over Stosur). Now, back in Asia, Zhang reached her first tour-level semifinal since Birmingham in June '14 with Tokyo wins over Naomi Osaka and (again) Lepchenko. She'll rise to #40 in the rankings on Monday, just ten spots behind the career-high position she held two years ago.

Govortsova, 28, picked up her sixth career ITF challenger win at a $50K in Zhuhai this weekend, defeating Ipek Soylu 1 & 2 in the final. After ending the 2015 season at #69, the Belarusian came into this past week at #268. After starting the season on a 3-15 spin-out, she's set things straight this summer. She reached the final of the $50K Granby tournament in Canada the first week of August with wins over a handful of Canadian youngsters (Robillard-Millette, Zhao & Abanda), as well as Melanie Oudin. She dropped the final to the U.S.'s Jennifer Brady, but has now gone 9-2 over her last three events.

Meanwhile, with all the talk of the latest NextGen of Bannerettes, take a moment to remember a previous group of young U.S. would-be stars... and realize that the Williams Sisters aren't the only players from the generation that came of age in the late 1990's who remain active in the sport. 1999 Wimbledon semifinalist Stevenson is still at it, as well. This past week, the 35-year old, in her fifteenth event of the season, reached the doubles final of the $50K challenger in Atlanta along with Taylor Townsend, 20. They lost to Ingrid Neel & Luisa Stefani in a 10-5 3rd set tie-break. If Stevenson had won, it'd been her very first ITF doubles crown after all these years. She has just one tour-level WD title, but it's a noteworthy one. In Leipzig in 2002 she picked up the win along with one Miss Serena Williams. It's the only women's doubles title that Serena has ever won without Venus by her side. The crowds watching Stevenson aren't as big as they were at SW19 seventeen years ago, but the effort is still there.

COMEBACKS: Jana Cepelova/SVK and Elena Bovina/RUS
...just the sight of Cepelova's name in a draw is a good sign about her current health, even if we all know that that's pretty much a condition that must be checked hourly at tournaments just to be sure that nothing has dramatically changed. In Tokyo, the 23-year old Slovak was able to be in good form long enough to reach her first WTA semifinal of the season. Wins over Madison Brengle, Jang Su-Jeong and Kurumi Nara did the trick. Against Christina McHale in the semis, Cepelova wasn't able to convert a bushel of BP chances in the final set that could have made HER the talk of the tournament rather than the eventual champion Bannerette. Cepelova has managed to have some presence on tour this summer, with her highlight being a successful Q-run at Wimbledon (she failed to reach the MD while trying to qualify for the other three '16 majors), followed by a SW19 upset of Garbine Muguruza (her third career Top 3 win) and a three-set loss to Lucie Safarova. Her week will nearly lift her ranking back into the Top 100, as she now rises from #115 to #102.

After back-to-back challenger appearances in Moscow (she'd only previously played one doubles match since 2012), 33-year old Original Russian Revolution Hordette Bovina was in action in Quebec City, fourteen years after she won her second of three career tour singles titles at the same tournament back in 2002. A WC entry into both draws, Bovina lost 6-4/7-6(3) to Amandine Hesse in qualifying, but reached the WD QF along with Francoise Abanda, pushing eventual champs Hlavackova/Hradecka to a 10-5 3rd set TB. Apparently, Bovina lives part-time in the city, so this trip was a logical one for her in her late '16 "tryout" to see if her body -- battered by shoulder, hip and back injuries in the past -- will allow her to stick around. "If it were up to me, of course I want to get back on the circuit," she said, "but the answer is for my body. There is a year and a half, I did not even think to play, so I'm optimistic and I'll try to do a few tournaments before the conclusion of the season."

FRESH FACES: Oceane Dodin/FRA, CiCi Bellis/USA and Francoise Abanda/CAN
...19-year old Dodin reached her first career tour singles final in Quebec City, taking out Lauren Davis in straight sets to win her maiden title and become the first teenage WTA singles champ of 2016. Before last week, Dodin hadn't posted tour-level MD win all season (her last came in her 1st Round upset of Jelena Jankovic at last year's U.S. Open), and had lost nine straight matches (Q/MD) in WTA events. Still, the Pastry has been burning up the ITF this summer, winning sixteen of nineteen circuit matches. Dodin reached a $100K challenger final in July, as well as another $25K in Belgium last month, before winning the $25K Barcelona tournament the first week of September. All were on clay. She'd lost four straight hard court matches before her pre-final wins in Quebec over Naomi Broady, Sachia Vickery, Alison Van Uytvanck and Julia Boserup.

Bellis, too, had quite a week. Fresh off her 3rd Round run at the U.S. Open, the 17-year old turned down Stanford and announced her decision to turn pro after finishing up at Flushing Meadows. Sporting a new career-high rank of #120, she then put up Quebec City MD wins over Amandine Hesse and Danielle Lao to reach her second tour-level QF of the summer. The other? In Stanford, ironically enough. Bellis will begin this week with ANOTHER new career-high rank of #115. What's next? Let's sit back and watch.

Unlike another player most definitely not named Benie Gouchard, 19-year old Abanda has always been at her best while playing within the national borders in Canada. This season alone, she's reached the QF of a $50K, defeated Zheng Saisai in Montreal (and pushed Elina Svitolina to two TB) and Olga Govortsova in Fed Cup while playing in from of home fans. Last year, she had a breakout moment when she put the overmatched Canadian FC team on her back vs. the visiting Romanians and very nearly shocked the world, upsetting Irina-Camelia Begu and pushing Alexandra Dulgheru to three sets. A wild card last week in Quebec City, Abanda opened with a win over #6-seed Mona Barthel and lost to Jessica Pegula in a tight 7-6/7-5 2nd Rounder. She also reached the QF in doubles. Coming in at #201, Abanda will rise to #186 this week, not far off her career-high of #175.

Merci Québec! ??

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DOWN: Daniela Hantuchova/SVK's hard to tell what to make of Hantuchova these days. While the now 33-year old Slovak isn't what she once was on the court, there are at least a few higher-ranked players who FEEL more of a "lost cause"... at least where it comes to having the heart to keep going forward in concerned.

After a dozen seasons which never saw her year-end ranking dip below #35 (thirteen if you go to #37), the downward trajectory of Hantuchova's career has been gradual in recent seasons. She ended 2011 at #24, but has since ended consecutive seasons at #32, #33, #64 and #81. Then, this year, the bottom has dropped out of her standing on tour. She entered last week ranked at #262, with just one MD win on tour in 2016 (in Mallorca) -- her only such victory in a WTA event since July '15. Her most recent efforts resulted in what has become the norm for the Slovak -- a loss in Tokyo qualifying, this time to Erika Sema in the final round. On Sunday, she lost in the Q-rounds of the second WTA event in Tokyo being held this week, as well (to Aleksandra "The Bracelet" Krunic). But while the numbers look bad on her end, between the cracks are enough good wins to think she MIGHT not yet be too far gone for a something of a final act. She notched a victory over Jennifer Brady last week, and this season has managed to get past the likes of Laura Robson, Naomi Osaka, Yaroslava Shvedova, Anna Tatishvili, Irina Falconi, Lauren Davis and Jelena Ostapenko, often times in qualifying. Even going back as far as last July in Istanbul, when she recorded her second most recent WTA MD win, it's not a "dry well." She defeated Cagla Buyukakcay in that match. The same Buyukakcay who'd come back and win the same tournament's singles title this season. A few weeks before that win over the Turk, Hantuchova had upset Dominika Cibulkova at Wimbledon and reached the QF in Birmingham. So, suffice to say, while it might LOOK like the end is near for the former Wonder Girl, one wouldn't want to be TOO hasty about that.

And, anyway, Hantuchova doesn't seem depressed about her current on-court condition. Her social media presence is always offering philosophical notes of encouragement, and is generally cheery about the life the sport has given her. Just the other day, she was even able to reminisce about the "good old days" with former doubles partner Ai Sugiyama when the two met up again in Japan.

ITF PLAYERS: Rebecca Sramkova/SVK and Elise Mertens/BEL
...the biggest event on the circuit, the $100K in Biarritz, went to Slovak Sramkova, as the 19-year old (#156) defeated Italy's Martina Trevisan in a 6-3/4-6/6-1 final to walk away with her fifth career title. Three have come in 2016. She'll be at a career-best ranking of #126 on Monday.

In Atlanta, Belgian Waffle Mertens, 20, took the $50K title with a 4 & 2 victory in the final over Melanie Oudin. Mertens, who'll rise from #131 to a career-best #122, is now 11-2 in ITF finals in her career. She's had quite the summer, too. She put up grass wins over the likes of Schiavone, Bouchard and Krunic, then qualified at the U.S. Open before pushing Garbine Muguruza to three sets in the 1st Round.

As far as the on-the-comeback-trail Oudin, she notched wins over Paula Cristina Goncalves (#4 seed), Marcela Zacarias and Laura Robson (4 & love) to reach her first singles final since playing in the $50K Las Vegas challenger (lost to CoCo Vandeweghe) in 2013.

JUNIOR STAR: Viktoria Kuzmova/SVK
...the just-concluded U.S. Open's girls singles runner-up, 18-year old Kuzmova was right back out on the ITF circuit last week in the $25K challenger in Lubbock, Texas. Already an experienced player on the circuit, the Slovak was playing in her eleventh career ITF final, and her sixth this season. Her 6-0/7-5 win over British teen Freya Christie gives the #303-ranked player a 9-2 career mark in pro singles finals. She's 4-2 in 2016 alone, and this is the biggest title of her career.

Kuzmova "somewhat famously" fired twenty-three aces vs. Sonya Kenin in the U.S. Open junior semis just a week or so ago.

DOUBLES: Andrea Hlavackova/Lucie Hradecka (CZE/CZE) and Shuka Aoyama/Makoto Ninomiya (JPN/JPN)
...while Czech women were grabbing tennis medals left and right in Rio, Hlavackova & Hradecka -- Silver medalists in 2012 -- didn't join in on the fun, losing to fellow Maidens Safarova/Stryova in the Bronze match. They "corrected" things in Quebec City, taking their twelfth title together with a win over Kudryavtseva/Panova in the final. It's their first tour crown as a duo since reuniting as a team late in the '14 season after a brief parting following their '13 U.S. Open title run. Though they did win a $100K challenger when they first joined forces again late in '14, they'd gone 0-4 in WTA finals over the last season and nine months. For Hradecka, it's career title #20, while Hlavackova now has seventeen, having won two previous '16 tournaments while partnering Margarita Gasparyan (Prague) and Peng Shuai (Nottingham).

In Tokyo, Aoyama & Ninomiya became the sixth duo this season to win a tour doubles title on home soil, defeating the British team of Jocelyn Rae/Anna Smith in the final after notching previous impressive wins over #1-seeded Wang Yifan/Zheng Saisai (1st), #3 Aleksanda Krunic/Katerina Siniakova (SF) and Demi Schuurs/Renata Voracova (QF). They're 1-1 in tour finals this season, though Aoyama reached (and lost) two additional finals with different partners. Aoyama has six career titles, with her most recent before this week coming in this same event in 2014 (w/ Voracova). This is Ninomiya's maiden tour title.

1. Tokyo Final - McHale d. Siniakova
As she'd done all week, McHale battled long and hard until she was the last person standing in the final. Siniakova had led 6-3/3-2 when there was rain delay. McHale's title makes her the seventh different U.S. woman to win a singles title this season, the most on tour since 2002.
2. Quebec City Final - Dodin d. Davis
It's always easy to say something about Davis' slight stature, but this is ridiculous. I mean, she pretty much looks like a grade school-aged ball kid next to Dodin in the post-match trophy photo.

At forty-one combined years (Dodin 19, Davis 22), this is the youngest final on tour so far this season.
3. Tokyo 2nd Rd. - Siniakova d. Chirico
Siniakova led 6-4/5-2 before Chirico forced things to a 3rd set. Finally, on MP #6, the Czech closed out this battle of NextGen 20-year olds in just about three hours.
4. Paralympics Gold Final - Griffioen d. Van Koot 3-6/6-1/6-4
Paralympics Bronze Match - Kamiji d. de Groot 6-3/6-3
Three of the four semifinalists were Dutch, but Japan's Kamiji prevented a medal stand sweep by grabbing the first medal of her career.

5. Paralympics Doubles Bronze Match - Shuker/Whiley d. Kamiji/Nijo
Whiley prevented best friend and regular doubles partner Kamiji from taking home a second medal, as she and fellow Brit Shuker won their second consecutive Paralympic WD Bronze.

6. Quebec SF - McHale d. Cepelova
Cepelova just barely fails to reach her first tour singles final since her memorable Charleston run in 2014. But McHale was happy, at least.

7. Quebec 1st Rd. - Vickery d. Tig
Considering her previous Fed Cup history there, Canada does just not agree with Tig. In this wild one, Tig served for the 1st set at 6-5, but lost it. Vickery twice served for the 2nd, but lost it. Tig saved MP in the 3rd set TB, had her own MP and eventually went down at the hands of the Bannerette. Her thirteen DF didn't help, either, I'm thinkin'.

8. Quebec 1st Rd. - Stefkova d. Beck
2016 in a nutshell: Beck was the defending champion and #2 seed, but she fell in the opening round to the lucky loser Czech despite having held a 6-2/5-2 lead. Stefkova had entered the MD after Bethanie Mattek-Sands withdrew with "exhaustion" after having won the U.S. Open WD with another Czech, Lucie Safarova. Meanwhile, #233-ranked Czech Martincova ended up reaching the semifinals in this event. Welcome to the... well, you know.
9. Tokyo 1st Rd. - Golubic d. Wickmayer
Not to be outdone, the week's other defending champion -- Wickmayer -- also failed to win a match "the year after."
10 Quebec 2nd Rd. - Kudryavtseva d. ********
What was it I said about Gen-... err, I mean Benie Gouchard? (I'm trying to protect the "unidentified player" from USTA detection, just in case... and I honestly don't think they're swift enough to break that "code," so don't tattle.)
11. $25K Bucha, UKR Final - Anastasiya Komardina d. Deniz Khazaniuk
The 19-year old Hordette wins her third '16 title, and sweeps the doubles with fellow Russian Valentyna Ivakhnenko.
12. $10K Sharm El-Sheikh, EGY Final - Ana Bianca Mihaila d. Zeel Desai
Indian newbie alert! The Swarmette wins here, but I'm listing this because of the appearance in the final of 17-year old Indian Desai, who very nearly walked away with a title in just her third professional tournament. Desai upset four seeds in her five matches -- the #3, #4, #5 and #8.

HM- $10K Bucha, UKR - Mariya Koryttseva d. Alexandra Perper
...4-0 ret.
A little backtracking to last week, as the closing days of the U.S. Open allowed this one to slip through the cracks around here. Some of you might vaguely recognize the name of Koryttseva, a former Top 50 player back in 2008, who reached a pair of WTA singles finals (losing to Kirilenko and Errani) over a ten-month stretch back around that time, and picked up six WTA singles titles in her career. Now 31, the Ukrainian hadn't played singles since 2012, and only five doubles matches in two Bucha challengers last September, over a four and a half year span before she showed up in the singles Q-draw in this Week 36 tournament. As it turned out, she reeled off eight match victories and won her first singles title since taking a $25K back in 2007. Sounds a little like last year's "Sevastova Story."

Oceane, smoseon. Alize Cornet was busy doing something even MORE remarkable last week...

1. Tokyo Q1 - Lottner d. ULA RADWANSKA 1-6/7-5/7-5
Seoul Q1 - Voracova d. ULA RADWANSKA 6-4 ret.
Radwanska failed to convert two MP vs. Lottner, then didn't finish vs. Voracova.
2. Umm, well... AGA WINS AGAIN


Movement is medicine! Staying active! And beautiful scenery and weather always helps @mrdoitmoving

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Cool chair

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Bogota - Irina Falconi, USA (age 25)
Istanbul - Cagla Buyukakcay, TUR (26)
Gstaad - Viktoriya Golubic, SUI (23)
Bastad - Laura Siegemund, GER (28)
Stanford - Johanna Konta, GBR (25)
Nanchang - Duan Yingying, CHN (27)
[WTA 125 Series]
Bol - Mandy Minella, LUX (30)
Dalian - Kristyna Pliskova, CZE (24)

Bogota - Irina Falconi, USA (W)
Stuttgart - Laura Siegemund, GER
Istanbul - Cagla Buyukakcay, TUR (W)
Gstaad - Viktoriya Golubic, SUI (W)
Stanford - Johanna Konta, GBR (W)
Wash.DC - Lauren Davis, USA
Bastad - Katerina Siniakova, CZE
Nanchang - Duan Yingying, CHN (W)

21 - Madison Keys, USA (Birmingham)
21 - Elina Svitolina, UKR (Kuala Lumpur)
[youngest finalists]
18 - Jelena Ostapenko, LAT (Doha)
18 - Belinda Bencic, SUI (St.Petersburg)

**LOW-RANKED WTA CHAMPIONS - since 2012 **
#208 Melanie Oudin - 2012 Birmingham
#174 Lara Arruabarrena - 2012 Bogota
#163 Duan Yingying - 2016 Nanchang
#149 Kiki Bertens - 2012 Fes
#132 Francesca Schiavone - 2016 Rio
#130 Teliana Pereira - 2015 Bogota
#127 Karolina Pliskova - 2013 Kuala Lumpur

Sydney - Monica Puig, PUR (22/#94)
Charleston - Elena Vesnina, RUS (28/#85)
Stuttgart - Laura Siegemund, GER (28/#71)
Rabat - Marina Erakovic, NZL (28/#186)
Strasbourg - Mirjana Lucic-Baroni, CRO (33/#66)
Nurnberg - Kiki Bertens, NED (24/#89) [W]
Bastad - Katerina Siniakova, CZE (20/#92)

0-2 - Genie Bouchard Benie Gouchard, CAN
0-2 - Alison Riske, USA
0-2 - Anastasija Sevastova, LAT
0-2 - Barbora Strycova, CZE

Sydney - Kuznetsova/RUS def. (Q) Puig/PUR
Dubai - Errani/ITA def. Strycova/CZE
Rio - Schiavone/ITA def. Rogers/USA
Monterrey - Watson/GBR def. Flipkens/BEL
Nurnberg - (Q) Bertens/NED def. Duque/COL

22 - USA (10 wins)
10 - GER (4)
9 - CZE (4)
5 - FRA (3)
4 - ROU (4)
4 - ITA (3)
4 - SVK (2)

7 USA: Falconi,Keys,McHALE,Stephens,Vandeweghe,Williams,Williams
3 ITA: Errani,Schiavone,Vinci
3 FRA: Cornet,DODIN,Garcia
2 CZE: Ka.Pliskova,Safarova
2 ESP: Muguruza,Suarez-Navarro
2 GBR: Konta,Watson
2 GER: Kerber,Siegemund
2 ROU: Begu,Halep
2 SUI: Bacsinszky,Golubic

**2016 - U.S. WTA FINALISTS**
5...Serena Williams (2-3)
3...Sloane Stephens (3-0)
3...Madison Keys (1-2)
2...Venus Williams (1-1)
2...LAUREN DAVIS (0-2)
2...Alison Riske (0-2)
1...Irina Falconi (1-0)
1...CoCo Vandeweghe (1-0)
1...Vania King (0-1)
1...Shelby Rogers (0-1)

[seven different U.S. title-winners - 2002]
Jennifer Capriati
Jill Craybas
Lisa Raymond
Chanda Rubin
Monica Seles
Serena Williams
Venus Williams
Irina Falconi
Madison Keys
Christina McHale
Sloane Stephens
CoCo Vandeweghe
Serena Williams
Venus Williams

#797 - Rebeka Masarova/SUI (Gstaad)
#238 - Paula Cristina Goncalves/BRA (Bogota)
#233 - TEREZA MARTINCOVA/CZE (Quebec City)
#199 - Sorana Cirstea/ROU (Rio)
#190 - Zhu Lin/CHN (Kuala Lumpur)
#186 - Virginie Razzano/FRA (Strasbourg)
#186 - Marina Erakovic/NZL (Rabat) - RU

Kaohsiung - Chan/Chan, TPE
Indian Wells - Mattek-Sands/Vandeweghe, USA
Roland Garros - Garcia/Mladenvoic, FRA
Stanford - Atawo/Spears, USA
Nanchang - Liang Chen/Lu Jingjing, CHN

**2016 $100K FINALS**
MIDLAND: Naomi Broady/GBR d. Robin Anderson/USA
ANNING: Zhang Kailin/CHN d. Peng Shuai/CHN
CAGNES-SUR-MER: Magda Linette/POL d. Carina Witthoeft/GER
TRNAVA: Katerina Siniakova/CZE d. Anastasija Sevastova/LAT
MARSEILLE: Danka Kovinic/MNE d. Hsieh Su-Wei/TPE
CONTREXVILLE: Pauline Parmentier/FRA d. Oceane Dodin/FRA
BUDAPEST: Elitsa Kostova/BUL d. Viktoriya Tomova/BUL
BIARRITZ: Rebecca Sramkova/SVK d. Martina Trevisan/ITA

1988 Chantal Vandierendonck, NED
1992 Monique van den Bosch, NED
1996 Maaike Smit, NED
2000 Esther Vergeer, NED
2004 Esther Vergeer, NED
2008 Esther Vergeer, NED
2012 Esther Vergeer, NED
2016 Jiske Griffioen, NED
1988 Monique van den Bosch, NED
1992 Chantal Vandierendonck, NED
1996 Monique Kalkman-van den Bosch, NED
2000 Sharon Walraven, NED
2004 Sonja Peters, NED
2008 Korie Homan, NED
2012 Aniek Van Koot, NED
2016 Aniek Van Koot, NED
1988 Terry Lewis, USA/Ellen de Lange, NED
1992 Regina Isecke, GER
1996 Chantal Vandierendonck, NED
2000 Maaike Smit, NED
2004 Daniela Di Toro, AUS
2008 Florence Gravellier, FRA
2012 Jiske Griffioen, NED
2016 Yui Kamiji, JPN

1992 Monique van den Bosch/Chantal Vandierendonck, NED
1996 Monique Kalkman-van den Bosch/Chantal Vandierendonck, NED
2000 Maaike Smit/Esther Vergeer, NED
2004 Maaike Smith/Esther Vergeer, NED
2008 Korie Homan/Sharon Walraven, NED
2012 Marjolein Buis/Esther Vergeer, NED
2016 Jiske Griffioen/Aniek Van Koot, NED
1992 Nancy Olson/Lynn Seidemann, USA
1996 Hope Lewellen/Nancy Olson, USA
2000 Branka Pupovac/Daniela Di Toro, AUS
2004 Sakhorn Khanthasit/Ratana Techamaneewat, THA
2008 Jiske Griffioen/Esther Vergeer, NED
2012 Jiske Griffioen/Aniek Van Koot, NED
2016 Marjolein Buis/Diede de Groot, NED
1992 Oristelle Marx/Arlette Racineaux, FRA
1996 Oristelle Marx/Arlette Racineaux, FRA
2000 Christine Otterbach/Petra Sax-Scharl, GER
2004 Sandra Kalt/Karin Suter Erath, SUI
2008 Florence Gravellier/Arltte Racineaux, FRA
2012 Lucy Shuker/Jordanne Whiley, GBR
2016 Lucy Shuker/Jordanne Whiley, GBR

Naomi Osaka has joined Twitter!
(I sense a disruption in The Force.)

TOKYO, JAPAN (TPP OPEN) (Premier/Hard)
15 Final: A.Radwanska d. Bencic
15 Doubles Final: Muguruza/Suarez-Navarro d. Chan/Chan
16 Singles Top Seeds: Muguruza/A.Radwanska

Sevastova d. Svitolina
#3 Ka.Pliskova d. (WC) Osaka
Wozniacki d. #5/WC Keys
#2 A.Radwanska d. #7/WC Kvitova
#3 Ka.Pliskova d. Sevastova
#2 A.Radwanksa d. Wozniacki
#3 Ka.Pliskova d. #2 A.Radwanska

...we'll get to see how much carry-over the Open has in Asia with quite a few players this week. From Pliskova to Wozniacki to Sevastova to Osaka and others, the "next step" will be there to take for quite a few in Tokyo. I'll stick with the confidence-thick Czech, but remember that Asia is where Aga took off to great heights last fall.

15 Final: Begu d. Sasnovich
15 Doubles Final: Arruabarrena/Klepac d. Bertens/Larsson
16 Singles Top Seeds: Begu/Larsson

#3 Shu.Zhang d. Cepelova
#4 Mladenovic d. Duan
#3 Shu.Zhang d. #4 Mladenovic

...she's getting closer and closer to home.

15 Final: Jankovic d. Allertova
15 Doubles Final: Hingis/Mirza d. Xu Shilin/You Xiaodi
16 Singles Top Seeds: Errani/Jankovic

#7 Siniakova d. #5 Riske
#3 Konjuh d. #8 Sai.Zheng
#7 Siniakova d. #3 Konjuh

...well, I tried it last week (and, instead, got an eleventh champion pick this year turn out to be the runner-up... but who's counting?), so I'll go with it again.


Oh, hey Serena. I didn't see you sittin' there. My bad.

..... And the girl who never took a vacation took one day off...and then she came back

A photo posted by Serena Williams (@serenawilliams) on

All for now.


Blogger colt13 said...

Stat of the Week-10- The amount of losses players have the match after beating Belinda Bencic. Actually looking for a good reason why Konta played so poorly after beating Bencic, looked at the records, and players are 6-10 the next match. Vesnina actually won her next match twice, and Rybarikova won hers due to ret. Theory being that in baseball if you follow up a knuckleball with a fastball it is harder to catch up with. People aren't adjusting quickly enough.

de Groot is the next one. Was a tiebreak away from a medal.

Davis is like Camille Pin, who got 85 pct of her first serves but rarely got aces. Technically sound, but the match is always on the other player's racket. Two finals is a good year.

Mon Sep 19, 10:29:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Todd.Spiker said...

And so... the wait is on to see if Wozniacki follows the post-Bencic pattern vs. CSN. (cue "Jeopardy!" music) ;)

Wed Sep 21, 12:40:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Todd.Spiker said...

...and Caro bucks the trend, though it took nearly three hours to eliminate CSN in Tokyo.

Wed Sep 21, 06:07:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Leif Mortensen said...

Yeah Caro wants to win again. It's a great match between two players that both wanted to win and gave it all. Not often we see that to the last ball of the match. All ways to play tennis were shown - as said before - it should have been the final.

Wed Sep 21, 11:55:00 PM EDT  
Blogger colt13 said...

Ha. Wozniacki putting a twist on this, so I guess I will throw this out there. Last person to beat Bencic before the final and win the tournament? Wozniacki-Istanbul 2014.

Thu Sep 22, 02:27:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Todd.Spiker said...

Although, that preseason prediction that she'd fall out of the Top 20, but then climb back into the Top 10 before the end of the season looks like it'll come up a little short. A good finish might at least make it close, though. ;)

The devil is in the details. :)

Thu Sep 22, 03:31:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Leif Mortensen said...

Nah Todd - don't be pessimistic. If she wins Tokyo she'll be very close to top 20 - in the race list and little over 900 points from place 10 and little under 400 points from place 12 which will be very good me thinks - and still a lot of points to win in China . GO Caro - find those aces ;)

Thu Sep 22, 04:35:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Todd.Spiker said...

Oh, really? I didn't realize it could still get that close. Maybe there's hope yet! For Caro... and my prediction. :P

Thu Sep 22, 05:18:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Leif Mortensen said...

Now Caro is #23 in the rankings and 24 in the race. First final of the year - great

Sat Sep 24, 02:09:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Leif Mortensen said...

And she did get her title #24. Now #22 in WTA rankings and #20 on the road to Singapore - ok me thinks ;)

Sun Sep 25, 07:05:00 AM EDT  

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