Friday, May 26, 2017

RG.Q- To Qualify is Divine

Some came to Paris certain to be included in main draw action. Well, as long as all their body parts cooperated, that is. But some had to fight for their right to party at Roland Garros next week.

A look back at the Roland Garros qualifying rounds...


1. Marketa Vondrousova, CZE (17, #94)
...the Czech teen continues her meteoric ascent. Vondrousova played the role of juggernaut in the Q-rounds, coming in as the #2 seed (off a $100K challenger title) in her first career slam action outside of junior play. She dropped just six total games through three qualifying matches against Nadia Podoroska, Barbara Haas and Anna Blinkova. Four of them came against Blinkova in Vondrousova's last of six sets on the week. One year after she lost in the 3rd Round of the girls singles in Paris, the Czech will make her her slam debut vs. Amandine Hesse, with the possibility of Daria Kasatkina (2nd Rd.) and Simona Halep (3rd) looming. Though maybe it's the recent clay court WTA title winners who should worry.

2. Sara Errani, ITA (30, #91)
...yep, the Italian vet, former Top 5 player and RG finalist (2012) has seen her ranking drop far enough to force her to play qualifying. It was a breeze. The 30-year old, the top Q-seed, lost no sets and just seven total games. She even held serve twenty-two straight times (!!).

3. Beatriz Haddad Maia, BRA (20, #101)
...the rising South American has had quite the spring. The most improved player of the 2Q (so far) had already put up a Top 20 win and WTA QF singles result, won a tour-level doubles title and $100K singles crown, as well as setting a new career-high ranking. Now she adds her slam MD debut after riding her #3 Q-seed to a no-sets-lost week with wins over Silvia Soler-Espinosa, Jana Fett and Jil Teichmann.

4. Ana Bogdan, ROU (24, #106)
...the Swarmette has made it through qualifying at her third straight slam event, making it three consecutive slam MD debuts starting with last summer's U.S. Open. After opening with a tight win over countrywoman Alexandra Dulgheru, Bogdan defeated Basak Eraydin and Virginie Razzano to make it through.

5. Petra Martic, CRO (26, #285)
...back from injury (and already with some great ITF '17 success), Martic entered the qualifying competition with a protected ranking and knocked off Irina Falconi, Tamara Korpatsch and Marina Zanevska (the latter in three TBs in the Q3). The Croat, who reached the RG Round of 16 in 2012 and also qualified in 2015, last posted a MD win at a major four years ago at Wimbledon.

Kateryna Kozlova, UKR (23, #140): wins over Aryna Sabalenka, Ipek Soylu and Aleksandra Krunic will allow the Ukrainian to make her RG debut (her previous best was a Q2 loss in '14). She's 0-4 in career slam MD matches, though.
Richel Hogenkamp, NED (25, #105): the #4 seed lost zero sets, finishing up with a final round win over Heather Watson. Hogenkamp lost in the opening round of qualifying in earlier qualifying attempts in Paris in 2014 and '15.
Quirine Lemoine, NED (25, #160): the second Dutch player to qualify (NED is the only nation w/ multiple players advancing), Lemoine will make her slam MD debut after saving two MP against countrywoman Arantxa Rus in the final round.
Francoise Abanda, CAN (20, #191): already a Fed Cup star this spring, Abanda is finally on the good end of some tour-level success. She'll play in her first slam MD since 2014.

Alison Van Uytvanck, BEL (23, #112): wins over Sonya Kenin and Lucie Hradecka get the former RG quarterfinalist (2015) back into the MD. She's never advanced past the 2nd Round at any other majors. 0-6 in AO/US play, she's just 5-11 in her slam MD career (w/ four wins coming during the one RG QF run).
Miyu Kato, JPN (22, #196): Kato will make her slam debut after wins over Arina Rodionova, Rebecca Sramkova and Ons Jabeur.
Bethanie Mattek-Sands, USA (32, #116): BMS reached the RG Round of 16 in 2013, but hasn't posted a singles MD win at a major since the 2015 U.S. Open.

Ons Jabeur, TUN (22, #113): the Tunisian will play in her first RG main draw. She's a two-time RG girls finalist, losing to Elina Svitolina in 2010 and defeating Monica Puig to take the crown in '11.

Ipek Soylu def. #11 Aryna Sabalenka
The 21-year old Turk, who became the second woman from her country (after Cagla Buyukakcay) to play in a slam MD singles match last year in Paris, survives a battle that included eight consecutive breaks of serve in the 3rd set, taking out the Fed Cup star from Belarus.

#5 Ana Bogdan def. Alexandra Dulgheru
Bogdan wins the all-Swarmette clash, overcoming Dulgheru serving for the match at 6-5 in the final set.
Tereza Smitkova def. Bianca Andreescu
The 16-year old Canadian's slam debut will have to wait.
#2 Marketa Vondrousova def. Nadia Podoroska
Not many players can say they won their first career WTA singles title before they'd even played in a Q-round match at a major, but the 17-year old Czech is one of them. In her slam debut, she made (somewhat surprisingly) quick work of the clay proficient Argentine. Oh, Marketa!

Kateryna Kozlova def. Conny Perrin 6-2/4-6/6-3
#6 Chang Kai-chen def. Tara Moore 6-2/7-5
peace in the household, or shared misery, I guess.
Polona Hercog def. (wc) Harmony Tan
In Hercog's first match since the U.S. Open (injuries/health), the Slovenian had to recover from a 3-6/2-4 deficit. She did it by winning eight straight games (to 4-0 in the 3rd) and then held on for the win.

Hercog fell in the second round of qualifying to Zarina Diyas.

#2 Marketa Vondrousova def. Barbara Haas

#14 Anna Blinkova def. (pr) Alexandra Panova
Meanwhile, Hordettes...

#2 Marketa Vondrousova def. #14 Anna Blinkova
Anna's got Marketa's number. I mean, she got FIVE WHOLE GAMES off her.
Quirine Lemoine def. Arantxa Rus
In an all-Dutch battle, Lemoine battled back from 6-2/5-3 down, saving two MP.


Q3 - FRANCOISE ABANDA def. #18 Jang Su-Jeong
The last tennis-playing WTA sister to qualify for Paris was Anna Karolina Schmiedlova in 2013. Hopefully, Franckie will have a better go of things than AKS has of late.

2006 Julia Vakulenko/UKR
2007 Timea Bacsinszky/SUI & Raluca Olaru/ROU
2008 Maria Jose Martinez-Sanchez/ESP & Yanina Wickmayer/BEL
2009 Yaroslava Shvedova/KAZ
2010 Kaia Kanepi/EST
2011 Sloane Stephens/USA
2012 Kiki Bertens/NED
2013 Anna Karolina Schmiedlova/SVK
2014 Grace Min/USA
2015 Veronica Cepede Royg/PAR
2016 Viktoriya Golubic/SUI
2017 Marketa Vondrousova/CZE
[2017 slams]
AO: Elizaveta Kulichkova, RUS
RG: Marketa Vondrousova/CZE

...well, we know who *didn't* get a wild card into the draw in Paris, but just which players *did* the French Federation of Tennis (FFT) feel it wasn't necessary to invoke any sort of self-righteous "moral obligation" to keep out of the festivities?

Tessah Andrianjafitrimo, FRA - the 18-year old you wish success just so that everyone would have to learn to spell her name gets her second straight RG wild card, and is still looking for her first career slam MD win
Amanda Anisimova, USA - the 15-year old won the USTA Wild Card Playoff tournament race, and will become the first player born in 2001 to contest a main draw slam singles match. The 2016 RG girls runner-up, Anisimova has reached three ITF challenger finals (0-3) in '17.
Fiona Ferro, FRA - three years ago, Ferro was the youngest player in the women's MD in Paris. Now, at 20, she's back with her third WC berth in four years. She's still seeking her first RG match win.
Jaimee Fourlis, AUS - a WC recipient in her second '17 slam, the 17-year old posted 1st Round win over Anna Tatishvili in Melbourne
Myrtille Georges, FRA - with two consecutive '17 slam WC, and two in a row at RG, as well, 26-year old Georges' only slam MD win came in Paris last year
Amandine Hesse, FRA - twice a late add by the FFT to the French Fed Cup roster after other players had the "gaul" , Hesse gets her third consecutive RG wild card. The 24-year old won a 1st Round match in Paris in 2015.
Alize Lim, FRA - at 24, Lim gets her fourth straight WC in the RG main draw. She's gone 0-3 in her earlier 1st Round matches.
Chloe Paquet, FRA - the 23-year old Pastry makes her slam MD debut. She's 1-5 in career ITF finals, including a March loss in a clay court challenger in Pula, Italy.

RG - Amanda Anisimova, USA (15)
AO - Destanee Aiava, AUS (16)
AO - Kayla Day, USA (17)
AO - Jaimee Fourlis, AUS (17)
RG - Jaimee Fourlis, AUS (17)
RG - Tessah Andrianjafitrimo, FRA (18)
AO - Lizette Cabrera, AUS (19)
RG - Marketa Vondrousova, CZE (17)
AO - Anna Blinkova, RUS (18)
AO - Natalia Vikhlyantseva, RUS (19)
AO - Elizaveta Kulichkova, RUS (20)
AO - Rebecca Sramkova, SVK (20)
RG - Francoise Abanda, CAN (20)
RG - Beatriz Haddad Maia, BRA (20)

=OLDEST 2017 SLAM...=
AO - Arina Rodionova, AUS (27)
RG - Myrtille Georges, FRA (26)
RG - Alize Lim, FRA (26)
RG - Bethanie Mattek-Sands, USA (32)
RG - Sara Errani, ITA (30)
AO - Mona Barthel, GER (26)
AO - Stefanie Voegele, SUI (26)
RG - Petra Martic, CRO (26)
AO - Marina Zanevska, BEL (23)
RG - Ons Jabeur, TUN (22)

#285 - Petra Martic, CRO (RG)
#217 - Eri Hozumi, JPN (AO)
#196 - Miyu Kato, JPN (RG)
#191 - Francoise Abanda, CAN (RG)
#189 - Anna Blinkova, RUS (AO)
#160 - Quirine Lemoine, NED (RG)
#150 - Mona Barthel, GER (AO)

=MOST 2017 SLAM Q=
2 - Ana Bogdan, ROU (AO/RG)

2 - Jaimee Fourlis, AUS (AO/RG)
2 - Myrtille Georges, FRA (AO/RG)

=CONSECUTIVE SLAM Q - active streaks=
3 - Ana Bogdan, ROU ('16 US/'17 AO/'17 RG)

2 - none

2 - Jaimee Fourlis, AUS ('17 AO/'17 RG)
2 - Myrtille Georges, FRA ('17 AO/'17 RG)

4 - Alize Lim, FRA
3 - Amandine Hesse, FRA
2 - Myrtille Georges, FRA
2 - Tessah Andrianjafitrimo, FRA

4th Rd. AO - Mona Barthel, GER
4th Rd. AO - Jennifer Brady, USA
[wild cards]
3rd Rd. AO - Ash Barty, AUS
[lucky losers]
1st Rd. AO - Marina Zanevska, BEL

3...Russia (3/0)
3...United States (2/1)
2...Japan (1/1)
2...Netherlands (0/2)
2...Romania (1/1)

Artist: Paul Thurlby

All for now.


Blogger colt13 said...

10 On the Up Side(Yes i'm cheating).

1A-Kvitova-She's back, so she deserves some notice. A winnable match against Boserup, but without knowing how the hand will react to stiffness, swelling, tendinitis, etc, so reason to expect her to make the second week. But she's winning at life, which is the main thing.
1.Halep-Even with the ankle, has to stay the favorite as the #2 also has questions. Although this seems to be a trend with Halep, who may be playing the Serena role here-have everybody question her health, then not drop a set on the way to the title. 2008 Jr Champ is the favorite. One red flag-0-2 vs Lucic-Baroni.
2.Mladenovic-2009 Jr Champ has questionable health too, but arguably with Halep(and Barthel)may have had the best clay season. A threat on all surfaces and against all styles, she feels like a slam winner this year, if not here, probably the USO.
3.Svitolina-2010 Jr Champ-Wasn't a theme, just worked out that way. The Dominic Thiem of the WTA. That is both good and bad, as she overplays a bit-for reference, Thiem 27 events in last 52 weeks, Svitolina 24, which surprisingly isn't the most in the top 15. That would be Mladenovic with 25. The good? Thiem beat Nadal, and is a former SF here, while Svitolina has beat Muguruza, won Dubai and Rome. SF or better is possible.
4.Pavlyuchenkova-A former QF everywhere, she is enough of a battler to take out almost anyone in this field. A tough matchup with Vandeweghe could be fun. The almost is because she is 0-7 vs Halep.
5.Ka.Pliskova-Actually has a decent draw. Plus 2017 Pliskova is the closest to 2002 Venus in body type and style we have seen. At this point in 2002-Venus 26-4/AO-QF/3 titles-2017 Pliskova 25-8/AO-QF/2 titles. Also the year Venus was #1 and reached the final. Pliskova might be good enough to use the same style(get early break, run away with first set, win close second) and make a deep run.
6.Siniakova/Dodin-Dodin is 3 inches taller, but both are essentially the same player. Big forehand, almost Jankovic/Puig like backhand, but erratic. Both may face seed in the 2nd rd, but they are worth watching for as long as they stay alive.
7.Williams-Has the best bad losses in the biz. What do I mean? Well, since the beginning of 2016, Venus has lost 23 times. And although she has been in the top 20 the whole time, 14 of them are to women outside of the top 40. But it seems to be a barometer on how well others are going to be as she lost to #47 Konta, #51 Mladenovic, #75 Kasatkina, #96 Vesnina, #223 Peng, etc. Almost all have improved after beating her, so whoever knocks her out is one to keep an eye on for the next couple of years.
8.Bertens-AJ Allmendinger comes to mind. He is the NASCAR driver that is average on regular tracks, but is one of the favorites on a road course. Bertens on clay is a favorite, as the six footer uses her legs well. A legit threat to win, she may have to do it 2013 Bartoli style. What do I mean? Well, she hasn't had a top 20 win since last year's clay season, when she beat #17 Bacsinszky at Gstaad. Her last top 10 win? Um, #9 Bacsinszky at the French.
9.Sevastova-A not so dark horse, she has her only career title on clay. With a grinding style that is tough for everybody except Halep-note-the possible Sevastova/Svitolina matchup could be fun, she might steal this title.
10.Vondrousova-I tried to stay away from the hype, but I can't. Marketa is a favorite to beat Hesse, as she is over 100 spots above her in the rankings. Version 17.9(actually her age) seems to be the next Czech lefty off the assembly line that already has Kvitova, Safarova and Kr.Pliskova. And what is insane is that she may be top 30 by the end of the year. Due to the fact that she was injured after Trnava last year, she has NOTHING to defend from now until January. And is already in the top 100 with only 9 tournaments being counted.

Sat May 27, 01:03:00 PM EDT  
Blogger colt13 said...

10 On the Down Side

1.Duan-Expectations are low, but I need to point out how odd this is. Normally, I use WTA stats, because people have dominated on the ITF level and it isn't relatable sometimes. But since 2006, Duan, combining ITF/WTA, has played 4 tournaments on clay. To narrow it down, 4 matches. She has won once. Not a match, a set-Victoria Kan, how could you? So Duan, who is tall and strong, just slow, would have to pull off a Bastl like performance to win.
2.Stosur-Her consolation prize is that she won a title this week. But Stosur at the French is like an Andretti driving at Indy-they may come close, but it won't happen. The narrative has been that Sharapova has been the one keeping her from a title, but it is equal opportunity. To paraphrase LeBron, Stosur has lost to one of the eventual finalists "Not one, not two, not three" but SIX times, with four(Kuznetsova,Schiavone,Sharapova,Muguruza) taking their talent to a title.
3.Putinseva-Has a QF to defend, and no belief that she can. Zvonareva in 2012 had lost 2 steps because her ankles were gone. Putinseva supossedly isn't injured, but seems to have lost a step as people are just pinning her to the baseline and beating her out wide.
4.Muguruza-The Michelle Wie of the WTA. Like Wie, she has a major. Like Wie, she has an absurd level of talent. But both also have random bouts of WTF. And with apologies to Diane, to Mugu is to reach a SF and retire-again. Has retired from both SF she made this year and 44% of her tourneys this year. Just don't believe she can hold up for 7.
5.Peng-Like 2011 winner Li or 95 SF Date, this is an Asian that plays well on clay. Like Date-Krumm's forehand, Peng has an equally stiff looking two handed backhand which is oddly effective. But if I think that highly of her, why is she on this list? Durability, as she is in both singles and doubles. Now way Peng holds up for 13 matches, so if she reaches the second week in both, one will affect the other.
6.Makarova-Gets the old narrative that Lucic-Baroni got as recently as last year. As is tough veteran to take out, but not expected to get past the 3rd rd. Also is on the list because at #40, she is the highest ranked player not to have reached a SF or better in the last year. Only other in the top 50? Shvedova.
7.Radwanska-Here because due to injury, hasn't won a match on clay. Also, similar to Williams, has a bunch of losses that look better over time, just has too many of them.
8.Konjuh-Linked to the player above, because of a great match, and a wayward ball, Konjuh is in the same boat. Lack of match play and grass being her best surface-for now, lead to low expectations. Leaving healthy and having a good grass season is important.
9.Puig-Not really a down, but if she can win two rounds here and then prepare for her best surface, that is good. Actually has 2 SF to defend, so probably will be unseeded at Wimbledon, but is a QF threat there.
10.Kerber-Couldn't get out of the 1st rd in her career year. Silver lining for her is that she may still be #1 leaving here. Halep could, but has to win, and Pliskova could just by reaching the final. But Kerber's 2016 probably goes down with Myskina's 2004 as one of the more underrated seasons in recent memory. Take Kerber's Big Six events in 2016- AO-W/F-1ST/W-F/OLY-F/USO-W/YEC-F. Then compare than to Serena's 2012 AO-4TH/F-1ST/W-W/OLY-W/USO-W/YEC-W. Kerber actually reached more finals, but Serena was a better closer.

Sat May 27, 01:39:00 PM EDT  

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