Thursday, June 08, 2017

RG.12- Strictly Ostapenko

A few days ago, thunder rolled through Paris. On Thursday, it happened again... only this time the sound had a decidedly Latvian tone.

Of the four woman who showed up at Chatrier court set to battle for a berth in the Roland Garros final, only two were also celebrating birthdays. In the first semifinal match up of Day 12, those two former double partners -- newly-20 year old Jelena Ostapenko and Timea Bacsinszky, 28 -- were both trying to advance to their first major final.

Bacsinszky owes a great deal to Roland Garros. It was her acceptance of a spot in the qualifying rounds in Paris four years ago that led to the resurrection of her tennis career and her initial RG semifinal berth in 2015. After battling through a few recent injuries that have set her back, Paris has come calling again for the thoughtful, likable Swiss woman. Although, even with her variety, defense and court speed working in her favor on the terre battue, she was going to need it all, and likely then some, to corral her young opponent.

Latvian Otapenko's big-hit/big-risk game hadn't made her much of a threat on the clay before this season, but all that's changed this spring. She started this clay court swing by reaching the Charleston final, and today she was seeking a weekend opportunity to end it with something even greater. With well-respected clay courter Anabel Medina-Garrigues in her coaching corner throughout this Roland Garros, Ostapenko has acted the part of sponge, sopping up knowledge at every turn, and figuratively growing with every game, match and victory at this slam. With a history of studying ballroom dancing (which she still occasionally takes lessons in), the Latvian's got the footwork and body awareness to manage the slide-and-glide surface, meaning, unlike some big shot-dependent players, she's able to get to a ball with enough time to spare to be able to *use* the full force of her power rather than just get a shot back. Of course, she also just likes to take a ball and thump it, ending a rally before it can even begin, if she gets the chance.

Yeah, that'll work, too. It's the sort of "Strictly Ostapenko" brand of tennis that has made her the sudden star of this Roland Garros.

Over the course of three sets, Bacsinszky tried everything she could think of to keep Ostapenko's power at bay: slices, drop shots, body serves, rally-extending defensive gets that made the Lativan hit a few extras balls, and even the occasional bold attack that often saw her come in to nearly the service line to cut off one of the her opponent's short second serves (sometimes even with a sliced dropper). It worked for a while, as she held her own even while Ostapenko's booming groundstrokes were able to find their range. For most of the day, neither woman would maintain any great momentum for long stretches of play. But, as we've seen quite often at this tournament, even Bacsinszky was eventually, and more and more, left to gaze at the ground after being unable to catch up with a whizzing Ostapenko forehand shot that flew by too quckly to contend with, landing inside the lines for yet another winner.

Bacsinszky was on top of the ball early, earning a break in game #2 at the end of a six-minute Ostapenko service game. But the youngster, showing no sign of nerves, immediately broke back. She saved two set points in game #6, holding for 3-3, then broke Bacsinszky a game later. After the Swiss took a brief medical timeout to have her leg wrapped, Ostapenko's game went off slightly, as she fell behind love/30 and then double-faulted on BP to give back her break advantage. Late in the set, up love/30 in game #11, Ostapenko easily raced to reach a Bacsinszky drop shot, but rather than blast a shot into the open court, after possibly seeing the Swiss leaning in that direction out of the corner of her eye, she changed course at the last moment and attempted to simply push the ball over for a drop shot winner. Instead, she dumped it into the net, squandering what would have been a triple break opportunity. Recognizing her lapse in thought, Ostapenko pointed her index finger at the side of her head, surely wishing she could take the shot back. She recovered quickly, getting to 15/40. Bacsinszky kept the game alive (once with a perfect lob), but the Latvian broke for 6-5. But she wasn't able to serve out the set.

In the deciding tie-break, it was Ostapenko's power and placement that took over. Up 5-3, she masterfully blasted an into-the-wind forehand winner down the line to reach set point. She followed up a big serve with an easy backhand put-away to take the TB 7-3 and move within a set of the final.

Bacsinszky gamely came back in the 2nd, while the Latvian couldn't quite put things away. Ostapenko took a 40/love lead on serve at 3-3, but hit a DF on game point. Two errors ended the game as the Swiss took a break lead. In game #8, Ostapenko committed a pair of errors on back-to-back deuce points, denying herself more BP chances, then dumped a volley into the net on game point to allow Bacsinszky to hold for 5-3. Serving to stay in the set, Ostapenko felt behind 15/40, then hit a DF on Bacsinszky's second set point. With four consecutive games in her "win" column, Bacsinszky took the 2nd at 6-3 and made it a one-set battle.

The 3rd began with three straight breaks of serve. Ostapenko was simply wailing on the ball, while Bacsinszky was retrieving nearly every shot and forcing her to hit another. It was a virtual stalemate. The Swiss pulled out one of her drop shot winners off an Ostapenko second serve on game point, but the Latvian held for 3-1 at the end of a five-deuce game. A game later, she pounded a forehand return winner down the line to reach BP, but a Bacsinszky body serve thwarted her power and elicited an error. The Swiss held for 3-2, then broke Ostapenko to level the set.

Then Ostapenko's thunder rolled over the finish line.

Up 15/40 in game #7, a wicked forehand winner broke Bacsinszky for 4-3, then Ostapenko held at love. At 5-3, she moved in to take a second serve and smashed a forehand crosscourt return winner, then reached double MP at 15/40. Bacsinszky saved the first with a well-executed wide serve, but Ostapenko hit a winner behind the Swiss at the baseline to end the match, taking it 7-6(3)/3-6/6-3 to become the first Latvian to reach a slam singles final. She's the first unseeded player to play for the women's title in Paris since 1983.

Best. Birthday. Ever.

Ostapenko fired 50 winners on the day, outdistancing her 45 unforced errors. Bacsinszky had competitive numbers (22/19) in that area, but Ostapenko ultimately won one point more than the Swiss in the match, 106 to 105.

She'll next not only play for her first career slam crown, but it would also be her first tour-level singles title. Ever. She's 0-3 in WTA finals, losing one in each of the past three seasons. We've truly seen '14 Wimbledon girls champ Ostapenko coming since, at least, the opening stages of the 2016 season, but she's improved in leaps and bounds in recent months, and now finds her range more often than not. Barely ranked inside the Top 50 as the '17 season began, and at #47 when RG began, she's set to climb into the Top 20 with this result, with the wind most definitely at her back as she heads into the grass and summer hard court campaigns where her huge shots will likely prove to be even *more* lethal to opponents' chances of winning.

Meanwhile, Bacsinszky is back "in the game." After her previous RG semi, she followed up with a QF run at Wimbledon. We'll see how that goes, but a higher seed than the #30 she sported in Paris will surely assist her efforts.

For her part, Ostapenko is clearly enjoying the ride. Her post-match smiles are now as common as the smirks and entertaining, heart-on-her-sleeve facial expressions that she flashes during matches. With a forehand with such power that it comfortably ranks in the league with those of the four men's semifinalists at this Roland Garros (her average is actually *higher* than that of #1-ranked Andy Murray), Ostapenko is the very embodiment of a force of nature, at least as far as The Most Interesting Tour in the World is concerned.

Can the Latvian thunder roll one more time through Paris? Well, if it does, no one will be able to say they weren't warned.

...while the first semifinal featured players aged eight years apart seeking to reach their first career slam final, the other was contested between two woman not only looking to get their *second* chance to play for a major title, but also to rise to the top of the WTA rankings. #3-seeded 2014 RG finalist Simona Halep stood two wins away from becoming the first Romanian woman to become a world #1, while #2-seeded U.S. Open finalist Karolina Pliskova needed to just win today to become the first Czech to do so since Martina Navratilova.

Halep came into Paris as a "favorite," as long as her ankle was sound (it's turned out to be), but Pliskova's lack of a great history on clay (as well as her own self-effacing comments about her RG expectations) didn't exactly cause anyone to cast *her* as such. While the differing tone of the conversations regarding their RG prospects was evident two weeks ago, the same could be said about the stylistic differences between their games. While Halep is a swift and light mover around the court, leading with defense but looking for an opportunity to go on the offensive, Pliskova's movement (while having improved over the last last few seasons) will never lead her to be known for the way her long legs and feet carry her from line to line, as her huge serves and groundstrokes form the heart of *her* gameplan. Before the match, Halep even joked about the Czech's relentless groundstroke attack, saying she surely expected to see tennis balls coming "back like a machine."

But while the Czech *was* an imposing opponent, the "new" Simona wasn't about to allow yesterday's miraculous escape in her QF match (she trailed 6-3/5-1, and faced a MP) against Elina Svitolina, and all the affirming feelings of confidence it generated, to have been for nothing.

Picking up where she left off while winning the final seven games of her QF match, Halep started quickly. Traversing the red clay court of Chatrier as if skimming the surface of a body of water, Halep ran Pliskova back and forth along the baseline, forcing errors while looking to move forward to end rallies. She broke the Czech in the third game of the match to take a 2-1 lead. It'd be the only break point that the Romanian would successfully convert in the opening set, but it would also be the only one she'd need, as the Czech's errors began to mount as she tried to stay with the scrambling and attacking Romanian. Pliskova had BP in the following game, but Halep held serve. At 5-3, Halep's return at Pliskova's feet produced an error that gave her her first set point. The Czech staved it off, as well as another, holding for 5-4. But Pliskova's sixteenth forehand error of the 1st set ended it a game later, as Halep held to win 6-4.

Pliskova managed to turn the momentum in the middle of the 2nd set, finally securing an easy hold of serve to take a 3-2 lead. She went up love/40 on Halep's serve a game later, breaking for 4-2. Beginning to impose her power on the Romanian, the Czech saved three BP in game #7. She held a SP in game #8, but Halep turned up her aggression and got the hold. Pliskova served out the set at 6-3.

In the deciding 3rd set, Halep reached BP in the second game, but failed to convert, leaving her 1-for-8 on such opportunities in the match. Finally, two games later, she broke Pliskova for a 3-1 lead when she flared a brilliant running forehand pass to end the game.

Halep saved two BP a game later, but saw Pliskova claw her way back into the set by breaking back for 4-3. But "Simona 2.0" wasn't going to fold. She took a 15/40 lead on Pliskova's serve in game #8, taking the game on her second BP with the assistance of a long forehand error from the Czech, giving Halep the chance to serve for the match. On MP at 5-3, Halep fired a serve up the middle. Pliskova lunged to her left to reach it, but was only able to sail a backhand long, as the Romanian wrapped up a 6-4/3-6/6-3 victory, her second over a Top 6 player in a little more than twenty-four hours, to reach her second career final in Paris. She's a win away from becoming the first Romanian woman to rise to world #1.

Even while the confident Halep was focused and true about what she needed to do today, and rarely wavered from that plan, Pliskova -- even with 55 unforced errors to go with her 45 winners -- found a way to keep herself in the match against what may be the tour's best clay courter. If the Czech can get everything together during the grass and hard court season this summer, her first slam title and the #1 ranking might just come to her, too.

But it's Halep who now has the chance to claim both on Saturday.

...the first champions of the 2017 Roland Garros were crowned at the start of this day in Paris, as the Mixed Doubles final was contested between #7-seeded Gaby Dabrowski & Rohan Bopanna and Anna-Lena Groenefeld & Robert Farah. ALG/Farah held two MP in the deciding 3rd set super tie-break, but Dabrowski & Bopanna survived to win 2-6/6-2 [12-10]. Dabrowski is the fourth consecutive first-time slam major winner to claim the women's half of a MX crown -- after Heather Watson, Laura Siegemund and Abigail Spears -- as well as the very first Canadian to win a slam title. the junior singles quarterfinals, the three Top 5 seeded girls in action on Thursday all lost. Unseeded Russian Marta Paigina, already with an upset of #1-seeded Anastasia Potapova (RUS) on her resume, knocked off #5 Iga Swiatek (POL) today. #2 Amanda Anisimova (USA), the '16 girls runner-up, lost to another Russian, #11 Elena Rybakina. Meanwhile, #3-seeded Canadian Bianca Andreescu fell to #6-seeded Bannerette Claire Liu. And, in the remaining all-U.S. match-up, #7 Whitney Osuigwe took out Caty McNally.

The semifinals will (fittingly, in light of the goings-on in Washington?) feature a pair of dueling U.S. vs. Russia face-offs, as Paigina meets Liu, while Osuigwe gets Rybakina. Liu was actually my pick for the junior title coming in due to her great ITF results in recent weeks, but since I'm finally mentioning it now I expect she'll soon become Paigina's next seeded victim.

In the doubles, AO junior champs Andreescu & Carson Branstine advanced to the semis.

...wheelchair action began on Day 12, with the eight-woman field all taking to the clay courts. Five different women have won the RG singles title over the past five years.

2012 Esther Vergeer, NED
2013 Sabine Ellerbrock, GER
2014 Yui Kamiji, JPN
2015 Jiske Griffioen, NED
2016 Marjolein Buis, NED

Today, #1-seeded Jiske Griffioen was upset by countrywoman and doubles partner Aniek van Koot, 6-7(4)/6-0/6-3. Van Koot is a two-time slam singles champ, having won the Australian and U.S. Open titles, as well as reaching the finals at the other two majors (RG: 2012,'14,'15 and WI '16). She's the only player in the semifinals who isn't a former singles winner in Paris, as Sabine Ellerbrock (def. Jordanne Whiley), #2-seed Yui Kamiji (def. Charlotte Famin) and defending champion Marjolein Buis (def. Deide de Groot in a 7-5 3rd set) all put up victories of their own.

...YES, IT *IS* DIFFICULT TO MULTITASK ON DAY 12: Some things just *demand* to be watched.

...LIKE ON DAY 12: Martina Navratilova's immediate reaction when this stat came on the screen during Tennis Channel's coverage. Said Martina, "Holy sh-...uh, holy cow!" Nice save, Martina.


...LIKE ON DAY 12: AMG *still* getting her day in the sun (or out of it)...

...LIKE ON DAY 12: When it works...

...LIKE ON DAY 12: When it's just easy...


...LIKE ON DAY 12: Evidence.


...LIKE ON DAY 12: When Jelena was simply *plotting* her future coup (in 2014, watching from Latvian Ernests Gulbis' box when he played Roger Federer)...

...and, finally...Colt13's theory is now down to one...


Of course, if Ostapenko gets an upgrade...

Jelena Ostapenko/LAT vs. #3 Simona Halep/ROU

#1 Mattek-Sands/Safarova (USA/CZE) vs. #3 Y.Chan/Hingis (TPE/SUI)
Barty/Dellacqua (AUS/AUS) vs. #6 Hradecka/Siniakova (CZE/CZE)

#7 Dabrowski/Bopanna (CAN/IND) def. Groenefeld/Farah (GER/COL) 2-6/6-2 [12-10]

Marta Paigina/RUS def. #5 Iga Swiatek/POL
#6 Claire Liu/USA def. #3 Bianca Andreescu/CAN
#7 Whitney Osuigwe/USA def. Caty McNally/USA
#11 Elena Rybakina/RUS def. #2 Amanda Anisimova/USA

#1 Andreescu/Branstine (CAN/CAN ) def. Osorio/Serrano (COL/BRA)
Carle/F.Jones (ARG/GBR) def. #3 T.Johnson/C.Liu (USA/USA)
Miyamoto/X.Wang (JPN/CHN) def. Bornay/Halemai (FRA/FRA)
#2 Pervushina/Potapova (RUS/RUS) def. #8 McNally/Osuigwe (USA/USA)

Aniek van Koot/NED def, #1 Jiske Griffioen/NED
Sabine Ellerbrock/GER def. Jordanne Whiley/GBR
Marjolein Buis/NED def. Deide de Groot/NED
#2 Yui Kamiji/JPN def. (WC) Charlotte Famin/FRA

#1 Griffioen/van Koot (NED/NED) vs. Ellerbrock/Famin (GER/FRA)
de Groot/Whiley (NED/GBR) vs. #2 Buis/Kamiji (NED/JPN)

Russian food ??

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Sunsets spent editing the second pass of my memoir. September cannot come soon enough ?? #Unstoppable

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#TBT Just want to go for a run ??

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29...Serena Williams (23-6)
15...Venus Williams (7-8)
10...Maria Sharapova (5-5)
4...Victoria Azarenka (2-2)
4...Svetlana Kuznetsova (2-2)
3...Angelique Kerber (2-1)
2...Petra Kvitova (2-0)
2...Garbine Muguruza (1-1)
2...Francesca Schiavone (1-1)
2...Samantha Stosur (1-1)
2...SIMONA HALEP (0-1)
2...Caroline Wozniacki (0-2)
1...Genie Bouchard (0-1)
1...Dominika Cibulkova (0-1)
1...Sara Errani (0-1)
1...Jelena Jankovic (0-1)
1...Sabine Lisicki (0-1)
1...Karolina Pliskova (0-1)
1...Agnieszka Radwanska (0-1)
1...Lucie Safarova (0-1)
1...Roberta Vinci (0-1)
ALSO: Hingis (5-7)
[RG finals]
4...Serena Williams (3-1)
3...Maria Sharapova (2-1)
2...Svetlana Kuznetsova (1-1)
2...Francesca Schiavone (1-1)
2...SIMONA HALEP (0-1)
1...Garbine Muguruza (1-0)
1...Sara Errani (0-1)
1...Lucie Safarova (0-1)
1...Samantha Stosur (0-1)
1...Venus Williams (0-1)
ALSO: Hingis (0-2)

1997 U.S. Open - Venus Williams
1999 U.S. Open - Serena Williams (W)
2004 Wimbledon - Maria Sharapova (W)
2004 U.S. Open - Svetlana Kuznetsova (W)
2008 U.S. Open - Jelena Jankovic
2009 U.S. Open - Caroline Wozniacki
2010 Roland Garros - Francesca Schiavone (W)
2010 Roland Garros - Samantha Stosur
2010 Wimbledon - Vera Zvonareva
2011 Wimbledon - Petra Kvitova (W)
2012 Australian Open - Victoria Azarenka (W)
2012 Roland Garros - Sara Errani
2012 Wimbledon - Agnieszka Radwanska
2013 Wimbledon - Sabine Lisicki
2014 Australian Open - Dominika Cibulkova
2014 Roland Garros - Simona Halep
2014 Wimbledon - Genie Bouchard
2015 Roland Garros - Lucie Safarova
2015 Wimbledon - Garbine Muguruza
2015 U.S. Open - Roberta Vinci
2016 Australian Open - Angelique Kerber (W)
2016 U.S. Open - Karolina Pliskova
2017 Roland Garros - Jelena Ostapenko
ALSO: Hingis (1997)-W

49 - Flavia Pennetta (2015 U.S. Open)
47 - Marion Bartoli (2013 Wimbledon)
45 - Jana Novotna (1998 Wimbledon)
39 - Francesca Schiavone (2010 Roland Garros)
34 - Samantha Stosur (2011 U.S. Open)
33 - Angelique Kerber (2016 Australian Open)
31 - Amelie Mauresmo (2006 Australian Open)
29 - Jennifer Capriati (2001 Australian Open)
28 - Kerry Melville-Reid (1978 Australian Open)
26 - Lindsay Davenport (1998 U.S. Open)
25 - Victoria Azarenka (2012 Australian Open)
NOTE: Halep is in 28th slam, Ostapenko is in 8th

16 - USA
8 - RUS
5 - ITA
3 - BEL
2 - AUS,ESP,ROU(Halep)
1 - CAN,DEN,FRA,LAT(Ostapenko),POL,SVK
12 - USA

**2017 WTA FINALS**
4...Elina Svitolina, UKR (4-0)
4...Kristina Mladenovic, FRA (1-3)
3...Caroline Wozniacki, DEN (0-3)
2...Karolina Pliskova, CZE (2-0)
2...Johanna Konta, GBR (2-0)
2...Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, RUS (2-0)
2...Francesca Schiavone, ITA (1-1)
2...Elise Mertens, BEL (1-1)

**WTA FINALS, 2015-17**
14...Angelique Kerber (7-7)
12...Karolina Pliskova (5-7)
11...Serena Williams (8-3)
11...SIMONA HALEP (7-3)
8...Aga Radwanska (6-2)
8...Elina Svitolina (6-2)
8...Caroline Wozniacki (3-5)
7...Petra Kvitova (5-2)
7...Dominika Cibulkova (4-3)
7...Kristina Mladenovic (1-6)
6...Venus Williams (4-2)
6...Svetlana Kuznetsova (3-3)

2006 Katarina Srebotnik & Nenad Zimonjic
2007 Nathalie Dechy & Andy Ram
2008 Victoria Azarenka & Bob Bryan
2009 Liezel Huber & Bob Bryan
2010 Katarina Srebotnik & Nenad Zimonjic
2011 Casey Dellacqua & Scott Lipsky
2012 Sania Mirza & Mahesh Bhupathi
2013 Lucie Hradecka & Frantisek Cermak
2014 Anna-Lena Groenefeld & Jean-Julien Rojer
2015 Bethanie Mattek-Sands & Mike Bryan
2016 Martina Hingis & Leander Paes
2017 Gaby Dabrowski & Rohan Bopanna

**SLAM MX TITLES - active*
5...Martina Hingis, SUI
5...Katarina Srebotnik, SLO
4...Daniela Hantuchova, SVK
3...Sania Mirza, IND
3...Samantha Stosur, AUS
2...Victoria Azarenka, BLR
2...Anna-Lena Groenefeld, GER
2...Liezel Huber, USA
2...Bethanie Mattek-Sands, USA
2...Kristina Mladenovic, FRA
2...Serena Williams, USA
2...Venus Williams, USA
2...Vera Zvonareva, RUS
1...Elena Bovina, RUS
1...Casey Dellacqua, AUS
1...Andrea Hlavackova, CZE
1...Lucie Hradecka, CZE
1...Jelena Jankovic, SRB
1...Ekaterina Makarova, RUS
1...Melanie Oudin, USA
1...Laura Siegemund, GER
1...Abigail Spears, USA
1...Elena Vesnina, RUS
1...Heather Watson, GBR

2006 Lisa Raymond & Samantha Stosur, USA/AUS
2007 Katarina Srebotnik, SLO
2008 Anabel Medina-Garrigues & Virginia Ruano Pascual, ESP/ESP
2009 Virginia Ruano Pascual, ESP
2010 Katarina Srebotnik, SLO
2011 Andrea Hlavackova & Lucie Hradecka, CZE/CZE
2012 Sara Errani & Roberta Vinci, ITA/ITA
2013 Ekaterina Makarova & Elena Vesnina, RUS/RUS
2014 Anna-Lena Groenefeld, GER
2015 Bethanie Mattek-Sands, USA
2016 Caroline Garcia & Kristina Mladenovic, FRA/FRA
2017 Gaby Dabrowski, CAN

13 = Bethanie Mattek-Sands (January-March)
12 = CHAN-YUNG-JAN/MARTINA HINGIS (May-June) - active (to SF)
11 = Chan Yung-Jan (May)

#1 - Martina Navratilova
#2 - Jana Novotna
#2 - Petra Kvitova
#3 - Karolina Pliskova
#3 - Hana Mandlikova
#4 - Helena Sukova
#6 - Lucie Safarova
#7 - Nicole Vaidisova

#2 - Simona Halep
#7 - Irina Spirlea
#8 - Virginia Ruzici
[Romanian slam finalists]
1977 Roland Garros: Florenta Mihai
1978 Roland Garros: Virginia Ruzici (W)
1980 Roland Garros: Virginia Ruzici
2014 Roland Garros: Simona Halep
2017 Roland Garros: Simona Halep

2007 Esther Vergeer, NED
2008 Esther Vergeer, NED
2009 Esther Vergeer, NED
2010 Esther Vergeer, NED
2011 Esther Vergeer, NED
2012 Esther Vergeer, NED
2013 Sabine Ellerbrock, GER
2014 Yui Kamiji, JPN
2015 Jiske Griffioen, NED
2016 Marjolein Buis, NED
2017 ?
2007 Maaike Smit/Esther Vergeer, NED/NED
2008 Jiske Griffioen/Esther Vergeer, NED/NED
2009 Korie Homan/Esther Vergeer, NED/NED
2010 Daniela Di Toro/Aniek van Koot, AUS/NED
2011 Esther Vergeer/Sharon Walraven, NED/NED
2012 Marjolein Buis/Esther Vergeer, NED/NED
2013 Jiske Griffioen/Aniek van Koot, NED/NED
2014 Yui Kamiji/Jordanne Whiley, JPN/GBR
2015 Jiske Griffioen/Aniek van Koot, NED/NED
2016 Yui Kamiji/Jordanne Whiley, JPN/GBR
2017 ?

TOP QUALIFIER: Marketa Vondrousova/CZE
TOP EARLY-ROUND (1r-2r): #23 Samantha Stosur/AUS
TOP MIDDLE-ROUND (3r-QF): #3 Simona Halep/ROU
TOP QUALIFYING MATCH: Q3: Quirine Lemoine/NED def. Arantxa Rus/NED 2-6/7-6(3)/6-3 (down 6-2/5-3, saved 2 MP)
TOP EARLY-RD. MATCH (1r-2r): 1st Rd. - #13 Kristina Mladenovic/FRA def. Jennifer Brady/USA 3-6/6-3/9-7 (back injury; down 3-0 in 3rd; on third attempt to serve out match)
TOP MIDDLE-RD. MATCH (3r-QF): 4th Rd. - #3 Simona Halep/ROU def. #5 Elina Svitolina/UKR 3-6/7-6(6)/6-0 (down 6-3/5-1, Svitolina served twice for match and had MP in TB)
FIRST VICTORY: Petra Kvitova/CZE (def. Boserup/USA)
FIRST SEED OUT: #31 Roberta Vinci/ITA (1st Rd.-lost to Puig/PUR)
UPSET QUEENS: South Americans (Duque Marino/COL & Cepede Royg/PAR)
REVELATION LADIES: Muslim woman (LL Jabeur/TUN first Arab in 3rd Rd.; Buyukakcay/TUR 1st Rd. win for second straight year)
NATION OF POOR SOULS: Germany (2-5 in 1st Round; Kerber first #1 out so early)
LAST PASTRY STANDING: Kristina Mladenovic/FRA and Caroline Garcia/FRA (both QF)
MADEMOISELLE OPPORTUNITY: Simona Halep/ROU and Karolina Pliskova/CZE
IT "Teen": Jelena Ostapenko/LAT
CRASH & BURN: #1 Angelique Kerber/GER (first #1-ranked woman to lost RG 1st Rd.; first at any slam since '01)
ZOMBIE QUEEN OF PARIS: Kristina Mladenovic/FRA (1st Rd.- down 3-0 in 3rd to Brady, wins 9-7; 3rd Rd. - down 5-2 in 3rd, wins 8-6 vs. Rogers)
DOUBLES STAR: Gaby Dabrowski/CAN
VETERAN PLAYER (KIMIKO CUP): Nominees: Bacsinszky, Dellacqua (also late "Légion de Lenglen" nominee)
JUNIOR BREAKOUT: Nominees: C.Liu, Paigina, Rybakina, Osuigwe
Légion de Lenglen HONOREE: Caroline Garcia/FRA

Artist: Paul Thurlby

All for Day 12. More tomorrow.


Blogger colt13 said...

You are confusing me with the AO Mixed Titles:)

Not even today's stat, but since you brought it up with Ostapenko, Hingis won in her 9th slam and S.Williams the 7th. Venus reached the final in her 3rd and won in her 13th, and Mauresmo's 99 final was her 8th. She's keeping some pretty good company.

Halep didn't play between the French and Wimbledon last year, while Pliskova has points to defend,as does Kerber, so if Simona wins, she will be #1 for at least a month.

Stat of the Day-4 -The amount of consecutive slams won by first timers in mixed. Todd did mention that, but the odd thing is that the previous 12 slams were all won by teams that had at least one repeat winner. And it started with a Canadian in Daniel Nestor, who has 4 titles.

Nestor has won with Mladenovic twice, Srebotnik and Likhovtseva. Having played 55 slams, you would think that he has played with a bunch of people. And he has! 25 to be exact, starting with Canadian Rene Simpson, one of 3 he has played with. In his first slam match, he played against Rennae Stubbs, who he then played with 8 years later.

And it is a virtual list of doubles stars, with Mirza, Mattek-Sands, Vesnina, etc leading the pack.

Last fun fact. When this current mixed streak started at Wimbledon 2016, do you know who the eventual winners Henri Kontinen and Heather Watson beat in the SF? Oliver Marach and Jelena Ostapenko.

Thu Jun 08, 08:18:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Todd.Spiker said...

Haha. The perils of cut-and-paste. Fixed!

Yeah, that's the thing -- Ostapenko actually has good history at SW19, with a junior title and mixed final. She lists it as her favorite tournament, and likes to play on grass courts.

It'll be really interesting to see how she does there now.

I bet Mirnyi (who was in the MX draw this year, too) has played w/ about a million partners, too.

Thu Jun 08, 10:29:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Rajendra Parihar said...

The stats according to this post says RG finals Sharapova 2 (1-1)
It's that incorrect ? Sharapova should be 3 (2-1)

Thu Jun 08, 11:23:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Eric said...

why are people making a big deal about when Ana Ivanovic became number 1? Didn't she become number 1 because Justine took her name off the rankings instead of letting it drop down?

Also...if/when Serena comes back with a protected number 1 rank...will that count for increasing her weeks at number 1?

Thu Jun 08, 11:40:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Todd.Spiker said...

Thanks -- fixed that one.

Well, Sharapova took over the #1 ranking for a month after Henin retired before RG and immediately removed her name. Then Ivanovic def. Jankovic in the semis in a match for the #1 ranking, then she won the title. JJ became #1 in August, then it was passed between her, AnaIvo and Serena until Jankovic ended up being the year-end #1 that season.

Hmmm, I don't know. Of course, the PR will get her into draws, and I guess she'll be at the top of the seeds for events, but I don't believe it would give her added weeks at #1, as with Seles when she was installed as "co-#1" after she returned from her stabbing.

Although, if she plays in January, she'll still have her AO title points, so she'd already have a high ranking.

(But I never know how some of the ranking things work.)

Fri Jun 09, 01:06:00 AM EDT  
Blogger colt13 said...

The Serena thing goes as such: Like Kvitova, Serena would have enough points at the AO to not need to use PR, so ranking would be wherever she is at, which would be around 20.

They take an average of the first 3 months you are out, so her PR will either be 1 or 2, which will get her in everywhere, but she will still be seeded due to her ranking at the time, or unseeded for the first tournament back if using PR.

To make this longer, take Wimbledon. Azarenka has a PR of 7, so got in easily, but will be unseeded because she cant earn enough points in Mallorca to reach the top 32. Stephens, Tomljanovic and Lisicki took the other SR spots. Lisicki is at 92, so if Friedsam or Gasparyan had entered, she would have needed a wild card because her ranking is lower than the others.

Fri Jun 09, 10:37:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Todd.Spiker said...

See, that's why I pretty much just let the rankings and such come out as they are rather than try to figure them out beforehand. :D

Thanks, Colt. ;)

Fri Jun 09, 11:39:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Eric said...

Thank you both for explaining. I've always remembered it wrong. I forgot Maria was still in the mix at that point.

I can't believe it's been 10 years...

Colt, do you work for the WTA or something??! LOL. How do you know/remember all this stuff?

Fri Jun 09, 12:04:00 PM EDT  

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