Sunday, June 18, 2017

Wk.24- Generation PDQ

What hath Jelena wrought?



As interesting as it will be to see how Latvia's Roland Garros champion responds in the immediate afterglow of her star-making turn in Paris, the same can be said of her generational counterparts who watched it all happen.

While Jelena Ostapenko was experiencing the first week of the rest of her tennis life...



the players who might wish to challenge her on the tennis court were busy trying to find their place in this new WTA world.

The 20-year old has weapons that many of her longtime opponents do not, but when a young player goes about her business as Ostapenko just did -- without fear of the repercussions of potential mistakes and simply deciding to let her talent flow like an open spigot -- and ends up lifting the Coupe Suzanne Lenglen when the red clay dust has settled, it surely has *some* sort of psychological and competitive impact on the players who wish to follow in her footsteps, or even make a few of their own. In Week 24, just days after Ostapenko stormed the WTA's palace, we may have seen the early signs of what's to come in the opening week of this summer's grass court season as 21-year old Anett Kontaveit won her maiden tour singles title, and 20-year old Donna Vekic, once herself a "teen queen" before discovering that early success doesn't necessarily translate to continued success, won her first tournament in three years.

Of course, 2017 had already been leaving clues all over the schedule, practically littering the weekly results with highlight-able instances.

Three of this week's four singles finalists were age 21 or under, and with that and the wins by Kontaveit and Vekic, the season's numbers continue to impress:

2 - teen singles champions
3 - finals featuring two 21-or-under players
4 - teen singles finalists
8 - 21 and under singles champions
9 - 20 and under singles finalists


At this rate, might this generational "PDQ" approach result in a *second* slam title by a player in Ostapenko's age group pretty darn quicker than we might have anticipated a few weeks ago? After Paris, it's a reality worth considering. We have to, really.

So, I guess, at the very least, *that* is what Jelena has wrought.

And it's a glorious thing. Not only for those watching, but also for those being watched. When the remarkable is proven to be possible, all dreams are suddenly attainable. Maybe far sooner than anyone believes.


*WEEK 24 CHAMPIONS*
NOTTINGHAM, ENGLAND (Int'l/Grass)
S: Donna Vekic/CRO def. Johanna Konta/GBR 2-6/7-6(3)/7-5
D: Monique Adamczak/Storm Sanders (AUS/AUS) d. Jocelyn Rae/Laura Robson (GBR/GBR) 6-4/4-6 [10-4]
's-HERTOGENBOSCH (ROSMALEN), NETHERLANDS (Int'l/Grass)
S: Anett Kontaveit/EST def. Natalia Vikhlyantseva/RUS 6-2/6-3
D: Dominika Cibulkova/Kirsten Flipkens (SVK/BEL) d. Kiki Bertens/Demi Schuurs (NED/NED) 4-6/6-4 [10-6]
FED CUP EUROPE/AFRICA III ZONE - Chisinau, Moldova (RCO)
Promotional Playoff #1: Greece def. Finland 2-0
Promotional Playoff #2: Moldova def. Cyprus 2-0


PLAYERS OF THE WEEK: Anett Kontaveit/EST and Donna Vekic/CRO
...well, we can now *officially* add Kontaveit's name to the list of NextGen players to watch. Of course, she was likely already there, having gotten her footing after a disappointing '16 season that saw her fall out of the Top 100 after losing six of seven matches during one summer stretch. As a result, the 2012 U.S. Open girls finalist started this season ranked at #121, but has been seemingly on a mission to make up for lost time through the first half of '17. A $60K challenger title in January has been followed by her first tour-level final in Biel, her first two Top 10 wins (over Kerber and Muguruza), her first Premier 5 QF (Rome, after qualifying there, as well as a week earlier in Madrid) and, this week, her maiden tour singles crown in 's-Hertogenbosch.

FIRST WTA TITLE!!!! ?????? @ricohopen #adidastennis #babolat

A post shared by Anett Kontaveit (@anett_kontaveit) on



The 21-year old Estonian, one year after reaching the Nottingham QF, went to Rosmalen and won the title with victories there over Kristyna Pliskova, Kirsten Flipkens, Carina Witthoeft, Lesia Tsurenko and Natalia Vikhlyantseva in a 6-2/6-3 final. Kontaveit had already managed to drive her ranking to #49 heading into the week, and now she'll climb to another new career high of #36. She's 38-9 in singles play on all levels in 2017, but she's still seeking slam success. She reached the Round of 16 in her U.S. Open debut in 2015, but her recent 1st Round victory in Paris was just the second time she's advanced to the 2nd Round at a major.

Meanwhile, in Nottingham, 20-year Vekic inserted her name back into the general tennis conversation for a reason other than being Stan Wawrinka's girlfriend, winning her first tour title in three years. Still, it *is* somewhat noteworthy that the Croat's results have ticked up since she watched from the players box as the Swiss win the U.S. Open last September.



Ranked as high as #62 in 2013, Vekic had a difficult time living up to her early promise while still in her teenage years. After reaching her first tour-level singles final in 2012 at age 16 (Tashkent), she had season finishes in the #80's in 2013-14. But she couldn't maintain the momentum, and the Croat fell just outside the Top 100 the last two seasons. Her results finally began to pick up on hard courts last summer, leading to a $100K final in Saint Petersburg (she lost to fellow Week 24 finalist Vikhlyantseva), a $100K win in Sharm El Sheikh, and a WTA 125 QF in Limoges (losing to eventual champ Caroline Garcia). She'd managed to lift her ranking to #70 heading into Nottingham, but was still under .500 in WTA MD matches (7-12) for the season and was coming off a 1st Round loss last week to Jamie Loeb on the grass at the Surbiton $100K challenger. But none of that mattered. Vekic posted wins over Shelby Rogers, Julia Boserup, Maria Sakkari and Lucie Safarova (in 2:48) to reach what was her fourth tour-level final, but first since September 2015. In the final against top-seeded Johanna Konta, Vekic posted her first Top 10 win since '14, coming back from dropping the opening set, winning a 2nd set TB and then avoiding blowing a 3-1 lead in the 3rd, holding to stay in the match for 5-5, then breaking the Brit and calmly serving things out to win her second tour-level singles crown, and first since taking Kuala Lumpur at age 17 in 2014. She'll rise to a new career high of #58 this week, sporting an all-level mark of 26-17 this season.
===============================================
RISERS: Johanna Konta/GBR and Lesia Tsurenko/UKR
...in Nottingham, Konta, playing in her first career grass court final, seemed well on her way to becoming not only the first British woman to win a tour-level event on the surface since 1985 (Anne Hobbs, Auckland), but the first to win *any* WTA singles title on home soil since 1981 (Sue Barker, '81 Brighton) and the first to do so in a home grass event since Virginia Wade's Wimbledon triumph in 1977. Wins over Tara Moore, Yanina Wickmayer (Konta's doubles partner, they reached the semis as a duo), Ash Barty and Magdalena Rybarikova to advance to her into her first tour-level final in Britain, where she broke Donna Vekic to open the match and claimed the 1st set. The Croatian pushed things to a 3rd with a TB win in the 2nd. After Konta, battling against line calls (a theme in many of the matches in Nottingham this week, including her SF win over Rybarikova, when things often went against the Slovak) throughout the day, overcame a 3-1 deficit and led 5-4, Vekic held at love, broke Konta and then served out the match.



Konta's third '17 final, one off the tour lead shared by Elina Svitolina and Kristina Mladenovic, will lift her ranking one spot to #7, putting her in good position as far as the seeds go for Wimbledon. Of course, Konta is just 1-5 at SW19. Her lone victory came last year when, as the #16 seed, she defeated Monica Puig before losing to Genie Bouchard in the 2nd Round.

In the Netherlands, Tsurenko once again showed what she's capable of accomplishing when she's healthy, which hasn't exactly been a common occurrence over the past year or so. Since just last spring, the Ukrainian has dealt with hamstring, knee and thigh injuries, as well as one virus-related exit from an event. Through the opening hard court stretch of this season, Tsurenko got off to a 9-4 start, but had been forced out of tournaments by injury/illness four times in her last eight events stretching back to last September, as well as a fifth such occurrence last summer in New Haven. Still, even after a 3-7 clay court spring, she was still ranked #37 on the back of the very good results she still manages to produce, including a Round of 16 result at the U.S. Open and Guangzhou title late last year, then a Hobart semi and Acapulco title run this season. Last week on the grass, the 28-year old got past Elise Mertens, Petra Krejsova and Kristina Mladenovic (a 3 & 1 beat down of the '16 finalist, running her career record vs. the Bully Pastry to 5-1, including another straight sets win in this year's Acapulco final) to reach the semis, where she lost to Anett Kontaveit. Even with so many "unnatural" exits from numerous events over the past year, Tsurenko's slight rise to #34 this week puts her on the edge of being seeded for Wimbledon, and just one spot off her career-high standing.


===============================================
SURPRISES: Antonia Lottner/GER, Petra Krejsova/CZE and Kristie Ahn/USA
...20-year old Lottner, the current world #161, struck early in her career on the ITF tour with her first pro title coming nearly six years ago, and she reached the Roland Garros girls final (losing to Belinda Bencic) in 2013. She's won seven of the eight ITF singles finals in which she's appeared, including a $75K title win over Carina Witthoeft last summer. Nonetheless, the German arrived at Rosmalen having never won a set in a WTA main draw match. In one of the biggest upsets of the season, Lottner opened against top-seeded world #6 Dominika Cibulkova and walked away with a hard-fought 7-5/2-6/6-4 victory. Sure, she didn't exactly put together a memorable follow-up, falling to Evgeniya Rodina in the 2nd Round and then losing this weekend in the opening round of Mallorca qualifying to Ons Jabeur. Still, her big win is enough to lift Lottner sixteen spots in the rankings to a new career high of #145, with hopefully even better things to come.



Krejsova is just the tour's latest example of a late bloomer. At 26, after having produced years of good ITF results in doubles (24-22 in finals since 2010) but never finishing a season higher than #328 in singles, she came into Week 24 at a career-best ranking of #277, having gone 2-2 in ITF finals this season and winning five of nine since last August. After making her way through Rosmalen qualifying with victories over Nao Hibino and Asia Muhammad, the Czech finally made her tour MD debut, where she managed to post a 1st Round victory over former #1 Jelena Jankovic, a past grass court singles champ and 's-Hertogenbosch finalist (though, granted, both those results occurred a full decade ago). Krejsova lost in the 2nd Round to Lesia Tsurenko, then in the second round of Birmingham qualifying to Elizaveta Kulichkova this weekend. She'll climb forty-three spots to #234 on Monday.



Meanwhile, Nottingham witnessed the first career tour-level QF result of Ahn, 25. After a spring filled with good challenger results (11-2 on clay in a trio of $80K/$60K challengers, finishing second to Amanda Anisimova in the USTA's Roland Garros Wild Card Challenge), the former Stanford star got qualifying wins over Gaby Dabrowski and Destanee Aiava to reach the MD, where she upset Naomi Osaka and Magda Linette in straight sets (losing just six games in the two matches) before falling to Magdalena Rybarikova. She'll now rise to a new career high of #116, making her the 16th highest-ranked Bannerette on tour.


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VETERANS: Dominika Cibulkova & Kirsten Flipkens (SVK/BEL)
...this was a case of two players turning a disappointing week into a productive one. Both lost early in singles, with Cibulkova falling in the 1st Round to #161-ranked Antonia Lottner for the German's maiden WTA MD victory, while Flipkens went out in the 2nd Round to #1 seed Johanna Konta. But, thankfully for them, they still had a rare doubles pairing to give them some additional time to fine-tune their games on the grass courts at Rosmalen.

Champions in S'Hertogenbosch ?????????????????????????????? thanks partner @kirstenflipkens

A post shared by Dominika Cibulkova (@domicibulkova) on



A 14-12 3rd set TB win over Timea Babos & Andrea Hlavackova and a victory over CoCo Vandeweghe & Xenia Knoll preceded a 10-6 deciding TB defeat of the fan favorite Dutch pair of Kiki Bertens & Demi Schuurs in the final. It's just the second tour WD title ('16 Seoul w/ Larsson) for Flipkens, while it's Cibulkova's first (though it *is* her third final at 's-Hertogenbosch, having also gone as far in 2011 w/ Pennetta and '13 with Parra-Santonja).
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COMEBACK: Magdalena Rybarikova/SVK
...Rybarikova's return from her '16 back injury has, so far, been a rousing success. After last week winning her biggest title in nearly four years at the $100K Surbiton grass court challenger -- her third '17 ITF title, following previous runs on hard court and carpet surfaces -- the 28-year old Slovak landed in Nottingham, where she continued her winning ways, putting up her first tour-level semifinal since 2015 with victories over Dayana Yastremska, '16 finalist Alison Riske and Kristie Ahn. On the wrong side of quite a few questionable calls that could have made things far more intriguing had things been different, Rybarikova fell in the semis to Johanna Konta, but her week pushes her overall '17 record to 25-5 since her return to action in mid-February. After ending '16 at #154 after missing the second of the season, snapping her string of five straight Top 100 seasons (and seven of eight), she'll be up ten additional spots on Monday, coming in at #107.


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FRESH FACES: Natalia Vikhlyantseva/RUS, Ana Konjuh/CRO and Carina Witthoeft/GER
...again, there are so many players to choose from here. Left out, as they're still in the middle of qualifying attempts for this coming week's Birmingham event, are Marketa Vondrousova (she's Czech, so grass court ability *must* be her birthright) and Jana Fett (after a Q-run in Nottingham and 5-2, MP down comeback vs. Mona Barthel in the 1st Round). But these three young players more than fill the category on their own.



Vikhlyantseva, 20, has been an under-the-radar Hordette revelation in 2017. She made her slam debut in Melbourne and posted 1st Round win, then reached the Saint Petersburg semis as a wild card, reaching the Top 100 after posting an early-round win over countrywoman Daria Kasatkina. Last week in the Netherlands, she reached her first tour singles final with victories over Cornelia Lister, Andrea Petkovic, Arantxa Rus and Ana Konjuh -- the latter two, especially, no grass court slouches -- before finally succumbing to eventual champion Anett Kontaveit. She'll rise from #74 to yet another new career high of #65 on Monday.

Konjuh, 19, already has a grass court WTA singles title to her name (Nottingham '15, when she was just 17), and last year had Aga Radwanska dead to rights in the 2nd Round of Wimbledon (holding three MP at 5-4 in the 3rd, then stepping on a ball at 7-7, rolling her ankle and never winning another game in a 2:36 thriller) before rebounding later in the summer to become the first Croatian woman to reach the QF at the U.S. Open (def. Radwanska to get there). In 's-Hertogenbosh, Konjuh reached the semis with victories over Tamara Korpatsch, Richel Hogenkamp and Evgeniya Rodina, the latter win coming via a 12-10 3rd set TB in which she saved five MP. Konjuh moves up to #28 (matching her career high) in the new rankings.



At the same Rosmalen event, Witthoeft posted impressive grass court victories over two-time tournament champ CoCo Vandeweghe (saving a MP) and Camila Giorgi before losing to would-be title winner Kontaveit. She's playing in Mallorca qualifying this weekend. The soon-to-be #63-ranked German reached the 3rd Round at last year's Wimbledon.


===============================================
DOWN: CoCo Vandeweghe/USA
...Vandeweghe's week began with the rather intriguing announcement that she was teaming up with former Wimbledon champ Pat Cash just ahead of the start of play at the only slam event played on grass, which just so happens to be CoCo's best surface.



But, then, after winning the tournament title two of the last three years in Rosmalen, she fell in her opening match this past week to Carina Witthoeft, losing 6-7(3)/6-3/7-5 after failing to convert a match point. Not exactly the desired beginning for a coach/player relationship that will surely garner much attention a few weeks from now in London, but it won't likely have much bearing on what happens at the All-England Club. I fact, this could provide a nice point from which the Vandeweghe/Cash project could start, considering for all the nice things CoCo has done in '17 (Fed Cup, AO semis), she's been decidedly "off" her game in between her big stage moments. Of her nine events this season, this marks the seventh time she's failed to advance past the 2nd Round. 9-1 in FC/AO play, she's just 5-8 elsewhere this year (and three of those wins were on red clay in Madrid).
===============================================
ITF PLAYER: Zarina Diyas/KAZ
...there are so, so many comebacks taking place as we speak in women's tennis, and that of Diyas just moved a little higher in the rotation with her win at the $100K Manchester grass court challenger this weekend. This is Diyas' biggest career title, and comes just a month and a half after she also reached a $100K clay court final (and a won a $25K on hard court a few weeks before that). The 23-year old, who reached the Round of 16 at Wimbledon in 2014-15, injured her wrist in the SW19 1st Round a year ago, missing the rest of the season, falling out of the Top 100 and not returning to action until late February.



Diyas didn't drop a set all week, ending her run with straight sets wins over Naomi Broady in the semis and Aleksandra Krunic (on a nine-match, multi-surface winning streak after winning a WTA 125 Series title on clay last week) in a 6-4/6-4 final. Diyas will leap from #207 all the way up to #132 with the result. After starting 0-4 when she returned in February, Diyas has gone 24-7 since.
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JUNIOR STAR: Vicky Flores/USA
...18-year old Flores, the girls #92 and incoming Georgia Tech freshman in the fall, won her first career junior Grade 1 title in Germany at the Offenbach International event. The #10 seed, Flores upset Pastry Yasmine Mansouri (3rd Rd.) and #1 seed Wang Xin Yu (SF) to reach the final, where she outlasted 14-year old #15 seed Zheng Quinwen of China, winning 3-6/6-2/6-1. Zheng has upset #4 Hurricane Tyra Black and #5 Viktoria Morvayova en route to the final.


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DOUBLES: Monique Adamczak/Storm Sanders (AUS/AUS)
...an all-Aussie pair has won a doubles title, and their names aren't Ash, Casey, Sam, Dasha or Rodionova. Instead, they're Monique and Storm. And rather than Marvel Comics superheroes, they're actually FIRST-TIME WTA champions, as well.



In Nottingham, with the British duo of Jocelyn Rae & Laura Robson also playing for their maiden tour WD titles, Adamczak & Sanders finished off an unexpected week that began with an upset of #1-seeded Gaby Dabrowski (the RG MX champ) & Olga Savchuk, and included 3rd set TB wins over Julia Boserup/Shelby Rogers (10-5) and Johanna Konta/Yanina Wickmayer (10-6), with yet another nail-biter, winning 6-4/4-6 [10-4]. While Sanders is just 22 and has played around 150 or so professional doubles matches in her career en route to her first title, 34-year old Adamczak has hit the court some 490 times before getting title #1 (she's won 28 ITF WD crowns, with the first coming some seventeen years ago).

Of note, Rae/Robson, too, had to nip opponents at the finish just to reach the final, winning three 3rd set TB of their own, the final two against the #2 (Jurak/An.Rodionova) and #4 seeds (McHale/Watson). Robson, another player on the comeback trail (wrist), reached her only other tour WD final in Miami in 2013 with Lisa Raymond, while Rae is now 0-4 in tour finals. Rae, whose longtime partnership with Anna Smith ended earlier this year, was looking to join her former doubles mate in the WTA winner's circle, as Smith finally won her maiden title with Nicole Melichar in Nurnberg last month.


===============================================
FED CUP MVPs: Valentini Grammatikopoulou/GRE and Alexandra Perper/MDA
...one of the remaining groups of Fed Cup zone play was wrapped up this week in Chisinau, Moldova, as the Europe/Africa III teams played off to determine which two would rise to E/A II for 2018 (the only other pre-final FC bit of action will be next month, when Americas and Asia/Oceania zone II round robins are contested).

Over the weekend, 20-year old Grammatikopoulou (#159) led the Greek squad out of round robin play and to a 2-0 Promotional Playoff win over Finland. After Eleni Kordolaimi notched an opening singles victory over Oona Orpana, Grammatikopoulou clinched promotion with a straight sets defeat of 32-year old vet Piia Suomalainen, maintaining her undefeated career record (6-0) in FC singles play. An accomplished ITF circuit player, Grammatikopoulou has won ten singles titles in her career, including six in fourteen final appearances over the 2015-16 seasons.

Meanwhile, the Moldovian team advanced in front of the home crowd, with Chisinau-born Perper, 25, leading the way. The former Mississippi State player clinched the 2-0 win over Cyprus in the Promotional Playoff with a love & 2 victory over Eleni Louka. Vitalia Stamat had battled for three sets to defeat (incoming Wake Forest freshmann) Eliza Omirou in the opening match. Perper, too, has had success on the challenger circuit, most notably going 3-2 in singles finals last season.


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




Not to step on Colt13's toes or anything, but I stumbled upon an interesting little factoid this week, so I thought I'd offer it up as an impromptu quiz question.

Q: Only four active WTA players have winning career records in slam singles finals. Who are they? (answer later)



1. Rosmalen QF - Ana Konjuh def. Evgeniya Rodina
...6-3/6-7(8)/7-6(10).
Konjuh trailed 4-2 in the 3rd, and saw Rodina serve for the match. The Croat pushed things to a deciding TB, where she saved five MP before the Russian eventually double-faulted on Konjuh's first MP.
===============================================
2. Rosmalen 1st Rd. - Carina Witthoeft def. CoCo Vandeweghe
...6-7(3)/6-3/7-5.
Vandeweghe had won the tournament title two of the last three years, but she had her hands full with the German in the Bannerette's first match with Pat Cash in her coaching corner. CoCo held a MP, but failed to convert and wasn't quite as aggressive in the match as the Aussie Wimbledon champ (30 years ago this July, by the way) would surely like. One could make a case that this loss could be the best thing for Vandeweghe with SW19 just around the corner, as she might think she has something to prove. But we'll address crossing that particular bridge, I suspect, in a couple weeks.


===============================================
3. Nottingham Final - Donna Vekic def. Johanna Konta
...2-6/7-6(3)/7-5.
Perhaps there was just *too* much history at stake for Konta? Still, she'll be the first Top 10 British woman to play at Wimbledon in eons, so the pressure is only just beginning for her, isn't it?
===============================================
4. Rosmalen Final - Anett Kontaveit def. Natalia Vikhlyantseva
...6-2/6-3.
Kontaveit is already the ninth first-time singles champ on tour this season. There were ten in the entire '16 season, and eleven in '15.


===============================================
5. Nottingham 1st Rd. - Maria Sakkari def. Jana Cepelova
...7-6(3)/5-7/7-6(6).
Cepelova served for the match at 6-5 in the 3rd, only to be broken at love by the Greek. She led 6-3 in the deciding TB, as well, only to squander three MP and see Sakkari take the match on a net cord. So, it was pretty much the polar opposite of an Ostapenkoized experience for the Slovak.
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6. Nottingham 2nd Rd. - Magdalena Rybarikova def. Alison Riske
...6-2/6-7(5)/7-5.
A finalist in Nottingham last year, Riske battled back from 6-2/5-3 down to force a 3rd, but ultimately couldn't recapture her past grass court magic.
===============================================


7. Rosmalen 1st Rd. - Antonia Lottner def. Dominika Cibulkova
...7-5/2-6/6-4.
Does this loss to a literal WTA tour neophyte say more about Lottner, maybe finally getting her footing at age 20, or Cibulkova? The veteran is now 2-4 since injuring her wrist two months ago during Fed Cup week. She'll still be highly seeded in London in two weeks (she's #6), but her form (or lack thereof) could rip a huge hole in one section of the draw. A year ago, remember, the Slovak won that classic (Match of the Year) Wimbledon battle vs. Aga Radwanska en route to the QF at the AELTC.
===============================================
8. Nottingham 1st Rd. - Jana Fett def. Mona Barthel
...6-3/5-7/7-5.
The 20-year old Croat, who put on a spirited run to the Hobart semis in January in her WTA tour MD debut, is finally beginning to string together results. She overcame a 5-2 deficit in the 3rd set and saved a MP here. After going 1-4 in the immediate aftermath of her week in Hobart, she's 14-5 since, setting the stage for her final Q-round match on Monday vs. Camila Giorgi in Birmingham.
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9. Rosmalen 1st Rd. - Petra Krejsova def. Jelena Jankovic
...6-3/7-5.
JJ is 8-14 on the season and will fall to #66 this week. Sigh.
===============================================
10. Nottingham Q1 - Caroline Dolehide def. Alexandra Stevenson
...6-3/6-4.
It's been eighteen years since Stevenson's shocking run to the Wimbledon semifinals as a 17-year old qualifier in 1999. That's the same year that 17-year old Mirjana Lucic reached the same round, and a 16-year old Jelena Dokic qualified, upset #1 Martina Hingis in the 1st Round, and reached the QF, where she lost to Stevenson in three sets. Full circle.
===============================================
12. $15K Hammamet Final - Seone Mendez def. Andrea Lazaro Garcia
...6-1/3-6/6-0.
A week after the 16-year old Aussie claimed her first pro singles title, she wins her second.
===============================================
13. Rosmalen QF - Kiki Bertens/Demi Schuurs def. Richel Hogenkamp/Arantxa Rus
...6-3/4-6 [10-8].
And a Fed Cup team practice session suddenly broke out...
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14. $15K Gimcheon Final - Jeong Su-nam def. Han Sung-hee
...6-3/6-1.
The 21-year old Korean wins her third straight challenger title, taking her winning streak to seventeen matches.
===============================================
15. $25K Sumter Final - Ashley Lahey def. Francesca Di Lorenzo
...6-3/7-6(4).
17-year old Bannerette Lahey, an incoming Pepperdine sophomore in the fall, claims her first ITF title with a win over 2016-17 NCAA singles #1 Di Lorenzo (Ohio State/Jr.). And Lahey did it after saving a MP and winning a three-hour semifinal on Saturday.


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HM- Rosmalen QF - Lesia Tsurenko def. Kristina Mladenovic
...6-3/6-1.




Yet, still, Mladenovic swaps places in the rankings this week with Roland Garros champ Jelena Ostapenko, moving to a new career-high of #12, while Latvian Thunder drops to #13. All right, Tennis Gods... please stop that.
===============================================


Baby grass-courtin'



1. 's-Hertogenbosch 1st Rd. - Anett Kontaveit def. KRISTYNA PLISKOVA
...6-7(5)/6-3/6-1.
Kristyna is a former Wimbledon girls champ (2010), and her 3rd Round at SW19 in 2015 was best slam MD result in her first twelve appearances in major (she matched it at this year's AO).
===============================================
2. 's-Hertogenbosch QF - Kiki Bertens/Demi Schuurs def. LYUDMYLA KICHENOK/NADIIA KICHENOK
...7-6(8)/6-4.
The Kichenok twins rank fifth (behind the Williamses, Chans, Pliskovas and Bondarenkos) for most WTA titles won by an all-sibling pair, but they didn't pick up #3 this week.
===============================================
3. $15K Hammamet Final - MARIA PAULA PEREZ/PAULA ANDREA PEREZ def. Nathaly Kurata/Eduarda Piai
...6-3/6-3.
The Colombian Perez twins claimed their third ITF crown as a pair, though, winning there first since August '14 (3-5 in career finals) with a win over the Brazilian duo.


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Hola @mallorcaopen ??????????

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Who's so big??? #KingLeo

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Sad to leave paradise, but feeling recharged and ready to get back to work ????

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Don't mess with me ????

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Lisbon, Portugal ???? ??. In the midst of crowded, late night/early morning streets, we found a quiet intersection.

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In case that @dior skirt didn't work out, I had a back up option ???? #justkidding

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*2017 FIRST-TIME SINGLES CHAMPIONS*
Auckland - Lauren Davis, USA (23/#61)
Shenzhen - Katerina Siniakova, CZE (20/#52)
Hobart - Elise Mertens, BEL (21/#127)
Saint Petersburg - Kristina Mladenovic, FRA (23/#51)
Kuala Lumpur - Ash Barty, AUS (20/#158)
Charleston - Daria Kasatkina, RUS (19/#42)
Biel - Marketa Vondrousova, CZE (17/#233)
Roland Garros - Jelena Ostapenko, LAT (20/#47)
's-HERTOGENBOSCH - ANETT KONTAVEIT, EST (21/#49)

*2017 CHAMPIONS - LONGEST TITLE DROUGHTS*
5 yrs. = Timea Babos [2/12 Monterrey >> 2/17 Budapest]
3 yrs., 9 mo. = Elena vesnina [6/13 Eastbourne >> 3/17 I.W.]
3 yrs., 2 mo. = DONNA VEKIC [4/14 K.Lumpur >> 6/17 NOTTINGHAM]
2 yrs., 10 mo. = Mona Barthel [7/14 Bastad >> 5/17 Prague]

*2017 YOUNGEST SINGLES FINALISTS*
17 - Marketa Vondrousova (Biel-W) - 17,9m,2w
19 - Ana Konjuh (Auckland-L) - 19,2w
19 - Jelena Ostapenko (Charleston-L) - 19,10m
19 - Daria Kasatkina (Charleston-W) - 19,11m
20 - Jelena Ostapenko (R.Garros-W) - 20,2 days
20 - NATALIA VIKHLYANTSEVA ('s-HERT.-L) - 20,4m
20 - Katerina Siniakova (Shenzen-W) - 20,8m
20 - Ash Barty (K.Lumpur-W) - 20,10m,2w
20 - DONNA VEKIC (NOTTINGHAM-W) - 20,51w

*2017 YOUNGEST SINGLES FINAL MATCH-UP*
38 yrs. - Charleston = Kasatkina (19) d. Ostapenko (19)
38 yrs. - Biel = Vondrousova (17) d. Kontaveit (21)
41 yrs. - 's-HERTO. = KONTAVEIT (21) d. VIKHLYANTSEVA (20)
42 yrs. - Auckland = Davis (23) d. Konjuh (19)
42 yrs. - Kuala Lumpur = Barty (20) d. Hibino (22)

*2017 ALL-UNSEEDED FINALS*
Saint Petersburg - Mladenovic def. Putintseva
Kuala Lumpur - Barty (Q) def. Hibino
Charleston - Kasatkina def. Ostapenko
Biel - Vondrousova (Q) def. Kontaveit
Stuttgart - Siegemund (WC) def. Mladenovic
Prague - Barthel (Q) def. Kr.Pliskova
's-HERTOGENBOSCH - KONTAVEIT def. VIKHLYANTSEVA
[WTA 125]
Bol 125 - Krunic def. Cadantu

*2017 - FINAL IN HOME NATION*
Budapest - Timea Babos, HUN (W)
Stuttgart - Laura Siegemund, GER (W)
Prague - Kristyna Pliskova, CZE (L)
NOTTINGHAM - JOHANNA KONTA, GBR (L)
[doubles]
Shenzhen - Peng Shuai, CHN (W)
Taipei City - Chan/Chan, TPE (W)
Charleston - Mattek-Sands, USA (W)
Biel - Bacsinszky/Hingis, SUI (L)
Zhenghou 125 - Han Xinyun/Zhu Lin, CHN (W)
Prague - Hradecka/Siniakova, CZE (L)
Prague - Kveta Peschke, CZE (W)
's-HERTOGENBOSCH - BERTENS/SCHUURS, NED (L)
NOTTINGHAM - RAE/ROBSON, GBR (L)

*2017 WTA FINALS*
4 - Elina Svitolina, UKR (4-0)
4 - Kristina Mladenovic, FRA (1-3)
3 - JOHANNA KONTA, GBR (2-1)
3 - Simona Halep, ROU (1-2)
3 - Caroline Wozniacki, DEN (0-3)
2 - Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, RUS (2-0)
2 - Karolina Pliskova, CZE (2-0)
2 - ANETT KONTAVEIT, EST (1-1)
2 - Elise Mertens, BEL (1-1)
2 - Jelena Ostapenko, LAT (1-1)
2 - Francesca Schiavone, ITA (1-1)

*2017 WTA SF*
5 - Elina Svitolina, UKR (4-1)
5 - Kristina Mladenovic, FRA (4-1)
5 - Karolina Pliskova, CZE (2-3)
4 - Simona Halep, ROU (3-1)
4 - JOHANNA KONTA, GBR (3-1)
4 - Jelena Ostapenko, LAT (2-2)
3 - Caroline Wozniacki, DEN (3-0)
3 - LESIA TSURENKO, UKR (1-1+L)
3 - LUCIE SAFAROVA, CZE (1-2)
3 - Mirjana Lucic-Baroni, CRO (0-3)
3 - Barbora Strycova, CZE (0-3)

*2017 SINGLES...*
[titles on multiple surfaces]
2 - Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, RUS = Hard,Red Clay
2 - Elina Svitolina, UKR = Hard,Red Clay
[finals on multiple surfaces]
2 - JOHANNA KONTA, GBR = Hard,Grass
2 - ANETT KONTAVEIT, EST = Hard,Grass
2 - Elise Mertens, BEL = Hard,Red Clay
2 - Kristina Mladenovic, FRA = Hard,Red Clay
2 - Jelena Ostapenko, LAT = Green Clay,Red Clay
2 - Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, RUS = Hard,Red Clay
2 - Elina Svitolina, UKR = Hard,Red Clay
[outdoor/indoor finals]
ANETT KONTAVEIT, EST = Out: 1-0...In: 0-1
Kristina Mladenovic, FRA = Out: 0-2...In: 1-1
Elina Svitolina, UKR = Out: 3-0...In: 1-0

*2017 FIRST-TIME WTA DOUBLES CHAMPIONS*
MONIQUE ADAMCZAK, AUS
Dominika Cibulkova, SVK
Nao Hibino, JPN
Dalila Jakupovic, SLO
Nicole Melichar, USA
Jelena Ostapenko, LAT
Nadia Podoroska, ARG
STORM SANDERS, AUS
Anna Smith, GBR
[mixed]
Gaby Dabrowski, CAN
Abigail Spears, USA

*2017 ITF $100K FINALS*
Midland, USA (indoor hard) - Maria/GER (#128) d. Broady/GBR (#98)
Anning, CHN (clay) - Sai.Zheng/CHN (#83) d. Diyas/KAZ (#187)
Cagnes-sur-Mer, FRA (clay) - Haddad Maia/BRA (#115) d. Teichmann/SUI (#176)
Trnava, SVK (clay) - Vondrousova/CZE (#109) d. Cepede Royg/PAR (#104)
Marseilles, FRA (clay) - Paolini/ITA (#200) d. Maria/GER (#102)
Surbiton, ENG (grass) - #192 Rybarikova/SVK d. Watson/GBR (#119)
MANCHESTER, ENG (grass) - #207 DIYAS/KAZ d. #101 KRUNIC/SRB


Hmmm, I believe I sorta had this...












MALLORCA, SPAIN [Int'l/Grass]
16 Singles Final: Garcia d. Sevastova
16 Doubles Final: Dabrowski/Martinez-Sanchez d. Friedsam/Siegemund
17 Top Seeds: Pavlyuchenkova/Sevastova
=============================

=SF=
(WC) Lisicki d. #8 Babos
Kontaveit d. (WC) Azarenka
=FINAL=
Kontaveit d. (WC) Lisicki

=DOUBLES FINAL=
#1 H.Chan/Hingis d. #2 Babos/Hlavackova

...this one is particularly difficult to gauge, what with all the comebacks. Lisicki's return is getting far less attention, but the German's history on grass is nothing to sneeze at.


And why should the grass season be any different for the world #1 than the early hard court season was, or the clay court season...?



BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND (Premier/Grass)
16 Singles Final: Keys d. Strycova
16 Doubles Final: Ka.Pliskova/Strycova d. King/Kudryavtseva
17 Top Seeds: #3 Cibulkova/#2 Svitolina (#1 Kerber w/d)
=============================

=SF=
#5 Mladenovic d. Siniakova
Vandeweghe d. #2 Svitolina
=FINAL=
Vandeweghe d. #5 Mladenovic

=DOUBLES FINAL=
#4 Barty/Dellacqua d. Atawo/McHale

...are you sensing something of a Vandeweghe theme to the grass court predictions section? Hmmm.



Oh, and this...


A: Serena Williams (23-6), Petra Kvitova (2-0), Angelique Kerber (2-1) and, of course, Jelena Ostapenko (1-0)



All for now.

9 Comments:

Blogger colt13 said...

Konta messing up the Konta Kontaveit headlines.

I am high on Kontaveit, but wouldn't have picked her this week. The ITF women go back to back, and the elite WTA do, but the mid packers don't, possibly because they pull out 1/2 the time.

Your blog, my feet can always be stepped on. You did do me a favor, though. I was planning to do Brits on grass, but due to the dearth of results, scrapped it when I found something more interesting. Then you put up the British history.

Stat of the Week-44- Amount of years it had been since a British woman had reached the final at Nottingham.

Now, I am misleading you. Though it is true that Virginia Wade was the last finalist in 1973, the tournament itself took a break from 1974-2010, then came back as an ITF event. Has only been back as a WTA event since 2015.

But this story is much more interesting when I talk about the two Nottingham winners from the 70's, Julie Heldman(71) and Billie Jean King(72 & 73). They are linked because of the Original 9, the 9 that formed the basis of the WTA.

Heldman's early role can be told by the story of Konta last year at the YEC. Konta arrived early, was in numerous tweets, but not in any official shots as she had not qualified. In fact, one shot has the other 7 women with a silouette of the 8th.

Julie's situation was slightly different. A French Open SF in 1970, she was one of the choices when World Tennis Magazine editor and Julie's mom Gladys picked the original 8 to play Houston. Unfortunately, she was injured, so the iconic pic has the eight playing members, plus Gladys. In a nod to history, the New York Times does have a pic of their reunion many years later. Gladys passed in 2003, so Julie was in her spot, holding up a dollar bill.

One other unique thing. We have the sister watch, but the fact that Gladys played Wimbledon in 1954 makes her and Julie one of the few mother daughter teams to have done so.

Quiz Time!
Mareen Harper is the legal name of this player who spanned three decades(70's-90's). But she played under a nickname and her maiden name. What was it?

Peaches Bartkowicz was also one of the Original 9. What was her real first name?


Insert Jeopardy music.












1. Mareen Harper is more commonly known as Peanut Louie. Actually 5-5, she got the nickname from her family as the youngest of 5.

2.Peaches is actually named Judy. She got the nickname from her childhood coach, who said that she had "A peach of a shot".

Fun fact about Judy-She actually won the gold at the Olympics in 1968. As a reminder, 1984 was a demonstration, 1968 was an exhibition. Beating a field of 11(actually 10 as one player with a bye withdrew), Peaches beat Julie Heldman in the gold medal match.

Mon Jun 19, 12:52:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Todd.Spiker said...

They should do one of the ESPN 30 for 30's on the Original 9. I don't *think* anyone has done one of those yet.

*QUIZ*
I really had no chance to get #2, but I did get #1 (again, 50%) because Peanut Louie actually was a single line in one list I compiled for Women's Final Day during RG in regards to the Liu/Osuigwe girls final. Harper vs. Lea Antonpolis was an all-U.S. junior final at the '77 Wimbledon. I'd known the name Peanut Louie Harper, but not much more than that.

Mon Jun 19, 03:04:00 PM EDT  
Blogger colt13 said...

I agree, the Original 9 is a story worth telling.

Ironically, I wanted to use the Peanut question, but didn't have a way to work it in. So when I saw the list, it reminded me to use it.

Mon Jun 19, 03:42:00 PM EDT  
Blogger colt13 said...

On the preliminary doubles list for Wimbledon-Bellis/Vondrousova.

Svitolina has the strokes to win Wimbledon, but not the footwork.

Last minute look at Wimbledon seeding. With Williams and Siegemund in the top 32, going to 34. Vinci and Tsurenko have the last two spots for now. If someone else pulls out, Stosur, who is questionable, and Kontaveit are next. Only women left playing with a chance to move up? Safarova, Bellis and Pliskova.

Thu Jun 22, 12:53:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Todd.Spiker said...

Todd here. Looks like I won't make my deadline for this week's post. A first, I believe. I've had very limited internet access since Tuesday. The post is ready, but I can't do anything with it. I blame the radwanska since radwanskian massacre day (original date) is Monday. Hopefully I'll be able to post by Tuesday or Wednesday. Crossing fingers.

Sun Jun 25, 05:32:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Diane said...

The Rad never rests. We just think It does.

I'm really surprised, with all these storms, that I didn't lose Internet access. I didn't even have the electricity go off.

Sun Jun 25, 05:40:00 PM EDT  
Blogger colt13 said...

It happens, better now than next week.

To nobody's surprise, Kvitova and Goerges have pulled out of Eastbourne.

Stat of the Week-36-The amount of consecutive tournaments that Jelena Ostapenko played with different doubles partners between 2014-17.

A streak that started with Rosalie Van Der Hoek, and ended with Julia Goerges at IW/Miami, Ostapenko managed to play with 32 different women during the streak. No, Medina Garrigues was not one of them. But Evgeniya Rodina, Anhelina Kalinina, Andreea Mitu and Yulia Putinseva can take a bow, as they were the 4 to have played twice.

Side note-Goerges has played with both Pliskova and Ostapenko in the last year, maybe Sania next?

Obviously in demand, the question is will there be full time focus in doubles now? No clue, but since that streak stopped, she played with Goerges twice, then Atawo twice, then Chan Hao-Ching twice. Now back with Atawo, but she has a multitude of options if she wants to play the big tourneys only.

With Latvia and Estonia doing so well, might as well have a quiz about one of theirs.

Quiz time!
Kontaveit is trying to become the firs woman from Estonia to reach a slam QF since Kanepi. But who was the highest ranked Estonian before Kanepi?


Stalling for time. Wimbledon can save money on lights this year. Kvitova can light the place up with her smile.

Answer-Maret Ani. With a career high of 63, she did not have the slam success she would have wanted. In fact, she lost in qualies 20 plus times. And she reached the main draw, she was 0-9.

Mon Jun 26, 09:31:00 AM EDT  
Blogger colt13 said...

See Todd's earlier post, so tacking on to this one before it is completely out of date. It is a premier, so a 64 player field gets you 5.

5 on the Up Side.

1.Goerges-The most unlikely grass finalist in years. Had a 7 match losing streak on grass, and had not won a match away from Wimbledon in 8 years. She won 6 there, 4 during Wimbledon and 2 during the Olympics. Not expected to win, but maybe gets that first career slam QF.
2.Kvitova-The weird thing about this is that the WTA woman make out of the order things seem routine. Case in point-Seles won in her 1st tournament back, Kvitova her 2nd, and Chakvetazde her 3rd. A legit threat to go deep.
3.Ostapenko-Won the French, so way up. But the struggle is real.That is, to win a match after winning the French. Since Henin won Eastbourne in 2007, French winners are 1-4 before Wimbledon. The one is Li, and that was six years ago.
4.Kontaveit-Almost feel obligated to put the Estonian near the Latvian(how about Sevastova breaking a 7 yr drought) but she already has a slam 4th rd. QF should be in reach with a good draw, although she will just miss out on a seed.
5.Kr.Pliskova-I was going to joke that the over/under for aces in the Pliskova/Broady match should be 35(match is over-15) because 7 of the 10 top ace counts for the season involve these two plus Karolina. Also here because she is less of a threat to go deep at SW19, which gives her more incentive to stay in the draw here.

Mon Jun 26, 09:46:00 AM EDT  
Blogger colt13 said...

5 On the Down Side

1.Svitolina-Did the poor footwork cause the injury, or did the injury cause the poor footwork? For whatever the reason, she does not look like the player she has been most of the year. In danger of being first seed out next week.
2.Broady-Has already lost. She is the proverbial fastball pitcher who has such a poor curveball, that you would ask her not to throw it. In her case, it is her backhand, which is not WTA level. It looks like it is in slow motion and I would literally tell her to run around it because it has absolutley nothing on it. For a serve as good as hers, it is a glaring difference.
3.Puig-10-4 on grass last year. As this is her best surface, she should have stacked this like Nadal does clay, and done Nottingham, Birmingham, Eastbourne, Wimbledon. In fact, counting qualies, there are 7 women that have attempted the first 3. Yet she has done nothing. A missed opportunity unless she makes QF or better at Wimbledon.
4.Larsson-Is she allergic to grass. 10 match MD losing streak on grass, and the one qualy win in that time frame was via ret. Didn't even enter a grass event this season.
5.Cibulkova-After ending last season on a 29-10 run, she is only 14-13 this year. Has not won more than 2 matches in a row. A bunch of points to defend starting with Eastbourne, which she won beating Ostapenko, Radwanska, Puig, and Pliskova, but isn't playing nearly well enough to defend her title.

Mon Jun 26, 09:59:00 AM EDT  

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