Sunday, July 16, 2017

2017 Grass Court Awards

Wimbledon is over. And the grass court season, too. So it's time for a quick review of the top performers on the lawns...

1. Garbine Muguruza, ESP
...lifting her game, and keeping her frustrating "alternate" self at bay while putting together her third slam final run in the last three years, Muguruza became the first Spanish woman to win Wimbledon since 1994, when her coach for this Wimbledon, Conchita Martinez, was the unexpected champion. With her second major win serving as a reminder of how just how special a talent she truly is, will Garbi finally embrace her position and now produce similar results on the regular tour?
2. Martina Hingis, SUI (w/ Chan Yung-Jan/TPE & Jamie Murray/GBR)
...the Swiss Miss, 36, was the thirtysomething woman who walked away with a title at this year's Wimbledon, picking up her sixth mixed doubles crown while partnering Jamie Murray. The title run made up for her and Chan's shocking meltdown in the women's doubles QF at SW19 after leading by a double-break at 4-1 in the 3rd vs. Groenefeld/Peschke, then never winning another game. The loss proved to be Hingis' only defeat on the grass this summer, as she and Chan had swept both the Mallorca & Eastbourne titles before arriving at the All-England Club. She ends up with a combined record of 15-1 over the past month.
3. Venus Williams, USA
...she didn't get the storybook ending of a sixth SW19 Ladies crown, but the 37-year old's appearance in her second 2017 slam singles final officially moves the living legend out of the role of simply being a nostalgia-laced centerpiece at season's celebratory dinner. While she hasn't collected the hardware that a certain Swiss tennis legend (no, not that one... the OTHER one... yeah, HIM) has this season, both have proven themselves to be genuine forces to contend with (yet again) in what most might have thought not that long ago would by now be their post-tennis lives.

4. Karolina Pliskova, CZE
...her Wimbledon was a disappointing one, but the Eastbourne champ still made off with the #1 ranking after Angelique Kerber was mercifully relieved of the responsibility (and can maybe now get back to being Angie again), then Simona Halep (sigh) came up two points shy of clutching the brass ring herself in the Wimbledon QF. Now what will the Czech do when there's a "1" next to her name when she returns to the summer hard court season where she truly changed the trajectory of her career last year?

Photo shooting ??#1

A post shared by Karolina Pliskova (@karolinapliskova) on

5. Ekaterina Makarova & Elena Vesnina, RUS/RUS
...a year ago, Vesnina reached the Wimbledon singles semifinals. This year, she and Makarova bull-rushed their way to the doubles title while dropping just one set along the way, becoming the first Russians to lift the SW19 winner's trophy after completing the first double-bagel slam WD final win in forty-six years. They're now three-quarters of the way to a Career Doubles Slam, and if they pick up that needed win in Melbourne they'd become the first women's duo to ever claim titles at all four majors, the Olympics and WTA Finals.
6. Johanna Konta, GBR one put in more work this grass season than Konta, who played all three tune-up weeks -- reaching the Nottingham final and Eastbourne semis -- and then put on the first run to the Wimbledon semis by a British woman since 1978. A true future contender for the title, she'll now carry her momentum to a service on which she's ever better -- hard courts.

7. Magdalena Rybarikova, SVK
...Konta may have been a grass court workhorse, but Rybarikova compiled an 18-1 record on all levels this grass season, hitting full stride after her comeback from two '16 surgeries. She won a pair of $100K challengers, reached the Nottingham semis and then put on a magical run to the Wimbledon final four (after never advancing past the 3rd Round in her previous 35 slams) after knocking out would-be #1 Karolina Pliskova in the 2nd Round.

8. Petra Kvitova, CZE
...while she wasn't up to a Wimbledon run despite her role as "favorite" in the Serena-less draw, Petra was still the feel-good story of the grass court season. She won Birmingham in just her second event back from offseason hand surgery after that home invasion knife attack, and managed to legitimately bring out the good in pretty much everyone simply by just showing up. May it be the opening chapter of another lovely story.

9. Anett Kontaveit, EST
...the big-hitting Estonian picked up her first career tour title at Rosmalen, took down Daria Kasatkina at Wimbledon and had Caroline Wozniacki on the ropes at SW19 before squandering a big lead (twice serving for the match) in the 3rd Round.

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

A post shared by Anett Kontaveit (@anett_kontaveit) on

10. Donna Vekic, CRO
...finally coming into her own after failing to follow up her early-career teen success, the Croat picked up her first WTA title since 2014 in Nottingham, winning in a three-set final (7-5 3rd) over Johanna Konta in what turned out to be the first of TWO battles against the Brit this grass season (she fell in a 10-8 3rd set in a 3:10 2nd Rounder at SW19, a contest that included nearly 100 combined winners).

2nd @wta title !!! So happy!! ??????????????

A post shared by Donna Vekic (@donnavekic) on

HM- Diede de Groot, NED
...the 20-year old would-be wheelchair superstar finally made her Wimbledon debut, and all she did was dominate the field (losing just fourteen games while never dropping a set) en route to the singles title to pick up first career slam crown, then come within a set of sweeping the event with a victory in the doubles, as well. Oh, well. There's 2018 for that. Or 2019, or 2020, or...


Jelena Ostapenko/LAT, Caroline Garcia/FRA and Shelby Rogers/USA
Ana Konjuh/CRO, Ash Barty/AUS and CiCi Bellis/USA
Arina Rodionova/AUS, Veronica Cepede Royg/PAR and Makoto Ninomiya/Renata Voracova (JPN/CZE)
Anastasija Sevastova/LAT, Svetlana Kuznetsova/RUS and Caroline Wozniacki/DEN
Victoria Azarenka/BLR, Petra Martic/CRO and Polona Hercog/SLO
Claire Liu/USA, Ann Li/USA and Kaja Juvan/SLO
Barty/Dellacqua (AUS/AUS), H.Chan/Niculescu (TPE/ROU) and Bellis/Vondrousova (USA/CZE)
Yui Kamiji/Jordanne Whiley, JPN/GBR
Dominika Cibulkova/SVK, Kristina Mladenovic/FRA and Bethanie Mattek-Sands/USA

1.Donna Vekic, CRO
2.Maria Sakkari, GRE
3.Beatriz Haddad Maia, BRA
1.Magdalena Rybarikova, SVK
2.Zarina Diyas, KAZ
3.Heather Watson, GBR
4.Tatjana Maria, GER
5.Monique Adamczak/Storm Sanders, AUS/AUS
=FED CUP (Zones)=
1.Valentini Grammatikopoulou, GRE
2.Alexandra Perper, MDA

All right, summer hard court season... whatta YOU got?

...the fortnight came to a close with the Mixed Doubles final on Centre Court. A year ago, Heather Watson (w/ Henri Kontinen) claimed her first slam title under the same circumstances, and was back to attempt to finish off the first successful defense of a slam MX crown since 1997.

But it wasn't meant to be, as top seeded Martina Hingis & Jamie Murray won 6-4/6-4, though the win DID still produce a British champ in the form of the older Murray brother, who won a previous SW19 Mixed title with Jelena Jankovic back in 2007. For Hingis, it's career slam title #23 (5-12-6), tying her with Venus Williams amongst active WTA players, while her sixth MX win puts her in sole possession of first on the active women's list, as well as in a third place tie (w/ Margaret Court) behind Martina Navratilova (10) and Billie Jean King (7) in the Open era. the girls doubles final, the all-Sweet 16 Serbian/Slovenian pair of Olga Danilovic & Kaja Juvan prevented a Bannerette sweep of the titles, defeating #4-seeded Caty McNally & Whitney Osuigwe 6-4/6-3. It's Daniliovic second slam GD title, having won in Paris last year, while for Juvan this title was a nice rebound after her 1st Round loss in singles following her appearance in the Roehampton final (losing to Claire Liu, who'd go on to win at SW19, too) the week before junior play began at Wimbledon. Juvan reached the girls doubles semis (w/ Iga Swiatek) at the AELTC last year.

...there was no U.S. sweep of the junior titles, and there is no "Strawberry Slam" for Diede de Groot, either. At least not this year... but give her time, this was only her first Wimbledon.

In the wheelchair doubles final, Yui Kamiji & Jordanne Whiley claimed their fourth straight SW19 crown with a 2-6/6-3/6-0 (what is it with love close-out sets in the women's finals at this Wimbledon?) victory over #2-seeded de Groot and fellow Dutch Marjolein Buis.

Wimbledon champions!!!!!!!!!! ???????? #4inarowbaby

A post shared by Jordanne Whiley (@jordanne_joyce) on

For Kamiji, it's career slam #15 (4 WS/11 WD), while Whiley has ten (1 WS/9 WD). They've won nine slams doubles crowns and two WC Masters as a duo. this week's ITF action, two red clay $100K challengers were contested. Jana Cepelova defeated Danka Kovinic in the Budapest final, picking up the biggest singles title of her career. Of note: the Slovak defeated Garbine Muguruza in the 2nd Round of last year's Wimbledon. When you think about it, then, this weekend sort of defines Cepelova's career, in an odd (and almost cruel) way.

????Winner 100k ITF Budapest!!????

A post shared by Jana Cepelova (@cepi93) on

Johanna Larsson took home the title in the $100K Contrexville, France challenger, defeating Tatjana Maria in the final. It's the Swede's biggest title since she won the tour-level event in Bastad in 2015.

Elswhere, on the Sister Watch, Olga Ianchuk got the win at the $25K Moscow tournament, defeating Hordette Valentyna Ivakhhenko in a 7-5 3rd set tie-break in the final.

In Winnipeg, 18-year old Bannerette Caroline Dolehide claimed career title #3 (and was a WD RU) with a victory in the $25K challenger final there over Mayo Hibi of Japan.

Thank you Canada ????????

A post shared by Caroline Dolehide (@caroline_dolehide) on

And in the $15K event in Catanhede, Portugal, 22-year old Irish NCAAer (Univ. of Miami) Sinead Lohan picked up her second ITF singles crown, defending the title she won a year ago with a win over Brit Alicia Barnett in the final. After dealing with a foot injury last season, Lohan is looking for a bounce back senior campaign this coming season.

IS IT JUST ME? ON DAY 13: ...or does the new Wimbledon boys champ sort of resemble what it'd look like if Boris Becker and Stefan Edberg had a baby?


HMMM... ON DAY 13: Either very cute... or like a scene from "The Shining" X 2.

"Come play with us."

"Redrum"..."Federer"... not that many letters off, you know. "Here's Rogie!"

LIKE ON DAY 13: Vergeer congratulating de Groot...


THE TRUTH ON DAY 13: The real big news that had everyone on the edge of their collective seats on Sunday was the announcement of the thirteenth Doctor Who on BBC to come *after* the men's final...

And after so much handwringing...

Just kidding...

Cue the "end of the universe"...

Good thing there's a Doctor around to help, I guess.

...and, finally...

16 Singles Final: Halep d. Sevastova
16 Doubles Final: J.Moore/Varat.Wongteanchai d. Cadantu/Piter
17 Top Seeds: Sevastova/Suarez-Navarro

#1 Sevastova d. Sasnovich
#7 Begu d. #8 Maria
#1 Sevastova d. #7 Begu

Mertens/Schuurs d. Piter/Zanevska

16 Singles Final: Golubic d. Bertens
16 Doubles Final: Arruabarrena/Knoll d. Beck/Rodina
17 Top Seeds: Garcia/Bertens

#1 Garcia d. #6 Witthoeft
#2 Bertens d. #4 Barthel
#1 Garcia d. #2 Bertens

Bertens/Larsson d. Knoll/Komardina

#14 Garbine Muguruza/ESP def. #10 Venus Williams/USA 7-5/6-0

#2 Makarova/Vesnina (RUS/RUS) def. #9 H.Chan/Niculescu (TPE/ROU) 6-0/6-0

#1 Hingis/J.Murray (SUI/GBR) def. Watson/Kontinen (GBR/FIN) 6-4/6-4

#3 Claire Liu/USA def. Ann Li/USA 6-2/5-7/6-2

Danilovic/Juvan (SRB/SLO) def. #4 McNally/Osuigwe (USA/USA) 6-4/6-3

Diede de Groot/NED def. Sabine Ellerbrock/GER 6-0/6-4

Kamiji/Whiley (JPN/GBR) def. #2 Buis/De Groot (NED/NED) 2-6/6-3/6-0

2006 Yan Zi & Zheng Jie, CHN
2007 Cara Black, ZIM
2008 Samantha Stosur, AUS
2009 Serena & Venus Williams, USA
2010 Vania King & Yaroslava Shvedova, USA/KAZ
2011 Kveta Peschke, CZE
2012 Lisa Raymond, USA
2013 Kristina Mladenovic, FRA
2014 Sara Errani & Roberta Vinci, ITA/ITA
2015 Sania Mirza, IND
2016 Heather Watson, GBR
2017 Yui Kamiji & Jordanne Whiley, JPN/GBR

2014 AO: Kristina Mladenovic & Daniel Nestor, FRA/CAN
2014 RG: Anna-Lena Groenefeld & Jean-Julien Rojer, GER/NED
2014 WI: Samantha Stosur & Nenad Zimonjic, AUS/SRB
2014 US: Sania Mirza & Bruno Soarex, IND/BRA
2015 AO: Martina Hingis & Leander Paes, SUI/IND
2015 RG: Bethanie Mattek-Sands & Mike Bryan, USA/USA
2015 WI: Martina Hingis & Leander Paes, SUI/IND
2015 US: Martina Hingis & Leander Paes, SUI/IND
2016 AO: Elena Vesnina & Bruno Soares, RUS/BRA
2016 RG: Martina Hingis & Leander Paes, SUI/IND
2016 WI: Heather Watson & Henri Kontinen, GBR/FIN
2016 US: Laura Siegemund & Mate Pavic, GER/CRO
2017 AO: Abigail Spears & Jean Sebastian Cabal, USA/COL
2017 RG: Gaby Dabrowski & Rohan Bopanna, CAN/IND
2017 WI: Martina Hingis & Jamie Murray, SUI/GBR

*SLAM MX TITLES - active*
5...Katarina Srebotnik, SL
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
[Open era]
10 - Martina Navratilova
7 - Billie Jean King
6 - Margaret Court
5 - Cara Black
5 - Lisa Raymond
5 - Anne Smith
5 - Katarina Srebotnik
5 - Helena Sukova
5 - Wendy Turnbull

2009 Korie Homan/Esther Vergeer (NED/NED)
2010 Esther Vergeer/Sharon Walraven (NED/NED)
2011 Esther Vergeer/Sharon Walraven (NED/NED)
2012 Jiske Griffioen/Aniek van Koot (NED/NED)
2013 Jiske Griffioen/Aniek van Koot (NED/NED)
2014 Yui Kamiji/Jordanne Whiley (JPN/GBR)
2015 Yui Kamiji/Jordanne Whiley (JPN/GBR)
2016 Yui Kamiji/Jordanne Whiley (JPN/GBR)
2017 Yui Kamiji/Jordanne Whiley (JPN/GBR)

2002 Elke Clijsters & Barbora Strycova, BEL/CZE
2003 Alisa Kleybanova & Sania Mirza, RUS/IND
2004 Victoria Azarenka & Olga Govortsova, BLR/BLR
2005 Victoria Azarenka & Agnes Szavay, BLR/HUN
2006 Alisa Kleybanova & Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, RUS/RUS
2007 Anastasia Pavlychenkova & Urszula Radwanska, RUS/POL
2008 Polona Hercog & Jessica Moore, SLO/AUS
2009 Noppawan Lertcheewakarn & Sally Peers, THA/AUS
2010 Timea Babos & Sloane Stephens, HUN/USA
2011 Eugenie Bouchard & Grace Min, CAN/USA
2012 Eugenie Bouchard & Taylor Townsend, CAN/USA
2013 Barbora Krejcikova & Katerina Siniakova, CZE/CZE
2014 Tami Grende & Ye Qui Yu, INA/CHN
2015 Dalma Galfi & Fanni Stollar, HUN/HUN
2016 Usue Arconada & Claire Liu, USA/USA
2017 Olga Danilovic & Kaja Juvan, SRB/SLO

TOP EARLY-ROUND (1r-2r): #6 Johanna Konta/GBR
TOP MIDDLE-ROUND (3r-QF): #14 Garbine Muguruza/ESP
TOP LATE-ROUND (SF-F): #14 Garbine Muguruza/ESP
TOP QUALIFYING MATCH: Q3: Petra Martic/CRO def. #1q Aleksandra Krunic/SRB 3-6/7-6(4)/7-5 (saved 6 MP)
TOP EARLY-RD. MATCH (1r-2r): 2nd Rd. - #6 Johanna Konta/GBR def. Donna Vekic/CRO 7-6(4)/4-6/10-8 (3:10; nearly 100 total winners)
TOP MIDDLE-RD. MATCH (3r-QF): 4th Rd. - #15 Garbine Muguruza/ESP def. #1 Angelique Kerber/GER 4-6/6-4/6-4
TOP LATE-RD. MATCH (SF-F/Jr.): Mixed Doubles SF - H.Chan/Niculescu d. Ninomiya/Voracova 7-6(4)/4-6/9-7 (2:58)
FIRST VICTORY: Wang Qiang/CHN (def. K.Chang/TPE)
FIRST SEED OUT: #31 Roberta Vinci/ITA (1st Rd. - lost to Kr.Pliskova/CZE)
REVELATION LADIES: GBR (two women -- Konta & Watson -- in 3rd Rd. for first time since '86; WC Boulter played well vs. McHale)
NATION OF POOR SOULS: CZE (0-6 2nd Rd., including"co-favorites" Kvitova & Ka.Pliskova w/ two other seeds; first time no Czechs in Wimb. 3r since '09, second time since '04)
LAST WILD CARDS STANDING: Heather Watson/GBR and Zarina Diyas/KAZ (3rd Rd.)
LAST BRIT STANDING: Johanna Konta (in SF, best British result since 1978)
IT ("Next WC Great?"): Diede de Groot/NED
Ms.OPPORTUNITY: Magdalena Rybarikova/SVK
COMEBACK: Victoria Azarenka/BLR
CRASH & BURN: Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova/RUS (1st Rd. loss to Ar.Rodionova after having 7 MP, one year after Wimb. QF and "Career QF Slam" completed at this year's AO; won two titles '17)
ZOMBIE QUEEN: Arina Rodionova/AUS (1st Rd. - qualifier saved 7 MP vs. Pavlyuchenkova; won 9-7 3rd for first career GS MD win; lost 2nd Rd.)
DOUBLES STAR(s): Yui Kamiji & Jordanne Whiley, JPN/GBR (4th consecutive Wimbledon WC Doubles title)
VETERAN PLAYER (KIMIKO CUP): Venus Williams/USA (37 - oldest finalist since 1994)
June 26 official: Eastbourne DC Dominika Cibulkova loses opening match to WC Heather Watson; 4 LL's win MD matches (one LL vs. LL match-up); LL Tsvetana Pironkova advances to 2nd Rd. w/ 1st Rd. bye when Petra Kvitova withdraws, gets 2nd Rd. win
Day 3 observed: On "Flying Ant Day," newly-emerged insects swarm the AELTC grounds. Meanwhile, six women's seed fall, including two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova.
"Alternate" Rad Day (Day 4): In muggy conditions, four women's seeds (and four men's) fall, including "favorite" #3 Karolina Pliskova, as no Czech woman reach the 3rd Round for the first time in eight years. Bethanie Mattek-Sands suffers a devastating knee injury. Aga Radwanska saves two MP vs. Christina McHale to advance.

All for Wimbledon.


Blogger colt13 said...

Stat of the Week-2- The amount of wheelchair women who have won slams/master's titles as teens.

Diede De Phenom, I mean De Great, actually De Groot, won Wimbledon at 20. But with a sport still young, there have even been players able to get to the top at an earlier age. So I guess that should be the quiz.

Quiz Time!

1. Who is the youngest wheelchair winner ever?

2.And who is/was the oldest? Multiple answers accepted.

Break time. Seems like everybody is in agreement that the race for #1 will be nuts this summer. Should be fun.

1. Yui Kamiji won the 2013 Masters at 19, but she is not the answer. The obvious guess is the right one, as Esther Vergeer won the USO at 17. In fact, she had 6 major titles as a teen, including sweeping the 3 available titles in 2000, the USO, Masters, and Paralympics.

2.Todd gave a hint earlier in the week, as one of the two is still playing. Sabine Ellerbrock(2014 AO), and Maaike Smit(2004 USO) both won titles at 38. Ellerbrock's other claim to fame is that she reached #1, along with Kamiji, one of the few non Dutch women to have held that ranking.

One last fact-Both Jiske Griffioen and Esther Vergeer played basketball. Vergeer for the national team, and Griffioen in the 2000 Paralympics, as she was 14, and Vergeer and Smit had the tennis spots.

Tue Jul 18, 12:04:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Todd.Spiker said...

I think I got these.

1.I said Vergeer, but since it seemed almost too obvious, I threw in a second answer (the Aussie who won an early WC slam title -- I had to look up her name to be certain: Daniela Di Toro). Turns out Di Toro was 22.

2.And I figured Ellerbrock, though she's already reached two slam finals this season at 41, so she could still top the list alone.

Tue Jul 18, 08:21:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Leif Mortensen said...

According to Polish press, Wozniacki and Kerber will both be at Radwanska’s wedding tomorrow - so Todd something else to write about?

Fri Jul 21, 03:57:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Diane said...

I didn't realize she was getting married tomorrow! Can't wait to see the dress--Aga will probably look stunning.

Fri Jul 21, 06:11:00 PM EDT  
Blogger colt13 said...

I think we have our odd coincidence of the week. Begu had not reached a WTA final since Florianopolis last year, which is also the last time Bogdan reached the SF.

I am high on Bogdan, but due to the fact that she has played mostly qualies since then-seriously, she has played 16 events this year(not counting Bucharest) 5 ITF/11 WTA,and played qualies at 10 of those, she has only had 2 md wins since Florianopolis.

If Goerges wins, are you doing a backwards week like the last time she won?

Sat Jul 22, 01:22:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Todd.Spiker said...

Hmmm, probably not. But I'm going to update the "Ms.Backspin" race, though. A bit crowded it is. ;)

Sat Jul 22, 02:58:00 PM EDT  

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