Tuesday, July 04, 2017

W.2- The Loneliness of the World #1

If the absence of Serena Williams opens quite a few avenues for success for potential slam champions at this Wimbledon -- and it surely does -- then shouldn't we be talking about the current world #1?

Yeah, maybe not.

Some of the pre-event talk about this slam being able to be won by up to forty different players (says ESPN's Brad Gilbert) seems more than a bit far-fetched. It's just not a realistic notion. Not on grass, Serena or no Serena. But, still, even with such liberal qualifications for "contender" status for this tournament, one wonders if #1-ranked Angelique Kerber, a finalist at SW19 just one year ago, would even manage to find her way onto one of those "overly long" list of possible lifters of the Venus Rosewater Dish less than two weeks from now.



Such is the 2017 reality of the German, who has become something of an unfortunate afterthought just months after she completed one of the seasons-of-all-non-Williams-seasons we've seen on tour over the past decade or two, this side of one of La Petit Taureau's very best campaigns, that is. In 2016, Kerber scaled the rankings while winning two slams, reaching the final of a third, being runner-up at the WTA Finals and walking away with a Silver medal in Rio.

But this season we've seen a Kerber that often barely resembles the revelatory, Serena-challenging wonder woman she became last year. She's had a few more nagging injuries, showed a little less aggression, a far worse serve, and way more errors as she's attempted to deal with the pressures of her position on tour, as well as a PDQ Generation (or two, since the likes of looking-over-her shoulder Simona Halep and Karolina Pliskova are members of the "middle child" group nestled between the achieving thirty-or-nearly-so-somethings and the silly new take-no-prisoners gang led by Jelena Ostapenko) nipping at her heels. While she has kept her dignity, Kerber hasn't exactly worn this ill-fitting new dress well. Now, a player lauded a year ago as the prime example of what players needs to do to reach their potential risks being somewhat lost in the backwash of a tour dynamic that is chugging along (sometimes at full throttle) on numerous different levels, none of which she appears to be a part of at the moment.

Kerber arrived at this Wimbledon with a 21-14 season record (she was 63-18 in '16), with no titles, just one appearance in a final, and one other semifinal. The last of those results came in early April in Monterrey (RU), the only tournament where she seemed to even come close to turning some sort of corner, only to revert back to previous '17 form soon afterward. Before playing her 1st Round match on Day 2, Kerber had gone just 5-6 since Week 14, and reached the QF only five times in thirteen total events this season. Not bad for a middlin' lower Top 20 player, but worrisome for a world #1, a position the German will have held for 18 of 28 ranking weeks in 2017 mid-way through this fortnight. Though both Pliskova and Halep have had realistic opportunities to take the #1 burden away from her in recent weeks, neither has managed to do so (so far, though they both have an even more inviting chance at the conclusion of this slam). In fact, only Serena has managed to jump the German on the WTA computer -- for seven weeks after her AO win, then three more in April/May when she was inactive and posting pregnancy photos on Instagram -- since she first claimed the spot after her U.S. Open win last September.

Still, while Kerber has already lost nine times while ranked #1 in 2017 alone, her "worst" losses come with footnotes that remind anyone paying attention that her outside-the-Top 20 defeats were at the hands of, in order, the then-world #26, #35, #68 and #40. Those players are named Kasatkina, Vandeweghe, Kontaveit and Makarova, respectively. Hardly slouches. Two later won their maiden tour titles, another reached the AO semis, while the last is a former multiple slam semifinalist herself.

But Kerber would have likely won the majority of those match-ups a year ago, even if the players in question were sporting '17 form at the time. She's just never looked quite right in this "year after," going all the way back to her opening matches Down Under. In the Australian Open, where she won her maiden slam twelve months earlier, Kerber was taken to three sets in a pair of early-round matches, then was rushed off the stage 2 & 3 by CoCo Vandeweghe in the Round of 16. It was apparent then, and earlier, that the "it" that make '16 special wasn't there, and little has really changed in the past six months. In Paris, she became the first #1 women's seed to ever lose in the 1st Round at Roland Garros.

Even today, though she notched a straight sets win over qualifier Irina Falconi (#247), who has never won a MD match at SW19, Kerber didn't really change any perceptions about her ability to emerge as a title contender over the next two weeks, even if she was "standing in" for champion Williams by opening play on Day 2 on Centre Court in her absence.

Kerber jumped out to a 3-0, two-break lead on the Bannerette, but again saw errors creep into her game. She led 4-2, and saved BP to hold for 5-3, eventually winning the 1st set at 6-4 in :48 while having more UE's (13) than winners (8), a stat which she generally turned in her favor in 2016 while playing with more aggression. As Falconi's game improved as she became more comfortable on the big stage, the 2nd set was knotted at 4-4 before Kerber, as would be expected, stayed just enough ahead to win 6-4/6-4.



For any other player, it'd be a routine, "B"-game (maybe) effort to build upon as the tournament progresses, but every time Kerber takes the court there's a feeling that we're looking for a sign. A light to appear above her head. A star to twinkle, rekindling the magic we witnessed with such unexpected joy a season ago. Kerber is likely waiting for that moment of clarity, too. She says she's practicing better, and that she's getting closer to rediscovering the lost formula for success, but it could be more faith than fabulous prospects talking.

Thus, the search continues. She's not there yet. Maybe she won't ever be this season.

It surely can't be a scenario to discount out of hand. Kerber has loads of points to defend due to her high-flying, big-event points grabs in '16, and if she falls in the rankings she could fall hard come November. Just in this event, she's looking at Kirsten Flipkens in the 2nd Round, and maybe Lucie Safarova after that. Both are former SW19 semifinalists, and either knocking her off wouldn't really cause anyone to bat an eye... it doesn't matter if she's ranked #1 and reached the final a year ago.

Reversals of fortune can come frighteningly quickly on the WTA tour, and Kerber may not even be half-way toward learning that lesson first hand.

"There is much more expectation, much more pressure, from me, from outside, from everything,” Kerber said. “You have much more things also to do. You have to learn. You have to get through all the things. In the last few months, I’ve had a few up and downs. But there’s also a lot of things that I’ve learned from." “Right now I am trying to make things not too complicated again and I’m feeling good.” “I have been practicing good in the last few weeks since Paris. I will try to go out there on Thursday, find my rhythm, and enjoy playing on grass. This is what I love.”

Angie will continue to be Angie. Hopefully, that will be enough. Eventually.



=DAY 2 NOTES=
...one player surely in the vast mix of "potential champions" at this Wimbledon is 2015 quarterfinalist CoCo Vandeweghe, but not without some reservations. An Australian Open semifinalist and Fed Cup star this season, Vandeweghe has often thrived on the big stage in '17, but been woefully inconsistent virtually everywhere else. Though grass has generally been considered her best surface, she arrived in London with little pre-Wimbledon prep after failing to convert MP and losing her debut Rosmalen match under new coach Pat Cash (in for Craig Kardon, who'd been given much credit for pushing for the better fitness that preceded her recent rise, as well as corralling and focusing Vandeweghe's big game talents), then looking good in Birmingham before pulling out with an ankle injury.

After a slow-ish start on Day 2 against Mona Barthel, Vandeweghe pulled away from a 5-5 tie with a break of the German's serve, then a love hold to take the 1st. Early breaks were exchanged in the 2nd, but when Barthel double-faulted on BP (the third time she did such a thing in the match) to give Vandeweghe a 3-2, the Bannerette seized the momentum and carried it to the finish, never losing another game in a 7-5/6-2 victory, making her 8-2 at SW19 the last three years.

It was noted on ESPN that Vandeweghe's '15 Wimbledon run came right after Kardon joined the Coco camp and jolted her into action, so maybe the same can happen this year with Cash. Certainly the temptation is almost irresistible to attempt to link the Aussie's brilliant run to the SW19 title in 1987 to this event, with the chance for his biggest career triumph to be to recalled on its 30th anniversary at this edition of Wimbledon not with Cash climbing through the stands *to* the players box, but with him *waiting there* for Vandeweghe as she follows in his footsteps (thought the AELTC has smartly made the path a little less "death-defying" than in Cash's day) on the final Saturday of the fortnight.

But that's just a little Backpin spitballin'.

...as if often the case, as most selections usually have some reasoning behind them (with even actual grass court success factored in!), the AELTC should be given kudos to this year's field of wild cards. Of the six awarded, three were followed up with 1st Round victories, and very nearly a fourth.

WC winners today included Zarina Diyas (def. Han Xinyun 6-4/6-4) and Bethanie Mattek-Sands, who outlasted Magda Linette, 1-6/6-2/6-3. BMS, when healthy, has had success at Wimbledon, reaching the 4th (2008) and 3rd Round (2015) during her career. Of course, her best chance for a title at SW19 will come in the doubles with Lucie Safarova. "Team Bucie" will be playing for a fourth straight slam title (Bucie Slam), and the release of the draw seems to set things up rather well for the attempt. To win they'd only have to face *one* of the two most dominant grass court duos of the summer, in the final, as both Chan Yung-Jan/Martina Hingis and Ash Barty/Casey Dellacqua are both stuck in the bottom half, as are #2-seed Makarova/Vesnina.

There was very nearly an additional WC to reach the 2nd Round, as 20-year old Brit Katie Boulter pushed Christina McHale in her slam MD debut. The world #238 won the 1st set, and rallied back from 5-2 down in the 2nd, getting to 5-6 before the Bannerette closed out the set and forced a 3rd. Boulter led 2-0, but McHale took control to win 3-6/7-5/6-3.

...five of the twelve qualifiers have advanced to the 2nd Round, with two of the three who advanced today (along with Polona Hercog, who took out Annika Beck to continue her superior, multi-surface comeback run this summer) doing so in marathon fashion.

RG Round of 16er Petra Martic -- Backspin's Q-Round Player of the Week -- won a 2:35 clash with #20-seeded Dasha Gavrilova. After closing down the Croat's chance to hold for a 3-1 lead in the 3rd, the Aussie grabbed a 4-2 lead of her own by breaking Martic's serve again two games later. She gave the break back the next game, but then failed on two BP chances up 4-3. She ultimately got as close as two points from victory, but saw Martic hold her nerve and constantly serve second as the set went into "overtime," finally winning 6-4/2-6/10-8.

Recently having risen to the be the new Aussie #1, Gavrilova has had difficulty winning slam matches outside of Australia, where she's twice reached the second week. She also fell in the 1st Round in Paris, and has won just four matches in the last five majors (three of the wins were in Melbourne in January).

"I think I can't really cope with the grand slam pressure," said Gavrilova "I never sweat and I was feeling hot for some reason and I never have to feel like, 'Oh my God, why is my grip so sticky?' and stuff like that." She added, "Before the match, I was calm and I had great preparation and in my pre-match warm-up I didn't miss a ball."

She says she might consider employing a sports psychologist to get her out of her slam rut.

Meanwhile, another Aussie had the best day of her pro career. Qualifier Arina Rodionova, 27, had never won a MD slam match before today, but then she outlasted #16-seeded Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova for a 3-6/7-6(6)/9-7 victory in which she saved SEVEN match points in a result that can only really be described as being something along the lines of being "oh-so-Pavlyuchenkova." Remember, it was only a year ago that the Russian reached her first Wimbledon QF, and another final eight run in January in Melbourne completed her "Career QF Slam." She's won two singles titles this year, as well. So, OF COURSE she loses in the 1st Round here. Why should we expect anything more, or less?

After reaching those two QF over a three slam stretch, and at least the 3rd Round in four straight -- her best stretch since 2010-11 -- Pavlyuchenkova has since gone 1-2 in Paris and London.

Pavlyuchenkova led 6-3/5-4, and had seven MP in the 2nd set. In the 3rd, as Rodionova served for the match at 5-3, the current Russian seemed to have a chance to turn the tables on the former Hordette, saving a MP, breaking serve and ultimately sending the match over the 2:30 mark. On her third MP, Rodionova finally broke Pavlyuchenkova in game #16 to record her first slam win.



Of note, Rodionova is signed up to play doubles at this Wimbledon with her sister Anastasia.

...along with Diyas (Manchester champ), the achievers at the handful of $100K grass court challengers in England in recent weeks have carried over their success to the All-England Club. On Day 1, Irina-Camelia Begu (Southsea RU) took out Naomi Broady and Heather Watson (Surbiton RU, and WTA Eastbourne SF) advanced past Marina Zanevska. Today, Magdalena Rybarikova (she won two of the $100K events -- and Surbiton and Ilkley -- and reached the tour-level Nottingham semis) defeated Monica Niculescu, while Tatjana Maria (Southsea champ) got the win over the youngest player in the draw, 16-year old qualifier (and '16 girls winner) Anastasia Potapova when the Russian fell and retired with an injured knee at 6-3/2-2.



If things are serious, Potapova should give Maria's people a call. I'm sure she's still got some of those lawyers on retainer.

...most of the top tour-level grass event performers have done well so far at SW19, as well. Champs Petra Kvitova (Birmingham), Donna Vekic (Nottingham) and Anastasija Sevastova (Mallorca) won on Monday. Today it was Rosmalen champ Anett Kontaveit (def. Arruabarrena), Eastbourne winner Karolina Pliskova (def. Rodina), Eastbourne finalist Caroline Wozniacki (def. Babos), Nottingham/Birmingham semifinalist Lucie Safarova (def. Dodin, and with Kerber a possible 3rd Rd. opponent), Rosmalen semifinalist Lesia Tsurenko (def. Goerges) and Birmingham semifinalist Garbine Muguruza (def. Alexandrova).

Wozniacki, announced last week as the latest WTA star to appear in the ESPN Body Issue (as well as being one of the cover models), has reached the 4th Round of Wimbledon on five occasions, but has never advanced any deeper in the draw in her previous ten appearances.

...elsewhere, in an all-Pastry battle, Kristina Mladenovic defeated Pauline Parmentier 6-1/6-3 in a no-fuss match-up between two French players who *don't* have personal issues with each other. Probably because Pauline would likely fear for her Twitter safety & reputation if she dared cross Kiki's path without asking permission first. Though, really, as long as 31-year old Parmentier plays for a few more years, don't we sort of expect Mladenovic to take issue with *something* concerning her at some point down the line, then declare her essentially unfit to breathe the same air as she? I mean, the odds are pretty good.

And, on Day 2, Sloane was baby-playin'...

Yes, Sloane Stephens returned to action from her foot injury today, playing a match for the first time since the Rio Olympics. Sure, she lost to Alison Riske 6-2/7-5, but her return is one of the more under-the-radar comebacks of the very many we've seen so far in 2017. As hard as that might have been to believe possible a few seasons ago.




Next up on the agenda: baby-winnin'.

...hey, remember not that long ago when a match-up between Aga Radwanska and Jelena Jankovic would have been a bring-down-the-rafters reason to gather together in holy tennis communion? Yeah, not so much at the moment, though.

Two years after they met in the SW19 Round of 16, they faced off in the 1st Round today, emblematic, really, of where BOTH players stand at the moment, though it's really only Jankovic's current ranking (#67) that is the cause of such an early match-up, as Radwanska is still seeded #9. But the Pole *has* been off her game this year, largely one would think because of a lingering ankle injury. Remember, she opened 2017 with QF-RU results in January. Before today, she has gone 6-7 since Week 2, having played just four matches (2-2) since Miami.

JJ looked to be ready to make some noise today. She served for the 1st set at 5-4 and 6-5, but failed to put it away either time. Radwanska won a 7-3 tie-break, then coasted to to a 7-6(3)/6-0 win as the Serb won just six total points in the entire 2nd set. Jankovic is now 5-16 on the season, with five straight losses and a 1-8 mark in her last nine.

And here's where I make a note that Day 3 is when the Radwanskian Massacre Day remembrance activities are officially observed. With Aga having played today, as well as the likes of Tsvetana Pironkova (def. Errani), maybe we'll actually have a quiet Wednesday, though.

Unless, of course, that's what The Rad wants us to think. You've been warned.


June 26 (Official Radwanskian Massacre Day): ALARM
Tournament Eve: EERIE SILENCE
Day 1: ALARM
Day 2: PARANOIA
Day 3: (Radwanskian Massacre Day Observed)


EXPLAIN-ME-THIS ON DAY 2: Why is it "the ESPN way" to spend 5-10 minutes talking about the travails of Angelique Kerber since she became #1, including showing another of those short, sharply-produced little segments with the good lighting, which is all find and good, but all the prep work is then wasted by not using it as a lead-in to, you know, showing her ACTUALLY PLAYING TENNIS? While the "gang of 4" (minus Deplorable Pam) was busy talking up the German, six games had already been played by Kerber against Irina Falconi without ESPN bothering to show a single point. Then, when they finally wrapped up... everything was thrown to coverage of del Potro/Kokkinaikis.

ROUND 1 NOTES ON DAY 2: The 1st Round is complete, and some winners and "losers" can be identified.

Even without Serena Williams on the grounds, ten Bannerettes have advanced, nearly twice the number of players from the nation with the second-most in the Final 64 -- the Czech Maidens (6). The Swarmettes are off to a great 4-1 start, while the Hordettes (4-7) are lagging a bit behind. "New powers" Ukraine (3-1) and Latvia (2-0) continue to produce slam match wins, while Germany (3-5) and Japan (1-4) form the axis of something that resembles a slight downturn.

I'm not sure there's a legitimate "Nation of Poor Souls" quite yet, so it may take another round to make things official there (Russia probably need some wins to avoid taking the rare (dis)honor). Remember, at least one Hordette has reached the 4th Round at 65 of 67 slams, failing to do so at Wimbledon just once since 2001 (the original Radwanskian Massacre slam in '13).

If Ana Konjuh, Petra Martic and Donna Vekic win their 2nd Round matches, Croatia will be in the running for the "Revelation Ladies" honors, while the U.S. forces have to be in the running for that one, as well, just based on sheer numbers. Sorana Cirstea's win over a seed (#23 Bertens) at least provides a foundations for a Romanian "Upset Queens" candidacy (even if Bertens losing on grass isn't really an "upset"), made even stronger if, say, Begu knocks off #27 Konjuh in the next round. And, of course, there are always the Czechs.

*1st ROUND RECORDS - by nation*
10-5 USA
6-2 CZE
4-1 ROU
4-7 RUS
3-1 CRO,UKR
3-5 GER
2-0 LAT,SUI
2-1 BLR,SVK
2-2 ESP,ITA
2-3 BEL,FRA,GBR
2-4 CHN
1-0 BRA,BUL,DEN,EST,GRE,SLO
1-1 KAZ,POL
1-2 AUS,CAN
1-4 JPN
0-1 HUN,LUX,MNE,NZL,PAR,PUR,SRB,SWE,TUN
0-2 NED,TPE


THE "COLT CHALLENGE: WIMBLEDON EDITION" ON DAY 2: another slam, another name...

[from reader/contributor "Colt13"]

Well, the French Open didn't go according to form, but here is a primer on how to pick the Wimbledon winner. Or as Sam Hinkie says, "Trust the Process."

Wimbledon is different, as in past results normally predict future ones. So the pool of players comes from this grass season's winners, runner up, and SF. But it also includes the same from last year, plus the QF from Wimbledon. I will explain as I go along.

38 women make the Initial cut. Ka.Pliskova, Riske, Puig, Zheng, Vandeweghe, Mladenovic, Bencic, Brengle, Keys, Strycova, Suarez Navarro, Garcia, Sevastova, Flipkens, Jankovic, Cibulkova, Konta, S.Williams, Kerber, Vesnina, V.Williams, Pavlyuchenkova, Halep, Shvedova, Vekic, Rybarikova, Safarova, Kontaveit, Vikhlyantseva, Tsurenko, Konjuh, Kvitova, Barty, Muguruza, Goerges, Bellis, Watson, and Wozniacki.

Probably wondering why I add the QF from last year? Well, 14 of the last 20 yrs, the winner has been a QF the previous year. The only 2 that weren't Williams related? Sharapova and Bartoli. Also accounts for those who don't play any other grass events.

S.Williams and Bencic aren't here, so down two already.

Next cut are this year's winners, if they haven't already met the standard. Why? Because only 2 times in the last 20 years has a woman won both a lead-up tournament and Wimbledon in the same year. Sharapova-2004 Birmingham, and Novotna-1998 Eastbourne.

So that eliminates Kvitova, Kontaveit and Vekic. Sevastova stays, as would Pliskova if she won, but this would eliminate Wozniacki.

Even though Ostapenko did it, the fact is that she was the first person in 18 yrs to win a slam without previously reaching a slam QF. So that takes out Riske, Puig, Zheng, Brengle, Rybarikova, Vikhlyantseva, Barty, Goerges, Bellis, Watson, and Tsurenko.

Venus was the lowest seed to win at 23, while ranked 31, when they used to adjust seeds. So eliminate unseeded Flipkens, Jankovic and Shvedova.

At this point, there are 19 seeds left. You are probably thinking, that is too many, narrow it down more. So one last cut. This is unpopular, but statistically relevant. Cut any left that have never won a grass court title. That takes out Mladenovic, Strycova, Suarez Navarro, Konta, Safarova and Muguruza. Pavlyuchenkova stays, as she reached the QF last year.

Why does Pavs stay? Because of the 5 first time grass court title winners. Davenport, Venus, Serena, Mauresmo and Kvitova. Wimbledon was their first grass court title, and they all reached the QF or better the previous year.

So the final list:

Cibulkova
Garcia
Halep
Kerber
Keys
Konjuh
Pavlyuchenkova
Ka.Pliskova
Sevastova
Vandeweghe
Vesnina
V.Williams
Wozniacki


...and, finally, it's Independence Day in the U.S., so...



In the 101st anniversary edition of the traditional July 4th Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest at Coney Island, New York, it was 33-year old super-eater Joey Chestnut cementing his legend by picking up a record tenth Mustard Yellow Belt, matching Rafa Nadal's number of Roland Garros titles while also fulfilling his Federeresque destiny by winning a second straight title after having been dethroned on grandest stage of them all by young Matt Stonie in 2015. After predicting a 75-82 dog/bun total during the week, Chestnut failed to meet such lofty expectations, but still broke his own event record by slamming down 72, just 1.5 off the world record (and racking up a total of 27,000+ calories in the process). While Stonie slipped all the way down to 3rd place with just 48, Chestnut was pushed by a new threat (and maybe inheritor of his mystery meat throne), as Carmen Cincotti kept within burping distance of the champ for the full ten-minute competition, pushing down 62, a total equal to or better than Chestnut's in four of his wins, as well as Stonie's in his sole victory in '15.




As noted by ESPN's announcers, the fans were in full support of Chestnut, cheering him when he arrived on the stage "like Justin Trudeau going to a women's march."



*NATHAN'S HOT DOG EATING MEN'S CHAMPS - since 2000*
2000 Kazutoyo Arai
2001 Takeru Kobayashi
2002 Takeru Kobayashi
2003 Takeru Kobayashi
2004 Takeru Kobayashi
2005 Takeru Kobayashi
2006 Takeru Kobayashi
2007 Joey Chestnut
2008 Joey Chestnut
2009 Joey Chestnut
2010 Joey Chestnut
2011 Joey Chestnut
2012 Joey Chestnut
2013 Joey Chestnut
2014 Joey Chestnut
2015 Matt Stonie
2016 Joey Chestnut
2017 Joey Chestnut

Meanwhile, in the women's competition, Miki Sudo won her fourth straight title, downing 41 hot dogs and buns (upped from 36 after the final bell due to an accounting mishap). After a tight early competition, Sudo picked up steam mid-way through the ten-minute time period and pulled away from 2nd place finisher Michelle Lesco (32.5) down the stretch. Three-time champion Sonya "The Black Widow" Thomas finished 3rd with 30.



*NATHAN'S HOT DOG EATING WOMEN'S CHAMPS*
2011 Sonya Thomas
2012 Sonya Thomas
2013 Sonya Thomas
2014 Miki Sudo
2015 Miki Sudo
2016 Miki Sudo
2017 Miki Sudo




*WIMBLEDON "NATIONS OF POOR SOULS"*
2010
GBR (0-6 1st Rd.)
2011
AUS (1-3 1st Rd., Stosur & Dokic losses)
2012
SVK (1-3 in 1st Rd.; all 3 w/ WTA titles lost)
2013
GBR (1-6 in 1st Rd.)
2014
SVK (1-4 1st; grass champs Hantuchova/Rybarikova 1st Rd.)
2015
ITA (Pennetta "FSO," Vinci/Schiavone 1st Rd., Knapp ret.)
2016
CHN (1-4 1st; only win by LL Duan)
2017
??

*"THE RADWANSKA REMEMBRANCE DAY" HISTORY*
=2013 (inciting event)=
June 26 (Wimbledon Day 3)
"The Radwanskian Massacre" - 7 former #1's lose, w/ 4 additional walkovers and three ret. on day filled with falls, slips and stumbles
=2014=
June 26 (Wimbledon Day 3)
First unofficial commemoration of The Radwanskian Massacre. With the Radwanskian Threat Level meter in place and all on guard and vigilent, calm prevails.
=2015=
June 26 (official)
Aga Radwanska & the seagull (in Eastbourne, bird swoops at Radwanska as she serves... one day later, she loses in the singles final)
Wimbledon Day 3 (observed)
The hottest day ever recorded in Wimbledon history (35.7 C / 96 F), fire alarm evacuates Centre Court
=2016=
June 26 (official)/Wimbledon Day 3 (observed)
The wet London weather rains... err, reigns. 74 singles and doubles matches are scheduled: 41 are cancelled, 15 interrupted and 18 completed. Only 6 matches were both started and finished solely on Day 3, with 4 of those played under the Centre Court roof. But Aga Radwanska opens the Centre Court schedule and wins without incident and, in a previously unscheduled C.C. match, Radwanska's '16 RG conqueror, Tsvetana Pironkova, loses.
=2017=
June 26 (official)
Eastbourne defending champ Dominika Cibulkova loses in 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
Wimbledon Day 3 (observed)
x

*"ALTERNATE" RAD DAYS?*
=2015 (Jr. Radwanska Day) - Day 7/July 6=
Three of the Top 4 junior girls lost in the 1st Rd.: #1 Marketa Vondrousova (Roehampton RU), #3 Dalma Galfi (Roehampton W) and #4 Anna Kalinskaya (RG Girls RU)
=2016 (Day 4/June 30=
#2 seed/RG champ/'15 RU Garbine Muguruza loses; #3 Aga Radwanska saves 3 MP, one on a net cord, as Ana Konjuh rolls her ankle after stepping on a ball, and Aga wins a 9-7 3rd set; eleven women's (and seven men's) seeds fall, as well as Heather Waston vs. Annika Beck (Watson had three MP, out early one year after two points from upset of Serena Williams in '15 3rd Rd.)

*RADWANSKIAN MASSACRE/REMEMBRANCE DAY LEADERS* - #
[up to June 26, 2017]
[multiple wins]
3...Belinda Bencic, SUI
3...Genie Bouchard, CAN
3...Andrea Petkovic, GER
2...Alize Cornet, FRA
2...Zarina Diyas, KAZ
2...Kirsten Flipkens, BEL
2...Madison Keys, USA
2...Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, RUS
2...Aga Radwanska, POL
2...Maria Sharapova, RUS
2...Sloane Stephens, USA
2...Heather Watson, GBR
2...Serena Williams, USA
[multiple losses]
4...Hsieh Su-Wei, TPE
3...Lesia Tsurenko, UKR
2...Sorana Cirstea, ROU
2...Ana Ivanovic, SRB (ret.)
2...Christina McHale, USA
2...Karolina Pliskova, CZE
2...Silvia Soler-Espinosa, ESP
2...Caroline Wozniacki, DEN
[most matches]
4 - Genie Bouchard (3-1)
4 - Andrea Petkovic (3-1)
4 - Hsieh Su-Wei (0-4)
3 - Belinda Bencic (3-0)
3 - Kirsten Flipkens (2-1)
3 - Maria Sharapova (2-1)
3 - Sloane Stephens (2-1)
3 - Heather Watson (2-1)
3 - Sorana Cirstea (1-2)
3 - Ana Ivanovic (1-2) (ret.)
3 - Karolina Pliskova (1-2)
3 - Carla Suarez-Navarro (1-2)
3 - Lesia Tsurenko (0-3)
2 - Alize Cornet (2-0)
2 - Zarina Diyas (2-0)
2 - Madison Keys (2-0)
2 - Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (2-0)
2 - Aga Radwanska (2-0)
2 - Serena Williams (2-0)
2 - Irina-Camelia Begu (1-1)
2 - Petra Cetkovska (1-1)
2 - Lauren Davis (1-1)
2 - Camila Giorgi (1-1)
2 - Karin Knapp (1-1)
2 - Jelena Ostapenko (1-1)
2 - Monica Puig (1-1)
2 - Alison Riske (1-1)
2 - Lucie Safarova (1-1)
2 - Christina McHale (0-2)
2 - Silvia Soler-Espinosa (0-2)
2 - Caroline Wozniacki (0-2)
# - [Remembrance Day history]
2013: June 26 (Wimbledon Day 3)
2014: June 26 (Wimbledon Day 3)
2015: June 26 (Eastbourne) & July 1 (Wimbledon Day 3)
2016: June 26 (no WTA matches) & June 29 (Wimb.Day 3)
2017: June 26 (Eastbourne) & July 5 (Wimb.Day 3)



TOP QUALIFIER: Petra Martic/CRO
TOP EARLY-ROUND (1r-2r): x
TOP MIDDLE-ROUND (3r-QF): x
TOP LATE-ROUND (SF-F): x
TOP QUALIFYING MATCH: Q3: Petra Martic/CRO def. #1q Aleksandra Krunic/SRB 3-6/7-6/7-5
TOP EARLY-RD. MATCH (1r-2r): x
TOP MIDDLE-RD. MATCH (3r-QF): x
TOP LATE-RD. MATCH (SF-F/Jr.): x
=============================
FIRST VICTORY: Wang Qiang/CHN (def. K.Chang/TPE)
FIRST SEED OUT: #31 Roberta Vinci/ITA (1st Rd. - lost to Kr.Pliskova/CZE)
UPSET QUEENS: x
REVELATION LADIES: x
NATION OF POOR SOULS: x
LAST QUALIFIER STANDING: 1st Rd. wins: Abanda, Hercog, Martic, Ar.Rodionova, Sabalenka
LAST WILD CARD STANDING: 1st Rd. Wins: Diyas, Mattek-Sands, Watson
LAST BRIT STANDING: 1st Rd. wins: Konta, Watson
IT ("??"): x
Ms.OPPORTUNITY: x
COMEBACK: x
CRASH & BURN: x
ZOMBIE QUEEN (TBD at QF): Nominee: Ar.Rodionova (1st Rd. - saved 7 MP vs. Pavlyuchenkova; won 9-7 3rd); Witthoeft (1st Rd. - down 0-5 in 3rd vs. #26 Lucic-Baroni)
DOUBLES STAR: x
VETERAN PLAYER (KIMIKO CUP): x
JUNIOR BREAKOUT: x
THE RADWANSKA DAY REMEMBRANCE AWARD
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: xx




All for Day 2. More Tomorrow.

8 Comments:

Blogger Todd.Spiker said...

So, swarms of flying ants overtake the grounds on Day 3 (Rad Day) at Wimbledon, huh? Were we expecting anything less?

Wed Jul 05, 10:41:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Diane said...

I Tweeted Wimbledon a simple solution but I doubt that anyone significant will see it. But yes, they were expected.

Wed Jul 05, 01:05:00 PM EDT  
Blogger colt13 said...

Off sequence, so getting the beginning of the week quiz now, the Stat of the Day below-eventually.

And yes, the quiz is a roundabout way of saying what the stat will be about.

Quiz Time!
Wheelchair tennis starts next week. Between the slams, masters and Paralympic games, how many titles have US women won?

A.0
B.2
C.4
D.6

Since the 21st century started, how many of those same titles have had a final without any woman for the Netherlands?

A.10
B.7
C.5
D.3








Answers.
1.A.The US is 0-81, although with only an 8 woman field(the Olympics have 32), they normally can't even get in.

2.D. Only 3, but not only was the last title one of those, but all 3 have involved Yui Kamiji, who will be attempting the third leg of a possible slam here.

Wed Jul 05, 01:35:00 PM EDT  
Blogger colt13 said...

Stat of the Day-4-Number of medals won by Victoria Arlen in the 2012 Olympics.

Now this is a bit different, as Arlen is a swimmer, not a tennis player. Also she won at the Paralympics, which reminds me that the 2nd wheelchair edition is coming up next week.

Wheelchair is about inclusion,not the size of the field, which is underrepresented at 8, but take the Dutch for instance. They have Jiske Griffioen, who has spina bifida, but competes at an extremely high level. They also have Aniek Van Koot, who has one leg, had a birth defect in the other, which was amputated. Yet she qualifies. Fair, right?

So back to Arlen. She was healthy until age 11, then contracted transverse myelitis and ended up in a coma for 3 years. Three years after that, she competed as a paralympian at the 2012 games.

This is where it gets weird. In 2013, Arlen was not allowed to compete at the IPC World Championships, because it was deemed that her paralysis would not be permanent. Let that sink in for a minute.

The twist, is that they were eventually proved right, as 11 years after she was first paralyzed, she can walk. Note that she still wears leg braces, but her story is still being rewritten as we speak.

Wed Jul 05, 02:01:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Diane said...

Wow--great information, colt, especially about Arlen.

I can't think of ner name (memory not what it used to be), but I sometimes wonder what became of the no. 2 player throughout much of Vergeer's career. She kind of disappeared, and I could never find whether she retired (obviously she did) or what happened. May e you know who I mean.

Wed Jul 05, 05:05:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Galileo Sutherland-west said...

Yes, indeed. Happy flying ant day. They couldn't quite save Donald Young or Donna Vekic sadly.

Wed Jul 05, 07:37:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Todd.Spiker said...

C-
Finally! I went 2-for-2! (Ostapenko like celebration!)

I didn't think I remembered any U.S. players winning anything, which is a little odd considering the emphasis that wheelchair sports get here compared to many countries. Although, right now there are U.S. woman ranked at #11 and #13, so maybe that will soon start to change. The USTA should put some emphasis on that.

And I went with the low non-NED total just because I figure there couldn't be too many, since Kamiji, Whiley and Ellerbrock are the only non-Dutch players who've been in recent finals that I can immediately recall.

Hmmm, that is an odd little note about Arlen. I wonder what the origin of that rule might have been? Could they have thought someone would do something to themselves that would cause temporary paralysis just so they could compete?

(Of course, when you think about, I wouldn't put that past someone actually doing.)

D-
I'm thinking you're trying to remember the name of Korie Homan. She's still only 31, but apparently ended up retiring after falling and tearing a ligament in her wrist that, if she had surgery on it, would have resulted in her losing function. At least that's what her Wikipedia page says. ;)

G-
Hmmm, maybe the ants were after *you* on Wednesday. Worth considering. :D

Thu Jul 06, 01:11:00 AM EDT  
Blogger colt13 said...

Kamiji will be #1 if she reaches the final.

Thu Jul 06, 08:49:00 AM EDT  

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