Thursday, July 06, 2017

W.4- The Sun Never Sets on The Radwanska

Just when we thought it was safe to go back out on the lawns.

One day after the All-England Club "got off light" on the regularly-scheduled "Rad Day" on the schedule for this Wimbledon, we experienced the much more lethal backhand slap of the malevolent entity's continuing powers on Day 4 as, for the second straight year, "The Day After Rad Day" proved to be a difficult experience for many.

A year ago, #2 seed/then-Roland Garros champ/'15 Wimbledon RU Garbine Muguruza lost the day after "Rad Day," and Ana Konjuh stepped on a rolling tennis ball and lost her chance at AELTC glory on a Day 4 when eleven women's seeds (and seven men's) lost.

In muggy conditions on Thursday, players were often seen slipping and falling on the grass courts. One who did just that was #12 Kristina Mladenovic, a dark horse title contender. By the end of the day, she'd lost and her Wimbledon was over. Also ousted today were #29 Daria Kasatkina and every last remaining Czech woman in the draw, including two more seeds, #32 Lucie Safarova and #3 Karolina Pliskova, the latter of whom had been installed as the "favorite" to win the crown at SW19 one day after countrywoman Petra Kvitova went out yesterday. Pliskova had a shot not only at her maiden slam title, but also the #1 ranking. After the men were spared on Wednesday (1 seed out), four fell today, including fan favorite Juan Martin Del Potro and "SW19 legend" John Isner (winner of the 11-hour marathon match vs. Mahut in '10). And, in an awful turn of events, doubles #1 Bethanie Mattek-Sands went down with a horrifying knee injury that left her screaming in gut-wrenching pain before finally being wheeled off Court 17 thirty minutes later, her career once again assailed by injury, and her and Safarova's dreams of a "Bucie Slam" squashed like one of the flying ants that overtook the AELTC grounds yesterday.

Pliskova's exit likely has the most immediate impact on this tournament, as the Czech seemed poised to become the *next* first-time slam winner in the wake of Jelena Ostapenko's triumph in Paris. But she'll have to make another attempt in New York, where she reached the U.S. Open final a year ago, if she's to reach such a career height in 2017, as Slovak Magdalena Rybarikova upped the stakes once more today in a comeback that has now seen her return from two surgeries (wrist & knee) and seven and a half months off tour to, in a matter of a few months, win four ITF titles (two $100K challengers on grass), reach a tour-level semifinal in Nottingham and return to the Top 100, arriving in London at #87 in the world after being outside the Top 150 at the start of the year. And that was *before* her win over the Czech improved her summer grass court record to 15-1.

Often overlooked during her career, the 28-year old has seemingly flown under the WTA radar for years despite claiming four WTA singles titles and being ranked as high as #31, largely because she's never had much slam success. She came into this Wimbledon having never reached the Round of 16 at a major, and having only three 3rd Round results (and two of those were in 2008-09). But Pliskova knew she was a dangerous foe.

"I think it's the toughest draw in the 2nd round so far for me at the grand slams," said the Czech two days ago.

Still, Pliskova seemed well on her way to victory. She took the 1st set at 6-3 and, though her serves didn't have their usual lethal quality, she had yet to face a break point mid-way through the 2nd. But once Rybarikova got a break to get things back on serve, her confidence and form improved as the match carried on. Pliskova looked to be ready to hold serve to force a 2nd set TB, but suddenly played her first poor service game, throwing in too many errors and handing Rybarikova a break to claim the set at 7-5. It wasn't known at the time, but she'd just blown her chance, opening the door into the match to the Slovak, who shouldered her way in and claimed Centre Court as her own.

Rybarikova got another break for a 3-1 lead in the 3rd, the first of three straight breaks in the set. The third gave Rybarikova a 4-2 lead, the she held for 5-2. The Czech had managed to overcome a 5-2 3rd set deficit in the Australian Open against -- guess who -- Ostapenko herself (the Latvian was still giddy after the match, as she *knew* she could beat one of the best on a big stage even if she didn't do it that particular day... and she hasn't lost a slam singles match since), but a repeat wasn't in order her. Serving to stay in the match, Pliskova lost out on a heart-pounding 18-shot rally that gave Rybarikova a 15/30 lead. She was not to be denied.

It still turned out to be a three-deuce game, but Rybrikova's big forehand return set her up with a MP which she converted with a brilliant running backhand crosscourt winner to take the match 3-6/7-5/6-2. It's her first Top 10 win in 2017, but the seventh of her career.

With the result, a quarterfinalist is assured in what was Pliskova's quarter from the group of Rybarikova, Lesia Tsurenko, Petra Martic (Q) and Zarina Diyas (WC).

Ah, what hath the young Latvian -- and The Rad -- wrought, indeed.

...The Rad is so sneaky. It now thinks that it can slip in under the cover of darkness AFTER Rad Day and cause havoc over the NEXT 24 hours, when everyone has breathed a sigh of relief for having survived Day 3. But It has a "tell."

Consider: last year on Day 4, it was Aga Radwanska who benefited from Konjuh's stepping on a ball and rolling her ankle, as the Pole saved three MP (one on a net cord) and won a 9-7 3rd set. Today, Aga was in action again, and this time she saved TWO MP against Christina McHale and won a three-setter that she HOPES will turn around her flagging 2017 season.

(We see you hiding there, Rad. You're not foolin' anyone.)

McHale has had some epic chokes in her career (as in the losing from 5-0 up variety), but this wasn't really one of those. But, still, the Bannerette blew a huge opportunity today to erase a whole lot of bad stats, including what was a 3-15 record in majors vs. seeded players (13 straight losses), and a 0-4 head-to-head vs. Radwanska in which she never won more than three games in a single set.

With Radwanska openly talking of not only battling a foot injury, but also struggling with herself in her less-than-mediocre '17 campaign so far, McHale had her chance to seize the moment. After getting a late break in the 1st set, she served out the win at 7-5.

In the 2nd, McHale had two BP chance on Radwanska's serve at 5-5, but the Pole saved one with a net cord winner (hmmm) and then approached the net, eliciting an error, to stave off the other. She held for 6-5, and things went to a TB. There, the first five points were won by the returner before McHale held for 4-2, then fired an ace up the "T" to go up 5-2. Radwanska won a 19-shot rally, held two serves, and got things to 5-5 when the umpire ruled that a ball had bounced twice before McHale had gotten her racket underneath it for a shot back over the net. A missed Aga forehand gave McHale a MP, but Radwanska's two-volley attack saved it. Another McHale forehand got her a second MP, but her own error ended a rally. The umpire again injected herself into the proceedings a point later, attempting (wrongly, it turned out) to overrule a long McHale shot as Radwanska took a 8-7 lead. Another McHale error handed the 9-7 TB to the #9 seed.

Having saved herself, Radwanska finally surged ahead in the 3rd. She took an early break lead, though McHale held her off on a BP shot soon afterward to hold for 4-3. The Bannerette had a BP in game #8, but Radwanska managed to hold to move within a game of the win. With the finish line in sight, she broke to win 5-7/7-6(7)/6-3 to reach the 3rd Round at SW19 for the sixth straight year, and eleventh time in twelve appearances at the AELTC.

With her U.S. Open Series defense coming up later this summer, as well as two singles titles before the end of the season, the pressure is on Radwanska. Currently #10 in the world, she's holding onto a 94-week Top 10 run (third-best on tour), and a 490-week Top 20 stay (the best in the WTA, 154 weeks ahead of #2) and will have to break out of her funk in order to avoid a fall which could make things even tougher for her (draw-wise) in 2018.

But maybe this is the start of the long-awaited turn-around.

If so, well, we know Who/What she might want to thank, don't we?

...while Radwanska avoided an upset by saving MP for the second straight Wimbledon Day 4, McHale was hardly the only Bannerette to contribute to the U.S. contingent's stranglehold on the narrative of the day. Much of the news was good. But, unfortunately, the lasting memory of this Thursday will be an horrific one, both for the eyes and the ears, not to mention the collective heart of all of tennis.

First the good.

CoCo Vandeweghe, with her serve cookin', took out Germany's Tatjana Maria 6-4/6-2 to reach the 3rd Round at SW19 for the third straight year (QF-4th Rd. the last two). The main thing that made me question my pre-tournament pick of #24-seeded Vandeweghe to win this tournament was the tricky (at best, "brutal" at worst) nature of her draw. Well, with Pliskova's ( potential QF opponent) loss today, as well as that of Kristina Mladenovic (3rd Rd.), two of the potential obstacles standing in the way of CoCo's route to the semifinals have now been removed from the equation. So, there's that.

Speaking of the Pastry, it was another Bannerette who ushered the #12-seed out of the tournament, as Alison Riske reached the Wimbledon 3rd Round for the third time in five years. Both players complained about the playing conditions on Court 18, but it was (shocker) Mladenovic, who slipped and fell in the early going, who complained the loudest. Still, she pulled it together to win the 1st set 6-2, and was in position to make quick work of Riske if she could have edged ahead late in the 2nd. But instead it was Riske who got the late break, then served out the set at 6-4 to force a decider. In the 3rd, the Bannerette broke for a 4-3 lead, and served for the match at 5-4. Coming back from 15/30 down, Riske took the 2-6/6-4/6-4 match on her second MP after following up a shot in the front court with a volley smash to send Mladenovic packing (though she's still alive in the doubles).

Unfortunately, though, it was on Court 17 that Wimbledon came to a frightening halt today. Or at least it felt that way.

There, two woman with significant (and long) injury histories faced off as Sorana Cirstea met wild card Bethanie Mattek-Sands. 32-year old doubles #1 BMS won the 1st set 6-4, and had a chance to close things out in straights, but lost a 7-4 2nd set TB to the Romanian. Oh, if only she'd won it.

Serving in the opening game of the 3rd set, Mattek-Sands was in the process of rushing the net. She did a split step at the service "T" as Cirstea's ball was coming down the middle of the court. But she never got to hit it, as her right leg collapsed (she injured her right knee in '13) and she went down in a heap, clutching her mangled knee and curling up on the grass, screaming in blood-curdling fashion for help, over and over again. They had to be able to be heard from quite far away all over the grounds.

A concerned Cirstea crossed over the net, but had to turn away when she saw the condition of Mattek-Sands' knee, later calling the (apparently horribly dislocated, and quite possibly far worse than even that) injury so shocking that she hadn't seen anything like it other than maybe "in the movies." While waiting (and well after) for medical assistance to arrive, which seemed to take longer than it probably factually did (Cirstea said it was like everyone was so stunned they didn't quite know what to do) because of the incredible pain that could be uncomfortably heard in her screams, Mattek-Sands' wails grew deeper, and more and more heartbreaking. The Romanian said BMS even cried out over and over for *her* help, which she said made her feel "useless" in the situation, though she tried to provide as much emotional support as she could.

It took some twenty-five minute to get Mattek-Sands off the court, as a dozen or more medical personnel surrounded her as she sobbed, administering pain medication and trying to move her onto a stretcher for her trip to the hospital without doing any further damage. Mattek-Sands' husband rushed to her side, Fed Cup Captain Kathy Rinaldi (BMS was surely scheduled to play a big role in the U.S. FC final in the fall) was there, and even doubles partner and friend (they came to London looking to complete a "Bucie Slam" with a fourth straight major title) Lucie Safarova, tearful and with a stricken look on her face, emerged from the locker room not long before her own scheduled singles match on Court 9.

While everyone awaited further information on the true nature of the injury, players from all over offered support on social media for the player who may be the tour's biggest "social butterfly." Having already had to fight back from so many injuries, Mattek-Sands may have to start over yet again, and right as she's been experiencing the most successful stretch of her career over the last two and a half years, winning five WD slams (all w/ Safarova), a slam mixed title and Olympic Gold medal, while also becoming the best doubles player in the world.

It can't all end like this, just like that (snaps fingers), right? Let's hope not.

Later, with her heart surely almost too heavy to maintain full focus, #32 seeded Safarova actually had to play her match against another U.S. player, Shelby Rogers. At that point the last Czech woman left in the draw after a rash of 2nd Round Maiden upsets that saw her countrywomen go 0-5 as possibly the top two tournament favorites were sent out, Safarova won the 1st set in a TB, but was forced to a 3rd, where she seemed to gradually have her heart taken away as the emotional toll of the afternoon likely began to fully settle in.

Down 4-2, Safarova had a BP chance to get back into the set, but Rogers saved it didn't really look back. She held for 5-2, then served out the 6-7(4)/6-4/6-3 win two games later to reach her first 3rd Round at the All-England Club.

Rogers was the fifth U.S. woman to advance to the Final 32, more than double any other nation. Six others -- CRO,GBR,GER,ROU,SVK,UKR -- have a pair of survivors each, as the 3rd Round is made up of woman hailing from twenty-two different countries.

...with one of the threats (Pliskova) to take her #1 ranking having exited, Angelique Kerber still needed to win her match today against Kirsten Flipkens in order to maintain any hope of staying in the top spot. A loss to the Waffle would mean she'd be assured of falling, possibly even losing the ranking to Pliskova herself despite the Czech's loss (Kerber is defending finalist points, remember, while Pliskova actually simply matched her '16 SW19 result and will lose nothing).

While Kerber still hasn't fully "found herself," she did show the fight that helped get her to #1. Flipkens served for the 1st set at 5-3, but the German broke her and then held a game later, dropping just one point in the combined two-game stretch. She ultimately broke serve again and served out the set at 7-5. Kerber served for the match at 5-4 in the 2nd, but Flipkens briefly got things back on serve. Two games later, serving for the match again at 6-5 and deuce, Kerber was given a gift when Flipkens wildly over-hit an easy forehand volley into an open court, resulting in a MP for the German. She converted it with a perfectly placed lob over the Belgian to close out the 7-5/7-5 win that gets her just a little bit closer to getting back at least a bit of her old 2016 magic. Kerber will face Rogers next.

In the final women's match to finish on Day 4, #5 Caroline Wozniacki took on the you-never-want-to-poke-her-with-a-stick-in-a-slam, sometimes-crazy-balls force that is Tsvetana Pironkova, often at her confounding best at the AELTC. The Dane took the 1st set 6-3, and led 3-1 in the 2nd. But the Bulgarian threatened to make a weird novel of things, getting the score to 3-3 before Wozniacki finally seized full control and won 6-3/6-4, firing twenty-six winners on the day, an exceedingly high number (in two sets, no less) for her, and something which might be a very good sign for her as she tries to work her way through the top half of the draw (and, failing that, certainly the upcoming summer hard court season, and Serena-less U.S. Open, where the Dane lost to the former #1 in the '14 final).

Wozniacki's next opponent will be Anett Kontaveit, who leveled #29-seeded Daria Kasatkina 3 & 2, leaving Svetlana Kuznetsova (def. countrywoman Ekaterina Makarova 6-0/7-5) as the last Russian remaining in the women's draw. Only once since 2001 (in 2013, the year of the Original Radwanskian Massacre) has the Wimbledon 4th Round not included at least one Hordette (the same can be said for 65 of the last 67 slams). She'll face qualifier Polona Hercog in the 3rd Round.

Essentially, Kuznetsova's win single-handedly prevents the Russians from taking this slam's "Nation of Poor Souls" (dis)honor, which instead shockingly goes to the Czechs. Their collective 0-6 2nd Round record means this is the first time no Maidens have reached the Final 32 at Wimbledon since 2009, and just the second time it's happened since 2004.

Meanwhile, the additional U.S.-backed upsets today claim the "Upset Queens" crown for the Bannerettes.

Oh, and, as usual, ESPN's Pam Shriver today, bringing to mind "Wick-mayer" memories of old, noted the Wozniacki will next face Kontaveit, saying that "we don't know her."

Well, Pam... she's from Estonia, is 21 years old and is ranked in the Top 40. She reached the Round of 16 at the U.S. Open two years ago, has already played in two tour-level finals this year, winning her first title in Rosmalen JUST THREE WEEK AGO. She also reached the QF in Rome, a Premier 5 event, and defeated world #1 Kerber this spring.

ESPN "experts" really shouldn't need elementary crib notes, though. Just a passing knowledge of the activites going on on tour should be enough... but I guess that's too much to ask. doubles, aside from the sad end of the Bucie Slam quest, the most noteworthy results were probably Barty/Dellacqua, Makarova/Vesnina and Babos/Hlavackova advancing. But it's worth mentioning that Beatriz Haddad's big Wimbledon continued, as she and Ana Konjuh upset #6-seeded Spears/Srebotnik in three sets. Also, #11 Atawo/Ostapenko lost to the all-Brit duo of Rae/Robson, and the very intriguing duo of Bellis/Vondrousova notched a 1st Round win, as well.

...meanwhile, in the Roehampton junior tune-up event, it'll be #2-seed Claire Liu (USA) vs. Slovenia's Kaja Juvan in the final. Liu defeated AO girls winner #3 Marta Kostyuk (UKR) in the semis. #1-seeded RG champ Whitney Osuigwe (USA) lost in the 3rd Round to Brit Francesca Jones. Juvan defeated her in the QF, then Liang En-shuo (TPE) in the semis.

And the girls singles draw for SW19 has been released. Bannerettes hold the Top 3 seeds.

1.Kayla Day, USA
2.Whitney Osuigwe, USA
3.Claire Liu, USA
4.Elena Rybakina, RUS
5.Marta Kostyuk, UKR
6.Carson Branstine, CAN
7.Taylor Johnson, USA
8.Emily Appleton, GBR
9.Maria Camila Osorio Serrano, COL
10.Wang Xinyu, CHN
11.Olga Danilovic, SRB
12.Mai Hontama, JPN
13.Wang Xiyu, CHN
14.Sofia Sewing, USA
15.Zeel Desai, IND
16.Liang En-shuo, TPE

NOTEWORTHY ON DAY 4: Brad Gilbert saying on ESPN today, talking about Austrian qualifier Sebastian Ofner (#217) as he played (and upset) Jack Sock, "This is what slams are all about -- discovering someone from nowhere."

Yeah, exactly, which is why ESPN's slam coverage is often so slow on the up-take, because it usually steadfastly avoids such players when their "starring moments" take place, then the network's commentators later flash their lack of knowledge about the exploits of such players, and talk about not knowing their names (as Shriver did the other day during the Ostapenko/Abanda match) or much at all about them. Essentially, it's self-sustained ignorance that's bad for the sport.

The only reason Ofner even made the air of the regular coverage today was because it was at the end of the day and there were only two singles matches still being played.


Hmmm, I wonder if this means that Carlos Rodriguez is a "free agent" again?

...and, finally...

June 26 (Official Radwanskian Massacre Day): ALARM
Tournament Eve: EERIE SILENCE
Day 1: ALARM
Day 3: CONCERN (Radwanskian Massacre Day Observed)
Day 4: PANIC ("Alternate" Rad Day)

And the early rounds have not been particularly kind to the "Colt Challenge Cup" (I'm afraid I'm running out of titles) contenders, but there are still some big-time contenders living and breathing at the All-England Club:


5...USA (Brengle,Riske,Rogers,Vandeweghe,V.Williams)
2...CRO (Konjuh,Martic)
2...GBR (Konta,Watson)
2...GER (Kerber,Witthoeft)
2...ROU (Cirstea,Halep)
2...SVK (Cibulkova,Rybarikova)
2...UKR (Svitolina,Tsurenko)
1...BLR (Azarenka)
1...CHN (Peng)
1...DEN (Wozniacki)
1...ESP (Muguruza)
1...EST (Kontaveit)
1...FRA (Garcia)
1...GRE (Sakkari)
1...ITA (Giorgi)
1...JPN (Osaka)
1...KAZ (Diyas)
1...LAT (Ostapenko)
1...POL (A.Radwanska)
1...RUS (Kuznetsova)
1...SLO (Hercog)
1...SUI (Bacsinszky)

=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 Watson vs. Annika Beck (Watson had three MP, out early one year after two points from upset of Serena Williams in '15 3rd Rd.)
=2017 (Day 4/July 6)=
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.

2007 Jelena Jankovic & Jamie Murray, SRB/GBR
2008 Samantha Stosur & Bob Bryan, AUS/USA
2009 Anna-Lena Groenefeld & Mark Knowles, GER/BAH
2010 Cark Black & Leander Paes, ZIM/IND
2011 Iveta Benesova & Jurgen Melzer, CZE/AUT
2012 Lisa Raymond & Mike Bryan, USA/USA
2013 Kristina Mladenovic & Daniel Nestor, FRA/CAN
2014 Samantha Stosur & Nenad Zimonjic, AUS/SRB
2015 Martina Hingis & Leander Paes, SUI/IND
2016 Heather Watson & Henri Kontinen, GBR/FIN
2017 ?

2004 Great Britain
2005 United States
2006 Great Britain
2007 Austria
2008 Russia
2009 Germany
2010 Czech Republic
2011 Russia
2012 United States
2013 Czech Republic
2014 United States
2015 United States
2016 Germany
2017 United States

GBR (0-6 1st Rd.)
AUS (1-3 1st Rd., Stosur & Dokic losses)
SVK (1-3 in 1st Rd.; all 3 w/ WTA titles lost)
GBR (1-6 in 1st Rd.)
SVK (1-4 1st; grass champs Hantuchova/Rybarikova 1st Rd.)
ITA (Pennetta "FSO," Vinci/Schiavone 1st Rd., Knapp ret.)
CHN (1-4 1st; only win by LL Duan)
CZE (0-6 2nd Rd., Kvitova & Pliskova lose; first no CZE in 3r since '09, second time since '04)

2002 (Week 1 POW) Venus Williams, USA
2003 (Week 1 POW) Venus Williams, USA
2004 (Week 1 POW) Lindsay Davenport, USA
2005 (Week 1 co-POW) Lindsay Davenport, USA & Maria Sharapova, RUS
2006 Justine Henin-Hardenne, BEL
2007 Amelie Mauresmo, FRA
2008 Serena Williams, USA
2009 Venus Williams, USA
2010 Venus Williams, USA & Serena Williams, USA *
2011 Petra Kvitova, CZE *
2012 Agnieszka Radwanska, POL
2013 Serena Williams, USA
2014 Maria Sharapova, RUS
2015 Petra Kvitova, CZE
2016 Simona Halep, ROU
2017 Johanna Konta, GBR
* - won title

TOP EARLY-ROUND (1r-2r): #6 Johanna Konta/GBR
TOP QUALIFYING MATCH: Q3: Petra Martic/CRO def. #1q Aleksandra Krunic/SRB 3-6/7-6/7-5
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)
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 QUALIFIER STANDING: In 3rd Rd.: Hercog, Martic
LAST WILD CARD STANDING: In 3rd Rd.: Diyas, Watson
LAST BRIT STANDING: In 3rd Rd.: Konta, Watson
IT ("??"): x
COMEBACK: Nominees: Azarenka, Rybarikova, Martic, Hercog, Watson, Diyas, Cirstea
CRASH & BURN: Nominees: Pavlyuchenkova (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); Ka.Pliskova (#3 seed; 2nd Rd. loss from set and break up vs. Rybarikova; considered tournament "favorite" and shot at #1); Russians? (trying to avoid no women in Wimb. 4r for just second time since 2001, and third time in 68 slams - Kuznetsova to play 3rd Rd.)
ZOMBIE QUEEN (TBD at QF): Nominee: Ar.Rodionova (1st Rd. - saved 7 MP vs. Pavlyuchenkova; won 9-7 3rd; lost 2nd Rd.); Witthoeft (1st Rd. - down 0-5 in 3rd vs. #26 Lucic-Baroni); A.Radwanska (2nd Rd. - saved 2 MP vs. McHale)
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 Day 4. More Tomorrow.


Blogger colt13 said...

Colt's Challenge took a hit, although Pliskova was really the only big loss on the list. As a consolation, Czech's, lefties, and 2017 grass court winners except Kontaveit, had their struggles too.

Stat of the Day-6-Number of women the last 10 years that have either been year end #1 or YEC Champion that have not been in the YEC field the next season.

Kerber is the lefty that made through round 2, but with her at 15 in the race, and Cibulkova at 28, we may have a year in which neither make it to Singapore.

This is rare, as even though there is one that doesn't make it, such as 2007 #1 Henin to retirement, or 2010 winner Clijsters due to injury. Then you had Serena, who was both year end #1 for 2014, plus the title winner. But we haven't had a year in the last 10 in which they both missed.

For those who want new blood, going by the current rankings, Pliskova and Halep would be the only returnees from last year, while Svitolina, Ostapenko, Mladenovic, and Konta(alt-DNP) would be first time participants.

With points left from two majors, it should be interesting who makes that push.

Thu Jul 06, 08:59:00 PM EDT  

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