Sunday, August 13, 2017

Wk.32- Svitolina's Summer Fling

And, in Toronto, Elina Svitolina took another turn in the WTA rumble seat...

Jump for Joy, @elisvitolina! ?? . . . #RogersCup #Svitolina #Canada #Toronto #WTA #Tennis #Trophy

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Rumble, young Ukrainian, rumble.

S: Elina Svitolina/UKR def. Caroline Wozniacki/DEN 6-4/6-0
D: Ekaterina Makarova/Elena Vesnina (RUS/RUS) def. Anna-Lena Groenefeld/Kveta Peschke (GER/CZE) 6-4/6-0
ITF World Junior 14s (Prostejov, CZE)
F: United States def. Ukraine 2-1

?????? . . . #RogersCup #Svitolina #WTA #Trophy #Toronto #Canada #Tennis #Champion

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...don't look now, but here comes Svitolina. Again. Of course, we've been here before. A few months ago, in fact, when Svitolina came through the clay court season in such a style (10-1, with titles in Istanbul and Rome) that she was looked upon as a legit slam threat in Paris despite never having reached a major semifinal. She reached the Roland Garros QF, led Simona Halep 6-3/5-1, twice served for the match and held a MP in a 2nd set TB, only to fail to convert, head to a 3rd set and get bageled in shocking fashion, heading for the exit in just twenty minutes. Will the Ukrainian's title run in Toronto -- one of the best weekly performances produced by any player all season long -- be the start of a summer story with a different ending than the one she nearly starred in during the spring?

Whatever happens next, there is no denying the style that Svitolina showed in Toronto. The 22-year old, who'll rise to a career-best #4 with her ninth career title and a tour-best fifth in '17 alone (including three Premier 5 events, making her the first to do that), produced a series of sometimes-dominant wins over quality opponents with the ease of a big title-winning veteran, handling weather delays and suspensions, including having to finish her QF match on Saturday before playing in the semis, with ease, then ultimately outclassing Caroline Wozniacki in the final, winning the final eight games of the match. Over the whole of her week, Svitolina downed Daria Kasatkina in straight sets (despite trailing 0-4 in the 2nd), allowed just three games vs. Venus Williams, emphatically downed Garbine Muguruza with an ace on MP, and dominated a "barely there" Halep 1-1 before closing out the weekend with the victory over the Dane. She posted four Top 10 wins on the week, including three over Top 6 players in a little over twenty-four hours on the weekend (w/ two Top 4 wins on Saturday). In all, she defeated four of the five 2017 slam finalists in action in Toronto, and raised her season record vs. Top 5 players to 7-1.

But it's what comes next that we'll remember.

Still looking for the true slam breakthrough result that barely eluded her in Paris, it says all you need to know about Svitolina's consistency and finals "know-how" (she's 9-2 in finals during her WTA career) that she's in the thick of the #1 race without having put up a SF-or-better result during the 12-month ranking period. As the Ukrainian has been making her step-by-step climb up the WTA ladder in recent seasons, she's shown a good head for learning from her experiences, both good and bad. Did she learn enough from her uncharacteristic 3rd set RG collapse vs. Halep to make sure she replaces it with something better in her final opportunity in 2017 to make due on her slam potential before the calendar turns over to 2018? She's sort of been hiding in the weeds since that Paris loss, having played just six matches (4-2) before her impressive five-match run this past week.

Will Svitolina's failure in early June provide the bridge to an ultimate triumph in early September? Is she about to seize her moment by the throat and strangle the life out of it, just like a certain German sporting a similar counterpunch-then-hit-you-with-a-well-placed-gut-shot mindset did last summer in New York? We'll soon find out.

RISER: Caroline Garcia/FRA
...while her fellow Pastry/bullying attention-grabber/ex-doubles partner has seen her '17 results take a downturn in recent months, Garcia's have been gradually picking up steam. After starting the season by producing just one QF+ result (a SF in Monterrey), taking a short injury break and finding herself at the center of the FFT's Fed Cup nonsense, she's now played an additional nine events. While she's still seeking her first final after picking up two singles titles in 2016, her QF run in Toronto is her fifth QF+ result (including three semis) since the start of May. Last week, Garcia started off with a three-set win over Sorana Cirstea, then followed up with straight sets wins over Varvara Lepchenko (after her win over Jelena Ostapenko) and the firecracker-hot CiCi Bellis. Her run ended at the hands of Simona Halep in their postponed-by-rain QF on Saturday, but it'll be enough to allow her to jump both Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (a two-time '17 singles champ) and CoCo Vandeweghe (AO SF and Stanford RU) and get back into the Top 20. At #19, she'll be just six spots (around 1000 rankings points) behind the aforementioned top-ranked Frenchwoman on tour.

SURPRISE: Tamara Korpatsch/GER
...just call Korpatsch the anti-Kerber German in 2017. While last year's #1 and two-time slam winner has battled inconsistency and confidence issues since the very first week of the season, the 22-year old has gone about following up her breakout ITF campaign of a season ago (she went 4-0 in ITF finals and rose 150+ rankings spots over the course of the year) by continuing to gradually rise up the tour ladder in 2017, putting together successful tour-level qualifying runs in Stuttgart (def. Bogdan, Dodin and Rodina) and Rosmalen, reaching a $100K QF and producing her first such tour-level result in Gstaad just a few weeks ago, as well. While she's still seeking her first slam MD slot (she came within a match of qualifying at Wimbledon), she reached a new career-high ranking (#124) last month. Dropping back down to the lower circuit this past week, Korpatsch qualified and claimed the title at the $60K Hechingen challenger, extending her ITF final winning streak to six with a three-set win over Italian qualifier Deborah Chiesa. Since late April, Korpatsch has gone a combined 22-10 on all levels, and will inch up to #136 on Monday. She's nearly climbed into the German Top 8, standing at ninth, but with Annika Beck clearly within her sights.

VETERAN: Caroline Wozniacki/DEN Toronto, Wozniacki's strange 2017 ride made another oddball stop. Nearing the one-year anniversary of arriving in New York ranked #74, then beginning a nearly total turnaround by reaching the U.S. Open semifinals, world #6 Wozniacki has a ride in the race for the #1 ranking, leads the tour in match wins and final appearances and has shown improvement this season when it comes to serving bigger and (occasionally, at least) playing with a bit more aggression while not giving up her defensive-minded style. But she's still coming up short.

This week she reached her sixth final of the season, reaching her second consecutive (w/ Bastad) and third final in her last four events. And she did it in Toronto, where she'd never before won even a single match during her career. Not only that, but her victories over Ekaterina Alexandrova, Aga Radwanska, Karolina Pliskova and Sloane Stephens pushed her '17 Top 10 win total to eight, tying her career best marks in 2010 and '11 (her two #1-ranked seasons), and her win over Pliskova not only allowed her to match her best season total when it comes to Top 3 wins (2014) but also notch her very *FIRST* win over a reigning world #1 with her defeat of the Czech. It's a stat that seems far-fetched, but then you remember that at her consistent best, when she would have been most likely to record such a win, Wozniacki was actually ranked #1 herself.

But, then, after playing a close three-quarters of a set vs. Elina Svitolina in the final on Sunday, Wozniacki's forehand and serve failed her, and her frustrations were evident (she whacked multiple times after a particularly poor shot late in the 1st set, and never really regained her footing after that moment). She dropped the final eight games of the match. Even one day earlier, when questioned about her winless final streak, the Dane noted that she'd once been 6-0 in finals during a season. A true statement (sort of, as she went 6-0 in 2010 between final losses in Indian Wells and at the then-WTA Championships), but also one that leads you to believe that she's been telling herself just that off the court, which probably means she's been thinking about that big "0" in her '17 season column more than she'd like to let on. The odds are that Wozniacki *will* get a title before 2017 concludes, but it's no longer the given it once appeared to be.

Still, she'd surely take just *one* title if, you know, it was the *right* one.

Already the player in tour history with the most weeks at #1 *and* the most singles titles without having won a slam, Wozniacki finds herself in prime position to erase such personal history if she can duplicate her own past success at the U.S. Open, by far her best major over the course of her career. She's produced better there than than either Svitolina or Halep, and has played more finals on Ashe Court than Pliskova. Of the players still in the discussion for a top ranking or slam run, only Kerber has put up better recent results in NYC than the Dane, but the German will -- barring a season-turning result in Cincinnati -- arrive at the final slam of '17 with the least likely path to the top and most iffy ongoing form of any of the players in the mix (if the German is even legitimately "in the mix" at this point, which is questionable).

With such odds in her favor, Serena Williams out, and likely Vika Azarenka (what a sad, crazy story that's suddenly become) and Maria Sharapova either absent or hardly ready to contend, Wozniacki may never have a better chance to personally edit the first line of her career bio than she'll have starting two weeks from now in Flushing Meadows.

Will her moment finally arrive?
COMEBACK: Sloane Stephens/USA
...what a difference a week can make. While Stephens put up a good fight in her three-set loss to Simona Halep in Stanford, then reached the doubles final, she was still seeking her first singles win since her return from foot surgery (which kept her off tour for eleven months) as she began her third event of the season in Toronto. Well, let's just say she made up for lost time.

S cubed! Semifinal Sloane Stephens! . . . #RogersCup #Canada #Tennis #SloaneStephens #WTA #Toronto

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In the draw via a protected ranking entry (she came in at #934), Stephens took out Yulia Putintseva in three sets to finally record win #1 on the season, then she really caught a wave. Next to fall were none other than Petra Kvitova (three sets) and Angelique kerber (2 & 2 in fabulous fashion), followed by Lucie Safarova (7-5 3rd, after saving 3 MP) as Stephens reached her first career Premier 5 semi, and first SF of any kind since she won Charleston in April of last year. Stephens finally ran out of gas in the semis against Wozniacki, whose defensive skills proved to be a mountain too high to contend with at the end of a long, but amazingly fruitful, week. But the stunningly sudden advancement she made in Toronto will be apparent in the gargantuan ranking leap that will come on Monday, when she'll rise all the way to #152, up 752 spots from a week ago.
FRESH FACE: Cornelia Lister/SWE
...the Swede garnered some attention in this space in recent weeks with some results on the WTA tour, and she gets a bit more this week after taking a step down and continuing her success on the ITF circuit. In her home event in Bastad, the 23-year old made her way through qualifying with wins over a retiring Danka Kovinic, then Louisa Chirico, and, in Stanford, she and Lu Jiajing pulled off a straight sets doubles win in the 1st Round over Sabine Lisicki & Kristina Mladenovic. Lister followed those tour-level results with her maiden ITF singles title run (she already had 19 WD wins) in the $15K event in Las Palmas, Spain. A previous RU in a pair of $10K challengers in 2014 and '16, the #3-ranked Swede (at #492 heading into the week) grabbed the title while losing just one set all week. The #2 seed, she knocked off #5 Melanie Klaffner in the semis, then #3 Gaia Sanesi in the final.

DOWN: Simona Halep/ROU
...when is a good week also something of a bad week? Well, as usual, when Halep *doesn't* win a tournament, and manages to raise more questions than she answers.

Once again finding herself right in the middle of a multi-player race for #1 over the next few weeks, Halep arrived in Toronto as the defending Rogers Cup singles champ, looking to become the first woman since 2000 (and just the third ever since the tournament began its every-other-year site swap with Montreal in 1998) to defend the tournament title in a different city than the one in which she'd won it a year earlier (after Monica Seles 1997-98, and Martina Hingis 1999-00). Coming in off having retired in Washington due to heat illness, Halep rebounded quite well, reaching the SF without dropping a set after defeating Magdalena Rybarikova, Barbora Strycova and Caroline Garcia. But rain postponed her QF match against the Pastry, meaning she had to win it (4 & 2) on Saturday morning, then return later in the afternoon to once again face off with Elina Svitolina. They'd already played in two memorable matches this spring -- the Rome final, when a Halep ankle injury hampered her efforts in a loss, one which she'd soon avenge by staging an epic comeback vs. the Ukrainian in the Roland Garros QF a few weeks later -- and another key result in this budding rivalry seemed to be in order. But then THAT Simona showed up. As she had been all week, Svitolina was on her game like she hasn't been in a few months, but Halep never seemed to be truly invested in the match and, needless to say, it had to cause coach Darren Cahill to have a few bad flashbacks to what had previously been a turning point in his coach/player with the Romanian, when he'd briefly quit working with her after what he perceived as her giving up during a match in Miami.

Perhaps this match was the second phase of her trying D.C. experience, when she'd barely managed to get by against the weather one round *before* she was forced to retire, but after seeing the Swarmette come up small in other big moments over the past few years (including times when the #1 ranking or a slam title -- or both -- was a stake) it's oh-so-easy to wonder how much of it was just Simona taking another step back rather than forward. And that thought wasn't helped when, after the match, her answer when asked what happened to her on this day, well, just wasn't the sort of answer one would have preferred to hear.

To be continued.
...while this week's $25K in Landisville, Pennsylvania wasn't the biggest ITF event in Week 32, it *was* the only to take place in North America as the string of $60K USTA-sponsored events to determine a WC berth winner into the U.S. Open MD (congrats again to Sonya Kenin for a second consecutive summer) ended last week. Just one more big challenger (the $100K in Vancouver next week) remains on the continent before the start of the play in New York City.

This week, 18-year old Lapko ('16 AO jr. champ) picked up her third career ITF singles crown (first of '17) in Landisville with a 4-6/6-4/7-6(4) win in the final over Anna Karolina Schmiedlova, who had twelve DF in the match. The Slovak managed to extend the match after trailing 4-2 in the 3rd set, but the deciding TB came only after, up 6-5, AKS raced for a ball at the net and put away a drop shot for a winner that would usually have given her a MP... except for the fact that she lost the point because she tumbled into the net. Lapko held to take things to the TB, where AKS led 3-0. But Lapko surged back to win it 7-4, ending the match on a dead net cord. Oh, Anna Karolina.

Still, for her part, AKS remains decidedly on the comeback trail. She didn't get her third '17 ITF title (she defeated Lapko in June for the second of her two consecutive $25K title runs), but at least she's managed to claw her way back inside the Top 200 after having ended the '16 season at #226, a full one hundred spots below where she's ended 2015. After what Schmiedlova has gone through on the court over most of the last year and a half, any arrow that remains pointed somewhat upward -- even if not directly perpendicular with the ground -- is a welcome condition.

CoCo Gauff, Charlotte Owensby and Gabriella Price

JUNIOR STARS: USA 14s and Ashley Kratzer/USA
...the current crop of U.S. rising stars and high-level juniors cut their teeth in the junior team event competitions, with their great success there ultimately leading to Captain Kathy Rinaldi being called upon to lead the big Fed Cup squad (which will play for the title in her first year at the helm come the fall). Well, the success continued on the lower level this week, as the Bannerettes picked up a record seventh ITF World Junior team crown in the competition in Prostejov, Czech Republic.

Led by a trio of Floridians -- Cori "CoCo" Gauff, Charlotte Owensby and Gabriella Price -- the U.S. went undefeated in round robin play, then advanced past Australia (QF) and Russia (SF) to set up a rematch of last year's final, where the Bannerettes lost out to Ukraine. This time, with Gauff (6-0 singles/3-1 doubles on the week) leading the way, the U.S. got a 2-1 win. 13-year old Gauff evened the tie with a 6-4/6-0 win over Dasha Lopatetskaya (the highest ranked girl in the competition, and the reigning European Jr. 14s champ), then teamed with Owensby to clinch the title with a deciding doubles victory. It's the U.S.'s fifth 14s title since 2007, a span during which the Bannerettes played in three other finals.

Gauff & Owensby clinch the win

In San Diego, #3-seeded Kratzer, the world #341 who turned pro last December, won the USTA 18s National Championship and earned a wild card berth into the U.S. Open in what will be her grand slam debut. Newport Beach, California native Kratzer posted wins over Michaela Gordon (QF) and RG girls champ Whitney Osuigwe (SF) to reach the final, where she defeated #33-seeded Duke freshman Kelly Chen (def. #1 seed Usue Arconada and #12 Caty McNally) 6-2/4-6/6-4 to take the title. Kratzer led 4-0 in the 3rd, only to see Chen stage a comeback to get back on serve. After ending Chen's run with a hold for 5-4, Kratzer got the break to close out the win.

In the USTA's other age-related competitions, Angelica Blake (16s), Robin Montgomery (14s) and Elena Yu (12s) were crowned champions.

Back to back! @vesnushka86 and @katemakarova1! . . . #RogersCup #Canada #Tennis #WTA #Toronto

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DOUBLES: Ekaterina Makarova/Elena Vesnina, RUS/RUS
...all hail, the best doubles team in the world? With Bethanie Mattek-Sands' absence, the Hordettes surely have staked their claim to the honor this summer. Always a big title winning duo, the Russians added their third high-level crown (two Premiers and Wimbledon) of the season this weekend in Toronto, defending the Rogers Cup title they won last year in Montreal. They took the crown without dropping a set, extending their winning streak to ten matches (w/ one total set lost in their last two events). It's their eleventh win as a team, with six coming since last summer, including the Olympics and WTA Finals. The Russians posted a 6-4/6-0 win over Anna-Lena Groenefeld & Kveta Peschke (who'd defeated #2 seeds Y.Chan/Hingis and #3 Safarova/Stryocva en route) in the final on Sunday. Makarova/Vesnina double-bageled H.Chan/Niculescu in the championship match at SW19.

"Leave the gun racket, take the cannoli tortellini."

1. Toronto Final - Elina Svitolina def. Caroline Wozniacki
Though they're the top two players on tour in '17 when it comes to match wins, these two couldn't get any more different when it comes to other numbers. While Wozniacki is 0-6 in finals, Svitolina is 5-0. The Ukrainian is 3-0 in big Premier finals this year, while the Dane is 0-3. That dynamic played out in the final as, after a tight first six games in the 1st set, Wozniacki dropped serve in a bad service game that included a poor attempt at the net, then a DF to break herself. She managed to break back (w/ Svitolina serving into the sun) a game later, but never won another game after that, with her forehand and serve letting her down time and time again, while Svitolina's shots were finding open spaces with room to spare inside the lines. Wozniacki double-faulted to break herself again in game #9, Svitolina held to claim the 1st set and then went on to end the match on an eight-game winning streak.


2. Toronto 1st Rd. - Sloane Stephens def. Yulia Putintseva 6-7(4)/6-0/6-4
Toronto 2nd Rd. - Sloane Stephens def. Petra Kvitova 7-6(4)/3-6/6-2;
Toronto 3rd Rd. - Sloane Stephens def. Angelique Kerber 6-3/6-2
Toronto QF - Sloane Stephens def. Lucie Safarova 6-2/1-6/7-5
I'd say this qualifies as a message a few weeks before the start of the Open. Sloane is tired of baby-steppin'. Safarova will get the first opportunity to see how long she can sustain this level of performance, for after failing to convert three MP vs. Stephens in Toronto she'll get another shot at her in the 1st Round at Cincinnati.
3. Toronto 1st Rd. - Varvara Lepchenko def. Jelena Ostapenko
The first sign of a crack in the exterior of the RG champ? After dominating the 1st, Ostapenko had a wild ride the rest of the way vs. Lepchenko. Even so, she came back from 0-3 in the 3rd before being nipped at the finish line. Still, Jelena does not take losing well...

Good. Most champions worth their salt hate losing as much, if not more, as they enjoy winning.
4. Toronto 2nd Rd. - Ekaterina Makarova def. Johanna Konta
Not the start to her summer hard court season that the Brit was looking for. In 2:25, Konta blew a 7-5/5-2 lead vs. the D.C. champ, failing to convert on two MP chances.
5. Toronto 1st Rd. - Barbora Strycova def. Kristina Mladenovic 6-2/6-3
Toronto 1st Rd. - Bianca Andreescu/Carson Branstine def. Kristina Mladenovic/Anastastia Pavlyuchenkova 7-5/2-6 [10-8]
Mladenovic falls to 7-6 in singles since her QF run in Paris, then fell to 11-10 in '17 WD without ex-partner Garcia, losing to the two-time '17 junior doubles slam champion Canadian duo.

6. Toronto 1st Rd. - Daria Kasatkina def. Roberta Vinci 7-6(3)/7-6(1)
Toronto 2nd Rd. - Elina Svitolina def. Daria Kasatkina 7-6(4)/6-4
it was a tale of three tie-breaks for the Hordette in Toronto, and a 6-4 set she lost in which she'd actually held a 4-0 lead on eventual champion Svitolina. Oh, well. At least she pulled off one the best tweener winners we'll see all year.

7. Toronto 1st Rd. - Magdalena Rybarikova def. Mirjana Lucic-Baroni
In a match-up of two of the season's most unexpected slam semifinalists, lucky loser Rybarikova prevailed. She lost a round later to Halep, ending a crazy week that included a Q1 win over Kurumi Nara in which she squandered a 6-2/5-3 lead (and nearly another 5-3 lead in the 3rd, winning in a TB) and then lost in the Q2 via a 3rd set bagel delivered by Lepchenko.
8. USTA Nat'l Chsp. 18s QF - Whitney Osuigwe def. Claire Liu
Osuigwe once again outlasted Liu in a rematch of the RG girls final, but she failed to secure the U.S. 18s national title, losing in the semis to eventual champion Ashley Kratzer.
9. Toronto 1st Rd. - Timea Babos def. Bianca Andreescu
The Hungarian ended her nine-match losing streak, but then fell love & 1 to Radwanska a round later. Still, the 17-year old -- the winner of the tour's latest Breakthrough of the Month award -- did this...

10. $25K Chiswick Final - Vitalia Diatchenko def. Viktoria Kuzmova
The former "Serena Williams 1st Round Victim" of yore is finally healthy and back in form, winning her first challenger title in over two years. Here she is enjoying, ummm, a "spoil" of her victory, no matter how tiny it may be.

HM- Toronto 1st Rd. - Donna Vekic def. TPFKAGB
What's-her-name's tenth 1st Round exit in 2017, and eighteenth since the start of 2016.


1. Toronto QF - Caroline Wozniacki def. KAROLINA PLISKOVA
Avenging two of her '17 final losses (the Czech won out over the Dane in Doha & Eastbourne), Wozniacki overcame a slew of rain delays and a 5-1 1st set deficit to outlast Pliskova, who was in her first week of action since inheriting the #1 ranking from Kerber. Somewhat surprisingly, this was also Wozniacki's first career win over a world #1. Two of the Dane's eight career Top 3 wins have come this season vs. Pliskova (as #3 in the Miami SF).

2. Toronto 1st Rd. - VENUS WILLIAMS def. Irina-Camelia Begu
While it took a while for Wozniacki to get *her* first match win in Toronto, she's got nothing on Venus. It took her over twenty years on tour to do it... as well as a long rain delay, and three sets in her opening match vs. the Romanian.

3. Toronto QF - Anna-Lena Groenefeld/Kveta Peschke def. CHAN YUNG-JAN/Martina Hingis
With Wimbledon, this makes wins in TWO consecutive tournaments by ALG/KP over Chan & Hingis. It's also their first non-slam loss since falling in the Miami semifinals in March, ending a run of sixteen straight "regular" tour match wins.

4. Toronto Q2 - NAOMI OSAKA def. Barbora Krejcikova 1-6/7-6(4)/6-0
Toronto 3rd Rd. - KAROLINA PLISKOVA def. NAOMI OSAKA 6-2/6-7(4)/1-0 ret.
Osaka saved a MP in qualifying vs. one Czech, but was ultimately forced to retire a few rounds later vs. another.
5. Toronto 3rd Rd. - Caroline Wozniacki def. AGA RADWANSKA
When your longtime friend and recent wedding guest shows you little mercy on the court... until you meet at the net.

6. $15K Vienna Final - Clothilde de Bernardi def. GABRIELA PANTUCKOVA
The Pastry wins her second ITF title in a row, dominating the Czech sister.
7. $15K Nonthaburi Final - SARA TOMIC def. Yuan Yue
So, is 19-year old Sara now officially the "most dependable" Tomic? This is her third career challenger title run.
8. Toronto QF - NADIIA KICHENOK/ANASTASIA RODIONOVA def. Sania Mirza/Peng Shuai
Too much sister to bother dealing with?

Hey there, stranger.

Caro, Elina and the jaunty-hatted Mountie (hmmm, or is it Steve Carell?)

Snoopy is a beagle! And beagles are my favourite dogs ??

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3 - Karolina Pliskova, CZE (2 HC/1 GR)
2 - Johanna Konta, GBR (2 HC)
2 - Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, RUS (HC/RC)
2 - Kiki Bertens, NED (2 RC)
2 - Katerina Siniakova, CZE (HC/RC)

4 - Kristina Mladenovic, FRA (1-3)
3 - Karolina Pliskova, CZE (3-0)
3 - Johanna Konta, GBR (2-1)
3 - Simona Halep, ROU (1-2)
3 - Anett Kontaveit, EST (1-2)
3 - Julia Goerges, GER (0-3)
14 [5/8/1] Angelique Kerber (7-7)
13 [6/4/3] Karolina Pliskova (6-7)
11 [3/2/6] CAROLINE WOZNIACKI (3-8)
11 [5/3/3] Simona Halep (7-4)
11 [5/5/1] Serena Williams (8-3)
9 [1/3/4] ELINA SVITOLINA (7-2)

*2017 WTA SF*
6 - Johanna Konta (3-2+L)
6 - Karolina Pliskova (2-3+W)
5 - Kristina Mladenovic (4-1)
5 - SIMONA HALEP (3-2)
5 - Julia Goerges (3-2)
5 - Garbine Muguruza (1-4)
[2017 low-ranked SF]
NR - Maria Sharapova/RUS (Stuttgart)
#340 Jana Fett/CRO (Hobart)
#254 Barbora Krejcikova/CZE (Nurnberg) - RU
#233 Marketa Vondrousova/CZE (Biel) - W
#168 Francesca Schiavone/ITA (Bogota) - W
21 - Angelique Kerber [8/11/2]
20 - Karolina Pliskova [8/6/6]
20 - SIMONA HALEP [9/6/5]
19 - ELINA SVITOLINA [6/7/6]
18 - Aga Radwanska [8/9/1]
16 - Serena Williams [9/6/1]

3 - MAY/JUN - Simona Halep (Madrid/Rome/RG, WLL)
2 - FEB - Caroline Wozniacki (Doha/Dubai, LL)
2 - APR/MAY- Francesca Schiavone (Bogota/Rabat, WL)
2 - APR/MAY - A.Pavlyuchenkova (Monterrey/Rabat, WW)
2 - MAY - Kristina Mladenovic (Stuttgart/Madrid, LL)

2...Ka.Pliskova vs. Wozniacki (KP 2-0)

Saint Petersburg: Kristina Mladenovic, FRA (QF-Vinci)
Mallorca: Anastasija Sevastova, LAT (SF-Garcia)

2010 Vera Zvonareva (WTA SF)
2014 Maria Sharapova (WTA rr)
2017 Simona Halep (Eastbourne QF)
2009 Elena Dementieva (Charleston SF)
2014 Petra Kvitova (WTA rr)
2015 Simona Halep (Stuttgart SF)
2017 Karolina Pliskova (Miami SF)

Brisbane (d) - Sania Mirza 2016-17
Taipei City (d) - Chan/Chan 2016-17
Madrid - Simona Halep 2016-17
Rome (d) - Martina Hingis 2016-17
Nurnberg - Kiki Bertens 2016-17
Stanford (d) - Abigail Spears 2016-17

5...Y.Chan/Hingis (4-0+W)
5...Barty/Dellacqua (3-2)
4...Hradecka/Siniakova (0-4)
3...Mattek-Sands/Safarova (3-0)
3...Hlavackova/Peng (1-2)

Dubai - Elina Svitolina, UKR
Indian Wells - Elena Vesnina, RUS
Miami - Johanna Konta, GBR
Madrid - Simona Halep, ROU
Rome - Elina Svitolina, UKR
Toronto - Elina Svitolina, UKR
Cincinnati - TBD
Wuhan - TBD
Beijing - TBD
Dubai - Makarova/Vesnina, RUS/RUS
Indian Wells - Y.Chan/Hingis, TPE/SUI
Miami - Dabrowski/Xu Yifan, CAN/CHN
Madrid - Y.Chan/Hingis, TPE/SUI
Rome - Y.Chan/Hingis, TPE/SUI
Toronto - Makarova/Vesnina, RUS/RUS

[14s - ITF World Juniors]
2007 United States d. France
2008 United States d. Great Britain
2009 United States d. Czech Republic
2010 United States d. Ukraine
2011 Serbia d. United States
2012 Slovakia d. Great Britain
2013 United States d. Russia
2014 Russia d. Ukraine
2015 Russia d. United States
2016 Ukraine d. United States
2017 United States d. Ukraine
[16s - Junior Fed Cup]
2007 Australia d. Poland
2008 United States d. Great Britain
2009 Russia d. Germany
2010 Russia d. China
2011 Australia d. Canada
2012 United States d. Russia
2013 Russia d. Australia
2014 United States d. Slovakia
2015 Czech Republic d. United States
2016 Poland d. United States
2017 (Sept.19-24)

2012 Vicky Duval
2013 Sachia Vickery
2014 CiCi Bellis
2015 Sonya Kenin
2016 Kayla Day
2017 Ashley Kratzer

Ostapenko, Abanda and a dinosaur... there just has to be a joke just asking to be cracked in there somewhere, right?

Chakvetadze sighting!

16 Singles Final: Ka.Pliskova d. Kerber
16 Doubles Final: Mirza/Strycova d. Hingis/Vandeweghe
17 Top Seeds: Ka.Pliskova/Halep

#1 Ka.Pliskova d. #9 V.Williams
#4 Muguruza d. #12 Ostapenko
#5 Svitolina d. (WC) Stephens
#2 Halep d. #7 Konta
#1 Ka.Pliskova d. #4 Muguruza
#2 Halep d. #5 Svitolina
#1 Ka.Pliskova d. #2 Halep

..."I think you deserve to be #1...but maybe next time."

#1 Makarova/Vesnina d. Goerges/Savchuk
#3 Safarova/Strycova d. #2 Y.Chan/Hingis
#3 Safarova/Strycova d. #1 Makarova/Vesnina

...they have to lose sometime.


All for now.


Blogger colt13 said...

Stat of the Week-40-The amount of years it has been since the Top 4 seeds at a slam did not have a slam title.

Looking at the live rankings, with Pliskova, Halep, Svitolina, and Wozniacki in the top 4, we are a week away from it happening.

If there is an odd statistic, it probably involves the AO. In this case, partially true. You see, even though it hasn't happened in 40 years, when it did, it happened twice in the same year. In theory, that would make sense, as the same higher ranked players would affect both draws. But that didn't happen as 8 different players were involved.

Still confused? Let me make it more so. The AO was actually played twice in 1977. The one in question was in January, leaving the 1977 French as the last time this has happened. So let's take a look back at both the 77 AO and French, plus some other of the most stacked, and most forgettable draws of the last 40 years.

To point out how rare this is, it isn't just the top 4, but rarely do we ever have a top 2 that are both slamless. Ironically enough, the only time in recent history that it happened did so 3 times in the same year when Wozniacki/Zvonareva did it in 2011(all but French). So of course Wozniacki would be involved in this.

That was a year with 3 first time slam winners Li, Kvitova, Stosur, so it is a good omen if the Top 4 stay as is.

The 1977 Australian Open only had a 32 player field, and only one former slam winner. Lesley Bowrey was unseeded and lost in the first round to the eventual winner in Kerry Reid. Not a bad loss, as it was her last AO appearance, and her slam wins were in 1963 and 65.

The seeds were Dianne Fromholtz, Kerry Reid, Helen Gourlay and Betsy Nagelsen. 2 of the 4 had previously reached a slam final, and the other 2 would fulfill that, with Fromholtz reaching the 77 final, and Nagelsen 78.

So the next slam was the French, and Gourlay was the only one to go. She did not get a seed, leaving Mima Jausovec, Kathy May, Helga Masthoff and Regina Marsikova is the Top 4. Masthoff had been in a slam final, but that was 1970. The only winner in the 64 player field? #8 seed and Original 9 member Nancy Richey. Similar to Bowrey, her 2 slam titles were in the 60's(USO 66 &69), and was in her next to last appearance at the French.

Jausovec won it, so both times in this scenario, one of the Top 4 seeds won it. But the other finalist was Romanian Florenta Mihai-is that an omen?

Now a look at some other draws.

1990 AO- Statistically the weakest seeds in an 128 field era. At the time Graf and Mandlikova were the only seeded slam champs. #2 Sabatini and #5 Novotna eventually would get theirs. But the seeds from 8-16? Helen Kelesi, Katerina Maleeva, Natalia Zvereva, Pam Shriver, Larisa Savchenko-Neiland, Raffaella Reggi, Rosalyn Fairbank, Gigi Fernandez and Barbara Paulus.

1984 USO- Top 3 seeds were Navratilova, Evert, Mandlikova. The only slam winners in the top 16 then and now.

The good?
2001 AO- Your Top 7 seeds? Hingis, Davenport, V.Williams, Seles, Martinez, S.Williams, Pierce. So of course, the #12 seed is a 1st time slam winner in Capriati.

1979 W- 9 of the Top 10 had been to a slam final, and 14 of 16 eventually did. The outlier at the time? #4 Tracy Austin, who would get her slam in a matter of months. But this one is rare because of the chalk. Top 8 reached the QF. Top 4 reached SF. Top 2 reached final. #1 seed Navratilova won it all.

2012 W-Eventually all 16 reached a slam final.

1993 W- 12 of 16 eventually reached a slam final. The 4 that missed? Amanda Coetzer and all three Maleeva sisters.

Mon Aug 14, 12:05:00 PM EDT  
Blogger colt13 said...

Ran out of room, so quiz goes here.

Quiz Time.
Lesley Turner Bowrey won her 2 French Open titles in 1963 and 1965. Who did she beat in the finals?

Muguruza won 7 matches in two weeks to win the Wimbledon title. How many of the Comeback Crew(Sharapova, Azarenka, Keys, Stephens, Kvitova) have 7 or more wins this season?

Another premier, so another post coming

1.When in doubt about 60's tennis, go maiden. As in Margaret Smith and Billie Jean Moffitt. But in this case, you would be half right. In Billie Jean's case, that would have been a bad guess, as although she started playing slams in 1959, she did not play the French until 1967. Smith was the loser in 1965, and Ann Jones was in 1963, Jones having the dubious claim to fame as to have also lost in the QF in 65 to Turner.

2.Two. Not surprisingly, the two that won titles lead the group. Keys & Kvitova have 9 wins on the season, Sharapova 6, And Azarenka & Stephens 4.

Mon Aug 14, 12:06:00 PM EDT  
Blogger colt13 said...

5 On the Up Side

1.Siniakova- She played well enough against Venus to think that she could be the breakout star of this week. In a tough par of the draw, but is a good a pick as any in the last seeding week before the USO.
2.Goerges-A QF run at a premier probably gives her the confidence to do so at the USO. Also probably gets her a seed. Has lost so many times in finals that it has obscured one of the more interesting streaks. She has reached a doubles final in each of the last 8 years, but hasn't yet in 2017.
3.Garcia-Not just Mallorca anymore. Starting to make deep runs at slams and premiers. Since the split, her numbers are almost identical- Garcia 26-13, Mladenovic 28-13.
4.Safarova- Your soon to be doubles #1. Last week may have been the playbook for what we are about to see from Lucie in the near future-good run in singles, no doubles title. When Team Bucie started, Lucie was 16 in singles and 148 in doubles. At the end, 34 singles-3 doubles. More likely that Lucie starts preforming better in singles, and gets back up to 16, if not higher.
5.Vekic-Would have had her higher up, but is in a brutal section in which she will have to go Vikhlyantseva, Pliskova, Siniakova in the first 3 rounds. Needs to bring out her inner Donimal(needs work).

Mon Aug 14, 12:19:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Todd.Spiker said...

Wow, that's some impressive work/research there! :)

Speaking of impressive. You know, I'm wondering, which is "more impressive?" The Top 7 at the '01 AO all being slam winners, or the Top 16 at the '12 WI all eventually reaching slam finals? I'm actually thinking it's the latter.

1.I said Court (Smith), thinking it might be the same player in both finals. So, 1/2 right again. :|

2.Kvitova & Keys. I wasn't sure about Kvitova, but I went with both and avoided the dreaded "1/2 right" tag this time. :)

(Sort of forget that Sharapova has even SIX wins in '17, honestly.)

Mon Aug 14, 12:25:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Todd.Spiker said...

*Up side*
Hmmm, maybe I should have gone with Goerges/Savchuk in the WD final (I was close)... Hopefully, Safarova is through will all her illness issues, as that's put a hold on some of her singles success, too... "Donimal" (This will make it sound better: the only other option I could immediately think of was "Vekicaur/Vekicsaur," as in dinosaur... hey, maybe "Donnasaur"?) ;)

Mon Aug 14, 12:34:00 PM EDT  
Blogger colt13 said...

5 On the Down Side

1.Osaka-Not here, which is actually a good thing. Had a chance to beat Pliskova, but got injured. Again. Has Top 20 talent, and Top 200 durability. Last time she had the ab injury, she lost 5 matches in a row, one of the reasons why she has a losing record on the year. She needs to get healthy.
2.Mladenovic-Another that needs to take a week off, yet still plays doubles. The cautionary tale can be told by one of last week's stars in Stephens, who was Mladenovic last year. Think i'm kidding? Stephens 2016 through French? 19-6. Mladenovic 2017 through Stuttgart? 19-7. Stephens lost time due to a stress fracture that healed slowly. Mladenovic doesn't want to cause another problem(shoulder) trying to compensate for the main one(back).
3.Sharapova-I am one that wasn't excited for the Ostapenko match, because this isn't 2012. This was going to be one way traffic, a younger, healthier player blowing her off the court. As with the players above, I don't know if the arm injury is because she is compensating for her abs, but is another one that needs time off. Venus famously injured herself at the AO in 2011, and won the match, but was out for the next 5 months. Sharapova probably needs that amount of time to get right, so she is the tennis version of Troy Polamalu at the end of his career, where he was questionable every week, but you knew he couldn't play. The other thing? USO WC. Pretty much no chance. In a year where 3 of these women(Ahn, Day, Dolehide, Anisimova, Liu, Osuigwe) are getting left out, why give one to someone who may not show up?
4.Bertens-Like Kontaveit, starting her hardcourt season late. Timea, where are you? As someone that has the talent to reach the USO QF, has she given herself enough time to adjust? A bad matchup for her first match with Dodin, who may run away with this before Bertens gets her sea legs. Also note-Larsson was in qualies, but it is Bertens/Flipkens this week.
5.Svitolina-A down that really isn't one, but her is here because of history. You know how they talk about the Sunshine Double ie IW/Miami? Well, Serena won either Canada or Cinci 5 times, but never in the same year. In fact, nobody has done the Double since Goolagong in 1973. Now, Cinci stopped play for a number of years, so this is only the 15th time since 73 that they have played. And even though the Cinci winner has reached the USO SF or better 6 of the last 10 years, I would not be opposed to 2 matches and a walkover, because in her current form, she might just be the favorite. Plus 3-0 h2h vs Wozniacki helps.

Mon Aug 14, 12:42:00 PM EDT  
Blogger colt13 said...

Well, I can't claim I was misquoted. The 3 WC left went to Sharapova, Day and Townsend. Color me surprised on 2 of those, as I assumed Day would get one for winning juniors.

Tue Aug 15, 11:58:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Galileo Sutherland-west said...

Aha, that Pova wildcard is excellent news for me!! Todd knows why. ;) #spoilers

Tue Aug 15, 04:44:00 PM EDT  
Blogger colt13 said...

Either we will have CZE leading both singles and doubles, or a Romanian woman in the #1 spot.

If Halep wins, with Safarova also going to #1, it will be the first time since Nov 2003(Justine Henin & Paola Suarez) that we have had both #1's change the same week.

Last US Open seeds barring a pullout: Goerges, Rybarikova, Davis. First out: Suarez Navarro, Bellis, Safarova, Makarova(Bottom two a Stephens loss away from a seed).

Sat Aug 19, 07:20:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Todd.Spiker said...

Ah, I was wondering when both #1's switched the same week. ;)

Stephens' jump up the rankings is remarkable. I mean, she was outside the Top 900 as recently as two weeks ago. Monday she'll be around #83. And she did it without winning a title, or even reaching a final.

Sun Aug 20, 12:42:00 PM EDT  

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