Monday, September 04, 2017

US.8 - Daisy-Head Maiden

Welcome to the 2017 U.S. Open, world #1. Sure, it took a few additional matches for you to finally show up dressed to the nines. But, hey, better late than never.

After struggling to find her game last round against Zhang Shuai, saving a MP before changing course to advance and keep alive her slam title hopes (as well as the possibility of holding onto the #1 ranking), Karolina Pliskova had no such worries today against Jennifer Brady, who simply didn't seem prepared for the "largeness" of her first career U.S. Open Round of 16 match. Finally looking like the player who blasted her way through both Williams Sisters en route to her first slam final, the Czech wrapped things up with Brady in less than an hour. In fact, she had fourteen minutes to spare.

After taking just twenty-five minutes to win the 1st set, Pliskova needed just twenty-one more to win the 2nd and close out the 6-1/6-0 victory. She won fifty-five of the match's seventy-seven points, and had a 23-6 edge in winners.

It's worth noting that while a woman has come back from MP down to win a slam title eleven times in the Open era, including as recently as last year's Australian Open, that only once has it happened at the U.S. Open. It was thirty-one years ago, and it was a Czech-born champion who did it -- Martina Navratilova. In 1986, she saved three MP in the semis vs. Steffi Graf before defeating Helena Sukova, another Czech, in the final. (Note the no-eye-contact, semi-handshake from another young star here, and determine whether or not you're willing to attack the reputation and worth of a teenage Steffi because of it... you know, just to relate things to another story from this week.)

Is something "Czechy" in the New York air again?

=DAY 8 NOTES= the third match up (and second women's 4th Rounder) on Ashe, CoCo Vandeweghe took another step toward making her new partnership with Pat Cash produce something spectacular by the end of the summer. After having seemingly bought into the '87 Wimbledon champ's notions -- and even learning that it was the Aussie who originated the post-match climb into the stands, noting today she wasn't even born until 1991" -- maybe she's finally onto something, too.

"Think! You can think any Think that you wish!"

Facing off with Lucie Safarova, Vandeweghe played a controlled game that remained steady throughout, while it was the Czech veteran who failed to capitalize on a handful of opportunities that might have truly put pressure on CoCo and challenged her ability to keep her cool. At 4-4 in the 1st set, Vandeweghe was forced to save BP in a third straight service game, but held for 5-4. Then, serving to stay in the set, Safarova played a nervous, bad game, falling behind love/40 and dropping the game to give the set to CoCo.

In the 2nd, things were again tight and tied at 4-4, and once more Safarova was forced to serve down 5-4 to stay in the match. A DF put her down 15/30, but this time she managed to hold and eventually send things to a tie-break. There, a big Vandeweghe return handcuffed Safarova, who couldn't keep her reply in the court. CoCo led 5-2, with two serves coming. A return error from the Czech gave Vandeweghe a match point, and the Bannerette then took things into her own hands by ending it all with an ace to win 6-4/7-6(4). It's her first QF result at Flushing Meadows, after previously having never advanced past the 2nd Round in eight appearances.

Vandeweghe's win makes it three U.S. women in the Open quarterfinals for the first time since 2004 (Serena, Davenport & Capriati), and Madison Keys could still make it four for the first time since 2002 (5- Serena, Venus, Davenport, Capriati & Seles). the final Round of 16 match completed during the day session, 32-year old qualifier Kaia Kanepi's comeback journey continued with her advancing past Dasha Kasatkina 6-4/6-4 to reach her first U.S. Open QF since 2010. A qualifier, she's now won seven straight matches at Flushing Meadows.

Kasatkina could never quite find her game in this one. She led 2-0 in the 1st, only to see the Estonian's big shots seize control, though she had a difficult time closing out the set after serving for it at 5-3. A double-fault put her down love/30, then a badly missed overhead gave the Russian triple break point. But after securing the love break, Kasatkina then lost her own serve at love as Kanepi took the set 6-4 on a DF from the Hordette.

In the 2nd, Kanepi fought off a break point in game #3, then broke Kasatkina and soon led 4-1. Serving at 4-2, Kanepi again had a difficult time lugging this match to the finish. In a game that lasted around twelve minutes, saw Kanepi failed to put away around have a dozen game points in a nine-deuce game. Finally, Kasatkina got the break on her third BP. But, again, after getting back on serve the Russian then lost serve a game later. But don't worry, it wouldn't be the last time. Kasatkina broke Kanepi again to close to 5-4, but then squandered a 30/love lead in game #10 as Kanepi put together a string of points to get another break and end the match, winning 6-4/6-4... leading to a post-match high-five from coach Alina Jidkova.

At #418, the Estonian is the lowest-ranked woman to ever reach the U.S. Open quarterfinals, aside from the five unranked woman who have done so since the rankings became official in 1975. doubles, the final matches to set up the quarterfinal match-ups were completed, and the big news was that #1-seeded Ekaterina Makarova & Elena Vesnina fell 6-3/6-4 to Andreja Klepac & Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez. The Russians had won titles at Wimbledon and Toronto in their last two tournaments. juniors, #5-seeded Canadian Carson Branstine defeated mighty mite Pole Maja Chwalinska in three sets. A year ago, as a wild card representing the U.S. at Flushing Meadows, Branstine knocked off #2 Olesya Pervushina in the 2nd Round before losing in the QF of the girls singles to eventual champion Kayla Day. Day would then defeat Bianca Andreescu (a WTA level QF in Washington this summer, and winner of the '17 AO/RG girls doubles w/ Branstine) and Viktoria Kuzmova (who pushed Venus to three sets last week) in the SF and Final, respectively.

#2 seed Marta Kostyuk (AO jr. champ) dropped the opening set to 16-year old Sada Nahimana of Burundi, then won twelve straight games to win 4-6/6-0/6-0. The Ukrainian won the Repentigny Grade 1 event in Canada this weekend.

Fun week in Repentigny???? #winnerg1

A post shared by Marta Kostyuk (@koostyuk) on

...we'll get a third edition of this Open's favorite late night show, "The Late Show starring Madison Keys" tonight on Ashe, as the Bannerette plays her third night match of this tournament. Once again, she's also the second match up on the main court, too, just two days after finishing up her 3rd Round match at a quarter to 2 o'clock in the morning, the second-latest finish of any night match in women's U.S. Open history. Keys played -- and won -- that match last year, too.

We won't likely get a repeat tonight, as she and Elina Svitolina will be playing after Roger Federer, who generally doesn't get dragged into a three-hour plus clash under the lights. So things will likely wrap up after midnight.

But with Madison waiting in the wings, you never know.

LIKE ON DAY 8: Even when they don't play, they make news...

LIKE ON DAY 8: And Venus being Venus...

...and, finally... when this happened...

And this happens...

Random comments like this in response are a must...

If your friend is far worse and nasty to people than the person you're criticizing, it's best to just say nothing.

"But her handshake..." (Just stop.)

So, is critiquing post-match handshakes the new grunting "controversy" that'll be used to minimize and attack the players in the women's game? And I say "game" because the Latvian at least can't also be accused of not winning something big. Meanwhile, the same "standards" aren't as stringently applied to the latest young men's star (who also hasn't actually won anything big yet, it should be noted), of course.

Askin' for a friend.

"Stop telling such outlandish tales. Stop turning minnows into whales."
"Dr. Seuss"

#1 Karolina Pliskova/CZE def. Jennifer Brady/USA
#20 CoCo Vandeweghe/USA def. Lucie Safarova/CZE
#4 Elina Svitolina/UKR vs. #15 Madison Keys/USA
(Q) Kaia Kanepi/EST def. Dasha Kasatkina/RUS
#9 Venus Williams/USA def. Carla Suarez-Navarro/ESP
#13 Petra Kvitova/CZE def. #3 Garbine Muguruza/ESP
Sloane Stephens/USA def. #30 Julia Goerges/GER
#16 Anastasija Sevastova/LAT def. (WC) Maria Sharapova/RUS

Klepac/Martinez-Sanchez (SLO/ESP) vs. #7 Hradecka/Siniakova (CZE/CZE)
#3 Safarova/Strycova (CZE/CZE) vs. #9 Dabrowski/Xu Yifan (CAN/CHN)
#5 Babos/Hlavackova (HUN/CZE) vs. #4 Mirza/Peng (IND/CHN)
H.Chan/Sh.Zhang (TPE/CHN) vs. #2 Y.Chan/Hingis (TPE/SUI)

#1 Hingis/J.Murray (SUI/GBR) vs. Spears/Cabal (USA/COL)
#4 Babos/Soares (HUN/BRA) vs. Vandeweghe/Tecau (USA/ROU)
#7 Dabrowski/Bopanna (CAN/IND) vs. #3 H.Chan/Venus (TPE/NZL)
#8 Hradecka/Matkowski (CZE/POL) vs. An.Rodionova/Marach (AUS/AUT)

[since 32-seed draw in 2001]
2001 Daja Bedanova, CZE
2002 Elena Bovina, RUS
2004 Shinobu Asagoe, JPN
2007 Agnes Szavay, HUN
2009 Kateryna Bondarenko, UKR
2009 Kim Clijsters, BEL (WC) - won title
2009 Melanie Oudin, USA
2009 Yanina Wickmayer, BEK
2010 Dominika Cibulkova, SVK
2011 Angelique Kerber, GER
2013 Daniela Hantuchova, SVK
2013 Flavia Pennetta, ITA
2014 Belinda Bencic, SUI
2014 Peng Shuai, CHN
2015 Kristina Mladenovic, FRA
2015 Roberta Vinci, ITA - reached final
2016 Ana Konjuh, CRO
2016 Anastasija Sevastova, LAT
2016 Caroline Wozniacki, DEN
2017 Sloane Stephens, USA
2017 Kaia Kanepi, EST (Q)

[since 1975 rankings]
Unranked - 1977 Billie Jean King
Unranked - 1979 Billie Jean King
Unranked - 1981 Barbara Gerken
Unranked - 1982 Gretchen Rush
Unranked - 2009 Kim Clijsters [W]
#418 - 2017 Kaia Kanepi
#103 - 1980 Barbara Hallquist
#92 - 2016 Ana Konjuh
#92 - 2011 Angelique Kerber

2010 Venus Williams, USA
2011 Samantha Stosur, AUS
2012 Serena Williams, USA
2013 Serena Williams, USA
2014 Victoria Azarenka, BLR
2015 Serena Williams, USA & Venus Williams, USA
2016 Madison Keys, USA
2017 "The Late Show starring Madison Keys"

1991 Monique Kalkman, NED
1992 Chantal Vandierendonck, NED
1993 Chantal Vandierendonck, NED
1994 Monique Kalkman, NED
1995 Monique Kalkman, NED
1996 Maaike Smit, NED
1997 Daniela Di Toro, AUS
1998 Esther Vergeer, NED
1999 Daniela Di Toro, AUS
2000 Esther Vergeer, NED
2001 Sonja Peters, NED
2002 Esther Vergeer, NED
2003 Esther Vergeer, NED
2004 Maaike Smit, NED
2005 Esther Vergeer, NED
2006 Esther Vergeer, NED
2007 Esther Vergeer, NED
2008 --
2009 Esther Vergeer, NED
2010 Esther Vergeer, NED
2011 Esther Vergeer, NED
2012 --
2013 Aniek van Koot, NED
2014 Yui Kamiji, JPN
2015 Jordanne Whiley, GBR
2016 --
2017 ?
2005 Korie Homan & Esther Vergeer, NED/NED
2006 Jiske Griffioen & Esther Vergeer, NED/NED
2007 Jiske Griffioen & Esther Vergeer, NED/NED
2008 --
2009 Korie Homan & Esther Vergeer, NED/NED
2010 Esther Vergeer & Sharon Walraven, NED/NED
2011 Esther Vergeer & Sharon Walraven, NED/NED
2012 --
2013 Jiske Griffioen & Aniek van Koot, NED/NED
2014 Yui Kamiji & Jordanne Whiley, JPN/GBR
2015 Jiske Griffioen & Aniek van Koot, NED/NED
2016 --
2017 ?

[Open era]
1986 U.S. Open - Martina Navratilova (3 vs. Graf in SF)
1991 Aust.Open - Monica Seles (1 vs. MJ.Fernandez in SF)
2002 Aust.Open - Jennifer Capriati (4 vs. Hingis in Final)
2003 Aust.Open - Serena Williams (2 vs Clijsters in SF)
2004 R.Garros - Anastasia Myskina (1 vs. Kuznetsova in 4th)
2005 Aust.Open - Serena Williams (3 vs. Sharapova in SF)
2005 R.Garros - Justine Henin-H. (2 vs. Kuznetsova in 4th)
2005 Wimbledon - Venus Williams (1 vs. Davenport in Final)
2009 Wimbledon - Serena Williams (1 vs. Dementieva in SF)
2014 Aust.Open - Li Na (1 vs. Safarova in 3rd)
2016 Aust.Open - Angelique Kerber (1 vs. Doi in 1st)
[pre-Open era]
1923 Aust.Open - Margaret Molesworth (1 vs. Sylvia Lance SF)
1935 Wimbledon - Helen Wills Moody (1 vs. Helen Jacobs F)
1946 R.Garros - Margaret Osbourne (2 vs. Pauline Betz F)
1956 Aust.Open - Mary Carter (1 vs. Thelma Long F)
1962 R.Garros - Margaret Smith (Court) (1 vs. Lesley Turner F)

JAN: Marta Kostyuk, UKR
AO: Marta Kostyuk, UKR
FEB/MAR: Bianca Andreescu, CAN
I.W./MIAMI: Bianca Andreescu, CAN
1Q: Marta Kostyuk, UKR
APR/MAY: Bianca Andreescu, CAN
MAY: Marta Kostyuk, UKR
RG: Whitney Osuigwe, USA
2Q Clay Court: Claire Liu, USA
JUN: Claire Liu, USA
WI: Claire Liu, USA
2Q Grass Court: Claire Liu, USA
JUL/AUG: Bianca Andreescu, CAN
AUG: Claire Liu, USA and USA 14s
[2017 Weekly JUNIOR STAR Award Wins]
5...Amanda Anisimova, USA
4...Claire Liu, USA
4...Whitney Osuigwe, USA
4...Iga Swiatek, POL
3...Bianca Andreescu, CAN
3...Zeel Desai, IND
3...Marta Kostyuk, UKR
3...Elena Rybakina, RUS
2...Destanee Aiava, AUS
2...Bianca Andreescu/Carson Branstine, CAN/CAN
2...Emily Appleton, GBR
2...Carson Branstine, CAN
2...Maja Chwalinska, POL
2...Maja Chwalinska/Iga Swiatek, POL/POL
2...Olga Danilovic, SRB
2...Mai Hontama, JPN
2...Kaja Juvan, SLO
2...Sofya Lansere, RUS
2...Ann Li, USA
2...Anastasia Potapova, RUS
2...Dayana Yastremska, UKR
2...Wang Xin Yu, CHN

TOP EARLY-ROUND (1r-2r): #3 Garbine Muguruza/ESP
TOP QUALIFYING MATCH: Q2: Jamie Loeb/USA def. (PR) Vera Zvonareva/RUS 7-6(4)/5-7/6-4 (3:16; delay after fan faints as Loeb to serve out at 5-4 in 3rd)
TOP EARLY-RD. MATCH (1r-2r): 1st Rd. - (WC) Maria Sharapova/RUS def. #2 Simona Halep/ROU 6-4/4-6/6-3 (Night 1)
TOP ASHE NIGHT SESSION MATCH: Nominee: 1st Rd. - (WC) Sharapova def. #2 Halep (Night 1)
FIRST VICTORY: Kristyna Pliskova/CZE (1st Rd. - def. Eguchi/JPN)
FIRST SEED OUT: #32 Lauren Davis/USA (1st Rd. - lost to Kenin/USA
NATION OF POOR SOULS: Germany (2-7 1st Rd.; DC Kerber out; one of two w/ a win defeated another German)
CRASH & BURN: #6 Angelique Kerber/GER (lost to Osaka/JPN; second U.S. DC to lose 1st Rd.loss, w/ '05 Kuznetsova; out of Top 10)
ZOMBIE QUEEN: Nominee: Ka.Pliskova (down MP vs. Sh.Zhang in 3rd Rd.; saved #1 ranking); Kuznetsova (down 3 MP vs. Vondrousova in 1st Rd.)
IT ("?"): xx
Ms.OPPORTUNITY: Nominees: Kvitova/CZE, Vandeweghe/USA, Svitolina/UKR, Sevastova/LAT
LAST WILD CARD STANDING: Maria Sharapova/RUS (4th Rd.)
LAST BANNERETTE STANDING: In 4th Rd.: Brady(L), Keys, Stephens(W), Vandeweghe(W), V.Williams(W)
COMEBACK PLAYER: Nominees: Sharapova/RUS, Stephens/USA, Kanepi/EST, Kvitova/CZE
VETERAN PLAYER (KIMIKO CUP): Nominees: V.Williams/USA, Kanepi/EST, Sevastova/LAT
BROADWAY-BOUND: Maria Sharapova/RUS & Simona Halep/ROU (Opening Night)
LADY OF THE EVENING: "The Late Show starring Madison Keys" (3rd Rd. - 1:45am finish, second-latest women's finish to own 1:48 finish last year)

Preview: "Halep Hears a Who" (Horton Hears a Who!, 1954)
1: "Mugu on the Loose" (Dr.Seuss on the Loose, 1973 [CBS TV])
1.5: "The Cat in the Hat Comes Back" (The Cat in the Hat Comes Back, 1958)
2: "Thing One and Thing Two" (The Cat in the Hat, 1957)
3: "The 500 Hats of Svetlana Kuznetsova" (The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins, 1938)
4: "Hop on Pop" (Hop on Pop, 1963)
5: "You'll Miss the Best Things If You Keep Your Eyes Shut" (I Can Read with My Eyes Shut, 1978)
6: "A Czech Maiden is Faithful One-Hundred Percent" (Horton Hatches the Egg, 1940)
6.5: "Lists-a-Paleussical" (Seussical, 2000 [Broadway])
7: "One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish!" (One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish, 1960)
8: "Daisy-Head Maiden" (Daisy-Head Mayzie, 1995/2016)

All for Day 8. More later.


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