Sunday, September 17, 2017

Wk.37- Nothing is Over Until We Decide It Is

So, here we are, a week past the end of the tennis season...

Oh, yeah. All right then...

QUEBEC CITY, QUEBEC CAN (Int'l/Indoor Carpet)
S: Alison Van Uytvanck/BEL def. Timea Babos/HUN 5-7/6-4/6-1
D: Timea Babos/Andrea Hlavackova (HUH/CZE) d. Bianca Andreescu/Carson Branstine (CAN/CAN) 6-3/6-1

S: Zarina Diyas/KAZ def. Miyu Kato/JPN 6-2/7-5
D: Shuko Aoyama/Yang Zhaoxuan (JPN/CHN) d. Monique Adamczak/Storm Sanders (AUS/AUS) 6-0/2-6 [10-5]

...step right up, Zarina Diyas. You're the latest woman to find her way to into the WTA spotlight after an injury-induced fall. And, true to form, no one said it would be easy.

The former world #31 (in 2015 after a two-season stretch when she reached three slam 3rd Rounds and back-to-back Round of 16's at Wimbledon), 23-year old Diyas claimed her maiden tour singles title in Tokyo at the end of a summer in which the Kazakh has worked to climb the tour ladder once again after missing seven months with a wrist injury incurred at Wimbledon last season. Diyas returned in February and promptly lost her first four matches. She found herself ranked at #242 in the spring. But that's when her climb began. Since then, she's reached a WTA 125 Series SF (a week ago in Dalian) and QF, two $100K finals (1-1), won a $25K challenger and took a SW19 wild card and reached the 3rd Round at the All-England Club, and had returned to the Top 100 (at exactly #100) prior to this past week's run. A woman on a mission, she qualified at the Japan Open (winning a 2nd set TB over Luksika Kumkhum and winning in three sets in the final round) and pushed her way through to the final with wins over Misaki Doi (3 sets), #2 Zhang Shuai, Yulia Putintseva (3 sets) and defending champ Christina McHale (3 sets, coming back from 3-1 down in the final set). Playing in her first WTA final since doing so in the same event (in Osaka) in 2014 (def. by Stosur), with her leg strapped after playing eighteen sets through seven matches last week, she managed to avoid yet another three-setter by pushing back fellow qualifier Miyu Kato in a tight 7-5 2nd to win in straights. Diyas will rise thirty-seven spots to #63 on Monday.
RISERS: Alison Van Uytvanck/BEL and Timea Babos/HUN
...Van Uytvanck had wrist surgery in December after ending the '16 season at #123 following a Top 50 campaign the prior year. She didn't make her '17 debut until March, but the 23-year old Waffle made up for much of her lost time (and results) last week in Quebec City. After squandering a big 3rd set lead in the 1st Round vs. Canada's Carol Zhao, the Belgian won a deciding TB to advance and never looked back, defeating Marina Erakovic, Caroline Dolehide, Tatjana Maria and then gradually pulling away from Babos in the three-set final to claim her maiden tour title. Van Uytvanck's previous best result had been a WTA 125 Series win in 2013. She'll jump thirty spots in the rankings this week, climbing from #98 to #68 in a single bound.

Babos, Van Uytvanck's opponent in the Quebec City final, had a busy week, just as she's had a busy year. She reached both the singles and doubles finals, winning her thirteenth career doubles title (losing zero sets w/ Andrea Hlavackova) while adding a second '17 indoor singles final to her home win in Budapest in February. The 24-year old went to three sets in wins over Jamie Loeb and Naomi Broady, then took out Franckie Abanda and #1-seed Lucie Safarova to reach her fifth career singles final. Earlier this year, Babos lost nine straight matches and went 1-11 during a spring/summer stretch, a dreadful slump that only came to a close when the Hungarian *last* played a tournament in Canada, when she knocked off teenager Bianca Andreescu in the 1st Round in Toronto. Babos has now gone 7-5 in her last twelve matches, including a spirited three-set loss to Maria Sharapova in the 2nd Round of the U.S. Open.

SURPRISES: Miyu Kato/JPN and Sachia Vickery/USA
...scrambling five-foot-one 22-year old Kato has had more doubles success than singles in her career, including a SF run in Melbourne earlier this season, but she caught lightning in a bottle last week in front of a supportive crowd in Tokyo, reaching her first career WTA singles final while escaping several traps after having originally made her way through qualifying. Kato had to go three sets twice in three Q-round matches, including winning a deciding TB over Poland's Magdalena Frech just to reach the MD. Once safely there, she won three consecutive straight sets matches over Nao Hibino, Kristyna Pliskova (her first Top 50 win) and Aleksandra Krunic, then used her defensive skills to survive a near three-hour semifinal bout with Jana Fett in which she saw the Croat serve for the match and hold a MP before finally wearing her down down the stretch. Kato jumps forty-eight spots to a new career-high of #123 on Monday.

Vickery (world #134) seems to always hang around in the shadows of the tour, popping her head into the sunlight on occasion to remind everyone that she's there. The past week was another of those occasions. Her QF run in Quebec City was actually the fourth such result in her WTA career, but she's never produced more than one in any of the past four seasons, making it easy to forget that she's been there before. Wins over Taylor Townsend and Viktorija Golubic to reach the final eight puts this result on par with the 22-year old's previous results in Stanford (2014, as a qualifier), Nottingham (2015, as a qualifier) and Bogota (2016) the last three seasons. Vickery recently qualified to reach the U.S. Open MD, where she posted her second career slam MD win, four years after she posted her first in 2013.

VETERAN: Tatjana Maria/GER
...lost in the sea of later-career surges, and post-motherhood success, is the rise of Maria. The 30-year old German had a daughter in late 2013, and since then has put up her best slam result ('15 Wimbledon 3rd) and MD slam wins in three straight majors this season, as well as in five of the last six slam MD in which she's appeared. After ending 2016 with a $100K SF and WTA 125 QF result, in '17 she's reached four $100K finals (2-2), last week reached her career high rank of #58 and then followed that up with her first WTA singles semifinal result in Quebec City after posting wins over Fanny Stollar, Grace Min and Sachia Vickery. On Monday, she'll climb to another new career-high rank of #54, one spot behind Timea Babos, who this weekend fell a set short of claiming her second singles title of '17.

And if you don't believe all that, sue me. Tatjana, put down that phone.
COMEBACK: Sesil Karatantcheva/BUL
...we've experienced 2017 comebacks from Petra, Maria, Sloane, Zarina, Mirjana, Alexandra, Kaia and others. But can we handle the return of Sesil? Maybe an even bigger question, can she, after a long and crazy trip with more curves than a World War II pin-up calendar.

Well, whatever comes next has apparently taken it's first step toward reality, as the 28-year old Bulgarian just claimed her first singles title in six years with her run at this week's $60K challenger in Las Vegas. Coming in ranked #224, Karatantcheva defeated #2-seed Louisa Chirico, then won a 7-5 3rd set to take her semifinal over Mexico's Renata Zarazua and reach her first final since she played in a $50K title decider in the summer of 2014 (which itself was her first final in two years at the time). Heading into the Sunday match, Sesil had a 1-6 record in ITF finals since 2008, after having been 6-1 from 2003-08 on her way up the tennis ladder. But she turned back the tide this time around, defeating Elitsa Kostova 6-4/4-6/7-5 to take home the crown, her first since 2011 and just her second since 2008 (she never reached a WTA level singles final). Such numbers might have been hard to believe for her career a dozen years ago, when Karatantcheva reached the Roland Garros QF and finished the season at #35, grabbing headlines with her personality all along the way. She's had one Top 100 finish since (#93 in 2012), fewer than the number of countries she's represented during the span and equal to her number of newsworthy suspensions.

Hopefully, this will be the first of many additional positive steps.

FRESH FACES: Jana Fett/CRO, Franckie Abanda/CAN and Caroline Dolehide/USA
...20-year old Fett was at it again in Tokyo. But, once again, The Force wasn't *totally* with her. Back in January the Croat made a spirited qualifier-to-first-time-semifinalist run in Hobart, and she put on a similar show last week. After posting three wins to reach the MD, she burst into the MD by upsetting #1-seeded Kristina Mladenovic (her first Top 20 win), then backed it up with wins over Jana Cepelova and Wang Qiang. In an all-qualifier semi vs. Miyu Kato, Fett served for the match at 6-5 in the 2nd, holding a MP, only to double-fault and be forced to a 3rd set. She led 3-0 there, as well, but was gradually worn down by the defensive-minded Kato and was cramping as she went down in defeat in the nearly three-hour marathon. Still, she'll jump twenty-four spots in the rankings on Monday, cracking the Top 100 for the first time at #99.

Abanda, 20, led the Canadian singles charge in Quebec City, reaching her first career tour QF in front of the home crowd with wins over Asia Muhammad and Varvara Lepchenko. Abanda has flashed on several occasions in '17, including a starring role in Fed Cup (going 2-0 vs. Putintseva and Shvedova in Canada's win over Kazakhstan) in the spring, two successful slam qualifying runs and 1st Round MD wins in Paris and Wimbledon (she subsequently lost to Wozniacki and Ostapenko, respectively). While Bianca Andreescu may be the "future Canadian #1," Abanda might just be the "next Canadian #1." This result bumps her up to a new career high of #115, putting her just 209 points behind #87 TPFKAGB. 17-year old Andreescu will be at #158, 183 points behind Abanda as the current Canadian #3.

19-year old Dolehide made headlines earlier this summer in Stanford, qualifying to make her WTA MD debut and posting a 1st Round win over Naomi Osaka, then taking eventual champ Madison Keys to three sets. A winner of two $25K titles in 2017, last week Dolehide reached her maiden tour-level QF after qualifying and getting MD wins over Charlotte Robillard-Millette and receiving a walkover from #2-seeded defending champ Oceane Dodin (dizziness). She'll be at a new career-best #137 this week.

DOWN: Kristina Mladenovic/FRA
...the Pastry's downward spiral continues. Mladenovic's 1st Round loss (as the top seed) in Tokyo to qualifier Jana Fett is her sixth in a row, all in straight sets. Her last multi-win event was in Birmingham early in the grass season. But I'm sure she'll turn this around soon.

ITF PLAYER: Mihaela Buzarnescu/ROU
...the 29-year old Romanian moved into a tie for the circuit season lead with her fifth title at the $80K challenger in Biarritz (well, as least she did until Greek Despina Papamichail won her third straight challenger this same weekend, making her the first to get to six titles in '17). Fresh off her slam MD debut as a qualifier at Flushing Meadow, Buzarnescu picked up career ITF title #20 -- and won the doubles, too, with Irina Bara -- with wins over Bara, Martina Trevisan and 38-year old Patty Schnyder in the final. Buzarnescu has gone 13-2 in ITF singles finals since 2011.

JUNIOR STARS: Bianca Andreescu/Carson Branstine (CAN/CAN) and Maria Lourdes Carle/ARG
...17-year olds Andreescu & Branstine opened the season by winning both the AO & RG junior doubles crowns. Future Canadian #1 Andreescu has moved on to improving tour-level success (singles QF in D.C. and an accompanying WTA Breakthrough of the Month award) as the season has progressed, but the friends joined forces once again last week in Quebec City. With a wild card into the MD, they won a 10-7 3rd set TB over #2-seeded Hradecka/Krejcikova in the 2nd Round and reached their first WTA final, losing to top-seeded Babos/Hlavackova. Andreescu shined in singles, as well, knocking off Jennifer Brady in straights and serving for the match vs. Lucie Hradecka in the 2nd Round before falling to the veteran Czech.

In Buenos Aires, U.S. Open girls semifinalist Carle, 17, took her skills to the ITF circuit and carried over her momentum, sweeping the singles and doubles (w/ 18-year old Brit Emily Appleton) titles at the $15K to grab her first professional crowns. She proved herself in the clutch, as well, winning a 3rd set TB over countrywoman Stephanie Mariel Petit in the final on home soil for both.

DOUBLES: Shuko Aoyama/Yang Zhaoxuan, JPN/CHN
...when Aoyama finds a place where she's comfortable, get out of her way. In Tokyo, the 29-year old Japanese vet joined forces with China's Yang to win her eighth career WTA doubles title. Seven of those titles have come in two events, with her four-title run in Washington now joined by her third title in the past four years in the Japan Open (in Osaka and Tokyo), including two in a row. The duo had to win a pair on 3rd set tie-breaks (vs. teams that were 3/4 Aussie), 10-8 in the QF vs. Liang/Ar.Rodionova and then 10-5 in the final against Adamczak/Sanders. For Yang, it's career title #2 to go along with her win in Kuala Lumpur last year, ending her four-match losing streak in WD finals.


More "Coffee with Lucie"...

1. Tokyo SF - Miyu Kato def. Jana Fett
Kato's trip to a surprise singles final included some tough matches in qualifying, but nothing topped her Houdini act in the semifinals vs. Fett. After Fett recovered from a 3-1 1st set deficit to take a one set lead, the Croat served for the match at 6-5 in the 2nd and held a MP. She double-faulted. After losing the TB, Fett led 3-0 in the 3rd, only to see the scurrying defense of the Japanese woman steal away with the 2:53 victory as Fett cramped up down the stretch and failed for the second time this season to win a semifinal match and her maiden tour final.

2. Quebec City 1st Rd. - Bianca Andreescu def. Jennifer Brady 6-3/6-2
Quebec City 2nd Rd. - Lucie Hradecka def. Bianca Andreescu 2-6/6-2/7-5
the 17-year old dropped Brady to 0-8 in '17 in non-slam MD matches (she's 7-4 in major MD), but couldn't close out the match vs. the Czech after serving up 5-3 in the 3rd.
3. Tokyo Final - Zarina Diyas def. Miyu Kato
Diyas is the fifth qualifier to win a tour singles title this year, the most in any WTA season. This is the first time two players who were in the qualifying competition met to decide a tour singles title since qualifier Ana Ivanovic defeated lucky loser Melinda Czink in the Canberra final in 2004.

4. Quebec City Final - Alison Van Uytvanck def. Timea Babos 5-7/6-4/6-1
Quebec City Final - Timea Babos/Andrea Hlavackova def. Bianca Andreescu/Carson Branstine 6-3/6-1
Babos has had quite the wacky season. She suffered through that long losing streak, but is also 1-1 in singles finals and 3-1 in doubles. She's never played in more singles finals in a season, and has only won more doubles titles once (4 in 2013).
5. Quebec City 1st Rd. - Jana Fett def. Kristina Mladenovic
Karma, thy name is Kiki.


6. Tokyo 1st Rd. - Aleksandra Krunic def. Kimiko Date
All good things...

7. Quebec City Q2 - Charlotte Robillard-Millette def. Conny Perrin 6-7(7)/7-6(7)/6-2
Quebec City 1st Rd. - Alison Van Uytvanck def. Carol Zhao 4-6/6-2/7-6(1)
Andreescu/Branstine reached the doubles final. Abanda made the singles QF. 18-year CRM reached her first WTA MD (saving a MP en route), and Zhao came back from 5-2 down in the 3rd to force a deciding TB vs. the eventual tournament champion. Pretty much all of Canadian women's tennis shined in Quebec. Well, save for the (currently) highest-ranked Canadian, I mean.
8. Tokyo 1st Rd. - Sara Sorribes Tormo def. Samantha Stosur
Not a victory, but not a bad match for Sam in her first outing since losing to Ostapenko at Roland Garros, either.
9. $15K Prague Final - Miriam Kolodziejova def. Nastja Kolar
The Czech had previously been 1-7 in career ITF singles finals.
10. $15K Szekesfehervar Final - Panna Udvardy def. Reka Luca Jani
Udvardy wins the all-Hungarian final in Hungary. Udvardy & Jani, like countrywoman Babos in Quebec City, reached both the singles and doubles finals in *their* event, losing as a pair in the championship match.
HM- $60K Las Vegas Final - An-Sophie Mestach/Laura Robson def. Sophie Chang/Alexandra Mueller
This is Robson's biggest career women's doubles title. She won her biggest career singles crown at a $60K in Kurume, Japan in May. Baby-steppin'.


1. Tokyo (Japan Open) Q1 - ARINA RODIONOVA def. MARI OSAKA 4-6/6-4/6-4
Tokyo (Japan Open) 1st Rd. - Kurumi Nara def. NAOMI OSAKA 6-3/6-0
Naomi reached the final of the Premier event in Tokyo last year, but neither Osaka sister picked up a victory in the International level tournament there this past week.
2. Tokyo (TPP) Q2 - Duan Yingying def. MARI OSAKA
In the qualifying for the Toray Pan Pacific Premier event in Tokyo, held in the same Ariake Coliseum as the previous event in the city, Mari lost in the second round. Naomi will open in the main draw vs. Angelique Kerber. If that match-up sounds familiar, it should. Naomi just "upset" Kerber in the 1st Round of the U.S. Open.



And this (to be continued?)...

And, sigh, this (give it a rest, people, you're now officially embarrassing yourselves)...


What's mine is yours ????

A post shared by Victoria Azarenka (@vichka35) on

Exploring NYC today Danish style on the ????

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More Dashas Cinéma vérité

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This happened last night, it really did and I can't say thank you enough. ?? To all 4??0??0??+ !! of you!! #Unstoppable

A post shared by Maria Sharapova (@mariasharapova) on

Honestly, I'm still trying to find the "antagonism" noted in the description of the article in the quotes provided (in many ways, they're actually more Sharapova's way to compliment Serena as a competitor and athlete, and an acknowledgment that Williams was able to psychologically challenge, intimidate -- physically and otherwise -- and, later, defeat her without ever needing to actually play a point against her, and that those two wins over Williams as a 17-year old sealed her fate to be Serena's "rented mule" for the remainder of her career because Williams would never forget about them... ask Sloane about that particular dynamic, as well). But, then again, to some people, if Sharapova mentions Serena's name in public at all it's considered "antagonistic," so I guess it's no surprise that that's the case here (and in the comments to that post, and others). Of course, if she *didn't* mention Williams (which she rarely does) those same people, I'm sure, would call it an "insult" and accuse Sharapova of being afraid to talk about her.

Hmmm, I'm sensing a pattern here. A circular one, in fact.

Also, it always makes me chuckle when those same people constantly drag out Serena's overwhelming record vs. Sharapova since 2004 and her large lead in slam titles as a way to "speak the truth" about the Russian's career by noting that Williams has had a better one. Well, umm, no kidding... that's why she's often called "the greatest" player ever, while Sharapova isn't. It's not as if they're breaking any news there, no matter how smart and condescending they *think* they sound by pointing out such an obvious fact. In reality, they make *themselves* look worse than they do Sharapova.

Serena really doesn't need their obviously personal (and often petty) attacks to win this argument. She's THE player of her generation (and more), and no one questions it. She'd be Serena with or without Sharapova, and Sharapova has surely made a career -- both in and outside of tennis -- aside from anything involving Serena. Still, to deny Sharapova's career has been defined -- for good, and bad -- in many respects by her matches against and career parallels with Williams would also be inaccurate. So the individuals who gripe that Sharapova dares to mention Serena's name in her autobiography, please, they should just shut the hell up and ignore her if they truly think she's so unworthy. They complain that Sharapova is "obsessed" with Williams, but couldn't the same be said about *them* when it comes to their joyful bashing of all things Sharapova? Askin' for a friend.

Auckland - Lauren Davis, USA (23/#61)
Shenzhen - Katerina Siniakova, CZE (20/#52)
Hobart - Elise Mertens, BEL (21/#127)
Saint Petersburg - Kristina Mladenovic, FRA (23/#51)
Kuala Lumpur - Ash Barty, AUS (20/#158)
Charleston - Daria Kasatkina, RUS (19/#42)
Biel - Marketa Vondrousova, CZE (17/#233)
Roland Garros - Alona Ostapenko, LAT (20/#47)
's-Hertogenbosch - Anett Kontaveit, EST (21/#49)
New Haven - Dasha Gavrilova, AUS (23/#26)

Hobart - Elise Mertens, BEL (#127) - W
Kuala Lumpur- Ash Barty, AUS (#158) - W
Biel - Marketa Vondrousova, CZE (#233) - W
Prague - Mona Barthel, GER (#82) - W
Nurnberg - Barbora Krejcikova, CZE (#254)

#254 - Barbora Krejcikova, CZE (Nurnberg)
#233 - Marketa Vondrousova, CZE (Biel - W)
#168 - Francesca Schiavone, ITA (Bogota - W)
#158 - Ash Barty, AUS (Kuala Lumpur - W)
#127 - Elise Mertens, BEL (Hobart - W)
#106 - Nao Hibino, JPN (Kuala Lumpur)
#100 - Francesca Schiavone, ITA (Rabat)
NR - Maria Sharapova/RUS (Stuttgart)
#934 - Sloane Stephens/USA (Toronto)
#340 - Jana Fett/CRO (Hobart)
#254 - Barbora Krejcikova/CZE (Nurnberg RU)
#233 - Marketa Vondrousova/CZE (Biel W)
#168 - Francesca Schiavone/ITA (Bogota W)
#158 - Ash Barty/AUS (Kuala Lumpur W)
#151 - Sloane Stephens/USA (Cincinnati)
#147 - Wang Yafan/CHN (Nanchang)
#140 - Tereza Martincova/CZE (Gstaad)
#139 - Han Xinyun/CHN (Kuala Lumpur)
#127 - Elise Mertens/BEL (Hobart W)
#126 - Heather Watson/GBR (Eastbourne)
#126 - Han Xinyun/CHN (Nanchang)
[WTA 125 semifinalists]
#623 - Vera Zvonareva/RUS (Dalian RU)
#250 - Vitalia Diatchenko/RUS (Dalian)
#235 - Alexandra Cadantu/ROU (Bol RU)

Kuala Lumpur - Ash Barty/AUS (WW)
Istanbul - Elise Mertens/BEL (LL)
Birmingham - Ash Barty/AUS (LW)
Mallorca - Anastasija Sevastova/LAT (W & walkover)
Bucharest - Irina-Camelia Begu/ROU (WW)
Gstaad - Kiki Bertens/NED (WW)
Stanford - CoCo Vandewghe/USA (LW)

Simona Halep - Madrid 2016-17
Kiki Bertens - Nurnberg 2016-17
Sania Mirza - Brisbane 2016-17
Chan/Chan - Taipei City 2016-17
Martina Hingis - Rome 2016-17
Abigail Spears - Stanford 2016-17
Makarova/Vesnina - Rogers Cup 2016-17

7...Y.Chan/Hingis, TPE/SUI (6-0+W)
6...Barty/Dellacqua, AUS/AUS (3-3)
5...Makarova/Vesnina, RUS/RUS (3-2)
5...Hradecka/Siniakova, CZE/CZE (0-5)
3...Mattek-Sands/Safarova, USA/CZE (3-0)
3...Hlavackova/Peng, CZE/CHN (1-2)
9...Chan Yung-Jan, TPE (7-1+W)
8...Martina Hingis, SUI (6-1+W)
6...Ash Barty, AUS (3-3)
6...Casey Dellacqua, AUS (3-3)

17 - Marketa Vondrousova (Biel-W)
19 - Ana Konjuh (Auckland-L)
19 - Alona Ostapenko (Charleston-L)
19 - Dasha Kasatkina (Charleston-W)
16 - Tang Qianhui (Nanchang-W)
18 - Jiang Xinyu (Nanchan-W)
19 - Alona Ostapenko (Saint Petersburg-W)
19 - Alona Ostapenko (Stuttgart-W)

[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)

TOKYO, JAPAN [Premier/Hard]
16 Singles Final: Wozniacki d. N.Osaka
16 Doubles Final: Mirza/Strycova d. Liang/Zh.Yang
17 Top Seeds: Muguruza/Ka.Pliskova

#1 Muguruza d. #3 Wozniacki (hmmm, tempted to go other way here)
#2 Ka.Pliskova d. Pavlyuchenkova
#2 Ka.Pliskova d. #1 Muguruza

#1 Chan/Chan d. Atawo/Jurak
Aoyama/Zh.Yang d. #2 Dabrowski/Xu
#1 Chan/Chan d. Aoyama/Zh.Yang (Yung-Jan spreadin' the wealth)

16 Singles Final: Arruabarrena d. Niculescu
16 Doubles Final: Flipkens/Larsson d. Omae/Plipuech
17 Top Seeds: Ostapenko/Bertens

#1 Ostapenko d. #7 Arruabarrena
#5 Begu d. #8 McHale
#1 Ostapenko d. #5 Begu (Latvian Thunder in the foreground, not North Korean "thunder" in the background)

Cirstea/Ostapenko d. #1 Bertens/Larsson
#3 Hibino/Kalashnikova d. Kumkhum/Plipuech
Cirstea/Ostapenko d. #3 Hibino/Kalashnikova

16 Singles Final: Tsurenko d. Jankovic
16 Doubles Final: Muhammad/Peng d. Govortsova/Lapko
17 Top Seeds: Peng/Sh.Zhang

Krunic d. #1 Peng (wanted to pick Fett to win in the QF, but can't go against The Bracelet)
#2 Sh.Zhang d. #3 Kontaveit
Krunic d. #2 Sh.Zhang

Krunic/Panova d. #1 Mertens/Schuurs
Kuwata/Q.Ye d. #2 Adamczak/Sanders
Krunic/Panova d. Kuwata/Q.Ye


JUNIOR FED CUP (16s) (Budapest, HUN)
16 Final: POL d. USA

As the tennis world turns...

Future considerations...

And, finally... once a legend(s), always a legend(s).

All for now.


Blogger colt13 said...

Fett will be Top 20 in 2 years. Only reason it will take that long is that her win over Mladenovic not only was her first Top 20 win, it was only the second time she had played someone in the Top 50-Barthel #47, whom she also beat. Also needs a little more margin on the first serve, but she has all the shots.

Stat of the Week-3120- The amount of points one could get if they won the highest ranking tournament for the next 5 weeks.

What that means is that nobody is eliminated yet from the YEC or Zhuhai.

In the last 25 years, the schedule has changed. In 1992 Graf won 4 times after the US Open, but had 9 weeks and 12 tournaments to pick from. Since then, both Hingis and Novotna have won 3 between the USO and YEC, then won YEC.

2001 put a spin on it as both Seles and Davenport won 3, Davenport winning 3 weeks in a row with Filderstadt, Zurich and Linz.

September 2003 brought the dawn of a new age as of the 5 tournaments held, all 5 were won by Russians(Dementieva-2, Myskina-2, Sharapova).

2005 had a double duo again, with Davenport and Vaidisova(more on her later) each winning 3.

2007? Nobody dominated. 12 winners out of 15 tournaments, then Jankovic won 3 in 2008.

2013 may be the standard for diversity. 10 tournaments, 10 winners. Then the YEC and Young Stars winners were one of those 10-S.Williams and Halep.

So will anybody make the charge? Or are the 8 for the YEC and 11 since the have a WC for Zhuhai locked?

Quiz Time!
1.Zarina Diyas is only the 2nd woman from Kazakhstan to win a WTA singles title. Who was the first?

2.Let's double down on Kazakhstan. Only 4 women have won WTA doubles titles. Name 3.

Pause-Up and Down posts coming as the premiers(Tokyo) are back.

1.Let's start with who it isn't. Sesil Karantcheva is known for representing Bulgaria, and has never won a WTA event, although she did reach a SF while representing them. That event was Pattaya City in 2010. The other SF in that event? Yaroslava Shvedova, who has a title, but in 2007 under the Russian flag. Her doubles slam is KAZ. Putinseva and Voskoboeva have reached finals, but not won. So that leaves Elena Likhovtseva as the one.

2. You probably got 3. The 4th is hardest, but was really the only person between Likhovtseva era and Shvedova era on the doubles side. Irina Selyutina, who won 3 titles. The other is Voskoboeva.

Mon Sep 18, 11:43:00 AM EDT  
Blogger colt13 said...

5 On the Up Side.

1.Korea-This draw is going to be a mess, an that is fine by me. You have a draw in which the #1 and #2 have never won on hard. And of the 8 women in the draw that have, only 3(Watson, Petkovic, McHale) have won a tournament other than Tashkent or Korea. May be as random as Tokyo-last week's version.
2.Kerber-The season long slump means an opportunity. Since Kerber joined the Top 10, she seemingly has been burned out by the end of the season. Her best 2 closing years in that stretch? 2013, when she went 12-4 down the stretch, but didn't get past the round of 16 at any slam. The other? 2015, a year in which she didn't past the 3rd rd at any slam, then closed 12-6.
3.Krunic-Has shown vast improvement. Backhand is a weapon and so is her movement. The #1 Serbian has a chance to win a title before the season ends.
4.Bertens/Larsson-In 12th place in the doubles race, but only 374 pts out of 10th. With Mattek-Sands and Hlavackova ranked twice, 10 is the spot to get to. The winner this week in Korea gets 280, so if they pull it off, the dream stays alive.
5.Muguruza-First event as #1. Admittedly, the fact that Spain may have botched Fed Cup might be to Muguruza's advantage, as Martinez has more time on her hands.

Mon Sep 18, 12:03:00 PM EDT  
Blogger colt13 said...

5 On the Down Side

1.Mladenovic-Being that there are 3 weeks in a row with a premier, she will be banned the next two weeks as I wont bash her anymore. The 7 match losing streak is reminiscent of Nicole Vaidisova, who once the wheels came off, had a 6 match losing streak in 2008, then later that year a 1-7 stretch, followed up by another 6 match streak in 2009.
2.Pliskova-4th tournament since she became #1. Kerber is the only one to have taken more than 8 to win a title, and that is still running. The fact that she fired Kotyza is a shock, but not so. What do I mean? Kotyza used to work with Kvitova, who has earned 1261 pts since her comeback at the French. In the same time frame, Pliskova has 2290, which isn't bad, until you realize Stephens has 2711 in even less time.
3.Lucic-Baroni-Only on the list because she is done for the year. Still, getting a slam SF after 18 yrs means some good came out of it.
4.Larsson-In singles. On a 1-7 stretch that started when Bertens beat her at Gstaad. Arguably now the 2nd best Swede, as Rebecca Peterson is playing much better, even with a ranking outside the Top 200.
5.Bacsinszky-Only down because she is still injured. Stosur is just coming back now, Timea was injured later. Will she be back at all in 2017?

Mon Sep 18, 12:26:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Todd.Spiker said...

Fett reaching a final and/or winning a title this season was one of my favorite predictions for 2017. She's gotten soooo close (as a qualifier, no less) to at least one of those, but now she's running out of time (and tournaments) to get it in under the wire. Hence the push/pull of wanting to pick Fett to win this week, but going with (her potential QF opponent) the beloved Bracelet instead (and Krunic *has* now beaten DC Tsurenko in the 1st Round, so maybe that'll work out).

It won't be as big of a reach to predict as much for Fett in '18, as '17 was the "better" year to do it (sort of like picking titles for Ostapenko, Kasatkina and Gavrilova for 2016 rather than '17).

Now I'll need "a new Fett" for 2018's picks. I'm leaning toward someone like a Kuzmova.

...I got tripped up because I didn't consider Likhovtseva, since while she was born in what became KAZ (then USSR) I don't think she ever played for another nation other than Russia. Thus, I drew a blank on the first question because I knew Putintseva just reached her first final this year, but lost. I had to only think Shvedova, but I was pretty sure her title was during her Russian days. So I guess Diyas *was* the first representing Kazakhstan to win a tour title. I considered that when I did the post, but for some reason thought I'd remembered someone getting their first (I guess I was thinking Putintseva in the final). :(

2. (again w/o Likhovtseva) I had Shvedova, Voskoboeva and Putintseva (the last just to get a third because I was pretty sure Diyas didn't have a WD win)


Muguruza will be interesting in her first #1 event and beyond. She did well in the 4Q last year, though, so at least she's got that memory to call upon. I hemmed and hawed on her this week, originally picking her to win the title but then chickening-out and changing it.

Mon Sep 18, 12:50:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Todd.Spiker said...

Holy Karmic Kiki hell, a double-bagel loss today now? How could such a thing happen to such a lovely, caring, non-judgmental person? (insert "say it with sarcasm" thing from this week's post here)

And this.

Mon Sep 18, 12:56:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Diane said...

Now I really want Maria to play Kiki 😈

Tue Sep 19, 09:32:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Leif Mortensen said...

Hope you saw the semifinal in Tokyo between Muguruza and Wozniacki. Never seen Wozniacki so bossy before, never allowing Muguruza to find her game, Wozniacki 2.0 is in the final making me thinks. Caroline has good forehand now, making more winners today than her backhand. Played aggressively and pin pointed her returns left, right, back and acrooss. Never seen a socalled powerplayer being humiliated like this, but it was breakfast time in Denmark and a bagel is good to me ;)

Sat Sep 23, 11:19:00 AM EDT  
Blogger colt13 said...

Bacsinszky is out for the year.

The Ostapenko/Haddad Maia match should be a good one. Haddad Maia is sort of like last year's version of Ostapenko in terms of being in the right position, but making too many errors. But she knows what to do with her Kvitova lite game. Should be fun.

Sat Sep 23, 01:17:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Leif Mortensen said...

Woz 2.0 is nearly finished. With serving a bagel in the end of the semi and in the beginning of the final and a fabulous varied gameplay she won her title in the 7th final, on the 7th day of the tournament and in their 7th meeting - don't tell me I'm superstitious, but it helps. Not since Davenport in 2003 and 2004 the here has been a back to back winner i Toray PPO.

Sun Sep 24, 08:33:00 AM EDT  

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