Sunday, September 24, 2017

Wk.38- WTA Potluck: Asian Recipe

The recipe for success in Week 38 was varied, but the result was mighty tasty.

Shall we?

TOKYO (TPP), JAPAN (Premier/Hard)
S: Caroline Wozniacki/DEN def. Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova/RUS 6-0/7-5
D: Andreja Klepac/Maria Jose Martinez-Sanchez (SLO/ESP) d. Dasha Gavrilova/Dasha Kasatkina (AUS/RUS) 6-3/6-2

S: Alona Ostapenko/LAT def. Beatriz Haddad Maia/BRA 6-7(5)/6-1/6-4
D: Kiki Bertens/Johanna Larsson (NED/SWE) d. Luksika Kumkhum/Peangtarn Plipuech (THA/THA) 6-4/6-1

S: Zhang Shuai/CHN def. Aleksandra Krunic/SRB 6-2/3-6/6-2
D: Elise Mertens/Demi Schuurs (BEL/NED) d. Monique Adamczak/Storm Sanders (AUS/AUS) 6-2/6-3

JUNIOR FED CUP (16s) (Budapest, HUN)
FINAL: United States def. Japan 2-0

PLAYERS OF THE WEEK: Caroline Wozniacki/DEN and Alona Ostapenko/LAT took nearly nine months, over fifty match wins, seven finals, and staring down a MP in the QF vs. Dominika Cibulkova last week before the Slovak ultimately retired in the third, but Wozniacki finally managed to put everything together and win her first singles title of 2017, extending her streak of seasons with at least one to ten, the second longest active streak (Serena-11) and alone as the eighth longest in tour history.

That winning smile!! ???? 26th career title!! Woohoo!! ???? #7thtimelucky

A post shared by Caroline Wozniacki (@carowozniacki) on

As the defending champion in Tokyo (where she was a two-time winner, taking the crown in '10 and reaching the final in '14, and also winning the smaller International event there in '08), Wozniacki's opening victory over Shelby Rogers made her the first to break the 50-match win threshold this year, her first such season since 2012, though it nearly all came crashing down against Cibulkova. But once the Dane escaped that predicament, she lifted her game to a level she hasn't often reached in her long, successful career. Her 6-0/6-2 semifinal destruction of world #1 Garbine Muguruza was stunning, and she carried over the momentum to the final against Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, playing another near-flawless match to win love & 5 and notch career title #26. The victory over Muguruza was Wozniacki's second #1 win this season (the other was over Pliskova), the *only* two such wins in her career. In fact, four of her nine career Top 3 wins have taken place during the 2017 season.

Roland Garros champ Ostapenko, too, was back to her winning ways in Seoul. After a good grasscourt I'm-not-like-the-others follow-up period to her win in Paris, the Latvian wasn't quite on her game on hard courts this summer. She went 2-3 in North America, and went out in the 3rd Round of the U.S. Open to Dasha Kasatkina in you-don't-want-to-look-at-this-fashion while suffering from an illness. With her thunderous groundstrokes back in form in Korea, she knocked off Johanna Larsson, Nao Hibino, Veronica Cepede Royg, Luksika Kumkhum and Beatriz Haddad Maia. Her path wasn't without it's bumps, such as dropping the 1st set to Kumkhum in the semis, then falling behind 3-0 in the 3rd, and losing an error-strewn 1st to Haddad in the final. But, as she did in Paris when she brushed off a bad stretch by simply hitting her way out of it, Ostapenko turned it up when it was necessary. Not surprisingly, it was too much for her opponents to handle.

This is still only the 20-year's old second tour-level singles title, but she's posted an overall 4-1 record in finals this year (2-1 singles, 2-0 doubles), and has a combined 19-7 mark in s/d finals on the professional level. The Thunder isn't about to go silent in the night.
RISERS: Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova/RUS and Aleksandra Krunic/SRB
...Pavlyuchenkova, as she occasionally does, showed how good she can be in Tokyo -- def. CiCi Bellis, Wang Qiang, Barbora Strycova and Angelique Kerber -- but still wasn't quite able to put away what would have been her biggest title in nearly three years, losing in straight sets to an in-form Wozniacki in her sixteenth career final. Even with the up and down nature of her results, the Russian has managed to win two titles in '17 and completed a Career QF Slam with a final eight result in Melbourne. But, naturally, after winning four matches in Melbourne in January, Pavlyuchenkova won a total of *one* match in the final three slams of the year, and this result will only return her to the Top 20 (#19) after she'd fallen out prior to the U.S. Open. Her win over Kerber, a match in which she nearly squandered a 6-0/5-2 lead and had to come back from 0-3 down in the 3rd, gives her a 3-0 mark in semifinals '17, after she'd been 0-7 in QF in 2016. Ah, Pavlyuchenkova. The Hordette's best season finish was #16 in 2011, so I suppose a "career year" is still firmly within her grasp. But, then again, we're talking about Pavlyuchenkova, so who really knows?

In Guangzhou, there was yet another Bracelet sighting, as Krunic opened the week by knocking off defending champ Lesia Tsurenko, then followed up with victories over Mona Barthel, Rebecca Peterson and Yanina Wickmayer to reach her maiden tour singles final. Once there, she won the 1st set over Zhang Shuai, but saw the Chinese vet come back to take the title, including a sweep of the final four games in a 6-2 3rd. Still, it's another week for the Bracelet history books. Already this season, before this week's run, Krunic had picked up her biggest title (a WTA 125 win in June), reached her biggest challenger final ($100K Manchester loss to Diyas), upset Johanna Konta and reached the U.S. Open 3rd Round, and become the new Serbian #1. She'll climb to another career high ranking of #56 on Monday. A win in the final and she'd have cracked the Top 50, but I guess that'll have to wait a little longer.

SURPRISES: Luksika Kumkhum/THA and Rebecca Peterson/SWE
...Kumkhum is always a big upset -- especially vs. big-hitters -- waiting to happen (just ask Petra Kvitova), but in Seoul the 24-year old Thai woman managed to have some staying power beyond a single flash result. After making her way through qualifying, the #155-ranked Kumkhum put up MD wins over Mariana Duque, Ekaterina Alexandrova and Sorana Cirstea to reach her second career tour-level singles semi (Osaka '14), where she fell to eventual champion Ostapenko after taking the 1st set and leading 3-0 in the 3rd. In doubles, she teamed with countrywoman Peangtarn Plipuech to reach the final (her first on the WTA level) without dropping a set, defeating the #2 (Begu/Kr.Pliskova) and #3 (Hibino/Kalashnikova) seeds before ultimately falling to eight-time title-winning and #1-seeded Bertens/Larsson in straight sets.

Peterson, 22, entered the Guangzhou draw with a protected ranking after returning from a seven-month absence this summer after dealing with a difficult-to-diagnose arm injury that wiped out much of the progress she'd made over the previous two seasons, during which she'd progressively lifted her singles ranking, gone 9-3 in ITF finals (2013-16) and taken her place on the Swedish Fed Cup team. She returned to action in June and won a $25K title in Padova, Italy in her second tournament back. She next made it through qualifying to reach her maiden slam MD at Flushing Meadows. She went into last week at #226, but knocked off Alison Riske and Zhang Kailin to reach her second career tour-level QF (Bastad '15). Peterson will rise to #208 on Monday. Still a ways off from a past high ranking of #119 that had her looking to climb into the Top 100 for the first time, but now that she's healthy, and 17-9 on the season, she's set to use the season's closing months to set her up for the quick start in '18 that her layoff prevented this season.


VETERANS: Zhang Shuai/CHN, Yanina Wickmayer/BEL and Andreja Klepac/Maria Jose Martinez-Sanchez (SLO/ESP)
...four years after she picked up her maiden WTA title in Guangzhou, a now-28-year old Zhang returned and won her second career title at the same event. The time between has seen the Chinese woman weather a professional crisis that brought her to the edge of retirement, only to successfully rebound with career-best slam results at the AO ('16 QF), Wimbledon ('17 3rd) and U.S. Open ('16-17 3rd) the last two seasons. Last week she reached her second career final without dropping a set (she lost just three total games in the first three rounds), defeating the likes of Ipek Soylu, recent Dalian 125 champ Kateryna Kozlova and Evgeniya Rodina before coming back from a set down in the final to take out Aleksandra Krunic for the win. Zhang will move to #26 on Monday, just two spots behind top-ranked Chinese woman Peng Shuai, and three off her own career high set last November.

Wickmayer, 27, reached the semifinals in Guangzhou with wins over Lesley Kerkhove, #1-seeded Peng and Alize Cornet. It's her first multi-win WTA MD event since Budapest in February, and her first tour-level semifinal since she swept the singles and doubles titles in Washington, D.C. last summer. The Waffle had slipped outside the Top 100 (#116) heading into last week, but will go back up to #98 on Monday (incidentally, one spot behind Jelena Jankovic, who falls 24 spots to -- eek -- #97 as the Serbian vet's first non-Top 100 finish since 2002 is now a real possibility, if not probability).

Wickmayer was hoping to maintain her momentum in Tashkent this coming week. But, well, the best laid plans of mice and Belgians...

In Tokyo, 31-year old Klepac joined with 35-year old MJMS to win their first title as a duo, and the first on tour by either woman in over a year. The pair opened with a 1st round win over last week's Tokyo champs Aoyama/Yang, then defeated #2-seeded Dabrowski/Xu (10-3 TB) and wrapped up the title with a 3 & 2 win over the Dashas in the final. It's Klepac's fifth career title (first since Sept.'15), and MJMS' 18th (first since June '16). The Spaniard has now won her last five tour-level WD finals dating back to 2011.

COMEBACKS: Angelique Kerber/GER, Alisa Kleybanova/RUS and Vicky Duval/USA
...well, we've been waiting (literally) ALL season to see Kerber fully resemble the player who won two slams and reached #1 in 2016, searching for hints of her return, usually in vain, for over nine months. Well, in Tokyo, she finally arrived. Or at least it was as close as she's been to reintroducing herself to the tour as she's been all season.

I surely remember *this* Angie...

As it was, Kerber turned back the clock to reveal the consistent, defensive-minded but aggressive player who shined a season ago, getting "revenge" wins over Naomi Osaka and Dasha Kasatkina -- players who defeated a "lesser" version of the German earlier this year -- then took out Karolina Pliskova to record, amazingly, her very first Top 20 win of the season. In the semis vs. Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, she fell behind 6-0/5-2 but then showed the grit, focus and confidence that has allowed her to occupy the #1 ranking longer than any other player this season, charging back to win a 2nd set TB and take a 3-0 lead in the 3rd. But the rollercoaster nature of the contest went back the other way in the end, with the Russian winning five straight games and then, after holding serve to force Pavlyuchenkova to serve it out, Kerber being unable to get the break to extend the match further. Ultimately, it wasn't Kerber's best result of '17 (Monterrey final, when she also lost to Pavlyuchenkova), but it *was* her most encouraging performance of the season. With a few weeks left before preparations begin for '18, maybe Kerber has now established the momentum necessary for a strong finish. Crossing fingers.

In Lubbock, Texas the comeback -- comebacks, really -- was of a more personal nature. In a $25K challenger, the story at the beginning of the week was the wonderful notion of a pair of Hodgkin's Lymphoma survivors -- Kleybanova and Duval -- teaming up to form the most heartwarming doubles team ever. And then they won the title, winning a 10-8 3rd set TB in the final to take the crown. Oh, *and* they BOTH reached the singles final, too. Yeah, this *is* real life, or the WTA's version of it, at any rate. The Russian won 6-0/6-2, winning her biggest singles title since claiming her second tour-level crown in Seoul in 2010, while it was Duval's first singles final since 2014. But, really, do the numbers even matter?

FRESH FACES: Beatriz Haddad Maia/BRA, Dayana Yastremska/UKR and The Young Aussies
...Haddad Maia sure looks like the best Brazilian women's tennis player since, well, you know who.

While Teliana Pereira was a recent two-time tour singles champ who accomplished things not seen in generations in Brazilian women's tennis, the 29-year has nearly fallen off the tennis map since the Rio Olympics (she entered last week at #344), while the 21-year old Haddad has consistently been one of the most improved players in the WTA throughout the 2017 season. Since ending the 2016 season at #170, Haddad has made her debut at three slams (qualifying at Roland Garros, and getting a MD win at Wimbledon), reached a tour QF at Prague (def. McHale and Stosur), reached a WTA 125 Series semi in Bol, won a $100K title and climbed into the Top 100. Last week, she raised the stakes a few more levels in Seoul. Wins over Irina-Camelia Begu, Sara Sorribes Tormo and Richel Hogenkamp put Haddad into her maiden tour singles final. She took the first set from RG champ and Top 10er Alona Ostapenko, but couldn't hold off the young Latvian in a three-set contest (ask Simona about that). Still, Haddad will rise from #71 to another new career high of #58 this week, with the Top 50 within her sights, a tour title in her near future, on the longer range radar, maybe even her first seed at a slam in 2018.

In the $100K Saint Petersburg challenger, 17-year old Yastremska ('16 Wimbledon Girls RU) reached her third career challenger final (and biggest so far), defeating Anna Zaja, #7-seeded Vera Lapko, #3 Aryna Sabalenka and #1 Donna Vekic (retired down 6-3/2-0) without losing a set to reach the final with a nine-match winning streak intact (after a recent $60K title run). She fell to a returning Belinda Bencic in straight sets, but the Ukrainian jumps 34 spots into the Top 200 for the first time at #174 on Monday. The teenager reached her first tour-level QF in Istanbul earlier this season.

As for the young Aussies. While Destanee Aiava and Jamiee Fourlis aren't included here, Lizette Cabrera and Priscilla Hon are. Both 19-year olds qualified and then reached their first career tour-level QF this week. In Seoul, the highlight of Hon's run was a win over Arantxa Rus, while Cabrera's final eight result in Guangzhou included a big win over Anett Kontaveit, and just completed a successful qualifying run this weekend in Tashkent, as well. The two are still ranked behind the "big 4" of Australian women's tennis at the moment -- Gavrilova, Barty, Stosur and Ar.Rodionova -- Cabrera is the fifth-highest ranked Aussie at #136 (up 17 to a new career high on Monday), while Hon comes in behind #152 Aiava at #235, up a whopping 73 spots with this result for her own new career high.


DOWN: Kristina Mladenovic/FRA and Johanna Konta/GBR
...well, Kiki figured out a way to avoid getting this award *yet again* next week -- by following up her 1st Round love & love (yes, a 6-0/6-0 loss by the most fair-minded player on tour) in Tokyo to Wang Qiang with a 3 & 2 defeat at the hands of Katerina Siniakova in Wuhan on Sunday, before the regular weekday schedule of that tournament has even begun on Monday. Still, for the record, that's eight consecutive straight sets defeats.

Needless to say, the view at the Mladenovic roost home is getting mighty crowded.

And we'll see whether or not Kiki's really found a loophole to avoid showing up here next week.

Meanwhile, Konta was a hard court beast in 2016, and often looked like she could compete for the title of the tour's best player on the surface. Starting with her 2016 AO semifinal run, she was 38-13 on hardcourt last season, and started '17 on a 19-3 sprint which included a Shenzhen SF, AO QF and titles in Sydney and Miami. But since her historic semifinal result at Wimbledon this summer, the Brit's winning hard court results have ebbed the wake of her grass court success at home. Her opening match, 7-5/7-6 loss in Tokyo to Barbora Strycova is her third straight defeat on the surface, and officially gives her a summer hard court record of 2-4 this year (she was 14-4 in '16, then 11-4 in the 4Q). The #5 seed this seek in Wuhan, Konta will face Ash Barty in her opening match, hardly the sort of opponent against whom a rebound win is assured. On Sunday, the Aussie upended CiCi Bellis in straight sets, as the Bannerette herself dropped her fifth straight match since getting wins over the likes of Kvitova and Kuznetsova in Stanford and Toronto.

ITF PLAYERS: Belinda Bencic/SUI and Irina Falconi/USA
...after five months away due to wrist surgery, Bencic, in the same week that countrywoman Timea Bacsinszky ended her season early due to a hand injury, wasted no time getting the outline ready for her own 2018 comeback story. In her first event back, the 20-year old Swiss won the $100K challenger in Saint Petersburg, the site of her most recent tour-level singles final in 2016, while losing just a single set all week (Anna Kalinina SF) and notching wins over Vitalia Diatchenko, Ysaline Bonaventure and Dayana Yastremska in the final. Putting icing on her icing for the week, she also reached the doubles final while partnering Michaela Honcova.

And on Sunday night in Tampico, Mexico, 27-year old Falconi finally put a ribbon on Week 38 by claiming the second $100K challenger on the schedule, defeating Louisa Chirico in three sets to claim her first singles title of any kind since she won her maiden tour-level crown last year in Bogota. Falconi (#206) survived a 3rd set TB with Anastasia Potapova early on, then took out Victoria Rodriguez, top-seeded Jennifer Brady and #4 Chirico en route to the win.


JUNIOR STARS: USA Junior Fed Cup Team (16s)
...the Bannerettes were at it again this week in Budapest. While the competition battled rain all week, everything finished on time on Sunday with the U.S. squad claiming the title for the third time since 2012 (and appearing in a fourth straight final).

U.S. Open girls champ Amanda Anisimova played in the #1 singles slot heading into the semis, but after a loss to Italy's Elisabetta Cocciaretto (RG singles champ Whitney Osuigwe and Caty McNally won a deciding doubles match to win the group), it was Osuigwe who assumed the lead role. In the semis vs. Canada, after McNally lost in match #1, Osuigwe came to the rescue again and won in singles to knot the score, then joined with McNally again to win in doubles and reach the final. Against Japan in the championship tie, McNally defeated Naho Sato 6-3/6-2, then Osuigwe clinched the title with a 7-5/6-3 victory over Yuki Naito.

Already with a 14s team championship in the ITF World Champions (w/ U.S. Open girls finalist Coco Gauff leading the charge), this win gives the U.S. a chance to sweep all three 2017 girls/women's international team competitions if Kathy Rinaldi's still-to-be-announced roster can take out Belarus in the *big* Fed Cup final in November.
DOUBLES: Kiki Bertens/Johanna Larsson (NED/SWE) and Elise Mertens/Demi Schuurs (BEL/NED) Seoul, Larsson defended the title she won there a year ago with Kirsten Flipkens, joining forces with regular doubles partner Bertens to win their eighth tour crown as a duo. It's their sixth straight win in a final, and gives them an 8-2 overall record in finals since their first together in January '15. The win in Seoul, their third in '17, came without them dropping a set all week, ending with a 4 & 1 win over Kumkhum/Plipuech after having been forced to a deciding 3rd set TB in three of their last four titles runs dating back to last season.

Winner winner chicken dinner ?????? Thank you Seoul! #11 #teamjoki

A post shared by Johanna Larsson (@johannalarsson111) on

In Guangzhou, Mertens & Schuurs took their first title as a pair, never dropping a set all week. Runners-up in Bucharest earlier in the summer, the duo defeated three-time '17 WD finalists Monique Adamczak & Storm Sanders (1-2, including back-to-back losses the last two weeks) 2 & 3 in the final. It's Mertens second career title, and Schuurs' third (w/ three different partners) and ends her personal 0-4 run in WTA doubles finals over the last twelve months.


It shouldn't feel like such an anomaly, but...


1. Tokyo TPP QF - Caroline Wozniacki def. Dominika Cibulkova
...3-6/7-6(5)/3-1 ret.
Cibulkova's late season climb -- Wuhan RU, Linz W, then WTA Finals win -- began in Asia a year ago, but she failed to get off to a great start in Tokyo this time around after opening with wins over CSN and Siniakova. She served for the match and held two MP in the 2nd set, only to retire with a thigh injury four games into the 3rd, then saw Wozniacki raise her game several levels while obliterating Muguruza and Pavlyuchenkova in successive matches to defend her title.
2. Tokyo TPP 2nd Rd. - Angelique Kerber def. Dasha Kasatkina
This was Angie's second "revenge" win of the week, knocking off the Russian who'd defeated her in Doha in February, one round after haven taken out her U.S. Open conqueror, Naomi Osaka.
3. Tokyo TPP SF - Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova def. Angelique Kerber
But Kerber's attempt at a third "do-over" victory (Pavlyuchenkova defeated the German in Monterrey in April) fell short in a rollercoaster match that saw the Russian win the first eight games and lead 6-0/5-2 before Kerber rallied and pushed things to a 3rd. She led 3-0 there before Pavlyuchenkova herself rallied to take five straight games and ultimately prevail.

This was Kerber's 22nd semifinal-or-better result since 2015, the most of any player on tour during the three-season stretch, one more than both Karolina Pliskova and Simona Halep.
4. Tokyo TPP SF - Caroline Wozniacki def. Garbine Muguruza
In maybe her best match of the season (and one of her best, well, ever) Wozniacki notched her second #1 win of the season after never having had a #1 win in her career before 2017. She's the third player this year to post victories over different #1 players. Only four TOTAL players accomplished that feat from 2008-16, and never more than one did it in any of those seasons.
5. Guangzhou 1st Rd. - Aleksandra Krunic def. Lesia Tsurenko 6-3/6-4
Seoul 1st Rd. - Ekaterina Alexandrova def. Lara Arruabarrena 6-3/7-5
Tokyo TPP Final - Caroline Wozniacki def. Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 6-0/7-5
the Guangzhou and Seoul defending champions were shipped off early a year later, but the Dane rose to the occasion down the stretch to finally take that ugly "0" off her season record in finals, committing just three UE's in the final to Pavlyuchenkova's 31.
6. Tokyo TPP 1st Rd. - Magda Linette def. Dasha Gavrilova
Another tough-luck loss for Gavrilova, as in her first match since losing a U.S. Open 2nd Rounder (3:31) to Shelby Rogers in which she led 4-2 in the 3rd before dropping a deciding TB, the Aussie failed to convert a MP vs. Linette and then lost in *another* deciding TB. She and Kasatkina then proceeded to lead a Dashas charge to the doubles final, winning a pair of deciding TB's en route.
7. $15K Shymkent Final - Daria Lodikova def. Daria Kruzhkova
Could it be? Another pair of Dashas? Lodikova, 21, won the battle of Russians over 19-year old Kruzhkova. At some point, these two just *have* to play doubles together, right? The Tennis Gods demand it.
8. Guangzhou 1st Rd. - Wang Qiang def. Kristina Mladenovic

9. Seoul Final - Alona Ostapenko def. Beatriz Haddad Maia
The Latvian pounded her way through Seoul, overcoming a wayward 1st set in the final (which included the requisite racket toss) to outlast the ever-improving Brazilian.

10. Seoul Final - Zhang Shuai def. Aleksandra Krunic
Winning the last four games of the match, Zhang becomes the fourth Chinese woman to claim multiple WTA singles titles in a career. Meanwhile, in this season of transition for Serbian tennis, Krunic is the first Serb to reach a tour singles final in 2017.
11. Guangzhou 1st Rd. - Han Xinyun def. Samantha Stosur 6-7(6)/6-3/7-5
$25K Penrith Final - Olivia Rogowska def. Kimberly Birrell 6-2/6-4
while Stosur's second match back was another hard-fought loss -- she served for the match in the three-hour encounter -- back home Down Under it was Rogowska picking up her 13th career ITF title in an all-Aussie battle with teenager Birrell.

12. Tokyo TPP 2nd Rd. - Garbine Muguruza def. Monica Puig 6-4/6-0
Tokyo TPP QF - Garbine Muguruza def. Caroline Garcia 6-2/6-4
Muguruza had a good #1-ranking photoshoot and some nice wins in her first event as the world #1, even if the week didn't exactly end on a glorious note.
13. Tashkent Q2 - Vera Zvonareva def. Jasmine Paolini
Vera is back.

14. Albuquerque Final - Conny Perrin/Tara Moore def. Viktorija Golubic/Amra Sadikovic
Another women's tennis first.

15. $25K Lubbock Final - Alisa Kleybanova def. Vicky Duval


1. Tokyo (TPP) 1st Rd. - Angelique Kerber def. NAOMI OSAKA
A year ago, Osaka reached the Tokyo final. A month ago, she defeated Kerber at the U.S. Open. This time...
2. Tokyo (TPP) 1st Rd. - Makota Ninomiya/Renata Voracova def. MARI OSAKA/NAOMI OSAKA
But at least...

Just played dubs with my sis and it reminded me of this lol

A post shared by Naomi Osaka ????? (@naomiosakatennis) on

3. Tokyo (TPP) QF - Angelique Kerber def. KAROLINA PLISKOVA
In their last meeting before they faced off in the '16 U.S. Open final (last summer in Cincy, before either had reached #1), Pliskova prevailed. In their first match-up as "former #1's," Kerber picked up her first Top 20 win of the season. For Karolina, maybe next time.
HM- Tokyo (TPP) 1st Rd. - Kurumi Nara/Risa Ozaki d. CHAN HAO-CHING/CHAN YUN-JAN
...7-6(8)/1-6 [13-11].
After Yung-Jan won the U.S. Open (w/ Hingis) in her last outing, Hao-Ching reached the Open MX final (losing to Hingis), the sisters recombined in Tokyo, but couldn't get out of the 1st Round. Martina is now Chan family oxygen.

This side ?? ????????? Leo just like mommy ?????? when she has to #twins #mommysboy #mommystwin

A post shared by Victoria Azarenka (@vichka35) on

Keeping the streak alive! 10th year in a row with at least one title! ??

A post shared by Caroline Wozniacki (@carowozniacki) on

Not that sign

A post shared by Daria Gavrilova (@daria_gav) on

Minion is not that impressed that he has new parents... also look at the wave from him.. ?? @kasatkina

A post shared by Daria Gavrilova (@daria_gav) on

5 - Elina Svitolina [Taipei City,Dubai,Istanbul,Rome,Toronto]
3 - Karolina Pliskova [Brisbane,Doha,Eastbourne]
2 - Garbine Muguruza [Wimbledon,Cincinnati]
2 - Johanna Konta [Sydney,Miami]
2 - Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova [Monterrey,Rabat]
2 - Kiki Bertens [Nurnberg,Gstaad]
2 - Katerina Siniakova [Shenzhen,Bastad]

Taipei City - Elina Svitolina, UKR (4 MP - QF/Jabeur)
Prague - Mona Barthel, GER (3 MP - Q2/Paolini)
Cincinnati - Garbine Muguruza, ESP (3 MP - 3r/Keys)

21 - Martina Navratilova 1974-94
18 - Chris Evert 1971-88
14 - Steffi Graf 1986-99
13 - Maria Sharapova 2003-15
11 - Serena Williams 2007-17 (active)
11 - Evonne Goolagong 1970-80
11 - Virginia Wade 1968-78
10 - CAROLINE WOZNIACKI 2008-17 (active)
[current streaks w/ 2017 titles]
11 years - Serena Williams
7 years - Petra Kvitova
5 years - Simona Halep
5 years - Karolina Pliskova
5 years - Elina Svitolina
NOTE: Radwanska w/ 6-year streak (2011-16)

5 - Elina Svitolina (5-0)
4 - Simona Halep (1-3)
4 - Kristina Mladenovic (1-3)
3 - Karolina Pliskova (3-0)
3 - Johanna Konta (2-1)
3 - Anett Kontaveit (1-2)
3 - Julia Goerges (0-3)

[chronological order by second title]
2 - Elina Svitolina = Hard,Red Clay
2 - Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova = Hard,Red Clay
2 - Karolina Pliskova = Hard,Grass
2 - Katerina Siniakova = Hard,Red Clay
2 - Garbine Muguruza = Grass,Hard
2 - ALONA OSTAPENKO = Red Clay,Hard
[finals on most surfaces]
3 - Anett Kontaveit = Hard,Grass,Red Clay
3 - Caroline Wozniacki = Hard,Grass,Red Clay
3 - Julia Goerges = Grass,Red Clay,Hard
3 - ALONA OSTAPENKO = Green Clay,Red Clay,Hard

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

2 - Garbina Muguruza (Kerber/WIMB, Pliskova/CIN)
2 - CoCo Vandeweghe (Kerber/AO, Pliskova/US)
2 - CAROLINE WOZNIACKI (Pliskova/TOR, Muguruza/TOK)
[recent seasons]
2008 Dinara Safina (3 diff #1 wins)
2009 Venus Williams (2)
2010 Samantha Stosur (2)
2011-15 - none
2016 Elina Svitolina (2)

Brisbane - Sania Mirza (d) 2016-17
Taipei City - Chan/Chan (d) 2016-17
Madrid - Simona Halep 2016-17
Rome - Martina Hingis (d) 2016-17
Nurnberg - Kiki Bertens 2016-17
Stanford - Abigail Spears (d) 2016-17
Rogers Cup - Makarova/Vesnina (d) 2016-17
Tokyo (JO) - Shuka Aoyama (d) 2016-17
Quebec City - Andrea Hlavackova (d) 2016-17
SEOUL (d) - JOHANNA LARSSON (d) 2016-17

38 - Charleston = Kasatkina (19) d. Ostapenko (19)
38 - Biel = Vondrousova (17) d. Kontaveit (21)
41 - SEOUL = OSTAPENKO (20) d. HADDAD (21)
41 - 's-Hertogenbosch = Kontaveit (21) d. Vikhlyantseva (20)

17 - Marketa Vondrousova (Biel-W)
19 - Ana Konjuh (Auckland-L)
19 - Alona Ostapenko (Charleston-L)
19 - Dasha Kasatkina (Charleston-W)
20 - Alona Ostapenko (Roland Garros-W)
20 - Natalia Vikhlyantseva ('s-Hertogenbosch-L)
20 - Katerina Siniakova (Shenzen-W)
20 - Ash Barty (Kuala Lumpur-W)
20 - Donna Vekic (Nottingham-W)

9 - Li Na (2004,2008,2010-14)
4 - Zheng Jie (2005-06,2012)
2 - Peng Shuai (2016-17)
2 - ZHANG SHUAI (2013-17)
1 - Duan Yingying (2016)
1 - Yan Zi (2005)
1 - Sun Tiantian (2006)

7...Y.Chan/Hingis (6-0+W)
6...Barty/Dellacqua (3-3)
5...Makarova/Vesnina (3-2)
5...Hradecka/Siniakova (0-5)
3...Mattek-Sands/Safarova (3-0)
3...Babos/Hlavackova (2-1)
3...Hlavackova/Peng (1-2)

FEB: Midland, USA - Tatjana Maria/GER def. Naomi Broady/GBR
FEB: Astana, KAZ - Zhang Shuai/CHN def. Ysaline Bonaventure/BEL
AUG: Vancouver, CAN - Marina Zanevska/BEL def. Danka Kovinic/MNE
SEP: Saint Petersburg, RUS - Belinda Bencic/SUI def. Dayana Yastremska/UKR
SEP: Tampico, MEX - Irina Falconi/USA def. Louisa Chirico/USA

[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 United States d. Japan

Na does New York (sort of)

That's a lot of trophy-lifting arms on one plane...

WUHAN, CHINA [Premier 5/Hard]
16 Singles Final: Kvitova d. Cibulkova
16 Doubles Final: Mattek-Sands/Safarova d. Mirza/Strycova
17 Top Seeds: Muguruza/Halep

#1 Muguruza d. #8 Ostapenko (or maybe #11 Kvitova, depending if she we get "U.S. Open '17 Petra" or not)
#14 Stephens d. #9 A.Radwanska
#4 Wozniacki d. #10 Keys
#12 Kerber d. #2 Halep
#14 Stephens d. #1 Muguruza (see "USO17P" above)
#12 Kerber d. #4 Wozniacki
#12 Kerber d. #14 Stephens

...going with the "that was finally it" quality to Kerber's run in Tokyo being true, and her winning (or losing, either would be fine) a "classic" match-up between the last two U.S. Open champions

#1 Y.Chan/Hingis d. #2 Makarova/Vesnina

16 Singles Final: Kr.Pliskova d. Hibino
16 Doubles Final: Olaru/Soylu d. Schuurs/Voracova
17 Top Seeds: Kr.Pliskova/Babos

#7 Hibino d. #6 Krunic
(Q) Fett d. (Q) Cabrera
(Q) Fett d. #7 Hibino

...this might be Fett's last chance at that maiden title in '17, so of course I have to take the shot. Hibino was the 2015 Tashkent champion.

#1 Babos/Hlavackova d. #3 K.Bondarenko/Krunic

All for now.


Blogger colt13 said...

Keeping that trend alive, Stephens and Keys both dropped their first match after a slam final. if that feels familiar, Pliskova did that last year in Tokyo, while Kerber lasted 2 matches in Wuhan.

Venus now a month away from being the first since Kuznetsova in 2008 to reach YEC without a win. Also a month away from being the first in the Open Era(out of 85) to have reached 2 or more slam finals in a season without winning a title.

Stat of the Week-14- The amount of first time title winners at Tashkent out of 18 tournaments.

Some of those have not retired yet, so the fact that 8 of them have Tashkent as their only title isn't a red flag. There have been 5 women that have been 2 time finalists, but never a 2 time winner. Each of the last 3 years, at least one of the finalists has made their 2nd final, including all 3 runner ups.

Quiz Time!
1.Only one woman from Uzbekistan has won Tashkent. Who was it?
A.Vavara Lepchenko
B.Lilia Biktyakova
C.Iroda Tulyaganova
D.Akgul Amanmuradova

2.Kristina Mladenovic is still on track to finish in the Top 15. Since Amelie Mauresmo's dream season in 2006 when she finished #3, only 2 women from France have finished the season higher. Who were they?
A.Aravane Rezai
B.Marion Bartoli
C.Alize Cornet
D.Tatiana Golovin

While you think of the answers, think of the odd situation Mladenovic is in. 15 in the rankings, but 9 in the race. She probably won't drop below 12 in the race. So she still has a chance at being a YEC alternate, or a Zhuhai participant. But the fact that even with her great start, she lost her first match in Hobart and at the AO means that she could lose every match the rest of the year(with 1 pointer after 1 pointer), then play well at the AO and be Top 8.

If she doesn't turn it around, Schmiedlova lost 14 tour level matches in a row, although she won 4 Fed Cup. Go figure. The not so ironic thing is that she ended the streak by beating Arantxa Rus, who had a 13 match streak of her own back in 2012-13.

1.As usual, the reason some of the answers are wrong are interesting, so let's start with that. Biktyakova was only 5-11 her whole career, but deserves mention as the only other player other than Tulyaganova to have been in the MD in the first one back in 1999.

It isn't Lepchenko. She only played there twice. 2000 in qualies, and 2001 in MD. Never won a match. Then her odyssey started in 2002, and in an effort to find a new home-the USA-she was landlocked. Landlocked to the point that the next 65 tournaments she played, until Zurich 2005, were US based.

Amanmuradova and Tulyaganova are both 2 time finalists, but C. Tulyaganova is the correct answer, as she beat the still active Schiavone in 2000 for the first of her 3 career titles.

2. The easiest one to get was Bartoli, as in 2007(10),09(11),11(9),12(11),13(13) she met the criteria.

It isn't Rezai. Although her career high was 15, she never finished the season higher than 19(2010).

It also isn't Cornet. Her career high is 11, and just missed as her year end high
was 16 in 2008.

So B/D as it is Tatiana Golovin, who finished 2007 at 13. She may have slipped under the radar, because similar to Kirilenko, she had a career year, then got injured an was out of the sport soon after. In fact, her example is even more extreme, as she only played 5 more events in her career.

Mon Sep 25, 11:32:00 AM EDT  
Blogger colt13 said...

Since Wuhan has already had two days worth of results, I will put a different spin(backspin?) on this as this is more about the rest of the season that this week.

5 On the Up Side

1.Diatchenko- In the MD at Tashkent, the first WTA level event for her since, well Tashkent last year. Has Sharapova-ed, ie used her PR wisely enough that she has played the same amount of slams as regular WTA tour events the last 3 years-6 of each. Looking for her first tour level win since Baku 2015, when she beat Nigina Abduraimova, who was born in Tashkent.
2.Rybarikova-Has already lost, but that doesn't matter. With a slam SF, and a possible trip to Zhuhai--that's right, she is 20th in the race, so only one spot out, this could be a career year.
3.Yastremska-Todd is right, she is coming. Admittedly, her name always makes me think of Carl Yastremski, the 1967 Triple Crown winner. So what would a tennis triple crown look like? Titles? Match wins? Aces? If so, Serena in 2013 would have won it. Anyway, with the YEC and Zhuhai taking the Top 20, plus all of the people shutting it down early, she may have a shot at the AO main draw. With 3 weeks of 125 events in November, and 160 pts going to the winner, just one win would get her ranking up to 130.
4.Ahn-She's 25, but really hasn't done much. Part is perception, because she qualified for the USO in 2008, the didn't play another tour level match until 2014. Has a good enough game that she can get to the level that Lepchenko, Brengle and Brady are at. Also think Vania King, because she has never been ranked higher than 50 for singles, but has a tour title. Ahn can do the same.
5.Puig-Sometimes there are other factors at play. She has shown flashes recently of her old form, think the 1st set vs Muguruza, but she is playing for her country this week. Would not be surprised to see a deep run, and a Zheng Jie type donation for relief efforts.

Mon Sep 25, 12:05:00 PM EDT  
Blogger colt13 said...

5 On the Down Side

1.Kontaveit-A down that really isn't. She's just out of gas. Wouldn't be surprised to see her shut it down after Beijing. On a 1-6 streak, but with 1 ITF title, 1 WTA title, plus 2 other finals, it has been a good year. Plus came into the AO injured, so nothing to defend there.
2.Stosur-Normally, this would have been a bad loss(to Teichmann). Still working her way back from injury, she is 0-3 since returning. With the season starting in her homeland, she is another one that might just shut it down after next week and go home. Hopman Cup 2018?
3.Jankovic-This is to point out the end of an era. It almost happened last week, but Fett, Wickmayer and Hogenkamp all were one win short of passing Jankovic in the rankings. Since Jankovic won ITF Dubai in October 2003, she has been in the Top 100. Not in either draw this week, she falls in the live rankings to 114.
4.Konta-Which sounds better- 2-6 starting with the Venus loss at Wimbledon, or 0-4 since the Halep loss in Cinci? Already lost(to Barty), but with Mladenovic's struggles, stays firmly in at 8. Ostapenko passed her in the race this week, but in a year where the YEC is wide open, getting some form in the next month could make her a serious threat.
5.Sharapova-I really didn't have 5 healthy players to put on the list, and don't have a problem with the book tour now, as opposed to the offseason, when she needs to hit the ground running. The red flag is that her ranking is still only at 101, which barely will make the MD cutoff in Australia. She has some pressure to do well in Beijing.

Mon Sep 25, 12:29:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Todd.Spiker said...

Further establishing the I'm-not-like-the-others immediate post-RG results from Ostapenko, I guess.

Boy, Sloane-downer Wang (a week after the double-bagel of Kiki) has really been in the right place at the right time lately. ;)

Meanwhile, my final pick for Wuhan *almost* breathed life for about, what, five or six hours (if that)? :(

And Konta does indeed lose once more (to Barty, after leading 4-2 in the 3rd).

Meanwhile, Petra is also out to Peng after over three hours. Probably for the best, as I doubt she'd been able to give much in the next round after that one, anyway.

And Stosur went three AGAIN and lost. At least she's getting match play, I guess. :/


Ah, success. I got Tulyaganova because I thought I recalled her winning something like that, and I picked Bartoli (naturally) and Golovin (it just felt like how high she got has been forgotten), too. :)


I'm the same way w/ Yastremska. Should start calling her "Yaz." ;)

Of course, Ahn was also a very good player at Stanford for a couple of years, too.

Mon Sep 25, 12:34:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Todd.Spiker said...

Here's a good piece about Ahn from this summer. I know I said "a couple" above, but, of course, Ahn did play out her full four years of eligibility at Stanford and graduated in 2014.

Mon Sep 25, 12:41:00 PM EDT  
Blogger colt13 said...

Thanks for the piece on Ahn.

Tulyaganova was in doubles w/Pliskova.

And yes, Ostapenko has something special. The ridiculous shot making ability, plus being able to raise her game when behind is similar to someone else. Yes, that person nobody should be compared to. So I won't even mention Venus' sister.

One more thing-any news on Konjuh or Pironkova?

Mon Sep 25, 04:19:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Todd.Spiker said...

Not sure about Pironkova, but Konjuh just recently had surgery and will start rehab soon, hoping to be back for AO '18. I was going to put that in this week's post, but ended up leaving it out.

Also forgot to add a Chakvetadze sighting. ;)

Tue Sep 26, 02:14:00 AM EDT  
Blogger colt13 said...

Well, the statement that nobody is technically eliminated from YEC or Zhuhai is accurate. Barty is now in the Top 20 in the race. One interesting thing is that she played so few events last year that they all dropped off. So her point total for the race and the regular ranking is the same. Means that unlike Mladenovic, she's playing with house money the rest of this season.

Will be interesting to see your picks, the draw for Beijing is unbalanced.

Fri Sep 29, 02:17:00 PM EDT  
Blogger colt13 said...

So in the Year Of The Comeback, Sevastova won her first title in 7 years. Now Bondarenko one ups her and wins her first in 9.

Zvonareva may be next. She looked surprisingly good this week. And 2 of her recent ret have been 2nd match in a day things, so not a red flag.

This is too interesting to wait for the next post, so throwing this up now.

Top 20 wins in Barty's career before June-0
Top 20 wins for Kerber this year-1
Top 20 wins for Barty this year-7

The offshoot of that is that Barty has beaten both Muguruza and Ostapenko. And played Stephens, but lost. Surprisingly, Brengle has beaten 2 current slam champs-Williams and Ostapenko-once, though they played 3 times.

So is there anybody who had a chance to beat all 4 this year? Only one. Venus. Todd likes to mention how the USO winner normally has beaten Venus to win the title. Well, Venus took it to the extreme this year. Serena, Muguruza and Stephens won their slam going through Venus, but Mladenovic, Vesnina, Konta and Svitolina also did so en route to this year's titles.

Of the 12 events Venus played this year, only once has someone beaten her and not reached the QF. Who was it? Barty.

Sat Sep 30, 11:04:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Todd.Spiker said...

And Barty, this week alone, had four Top 20 (and three Top 10) wins, and Garcia would have made it five had she served things out in the 2nd set. If she'd won, it would have had to be counted as one of the top three non-slam performances of the entire season. Still incredibly impressive, either way.

Yeah, speaking of that stat w/ Venus, I forgot to mention, of course, that it happened again this year when Sloane won.

In her first twelve Open appearances from 1997-2010, ten times either Venus or the player that beat her (Venus-2,Serena-2,Clijsters-3,Hingis-1,Davenport-1,Henin-1) won the title. With her health issues, that streak eventually ended in 2011, so this was the first time after a six-year drought that the stat came back into play. Although, it was close the last two years, as Venus lost to Serena in '15 (who then lost to Vinci in the SF), then to Pliskova last year (who came a set from the title).

As for Beijing, since it's *already* (rolls eyes) started, these were my original picks (subject to change in the post if someone big goes out before then):

#1 Muguruza d. Pavlyuchenkova
#3 Svitolina d. #10 Kerber
#9 Ostapenko d. #4 Ka.Pliskova
(WC) Sharapova d. Kasatkina
#1 Muguruza d. #3 Svitolina
#9 Ostapenko d. (WC) Sharpova
#1 Muguruza d. #9 Ostapenko

#1 Chan/Hingis d. #5 Siniakova/Strycova
#4 Babos/Hlavackova d. #2 Makarova/Vesnina
#1 Chan/Hingis d/ #4 Babos/Hlavackova

Sat Sep 30, 12:34:00 PM EDT  

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