Sunday, November 05, 2017

Wk.44- Goerges Gorges on Another Title

When you're awarded hardware that resembles crumpled-up tin foil... you must be the Elite Trophy champion.

S: Julia Goerges/GER def. CoCo Vandeweghe/USA 7-5/6-1
D: Duan Yingying/Han Xinyun (CHN/CHN) d. Lu Jingjing/Zhang Shuai (CHN/CHN) 6-2/6-1

...while the hardware might not have looked all that "elite," Goerges' fall run surely has been. Her undefeated, no-sets-lost, title run in Zhuhai gives her an nine-match, two-title streak to end her 2017 season.

?? on the ball ??#lebedeintennis #teamjule @asicstennis ??: @wtaelitetrophy

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After putting together a "career year," though, the German had little tangible evidence to show for it just a few weeks ago. She'd reached, but lost, three singles finals and, while she was rising up the rankings a year after her fourth straight #50+ finish, was still seeking her first tour-level crown since 2011. She got it last month in Moscow, garnering the points necessary to qualify for the Elite Trophy field. In and around turning 29 on Thursday, Goerges' wins over Magdalena Rybarikova, Kristina Mladenovic, Anastasija Sevastova (SF) and CoCo Vandeweghe (F) made her the only player to pick up a pair of indoor singles titles in '17, and just the second (Pavlyuchenkova - Monterrey/Rabat) to put together back-to-back title runs this season. The week puts a bow on a campaign that has seen the top-ranked German reach five finals (she'd had six in her entire career prior to '17), win two of her four career singles crowns, and finish at a career-high #14, her first Top 20 season since 2012.
RISER: CoCo Vandeweghe/USA
...after losing two of three matches since her U.S. Open semifinal run, Vandeweghe used her time in Zhuhai as an unofficial tune-up for what is likely expected to be her starring role in the Fed Cup final in Minsk next weekend. CoCo won her group with a 2-0 round robin record, defeating Elena Vesnina and Peng Shuai, with the latter win coming as Vandeweghe became just the third player in '17 to post 10+ aces and zero DF in a match. She carried over her form to the semifinals, dropping a single point on serve in the 1st set of her straight sets victory over Ash Barty. Vandeweghe fell 7-5/6-1 to Julia Goerges in her second final (w/ Stanford) of the season. With Venus Williams and Madison Keys absent, and now with Sloane Stephens nursing a knee injury after ending her Zhuhai participation five games into her second match, Vandeweghe will be called upon to once again be what she's been all season -- a true big event achiever, and the on-court leader of Kathy Rinaldi's U.S. squad. While carrying the U.S. back to the FC final this year has been a highlight of her '17 efforts, Vandeweghe's best results on the season have usually come on the biggest stages: her final here, as well as semifinals at the Australian and U.S. Opens, and a QF finish at Wimbledon. CoCo's Zhuhai result was enough to allow her to make her Top 10 debut on Monday. She's the fifth player to breakthrough there in '17, and just the second Bannerette (Keys) to do so since the Williams Sisters in 1998-99.

SURPRISE: Clara Tauson/DEN
...the third time was the charm for the junior Dane, as she won her maiden pro title and matched Marta Kostyuk (May) as the youngest champion of the 2017 season (14y,319d).

After semifinal and runner-up results in her first two pro challenger outings, Tauson returned to Stockholm for the second straight week, this time winning the title while dropping just one set (in the 2nd Rd. vs. Norwegian teen Malene Helgo), and defeating Russia's Ekaterina Yashina 6-3/6-2 in the final. She's now 15-2 (Q/MD) in her pro career, and will make her rankings debut on Monday.

She turns 15 on December 21.

VETERANS: Anastasija Sevastova/LAT and Kaia Kanepi/EST's all-Baltic region week!

In Zhuhai, Sevastova wrapped up a season that was a follow up to the '16 campaign that saw her reach the U.S. Open QF, climb into the Top 30 and finish at #35. Her Elite Trophy semifinal result (wins over Sloane Stephens and Barbora Strycova) was her fourth final-four-or-better result of the season, a year-long run that also included another QF at Flushing Meadows (and AO & RG 3rd Rounds), two Top 10 wins (Konta and Pliskova) and her first tour title (in Mallorca, def. Goerges...who defeated the Latvian in the semis this time around) since 2010. She'll finish the season at #15, her best-ever ranking.

Meanwhile, Sevastova's fellow U.S. Open quarterlist of twp months ago, 32-year old Kanepi, picked up her third ITF challenger title of the season at the $25K in Nantes, France. The top seed at the event, she defeated Richel Hogenkamp 6-3/6-4 to take the title. The #106-ranked Estonian won't climb back into the Top 100 in the official season-ending rankings for the first time since 2014, but she could still creep back in before the start of the 2018 season. She's competing in the WTA 125 Series draw in Limoges this week.

COMEBACK: Polona Hercog/SLO
...Hercog has made up for the nine months she missed last year and into the '17 season. Despite not starting her comeback campaign until May, the 26-year old very nearly will finish in the Top 100 for the eighth time since 2009 (she has seven consecutive finishes from 2009-15). Her $25K challenger title in Pula this weekend (def. Cristina Dinu in the final), her circuit-leading sixth of the year, will lift her to a final finish to #102 (give or take) after she'd finished '16 at #138 and returned in the spring with a #198 standing. Along the way in '17, Hercog qualified at Wimbledon and reached her first slam 3rd Round since 2010, won three of her last four ITF events (a 17-1 sprint) and compiled a 33-4 mark from early September forward.
...when the 2016 concluded at this time a year ago, then #325-ranked Barty had spent the previous ten-plus months making a slow return to the tennis lifestyle after having returned from a year and a half sabbatical from the sport. What awaited her in 2017 was unknown, but it turned out to be this side of remarkable. The 21-year old Aussie's semifinal result at the Elite Trophy, after posting round robin wins over Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and Angelique Kerber, closes out a season which has landed her at #17 in the world on the wings of three singles final appearances, her maiden solo crown and a pair of 3rd Round slam results, including a spirited nighttime run in Melbourne. Now the top-ranked Aussie, the Barty Party resumes Down Under in January, this time with even more possibilities on the table.

DOWN: Kristina Mladenovic/FRA and Angelique Kerber/GER
...both Mladenovic and Kerber came to Zhuhai with the chance to end their respective seasons on something resembling a high note. That Mladenvoic was the only one of the two who was even moderately "successful" -- and she *still* went 0-2 to finish '17 on a 12-match losing streak -- says all you need to know about how much both women want to see the calendar flipped over to 2018.

Kiki, for all her unnecessary off-court drama, was a beast on it through the season's early months. While she feuded with as many fellow players as possible, she mostly backed up her inconsiderate and oft-childish machinations with her results. She & Richard Gasquet won the Hopman Cup in Week 1, and she reached four singles finals through the end of May, picking up her maiden tour title in Saint Petersburg, as well as reaching the Roland Garros QF and making her Top 20 debut. But the second half of the year has witnessed her downfall. Whether the prevailing culprit has been lingering injury, flagging confidence or some combination of or trading off of both, the Pastry went from a "lock" for the WTA Finals to out of the running, upstaged by her late-surging former doubles partner/Fed Cup teammate Caroline Garcia. While her early season results were good enough to lift her into the Top 10 for two weeks heading into the Elite Trophy event in Zhuhai, Mladenovic's 0-2 finish there as the #1 seed extended her losing streak to twelve matches. After notching five Top 10 wins (four Top 5) early in the season, Mladenovic hasn't won *any* singles match since defeating Tatjana Maria in the 1st Round in Washington in the first week of August (and, no, Backspin didn't personally go down there and perform a courtside hexing ritual... that's my official story, I mean, unless someone has a "fake news" cell phone video or something). Things got as bad as a nineteen *set* losing streak, which she finally broke with a three-setter vs. Aliaksandra Sasnovich at the Kremlin Cup. Kiki's "success" in Zhuhai was a three-set loss to Magdalena Rybarikova in which she fought off MP and forced a 3rd set TB, which she ultimately lost, and then losing 6-2/7-6 to Julia Goerges, providing the eventual champion with what was her closest scoreline all week. Still, Mladenovic's round robin exit, combined with CoCo Vandeweghe's run to the final, knocks her out the season-ending Top 10. Meanwhile, Garcia finishes at #8.

Kerber, too, was looking for a moment -- anything, really -- that would make 2017 something other than a nightmarishly historic "year-after" season following her brilliant #1-ranked 2016 run. She, too, went 0-2 in Zhuhai, losing her third straight match this season to Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, then in straight sets to Ash Barty, to fall to 1-6 in her final seven matches of the year. 5-9 in the second half of 2017, Kerber posted a 29-24 overall record after going 62-18 in '16. After winning two slams last year, she won no titles (a first since '14), and reached just one final (worst since '11). Her Top 10 season streak ends at five, and her #21 finish qualifies her 20-spot drop in the rankings as the worst full-season (non-injury/retirement related) fall for a #1-ranked player since the institution of the WTA's computer rankings system in 1975.
...Ahn claimed the title at the $80K challenger in Tyler, Texas, the second leg of the three-event USTA Wild Card Challenge for a berth in the Australian Open MD. Vicky Duval won the first event in Macon, while the Waco challenger wraps up the playoff in the coming week.

For 25-year old Ahn, it's her eighth ITF title, second of the season, and biggest of her career. A former Stanford Cardinal, Ahn posted a win the final over two-time NCAA champ Danielle Collins (Virginia) in the final, and will rise to a new career high of #106 on Monday (so she may make the AO draw w/o a WC). Either way, Ahn is looking to make her AO main draw debut. Her only previous MD slam match came as a qualifier at the U.S. Open in 2008, when she lost in the 1st Round to Dinara Safina.

JUNIOR STAR: Olga Danilovic/SRB
...the 16-year old Serb has been busy in 2017. Busy winning titles, that is. She claimed a pair of slam girls doubles titles earlier this year at Wimbledon and the U.S. Open. With the '16 Roland Garros GD title already in her pocket, she could complete the set in Melbourne in January. She won her second career ITF singles title at a $15K in Antalya in March. This weekend in the $25K challenger in Sant Cugat del Valles, Spain, she had the chance to sweep the singles and doubles crowns, but ultimately came up short in both, falling in the singles final to Hordette Marta Paigina in three sets, and losing the doubles to the Brazilian-Mexican duo of Luisa Stefani & Renata Zarazua. Danilovic is in the WTA 125 Series draw in Limoges this week, making her "sort of" WTA debut.

DOUBLES: Duan Yingying/Han Xinyun (CHN/CHN)
...unlike the WTA Finals doubles competition, the Zhuhai event is mostly about bringing in a handful of Chinese duos to give the local fans a special rooting interest. Eight of the twelve woman involved this year (both partners on four of the six competing teams) hailed from China, three more than in '16 and four more than in the inaugural version of the Elite Trophy WD competition two years ago. Not surprisingly, for the third straight year, the Chinese faithful got to cheer on a local favorite to the crown. Or, in this case, two of them, as the #6-seeded Duan & Han knocked off another all-Chinese duo, #4 Lu & Zhang in a 6-2/6-1 final. It's the first tour WD title for Duan (who won a singles title in Nanchang in last year), and the second for Han, who previously claimed the Hobart crown a season ago.


1. Elite Trophy Final - Julia Goerges def. CoCo Vandeweghe
The German is the eleventh player to claim multiple singles titles in 2017. Nine are ranked in the Top 16.

#2 Garbine Muguruza (2)
#3 Caroline Wozniacki (2)
#4 Karolina Pliskova (3)
#6 Elina Svitolina (5)
#7 Alona Ostapenko (2)
#8 Caroline Garcia (2)
#9 Johanna Konta (2)
#14 Julia Goerges (2)
#16 Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (3)
#31 Kiki Bertens (2)
#49 Katerina Siniakova (2)

2. Elite Trophy rr - Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova def. Angelique Kerber
Not many players can say that Pavlyuchenkova "has my number," but Angie can for 2017. She's was 0-3 vs. the Russian this season after having won 5 of the previous 6 against her. The Russian leads the career head-to-head 6-5.
3. Elite Trophy rr - Ash Barty def. Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova
Despite the win over Kerber, losing in two sets the the Aussie meant Pavlyuchenkova eliminated herself with a match left to play (Barty d. Kerber) in group play. So Pavlyuchenkova. But at least THIS...

4. Elite Trophy rr - Magdalena Rybarikova def. Kristina Mladenovic 7-5/1-6/7-6(5)
Elite Trophy rr - Julia Goerges def. Kristina Mladenovic 6-2/7-6(4)
to be continued?


5. Elite Trophy rr - Anastasija Sevastova def. Sloane Stephens 7-5/6-3
Elite Trophy rr - Barbora Strycova def. Sloane Stephens 5-0 ret.
The Future was Then? Sloane is 0-4 since the Open... and she'll be counted on to win a match in Minsk? For (almost) one last time for 2017...

Though, maybe Bellis or someone else should keep their cell phone close at all times.
6. $60K Canberra Final - Olivia Rogowska def. Destanee Aiava
The Aussie has won three challenger titles since the U.S. Open.
7. $15K Heraklion Final - Reka-Luca Jani def. Anna Bondar
They met again, for the second final in two weeks in Heraklion. Bondar won a week ago, Jani does it this time.

Reka-Luca Jani! Reka-Luca Jani! Reka-Luca Jani!

Oh, and they won the doubles title as a duo again, too.
8. $15K Hammamet Final - Mia Eklund def. Yasmine Mansouri
The 23-year old from Finland picks up her first title, defeating the 16-year old Pastry.
HM- $60K Toronto Final - Yasmine Bonaventure def. Patty Schnyder
The Waffle, more than a full Clara Tauson younger than her opponent, wins career title #9, defeating the 38-year old (39 in December) Swiss, who'd advanced to the final with wins over a junior (Ann Li), an original Hordette (Elena Bovina... yes, *that* Bovina) and a NCAA #1 (Francesca Di Lorenzo).

Schnyder's back inside the Top 150, by the way.

when your face ruins a tennis pic #whocanrelate ?????????????

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1. $15K Stockholm Final - Malene Helgo/Fanny Ostlund def. MARYNA KOLB/NADIYA KOLB
The Ukrainian sisters advanced to their seventh career challenger final, but weren't able to compete for title #4 as a duo. Meanwhile, it's 18-year old Helgo's first pro title.


How cute is she!!! @linabeagle can you see me in the reflection btw? ;)

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First snow ???

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It only took one shot to get this ??.....?????????#notreally #memories @fshualalai

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["Tournament of Champions"]
2009 Aravane Rezai, FRA
2010 Ana Ivanovic, SRB
2011 Ana Ivanovic, SRB
2012 Nadia Petrova, RUS
2013 Simona Halep, ROU
2014 Andrea Petkovic, GER
["Elite Trophy"]
2015 Venus Williams, USA
2016 Petra Kvitova, CZE
2017 Julie Goerges, GER

8 - Caroline Wozniacki, DEN (2-6)
5 - Elina Svitolina, UKR (5-0)
5 - Simona Halep, ROU (1-4)
4 - Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, RUS (3-1)
4 - Kristina Mladenovic, FRA (1-3)
[North America]
3 - Venus Williams, USA (0-3)
2 - Madison Keys, USA (1-1)
1 - Serena Williams, USA (1-0)
1 - Sloane Stephens, USA (1-0)
1 - Lauren Davis, USA (1-0)
1 - Monica Puig, PUR (0-1)
1 - Alison Riske, USA (0-1)

*2017 WTA SF*
8 - Caroline Wozniacki, DEN (8-0)
8 - Karolina Pliskova, CZE (2-5+W)
7 - Simona Halep, ROU (5-2)
7 - Alona Ostapenko, LAT (3-4)
7 - Caroline Garcia, FRA (2-5)
7 - Garbine Muguruza, ESP (2-5)

3 - MAY-JUN: Halep (Madred-W,Rome-L,RG-L)
2 - FEB: Wozniacki (Doha-L,Dubai-L)
2 - APR-MAY: Schiavone (Bogota-W,Rabat-L)
2 - APR-MAY: Pavlyuchenkova (Monterrey-W,Rabat-W)
2 - MAY: Mladenovic (Stuttgart-L,Madrid-L)
2 - JUL-AUG: Wozniacki (Bastad-L,Toronto-L)
2 - SEP: Babos (Quebec-L,Tashkent-L)
2 - SEP-OCT: Garcia (Wuhan-W,Beijing-W)
2 - OCT-NOV: GOERGES (Moscow-W,Elite-W)

**2017 ITF TITLES**
6 - Mihaela Buzarnescu, ROU
6 - Despina Papmichail, GRE
5 - Polina Monova, RUS
5 - Maria-Teresa Torro-Flor, ESP

2008 Anna-Lena Groenefeld, GER
2009 Barbora Zahlavova-Strycova, CZE
2010 Mathilde Johansson, FRA
2011 Casey Dellacqua, AUS
2012 Maria-Teresa Torro-Flor, ESP
2013 Reka-Luca Jani, HUN
2014 Denisa Allertova, CZE
2015 Dasha Kasatkina, RUS
2016 Isabella Shinikova, BUL
2017 Mihaela Buzarnescu, ROU

2004 Anastasia Myskina, RUS
2005 Mary Pierce, FRA
2006 Maria Sharapova, RUS
2007 Justine Henin, BEL
2008 Jelena Jankovic, SRB
2009 Amelie Mauresmo, FRA
2010 Ana Ivanovic, SRB
2011 Petra Kvitova, CZE
2012 Angelique Kerber, GER
2013 Serena Williams, USA
2014 Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, RUS
2015 Aga Radwanska, POL
2016 Dominika Cibulkova, SVK
2017 Julia Goerges, GER

-27...Steffi Graf, 1997 (#27) (knee injury)
-24...Lindsay Davenport, 2006 (#25) (back injury)
-20...ANGELIQUE KERBER, 2017 (#21)
-11...Lindsay Davenport, 2002 (#12) (multiple injuries)
-9...Caroline Wozniacki,2012 (#10)
-7...Monica Seles, 1993 (#8) (stabbing)
-7...Justine Henin, 2004 (#8)
-7...Jelena Jankovic, 2009 (#8)
NR....Justine Henin, 2008 (retired)

**U.S. TOP 10 PLAYERS - by Top 10 debut**
1975 Chris Evert
1975 Martina Navratilova (as Czech, later USA)
1975 Billie Jean King (also year-end #1 pre-computer)
1975 Nancy Richey
1976 Rosie Casals
1977 Kathy May
1977 Kristien Shaw
1978 Tracy Austin
1980 Kathy Jordan
1980 Andrea Jaeger
1980 Pam Shriver
1981 Barbora Potter
1983 Zina Garrison
1984 Bonnie Gadusek
1984 Kathy Horvath
1984 Lisa Bonder
1986 Kathy Rinaldi
1988 Lori McNeil
1989 Stephanie Rehe
1989 Mary Joe Fernandez
1989 Monica Seles (as Yugoslav, later USA)
1990 Jennifer Capriati
1994 Lindsay Davenport
1996 Chanda Rubin
1998 Venus Williams
1999 Serena Williams
2016 Madison Keys
2017 CoCo Vandeweghe
[recent WTA Top 10 debuts]
2014 [3] Halep,Cibulkova,Bouchard
2015 [6] Makarova,Suarez-N.,Safarova,Muguruza,Ka.Pliskova,Bacsinszky
2016 [4] Bencic,Vinci,Keys,Konta
2017 [5] Svitolina,Ostapenko,Garcia,Mladenovic,Vandeweghe

19 - Navratilova
15 - S.Williams*
14 - Evert,V.WILLIAMS*
13 - Graf,Seles
11 - Sanchez Vicario
10 - Davenport,Sabatini,Sharapova*
9 - M.Maleeva-Fragniere,C.Martinez
8 - Capriati,Hingis,A.Radwanska*,Shriver
7 - Dementieva,Garrison,Henin,Mauresmo,Novotna,Pierce,
6 - Clijsters,MJ.Fernandez,Kuznetsova*,Mandlikova,Sukova

2007 Madison Brengle
2008 Madison Brengle
2009 Christina McHale
2010 CoCo Vandeweghe
2011 Lauren Davis
2012 Madison Keys
2013 Madison Keys
2014 Sachia Vickery
2015 Irina Falconi
2016 Samantha Crawford
2017 Kayla Day
2018 ?
NOTE: Playoff Tournament 2007-14; combined multi-event results 2015-present

1963 United States def. Australia 2-1
1964 Australia def. United States 2-1
1965 Australia def. United States 2-1
1966 United States def. West Germany 3-0
1967 United States def. Great Britain 2-0
1968 Australia def. Netherlands 3-0
1969 United States def. Australia 2-1
1970 Australia def. West Germany 3-0
1971 Australia def. Great Britain 3-0
1972 South Africa def. Great Britain 2-1
1973 Australia def. South Africa 3-0
1974 Australia def. United States 2-1
1975 Czechoslovakia def. Australia 3-0
1976 United States def. Australia 2-1
1977 United States def. Australia 2-1
1978 United States def. Australia 2-1
1979 United States def. Australia 3-0
1980 United States def. Australia 3-0
1981 United States def. Great Britain 3-0
1982 United States def. West Germany 3-0
1983 Czechoslovakia def. West Germany 2-1
1984 Czechoslovakia def. Australia 2-1
1985 Czechoslovakia def. United States 2-1
1986 United States def. Czechoslovakia 3-0
1987 West Germany def. United States 2-1
1988 Czechoslovakia def. USSR 2-1
1989 United States def. Spain 3-0
1990 United States def. USSR 2-1
1991 Spain def. United States 2-1
1992 Germany def. Spain 2-1
1993 Spain def. Australia 3-0
1994 Spain def. United States 3-0
1995 Spain def. United States 3-2
1996 United States def. Spain 5-0
1997 France def. Netherlands 4-1
1998 Spain def. Switzerland 3-2
1999 United States def. Russia 4-1
2000 United States def. Spain 5-0
2001 Belgium def. Russia 2-1
2002 Slovak Republic def. Spain 3-1
2003 France def. United States 4-1
2004 Russia def. France 3-2
2005 Russia def. France 3-2
2006 Italy def. Belgium 3-2
2007 Russia def. Italy 4-0
2008 Russia def. Spain 4-0
2009 Italy def. United States 4-0
2010 Italy def. United States 3-1
2011 Czech Republic def. Russia 3-2
2012 Czech Republic def. Serbia 3-1
2013 Italy def. Russia 4-0
2014 Czech Republic def. Germany 3-1
2015 Czech Republic def. Russia 3-2
2016 Czech Republic def. France 3-2
2017 United States vs. Belarus

17 - United States
7 - Australia
7 - Czech Republic
5 - Czechoslovakia
5 - Spain
4 - Italy
4 - Russia
2 - France
2 - West Germany/Germany

2005 Elena Dementieva, RUS
2006 Francesca Schiavone, ITA
2007 Svetlana Kuznetsova, RUS
2008 Svetlana Kuznetsova, RUS
2009 Flavia Pennetta, ITA
2010 Flavia Pennetta, ITA
2011 Petra Kvitova, CZE
2012 Petra Kvitova, CZE
2013 Roberta Vinci, ITA
2014 Petra Kvitova, CZE
2015 Karolina Pliskova, CZE
2016 Caroline Garcia, FRA*
2017 Nominees: C.Vandeweghe/USA, A.Sasnovich/BLR
*-non-championship team

2002 (9) Serena Williams, Venus Williams
2003 (10) Kim Clijsters
2004 (7) Lindsay Davenport, Amelie Mauresmo
2005 (9) Kim Clijsters
2006 (7) Justine Henin-Hardenne
2007 (10) Justine Henin
2008 (4) Jelena Jankovic, Dinara Safina, Serena Williams
2009 (3) Svetlana Kuznetsova, Dinara Safina, Serena Williams
2010 (5) Kim Clijsters, Caroline Wozniacki
2011 (6) Petra Kvitova
2012 (7) Serena Williams
2013 (11) Serena Williams
2014 (7) Serena Williams
2015 (5) Serena Williams
2016 (3) Victoria Azarenka, Dominika Cibulkova, Angelique Kerber
2017 (3) Karolina Pliskova, Elina Svitolina


Hello dear friends and haters!:) The second #Friday, I’m spending in Barcelona. Does someone like this city more than me? I guess no. Today #LifeWithDasha moves to the new level of informative blog??I prepared 5 things, what you MUST do in Barcelona. #DashaChart is based on personal experience and no humans were harmed in making this tour. 1. Go to the Barça match and enjoy the atmosphere 2. Go through the Rambla from beginning to end. 3. Go to the Tibidabo and enjoy the view of the entire Barcelona. 4. Walking all evening through the Gothic Quarter and visiting the most interesting cafes and shops. 5. Visit Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Família. Aaaaaaaand bonus: 6. Port Aventura guys... you have to visit this place! Now you know, what to do in Barcelona and how I spent my little free time:) #Share your experience in this wonderful city, as I have couple more days to do some crazy things here! Keep calm and love Barcelona!

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I have been thinking a lot about how to explain my feelings on my 2017 season. Sometimes words can't describe enough what we hold in our hearts. This season was all about love and emotion. It's tough to write for you how much I appreciated your support, the depth of love from my family, friends and team. When I needed you all the most, you were there. Without you and the special people around me, I can't be where I am. I am grateful to have a second chance to play tennis again, to compete with the best in the world and to do what I love. Thank you for believing in me! 2017 was very very special and will always stay in my heart. And you know what I learned guys? If you have courage, belief, p??jd and the right people in your life, anything is possible Dlouho jsem premyslela, jak bych popsala sezonu 2017. Nekdy slova nestaci k tomu, co clovek citi a ma v srdci. Skryvala v sobe hodne lasky a emoci. Je tezke napsat, jak velmi si vazim Vasi podpory, kolik lasky citim od rodiny, pratel a tymu. Kdyz jsem Vas potrebovala, byli jste tady. Bez Vas a uzasnych lidi kolem sebe bych nebyla ted tam, kde jsem. Vazim si, ze mam druhou sanci hrat opet tenis, bojovat s nejlepsimi a delat to, co miluju. Dekuju, ze jste mi verili! Rok 2017 byl pro me velmi specialni a navzdy mi zustane v srdci. A vite, co jsem se naucila? Ze kdyz mame odvahu, viru, p?jd a spravne lidi v nasem zivote, vse je mozne

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Officially in vacation mode ??

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And Mugu monkey business... (psst, you need good reflexes to become #1 and win a slam)

Que mono.... cute till... ????????

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16 Final: Czech Republic d. France
USA ROSTER: Vandeweghe,Stephens,Rogers,Riske (C: Rinaldi)
BLR ROSTER: Sasnovich,Sabalenka,Lapko,Marozava (C: Dubrou)

...without Vika (custody issues), the Belarus team will go to battle with the team that created this unexpected FC opportunity. They've surprised all along (w/ Sasnovich leading the way, and Sabalenka revving her engine and waiting for her big day to shine), have the home field advantage, and have collectively been playing well down the stretch. With Stephens a huge question mark, once again Vandeweghe will be called upon to lead. She's been the U.S. MVP throughout, and finally rediscovered her form in Zhuhai. She might have to go 2-0 in singles (again), and there's no Mattek-Sands around to act as a doubles specialist "safety valve." One might wonder if a Spears might have been an option in that role, but with the Stephens question mark, at least Captain Rinaldi will have the option of turning to one of *two* singles players on Day 2 if the title is on the U.S. team's racket. One suspects it might come down the doubles, though, with (probably) Riske/Vandeweghe being called upon to save the day.

15 Singles Final: Shvedova d. N.Osaka (not held 2016)
15 Doubles Final: Liang Chen/Wang Yafan d. Varat.Wongteanchai/Zhaoxuan Yang
17 Top Seeds: Q.Wang/Rodina

LIMOGES, FRANCE (WTA 125/Hard Indoor)
16 Singles Final: Alexandrova d. Garcia
16 Doubles Final: A.Smith/Voracova d. Mertens/Minella
17 Top Seeds: Cornet/Alexandrova

All for now.


Blogger colt13 said...

The facepalm pic is back!

Kvitova cleans up well.

Even though Zhuhai doesn't seem to be promoted well, it does serve a good purpose. Just as Garcia and Svitolina used it as a springboard to this year's YEC, all 4 SF seemingly have a chance. All 4 reached a career high, and Vandeweghe, possibly Barty seem ready to make the jump, Goerges' points total is backloaded so much that she should enter the Top 10 between AO and French, and Sevastova's Niculescu plus game is working on all surfaces.

I agree with you on Fed Cup. History has a cruel way of repeating itself, as Azarenka, the best player in Belarus' history, is unavailable. Similar to 1968, when Betty Stove missed the Netherlands run.

Coaching will be important on both sides. As the format goes 1v2, 2v1, then starts 1v1 + 2v2, DvD if needed, both teams have issues. The fact that the US doesn't have a Mattek-Sands, Huber type on the roster means that if healthy, Stephens is the best doubles player. But not in form, so Vandeweghe might have to play 3 times. So the US needs to avoid doubles, then figure out when to play Riske. She has the talent to beat Sabalenka, but can she close on the road?

Belarus has a similar issue. Sabalenka is a high effort, high emotion player. Thought being, that if she plays Vandeweghe, she could win, but won't have anything left. So they have to set it up to have her play Vandeweghe on day 2. Because if they do it in reverse, and they need to pull her, Marozova isn't a singles option at this point.

Even though I would pick Belarus today, though if McHale comes on for Stephens I might switch, this is where I have to mention the obligatory no team has ever won Fed Cup without having a player ranked in the current Top 20.

Stat of the Week-4- The amount of players in the Top 10 in 2016 that repeated in 2017.

Halep, Muguruza, Pliskova, Konta, take a bow. Since the second year of the computer rankings-1976, this is tied for the second lowest total in history. 2011 was similar, but the lowest? 2007 when only 3 stayed. Henin, Sharapova and Kuznetsova stayed, while Mauresmo, Clijsters, Petrova, Hingis, Dementieva, Schnyder and Vaidisova were replaced by Jankovic, Ivanovic, Chakvetazde, S.Williams, V.Williams, Hantuchova, and Bartoli.

Well, you are probably wondering if there have been years when all 10 repeated. Surprisingly, not only has it happened, but it happened twice, in 1982 and 1992.

A couple of other seasons came close. 2013 had 9, as did 1993, but the quirk there is that even though this was the year Seles was stabbed, she stayed in the Top 10, while Maleeva-Fragniere fell all the way from 9 to 11. Almost a swap as Huber went from 11 to 10. The only other year that had 9 was 1979, the same year that Wimbledon's 8 seeds held up all the way through the final.

Quiz Time!
1.The US last won Fed Cup in 2000. True or False-Every member of that team is in the Hall of Fame?

2.True or False? Every member of that team was ranked #1 at one point in their career?

1.False-However you probably guessed right for the right reason, but the wrong person. Confused? Let me clear that up. Lindsay Davenport-inducted 2014, Monica Seles-2009, Jennifer Capriati-2012 are in. So who is the 4th? It is not the still active Venus, or the still active Serena. But it does involve somebody who isn't eligible yet. Lisa Raymond. With 79 doubles titles, plus 4 in singles, she will be a lock to get in, but is not eligible until 2020. Her early prize is that she is already in the Women's Collegiate Tennis Hall of Fame.

2.True, as it was a trick question. I did not say that they had to be #1 in singles, so even though Raymond only got to 15 there, she was #1 in doubles.

Mon Nov 06, 10:29:00 AM EST  
Blogger Todd.Spiker said...

Yeah, I figured it was due (or maybe past due). ;)

Oh, and I didn't mention that Simon would like to see the WTAF end the season starting in 2019, swapping dates with the Elite Trophy. Should never have been flipped the other way a few years ago, anyway. Made no sense then, or now.

Of course, the tour used to hand out the season awards in March of the following year (idiotic), and now are doing it before the final big event of the season (not idiotic, but PoY could be held off until the post-WTAF final trophy ceremony). I'm still not 100% sure who "Ms.Backspin" is for 2017, and will have to see what happens in FC to get the final rankings.

Yeah, if CoCo loses to Sabalenka, say, the U.S. could be in big trouble.

I tend to think Vandeweghe will rise to the occasion again, and I'd pick the U.S., maybe 3-2. 3-1 if CoCo def. Sabalenka. (Of course, since I listed it it will probably go the other way -- I picked Goerges last week but didn't include it in the post because the groups hadn't been announced yet, so I didn't jinx that one... but now it's something of a tree-falling-in-the-woods sort of moment.).

1. Well, I sort of had to say False there because I figured a Williams was on that '00 team, and tennis hasn't yet instituted the LPGA rule where a player is automatically made a Hall of Famer once they've met certain criteria as an active player (it'd be an interesting thing to do, though, no?). So, as predicted, correct but for the wrong reason. ;)
2. Hmmm, I thought this might be a trick question. I assumed the fourth member was a doubles player, which would mean they'd like not been #1 in singles. But I thought possibly it was a *trick* trick question, and the "doubles" player (maybe Davenport, coming off an injury or something) maybe HAD been #1 in singles. So I just decided to not buzz in on that one and keep my money total as it is, Alex Trebek. :)

Mon Nov 06, 01:25:00 PM EST  
Blogger colt13 said...

Ms. Backspin should be Wozniacki. In a year where you could take the Top 6 women and roll the dice, and not be wrong, Wozniacki's YEC title gives her the edge.

Pliskova was the star of the early season, Halep the spring, Muguruza the summer, and Garcia the fall. Yet, only one of those won a slam. The season went through Venus, who I put 2nd. But picked Wozniacki because of the consistency in the fact that she reached 8 finals, spread out through the season, and 8 in 23 events isn't Serena, but is elite.

Shows how much happened this year that Svitolina won 5 titles, including a big one like Toronto, won 50 matches, and isn't in my top 5.

Tue Nov 07, 07:11:00 AM EST  
Blogger Diane said...

That’s a rather good choice for Ms. Backspin, though not mine (like Todd is seeking our opinions!). Mine would be Hingis.

Tue Nov 07, 09:56:00 PM EST  
Blogger Todd.Spiker said...

I think I know who it's going to be, but I'm going to wait until the "polls" close this weekend. It doesn't feel like a Fed-Cup-Team-as-Co-Ms.Backspin year, but the champions are going to rank pretty high.

I don't think I can remember a season when there were so many for which legitimate cases can be made.

Tue Nov 07, 11:41:00 PM EST  
Blogger Leif Mortensen said...

Woz as Ms Backspin my choice too. If the rankings were made as on the ATP tour she would be #1 - not that she's far away. Don't tell me I'm superstitious but it helps. Carolines ring is 8.88 carat - of course that's her lucky number ;)

Wed Nov 08, 03:09:00 PM EST  
Blogger Todd.Spiker said...

Ha! Good detail. :)

Wed Nov 08, 07:29:00 PM EST  

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