Wednesday, January 24, 2018

AO.10 - Undefeated, Untied and Ready to Rumble

We're down to four... and guess who's still standing.

Well, it's Wednesday, so it was time for the top half of the women's draw to once again rear its collective head. While the bottom half has been shedding top seeds (well, all those not named Caroline, at least) like a good Tennys story gone bad, the rest of the draw has seen fit for some of the most noteworthy contenders to actually survive until today's quarterfinals. Though the bottom half's final four included just one player who'd reached #1, played in a slam semi and advanced to a major final, and no former champions, the top's foursome included the current #1, two former #1's and, in all, four players who've combined to reach seven slam finals and claim two major titles.

But while the opposing sides of the draw have evolved in very different ways, one trend *has* been nearly universal at this AO -- the oddly high number of multiple occasions in which contests of little drama have been born out of matches in which "big name" players have faced off, while the most dramatic and thrilling battles have come when the opposing players have separated by quite a few rankings points, not to mention a rather significant "reputation gap."

Even with such a seemingly loaded group of quarterfinalists on the schedule, Day 10 was unable to break free of this pattern.

Today's opening QF pitted 2016 Australian Open champ Angelique Kerber versus 2017 U.S. Open finalist Madison Keys. The German had a 6-1 head-to-head advantage over her U.S. counterpart, but they'd proven capable of producing a great match. Namely the 2015 Charleston final, in which Keys led 4-1 in the 3rd set only to falter down the stretch. At the end of that hard-fought battle, both players had a difficult time getting to their feet. Today, though, we got nothing like that in Melbourne.

Kerber came into Wednesday sporting an undefeated record in '18, while Keys hadn't lost a set at this AO and led the field in 1st Serve win percentage. We saw yet again the Kerber who has rebounded with remarkable verve from her disappointing '17 campaign, but the Keys who'd been present in the first nine days of this slam was nowhere to be found. From the outset, she just wasn't comfortable. Part of that was due to Kerber herself (probably giddy at having some power to play with on the other side of the net, washing clean any lingering memory of Hsieh Su-wei) preventing the Bannerette's top level game from emerging, as occurred when she ran over Maria Sharapova in the 3rd Round. But it was also because Keys had no answer to the German's onslaught, and only made things worse with her own mistakes.

Slow right out of the gate, Keys fell behind on serve love/40 in the very first game. She got things back to deuce, but was broken on Kerber's fourth break point. The German saved two break points a game later and held for 2-0, and it was never *really* close again. Kerber got another break from 30/love down in game #3, and held at love with an ace for 4-0. Keys managed to get on the board, but Kerber reached double set point with a backhand passing shot, then took the 1st set at 6-1 on a forehand error from Keys. Over in a speedy twenty-two minutes, it was the first set Keys lost all tournament, and she'd littered the scorecard to an awful degree: winning just 41% of 1st serves, going 0-for-2 on BP chances, 0-for-5 at the net, firing eleven unforced errors in 42 points, and barely winning half (15 to 27) the total points that Kerber collected through the first seven games.

The 2nd set was only better for Keys because its running time went seven minutes beyond the previous one, though maybe that made it *worse* since she had to suffer just a little bit longer. Kerber broke serve for a 2-0 lead as Keys' error total grew. At 3-0, the German lobbed over her to earn the first point of game #4 because, hey -- why not? -- she hadn't done *that* yet. Keys held for 3-1 and finally broke the German a game later, but then missed a swing volley long and found herself down BP again in game #6. Kerber converted to lead 4-2, then held for 5-2 with a beautiful overhead winner fired from the corner in the AD side of the court. Another lob over Keys got Kerber to love/40 up in the next game, and Keys' netted forehand finally put her out of her misery, 6-1/6-2.

The match clock was still nine minutes away from hitting the one-hour mark.

With the win, Kerber re-enters the Top 10 and runs her official 2018 winning streak to ten matches (or 14, if you so choose). Not only that, but she's two wins away from a third major title.

It seems almost trite and simplistic to just say of Angie, "She's back." With all her collective experiences good and bad, mixed together into a new recipe, one is tempted to instead say, "She's back, and better than she was before."

By the time #1 Simona Halep, a two-time Roland Garros finalist, was ready to go up against former #1 and '16 U.S. Open runner-up Karolina Pliskova, everyone had once again tricked themselves into thinking that *this* big-name match-up actually *would* live up to its advanced billing.

Umm, no.

Unlike Keys, at least Pliskova actually got off to a good start in the contest. Despite being on the wrong end of a 5-1 head-to-head record with Halep, the Czech was taking it to the Romanian in the opening games. Hitting out and dictating points, she secured a hold in a long first game, then broke Halep and consolidated the lead with another hold for 3-0. In the fourth game of the set, though, Halep did what she's done this entire tournament -- find a way through some struggles and come out on the other end with her chin up, and far better off in head and heart than she'd been before the start of any problems she might have encountered. She twice double-faulted on GP, but finally found her groove within the game, pushing Pliskova to the edges of the court with angled groundstrokes, then taking advantage of the Czech's lack of agility by stepping in and directing a shot either behind her or into the now-open area of the court. Halep held for 3-1 on GP #4, and quickly began to seize full control of the match.

Reaching 15/40 on Pliskova's serve, Halep broke for 3-2. In game #7, on break point, she directed a running backhand down the line, off the tape, and on the line near the corner as Pliskova could only watch in horror. In the first point of the next game, it was the Czech who saw a shot bounce off the net cord... only Halep scrambled to get to it and put away a winner. The Romanian held for 5-3, went up love/40 on Pliskova's serve in next game, then saw the Czech double-fault on SP and hand Halep a sixth consecutive game, as well as a 6-3 set.

As the 2nd set began, Pliskova, again unlike Keys in the previous match (and Elina Svitolina yesterday, for that matter), at least *tried* to change things up. The Czech attempted, mostly to no avail, to move toward the net, and even hit a drop shot. Ultimately, none of it mattered, but give her points for trying *something*. Halep still held for a 1-0 lead, then went up a break a game later. Her winning streak hit nine games before Pliskova erased the "0" next to her name on the scoreboard. This was peak Halep: confident, error-free, not contemplating her navel while just playing good defense and taking her opportunities to move forward with aggression to end rallies. It all turned out to look pretty routine, which is just what Halep was seeking after having injury (rolled ankle in the 1st Round) and death-defying Cliffs of Simona drama (down triple MP in the 3rd Rd.) taking up most of her time in Melbourne through the opening rounds.

With Pliskova serving to stay in the match at 5-2 down, a forehand error handed Halep a MP. Seconds later, the Romanian was celebrating a 6-3/6-2 win and her maiden AO semifinal berth (though, as she noted in her post-match interview, she *did* reach the semis as a junior in 2008 -- and that counts in *her* book).

Thus, we'll now have a semifinal match-up of players who are a combined 20-0 (or 24-0) in 2018. Surely, *this* one will buck the trend and produce something as great as the names on the scoreboard, right? Uh, right?

Hmmm. Well, at least we're now assured of *either* Simona or Angie in the final of this tournament, and that'll make up for whatever happens tomorrow, which unfortunately will include having to watch one of them lose and come up just short of getting the chance to play for a title after all their effort.

=DAY 10 NOTES= women's doubles, the final has been set.

Timea Babos & Kristina Mladenovic defeated Hsieh Su-wei & Peng Shuai in a 6-4/6-2 semi. It's the second slam final for the duo, having reached the Wimbledon championship match in 2014 (they fell to the Career Doubles Slam-achieving duo of Errani/Vinci...which is noteworthy considering who they'll be playing in the final THIS time). Mladenovic's other slam WD finals came with Caroline Garcia in 2016 (winning RG, losing the U.S. Open), while she's 2-2 in mixed slam finals. Babos is a combined 0-3 in slam finals, with all of them coming at SW19 ('14 WD w/ Kiki, '15 MX w/ Peya, and '16 WD w/ Shvedova).

Babos/Mladenovic will face off with Ekaterina Makarova & Elena Vesnina, who handled the Romanian duo of Irina-Camelia Begu & Monica Niculescu 6-4/6-3. The Russians will now get the chance to not only complete a Career Doubles Slam, but also become the first duo ever to claim all four majors, the WTA Finals and Olympic Gold.

Martina Navratilova/Pam Shriver
Gigi Fernandez/Natasha Zvereva
Serena Williams/Venus Williams
Margaret Court/Judy Tegart Dalton
Kathy Jordan/Anne Smith
Sara Errani/Roberta Vinci
[4 slams+Olympic Gold]
Serena Williams/Venus Williams
[4 slams+Olympic Gold+WTAF]
none the juniors, the growing influence of Asian tennis is showing in the girls singles. Of the eight quarterfinalists, four hail from nations in the Asia/Pacific region, including the #1 (Wang Xinyu/CHN) and #2 (Liang En-shuo/TPE) seeds. Both will play other girls from Asia in the QF, as Wang Xinyu will face #5 Naho Sato (Japan), while Liang will get #9 Wang Xiyu (CHN).

The chances for a fourth straight Bannerette slam champion now rest solely on the broad shoulders of six-foot-two 17-year old Dalayna Hewitt. The big-hitting Hewitt defeated the final Aussie left in the draw, wild card Amber Marshall, but saw fellow U.S. players #12 Elysia Bolton (lost to Clara Burel/FRA) and #7 Alexa Noel (lost to #9 Wang) fail to advance on Day 10.

...the wheelchair competition has begun in Melbourne, and the opening round produced no surprises as #1 Yui Kamiji and #2 Diede de Groot remain on course for a possible second straight slam final match-up. Newport Beach, Anna Karolina Schmiedlova has posted a 1st Round victory over Francesca Schiavone in the WTA 125 Series being held there this week. She'll next face Nicole Gibbs. Yep... Schmiedy vs. Gibbsy.

...LIKE ON DAY 10: In Rinaldi We Trust: Year 2

...IN CASE YOU WERE WONDERING... ON DAY 10: The last time the women's #1 and #2 ranked players met to decide a slam title was 2015, when #1 Serena Williams defeated #2 Maria Sharapova in the Australian Open final.

...LIKE ON DAY 10:

...LIKE ON DAY 10: And the winner in the men's alt.-QF...

As it's turned out, all the men's tour needed was the NEXT NextGen to finally come of age to finally get some new, future-is-bright blood in the final stages of a major. Chung's even got a signature look with the glasses. After so many years of the men's tour, aside from the guys at the very top (and the occasion Delpo run), being so freakin' boring, a result like this is a *must* for the future with those aforementioned top players all either nearing their natural end, out with an injury or coming back from one. Hopefully, Chung is here to stay, and his run will be joined soon by similar results from the likes Shapovalov and, eventually, Zverev.

..."Well..." ON DAY 10: At least Keys' lack of a "Plan B" vs. Kerber wasn't followed up by the post-match announcement of an injury. So there's that.

...and, finally... while the U.S. Open has "New York Groove," the Australian Open has it's calling bush birds, Vegemite and, yes, "Waltzing Matilda."

Since having it ring around inside my skull for weeks while watching CBC's "Matilda"-heavy Canadian coverage of the Sydney Olympics back in 2000, it has always been a personal favorite, as well as a once-in-a-while bane of my existence. Depending on the proximity of the "initiating" incident of the hearing of the song which sets off the entire process that doesn't end until the lyrics finally exit the main room of my mind after a few days.

Once again, here it is. The animated video with on-screen lyrics helps tell the story (a sheep-stealing Aussie commits suicide rather than be taken by the law?)...

while the Slim Dusty performances always remind me of my first exposure to the song all those years ago.

Sigh. And now my hankering begins once again for a tucker bag. Until it ends. And then comes back again next January. Darn that jolly swagman.

#1 Simona Halep/ROU vs. #21 Angelique Kerber/GER
Elise Mertens/BEL vs. #2 Caroline Wozniacki/DEN

#5 Babos/Mladenovic (HUN/FRA) vs. #2 Makarova/Vesnina (RUS/RUS)

(WC) Sanders/Polmans (AUS/AUS) vs. Martinez-Sanchez/Demoliner (ESP/BRA)
Spears/Cabal (USA/COL) vs. #5 Babos/Bopanna (HUN/IND)
#6 Sestini-Hlavackova/Roger-Vasselin (CZE/FRA) vs. #3 Makarova/Soares (RUS/BRA)
#8 Dabrowski/Pavic (CAN/CRO) vs. Larsson/Middlekoop (SWE/NED)

#1 Wang Xinyu/CHN vs. #5 Naho Sato/JPN
Dalayna Hewitt/USA vs. Clara Burel/FRA
Elisabetta Cocciaretto/ITA vs. #13 Daniela Vismane/LAT
#9 Wang Xiyu/CHN vs. #2 Liang En-shuo/TPE

#1 Liang En-shuo/Wang Xinyu (TPE/CHN) vs. #3 Naito/Sato (JPN/JPN)
#7 V.Apisah/Sun (PNG/SUI) vs. #2 Wang Xiyu/Walters (CHN/SUI)

#1 Yui Kamiji/JPN def. Marjolein Buis/NED
Sabine Ellerbrock/GER def. Lucy Shuker/GBR
Aniek van Koot/NED def. Kgothatso Montjane/RSA
#2 Diede de Groot/NED def. (WC) Katharina Kruger/GER

#1 Buis/Yamiji (NED/JPN) vs. Montjane/Shuker (RSA/GBR)
Ellerbrock/Kruger (GER/GER) vs. #2 de Groot/van Koot (NED/NED)

*CAREER SLAM SF - active*
34 - Serena Williams (29-5)
23 - Venus Williams (16-7)
20 - Maria Sharapova (10-10)
7 - Victoria Azarenka (4-3)
6 - Jelena Jankovic (1-5)
5 - Svetlana Kuznetsova (4-1)
5 - SIMONA HALEP (2-2)
5 - Petra Kvitova (2-3)
5 - Samantha Stosur (2-3)
5 - Aga Radwanska (1-4)
4 - Vera Zvonareva (2-2)
3 - Garbine Muguruza (3-0)
3 - Marion Bartoli (2-1)
3 - Gene Bouchard (1-2)
3 - Sara Errani (1-2)
2 - Francesca Schiavone (2-0)
2 - Dominika Cibulkova (1-1)
2 - Madison Keys (1-1)
2 - Sabine Lisicki (1-1)
2 - Karolina Pliskova (1-1)
2 - Lucie Safarova (1-1)
2 - Sloane Stephens (1-1)
2 - Timea Bacsinszky (0-2)
2 - Johanna Konta (0-2)
2 - Mirjana Lucic-Baroni (0-2)
2 - Ekaterina Makarova (0-2)
2 - CoCo Vandeweghe (0-2)
2 - (Zheng Jie 0-2)
Alona Ostapenko
Kiki Bertens, Kirsten Flipkens, Peng Shuai, Andrea Petkovic, Tsvetana Pironkova, Magdalena Rybarikova, Patty Schnyder, Elena Vesnina, Roberta Vinci, Yanina Wickmayer

*SLAM SF - since 2010*
17 - Serena Williams (15-2)
10 - Maria Sharapova (6-4)
7 - Victoria Azarenka (4-3)
6 - Li Na (retired) (4-2)
5 - SIMONA HALEP (2-2)
5 - Venus Williams (2-3)
5 - Petra Kvitova (2-3)
5 - Aga Radwanska (1-4)
4 - Samantha Stosur (2-2)
3 - Garbine Muguruza (3-0)
3 - Kim Clijsters (retired) (2-1)
3 - Vera Zvonareva (2-1)
3 - Genie Bouchard (1-2)
3 - Sara Errani (1-2)
2 - Francesca Schiavone (2-0)
2 - Marion Bartoli (1-1)
2 - Sabine Lisicki (1-1)
2 - Flavia Pennetta (retired) (1-1)
2 - Karolina Pliskova (1-1)
2 - Madison Keys (1-1)
2 - Lucie Safarova (1-1)
2 - Sloane Stephens (1-1)
2 - Timea Bacsinszky (0-2)
2 - Johanna Konta (0-2)
2 - Ekaterina Makarova (0-2)
2 - CoCo Vandeweghe (0-2)
Dominika Cibulkova, Justine Henin (retired), Alona Ostapenko
Kiki Bertens, Elena Dementieva (retired), Kirsten Flipkens, Ana Ivanovic (retired), Jelena Jankovic, Mirjana Lucic-Baroni, Peng Shuai, Andrea Petkovic, Tsvetana Pironkova, Magdalena Rybarikova, Elena Vesnina, Roberta Vinci, (Zheng Jie)

**WTA "CAREER SF SLAM" - active**
[with slam at which completed]
Victoria Azarenka - 2013 RG (30th)
Simona Halep - 2018 AO (31st)
Maria Sharapova - 2007 RG (18th)
Serena Williams - 2003 AO (18th)
Venus Williams - 2001 AO (15th)
Vera Zvonareva - 2010 US (31st)

Unseeded - 2000 Jennifer Capriati, USA
Unseeded - 2007 Serena Williams, USA (W)
Unseeded - 2010 Zheng Jie, CHN
Unseeded - 2015 Madison Keys, USA
Unseeded - 2016 Johanna Konta, GBR
Unseeded - 2017 Mirjana Lucic-Baroni, CRO
Unseeded - 2017 CoCo Vandeweghe, USA
Unseeded - 2018 Elise Mertens, BEL
Wild Card - 2010 Justine Henin, BEL (RU)
#32 - 2004 Fabiola Zuluaga, COL
#30 - 2014 Genie Bouchard, CAN
#29 - 2013 Sloane Stephens, USA
#22 - 2004 Patty Schnyder, SUI
#21 - 2018 Angelique Kerber, GER
#20 - 2014 Dominika Cibulkova, SVK (RU)
#19 - 2005 Nathalie Dechy, FRA
#16 - 2010 Li Na, CHN
#13 - 2017 Venus Williams, USA
#12 - 2001 Jennifer Capriati, USA (W)
#11 - 2012 Kim Clijsters, BEL
#10 - 2000 Conchita Martinez, ESP
#10 - 2007 Nicole Vaidisova, CZE
#10 - 2015 Ekaterina Makarova, RUS

*2015-18 WTA SF*
24 - SIMONA HALEP, ROU [9/6/7/2]
24 - ANGELQUE KERBER, GER [8/11/3/2]
23 - Karolina Pliskova, CZE [8/6/8/1]
20 - Elina Svitolina, UKR [6/7/6/1]
19 - Aga Radwanska, POL [8/9/2/0]
16 - Serena Williams, USA [9/6/1/0]
15 - Garbine Muguruza, ESP [5/3/7/0]

2007 Serena Williams, USA
2008 Zi Yan & Zheng Jie, CHN
2009 Jelena Dokic, AUS
2010 Justine Henin, BEL
2011 Agnieszka Radwanska, POL
2012 Maria Sharapova, RUS
2013 Svetlana Kuznetsova, RUS
2014 Ana Ivanovic, SRB
2015 Victoria Azarenka, BLR
2016 Andrea Hlavackova & Lucie Hradecka, CZE/CZE
2017 Mirjana Lucic-Baroni, CRO
2018 Angelique Kerber, GER

2010 Jana Cepelova / Chantal Skamlova, SVK/SVK
2011 An-Sophie Mestach / Demi Schuurs, BEL/NED
2012 Gabby Andrews / Taylor Townsend, USA/USA
2013 Ana Konjuh / Carol Zhao, CRO/CAN
2014 Anhelina Kalinina / Elizaveta Kulichkova, UKR/RUS
2015 Miriam Kolodziejova / Marketa Vondrousova, CZE/CZE
2016 Anna Kalinskaya / Tereza Mihalikova, RUS/SVK
2017 Bianca Andreescu / Carson Branstine, CAN/USA
2018 ?

2002 Esther Vergeer, NED
2003 Esther Vergeer, NED
2004 Esther Vergeer, NED
2005 Sharon Walraven, NED
2006 Esther Vergeer, NED
2007 Esther Vergeer, NED
2008 Esther Vergeer, NED
2009 Esther Vergeer, NED
2010 Korie Homan, NED
2011 Esther Vergeer, NED
2012 Esther Vergeer, NED
2013 Aniek van Koot, NED
2014 Sabine Ellerbrock, GER
2015 Jiske Griffioen, NED
2016 Jiske Griffioen, NED
2017 Yui Kamiji, JPN
2018 ?
2004 Maaike Smit/Esther Vergeer, NED/NED
2005 Florence Gravellier/Maaike Smit, FRA/NED
2006 Jiske Griffioen/Esther Vergeer, NED/NED
2007 Jiske Griffioen/Esther Vergeer, NED/NED
2008 Jiske Griffioen/Esther Vergeer, NED/NED
2009 Korie Homan/Esther Vergeer, NED/NED
2010 Florence Gravellier/Aniek van Koot, FRA/NED
2011 Esther Vergeer/Sharon Walraven, NED/NED
2012 Esther Vergeer/Sharon Walraven, NED/NED
2013 Jiske Griffioen/Aniek van Koot, NED/NED
2014 Yui Kamiji/Jordanne Whiley, JPN/GBR
2015 Yui Kamiji/Jordanne Whiley, JPN/GBR
2016 Marjolein Buis/Yui Kamiji, NED/JPN
2017 Jiske Griffioen/Aniek van Koot, NED/NED
2018 ?

25 - Esther Vergeer, NED [9-6-0-10]...[14+4]
5 - Yui Kamiji, JPN [1-2-0-2]...[1+0]*
4 - Jiske Griffioen, NED [2-1-1-0]...[3+1]
3 - Monique Kalkman, NED [0-0-0-3]...[2+1]
2 - Daniela Di Toro, AUS [0-0-0-2]...[0+0]
2 - Sabine Ellerbrock, GER [1-1-0-0]...[0+0]*
2 - Maaike Smit, NED [0-0-0-2]...[1+1]
2 - Chantal Vandierendonck, NED [0-0-0-2]...[1+0]
2 - Aniek van Koot, NED [1-0-0-1]...[1+0]*
1 - Diede de Groot, NED [0-0-1-0]...[1+0]*
1 - Jordanne Whiley, GBR [0-0-0-1]...[0+0]*
1 - Marjolein Buis, NED [0-1-0-0]...[0+0]*

21 - Esther Vergeer, NED [7-5-3-6]...[10+3]
14 - Jiske Griffioen, NED [5-3-2-4]...[7+1]
10 - Aniek van Koot, NED [3-3-2-2]...[3+1]*
11 - Yui Kamiji, JPN [3-3-4-1]...[2+0]*
9 - Jordanne Whiley, GBR [2-2-4-1]...[2+0]*
7 - Sharon Walraven, NED [2-1-2-2]...[2+1]
5 - Korie Homan, NED [1-1-1-2]...[1+1]
4 - Marjolein Buis, NED [1-2-0-1]...[1+1]*
3 - Maaike Smit, NED [2-1-0-0]...[4+2]
2 - Florence Gravellier, FRA [2-0-0-0]...[0+0]
1 - Diede de Groot, NED [0-0-0-1]...[2+0]*

TOP QUALIFIER: Marta Kostyuk/UKR (first player born in 2002 in slam MD)
TOP EARLY ROUND (1r-2r): #21 Angelique Kerber/GER
TOP MIDDLE-ROUND (3r-QF): #17 Madison Keys/USA
TOP QUALIFYING MATCH: Q1 - Caroline Dolehide/USA def. Conny Perrin/SUI 5-7/6-3/7-6(7) (trailed 5-0 and 6-2 in the deciding TB, saved 5 MP to record first career slam match win)
TOP EARLY RD. MATCH (1r-2r): 1st Rd. - Andrea Petkovic/GER def. Petra Kvitova/CZE 6-3/4-6/10-8 (Petko up 4-0 in 3rd, 3 MP saved by Kvitova; Kvitova for match at 6-5 and 8-7)
TOP MIDDLE-RD. MATCH (3r-QF): 3rd Rd. - #1 Simona Halep/ROU def. Lauren Davis/USA 4-6/6-4/15-13 (3:45; 3 MP saved from triple MP down; served out on fourth try in the 2:22 3rd set)
TOP LATE RD. MATCH (SF-F/Jr./Doub.): xx
FIRST VICTORY: Duan Yingying/CHN (def. Duque-Marino/COL)
FIRST SEED OUT: #13 Sloane Stephens/USA (1st Rd. - lost to Zhang Shuai; 0-8 since winning U.S. Open)
NATION OF POOR SOULS: USA (women lose first eight 1st Rd. matches, go 1-9 on Day 1, 3/4 of '17 U.S. Open all-Bannerette semifinalists ousted)
LAST QUALIFIER STANDING: Denisa Allertova/CZE (in 4th Rd.) (LL: Bernarda Pera/USA - 3rd Rd.)
LAST WILD CARD STANDING: Olivia Rogowska/AUS (2nd Rd.)
Ms. OPPORTUNITY: Nominees: Wozniacki, Halep, Babos/Mladenovic
IT (TBD): Nominee: Kostyuk ("Teen"), Hewitt ("Junior Bannerette"), de Groot ("WC")
CRASH & BURN: Sloane Stephens, CoCo Vandeweghe & Venus Williams, USA (3 of 4 '17 U.S. Open semifinalist lose on Day 1)
ZOMBIE QUEEN: Caroline Wozniacki/DEN (2nd Rd. - Fett/CRO served up 5-1, 40/15 in 3rd set; 2 MP saved)
LADY OF THE EVENING: Elise Mertens/BEL (def. Gavrilova in 2nd Rd. in AO nighttime debut)
JUNIOR BREAKOUT: Nominee: Hewitt

All for Day 10. More tomorrow.


Blogger colt13 said...

Hmmm, 3 2018 title winners and a finalist.

Halep-Saved MP
Wozniacki-Saved MP
Kerber-Served to stay in match vs Hsieh
Mertens-Saved 4 SP at 0-5 vs Gavrilova, 8 in set.

Stat of the Day-32- The amount of wins Martina Hingis had before getting her second loss at Australian Open.

Obviously, I don't expect Mertens to be Becker at Wimbledon, or Nadal at the French. But the fact that as of now, she has never lost at the AO lets me point out how amazing the Hingis streak was.

Hingis lost in her first attempt, then reached 6 straight finals. And when I say Nadal-like, Hingis started 32-2 there, Nadal 31-1 at the French. Martina eventually finished 52-7 in singles.

The look at the Final Four.

Hardcourt records the last 3 years
Wozniacki 108-46
Kerber 102-46
Halep 96-35
Mertens 83-43

The last 2 slams, the person 3rd on the list has won the title. As usual, due to injury or youth, there is one person with ITF results-Mertens. WTA numbers are 49-26.

Head to head
Wozniacki 1-0 Mertens/None on hard
Kerber 5-4 Halep/Halep 4-2 on hard
Wozniacki 4-2 Halep/2-2 on hard
Kerber 8-5 Wozniacki/5-5 on hard
Kerber 0-0 Mertens
Halep 0-0 Mertens

The last 2 slams were opposites. For the USO, everybody that led h2h won, while at Wimbledon, they all lost.

Top 10 wins last 3 years
Mertens-2-(Hard)Cibulkova, Svitolina.

Halep-15-(Hard)Keys-2,Radwanska, Kerber,Garcia, Ostapenko,Konta, Pliskova, Pennetta, S.Williams, Makarova, Wozniacki(Clay)Svitolina, Pliskova(Grass)Keys.

Kerber-18-(Hard)Radwanska-2, Keys-2,Halep-2, Kvitova, Cibulkova, Vinci, S.Williams, Pliskova, V.Williams(Clay)Sharapova, Makarova, Wozniacki, Kvitova(Grass)Halep, V.Williams.

Wozniacki-21-(Hard)Pliskova-3, Radwanska-2, Keys-2,Muguruza-2 Kerber, Suarez Navarro, Kuznetsova, Svitolina, Halep, V.Williams, Cibulkova(Clay)Radwanska, Suarez Navarro, Halep,Kuznetsova(Grass)Halep.

What jumps out here is that Keys isn't beating top players. Plus it is 3 perennial Top 10 players plus Mertens, who can't be discounted, as the numbers are similar to Ostapenko's last year.

75% chance of a first time winner, 100% chance of 3 more matches. Enjoy.

Wed Jan 24, 12:15:00 PM EST  
Blogger Leif Mortensen said...

Aceniacki did it again and a first AO final and 26 aces in AO -and 56 in 2018 until now.

Thu Jan 25, 12:37:00 AM EST  
Blogger Leif Mortensen said...

Dream final and a worthy battle about two things - a first slam and #1 - that's a real royal final me thinks

Thu Jan 25, 03:25:00 AM EST  

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