Friday, January 26, 2018

AO.12 - The Day Before the Day

Rest up.


=DAY 12 NOTES= the women's doubles final, Ekaterina Makarova & Elena Vesnina were seeking to become the seventh women's duo to finish a Career Doubles Slam, the second to pull off a Career Golden Doubles Slam (slams+Olympic Gold) and the first (Pam Shriver and Gigi Fernandez did it individually) to complete a "Super Slam" (slams+Olympic Gold+WTAF).

But it wasn't meant to be.

The Hordettes were outplayed by Timea Babos & and an in-form Kristina Mladenovic, who'd previously been on the wrong end of doubles history when they lost in the '14 Wimbledon final to Sara Errani & Roberta Vinci as the Italians completed *their* Career Doubles Slam. History didn't repeat itself, as the Russians fell 6-4/6-3. It's Babos' first career slam title, and Mladenovic's fourth (two MX, and another WD w/ Caroline Garcia at RG two years ago).

Whether this result will lead Mladenovic back to any sort of singles success -- she's lost *fifteen* consecutive matches -- remains to be seen. The defense of her '17 Saint Petersburg title takes place next week.

Both Makarova and Babos are scheduled to return later on Night 12 to play in the Mixed SF, and could very well face off in another final this weekend. The next potential Career Doubles Slam attempt could come at Wimbledon later this summer, as Bethanie Mattek-Sands (who might make make her return in Fed Cup play in February, and if not then then likely in March) & Lucie Safarova need only a SW19 crown to have collected all four majors. And to do it at the AELTC one year after Mattek-Sands' horrible injury there? Well, that would be pretty good stuff, eh? the junior singles semis, the possibility existed for a final that pitted the #1 and #2 seeds, as well as the first Chinese *and* first Taiwanese girls to reach a slam singles final.

#1-seed Wang Xinyu of China, heavily taped in various places all over her body, had a hard time dealing with her mounting injuries after the 1st set, and began to pile up errors. Burel won 2-6/6-1/6-0 and will now attempt to become the first French girl to win a singles slam since Mladenovic in 2009, and the first to do so in Melbourne since Virginie Razzano in 1999.

In the other semi, #2-seeded Liang "Call Me Simona" En-shuo, who saved MP in her 1st Round match with Aussie wild card Olivia Gadecki, saved two more while staging a comeback to defeat unseeded Italian Elisabetta Cocciaretto, 4-6/6-3/7-6(5). Cocciaretto served for the match at 5-4 and 6-5, reaching MP in both games before the 17-year old got a pair of breaks of serve, then won the deciding TB to become the first girl presenting Taiwan to reach a slam singles final.

Liang won the Traralgon warm-up title heading into the AO, and has now reached the finals in both singles and doubles in Melbourne. Liang and Wang Xinyu are set to team up in the girls doubles final later on Day 12. the wheelchair doubles final, the first of two title-deciding match-ups between #1 Yui Kamiji and #2 Diede de Groot took place, with Kamiji & Marjolein Buis winning 6-4/6-0 over de Groot & Aniek van Koot. It's Kamiji's twelfth career doubles title at the four slams (including four of the last five AO, two with Buis and two with Jordanne Whiley) and seventeenth slam crown overall.

With former #1 Jiske Griffioen's retirement official last fall, the door is now open for a career-long rivalry between Kamiji and de Groot. So far, the more experienced 23-year old from Japan has gotten the best of the 21-year old Dutch. They met in last year's Wimbledon doubles and U.S. Open singles finals, with Kamiji getting the wins in both. Now with a 3-0 mark against de Groot it slam finals, Kamiji will meet her in a fourth final in the singles championship this weekend.


January 26... when the rest of world learns a bit more about Australian history, and realizes all the messy complications that that entails.

...LIKE ON DAY 12: Angie... still Angie-rific.


...AND THE OUTCOME ON DAY 12...: ...of the Gibbsy vs. Schmiedy battle is:


...TIMING IS EVERYTHING ON DAY 12: Or not. I mean, *why not* stop updating the #1 specifically-dedicated Twitter location for Wheelchair Tennis news right in the middle of the first slam of the year? Seems logical, right?

...and, finally... the Hall of Fame doors will soon open for another Czech in Newport. And it's one of the more underrated ones, too.

Here's what I wrote back in October in my and Galileo West's "Backspin Court of Appeals" post revolving around the best women's players never ranked #1...

" Sukova doesn't qualify for this list, having never won a slam singles title, but she may be the most overlooked player of her era, and I wanted to at least talk about her a little (until or if, you know, there's a Court of Appeals edition dealing with the best slam-less players ever, as she'd slot in there somewhere behind Elena Dementieva). If she had won a major, she'd have sneaky "alternate Hall of Fame" credentials, if she doesn't already. In an era filled with other Czech-born superstars, Sukova was seemingly always playing the role of second fiddle. Sukova reached four slam finals, losing out to Evert (twice), Navratilova and Graf. She posted fifteen QF+ slam results over a 21-appearance stretch from 1984-90, and sustained her relevance over a long period. Her first slam final came in 1984 in just her tenth slam MD, and her fourth and final came nine years later at the '93 U.S. Open (slam #44). She also came "this close" to winning a WTA Championships title, falling to Navratilova in three in 1985. While she usually came up just short of a career-defining slam moment, Sukova *did* end two of the most noteworthy streaks of her era. She brought to a close Navratilova's 74-match winning streak at the '84 Australian Open, ending Navratilova's hopes for a Grand Slam season (Martina had won six straight slams, and was looking for a seventh to sweep the '84 majors, as the AO then closed out the season in December). Three seasons later, Sukova ended Navratilova's 69-match grass court win streak at Eastbourne, defeating both Martina and Chris Evert to win the title. The Czech won 69 tour-level doubles titles (9 slams), five mixed crowns, and four Fed Cups. A #1-ranked player in doubles, she climbed as high as #4 in singles. "

This is a very satisfying development. Jana would be happy about it, too, I suspect. Now when will Conchita get *her* due?...

"Martinez is an easy name to drag into this discussion, even if only to give her her due. For her overall career, she should be a Hall of Famer, but to this point the doors have yet to open to her in Newport. It's easy to get lost in what Martinez wasn't and didn't do in an era that included the likes of Graf, Seles and countrywoman Sanchez, but what she did was quite impressive. Not really known as an "all-surface player," the Spaniard nonetheless reached slam finals on three surfaces, losing in Melbourne and Paris, but taking down Martina Navratilova (in her last slam final) at Wimbledon in one of more remarkable match-long barrage of passing shots you're ever likely to see. A five-time Fed Cup champ, Martinez had nine slam SF-or-better results in one fourteen-slam stretch in the middle of what was a very long career during which she played in 56 of 57 majors from 1991 to 2005, including eighteen consecutive appearances at Roland Garros. With singles titles over a seventeen-year span (first in 1988, last in 2005), Martinez made twelve straight season-ending championship fields, picked up 33 career singles titles (16th on the all-time list, w/ all fifteen ahead of her being either enshrined Hall of Famers, or sure-to-be-one-day active players -- Serena/Venus/Sharapova, along with four more HOFers directly following her on the title list) in 55 finals, winning nine Tier I titles (def. Sabatini, Graf, Navratilova, Sanchez, Hingis and Mauresmo -- five different players who reached #1 -- in those finals), claiming Rome four times, and picking up three Olympic medals in doubles (only the Williams Sisters and ASV have won more since the sport returned to the games in '88). Climbing as high as #2, she finished in the Top 5 four consecutive years from 1993-96. "

#1 Simona Halep/ROU vs. #2 Caroline Wozniacki/DEN

#5 Babos/Mladenovic (HUN/FRA) def. #2 Makarova/Vesnina (RUS/RUS) 6-4/6-4

Martinez-Sanchez/Demoliner (ESP/BRA) vs. #5 Babos/Bopanna (HUN/IND)
#3 Makarova/Soares (RUS/BRA) vs. #8 Dabrowski/Pavic (CAN/CRO)

Clara Burel/FRA vs. #2 Liang En-shuo/TPE

#1 Liang En-shuo/Wang Xinyu (TPE/CHN) vs. #7 V.Apisah/Sun (PNG/SUI)

#1 Yui Kamiji/JPN vs. #2 Diede de Groot/NED

#1 Buis/Yamiji (NED/JPN) def. #2 de Groot/van Koot (NED/NED) 6-0/6-4

29...Serena Williams (23-6)
15...Venus Williams (7-9)
10..Maria Sharapova (5-5)
4...Svetlana Kuznetsova (2-2)
4...Victoria Azarenka (2-2)
3...Angelique Kerber (2-1)
3...Garbine Muguruza (2-1)
3...SIMONA HALEP (0-2)
2...Petra Kvitova, CZE (2-0)
2...Marion Bartoli, FRA (1-1)
2...Francesca Schiavone, ITA (1-1)
2...Samantha Stosur, AUS (1-1)
2...Vera Zvonareva, RUS (0-2)
1...Alona Ostapenko, LAT (1-0)
1...Sloane Stephens, USA (1-0)
1...Genie Bouchard, CAN (0-1)
1...Dominika Cibulkova, SVK (0-1)
1...Sara Errani, ITA (0-1)
1...Jelena Jankovic, SRB (0-1)
1...Madison Keys, USA (0-1)
1...Sabine Lisicki, GER (0-1)
1...Karolina Pliskova, CZE (0-1)
1...Agnieszka Radwanska, POL (0-1)
1...Lucie Safarova, CZE (0-1)
1...Roberta Vinci, ITA (0-1)

*SLAM SINGLES FINALS - since 2010*
15 - Serena Williams, USA (12-3)
6 - Maria Sharapova, RUS (2-4)
4 - Victoria Azarenka, BLR (2-2)
4 - Li Na, CHN (2-2)-ret.
3 - Angelique Kerber, GER (2-1)
3 - Garbine Muguruza, ESP (2-1)
2 - Kim Clijsters, BEL (2-0)-ret.
2 - Petra Kvitova, CZE (2-0)
2 - Francecsa Schiavone, ITA (1-1)
2 - Samantha Stosur, SAUS (1-1)
2 - Venus Williams, USA (0-2)
2 - Vera Zvonareva, RUS (0-2)
1 - Marion Bartoli, FRA (1-0)
1 - Alona Ostapenko, LAT (1-0)
1 - Flavia Pennetta, ITA (1-0)-ret.
1 - Sloane Stephens, USA (1-0)
1 - Genie Bouchard, CAN (0-1)
1 - Dominika Cibulkova, SVK (0-1)
1 - Sara Errani, ITA (0-1)
1 - Justine Henin, BEL (0-1)-ret.
1 - Madison Keys, USA (0-1)
1 - Sabine Lisicki, GER (0-1)
1 - Karolina Pliskova, CZE (0-1)
1 - Aga Radwanska, POL (0-1)
1 - Lucie Safarova, CZE (0-1)
1 - Roberta Vinci, ITA (0-1)

33y,6m,6d - Flavia Pennetta, 2015 U.S. Open
29y,347d - Francesca Schiavone, 2010 Roland Garros
29y,9m,3d - Jana Novotna, 1998 Wimbledon
29y,5m,3d - Kerry Melville-Reid, 1977 Australian Open
29y,3m,9d - Li Na, 2011 Roland Garros
28y,9m,5d - Marion Bartoli, 2013 Wimbledon
28y,13d - Angelique Kerber, 2016 Australian
27y,6m,2w - Wozniacki
26y,7m - Amelie Mauresmo (2006 AO)
26y,5m,2w - Samantha Stosur (2011 US)
26y,4m - Halep

[won Girls & Women's titles]
Evonne Goolagong (1970 Jr.; 1974-77 Women's)
Chris O'Neil (1973 Jr.; 1978 Women's)
Victoria Azarenka (2005 Jr.; 2012-13 Women's)
Lindsay Davenport (1992 Jr. RU; 2000 Women's Champ)
Maria Sharapova (2002 Jr. RU; 2008 Women's Champ)
Caroline Wozniacki (2006 Jr. RU; 2018 FINALIST)

2003 Kim Clijsters, BEL [won U.S. Open in 2005]
2009 Dinara Safina, RUS [0-3 in slam finals]
2010 Caroline Wozniacki, DEN [0-2 in slam finals]
2008 Jelena Jankovic, SRB [0-2 in slams finals]
2004 Amelie Mauresmo, FRA [won Australian Open in 2006]
2017 Karolina Pliskova, CZE [0-1 in slam finals]
2017 Simona Halep, ROU [0-2 in slam finals]

72 - Serena Williams, USA
49 - Venus Williams, USA
36 - Maria Sharapova, RUS
20 - Victoria Azarenka, BLR
20 - Petra Kvitova, CZE
20 - Aga Radwanska, POL
17 - Svetlana Kuznetsova, RUS

2008 Alona Bondarenko / Kateryna Bondarenko
2009 Serena Williams / Venus Williams
2010 Serena Williams / Venus Williams
2011 Gisela Dulko / Flavia Pennetta
2012 Svetlana Kuznetsova / Vera Zvonareva
2013 Sara Errani / Roberta Vinci
2014 Sara Errani / Roberta Vinci
2015 Bethanie Mattek-Sands / Lucie Safarova
2016 Martina Hingis / Sania Mirza
2017 Bethanie Mattek-Sands / Lucie Safarova
2018 Timea Babos / Kristina Mladenovic
[recent slams]
2016 AO - Martina Hingis / Sania Mirza
2016 RG - Caroline Garcia / Kristina Mladenovic
2016 WI - Serena Williams / Venus Williams
2016 US - Bethanie Mattek-Sands / Lucie Safarova
2017 AO - Bethanie Mattek-Sands / Lucie Safarova
2017 RG - Bethanie Mattek-Sands / Lucie Safarova
2017 WI - Ekaterina Makarova / Elena Vesnina
2018 US - Latisha Chan / Martina Hingis
2018 AO - Timea Babos / Kristina Mladenovic

14 - Latisha Chan, TPE [3/11/0]
14 - Martina Hingis, SUI [5/9/ret.]
10 - Andrea Sestini-Hlavackova, CZE [4/6/0]
9 - Bethanie Mattek Sands, USA [5/4/0]
9 - Sania Mirza, IND [8/1/0]
8 - Kiki Bertens, NED [3/4/1]
8 - Johanna Larsson, SWE [4/4/0]
7 - TIMEA BABOS, HUN [0/6/1]
7 - Lucie Safarova, CZE [4/3/0]
6 - Ekaterina Makarova, RUS [3/3/0]
6 - Elena Vesnina, RUS [3/3/0]
5 - Angel Chan, TPE [3/2/0]

2001 Jelena Jankovic/SRB d. Sofia Arvidsson/SWE
2002 Barbora Strycova/CZE d. Maria Sharapova/RUS
2003 Barbora Strycova/CZE d. Victoriya Kutuzova/UKR
2004 Shahar Peer/ISR dd. Nicole Vaidisova/CZE
2005 Victoria Azarenka/BLR d. Agnes Szavay/HUN
2006 A.Pavlyuchenkova/RUS d. Caroline Wozniacki/DEN
2007 A.Pavlyuchenkova/RUS d. Madison Brengle/USA
2008 Arantxa Rus/NED d. Jessica Moore/AUS
2009 Ksenia Pervak/RUS d. Laura Robson/GBR
2010 Karolina Pliskova/CZE d. Laura Robson/GBR
2011 An-Sophie Mestach/BEL d. Monica Puig/PUR
2012 Taylor Townsend/USA d. Yulia Putintseva/RUS
2013 Ana Konjuh/CRO d. Katerina Siniakova/CZE
2014 Elizaveta Kulichkova/RUS d. Jana Fett/CRO
2015 Tereza Mihalikova/SVK d. Katie Swan/GBR
2016 Vera Lapko/BLR d. Tereza Mihalikova/SVK
2017 Marta Kostyuk/UKR d. Rebeka Masarova/SUI
2018 Clara Burel/FRA vs. Liang En-shuo/TPE

AO: Elizaveta Kulichkova, RUS
RG: Dasha Kasatkina, RUS
WI: Alona Ostapenko, LAT
US: Maria Bouzkova, CZE
AO: Tereza Mihalikova, SVK
RG: Paula Badosa, ESP
WI: Sofya Zhuk, RUS
US: Dalma Galfi, HUN
AO: Vera Lapko, BLR
RG: Rebeka Masarova, SUI
WI: Anastasia Potapova, RUS
US: Kayla Day, USA
AO: Marta Kostyuk, UKR
RG: Whitney Osuigwe, USA
WI: Claire Liu, USA
US: Amanda Anisimova, USA
AO: ?

1953 RG - Christine Brunon (pre-Open era)
1954 RG - Beatrice De Chambure (pre-Open era)
1956 RG - Elaine Launey (pre-Open era)
1960 RG - Francois Durr (pre-Open era)
1963 RG - Monique Salfati (pre-Open era)
1964 RG - Nicole Seghers (pre-Open era)
1966 RG - Odile De Roubin (pre-Open era)
1982 WI - Catherine Tanvier
1983 RG - Pascale Paradis
1983 WI - Pascale Paradis
1988 RG - Julie Halard
1995 RG - Anne Cocheteux
1996 RG - Amelie Mauresmo
1996 WI - Amelie Mauresmo
1999 AO - Virginie Razzano
2000 RG - Virginie Razzano
2001 US - Marion Bartoli
2007 RG - Alize Cornet
2009 RG - Kristina Mladenovic

2007 Madison Brengle, USA
2008 Jessica Moore, AUS & Arantxa Rus, NED
2009 Ksenia Pervak, RUS
2010 Karolina & Kristyna Pliskova, CZE/CZE
2011 Japanese girls
2012 Taylor Townsend, USA
2013 Ana Konjuh, CRO
2014 Elizaveta Kulichkova, RUS
2015 Tereza Mihalikova, SVK
2016 Sara Tomic, AUS
2017 Marta Kostyuk, UKR
2018 Liang En-shuo, TPE

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 Marjolein Buis/Yui Kamiji, NED/JPN

*CAREER WC MAJOR TITLES - slams/Paralympics/Masters YEC*
[Yui Kamiji]
AO S: 2017 [to play final]
AO D: 2014,15,16,18
RG S: 2014,17
RG D: 2014,17
WI S: [SF-2017]
WI D: 2014,15,16,17
US S: 2014,17
US D: 2014
PA S: [QF-2012]
PA D: [QF-2012]
MA S: 2013
MA D: 2013,14
[Diede de Groot]
AO S: - [to play final]
AO D: [RU-17,18]
RG S: [QF-17]
RG D: [SF-17]
WI S: 2017
WI D: [RU-17]
US S: [RU-17]
US D: 2017
PA S: [SF/4th Place-2016]
PA D: [RU/Silver-2016]
MA S: 2017
MA D: 2016,17

21 - Esther Vergeer, NED [7-5-3-6]...[10+3]
14 - Jiske Griffioen, NED [5-3-2-4]...[7+1]
12 - YUI KAMIJI, JPN [4-3-4-1]...[2+0]*
10 - Aniek van Koot, NED [3-3-2-2]...[3+1]*
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]
5 - MARJOLEIN BUIS, NED [2-2-0-1]...[1+1]*
3 - Maaike Smit, NED [2-1-0-0]...[4+2]
2 - Florence Gravellier, FRA [2-0-0-0]...[0+0]

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.): Nominee: SF - #1 Halep d. #21 Kerber 6-3/4-6/9-7 (saved 2 MP after served for match and had 2 MP of own; on MP #4)
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 (2 MP), Halep (5 MP in 2 matches)
IT (??): Nominees: Kostyuk ("Teen"), Burel ("Jr.Pastry")
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)
DOUBLES STAR: Nominees: Babos, Babos/Mladenovic

All for Day 12. More tomorrow.


Blogger colt13 said...

Good for Mladenovic. The YEC winner in Babos won, is that an omen?

Great for Asia/Taipei.

Stat of the Day-60-The number of slams it has been since 2 slam runner ups played for a title.

Normally you have a slam winner like Serena or Maria on the other side of the net, or a first timer like Lisicki or Zvonareva. But making it back after a loss. Has not happened since the all Belgian French Open final in 2003.

In this corner, the 2006 Wimbledon Junior Champion. In the other corner, the 2008 French Open Junior Champion. This is something else that has a Belgian twist, as until Halep and Ostapenko did it last year, the most recent meeting of Junior Champs in a final was Henin/Mauresmo in 2006.

This is a 51/49 matchup to me, and i'm picking Halep. Wozniacki has had the unfortunate run of playing a Hall of Famer, a future one, and the current #1 in her slam finals. No breaks there. Others that have played 3 or more finals, like Mauresmo and Sukova have had the same issue.

The biggest challenge for Halep is economy of games. I expect 6-4, 7-6, but this is almost like a Serena match for her. Where people that beat Serena normally win that first set 6-3, then hang on and win the 2nd 7-6. The less time Wozniacki can figure out her game, the better. If Halep wins the first set 7-6, that is a red flag.

Wozniacki's challenge? To live up to the nickname Sunshine. Woz has a tendency to gripe, and with the fireworks possibly going off, she needs to keep her focus, not bring the "Do you go to school" version.

So Halep is the pick, as I expect a version of the 2016 Williams/Kerber Wimbledon match, where one break decides it. However if Wozniacki wins, I kind of expect 2015 USO Pennetta/Vinci type match. One great set, and Halep hitting the wall, which is possible with a 15-13 and 9-7 match.

Either way, somebody is rewriting their history.

Fri Jan 26, 10:12:00 AM EST  
Blogger Todd.Spiker said...

I'm fine with Mladenovic winning (though it'd been nice to see history made), but I'm not sure I'm personally to the point yet where I'd go the "good for her" route. I've "cleaned the slate" for '18 when it comes to Kiki, for the most part, but her tendency to condescend and play the bully role seems to come out the most when she's riding high on some level, so I'll be interested to see what happens next. She surely needs to turn things around in singles fast, because all her points defenses come over the next few months and her ranking will drop like a stone if she doesn't start to win at least a few matches.

Yes, it's certainly a "something finally ends tonight" (in a good way) moment, isn't it? Rarely do we get a moment where a PAIR of star-crossed slam players (let alone former finalists who've reached #1) both find themselves in a spot like this. Of course, as with any final, I make pre-match notes/thoughts that can be used depending on which player wins. A lot of that this time sounds very familiar, as I've prepared such things for both Halep and Wozniacki before. This time, though, it's a certainly that one of those sets of notes will finally be used.

Wish it didn't only start to happen at 3:30 a.m. here, though. :\

Fri Jan 26, 04:39:00 PM EST  

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