Sunday, January 14, 2018

Wk.2- The Great Chick Returns

In Sydney, Angelique Kerber delivered a kiss to build a [fill in the blank] on. On this day, it means she's a singles champion for the first time in sixteen months. But, in short order, we may come to find out that her return to form means a great deal more than just that.

One thing we *do* know... Angie's a "great chick. (Just ask Ash.)

Now, on to Melbourne.

SYDNEY, AUS (Premier/Hard Outdoor)
S: Angelique Kerber/GER def. Ash Barty/AUS 6-4/6-4
D: Gaby Dabrowski/Xu Yifan (CAN/CHN) d. Latisha Chan/Andrea Sestini-Hlavackova (CHN/CZE) 6-3/6-1
HOBART, AUS (Int'l/Hard Outdoor)
S: Elise Mertens/BEL def. Mihaela Buzarnescu/ROU 6-1/4-6/6-3
D: Elise Mertens/Demi Schuurs (BEL/NED) d. Lyudmyla Kichenok/Makota Ninomiya (UKR/JPN) 6-2/6-2
KOOYONG EXHIBITION (Melbourne; Hard Outdoor)
F: Belinda Bencic/SUI def. Andrea Petkovic/GER 3-6/6-4 [10-4]

PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Angelique Kerber/GER
...after a year of penance apparently ordered by the Tennis Gods, might the "Kerbernator" really be back?

Kerber's undefeated opening week in Perth was an early sign that maybe the German had turned the corner on her forgettable 2017 season, a campaign which saw her consistently fail to ignite, win zero titles and drop out of the Top 20 twelve months after the greatest year of her professional life. But what the two-time slam-winning, former #1 did in Sydney could very well be the first inkling of an impending re-write of whatever scenario anyone saw taking place in Melbourne. As was the case with her career-transforming Australian Open title run in '16, Kerber's appearance in Sydney was almost over before it'd hardly even begun. With the ghost of Misaki Doi (more on her later) surely floating by, Kerber came back from a set down in the 1st Round vs. Lucie Safarova, saving two MP, to set up a 2nd Round meeting with Venus Williams. In that one, again, the German rallied from a set down to win, giving her a 2-0 mark on the season -- after just two official '18 matches -- after dropping the 1st set. She'd gone 3-22 in such situations over the course of the '17 season. Before the Safarova win, Kerber has dropped eight straight matches after losing the opening set, and hadn't won such a match since defeating Shelby Rogers at Wimbledon last summer. Once she'd won her back-to-back matches in Sydney, though, Kerber never had to face another one-set deficit all week. She won her final three matches in straight sets, allowing little to the likes of Dominika Cibulkova (4 games), Camila Giorgi (5) and Ash Barty (8), defeating the Aussie to claim her eleventh career title in her 27th final appearance. It's her first crown since defeating Karolina Pliskova in the '16 U.S. Open final.

Now 5-0 in official matches, and 9-0 overall, in 2018, Kerber finds herself back at #16 in the rankings and legitimately having to think about whether or not lightning can indeed strike twice.

Those TG's... you can't live with 'em, but you wouldn't want to live without 'em.
RISERS: Dasha Gavrilova/AUS and Lesia Tsurenko/UKR
...spurred on by a home crowd around every corner, Dasha has burst out of the season's gates in recent years. Two years ago, she won the Hopman Cup with Nick Kyrgios and then put on a Round of 16 run in Melbourne. While she didn't repeat in Perth a season ago, she did get a singles win there over CoCo Vandeweghe (who go on to reach the AO semis) and then matched her 4th Round result in Melbourne. After a slow start at *this* year's HC (w/ losses to Kerber and Mertens, which actually looks quite nice a week later), Gavrilova rebounded well to stage a semifinal run in Sydney with wins over fellow Aussies Olivia Rogowska and Sam Stosur, then reached the final four due to a walkover from Garbine Muguruza. After taking the first set from countrywoman Ash Barty, Gavrilova fell in three. But the stage is now set for still more late night AO action, as the first outing of "The Dasha Show" has been give a primetime slot as the session-closing match on the Laver Arena schedule for Night 1.

A season ago, Tsurenko reached a career high (#29) and won her third career title in Acapulco. The tour's second-highest ranked Ukrainian opened her season in Brisbane with a 1st Round win over Ash Barty, and the 28-year old followed up in Hobart with wins over Timea Babos, Yulia Putintseva and Aryna Sabalenko to achieve her first semifinal result since reaching the final four on the grass at Rosmalen last summer.


SURPRISE: Camila Giorgi/ITA, Giorgi finding success isn't really a "surprise," but the 26-year old Italian has hardly been consistent when it's come to that in recent seasons. After back-to-back Top 35 campaigns, she's finished at #83 and #79 the last two years, and failed to reach a singles final a season ago for the first time since reaching her first in 2014. Ranked at #100 heading into the week, Giorgi had to qualify just to reach the MD in Sydney. Once she did, she truly caught fire, knocking off both Petra Kvitova and Aga Radwanska (did you realize that neither was ranked in even the Top 25 this past week?) to reach her first semifinal since Week 1 of 2017 in Shenzhen. Her run was finally stopped by eventual champ Angelique Kerber, but she jumps twenty-nine spots in the rankings to #71 on Monday and will participate in her twenty-third consecutive slam MD. She's lost in the 1st Round of five of the last six majors.
VETERAN: Mihaela Buzarnescu/ROU
...back from several injury-related absences, the 29-year old Swarmette (one of the 2008 Originals along with the likes of a young Halep, Cirstea, Dulgheru, Niculescu, Olaru, etc.), is now fully hitting stride. After making tour-level and slam debut appearances, getting her first Top 50 win and climbing into the Top 100 (ending at #72) for the first time in 2017, the Romanian ended her season on a combined 19-4 (all level) rush that began with reaching the SF in Linz in just her second career WTA main draw. After starting her '18 season by falling in quick fashion to Maria Sharapova in Week 1, Buzarnescu hopped over to Hobart and put together another career-best run. Wins over Alize Cornet, Anna-Lena Friedsam, Alison Riske (in straights after saving five SP in the 1st) and Lesia Tsurenko put her into her maiden WTA singles final. In a rain-marred contest, she lost in three sets to defending champ Elise Mertens, but one year after beginning the season ranked outside the Top 500 she'll be at #44 as the Australian Open begins. She'll play #2 Caroline Wozniacki under the MCA lights on Night 1, five months after losing to the Dane in her WTA/slam debut in the 1st Round of the U.S. Open last summer.

COMEBACK: Belinda Bencic/SUI
...fully back from her injury layoff, Bencic has still yet to play an official match since the calendar flipped over to 2018. She last played a match in a tour-level WTA event back in October (a QF run in Linz that was ended in a 3rd set TB by Mihaela Buzarnescu) and put together her 2017-ending 15-match winning streak in WTA 125 and challenger tournaments. In Week 1, she won the Hopman Cup title with Roger what's-his-name despite losing her singles match in the final to Angelique Kerber. In Week 2, the 20-year old Swiss was once again crowned a champion (that makes five straight events that's happened, by the way), albeit in yet another exhibition, winning the women's side of the action in Kooyong by wrapping things up with a 3-6/6-4 [10-4] victory in the final over Andrea Petkovic. Although, to be fair, Petko won the dance-off.

Things will get much more serious in Melbourne for Bencic, as she'll find Venus Williams on the other side of the net in the 1st Round.

FRESH FACES: Elise Mertens/BEL and Ash Barty/AUS
...a year ago, a #127-ranked Mertens was playing the qualifying rounds in Hobart. She made her way into the main draw, then upset Kristina Mladenovic and was faced with the decision of playing out the tournament or "finding a way out" of her 2nd Round match vs. "lucky loser" Sachia Vickery so that she could head to Melbourne for AO qualifying. Vickery found herself in the same dilemma, though, and after both called for trainers just one game into their match it was the Bannerette who was the snooze-or-you-lose winner of the odd face-off, beating Mertens to the awkward, oddly comical retirement "finish line." Vickery went on to lose in AO qualifying, while Mertens had to miss out on the season's first slam, but *did* win her maiden tour singles title over the weekend. A year later, the Waffle was back in Hobart, secure in her AO MD position as the world #36 (and with the tour having instituted a new Mertens/Vickery-inspired rule that prevents AO qualifiers from entering other WTA events in Week 2). Mertens battled her way back into the final after posting wins over Kurumi Nara, Beatriz Haddad Maia and former Hobart champ Heather Watson. In a match that had to play out around rainfall, Mertens defended her title with a 6-1/4-6/6-3 win over Mihaela Buzarnescu, becoming the first two-time singles champ in the tournament's 25-year history... and she picked up a doubles title with Demi Schuurs while she was at it, too. The 22-year old Belgian will finally make her AO debut this coming week.

And now got a special relationship with Hobart... so it's all worked out pretty well.

In Sydney, after a quick Week 1 exit, Barty rediscovered the Down Under form that made her a first "Barty Party" week star at last year's AO, and which she'll need right out of the gate this coming week after drawing Aryna Sabalenka in the 1st Round. Barty's time in Sydney was highlighted by a three-set come from behind win in an all-Aussie semi over Dasha Gavrilova. Though she lost 6-4/6-4 to Angelique Kerber in her fourth career tour singles final, her week's work was enough to lift her to a new career high of #17.

I don't think her success is enough to make me re-think by opposition to that vile Vegemite, though... it'll have to remain a (mostly) Aussie thing.

DOWN: Sloane Stephens/USA and Misaki Doi/JPN
...currently, Stephens continues to try to rediscover the Future Sloane version of herself that won the U.S. Open last summer. She's yet to win a match since her seven-match run in New York, dropping her seventh consecutive match last weekend in Sydney with a straight sets defeat at the hands of Week 2 giant killer Camila Giorgi. It's the third time in the streak in which Stephens failed to win a game in a set and -- perhaps, if you're looking for an omen for what's coming next, be it good or bad -- her loss to Giorgi came via the same 6-3/6-0 scoreline by which she earned her last win over Madison Keys in the final at Flushing Meadows. Nursing lingering injury and, one would think, confidence questions nibbling around the edges of her game, Stephens will face veteran Zhang Shuai in the opening round in Melbourne.

Meanwhile, Doi has to wish *she* could be back to her recent past and pick up things from there once again, as well. Remember, it was just two years ago that Doi went to Melbourne and found herself holding a match point against Angelique Kerber in the 1st Round. She failed to convert it, then saw the German escape with the victory, go on to win the Australian Open and establish the foundation for a career year. Doi climbed as high as #30 during the '16 season, and was still ranked in the Top 60 as recently as last summer. She posted her only career Top 10 win in Madrid over Keys, and reached the QF in Nurnberg. It's been all downhill from there. She's gone 3-11 since, and that's not even counting her loss (as the #1 seed) to 16-year old Wang Xinyu in the semis of the Asia/Pacific AO Wild Card Playoff tournament in December. In Week 1, Doi fell in the second round of qualifying in Brisbane, then was "upset" 3 & 1 by Dayana Yastremska in the opening round of qualifying for the Australian Open, dropping her to 3-8 in slam matches since since she failed to put away her MP vs. Kerber. All three of those wins came at Roland Garros in '16, when she knocked off Karolina Pliskova and reached the Round of 16, only to lose to, yep, Kerber once again.

Doi will be ranked #126 this week. She be absent from the MD of a major for the first time since the '15 AO (and for only the second time in any major between 2013-18)... while Kerber heads to Melbourne with her ranking back in the Top 20, a singles title under her arm and a renewed head of steam.

Sometimes, when tennis ships pass in the night, they might never cross paths again.
JUNIOR STAR: Jaimee Fourlis/AUS
...the 18-year old Australian, who'll be in the AO main draw by way of her win in the final of Tennis Australia's December junior wild card playoff event, picked up her first career WTA MD victory in Hobart with a 7-5/7-6(9) win over Serbia's Nina Stojanovic. A year after notching her maiden slam win in the 1st Round, Fourlis will return to Melbourne seeking her second in a match-up with fellow Aussie WC Olivia Rogowska.


DOUBLES: Demi Schuurs/NED and Gaby Dabrowski/Xu Yifan (CAN/CHN) 2018, for Schuurs, success is all about playing doubles with partners with nearly the same name. In Hobart, the 24-year old Dutch woman became the first two-time title winner of the new year, following up her Week 1 Brisbane victory (w/ Kiki Bertens) with another in Week 2 with Elise Mertens. The duo picked up their second title (w/ Guangzhou last September) by claiming a pair of deciding tie-breaks to reach the final, then winning it 6-2/6-2 over Lyudmyla Kichenok & Makoto Ninomiya. It's Schuurs' fifth overall tour-level doubles crown.

In Sydney, Dabrowski & Xu threw their names into the hat for a potential maiden slam WD title run in Melbourne (where they'll be the #6-seeded team), picking up their third title together since the start of 2017 with a 6-3/6-1 victory in the final over #1-seeded Latisha Chan & Andrea Sestini-Hlavackova. In their three finals together, Dabrowski/Xu have taken out many of the players they might have to climb over to win another title two weeks from now, including Chan/S.-Hlavackova (AO #1's), Mirza/Strycova (the Czech is seeded #4 w/ Lucie Safarova) and Barty/Dellacqua (AO #3).

...the 15-year old 2017 AO Girls champ used her wild card berth in the '18 AO women's qualifying to full advantage. After being the youngest player in the Q-draw, she'll now be the youngest in the MD, as well, after putting together back-to-back-to-back three set victories over #9-seeded Arina Rodionova, Daniela Seguel and #13 Barbora Krejcikova, closing out the Czech with a love 3rd set to emphatically set the stage for her slam debut.


2006 Ashley Harkleroad, USA
2007 Julia Vakulenko, UKR
2008 Julia Schruff, GER
2009 Elena Baltacha, GBR
2010 Yanina Wickmayer, BEL
2011 Vesna Manasieva, RUS
2012 Paula Ormaechea, ARG
2013 Lesia Tsurenko, UKR
2014 Belinda Bencic, SUI
2015 Renata Voracova, CZE
2016 Naomi Osaka, JPN
2017 Elizaveta Kulichkova, RUS
2018 Marta Kostyuk, UKR

Denisa Allertova, CZE (24/#130) - the Czech, who reached the AO 3rd Rd. two years ago, didn't drop a set in qualifying
Anna Blinkova, RUS (19/#138) - a qualifier at her second straight AO, and third straight major, the Hordette won a trio of three-setters to get there
Irina Falconi, USA (27/#131) - the oldest qualifier didn't lose a set in qualifying. She's posted 1st Rd. AO wins the last four years.
Magdalena Frech, POL (20/#163) - she'll make her slam debut after taking out a pair of junior slam winners, Sofya Zhuk ('15 Wimbledon) and Kayla Day ('16 U.S.)
Viktorija Golubic, SUI (25/#115) - she's qualified at two of the last three AO's, but is still winless in the MD at Melbourne
Ivana Jorovic, SRB (20/#279) - after winning all six sets she played this week, the 20-year old Serb makes her slam MD debut
Anna Kalinskaya, RUS (19/#160) - after opening the Q-rounds with a win over veteran countrywoman Vera Zvonareva, the '15 RG Jr. finalist makes her slam MD debut
Marta Kostyuk, UKR (15/#521) - she'll be the first player born in 2002 to play in a slam MD match
Luksika Kumkhum, THA (24/#124) - a familiar face in Melbourne, Kumkhum was a qualifier in '16, got a wild card in '17 and is best remembered for her huge upset of Petra Kvitova in 2014. Still, she's never reached the AO 3rd Rd.
Viktoria Kuzmova, SVK (19/#125) - Backspin's "Player Whose Name You'll Know..." designee for 2018 qualifies for her second straight slam MD without losing a set
Anna Karolina Schmiedlova, SVK (23/#137) - (hopefully) finally finding her way out of the woods, AKS will play in her first slam MD since the 2016 U.S. Open. Her last win came in 2015 at Flushing Meadows.
Zhu Lin, CHN (23/#114) - an AO qualifier for a second straight year, she's seeking her first MD win at a major

Viktoriya Tomova, BUL (22/#139) - after losing in the final round of slam qualifying for the fourth time in her career, Tomova gets her maiden MD spot in a major via the "LL" route

Kristie Ahn, USA (25) - Taylor Townsend won the USTA's WC Playoff series, but her ranking was high enough to earn automatic entry into the AO main draw. So the spot went to second place finisher Ahn, who'll compete in her first slam MD since 2008.
Destanee Aiava, AUS (17) - last year, Aiava won Tennis Australia's Junior WC Playoff tournament to earn entry into the MD. This year, she lost in the Jr. final to Jamiee Fourlis, but then turned around and won the regular WC P.O. tournament (def. Tammy Patterson in the final). She'll open vs. #1-seed Simona Halep.
Lizette Cabrera, AUS (20) - after making her slam debut as a WC last year in Melbourne, Cabrera gets another. She reached a tour-level QF in Hong Kong late last season, falling to fellow Aussie Dasha Gavrilova in three sets.
Jamiee Fourlis, AUS (18) - last year, Fourlis lost in TA's Jr. WC P.O. final to Aiava, but then made the MD by winning the regular WC Playoff tournament. This year, she took out Aiava in the Jr. Playoff in a thrilling 7-6/6-7/7-5 final.
Jessika Ponchet, FRA (21) - after her first Top 300 season in '17, the eighth-ranked Pastry was a somewhat surprising internal WC selection by the FFT to make her slam debut, but Ponchet opened her season with a SF run at the $25K challenger in Playford before heading to Melbourne.
Olivia Rogowksa, AUS (26) - she's been given an AO wild card eight times in ten years, but at least she "won" this one by taking Tennis Australia's new USTA-style multi-event challenger playoff at the end of last year
Ajla Tomljanovic, AUS (24) - still not *totally* playing under an Aussie flag on tour (but she *is* allowed to do so in the ITF-run slams), Tomljanovic was given the final Tennis Australia WC into the main draw after Vika Azarenka's continued custody issues led the two-time AO champ to give up the wild card she'd been awarded last month. Still on the way back from '16 shoulder surgery, the Croatian-born Tomljanovic has played just three MD matches in the last seven majors, though she did reach the Round of 16 at Roland Garros in 2014.
Wang Xinyu, CHN (16) - the 16-year old junior (as a WC) was the surprise winner of the Asia/Pacific Wild Card Playoff tournament in December, knocking off two seeds (including #1 Misaki Doi). She defeated Abigail Tere-Apisah in a three-set final, coming back from a set down (and two points from defeat) to secure her MD debut. Wang is the youngest Chinese player to ever appear in a slam MD, and only '17 AO Girls champ Marta Kostyuk (a qualifier at 15) is younger in this year's entire AO women's event.

1. Sydney 1st Rd. - Angelique Kerber def. Lucie Safarova
Surviving two rain stoppages, going a set and a break down, and saving two MP in the tie-break. So *that's* what it was going to take to turn Angie around. Why couldn't the Tennis Gods have just told us that *last* year?
2. Sydney Final - Angelique Kerber def. Ash Barty
Does it take a "great chick" to recognize a "great chick?" Asking for a friend.

3. Sydney SF - Ash Barty def. Dasha Gavrilova
When the "Barty Party" meets "The Dasha Show," all walls crumbled.

4. Hobart Final - Elise Mertens def. Mihaela Buzarnescu
Now, about getting that first slam MD win outside of Paris...

5. Australian Open Q1 - Lesley Kerkhove def. Sachia Vickery
Hot off her semifinal run in Auckland, #1 Q-seed Vickery beat Mertens to another imaginary "finish line" -- she lost in Melbourne this year before the Waffle will.
6. Australian Open Q1 - Bernarda Pera def. Patty Schnyder 6-3/7-6(4)
Australian Open Q1 - Anna Kalinskaya def. Vera Zvonarva 6-2/2-6/6-0
Australian Open Q1 - Anna Blinkova def. Roberta Vinci 6-3/6-2
Patty's last slam MD was at RG in 2011, and Vera's was in 2015 in Melbourne. Meanwhile, since she's set to retire this spring *before* Roland Garros, former slam finalist Vinci's final singles match in a major occurred in almost tree-falling-in-the-woods-with-no-one-around-to-hear-it fashion.

7. Australian Open Q1 - Irina Bara def. Sesil Karatantcheva 7-5/3-6/7-5
Australian Open Q1 - Daniela Seguel def. Jamie Loeb 3-6/7-5/6-3
Bara trailed Sesil 5-2 in the 3rd, and was down 5-4, love/30. Meanwhile, Seguel survived three MP and saw Loeb serve for the match in the 2nd set. Both lost in the next round, but the result was still the best at a major for either woman, as Bara matched her Q2 result at last year's U.S. Open and Seguel reached the second round in a slam qualifying draw for the very first time.
8. Kooyong Exhibition - Genie Bouchard def. Destanee Aiava
A late edition to the field in what turned out to simply be an additional match (Bencic and Petko were already set for the final), Bouchard at least found a way to post *some* sort of singles win for the first time in months. When will the next one come?
HM- Australian Open Q2 - Patricia Hon def. Yanina Wickmayer
The 19-year old Aussie Q-round wild card lost to Irina Falconi in the final round, but only after posting a nice win over the #-5-seeded Belgian.


NOT the official debut of Serena's outfit for Wimbledon. (Hmmm, then again...)

1. Sydney 2nd Rd. - Angelique Kerber def. VENUS WILLIAMS
In her first match in Sydney since the 2000 Olympics (and first appearance in the event since '99), Venus surged back from a break and 5-3 down in the 1st set to grab the lead. But Kerber shut down the proceedings at that point, and never looked back the rest of the week.

2. Sydney 1st Rd. - AGA RADWANSKA def. Johanna Konta
Aga lost to Jo in the final a year ago. Still, her 1 & 2 loss in the QF to Giorgi drops her ranking all the way down to #35 heading into Melbourne.
3. Sydney Final - Gaby Dabrowski/Xu Yifan def. LATISHA CHAN/Andrea Sestini-Hlavackova
Chan *still* hasn't won a tour-level WD title with anyone other than Martina Hingis or her sister Hao-Ching/Angel since 2010.
4. Australian Open Q1 - Marta Kostyuk def. ARINA RODIONOVA
Rodionova got her first career slam MD wins at Wimbledon and the U.S. Open last year, but won't get a chance to notch her first career MD win in her hometown after losing to the 15-year old '17 AO Girls champ.
5. Australian Open Q1 - CAROLINE DOLEHIDE def. Conny Perrin
Perrin led 5-0 and 6-2 in the deciding TB, only to see 19-year old Dolehide save five MP and record her first career slam match win.

HM- Australian Open Q3 - ANNA KAROLINA SCHMIEDLOVA def. Stefanie Voegele
Whoa, Nellie! (Impromptu Keith Jackson tribute.) Welcome back, AKS.

Victoria Picasso

A post shared by Victoria Azarenka (@vichka35) on

2017 Madrid - Simona Halep, ROU (def. Mladenovic)
2017 Nurnberg - Kiki Bertens, NED (def. Krejcikova)
2017 Tokyo TPP - Caroline Wozniacki, DEN (def. Pavlyuchenkova)
2018 HOBART - ELISE BERTENS, BEL (def. Buzarnescu)

9...Serena Williams, USA
4...Victoria Azarenka, BLR
3...Eleni Daniilidou, GRE
3...Patty Schnyder, SUI
2...Simona Halep, ROU
2...Petra Kvitova, CZE
2...Aga Radwanska, POL
2...Maria Sharapova, RUS
2...Venus Williams, USA

**WTA TITLES - 2016-18**
7 - Elina Svitolina, UKR [1/5/1]
5 - Simona Halep, ROU [3/1/1]
5 - Karolina Pliskova, CZE [2/3/0]
4 - Caroline Garcia, FRA [2/2/0]
4 - Dominika Cibulkova, SVK [4/0/0]
4 - Sloane Stephens, USA [3/1/0]
4 - Caroline Wozniacki, DEN [2/2/0]

**WTA FINALS - 2015-18**
15 - 5/8/1/1 - ANGELIQUE KERBER (8-7)
14 - 5/3/5/1 - Simona Halep (8-6)
14 - 3/2/8/1 - Caroline Wozniacki (5-9)
13 - 6/4/3/0 - Karolina Pliskova (6-7)
11 - 5/5/1/0 - Serena Williams (8-3)
10 - 1/3/5/1 - Elina Svitolina (8-2)

=lost in semifinals=
Auckland - Sachia Vickery, USA (22, #122)
Sydney - CAMILA GIORGI, ITA (26, #100)
Hobart - HEATHER WATSON, GBR (25, #74)

All for now.


Blogger colt13 said...

High on Pera, surprised she didn't make it through qualies.

Mertens won Auckland doubles in 2016, making it 3 years in a row that she has won in January.

Keith Jackson tribute? That would be Jamie Hampton coming back. After all, she does live in Al-a-bama.

Actually she ties into this weeks stat, as she was born in West Germany.

Stat of the Week-0- The number of times in the Open Era before 2018 in which women from Germany had won titles in the season's first 2 weeks.

Graf didn't do it? No, but in 1994, she won both the AO and the Pan Pacific in January. Sabine Hack twice won the year's first tournament. But the closest? Sylvia Hanika in 1983 reached the finals of both Washington and Houston, but lost both.

Deutschland rising? Not only have they won in the last 2 WTA weeks, but 4 of the last 5, including the last 4 they entered as they did not have a representative at the YEC. Now you think, that just means Goerges and Kerber. Yes and no. The first week Goerges won, the other tourney that week was won by another German in Carina Witthoft. Fed Cup favorite?

Quiz Time!
1.Since Stefanie Graf's retirement in 1999, which German has the most singles titles?
A.Greta Arn
B.Anna-Lena Gronefeld
C.Anke Huber
D.Angelique Kerber

Interlude- If Buzarnescu beats Wozniacki, I will refer to her as the Buz-saw.

D.Arn was obviously not the answer, though she deserves notice as being one of the 14 women to have one a title after Graf. And just 1, as the other was won representing Hungary. Was not Gronefeld, who only has 1 title, but could be the answer to a different one, as her 15 doubles titles make her the most prolific. Also was not Huber, as she had 12, but only 2 of those after Graf's ret. That makes it Kerber, who picked up her 11th this week.

Germany Since Graf

Sun Jan 14, 01:59:00 PM EST  
Blogger Todd.Spiker said...

On Hampton. ;)

Apparently, Kerber is going to miss the FC 1st Rd. vs. Belarus in February, but if Goerges goes that one still might have a chance to be worth "three whoopies and a hot damn" (KJ). :)

(Now that you mention if, if Buzarnescu *does* upset Wozniacki I guess that means we'd have hear Brad Gilbert try to come up with something of his own on ESPN.)

QUIZ: I was going to say... ;)

I wondered where you were going with that one since I knew Kerber had won eleven, and the others probably hadn't even come close to that combined.

Sun Jan 14, 03:58:00 PM EST  
Blogger Todd.Spiker said...

#5 Babos/Mladenovic d. #4 Safarova/Strycova
#2 Makarova/Vesnina d. #10 Begu/Niculescu
#2 Makarova/Vesnina d. #5 Babos/Mladenovic

Sun Jan 14, 03:59:00 PM EST  
Blogger Leif Mortensen said...

Hard with the Americans today - Coco, Stephens, Bellis and Williams out to that Cibulkova out too.

Sun Jan 14, 11:58:00 PM EST  
Blogger Todd.Spiker said...

Tough match-ups, but it's hard to imagine it going *quite* as badly it it has after all the success at the U.S. Open. But, as Venus said, last year is last year.

Mon Jan 15, 03:09:00 AM EST  

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