Tuesday, March 06, 2018

Pell Mell and Anything Goes in Indian Wells?

Hmmm, but what does it mean for Indian Wells?

1989 Manuela Maleeva d. Jenny Byrne
1990 Martina Navratilova d. Helena Sukova
1991 Martina Navratilova d. Monica Seles
1992 Monica Seles d. Conchita Martinez
1993 Mary Joe Fernandez d. Amanda Coetzer
1994 Steffi Graf d. Amanda Coetzer
1995 Mary Joe Fernandez d Natasha Zvereva
1996 Steffi Graf d Conchita Martinez
1997 Lindsay Davenport d. Irina Spirlea
1998 Martina Hingis d. Lindsay Davenport
1999 Serena Williams d. Steffi Graf
2000 Lindsay Davenport d. Martina Hingis
2001 Serena Williams d. Kim Clijsters
2002 Daniela Hantuchova d. Martina Hingis
2003 Kim Clijsters d. Lindsay Davenport
2004 Justine Henin d. Lindsay Davenport
2005 Kim Clijsters d. Lindsay Davenport
2006 Maria Sharapova d. Elena Dementieva
2007 Daniela Hantuchova d. Svetlana Kuznetsova
2008 Ana Ivanovic d. Svetlana Kuznetsova
2009 Vera Zvonareva d. Ana Ivanovic
2010 Jelena Jankovic d. Caroline Wozniacki
2011 Caroline Wozniacki d. Marion Bartoli
2012 Victoria Azarenka d. Maria Sharapova
2013 Maria Sharapova d. Caroline Wozniacki
2014 Flavia Pennetta d. Aga Radwanska
2015 Simona Halep d. Jelena Jankovic
2016 Victoria Azarenka d. Serena Williams
2017 Elena Vesnina d. Svetlana Kuznetsova

1989 Mandlikova/Pam Shriver d. Fairbank/Rush-Magers
1990 Novotna/Sukova d. G.Fernandez/Navratilova
1992 Kohde-Kilsch/Rehe d. Hetherington/Rinaldi
1993 Stubbs/Sukova d. Grossman/Hy
1994 Davenport/Raymond d. Bollegraf/Sukova
1995 Davenport/Raymond d. Savchenko Neiland/A.Sanchez
1996 Rubin/Schultz-McCarthy d. Halard/Tauziat
1997 Davenport/Zvereva d. Raymond/Tauziat
1998 Davenport/Zvereva d. Fusai/Tauziat
1999 Hingis/Kournikova d. MJ.Fernandez/Novotna
2000 Davenport/Morariu d. Kournikova/Zvereva
2001 Arendt/Sugiyama d. Ruano Pascual/Suarez
2002 Raymond/Stubbs d. Dementieva/Husarova
2003 Davenport/Raymond d. Clijsters/Sugiyama
2004 Ruano Pascual/Suarez d. Kuznetsova/Likhovtseva
2005 Ruano Pascual/Suarez d. Petrova/Shaughnessy
2006 Raymond/Stosur d. Ruano Pascual/Shaughnessy
2007 Raymond/Stosur d. Chan/Chan
2008 Safina/Vesnina d. Yan/Zheng
2009 Azarenka/Zvonareva d. Dulko/Peer
2010 Peschke/Srebotnik d. Petrova/Stosur
2011 Mirza/Vesnina d. Mattek-Sands/Shaughnessy
2012 Huber/Raymond d. Mirza/Vesnina
2013 Makarova/Vesnina d. Petrova/Srebotnik
2014 Hsieh/Peng d. C.Black/Mirza
2015 Hingis/Mirza d. Makarova/Vesnina
2016 Mattek-Sands/Vandeweghe d. Goerges/Ka.Pliskova
2017 L.Chan/Hingis d. Hradecka/Siniakova

6...Lindsay Davenport (2-4)
3...Kim Clijsters (2-1)
3...Steffi Graf (2-1)
3...Maria Sharapova (2-1) *
3...Serena Williams (2-1) *
3...Martina Hingis (1-2)
3...Caroline Wozniacki (1-2) *
3...Svetlana Kuznetsova (0-3) *
2...Martina Navratilova (2-0)
2...Victoria Azarenka (2-0) *
2...Mary Joe Fernandez (2-0)
2...Daniela Hantuchova (2-0)
2...Ana Ivanovic (1-1)
2...Jelena Jankovic (1-1) *
2...Monica Seles (1-1)
2...Amanda Coetzer (0-2)
2...Conchita Martinez (0-2)
* - active

[since January 2012, when Azarenka first #1]
2012 Miami (Champion: Radwanska)
2013 Wimbledon (Bartoli)
2014 Australian Open (Li)
2014 Wimbledon (Kvitova)
2014 Montreal (Radwanska)
2015 Indian Wells (Halep)
2015 Madrid (Kvitova)
2016 Australian Open (Kerber)

[reached IW-Miami Finals]
1991 Monica Seles (L-W)
1994 Steffi Graf (W-W)
1996 Steffi Graf (W-W)
1999 Serena Williams (W-L)
2000 Lindsay Davenport (W-L)
2000 Martina Hingis (L-W)
2005 Kim Clijsters (W-W)
2006 Maria Sharapova (W-L)
2012 Maria Sharapova (L-L)
2013 Maria Sharapova (W-L)
2016 Victoria Azarenka (W-W)
[reached AO-IW-Miami Finals]
1991 Monica Seles (W-L-W)
1994 Steffi Graf (W-W-W)
2000 Lindsay Davenport (W-W-L)
2000 Martina Hingis (L-L-W)
2012 Maria Sharapova (L-L-L)

Sure, Garbine won the Best Dressed award BEFORE the tournament, but what about the trophy that'll be handed out in a little under two weeks...?

WS: #1 Halep, #2 Wozniacki
WD: #1 Makarova/Vesnina, #2 Chan/Chan
...so many various parts of the old band (Serena, Vika, Sveta, etc.) all seem to be getting back together in the desert, but will those returns (and a few others) *only* be first week stories?

Serena opens her season vs. Zarina Diyas, but could meet Venus in the 3rd Round. Vika gets Heather Watson (with Sloane Stephens waiting in the wings in the 2nd), while Sveta's post-bye match will be vs. the Sabalenka/Lepchenko winner. Also, Maria Sharapova will face Naomi Osaka in the 1st, and would meet Aga Radwanska (oh, the possibilities...) one round later, then maybe Garbine Muguruza. Meanwhile, defending champion Elena Vesnina's potential 2nd Rounder vs. giant-killing-loving CiCi Bellis could be a doozy.

But what about week two?

Well, while Indian Wells has traditionally been a haven for the "well-to-do" of the WTA tour -- 20 of 29 singles champions have won slam crowns, and five of the nine who haven't have reached slam finals, with two having been ranked #1 -- last year's version was one of the rare breaks with tournament history. Vesnina's surprise title run made her only the fourth I.W. champ -- with Manuela Maleeva ('89) and Daniela Hantuchova ('02/'07) -- without at least a slam singles final appearance on her resume (though she *did* reach the semis at SW19 in '16).

Of course, the Russian "paid" for her rule-breaking. Since her Indian Wells triumph, she's has gone just 18-25. Her opponent in the final last year -- Svetlana Kuznetsova -- has won two more matches over the same span (20-12), and she hasn't even played a competitive match since early October.

Hmmm, of course, over the past month, whenever she's been in action, the entire tennis establishment has bowed down in tribute to a certain Czech. Though she's never won a title in the desert, or even reached a semifinal there (her best results have been QF runs in '13 and '16), in her absence, the love for all things Petra was palpable... as well as tangible.

Arriving in California on a 13-match, three-city, two title-winning peerless streak, Kvitova is the #9 seed, positioned in the Muguruza/Pliskova quarter of the draw, on the #1-seeded Simona Halep's side of the big board. She's on the opposite side of the action from the likes of Serena, Vika, Maria, Caro, Venus, Elina and even defending champ Elena. So, while there will likely be drama in Petra's half of the field, *many* eyes will be focused elsewhere. At least for a while.

Will it produce yet another environment that will allow the likes of Super Petra to maintain her peak(ing) form? While climbing back into the group herself, Kvitova's already taken down six Top 10ers during her 13-match run. Could consecutive 4th Rd-QF-SF face-offs with Pliskova/Muguruza/Halep set the stage for a true love-fest on the final weekend of play?

Well, here's *one* version of how things might go...

#1 Halep d. #14 Mladenovic
#11 Konta d. #6 Ostapenko
#3 Muguruza d. #16 Barty
#9 Kvitova d. #5 Ka.Pliskova

Has Halep's foot gotten enough rest? We could find out early, as she might face Cibulkova in the 3rd Round, then Mladenovic (the '17 semifinalist might get Mertens in the 3rd, after defeating her in Fed Cup last month) in the Round of 16. Is this where Konta (just 6-5 in non-FC matches) or Ostapenko (3-6 on tour) finally begin to find their form (or might the returning Kuznetsova immediately hit her stride and beat out both of them?)? Muguruza has been busy around L.A. in recent days, but *did* reach the QF a year ago and has posted good results in recent weeks. Kvitova has won 24 straight matches vs. fellow Czech Maidens (and is 45-8 against her countrywomen in her pro career).

#8 V.Williams d. #12 Goerges
#4 Svitolina d. #15 Keys
#10 Kerber d. #7 Garcia
#2 Wozniacki d. (WC) Azarenka

Goerges is coming off a hip injury that caused her to miss Dubai, while Venus is playing Indian Wells for a third straight year for the first time since 1996-98. It's high time Svitolina put up a deep run in (at least) one of the Sunshine Double events. The Ukrainian has a gradual approach to things, so after 1st/2nd Round exits in 2013-14, then 4th/3rd/4th the last three years in the desert, it should work out to a QF/SF result this time around, right? Kerber has cooled off *just a little* since her sterling start to '18, but while she's 0-3 this year vs. the Halep/Wozniacki/Svitolina trio, she's 15-0 (19-0 w/ Hopman) against everyone else. She can't face any of those three until at least the QF. Wozniacki reached three I.W. finals between 2010-13 (winning once), and was a combined 8-2 there (QF) and Miami (RU) in '17.

#1 Halep d. #11 Konta
#9 Kvitova d. #3 Muguruza
#8 V.Williams d. #4 Svitolina
#2 Wozniacki d. #10 Kerber

...Halep is 2-2 vs. Konta on hard courts, losing to her in Miami last year (in fact, it was *the* match that sparked The Ultimatum from coach Darren Cahill), then defeating the Brit last summer in Cincinnati. Kvitova, who has played in I.W. just once in the past three years, leads the career series vs. Muguruza 4-1, with four straight wins. Svitolina has won her last two matches vs. a Williams. Wozniacki and Kerber first met on a tennis court fourteen years ago, in a junior event in Luxembourg in 2004 (Caro won in three sets). Six of their last ten matches (of 14 as pros -- Kerber leads 8-6) have gone the distance

#9 Kvitova d. #1 Halep
#2 Wozniacki d. #8 V.Williams

...of course, with these semifinals, we *could* have a "do-over" of the AO final.

#9 Kvitova d. #2 Wozniacki

...the story sort of writes itself, so you almost have to go with it.

...the doubles draw isn't out yet. But, ummm, maybe Dabrowski/Xu? They won in Miami in 2017.

At any rate...

So, expect the unexpected?

All for now.


Blogger colt13 said...

Looking at the doubles list, it reminds me how underrated Shaughnessy was.

7.5 On the Up Side-The Blizzard Edition.

1.Muguruza-Justine and Carlos. Garbine and Conchita? Even when losing, Muguruza is a better player with Martinez around. The pick to win this week, but as usual, there are two red flags. One is her balky hamstrings, which always make her a threat to retire. The other is that only 3 of her 9 career finals have come in the first half of the season.
2.Keys-She beat Svitolina on the way to the US Open final, and would need to do so here. Also the fact that she is back on US soil means so much. One of the reasons that Keys doesn't have a big title is that she doesn't play that much. Since the beginning of 2015, she has played 50 events. Serena took off a year and only played 21. But Mladenovic? 88. That is about 9 more a year, and even if Keys plays a more reasonable schedule, say 4 or 5, the person that has already played at the YEC, a slam final, and for the Bronze Medal, might actually win a big title.
3.Babos-The current #5 in doubles, but if the tea leaves are right, the YEC and AO winner should be 3 after Miami, and #1 after Madrid.
4.Mattek-Sands-Team Bucie is delayed 2 more weeks. But what a difference four months make. But wasn't Mattek-Sands out for eight? Yes, but the four extra months played last year by Hingis keep her at #1, while Mattek-Sands is at 26. Even at 50%, Team Bucie would be in line for the YEC, especially since the #13 team of Bertens/Schuurs is the last one in. How is that possible? Peng/Hsieh-done, Chan/Sestini-done. Same with Chan/Yang and Strycova/Safarova. But didn't I say 5? Dabrowski actually qualifies with both Xu and Ostapenko.
5.Konta-Don't love her draw, but have to pick her here. Playing better, and even though it is a small sample size, I can't pick her in Miami. Why? Because she has never won a match when defending a title.
6.S.Williams-Watching Tiger Woods in recent years reminds us that just because you were great, you aren't guaranteed anything when you come back. Assume the power will be there, but not the movement, which somebody should try to expose. Before the draw, the idea was the the Big 3 would all win their first rd match, 2 out of 3 the 2nd. Sharapova got the worst draw of the 3.
7.Azarenka-The most likely of the Big 3 to make a QF run. Just to flash back to that 2012-13 stretch, the trio won 6 consecutive slams, plus the Olympics and YEC. 2012 had them win 14 titles, with 9 other finals. Azarenka and Williams were the hot knives, and Sharapova was the butter, as they went through her for every meaningful title.
7.5.Ka.Pliskova-SF last year, and even with Kvitova and Muguruza in her section, arguably could be the favorite.

Tue Mar 06, 11:48:00 AM EST  
Blogger colt13 said...

7.5 On the Down Side.

1.Stosur-Has a 51/49 match against Davis. Either Stosur wins in 2, or Davis in 3. Why? Because the buff Stosur is surprisingly 4-10 in her last 14 3 set matches.
2.Peng-Once, twice, thrice. Originally on this list because she is on an 0-5 streak, which could have been 0-7, as the match she won was via ret, she doubled down by splitting up with Hsieh after reaching a final. Then tripled down by pulling out of IW and Miami. Admittedly, she has been this year's version of Mladenovic, hobbling around the court in singles, then playing doubles-and having success.
3.Hsieh-Has been a joy to watch on court. But on this list because of a pattern. Feud with Peng breaks up their partnership. Feuds with the Chan sisters. Feuds with Taipei that runs so deep that the 8 time Fed Cup participant skipped the last 2 years. Plus withdrawing from the Olympics. Don't know who is at fault, but the optics don't look good.
4.L.Chan-The pairing with Sestini wasn't a Roland Emmerich movie, aka a disaster, but this is the first time since 2014 that Chan wasn't won a title in the season's first two months. The other troubling aspect, insert 2017 Kerber notes here, is that Chan became #1 in October and hasn't won since. Former partner Hingis reclaimed the #1 spot by herself 3 weeks before, so she only played as #1 for a month, but didn't win. This is where I mention that Safarova was #1, but after Mattek-Sands injury, and with other partners has not won. Mattek-Sands is the last #1 to have won a title.
5.H.Chan-The move to pair with her sister is a good one, just on the list because of the timing. She splits with Yang after winning Dubai, the first title with someone other than her sister since Medina Garrigues in 2015. Oddly enough, she did the same thing last year when she won Taiwan with her sister, who then left to play with Hingis. The lack of titles without her sister is a surprise, as in her 23 events last year, she had 11 partners.
6.Svitolina-Realistically she is still one of the favorites, but with Keys, Goerges and V.Williams in her section, she is going to have to step up her game. Also has never been past the 4th rd here or Miami.
7.Gavrilova-On here because of the reckless racket smash, which went farther than her serve. Then reached the SF and attempted to smash another one. The double faults are becoming a thing. But the sliver lining? She fought. Down multiple breaks, Tsurenko pulled a Svitolina and got broken trying to serve out the match. Daria eventually succumbed, but only after facing 7 match points.
7.5.Putinseva- This is the 7th time this season I have done this, and the first time I have mentioned Putinseva. She hasn't moved the needle at all, and primarily is getting a mention because Gavrilova pulled a Putinseva. But the numbers tell the story. Afert a star marking turn at the 2016 French Open, in which she reached the QF, she has only had a QF or better result in 5 of her 46 events. Washing SF in 16, and St. Petersburg F in 17 are her two notable runs.

Tue Mar 06, 12:15:00 PM EST  
Blogger Todd.Spiker said...

Ah, agree on Konta. Don't particularly like her overall recent results since last summer, or that Kuznetsova/Sabalenka are in her way early, or that Ostapenko (in whatever form) is there, too. But picking her through in the section because of her past hard court results. That said, this would be a great spot for Latvian Thunder to finally make some noise in singles. *Crossing fingers.*

Hmmm, with *both* Serena and Tiger Woods in action this week, I wonder when the last time was *that* was the case.

Azarenka is going to be interesting to see here. Unlike the other returnees, her absence hasn't been injury/recovery related, so she's been able to practice regularly and should theoretically be in far better form. Though being *match tough* is another thing. The last time she played the Indian Wells/Miami swing she won *both* titles (2016).

And Latisha Chan -- excluding last year with Hingis, of course -- hasn't had great success with partners other than her sister, either. *Her* last title (pre-Hingis '17) without Angel was with Zheng Jie in 2010. (!)

Maybe Svitolina winning that exo thing at MSG (not even sure of the particulars, as other than Hopman I have little use for those things) *might* give her some momentum for Indian Wells. Maybe? :\

Putintiseva's Fed Cup loss to Ankita Raina, while a great thing for the Indian, can't be seen as a good sign at all for *her*.

Tue Mar 06, 01:30:00 PM EST  
Blogger colt13 said...

"There's basically three people I wanted to play: It was Venus, her, and Serena," Osaka said. "I ticked two people off so now I just have to play Serena and I'm really looking forward to that."

Osaka is already one of the best interviews on tour.

Watching the Azarenka/Sabalenka practice videos.Fun pairing.

Thu Mar 08, 09:15:00 AM EST  
Blogger Todd.Spiker said...

It's still early, but the Osaka/Sascha pairing is showing some real progress so far.

Thu Mar 08, 10:52:00 AM EST  

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