Tuesday, June 05, 2018

RG.10- It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad Madison

Is it time to become mad about Madison?

We've known for quite a while that Madison Keys had a lot to give, that she had the ability to be a big-time player. All the shots were there. But, for so long, it's always been something that has prevented an "all-in" push to label her as *the* "it" player of the moment, or the next one to come.

Keys won her first tour-level match at age 14 in 2009, defeating a Top 100 player to get it. She reached the Top 100 at 17, the Top 50 at 18, then won her first WTA singles title and reached her maiden slam semi at 19. No less than Serena Williams called her a "future #1." At 21, she broke into the Top 10 for the first time, becoming the first U.S. woman to do so since Williams seventeen years earlier. Last summer, at 22, she reached her first slam singles final at the U.S. Open.

Keys' progress has almost exclusively occurred via a stop-and-start pattern. While she's often posted big results and completed significant steps in her career when everything has come together to give us a hint of how high her career ceiling may be, they've often come following and/or preceding relatively quiet stretches. Her progress has sometimes been cut short or delayed due to a naggingly negative mentality and mindset when she'd hit a patch of mistakes (early in her career) or by momentum-stopping injuries (of late) that removed her from the equation, slowed her progress, or forced her to learn patience after trying (unsuccessfully) to return to action too early and having a resulting setback. Even her coaching situation has been a circular journey. Her current "head coach," Lindsay Davenport, is now concluding a second stint in the position, one which will end after this Roland Garros, though the Hall of Famer will still offer advice, just not in an official "full-time" capacity.

Keys' life on clay hasn't been immune to the Bannerette's intermittent affection. Oh, she's never particularly much cared for it, preferring the grass (on which she won her first two singles titles) and hard court (on which she'd previously had most of her slam success) surfaces. Still, she reached the 2015 Charleston final, and did the same in Rome in 2016, on the dirt. But finding her way on clay, as has been the case with everything in her career, has been a learning process. Learning to be a pro, and adapting to the patience necessary on clay, have gone hand in hand as they've pushed her toward her goals. While hasn't won a title since last summer (Stanford hard court), and has just two since her first in '14, Keys did finally follow Davenport's wishes and focus more on playing on clay this season.

So far, the additional time allotted has proved fruitful, as her grudging acceptance of the challenge allowed the now 23-year old to come into her QF match on Day 10 in Paris sporting a 10-3 mark on the surface this spring, having won twelve straight sets.

Considering what learning to play on clay did to lift the overall level of a player such as Maria Sharapova, who went from being an awkward participant on it to one of the best on tour after putting in the required work to learn what it takes to win on the dirt -- improving all her shots, footwork, point construction, and her ability to be more accurately choosy about when to be aggressive, not *only* relying on outright power to win points -- maybe Keys is about to get a similar taste of what her hard work might provide to her as a reward.

In another case of not getting frustrated and waiting for another opportunity after initially not taking advantage of one, Keys ultimately won the big points she needed in her battle today with 23-year old Kazakh Putintseva, currently ranked #98 but in her second RG quarterfinal in three years. She held two set points on Putintseva's serve at 6-5 in the 1st, but had to go to a tie-break to finally grab the match lead. The Kazakh was up a mini-break at 2-0, but Keys won four straight points. Her big return winner off a 75 mph second serve from Putintseva gave her two SP at 6-4. Putintseva saved one at the net, but it was Keys whose net approach and put-away backhand claimed the TB at 8-6.

Big return shots from Keys got a break for a 4-3 lead in the 2nd, and she served for the match soon afterward at 5-4. On match point her wide serve flew off the racket frame of the reaching Putintseva, closing out the match at 7-6(6)/6-4. Keys had 30 winners to 21 unforced errors (Putintseva was 12/10), faced just one BP in the match, and won 11 of 19 points at the net.

Though she was joined by another a few hours later, just like when she completed her Career QF Slam with her Round of 16 win two days ago, Keys' win made her the first U.S. woman other than Serena to reach the semis in Paris since Jennifer Capriati in 2004. She's the youngest to do it since Williams in 2003. She's now reached the final four at three of the four slams (she'd be joined by another with that later today, as well), leaving only Wimbledon to complete the set. Keys reached the QF at SW19 in 2015.

For a brief moment today, Keys stood alone in the Bannerette spotlight. But, as has often been the case in her career, the moment didn't last long. For all the big "gets" she's had over the years, Keys tends to, at best, have to share that spotlight, and often gets overshadowed by her countrywomen. Not just the Williams Sisters, but also those in her own generation. CoCo Vandeweghe led the U.S. to the Fed Cup title last year, and joined Keys and veteran Venus Williams in the all-U.S. semis last year in New York. In Keys' appearance in the Open final she was joined by fellow Bannerette and best friend Sloane Stephens, who then had *her* moment at Madison's expense by overwhelming her in a "Future (Sloane) is Now" performance in that match.

Once again, Stephens will be by her side when Keys makes her first appearance in a Roland Garros semifinal in two days. On the other side of the net. And that's both good and bad, especially for Madison.

It's a good thing for the U.S. women's tennis effort to have (at least) a two-headed plan of attack when it comes to contending for slams (and Cups). We've seen it before during the Serena/Venus/Davenport/Capriati era of the early 2000's. Now, as then, it may end up meaning one or more of those in the mix will miss out on multiple major-winning opportunities because of the presence of the other in their path. Davenport could never overcome the Sisters, while Venus' career slam totals might be doubled if not for Serena. It's good to have a running mate, best friend and sister (or all wrapped up in one), but sometimes one player in the relationship ends up "drawing the short straw" where on-court career honors are concerned. In this case, Madison currently finds herself in the "Venus" role to Sloane's "Serena."

The other day, both talked about being nervous while rooting the other on, knowing (and hoping) that they could face each other down the line. Now that scenario is a reality once again. So far, Keys has yet to defeat her friend, going 0-2. This will be their first match on clay.

It could be that the presence of so many (or "another") ultimately spurs an individual on to bigger and better things *because* of the competition, inspiration and necessarily newly-refined focus of the one who is seen as being in the position of having to "come from behind" to reach the same stage. While Keys' has had to work to find real success on clay, Stephens' game more easily adapted to the surface early on when she reached four consecutive 4th Rounds from 2012-15.

Has Madison caught her? We'll soon find out.

...with Keys awaiting the winner in the semis, the match-up between #10 Sloane Stephens and #14 Dasha Kasatkina was going to either produce a terre battue-based rematch of last summer's U.S. Open final or the latest (and first NextGen) Russian semifinalist at a major.

As things went, as was the case in her Round of 16 match against Caroline Wozniacki, Kasatkina's service games were a struggle, and she took the better part of the 1st set to find her range and come close to settling into the long-rally, tactically-sound game style that had gotten her into her first slam QF. Either way, Stephens, who Kasatkina defeated in Indian Wells earlier this season, was just too much for her to overcome.

Stephens broke Kasatkina at love for a 3-1 lead, with her forehand playing a far bigger role in the set's storyline than the Russian could have ever wished against. The Russian managed to turn the momentum in her favor mid-way through the set, but it was only a brief interlude. She broke Stephens to close to within 4-3, then served up 40/love a game later. Kasatkina was a point away from knotting the set on seven occasions in the game, but failed to put any away. Stephens ended the 10-minute game with a break on her second BP and served out the set at 6-3 moments later.

The Bannerette then ran away with what remained of the match in the 2nd. She broke for a 2-1 lead, then breezed to a 6-3/6-1 win in 1:10 to reach her third career slam semifinal (making RG the third of the four majors where she's done it). Kasatkina won just 48% of her first serves, and 35% of her second, committing 25 unforced errors while Stephens balanced out her W/UE numbers (17/18) while converting on five of seven BP opportunities.

The wins assures Stephens of moving past Venus Williams in the rankings, meaning either she or Keys will be the highest-ranked U.S. woman after this slam, not one of the Sisters. One of them will reach their second of the last three major finals while denying the other the same honor.

...in doubles, the all-Maiden duo of Barbora Krejcikova & Katerina Siniakova (#6 seeds) eliminated #3 Klepac/Martinez-Sanchez to reach the semifinals, where they'll face #8 Angel Chan & Yang Zhaoxuan, who finally ended the RG experience of Mihaela Buzarnescu (and Irina Bara).

In mixed, #1-seeds Gaby Dabrowski & Mate Pavic reached their second 2018 mixed slam final. They'll next play for the second leg of a Grand Slam, while Dabrowski will be seeking to defend the RG MX title she won in Paris in '17 with Rohan Bopanna.

#2 Latisha Chan/Ivan Dodig will play #8 Anna Lena Groenefeld/Robert Farah tomorrow for the other berth in the final.

...no big upsets in the juniors today, as the field for the Round of 16 was completed with 2nd Round wins from the likes of #1 Liang En-shuo (AO champ), #2 Wang Xinyu, #3 Maria Camilia Osorio Serrano, #9 Elisabetta Cocciaretto (AO QF), #11 Zheng Qinwen and #15 Leylah Annie Fernandez. Unseeded Iga Swiatek defeated Daniela Vismane (the Latvian reached the AO QF in January), while Taiwan's Joanna Garland took out Astrid finalist Viktoriia Dema.

China (3), Taiwan (2) and the U.S. (2) are the only nations with multiple representatives in the Final 16.

3 - CHN (Wang Xinyu, Wang Xiyu, Zheng Qinwen)
2 - TPE (Johanna Garland, Liang En-shuo)
2 - USA (Coco Gauff, Caty McNally)
1 - ARG (Maria Carle)
1 - CAN (Leylah Annie Fernandez)
1 - COL (Maria Camila Osorio Serrano)
1 - DEN (Clara Tauson)
1 - FRA (Clara Burel)
1 - ITA (Elisabetta Cocciaretto)
1 - JPN (Yuki Naito)
1 - LUX (Eleonora Molinaro)
1 - POL (Iga Swiatek)


...#1 UPDATE ON DAY 10:

...LIKE ON DAY 10: Petra, off the beaten path...

...LIKE ON DAY 10: Ask and ye shall receive


...LIKE ON DAY 10: Petko was talking about the end of the Djokovic/Cecchinato match (13-11 TB), but still...

...LIKE ON DAY 10: Ten years after her RG title run, AnaIvo is doing fine without tennis...

...and, finally, on the topic of AnaIvo, here's little impromptu "Backspin Time Capsule" in the form of my "Affirmation Ana" RG final recap from 2008, which included an on-court cameo from the then only-recently-retired (and thereby setting up this whole scenario) Justine Henin, as well as a glimpse at the moment when ALL things seemed possible for the Serb as a result of her obstacle-overcoming title run in Paris. Of course, as it turn out, it was Ivanovic's only slam win. She reached the SF stage just once ('15 RG) at the 34 majors she contested after the '08 RG.

She was already poised to become #1 in the world on Monday, but Ana Ivanovic still had some unfinished business to take care of in Paris on Saturday.


With the 20-year old Serb's 6-4/6-3 denying of Russian Dinara Safina yet another life in her back-from-the-edge existence at this year's Roland Garros, AnaIvo is now forced to make some room on her mantle for the trophy she'll receive for claiming her first career grand slam title. I'm sure the "household chore" will be worth the effort, even if she will receive a mini replica of the Coupe Suzanne Lenglen rather than a full-size keepsake.

The take-home prize's size doesn't matter... but what it means surely does.

Even before Saturday's final, AnaIvo had always LOOKED like a champion, seemingly calm and impervious to pressure on the surface -- quite the opposite of her wear-her-heart-on-her-sleeve compatriot Jelena Jankovic, who Ivanovic defeated in the semifinals to claim the #1 ranking. But looks can be deceiving, for while she's managed to never appear an emotionally overmatched figure sweating buckets of pressure on the big stage in the past, she's most definitely felt the overbearing weight of the moment on the inside.

The Serb had been rattled in previous attempts to secure her first career slam title. She was barely present in last year's Roland Garros final against Justine Henin, and was competitive for only one set in the Australian Open final against Maria Sharapova in January. As she handled her opponents with relative ease for most of the past two weeks, there was obviously still a worry within her inner circle that she wasn't yet past her stumbles. How else to explain the decision to actively prevent her from knowing that her SF match against Jankovic had literally become a battle for #1 before the first ball was ever struck?

But with #1 secure, there was no hiding the importance of the match against Safina. In a way, everything in her tennis life had built to this one moment for Ivanovic, from smacking shots down the line while inside a dry pool in Belgrade with bombs waiting to be dropped on the city, to the biggest match in her life taking place while Henin waited in the stands to take part in the post match ceremony. Yes, THAT Henin (but more on that in a bit).

This time, Ivanovic was ready.

She grabbed an early 4-1 lead in the 1st set, and only a running forehand smacked down the line by Safina on a break point prevented the Serb from stretching the advantage to 5-1. But the just missed chance led to the set's momentum swinging in the Russian's favor, much like the changing tide that occurred in AnaIvo's SF with Jankovic and Safina's dual back-from-two-match-points-down comebacks against Maria Sharapova (4th Round) and Elena Dementieva (QF) earlier in the tournament.

At 4-3, Ivanovic led 40-love on her own serve, but a few odd service tosses and three errors led to her previous advantage disappearing when Safina hit a backhand down the line to knot things at 4-4. AnaIvo didn't buckle under the pressure, immediately breaking back, but neither did the Russian. Serving for the set, Ivanovic battled back against the opportunity to break that Safina had carved out for herself. The Serb saved a BP with a crosscourt forehand, then regained an advantage with strong serving. A final AnaIvo forehand behind Safina, who struggled to get a racket on the ball and sent it long, gave the set to Ivanovic at 6-4.

In the 2nd set, tied at 1-1, a 26-shot rally gave Ivanovic an early break point, and a tired Safina, while never degenerating into the capitulating player of her past, was never quite the same. Ivanovic broke to go up 2-1, then held at love for 3-1. Safina's Russian language growls and Marat-esque hand gestures signaled that she realized her grand slam chance was slipping from her grasp.

Down 2-3, Safina had a shot at breaking Ivanovic's serve and getting back into the match, but she squandered a break point opportunity on a second serve. An AnaIvo backhand down the line, another deuce point, and two Safina errors wide and long gave the Serb the game and a 4-2 lead as the Russian's running self commentary heated up again (punctuated by a ball hit into the net with anger). Ivanovic's name was being readied to be etched into the Coupe Suzanne Lenglen.

But no longer one to give in, and having made it this far in the tournament because of her new trait, Safina made Ivanovic earn the title. Through a seven-deuce serve game, the Russian gave hope to her supporters that she won't be a one-slam wonder, as she held serve (getting a reversal on a call that would have given Ivanovic a break and a 5-2 lead) and forced AnaIvo to serve out the match.

Showing no hint of nerves, she did just that. She quickly went up 40-love. When Safina wasn't able to get back a shot into the short court on match point, Ivanovic's journey was complete. All that was left was for AnaIvo to make like a Spider-Woman and climb up (Eek! Don't climb onto a flimsy chair like that!) to celebrate with her family in the stands. Well, check that... there was ONE more thing.

For sixteen years after she witnessed, with her mother at her side, Monica Seles win a Roland Garros title in 1992 and plant a seed that led to her winning four of her own, the now-retired Henin was in attendance in order to take part in the post match trophy presentation. The sight of La Petit Taureau on the victory platform, precisely where everyone expected her to be in a different capacity a few months ago, was both a welcome and disconcerting one. While it provided a nice "changing of the guard" photo for history, it also served as a reminder of the notion that she could have worked over either of these two players on this day if her mind and heart were in it.

While the 2008 Roland Garros won't officially have an asterisk beside it, it'll take a few years to forget the vacuum left by Henin's retirement that turned Paris into the Land of Opportunity for two weeks before AnaIvo finally stepped forward as its new queen (for now, at least... or, at worst, for a few weeks before someone else takes her turn).

But "what if's" and "or's" aside, Ivanovic's victory over Safina and the champion's essence she exuded the past two weeks did do one thing without question -- they collectively affirmed AnaIvo as more than just a "potential" superstar. Crisp groundstrokes, better fitness and improved defense had put her on the cusp of something great before this season began, and now she's taken her first big step toward achieving it. Her formerly-lacking court movement was supposed to make RG her worst shot at a slam title, but she's now managed to reach back-to-back finals. Obviously, she's adapted her game far better than now-former #1 Sharapova to the red clay. She's also been a RU at the Australian, a semifinalist at Wimbledon and won the U.S. Open Series in 2006 (she'll be looking to improve on her best-ever 4th Round result in NYC come late summer).

Unlike Sharapova, Ivanovic can be a true threat RIGHT NOW at all four slams. Unlike Serena Williams, she can be healthy and in the right frame of mind to compete at a high level at all four slams. Unlike Svetlana Kuznetsova, she's proven she can actually win a singles title outright on the court at some point over the last year and a half. And unlike Jankovic, she's shown she has a complete enough game, both mentally and physically, for there to no longer be any lingering questions about her ability to handle the inherent pressure of playing for the game's biggest prizes.

Whether Ivanovic can do what she did in Paris on a slam-by-slam, four times a season, year in and year out basis is still left to be proven. But, at 20 and showing marked improvement in her game and training at each slam stop, there's really no reason to think AnaIvo's rise won't continue.

"The Club" has a new member. Both on and off the court, Ivanovic is officially tennis' newest superstar.

Let's just hope Ana doesn't let it go to her head.

#1 Simona Halep/ROU vs. #12 Angelique Kerber/GER
#3 Garbine Muguruza/ESP vs. #28 Maria Sharapova/RUS
#13 Madison Keys/USA def. Yulia Putintseva/KAZ
#10 Sloane Stephens/USA def. #14 Dasha Kasatkina/RUS

#1 Babos/Mladenovic (HUN/FRA) vs. Hozumi/Ninomiya (JPN/JPN)
#8 A.Chan/Yang Zhaoxuan (TPE/CHN) d. Bara/Buzarnescu (ROU/ROU)
#6 Krejcikova/Siniakova (CZE/CZE) d. #3 Klepac/Martinez-Sanchez (SLO/ESP)
Arruabarrena/Srebotnik (ESP/SLO) vs. #2 S.-Hlavackova/Strycova (CZE/CZE)

#1 Dabrowski/Pavic (CAN/CRO) def. Srebotnik/S.Gonzalez (SLO/MEX)
#8 Groenefeld/Farah (GER/COL) vs. #2 L.Chan/Dodig (TPE/CRO)

#1 Liang En-shuo/TPE vs. Caty McNally/USA
#12 Maria Lourdes Carle/ARG vs. #8 Wang Xiyu/CHN
Iga Swiatek/POL vs. #13 Clara Burel/FRA
#10 Yuki Naito/JPN vs. #5 Clara Tauson/DEN
Joanna Garland/TPE vs. #11 Zheng Qinwen/CHN
#15 Leylah Annie Fernandez/CAN vs. #3 Maria Camila Osorio Serrano/COL
#6 Eleonora Molinaro/LUX vs. #9 Elisabetta Cocciaretto/ITA
#16 Coco Gauff/USA vs. #2 Wang Xinyu/CHN

2006 Nicole Vaidisova, CZE
2007 Ana Ivanovic, SRB
2008 Dinara Safina, RUS
2009 Dominika Cibulkova, SVK
2010 Ons Jabeur, TUN (Jr.)
2011 Caroline Garcia, FRA
2012 Sara Errani, ITA
2013 [post-Vergeer WC champ] Sabine Ellerbrock, GER
2014 [Spaniard] Garbine Muguruza, ESP
2015 [Swarmette] Andreea Mitu, ROU
2016 [Turk] Cagla Buyukakcay, TUR
2017 [Teen] Alona Ostapenko, LAT
2018 [NextGen Hordette] Dasha Kasatkina, RUS

2007 Esther Vergeer, NED
2008 Esther Vergeer, NED
2009 Esther Vergeer, NED
2010 Esther Vergeer, NED
2011 Esther Vergeer, NED
2012 Esther Vergeer, NED
2013 Sabine Ellerbrock, GER
2014 Yui Kamiji, JPN
2015 Jiske Griffioen, NED
2016 Marjolein Buis, NED
2017 Yui Kamiji, JPN
2018 ?
2007 Maaike Smit/Esther Vergeer, NED/NED
2008 Jiske Griffioen/Esther Vergeer, NED/NED
2009 Korie Homan/Esther Vergeer, NED/NED
2010 Daniela Di Toro/Aniek van Koot, AUS/NED
2011 Esther Vergeer/Sharon Walraven, NED/NED
2012 Marjolein Buis/Esther Vergeer, NED/NED
2013 Jiske Griffioen/Aniek van Koot, NED/NED
2014 Yui Kamiji/Jordanne Whiley, JPN/GBR
2015 Jiske Griffioen/Aniek van Koot, NED/NED
2016 Yui Kamiji/Jordanne Whiley, JPN/GBR
2017 Yui Kamiji/Margolein Buis, JPN/NED
2018 ?

2006 Katarina Srebotnik & Nenad Zimonjic
2007 Nathalie Dechy & Andy Ram
2008 Victoria Azarenka & Bob Bryan
2009 Liezel Huber & Bob Bryan
2010 Katarina Srebotnik & Nenad Zimonjic
2011 Casey Dellacqua & Scott Lipsky
2012 Sania Mirza & Mahesh Bhupathi
2013 Lucie Hradecka & Frantisek Cermak
2014 Anna-Lena Groenefeld & Jean-Julien Rojer
2015 Bethanie Mattek-Sands & Mike Bryan
2016 Martina Hingis & Leander Paes
2017 Gaby Dabrowski & Rohan Bopanna
2018 ?

TOP QUALIFIER: Francesca Schiavone/ITA
TOP EARLY-ROUND (1r-2r): #4 Elina Svitolina/UKR (def. Tomljanovic/Kuzmova in straights)
TOP QUALIFYING MATCH: Q3: Alexandra Dulgheru/ROU d. Tamara Korpatsch/GER 6-1/5-7/7-6(7) (from MP down and 5-2 in the 3rd for final qualifying berth)
TOP EARLY-RD. MATCH (1r-2r): 1st Rd.: Irina-Camelia Begu/ROU def. Anna Karolina Schmiedlova/SVK 6-4/5-7/9-7 (Begu served for match at 5-3 3rd; AKS saved triple MP at 8-7; Begu converts MP #4 for 3:19 win, denying AKS first slam MD victory since 2015)
FIRST VICTORY: Ekaterina Makarova/RUS (def. Zheng Saisai/CHN)
FIRST SEED OUT: #9 Venus Williams/USA (1st Rd/lost to Wang Qiang/CHN)
NATION OF POOR SOULS: Latvia (0-2; first slam both DC/#5 Ostapenko and #20 Sevastova out 1st Round after ten consecutive; only second time happened since both first in same slam draw at '16 AO; also combined 0-3 in WD/MX, as well)
LAST QUALIFIERS STANDING: Dolehide/USA, Dulgheru/ROU, Duque-Marino/COL, Frech/POL, Garcia-Perez/ESP, Peterson/SWE (all 2nd Rd.)
LAST WILD CARD STANDING: Pauline Parmentier/FRA (3rd Rd.)
LAST PASTRY STANDING: Caroline Garcia (4th Rd.)
IT "NextGen Hordette": Dasha Kasatkina/RUS
CRASH & BURN: #5 Alona Ostapenko/LAT (defending champ; lost 1st Rd. to #66 Kozlova; first RG DC out 1st Rd. since '05)
ZOMBIE QUEEN OF PARIS: Yulia Putintseva/KAZ (3rd Rd.: down 6-1/4-1 & 2 MP, 3-0 in 3rd, vs. Wang Qiang; reaches second career slam QF)
DOUBLES STAR: Nominees: Srebotnik, Dabrowski
VETERAN PLAYER (KIMIKO CUP): Nominees: Kerber, Srebotnik
Légion de Lenglen HONOREE: Serena Williams/USA (The Catsuit/Bodysuit II)
Coupe LA PETIT TAUREAU: Mihaela Buzarnescu/ROU [on LPT Day/June 1, #31 seed upset #4-seed, and one-time Henin pupil, Svitolina to record her first career Top 5 win and reach maiden slam Rd. of 16 -- she had zero slam MD win before this RG]

All for Day 10. More tomorrow.


Blogger colt13 said...

Ivanovic time capsule is an interesting read.

Also like the Keys writeup, although I pick Stephens.

Putinseva showed well today. Is she the new Stosur at the French, like Makarova in Australia and Pironkova at Wimbledon?

If Halep wins the title, it will look like a career defining run. She will have to go through at least 2 slam winners, and 3 if Stephens makes the final.

Stat of the Day-9- The number of years since two women from the same country reached the semi finals of the French Open.

Until today, when Stephens and Keys did it. Obviously, if you are a solo star from your country-think Radwanska, you don't have a tandem partner. But even with that, counting today, there have been 12 pairings in the last 21 years.

2018 USA Keys/Stephens
2009 RUS Kuznetsova/Safina
2008 SRB Ivanovic/Jankovic
2008 RUS Kuznetsova/Safina
2006 BEL Clijsters/Henin
2005 RUS Likhovtseva/Petrova
2004 RUS Dementieva/Myskina
2003 BEL Clijsters/Henin
2002 USA Capriati/S.Williams/V.Williams
2001 BEL Clijsters/Henin
2000 ESP Martinez/Sanchez Vicario
1998 USA Davenport/Seles

Tue Jun 05, 07:15:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Todd.Spiker said...

Yeah, I kind of pick Sloane, too. But I've tried to do an open on a different person every day, and hadn't really done anything on Keys yet (and there was more to say about her today, so...). ;)

I never would have believed at the time that it'd be SEVEN years before Ivanovic would reach a second semi, and that it'd be her ONLY one after 2008. Maybe it says something about Halep that she continues to lose in slam finals, or not quite get that far, but she continually puts herself in position to have a another deep run at multiple numbers of majors every year. Somehow, I think if she'd won early that would still be the case with her, unlike AnaIvo. Sometimes we get wrapped up in the BIG result, and overlook the mounting numbers of very good ones that maybe reveal as much good about a player as the lack of a HUGE title does in a negative way.

Would like to make a Halep comparison soon about perseverance and things taking time (about, say, Thursday night -- so you might know what I'm talking about), but I won't actually do it until I *can.* :)

Ah, interesting two-nation list. Other than the U.S., I wonder which might be the next to do it? Could it be, say, Russia again? It almost happened here, since Kasatkina & Sharapova were so close. You could think CZE in other slams, but maybe not RG. Germany, Latvia, maybe? France, even?

Tue Jun 05, 09:16:00 PM EDT  
Blogger colt13 said...

To answer your question, CZE is an obvious choice at other slams, and not just because of Kvitova and Pliskova.

Ukraine is the other. It will take a year or two, no, not because of Svitolina's struggles, but the time it will take for Kostyuk, Yastremska and, co to mature.

Darkhorse-Belarus- Away from clay, their Big 3-Azarenka, Sabalenka, Sasnovich should be threats.

Babos lost, so Vesnina/Makarova, or is it Vesnina::::::Makarova are #1. Also Wozniacki out of the running in singles, just Halep and Muguruza. Interesting how that worked out.

Wed Jun 06, 10:59:00 AM EDT  

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