Wednesday, June 06, 2018

RG.11- Four Star French Frenzy

Day 11 was a "4-for-1" day on the women's side, as four current or former #1 players faced off in a pair of quarterfinal matches with the prize being the right to move within a match of another major final. So, naturally, the great brilliance of the schedule put the matches on court simultaneously so that neither match-up could get the attention that such an occasion should warrant.

Either way, all of the women remaining in the top half of the draw had a story to tell, each one with their own unfinished chapters to fill out.

Court Lenglen had #1 Simona Halep, still seeking her first major crown and trying to edge closer to her third Roland Garros final in five years and second major final in '18 after playing herself into a hospital bed in Melbourne en route to another slam runner-up finish, taking on #12-seeded Angelique Kerber, looking to complete a Career Semifinal Slam with her first Final Four berth in Paris and maintain the momentum of a campaign that has seen her rebound from the disappointing year that followed her #1 season of 2016.

On Chatrier, #3 Garbine Muguruza, the '16 RG champ, came into the day a few days from becoming not only #1 again but also the first three-time slam champ outside of the Williams/Belgians/Sharapova mold since Jennifer Capriati won her third slam sixteen years ago. Another title run in Paris and the Spaniard could put down even more formidable roots that could lead to her being viewed by all as what she's been viewed by some for a few years now, namely as the women best equipped to be the most accomplished player of her generation. Her opponent was the aforementioned Maria Sharapova, seeded #28 here but a two-time RG champ who this spring has recaptured a large portion of her former prowess on the dirt after having struggled to stay healthy long enough to make a real dent on tour after returning from her 15-month suspension thirteen months ago.

Combined the four women have claimed nine major titles, reached nineteen slam finals, won sixty-nine tour singles crowns and spent ninety total weeks at #1.

While Halep and Kerber were meeting for the first time since their rollercoaster semifinal match-up in Melbourne, when the Romanian squandered a set and 3-1 lead then saved two match points to reach the final, Muguruza and Sharapova were meeting for the first time since 2014 (the Russian won a three-setter in Montreal, improving to 3-0 in the head-to-head), which a *whole lot* having happened in both their careers since they last found themselves on opposite sides of the net.

Oddly enough, *both* matches started with one player streaking to an identical big lead. Only one of the women with her back against the wall would be able to find a way to recover.

Halep, as has been the case on occasion at this tournament, was again slow off the mark and error-prone to begin the match. Kerber won nine of the first eleven points. Halep's thirteen unforced errors helped dig her hole deeper, as she fell down a double-break at 4-0.

Meanwhile, Muguruza was on top of Sharapova from the start, playing from inside the baseline and pushing the Russian into the backcourt. In effect, doing to Sharapova what she seeks to do to *her* opponents. The Spaniard took a 4-0 lead and once again had "the look" that in the past has prefaced a big final weekend celebration for her at two previous majors over the last two seasons.

Halep managed to finally get a foothold in the match in game #5. She followed up a love hold by going up love/40 on Kerber's serve. She got the break and extended the set which had moments earlier seemed destined to finish early.

It was something that Sharapova *wasn't* able to do. Though their stats for the 1st set belied the nature of the actual contest -- Muguruza won just six more points (33-27) and had three fewer winners (5-8) -- as the Spaniard didn't face a BP while she got seven opportunities on that of the Russian (breaking twice). Sharapova served at just 52%, and won only 29% of her second serves as Muguruza took the set 6-2.

While Halep had effectively pulled herself back up (via a somehow- unfrayed rope) from her position over the edge of the Cliffs of Simona, Kerber still served for the set at 5-4. Halep got the break, but immediately dropped her own serve a game later to give the German a second chance at 6-5. Again, she couldn't do it, falling behind 15/40 and being broken again. In the tie-break, though, Kerber jumped out to a lead and held on. She went up 2-0, then saw Halep avoid a steeper deficit when chair umpire Kader Nouni overruled an out call on a down-the-line Halep forehand and awarded the Romanian a point to pull to within 2-1. But Kerber wasn't bothered by the incident. She argued against the overrule (Nouni *was* correct), but then went about her business. She swept the final five points of the TB, which ended when Halep netted a backhand to give Kerber the set with a 7-2 win.

The 2nd set of Muguruza/Sharapova began with three consecutive breaks of serve, with the Spaniard holding the "on serve" edge at 2-1. She was the first to successfully garner a hold, taking a 3-1 lead. It would turn out to be the key game of the set.

Halep opened the 2nd set with a break of Kerber's serve, picking up on the momentum's she'd gained control of as the 1st set had gone on, no matter how it ultimately ended. This time, reversing her fumble from a short time earlier, she backed it up by consolidating the break with a hold to lead 2-0. She led 3-1 when she again pressured the German on serve. Kerber battled to secure the game to pull within 3-2.

Once Muguruza had secured her hold in game #4, she never looked back. She broke Sharapova a game later to go up 4-1, and coasted to a 6-2/6-1 win in a match that lasted just 1:10.

While the points total was close in the 1st, the Spaniard ran away in the 2nd, more than doubling the Russian (she won just 11 points in the seven games) and finishing with a healthy +19 (57-38) advantage. The two were equal in winners on the day (10-10), but Sharapova had 27 UE (vs. Muguruza's 15) while Garbi broke her serve six total times (6/12 BP) and was 6-of-6 at the net. Muguruza has still yet to lose a set at this Roland Garros en route to advancing to her fourth career slam semifinal. So far, she's 3-0.

Kerber's big opportunity to get out of Day 11 with a straight sets win came via a Halep double-fault in game #8. It gave the German a BP to get back on serve. But when Halep got the hold after racing to dig out a drop shot and push it back off the end of her racket for a winner, Kerber's chances were eventually seen to have suffered their fatal blow.

The Romanian held for 5-3, then saw Kerber double-fault to fall behind love/40 a game later. Three consecutive errors gave Kerber a brief reprieve, but on SP #4 the German DF'd again to hand Halep the set at 6-3 and knot the match. Already with a 4-0 record vs. Kerber in three-setters, Halep had a gust of wind at her back.

Halep held to open the 3rd, and broke Kerber in game #2, winning eight of the first nine points in the set. Kerber broke back for 2-1, but immediately fell into a 15/40 hole on her own serve. She got things to deuce, but Halep broke for 3-1 and then raced to the finish line as the games came and went fairly quickly down the stretch. Kerber won just one more game as a (by now) confident Halep sprinted into her sixth career slam semi (3-2, 2-0 in Paris).

The final stats showed the aggressive style of play employed by both women (Kerber controlling early, then Halep doing so most of the rest of the way). Twelve breaks of serve occurred as both Halep (26/46) and Kerber (24/53) racked up high W/UE totals.

Ten years after Ana Ivanovic and Jelena Jankovic played in an all-Serb semi in Paris with the #1 ranking on the line, we'll see a similar (but not identical) scenario tomorrow. The day finally eliminated Caroline Wozniacki's bid to reclaim the #1 ranking, as the winner of the Halep/Muguruza semi will either retain or re-take the top spot. AnaIvo, of course, won that match and went on to claim her maiden slam title two days later, while JJ ultimately finished the season at #1 that year. Hmmm.

Muguruza has won three of her previous four meetings with the Romanian (she got a walkover in the Doha SF earlier this year, too), but Halep won their only meeting on clay, a three-setter in Stuttgart in 2015 a year after Halep's first final in Paris and a year before Muguruza's title run there.

Halep will have her hands full. Muguruza has "the look" right now -- "And I go la la la la la, she's got the look" -- after transforming into her killer slam self in Paris after a middlin' (at best, she was 4-3) spring. The Spaniard tends to be unstoppable when she gets like this. The #1 ranking is likely of little importance to her, as she generally lacks the regular season consistency to hold onto it for long over a 12-month stretch, but she's ALL about the big events. And here she is again.

"She goes na na na na na na, she's got the look..."

But maybe Muguruza is just the type of player Halep needs to take down to give her an unstoppable boost of confidence that will slingshot her into the final and enable her to finally get this done.

=DAY 11 NOTES=, the singles semis will give up another #1 vs. #1 match-up as the two of the leading contenders for "best player of their generation" clash in one match, while the other features a pair of best friends trying to determine which is the true inheritor (for this week, at least) of the post-Williams U.S. tennis mantle (even as both Sisters aren't likely going anywhere for a while still).

Sounds pretty good.

It's a helluva final four for a women's event that supposedly lost it's value because of a match that never happened in a non-rivalry that has been lopsided for fourteen years and brings out the worst is almost everyone charged with acknowledging it.

Go figure, huh?

...the women's doubles semis are set, and it'll be an all-Asian face-off in the top half, and an all-Czech one in the bottom.

Japan's Eri Hozumi & Makoto Ninomiya posted the big upset, knocking off AO champs and #1 seeds Timea Babos & Kristina Mladenovic 7-6(4)/6-3 to set up a semifinal meeting with the TPE/CHN pair of Angel Chan & Yang Zhaoxuan. The winners there will face the winners of the semifinal between two sets of Maidens, Barbora Krejcikova & Katerina Siniakova (the duo won the RG girls doubles title in '13) and Andrea Sestini-Hlavackova & Barbora Strycova.

Babos' loss eliminates her from the #1 doubles ranking race, meaning that the Russians -- Ekaterina Makarova & Elena Vesnina -- on Monday will become the first Hordettes to debut atop the doubles ranking since Anna Kournikova did it in 1999 (she last held the spot in 2000, after ten total weeks at #1). They're the 37th and 38th women to reach #1, with five debuting in the spot over the last season and a half.

It looks like Makarova and Vesnina, who apparently didn't play RG because of Makarova's questionable health for doubles, will reunite before Wimbledon. mixed, the OTHER Chan sister -- Latisha, who'll be losing her #1 ranking -- stayed alive for a title as she and Ivan Dodig defeated Anna-Lena Groenfeld & Robert Farah via a 10-8 3rd set TB. Chan will be seeking her first career MX title (she lost the '11 AO final w/ Paul Hanley) to go along with the U.S. Open WD title she won with Martina Hingis last summer (after having been 0-3 in her previous slam WD finals). They'll face top-seeded Gaby Dabrowski & Mate Pavic, looking to win their second MX title of '18, while Canada's Dabrowski is also trying to defend her '17 RG MX crown.

...the juniors winnowed themselves down to the final eight on Day 11. Regionally, the breakdown goes like this: Asia (3), North America (3) and Europe (2).

After the top three seeds, and three of the top five, lost today the highest seed to reach the QF is #6 Eleonara Molinaro (LUX), who improved to 32-2 on the junior level in 2018, winning her nineteenth straight match by coming back from a set down to defeat #9 Elisabetta Cocciaretto (ITA). Molinaro is also 24-3 in ITF/FC matches this season.

It was a big day for North American girls, as the top two seeds were ousted by Bannerettes, with #3 taken out by a Canadian. #1-seeded AO girls champ Liang En-shuo (TPE) fell 6-2/6-7(6)/7-5 to Caty McNally (who still lists herself on Twitter as "Caty Federer", by the way), and #2 Wang Xinyu (CHN) was ousted by #16 Coco Gauff. #3 Maria Camila Osorio Serrano (COL) was upset by #15-seeded Leylah Annie Fernandez of Canada.

Two unseeded girls advanced with Iga Swiatek (POL) continuing to cut a swath through the draw (she opened with a win over #4 Alexa Noel) with a 3 & 1 win over #13 Clara Burel. Joanna Garland (TPE) knocked off #11 Zheng Qinwen. Liang became the first girl representing Taiwan to become a junior slam champ in Melbourne in January, and Garland is already in the running to become the second. Swiatek, of course, it trying to follow in the footsteps of the Radwanskas (Aga: '05 Wimbledon & '06 RG, Ula: '07 Wimbledon).

Also winning were two additional girls from Asia, as #8 Wang Xiyu defeated #12 Maria Carle (ARG), and #10 Yuki Naito (JPN) upset #5-seeded Dane Clara Tauson.

...the wheelchair draws were finally made on Wednesday, with the usual field showing up. Jiske Griffioen is now retired, of course, while Jordanne Whiley is still out after having her first baby.Still, though, North America is without a representative in the women's competition. #1 seeded Yui Kamiji (the DC) and #2 Diede de Groot could meet in a third consecutive slam singles final, with the #1 ranking on the line heading into Wimbledon, which de Groot won in '17 and Kamiji needs to become the first player to win all eight slam S/D titles in a career.

...REMEMBER WHEN... ON DAY 11: the tour would idiotically hand out season awards three months into the NEXT season? Well, we're almost SIX months into 2018 and...

And this is on the heels of the Fed Cup Heart Awards being delivered more than a month after the weekend/weekend of competition for which they represent, too.


...BOUCHARD'S AFTERNOON ON DAY 11: Yesterday, the Canadian made a simple comment about Marco Cecchinato and...

Not that Bouchard, considering her own trolling past, has particularly earned a defense, but she DID just publicly make a comment that pretty much everyone else was thinking regarding the Italian. Everrrrry comment has to be challenged and shouted down, though, apparently. Small steps, people.

...LIKE/DISLIKE ON DAY 11: What SHE said...



...and, finally...

74 years ago today


#1 Simona Halep/ROU vs. #3 Garbine Muguruza/ESP
#13 Madison Keys/USA vs. #10 Sloane Stephens/USA

Hozumi/Ninomiya (JPN/JPN) vs. #8 A.Chan/Yang Zhaoxuan (TPE/CHN)
#6 Krejcikova/Siniakova (CZE/CZE) vs. #2 S.-Hlavackova/Strycova (CZE/CZE)

#1 Dabrowski/Pavic (CAN/CRO) vs. #2 L.Chan/Dodig (TPE/CRO)

Caty McNally/USA vs. #8 Wang Xiyu/CHN
Iga Swiatek/POL vs. #10 Yuki Naito/JPN
Joanna Garland/TPE vs. #15 Leylah Annie Fernandez/CAN
#6 Eleonora Molinaro/LUX vs. #16 Coco Gauff/USA

x vs. #7 Makatsaria/Noel (GEO/USA)
x vs. x
(WC) Belgraver/Bencheikh (FRA/FRA) vs. (WC) Halemai/Leonard (FRA/FRA)
x vs. x

#1 Yui Kamiji/JPN vs. (WC) Charlotte Famin/FRA
Aniek van Koot/NED vs. Kgothatso Montjane/RSA
Sabine Ellerbrock/GER vs. Katharina Kruger/GER
Marjolein Buis/NED vs. #2 Diede de Groot/NED

#1 Kamiji/Buis (JPN/NED) vs. Ellerbrock/Kruger (GER/RSA)
Famin/Montjane (FRA/RSA) vs. #2 de Groot/van Koot (NED/NED

2006 Nicole Vaidisova, CZE
2007 Justine Henin, BEL *
2008 Ana Ivanovic, SRB *
2009 Svetlana Kuznetsova, RUS *
2010 Samantha Stosur, AUS
2011 Li Na, CHN *
2012 Samantha Stosur, AUS
2013 Serena Williams, USA *
2014 Genie Bouchard, CAN
2015 Lucie Safarova, CZE
2016 Serena Williams, USA
2017 Simona Halep, ROU
2018 Garbine Muguruza, ESP
* - won title

6 - Simona Halep (3-2) [2-0 RG]
4 - Garbine Muguruza (3-0) [1-0 RG]
3 - Madison Keys (1-1)
3 - Sloane Stephens (1-1)

*CAREER SLAM SF - active*
34 - Serena Williams (29-5)
23 - Venus Williams (16-7)
20 - Maria Sharapova (10-10)
7 - Victoria Azarenka (4-3)
7 - Caroline Wozniacki (3-4)
6 - SIMONA HALEP (3-2_
6 - Angelique Kerber (3-3)
6 - Jelena Jankovic (1-5)
5 - Svetlana Kuznetsova (4-1)
5 - Petra Kvitova (2-3)
5 - Samantha Stosur (2-3)
5 - Aga Radwanska (1-4)
4 - Vera Zvonareva (2-2)
3 - Marion Bartoli (2-1)
3 - Genie Bouchard (1-2)
3 - Sara Errani (1-2)
3 - MADISON KEYS (1-1)
[since 2010 - overall]
17 - Serena Williams (15-2)
10 - Maria Sharapova (6-4)
7 - Victoria Azarenka (4-3)
6 - Li Na (4-2)-ret.
6 - SIMONA HALEP (3-2)
6 - Angelique Kerber (3-3)
6 - Caroline Wozniacki (2-4)
5 - Venus Williams (2-3)
5 - Petra Kvitova (2-3)
5 - Aga Radwanska (1-4)
4 - Samantha Stosur (2-2)

*MOST WTA SF in 2018*
4 - Petra Kvitova, CZE (4-0)
4 - Elise Mertens, BEL (3-1)
3 - Elina Svitolina, UKR (3-0)
3 - Carolina Wozniacki, DEN (2-1)
3 - Dasha Kasatkina, RUS (2-1)
3 - Julia Goerges, GER (2-1)
3 - Mihaela Buzarnescu, ROU (2-1)
3 - Karolina Pliskova, CZE (1-2)
3 - Angelique Kerber, GER (1-2)
[by nation]
13 - ROU (Halep)
10 - USA (Keys/Stephens)
9 - CZE
8 - GER
5 - AUS,ESP (Muguruza)
6...SIMONA HALEP (3-1+L)
3...Mihaela Buzarnescu (2-1)
2...Ana Bogdan (0-2)
2...Irina-Camelia Begu (0-2)
[United States]
2...MADISON KEYS (0-1)
2...Sachia Vickery (0-2)
1...Venus Williams (0-1)
1...CoCo Vandeweghe (1-0)
1...Danielle Collins (0-1)
1...Alison Riske (1-0)

[since Azarenka first #1 in January 2012]
2012 Miami - won by Aga Radwanska
2013 Wimbledon - won by Marion Bartoli
2014 Australian Open - won by Li Na
2014 Wimbledon - won by Petra Kvitova
2014 Montreal - won by Aga Radwanska
2015 Indian Wells - won by Simona Halep
2015 Madrid - won by Petra Kvitova
2016 Australian Open - won by Angelique Kerber
2018 Roland Garros - won by ???

49 - Flavia Pennetta (2015 U.S. Open)
47 - Marion Bartoli (2013 Wimbledon)
45 - Jana Novotna (1998 Wimbledon)
43 - Caroline Wozniacki (2018 Australian Open)
39 - Francesca Schiavone (2010 Roland Garros)
34 - Samantha Stosur (2011 U.S. Open)
33 - Angelique Kerber (2016 Australian Open)
31 - Amelie Mauresmo (2006 Australian Open)
29 - Jennifer Capriati (2001 Australian Open)
28 - Kerry Melville-Reid (1978 Australian Open)
26 - Lindsay Davenport (1998 U.S. Open)
25 - Victoria Azarenka (2012 Australian Open)
23 - Sloane Stephens (2017 U.S. Open)
22 - Kim Clijsters (2005 U.S. Open)
SF NOTE: Keys in 23rd major, Halep in 32nd

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

[Women's Doubles]
2006 Lisa Raymond & Samantha Stosur
2007 Alicia Molik & Mara Santangelo
2008 Anabel Medina-Garrigues & Virginia Ruano Pascual
2009 Anabel Medina-Garrigues & Virginia Ruano Pascual
2010 Serena Williams & Venus Williams
2011 Andrea Hlavackova & Lucie Hradecka
2012 Sara Errani & Roberta Vinci
2013 Ekaterina Makarova & Elena Vesnina
2014 Hsieh Su-Wei & Peng Shuai
2015 Bethanie Mattek-Sands & Lucie Safarova
2016 Caroline Garcia & Kristina Mladenovic
2017 Bethanie Mattek-Sands & Lucie Safarova
2018 ?
[Girl's Doubles]
1999 Flavia Pennetta & Roberta Vinci, ITA/ITA
2000 Maria Jose Martinez (Sanchez) & Anabel Medina (Garrigues), ESP/ESP
2001 Petra Cetkovska & Renata Voracova, CZE/CZE
2002 Anna-Lena Groenefeld & Barbora Strycova, GER/CZE
2003 Marta Fraga & Adriana Gonzales, ESP/ESP
2004 Katerina Bohmova & Michaella Krajicek, CZE/NED
2005 Victoria Azarenka & Agnes Szavay, BLR/HUN
2006 Sharon Fichman & Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, CAN/RUS
2007 Ksenia Milevskaya & Urszula Radwanska, BLR/POL
2008 Polona Hercog & Jessica Moore, SLO/AUS
2009 Elena Bogdan & Noppawan Lertcheewakarn, ROU/THA
2010 Timea Babos & Sloane Stephens, HUN/USA
2011 Irina Khromacheva & Maryna Zanevska, RUS/UKR
2012 Daria Gavrilova & Irina Khromacheva, RUS/RUS
2013 Barbora Krejcikova & Katerina Siniakova, CZE/CZE
2014 Ioana Ducu & Ioana Loredana Rosca, ROU/ROU
2015 Miriam Kolodziejova & Marketa Vondrouosva, CZE/CZE
2016 Paula Arias Manjon & Olga Danilovic, ESP/SRB
2017 Bianca Andreescu & Carson Branstine, CAN/CAN
2018 ?

*SLAM MX TITLES - active*
5...Katarina Srebotnik, SLO
3...Sania Mirza, IND
3...Samantha Stosur, AUS
2...Victoria Azarenka, BLR
2...Gaby Dabrowski, CAN
2...Anna-Lena Groenefeld, GER
2...Bethanie Mattek-Sands, USA
2...Kristina Mladenovic, FRA
2...Serena Williams, USA
2...Venus Williams, USA
2...Vera Zvonareva, RUS
1...Elena Bovina, RUS
1...Andrea Sestini-Hlavackova, CZE
1...Lucie Hradecka, CZE
1...Jelena Jankovic, SRB
1...Ekaterina Makarova, RUS
1...Laura Siegemund, GER
1...Abigail Spears, USA
1...Elena Vesnina, RUS
1...Heather Watson, GBR

[1st reached #1]
1984 Martina Navratilova, USA (former TCH)
1985 Pam Shriver, USA
1990 Helena Sukova, TCH
1990 Jana Novotna, TCH/CZE
1991 Gigi Fernandez, USA
1991 Natalia Zvereva, USSR/BLR
1992 Larisa Neiland, LAT (former USSR)
1995 Arantxa Sanchez Vicario, ESP
1997 Lindsay Davenport, USA
1998 Martina Hingis, SUI
1999 Anna Kournikova, RUS
2000 Corina Morariu, USA
2000 Lisa Raymond, USA
2000 Rennae Stubbs, AUS
2000 Julie Halard-Decugis, FRA
2000 Ai Sugiyama, JPN
2002 Paola Suarez, ARG
2003 Kim Clijsters, BEL
2003 Virginia Ruano Pascual, ESP
2005 Cara Black, ZIM
2006 Samantha Stosur, AUS
2007 Liezel Huber, RSA/USA
2010 Serena Williams, USA
2010 Venus Williams, USA
2010 Gisela Dulko, ARG
2011 Flavia Pennetta, ITA
2011 Kveta Peschke, CZE
2011 Katarina Srebotnik, SLO
2012 Sara Errani, ITA
2012 Roberta Vinci, ITA
2014 Peng Shuai, CHN
2014 Hsieh Su-Wei, TPE
2015 Sania Mirza, IND
2017 Bethanie Mattek-Sands, USA
2017 Lucie Safarova, CZE
2017 Chan Yung-Jan, TPE
2018 Ekaterina Makarova, RUS
2018 Elena Vesnina, RUS

TOP QUALIFIER: Francesca Schiavone/ITA
TOP EARLY-ROUND (1r-2r): #4 Elina Svitolina/UKR (def. Tomljanovic/Kuzmova in straights)
TOP MIDDLE-ROUND (3r-QF): #3 Garbine Muguruza/ESP
TOP QUALIFYING MATCH: Q3: Alexandra Dulgheru/ROU def. 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)
TOP MIDDLE-RD. MATCH (3r-QF): 3rd Round: #10 Sloane Stephens/USA def. Camila Giorgi 4-6/6-1/8-6 (Giorgi twice for the match twice at 5-4 and 6-5 in 3rd)
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: Dabrowski, L.Chan and A.Chan, Siniakova/Strycova, Hozumi/Ninomiya
VETERAN PLAYER (KIMIKO CUP): Nominees: L.Chan, Hlavackova/Strycova
JUNIOR BREAKOUT: Nominees: McNally, Fernandez, Garland
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 11. More tomorrow.


Blogger Diane said...

Yes, Mugu has The Look. And as happy as I would be to see her win another French (or to see Sloane or Madison hold the trophy), my heart is with Simona. Because how much more of this can she take? When Evonne Goolagong finally got sick of always being the U.S. Open runner-up and called it quits, she had won several major titles, the bitter taste probably didn’t linger too long. But for Simona, who has worked so hard mentally and physically, this has to be excruciating. I think that the fact that it isn’t a final (I wish it were!) works in her favor, though. The worst thing that can happen—and it’s pretty bad—is that she’ll lose a semifinal.

What a contrast. Mugu is so fluid, and it looks so easy (Sloane does that, too), whereas Simona is all about the struggle and the constant strategy. And they are both outstanding athletes. Sport really is cruel.

Wed Jun 06, 06:50:00 PM EDT  
Blogger colt13 said...

Lots to get to, but that LeBron/JR Smith pic will never get old.

Twitter, as well as you, mentioned that Vesnina/Makarova are the first Russians since Kournikova in 2000 to hold the top spot. But the sport has shifted. Kournikova was 18 when she was #1, and Makarova will be 30, depending when you read this, as her birthday is on the 7th. With Vesnina over 30, this continues a trend in which the only #1's 27 or under in the last 11 years have been Dulko and Errani.

And the Russian duo has a Wimbledon title to defend, so it may switch hands again.

Stat of the Day-15- The amount of points scored by Magic Johnson, in his 1996 comeback against Michael Jordan and the Bulls.

What does this have to do with tennis? I will explain. You see, Magic had his time, and Jordan already had a title before Magic retired, but this was a symbolic passing of the torch moment.

Jordan was reaching his peak after his own retirement, and while Johnson wasn't bad, he was older, slower, and lost to the younger faster model.

Jordan won three more titles, including one that year.

Contrast that to the Muguruza/Sharapova matchup. Some similarity in that Muguruza got her first two slams without Sharapova in the field, but had already proven herself by reaching the Wimbledon final in 2015.

Like Jordan, Muguruza had her break, although it was an injury related on back in 2013, which led to her missing the rest of the season after Wimbledon.

This leads us to the 2014 matchup here, in which there was a 27 spot difference in the rankings, Sharapova 8, Muguruza 35. This time? 26- Muguruza 3, Sharapova 29, but seeded 28. Sharapova won 6-1 in 3, arguably staking her claim as the best clay courter since Henin's retirement in 2008.

So to be the best, you have to beat the best, and although not her best performance, Muguruza seemingly has had the torch passed to her. Fittingly enough, the other with the best recent clay court pedigree? Halep. And they fight for #1.

Final Four notes below.

Wed Jun 06, 07:03:00 PM EDT  
Blogger colt13 said...

Notes on the Final Four.

Clay records last 3 years
Halep 45-9
Muguruza 25-10
Keys 20-12
Stephens 18-7

Halep's numbers blow everyone away, but remember Stephens skipped the clay season last year, and Keys had 1 win. Halep won as many matches on clay last year as Stephens has the last 3.

Also a young group. Ages? 23, 24, 25, 26.

Halep leads Stephens 5-2/Halep 3-0 last 3 years/Halep 2-0 clay
Halep leads Keys 5-1/Halep 5-0 last 3 years/Halep 2-0 clay
Muguruza leads Halep 3-1/Muguruza 2-0 last 3 years/Halep 1-0 clay
Keys leads Muguruza 3-1/Keys 2-1 last 3 years/Keys 1-0 clay
Stephens leads Keys 2-0/Stephens 1-0 last 3 years/No clay
Stephens-Muguruza 1-1/Stephens 1-0 last 3 years/No clay

Halep has to face the one person she has a losing record against first. Muguruza should be a slight favorite, but it could go either way.

Top 10 Wins-Last 3 Years
Muguruza-14(Clay)S.Williams,Bacinszky(Grass)Kerber,Kuznetsova(Hard)Kuznetsova-3,Garcia-2, Halep-2, Ostapenko, Svitolina, Pliskova
Halep-12(Clay)Svitolina, Pliskova, Garcia(Grass)Keys(Hard)Keys-2, Pliskova, Garcia, Ostapenko, Konta, Radwanska, Kerber
Keys-9(Clay)Muguruza, Kvitova(Hard)Muguruza, Garcia, Cibulkova, Kuznetsova, V.Williams, Vinci, Svitolina
Stephens-7(Clay)Kerber(Hard)Kerber-2, Muguruza, V.Williams, Cibulkova, Ostapenko

Final notes-Kerber and Muguruza all over those lists.

Stephens has 3 Top 10 wins this season, all in Miami.

Keys has one-Garcia.

Halep has two-one is Garcia.

Muguruza has three-Garcia twice.

Stephens-Halep would be the better final, because Sloane's defense is underrated.

Stephens 80/20 to beat Keys
Muguruza 55/45 to beat Halep

One last note: Obviously Halep wants Keys. One reason why is that it is easier to win that first slam against another slamless player. And the last 3 times we have had a first time slam winner, they have- Wozniacki/Halep, Stephens/Keys, Ostapenko/Halep. Last time slamless went against a vet? Pliskova vs Kerber. Ironically, the same year, Serena lost against two slamless players in Kerber and Muguruza, making her the last to win vs a veteran.

Wed Jun 06, 07:33:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Diane said...

Good stuff, colt. I think the other reason Halep would want Keys is—as I referenced earlier—when Stephens gets into a zone, she can be very Muguruza-like, just flowing along, making it look like nothing, whereas Keys—I think—may be easier for the crafty Simona to befuddle and throw off balance.

Wed Jun 06, 07:41:00 PM EDT  

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