Saturday, June 02, 2018

RG.7- Close Talking with Kontaveit

So, is 22-year old Estonian Anett Kontaveit finally ready for her close-up?

Kontaveit has seemed so close to pulling off something big for a while now. Almost uncomfortably so, as the sense of anticipation that *something* more substantial was coming from her "just around the corner" has been nipping at her heels since early '17, at least. Somehow, though, she's managed to avoid taking her turn in the spotlight while others in her "Generation PDQ" age group -- Ostapenko, Kasatkina, Osaka, Mertens, etc. -- have done just that.

But after #25 seed Kontaveit's win in Paris today over #8 Petra Kvitova to reach her first Roland Garros Round of 16, just maybe the time has come for the Estonian to echo the sort of success her peers have seen on some of the sport's bigger stages.

A 2012 U.S. Open girls finalist, Kontaveit won her first pro singles title in an ITF challenger at age 15. She reached the 2015 U.S. Open Round of 16 at nineteen, but it would be two and a half year before she'd reach her second earlier this year in Melbourne. In between, the variety in Kontaveit's game has shown that she has the ability to play effectively pretty much anywhere, on any surface. She was one of just three women (w/ Wozniacki and Goerges) to reach WTA finals on hard, grass and clay courts in 2017, winning her maiden tour-level title at Rosmalen. As things played out, one of Kontaveit's biggest issues last season, quite frankly, was playing (and winning) a little TOO much. She opened the year on a 27-6 tear, and was 44-12 through July. But the grind caught up with her late, as she went 2-8 after her final appearance in Gstaad, including having six one-and-outs.

She came into Saturday having already posted four Top 10 wins in 2018, giving her six since the start of last season, including five of them coming via clay court victories over Garbine Muguruza, Angelique Kerber, Venus Williams (2 this spring) and Caroline Wozniacki. After the 4th Round result in Melbourne, where she defeated Alona Ostapenko en route, the Estonian plodded through a 2-6 stretch after the Australian Open that carried over into her first clay outing in Lugano. Since then, though, she's been an under-the-radar force, shining while reaching semis in Stuttgart and Rome as others took up the bulk of the spotlight. In Madrid, the event between those two runs, Kontaveit lost in the 3rd Round to none other than Kvitova in three sets, making her one of only four women to take the Czech to three sets during her 13-match winning streak this spring. With all that in her back pocket, Kontaveit entered Day 7 on a not-to-be-ignored 11-3 clay court run of her own.

Kvitova contributed greatly to the Estonian's snatching of the opening set today. The Czech had 25 unforced errors in the 1st, and served at just 55%, yet Kontaveit still only won 43 overall points compared to Kvitova's 41. The two went to a TB, where Kvitova was serving two up 5-4. Kontaveit won both points, then secured the breaker 8-6 on her second set point.

In the 2nd, Kvitova held in an eight-deuce game #6 to lead 4-2, but saw Kontaveit take a break lead and serve for the match at 5-4. She held a pair of MP, but Kvitova broke to level the set after the Estonian missed on a pair of forehands. But Kontaveit got the break back a game later, served for the match again, then saw Kvitova push things to another TB. Kontaveit grabbed the early mini-break, and soon led 5-3. She held a pair of MP at 6-3, serving two, before finally converting on MP #4 to win 7-6(6)/7-6(4), collecting her fifth Top 10 win of '18 and her biggest slam victory, preventing Kvitova from stringing together her *second* career-best 14-match winning streak this season.

Kvitova, who committed another 32 UE in the 2nd, will now get the opportunity for some additional rest as she heads into the grass court season where she has so often found her most grand success.

For Kontaveit, after taking twenty-eight months to add a second slam Round of 16 to her first, it took her just four to turn the "2" into a "3" as her Estonian Echo persona continues to build the foundation for improving her place within the "Generation PDQ" hiearchy along with the likes of Latvian Thunder, The Kasatkina, the Cricketeer, Belgian Rumble (not pictured -- she was busy playing doubles on school picture day) and others.

They can't save the future alone.

[with 2018 accomplishment notes]

Luckily, they won't have to.

...the other remaining 3rd Round match held over from Friday featured #10 Sloane Stephens and Italy's Camila Giorgi.

You know the Italian's history. Fiery. Big shots. Super-talented. But also with a rather complicated minefield of obstacles to maneuver around off the court (hence her likely-forever-absence from Team Italia in Fed Cup), as well as a slew of blown leads and failures to close big matches between the lines. The latter came into play today.

Sporting a 2-1 head-to-head record against the reigning U.S. Open champ, both Giorgi and Stephens knew she was going to be a tough out and was fully capable of the upset even while having never reached the Round of 16 in Paris, something Sloane had already done four times in her career. Things played out just like that, too, as Giorgi got a late 1st set break for 5-4, then served out the set a game later. Stephens took the 2nd 6-1, but the fight was back on in the 3rd.

Giorgi led 2-0, but Stephens surged back to lead 3-2. Giorgi again bit back, and soon found herself serving for the match at 5-4. Down 15/40, she buried a volley into the bottom of the net despite being in perfect position to complete the shot, waiting with her racket prepared at the center of the court, ready to cut off the angle of Stephens' shot. Moments later, Sloane got the break for 5-5, only to drop serve and see Giorgi serve for the match a second time. And, for a second time, she failed to put it away.

After a short sabbatical last fall, Future Sloane seems to be around most of the time nowadays, and she swooped in to seal the deal in this one. After holding serve, she seized her moment and broke Giorgi in game #14 to take the match 4-6/6-1/8-6 in 2:26, winning despite a 44-21 deficit in winners, assisted by an unforced error total from the Italian that more than doubled (53-26) that of Stephens.

Stephens' fifth RG Round of 16 result is her first since her four-year run from 2012-15, a period during which she did it at six straight majors. She went two full years without a Final 16 run in a slam before finally winning the U.S. Open last September. Since ending her eight match post-Open losing streak in February, Sloane has gone 18-6 (9-4 on clay).

...with the remaining bottom half of the draw matches postponed from yesterday finally completed, the top half still had business to do.

And Maria Sharapova surely did hers.

After having struggled past qualifier Richel Hogenkamp in the 1st Round, and winning a tight two-setter over Donna Vekic two days ago, the #28 seed faced off with #6 Karolina Pliskova in a 3rd Round match in which she looked to collect just her third Top 10 win since the start of her comeback in the spring of '17. The Russian had won their only previous meeting, in the Fed Cup final in 2015.

This one wasn't even close. In fact, it turned out to be an old fashioned butt-kicking on the terre battue.

Helped along by poor serving from the Czech and Sharapova's own good return game, the whole thing was mercifully over in just under an hour. Pliskova broke Sharapova in the opening game of the match, and then won just two more games the rest of the day hour, falling 6-2/6-1.

The tone of the match was set in stone in the opening set. Pliskova's DF on SP to end the 1st once again highlighted how her serve, as good as it is, has rarely -- her brief sterling run this clay season being the exception -- been the positive weapon it SHOULD be in her biggest matches since her U.S. Open final appearance in 2016. Today, it was actually a liability. The Czech won only 41% of first serve points in the 1st, and 33% on her second, faced seven BP (>she was broken three times in four service games), and hit just two winners. At the end the day, Sharapova dominated her not only on the court and scoreboard, but also the stat sheet (leading 18-5 in winners).

Sharapova's 38th career slam Round of 16 is her twelfth in Paris, and sixth in her last six appearances there after having missed the 2016-17 editions of the event.

And her next opponent will be...


Serena Williams. And so it goes.

The 23-time slam champ, two rounds after having to slowly find her way vs. Kristyna Pliskova and two days after having to dig deep to resurrect THAT Serena from the depths of her soul against #17 Ash Barty, played a more steady, controlled and consistently effective brand of tennis against #11 Julia Goerges, winning the 1:15 match 6-3/6-4 and conserving her energies for the battles ahead.

Through the first five games of the match, Williams had just one error. She had just three in the 31-minute opening set. Goerges' numbers weren't horrible (23 W/23 UE, 11 aces), but she also wasn't the near-great player who ended '17 on such a brilliant sprint (Mallorca-Bucharest-D.C. finals, titles in Moscow and Zhuhai) that her momentum carried over into '18 (Auckland W, Charleston F and her Top 10 breakthrough at age 29). Meanwhile, Serena was Serena... or at least one of the good-and-improving early versions of herself on her way to a total metamorphosis into the best player in the game all over again. THAT act, if things keep going like this, could reach its completion, hmmm, what, about a week from now?


All right, television networks and social media, have at it like you always do. Who really knows what might happen in XXII, their first meeting in almost two and a half years in what was Sharapova's last match ('16 AO QF) before her suspension? But, you know, be careful what you wish for.

Okay, Serena.

...meanwhile, #3 Garbine Muguruza is getting "the look." Sam Stosur can attest to it.

The Spaniard can at times seem a wobbly building of a top player, seemingly ready to be to toppled with barely a gust of wind. But when she's into things 100% in mind, body and spirit, she can defeat anyone, anywhere and claim any title on the board. She specializes in big events, with a two-thirds of her six career WTA singles titles coming in slam/Premier Mandatory/Premier 5 events (the final third came at "smaller" International tournaments en route to her maiden tour title in '14 and, in a rare switch-up, her most recent run in Monterrey earlier this spring).

She looks to have found her slam groove and focus again in Paris.

Against the Aussie, Muguruza nearly tripled her in winners (15-6), won 61% of her return points and converted 6 of 9 BP chances on the day, taking just over an hour to dispatch the former finalist by a 6-0/6-2 score to reach her fifth straight Round of 16 in Paris, where she won the title two years ago, and her fifth such result in her last six slams. She even fired an ace on MP.

Muguruza will next face unseeded Ukrainian Lesia Tsurenko, the player who won the *other* tour event in Mexico (Acapulco) this season. That one was on hard courts, not clay. But that isn't a surprise since Tsurenko doesn't exactly have a stellar record on the surface. She came to this RG without a clay win (0-2) in '18, after having gone 3-7 on the surface last season. Her 6-2/6-4 win today over #19 Magdalena Rybarikova, her third victory this week, still only improved her clay won/lost mark since 2012 to 12-18. But it's gotten her into her second slam Round of 16 ('16 U.S.), and she's lasted longer than her higher-ranked countrywoman, who lost yesterday. So, you know, she's got that going for her no matter what happens next.

...for #1 Simona Halep, it was a case of getting things situated. She took a little while to fully settle in against veteran Andrea Petkovic, in a major 3rd Round for the first time since 2015 after her most encouraging first week in Paris (def. #29 Kristina Mladenovic) since her SF run in 2014. The two played a tight opening set before Halep finally began to seize control late, breaking for 5-4. After failing to serve out the 1st, she broke right back and went on to hold for a 7-5 win. The Romanian committed sixteen unforced errors in the 1st, barely edging Petko in total points (46-42), but cleaned up her game considerably in the following set.

Unfortunately, the story turned in the match after Petkovic appeared to injure her knee. She played on, but was never the same. Hopefully, it's only a tweak and how things ended were mostly a case of worry between the ears of the German, an easily understood reaction after she's suffered through so many injuries over the course of her career. One would like to think that if it was something to truly be concerned about she wouldn't have finished out the 2nd set.

En route to a 7-5/6-0 win, Halep committed just one UE in the 2nd, outpacing the German 24-6 in points to reach her thirteenth career slam Round of 16, her fourth at RG and third consecutive there.

Halep has reached this stage of her (almost a full) feast-or-famine slam career in eight of her last twelve major appearances, reaching two finals, a semi and three other quarters in the stretch. The other four times she lost in the 1st Round.

Waiting for her in the 4th Round will be #16 Elise Mertens, who did on Court 7 in Paris to #24 Dasha Gavrilova precisely what she did to the Aussie on Rod Laver in Melbourne in January. Only better. Their previous match was a 5 & 3 victory under the lights, while her 6-3/6-1 win today was an afternoon delight.

The Waffle was a little lucky to escape the 1st Round earlier this week, coming in off a two and a half week break (after having previously played at a breakneak pace all season), she saw Varvara Lepchenko serve for the match in the 2nd set. She pulled the contest back, took things to a 3rd, grabbed a 3-0 lead under the evening sky, then returned the next day and finished off a love set to advance.

Mertens' second career slam Round of 16 is also her second in a row at a major, as she rumbled to her maiden semifinal at this year's Australian Open. Today's win improved her '18 clay court record to 16-1. Her only loss? To Halep, at the end of a long run of continuous competition (19 s/d matches over three events and FC, during which she'd gone 18-0 before the loss) that had left her tired and, quite possibly, a little ill (she pulled out of Rome with a bacterial infection soon afterward) for all the winning experiences.

Now she gets her second, hopefully healthier, chance at redemption.

...#7 Caroline Garcia became the Last Pastry Standing with her 6-1/6-3 victory over Irina-Camelia Begu, preventing a THIRD Romanian from reaching the Round of 16.

Garcia reaches the Round of 16 in back-to-back appearances for the first time in any slam during her career. It's her fourth overall trip to a major 4th Round, with all of those occasions having come in the past year since she began the stretch with a QF run in Paris ahead of what turned out to be a brilliant second half of the '17 season that saw her climb into the Top 20 *and* the Top 10 for the first time.

Garcia won't next be playing #18 Kiki Bertens, as some might have expected, but will instead face off with #12 Angelique Kerber.

Bertens, hardly unexpectedly, was one of the stars of the clay season. She came into Day 7 with a 15-4 '18 record on clay, having won in Charleston, reached the Madrid final and recorded wins over the likes of Garcia, Wozniacki, Sharapova, Keys, Goerges, Sevastova and Sakkari this spring. She knocked off Belarusians Sabalenka and Sasnovich in back-to-back matches in Paris. Kerber, on the other hand, was little more than a rumor this spring. She missed a month of action after Fed Cup (where she went 0-2 vs. CZE), and only played in Stuttgart and Rome, going 4-4 on the surface before posting identical 2 & 3 wins over Mona Barthel and Ana Bogdan this week. After starting the season 21-5 following her disappointing '17 campaign, it was difficult to tell what Angie's form might be at this RG.

Based on today, though, it looks pretty good. She won a pair of 7-4 tie-break over Bertens to join Buzarnescu, Keys, Muguruza and Wozniacki as the only players in the Round of 16 yet to have dropped a set at this slam.

...another of RG's "temporary arrangements" lived up to its moniker today in women's doubles, as the duo consistenting of the #1-for-now Latisha Chan and defending champion Bethanie Mattek-Sands fell by the wayside just short of the Round of 16 with a three set loss to the Romanian duo of Irina Bara and -- her again! Mihaela Buzarnescu. It means that Chan *will* indeed lose the #1 ranking she first laid her hands on last October in a season in which she formed a sometimes-dominant duo with the now-retired Martina Hingis.

Meanwhile, #1-seeded Timea Babos (who could rise to #1) & Kristina Mladenovic (the AO champs), #3 Klepac & MJMS and #5 Gaby Dabrowski & Xu Yifan all won in straights, while the Czech duos -- #2 Hlavackova/Strycova and #6 Siniakova/Krejcikova -- both won in three.

In Mixed, at least Chan won one match today, advancing to the Final 16 with Ivan Dodig. #1-seeded Gaby Dabrowski & Mate Pavic, the AO champs, defeated the all-French duo of Parmentier/Barrere in a 10-7 3rd set TB.

...LIKE ON DAY 7: Ah, as suspected...

Thanks, Bernard, Kiki, et al.


...LIKE ON DAY 7: The World According to Sania

...AND HERE WE GO... ON DAY 7: Ugh.

...and, finally...

[by ranking]
#1 - Simona Halep
#2 - Caroline Wozniacki
#3 - Garbine Muguruza
#7 - Caroline Garcia
#10 - Sloane Stephens
#12 - Angelique Kerber
#13 - Madison Keys
#14 - Dasha Kasatkina
#16 - Elise Mertens
#24 - Anett Kontaveit
#26 - Barbora Strycova
#30 - Maria Sharapova
#33 - Mihaela Buzarnescu
#39 - Lesia Tsurenko
#98 - Yulia Putintseva
#451 - Serena Williams (PR)
[by age]
36...Serena Williams
32...Barbora Strycova
31...Maria Sharapova
30...Mihaela Buzarnescu, Angelique Kerber
29...Lesia Tsurenko
27...Caroline Wozniacki
26...Simona Halep
25...Sloane Stephens
24...Caroline Garcia, Garbine Muguruza
23...Madison Keys, Yulia Putintseva
22...Anett Kontaveit, Elise Mertens
21...Dasha Kasatkina
[by nation]
3...USA (Keys,Stephens,S.Williams)
2...ROU (Halep,Buzarnescu)
2...RUS (Kasatkina,Sharapova)
1...BEL (Mertens)
1...CZE (Strycova)
1...DEN (Wozniacki)
1...ESP (Muguruza)
1...EST (Kontaveit)
1...FRA (Garcia)
1...GER (Kerber)
1...KAS (Putintseva)
1...UKR (Tsurenko)
[by career slam Round-of-16's]
56 - Serena Williams
38 - Maria Sharapova
21 - Caroline Wozniacki
17 - Angelique Kerber
13 - Simona Halep
11 - Garbine Muguruza
11 - Sloane Stephens
10 - Madison Keys
5 - Barbora Strycova
4 - Caroline Garcia
3 - Anett Kontaveit
2 - Dasha Kasatkina
2 - Elise Mertens
2 - Yulia Putintseva
2 - Lesia Tsurenko
1 - Mihaela Buzarnescu
[w/ consecutive slam Round of 16's]
3...Madison Keys
2...Caroline Garcia
2...Simona Halep
2...Angelique Kerber
2...Anett Kontaveit
2...Elise Mertens
2...Barbora Strycova
2...Caroline Wozniacki
NOTE: S.Williams 11 in last 11 slam appearances (DNP last 4)
[by career RG Round of 16's]
12 - Maria Sharapova, Serena Williams
5 - Garbine Muguruza, Sloane Stephens
4 - Simona Halep, Angelique Kerber
3 - Caroline Wozniacki
2 - Caroline Garcia, Madison Keys, Yulia Putintseva
1 - 6 players
[w/ consecutive RG Round of 16's]
5 - Garbine Muguruza
2 - Caroline Garcia
2 - Simona Halep
2 - Caroline Wozniacki
NOTE: Sharapova 6 in last 6 appearances (DNP 2016-17)
NOTE: S.Williams 3 in last 3 appearances (DNP 2017)
[WTA career slam Round of 16's - active]
50...Venus Williams
32...Svetlana Kuznetsova
27...Aga Radwanska
23...Victoria Azarenka
22...Jelena Jankovic
21...Patty Schnyder, CAROLINE WOZNIACKI
18...Francesca Schiavone
16...Petra Kvitova, Vera Zvonareva
14...Ekaterina Makarova, Carla Suarez-Navarro
12...Samantha Stosur
[WTA slam Round of 16's since 2010 - active]
19...Aga Radwanska
18...Victoria Azarenka
15...Venus Williams
14...Svetlana Kuznetsova, Petra Kvitova, Ekaterina Makarova
12...Carla Suarez-Navarro
10...Jelena Jankovic, MADISON KEYS, SLOANE STEPHENS, Samantha Stosur
[2018 slam Rd. of 16's - youngest]
20 - Naomi Osaka (AO)
21 - Dasha Kasatkina (RG)
22 - Anett Kontaveit (AO)
22 - Anett Kontaveit (RG)
22 - Madison Keys (AO)
22 - Elise Mertens (AO)
22 - Elise Mertens (RG)
[2018 slam Rd. of 16's - oldest]
36 - Serena Williams (RG)
32 - Hsieh Su-wei (AO)
32 - Barbora Strycova (RG)
31 - Maria Sharapova (RG)
31 - Barbora Strycova (AO)
30 - Angelique Kerber (AO)
30 - Mihaela Buzarnescu (RG)
30 - Angelique Kerber (RG)
29 - Carla Suarez-Navarro (AO)
29 - Magdalena Rybarikova (AO)
29 - Lesia Tsurenko (RG)
[2018 slam Rd. of 16's - unseeded]
AO - Denisa Allertova, CZE (Q)
AO - Hsieh Su-wei, TPE
AO - Petra Martic, CRO
AO - Elise Mertens, BEL
AO - Naomi Osaka, JPN
AO - Carla Suarez-Navarro, ESP
RG - Yulia Putintseva, KAZ
RG - Lesia Tsurenko, UKR
RG - Serena Williams, USA (PR)
[2018 slam Rd. of 16's - 1st-time GS 4th Rd.]
AO - Denisa Allertova, CZE
AO - Elise Mertens, BEL
AO - Naomi Osaka, JPN
RG - Mihaela Buzarnescu, ROU
[2018 slam Rd. of 16's - lowest-ranked]
#451 - Serena Williams (RG) - PR
#130 - Denisa Allertova (AO)
#98 - Yulia Putintseva (RG)
#88 - Hsieh Su-wei (AO)
#81 - Petra Martic (AO)
#72 - Naomi Osaka (AO)
[2018 slam Rd. of 16's]
2...Caroline Garcia
2...Simona Halep
2...Angelique Kerber
2...Madison Keys
2...Anett Kontaveit
2...Elise Mertens
2...Barbora Strycova
2...Caroline Wozniacki
[2018 slam Rd. of 16's - by nation]
4...CZE (3/1)
4...USA (1/3)
3...ROU (1/2)
2...BEL (1/1)
2...DEN (1/1)
2...ESP (1/1)
2...EST (1/1)
2...FRA (1/1)
2...GER (1/1)
2...RUS (0/2)
2...UKR (1/1)
1...CRO (1/0)
1...JPN (1/0)
1...KAZ (0/1)
1...SVK (1/0)
1...TPE (1/0)
[2018 slam Rd. of 16's - by region]
16 - W.Europe/Scand. (BEL-CRO-CZE-DEN-ESP-FRA-GER-SVK)
9 - E.Europe/Russia (EST-ROU-RUS-UKR)
4 - N.America/Atlantic (USA)
3 - Asia/Oceania (JPN-KAZ-TPE)
0 - Africa/Middle East (none)
0 - South America (none)


#1 Simona Halep/ROU vs. #16 Elise Mertens/BEL
#12 Angelique Kerber/GER vs. #7 Caroline Garcia/FRA
#3 Garbine Muguruza/ESP vs. Lesia Tsurenko/UKR
(PR) Serena Williams/USA vs. #28 Maria Sharapova/RUS
#26 Barbora Strycova/CZE vs. Yulia Putintseva/KAZ
#13 Madison Keys/USA vs. #31 Mihaela Buzarnescu/ROU
#25 Anett Kontaveit/EST vs. #10 Sloane Stephens/USA
#14 Dasha Kasatkina/RUS vs. #2 Caroline Wozniacki/DEN

#1 Babos/Mladenovic (HUN/FRA) vs. #13 Melichar/Peschke (USA/CZE)
Hozumi/Ninomiya (JPN/JPN) vs. #5 Dabrowski/Xu Yifan (CAN/CHN)
Bara/Buzarnescu (ROU/ROU) vs. (PR) Brady/King (USA/USA)
Cirstea/Sorribes Tormo (ROU/ESP) vs. #8 A.Chan/Yang Zhaoxuan (TPE/CHN)
#6 Krejcikova/Siniakova (CZE/CZE) vs. #9 Bertens/Larsson (NED/SWE)
(WC) Williams/Williams (USA/USA) vs. #3 Klepac/Martinez-Sanchez (SLO/ESP)
Jakupovic/Khromacheva (SLO/RUS) vs. Arruabarrena/Srebotnik (ESP/SLO)
Duan Yingying/Sasnovich (CHN/BLR) vs. #2 S.-Hlavackova/Strycova (CZE/CZE)

2008 Alize Cornet & Emilie Loit (3rd)
2009 Virginie Razzano & Aravane Rezai (4th)
2010 Marion Bartoli & Aravane Rezai (3rd)
2011 Marion Bartoli (SF)
2012 Mathilde Johansson (3rd)
2013 M.Bartoli, A.Cornet & V.Razzano (3rd)
2014 Pauline Parmentier (4th)
2015 Alize Cornet (4th)
2016 A.Cornet, K.Mladenovic & P.Parmentier (3rd)
2017 Caroline Garcia & Kristina Mladenovic (QF)
2018 Caroline Garcia (in 4th Rd.)

[since last FRA finalist]
1994 Mary Pierce (RU), Julie Halard, Alexia Dechaume-Balleret
1995 Mary Pierce
1996 -
1997 Mary Pierce
1998 Sandrine Testud
1999 Julie Halard-Decugis
2000 Amelie Mauresmo, Mary Pierce
2001 Sandrine Testud
2002 Amelie Mauresmo, Mary Pierce
2003 Amelie Mauresmo
2004 Amelie Mauresmo
2005 Mary Pierce
2006 Amelie Mauresmo
2007 Marion Bartoli
2008 -
2009 Virginie Razzano, Aravane Rezai
2010 -
2011 Marion Bartoli
2012 -
2013 -
2014 Pauline Parmentier
2015 Alize Cornet
2016 -
2017 Alize Cornet, Caroline Garcia, Kristina Mladenovic
2018 Caroline Garcia

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 (in 3rd Rd.)
LAST PASTRY STANDING: Caroline Garcia (in 4th Rd.)
IT "??": xx
COMEBACK PLAYER: Nominees: S.Williams, Sharapova
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: Nominees: Bencic (saved 5 MP vs. Chiesa in 1st Rd.); Sharapova (Hogenkamp up 3-0 in 3rd in 1st Rd.); Putintseva (down 6-1/4-1 & 2 MP, 3-0 in 3rd, vs. Q.Wang in 3rd Rd.); Stephens (Giorgi twice served for match in 3rd Rd.)
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 7. More tomorrow.


Blogger Diane said...

I hope the person who assaulted Serena with that ridiculous question hasn’t seen any of Sakkari’s matches 😉

Sat Jun 02, 05:39:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Todd.Spiker said...

You wonder what it takes to have one's press credentials revoked. :/

Sat Jun 02, 06:10:00 PM EDT  
Blogger colt13 said...

Sharapova/Williams= The match none of us needs.

Admittedly, I am more negative on this than others, but this match not only can't live up to the hype, it will overshadow better matches.

Plus, the narrative is negative either way. Either Maria wins, in which case it is seen that she could only beat Serena after pregnancy, or Serena wins, in which the QF run gets downgraded because she always beats Maria.

Neither one will get the respect they deserve, and that is sad, especially if this is their last meeting at a slam, or ever.

Stat of the Day- 10- Members of the Sweet Sixteen with a clay title.

To add to Todd's lists, here is another one. Last clay title for those remaining, or best effort. And a few notes after.

Wozniacki- Brussels 2011
Sharapova- Italian Open 2015
Stephens- Charleston 2016
Kerber- Stuttgart 2016
Williams- Italian Open 2016
Garcia- Strasbourg 2016
Muguruza- French Open 2016
Kasatkina- Charleston 2017
Halep- Madrid 2017
Mertens- Morocco 2018

Keys- Italian Open RU 2016/Charleston RU 2015
Buzarnescu- Prague RU 2018/ITF Biarritz 2017
Kontaveit- Gstaad RU 2017/ITF Moscow 2013
Strycova- Palermo RU 2012/French Open 3rd rd 2016
Putinseva- French Open QF 2016/ITF Cagnes Su Mer 2012
Tsurenko- French Open 3rd rd 2017/ITF Tbilisi 2011

Putinseva has only been in one WTA final, and that was on hard.

Strycova, in a similar fashion, has been in two.

Muguruza's French Open title is her only clay final.

Keys has only reached two finals on clay, and the players she lost to are still in the draw-Williams and kerber.

Charleston is the only clay title for both Stephens and Kasatkina.

Statistically, this as a rarity. Mertens is the only player left to have won a clay title in the last calendar year. Normally at the French, current year success is a predictor. But unless Mertens wins, this will be the third year in a row in which a player's first title on clay is a slam-Muguruza, Ostapenko, 2018 ????

Sat Jun 02, 06:28:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Diane said...

Yes, everything colt said :(

Todd, if no credential was revoked after that guy asked Simona about her breasts and her "social life," none ever will be. The WTA does zero to protect the players, and the players haven't been adequately trained to refuse to answer sexist, obscene questions. Simona should have said "He goes or I go," but this is not the kind of thing that girls and women do. But they can be trained to do it.

(On a side note: the one media person I know who did get "uninvited" was that man in Charleston who shocked everyone a few years ago with his overtly sexual comments. I knew that man--not well, but we had talked for years and had a friendly relationship--and I still believe that he was functioning with some kind of brain deterioration when he did that. He just didn't strike me as someone who would do a thing like that.)

Sat Jun 02, 07:17:00 PM EDT  

Post a Comment

<< Home