Sunday, June 03, 2018

RG.8- Kasatkinus Interruptus

After a no muss, no fuss opening two rounds for both of them, with neither dropping a set, #2 Caroline Wozniacki and #14 Dasha Kasatkina were finally, on Day 8, set to break through the wall of the consciousness of this Roland Garros.

And then everyone waited...

As the afternoon's men's match on Court Lenglen dragged on, it became apparent that, especially with the long rally-heavy game styles of the Dane and Russian, that a time crunch was in play. It was going to take some doing for the match to finish, or maybe even get started. In truth, the reality of a Sunday conclusion was pretty much doomed from the start. It's one of the biggest problems with best-of-five men's matches at slams -- they hog the majority of the court time, meaning schedules are ripe for corruption due to long matches, weather or impending darkness. First because of their length, and second because of the unpredictability of when they're actually going to end, leading to decision paralysis when it comes to tournament officials making on-the-run changes in order to keep the slam machine running smoothly and fairly. It's a damned if you do, damned if don't, conundrum from which there are few escapes, and only lucky breaks.

Finally, the match was moved from Lenglen to Court Chatrier at the last minute. Then, naturally, the match on the originally assigned court ended before Wozniacki and Kasatkina actually stepped onto the terre battue to begin their third meeting of this season.

As it turned out, all three of Wozniacki's previous matches at this slam took place on Chatrier, while Kasatkina had never played on the big court before, though she's certainly seen it on television quite a bit since it's been the "home away from home" of her tennis hero, Rafa Nadal, for over a decade. Perhaps it led to the "off" nature of her game in the early going, which only caused the match to last longer, further eliminating whatever small percentage of a chance it had of being completed.

Aside from all the late afternoon site intrigue, the match set up as one that was quite possibly the Russian's to win or lose. Already 2-0 vs. the Dane this season on hard courts, Kasatkina lists clay as her favorite (and best) surface while Wozniacki has made no secret of it being her least desirable. It's been seven years since the world #2 won a title on clay, and she's played just two of twenty-six finals on it since winning in Brussels in 2011.

Still, Wozniacki had lost just five total games in her last five sets in Paris after being forced to a tie-break in her opening stanza in the 1st Round against Danielle Collins. She came into the match 9-3 on clay this season, looking to match her QF run in Paris of a year ago that was her best RG result since 2010. Kasatkina, a junior RG champ in 2014, was looking for her first career QF result at a major. 8-2 in her last ten clay matches this summer, the Hordette was looking to add to her seven Top 3 wins over the past season and a half (including four in the first five months of '18, during which she's logged six Top 10 victories).

Kasatkina opened the match with a break of serve, but immediately proved to be completely out of sorts on serve. Perhaps it was nerves, or the lack of preparation for playing on the larger and more wide open Chatrier. Whatever it was, it was ugly. She opened her first service game with back-to-back-to-back double-faults, with her second serves flying well long. Kasatkina held back to avoid a fourth DF. She still lost the point, but it set up a pattern of slow serving on the day which not only exasperated her entire effort, but also Wozniacki, who was consistently overeager on many of her returns and over-hit the plodding shots, adding to her won frustration. Kasatkina averaged just 75 mph/120 kph on her serves in the match (and a few times they were too slow to even register on the speed clock).

As the Russian struggled to keep her serving woes from infecting the rest of her game (she was only moderately successful at that, showing rare indecision on some of her shots, and often flubbing or pushing drop shots for errors rather than putting them away on a series of key points). After having led 3-1 but seeing the Dane get the set back on serve in game #6, Kasatkina's drop shot went wide of the sideline and Wozniacki took a 40/love lead on serve in game #7. A long error gave Wozniacki her first lead in the set at 4-3 as Kasatkina cursed her efforts en route to the changeover area.

Wozniacki broke serve again a game later and served for the 1st at 5-3. But it was then that Kasatkina finally dug her heels into the terre battue, carving out a BP and extending the set when Wozniacki threw in a few rally-ending errors. After taking a 40/15 lead in game #10, the game went to deuce before the Russian held for 5-5 after winning two well-constructed rallies that she pulled out of her bag just in the nick of time. Wozniacki then held from love/40 down, reaching deuce with a drop shot and backhand pass combo, then taking the game when Kasatkina netted a down the line backhand.

The two went to a tie-break, where Kasatkina was up a mini-break at 2-0, only to then flail another second serve to give it back. When the Russian failed to put away a shot at the net and instead fired a ball directly into the Dane's backhand, Wozniacki fired a passing shot winner to go up a mini-break at 4-2. But Kasatkina got back to 4-4 with a long rally that she ended with a *successful* drop shot off a lunging Wozniacki forehand, then took the lead back at 5-4 with a dipping dropper that the Dane raced to reach but couldn't get back over the net. Wozniacki over-hit one of Kasatkina's slow second serves (65 mph), then slammed her racket to a chorus of boos from the French crowd. With a set point on the Dane's serve, Kasatkina took the TB 7-5 with an error off the Wozniacki forehand side.

The Russian's claiming of the 1:06 1st set was one for the "Believe it or Not" ledgers. Not only had Wozniacki served for the set, and led 4-2 in the TB, but the Dane led in total points (45-44) while Kasatkina won just 51% of her first serves, and 40% of her second.

But after such a long set, and a long wait for it to start, there was scant time for a long match. In fact, the only way this match could conclude was if Kasatkina could get an early break of serve and ride it out, virtually forcing the match to play on with the possible conclusion so potentially close, for no three-setter was going to be played on this night.

So when Kasatkina held after saving a BP in the opening game of the 2nd, then Wozniacki knotted things at 1-1, time was of the essence. So, naturally...

The resulting waste of five minutes of light while discussing whether it was light enough to play is the height of both creativity and self-defeating notions on the part of Wozniacki and Kasatkina.

It's a once or twice annual absurdity that we see in a big match in either Paris and/or London every year about this time, with one player trying to run out the day's clock while debating the essential accuracy of said clock, while the other argues against it, the tournament officials get involved, and the player trying to take things to the next day "wins" the argument simply because there *was* one.

This wasn't that. Not entirely, at least.

Wozniacki's aims were clear, and smart. She knew she could only lose today, so her best shot was to play on tomorrow and hope her luck changed. Kasatkina's were less so, as she may have let her frustration with her own game's level blind her to the fact that she was still *winning* the match in spite of it, leading her to be willing to give away her edge to the vagaries of an overnight stoppage that could allow the slam-winning Dane to turn the tables on her in the match on Monday after a good night's rest and chance to regroup.

As it turned out, the match continued after the delay. For a while. Kasatkina actually (remarkably?) fired an ace on the third point out of the impromptu break, and held for 2-1. In game #6, with a break being needed to get a big enough edge on the scoreboard for there to be a chance for her to be a winner tonight, the Russian let the moment slip. When she failed to smack a forehand winner at the net, choosing instead to change her mind at the last moment and attempt a poorly-executed drop shot instead, going down 30/15 on the Dane's serve rather than moving a point away from a key BP chance, she robbed herself of what may turn out to be a golden opportunity. Wozniacki soon held for 3-3 and, though matches have been played later into the night this week, in short order...

So, with no argument from *either* player, we go back and reshuffle the deck for Monday.

Kasatkina still holds the advantage, but her smiling and joking conversation with Wozniacki at 1-1 served to waste five minutes that, if played, may have proved to contain the deciding points in a match at the end of which she could step through a door at a major she's never encountered before. Now it may prove to open an escape hatch for Wozniacki.

We'll see which it is. Despite her own mistakes, Kasatkina had managed to put herself in position to win. Now she'll have to do it *again*. Wozniacki may have her right where she wants her.

If that turns out to be the case, chalk it up as a learning experience. Never, ever, give up your advantage in a big match, or prove to be *willing* to do so. You may live to regret it.

=DAY 8 NOTES= the first women's Round of 16 match up on Sunday, #13 Madison Keys completed a Career QF Slam with her first Final 8 run in Paris, putting an end (in singles, at least) to #31 Mihaela Buzarnescu's late-blooming Cinderella story at this slam. The Bannerette, healthier as well as more collected and tactical than in her talented-but-sometimes-perched-on-a-roof's-edge-on-gameday years when one bad stretch could doom her entire afternoon, took care of the Romanian in a 22-minute 1st set, firing twelve winners to just four errors while winning 6-1.

Buzarnescu played a far closer set in the 2nd as Keys' numbers reversed course (5 W/13 UE), but she also didn't fully capitalize on the situation. She converted her only BP chance, but dropped serve twice (Keys was 2/2 on BP). And while her game lends to a higher UE total (she had slightly negative ratios in both sets in her win over Svitolina), she couldn't keep the numbers close enough (8 W/16 UE in the 2nd, after 6/11 in the 1st) here to get ahead of Keys. Keys ended the match with her fourth ace of the day on her third MP, winning 6-1/6-4. She still hasn't lost a set at this RG through four rounds.

Her Career QF Slam comes in her 23rd major, the sixth quickest journey of the fourteen fifteen active women (counting Marion Bartoli, which the WTA didn't in it's tweet today) who've reached the QF at all four majors.

Buzarnescu is still alive in the women's doubles Round of 16 with countrywoman Irina Bara.

And, of course...

...Keys' Bannerette Buddy and fellow U.S. Open finalist last summer, #10 Sloane Stephens, soon after joined Madison not only in the quarterfinals, but as someone who completes a Career QF slam with her Final 8 run at this Roland Garros. It comes in *her* 25th career major.

As it turned out, #25 Anett Kontaveit *wasn't* ready for her close-up on Chatrier Court. While the news of her recent split with coach Glenn Schaap (while in Paris!) surely makes this Round of 16 result an even more impressive one, the Estonian's run ended today with little push back on her part. Stephens didn't need to be very Futuristic to advance. Sloane posted early breaks in both sets, and fairly easily rode out the advantages for a 6-2/6-0 win, taking the final eleven games of the match. She never faced a BP, while converting five of the seven she got on Kontaveit's serve.

One of the more entertaining match-ups of the day was taking place while Stephens was cruising...

It didn't last all that long, though.

Yulia Putintseva, who has somehow tumbled all the way down to #98 in the rankings, took down #26 seed Barbora Strycova in straight sets, 6-4/6-3 to advance to her second career RG quarterfinal (w/ 2016). The Kazakh took an early break lead in both sets, gave it back, then reclaimed the edge for good down the stretch of both sets. doubles, the Williams Sisters gave it their all. Well, to a point. With Serena looking to play into the second week in singles, one wondered how much energy she was going to be willing to expend elsewhere. With the #3-seeded team of Klepac/Martinez-Sanchez serving for a straight sets win at 6-4/5-4 today, the Sisters broke serve and eventually took a 7-4 tie-break to send things to a 3rd set. But that was pretty much it.

Klepac/MJMS ran away with the 3rd set, taking it at love to advance to the QF. It's only the third time Venus & Serena have ever lost a doubles set at love. The other two times came in the same tournament twenty one years ago -- and they still won one of those matches.

1997 Indian Wells 2r - def. Carlsson/Sidot 0-6/6-3/6-3
1997 Indian Wells QF - lost to Davenport/Zvereva 3-6/0-6
2018 Roland Garros 3r - lost to Klepac/Martinez-Sanchez 4-6/7-6(4)/0-6

Elsewhere, #6 Krejcikova/Siniakova eliminated #9 Bertens/Larsson.

In mixed, AO champs and #1 seeds Gaby Dabrowski & Mate Pavic won today and are still alive in the quarterfinals, while Demi Schuurs is still open to finding a way to not leave Paris empty-handed. She and countryman Matwe Middelkoop elimined the all-French duo of Mladenovic/Musialek.

...heading into the start of junior competition in Paris on Day 8, 15-year old Bannerette Alexa Noel (#7 jr.) defeated Ukraine's Viktoriia Dema 6-1/6-4 in the Grade 1 Astrid Bowl final in Charleroi, Belgium yesterday. Noel also swept to the doubles title with Naho Sato. The Arizona native won back-to-back Grade A (Abierto Juvenil) and Grade 1 (Yucatan Cup) titles in Mexico in November, and reached the G1 Banana Bowl final in February and GB1 Easter Bowl championship match in late March.

She'll open her RG experience with a -- yikes! -- 1st Round match-up with unseeded Pole (she's coming back from an injury) Iga Swiatek.

In Day 8 play, #6 Eleonora Molinaro (LUX) improved her combined season record to 54-5 (30-2 in juniors, with 17 in a row, and 24-3 in ITF/FC play) with a win over Pastry Manon Leonard, Bannerette Caty McNally advanced past Malta's Francesca Curmi, and Katie Volynets (USA) defeated Yasmine Mansouri (FRA). Taiwan's Joanna Garland defeated Gabriella Price, while #13-seeded Pastry Clara Burel ('18 AO SF) defeated Russia's Sonya Lansere ('17 Wimbledon SF) and her unseeded fellow French girl Salma Djoubri eliminated '17 Wimbledon semfinalist Simona Waltert (SUI).

Also winning were China's #2-seeded Wang Xinyu ('18 AO jr. SF), #5 Clara Tauson (the Dane won while the *other* Dane was playing), #8 Wang Xiyu (CHN) #10 Yuki Naito, #12-seeded Maria Lourdes Carle ('17 U.S. semis) of Argentina, #14 Luu Sun (SUI), #15-seeded Canadian Leylah Annie Fernandez, #16 Coco Gauff of the U.S. (17 U.S. Open girls finalist), Brit Emma Raducanu and Burundi's Sada Nahimana.

And Georgia's Mariam Dalakishvili defeated Slovak Lenka Stara. I mentioned that one only because every time I see Stara's name I think it sounds like a character from "Game of Thrones."

...on the ITF circuit, while Nicole Gibbs failed to make it through qualifying in Paris, she jumped right back over to North America this week and won a title in the $25K challenger in Naples, Florida with a 6-4/6-4 defeat of Ashley Kratzer 6-4/6-4 in the final to win her first career clay court title. It was suitable reward for having battled roaches during the week.

Another player whose RG qualifying hopes were dashed over a week ago, Cagla Buyukakcay, also picked herself up, dusted herself off, and went out and won a title to get over it all. Two years after she went to Paris and became the first Turkish player to reach a slam MD, and win a match there (then do it again a year later), Buyukakcay won her ninth career ITF crown in the $25K challenger event in Grado, Italy with a win over Martina di Giuseppe. Though she won a tour-level singles title (another "first player from Turkey to..." moment) in Istanbul in '16 on the surface, this was Buyukakcay's first clay court final on the ITF circuit after playing her previous 21 in hard court events.

Elsewhere, Israel's Julia Glushko won a $25K title in Hua Hin, Thailand with a victory over Aussie Alexandra Bozovic. Julia's 18-year old sister Lina won her maiden ITF title in Akko last month.

And since there hasn't really been a proper reason for an Eliessa Vanlangendonck Update of late...

The 21-year old Belgian was in Hammamet, Tunisia this week. It was quite the successful trip, as Vanlangendonck reached the doubles final with Pia Cuk (falling to Eleni Kordolaimi & Alice Rame), after having lost to Cuk (ooh, bad partner!) in the singles QF. This was Eliessa's third 2018 QF-or-better singles result, and her second straight doubles final (third in her career). She's still looking for her first pro title. Keep at it, Big E!

...NOTE ON DAY 8: Tennis Channel, I and many others really couldn't care less whether or not Serena & Maria are "friends," and neither should you.

...DRINKING GAME FOR DAY 9: Every time the Serena/Maria match discussion is made to center on something other than tennis and/or their standing in the game's history (i.e. in-depth analysis of personal grudges, "friendship" or a lack there of, one or the other "throwing shade," anything Sharapova said about Williams in her book, etc.)...


...LIKE ON DAY 8: Wake me when momma wi-...zzzzzzzzzzzzz..."

...and, finally, for what it's worth...

#1 Liang d. #8 Wang Xiyu
Swiatek d. #5 Tauson
#3 Osorio Serrano d. #11 Zheng Qinwen
#6 Molinaro d. #15 Coco Gauff
Swiatek d. #1 Liang
#6 Molinaro d. #3 Osorio Serrano
#6 Molinaro d. Swiatek

Also, there's a WTA 125 Series event this coming week in Bol, Croatia. The Bracelet herself, Alexandra Krunic, is the #1 seed, with Nurnberg champ Johanna Larsson installed as the #2 seed (and after losing in doubles today in Paris, she might actually show up, too). Also on the entry list: Sara Errani, Ostapenko-conqueror Kateryna Kozlova, Ajla Tomljanovic and Anna Karolina Schmiedlova.

#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
Yulia Putintseva/KAZ def. #26 Barbora Strycova/CZE
#13 Madison Keys/USA def. #31 Mihaela Buzarnescu/ROU
#10 Sloane Stephens/USA def. #25 Anett Kontaveit/EST
#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)
#8 A.Chan/Yang Zhaoxuan (TPE/CHN) def. Cirstea/Sorribes Tormo (ROU/ESP)
#6 Krejcikova/Siniakova (CZE/CZE) def. #9 Bertens/Larsson (NED/SWE)
#3 Klepac/Martinez-Sanchez (SLO/ESP) def. (WC) Williams/Williams (USA/USA)
Arruabarrena/Srebotnik (ESP/SLO) def. Jakupovic/Khromacheva (SLO/RUS)
Duan Yingying/Sasnovich (CHN/BLR) vs. #2 S.-Hlavackova/Strycova (CZE/CZE)

#1 Dabrowski/Pavic (CAN/CRO) vs. Schuurs/Middelkoop (NED/NED)
Martinez-Sanchez/Demoliner (ESP/BRA) vs. Srebotnik/S.Gonzalez (SLO/MEX)
#8 Groenefeld/Farah (GER/COL) vs. Spears/Cabal (USA/COL)
Melichar/Peya (USA/AUT) vs. #2 A.Chan/Dodig (TPE/CRO)

Dinara Safina, RUS (2 MP down in 4r, 2 MP down in QF; reached final)
Victoria Azarenka, BLR (down 7-5/4-1 in 3r, match susp./darkness; reached QF)
Samantha Stosur, AUS (down MP in QF; reached final)
Maria Sharapova, RUS (down 6-3/4-1 in 2r; reached SF)
Victoria Azarenka, BLR (down 7-6/4-0 in 1r; avoided earlier #1 exit; reached 4r)
Marion Bartoli, FRA (down break 3 times in 1st & 2 MP in 3rd in 1r; 4-1 1st & break in 2nd set in 2r)
Svetlana Kuznetsova, RUS (down 3-1 in 3rd set, opp.served for match twice in 3r; to QF)
Elina Svitolina, UKR (down 6-1/3-0, 4-1 in 3rd set in 2r; wins 9-7)
Tsvetana Pironkova, BUL (down 6-2/3-0 vs. A-Rad 4r; wins 1st 10 games two days later)
Kristina Mladenovic, FRA (1st Rd.- down 3-0 in 3rd to Brady, wins 9-7; 3rd Rd. - down 5-2 in 3rd, wins 8-6 vs. Rogers; to first RG QF)
Yulia Putintseva, KAZ (3rd Rd.: down 6-1/4-1 & 2 MP, 3-0 in 3rd, vs. Wang Qiang; to second career slam QF)

**WTA "CAREER QF SLAM" - active**
[with slam at which completed]
Azarenka - 2012 US (28th)
Bartoli - 2012 US (39th)
Cibulkova - 2014 AO (26th)
Halep - 2015 US (22nd)
Kerber - 2016 AO (33rd)
Keys - 2018 RG (23rd)
Kuznetsova - 2006 RG (16th)
Kvitova - 2015 US (30th)
Pavlyuchenkova - 2017 AO (37th)
Schiavone - 2011 AO (42nd)
Sharapova - 2005 US (12th)
Stephens - 2018 RG (25th)
S.Williams - 2001 RG (12th)
V.Williams - 1998 WI (6th)
Zvonareva - 2010 US (31st)

unseeded...Clarisa Fernandez, 2002
unseeded...Nadia Petrova, 2003
unseeded...Kiki Bertens, 2016
unseeded...Alona Ostapenko, 2017 (W)
[unseeded - Yulia Putintseva, 2018]
#30...Timea Bacsinszky, 2017
#30...Samantha Stosur, 2009
#28...Andrea Petkovic, 2014
#23...Timea Bacsinszky, 2015
#21...Samantha Stosur, 2016
#21...Sara Errani, 2012 (RU)
#21...Mary Pierce, 2005 (RU)
#20...Dominika Cibulkova, 2009
#18...Eugenie Bouchard, 2014
#17...Francesca Schiavone, 2010 (W)
#16...Elena Likhovtseva, 2005
#16...Nicole Vaidisova, 2006
#14...Paola Suarez, 2004
#14...Justine Henin, 2001
#13...Dinara Safina, 2008
#13...Lucie Safarova, 2015 (RU)
[#13 - Madison Keys, 2018]
#12...Kim Clijsters, 2001
#11...Marion Bartoli, 2011
#10...Justine Henin, 2005 (W)
TO PLAY 4th Rd.: #12 Kerber,#14 Kasatkina,#16 Mertens,#28 Sharapova,Tsurenko,S.Williams

1971 Helen Gourlay, AUS
1976 Renata Tomanova, TCH
1977 Florenta Mihal, ROU
1983 Mima Jausovec
2017 Alona Ostapenko (W)

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 (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: Yulia Putintseva/KAZ (3rd Rd.: down 6-1/4-1 & 2 MP, 3-0 in 3rd, vs. Wang Qiang; reaches second career slam QF)
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 8. More tomorrow.


Blogger Diane said...

Nice to see Misa painting. So much artistic talent among tour members—Krajicek, Bartoli, Hantuchova, Venus, Petko, others I can’t recall (who was the photographer?).

Sun Jun 03, 06:47:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Todd.Spiker said...

Robson, maybe?

I think there was another painter recently, too. Maybe. Hmmm.

Sun Jun 03, 07:39:00 PM EDT  
Blogger colt13 said...

Agreed, Misa's painting is quite good.

So with the exception of Venus, all of the Americans have RG as the last QF.

Stat of the Day-12- The amount of girls from the juniors in 2008 that are in the main draw this year.

Ten years: Both a short time and a long time, depending on what age you are. But with the Girls' tournament getting under way, let's take a look back at 2008, and see if 12 is a good number.

Actually it is. One reason why is because there is a smaller field, therefore it is 12 out of 64.

2008 Girls-Seeds listed
#2 Rus
#4 A.Bogdan
#6 Hercog
#8 Nara
#9 Halep
#12 Konta
WC Hesse

#1 was Oudin, who is already retired. The only Top 10 player never to play a main draw at a slam? The other finalist #10 Elena Bogdan. Also find it amusing that Hesse needed a WC, and that Hogenkamp has been around that long.

Another reason why 12 is a good number? The durability and longevity of the women who were in the main draw. 28 of the 128 returned 10 years later, and that doesn't include injured players like Radwanska and Bacsinszky. It also doesn't include Niculescu, who in a twist of fate, was a lucky loser in 2008, then gave up her spot to one in 2018.

2008 Main Draw-Seeds, Qualifiers, and Wild Cards
#1 Sharapova
#4 Kuznetsova
#5 S.Williams
#8 V.Williams
#16 Azarenka
#18 Schiavone
#19 Cornet
#28 Cibulkova
#30 Wozniacki
Q Rybarikova
Q Wickmayer
Q Mattek
Q Pavlyuchenkova
Q Suarez-Navarro
WC Brengle
WC Stosur

A bunch of veteran talent there.

In conclusion, don't jump the gun with the juniors. They may be talented, but learning how to play against women vs playing against girls is a huge step. The other is durability. Take the very talented Andreescu for one, who may take a couple more years before her body is strong enough for the tour.

Sun Jun 03, 07:54:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Todd.Spiker said...

Just goes to show the benefit of being a longtime fan of the tour. Part of the deal is watching the long-term development of players, being able to have "remember when..." moments about their younger days, and eventually fully understanding the complete journey they've experienced over the course of what are becoming increasingly longer careers for so many of the top players. Or even the ones who flash early, then never really do so again.

On that note, as I like to throw this out once in a while: Alexandra Stevenson, surprise 1999 Wimbledon semifinalist? STILL playing. She's actually 6-6 on the challenger level this year, and just played Iga Swiatek (who was almost two years from being born when Stevenson was in the final four at SW19) last month.

Sun Jun 03, 11:15:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Rajendra Parihar said...

Pierce was not W in 2005.
She was R Up.

Mon Jun 04, 01:03:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Todd.Spiker said...

Wouldn't you know it, I have two versions of that list that I use. One has Pierce designated correctly (it was vs. Henin, so...), and one didn't. Guess which one I used. :(

Thanks for catching that. Fix made. :)

Mon Jun 04, 07:23:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Diane said...

I just remembered who the photographer was—Shvedova. But I did think of Laura, too, because of that hilarious video she and Genie made. Also, Lisicki plays the piano. I’m sure there are many others (can’t think of that other painter, either).

Mon Jun 04, 09:41:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Todd.Spiker said...

Ah, yes. :)

Mon Jun 04, 10:42:00 AM EDT  

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