Thursday, June 28, 2018

W.Q- Roehampton Comebacks & Strawberries-and-Cream Dreams

Before the official start of main draw play at the All-England Club on Monday, the battle to qualify for the field took place this week at Roehampton.

Featuring a handful of familiar faces, former finalists and burgeoning young stars, the action produced a tennis racket bag full of comeback stories and previews of potential future career success.

TOP QUALIFIER: Mona Barthel, GER (27, #114)
...the "veteran" German, still only 27, entered the week needing to qualify to keep her 29-major streak of MD participation alive, a run which she managed to maintain two years ago despite suffering from a "mysterious" illness. Having advanced to the 2nd Round at SW19 on three occasions in the past, Barthel had to fight to reach the 1st Round of her 30th consecutive slam this time around. She went three sets in the opening round vs. Fanny Stollar, saving a MP (via a DF) vs. Oceane Dodin in the second in an 8-6 3rd set, and then defeating Jamie Loeb in straights in the final round. Whew!

2006 Meilen Tu, USA
2007 Hsieh Su-Wei, TPE & Olga Govortsova, BLR
2008 Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez, ESP & Eva Hrdinova, CZE
2009 Viktoriya Kutuzova, UKR
2010 Kaia Kanepi, EST
2011 Alexa Glatch, USA
2012 Sandra Zaniewska, POL
2013 Petra Cetkovska, CZE
2014 Michelle Larcher de Brito, POR
2015 Petra Cetkovska, CZE
2016 Mandy Minella, LUX
2017 Petra Martic, CRO
2018 Mona Barthel, GER
[2018 slams]
AO: Marta Kostyuk, UKR
RG: Francesca Schiavone, ITA
WI: Mona Barthel, GER

Genie Bouchard, CAN (24, #191) - the '14 finalist, who came to London as the fourth-ranked Canadian woman on tour, wins three matches in the same event for the first time since her 2017 QF run in Madrid (which included that win over Maria Sharapova). Bouchard opened with a victory over #18-seeded Zhu Lin, then reached the MD by taking down #2 Mariana Duque.

Vitalia Diatchenko, RUS (27, #132) - nine years after making her Wimbledon Q-round debut in 2009, Diatchenko reaches her third MD (2011 as a qualifier, 2015 automatically in what was her best career season). She's still seeking her maiden 1st Round victory at the All-England Club, having fallen twice before (vs. Hantuchova and Siegemund) in three-setters.
Alexandra Dulgheru, ROU (29, #126) - the Romanian's '18 comeback run continues, as she follows up her successful RG Q-run with another at Wimbledon. The #16 seeded outlasted #1 Tamara Zidansek in the final Q-round (coming from a set down to win w/ a love 3rd).
Claire Liu, USA (18, #238) - armed with a wild card into the Q-draw due to winning last year's SW19 girls title, Liu will made her Wimbledon MD debut courtesy of a straight sets Q3 win over countrywoman and #5 seeded Nicole Gibbs.

Antonia Lottner, GER (21, #128) - the German reached her second career slam MD ('16 U.S.), ending her string of six consecutive unsuccessful qualifying attempts at majors. Lottner fell in the final Q-round a year ago.
Evgeniya Rodina, RUS (29, #116) - the 29-year old Hordette didn't drop a set en route to a successful qualifying run, finally reaching a slam MD for the first time this season after falling in the preliminary rounds in Melbourne (Q2) and Paris (Q3 to Schiavone). This will be Rodina's 21st career MD at a major. Her best result is still the one from her second MD appearance back in 2008, when she reached the Wimbledon 3rd Round.
Gabriela-Elena Ruse, ROU (20, #197) - a girls singles semifinalist at SW19 in 2014, the Swarmette will make her slam MD debut after putting together wins over countrywoman Alexandra Cadantu, #13 Arina Rodionova (who got as close to a win as holding a BP that would have given her a chance to serve for the match had she converted it) and Barbara Haas.
Sara Sorribes Tormo, ESP (21, #103) - the Spaniard took down Marta Kostyuk in the final round, and now once again seeks her first career MD win (0-5) at a major.
Barbora Stefkova, CZE (23, #715) - working her way back from dual wrist injuries that cost her nine months of the '17 season, the Czech followed up her Mallorca doubles final (w/ Safarova) with a Q-run to secure her slam singles debut. She had to play back-to-back-to-back three-setters to do it.

Viktoriya Tomova, BUL (23, #136) - the tour's top-ranked Bulgarian reaches her second career slam MD (and second of '18), but this time she does it with a successful Q-run rather than as a lucky loser, as was her path in Melbourne.
Vera Zvonareva, RUS (33, #141) - the 2010 Wimbledon finalist lost no sets -- def. #22 Sabina Sharipova and #6 Caroline Dolehide -- to qualify and set up her first slam MD appearance since the 2015 Australian, and her first at the AELTC since 2014.

Mariana Duque-Marino, COL (28, #97) - the Colombian lost to Bouchard, but gets into the draw via Timea Bacsinszky pulling out of yet another major. She reached the 2nd round in 2013 and '15.

TOP QUALIFYING MATCH: Q2: #8 Mona Barthel def. Oceane Dodin
The German saves a MP in game #12 of the 3rd, with Dodin DF'ing at 6-5. Barthel got the break, then took the next two games to pull off the Houdini-esque escape en route to her 30th consecutive slam MD.

Q1: Genie Bouchard def. #18 Zhu Lin
Bouchard was in something of a mood early in the week (as she dismissively consented to an on-court "interview" following this win), but it worked out well for her then, as well as in the end.

Q1: Conny Perrin def. #12 Danka Kovinic 6-2/6-2
Q1: Irina Bara def. WC Tara Moore 6-4/6-2
had Moore won, she'd faced off with her fiancee Perrin in the second round, which surely would have garnered at least a little attention. The engaged pair have met on the court before, in 2014 (Moore winning in a $50K) and then once in a tour-level event in 2017 in Rabat (w/ Perrin winning) since announcing their future wedding plans.
Q1: Anna Kalinskaya def. Sabine Lisicki
Playing in her first match since Miami as she makes her way back from yet another injury, Lisicki (#185) posts the worst Wimbledon result of her career. She made her debut at SW19 in 2008 (1st Rd.), and missed 2010 with an ankle injury. From 2009-14, though, the German reached a Wimbledon final, SF and three QF. 3rd Round results in 2015-16 followed, and now Lisicki has lost three straight matches in Wimbledon competition. She actually started '18 quite well, though, reaching the semis in Taiwan in February. But she fights on...

Q1: Ankita Raina def. WC Maria Lumsden
With Sania Mirza out due to her pregnancy, the following generations of Indian women's tennis have stepped up. Raina climbed into the Top 200 and made her slam debut in RG qualifying last month, and Karmen Thandi won her maiden ITF singles crown this past weekend. This week, Raina (IND's WD #1) notched her first win in slam competition with this victory. She lost in a tough three-setter (6-2/5-7/6-4) to eventual qualifier #21 Vitalia Diatchenko in the second round.

Q2: #23 Marta Kostyuk def. Kristie Ahn
The teenager turned around the match after calling for a medical timeout down 6-7/4-3, sweeping the remaining games of the 2nd to force a deciding set. Ahn served for the match at 5-4 and 6-5, but the AO '17 girls champ (and '18 first week star) held firm and eventually broke the Bannerette to close out a 9-7 3rd. She finished the 2:41 match with 19 aces.

But her efforts here went for naught a round later on her 16th birthday, as the Ukrainian lost to Sara Sorribes Tormo 7-5/7-6 in the final round, falling in the Q-rounds at a second straight major (RG Q2) after reaching the 3rd Round in Melbourne.

As for Ahn, she had her own post-match "adventure"...

Q2: Barbara Haas def. Dayana Yastremska
2016 girls finalist Yastremska would have gotten a WC into the main draw had she won the $100K singles final in Ilkley this past weekend, but her loss there to Tereza Smitkova forced her into the qualifying tournament. After losing in the Q2 in Melbourne earlier this year, she did it again at Roehampton. Ranked #127 this week, and with three $100K challenger finals under her belt since September, the 18-year old may have to hope that her rising ranking will gain her automatic entry (or WC?) into the U.S. Open if she's to make her slam MD debut in 2018.

Q3: #16 Alexandra Dulgheru def. #1 Tamara Zidansek 5-7/7-6(4)/6-0
Q3: Genie Bouchard def. #2 Mariana Duque Marino 6-3/6-2
everything was going well for the top two Q-seeds. Until, well, it no longer was, courtesy of two players linked in Fed Cup history by that non-handshake a few years back.

Q3: Antonia Lottner def. Bianca Andreescu
While Bouchard reached the MD, the three Canadians ranked ahead of her in the WTA rankings all fell by the wayside. Lottner personally took out two: Franckie Abanda in the opening round, and Andreescu here (Carol Zhao went on the Q1, as well). For 18-year old Andreescu this was her fifth unsuccessful qualifying effort at a major in six attempts, including Q3 losses at the last two slams (she *did* qualify a year ago at SW19).

Katie Boulter, GBR (21) - second straight Wimbledon WC, she lost a three-setter to Christina McHale in the 1st Rd. in '17. Boulter recently posted solid grass court QF results in the Surbiton $100K challenger and her best-ever at a tour-level WTA event at Nottingham.

Naomi Broady, GBR (28) - Broady (whose brother Liam also got a WC from the AELTC) has been in the Wimbledon draw as either a qualifier (2008-09) or wild card (2011-12,14-15,17-18) eight times since 2008. She lost in qualifying twice (2010,13) and has only been automatically placed in the draw once (2016, when she was #83). She's only won one SW19 MD match (2014).
Harriet Dart, GBR (21) - at her career-high ranking just outside the Top 200, the London native will make her slam debut in her back yard

Katy Dunne, GBR (23) - after falling in previous efforts to reach the MD as a Q-round WC, Dunne gets an outright pass into the big draw this time around. It'll be her slam debut.
Ons Jabeur, TUN (23) - a Wimbledon qualifier in 2017, Jabeur earned her WC with a title run at the $100K Manchester event
Tereza Smitkova, CZE (23) - the Czech reached the 4th Round of Wimbledon at age 19 in 2014, but hasn't played in a slam MD since 2015. Her win at the $100K Ilkley challenger got her into this one.
Katie Swan, GBR (19) - the *third* British Katie/Katy presented with a WC, Swan reached the Wimbledon girls QF in '15, and got a women's MD WC in '16. She lost in qualifying last year, though, when the All-England Club decided to not use up all its potential WC passes (Swan was #361 at the time). Finally 100% healthy, the teenager is currently pushing for her first Top 200 ranking.
Gabriella Taylor, GBR (20) - she'll make her slam MD debut after reaching the $100K Surbiton quarters, and pushing Nottingham defending champ Donna Vekic to a 3rd set TB in the 1st Round

AO - Wang Xinyu, CHN (16)
AO - Destanee Aiava, AUS (17)
AO - Jaimee Fourlis, AUS (18)
WI - Katie Swan, GBR (19)
AO - Lizette Cabrera, AUS (20)
WI - Gabriella Taylor, GBR (20)
AO - Jessika Ponchet, FRA (21)
RG - Jessic Ponchet, FRA (21)
RG - Fiona Ferro, FRA (21)
RG - Isabelle Wallace, AUS (21)
WI - Katie Boulter, GBR (21)
WI - Harriet Dart, GBR (21)
AO - Marta Kostyuk, UKR (15)
WI - Claire Liu, USA (18)
AO - Viktoria Kuzmova, SVK (19)
AO - Anna Blinkova, RUS (19)
AO - Anna Kalinskaya, RUS (19)
RG - Caroline Dolehide, USA (19)
AO - Magdalena Frech, POL (20)
RG - Magdalena Frech, POL (20)
AO - Ivana Jorovic, SRB (20)
WI - Gabriela-Elena Ruse, ROU (20)
RG - Deborah Chiesa, ITA (21)
WI - Antonia Lottner, GER (21)
WI - Sara Sorribes Tormo, ESP (21)

=OLDEST 2018 SLAM...=
RG - Pauline Parmentier, FRA (32)
WI - Naomi Broady, GBR (28)
RG - Myrtille Georges, FRA (27)
AO - Olivia Rogowska, AUS (26)
RG - Francesca Schiavone, ITA (37)
WI - Vera Zvonareva, RUS (33)
WI - Alexandra Dulgheru, ROU (29)
WI - Evgeniya Rodina, RUS (29)
RG - Alexandra Dulgheru, ROU (28)
RG - Mariana Duque Marino, COL (28)
AO - Irina Falconi, USA (27)
WI - Mona Barthel, GER (27)
WI - Vitalia Diatchenko, RUS (27)
WI - Mariana Duque-Marino, COL (28)
RG - Aranxa Rus, NED (27)
RG - Dalila Jakupovic, SLO (27)
AO - Bernarda Pera, USA (23)
AO - Viktoriya Tomova, BUL (22)

#715 - Barbora Stefkova, CZE (WI) - PR
#521 - Marta Kostyuk, UKR (AO)
#279 - Ivana Jorovic, SRB (AO)
#265 - Francesca Schiavone, ITA (RG)
#238 - Claire Liu, USA (WI)
#197 - Grace Min, USA (RG)
#197 - Gabriela-Elena Ruse, ROU (WI)
#191 - Genie Bouchard, CAN (WI)
#186 - Georgina Garcia Perez, ESP (RG)
#163 - Magdalena Frech, POL (AO)
#163 - Deborah Chiesa, ITA (RG)
#160 - Anna Kalinskaya, RUS (AO)
#160 - Alexandra Dulgheru, ROU (RG)
#139 - Viktoriya Tomova, BUL (AO)
#126 - Bernarda Pera, USA (AO)
#121 - Dalila Jakupovic, SLO (RG)

2 - Alexandra Dulgheru, ROU (RG/WI)
2 - Magdalena Frech, POL (AO/RG)
2 - Viktorija Golubic, SUI (AO/RG)

All for now.


Blogger colt13 said...

Stat of the Week-27- The amount of Junior Champions in this year's main draw.

That doesn't even count doubles winners like Buzarnescu, or qualy losers like Kostyuk and Zhuk.

Sat Jun 30, 11:03:00 AM EDT  
Blogger colt13 said...

10 On the Up Side-Serena Free Edition.

1.Kvitova-The overwhelming favorite. The one hedge? Is she a Hall of Famer? The only women in the Open Era with 3 or more Wimbledon titles? Navratilova, Graf, S.Williams, King, V.Williams, Evert.
2.Keys-Has a good draw, but the same problem BFF Stephens has, in that this is the only slam in which she hasn't reached the SF.
3.Osaka- Will be be the first woman to reach the SF at Wimbledon since Date-Krumm in 1996? Has the best draw of the seeded players, and if the ab issue is under control, she could go a long way.
4.Ostapenko- Has a R16 match vs Kvitova that could be like the Kvitova/Williams match a couple of years back. On this list because she is the rare player than can hit through the court off her backhand wing. Also because she won the French Open last year. Why does that matter? Because the last two years(Williams/Muguruza), the previous year's French Open winner won Wimbledon.
5.Mladenovic-The biggest wild card here. A confidence player, if the swaggering, crowd imploring(like Putinseva), finger waving(like Pliskova) shows up, she could go a long way. Has a game built for grass, as her slices and drops are effective. Also hits a low skidding ball. 8 months ago, she was 10, now she is 60. Bouchard's drop was also in 8 months, but once she dropped to 61, she spent 17 months above it-Feb 16-July 17.
6.Bouchard-LPGA announcer Dottie Pepper's favorite words are swing change. Change it to service motion for Bouchard, who changed it again. The second most impressive woman in qualies this week, she has a good enough draw to reach the 3rd rd.
7.Dolehide-Was the most impressive woman in qualies. Lost, but stays on the list as one of the 4 highest ranked losers in the final round along with Zidansek, Duque-Marino, and Gibbs. Not Kostyuk, she was 5th. Konjuh seems to be good to go, but the Swiss duo of Bacsinszky and Bencic are questionable.
Late edit-Bacsinszky is out, but Duque-Marino is the one in.
8.Goerges- Has a classic game good for grass. Horrible stats here though. Has never been past the 3rd rd here, and has 5 straight 1st rd losses. But it is the 10 yr anniversary of her match against Srebotnik, which she won 16-14. Also has played every slam since then.
9.Radwanska- Not on this list because of Eastbourne, but because of Flipkens and Maria. They show that grass court tennis still works, and her bag of tricks vs women with little match play on grass is a recipe for disaster. She could knock off a seed(Wozniacki).
10.Giorgi- of the unseeded players, she has the best draw. The only slam in which she has a winning record, reaching her career best(4th) is possible.

Sat Jun 30, 11:27:00 AM EDT  
Blogger colt13 said...

10 On the Down Side.

1.Sasnovich-Struggles on grass and clay, and drew Kvitova. Even if she pulls the upset, nobody believes that she could win back to back matches.
2.Sevastova-2 wins on grass away from Mallorca. She will be a tough out, but out before rd 3.
3.Broady-Was on this list before she drew Muguruza. Would need 19 aces to stay close. Why 19? She is the only woman to hit over 18 this year, serving 20 in a loss, and 21 in a win.
4.Kr.Pliskova- Has a game built for grass, but to quote Rainbow, Can't Happen Here. No good reason why not, she should be 4th rd or better every year, yet it is Radwanska, who has 1 final, 2 SF, 2 QF and 5 4th rd's.
5.Ka.Pliskova-Has the worst draw of the seeded players. Gets Dart, who is beatable, but has her one WTA MD win vs Kristyna, then Azarenka. Looks like the USO will be her tanch to match Lendl, who didn't win his first slam until 1 1/2 yrs after becoming #! for the first time. Karolina hasn't reached a year yet.
6.Cibulkova- Someone had to draw the short straw, and it was her. The 32nd seed, or was until she got bumped for Serena, gets a fun clash vs another Energizer Bunny type in Cornet. Set 3 hrs aside for this.
7.Buzarnescu. 51/49 match. I'm picking the woman who played Mertens in a final this year. Oh, that was both. Note Mertens/Collins is the only first round match better than this. I will pick the one that has reached more finals this year. Oh, they both reached 2? So, I am picking the one who made it through qualies last year. That would be Sabalenka, as Buzarnescu lost to Martic. Note, this will not be an "upset". In fact, in live ranking, Sabalenka is at 32, just a week too late to be seeded.
8.Zidansek- Pulled an Arkansas Baseball. Just as Arkansas had a chance to win the College World Series, and misplayed a foul pop in Game 2, then no showed in Game 3, Zidansek, the #1 seed in qualies, lost her 3rd set 6-0. In 5 of the last 6 years, the #1 seed has not made it through. The only one? Maria in 2016. Also means that she is 0-4 trying to make it through qualies, and is still looking for her first slam main draw.
9.Zvonareva-Actually an up, as she makes it back to Wimbledon for the first time since 2014, and the first slam since Australia 2015. But a bad matchup against Kerber probably means one and done. The silver lining? If she loses 6-4, 7-5, against a player of Kerber's caliber, she isn't far away.
10.Svitolina- in the penalty box. Has the talent to win this, but in a bad section of the draw, and fighting her own demons. Movement is her strength, but in her recent losses, she has been nullified by big hitters willing to redirect away from her.

Sat Jun 30, 11:51:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Todd.Spiker said...

Potentially VERY interesting note about Ostapenko there. If she reaches the second week, it'd get interesting-er and interesting-er, too. ;)

I wish Buzarnescu hadn't drawn Sabalenka, but I'm disregarding it in my picks on the thought that Sabalenka may have played herself out and won't bring everything to that match that she did in Eastbourne.

Sat Jun 30, 02:18:00 PM EDT  

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