Saturday, July 14, 2018

Angie Kerber and the Enchanted Forest

Wherever Serena Williams walks, she's the biggest story in play. But while Angelique Kerber may speak more softly and carry a comparatively "smaller" stick, but she has *also* developed the walk of a champion -- rediscovered it, really, after a season lost within the enveloping forest that was created by her own success.

Today at Wimbledon, that so-recently-overgrown forest became a newly-enchanted one for the German, who maintained the steady and decisive style of play in the final that she displayed over the course of this fortnight, out-serving and out-playing a Williams who was never able to fully find her form in the face of Kerber's steady but driving game style, which did nothing if not accentuate, exploit and ultimately prey upon the wanting footwork and error-prone performance put forth by Serena in a rare moment on the slam final stage in which she didn't (eventually) bring her best tennis to the battle at hand.

Of course, maybe she would have if given the time. Kerber, though, didn't allow that potential scenario to live long enough to become a reality. She preferred another.

Two seasons ago, everywhere Williams and Kerber went, there was the other. So as both made their way back around, through very different circular journeys, into position to claim another major title at the end of this very upset-heavy and gloriously chaotic fortnight, perhaps we should have seen their return engagement in the final coming all along.

When Kerber was busy claiming her first slam title in Melbourne two and a half years ago, there was Serena on the other side of the net in the final. Williams then countered later in the summer by winning her most recent Wimbledon title with a Ladies final over Kerber. Eighteen months ago, after learning that she was pregnant, Williams won the Australian Open, replacing the German as the reigning champ and dethroning Kerber as the #1 player in the world. Though Serena was ranked #1 for ten total weeks in 2017 following her win in Melbourne, she never played a match while in the position after announcing her impending motherhood. Just over ten months ago, daughter Olympia was born, and Williams once again narrowly escaped what could have been a tragic post-delivery health scare. Over that same period, Kerber, mentally worn down and lacking the sort of belief that had pushed her to her career year in '16, suffered through an unprecedented ranking fall for a year-end #1 last season, dropping from the top spot to outside the Top 20 in the biggest one-year, non-injury/retirement related slip in tour history.

Today, though they were playing for the right to lift the same Venus Rosewater Dish (Serena for an eighth time, Angie for a first), they met with very different personal accomplishments at hand. While a win from Williams would tie her with Margaret Court for the all-time major title record with 24, Kerber was looking to become just the seventh player to be a three-time slam champion this century, the first since 2011, and just the second (w/ Capriati) not named Williams, Sharapova, Henin or Clijsters. After taking down a series of Generation PDQ stars (C.Liu/Osaka/Bencic/Kasatkina/Ostapenko) while losing just one set (to Liu) along the way at the All-England Club, the reinvigorated Kerber was facing a 36-year old living legend, already the oldest Wimbledon women's champion ever when she won the title in 2016, who with a victory would add yet another intriguing layer to her remarkable career story as she'd become the fourth mother (after Court, Goolagong and Clijsters) to win a slam in the Open era.

Naturally, because the AELTC can't get out its own way even while patting itself on the back at every turn, Williams and Kerber were forced to wake up on final day not really knowing *when* they'd get to play. The indeterminate wait began at 1 p.m. Centre Court time. The issue was kicked up because of what happened on Friday.

First, the interminable men's semifinal (6:36, 26-24 in the 3rd) between Kevin Anderson and John Isner (Isner in a long, boring match that threatened to never end... shocking, I know) dragged on, and on, and on, and on, and on, and on, and... well, you get the idea, and pushed back the second men's semi between Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal so far that it was only barely half-finished when it walked up to Wimbledon's 11 p.m. curfew (???). So off everyone went to bed, set to meet up again on Saturday. Then another two-plus hour delay occurred today when the completion of *that* match turned into another five-set affair that went to 10-8.

Finally, at 4:16 in the afternoon, the Wimbledon Ladies final began, with Kerber receiving Williams' serve after having chosen to first play defense after winning the opening coin flip. It turned out to be a brilliant decision that set the course for the entire match.

The opening set was highlighted by Kerber's opportunism and Williams' untimely errors, things which would contribute mightily to the final result. The German's choice to receive paid off immediately, as Serena was nervous, tight and slow off the mark in the opening game. She dropped serve with forehand error. Kerber's own improved serve, a key factor in her recent resurgence since adding Wim Fissette as her coach nine months ago, had guided (along w/ her usual brilliant defensive abilities) her path through the draw, and she backed up her break with a hold for a 2-0 lead.

Williams found her mark in game #4. Winning points with a penetrating groundstroke and a defensive stab that turned into a lethal drop shot, she broke at love for 2-2. A perfectly placed wide ace put Serena up 30/love a game later. A short Kerber return of serve brought Williams forward for a put-away forehand, and then she aced the German to hold for 3-2. But the steady service game of Kerber didn't crack under the pressure of a slowly awakening seven-time Wimbledon champion. She held for 3-3, then went about her practice of extending rallies, putting the onus on Serena to keep her game clean if she was going to take control of the set. She wasn't able to do so. Instead, the Kerber-directed rallies saw the growing number of errors off the Williams racket turn the set decidedly in the German's favor.

In game #7, Serena's double-fault put her down triple break point. On Kerber's third try, Williams' long error got things back on serve. Up 15/30 on Kerber's serve immediately after the changeover break, as Serena moved backwards and to her left in order to position herself for a return of serve, an overzealous forehand squandered her chance at her second BP of the set. A wide forehand a point later gave Williams 11 unforced errors on the day, already as many as in any of her last three full matches at the event. A long backhand return closed out Kerber's hold for 5-3. Two more errors (the second a badly dumped volley) and Serena was down love/30 in game #9. Kerber just missed reaching set point when her block volley lob landed just beyond the baseline, but a backhand error from Williams got her there a point later. A netted backhand gave Kerber the break, and a 6-3 opening set win.

Not wanting to see Williams catch fire in the 2nd, Kerber once again called upon her serve. Once more it replied in the affirmative. She quickly jumped out 40/love in the first game, holding easily. Williams significantly upped her intensity in game #3. A sweeping forehand smacked crosscourt whizzed by Kerber as she approached the net. The German flinched, and gave a quick look over at Serena, who didn't offer back one of the (eye roll-worthy, at times) obligatory "sorry" responses. It was clear that someone was in it to win it. And it wasn't only Serena.

Up 15/30 on Kerber's serve, Williams found herself, as she would more and more often in the set, off-balance at the net. Her poor footwork had led to poor positioning that prevented her from putting away a volley that would have given her a BP. Instead, she awkwardly raised her racket and aimed her shot into the corner, where Kerber pounced with a down the line shot that Serena could only lunge at but not get back over the net. The German held for 2-1. Up 40/15, Williams was slow getting to a short ball and failed to quickly secure her service game. She'd get the 2-2 hold on a rare Kerber error, but the game was nonetheless a sign that she may *not* be able to find her full form in time to put on a bull rush to the title as she's so often done in the past.

After not seeing a BP on the German's serve since breaking her for 2-2 in the 1st set, Williams came back from 40/love down in game #5 to reach deuce. But she wasn't able to carve out the elusive second BP chance, as Kerber once again held. A slow-footed Williams, frustrated by bad bounces on the worn grass surface (and, one would suspect, her inability to consistently find her range off the ground as Kerber relentlessly fired shots back into her side of the court), again fired off early errors that but her behind a game later. Down 15/30, Williams saw Kerber chase down a ball on one side of the court, then race across the baseline and do the same on the other. When Serena failed to get any sting on an off-balance half-volley, Kerber fired a running forehand winner down the line to reach double BP at 15/40. A deep forehand winner into the corner got the German the break of serve for 4-2 lead.

Three more errors from Williams allowed for an easy hold for Kerber. After Serena's love hold, Kerber served at 5-3 for the match, her third major title, and to become the second player to defeat Serena twice in a slam final (the other was someone named Venus).

Trying to pull off an eleventh hour save that would keep slam #24 in play, Serena worked the rally in the game's second point in her favor and ventured in to the net to put it away, but instead flied her forehand volley to fall behind 30/love. She knelt on her knee in the shadow of the net, head down and quite possibly coming to grips that "it" just wasn't going to come back to her on this day. Or maybe she was actually gathering herself for one final burst. A drop shot and big deep return got the point to 30/30. But a Kerber forehand down the line into the corner off a high bouncing, deep court ball got her her first MP. She'd only need one. Williams' return error ended the 6-3/6-3 match. Kerber was the Wimbledon champion for the first time.

Kerber fell to knees and onto the ground. She was immediately enveloped not by a foreboding forest, but by a cloud of dust kicked up by her rolling over on her back on the well-worn baseline.

Disappointed but gracious, Williams crossed around the net post and greeted Kerber with a long hug. The German's remarkably clean (5 UE to Serena's 24) game, efficient serving (66% 1st serve pct., winning 70%, and just 1 BP faced) and opportunistic defense (she won 69% of Serena's second serves, and converted on 4/7 BP) essentially had kept Williams at bay all day, and she was never able to put everything in order in the short time she had to find a way back into the match.

Williams need not add additional layers to prop up her continuing legacy, but she seems to do so every time she hits the court. Her loss here will only make her return to the U.S. for her first home slam appearance in two years all the more intriguing. Olympia's first birthday will arrive on September 1st, right about the time her mother should be playing her 3rd Round match later this summer at Flushing Meadows, likely under the lights on Ashe. Will Serena's offspring also make her primetime debut that evening? Stay tuned to find out.

"I think without 2017 I would not be here," Kerber said after picking up her latest slam trophy. "I learned a lot last year."

Now knowing how to recognize both the enchanted forest *and* the trees that make it up, the journey of the German, the first from her nation to lift the Venus Rosewater Dish since her idol Steffi Graf in 1996, has come full circle. After learning how to believe in herself and take chances in 2016, her opposite end of the spectrum experience of '17 showed her the importance of taking time off and "taking care of (herself)." Still improving her game and approach two seasons after her career year, six months beyond the 30th birthday that used to signal the *end* of a tennis player's peak years of accomplishment, Kerber now finds herself three-quarters of the way to a Career Slam.

And her best may still be yet to come.

...late in the day, the waiting-for-a-spot-on-the-schedule women's doubles final finally settled for Court 1 rather than the traditional Centre Court location.

It was too bad for a lot of reasons, but also because as this was the 20th anniversary of Jana Novotna's Wimbledon singles title it would have been nice had her fellow Brno, Czech Republic born protege Barbora Krejcikova been able to win her maiden SW19 WD crown on the same court that the '98 women's singles and doubles champ did. Either way, though she had to settle for a later trip to CC to show off her trophy in the Royal Box, Krejcikova teamed with fellow Czech Katerina Siniakova to become the first duo in fifteen years ('03 Clijsters/Sugiyama) to win back-to-back Roland Garros and Wimbledon titles, defeating Nicole Melichar (a Bannerette, but also born in Brno before coming the the U.S. as a baby) and 43-year old Czech Kveta Peschke by a 6-4/4-6/6-0 score.

The win gives the pair a women's doubles trophy to go with the girls doubles one they picked up in 2013 at the AELTC.


And now...

...earlier in the day, the Wimbledon junior champion was crowned, and for the fourth time at SW19 it's a Polish teenager. Following in the AELTC footsteps of Aleksandra Olsza (1995) and both Radwanska sisters (Aga in '05, Ula in '07), Iga Swiatek took the title with a 6-4/6-2 win over Swiss qualifier Leonie Kung.

Swiatek lost just one set in the tournament. It was the first one she played. She dropped her opening Wimbledon set to #1-seed Whitney Osuigwe, then reeled off twelve straight en route to the title.

Thus, 2018's girls slam champions have been named En-shuo (Liang), Coco (Gauff) and Iga. Hmmm, just for that reason, I suppose we could be talking about The Most Interesting Tour Junior Circuit in the World then, right?

1995 Wimbledon - Aleksandra Olsza
1996 Australian Open - Magdalena Grzbowska
2005 Wimbledon - Aga Radwanska
2006 Roland Garros - Aga Radwanska
2007 Wimbledon - Ula Radwanska
2018 Wimbledon - Iga Swiatek the wheelchair final, Diede (The Great) de Groot added another slam win to her growing early legacy in the sporting, defending her Wimbledon women's singles title with a 3 & 2 victory over fellow Dutch Aniek van Koot. The win gives her three slam singles titles (tied for fourth all-time), with all three coming in the last five majors. She was runner-up in the other two finals.

De Groot and Yui Kamiji finally found out on Saturday who they'll play in the doubles final. It'll be Sabine Ellerbrock & Lucy Shuker, who finished off a 6-4 3rd set vs. #2 Marjolein Buis/van Koot after play had been suspended yesterday with the duo holding a 3-1 lead.

Kamiji, 24, will be looking to win her fifth straight Wimbledon WD title, extending her own SW19 record, while 21-year old de Groot will be trying to add a fifth different slam title to her career resume.

AO SINGLES: 2018 Champion
AO DOUBLES: [RU-2017,2018]
RG DOUBLES: 2018 Champion
WI SINGLES: 2017,18 Champion
US DOUBLES: 2017 Champion ITF action, the finals at the week's two clay court $100K challengers are set. In Contrexeville, France it'll be Swiss Stefanie Voegele against Spain's Sara Sorribes Tormo, the latter just coming off a Q-run and 2nd Round result at Wimbledon. The other event in Budapest will feature Slovak Viktoria Kuzmova, looking for her second '18 $100K win, versus Hordette Ekaterina Alexandrova.

In the $60K in Versmold, Germany's Laura Siegemund will play in her first final since knee surgery, facing off with Serb Olga Danilovic, who won the girls doubles at last year's Wimbledon. Danilovic's doubles partner in that title run, Kaja Juvan (SLO), reached but lost this weekend's $25K final in Turin, Italy, falling to Romanian Andreea Amalia Rosca, who picked up her fifth challenger title of the season.

In Hong Kong, Division-III star (Wesleyan) Eudice Chong (HKG) claimed her first pro title with a win over Japan's Sakura Hosogi.

India's top singles player, Ankita Raina, won her seventh career ITF title in the $25K in Nonthaburi, defeating Japan's Risa Ozkai.

Elsewhere, in Winnipeg ($25K), Canada's Rebecca Marino will seek her fourth ITF title of her '18 comeback vs. Israel's Julia Glushko, seeking her third title of the season. The Prokuplje ($15K) final will be a rematch of last weekend's championship match between Croat Lea Boskovic and Maiden Gabriela Pantuckova. Pantuckova comes into the final on a 17-1 run which has included two singles titles.

I'M SURE... ON DAY 12: ...there's some snarky comment about something in tennis that would go along just perfectly with this. Come up with your own to make yourself chuckle, or just save it for a rainy day. Or, you know, the next time some one of John Isner's friends (posing as a commentator, no doubt) talks about him on Tennis Channel or ESPN. ;)

LIKE ON DAY 12: Remembering Jana and Maria...

LIKE ON DAY 12: Chakvetadze sighting!

GARBI... ON DAY 12: 2017 vs. 2018.

The smile *is* still there. Just not the Dish.

LIKE ON DAY 12: Practice makes perfect...

APPARENTLY... ON DAY 12: Living as a royal takes it out of you. On the other hand, being tennis royalty...

LIKE ON DAY 12: Yes, I'm going to re-watch "Die Hard" for the first time in quite a while tonight. HBO2, catch it! ;)

...and, finally, just because.

#11 Angelique Kerber/GER def. #24 Serena Williams/USA 6-3/6-3

#3 Krejcikova/Siniakova (CZE/CZE) def. #12 Melichar/Peschke (USA/CZE) 6-4/4-6/6-0

Azarenka/J.Murray (BLR/GBR) vs. #11 Melichar/Peya (USA/AUT)

Iga Swiatek/POL def. (Q) Leonie Kung/SUI 6-4/6-2

#1 Wang Xinyu/Wang Xiyu (CHN/CHN) vs. #2 McNally/Osuigwe (USA/USA)

#1 Diede de Groot/NED def. Aniek van Koot/NED 6-3/6-2

#1 de Groot/Kamiji (NED/JPN) vs. Ellerbrock/Shuker (GER/GBR)

Edgar Degas “Little Dancer of Fourteen Years”

A post shared by Maria Sharapova (@mariasharapova) on

2000 Venus Williams def. Lindsay Davenport 6-3,7-6
2001 Venus Williams def. Justine Henin 6-1,3-6,6-0
2002 Serena Williams def. Venus Williams 7-6,6-3
2003 Serena Williams def. Venus Williams 4-6,6-4,6-2
2004 Maria Sharapova def. Serena Williams 6-1,6-4
2005 Venus Williams def. Lindsay Davenport 4-6,7-6,9-7
2006 Amelie Mauresmo def. Justine Henin-H. 2-6,6-3,6-4
2007 Venus Williams def. Marion Bartoli 6-4,6-1
2008 Venus Williams def. Serena Williams 7-5,6-4
2009 Serena Williams def. Venus Williams 7-6,6-2
2010 Serena Williams def. Vera Zvonareva 6-3,6-2
2011 Petra Kvitova def. Maria Sharapova 6-3,6-4
2012 Serena Williams def. Aga Radwanska 6-1,5-7,6-2
2013 Marion Bartoli def. Sabine Lisicki 6-1,6-4
2014 Petra Kvitova def. Genie Bouchard 6-3,6-0
2015 Serena Williams def. Garbine Muguruza 6-4,6-4
2016 Serena Williams def. Angelique Kerber 7-5,6-4
2017 Garbine Muguruza def. Venus Williams 7-5,6-0
2018 Angelique Kerber def. Serena Williams 6-3,6-3

9...Venus Williams (5-4)
2...Petra Kvitova (2-0)
2...Garbine Muguruza (1-1)
2...Maria Sharapova (1-1)
1...Genie Bouchard (0-1)
1...Sabine Lisicki (0-1)
1...Aga Radwanska (0-1)
1...Vera Zvonareva (0-1)

2016 AO: Angelique Kerber, GER
2016 RG: Garbine Muguruza, ESP
2016 WI: Serena Williams, USA
2016 US: Angelique Kerber, GER
2017 AO: Serena Williams, USA
2017 RG: Alona Ostapenko, LAT
2017 WI: Garbine Muguruza, ESP
2017 US: Sloane Stephens, USA
2018 AO: Caroline Wozniacki, DEN
2018 RG: Simona Halep, ROU
2018 WI: Angelique Kerber, GER

2001 US Open to Venus Williams
2004 Wimbledon to Maria Sharapova
2008 Wimbledon to Venus Williams
2011 US Open to Samantha Stosur
2016 Australian Open to Angelique Kerber
2016 Roland Garros to Garbine Muguruza
2018 Wimbledon to Angelique Kerber

16...Venus Williams (7-9)
10...Maria Sharapova (5-5)
4...Svetlana Kuznetsova (2-2)
4...Victoria Azarenka (2-2)
4...Simona Halep (1-3)
3...Garbine Muguruza (2-1)
3...Caroline Wozniacki (1-2)
2...Petra Kvitova (2-0)
2...Francesca Schiavone (1-1)
2...Sloane Stephens (1-1)
2...Samantha Stosur (1-1)
2...Vera Zvonareva (0-2)
1...Genie Bouchard (0-1)
1...Dominika Cibulkova (0-1)
1...Sara Errani (0-1)
1...Madison Keys (0-1)
1...Jelena Jankovic (0-1)
1...Sabine Lisicki (0-1)
1...Alona Ostapenko (0-1)
1...Karolina Pliskova (0-1)
1...Aga Radwanska (0-1)
1...Lucie Safarova (0-1)

*SLAMS BY NATION - 2010-18*
13 - USA (S.Williams-12,Stephens 1)
3 - GER (Kerber-3)
2 - BEL (Clijsters-2)
2 - BLR (Azarenka-2)
2 - CHN (Li-2)
2 - CZE (Kvitova-2)
2 - ESP (Muguruza-2)
2 - ITA (Pennetta-1,Schiavone-1)
2 - RUS (Sharapova-2)
1 - AUS (Stosur)
1 - DEN (Wozniacki)
1 - FRA (Mauresmo)
1 - LAT (Ostapenko)
1 - ROU (Halep)

6 - Maria Sharapova (2-4)
4 - Victoria Azarenka (2-2)
4 - Li Na (2-2) - ret.
4 - Simona Halep (1-3)
3 - Garbine Muguruza (2-1)
2 - Kim Clijsters (2-0) - ret.
2 - Petra Kvitova (2-0)
2 - Francesca Schiavone (1-1)
2 - Sloane Stephens (1-1)
2 - Samantha Stosur (1-1)
2 - Caroline Wozniacki (1-1)
2 - Venus Williams (0-2)
2 - Vera Zvonareva (0-2)

10..Serena Williams (at 30/31/32/33/34/35)
3...Martina Navratilova (2 at 30, 1 at 33)
3...Margaret Court (2 at 30, 1 at 31)
2...Billie Jean King (30 & 31)
2...Chris Evert (30 & 31)
1...Flavia Pennetta (33)
1...Li Na (31)
1...Virginia Wade (31)
1...Ann Haydon Jones (30)

=since Azarenka first #1 in January 2012=
2012: 9 (won 8) MIAMI/A.Radwanska
2013: 9 (won 8) WIMB/Bartoli
2014: 4 (won 1) AO/Li, WIMB/Kvitova, MTL/A.Radwanska
2015: 6 (won 4) IW./Halep, MADRID/Kvitova
2016: 1 (won 0) AO/Kerber
2017: -
2018: 3 (won 0) IW/Osaka, RG/Halep, WI/Kerber
TOTAL: 32 (won 21)

=since Azarenka first #1 in January 2012=
AO - Azarenka
RG - Sharapova (1)
WI - S.Williams
US - S.Williams
AO - Azarenka (2)
RG - S.Williams
WI - Bartoli (1)
AO - Li (1)
WI - Kvitova (1)
AO - S.Williams
RG - S.Williams
WI - S.Williams (6)
AO - Kerber
RG - Halep (1)
WI - Kerber (2)

2002 Vera Dushevina/RUS def. Maria Sharapova/RUS
2003 Kirsten Flipkens/BEL def. Anna Chakvetadze/RUS
2004 Kateryna Bondarenko/UKR def. Ana Ivanovic/SRB
2005 Aga Radwanska/POL def. Tamira Paszek/AUT
2006 Caroline Wozniacki/DEN def. Magdalena Rybarikova/SVK
2007 Ula Radwanska/POL def. Madison Brengle/USA
2008 Laura Robson/GBR def. Noppawan Lertcheewakarn/THA
2009 Noppawan Lertcheewakarn/THA def. Kristina Mladenovic/FRA
2010 Kristyna Pliskova/CZE def. Sachie Ishizu/JPN
2011 Ash Barty/AUS def. Irina Khromacheva/RUS
2012 Genie Bouchard/CAN def. Elina Svitolina/UKR
2013 Belinda Bencic/SUI def. Taylor Townsend/USA
2014 Alona Ostapenko/LAT def. Kristina Schmiedlova/SVK
2015 Sofya Zhuk/RUS def. Anna Blinkova/RUS
2016 Anastasia Potapova/RUS def. Dayana Yastremska/UKR
2017 Claire Liu/USA def. Ann Li/USA
2018 Iga Swiatek/POL def. Leonie Kung/SUI

2006 Li Na, CHN
2007 Ana Ivanovic, SRB
2008 Agnieszka Radwanska, POL
2009 Sabine Lisicki, GER
2010 Petra Kvitova, CZE
2011 Sabine Lisicki, GER
2012 [Alter Ego] "The Radwanska"
2013 [Upstart] Michelle Larcher de Brito, POR
2014 [New Wheelchair Star] Yui Kamiji, JPN
2015 [Vandeweghe] Coco Vandeweghe, USA
2016 [First WC Champ] Jiske Griffioen, NED
2017 [Next WC Great?] Diede de Groot, NED
2018 [GenPDQ Pole] Iga Swiatek, POL

AO: Vera Lapko, BLR
RG: Rebeka Masarova, SUI
WI: Anastasia Potapova, RUS
US: Kayla Day, USA
AO: Marta Kostyuk, UKR
RG: Whitney Osuigwe, USA
WI: Claire Liu, USA
US: Amanda Anisimova, USA
AO: Liang En-shuo, TPE
RG: Coco Gauff, USA
WI: Iga Swiatek, POL

2017 Diede de Groot/NED d. Lucy Shuker/GBR
2018 Yui Kamiji/JPN d. Diede de Groot/NED
2016 Jiske Griffioen/NED d. Aniek van Koot/NED
2017 Diede de Groot/NED d. Sabine Ellerbrock/GER
2018 Diede de Groot/NED d. Aniek van Koot/NED

2017 AO - #2 Yui Kamiji/JPN def. #1 Jiske Griffioen/NED
2017 RG - #2 Yui Kamiji/JPN def. Sabine Ellerbrock/GER
2017 WI - Diede de Groot/NED def. Sabine Ellerbrock/GER
2017 US - #1 Yui Kamiji/JPN def. #2 Diede de Groot/NED
2018 AO - #2 Diede de Groot/NED def. #1 Yui Kamiji/JPN
2018 RG - #1 Yui Kamiji/JPN def. #2 Diede de Groot/NED
2018 WI - #1 Diede de Groot/NED def. Aniek van Koot/NED

*WC SLAM SINGLES FINALS - since 2013, post-Vergeer*
10 - Yui Kamiji, JPN (6-4)
8 - ANIEK VAN KOOT, NED (2-6)(0-1 Para)
6 - Jiske Griffioen, NED (4-2)(1-0 Para)-ret.
6 - Sabine Ellerbrock, GER (2-5)
1 - Marjolein Buis, NED (1-0)
1 - Jordanne Whiley, GBR (1-0)

2009 Korie Homan/Esther Vergeer, NED/NED
2010 Esther Vergeer/Sharon Walraven, NED/NED
2011 Esther Vergeer/Sharon Walraven, NED/NED
2012 Jiske Griffioen/Aniek van Kook, NED/NED
2013 Jiske Griffioen/Aniek van Koot, NED/NED
2014 Yui Kamiji/Jordanne Whiley, JPN/GBR
2015 Yui Kamiji/Jordanne Whiley, JPN/GBR
2016 Yui Kamiji/Jordanne Whiley, JPN/GBR
2017 Yui Kamiji/Jordanne Whiley, JPN/GBR
2018 de Groot/Kamiji vs. Ellerbrock/Shuker

25 - Esther Vergeer, NED [9-6-0-10]...[14+4]
6 - Yui Kamiji, JPN [1-3-0-2]...[1+0]*
4 - Jiske Griffioen, NED [2-1-1-0]...[3+1]
3 - DIEDE DE GROOT, NED [1-0-2-0]...[1+0]*
3 - Monique Kalkman, NED [0-0-0-3]...[2+1]
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]*

14...Serena Williams, USA
14...Venus Williams, USA
5...Sara Errani, ITA
5...Bethanie Mattek-Sands, USA
5...Lucie Safarova, CZE
3...Ekaterina Makarova, RUS
3...Sania Mirza, IND
3...Elena Vesnina, RUS
2...Andrea S.-Hlavackova, CZE
2...Lucie Hradecka, CZE
2...Hsieh Su-wei, TPE
2...Vania King, USA
2...Svetlana Kuznetsova, RUS
2...Kristina Mladenovic, FRA
2...Peng Shuai, CHN
2...Yaroslava Shvedova, KAZ
2...Samantha Stosur, AUS

2008 Serena Williams & Venus Williams, USA/USA
2009 Serena Williams & Venus Williams, USA/USA
2010 Vania King & Yaroslava Shvedova, USA/KAZ
2011 Kveta Peschke & Katarina Srebotnik, CZE/SLO
2012 Serena Williams & Venus Williams, USA/USA
2013 Hsieh Su-Wei & Peng Shuai, TPE/CHN
2014 Sara Errani & Roberta Vinci, ITA/ITA
2015 Martina Hingis & Sania Mirza, SUI/IND
2016 Serena Williams & Venus Williams, USA/USA
2017 Ekaterina Makarova & Elena Vesnina, RUS/RUS
2018 Barbora Krejcikova & Katerina Siniakova, CZE/CZE

2017 AO: Bethanie Mattek-Sands/Lucie Safarova, USA/CZE
2017 RG: Bethanie Mattek-Sands/Lucie Safarova, USA/CZE
2017 WI: Ekaterina Makarova/Elena Vesnina, RUS/RUS
2017 US: Latisha Chan/Martina Hingis, TPE/SUI
2018 AO: Timea Babos/Kristina Mladenovic, HUN/FRA
2018 RG: Barbora Krejcikova/Katerina Siniakova, CZE/CZE
2018 WI: Barbora Krejcikova/Katerina Siniakova, CZE/CZE

1972 Billie Jean King & Betty Stove
1980 Kathy Jordan & Anne Smith
1984 Martina Navratilova & Pam Shriver
1990 Jana Novotna & Helena Sukova
1992 Gigi Fernandez & Natasha Zvereva
1993 Gigi Fernandez & Natasha Zvereva
1994 Gigi Fernandez & Natasha Zvereva
1997 Gigi Fernandez & Natasha Zvereva
1998 Martina Hingis & Jana Novotna
2003 Kim Clijsters & Ai Sugiyama
2018 Barbora Krejcikova & Katerina Siniakova

2015 Martina Hingis, SUI
2016 Venus Williams, USA
2017 Venus Williams, USA
2018 Angelique Kerber, GER

TOP EARLY-ROUND (1r-2r): #1 Simona Halep/ROU
TOP MIDDLE-ROUND (3r-QF): #12 Alona Ostapenko/LAT
TOP LATE-ROUND (SF-F): #11 Angelique Kerber/GER
TOP QUALIFYING MATCH: Q2: #8 Mona Barthel/GER def. Oceane Dodin/FRA 6-3/1-6/8-6 (saves a MP in game #12 of the 3rd w/ Dodin DF at 6-5)
TOP EARLY-RD. MATCH (1r-2r): 1st Rd. - #32 Aga Radwanska/POL def. (Q) Elena-Gabriela Rus/ROU 6-3/4-6/7-5 (wins 14-min.,23-pt.,8-deuce game #10 in 3rd, saving 6 MP)
TOP MIDDLE-RD. MATCH (3r-QF): 3rd Rd. - Hsieh Su-wei/TPE def. #1 Simona Halep 3-6/6-4/7-5 (def. world #1 from 5-2 down in 3rd, Halep served at 5-3 and had MP at 5-4)
TOP LATE-RD. MATCH (SF-F/Jr.): Girls QF - #10 Wang Xiyu/CHN def. #3 Coco Gauff/USA 4-6/7-6(1)/6-4 (Gauff MP at 5-4 in 2nd)
FIRST VICTORY: Yanina Wickmayer/BEL (1st Rd. def. M.Barthel/GER)
FIRST SEED OUT: #19 Magdalena Rybarikova/SVK (lost 1st Rd. to S.Cirstea/ROU)
UPSET QUEENS: United States
NATION OF POOR SOULS: Ukraine (1-4 1st/2nd Rd; year after Svitolina to 4th/Tsurenko to 3rd, Svitolina 1st Rd. is worst slam since '14 and none to 3rd Rd.)
LAST QUALIFIER STANDING: Evgeniya Rodina/RUS (4th Rd.)
LAST WILD CARDS STANDING: Katie Boulter/GBR, Ons Jabeur/TUN and Katie Swan/GBR (all 2nd Rd.)
LAST BRITS STANDING: Katie Boulter, Johanna Konta and Katie Swan (all 2nd Rd.)
IT ("GenPDQ Pole"): Iga Swiatek/POL
CRASH & BURN: #8 Petra Kvitova/CZE (two-time champ, pre-tournament favorite and '18 tour title-leader loses in 1st Rd. to Aliaksandra Sasnovich/BLR, dropping 3rd set at love)
ZOMBIE QUEEN OF LONDON: Katerina Siniakova/CZE (Down 5-2 to Vandeweghe, who served at 5-3 in final set in 1st Rd., wins 8-6; down 5-2 to Jabeur, served at 5-3 in final set in 2nd Round, saved MP and wins 9-7)
DOUBLES STAR: Nominees: Azarenka, de Groot/Kamiji, Krejcikova/Siniakova
JUNIOR BREAKOUTS: Wang Xinyu/CHN and Wang Xiyu/CHN
"SPIRIT OF JANA" (NOVOTNA) HONOREES: Donna Vekic/CRO (follows up emotional '17 loss to Konta in 2nd Round -- after which Brit consoled her at the net ala the Duchess of Kent w/ Jana in 1993 -- w/ 1st Rd. upset of #4 Stephens; advances to first career slam Rd. of 16), Barbora Krejcikova/CZE (Novotna protege wins WD final 20 years after her coach's singles/doubles title sweep in '98) and Nicole Melichar/USA (Brno-born Bannerette reaches both doubles and mixed finals)
June 26 official: In Eastbourne, Aga Radwanska, playing in her first event in two months, saves 2 MP vs. Dasha Gavrilova (both via DF), win a 2nd set tie-break, then takes the 3rd set at love. Gavrilova has 17 DF on the day.
Day 3 observed: As insects swarm the AELTC grounds on Flying Ant Day, reigning AO champ #2 Caroline Wozniacki falls on the infested Court 1 to Ekaterina Makarova, becoming the sixth Top 8 seed to fall in the tournament's first three days. Aga Radwanska flirts with staging a comeback from a set and 5-1 down and force a 3rd set (after having saved 6 MP in the 1st Rd.), saving a MP vs. Lucie Safarova before the Czech staves off a total of seven BP in a game to hold and secure the win. It's Aga's first career "Rad Day" defeat. Later, rain interrupts play for the first time in the fortnight.

All for Day 12. Grass Court Awards tomorrow.


Blogger colt13 said...

D-fence, D-fence. That is what won it for Kerber. Great performance, and event though Serena didn't have her A game, still a worthy performance for someone who will need to look for land in Rhode Island in 5 or more years.

Seriously, Williams getting to 2 second weeks this soon, and a final is something only Hall of Famers do. Like Clijsters and Henin.

Kerber, first German since Graf to...
Win the Australian Open since 1994
Win the US Open since 1996
Win Wimbledon since 1996
Become #1 since 1997

Six degrees of Novotna. Kveta Hrdlickova(Peschke) played singles and doubles in Novotna's last Wimbledon in 1999.

Brno is also Safarova's birthplace. Brno has 400K, similar to Tulsa.

Siniakova will be #2, Krejcikova #4. Sestini Hlavackova, who had a chance at #1, drops to 7 as both pass her.

Quick turnaround, but Kung has MDWC for Gstaad. 15 yr prodigy, South Africa's Zoe Kruger has one for Q.

Stat of the Day-30- The number of slam finals for Serena Williams.

As staggering as that number is, Evert actually appeared in 34, going 18-16.

The fact that this was Serena's 7th loss puts her one ahead of Esna Boyd, who has an interesting story of her own.

Boyd's 6 losses were all in Australia. Reaching her first final in 1922, she improved form not having played in 1921. Neither did anybody else, as the tournament's first year was 1922. She lost to Margaret Molesworth 10-8 in the 2nd set, then lost to her the next year too.

1924 brought a different opponent in Sylvia Lance Harper, but getting closer, she lost 8-6 in the 3rd set. Then two losses to the trophy, Daphne Akhurst.

Finally in 1927, she got that elusive title, beating Harper, followed up by another loss to Akhurst the following year.

Serena's finals record:
V.Williams 7-2
Sharapova 3-1
Azarenka 2-0
Hingis 1-0
Davenport 1-0
Jankovic 1-0
Safina 1-0
Henin 1-0
Zvonareva 1-0
Radwanska 1-0
Wozniacki 1-0
Safarova 1-0
Muguruza 1-1
Kerber 1-2
Stosur 0-1

Sat Jul 14, 08:21:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Todd.Spiker said...

Ah, good Peschke/Novotna pull there. :)

I was going to that's quite a jump for Krejcikova and Siniakova... but I guess winning two slams *will* do that for you, huh?

And now Kerber actually has arguably a better career resume than, say, Azarenka. So getting a title on Sunday and being one AO MX title away from a Career Golden MX Slam would be quite a part-time feather in her cap. :)

Sat Jul 14, 11:37:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Will Corby said...

Interesting stat that every active woman who reached only one slam final lost it but of the 5 women who reached exactly two, only one went 0-2 (Zvonareva).

Why no Melichar up for doubles star? She made both finals and could win the mixed tomorrow.

Sun Jul 15, 12:01:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Todd.Spiker said...

Normally she would be, though under normal conditions if she lost both finals she would possibly not get *any* of the awards.

As it is this slam, I'm trying to spread it around and avoid too many double-award winners, so when I gave Melichar a share of the Novotna award, I sort of unofficially moved her off the Doubles Star list. It's sort of why I'm *really* not considering Krejcikova/Siniakova for the Doubles Stars even with their win (though I did put them back on the list today w/ their title, just because they won) -- Siniakova was Zombie Queen, Krejcikova was a Novotna winner, and the pair of them were the Doubles Stars for RG with their first slam win.

Needless to say, if Azarenka wins it'll be an easy pick. If not, Melichar might just end up getting it after all for lack of a more unique choice, though I'm trying to avoid doing that, I guess. (Hmmm, de Groot & Kamiji teaming up for a first title together *would* be interesting, and de Groot doesn't have any award yet.) :)

Sun Jul 15, 12:18:00 AM EDT  

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