Sunday, July 15, 2018

Cheerio, SW19... Hello, 2018 Grass Court Awards

Wimbledon is over. And the grass court season, too.

So it's time for a quick review of the top performances and performers on the lawns...

#1 - Gimme an A! Gimme an N! Gimme a G-I-E!
Angelique Kerber wins her first Wimbledon title, defeating a string of NextGen stars and then ending with 23-time slam champ Serena Williams in the final. She loses just one set the entire fortnight. Three-quarters of the way to a Career Slam, she's the first German to win at SW19 since 1996, the first to win a third major since 2011, and just the second (w/ Venus) to defeat Serena in *two* slam finals.

#2 - Petra Defends Birmingham
Exactly one year ago, the Czech made Birmingham the site of her first title run in her comeback. She returned to defend the title and reach five titles on the season faster than anyone since 2013 (Serena), improving her '18 record from the QF on to an insane 15-0, and becoming the first player since 2015 (Kerber) to win titles on three different surfaces in a season. She won *this* title while dropping just two total sets vs. a string of opponents that included two '17 Wimbledon semifinalists (Konta & Rybarikova) and another who'd get so far this year (Goerges) at the AELTC.

#3 - The Bracelet Rules Rosmalen
25-year old Serb Aleksandra Krunic claimed her maiden tour title in raging comeback fashion at Rosmalen. Reaching into her bag and pulling out far too amazing many shots to recount, Krunic saved a MP against #1-seed and two-time champ CoCo Vandeweghe in the semifinals, erasing a set and 4-2 deficit, saving a MP in the 3rd, to reach her second tour-level singles final. Once there, after dropping the 1st set (via a love TB) despite having led 5-3 and served for it vs. Kirsten Flipkens, Krunic came back again for the victory, this time from another set and a break (twice, in fact) hole. Flipkens served for the match at 5-4 in the 2nd, only to see Krunic get the break and proceed to take nine of the final ten games en route to the win.

#4 - The Devonshire Dane
Caroline Wozniacki opened what became her first grass court title-winning experience in nine years with a win over eventual Wimbledon quarterfinalist Camila Giorgi, came back a set down to defeat '17 Wimbledon semifinalist Johanna Konta and handled Nottingham champ Ash Barty in two sets. In the semifinals, she battled eventual Wimbledon champ Angelique Kerber for three sets, saving a MP on a 24-stroke rally and dominating when it came to collecting the match's most important points (including 3-of-4 BP opportunities). In the final, her second straight at Devonshire Park, she overcame Aryna Sabalenka serving for both the 1st and 2nd sets, and holding a 4-1 lead in the 2nd set TB, to win 7-5/7-6 and claim her second career title at Eastbourne. It's the second '18 title won after Wozniacki came back from MP down, having done so (vs. Jana Fett) during her maiden slam title run in Melbourne in January.

Title #29 !! Thank you Eastbourne for a great week!! Next stop @wimbledon

A post shared by Caroline Wozniacki (@carowozniacki) on

#5 - Meet the New Doubles Bosses?
Reigning Roland Garros champs Barbora Krejcikova and Katerina Siniakova followed up their first slam title by winning a second at Wimbledon, becoming the first duo since 2003 to pull off the RG/SW19 sweep. Of course, the Czechs have traveled this road before. In 2013, they won RG, Wimbledon and U.S. Open's girls doubles crowns. So, look out New York... here they come.

HM - Diede the (Nearly, and Maybe Very Soon) Great
The 21-year old Dutch wheelchair star is revving up a career that so far has looked primed and ready to meet the promise she showed a few years ago when she burst onto the scene with the pedigree of being the protege of Dutch WC Legend Esther Vergeer. She swept the Wimbledon singles and doubles titles this year, giving her at least one title in five of the eight slam s/d competitions. She only made her slam debut in January 2017, but had already won six total majors in eleven slam final appearances in the last year and a half, including the last ten WC finals starting with last year's Wimbledon.


1. Rosmalen SF - Aleksandra Krunic def. CoCo Vandeweghe
Krunic's master class in shotmaking took down the two-time Rosmalen champ and #1 seed, erasing a set and a break deficit and saving a MP in the 3rd. But, really, all you really need to do is watch.

2. Wimbledon 1st Rd. - Katerina Siniakova def. CoCo Vandeweghe
Vandeweghe battled the Czech for over three hours despite a bum ankle, and a nasty looking fall (she raced forward to reach a ball, slid on the grass and ended up flat on her back, partially under the net and beside the net post on the AD court side). While limping and wincing throughout, she managed to take the 1st set TB from the Czech, then take control in the 3rd set after Siniakova had won the 2nd. She served for the match at 5-3, but failed to seal the deal, then saw Siniakova play her more straight-up without thinking about her injury down the stretch. She pulled even and then ahead for good.

3. Wimbledon 3rd Rd. - Julia Goerges def. Barbora Strycova
Lost in the commotion of both Williams Sisters squaring off with different Kikis at the same time, there was another crazy match taking place out on Court 2. As it turned out, Goerges, after coming to London having lost five straight 1st Round matches at Wimbledon, advanced to her first SW19 Round of 16 (and, later, her maiden slam semi) with a victory in 2:58 over Strycova. The match turned out to have a 3rd set for the ages, as after twelve straight holds of serve it suddenly became impossible for either player to hold at all. Goerges finally got her first break of the day (after 16 previous service holds from Strycova) of the Czech's serve to take a 7-6 lead. But Strycova then continually broke back to stay in the match, forcing Goerges to serve for the the win three different times, at 7-6, 8-7 and 9-8. Finally, she got the hold to win.

4. Wimbledon QF - Angelique Kerber def. Dasha Kasatkina
Pay no attention to the rather "routine" scoreline.

A meeting between the two can be expected to have many things, from a large dose of variety, long rallies, the Russian pulling off every shot in the How-To-Tennis guidebook (and a few only available in the "updated" version you can purchase online), the German's defensive scrambles turning into suddenly shocking offense, and several instances when you see sweat glistening off both as they bend over in exhaustion after a particularly exciting adventure caper (complete with its own catchy theme song) and recognize that *this* is what guts and glory look like in a sports setting. And that's what we got, too. In fact, about the only thing we didn't see was a 3rd set. Ah, who knows what we missed out on.

As things played out a pattern developed for the swashbuckling Kasatkina, who'd often fluctuate between being brilliant and frustratingly inconsistent all day. A little more steadiness from the grinding *and* flashy (an intriguing combination, to say the least) Hordette and this could have been a Wimbledon classic. Kerber, by contrast, played a steady game. No big highs, but also no big lows. She staked out the "middle" and maintained it from the first point until the last. It turned out to be her key to victory.

The final game turned out to be a semi-masterpiece of guile and audacity. Kerber actually led 40/15 and it seemed as if it would end quickly, but it turned out to be a 16-point, 7-MP tussle highlighted by a 25-shot rally (to reach MP #6) that saw, just to name a few moments, Kasatkina slip and fall behind the baseline, then recover and race back to the other side of the court, pull off a drop shot, but then see it answered by a point-winning volley from Kerber.

A point later Kerber just missed completing a drop and lob combo to win the match (on MP #6), then finally did on MP #7 when Kasatkina failed to get back the German's forehand as Kerber's win set the stage for what turned out to be her third career slam title run.

5. Rosmalen SF - Kirsten Flipkens def. Viktoria Kuzmova
Flipkens held a MP as she served up 7-5/5-4, only to see Kuzmova fire three straight forehand winners to get the break, then save three more MP in the TB. The Slovak didn't lose a point on her serve in her first three service games in the 3rd, and led 4-1. But then it all fell apart. Flipkens won the final five games of the match, overcoming Kuzmova's 44 total winners to win in 2:36.
HM- Wimbledon 2nd Rd. - Ekaterina Makarova def. Caroline Wozniacki
For the perpetually overlooked Russian, already a two-time slam semifinalist, former Top 10er, four-time slam winner (3 MD/1 MX), Fed Cup champion, Olympic Gold medalist and #1 ranked doubles player, it's always termed an "upset" anytime Makarova knocks off a top player. Against AO champ Wozniacki, she notched her 30th career Top 10, 14th Top 5 and sixth Top 3 victory. But, really, no one should ever be "surprised" when the Hordette overcomes her current ranking, and sometimes her own wavering nerves, to take down a champion.

She had a 1-7 career head-to-head vs. the Dane working against her, but in her favor was the knowledge that she'd beaten Wozniacki in their last meeting at the '17 U.S. Open in a match in which Makarova lost a set and 4-2 lead and was forced to a 3rd set, which she then won handily. Wozniacki was consistently playing from behind in this match, and as is often the case under such circumstances, she was additionally bothered by all sorts of things other than her play, from slick grass to begging for bug spray as she tried not to consume an unscheduled snack of wings, thorax and wiggling feet while chasing down balls on Wimbledon's annual Flying Ant Day.

After splitting the first two sets, Makarova sprinted to a big lead in the 3rd. A break of Wozniacki's serve put her up 5-1. A week before, the Dane title run at Devonshire Park came after she saved a MP vs. Kerber in the semis. It was her second title of the year that she'd won after being MP down, following her claiming of her maiden slam crown in Melbourne after being down 5-1, 40/15 in the 3rd before saving two MP and winning the last six games vs. Jana Fett in a 2nd Round encounter.

She found herself in a nearly deeper hole vs. Makarova, who served for the match at 5-1 and was broken, then did so again at 5-3, taking a 40/love lead. Thanks to a series of lefty forehand down the line errors, a DF (on MP #3) and then another DF (on BP), Wozniacki got the break again and then held to knot the score at 5-5. Up 40/love on her serve again, Makarova nearly let another game slip away, but held to edge ahead, then took another love/40 lead in the Dane's service game moments later. Wozniacki fired an ace on MP #5, but Makarova converted #6 by moving forward and putting away a swing volley winner to end a 20-shot rally and close out a the victory. Afterward, Wozniacki described Makarova as "lucky."

1. Wimbledon 1st Rd. - Aga Radwanska def. Elena-Gabriela Ruse
Against #197 Ruse, Radwanska jumped out to a 5-0 lead in the 1st. But the Romanian, a qualifier in her slam MD debut, began to find her footing, playing fearless tennis and going for all her shots. She managed to close to within 5-3 in the 1st before Radwanska finally finished off the set, then broke the Pole's serve to take the 2nd. The two were locked in a tight battle in the 3rd, tied at 4-4. Pulling Aga in to the net, then firing passing shots by her, Ruse converted a GP with a net cord shot that ploppped onto Radwanska's side of the court to go up 5-4.

Game #10, with Radwanska serving to stay in the tournament, with her worst-ever Wimbledon result potentially at hand, turned out to be a showcase for all the "murky" things that seem to happen around Radwanska on the AELTC grounds. It wasn't quite of the Konjuh-steps-on-a-ball-and-turns-her-ankle variety, but it was surely memorable in its own right. The game lasted fourteen minutes, had 23 points, went to deuce eight times, saw Ruse hold SIX match points... and then ended when Radwanska, somehow, managed to hold for 5-5. Perhaps the key point, Ruse's 6th and final MP, came when after she'd gotten into position for a career-altering win by hitting out, she tried to drop shot Radwanska to end the match. The ball failed to make it over the net, and the sense of a lost opportunity swept over the windswept SW19 landscape. A game later, Ruse went up 30/love, but soon found herself BP down. An error off the Romanian's racket got Aga the break and the chance to serve out the match.

2. Rosmalen QF - CoCo Vandeweghe def. Alison Riske
It says something about the matches in Den Bosch -- and later Wimbledon -- that one where the winner saved SEVEN match points gets lost in the shuffle in the end. Well, that happened here. Vandeweghe won the 1st set on her sixth SP. In the 3rd, she failed to convert at MP before Riske forced things to a TB. Ultimately, CoCo saved seven MP before finally winning on her own fifth MP... then went on to squander a MP in the SF vs. Krunic, who then took the title a day later.
3. Eastbourne SF - Caroline Wozniacki def. Angelique Kerber
Wozniacki's second 2018 title after having staved off a MP was nearly lost here against the eventual Wimbledon champ in a seesaw match in which the Dane was out-pointed (101-95), out-winnered (42-34) and had more unforced errors (24-19). Wozniacki saved the MP by outlasting Kerber in a massive 24-shot rally in the 2nd set. She went on to take the TB to force a 3rd, where she led 4-0 before things got tight again in the end. Ultimately, Wozniacki's big point prowess won out, as she saved break points in both of her last two service games (Kerber was 4-of-12 on the day), while she converted three of her own four BP chances in the match.

4. Wimbledon 2nd Rd. - Katerina Siniakova def. Ons Jabeur
First, the Czech Maiden escaped her 1st Round match with Vandeweghe. The Bannerette was nursing an ankle injury and took a bad spill at the net, but still led Siniakova 5-2 in the 3rd set and served for the match at 5-3. Three days later, Siniakova experienced a very vivid case of deja vu. She likely began the day feeling good about her chances. She held a 4-0 head-to-head lead (2 WTA/2 ITF) over Ons Jabeur, having never lost a set against her. Jabeur won a tight 1st set at 7-5, then Siniakova served out a 6-4 2nd. In the 3rd, Jabeur took a 5-2 lead (she had a MP), then served for the match at 5-3. Sound familiar? She couldn't do it, and in the blink of an eye Siniakova was serving for the match at 6-5 (she fell behind 15/40), then again at 7-6 (she fell behind 15/40), then again at 8-7. She finally won it on 2:27. She needed every last one of the 117 points she won (vs. Jabeur's 115) on the day.
5. Wimbledon 3rd Rd. - Camila Giorgi def. Katerina Siniakova
What goes around comes around. After staging back-to-back comebacks after seeing her opponent serve at 5-3 in the 3rd set in both her two previous matches, Siniakova returned a day after her win over Jabeur. Even after falling and having her hip looked at by a trainer, Siniakova led the Italian 6-3/4-2, and held a MP at 5-4. But Giorgi saved it, got a late break and soon saw herself serving for the set at 6-5. Siniakova got the break to send things to a tie-break. There, she saved a SP via 25-shot rally at 6-5, but Giorgi immediately rebounded and took the final two points to win 8-6 and send things to a 3rd. The tearful Czech was left to lament what might have been during the changover. And, later, after the match. From there, Giorgi seized control. She led 5-2 with Siniakova serving to stay in the match, so the possibility of a THIRD straight opponent serving at 5-3 in the 3rd vs. the Czech was there for the having. But the Italian got the break to win in 2:41, reaching the Round of 16 at Wimbledon for the first time in six years. Her run would end in the QF vs. Serena Williams.
HM- Wimbledon 2nd Rd. - Belinda Bencic def. Alison Riske
After failing to follow up her big 1st Round wins at 2018's first two majors -- def. Venus at the AO, saving 5 MP vs. Chiesa at RG -- Bencic back up her 1st Round win over #6-seeded Caroline Garcia at SW19 by pulling a rabbit out of her hat against Riske. The Swiss saved four MP in the 2nd set vs. the Bannerette, taking a 12-10 TB as Riske was forced to a 3rd despite having fired 28 winners in the 2nd alone. Of course, her DF on SP down was part of her eventual demise. Bencic took a break lead at 3-2 in the 3rd, and served out the match three games later, winning in 2:24. Riske led 117-111 in total points. Bencic went on to reach the QF.

1. Wimbledon 1st Rd. - Vitalia Diatchenko def. Maria Sharapova
The Russian qualifier's win in 3:08 in the final moments of the day's light gives her her first Wimbledon MD victory, and just her third ever at a slam. Sharapova, who lost in the opening round at SW19 for the first time, served for the match at 7-6/5-3. But Diatchenko would never go away, and Sharapova, as has been the case since she returned from suspension, often seemed tight in the big moments and had a hard time not only putting her opponent away, but just keeping hold of an advantage on the scoreboard when she got it. Diatchenko won a 7-3 TB to knot the match. She then saw Sharapova obtain, then give away, a pair of break leads in the 3rd set. Her last came after she'd taken a 4-3 lead, only to drop serve herself moments later. She wouldn't win another game after that, and ultimately double-faulted on MP. Diatchenko hasn't played a slam MD match since 2016, while Maria was 49-3 in the 1st Round of majors alone. Not only that, but Sharapova has a long history of beating up on her fellow Russians inside the lines of the court. She came into the day with a nearly 80% win percentage vs. her countrywomen for her career and had gone 35-4 against them since early 2010, 27-3 since 2011, and has been 2-0 the last two seasons.

2. Wimbledon 3rd Rd. - Hsieh Su-wei d. Simona Halep
Armed with two-handed swings from both sides, Selesian-angled shots, and an array of magical weapons that included slices, drops, superior anticipation and movement, Hsieh once again flashed her upset skills vs. a top player in a major. The 32-year old Taiwanese vet defeated both Muguruza and Radwanska in Melbourne, and very nearly Kerber, earlier this year.

Halep didn't give a particularly admirable accounting of her in-match problem-solving skills, while her own form was off, and her serve wasn't up to par. Lured into a series of cross court rallies that made her opponent's game plan even "easier" to implement, when she wasn't off balance or fooled so well that she couldn't even offer a stab at a defensive get, Halep often found herself racing in vain to chase down shots.

Even after Hsieh had pushed things to a 3rd, though, Halep held a seemingly commanding lead (5-2) there, and served at 5-3. A game later, she held a MP on Hsieh's serve. Halep's worst mistake may have been to allow Hsieh back into a match she appeared to have on her racket in spite of everything Hsieh had thrown at her. After Halep didn't convert her MP, she never saw another. In fact, she didn't win another game. Hsieh converted a BP and served for the match at 6-5. She fell down 15/40, but then Hsieh proceeded her pull Halep around the court as if she were on the end of a string. Side to side, up and back. Essentially, at times, the Romanian looked like a fidget spinner in all-white tennis gear. Every stroke was a scramble since she didn't really know where any were going, a situation made worse by the ever-present fear that Hsieh might just suddenly step in and pull off a hard down the line shot. The BP's squandered in game #11 left Halep just 7-of-23 on the day, 2-of-10 in the 3rd. Hsieh served out third career slam Round of 16 result, her second this year alone. #1 Halep's exit was the nineth by a Top 10 seed in the first three rounds, an all-time record.
3. Mallorca QF - Sonya Kenin def. Caroline Garcia
Another teen Bannerette. Another eyebrow-raising result. After winning the 1st set, but ultimately losing, in two previous Top 10 matches this year against Caroline Wozniacki and Petra Kvitova, 19-year old Kenin finally gets her first big-time win vs. the Pastry.
4. Wimbledon 2nd Rd. - Alison Van Uytvanck def. Garbine Muguruza
The Belgian, a big hitter with a good serve, used those weapons to take advantage of the surface. Van Uytvanck was on Muguruza from the start, taking a 4-2 lead. Muguruza immediately broke back, and served for the set at 5-4, but failed to secure the hold. She still won the set 7-5, and took a break lead at 1-0 in the 2nd. But from there Van Uytvanck played with the steady belief that she did while taking the title in Budapest in February. After falling down 7-5/1-0, Van Uytvanck wouldn't be broken again, winning twelve of fourteen games en route to her first career Top 10 win and best Wimbledon result. She sealed her win with a service winner that wrapped up a 3rd set in which she didn't face a single BP and won 16 of 20 points on serve in her victory over the Wimbledon defending champion.

5. Wimbledon 1st Rd. - Aliaksandra Sasnovich def. Petra Kvitova
It's not so much that Kvitova lost early at Wimbledon (she hasn't advanced past the 3rd Round at the last four), or that she fell to Sasnovich (the Belarusian has displayed her knack for upsets in Fed Cup), it's that it happened to the Czech THIS year. She's been more dominant than ever on the "regular" tour in '18, winning five titles, shining on all surfaces, putting together multiple career-best winning streaks, winning a tune-up in Birmingham, and being the decided "favorite" to win her third crown at SW19. Of course, though 36-6 outside of the majors this seasons, she's just 2-3 in slams. Maybe this was to be expected?
HM- Wimbledon Girls QF - Wang Xiyu def. Coco Gauff
Gauff, the 14-year old reigning Roland Garros and Roehampton champ (and U.S. Open Jr. finalist), came to the AELTC as the heavy favorite to win there. But that plan was undone by the big-hitting lefty Wang. Gauff, a day after rallying to defeat Maria Carle, had a MP at 5-4 in the 2nd set. The lefty 17-year old from China, cramping in the 3rd, nearly blew a 4-0 lead in the decider, but managed to survive, saving BPs to go up 5-4, then breaking Gauff's serve in the final game (on a DF, unfortunately, by the Bannerette).

1. Julia Goerges, GER
2. Kiki Bertens, NED
3. Alison Van Uytvanck, BEL
4. Camila Giorgi, ITA
5. Aleksandra Krunic, SRB
6. Aliaksandra Sasnovich, BLR
7. Donna Vekic, CRO
8. Karolina Pliskova, CZE
9. Dasha Gavrilova, AUS
10. Mihaela Buzarnescu, ROU
11. Alison Riske, USA
12. Yui Kamiji, JPN (WC)
13. Zheng Saisai, CHN
14. Anastasija Sevastova, LAT
15. Mariana Duque Marino, COL

1. Hsieh Su-Wei, TPE
2. Vitalia Diatchenko, RUS
3. Evgeniya Rodina, RUS
4. Harriet Dart, GBR
5. Elena-Gabriela Ruse, ROU
6. Viktoriya Tomova, BUL
7. Dalila Jakupovic, SLO
8. Veronika Kudermetova, RUS
9. Sachia Vickery, USA
10. Katy Dunne, GBR
HM- Fernanda Contreras Gomez, MEX (FC)

1. Angelique Kerber, GER
2. Serena Williams, USA
3. Petra Kvitova, CZE
4. Julia Goerges, GER
5. Caroline Wozniacki, DEN
6. Hsieh Su-wei, TPE
7. Tatjana Maria, GER
8. Kirsten Flipkens, BEL
9. Mihaela Buzarnescu, ROU
10. Evgeniya Rodina, RUS
11. Kveta Peschke, CZE (WD)
12. Aga Radwanska, POL
13. Dominika Cibulkova, SVK
14. Ekaterina Makarova, RUS
15. Alexandra Dulgheru, ROU
HM- Magdalena Rybarikova, SVK

1. Serena Williams, USA
2. Belinda Bencic, SUI
3. Aga Radwanska, POL
4. Genie Bouchard, CAN
5. Lucie Safarova, CZE
6. Alexandra Dulgheru, ROU
7. Barbora Stefkova, CZE
8. Mona Barthel, GER
9. Allie Kiick, USA
10. Rebecca Marino, CAN
HM- Bethanie Mattek-Sands, USA

1. Diede de Groot, NED (WC)
2. Alona Ostapenko, LAT
3. Dasha Kasatkina, RUS
4. Ash Barty, AUS
5. Aryna Sabalenka, BLR
6. Naomi Osaka, JPN
7. Viktoria Kuzmova, SVK
8. Sonya Kenin, USA
9. Claire Liu, USA
10. Sara Sorribes-Tormo, ESP
11. Dayana Yastremska, UKR
12. Rebecca Peterson, SWE
13. Katie Boulter, GBR
14. Antonia Lottner, GER
15. Kaja Juvan, SLO
16. Elena-Gabriela Ruse, ROU
17. Katie Swan, GBR
18. Karmen Thandi, IND
19. Harriet Dart, GBR
20. Astra Sharma, AUS

1. Iga Swiatek, POL
2. Coco Gauff, USA
3. Wang Xiyu, CHN
4. Wang Xinyu, CHN
5. Caty McNally, USA
6. Leonie Kung, SUI
7. Elli Mandlik, USA
8. Emma Raducanu, GBR
9. Viktoriia Dema, UKR
10. Lea Ma, USA
HM- Selma Stefania Cadar, ROU and Dana Guzman, PER (FC)

1. Barbora Krejcikova & Katerina Siniakova, CZE/CZE
2. Nicole Melichar, USA
3. Elise Mertens & Demi Schuurs, BEL/NED
4. Timea Babos & Kristina Mladenovic, HUN & FRA
5. Diede de Groot & Yui Kamiji, NED/JPN (WC)
6. Wang Xinyu & Wang Xinyu, CHN/CHN (Jr.)
7. Nicole Melichar & Kveta Peschke, USA/CZE
8. Alicja Rosolska & Abigail Spears, POL/USA
9. Andreja Klepac & Maria Jose Martinez-Sanchez, SLO/ESP
10. Irina-Camelia Begu & Mihaela Buzarnescu, ROU/ROU
11. Harriet Dart, GBR
12. Kiki Bertens & Kirsten Flipkens, NED/BEL
13. Mihaela Buzarnescu & Heather Watson, ROU/GBR
14. Gaby Dabrowski & Xu Yifan, CAN/CHN
15. Victoria Azarenka, BLR

1. Alison Riske, USA
2. Ons Jabeur, TUN
3. Tereza Smitkova, CZE
4. Kirsten Flipkens, BEL
5. Katie Boulter, GBR
6. Dayana Yastremska, UKR
7. Harriet Dart, GBR
8. Sara Sorribes-Tormo, ESP
9. Evgeniya Rodina, RUS
10. Conny Perrin, SUI
1. Viktoria Kuzmova, SVK
2. Fernanda Brito, CHI
3. Gabriela Pantuckova, CZE
4. Stefanie Voegele, SUI
5. Mandy Minella, LUX
6. Fiona Ferro, FRA
7. Dejana Radanovic, SRB
8. Julia Glushko, ISR
9. Andreea Amalia Rosca, ROU
10. Victoria Kan, RUS

Marcela Zacarias, MEX

1. Johanna Konta, GBR
2. Elina Svitolina, UKR
3. Garbine Muguruza, ESP
4. Maria Sharapova, RUS
5. Sloane Stephens, USA
6. CoCo Vandeweghe, USA
7. Latisha Chan, TPE (WD)
8. Marketa Vondrousova, CZE
9. Anett Kontaveit, EST
10. Ekaterina Makarova/Elena Vesnina, RUS/RUS (WD)

1. Alison Van Uytvanck, BEL
2. Mihaela Buzarnescu, ROU
3. Viktoria Kuzmova, SVK
4. Sonya Kenin, USA
5. Katie Boulter, GBR
6. Sara Sorribes-Tormo, ESP
7. Claire Liu, USA
8. Elena-Gabriela Ruse, ROU
9. Harriet Dart, GBR
10. Vitalia Diatchenko, RUS
11. Antonia Lottner, GER
12. Viktoriya Tomova, BUL
13. Kaja Juvan, SLO
14. Katie Swan, GBR
15. Rebecca Peterson, SWE
HM- Kgothatso Montjane, RSA (WC)

U.S. Open (new logo and all), here they come...

...Diede de Groot and Yui Kamiji, the #1 and #2 wheelchair singles players in the world (and #1 and #3, respectively, in doubles), presented the rare sight at this Wimbledon of the two joining forces in doubles. It's only the fifth event in which they've done so in their careers (1 in '16, and 2 each in '17 and '18). So far, so good. They won their sixth straight match this summer and upped their overall record together to 9-1 on Sunday with a 6-1/6-1 defeat of Sabine Ellerbrock & Lucy Shuker.

(Geez, if they had the umpire's chair even a half-inch closer to the net pole the players' chairs might not fit between them... so, details DO matter.)

It's de Groot's first Wimbledon doubles crown, and allows her to claim a fifth piece of the eight slam s/d title puzzle in the sport (after only making her slam debut at last year's Australian Open, she's missing just the AO doubles, and RG/US singles... she's 0-4 in slam finals in those three competitions). She's reached at least the final in 11 of the 14 slam s/d draws in which she's appeared, including the last 10.

AO SINGLES: 2018 Champion
AO DOUBLES: [RU-2017,2018]
RG DOUBLES: 2018 Champion
WI SINGLES: 2017,18 Champion
WI DOUBLES: 2018 Chamion
US DOUBLES: 2017 Champion
PARALYMPICS S: [SF/4th Place-2016]
PARALYMPICS D: [RU/Silver-2016]
MASTERS D: 2016,17

This is Kamiji's record fifth straight doubles title at SW19, having won the last four with Brit Jordanne Whiley. With thirteen slam doubles titles in her career, she's the leading contender to challenge one of the few records held by Esther Vergeer that is within reasonable reach. The WC legend, who *should* be scheduling an appointment with Newport soon (her last competition was her Gold sweep at the London Paralympics in 2012, and she officially retired in 2013), leads the all-time WC list with 21 slam doubles wins, seven more than second place Jiske Griffioen, with Kamiji one back in third.

AO S: 2017
AO D: 2014,15,16,18
RG S: 2014,17,18
RG D: 2014,17
WI S: [SF-2017,18]
WI D: 2014,15,16,17,18
US S: 2014,17
US D: 2014
MASTERS D: 2013,14

It's only when Kamiji is seen right next to one of the other players that you realize just how tiny she really is in comparison. the girls doubles, the top-seeded Wangs -- Xinyu and Xiyu -- became the first all-Chinese duo to win a junior slam crown, downing #2-seeded Bannerettes Caty McNally & Whitney Osuigwe 6-2/6-1. Both girls also reached the singles semis. No Chinese girls has ever picked up a junior singles slam win, but Xiyu became the fourth different to win in doubles. Xinyu, who also won in Melbourne with Liang En-shuo, is the first to win multiple titles.

2004 AO GD: Sun Sheng-nan
2014 WI GD: Ye Qiuyu
2018 AO GD: Wang Xinyu
2018 WI GD: Wang Xinyu/Wang Xiyu the final competition of the fortnight, the mixed doubles championship went to Brno (CZE)-born Bannerette Nicole Melichar & her Austrian partner, Alexander Peya. Melichar, who'd reached and lost the women's doubles final, picks up her maiden slam crown with the pair's 7-6(1)/6-3 win over Victoria Azarenka & Jamie Murray. ITF action, Viktoria Kuzmova picked up her second $100K of the season in Budapest. The Slovak defeated Ekaterina Alexandrova in the three-set final on the clay. She's up fifteen spots to a new career high of #54 on Monday.

In Contrexeville, Switzerland's Stefanie Voegele claimed her biggest career title at the week's other $100K, defeating Sara Sorribes-Tormo in the final.

17-year old Serb Olga Danilovic, who at this time a year ago was winning the Wimbledon girls doubles, came back from a set down in the final to defeat Laura Siegemund (in her first post-knee surgery final) in three sets in the $60K in Versmold, Germany. It's her fourth career title, and the biggest, and she'll climb into the Top 200 for the first time this week.

Elsewhere, Czech Gabriela Pantuckova defeated Lea Boskovic in a $15K final in Prokuplje, Serbia for the second straight week. She's on an 18-1 ITF circuit run, picking up three titles in the stretch. Canada's Rebecca Marino won the fourth (and biggest) title of her comeback in the $25K in Winnipeg, defeating Julia Glushko.

At the $60K in Honolulu, Bannerette Jessica Pegula has reached both the singles and doubles finals. Pegula (0-4 in finals to date) is going for her maiden title in singles vs. Nao Hibino, while she's in the doubles final with Misaki Doi vs. Taylor Johnson (17, going for title #1) and Ashley Lahey (Pepperdine).

LIKE ON DAY 13: Yep...

EVERY PICTURE TELLS A STORY ON DAY 13: And every pose, as well.

Borg's to-his-knees celebration is still the most iconic, I think, but Angie's got her thing down, too...

LIKE ON DAY 13: Wimbledon memories...

PER CHANCE TO DREAM ON DAY 13: One day, Ostapenko winning Wimbledon... and turning *that* year's turn on the dance floor with the men's champion into something truly E.P.I.C....

LIKE ON DAY 13: Petra... still chillin'. Literally.

LIKE ON DAY 13: It's just about that time for Sania...

LIKE ON DAY 13: "Die Hard." Still a really good watch.

And, also, while it made Bruce Willis a movie star, I forgot just how good Alan Rickman was as Hans Gruber.

HOPE ON DAY 13: That Krejcikova & Siniakova break out the old dance routine soon.

LIKE ON DAY 13: Stubbsy, laying out!

LIKE ON DAY 13: He even has the same hair.

...and, finally... so long, little buddy buggy.

#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

#11 Melichar/Peya (USA/AUT) def. Azarenka/J.Murray (BLR/GBR) 7-6(1)/6-3

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

#1 Wang Xinyu/Wang Xiyu (CHN/CHN) def. #2 McNally/Osuigwe (USA/USA) 6-2/6-1

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

#1 de Groot/Kamiji (NED/JPN) def. Ellerbrock/Shuker (GER/GBR) 6-1/6-1

Thank you everyone for this 2 fun weeks @wimbledon

A post shared by Victoria Azarenka (@vichka35) on

I'm so PROUD of this one! @serenawilliams ??????

A post shared by Venus Williams (@venuswilliams) on

Flirty colab coming up with SBE Hotels X @sugarpova ?? #StayTuned ??

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1. Simona Halep, ROU
2. Caroline Wozniacki, DEN
3. Sloane Stephens, USA
4. Angelique Kerber, GER
5. Elina Svitolina, UKR
6. Caroline Garcia, FRA
7. Garbine Muguruza, ESP
8. Petra Kvitova, CZE
9. Karolina Pliskova, CZE
10. Julia Goerges, GER
11. Alona Ostapenko, LAT
12. Madison Keys, USA
13. Dasha Kasatkina, RUS
14. Venus Williams, USA
15. Elise Mertens, BEL
16. Ash Barty, AUS
17. Kiki Bertens, NED
18. Naomi Osaka, JPN
19. CoCo Vandeweghe, USA
20. Barbora Strycova, CZE
[teens in Top 200]
67. Soyna Kenin, USA
73. Vera Lapko, BLR
88. CiCi Bellis, USA
100. Dayana Yastremka, UKR
102. Anna Blinkova, RUS
104. Caroline Dolehide, USA
106. Marketa Vondrousova, CZE
132. Marta Kostyuk, UKR
133. Anna Kalinskaya, RUS
134. Sofya Zhuk, RUS
150. Fanny Stollar, HUN
157. Amanda Anisimova, USA
170. Marie Bouzkova, CZE
174. Claire Liu, USA
180. Katie Swan, GBR
188. Bianca Andreescu, CAN
196. Olga Danilovic, SRB
200. Elena Rybakina, KAZ
[Doubles Top 10]
1. Timea Babos, HUN
2. Katerina Siniakova, CZE
3. Latisha Chan, TPE
4. Barbora Krejcikova, CZE
5t. Ekaterina Makarova, RUS
5t. Elena Vesnina, RUS
7. Andrea S.-Hlavackova, CZE
8. Barbora Strycova, CZE
9. Gaby Dabrowski, CAN
10. Kristina Mladenovic, FRA

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

2006 Vera Zvonareva & Andy Ram, RUS/ISR
2007 Jelena Jankovic & Jamie Murray, SRB/GBR
2008 Samantha Stosur & Bob Bryan, AUS/USA
2009 Anna-Lena Groenefeld & Mark Knowles, GER/BAH
2010 Cark Black & Leander Paes, ZIM/IND
2011 Iveta Benesova & Jurgen Melzer, CZE/AUT
2012 Lisa Raymond & Mike Bryan, USA/USA
2013 Kristina Mladenovic & Daniel Nestor, FRA/CAN
2014 Samantha Stosur & Nenad Zimonjic, AUS/SRB
2015 Martina Hingis & Leander Paes, SUI/IND
2016 Heather Watson & Henri Kontinen, GBR/FIN
2017 Martina Hingis & Jamie Murray, SUI/GBR
2018 Nicole Melichar & Alexander Peya, USA/AUT

2017 AO: Abigail Spears/Juan Sebastian Cabal, USA/COL
2017 RG: Gaby Dabrowski/Rohan Bopanna, CAN/IND
2017 WI: Martina Hingis/Jamie Murray, SUI/GBR
2017 US: Martina Hingis/Jamie Murray, SUI/GBR
2018 AO: Gaby Dabrowski/Mate Pavic, CAN/CRO
2018 RG: Latisha Chan/Ivan Dodig, TPE/CRO
2018 WI: Nicole Melichar/Alexander Peya, USA/AUT

2006 Yan Zi & Zheng Jie, CHN
2007 Cara Black, ZIM
2008 Samantha Stosur, AUS
2009 Serena & Venus Williams, USA
2010 Vania King & Yaroslava Shvedova, USA/KAZ
2011 Kveta Peschke, CZE
2012 Lisa Raymond, USA
2013 Kristina Mladenovic, FRA
2014 Sara Errani & Roberta Vinci, ITA/ITA
2015 Sania Mirza, IND
2016 Heather Watson, GBR
2017 Yui Kamiji & Jordanne Whiley, JPN/GBR
2018 Diede de Groot & Yui Kamiji, NED/JPN

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 Diede de Groot/Yui Kamiji, NED/JPN

[AO-RG-WI-US...WC Masters+Paralympics]
21 - Esther Vergeer, NED [7-5-3-6]...[10+3]
14 - Jiske Griffioen, NED [5-3-2-4]...[7+1]
13 - Yui Kamiji, JPN [4-3-5-1]...[2+0]*
11 - Aniek van Koot, NED [3-4-2-2]...[3+1]*
9 - Jordanne Whiley, GBR [2-2-4-1]...[2+0]*
7 - Sharon Walraven, NED [2-1-2-2]...[2+1]
5 - Marjolein Buis, NED [2-2-0-1]...[1+1]*
5 - Korie Homan, NED [1-1-1-2]...[1+1]
3 - Diede de Groot, NED [0-1-1-1]...[2+0]*
3 - Maaike Smit, NED [2-1-0-0]...[4+2]

2002 Elke Clijsters & Barbora Strycova, BEL/CZE
2003 Alisa Kleybanova & Sania Mirza, RUS/IND
2004 Victoria Azarenka & Olga Govortsova, BLR/BLR
2005 Victoria Azarenka & Agnes Szavay, BLR/HUN
2006 Alisa Kleybanova & Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, RUS/RUS
2007 Anastasia Pavlychenkova & Ula Radwanska, RUS/POL
2008 Polona Hercog & Jessica Moore, SLO/AUS
2009 Noppawan Lertcheewakarn & Sally Peers, THA/AUS
2010 Timea Babos & Sloane Stephens, HUN/USA
2011 Genie Bouchard & Grace Min, CAN/USA
2012 Genie Bouchard & Taylor Townsend, CAN/USA
2013 Barbora Krejcikova & Katerina Siniakova, CZE/CZE
2014 Tami Grende & Ye Qui Yu, INA/CHN
2015 Dalma Galfi & Fanni Stollar, HUN/HUN
2016 Usue Arconada & Claire Liu, USA/USA
2017 Olga Danilovic & Kaja Juvan, SRB/SLO
2018 Wang Xinyu & Wang Xiyu, CHN/CHN

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"): 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 STARS: Diede de Groot/Yui Kamiji, NED/JPN
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 now.


Blogger colt13 said...

Like the pic of Kerber's 3 slam titles.

Plus the King/Laver bit.

Finally watched the Swiatek/Kung match. Kung needs another year of juniors, but that isn't a bad thing. One thing I did not know until the SF notes came out is that the reason Goerges didn't play any junior slams is that she was never in the Top 100 as a junior. Kung had to come through the qualies because she was out of the Top 500, actually 509.

A little erratic, but to me, she looks like she will top out between 30-70, and will beat players without a plan B.

Swiatek, due to injury, was 76, and she is ready now. At the worst, eventually Top 20.

Also have gotten to the point that when I evaluate juniors, to throw out the first service game. They will always DF at least once.

Stat of the Week-9- The amount of WTA slams reached by the Top 10 juniors in 2005.

Kung's low ranking sent me down the rabbit hole. So for fun, I decided to look at the girls' rankings for 2005. Here were the Top 10.

1.Victoria Azarenka
2.Agnes Szavay
3.Agnieszka Radwanska
4.Caroline Wozniacki
5.Dominika Cibulkova
6.Raluca Olaru
7.Alexandra Dulgheru
8.Alexa Glatch
9.Latisha Chan
10.Mihaela Buzarnescu

Note that even before Halep, Romania was making themselves noticed.

Sun Jul 15, 07:33:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Todd.Spiker said...

Yeah, I hadn't immediately realized that Kerber had the same reaction to all three wins. I guess it's just her thing. ;)

And Swiatek *did* just throw herself into the pro game, too. So the wait officially begins for an "Aga vs. Iga" match-up.

Hey, that's somewhere around the time the "Swarmettes" thing was born. :)

You know, that's a really good Top 10. I mean, it's thirteen years later and almost all of them are still relevant on some level, if not in singles than than doubles.

Haha... fun Champions' Dinner dance with Kerber & Djokovic. Of course, Alona is probably going, "Umm, yeah... let *me* at it!" :)

Sun Jul 15, 08:41:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Todd.Spiker said...

A little late, but I just realized I had this list. And since I liked it... ;)

1999: V.Williams(hc)
2000: Hingis(hc),Tauziat(hc)
2001: V.Williams(hc)
2002: Clijsters(hc),Henin(rc)
2003: Henin(gc)
2004: Sharapova(gr/hc),Davenport(hc)
2005: -
2006: -
2007: Dementieva(hc)
2008: V.Williams(gr)
2009: Azarenka(hc)
2010: Dementieva(hc)
2011: Stosur(hc)
2012: -
2013: Azarenka(hc/hc)
2014: -
2015: -
2016: Kerber(hc),Azarenka(hc),Muguruza(rc)
2017: -
2018: Kerber(gr)
Justine Henin = green clay/red clay
Angelique Kerber = hard/grass
Maria Sharapova = grass/hard
Venus Williams = grass/hard
2-Sharapova (2004)
2-Azarenka (2013)

Wed Jul 18, 12:04:00 PM EDT  

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