Tuesday, July 03, 2018

W.2- Kvit-over

And, just like that... BOOM!

For all the love that's passed back and forth between Petra Kvitova and the All-England Club, the Czech's relationship with Wimbledon is beginning to become, how should it be said... umm, complicated?" Sure, the Czech's biggest career moments have come on the AELTC grounds, winning the Ladies title in 2011 and '14. But her experiences have been a virtual nightmare there since then. Well, considering Petra knows about what a true living nightmare feels and looks like, let's just say that her recent results at her favorite tournament on her favorite surface has been disappointing, to say the least, and almost shocking in reality.

She entered today's 1st Round match vs. #50 Aliaksandra Sasnovich (you remember her, from her starring role in Team BLR's Fed Cup final run last year) as the heavy (non-Serena, if she's THAT Serena, at least) favorite to win her third SW19 title. And for good reason, too. Kvitova has arguably been the best player on the WTA tour in 2018, by a sometimes-wide margin. She leads the tour in titles (5), has been peerless in semis and finals (10-0), has put together two 13-plus match winning streaks, and has led the Czech Maidens back to the FC final. Often she's not only been Good Petra this year, but Super Petra more often than not. And she's done it with a smile and with blankets of support coming her way after her brush with death and/or career oblivion in the December 2016 home invasion incident when she fought off a knife-wielding intruder by wrapping her left hand (her playing hand) around a sharp knife blade to pull it away from her neck.

But today Kvitova never resembled the player that most saw lifting the Venus Rosewater Dish less than two weeks from today. Not even close.

On Court 1, the Czech, who's had issues with heat due to her asthma in the past, and withdrew last week from Eastbourne with a hamstring injury, was often seen doubling over between points during the match. Even if she had managed to defeat Sasnovich today, it would have been an "ugly" win that wasn't ready for school picture day right from the outset. Both women had numerous BP opportunities early, but couldn't convert them. Sasnovich, on her eighth try, finally put one away to lead 5-2. Serving at 5-4, the Belarusian saved a BP (making Kvitova 0-for-5) and held on to take the set.

Kvitova got up early in the 2nd, leading 3-1 and serving for the set at 5-3. But an awful service game squandered the chance. She broke Sasnovich to take the set anyway.

In the 3rd, though, it was all Sasnovich. She broke Kvitova in the opening game and never looked back. Kvitova managed a brief spark, saving BP and firing three straight winners, letting out a yell that in the past might have signaled a push back toward a comeback victory. But moments later she double-faulted and was down BP again. Sasnovich nipped a sideline with a shot, Kvitova challenged it to no avail, and it was 3-0. Sasnovich broke her again two games later and served for the match with a shocking 5-0 bulge on the scoreboard. Mercifully, it was over soon. The final score was 6-4/4-6/6-0.

The Belarusian had 30 winners to Kvitova's 22, while they both littered the stat sheet with 36 UE's each. Sasnovich was 5-of-17 on BP, while the Czech was 2-for-10.

The win marks a high point for what has been a disappointing year for Sasnovich. Even with her Brisbane final run in January, this win only makes her 18-14 on the season. She even had a losing record (1-2) in Fed Cup in '18, though she has climbed into the Top 50 this year for the first time, and better times may be dead ahead.

Even with her great 2018 numbers, Kvitova now appears to be in the middle of one of the best/worst seasons of recent vintage. She's been dominant outside of the majors, winning titles on three different surfaces and leaving opponents and spectators in awe. But in the majors she's gone out in the 1st, 3rd and 1st Rounds. Her Wimbledon results since her '14 title run are even more perplexing. While her early '17 exit was understandable, as she was just returning to the game (though she *had* won a title in Birmingham), this year's is less so. She was again crowned the champ Birmingham, and it was difficult to see her as anything but at least a deep-into-the-second-week contender here. Kvitova's last four Wimbledon results? Ummm... 3r-2r-2r-1r. Yeah, that's not a typo. It's 3r-2r-2r-1r, after she'd gone SF-W-QF-QF-W the previous five trips to SW19.

If this was a real relationship, some long talks and sorting out of feelings might be in order.

But it isn't, so Petra will still smile when early July nears on the calendar in 2019, hoping for the best and always declaring herself happy to be there.

But you have to wonder, if this happens again, whether even *she* might have some serious questions to ask.

...as is the tradition at Wimbledon, the previous year's Ladies champion opened play on Centre Court on Day 2. At this tournament, that woman was none other than #3 Garbine Muguruza, back in her comfort zone (i.e. at a major) and quite possibly ready to roll again.

The Spaniard's match vs. tall, big-hitting wild card Naomi Broady looked as if it was going to be an open and shut case. It was, then it wasn't, but then it wrapped up in straight sets, anyway. After winning the 1st set 6-3, Muguruza found herself up 4-3, and with triple BP on Broady's serve. But then Mugu's touch of nerves, and the rangy Brit's bit shots starting to go in as she found ways to survive, making things a little sticky. Broady held serve for 4-4, then staved off a MP two games later with a clean backhand winner from the center of the baseline.

But Muguruza pulled things together in time to get off the court without being made to sweat *too* much. Up 6-5, she took a commanding (this time it really was) love/40 lead on Broady's serve. She finally put away the win with an unreturnable backhand down the line, taking the 6-3/7-5 match and winning her eighth straight match at the All-England Club. She's 15-2 at Wimbledon since 2016. Broady is now 1-7 in MD matches in her home slam.

...two matches later on Centre Court, world #1 Simona Halep made her belated debut between the lines as a real live grand slam champion. With her win in Paris having been wildly celebrated back home in Romania, the sense that her pressure valve has been released has even been on the minds of the *other* Swarmettes (hmmm, and may even be a reason for the great play by the Romanians as a whole at this major so far, no?).

We don't know for a while just how different Halep might be without her ever-present albatross hanging out on her shoulder at slam time, but she worked through her paces pretty well today in her opening '18 grass court match, defeating Kurumi Nara 6-4/6-2, controlling the match vs. the Japanese player with a 19-8 edge in winners. While Halep has reached the final in three of the last five majors, she's yet to do so at Wimbledon, though she does have a SF (2014) and two QF (2016-17) on her tournament resume.

...#30 Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, on her birthday (of course), did her usual drive-by at this major, albeit being one at which she *has* reached the QF stage (in 2016), and won multiple MD matches in two of her first three appearances when she was still a teenager. Never conceding to any notion that she should do well at SW19, the Russian hasn't. Today she lost in the 1st Round for the fifth time in twelve appearances (and the ninth time before the 3rd Round). Pavlyuchenkova pulled the usual "tease" that she's become so good at over the years, coming back to take the 2nd set over Hsieh Su-Wei to force a 3rd, then going down an early break and losing it 6-3. The Russian fired 52 winners (to Hsieh's 31), but her UE's (39) also overwhelmed that of her Taiwanese opponent (9).

The reigning Strasbourg champ (her great display of guile there made her 12-6 in tour-level finals, so one might expect a bit more staying power at the majors over the course of her career) did manage to carve out a Career QF Slam when she reached the Australian Open final eight last year, her second slam in three events at that point. A late-20's, experienced-fueled surge seemed like it could be a possibility.

But, uh, no.

In the six slams that have followed that result in Melbourne, Pavlyuchenkova's result line looks like this: 2r-1r-1r-2r-2r-1r. Still, over that stretch, the Hordette has gone 4-1 in tour-level finals and recorded three Top 5 wins (including her first over a world #1). The 27-year old Pavlyuchenkova may have so far put together the strangest, most frustrating, very-good-but-still-seemingly-leaving-so-much-on-the-table career of anyone in her generation.

Ah, but there's more... after noodling around with my existing lists and those in past WTA Media Guides (when they listed ALL the past WTA title winners), I discovered that the Russian is now one tour-level singles title away from being the most successful "slam failure" ever.

In an occurrence similar to the old Anna Smashnova/Anabel Medina-Garrigues lists I used to pull out four times every year, when those two were (and still are) the only two players in tour history with 10+ singles titles to have never reached a slam QF, Pavlyuchenkova's slightly better level of success (on both fronts) has put her on the cusp of a similar distinction. At the moment, there are 39 players who have won 13+ career singles titles. Though their overall levels of slam success are different, each and every one has reached the slam semifinal stage at least once (with only "Oh, Nadia" preventing the bar from being lifted a notch higher).

W (31): Martina Navratilova (167), Chris Evert (154), Steffi Graf (107), Margaret Court (92), Serena Williams (72), Evonne Goolagong (68), Billie Jean King (67), Virginia Wade (55), Monica Seles (53), Venus Williams (49), Justine Henin (43), Kim Clijsters (41), Maria Sharapova (36), Conchita Martinez (33), Tracy Austin (30), Arantxa Sanchez Vicario (29), Caroline Wozniacki (29), Hana Mandlikova (27), Gabriela Sabatini (27), Petra Kvitova (25), Amelie Mauresmo (25), Jana Novotna (24), Victoria Azarenka (20), Nancy Richey (19), Simona Halep (17), Svetlana Kuznetsova (17), Kerry Melville Reid (17), Mary Pierce (17), Ann Haydon Jones (16), Ana Ivanovic (15), Jennifer Capriati (14)

F (7): Pam Shriver (21), Aga Radwanska (20), Manuela Maleeva (19), Elena Dementieva (16), Jelena Jankovic (15), Dianne Fromholtz Balestrat (15), Zina Garrison (14)

SF (1): Nadia Petrova (13)

As things stand, Pavlyuchenkova's 12 singles titles leaves her one tour win away from becoming the only player with more than a dozen, but also without at least one final four result at a major. She's not the only one currently dangling on that hook, as Elina Svitolina (also with 12 titles) stands without anything better than a QF run at a major, as well. And she's probably likely to reach 13 wins before the Russian, too. From what I've been able to gather, these are the other 12-time WTA title winners, along with their best slam results (*-active):

Julie Halard-Decugis (QF)
Anke Huber (SF)
Helga Niessen Masthoff (F)
Katerina Maleeva (QF)
Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (QF)*
Virginia Ruzici (W)
Dinara Safina (F)
Anna Smashnova (4th Rd.)
Elina Svitolina (QF)*
Vera Zvonareva (F)*

Again, Smashnova is something of a fly in the ointment, isn't she? Also still active, and one win away from being included in the above list is Patty Schnyder, who has won eleven tour titles, and reached the AO semis back in 2004. Oh, and in case you were wondering, AMG didn't quite make this list, as she won eleven titles in her singles career.

Ah, I've always sensed there was a potential list with Pavlyuchenkova's name on it out there somewhere.

...Pavlyuchenkova was a great junior player a decade or so ago, winning three junior slam singles crowns (and reaching a fourth final) and five in doubles between 2006-08. Claire Liu, at 18 youngest player in the MD after making her way through qualifying, reached back-to-back major junior finals last spring/summer. She lost in the Roland Garros girls final, but defeated fellow Bannerette Ann Li in the Wimbledon final. Today the California native got her first career MD win at a major with a 6-2/6-7(2)/6-3 victory over Ana Konjuh.

...as it turned out, Pavlyuchenkova's plight wasn't the biggest news regarding a Hordette on Day 2. No, I'm not talking about THAT one... though she *was* involved. I mean #132-ranked qualifier Vitalia Diatchenko.

Diatchenko, 27, is a talented player whose progress has often been sidetracked by injury. Still, she's won twelve ITF singles titles over the past decade-plus, picked up a WTA 125 title a few years ago, has reached six tour-level WD finals (winning one), and was nearly ranked in the Top 70 four years ago. It's why, for a time, I referred to her often by her losses/bad breaks (Serena Williams' U.S. Open 1st Round Opponent/Victim" in 2015-16), especially after she'd post photos of herself wearing a cast and the like.


Torn Achilles, how lucky I am..?? #?????-????????????

A post shared by Vitalia Diatchenko ?? (@vdiatchenko8) on

Still, she wasn't really expected to take down Sharapova today. They'd met once before, with Sharapova winning 3 & 1 in the 2nd Round of Roland Garros in 2015. But 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 since her return to the game last year.

Needless to say, things didn't look good for Diatchenko. Even as things played out today, she seemed set to have to be proud of herself for playing well enough to make things tight against the future Hall of Famer. The two combined for six breaks of serve in the opening eight games of the match, but after failing to convert a BP chance that would have allowed her to serve for the 1st set Sharapova managed to still win it in a 7-3 tie-break. In the 2nd, she served for the match at 5-3. But Diatchenko would never go away, and Sharapova, as has been the case since she returned, 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. Diatchenko held serve for 5-4, then used a forehand slice shot to elicit an error from Sharapova to reach MP. Sharapova double-faulted.

Diatchenko's 6-7(3)/7-6(3)/6-4 win in 3:08 in the final moments of the day's light gives her her first Wimbledon MD win, and just her third ever at a slam. She led Sharapova 31-28 in winners, and their UE's were essentially even (32/33), along with their total DF (9/10) and points in the match (52-51). Even their BP numbers were nearly identical, with Diatchenko converting 6-of-13, and Sharapova 6-of-11. But only one advances, while the other will have to finesse a few of "those" questions again.

While it's a banner day for Diatchenko, the loss casts a dark cloud over what has been a good spring/summer for Sharapova, who finally found her footing (and some health) on the clay, enough so to be able to be seeded #24 here. While Sharapova may be known for her '04 SW19 win, she's never really been a *great* grass court player. But, still, this is her first one-and-out at the AELTC in fourteen appearances, though this *was* her first time there since 2015, having been denied a WC a year ago and then pulling out of qualifying. She'd had a streak of eleven consecutive slams with 3rd Round-or-better results, stretched out back to 2013. Her last 1st Round loss at a major came in 2010 at the Australian Open, while her *only* other two took place in the first two slam MD of her career in 2003 (AO/RG). This was Sharapova's 53rd career major. So that's two 1st Round losses in her last 51.

Sharapova's next Flashback/Flashforward ride comes later this summer at the U.S. Open, where she reached the Round of 16 a year ago (after def. Halep in the 1st Rd. in the sort of match that might become commonplace in the opening days of majors if the old/new 16-seed field becomes a reality in '19) after having not played in NYC since 2014.

...elsewhere around the grounds on Tuesday, the Aussies had a good day. #17 Ash Barty (def. Viktorija Golubic), #26 Dasha Gavrilova (def. Caroline Dolehide, in a late LL after Zarina Diyas withdrew) and Sam Stosur (def. Peng Shuai) all won. Gavrilova will play Stosur in the 2nd Round.

The Brits, too, were smiling. And not just because of the World Cup. Yesterday, Katie Swan recorded her first career slam MD victory, while Harriet Dart pushed Karolina Pliskova. Today, #22 Johanna Konta ('17 SF) out-did Natalia Vikhlyantseva 7-5/7-6(7), though it took her six MP to do it, and Katie Boulter, a year after she lost a hard-fought 1st Rounder to Christina McHale, finally notched *her* maiden slam win with a three-set triumph over Veronica Cepede Royg.

Late in the day, Katy Dunne fell to #12 Alona Ostapenko, but only after nearly pushing things to a 3rd set. Ostapenko served for the match in the 2nd, only to see Dunne hold two SP before taking things to a TB. There, the Latvian DF'd on MP at 6-4, but then took the next point on the Brit's serve to win 6-3/7-6(5).

Gabriella Taylor took Genie Bouchard to three sets, but the Canadian came back strong to win 6-0/4-6/6-3. A qualifier this year, it's just 2012 Wimbledon girls champ and 2014 Ladies finalist Bouchard's second MD win at a major in the last five slams.

Heather Watson was the last Brit on the court on Day 2, losing to Kirsten Flipkens. The home nation went 3-5 in the women's draw in the 1st Round.

...while Kiki Mladenovic won a three-setter on Day 1 against Anna Karolina Schmiedlova, her countrywomen didn't fare well on Day 2. Alize Cornet lost to non-#32 Dominika Cibulkova, as did Pauline Parmentier to Taylor Townsend. But #6 Caroline Garcia's fall was bigger and louder.

Trying to back up last year's Round of 16 Wimbledon result, which followed up her RG QF and launched her into a superior second half of the season that landed her in the Top 10 for 2017, Garcia fell 7-6(2)/6-3 to Mladenovic BFF Belinda Bencic (hopefully the two will keep the social media celebration private). Bencic, the '13 Wimbledon junior champ, has had a two-steps-forward-one-and-a-half-steps comeback from various injuries over the past two seasons, a pattern which seemingly began not long after she reached the Top 10 in 2016.

Thing is, Bencic hasn't won multiple matches at a non-challenger all season (this is her sixth such event), and hasn't done it on tour since last October in Linz. She's been an exciting 1st Round winner at all three 2018 majors, only to be tripped up a round later at the first two. She upset #5 Venus Williams in Melbourne, then lost to Luksika Kumkhum. She survived 5 MP vs. Deborah Chiesa in Paris, then was knocked off by Magdalena Rybarikova. Bencic will face Alison Riske next at SW19.

#6 Garcia's loss means four of the Top 8 seeds -- w/ #4 Svitolina, #5 Stephens and #8 Kvitova -- have been ousted in the 1st Round for the first time at Wimbledon.

...the next-to-last-to-finish match of the day looks like it must have been a dramatic affair. But since I was concentrating on the Sharapova/Diatchenko match, I didn't really get to follow it much at all. In any event, Yulia Putintseva (so you know it must have had some edgy moments, to say the least... and know I saw something about her opponent complaining that she was making too much noise at one point) defeated Magda Linette in a clash that went deep into the 3rd. The Kazakh failed at least once to serve out the match, but eventually got it done and pulled off a 6-3/3-6/10-8 win with a backhand down the line winner. She led the Pole 117-113 in total points on the day.

...since there are a number of nations still in the running for the usual early-round awards, I'm going to hold off on a couple of them.

"The Nation of Lost Souls" is on hold for now, largely because of the question of how many Czechs (4-6 in the 1st Rd.) will survive to the 3rd Round. Right now, the Maidens wouldn't qualify even *with* Kvitova's exit today. But with the remaining Czechs set to play tough 2nd Rounders -- Ka.Pliskova/Azarenka, Safarova/Radwanska, Strycova/Tsurenko, Siniakova/Jabeur -- they still *could*.

After the 1st Round, many nations have put up disappointing results, including France (1-3, and maybe the "live" NoPS leader), Slovakia (1-3), China (1-4), Ukraine (1-3) and even Croatia (1-3 *with* Vekic's win over Stephens).

The "Upset Queens" and "Revelation Ladies" picks are also highly competitive.

Romania has been a big part of the action thus far, with the likes of Cirstea (def. Rybarikova), Dulgheru (def. Kr.Pliskova), Ruse (a near-upset of Aga) and Buzarnescu (def. Sabalenka) all joining Halep in the 2nd Round. Germany, too, with Petkovic (def. Zhang Shuai) and Maria (def. Svitolina) is in the mix, along with Belgium (the whole Mertens/Flipkens/Wickmayer/Van Uytvanck lot are in the 2nd Rd.), Belarus (Vika/Sasnovich/Lapko), Russia (Kasatkina/Diatchenko/Blinkova/Rodina/Makarova remain) and the U.S. (Brengle d. Krunic, Liu d. Konjuh, Kenin d. Sakkari, Vickery d. Vondrousova, and with the likes of Brady, Riske and Townsend still alive).

Those groups will have to battle it out for "UQ's" as I *am* going to hand over the "RL" win to the Brits with Swan and Boulter both posting maiden MD slam wins, Dart taking Pliskova to three sets and Broady (vs. Muguruza) and Dunne (vs. Ostapenko) nearly doing the same in their matches. This is the second year in a row the Brits have won this award at SW19, so I guess the bar will now officially have to be lifted for them.

Some of the best 1st Rounds records by nation:

10-7 United States
4-0 Belgium
4-0 Spain
3-1 Australia
3-1 Belarus
4-3 Germany
4-4 Romania
5-6 Russia

LIKE ON DAY 2: The Dutch painter is a prolific one...

REMEMBERING DAY 1 ON DAY 2: Ouch, and well, okay then...

LIKE ON DAY 2: Hmmm, well, that Roger Federling guy's new endorsement deal apparently runs for, like, about a decade, right? Up for it, Serena?

LIKE ON DAY 2: if you enjoy stories about 20th century Hollywood, as I do, you might like the "You Must Remember This" podcast from Karina Longworth, which begins it's latest season today. If you don't fancy to the "Hollywood Babylon" series that begins this week, there's a big cache of past podcasts centerng on all kinds of other stories... one of my favorites is the heartbreaking episode focusing on Clark Gable and Carole Lombard.

I admit, I'm not the *biggest* fan of Longworth's voiceover style, but the content is always great, well-researched and written.


MEMO TO THE HALL OF FAME ON DAY 2: She's still waiting.


...and, finally, tomorrow is Independence Day in the U.S. and, naturally, that means THIS is coming...

And from one "Jaws" (10-time champ Joey Chestnut) to another...

For me, this time of the year also means the (mostly) annual viewing of the ultimate "July 4th weekend" movie: the original summer blockbuster, "Jaws."

"Jaws" was the first movie I can recall seeing in a theater. I still remember the final scene above because it was when I stood up from my seat and yelled, "Look out!" to Robert Shaw. An appropriate reaction, I think, especially for someone so young (at least I was paying attention to the screen, and not distracted by eating junk food and/or walking around, right?). It certainly gives me a "remember when" moment every summer at this time, which is nice. Of course, why my parents brought their son, who wasn't even yet in kindergarten, into this particular movie is another story, I guess. But, hey. (Shrug.) Haha.

Then again, it may also explain my life-long avoidance of the ocean and open water, and why I hate driving over water on long bridges. So there's that.

2008 Maria Sharapova, RUS (2nd Rd.)
2009 Maria Sharapova, RUS (2nd Rd.)
2010 Francesca Schiavone, ITA & Samantha Stosur, AUS (1st; RG finalists)
2011 Jelena Jankovic, SRB (1st Rd.)
2012 Caroline Wozniacki, DEN (1st Rd.)
2013 Nadia Petrova, RUS (1st Rd.)
2014 Sloane Stephens, USA (1st Rd.)
2015 Genie Bouchard, CAN & Simona Halep, ROU (both 1st Rd.)
2016 Garbine Muguruza, ESP (RG champ; 2nd Rd.)
2017 Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, RUS (1st Rd; 7 MP)
2018 Petra Kvitova, CZE (1st Rd.)

2006 Serbia
2007 France
2008 Russia
2009 Italy (veterans)
2010 Romania
2011 Great Britain
2012 Netherlands
2013 Australia/New Zealand
2014 Czech Republic
2015 Switzerland
2016 Russia
2017 Great Britain
2018 Great Britain

TOP EARLY-ROUND (1r-2r): xx
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): xx
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)
LAST QUALIFIER STANDING: In 2nd Rd.: Bouchard/CAN, Diatchenko/RUS, Dulgheru/ROU, C.Liu/USA, Rodina/RUS, Sorribes-Tormo/ESP, Tomova/BUL
LAST WILD CARD STANDING: In 2nd Rd.: Boulter/GBR, Jabeur/TUN, Swan/GBR
LAST BRIT STANDING: In 2nd Rd.: Boulter, Konta, Swan
IT ("???"): xx
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: Nominees: #32 Radwanska (saved 6 MP in 14-minute, 8-deuce, 23-points game vs. Ruse in 1r); (Q) Diatchenko (Sharapova served for match up 7-6/5-3 in 1st Rd., twice had break lead in 3rd)
SPIRIT OF JANA (NOVOTNA) HONOREE: Nominees: D.Vekic (following up emotional '17 loss to Konta in 2nd Round w/ 1st Rd. upset of #4 Stephens), Buzarnescu
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: xx

All for Day 2. More tomorrow.


Blogger colt13 said...

Not posting until tomorrow, but the Pavlyuchenkova post is my speed. Always amused how the Maleeva's are all over the SF/QF lists.

Simplistic to say in the cases of Stephens and Sharapova, and to some extent, Venus, that no match play is a problem because the tour is deep. Doesn't explain Kvitova or Svitolina.

Will get more into the rankings in the next post, but with so many of the top players getting bounced, Stephens may move up to 3 even with her loss. Obviously Muguruza has lots of points to defend.

Tue Jul 03, 07:35:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Diane said...

I used to say that the first movie I ever saw in a theater was "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes," but it turns out that that was the second one. The first one was "High Noon." Apparently, my father wanted to see it, so we had a very rare family outing (I saw GPB with my mother). Of course, I was too young to understand everything it meant.

The third one I can recall seeing was "The Fugitive Kind," with a friend of the family's. Not bad, huh?

When I got a little older, my best friend's mother would take us downtown every other Sat. or so and drop us off to see the--yes, it really existed--science fiction double feature. I saw so many classic horror movies, which scared the hell out of me, but I couldn't wait to go again.

Tue Jul 03, 07:46:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Todd.Spiker said...

I think Svitolina needs to make some changes somewhere, either in coaching or w/ her trainer(s). The mental progress made w/ Henin seems to have eroded.

Ah, I'm not sure there's a real equivalent to Marilyn Monroe or Gary Cooper these days. Of course, a lot have tried to be the former, usually very poorly, while we probably know too much about actors/actresses for anyone to really realistically embody the sort of image he was able to naturally convey at the time, at least not without their public lives getting in the way.

I wish drive-ins would come back. I can only remember ever going to one, not long after "Jaws," probably, and even then it was run down and the microphones didn't work. I finally got to see "Star Wars" quite a bit after it'd been realeased, but really only about 33% of it (or so it seemed) with sound AND video, or vice versa. It ended up being years, after VCR tapes came out, before I'd ever really see it all for the first time. Didn't stop me from collecting the action figures and making up stories with them, though, of course. ;)

Tue Jul 03, 08:29:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Diane said...

Drive-ins were kind of wonderful, in their own way--though--the last time I went to one--I lost the ring my uncle gave me when I was a baby (don't ask).

I currently live just down the street from a cinema, which is nice. I do have a good 5-1 surround sound system. When my TV broke, I bought one with a slightly smaller screen. Now, I sometimes wish I'd bought one with a significantly larger screen.

Tue Jul 03, 09:03:00 PM EDT  
Blogger jo shum said...

i watched 2 sets of Kvitova and sasnovich, and i thought the 3rd is gonna going to be a battle so i went to sleep. little did i think, it's a white wash. kvitova was never comfortable from set 1 but i thought she might just make an ugly win in the end.

She was very aggressive in set 1 but sasnovich got many balls back, even the left serve out wide. quite impressed that sasnovich once knew she played kvitova, she went practice with a left hitting partner for 4 days, and targeted good returns, and serving only to kvitova's backhand. very smart tactic. worked brilliantly as kvitova got frustrated and not used to seeing so many balls back on grass. i also like sasnovich's comment, 'everyone can beat everyone, the ball is round.' brilliant.

there goes my tournament pick though.

so far that's the shock of tournament for me for ladies. not that shock maria is out, she really has become a clay court player....

for the men, i was shock yesterday that warinka actually beat demitrov. i saw the first set, wasn't that good but he turned around. maybe because his girlfriend won too?

Tue Jul 03, 10:59:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Diane said...

Hi Jo--there went my tournament pick too :( She clearly didn't feel good, and Sasnovich made her feel even worse. Sorry Maria went out, but I'm crushed over Petra.

Tue Jul 03, 11:28:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Todd.Spiker said...

It'd be fun if Sasnovich gets into the second week, if for no other reason than we'd get a new batch of great quotes from her every other day. ;)

Tue Jul 03, 11:32:00 PM EDT  
Blogger colt13 said...

Rankings-Live:The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.

Arn-298(39 yr old)
S.Williams-154-After the 1st rd win
Yastremska-110 if she wins ITF
Tsurenko-31 if she wins

Bunch of people trying to lock in US Open spots 6 weeks out.

Stat of the Day-7- The amount of British women that reached the 2nd rd at Wimbledon in 1977.

This year may have only had the K Crew(Konta, K.Boulter, K.Swan) reach, but they arguably may have been more impressive.

You see, in 1977, 3 of the 7(Winnie Shaw, Connie Molesworth, Sue Barker) had byes, so they only had 4 win a first round match while 6 lost. The winners were Belinda Thompson, Lesley Charles, Jackie Fayter, and Wade, who beat Jo Durie.

The 3 in the 2nd rd this year is the first since doing the same in back to back years in 2011 & 2012. But as luck would have it, 2011 had them face the best. Keothavong lost to the winner in Kvitova, Robson lost to finalist Sharapova, and Baltacha lost to Peng, who then lost to Sharapova.

2012 was actually better. Keothavong lost to French Open finalist Errani, Baltacha to previous year's winner Kvitova, and Watson? To that year's finalist in Radwanska.

Wed Jul 04, 07:54:00 AM EDT  
Blogger colt13 said...

So the 2010 Junior AO winner beats the 2005 Junior AO winner, and ends one of the more inexplicable streaks in tennis.

Note: 18 Junior winners reached the second round.

Wed Jul 04, 09:32:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Leif Mortensen said...

Bye Bugbledon! Ant attack send out Caroline as they chose the prettiest player as landing zone - that's NOT tennis, and match should have been interupted. And Makarova chose this day to peek after a shitty 2018 - that's tennis.

Wed Jul 04, 01:26:00 PM EDT  

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