Thursday, July 05, 2018

W.4- The Peaks of Simona

Well, so far, so good.

As far as the question goes of whether or not the decided *lack* of the ever-present pressure that's been weighing heavily on Simona Halep's mind, heart and shoulders for a number of years would mean we'd see a "different" world #1 at the slam following her title run in Paris, well, the jury is officially still out on that verdict. It'll eventually come, in some form, one way or the other, I suppose, but it could be that she'll simply continue to be only a slightly-altered version of the player she's always been. One who consistently puts herself in position to win major titles. She won't win them all, but now that she knows that she *can* she'll do whatever she's able to win another. And she might. Or not. But it *would* be nice, you know?

Simona has the benefit of such a flexibility of mind now. It's a personal gift her hard work presented her with nearly a month ago now. Hopefully her inner (and outer) Warrior Swarmette will continue to thrive in the aftermath of such a (finally!) successful battle. I suspect it will. Here, there, or elsewhere... in the present, or the near future.

So many players could only dream of having the ability to just *legitimately* be in the mix at all, let alone at all four majors on an annual basis. Halep has been that, no matter what her final results ultimately were, heading into every slam since her appearance in the Roland Garros final back in 2014. The notion that Halep might show up at SW19 suddenly absent the willful desire and preparation necessary to become a champion that she's shown so often in the past, even when she came up short (think Melbourne this January), after being feted and adored back home in Romania does seem to have been a false fear, though. It was a legitimate worry, yes, considering the "next major" syndrome we've so often seen from new (or -ish) women's slam champions (see Sloane). But considering Halep's history of perfectionism, for all its good and bad impact on her performances, that honestly never really felt like it'd be a valid scenario. At least not for long.

The other day, I think, ESPN's Chris Evert made a tad bit too much of Halep's comment about "not caring" whether she won this slam, and saying that her next goal is to win an Olympic medal for her nation after having already achieved the #1 ranking and taking a major. Having that as her stated next career goal doesn't mean she doesn't want to win more slams, after all. In fact, one can rightly assume that playing hard in (and winning additional) majors between now and Tokyo 2020 would greatly increase the likelihood of her winning a medal of some color two summers from now. It just goes without saying, right?

In the 1st Round, Halep made her post-RG debut with a straight sets, no-worries, win over Japan's Kurumi Nara. On Day 4 she dipped into the Asian tennis talent pool once more for her 2nd Round opponent, China's Zheng Saisai, playing at Wimbledon under a protected ranking due to a past knee injury that had her out for six months before she returned in March of this year. Ranked #126, but a former Top 60 player less than two years ago, Zheng breezed through a 17-2 stretch this spring on the challenger level, winning a WTA 125 Series and $60K event between additional SF ($25K) and runner-up (WTA 125) finishes. Her three-set win over countrywoman Wang Qiang, China's only 1st Round win among the country's five MD participants, was Zheng's first above the challenger level since her defeat of Alison van Uytvanck in the 1st Round of last year's U.S. Open.

Halep opened quickly again today, jumping out 2-0 before Zheng's variety-filled (slices, drops, etc.) game set her off-balance. Zheng got a mid-set break of serve and then held to take a 4-3 lead. She served for the 1st at 5-4. But just as Halep has experienced and admitted to feeling the pressure of the moment at times, so did Zheng at this big moment. While errors began to leak into *her* game, Halep cleaned hers up to a remarkable degree, figured things out, and simply wiped away her opponent's chances of victory as if she was ending the school day by erasing a whiteboard. She got the break, held, demolished Zheng's service game in game #12, going up love/40 and then firing a backhand down the line that Zheng couldn't get back over the net. Halep took the set 7-5, then held at love to open the 2nd. A race to a drop shot ended with a flicked cross court backhand winner for a 3-0 lead. She won 7-5/6-0, sweeping the final ten games of the match starting with the moment when Zheng served for the 1st set.

With a gentle wind at her back, Halep will next face unseeded Hsieh Su-wei. It'll be their first meeting since 2013.

Two down. (Insert "acceptable" number of wins the major after claiming one's maiden slam title) to go.

...the march of seeds out the gates of the All-England Club continued on Thursday. In truth, though, it didn't look like Day 4 was going to produce a truly BIG headline in the way of women's upsets... then Garbi went and Mugu-ed things up on Court 2.

Who knows what tripped up the #3-seeded Spaniard today. Maybe it was the pressure of being the defending champ and seeing seeds falling left and right. Maybe she just wasn't in her sometimes-awesome slam mindset for this major. She *did* blink late in the 2nd set of her 1st Round win over Naomi Broady, seeing the Brit push a nearly-over set to a 7-5 one as Garbi seemed to feel the moment. It could have been a tell. One expects her to blast her way through such moments if she's going to end up with a major title two weeks later. A year ago, she dropped just 6, 6 and 4 games through the first three rounds at SW19, then went on to defeat three former slam champs on her way to slam title #2. Of course, when she won Roland Garros two years ago, she went three-sets with Anna Karolina Schmiedlova in the 1st Round, though she then didn't lose another set the rest of the way, also defeating three former slam champions.

Of course, maybe it was just her opponent. Though Muguruza has defeated Williams Sisters in slam finals in the past, Alison Van Uytvanck is a big hitter with a good serve, and she used those weapons to take advantage of the surface today, sealing 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 the 5-7/6-2/6-1 victory.

The match was the last one to start, on an unfamiliar (for Mugu, which may been *something*) Court 2 beginning just after 7 p.m. London time. The Belgian 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, when she lost just five games en route to the final, then outlasted Dominika Cibukova at 7-5 in a 3rd set. It was her second tour title since last fall (she won Quebec City last September, nine months after having wrist surgery).

After falling down 7-5/1-0, #47 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. Before two days ago, the Waffle hadn't won a MD match at Wimbledon since her debut in 2014.

Oh, Mugu.

After reaching the Round of 16 all four majors for the first time in her career in '17, Muguruza has now gone 2r-SF-2r this year. We'll see whether such up-and-down finishes is good for her U.S. Open hopes, as she'll be following up her best career result in New York (4th Rd.) from a year ago.

...before Muguruza's exit in the waning moments of play on Thursday, the biggest women's seed to fall *had* been Johanna Konta. The demise of the #22 seed was big news, though hardly a "stunner" considering the inconsistency and coaching turmoil she's endured over the past year since becoming the first British woman to reach the SW19 semis in thirty-nine years. And considering her experienced opponent today, it wasn't really even an "upset."

Konta faced off today with non-#32 Dominika Cibulkova, who may have been fed extra fuel/petrol last week due to being the "unlucky un-seed" when the tournament installed Serena Williams as #25. After taking out Alize Cornet in straights in the 1st Round, the Slovak never really allowed Konta into their 2nd Round match. She jumped out quickly to a 4-2 lead in the 1st, then served it out at 6-3. She held onto an early break in the 2nd, as well, and held four MP on Konta's serve at 5-3 before the Brit at least held and forced her to serve things out. She did. Emphatically at love, ditching the final British woman left in the draw (and don't think she probably won't at least privately grin at the pleasant irony of that, considering her issues with not having her ranking be enough to get her an "easier" path in this MD).

Ah, wait until 2019, Domi, when there will be a special place in slam tennis hell for the (approximately) #17-ranked players in the world.

Advancing to the final 32 stage matches Cibulkova's best slam result since her season-ending WTA Finals win in Singapore to end the '16 season, and it's her fifth 3rd Round-or-better run at SW19 in the last six years. For Konta, though, already outside the Top 20 after having been as high as #4 last July and still Top 10 in January, this loss means she'll enter the North American hard court season ranked outside the Top 40 for the first time in two and a half years. a match-up of former Wimbledon girls champs, #17 Ash Barty and qualifier Genie Bouchard opened the day on Court 3.

Barty took a 4-2 lead in the 1st, and saved a BP to serve out the set at 6-4. Bouchard seemed prepared to take things to a 3rd, leading 5-2 and holding a SP. But Barty charged back, serving for the match at 6-5 and getting the straight sets win to reach the Wimbledon 3rd Round for the first time.

This still demands to be viewed as a successful Wimbledon for 2014 finalist Bouchard. She didn't manage to record back-to-back MD wins for the first time since January, but she's at least now pointed in the right direction. We'll see where she goes from here.

As it is, I'm feeling pretty good about my multi-tabbed preseason prediction for the Canadian. Here's what I had:

1) I said she wouldn't reach a tour-level QF (could be the case), and...
2) after ending '17 at #81, she'd fall outside the Top 100 (that happened quickly, around the AO)
3) after being the Canadian #1, she'd at some point be the #3-ranked (she was the 4th-ranked from CAN before Wimbledon)
4) she'd rebound to be back as the #2 Canadian by the fall (she's already there with this Wimbledon, as she's gone from #188 pre-SW19 to #148 in the live rankings, only behind Carol Zhao)
5) I had Bianca Andreescu as the top-ranked Canadian by year's end, and if she ever gets that final Q3 win at a major (she's lost in the final round at both RG and Roehampton) or strings together a few wins somewhere, which she may finally do now that she's healthy, I'd still stick with that pick at this point
6) I also had Bouchard winning a pair of WTA doubles titles, which I still think would be a good idea to pursue since it'd get her the much-needed time on the court. The more she plays, she more her game/confidence seems to recover. She's never won a tour-level WD title, but did reach finals in D.C. last summer and in Luxembourg in the fall.

While she's at it, Genie should, you know, go ahead and take the leap (it'd be her best social media move since that bet/date with that guy)...

...2017 SW19 girls winner Claire Liu, the youngest player in the women's draw, pushed former #1 Angelique Kerber (the #11 seed) today. The #237-ranked 18-year old had already made her way through qualifying and recorded her maiden Wimbledon MD win over Ana Konjuh. She gave the German a nice run today, as well. Kerber, who was oft-irritated throughout the match, was broken early in the 1st set, then saw the Bannerette do it again (her third break in the 1st) to close it out at 6-3. But Kerber grabbed an early break lead in the 2nd and rode out the advantage to force a 3rd. There, despite dropping serve two more times, the German held on for a 3-6/6-2/6-4 victory to reach the 3rd Round at Wimbledon for a fifth straight year.

She'll next face #18 Naomi Osaka, who may or may not be fully prepared for her grand slam "moment." If she is, well, who knows what might have after that for her at this slam. Kerber holds a 2-1 edge vs. the 20-year old, but lost their only previous slam meeting at last year's U.S. Open 3 & 1.

...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 -- Belinda Bencic pulled a rabbit out of her hat in the 2nd Round today against Alison 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 1-6/7-6(10)/6-2 in 2:24. Riske led 117-111 in total points.

...three days ago, Czech Maiden Katerina Siniakova escaped her 1st Round match with CoCo Vandeweghe. The Bannerette was nursing an ankle injury (which from the looks of photos the next day might have forced her out of the tournament had she won) 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.

Today the Czech 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. The Tunisian wild card got the invite into the MD from the AELTC after winning a $100K grass court title at Manchester last month.

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 5-7/6-4/9-7 in 2:27. She needed every last one of the 117 points she won (vs. Jabeur's 115) on the day. Somewhat remarkably, the two combined to successfully convert 13 of 17 BP chances.

Siniakova's pair of comeback wins are enough to earn her the Zombie Queen of London award for this Wimbledon against some pretty tough early-round competition (Aga, Diatchenko, Bencic, etc.).

Day 4 also finally allowed a few more of the usual awards to be handed out. Konta's loss means she shares the "Last Brit Standing" designation with two of the British Katies, Boulter and Swan. Jabeur's loss means she'll have to divy up the "Last Wild Card Standing" honor with, again, Boulter and Swan.

After seeing her match with #23 Barbora Strycova postponed from yesterday, Lesia Tsurenko didn't get a reprieve, losing to the Czech by a 6-1/6-4 score today. The loss drops Ukraine to a combined 1-4 at this Wimbledon. One year after Elina Svitolina reached the Round of 16 and Tsurenko the 3rd, all the Ukrainians are out after two rounds. So the "Nation of Poor Souls" trophy (a soggy Slazenger dipped in bug spray?) goes to Ukraine. The nation picked the "Upset Queens" win at both of 2018's previous majors.

Such is life grand slam tennis, I guess.

Vitalia Diatchenko joined Evgeniya Rodina as the final two qualifiers in the draw with a 6-4/6-1 win over Sonya Kenin, backing up her win over Maria Sharapova, so the "Last Qualifier Standing" is still in play.

...meanwhile, I give you Sasnovich. Aliaksandra Sasnovich.

The Petra-conquering Belarusian won the first seven games of her match against Bannerette Taylor Towsend (giving her 13 in a row counting her 3rd set bagel of Kvitova), and won 6-0/6-4 in 1:11.

...late in the day, #12 Alona Ostapenko, flying under the radar at this Wimbledon one year after she arrived at SW19 as *the* talk of the women's game with her RG title run still fresh in the mind of all, followed up her victory over Brit WC Katy Dunne (which got a little sticky late in the 2nd set as things went to a TB) with a more dominating win over a far more accomplished opponent. Kirsten Flipkens is a former Wimbledon semifinalist, and this summer has already reached tour-level s/d finals on the grass at Rosmalen and won a $100K title at Southseas heading into this slam (her 1st Round win made her 9-1 on the surface in '18). But the Waffle was no match today for Latvian Thunder. Ostapenko's power was just too much to handle, as she won 6-1/6-3 in fifty-five minutes.

Apparently, based on the Twitter comments during this match, the BBC commentators were all over Ostapenko with negative attitude about her and her game while she was demolishing the hardly-unaccomplished grass court-loving Belgian. So, whatever. (Rolls eyes.)

These aren't negative, but they made me smile (as so many things about Ostapenko tend to do)... doubles, world #1 Ekaterina Makarova & Vera Zvonareva defeated Vondrousova/Blinkova in straights, while top-seeded Timea Babos & Kristina Mladenovic did the same vs. Kato/Hozumi. Meanwhile, Ash Barty, set to play without the now-retired Casey Dellacqua, ends up not being able to play at all, as partner CoCo Vandeweghe's ankle injury forced her to withdraw.

As the WTA Doubles World Turns. Speaking of...

Bethanie Mattek-Sands, one year after her devastating injury at last year's Wimbledon, finally returned to action with Lucie Safarova today as #TeamBucie was reunited after BMS's injury and Safarova's recent illness have kept them apart for months. They won, defeating #16-seeds Kudryavtseva/L.Kichenok 7-6/7-5.

By the way, something which has sort of slipped through the cracks in this story is that Mattek-Sands/Safarova were going for a Career Doubles Slam last year at Wimbledon. And, thus, they *still* are at this year's version. Thought I'd mention that, just in case. They're 5-0 in slam finals together.

LIKE ON DAY 4: At this year's slams, on both the men's and women's sides, it's almost as if the Tennis Gods are on a mission to point out that there needn't be a reduction of seeded players from 32 to 16 in order for top players to be tested and/or defeated in the first three rounds.

At this slam alone, six Top 8 women (14 seeds overall) and three of the men's (16 seeds overall) are out in before the 3rd Round, including five of last year women's quarterfinalists, three semifinalists and the defending champ. Two of the men's '17 QF (one reached the SF) were too injured to post for this slam at all, and two more have already lost. Today, last year's men's runner-up was sent off by Catalina Pella's brother Guido... see, it can work the other way, too).

LIKE ON DAY 4: Solving the insect problem.

WHERE ARE THEY NOW? ON DAY 4: No, really... where is he now?

Umm... ON DAY 4:

Hmmm.... ON DAY 4: He's pointing to the "wrong" name, though, Billie Jean.

LIKE ON DAY 4: Keothavongs at Wimbledon (a new Netflix series)


LIKE ON DAY 4: When you get a new clothing sponser, anything goes...


LIKE ON DAY 4: Tennis = family = Tennis

LIKE ON DAY 4: This Guy (insert joke about how "this guy" almost sounds like "Tsitsipas"). He obviously knows what grass courts are for.

...and, finally, some "Rad Day" housekeeping left over from yesterday, which was a bit hectic (July 4th, Wimbledon at 6:30/7 a.m., a Washington Nationals game to lose at 11 a.m., Hot Dog Eating Contest at noon AND it was Rad Day, too!) to keep up. Some notes...

* - Aga suffered her first career Rad Day defeat. She'd been 3-0. Hmmm.

* - Serena and Venus are now a combined 6-0. Hmmm. Of course they are.

* - Vika lost for the first time. She'd been part of The Original in 2013, but only because she'd given a walkover to her opponent after falling in the previous round.

* - Caro just has it bad all around on June 26/Day 3. Her loss drops her to 0-3 on the designated days. The only player with a worse record is Suarez-Navarro (0-4).

* - if there is such a thing as a Rad Day Specialist, it may be Evgeniya Rodina. Her win improved her record to 3-0.

* - Lesia Tsurenko (0-3) had been scheduled to play, but her match was pushed back to today. She still lost to Strycova.

[most wins]
4 - Genie Bouchard (4-1)
3 - Belinda Bencic (3-0)
3 - Camila Giorgi (3-1)
3 - Madison Keys (3-1)
3 - Johanna Konta (3-0)
3 - Alona Ostapenko (3-1)
3 - Andrea Petkovic (3-2)
3 - Aga Radwanska (3-1)
3 - Evgeniya Rodina (3-0)
3 - Heather Watson (3-1)
3 - Serena Williams (3-0)
3 - Venus Williams (3-0)
[most losses]
4 - Hsieh Su-Wei (1-4)
4 - Carla Suarez-Navarro (0-4)
3 - Sorana Cirstea (1-3)
3 - Lesia Tsurenko (0-3)
3 - Caroline Woziacki (0-3)
2013: June 26 (Wimbledon Day 3)
2014: June 26 (Wimbledon Day 3)
2015: June 26 (Eastbourne) & July 1 (Wimbledon Day 3)
2016: June 26 (no WTA matches) & June 29 (Wimb.Day 3)
2017: June 26 (Eastbourne) & July 5 (Wimb.Day 3)
2018: June 26 (Easbourne/Wimb.Q1) & July 4 (Wimb.Day 3)


Its not always rainbows and butterflies ???????

A post shared by Maria Sharapova (@mariasharapova) on

GBR (0-6 1st Rd.)
AUS (1-3 1st Rd., Stosur & Dokic losses)
SVK (1-3 in 1st Rd.; all 3 w/ WTA titles lost)
GBR (1-6 in 1st Rd.)
SVK (1-4 1st; grass champs Hantuchova/Rybarikova 1st Rd.)
ITA (Pennetta "FSO," Vinci/Schiavone 1st Rd., Knapp ret.)
CHN (1-4 1st; only win by LL Duan)
CZE (0-6 2nd Rd., Kvitova & Pliskova lose; first no CZE in 3r since '09, second time since '04)
...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.

2007 Venus Williams, USA
2008 Nicole Vaidisova, CZE
2009 Dinara Safina, RUS
2010 Petra Kvitova, CZE
2011 Marion Bartoli, FRA
2012 Tamira Paszek, AUT
2013 Eugenie Bouchard, CAN
2014 Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova/RUS & Lucie Safarova/CZE
2015 Serena Williams, USA
2016 Dominika Cibulkova/SVK & Aga Radwanska/POL
2017 Arina Rodionova, AUS
2018 Katerina Siniakova, CZE

2008 Zheng Jie, CHN (SF)
2009 Elena Baltacha/GBR & Michelle Larcher de Brito/POR (2nd Rd.)
2010 none to 2nd Rd.
2011 Sabine Lisicki, GER (SF)
2012 Yaroslava Shvedova, KAZ (4th Rd.)
2013 Alison Riske, USA (3rd Rd.)
2014 Vera Zvonareva, RUS (3rd Rd.)
2015 Jelena Ostapenko, LAT (2nd Rd.)
2016 Tara Moore/GBR & Evgeniya Rodina/RUS (2nd Rd.)
2017 Zarina Diyas/KAZ & Heather Watson/GBR (3rd Rd.)
2018 Katie Boulter/GBR, Ons Jabeur/TUN & Katie Swan/GBR (2nd)

2008 Elena Baltacha & Anne Keothavong (2nd Rd.)
2009 Elena Baltacha (2nd Rd.)
2010 Heather Watson (GBR 0-6 in 1st, Watson last to lose)
2011 Elena Baltacha, Anne Keothavong & Laura Robson (2nd)
2012 Heather Watson (3rd Rd.)
2013 Laura Robson (4th Rd.)
2014 Naomi Broady & Heather Watson (2nd Rd.)
2015 Heather Watson (2nd Rd.)
2016 Johanna Konta & Tara Moore (2nd Rd.)
2017 Johanna Konta (SF)
2018 Katie Boulter, Johanna Konta & Katie Swan (2nd)

2002 (Week 1 POW) Venus Williams, USA
2003 (Week 1 POW) Venus Williams, USA
2004 (Week 1 POW) Lindsay Davenport, USA
2005 (Week 1 co-POW) Lindsay Davenport, USA & Maria Sharapova, RUS
2006 Justine Henin-Hardenne, BEL
2007 Amelie Mauresmo, FRA
2008 Serena Williams, USA
2009 Venus Williams, USA
2010 Venus Williams, USA & Serena Williams, USA *
2011 Petra Kvitova, CZE *
2012 Agnieszka Radwanska, POL
2013 Serena Williams, USA
2014 Maria Sharapova, RUS
2015 Petra Kvitova, CZE
2016 Simona Halep, ROU
2017 Johanna Konta, GBR
2018 Simona Halep, ROU
* - won title

[wild cards]
3rd Rd. - Pauline Parmentier, FRA (RG)
2nd Rd. - Olivia Rogowska, AUS (AO)
2nd Rd. - Taylor Townsend, USA (RG)
2nd Rd. - Katie Boulter, GBR (WI)
2nd Rd. - Ons Jabeur, TUN (WI)
2nd Rd. - Katie Swan, GBR, (WI)
[lucky losers]
3rd Rd. - Bernarda Pera, USA (AO)
1st Rd. - Viktoriya Tomova, BUL (AO)
1st Rd. - Dalila Jakupovic, SLO (RG)
1st Rd. - Arantxa Rus, NED (RG)
1st Rd. - Mariana Duque-Marino, COL (WI)
1st Rd. - Caroline Dolehide, USA (WI)

TOP EARLY-ROUND (1r-2r): #1 Simona Halep/ROU
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)
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: In 3rd Rd.: Diatchenko/RUS, Rodina/RUS
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 ("???"): 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: 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)
SPIRIT OF JANA (NOVOTNA) HONOREE: Nominees: D.Vekic (follows 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: 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 4. More tomorrow.


Blogger colt13 said...

4 Days in, and this has been wild!

Not guaranteed a new QF-ist overall, but there will be a first timer at Wimbledon from the Van Uytvanck(QF-French), Kontaveit, Barty, Kasatkina(QF-French) section.

Stat of the Day-10- the amount of times the previous year's winner has not got past the 3rd rd in the Open Era.

That number initially sounds bad, but there are two categories.

Ann Jones-1970
Billie Jean King-1976
Evonne Goolagong Cawley-1981
Stefanie Graf-1997
Marion Bartoli-2014
Serena Williams-2017

These six did not defend their title, leaving only four to do the walk of shame.

McNeil d Graf-1st rd 1994
Jankovic d V.Williams-3rd rd 2006
Jankovic d Kvitova-3rd rd 2015
Van Uytvanck d Muguruza-2nd rd 2018

With more first time slam winners, and women with a small amount of titles winning slams, this will happen more often.

Thu Jul 05, 07:00:00 PM EDT  
Blogger colt13 said...

July Madness. Yes, a takeoff of March Madness, but with Goerges/Strycova, Bertens/Williams, and Williams/Mladenovic going on at the same time, it felt like it. Pretty damn good showcase for tennis.

So is the headline the Kiki show? The Williams show? or Czech'd out?

Fri Jul 06, 01:23:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Diane said...

I wouldn’t be able to choose—and it was very hard to watch 3 matches! The Strycova-Goerges 3rd set was amazing in every way—a clay court set played on grass, with Strycova careening all over the place. So unfortunate that yhey were all going on at once—a foretaste of Manic Monday 😖

Fri Jul 06, 05:38:00 PM EDT  

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