Monday, July 09, 2018

W.7- Strawberries, Cream & Latvian Thunder

Keep an ear out, for you may hear it soon. The sound of Latvian Thunder making a sudden and lasting impact on this Wimbledon could be mere hours away.

While all the chaos has been taking place at this slam, #12 Alona Ostapenko has steered clear and wide of it all thus far. For those paying attention, what has happened has increasingly resembled the path she took en route to winning in Paris last year. No one who needed to do so managed to recognize what was happening until it was too late. As Diane Dees noted at Women Who Serve the other day, the Latvian has been "performing so far under the radar, she could blow down the stadium and no one would notice."

They still aren't watching will all eyes, really. Neither the two in the front, nor those in the back of their head. But that could change.

A year ago, the now 21-year old followed up her Roland Garros championship with an arguably "more impressive" QF result at Wimbledon in the shadow of her great clay court success, becoming the first since Kim Clijsters to produce a QF-or-better finish in the major that came *after* her maiden slam title run. Well, a year later, this time after bombing out of Paris, she's proven she's "so over" that blip on the radar and is looking for new land to conquer. It could be that she's chosen the grass courts of the All-England Club to make her stand. After defeating Aliakandra Sasnovich today by a typically-spiked-with-dominant-stretches 7-6(4)/6-0 scoreline, Ostapenko has returned to the final eight at SW19 without losing a set, firing winners seemingly without consciousness from all positions, and doing so on a surface where she won a junior slam four years ago. She had 28 winners vs. the Belarusian, with a comparably minimal (and, for her, lethally so) number of errors (15, six of which were DF, revealing just how accurate her groundstroke missiles were).

After blasting out of the gate at top speed vs. her first three opponents, stunning them and not seeing them recover their balance until mid-way through the 2nd set, Ostapenko was the one who had to dig out of an early hole against Sasnovich. The Kvitova Conqueror held a two-break lead in the 1st, and held GP for 4-1. But Ostapenko got the key break of serve, then held at love a game later. Sasnovich broke and led 5-2, but Ostapenko twice denied her while serving for the set in games #8 and #10. While the Latvian's serve isn't anything resembling a finished product, she *has* improved it of late. While she DF'd and faced a BP at 5-5, she ultimately held serve with an ace. The set went to a tie-break, which Ostapenko led 4-1, then 5-2 via a huge forehand winner.

That was when the Tennis Gods decided to get cute, denying a net tape shot from Alona that made it 5-3, then pushing a Sasnovich net cord shot over and seeing her close to 5-4. But the Belarusian's DF when she tried to go for too much to avoid having to face down Ostapenko's big groundstrokes instead handed her a SP at 6-4. A big deep backhand forced an error off Sasnovich's racket, giving Ostapenko the 7-4 TB win.

Ostapenko hit full sprinting speed in the 2nd, breaking for 1-0. Confidence soaring, she pulled out a sweet drop shot off a mid-court ball to hold for 2-0, and then swept the set at love to finish off Sasnovich in 1:18, giving new coach Glenn Schaap, who replaced David Taylor this spring, an immediate first-hand look-see at what she's capable of, sort of like she did with Anabel Medina-Garrigues in their still-fresh partnership during her RG run a year ago.

"See what I can do? Isn't it fun to watch?"

Hmmm, maybe those BBC commentators should have though better of riding Alona's tail during one of her dominant wins last week. For, of course, the only thing Latvian Thunder might enjoy more than doing a mean tango is dancing circles around those who dared to question her ability to do so.

Will they never learn? Well, hopefully, umm, no.

...the "Manic Monday" schedule of sixteen women's and men's Round of 16 matches began with the women going four-matches strong at the start of play on Day 7.

#20 Kiki Bertens def. #7 Karolina Pliskova 6-3/7-6(1)
While Pliskova is perceived as the better grass court player, having won multiple singles titles on the surface, the Czech seems to need some convincing. Her comeback from a set and 4-1 down vs. Mihaela Buzarnescu in the 3rd Round, though, did manage to get her into the Round of 16 for the first time at Wimbledon. She faced off with the '16 Roland Garros semifinalist, and perceived "clay court specialist," Bertens, who has proven to be surprisingly effective on the surface, having decided to go for more on serve and off the ground and finding that it's been able to make her more of a threat on the lawns. Bertens won an 8-6 3rd set over Venus Williams last time out, and similarly out-hit Pliskova today. Taking early break leads in both sets, the 26-year old Dutch woman had to fight off a late 2nd set challenge from the Czech as things went to a TB, but she jumped out to a 5-0 lead and won it going away to take the straight sets victory (well, at least she did after she'd waited to see how Pliskova's replay challenge went).

Bertens' out-hit (35/22 W/UE vs. Pliskova's 23/21, similar numbers to those vs. Venus) and out-aced (7-2) the Czech twin, who thus comes up one win short of a Career QF Slam and assumes the role as the final Top 10 seed to exit the draw.

Camila Giorgi def. Ekaterina Makarova 6-3/6-4
In one of the two match-ups of unseeded players in the Round of 16 in this historically upset-laden major, Giorgi's 26th slam MD appearance saw her playing in her first slam 4th Round match since she reached this stage in career slam MD #2 at Wimbledon back in 2012. Makarova was seeking to reach her second SW19 QF (2014), but her Italian opponent's big-hitting allowed her get on top of the Russian. And, though sometimes her own issues cause the opposite to occur, Giorgi didn't relent. With the four-strong members of the greatest Italian generation of women's players either out of the game, holding on, or dealing with off-court issues on the back side of their career, Giorgi has managed to produce just the second final eight result for her country in the eleven majors contested since the Pennetta/Vinci U.S. Open final in 2015 (w/ Vinci's '16 U.S. QF being the only other).

Dominika Cibulkova def. Hsieh Su-wei 6-4/6-1
Cibulkova has been playing like she's seeking heads to put on the end of pikes since she was hardly-surprisingly pushed out of the seeds by the All-England Club's totally responsible decision to award Serena Williams with the #25 slot. No matter how much huff-and-puff Cibulkova contributed to the issue, it all turned decidedly in her favor when she knocked off #22 Jo Konta in the 2nd Round and assumed her place in the draw. Still, the Slovak has not been assuaged. She entered today having not lost a set and holding a higher percentage of her service games than any other player. Against the Halep-conquering Hsieh, she overcame an early break disadvantage to move within two points of the set as the 32-year old Taiwanese vet served down 4-5, love/30 in the 1st. Then the proverbial s*** hit the fan, forever sullying her run -- wherever it might end -- at this Wimbledon in the eyes of many.

It was then that a Cibulkova return was called long. Hsieh managed to get the ball into the court on the Slovak's side of the net (remember that because it's kinda important). Cibulkova then challenged the line call, and the replay showed that her shot had indeed hit the line. The umpire then gave the point to Cibulkova, giving her triple set point. Understandably, Hsieh protested that the point should be replayed since she'd gotten the ball back in the court. During what turned out to be an eight-minute ordeal, Cibulkova parked herself on the Ad side of her court to return serve, refusing to budge from the notion that the score was love/40. Chair umpire Zhang Juan said she "couldn't remember" whether or not Hsieh's shot had gone in, and Cibulkova said that it hadn't crossed the net. The crowd chanted "replay the point!" When the tournament referee ruled correctly that the point should be replayed, Cibulkova exploded in anger at the "injustice" of it all and dragged out the whole mess even longer, leading to charges from all corners about bad sports(wo)manship, "lying" and her attempts to "cheat" Hsieh out of the point.

Hsieh got things to 30/30, but Cibulkova got the break to take the set, then coasted through the 2nd. Hsieh dropped serve seven times in the match.

Afterward, Cibulkova refused to admit any error on her part, said she had no sympathy for Hsieh's situation, and that... "After [Hsieh] was complaining, they were talking in Chinese, whatever language, I don’t know. It was all wrong.” Hmm... all riiight. (A raised eyebrow about what Domi was getting at there is correctly implied, right? I think so, but I guess I wouldn't stand on a table to enforce it, not being a mind reader.)

Either way, Cibulkova played great and Hsieh was dominated in the match, but no one will remember that. In truth, Cibulkova has a history of griping about perceived wrongs against her and/or not cutting other players a speck of slack on anything, yet also bristling and arguing against a similar notion when challenged with a wrong of her own. She could have chosen to have been the bigger (in fairness, not size) person in the situation simply by telling the truth as she knew it, but she chose not to. Fine, as I know many Serena fans still hold Justine Henin's feet to the fire for the "wave off." But this, like that, will just have to go into the personal file on Cibulkova, I suppose, ready to be pulled out the *next* time (and there will be one) she complains about getting the raw end of a deal, whether she really is getting a raw end or not.

Moving on...

#13 Julia Goerges def. Donna Vekic 6-3/6-2
Though Goerges has played in nearly twice as many slam MD as Vekic, both were seeking their first career slam QF in this one. After failing in five previous 4th Round attempts at majors in her career, the German finally broke through today.

On a side note, it thus means she'll never join that list that (for now) includes only Anna Smashnova and Anabel Medina-Garrigues as players with 10+ tour titles and no slam QF results. Granted, Goerges only has five career titles to this point, but she showed last year (and into this one, when she reached six finals between June and January, winning three straight titles in Moscow, Zhuhai and Auckland) that she can run off a string of good results when her game is hot, so she still might hit the bit one-oh yet.

Even with the loss, Vekic gets Backspin's inaugural "Spirit of Jana" award. Being the first year, it's a feeling out process as far as picking a winner. But the most Jana-esque moment I've seen thus far has centered around the Croat following up her emotional '17 loss to Konta in the 2nd Round -- after which the Brit consoled her at the net ala the Duchess of Kent w/ Jana in 1993 -- with a 1st Round upset of #4 Sloane Stephens and then advancing to her first career slam Round of 16, so I'll go with that.

By the way, still waiting to see if the AELTC is going to do anything other than using social media to pay homage to the twentieth anniversary of Novotna's Wimbledon title seven months after her death late last year.

#14 Dasha Kasatkina def. Alison Van Uytvanck 6-7(6)/6-3/6-1
The Russian is getting the hang of this. I thought at the beginning of the season that 2018 was going to be the year we'd learn whether the promise that Kasatkina had shown in the past was ever going to be followed up on with her becoming a Top 10 player capable of winning *big* titles, or whether she'd settle into the #15-20 zone that so many players have occupied in their careers, struggling to take the final step necessary to get over the magic "hump." Well, she's shown a definite up-tick as far as consistency and big stage results through the first six-plus months of this year. Now the top-ranked Russian, on the cusp of the Top 10, a Premier Mandatory finalist at Indian Wells. and with seven Top 10 wins in '18 alone (five of them of the Top 3 variety, giving her eight in 2017-18), Kasatkina has collected her first two slam QF results in back-to-back majors in Paris and London.

After scrambling back in her last match vs. Ash Barty, Kasatkina had to stage another comeback vs. the Belgian, only this one came after having lost a lead of her own in the 1st set. She served at 6-5, but saw Van Uytvanck's big return winner get her to BP. It was saved, but a missed overhead gave her a second BP. She converted and things went to a TB, which the Hordette also led 6-5. Van Uytvanck effectively utilized a deep half-volley shot and pulled out some rare serve-and-volley tactics to edge ahead 7-6. A DF from Kasatkina gave her the TB win at 8-6.

Kasatkina got things back on serve after falling down an early break in the 2nd, and eventually served for the set at 5-3. From 15/40 and Ad down, she held to level the match. In the 3rd it was the Russian, so used to traveling into 3rd set territory (four of her five pre-SW19 grass matches this year went three, though was her first this fortnight), who jumped ahead early. 2-0 became 5-0 as she took the final set 6-1 to reach the women's final eight at SW19 for the first time.

#11 Angelique Kerber def. Belinda Bencic 6-3/7-6(5)
Though she was the highest seed remaining in the draw by the time she took the court on Monday, as #7 Pliskova had been ousted earlier, #11 Kerber would have had reason to be leery of Belinda Bencic. The former Top 10er, still working her way back from back, wrist and leg injuries in recent seasons, held a 3-0 head-to-head advantage over the German, having never dropped a set. But when Kerber hit the ground running in her '18 season after the disappointment that was '17, she posted a 4 & 1 victory over Bencic at the Hopman Cup in January. Or should I say the late, lamented Hopman Cup, though it isn't quite yet, though it looks like it very well will become extinct at the expense of, naturally, an all-male competition in the Aussie summertime after next year? Kerber followed that week in Perth with a title run in Auckland and SF in Melbourne. Whether or not that exhibition win over Bencic changed the "Confidence Index" for this match, it was Kerber who played her best when it mattered most today.

Bencic led 3-1 in the 1st, but Kerber took the lead and served at 4-3. She saved two BP and held, then broke at 15 to claim a 6-3 set, her first in seven sets vs. the Swiss. Kerber led 3-1 in the 2nd, but this time Bencic staged the comeback and served at 5-4. She held four SP, but played tentative tennis and saw Kerber break and then hold a love to lead 6-5, winning seven straight points in a stretch. Bencic pulled things back to save a MP and hold to force a TB, but Kerber again raced ahead 4-1 there. Serving at 6-5, Kerber saw Bencic's wide backhand return end the match.

This is Kerber's fourth career Wimbledon QF, and second in three years for the 2016 finalist.

#25 Serena Williams def. (Q) Evgeniya Rodina 6-2/6-2
In the final women's Round of 16 match of Day 7, Williams won the contest between the last two moms (of 6) in the Wimbledon MD, handling qualifier Rodina in 62 minutes to reach the Wimbledon QF for the 13th time in 18 appearances at SW19.

Today's results leave three women -- Dasha Kasatkina, Julia Goerges and Camila Giorgi -- alive to become a first-time slam semifinalist at this Wimbledon. At least one maiden semifinalist has become a reality at the last eight editions of this event:

2010 Petra Kvitova, CZE
2010 Tsvetana Pironkova, BUL
2011 Victoria Azarenka, BLR
2011 Sabine Lisicki, GER (RU)
2012 Aga Radwanska, POL (RU)
2013 Kirsten Flipkens, BEL
2014 Lucie Safarova, CZE
2015 Garbine Muguruza, ESP (RU)
2016 Elena Vesnina, RUS
2017 Magdalena Rybarikova, SVK doubles, there were actually more "big names" in action than in the singles. #1 Babos/Mladenovic (AO champs) defeated #13 Flipkens/Niculescu, and Mattek-Sands/Safarova, still in pursuit of that Career Doubles Slam, eliminated #2 S.-Hlavackova/Stycova in three sets, saving 2 MP to win 2-6/7-6(7)/6-4 and secure Timea Babos as your next doubles #1 (and fifth different holder of the position in '18, after Latisha Chan, Martina Hingis, Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina).

=WTA DOUBLES #1's - when first reached top spot=
1984 Martina Navratilova, USA (former TCH)
1985 Pam Shriver, USA
1990 Helena Sukova, TCH
1990 Jana Novotna, TCH/CZE
1991 Gigi Fernandez, USA
1991 Natalia Zvereva, USSR/BLR
1992 Larisa Neiland, LAT (former USSR)
1995 Arantxa Sanchez Vicario, ESP
1997 Lindsay Davenport, USA
1998 Martina Hingis, SUI
1999 Anna Kournikova, RUS
2000 Corina Morariu, USA
2000 Lisa Raymond, USA
2000 Rennae Stubbs, AUS
2000 Julie Halard-Decugis, FRA
2000 Ai Sugiyama, JPN
2002 Paola Suarez, ARG
2003 Kim Clijsters, BEL
2003 Virginia Ruano Pascual, ESP
2005 Cara Black, ZIM
2006 Samantha Stosur, AUS
2007 Liezel Huber, RSA/USA
2010 Serena Williams, USA
2010 Venus Williams, USA
2010 Gisela Dulko, ARG
2011 Flavia Pennetta, ITA
2011 Kveta Peschke, CZE
2011 Katarina Srebotnik, SLO
2012 Sara Errani, ITA
2012 Roberta Vinci, ITA
2014 Peng Shuai, CHN
2014 Hsieh Su-Wei, TPE
2015 Sania Mirza, IND
2017 Bethanie Mattek-Sands, USA
2017 Lucie Safarova, CZE
2017 Chan Yung-Jan (Latisha), TPE
2018 Ekaterina Makarova, RUS
2018 Elena Vesnina, RUS
2018 Timea Babos, HUN

Meanwhile, the QF duos were rounded out by #12 Peschke/Melichar taking out #8 Mertens/Schuurs, Meanwhile, #3 Krejcikova/Siniakova (RG champs) winning over #14 Hradecka/Hsieh, #6 Dabrowski/Xu advancing past King/Srebotnik, #15 Begu/Buzarnescu eliminating another Top 4 seed, #4 Klepac/Martinez-Sanchez, and Rosolska/Spears ending Bertens' big day by eliminating the Dutch woman and Johanna Larsson (#9 seeds) in three sets.

With her advancement to the singles QF, Ostapenko pulled out of doubles with Christina McHale, advancing Maria/Watson forward.

...Vika lives!

In mixed doubles, Victoria Azarenka & Jamie Murray advanced to the Round of 16, overcoming a 5-1 3rd set deficit to defeat #7-seeded Groenefeld, Farah.

...after a Middle Sunday off, junior competition picked up once again, as well.

Hmmm, by the end of this weekend, is this where we'll say it all began?

Reigning Roland Garros and Roehampton champ, #3-seed Coco Gauff, opening her '18 Wimbledon experience with a 6-1/6-4 win over Bulgaria's Gergana Topalova. The Bannerette is seeking to make it two consecutive U.S. girls champs at Wimbledon, as well as at five of the last six majors (4 of the last 5 have already had all-Bannerette finals) and six of eight back to Kayla Day's win at the U.S. Open in 2016 (her title ended a four-year girls slam champion drought for the U.S.). If Gauff wins the title, she'd be the first girl to win back-to-back junior slams since Bencic's RG/SW19 sweep in 2013.

Of note, Gauff's Roehampton title run could mean a great deal about what we'll see next. In recent years, a win there has been an amazingly accurate predictor of what would soon happen at the AELTC. Two in a row, five of six, and six of the last eight Roehampton winners have successfully pulled off the sweep and won at Wimbledon.

2010 Kristyna Pliskova = won Wimbledon Jr. title
2011 Indy de Vroome = lost Wimb.Jr. SF (won by Barty = Roe.2r)
2012 Genie Bouchard = won Wimbledon Jr. title
2013 Belinda Bencic = won Wimbledon Jr. title
2014 Alona Ostapenko = won Wimbledon Jr. title
2015 Dalma Galfi = lost Wimb.Jr. 1r (won by Zhuk = Roe.3r)
2016 Anastasia Ptapova = won Wimbledon Jr. title
2017 Claire Liu = won Wimbledon Jr. title
2018 Coco Gauff = ???

Elsewhere, the falling of the seeds started at the top on Monday in the girls singles draw, as #1 Whitney Osuigwe fell victim to a very bad draw, losing to the player with the highest WTA ranking (#347, even with just six singles event in the past year after missing time with injury) in the junior competition (but relatively few junior matches), Iga Swiatek. The 17-year old Pole downed the Bannerette 2-6/6-3/6-3 today.

Swiss Leonie Kung defeated #6 Maria Camila Osorio Serrano (COL). Also advancing today were #4 Wang Xinyu (CHN), #5 Alex Noel (USA), #8 Claura Tauson (DEN), #9 Yuki Naito (JPN) past Hurricane Black, #11 Leylah Annie Fernandez (CAN), #14 Elisabetta Cocciaretto (ITA), Roehampton finalist #13 Caty McNally (USA), Swiss Simona Waltert, Brit Emma Raducanu (over the U.S.'s Gabriella Price) and Dalayna Hewitt (USA). ITF action over the weekend, Dayana Yastremska took out her frustrations over not getting to play at Wimbledon on Anastasia Potapova and the rest of the field at last week's $60K challenger in Rome. After falling in the final of the $100K grass court event in Ilkley to Tereza Smitkova leading into Wimbledon, with the champion generally always getting a WC into the SW19 MD (as the Czech indeed did), Yastremska was forced into the Q-rounds to attempt to reach her first career MD at a major. She lost in the second round to Barbara Haas (who'd lose to Elena-Gabriela Ruse, who'd nearly upset Aga Radwanska in the 2nd Round).

In 2016, Potapova defeated Yastremska in the Wimbledon girls final in one of the better junior slam championship matches in recent memory, and last year they teamed to win an $80K challenger doubles crown. But the 18-year old Ukrainian showed no mercy here, defeating the Russian 6-1/6-0 to wrap up a no-sets-lost week and pick up her first ITF title this season. She'd gone 0-2 in a pair of $100K finals, falling to Smitkova and Rebecca Peterson, and had lost in three consecutive challenger finals, also losing another $100K decider last fall to Belinda Bencic.

Yep, winner????????#notthebestpicture#buthappy

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Meanwhile, another Ukrainian, Valeriya Strakhova, took the $25K title in Denain, France, defeating Bannerette Allie Kick 4-6/7-6(5)/6-0. Kiick's comeback had led her into a second straight challenger final, and this result ended her nine-match winning streak.

In Prokuplje, Serbia it was Czech Gabriela Pantuckova picking up her second title in three weeks, taking the $15K crown with a 6-2/2-6/6-3 victory over Lea Boskovic. She's 13-1 in the stretch.

At the $15K in Corroios-Seixal, Portugal there was an impromptu meeting of the Tennis United Nations, as the sport's virtual melting pot once more was shown to go very deep:

Singles champion: New Zealand's Paige Mary Hourigan
Singles runner-up: Zimbabwe's Valeria Bhunu
Doubles champion (and WS QF): Cambodia's Andrea Ka
Doubles champion: Britain's Eden Silva
Singles semifinalist: Oman's Fatma Al-Nabhani
Singles semifinalist: USA's Lauren Proctor

Unranked Proctor, 21, had only played four 4 MD ITF matches in her career, producing her best pro result after a successful Q run. This past year at Winthrop University, NCAA All-Americans Proctor & Megan Kauffman reached the QF at the D-I Doubles Championships, falling there after having come into the match with a 24-0 mark on the college season.

And at The Hague (*had* to just say that, I guess), Norway's Malene Helgo, 20, picked up her first career title with a $15K final victory over Sweden's Ida Jarlskog.

(EXPECTED) IDIOCY ON DAY 7: The two "brilliantly creative and informative" Sportscenter hosts leading into coverage of Wimbledon, called "the greatest day in tennis" on the show minutes earlier (though that quantity of matches automatically denotes quality is nonsense).

Man: Who do you like in Manic Monday action at Wimbleon today?
Woman: Hmm, Serena.
Man: Serena? Nice. I'll-
Woman: No, I *do* like Serena. I guess I changed it.
Man: I'll take Federer.
Woman: I also like Nadal.
Man: I'll take del Potro.
Woman: I *want* to say del Potro, but I can't say his name.

(And, yes, she did say his name before saying that she can't say his name.)

Then the network went on-air on TWO channels (ESPN & ESPN2), with four women's matches already half-way through the 1st set (featuring a past slam champ, former #1, and players who defeated Halep, V.Williams, Wozniacki, Kvitova last week) and showed the same preview/let's-just-B.S.-though-weren't-even-any-matches-yesterday-to-recap for fifteen minutes on *both* channels at the same time.

Finally, after showing both empty show courts in split screen, all involved onset heartily applauded ESPN self-anointed greatness as Chris McKendry announced that Manic Monday would get underway on the outer courts... after a commercial break.


LIKE ON DAY 7: When legends meet up with legends to watch/discuss legends...




LATER ON ESPN ON DAY 7: The "unfamiliar" names of the women's final eight, per Chris Fowler...

LIKE ON DAY 7: Angie doing Angie

LIKE ON DAY 7: Mugu Dylan-ing

...and, finally, the wheelchair draw is set to be released Tuesday, with play beginning on Thursday. A few days ago, Japan's Yui Kamiji won the second edition of the grass court tune-up invitational at Surbiton, defeating Diede de Groot 4-6/6-2 [10-5]. A year ago, in the inaugural version of the event, de Groot took the title, then the Dutch woman went on to be crowned the second winner of the Wimbledon WC singles title.

With a similar follow-up win at SW19, Kamiji, the world #2 behind defending champ de Groot, would become the first player (female or male) to win titles in singles and doubles at all four slams.

Dominika Cibulkova/SVK vs. #12 Alona Ostapenko/LAT
#14 Dasha Kasatkina/RUS vs. #11 Angelique Kerber/GER
#20 Kiki Bertens/NED vs. #13 Julia Goerges/GER
#24 Serena Williams/USA vs. Camila Giorgi/ITA

#1 Babos/Mladenovic (HUN/FRA) vs. Rosolska/Spears (POL/USA)
#3 Krejcikova/Siniakova (CZE/CZE) vs. Maria/Watson (GER/GBR)
#12 Melichar/Peschke (USA/CZE) vs. #15 Begu/Buzarnescu (ROU/ROU)
#6 Dabrowski/Xu Yifan (CAN/CHN) vs. Mattek-Sands/Safarova (USA/CZE)

#1 Dabrowski/Pavic (CAN/CRO) vs. (WC) Dart/Clarke (GBR/GBR)
#10 Spears/Cabal (USA/COL) vs. Flipkens/Haase (BEL/NED)
#4 Schuurs/Rojer (NED/NED) vs. #14 Hozumi/McLachlan (JPN/JPN)
#12 Larsson/Middelkoop (NED/SWE) vs. Azarenka/J.Murray (BLR/GBR)
A.Chan/Mektic (TPE/CRO) vs. #9 Srebotnik/Venus (SLO/AUS)
#16 Kontinen/Watson (FIN/GBR) vs. #3 L.Chan/Dodig (TPE/CRO)
#6 S.-Hlavackova/Roger-Vasselin (CZE/FRA) vs. #11 Melichar/Peya (USA/AUT)
Stephens/Sock (USA/USA) vs. #2 Makarova/Soares (RUS/BRA)

Xoxo @leoamac7 ??

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Time to pause and reflect

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[by career slam QF]
48 - Serena Williams
10 - Angelique Kerber
8 - Dominika Cibulkova
3 - Alona Ostapenko
2 - Kiki Bertens
2 - Dasha Kasatkina
1 - Camila Giorgi
1 - Julia Goerges
[by career WI QF]
13 - Serena Williams
4 - Angelique Kerber
3 - Dominika Cibulkova
2 - Alona Ostapenko
1 - Kiki Bertens
1 - Camila Giorgi
1 - Julia Goerges
1 - Dasha Kasatkina
[w/ consecutive slam QF]
3 - Angelique Kerber
2 - Dasha Kasatkina
[w/ consecutive WI QF]
2 - Alona Ostapenko
NOTE: Serena Williams 3 non-consecutive in a row (DNP 2017)
[2018 slam QF - unseeded]
AO - Elise Mertens, BEL
AO - Carla Suarez-Navarro, ESP
RG - Yulia Putintseva, KAZ
WI - Dominika Cibulkova, SVK
WI - Camila Giorgi, ITA
[2018 1st-time GS QF]
AO - Elise Mertens, BEL
RG - Dasha Kasatkina, RUSx
WI - Camila Giorgi, ITA
WI - Julia Goerges, GER
[2018 slam QF]
3 - Angelique Kerber (AO/RG/WI)
2 - Dasha Kasatkina (RG/WI)
2 - Madison Keys (AO/RG)
2 - Simona Halep (AO/RG)
1 - Kiki Bertens (WI)
1 - Dominika Cibulkova (WI)
1 - Camila Giorgi (WI)
1 - Julia Goerges (WI)
1 - Elise Mertens (AO)
1 - Garbine Muguruza (RG)
1 - Alona Ostapenko (WI)
1 - Karolina Pliskova (AO)
1 - Yulia Putinteva (RG)
1 - Maria Sharapova (RG)
1 - Sloane Stephens (RG)
1 - Carla Suarez-Navarro (AO)
1 - Elina Svitolina (AO)
1 - Serena Williams (WI)
1 - Caroline Wozniacki (AO)
[2018 slam QF - by nation]
4...GER (1/1/2/x) - Goerges,Kerber(3)
4...USA (1/2/1/x) - Keys(2),Stephens,S.Williams
3...RUS (0/2/1/x) - Kasatkina(2),Sharapova
2...ESP (1/1/x/x) - Muguruza,Suarez-Navarro
2...ROU (1/1/x/x) - Halep(2)
1...BEL (1/0/x/x) - Mertens
1...CZE (1/0/x/x) - Ka.Pliskova
1...DEN (1/0/x/x) - Wozniacki
1...ITA (0/0/1/x) - Giorgi
1...KAZ (0/1/x/x) - Putintseva
1...LAT (0/0/1/x) - Ostapenko
1...NED (0/0/1/x) - Bertens
1...SVK (0/0/1/x) - Cibulkova
1...UKR (1/0/x/x) - Svitolina
[WTA career slam QF - active]
48...Serena Williams, USA
39...Venus Williams, USA
25...Maria Sharapova, RUS
16...Victoria Azarenka, BLR
16...Svetlana Kuznetsova, RUS
12...Aga Radwanska, POL
11...Simona Halep, ROU
10...Petra Kvitova, CZE
10...Caroline Wozniacki, DEN
9...Angelique Kerber, GER
8...Dominika Cibulkova, SVK
8...Jelena Jankovic, SRB
7...Sara Errani, ITA
7...Garbine Muguruza, ESP
7...Francesca Schiavone, ITA
7...Patty Schnyder, SUI
7...Samantha Stosur, AUS
6...Kaia Kanepi, EST
6...Ekaterina Makarova, RUS
6...Carla Suarez-Navarro, ESP
6...Vera Zvonareva, RUS
5...Madison Keys, USA
5...Sabine Lisicki, GER
5...Karolina Pliskova, CZE
[WTA slam QF in 2010's - active]
20...Serena Williams, USA
14...Victoria Azarenka, BLR
12...Maria Sharapova, RUS
11...Simona Halep, ROU
10..Angelique Kerber, GER
10...Petra Kvitova, CZE
9...Aga Radwanska, POL
9...Venus Williams, USA
9...Caroline Wozniacki, DEN
7...Dominika Cibulkova, SVK
7...Sara Errani, ITA
7...Garbine Muguruza, ESP
6...Ekaterina Makarova, RUS
6...Samantha Stosur, AUS

#181 - Serena Williams, 2018 *
#134 - Mirjana Lucic, 1999 (SF)
#133 - Zheng Jie, 2008 (SF)
#129 - Jelena Dokic, 1999
#129 - Severine Beltrame, 2006
#99 - Gigi Fernandez, 1994 (SF)
#96 - Yaroslava Shvedova, 2016

[began w/ 2001 Wimbledon]
2001 US - Bedanova
2002 AO - Ad.Serra-Zanetti
2002 RG - Pierce,C.Fernandez,Suarez
2002 WI - Likhovtseva
2002 US - Bovina
2003 AO - Shaughnessy,Ruano-Pascual
2003 RG - Pierce
2004 WI - Sprem
2004 US - Asagoe
2005 RG - Karatantcheva
2006 AO - Hingis(wc)
2006 WI - Bremond(q)
2007 AO - S.Williams[W],Safarova
2007 US - Szavay
2008 RG - Kanepi,Suarez-Navarro(q)
2008 WI - Zheng(wc),Tanasugarn
2009 AO - Dokic(wc),Suarez-Navarro
2009 RG - Sharapova,Cirstea
2009 WI - Lisicki,Schiavone
2009 US - Wickmayer,K.Bondarenko,Oudin,Clijsters(wc)[W]
2010 AO - J.Zheng,Kirilenko,Henin(wc)[RU]
2010 RG - Shvedova
2010 WI - Kvitova,Kanepi(q),Pironkova
2010 US - Cibulkova
2011 WI - Lisicki(wc),Paszek
2011 US - Kerber
2012 AO - Makarova,Errani
2012 RG - Shvedova(q)
2012 WI - Paszek
2013 AO - Kuznetsova
2013 RG - Kuznetsova
2013 WI - Kanepi
2013 US - Hantuchova,Pennetta
2014 RG - Muguruza
2014 WI - Zahlavova-Strycova
2014 US - Bencic,Peng
2015 AO - Keys
2015 RG - Van Uytvanck
2015 WI - Vandeweghe
2015 US - Mladenovic,Vinci[RU]
2016 AO - Konta,Sh.Zhang(q)
2016 RG - Bertens,Pironkova,Putintseva,Rogers
2016 WI - Shvedova,Vesnina
2016 US - Konjuh,Sevastova,Wozniacki
2017 AO - Lucic-Baroni,Vandeweghe
2017 RG - Ostapenko[W]
2017 WI - Rybarikova
2017 US - Kanepi(q),Stephens[W]
2018 AO - Mertens,Suarez-Navarro
2018 RG - Putintseva
2018 WI - Cibulkova,Giorgi
[W]=won title; [RU]=reached final; [wc]=wild card; [q]=qualifier

Belinda Bencic, SUI
Alona Bondarenko, UKR
Elena Bovina, RUS
Sorana Cirstea, ROU
Kirsten Flipkens, BEL
Caroline Garcia, FRA
Camila Giorgi, ITA *
Julia Goerges, GER *
Anna-Lena Groenefeld, GER
Ana Konjuh, CRO
Michaella Krajicek, NED
Elise Mertens, BEL
Peng Shuai, CHN
Shelby Rogers, USA
Magdalena Rybarikova, SVK
Alexandra Stevenson, USA
Barbora Strycova, CZE
Alison Van Uytvanck, BEL
Elena Vesnina, RUS
Yanina Wickmayer, BEL
Zhang Shuai, CHN
NOTE: Bertens & Kasatkina removed from one-QF list

1996 Amelie Mauresmo = won Wimbledon Jr. title
1997 Brie Rippner = lost Wimb.Jr. F (won by C.Black = Roe.QF)
1998 Jelena Dokic = lost Wimb.Jr. SF (won by Srebotnik = Roe.DNP)
1999 Lina Kranoroutskaya = lost Wimb.Jr. F (won by Tulyagnova = Roe.3r)
2000 Aniko Kapros = lost Wimb.Jr. QF (won by Salerni = Roe.2r)
2001 Gisela Dulko = lost Wimb.Jr. 3r (won by Widjaja = Roe.QF)
2002 Vera Dushevina = won Wimbledon Jr. title
2003 Allison Baker = lost Wimb.Jr. QF(won by Flipkens = Roe.RU)
2004 Michaella Krajicek = lost Wimb.Jr. SF (won by K.Bondarenko = Roe.QF)
2005 Caroline Wozniacki = lost Wimb.Jr. 1r (won by A.Radwanska = Roe.DNP)
2006 Kristina Antoniychuk = lost Wimb.Jr. 3r (won by Wozniacki = Roe.DNP)
2007 Petra Kvitova = lost Wimb.Jr. 3r (won by U.Radwanska = Roe.DNP)
2008 Melanie Oudin = lost Wimb.Jr. 2r (won by Robson = Roe.RU)
2009 Kristina Mladenovic = lost Wimb.Jr. F (won by Lertcheewakarn = Roe.SF)
2010 Kristyna Pliskova = won Wimbledon Jr. title
2011 Indy de Vroome = lost Wimb.Jr. SF (won by Barty = Roe.2r)
2012 Genie Bouchard = won Wimbledon Jr. title
2013 Belinda Bencic = won Wimbledon Jr. title
2014 Alona Ostapenko = won Wimbledon Jr. title
2015 Dalma Galfi = lost Wimb.Jr. 1r (won by Zhuk = Roe.3r)
2016 Anastasia Ptapova = won Wimbledon Jr. title
2017 Claire Liu = won Wimbledon Jr. title
2018 Coco Gauff = ???

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: 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 ("???"): Nominee: Gauff, Kasatkina
Ms.OPPORTUNITY: Nominee: Goerges, Bertens, Giorgi, Ostapenko, Kasatkina
COMEBACK PLAYER: Nominee: Mattek-Sands, S.Williams, Kerber
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)
VETERAN PLAYER (KIMIKO CUP): Nominees: S.Williams, Kerber, Cibulkova, Goerges
SPIRIT OF JANA (NOVOTNA) HONOREE: 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)
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 7. More tomorrow.


Blogger colt13 said...

Like the Roehampton lists.

Top 10 seeds flopping like Neymar.

With Srebotnik still alive in mixed, should be mentioned that she won the first of her 5 mixed titles last century-1999.

Hsieh/Cibulkova bringing new meaning to Break-fest at Wimbledon.

The 51/49 match for tomorrow? Ostapenko/Cibulkova. Cibulkova has played hard hitters like Azarenka and Serena well, though she doesn't win often. But she is willing to play their game, and assume the same vs Ostapenko. So a couple of sets of 2 women just firing away.

Stat of the Day-6- The number of QF that have reached the Charleston final in recent years.

Most notable because of a rematch between this year's finalists in Bertens and Goerges, 2017 winner Kasatkina faces off vs 2015 winner Kerber. Add 2017 finalist Ostapenko, and I can't forget Serena, the 2013 winner. Giorgi never reached the finals, possibly because she lost in an early round to Serena in 2013.

Quiz Time!
Timea Babos is assured of being #1 in doubles. But who is the highest ranked singles player in Hungary's history? Multiple answers accepted.

A.Agnes Szavay
B.Monica Seles
C.Andrea Temesvari
D.Zsuzsa Kormoczy

As usual, the fun is in figuring out why they aren't the right one.

(A)Szavay is out first, as injuries cut short a promising career. She did make it up to 13, less that a year after her QF US open run. Her peak was 2007-2010, in which she played 15 majors in a row, then only 2 more. One quirk of her career? She won 5 titles, 4 of them in July, including Budapest twice.

It also isn't (B)Seles, who similar to Johanna Konta, has Hungarian parents, but was born elsewhere, in her case Yugoslavia. So the big numbers, 55 titles, #1 ranking, 9 slams, Hopman Cup, and Fed Cup, were won for Yugoslavia and USA.

She has had Hungarian citizenship since 2007, and is one of the many people that puts on clinics during the Budapest tournament.

(D)Kormoczy is one of the correct answers. Considered the #2 player in 1958, when she won the French Open at 33, it is way before the computer rankings, or Open Era. But as the only Hungarian to have won a singles slam, she deserves mention.

(C)Temesvari is the other correct answer, as she has the highest ranking in the computer era at #7. Dubious for being a Top 10 player that never made a slam QF, she is beloved for having been the only Hungarian with a doubles slam title(French Open 1986), until Babos won in Australia this year.

One more fun fact? Hungary has a Sportswoman of the Year. Only 3 tennis players have won it. Kormoczy-1958, Temesvari-1983, and Szavay-2007.

Mon Jul 09, 07:49:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Todd.Spiker said...

Oh, I was a big fan of Szavay (went by The Valkyrie, I believe).

Angie's great, but I'm really itching for an Ostapenko/Kasatkina semi.

Mon Jul 09, 08:28:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Diane said...

Ostapenko is playing the “under the radar” card in a big way with her Golovin accessorizing!

Mon Jul 09, 10:02:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Todd.Spiker said...


Mon Jul 09, 10:29:00 PM EDT  
Blogger colt13 said...

32 seed format needs no changes. Final 4 has 3 slam winners and Goerges.

Also history. For the first time in the Open Era at Wimbledon, Germany has 2 women reach the SF.

Only fitting that Kerber is one of them. Why?

Wimbledon history-2 women in QF
1987-Claudia Kohde-Klisch/Stefanie Graf
2012-Angelique Kerber/Sabine Lisicki
2014-Angeligue Kerber/Sabine Lisicki
2018-Angelique Kerber/Julia Goerges

Tue Jul 10, 11:51:00 AM EDT  

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