Friday, September 07, 2018

US.11 - For the Love of Osaka

While the Ashe Court roof was closed early in the day in preparation for expected evening storms, no one was fully ready for the storms brought to the fore *inside* the stadium by Serena Williams and Naomi Osaka. Least of all Anastasija Sevastova and Madison Keys.

#17 Serena Williams/USA def. #19 Anastasija Sevastova/LAT 6-3/6-0
...the thought going into this match was that (maybe) Sevastova had a shot because (remember?) Roberta Vinci defeated Serena in a U.S. Open semi once, and the Latvian (kind of) had a game that brought to mind the Italian's slice-heavy attack that kept Williams off balance and frustrated. It was a good thought (I guess), but Williams has shown (starting with her devastating form vs. Venus) that she was ready, willing and able to get slam #24 at this U.S. Open.

And she more than did it again tonight, as well.

In the first meeting between the two, Williams had to find her form and get used to Sevastova's game after facing exclusively power players coming into this semifinal. Sevastova broke to open the 1st set, and held with a forehand pass a game later. But Serena began to carve into the Latvian's game soon after. After taking a love/30 lead in game #4, she got the break back on BP #3 when Sevastova failed in her drop shot attempt off a deep Williams return. The shot had been used to lethal effect vs. Sloane Stephens in the quarterfinals, but Williams was prepared for it. And, really, Sevastova wasn't feeling the shot nearly as well, either. Another poor drop shot put her BP down two games later, and Serena's screaming (the ball, not her) crosscourt forehand winner got the break for a 4-2 lead. Williams fired her first ace to go up 40/15 a game later, then put away an overhead for 5-2. Serving to win the set, Serena had two more aces and took the set 6-3.

Showing great (and unexpected) forward aggression, Williams continually charged the net throughout the night. Her volley put-away broke Sevastova in the opening game, then she held with another for 2-0. At that point, she'd won 19 of 22 points at the net. Serena didn't pull back, and instead charged into her 31st career slam final. Winning the last seven games of the match, and twelve of the final thirteen, to win 6-3/6-0.

Williams had 31 winners in the match's fifteen games, and was an astounding 24-of-28 at the net. She won 22 of 29 first serve points, and 50% on her second. Oh, and, as a returner, she won 18 of Sevastova's 22 second serve points (82%). Eek.

#20 Naomi Osaka/JPN def. #14 Madison Keys/USA 6-2/6-4
...two years ago, Osaka and Keys met on Ashe in the 3rd Round. Keys won the 1st set and seemed on course to winning in straights, only to go off the rails and see a teenage Osaka pull out a close 2nd set and race to a 5-1 lead in the 3rd. She twice served for the match, but couldn't hold on. While she proved that she wasn't yet ready for the big stage, Keys buckled down and proved that, after much trail and error, *she* finally was. Since then, Keys, three years Osaka's senior, has climbed higher in the rankings and deeper into a slam draw ('17 U.S. Open finalist) while her Japanese counterpart was still trying to find her way to the same level. Going into the night, Keys held a 3-0 advantage head-to-head, but it was Osaka who'd won the biggest title (Indian Wells this spring) between the two since they last played at Flushing Meadows. When they met on the same court on Thursday night, this time with a slam final berth on the line, the clash was set to be a gauge of whether Keys was *still* ahead of Osaka some 725 (or so) days later.

As it turned, she wasn't. Instead, Osaka proved that not only has she caught Keys, but she's surpassed her.

On a night in which Osaka, though she admitted afterward that she *thought* she was visibly shaking in the moment, gave the appearance of a player calm, cool, collected and ready for whatever her newly-honed talent has in storm for her, Keys proved to still be unable to fully control her own power shots under the pressure of such a big moment. While she wasn't as "absent" as she was in last year's final vs. Sloane Stephens, Keys was not only consistently out-hit and out-served by Osaka, who collected nearly *all* of the important points on the night, but the flying rally-ending forehands and wild return shots that *used* to betray her in important moments haven't yet been wrung out of her game, either.

In a sense, the match turned totally in Osaka's favor in two games, both early in each set. In the fourth game of the 1st, the 20-year old climbed out of a love/40 hole (which had her banging her racket in frustration) with big serves and an assist from hardly-smart going-for-too-much returns from Keys. She saved four BP and held for 2-2. Keys' game immediately dipped in the aftermath and she quickly dropped her own serve moments later. Osaka saved two more BP in game #6, then broke the Bannerette's serve in the next game to take a 5-2 lead. After failing to put away her first set point, Osaka smoothly controlled the following deuce point rally, dragging Keys from one side of the court to the other until she finally committed an error to get a second SP opportunity. A big service winner up the middle claimed the 1st at 6-2 as Osaka won her fifth straight game. Keys was 0-for-6 on BP in the set, while Osaka was 2-for-3.

After Osaka broke Keys again to start the 2nd, the 23-year old had just five winners vs. twenty-one UE for the match. It was the following Osaka service game, though, that would set the course for the match's final set.

Again, Keys carved out multiple BP chances on Osaka's serve, but again Osaka coolly kept her head and served big (saving two BP with aces) while Keys habitually made errors at the worst possible times. The Japanese player saved six MORE BP in the game, which lasted 22 points and thirteen minutes, to hold for 2-0. While Keys' held serve without much trouble the remainder of the set, Osaka refused to give up her advantage on her own. In game #8, she saved another BP (13-of-13 for the night) and held with a backhand down the line that Keys couldn't get back. Serving for the match at 5-4, she quickly reached double MP. Osaka's first serve then virtually devoured Keys, who could only get out of the way and try to fight it off, sending a wild backhand into the stands to her right.

Osaka's 6-2/6-4 win makes her the first Japanese woman to reach a slam singles final in the Open era, and the youngest U.S. Open finalist since 2009 (Wozniacki). Meanwhle, Keys had collected her bag and was in the lockerroom in what seemed to be a world record time.

Naturally, since we're talking about Osaka, the night didn't end with match point. In her on-court interview with ESPN's Tom Rinaldi, when asked about how she saved all those BP, she admitted that there was something -- or someone -- she couldn't stop thinking about.

Osaka has already played her idol once, in Miami in Serena's fourth match back after becoming a mother. Just days after her Indian Wells title on the opposite coast of North America, Osaka won 6-3/6-2, though the Serena she'll see on Saturday won't be the same one she saw in March. But the awe *she* showed while simply sharing the court with Williams may not be there, either. And that could be key, since any chance to defeat Williams in a slam final is pretty much a fantasy for her opponent if they're too busy admiring the shadow she casts to actually keep their focus and head in the game.

Against the 23-time slam champ, Osaka will have to keep her head *and* find even more than she's ever found before. It may not be enough against a Williams on a mission, but Osaka's got at least "a puncher's chance."

When asked what her message was to Serena, Osaka showed that while she hopes to steal Serena's moment in the spotlight this weekend, she's still a fan-girl at heart, saying, "I love you" to her longtime inspiration. Not only that, she added, "I love everybody."

That's all right, Naomi. As long as you "dislike" Serena a little on Saturday... just for a couple hours.

...heat and, later, stormy weather cut an already-shortened schedule even more than expected on Thursday. But some matches *did* get finished without the help of a roof.

In junior action, the quest for a third straight Bannerette champion on the girls side is down to '17 finalist Coco Gauff (well, almost). The #1 seed advanced to the quarterfinals on Thursday, but saw fellow U.S. juniors #5 Caty McNally (lost to #9 Naho Sato/JPN) and Eli Mandlik (def. by Dasha Lopatetskaya/UKR) fall by the wayside.

The only other Bannerette left in the draw is #16 Lea Ma, but she'll have her work cut out for her on Friday, as she'll be resuming her match with #3 Wang Xiyu with the Chinese girl leading 6-1/4-0, 30/40. Play on the outside court was suspended, either giving Ma a chance to regroup, or just an overnight reprieve that might last about five additional minutes once play is resumed tomorrow.

Meanwhile, #8-seeded Canadian Leylah Annie Fernandez leads Hordette Taisya Pachkaleva 6-2/5-5.

Other 3rd Round results today included Brit Emma Raducanu eliminating #14 Zheng Qinwen, #11 Clara Burel (FRA) defeating Violet Apisah (PNG), and #4 Maria Camila Osorio Serrano (COL) advancing past Japan's Moyuka Uchijima. MCOS will be seeking to become the third South American to reach the U.S. junior semis in the last two years, as Argentina's Maria Carle and MCOS' fellow Colombian, Emiliana Arango, did it last year. women's doubles, the slam winning streak of top seeds Barbora Krejcikova & Katerina Siniakova, at fifteen matches coming into the day, was stopped cold by #13 Ash Barty & CoCo Vandeweghe, who took down the RG & SW19 winning Czechs 6-4/7-6(6) to advance to their first slam final as a duo.

Barty is 0-4 in career slam WD finals, losing one at each major with Casey Dellacqua, while this is Vandeweghe's first slam WD final. She reached a pair of mixed finals (AO/US w/ Horia Tecau and Rajeev Ram) in 2016. The pair won the title in Miami this spring.

They'll face #2-seeded Timea Babos & Kristina Mladenovic (So, a million shots this weekend of Thiem cheering in the stands? Yeah, probably not.), who defeated Stosur/Zhang Shuai by almost the exact same score, 6-4/7-6(4), as the other semi. Babos/Mladenovic won the Australian Open in January, and the Pasty would be three-quarters of the way to a Career Doubles Slam with a win, having previously won RG with Caroline Garcia.

...the women's wheelchair doubles were supposed to start today, but the two matches were cancelled do to all the weather suspensions and delays. the WTA 125 Challenger in Chicago, the QF are set: Blinkova vs. Vickery, Barthel vs. Yastremska, Abanda vs. Maria and Lepchenko vs. Martic.

...also, a post-Open note about Elina Svitolina. As it turns out, The Process does indeed include a coaching change.

She highlighted the good aspects of her results under Thierry Ascione in her announcement, but (smartly showing tact) left out the tremendous slam disappointments (chokes, really) that also took place under Thierry Ascione's watch. One (a slam downturn) does not necessarily begat the other ("see ya, Thierry"), of course, as Svitolina has made it a matter of course to switch up coaches, even after seasons in which *all* her results improved, in a search for whatever she determined she needed to take the next step. It resulted in that rewarding year of work with Justine Henin, so it is what it is.

Whether she'll stick solely with her other coach, Andrew Bettles, or look elsewhere after the season, Svitolina now has the opportunity to make a bigger decision. 2019 is a year during which she really needs to make that slam leap or else risk being passed by by the likes the Ostapenkos, Osakas, Sabalenkas, Mertens, and others coming on strongly behind her. Osaka's move to go with Bajin shows how the right coaching decision at the right time can pay big dividends.

While a return by Henin is probably a long shot, might one suggest, oh, I don't know, one of the lucky-charm Spaniards out there? Anabel Medina-Garrigues (w/ Ostapenko at the '17 RG) or Conchita Martinez (Muguruza '17 Wimbledon & Pliskova at this Open) have shown they know how to keep a player's head in the game during a major. How about the other Belgian, Kim Clijsters? Francesca is suddenly on the market, as well... as will (surely) be a ton of other top coaches after the season. So, no hurry.



LIKE ON DAY 11: When you're not involved in the second week of a major...

ESPN GETTING ITS HISTORY ON DURING THE PRE-GAME... ON DAY 11: Or not. Since, you know, Helen Wills was pretty well known for being the CALIFORNIAN who replaced Suzanne Lenglen as the dominant player in the women's game in the 1920s and '30s.

There was even a book written about them called The Goddess and the American Girl. Thing is, it isn't as if this is a *new* graphic (check the date on this tweet):

Of course, this just gives me another opportunity to link to my "Match of the Century" post, so...

...and, finally...

As things wind down here, this little section has almost evolved (devolved?) into a listing of some of the things I'd listen to while commuting back and forth to school years ago. Admittedly, I've gone a bit overboard, but it's been nice getting reacquainted with a lot of this stuff.

Bonnie Raitt's "Nick of Time" album was so good. There's a reason it swept through the Grammys that one year...

["Something To Talk About"]

["Thing Called Love"]

["Love Letter"]

["Nobody's Girl"]

["Nick of Time"]

Terence Trent D'Arby... he was supposed to be "the next big thing, a cross between Michael Jackson and Prince. It never really happened, but he *did* have a great voice.

["Wishing Well"]

["If You Let Me Stay"]

I did like me some early Sheryl Crow very much, too...

["Leaving Las Vegas"]

["If It Makes You Happy"]

["Everyday Is a Winding Road"]

["My Favorite Mistake"]

["A Change Would Do You Good"]

So, one more "And, finally..." to go for this slam. Who could it be? Grace Kelly? Harlow, Jean? Hmmm.

#17 Serena Williams/USA vs. #20 Naomi Osaka/JPN

#13 Barty/Vandeweghe (AUS/USA) vs. #2 Babos/Mladenovic (HUN/FRA)

Mattek-Sands/J.Murray (USA/GBR) vs. Rosolska/Mektic (POL/CRO)

#1 Coco Gauff/USA vs. Dasha Lopatetskaya/UKR
(#3 Wang Xiyu/CHN or #16 Lea Ma/USA) vs. #9 Naho Sato/JPN
(#8 Leylah Annie Fernandez/CAN or Taisya Pachkaleva/RUS) vs. #4 Maria Camila Osorio Serrano/COL
#11 Clara Burel/FRA vs. Emma Raducanu/GBR

#1 Diede de Groot/NED vs. Aniek van Koot/NED
Dana Mathewson/USA vs. Sabine Ellerbrock/GER
Kgothatso Montjane/RSA vs. Lucy Shuker/GBR
Marjolein Buis/NED vs. #2 Yui Kamiji/JPN

#1 de Groot/Kamiji (NED/JPN) vs. Ellerbrock/Shuker (GER/GBR)
Mathewson/Montjane (USA/RSA) vs. #2 Buis/van Koot (NED/NED)

WHERE'S SIMONA? Ah, there she is.
View this post on Instagram

???? #family

A post shared by Simona Halep (@simonahalep) on

24 - Margaret Smith-Court [11-5-3-5]
23 - Serena Williams [7-3-7-6]
22 - Steffi Graf [4-6-7-5]
19 - Helen Wills Moody [0-4-8-7]
18 - Martina Navratilova [3-2-9-4]
18 - Chris Evert [2-7-3-6]
12 - Billie Jean King [1-1-6-4]
12 - Suzanne Lenglen [0-6-6-0]

34 - Chris Evert (18-16)
32 - Martina Navratilova (18-14)
31 - Serena Williams (23-7)
31 - Steffi Graf (22-9)
25 - Evonne Goolagong (7-18)
16 - Venus Williams (7-9)
13 - Monica Seles (9-4)
12 - Margaret Court (11-1) [+ 13-4 pre-Open]
12 - Billie Jean King (8-4) [+ 4-2 pre-Open]
12 - Justine Henin (7-5)
12 - Martina Hingis (5-7)
12 - Arantxa Sanchez Vicario (4-8)
31 - Serena Williams, USA (23-7)
16 - Venus Williams, USA (7-9)
10 - Maria Sharapova, RUS (5-5)
4 - Angelique Kerber, GER (3-1)
4 - Victoria Azarenka, BLR (2-2)
4 - Svetlana Kuznetsova, RUS (4-4)
4 - Simona Halep, ROU (1-3)
3 - Garbine Muguruza, ESP (2-1)
3 - Caroline Wozniacki, DEN (1-2)

[Open Era]
1968 Virginia Wade, GBR
1979 Tracy Austin, USA
1990 Gabriela Sabatini, ARG
1998 Lindsay Davenport, USA
1999 Serena Williams, USA
2004 Svetlana Kuznetsova, RUS
2005 Kim Clijsters, BEL
2011 Samantha Stosur, AUS
2015 Flavia Pennetta, ITA
2017 Sloane Stephens, USA
[reached first slam final at U.S., active players]
1997 Venus Williams, USA
1999 Serena Williams, USA (W)
2004 Svetlana Kuznetsova, RUS (W)
2008 Jelena Jankovic, SRB
2009 Caroline Wozniacki, DEN
2016 Karolina Pliskova, CZE
2017 Madison Keys, USA
2017 Sloane Stephens, USA (W)
2018 Naomi Osaka, JPN

Martina Navratilova (37 yrs, 258 days) — lost '94 WI to C.Martinez
Venus Williams (37/28) - lost '17 WI to Muguruza
Serena Williams (2018 U.S. Open)
Serena Williams (36/291) - lost '18 WI to Kerber
Venus Williams (36/226) — '17 AO, lost to S.Williams
Serena Williams (35/125) — '17 AO, def. V.Williams
Martina Navratilova (34/325) — '91 US, lost to Seles
Serena Williams (34/287) — '16 WI, def. Kerber
Serena Williams (34/252) — '16 RG, lost to Muguruza
Serena Williams (34/127) — '16 AO, lost to Kerber

8 - Molla Bjurstedt Mallory, NED/USA
7 - Helen Wills Moody, USA
6 - Serena Williams, USA*
6 - Chris Evert, USA
5 - Margaret Court, AUS
5 - Steffi Graf, GER

4...Venus Williams (2-2)
2...Victoria Azarenka (0-2)
2...Svetlana Kuznetsova (1-1)
2...Caroline Wozniacki (0-2)
1...Maria Sharapova (1-0)
1...Sloane Stephens (1-0)
1...Samantha Stosur (1-0)
1...NAOMI OSAKA (0-0)
1...Jelena Jankovic (0-1)
1...Angelique Kerber (1-0)
1...Madison Keys (0-1)
1...Karolina Pliskova (0-1)
1...Vera Zvonareva (0-1)

Unseeded/Wild Card - Kim Clijsters, BEL (2009)
Unseeded - Sloane Stephens, USA (2017)
#26 - Flavia Pennetta, ITA (2015)
#9 - Samantha Stosur, AUS (2011)
#9 - Svetlana Kuznetsova, RUS (2004)
#7 - Serena Williams, USA (1999)
#6 - Virginia Wade, GBR (1968)
IN FINAL: #17 S.Williams, #20 Osaka

2004 Shinobu Asagoe, JPN
2005 Elena Dementieva, RUS
2006 Tatiana Golovin, FRA
2007 Svetlana Kuznetsova, RUS
2008 Jelena Jankovic, SRB
2009 Caroline Wozniacki, DEN
2010 Kaia Kanepi, EST
2011 Angelique Kerber, GER
2012 Sara Errani, ITA
2013 Li Na, CHN
2014 Peng Shuai, CHN
2015 Roberta Vinci, ITA
2016 Anastasija Sevastova, LAT
2017 All-Bannerette SF: Keys,Stephens,Vandeweghe,V.Williams
2018 Naomi Osaka, JPN and Anastasija Sevstova, LAT
AO: Caroline Wozniacki, DEN
RG: Simona Halep, ROU
WI: Julia Goerges, GER
US: Naomi Osaka, JPN and Anastasija Sevstova, LAT

2008 Serena Williams (W)
2009 Serena Williams (SF)
2010 Venus Williams (SF)
2011 Serena Williams (RU)
2012 Serena Williams (W)
2013 Serena Williams (W)
2014 Serena Williams (W)
2015 Serena Williams (SF)
2016 Serena Williams (SF)
2017 Sloane Stephens (W)
2018 Serena Williams
AO: Madison Keys (QF)
RG: Sloane Stephens (RU)
WI: Serena Williams (RU)
US: Serena Williams

2010 Venus Williams, USA
2011 Samantha Stosur, AUS
2012 Serena Williams, USA
2013 Serena Williams, USA
2014 Victoria Azarenka, BLR
2015 Serena Williams, USA & Venus Williams, USA
2016 Madison Keys, USA
2017 "The Late Show starring Madison Keys"
2018 Carla Suarez-Navarro, ESP
AO: Elise Mertens, BEL
US: Carla Suarez-Navarro, ESP

[USSR/RUS Champions]
2004 Svetlana Kuznetsova
2006 Maria Sharapova
[USSR/RUS Finalists]
2004 Elena Dementieva
2007 Svetlana Kuznetsova
2010 Vera Zvonareva
[USSR/RUS Semifinalists]
2000 Elena Dementieva
2005 Maria Sharapova
2005 Elena Dementieva
2007 Anna Chakvetadze
2008 Dinara Safina
2008 Elena Dementieva
2012 Maria Sharapova
2014 Ekaterina Makarova
[USSR/RUS Quarterfinalists]
1972 Olga Morozova, USSR
1976 Natasha Chmyreva, USSR
1988 Larisa Savchenko, USSR [LAT]
1990 Leila Meskhi, USSR [GEO]
2002 Elena Bovina
2003 Anastasia Myskina
2004 Nadia Petrova
2005 Nadia Petrova
2006 Dinara Safina
2006 Elena Dementieva
2011 Vera Zvonareva
2011 Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova
2013 Ekaterina Makarova
[USSR/RUS Rd. of 16]
1970 Olga Morozova, USSR (3rd Rd.)
1973 Olga Morozova, USSR (3rd Rd.)
1989 Larisa Savchenko-Neiland, USSR [LAT]
1989 Natasha Zvereva, USSR [BLR]
1991 Natasha Zvereva, USSR [BLR]
1996 Anna Kournikova
1998 Anna Kournikova
1999 Elena Likhovtseva [ex-KAZ]
2001 Elena Likhovtseva [ex-KAZ]
2003 Nadia Petrova
2003 Elena Likhovtseva [ex-KAZ]
2003 Elena Dementieva
2003 Dinara Safina
2004 Vera Zvonareva
2005 Elena Likhovtseva [ex-KAZ]
2006 Anna Chakvetadze
2006 Svetlana Kuznetsova
2007 Dinara Safina
2009 Nadia Petrova
2009 Svetlana Kuznetsova
2009 Vera Zvonareva
2010 Maria Sharapova
2010 Svetlana Kuznetsova
2010 Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova
2010 Elena Dementieva
2011 Maria Kirilenko
2011 Svetlana Kuznetsova
2012 Nadia Petrova
2014 Maria Sharapova
2015 Ekaterina Makarova
2017 Dasha Kasatkina
2017 Maria Sharapova
2018 Maria Sharapova

[TCH/CZE Champions]
1985 Hana Mandlikova, TCH
[TCH/CZE Finalists]
1980 Hana Mandlikova, TCH
1982 Hana Mandlikova, TCH
1986 Helena Sukova, TCH
1993 Helena Sukova
2016 Karolina Pliskova
[TCH/CZE Semifinalists]
1975 Martina Navratilova, TCH
1987 Helena Sukova, TCH
1994 Jana Novotna
1998 Jana Novotna
[TCH/CZE Quarterfinalists]
1981 Hana Mandlikova, TCH
1983 Hana Mandlikova, TCH
1984 Hana Mandlikova, TCH
1984 Helena Sukova, TCH
1985 Helena Sukova, TCH
1989 Helena Sukova, TCH
1990 Jana Novotna, TCH
1995 Jana Novotna
1996 Jana Novotna
1997 Jana Novotna
2001 Daja Bedanova
2015 Petra Kvitova
2017 Karolina Pliskova
2017 Petra Kvitova
2018 Karolina Pliskova
[TCH/CZE Rd. of 16]
1974 Martina Navratilova, TCH (3rd Rd.)
1978 Regina Marsikova, TCH
1979 Regina Marsikova, TCH
1986 Hana Mandlikova, TCH
1987 Hana Mandlikova, TCH
1987 Jana Novotna, TCH
1988 Helena Sukova, TCH
1989 Regina Rajchrtova, TCH
1990 Helena Sukova, TCH
1991 Jana Novotna, TCH
1991 Radka Zrubakova, TCH
1991 Regina Rajchrtova, TCH
1992 Helena Sukova, TCH
1993 Jana Novotna
2002 Daja Bedanova
2005 Nicole Vaidisova
2009 Petra Kvitova
2012 Petra Kvitova
2012 Andrea Hlavackova
2014 Lucie Safarova
2016 Petra Kvitova
2017 Lucie Safarova
2018 Marketa Vondrousova

TOP EARLY-ROUND (1r-2r): #13 Kiki Bertens/ NED
TOP MIDDLE-ROUND (3r-QF): #20 Naomi Osaka/JPN
TOP QUALIFYING MATCH: Q1: #23 Marta Kostyuk/RUS def. Valentyna Ivakhnenko/RUS 4-6/7-6(6)/7-6(4) (saved 6 MP)
TOP EARLY-RD. MATCH (1r-2r): 1st Rd. - #10 Alona Ostapenko/LAT def. Andrea Petkovic/GER 6-4/4-6/6-4
TOP MIDDLE-RD. MATCH (3r-QF): 4th Rd. - #20 Naomi Osaka/JPN d. #26 Aryna Sabalenka/BLR 6-3/2-6/6-4
TOP NIGHT SESSION WOMEN'S MATCH: 2nd Rd. - (Q) Karlina Muchova/CZE def. #12 Garbine Muguruza/ESP 3-6/6-4/6-4
FIRST VICTORY: (Q) Jil Teichmann/SUI (def. Jakupovic/SRB)
FIRST SEED OUT: #31 Magdalena Rybarikova/SVK (1st Rd. - Q.Wang/CHN; second con. FSO at major for Rybarikova)
REVELATION LADIES: Belarus (four -- Azarenka, Lapko, Sabalenka, Sasnovich -- into 2nd Round of a slam for the first time ever)
NATION OF POOR SOULS: Switzerland (1-4 1st Rd.; Golubic double-bageled, Bacsinszky love 3rd set)
CRASH & BURN: #1 Simona Halep/ROU (lost 1st Rd. to Kanepi/EST; first #1 to lost 1st Rd. at U.S. Open in Open era)
ZOMBIE QUEEN OF NEW YORK: Katerina Siniakova/CZE (1r: Kontaveit served for match at 5-4, 30/love in 3rd, Siniakova wins set 7-5, taking 12/14 points; 2r: Tomljanovic served for match at 6-5 in 3rd; opponent served for match in 1st and 2nd Rounds and saved MP)
IT ("Court"): (new) Louis Armstrong Stadium (four of top 5 women's seeds -- #1 Halep, #2 Wozniacki, #4 Kerber, #5 Kvitova -- fall in first three rounds on the newly rebuilt #2 show court, as well as slam winner #12 Muguruza and summer stars #13 Bertens and #26 Sabalenka)
Ms.OPPORTUNITY: #20 Naomi Osaka/JPN and #19 Anastasija Sevastova/LAT (first-time slam finalist and semifinalist)
LAST QUALIFIER STANDING: Karolina Muchova/CZE (3rd Rd.)
LAST WILD CARD STANDING: Victoria Azarenka/BLR (3rd Rd.)
LAST BANNERETTE STANDING: #17 Serena Williams/USA (in final)
COMEBACK PLAYER: Nominee: S.Williams, Mattek-Sands
VETERAN PLAYER (KIMIKO CUP): Nominees: S.Williams, Mattek-Sands
DOUBLES STAR: Nominees: Babos/Mladnevic, Barty/Vandeweghe
BROADWAY-BOUND: Kaia Kanepi/EST (new Armstrong Stadium premieres w/ Day 1 def. of #1 Halep)
LADY OF THE EVENING: Carla Suarez-Navarro/ESP (ended Sharapova's undefeated night streak)

All for Day 11. More (well, a little) tomorrow.


Blogger colt13 said...

Barty/Vandeweghe are like the odd couple, but consistently put up good results.

Either Osaka gets Japan's first slam, or Serena gets 24, and wins a slam for the 7th year in a row.

The fact that Serena has now reached back to back slam finals, brings up a quirk, mainly because of her leave. This is the 8th time in the last 7 seasons that a player has reached back to back slams- Williams-4, Halep, Kerber, Azarenka, Sharapova. This will be the first time that that player will not have been #1 during or immediately after. Williams would be 11 with a victory.

Stat of the Day-12- Years since somebody has won Indian Wells and the US Open in the same season.

Didn't Pennetta do it? No, she won IW in 2014, and the Open in 2015. Actually happened in back to back years, as Sharapova won both in 2006, the year after Clijsters did so in 2005. Osaka is trying to do that this year, and if she does, she would emulate Serena, who won both in 1999, when she won her first slam.

Fri Sep 07, 08:43:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Todd.Spiker said...

That *is* an oddball Serena stat, but I guess if one didn't know who it was who managed to do it, I figure most would guess it was Serena.

It's sort of like how the "lowest-seeded/lowest-ranked" slam winner lists have her listed several times since her maiden win in '99, because she's come back from so many things over the years with a low ranking and then lifted it back up again by winning a major.

Watching their crazy post-win celebrations this week, you can't help but wonder, "What has CoCo DONE to Ash?!" But it's been fun, though.

Fri Sep 07, 10:25:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Diane said...

Many, many years ago, I saw Bonnie Raitt in concert. I was seated near the front, and her contact with the audience was remarkably intimate.

Early Sheryl Crow was just wonderful. My favorites: Every Day (I have to correct the "official" misspelling) Is a Winding Road, A Change Will Do You Good, There Goes the Neighborhood.

I don't listen to her as much as I used to, partly because I don't listen to any music as much as I used to (I'm sure that will change at some point), but I continue to hold those early albums in high regard.

Fri Sep 07, 08:37:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Todd.Spiker said...

In putting this together, I actually watched some of Crow's recent concert performances. It made me think I'll have to check out what she's done recently.

She released an album last year about which Wikipedia says, "Writing for Rolling Stone and rating the album three out of five stars, Rob Sheffield calls it "excellent" and "a full-blown return to her fierce rock-queen glory."

Based on that, I think I'll have to check that one out. ;)

Fri Sep 07, 10:42:00 PM EDT  

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