Sunday, September 02, 2018

US.7 - Karolina in the City

When Karolina Pliskova arrived in New York City, she was coming off a very "iffy" North American summer hard court campaign that made it quite simple to question her chances for success at this U.S. Open. But as she heads off into the tournament's second week, she seems to have settled into something of a comfort zone.

While the newly-wed Czech has had a good season, it just hasn't often seemed that way Maybe because of the expectations she stirred up two summers ago, it's generally felt as if it lacked a certain something. In fact, since 2016, she's struggled to find the top form in which her serve was a major weapon and the Czech looked to be the "most likely" next maiden slam champ. Since Pliskova reached the Open final two years ago, three first-time slam finalists have followed in her footsteps and four maiden major champs have been crowned. Pliskova has reached one major semi in that seven-slam period. While everyone else has been improving, she's stayed about the same, at best, and more likely taken a slight step back.

The 26-year old *was* a somewhat unexpected force during 2018's clay schedule, winning in Stuttgart and reaching the Madrid semis. Hard court, though, was where she shined the brightest in 2016-17, her two Top 10 seasons. This season, her results have been, well, fine on hard courts, but hardly "great." A Brisbane SF, and Australian Open, Indian Wells & Miami QF provided a good start, but it's traditionally been the North American summer stint where she's had her best extended run of results. Remember, she won the U.S. Open Series in 2015, the Cincinnati champ and U.S. Open finalist in '16 and, as the newly-christened women's #1 in July of '17, reached the Toronto and Cincy semis and was the top seed at Flushing Meadows (she reached the QF).

Of late, though, Pliskova's Top 10 ranking (which she's held for over 100 weeks, behind only Simona Halep's when it comes to active streaks) has seemed *this close* to being in jeopardy. Before the U.S. Open she'd gone a combined 9-10 on three surfaces since defeating Halep in the Madrid QF. After jettisoning coach Tomas Krupa before play in Cincinnati, Pliskova notched a long-time-coming win over Aga Radwanska in her first official match with new coach Rennae Stubbs, but then dropped two straight in the aftermath. Her 1 & 3 loss in the 1st Round in New Haven dropped her to 2-3 on summer HC after she'd gone a combined 18-7 the last three years during the same stretch.

With Stubbs so busy during the Open, Conchita Martinez was chosen to fill in for the Aussie at Flushing Meadows (just as she did for Garbine Muguruza last year at Wimbledon while Sam Sumyk was away, presiding over her fellow Spaniard's clean run to the title). With a Hall of Fame induction possible for Martinez by this time next year, her ongoing "good vibes" appear to be contagious.

The #8-seeded Pliskova has made a habit during this first week of play in New York of making things look routine. Since she showed up to play at Flushing Meadows, the Czech has started the process of slowly rolling back the clock. While she hasn't been as outwardly dominant at this Open as she often appeared two years ago, Pliskova has been a consistent, smart server who has maintained a no-sweat focus. And it's worked.

Against #18 Ash Barty today, Pliskova faced off against a player vs. whom she was just 1-2, with both losses coming in 3rd set tie-breaks, and with her lone win being in a match where she won in straight sets by sweeping a pair of breakers.

Barty played well in the 4th Round encounter, and one might assume after perusing much of the stat sheet that she'd advanced to reach her maiden slam quarterfinal, even when comparing her numbers with many of those of Pliskova's. The Aussie had 29 winners (vs. Pliskova's 16), and won just five fewer total points than her opponent. She out-aced the Czech (6-4), who's been consistently atop the tour lists in that category in recent seasons. She won 80% of her first serves (vs. 70% for the Czech), and had eight BP chances vs. just two that she faced on her own serve.

But none of that mattered. Pliskova won the match in straight sets, never being forced to a TB, despite a series of close games throughout and opportunities for the Aussie that went unclaimed in a 6-4/6-4 match that didn't really resemble its final scoreline.

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By the end the match, while Barty's BP chances quadrupled those of Pliskova, she was 0-for-8 when it came to converting them, while Pliskova was 2-for-2. The Aussie only won 40% of her second serves. Meanwhile, the Czech won 54%. Pliskova pushed the action, first on serve with smart placement (often into the body) that allowed her to control the start of rallies on serve, and was the more aggressive of the two when it came to moving forward in the court. While Barty's court movement is more fluid and looks less forced than Pliskova's sometimes can, the Czech won 15-of-21 net points on the day vs. the more naturally-skilled doubles player Barty's 3-of-6 success rate.

In the moments in their Round of 16 match at which Barty had an opening, Pliskova founds way to shut the door. Serving up 4-3, she saved BPs and held by utilizing a well-positioned body serve that made it unnecessary to ace the Aussie, sweeping aside the challenge to take a 5-3 lead. Up 5-4, 40/love, the Czech was confident enough to follow her serve to the net, where she sent back two deep volleys and elicited a Barty error to take the set. Pliskova saved BP in game #2 of the 2nd, then took a break lead a game later. At 5-4, 30/love, the Czech saw Barty string together a passing shot and another winner into the open court to knot the game. But Pliskova wasn't worried. She calmly reached match point, then fired a wide serve to Barty's backhand that the Aussie couldn't get back.

A quarterfinalist for the third straight year at Flushing Meadows, Pliskova's play has been good enough for everyone to recall -- "Oh, yeah, she DID do that." -- that two years ago at the U.S. Open she became one of the few players (8) to defeat BOTH Williams Sisters in the same event, though she ultimately joined an even smaller group (4 strong) who didn't go on to win the tournament title.

The Czech can't duplicated that feet at this slam. But she *will* now get the opportunity to face off against *one* of the Sisters.

...after the nearly flawless performance she put on against her sister two nights ago, #17-seeded six-time Open champ Serena Williams was rightly expected to advance past Kaia Kanepi today. After she blazed through the Estonian in an 18-minute (the shortest of the tournament) love 1st set, it seemed as if it'd be a blink-and-you-missed-it sort of deal.

But credit Kanepi for not folding up the tent and going home. She went up a break on Williams in the opening game of the 2nd set, then secured a double-break lead at 5-2. The 33-year old veteran then successfully held off a late rally by the 36-year old veteran (welcome to the Most Interesting Tour, which will tomorrow feature two 20-year olds facing off to possibly meet a 19-year old a round later), who'd gotten a quick break for 5-3 and staved off two SP before Kanepi finally won the 2nd at 6-4 on her third try.

In the 3rd, Williams did what she often does. She battled and roared (after game 1). See...

She held serve in two tight games, and broke Kanepi in the game in between, to lead 3-0. Serving at 5-3, up 40/love, she fired a forehand passing shot by Kanepi to close out the 6-0/4-6/6-3 win to reach her fifteen U.S. Open QF, and her tenth straight since 2007.

She's Serena Williams. That's just what she does.

...meanwhile, #19 Anastasija Sevastova continues to bring her best tennis to the U.S. Open, while #7 Elina Svitolina once again exited a slam under the massive weight of a flash-flood of a final set that leaves another bad taste in the mouth of an accomplished "regular" season player who often comes up very small in the clutch in the majors.

While the Lavtian had a hiccup in the 2nd set vs. the Ukrainian, losing it 6-1, she was in top form in the two sets that surrounded it, winning 6-3/1-6/6-0.

Sevastova moves on to her third straight U.S. Open quarterfinal, where she could meet defending champion Sloane Stephens (vs. Mertens tonight) for the second straight year. Last time, she had a break lead at 3-1 over the Bannerette in the final set, only to see Stephens surge back and go on to become a maiden slam winner.

For Svitolina, another season has now officially gone by without a maiden slam semifinal berth. When she wins her next singles title (unless Pavlyuchenkova beats her to it) she'll become the *only* player in tour history with thirteen tour-level WS titles without at least one career slam SF finish. That's one thing, though, as at just 23 years old Svitolina has time to right that personal wrong. What's worrisome is what has happened since she collapsed vs. Simona Halep in the Roland Garros QF last year (when she led 6-3/5-1, twice served for the match and held a MP). She lost the 3rd set in Paris vs. the Romanian at love in twenty minutes. Her love 3rd set today marks the fourth major of the last seven (and third in' 18) in which she went down in horrendous fashion in her final set:

2017 Roland Garros QF - 6-0 3rd set vs. Halep
2018 Australian Open QF - 6-0 2nd set vs. Mertens
2018 Wimbledon 1st Rd. - 6-1 3rd vs. Maria
2018 U.S. Open 4th Rd. - 6-0 3rd set vs. Sevastova

A few seasons ago, when she was working with Justine Henin, Svitolina seemed the most composed and best-problem solver on tour as she systematically, step-by-step climbed the WTA ladder. She's gotten tied up in more than a few rungs since she and LPT ended their official working relationship. The Ukrainian needn't go back to the Belgian to reclaim that part of her game, but she's most definitely got a problem that needs to be solved. Her and her team's offseason decision to trim down significantly -- perhaps to increase her foot speed -- doesn't seemed to have helped, and may have become a detriment as she may have lost some of her power in the process (sort of a "reverse-JJ" compared to when Jelena Jankovic at one point bulked up to increase power, but then lost the quickness that fueled her defensive prowess).

It's going to be an interesting offseason for Svitolina, who may need to tear things down before she can rebuild her foundation for slam success. Some housecleaning might be in order in an attempt to get things corrected. In fact, why wait until the winter. It should start NOW. the last women's 4th Rounder on Sunday night, #3 Sloane Stephens proved why she very well may be able to defend her title. Showing great closing skill vs. #15 Elise Mertens, Stephens raised her performance in the final games of both sets, getting the break for 5-3 and serving out the 1st, then breaking from 40/15 down in game #7 for a 4-3 lead, then sweeping the remaining games of the 2nd set. Her forehand winner on MP put her into her third QF in her last five slams. She reached the final in both the other two.

...the junior draw began MD action today, with #1-seeded Coco Gauff ('17 finalist) notching a win over Switzerland's Lulu Sun (as expected, over her brief "fling" with New Zealand, I guess)in straight sets.

Elsewhere, #4 Maria Camila Osorio Serrano (COL) knocked off Bannerette Natasha Subhash, and #8 Leylah Annie Fernandez (CAN) defeated Elysia Bolton (USA). 16-year old Latvian Kamilla Bartone upset #10 Maria Carle (ARG) 6-3/6-2. Last year, Carle reached the girls semifinals.

The seeds...

1. Coco Gauff, USA
2. Alexa Noel, USA
3. Wang Xiyu, CHN
4. Maria Camila Osorio Serrano, COL
5. Caty McNally, USA
6. Clara Tauson, DEN
7. Eleonora Molinaro, LUX
8. Leylah Annie Fernandez, CAN
9. Naho Sato, JPN
10. Maria Carle, ARG {OUT}
11. Clara Burel, FRA
12. Joanna Garland, TPE
13. Elisabetta Cocciaretto, ITA
14. Zheng Qinwen, CHN
15. Katie Volynets, USA
16. Lea Ma, USA doubles, and Samantha Stosur (pssssst... HoF, Sam) & Zhang Shuai defeated Bacsinszky/Zvonareva in straights, and #2 Babos/Mladenovic defeated #14 Atawo/Groenefeld.

In mixed doubles, Gaby Dabrowski, who also lost early with partner Xu Yifan in WD, lost yesterday alongside Mate Pavic. They were the #1 seeds and winners of the MX title last year in Paris and this season in Melbourne. Mattek-Sands/J.Murray knocked off #8 Cabal/Spears today, while #7 Srebotnik/Venus lost a 16-14 3rd set TB to Olaru/Skugor. #4 L.Chan/Dodig (the reigning RG champs) gave a walkover to N.Kichenok/Koolhof.

...on the ITF circuit, Wimbledon girls champ Iga Swiatek won the $60K challenger held in Budapest. Unseeded, the 17-year old Pole dropped her opening 1st Round set at love to Reka-Luca Jani, then didn't lose another the entire tournament. She defeated #5 Jana Cepelova, #4 Silvia Soler Espinosa, Barbara Haas and #7 Katarina Zavatska in straight sets. Swiatek is now 6-0 in pro singles finals.

17-year old Slovenian Kaja Juvan picked up her third title of the season (5th career) at the $25K in Bagnatica, Italy, defeating Italian Jasmine Paolini 6-7(8)/6-1/7-5 in the final. It's her second consecutive final of the summer, third in her last four events, and fifth of seven since the opening week of May. She's won all three of her '18 titles during the stretch, going 28-4. She'll now climb into the Top 200 for the first time, two months before she turns 18.

And Chilean Fernanda Brito continued her remarkable ITF run, taking the $15K Ascuncion PAR final 6-2/6-2 over Brazil's Gabriela Ce. She's won 35 straight singles matches and played in eight straight finals, taking seven consecutive titles. She's in another doubles final, as well, playing for her 15th straight win and sixth title in an eight consecutive WD final run. the U.S. Open USTA Wheelchair Championships in St.Louis, world #3 Aniek van Koot knocked off both #1 Diede de Groot (SF - 6-4/2-6/6-2) and #2 Yui Kamiji (F - 3-6/6-2/7-5) to take the title, her first at the event in eight appearances since 2009. De Groot had won twelve straight matches and was 7-1 in her last eight vs. her countrywoman, while Kamiji still holds a 22-17 head-to-head edge after her loss to the second-ranked Dutch player on the WC tour. Van Koot also won the doubles title with another player from the Netherlands, Marjolein Buis.

...and 15-year old Dane Clara Tauson (girls #9) picked up the title at the Grade 1 Les Internationaux de Tennis Junior Banque Nationale du Canada in Repentigny, defeating Ukraine's Viktoriia Dema 2-6/7-6(2)/7-5 in the final. She also reached the doubles final with Elisabetta Cocciaretto. This is Tauson's second G1 singles title of the season, along with her Perin Memorial win in March (she also reached a Grade A final in Porto Alegre that month). Tauson entered the week coming off a B1 title run in her last outing in July.

LIKE ON DAY 7: Original Martina


...and, finally...


I don't think I need to go on about his history, right? It *is* hard to believe he's already been gone for more than two years, though.

A few of my favorite of his songs, as well as his superb Super Bowl halftime performance in Miami in 2007, when he sang "Purple Rain" in an actual downpour.

["Little Red Corvette"]

["Raspberry Beret"]


[Super Bowl halftime - 2007]

Here's one you almost never hear, but I always liked it (I was a little upset that it didn't make the cut for the Greatest Hits CD that was released after he died)...

["The Morning Papers"]

And while I wouldn't generally say that I like a cover of a Prince song better than the original, I *do* hold that opinion about "Kiss." I've always felt Prince used so much falsetto in his version of the song that the lyrics get lost, while the performance of the song by Tom Jones (*still* with a great voice at almost 80!) makes it seem as if the song was written FOR him. In fact, for a while, I'd stupidly convinced myself that it *was*, until I realized that, oh yeah, Prince *did* write and record the original... I'd totally forgotten.

["Kiss" - Tom Jones (1989 and 2016) - Art of Noise version]

#17 Serena Williams/USA def. Kaia Kanepi/ESP
#8 Karolina Pliskova/CZE def. #18 Ash Barty/AUS
#3 Sloane Stephens/USA def. #15 Elise Mertens/BEL
#19 Anastasija Sevastova/LAT def. #7 Elina Svitolina/UKR
#30 Carla Suarez-Navarro/ESP vs. #22 Maria Sharapova/RUS
#14 Madison Keys/USA vs. #29 Dominika Cibulkova/SVK
#26 Aryna Sabalenka/BLR vs. #20 Naomi Osaka/JPN
Marketa Vondrousova/JPN vs. Lesia Tsurenko/UKR

#1 Krejcikova/Siniakova (CZE/CZE) def. (PR) L.Kichenok/Siegemund (UKR/GER)
S.Hsieh/Sabalenka (TPE/BLR) vs. #7 Mertens/Schuurs (BEL/NED)
#3 S.-Hlavackova/Strycova (CZE/CZE) vs. #13 Barty/Vandeweghe (AUS/USA)
Jakupovic/Khromacheva (SLO/RUS) def. Hibino/Kalashnikova (JPN/GEO)
Pavlyuchenkova/Sevastova (RUS/LAT) vs. (WC) Dolehide/McHale (USA/USA)
Stosur/Sh.Zhang (AUS/CHN) def. (PR) Bacsinszky/Zvonareva (SUI/RUS)
#6 Hradecka/Makarova vs. Linette/Tomljanovic (POL/AUS)
#2 Babos/Mladenovic (HUN/FRA) def. #14 Atawo/Groenefeld (USA/GER)

(WC) McHale/C.Harrison (USA/USA) vs. #5 S.-Hlavackova/Roger-Vasselin (CZE/FRA)
N.Kichenok/Koolhof (UKR/NED) vs. Mattek-Sands/J.Murray (USA/GBR)
Olaru/Skugor (ROU/CRO) vs. Rosolska/Mektic (POL/CRO)
Sh.Zhang/Peers (CHN/AUS) vs. #2 Melichar/Marach (USA/AUT)

2005 Victoria Azarenka/BLR def. Alexa Glatch/USA
2006 Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova/RUS def. Tamira Paszek/AUT
2007 Kristina Kucova/SVK def. Urszula Radwanska/POL
2008 CoCo Vandeweghe/USA def. Gabriela Paz/VEN
2009 Heather Watson/GBR def. Yana Buchina/RUS
2010 Daria Gavrilova/RUS def. Yulia Putintseva/RUS
2011 Grace Min/USA def. Caroline Garcia/FRA
2012 Samantha Crawford/USA def. Anett Kontaveit/EST
2013 Ana Konjuh/CRO def. Tornado Alicia Black/USA
2014 Marie Bouzkova/CZE def. Anhelina Kalinina/UKR
2015 Dalma Galfi/HUN def. Sonya Kenin/USA
2016 Kayla Day/USA def. Viktoria Kuzmova/SVK
2017 Amanda Anisimova/USA def. Coco Gauff/USA
2018 ??

68-1...1st Round ['12 RG: Razzano]
66-2...2nd Round ['98 AO: Venus; '14 RG: Muguruza]
58-8...3rd Round
49-8...4th Round
30-5...SF [Venus 00, Henin 03, Clijsters 09, Vinci 15, Ka.Pliskova 16]
23-7...F [Venus 01, Sharapova 04, Venus 08, Stosur 11, Kerber 16, Muguruza 16, Kerber 18]

101 - Chris Evert, USA
93 - Serena Williams, USA*
89 - Martina Navratilova, TCH/USA
78 - Venus Williams, USA*
73 - Steffi Graf, FRG/GER
62 - Lindsay Davenport, USA
56 - Arantxa Sanchez Vicario, ESP
53 - Monica Seles, YUG/SRB/USA
51 - Gabriela Sabatini, ARG
329...Serena Williams*
306...Martina Navratilova
299...Chris Evert
278...Steffi Graf
266...Venus Williams*
210...Arantxa Sanchez Vicario
198...Lindsay Davenport
194...Maria Sharapova*
180...Monica Seles
174...Conchita Martinez

1968 Maryna Godwin, RSA
1994 Amanda Coetzer, RSA
1996 Amanda Coetzer, RSA
1998 Amanda Coetzer, RSA
2007 Shahar Peer, ISR
1970 Pat Walkden, RSA (3rd Rd.)
1973 Ilana Koss, RSA (3rd Rd.)
1975 Greer Stevens, RSA (3rd Rd.)
1975 Delina Boshoff, RSA (3rd Rd.)
1977 Marise Kruger, RSA
1979 Greer Stevens, RSA
1982 Ros Fairbank, RSA
1988 Elna Reinach, RSA
1989 Ros Fairbank, RSA
1997 Joannette Kruger, RSA
1997 Amanda Coetzer, RSA
2004 Eleni Daniilidou, GRE
2006 Shahar Peer, ISR
2010 Shahar Peer, ISR

JAN: Marta Kostyuk, UKR
AO: Liang En-shuo, TPE
FEB/MAR: Maria Camila Osorio Serrano, COL
MARCH: Naho Sato, JPN
APR: Emiliana Arango, COL
MAY: Eleonora Molinaro, LUX
RG: Coco Gauff, USA
JUN: Lea Ma, USA
WI: Iga Swiatek, POL
2Q Grass Court: IGA SWIATEK, POL
JUL/AUG: Clara Tauson, DEN
AUG: Wang Xinyu, CHN and Wang Xiyu, CHN
[2018 Weekly JUNIOR STAR Award Wins]
5 - Liang En-Shuo, TPE
5 - Wang Xiyu, CHN
4 - Coco Gauff, USA
4 - Maria Camila Osorio Serrano, COL
4 - Wang Xinyu, CHN
3 - Caty McNally, USA
3 - Clara Tauson, DEN
2 - Leylah Annie Fernandez, CAN
2 - Kaja Juvan, SLO
2 - Eleonora Molinaro, LUX
2 - Alexa Noel, USA
2 - Naho Sato, JPN
2 - Iga Swiatek, POL
2 - Daniela Vismane, LAT
2 - Katie Volynets, USA
2 - Zheng Qinwen, CHN

Anabel Medina-Garrigues
Anna Smashnova
none - [closest active: Pavlyuchenkova and Svitolina w/ 12]
[players with 13+ WTA titles (39), by best slam; *-active]
W (31): Martina Navratilova (167), Chris Evert (154), Steffi Graf (107), Margaret Court (92), Serena Williams (72)*, Evonne Goolagong (68), Billie Jean King (67), Virginia Wade (55), Monica Seles (53), Venus Williams (49)*, Justine Henin (43), Kim Clijsters (41), Maria Sharapova (36)*, Conchita Martinez (33), Tracy Austin (30), Arantxa Sanchez Vicario (29), Caroline Wozniacki (29)*, Hana Mandlikova (27), Gabriela Sabatini (27), Petra Kvitova (25)*, Amelie Mauresmo (25), Jana Novotna (24), Victoria Azarenka (20)*, Nancy Richey (19), Simona Halep (18)*, Svetlana Kuznetsova (18)*, Kerry Melville Reid (17), Mary Pierce (17), Ann Haydon Jones (16), Ana Ivanovic (15), Jennifer Capriati (14)
F (7): Pam Shriver (21), Aga Radwanska (20)*, Manuela Maleeva (19), Elena Dementieva (16), Jelena Jankovic (15)*, Dianne Fromholtz Balestrat (15), Zina Garrison (14)
SF (1): Nadia Petrova (13)
[players with 12 WTA titles (11), with best slam]
Julie Halard-Decugis (QF)
Anke Huber (SF)
Angelique Kerber (W)*
Helga Niessen Masthoff (F)
Katerina Maleeva (QF)
Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (QF)*
Virginia Ruzici (W)
Dinara Safina (F)
Anna Smashnova (4th Rd.)
Elina Svitolina (QF)*
Vera Zvonareva (F)*

TOP EARLY-ROUND (1r-2r): #13 Kiki Bertens/ NED
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 NIGHT SESSION WOMEN'S MATCH: Nominee: 2nd - (Q) Muchova d. #12 Muguruza
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 ("??"): Nominees: Louis Armstrong Stadium ("Upset Court" - four of top 5 women's seeds fall in first three rounds on the newly rebuilt #2 show court), Sabalenka, Vondrousova, Osaka, Barty
LAST QUALIFIER STANDING: Karolina Muchova/CZE (3rd Rd.)
LAST WILD CARD STANDING: Victoria Azarenka/BLR (3rd Rd.)
LAST BANNERETTE STANDING: In 4th Rd.: Keys, Stephens(W), S.Williams(W)
COMEBACK PLAYER: Nominees: S.Williams, Sharapova
VETERAN PLAYER (KIMIKO CUP): Nominees: S.Williams, Sevastova, Sharapova
BROADWAY-BOUND: Kaia Kanepi/EST (new Armstrong Stadium premieres w/ Day 1 def. of #1 Halep)
LADY OF THE EVENING: Nominee: S.Williams, Sabalenka

All for Day 7. More tomorrow.


Blogger colt13 said...

Swiatek, Juvan, Tauson are becoming the usual suspects.

Too easy to pick on Svitolina, so I will wait a couple of days.

Stat of the Day-79- Career high singles ranking for Olga Savchuk.

Savchuk retired after her doubles match with Svitolina, and let's be honest, she isn't going to be a Hall of Famer. But she did get to do what she wanted, and that is to be a working WTA player for over a decade.

As Savchuk reminded us, she has been around long enough to have been born in the USSR. Breaking onto the scene at the 2006 Australian Open, she reached the 3rd rd, beating #23 Jelena Jamkovic, then losing to #100 Elena Vesnina. Oddly enough, that was the best result out of her 11 main slam draws.

11? So she only played main draws in 2006-2008? Almost. She lost in qualies in her last 19 attempts, and 26 of her last 27. As her career high of 79 was in May of 2008, she made her money playing doubles.

She won 3 WTA doubles titles(3-6), but had some interesting stats. One was that her first and last finals were won with Olaru, even though they were nine years apart. She then teamed up with Olaru this year in Australia.

Unlike singles, where here best result was at the beginning, she did it near the end in doubles. 40 main draws. 1 slam QF. That was last year with, you guessed it, Olaru. Never made it past the 2nd rd the other 39 times- 23 1st rd exits, 16 2nd rd exits.

And her doubles career high? 33, set in October 2017.

Her ITF numbers are just as fascinating. Her last ITF title was 2013 Dubai with Diatchenko d L & N Kichenok. Her last ITF final? 2014 Dubai with L.Kichenko, defeated by Diatchenko w/Panova.

She has seemed like a coach in waiting the last couple of years, I won't be surprised to see her with an up an coming Ukranian or Russian very soon.

Sun Sep 02, 10:49:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Todd.Spiker said...

"Her ITF numbers are just as fascinating. Her last ITF title was 2013 Dubai with Diatchenko d L & N Kichenok. Her last ITF final? 2014 Dubai with L.Kichenko, defeated by Diatchenko w/Panova."

...with all the partner juggling across the board this season, the Six Degrees of Doubles Partners Separation down the line when it comes to familiar faces on all sides of the net in certain match-ups is going to be craaazy.

Sun Sep 02, 11:39:00 PM EDT  

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