Sunday, October 07, 2018

Wk.40- Hey, Remember Me?

After a week dominated by talk of the likes of Wang, Zhang, Osaka and Sabalenka... the last woman standing in Beijing had a rather familiar face.





*WEEK 40 CHAMPIONS*
BEIJING, CHINA (Premier Mandatory/Hard Court)
S: Caroline Wozniacki/DEN def. Anastasija Sevastova/LAT 6-3/6-3
D: Andrea S.-Hlavackova/Barbora Strycova (CZE/CZE) d. Gaby Dabrowski/Xu Yifan (CAN/CHN) 4-6/6-4 [10-8]



PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Caroline Wozniacki/DEN
...the Dane's season's has consisted of more than *just* her maiden slam title run in Melbourne, even if it sometimes hasn't seemed to be the case. For Wozniacki, with her Beijing win this week, 2018 has included three titles, four finals and four weeks at #1 (after a six-year absence). Her string of straight set victories over Belinda Bencic, Petra Martic, Anett Kontaveit, Katerina Siniakova, Wang Qiang and Anastasija Sevastova runs her season record to 40-15. She joins Wang (Guangzhou) as the only '18 singles champions to sweep every set on her way to a title.

But, for good reason, it seems as if Wozniacki has been "absent" for much of the season.

The reason is because the bulk of her season numbers came in the first half of the year, when she got off to a 31-9 start, winning the Australian Open and Eastbourne titles. As she was slowed by lingering (but not debilitating) injury issues, her three slam runs since January have delivered diminishing returns (4th/2nd/2nd), and she hasn't notched a Top 10 win since February. Sure, that's mostly because she hasn't actually *played* a Top 10 player (she only faced one Top 20 player -- Sevastova -- while winning a Premier Mandatory title this week), but much of that has been because of early-round defeats since her Eastbourne turn. Heading into Beijing, Wozniacki had gone just 3-6 since winning on the grass, losing five times to players ranked #35 or lower, while never seeing her own ranking fall below #2 since the first ranking Monday of the season (January 3) when she stood at #3.



Wozniacki's second China Open win (w/ 2010) gives her 30 tour-level singles title in her career, trying her with Tracy Austin for 17th on the all-time WTA list (breaking a tie with Hall of Famer Arantxa Sanchez, who won 29).

With the bulk of 2018's Player of the Year candidates (Halep, Kerber, Kvitova) either physically dragging themselves to the finish or tiring down the stretch, and with the crowning of Beijing's champions likely ruling out any late-dash candidacy (by Osaka or, say, Mertens/Schuurs), might the Dane have an eleventh hour opportunity to make a case for herself? With three titles, she's in the mix with the season's leaders, of which she's one of three maiden slam winners. She's the only player not named Simona to hold the #1 ranking this year, though since she has the defense of her '17 WTAF title on deck her chances to end the season there for the first time since 2011 probably aren't good. But with the Beijing win in her back pocket, Wozniacki *is* the only contending player still capable of ending her season with a big title haul should she pick her second consecutive win in Singapore (she's not scheduled to play any events in the two weeks leading into the WTAF).

Personally, I think Swarmette #1's overall '18 accomplishments, no matter the Dane's finish, will be difficult to top. But she could still make things interesting.
===============================================


RISER: Wang Qiang/CHN
...Wang has become a legitimate WTA star over the last three-plus months, and even while her Beijing run (when she became the first Chinese semifinalist at the event since Li Na in '12) came up short of producing the China Open's first home-grown singles finalist, the 26-year has carved out a niche for herself as the best player on tour from her country, and its first bona fide tennis star since the retirement of soon-to-be Hall of Famer Li.

23-6 in all tour-level matches since the end of Wimbledon, and 28-6 when you count her Asian Games Gold medal run, Wang's greatest hits just kept coming all week in Beijing. Amazingly, after *opening* with a double-bagel win over Alona Ostapenko things managed to somehow get even *better* for her. She followed up with two *more* Top 20 wins over Tokyo champ Karolina Pliskova and Wuhan winner Aryna Sabalenka, reaching the semis without dropping a set to post her fourth straight SF-or-better tour-level result since the U.S. Open, where she dumped out the first seed to lose (Magdalena Rybarikova) and reached the 3rd Round. Finally, worn down and facing the sort of opponent in Caroline Wozniacki that one doesn't want to face when you're worn down, Wang fell in straight sets to the Dane in what was her 18th match in the last 26 days. She'll climb to a new career high of #24 on Monday, and she's *still* not through with Asia or China -- she's in this week's Hong Kong draw.



===============================================
SURPRISE: Ons Jabeur/TUN
...while the 24-year old Tunisian's '18 hasn't had the sort of headline-worthy moment as her "first Arab woman to reach a slam 3rd Round" run last year at Roland Garros from last year, which led to her maiden Top 100 season, her first career #1 win (after a 6-1 1st set win over a retiring Simona Halep, now officially suffering from a back injury) at least provides the opportunity for a look back at a campaign which began on a bad note but has progressively picked up steam over the past ten months.



Last year in Beijing, Jabeur's qualifying defeat kicked off what turned out to be a seven-match losing streak that stretched into the new year. She lost her first five matches of '18, starting 1-9. Counting her successful Q-run at *this* year's event, and retirement win over Halep, she's gone a combined 29-14 since, putting up notable results on all surfaces. On clay, the '11 RG girls champ (and '10 jr. finalist) reached a tour-level QF (Bucharest) and $100K semi. She won the $100K Manchester title on grass, earning a Wimbledon wild card, and qualified at the year's final hard court slam at Flushing Meadows before recording her second career Top 10 win on the surface over the world #1 last weekend (at #116, she's the lowest-ranked opponent to advance past the top-ranked woman in nine years), a victory which followed Q-round wins over Monica Puig and Tatjana Maria. In the 2nd Round, she had chances against Donna Vekic, and at least made the Croat work. Vekic needed three SP to secure the 1st, and Jabeur rallied from a 5-0 2nd set deficit, breaking serve twice while Vekic served for the match. It took four MP to finally secure Jabeur's demise. She'll climb back into the Top 100 on Monday, with a chance to follow up or improve upon her career best season-ending finish (#88) from '17.

By the end of the event, she was being fondly recalled a smile by Naomi Osaka, as well. So, all in all, a banner week.


===============================================
VETERANS: Anastasija Sevastova/LAT and Zhang Shuai/CHN
...maybe Sevastova can finally think about adding a few other t-shirts to her closet, filling the space next to the ones have "I ❤ NY" emblazoned across the front.



This week Beijing hosted Sevastova's run to her seventh and biggest career final, the sixth since her un-retirement three seasons ago. Wins over Alize Cornet, Donna Vekic, Dominika Cibulkova and Naomi Osaka (her fourth Top 10 win of '18) all came without dropping a set, a run which came to an uncermonious end in a 3 & 3 loss in the final to Caroline Wozniacki. Still, Beijing was Sevastova's third final of the season, with each coming on a different surface (w/ Mallorca/grass and Bucharest/clay). She joins Kvitova and Sabalenka as the only players to reach finals on all three surfaces in 2018.



With the result, Sevastova rises to a new career high of #12, passing countrywoman Alona Ostapenko (who falls five spots to #18) to become the highest-ranked Latvian on tour.



Until the bitter end, or close to it, Zhang and countrywoman Wang Qiang put on quite a show for the home fans in Beijing. While Wang reached the semis, the first Chinese woman to do so in the event since 2012, Zhang's concurrent QF run gave the tournament *two* home stars in the final eight for the first time since 2006 (Li and Peng Shuai, who also fell, respectively, at the QF and SF stages). Zhang's week included victories over Elise Mertens, Timea Babos and Angelique Kerber (w/ a love 3rd set, her first Top 10 win of the season, sixth of her career, and first since early '17 in Doha). The 29-year old ultimately fell in the QF to Naomi Osaka, after having led 4-1 in the 3rd and served for the match, but even with such a disappointing finish the week maintained the rising level Zhang's results have shown since this summer. The stretch has included good results in doubles (U.S. Open SF and Hiroshima title), mixed doubles (U.S. Open SF) and singles (an additional QF in Nanchang). After a slow start to '18 (14-17), she's gone 15-8 since Wimbledon (w/ her Asian Games final run included), including an 8-3 4Q Asian swing.




===============================================
COMEBACK: Laura Siegemund/GER
...the 30-year old's comeback from knee surgery has gone fairly well so far. Ranked #142, she was in the Beijing MD via her protected ranking. While her 6-3/4-2 (ret.) 1st Round win over Dasha Kasatkina didn't come in the preferred fashion, it still ended what had been a five-matching losing streak. Siegemund's last win was in mid-August in the $60K Hechingen final, her second of back-to-back finals at the end of a 17-4 summer run that included three ITF finals, a title and two tour-level QF (Bucharest & Moscow). It was also the German's first victory over a Top 20 opponent (she'd been 0-4 in '18) since before her knee injury. She last recorded a Top 20 win (vs. Konta in Madrid) in what was her fifth straight match (all wins) vs. Top 20 foes in May of last year, as it came immediately after the Stuttgart title run that included consecutive defeats of then #9 Kuznetsova, #3 Ka.Pliskova, #5 Halep and #19 Mladenovic.



In Hong Kong, Siegemund lost in the final round of qualifing to Hungary's Fanny Stollar.
===============================================
FRESH FACES: Naomi Osaka/JPN and Aryna Sabalenka/BLR
...the Boom-Shaka-Osaka Redux final didn't come off in Beijing, but Osaka and Belarusian Boom both surely made their presence felt in China.

Osaka often battled herself, but figured out a way to dig out a QF win over Zhang Shuai after trailing 4-1 (with Zhang serving for the match) in the 3rd set of a two and a half hour contest, a rare '18 victory for the U.S. Open champ after losing the 1st set. Her fifth career Top 10 win had come in the 3rd Round over Julia Goerges, but Osaka (dealing with a back issue which hampered her movement) was never able to combat the varied game of Anastasiya Sevastova, who added another layer to her attack by piling up aces throughout the match. While she didn't become the first this year to advance to the singles finals in three straight events, Osaka is still the only player this season to reach at least the semis (I.W. champ) at two of the schedule's four Premier Mandatory events. She'll be at a career-best #4 in the coming week.



Sabalenka's WTA Finals hopes fell by the wayside in Beijing, but she still posted another QF-or-better result in Beijing, a Wuhan title run follow-up which included victories over Garbine Muguruza and defending champion Caroline Garcia, the latter in comeback fashion after trailing 7-5/5-2. The Belarusian couldn't overcome the defense and ability/willingness to stand up to her power that Wang Qiang displayed in her 7-5/7-5 win, but the 20-year old still improved to 22-5 since her San Jose qualifying loss two months ago and will rise to yet another career-high rank this week as she heads to Tianjin, moving up five spots to become the new #11 player in the world.




===============================================
DOWN: Simona Halep/ROU, Alona Ostapenko/LAT and Caroline Garcia/FRA
...is there any player who needs the offseason more than Halep? Ever since she rolled her ankle in Melbourne, 2018 has been a marathon in which she's had to stay one step ahead of her yelping body. In a way, it makes all that she's accomplished even that much more impressive. She's been #1 for all but four weeks, reached two major finals, claimed her maiden slam title, and came within a MP of a Montreal/Cincinnati sweep. After tweaking her back in a practice session in Wuhan, though, there was reason to worry (as is the case anytime "back injury" and "tennis player" are mentioned in the same sentence), and it proved to be legit as Halep retired in Beijing after just one set against Ons Jabeur with her back once again sending up flares over the stadium.



With her latest issue, revealed after an MRI as a herniated disc, one might think that the time may have arrived for Simona to consider an official '18 shutdown in order to give her '19 season a fighting chance to begin with a clean bill of health. As of now, though, it appears that she'll finish out the season. Just how *competitive* she'll be, though, remains to be seen.



Though she's holding onto a Top 20 ranking, reached a Premier Mandatory final (Miami) and slam semi (Wimbledon), won a tour doubles title and starred in Fed Cup, Latvian Thunder's season has had something of a "wanting" feel to it (especially as Naomi Osaka and Aryna Sabalenka have gone about answering so many questions about *their* games in recent weeks). Ostapenko's inconsistencies, service liabilities and lack of tactical development have gone largely unaddressed for months. Now, after losing by a shocking double-bagel scoreline to Wang Qiang in the 2nd Round in Beijing, we found out that Ostapenko is also dealing with a left wrist injury. While Halep *needs* the offseason to arrive, Ostapenko should be *looking forward* to it. With (hopefully) less distractions than she encountered between her '17 and '18 campaigns, it should provide a suitable time to reassess and take the appropriate action in order to follow up on the promise she showed two seasons ago. Big shots aren't going to be enough to consistently compete with the very best of Generation PDQ, and the Latvian *knows* that that (and more) should be goal. More depth is going to be necessary, and she should be on a worldwide search for "her Sascha Bajin" to help her figure out how to get it.



Two weeks ago, Garcia came into her back-to-back Wuhan/Beijing title defenses sporting a career-best #4 ranking. After failing to convert a MP in her 2nd Round match against Katerina Siniakova a week ago, then being unable to put away Aryna Sabalenka despite holding a 7-5/5-2 lead in the 3rd Round in Beijing the Pastry will fall to #15 in the new rankings. With the bulk of her career-best 4Q run from last fall well behind her, she's now gone a full year without a title (and still has her WTAF semifinals points to fall off). While Garcia hasn't dropped off the face of the singles earth quite like her former French doubles partner (currently holding onto a Top 50 ranking) essentially has in '18, Garcia's two most recent losses are precisely the sort of matches that she *won* while building herself into a Top 10 player. In an offseason surely to include quite a few new coaching announcements, the time might be near for Garcia to consider looking outside the family (her father's on-court visits have often seemed to have an *adverse* effect on her play in the season's final months) for assistance. Hmmm, if only her former Fed Cup Captain/Pastry Whisperer were available to once again help the player she seemed to take under her wing more than any other during her reign.
===============================================
ITF PLAYER: Madison Brengle/USA
...in Stockton, California it was 28-year old Brengle adding a third '18 ITF challenger title (her second $60K, to go along with a $100K win). The #1 seed, Brengle defeated Ashley Kratzer, Ann Li and #3 Sofya Zhuk to reach the final without dropping a set. Once there, she battled Danielle "The Little Giant" Lao for over two hours before winning a tight two-setter. Brengle had to play from behind the entire 2nd set, as Lao held three different break leads in the set, and twice served to send things to a 3rd. In a momentum-exchanging tie-break, Lao took a mini-break lead at 1-0, then Brengle won three straight points, then Lao won four, and Brengle two more. Ultimately, Lao held four SP, only to see Brengle finally wrestle away the advantage and win on her second MP, taking the match by a 7-5/7-6(10) score in 2:07.



Brengle, now with 13 career circuit titles, has won eight consecutive ITF finals dating back to 2014. Since it became public in April that she'd filed a lawsuit vs. the ITF & WTA for being injured due to drug testing procedures she's thrived, going 29-12.

For her part, while she still hasn't won an ITF since title since 2015, 27-year old Lao has had what might be considered her career year in 2018. She's posted successful Q-runs in tour events in Nottingham and San Jose, as well as the U.S. Open, and reached a 125 Series QF in April. In Stockton, she put up wins over #4 Marie Bouzkova, Whitney Osuigwe and #2 Jessica Pegula.

#95 Brengle, looking to complete her fifth consecutive Top 100 season, will inch into the Top 90 with the result, while Lao will jump from #218 to #194, just one off her career-best rank.
===============================================
JUNIOR STAR: Lyubov Kostenko/UKR
...the 15-year old, just off her run to the Junior Fed Cup 16s team final (she opened with a win over Alexa Noel, but UKR fell to the U.S. in the deciding doubles), advanced to the singles and doubles finals in her pro circuit debut in the $15K challenger in Chomomorsk, Ukraine.



Kostenko lost to 20-year old countrywoman Anastasiya Shoshyna, who picked up her second straight ITF crown while also winning the doubles, but it was a pro debut nearly (but also not hardly) on par with that of her 15-year old Jr. FC teammate, Dasha Lopatetskaya, who remains undefeated (11-0) in her pro career after winning the title at her first two ITF events earlier this season. On the junior level in 2018, Kostenko has won four singles titles in seven finals on various level (1-1 G2, 0-2 G3, 1-0 G4, 2-0 G5) and picked up seven doubles wins (1 G2, 3 G3, 1 G4, 2 G5).
===============================================


DOUBLES: Andrea S.-Hlavackova/Barbora Strycova, CZE/CZE
...the veteran #2-seeded Czechs -- perhaps gearing up for a role in the Fed Cup final? -- swept to their second '18 title as a duo (in their fifth Premier-level final of the season, and their biggest together so far) defeating the likes of #6-seeded Klepac/Martinez Sanchez, #4 Mertens/Schuurs and #3 Dabrowski/Xu Yifan, the latter in a 10-8 match tie-break in the Beijing final. For Strycova, it's her second Premier Mandatory title of the season, having won Indian Wells in a first-time partnership run with Hsieh Su-wei in the spring. It's Strycova's 23rd career title (tenth active), and Hlavackova's 27th (sixth). Hlavackova has reached three China Open finals with three different partners in the last five years, winning with Peng Shuai (2014) and being a runner-up with Timea Babos (2017).

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Totally DONE ??

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WHEELCHAIR: --
...no "official" wheelchair winner this week, as the scheduled Series 1 event originally set to take place in France was cancelled. But the Asian Para Games have kicked off in Jakarta this weekend, with Yui Kamiji the top-seeded woman in the singles event. Four years ago in South Korea, she picked up the Bronze. Thailand's Sakhorn Khanthasit is seeking her third consecutive Gold in the event.
===============================================


The Canadian Picasso?

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Tried something new ???? #callmepicasso

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Early Swiss Miss...






1. Beijing Final - Caroline Wozniacki def. Anastasija Sevastova
...6-3/6-3.
The anti-"Shock & Awe" final (i.e. no Chinese woman, nor either side of "Boom-shaka-Osaka") in Beijing played out just as one might have expected, with Wozniacki matter-of-factly getting the better of a foe with a similar, but not quite as big-title worthy, game style.
===============================================


2. Beijing QF - Wang Qiang def. Aryna Sabalanka
...7-5/7-5.
Wang fought the power, often forcing Sabalenka to hit multiple extra shots per points, and walked away with her third straight Top 20 win, ending the Belarusian's attempt to reach back-to-back Wuhan & Beijing finals, something already pulled off three times since the introduction of the Wuhan event in 2014, by Kvitova ('14), Muguruza ('15) and Garcia ('17).
===============================================
3. Beijing 3rd Rd. - Aryna Sabalenka def. Caroline Garcia
...5-7/7-6(3)/6-0.
With this result, defending champ Garcia officially slipped off the 4Q surging Top 10 riser crown that graced her head late in '17, with conqueror Sabalenka one more big result from taking her turn in the role. The Pastry led 7-5/5-2, but was unable to stop the Belarusian's momentum once she started to role late in the 2nd set.



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4. Beijing 3rd Rd. - Katerina Siniakova def. Kiki Bertens
...6-4/6-3.
Want a brief glimpse into the mindset of Siniakova? This was her reaction after a point in a match that she was leading 6-4/3-1.



Czech, please.
===============================================


5. Beijing 1st Round - Ons Jabeur def. Simona Halep
...6-1 ret.).
For good reason, Jabeur just didn't think it was right to celebrate what was technically her biggest career victory.


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6. Beijing 2nd Rd. - Wang Qiang def. Alona Ostapenko
...6-0/6-0.
Ostapenko's first career double-bagel loss, topping her previous career-worst scorelines (2 games won) vs. Kirsten Flipkens (6-2/6-0 - 2015 Istanbul), Tsvetana Pironkova (6-0/6-2 - 2016 Fed Cup) and Petra Kvitova (6-0/6-2 - 2018 Saint Petersburg).


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7. $25K Brisbane AUS Final - Xu Shilin def. Ellen Perez
...6-4/6-3.
Four years ago (well, not quite, as the event was held in August that year... but just go with it), then 16-year old Xu won the Gold in the girls singles at the Youth Olympic Games. The 2018 version of the competition opens in Buenos Aires this week, with fellow Chinese Wang Xiyu the #1 seed in the event. Xu's win in the '14 event in Nanchang began a 17-match, three tournament title winning streak for the one-time #1-ranked junior (she finished '14 at #2 behind CiCi Bellis). Now 20, this is Xu's first singles title of any kind since that stretch.
===============================================
8. $25K Lagos NGR Final - Pranjala Yadlapalli def. Conny Perrin
...2-6/7-5/6-0.
The 19-year old Indian teen wins her second pro singles title.


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HM- $15K Antalya TUR Final - Oona Orpana def. Alexandra Viktorovitch
...6–3/2–6/7–5.
An all-Scandinavian battle between 17-year old first-time finalists in Turkey. Fin Orpana -- with consecutive wins over the #5, #1 and #3 seeds -- defeated Swede Viktorovitch for her maiden title, and claimed her first pro WD title, as well, along with Latvian Alise Cernecka via a win over two more regional opponents -- Viktorovitch and countrywoman Lisa Zaar.


===============================================






1. Beijing QF - NAOMI OSAKA def. Zhang Shuai
...3-6/6-4/7-5.
Osaka served poorly for much of the match, and was stressed, frustrated and upset. Even after emerging, in Serena-esque fashion, from her funk and staging a comeback from 4-1 down in the 3rd, with Zheng serving at 5-3, she apologized to her opponent/friend for her behavior (something we know she *didn't* learn from her idol). This was just Osaka's second win this season after dropping the 1st set (she's undefeated after taking the match lead). She lost in straights in the next round, dropping to 2-17 after falling behind.


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2. Beijing SF - Anastasija Sevastova def. NAOMI OSAKA
...6-4/6-4.
Osaka seemed about to recover from being BP down while trailing 4-2 in the 2nd. She held, took a MTO to treat her back, saved a GP (via a Sevastova DF, immediately after the Latvian's ninth ace of the day) and broke for 4-4. But she failed to hold her own serve, and Sevastova served out the win.
===============================================
3. Beijing 3rd Rd. - Wang Qiang def. KAROLINA PLISKOVA
...6-4/6-4.
From 4-1 down in the 3rd, Wang (or "Qiang," as the beIN studio host referred to her in and out of breaks during the match, apparently not grasping the whole Chinese surname-comes-first thing) notched her second straight 4Q win over the Czech. Since her U.S. Open QF run, Pliskova has gone 6-0 vs. everyone else, but 0-2 vs. Wang.
===============================================


HM- $15K Sharm El Sheikh Final - ALEKSANDRA (Ola) PITAK/KATARZYNA (Kasia) PITAK def. Nikola Breckova/Martina Fricova
...6-2/6-1.
The British sisters (age 17 and 20, respectively) pick up their second straight ITF crown. Both also reach the QF in singles. Hmmm, I wonder if their new success will give them less time to produce music video covers and how-to tutorials on YouTube?




Win or lose, the "O.K.K.O. Sisters" (for Ola-Kasia, Kasia-Ola, I'm thinking) have trust (and precision) on their side. Yeah, "trust"... that's the word for it. (Oww.)

===============================================


Returns...





And memories...








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@biutifulbyfratelli #beautifulplace??

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???????

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*2018 WTA TITLES*
5 - Petra Kvitova, CZE
3 - Simona Halep, ROU
3 - CAROLINE WOZNIACKI, DEN
3 - Elina Svitolina, UKR
3 - Kiki Bertens, NED
3 - Elise Mertens, BEL
[2016-18]
9 - Elina Svitolina = 1/5/3
8 - Petra Kvitova = 2/1/5
7 - Simona Halep = 3/1/3
7 - CAROLINE WOZNIACKI = 2/2/3
7 - Karolina Pliskova = 2/3/2
6 - Kiki Bertens = 1/2/3
5 - Angelique Kerber = 3/0/2
5 - Sloane Stephens = 3/1/1

*2018 WTA CHAMPIONS w/o SET LOST*
[singles]
Guangzhou - Wang Qiang, CHN
BEIJING - CAROLINE WOZNIACKI, DEN
[doubles]
Sydney - Dabrowski/Xu Yifan, CAN/CHN
Taipei City - Duan/Wang Yafan, CHN/CHN
Istanbul - Liang Chen/Zhang Shuai, CHN/CHN
Nanchang - Jiang/Tang, CHN/CHN
San Jose - L.Chan/Peschke, TPE/CZE
Hiroshima - Hozumi/Sh.Zhang, JPN/CHN

*RECENT TOP 10 DEBUTS*
=2017=
Elina Svitolina, UKR
Alona Ostapenko, LAT
Caroline Garcia, FRA
Kristina Mladenovic, FRA
CoCo Vandeweghe, USA
=2018=
Julia Goerges, GER
Sloane Stephens, USA
Naomi Osaka, JPN
Kiki Bertens, NED

*DUTCH TOP 10ers - by debut season*
1976 Betty Stove (career high: #5, 1977)
1996 Brenda Schultz-McCarthy (#6, 1996)
2018 Kiki Bertens (#10, 2018)

*MOST ALL-TIME CAREER WTA TITLES*
167...Martina Navratilova
154...Chris Evert
107...Steffi Graf
92...Margaret Smith-Court
72...Serena Williams
68...Evonne Goolagong
67...Billie Jean King
55...Lindsay Davenport
55...Virginia Wade
53...Monica Seles
49...Venus Williams
43...Justine Henin
43...Martina Hingis
41...Kim Clijsters
36...Maria Sharapova
33...Conchita Martinez
30...Tracy Austin
30...CAROLINE WOZNIACKI
29...Arantxa Sanchez Vicario
27...Hana Mandlikova
27...Gabriela Sabatini

*#50+ def. #1 - since 2005*
#226 - 2009 Beijing 2r - Zhang Shuai d. Safina
#188 - 2008 U.S. Open 2r - Coin d. Ivanovic
#133 - 2005 Indian Wells F - Clijsters d. Davenport
#133 - 2008 Wimbledon 3r - Zheng Jie d. Ivanovic
#132 - 2009 Tokyo 2r - Chang Kai-chen d. Safina
#116 - 2018 BEIJING 1r - JABEUR d. HALEP
#95 - 2009 Marbella 1r - Zakopalova d. S.Williams
#94 - 2008 Montreal 3r - Paszek d. Ivanovic
#78 - 2014 Charleston 2r - Cepelova d. S.Williams
#76 - 2011 Cincinnati 2r - McHale d. Wozniacki
#73 - 2011 Bastad 2r - Arvidsson d. Wozniacki
#68 - 2017 Rome 2r - Kontaveit d. Kerber
#52 - 2009 U.S. Open 3r - Kvitova d. Safina

*2018 WTA FINALS*
6 - Simona Halep, ROU (3-3)
5 - Petra Kvitova, CZE (5-0)
4 - CAROLINE WOZNIACKI, DEN (3-1)
4 - Kiki Bertens, NED (3-1)
4 - Aryna Sabalenka, BLR (2-2)
3 - Elina Svitolina, UKR (3-0)
3 - Elise Mertens, BEL (3-0)
3 - Naomi Osaka, JPN (2-1)
3 - ANASTASIJA SEVASTOVA, LAT (1-2)
3 - Sloane Stephens, USA (1-2)
3 - Mihaela Buzarnescu, ROU (1-2)
[2015-18]
19 - 5/3/5/6 Halep (10-9)
17 - 3/2/8/4 WOZNIACKI (8-9)
16 - 5/8/1/2 Kerber (9-7)
15 - 6/4/3/1 Ka.Pliskova (8-7)
13 - 4/3/1/5 Kvitova (11-2)
13 - 5/5/1/2 S.Williams (8-5)
12 - 1/3/5/3 Svitolina (10-2)
[active]
94...Serena Williams (2018:2)
83...Venus Williams (0)
59...Maria Sharapova (0)
54...CAROLINE WOZNIACKI (4)
41...Svetlana Kuznetsova (1)
36...Victoria Azarenka (0)

*2018 WTA WD FINALS*
5...Mertens/Schuurs, BEL/NED (3-2)
5...S.-HLAVACKOVA/STRYCOVA, CZE/CZE (2-3)
4...Krejcikova/Siniakova, CZE/CZE (2-2)
4...Babos/Mladenovic, HUN/FRA (2-2)
4...Klepac/Martinez-Sanchez, SLO/ESP (1-3)
3...DABROWSKI/XU YIFAN, CAN/CHN (2-1)
3...Makarova/Vesnina, RUS/RUS (1-2)
3...Melichar/Peschke, USA/CZE (1-2)
[individuals]
9...Demi Schuurs, NED (7-2)
6...Elise Mertens, BEL (4-2)
6...BARBORA STRYCOVA, CZE (3-3)
6...ANDREA S.-HLAVACKOVA, CZE (2-4)
5...Ekaterina Makarova, RUS (2-3)

*CAREER WTA WD TITLES - active*
41 - Sania Mirza, IND (2018:0)
39 - Katarina Srebotnik, SLO (2)
30 - Kveta Peschke, CZE (2)
29 - Latisha Chan, TPE (1)
27 - Sara Errani, ITA (1)
27 - ANDREA S.-HLAVACKOVA, CZE (2)
26 - Bethanie Mattek-Sands, USA (0)

*2016-18 WTA DOUBLES TITLES*
15 - Latisha Chan, TPE (3/11/1)
14 - Martina Hingism, SUI (5/9 ret.)
12 - ANDREA S.-HLAVACKOVA, CZE (4/6/2)
9 - Bethanie Mattek-Sands, USA (5/4/0)
9 - Sania Mirza, IND (8/1/0)
8 - Timea Babos, HUN (0/6/2)
8 - Kiki Bertens, NED (3/4/1)
8 - Johanna Larsson, SWE (4/4/0)
8 - Ekatarina Makarova, RUS (3/3/2)
8 - Demi Schuurs, NED (0/1/7)

*2018 WTA SF*
8 - Simona Halep, ROU (6-1+L)
6 - Petra Kvitova, CZE (5-1)
6 - Mihaela Buzarnescu, ROU (3-3)
6 - ANASTASIJA SEVASTOvA, LAT (3-3)
5 - CAROLINE WOZNIACKI, DEN (4-1)
5 - Aryna Sabalenka, BLR (4-1)
5 - NAOMI OSAKA, JPN (3-2)
5 - Elise Mertens, BEL (3-2)
5 - Ash Barty, AUS (2-3)
5 - Angelique Kerber, GER (2-3)
5 - Julia Goerges, GER (2-3)
5 - WANG QIANG, CHN (2-3)

*2018 PREMIER MANDATORY/PREMIER 5 CHAMPIONS*
Doha - Petra Kvitova, CZE
Indian Wells - Naomi Osaka, JPN
Miami - Sloane Stephens, USA
Madrid - Petra Kvitova, CZE (2)
Rome - Elina Svitolina, UKR
Montreal - Simona Halep, ROU
Cincinnati - Kiki Bertens, NED
Wuhan - Aryna Sabalenka, BLR
Beijing - Caroline Wozniacki, DEN
[doubles]
Doha - Dabrowski/Ostapenko, CAN/LAT
Indian Wells - Hsieh/Strycova, TPE/CZE
Miami - Barty/Vandeweghe, AUS/USA
Madrid - Makarova/Vesnina, RUS/RUS
Rome - Barty/Schuurs, AUS/NED
Montreal - Barty (3)/Schuurs, AUS/NED
Cincinnati - Hradecka/Makarova (2), CZE/RUS
Wuhan - Mertens/Schuurs (3), BEL/NED
Beijing - S.-Hlavackova/Strycova (2), CZE/CZE





Trends...




View this post on Instagram

1 + 1 = 4 ?? #????? #family

A post shared by Yaroslava Shvedova (@yaroslavashvedova) on





And, geez, hold your horses (or maybe your 'roos?), mate...








TIANJIN, CHINA (Int'l/Hard Court)
=WS FINALS=
2014 Riske d. Bencic
2015 A.Radwanska d. Kovinic
2016 Peng Shuai d. Riske
2017 Sharapova d. Sabalenka
=WD FINALS=
2014 Kudryavtseva/An.Rodionova d. Cirstea/Klepac
2015 Xu Yifan/Zheng d. Jurak/Melichar Saisai
2016 McHale/Peng Shuai d. Linette/Xu Yifan
2017 Begu/Errano d. Jakupovic/Stojanovic
=======================================
'18 TOP SEEDS
WS: #1 Ka.Pliskova, #2 Garcia
WD: #1 Begu/Krejcikova, #2 Dabrowski/Xu Yifan



HONG KONG, CHINA (Int'l/Hard Court)
=WS FINALS=
1980 Turnbull d. Louie
1981 Turnbull d. Simmonds
1982 Jexell d. Moulton
1983-92 not held
1993 Wang Shi-ting d. Witmeyer
1994-13 not held
2014 Lisicki d. Ka.Pliskova
2015 Jankovic d. Kerber
2016 Wozniacki d. Mladenovic
2017 Pavlyuchenkova d. Gavrilova
=WD FINALS=
1980 Turnbull/Walsh d. Urroz/Johnson
1981 Kiyomura/Walsh d. Hobbs/Leo
1982 Moulton/DuPont d. Vermaak/Mundel-Reinbold
1983-92 not held
1993 Kschwendt/McQuillan d. Graham/Witmeyer
1994-13 not held
2014 Pliskova/Pliskova d. Mayr-Achleitner/Ar.Rodionova
2015 Cornet/Shvedova d. Arruabarrena/Klepac
2016 Chan/Chan d. Broady/Watson
2017 Chan/Chan d. Lu Jiajing/Wang Qiang
=======================================
'18 TOP SEEDS
WS: #1 Svitolina, #2 Osaka (w/d), #3 Ostapenko
WD: #1 A.Chan/Yang Zhaoxuan, #2 Rosolska/Spears



LINZ, AUSTRIA (Int'l/Hard Court Indoor)
=WS FINALS=
1987 Paulus d. Krajcovicova
1988 Svvglerova d. Maruska
1990 Maruska d. Kschwendt
1990 Kratochvilova d. Bueche
1991 Maleeva-Fragniere d. Langrova
1992 Medvedeva d. Paradis-Mangon
1993 Maleeva-Fragniere d. C. Martinez
1994 Appelmans d. Babel
1995 Novotna d. Rittner
1996 Appelmans d. Halard
1997 Rubin d. Habsudova
1998 Novotna d. van Roost
1999 Pierce d. Testud
2000 Davenport d. V.Williams
2001 Davenport d. Dokic
2002 Henin d. Stevenson
2003 Sugiyama d. Petrova
2004 Mauresmo d. Bovina
2005 Petrova d. Schnyder
2006 Sharapova d. Petrova
2007 Hantuchova d.Schnyder
2008 Ivanovic d. Zvonareva
2009 Wickmayer d.Kvitova
2010 Ivanovic d. Schnyder
2011 Kvitova d. Cibulkova
2012 Azarenka d. Goerges
2013 Kerber d. Ivanovic
2014 Pliskova d. Giorgi
2015 Pavlyuchenkova d. Friedsam
2016 Cibulkova d. Golubic
2017 Strycova d. Rybarikova
=WD FINALS=
1987 Hentschi/Schuerhoff
1988 Maruska/Ritter
1990 Dechaume/Paradis
1990 Chaldkova/Kratochvilova
1991 Maleeva-Fragniere/Reggi
1992 Kiene/Oremans
1993 Maniokova/Meskhi
1994 Maniokova/Meskhi
1995 McGrath/Tauziat
1996 Bollegraf/McGrath
1997 Fusai/Tauziat
1998 Fusai/Tauziat
1999 Spirlea/Vis
2000 Mauresmo/Rubin
2001 Dokic/Petrova
2002 Dokic/Petrova
2003 Horn-Huber/Sugiyama
2004 Husarova/Likhovtseva
2005 Dulko/H.-Peschke
2006 Raymond/Stosur
2007 Black/Huber
2008 Srebotnik/Sugiyiama
2009 Groenefeld/Srebotnik
2010 Voracova/Z.-Strycova
2011 Erakovic/Vesnina
2012 Groenefeld/Peschke
2013 Pliskova/Pliskova
2014 Olaru/Tatishvili
2015 Kops-Jones/Spears
2016 Bertens/Larsson
2017 Bertens/Larsson
=======================================
'18 TOP SEEDS
WS: #1 Goerges, #2 Bertens
WD: #1 Atawo/Groenefeld, #2 L.Kichenok/Srebotnik



YOUTH OLYMPIC GAMES (Buenos Aires, ARG)
=GS FINALS=
2010 GOLD: Dasha Gavrilova/RUS d. Zheng Saisai/CHN
2010 BRONZE: Jana Cepelova/SVK d. Timea Babos/HUN
2014 GOLD: Xu Shilin/CHN d. Iryna Shymanovich/BLR
2014 BRONZE: Akvile Parazinskaite/LTU d. Anhelina Kalinina/UKR
=GD=
2010 GOLD: Zheng Saisai/Tang Haochen d. Jana Cepelova/Chantal Skamlova
2010 BRONZE: Timea Babos/An-Sophie Mestach d. Dasha Gavrilova/Yulia Putintseva
2014 GOLD: Anhelina Kalinina/Iryna Shymanovich d. Dasha Kasatkina/Anastasiya Komardina
2014 BRONZE: Alona Ostapenko/Akvile Parazinskaite d. Sonya Kenin/Renata Zarazua
=MX=
2014 GOLD: Jil Teichmann/Jan Zielinski d. Ye Qiuyu/Jumpei Yamasaki
2014 BRONZE: Fanny Stollar/Kamil Majchrzak d. Ioana Ducu/Matias Zukas
=======================================
'18 TOP SEEDS
WS: #1 Wang Xiyu, #2 Liang En-shuo
WD: #1 Wang Xinyu/Wang Xiyu, #2 Juvan/Swiatek

...it should be quite the competition in the third edition of the Youth Olympic Games, as the likes of three of 2018's junior slam champs (Wang Xiyu, Liang En-shuo and Iga Swiatek) join Kaja Juvan, Wang Xinyu, Maria Camila Osorio Serrano, Clara Burel, Alexa Noel, Maria Carle and others in a contest to reach the medal stand.

In the inaugural event eight years ago, while still representing Russia, a 16-year old Dasha Gavrilova defeated Zheng Saisai in the final in Singapore. Unseeded, Gavrilova's highlight win was a straight sets victory over #1-seeded Elina Svitolina in the 2nd Round.



And, finally...



Also... it caught my eye, eventually, while perusing the Pitak sisters videos, and I thought it was mighty interesting...



All for now.

8 Comments:

Blogger colt13 said...

Pitak sisters videos are interesting.

Hong Kong seems to be the most interesting event this week. With all of the pullouts(3 LL), this is a mess. All of the out of form players playing each other, and the inform players may be out of gas. Expecting odd results.

Van Uytvanck has a 7 match losing streak.

Halep still plans to play Moscow, hoping she pulls out at first sign of discomfort.

Vandeweghe in doubles YEC. A threat if healthy.

Stat of the Week-4- Doubles titles won by Elise Mertens this season.

If Mertens won this week, next week, and the YEC, she would have 7 titles. Unlikely, but she pulled off that miracle, it would be the most from a Belgian woman since Clijsters won 7 in 2003, a season in which she reached 10 finals.

Surprisingly, Belgium went through a long drought in doubles. After 2003, Els Callens reached 5 finals in 2004(1-4), then won her home tournament of Antwerp in 2005. There then was an 8 year gap until Belgium's next title as Wickmayer/Vogt won Luxembourg in 2013.

Even winning 2 titles was a big deal, as Ysaline Bonaventure did so in 2015, even winning Katowice with Demi Schuurs.


Quiz Time!
Naomi Osaka qualified for the YEC. What year was the last time a woman from Japan played a singles match there? Not a trick question, but notice the wording.

A.2007
B.2008
C.1996
D.2003















Answer!

(B) 2008 is wrong, but it is the last time that a woman from Japan was at the YEC, as Ai Sugiyama was in doubles.

(A) 2007 is also wrong, but the last time anyone from Japan reached the final, as Sugiyama/Srebotnik reached the doubles final.

To some peoples surprise (C) 1996 is also wrong, although when Kimiko Date made the field of 16, it was the last time a Japanese woman directly qualified in singles.

This makes (D) 2003 the correct answer, with a twist. With an 8 player field, Ai Sugiyama didn't initially qualify, but stop me if you have heard this before- Serena and Venus both pulled out, as well as Davenport, letting the 11th ranked Sugiyama into the field. She beat Henin, but lost her other two matches and was eliminated. But as a tie in to the Stat of the Week, she reached the doubles final with Clijsters.

Sun Oct 07, 08:34:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Todd.Spiker said...

*Every* time I see the "target practice" video (yes, I've watched it a few times) I wince.

Quiz: Aha! I got it (I'm on to you now! Haha!), as I figured Date likely qualified in '96, but Sugiyama would have been the most most recent singles player (as an alternate getting playing time), and I picked 2003 because I figured it'd be earlier in her career when she had more singles success.

Of course now I'll terribly miss on the next quiz. :]

Mon Oct 08, 12:26:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Leif Mortensen said...

Time for being positive again for Woz. Did you know about her obsession with her lucky number - 8? Infinity if turn it. 8 years ago she won first Beijing title becoming #1 during that week.It's 2018. It's her 40th victory this year (5 x 8).Her engagement ring is 8 karat. Many of us thought she would get married at 8th of August. By the way her victory was the day ebfore the 8th. How is about the stars and superstition? How much do you now about that - could be fun to know.
By the way I saw all her matches of course and the last 2½ she was playing with her brain in the front seat - she knew excactly how to play her opponent, that's why she won together with her consistency is back together with precision. Very improved servespeed.

Mon Oct 08, 04:22:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Leif Mortensen said...

One more thing of interest. Every time she's beaten Petra Martic she's either won the tournament or been in the finals - great?

Mon Oct 08, 04:47:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Todd.Spiker said...

All that sounds familiar, Leif. I think you must have done an "8"-centric list like that on another occasion when the numbers and a Caro title lined up.

Yeah, this could be very good timing, to have recollected herself at a time in the season when so many other top players are shadows of their previous '18 selves could lead to a great finish for her.

In January I had picked her to lead the tour in titles, but since it looks like she'll only be in one more event she could only get to 4, which would still be one off Kvitova's 5. :(

Mon Oct 08, 12:18:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Leif Mortensen said...

Injuries has been the key to her non results together with rising stars getting better and better. As you have said before many in top 100 can beat the topplayers on a good day. A bit of luck and the opposite is also among the reasons together with a mental low. Maybe I'vetold you about her obsession about 8 -but what about other players? Osaka had the same playlist in CHina open until she lost. She is always clapping her leg and touching her cap before she serve -small rituals but fun to know about -well at least I think;)

Mon Oct 08, 01:11:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Todd.Spiker said...

You know, clever little video segments about things like that could be included on the (quite long by now) "WTA Marketing Campaigns/Tactics That Will Never Happen" list. ;)

Mon Oct 08, 04:01:00 PM EDT  
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Fri Nov 09, 02:28:00 AM EST  

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