Sunday, October 21, 2018

Wk.42- To Russia with Dasha

For 2018, the moments just keep on coming.

MOSCOW, RUSSIA (KREMLIN CUP) (Premier/Hard Court Indoor)
S: Dasha Kasatkina/RUS def. Ons Jabeur/TUN 2-6/7-6(3)/6-4
D: Alexandrova Panova/Laura Siegemund (RUS/GER) d. Darija Jurak/Raluca Olaru (SLO/ROU) 6-2/7-6(2)
LUXEMBOURG, LUXEMBOURG (Int'l/Hard Court Indoor)
S: Julia Goerges/GER def. Belinda Bencic/SUI 6-4/7-5
D: Alison Van Uytvanck/Greet Minnen (BEL/BEL) d. Mandy Minella/Vera Lapko (LUX/BLR) 7-6(3)/6-2

...while she's still got many items to cross off her list (and she may well take care of many of those in the not too distant future), Kasatkina accomplished one of her dreams this weekend in Moscow at the Kremlin Cup.

Winning on Russian soil has always been an important thing for the swashbuckling shotmaker. All you need to do is look at her results in events in her home country over the years to recognize the tangible (and proverbial) "proof in the pudding":

KREMLIN CUP SINGLES: '15 SF, '16 QF, '17 RU, '18 W

Kasaskina's Kremlin Cup title run this week was one constructed of many moments. A 1st Round win over Lesia Tsurenko was followed by a comeback win over Alize Cornet from a set and a break down, and ignited after coach Philippe Dehaes implored her to become "The Russian Wall."

A win over countrywoman Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova included *this* shot (Dasha always has at least one -- or three or four, really -- points like this *every* match, it seems)...

In her fifth career final (third of '18), Kasatkina trailed Ons Jabeur 6-2/4-1 and looked about to come up one win short of a title in Moscow for the second straight year. Then...

The rest, as they say, is history.

Career tour title #2 made Kasatkina the sixth different Russian woman to win the Kremlin Cup singles, after players named Myskina(2), Chakvetadze, Dementieva, Pavlyuchenkova and Kuznetsova(2), and it installs her as the first alternate at this week's WTA Finals in Singapore. At #12, she's got a chance to finish off what could still be her first Top 10 campaign on a confidence-building high that could set her up for an even *better* 2019 (remember, until this weekend she was the highest-ranked player on tour without a singles title in '18).

Fear the Kasatkina indeed.

RISERS: Anastasija Sevastova/LAT and Johanna Konta/GBR
...a year after Alona Ostapenko's Top 10 finish, Sevastova is threatening to follow in her countrywoman's footsteps. The 28-year old's second half run added another big result at the Kremlin Cup, as after coming back from 3-1 down in the 2nd and 3rd sets to defeat Magdalena Rybarikova in the 1st Round she followed up with wins over Yulia Putintseva and Vera Zvonareva to reach the semifinals. The result pushed the world #11 past Aryna Sabelenka into the first alternate spot for Singapore, then saw Dasha Kasatkina's title run push *her* back to the second alternate slot.

No matter, as she'll still have a chance to make a final Top 10 surge in Zhuhai. The Latvian has reached at least the semis in three of her last four events, and has gone 27-10 since her appearance in the Mallorca final this summer. That run has included a title in Bucharest, another final in Beijing, SF at the U.S. Open and Kremlin Cup, and QF at Montreal and the Moscow Cup.

With her coaching relationship once again in flux, Konta hooked up with potential '19 collaborator Dimitri Zavialoff in Moscow. Whether it means anything for her future, things went pretty well for the Brit (who'd entered riding a three-match losing streak), as she reached just her second semifinal of the season (w/ Nottingham) by stringing together impressive wins over Elise Mertens, Dasha Gavrilova and Aliaksandra Sasnovich, the latter via a 3rd set TB. This was just her second three-win event since her Wimbledon SF run last season, and her first semi on anything other than English soil since she won the Miami title with back-to-back-to-back wins over Halep, Venus and Wozniacki in '17. Ultimately, she faced off with one Dasha too many in Moscow, falling to eventual champion Kasatkina. Konta will inch back into the Top 40 with the result. A far cry from her back-to-back Top 10 seasons of 2016-17, for sure, but an encouraging sign as she heads into the offseason looking to put this disappointing campaign in her rear view mirror.

SURPRISES: Greet Minnen & Alison Van Uytvanck, BEL/BEL
...2018 has seen Van Uytvanck and Minnen go public with their two year relationship *and* both put together what have been their best tennis seasons ever. This weekend in Luxembourg, in their first tour-level tournament as a duo (as a WC entry), both Belgian Waffles picked up their maiden WTA WD title with a straight sets win in the final over Mandy Minella & Vera Lapko. The only set they lost all week came in the 1st Round, when they had to go to a 3rd set match tie-break to defeat #4 seeds Dalila Jakupovic & Renata Voracova. They advanced past #2 seeds Kirsten Flipkens & Johanna Larsson, last week's winners in Linz, via a 2nd set retirement in the semis.

Even before this weekend, when #512-ranked WD player Van Uytvanck and #723 Minnen won their first doubles crowns, 2018 has been very good for the couple. Van Uytvanck, 24, reached her career singles high (#37) earlier this year, won the Budapest title, got her first career Top 10 win (#3 Muguruza at Wimbledon) and reached the Round of 16 in London. At #48 this week, she's on course for what would be her second Top 50 finish, and her first since 2015. Meanwhile, 21-year old Minnen has posted 50+ singles wins this season and picked up a career-best four $15K ITF titles.
VETERANS: Julia Goerges/GER and Vera Zvonareva/RUS
...when the days get shorter and colder, and things begin to move indoors. That's when Goerges comes out to play.

Over the past two seasons, while she's also reached a slam SF ('18 SW19) and won a title in Auckland (this January), the rise of the soon to be 30-year old German into the Top 10 has been fueled by her results on indoor hard courts in the closing months of the WTA season. Last year, she recorded an undefeated (9-0) fall indoor campaign, taking titles at the Kremlin Cup and Elite Trophy in Zhuhai. This week, Goerges was at it again, taking her third late-season title in the last year in Luxembourg to improve her 2017-18 4Q indoor HC mark to 14-1 (19-3 if you also include her '17 results in Budapest and Biel). This past week, Goerges posted wins over Viktoria Kuzmova, Anna Blinkova, Donna Vekic, Genie Bouchard (the Canadian got within two points of the win) and Belinda Bencic in the final. She's likely still got some work to do to complete her first Top 10 campaign (she finished #14 in '17, and enters Week 43 at #10), as she won't be in Singapore and will have to defend her crown in Zhuhai with the likes of #11 Anastasija Sevastova and #12 Dasha Kasatkina (both WTAF alternates) hot on her trail.

In Moscow, an additional paragraph was added to one of the more under the radar injury/retirement/motherhood-related comeback stories of '18, as 34-year old Zvonareva added still another "first (fill-in-the-blank accomplishment) since..." honor to her season. In this case, the two-time slam finalist and former #2-ranked Russian vet, after making her way through qualifying in the Kremlin Cup event at which she reached the singles final a decade ago, won the doubles fourteen years ago and reached a WD final *fifteen* years ago reached the QF after posting MD wins over Irina Khromacheva and #5 Karolina Pliskova, with the latter win over the Czech being Zvonareva's first over a Top 10 player since 2011 (#1 Wozniacki at the WTA Championships), checking off one of my more obscure preseason predictions, by the way (thanks, Vera!). Zvonareva served for a spot in the semis at 6-4/5-4 against Anastasija Sevastova, only to fall to the Latvian in three. Previous items item on the Hordette's list of '18 highlights have included her first WTA doubles titles (at Saint Petersburg and the Moscow Cup) in six years and her first slam MD victory (U.S. Open) since 2015. She'll climb from #161 to #125 in the next rankings.

COMEBACKS: Belinda Bencic/SUI and Genie Bouchard/CAN
...naturally, the week after I dinged Bencic's tour nomination for "Comeback Player of the Year" (an honor won by Serena, as expected) the Swiss then proceeded to go out and put up her best tour-level result in two years. You're welcome, Belinda.

In the same Luxembourg event at which she made her WTA debut at age 14, the now 21-year old Swiss advanced to her first tour-level final since February '16 (Saint Petersburg) -- and first semi since her grass run at Rosmalen that same year -- after initially having to make her way through qualifying just to reach the MD. Coming in riding a six-match losing streak, Bencic notched Q-wins over 17-year old countrywoman Leonie Kung, Gabriela Ruse (3 sets) and Varvara Lepchenko to set the stage for additional victories over Arantxa Rus, Kirsten Flipkens, Vera Lapko and Dayana Yastremska to reach her seventh career WTA final. She lost to Julia Goerges 6-4/7-5, falling to 2-5 in title-deciding matches, but will pick up nearly 200 points with the result and see her ranking climb back into the Top 40. Bencic will end the season (which officially has just two more ranking weeks remaining) somewhere around there, so her season-to-season jump will be significant, as she finished '17 at #165. Challenger events will continue to be played through December, though, and it was during that stretch that Bencic grabbed a boat load of points (500+) last season as she went 18-1.

Also in Luxemboug, Bouchard, now working with Michael Joyce, got the partnership off to a good start. A qualifying run (which included a Q1 three-setter vs. Swarmette Raluca Georgiana Serban) was backed up by far more impressive outings, including a 4 & 2 win over Timea Babos, 1 & love domination of Carla Suarez-Navarro and a retirement win over Andrea Petkovic to reach her second '18 semi (Gstaad in July, which was her first since Sydney in January '17). The Canadian got within two points of a victory over Goerges, but fell to the eventual tournament champ. Bouchard will jump from #108 to #84 this coming week, still a clip below her #81 finish from a year ago (and a long way from her #7 ranking in '14) but likely setting her up for a sixth straight Top 100 season.

FRESH FACES: Ons Jabeur/TUN and Dayana Yastremska/UKR
...Jabeur has been an offseason training partner of Dasha Kasatkina for a while now. Hmmm... you'd never know it by watching her, huh?

As things turned out, the Russian herself would eventually be the only thing in Moscow standing in the way of (another) one of the 2018's most history-making weeks for the 24-year old Tunisian.

Jabeur had barely made it out of qualifying, with her Q2 win over Harriet Dart coming via a 3rd set TB. Once she entered the MD, though, her focus and shotmaking ultimately proven to be more lethal than, well, all but *one* player. Yeah, her. Jabeur opened things with a victory over Ekaterina Makarova, a win which came her way even while she was so preoccupied with her own game that she lost contact with the scoreboard.

Then, a few weeks after getting that win over #1 Simona Halep in Beijing when the Romanian retired with the back injury that ended her season, Jabeur took out (a disengaged?) Sloane Stephens 3 &2 before advancing past Anett Kontaveit (becoming TUN's first tour-level semifinalist) and Anastasija Sevastova to reach her maiden singles final. There, she led (dominated, really) a frustrated Kasatkina 6-2/4-1 before the Russian, as she often does, found a way to hunker down and seize control of the match. Still, with Kasatkina serving for the title up 5-3 in the 3rd, Jabeur got the break of serve to extend the match. But the signs of trouble (bending over at the waist and grabbing her leg) the Tunisian was showing in that game ended up dooming her changes after the changeover. Cramping badly, she was barely able to move around the court, let alone effectively serve, as she dropped the game without much push-back to end the match, then had to be helped to her seat by her concerned friend Dasha and a trainer.

Jabeur will leap 38 spots to a near career high of #63 this week.

Meanwhile, a week after winning her maiden tour title in Hong Kong, 18-year old Yastremska still wasn't satisfied. She ran off three more wins -- over Varvara Lepchenko, Garbine Muguruza and Margarita Gasparyan -- to extend her winning streak to eight matches before finally ending her season in a 3rd set TB defeat at the hands of Belinda Bencic. Up to another career high of #60 on Monday, the highest ranked teenager on tour has now gotten a taste of tour-level success. It's already pretty clear that her lingering hunger mean she's going to be dining even more often come '19.

DOWN: Sloane Stephens/USA
...granted, it's difficult to pick a true "Down" player in a late-season event just before the year-end round robin events, as focus is often waning, winning is "unimportant" and/or unnecessary and, in some cases, maybe even unwise. But I'll still pull Sloane out of that hopper.

Having qualified for Singapore, she no longer needed to win in Moscow. And she didn't, either, losing 3 & 2 to Ons Jabeur in her opening 2nd Round match. While the loss to the then world #101 was Stephens' second worst of the season, coming in only behind a defeat by #108 Stefanie Voegele in Acapulco in February, there *is* another link between the two results. The Voegele loss came in the same event in which Sloane notched two wins, finally ending the post-U.S. Open title eight-match losing streak that had carried over from '17. The Jabeur defeat comes in the event *after* Stephens won two matches in Beijing to finally end her two-season 4Q winless run. With this loss, the Bannerette is now 2-10 in late-season matches after the U.S. Open in the last two years.

Stephens still has the WTA Finals to contend, as well as a likely spot on the U.S.'s Fed Cup final roster (she was 0-2 in the Team USA 3-2 win over BLR last year). Will Beijing continue to be an anomaly? She's in the unenviable position this year of having a winning record vs. her Singapore foes (6-1 vs. her group), as well as having a head-to-head edge vs. every other player in the group of eight other than Caroline Wozniacki.

ITF PLAYER: Zheng Saisai/CHN
...Zheng's 2018 season already included a WTA 125 Series title in Zhengzhou, a tour-level final in Nanchang and $50K challenger win before she headed to Suzhou for this past week's $100K event. The 24-year old wrapped up the crown without dropping a set, wrapping things up on Sunday with a 7-5/6-1 win over Jana Cepelova, the oft-injured Slovak who'd come into the event ranked all the way down at #243 and had to make her way through qualifying just to reach the MD (her seven straight wins at the event made for her longest win streak in four years).

The title points will finally push Zheng into the Top 50 for the first time in her career.

...while the top end of Danish women's tennis didn't have much to smile about on Sunday, as WTAF defending champ Caroline Wozniacki dropped her opening round robin match to Karolina Pliskova, #10-ranked junior Tauson had quite the day in another part of Asia. The 15-year old picked up her first career Grade A title at the Osaka Mayor's Cup, winning a final match-up between the top two seeds by defeating China's #2-seeded Zheng Qinwen, herself a two-time Grade 1 champ this season. Already a G1 winner in '18 at Repentigny, CAN and at the Perin Memorial in Croatia (and a Porto Alegre finalist), Tauson will have hard time topping her performance over the past week. To say she dominated the field would be a massive understatement. In all, in six matches, she dropped a *total* of eight games. She lost just a single game -- in her 6-1/6-0 defeat of Zheng -- from the QF on.

DOUBLES: Alexandra Panova/Laura Siegemund, RUS/GER
...while Minnen & Van Uytvanck had a comparably easy time of things in Luxembourg, Panova & Siegemund had to go the distance (multiple times) en route to winning their first WTA WD title together at the Kremlin Cup in Moscow. The duo played and survived three 3rd set tie-breaks -- 1st Rd. vs. Pavlyuchenkova/Zvonareva, 2nd Rd. vs. Doroshina/Monova, SF vs. Mladenovic/Voskoboeva -- before finally getting an "easier" 6-2/7-6 final victory over Jurak/Olaru. It's Panova's seventh tour-level doubles win (her first since '15 Tashkent), and improves upon her previous '18 final in the schedule's earlier event in Moscow (a SF with an opponent from *this* week, Galina Voskoboeva). It's Siegemund's fourth win (her last: '15 Luxembourg), and her first tour title since her comeback from last year's knee injury.

While Kasatkina became the sixth Hordette to win the Kremlin Cup singles, Panova is one of eleven to win the doubles. Her title puts her on the list along with the "Russian Tennis Who's Who" likes of Elena Dementieva, Kasatkina, Maria Kirilenko, Anna Kournikova, Svetlana Kuznetsova, Ekaterina Makarova, Anastasia Myskina, Nadia Petrova (3), Elena Vesnina (2) and Vera Zvonareva.

WHEELCHAIR: --- WC winner this week, but as the WTA tour kicks off its year-end event in Singapore, the wheelchair tour has the fields set for both the Masters singles and doubles events to be held separately later this year.

In the singles held in Orlando from November 28-December 2:

1) Diede de Groot, NED (5155)
2) Yui Kamiji, JPN (3985)
3) Aniek van Koot, NED (2948)
4) Sabine Ellerbrock, GER (2561)
5) Kgothatso Montjane, RSA (1854)
6) Giulia Capocci, ITA (1688)
7) Marjolin Buis, NED (1609)
8) Lucy Shuker, GBR (1458)

In the doubles event held in Bemmel, NED from November 14-18:

1) Diede de Groot/Lucy Shuker, NED/GBR
2) Marjolein Buis/Aniek van Koot, NED/NED
3) Charlotte Famin/Kgothatso Montjane, FRA/RSA
4) Katharina Kruger/Michaela Spaanstra, GER/NED
5) Momoko Ohtani/Manami Tanaka, JPN/JPN
6) Louise Hunt/Dana Mathewson, GBR/USA

Not sure what the story is with the absence of Kamiji here, as she and de Groot went 9-0 this year, winning four titles (including Wimbledon and the U.S. Open). de Groot & Shuker were 6-0 as a duo. Not that de Groot needs Kamiji to win the event. Her Masters doubles win in '16 was her first big title, and she's won the last two years while partnering Shuker ('16) and Buis ('17) in addition to her four slam WD wins (w/ Buis, van Koot and the two partnering Kamiji) over the last five majors.



1. Moscow Final - Dasha Kasatkina def. Ons Jabeur
A match between friends and training partners turned into a battle of highlight reel shots...

Featuring a comeback from 6-2/4-1 down by the Russian, who not for the first time during the week called upon her coach to light a fire under her racket. She stormed back and took control, serving for the match at 5-3 in the 3rd. Jabeur broke Kasatkina for 5-4, but leg cramps in her final service game led to the sort of unfortunate end this match didn't deserve. Though the concern and sportswomanship shown by Kasatkina for her friend/competitor *did* shine a welcome light on the finish.

Kasatkina's win puts Russia alone atop the list of nations with the most (4) different singles champions this season. It's the ninth time the nation has topped (alone or in a tie) a season list since 2007.
2. Moscow 1st Round - Alize Cornet def. Natalia Vikhlyantseva 5-7/6-2/7-5
Moscow 2nd Round - Dasha Kasatkina def. Alize Cornet 3-6/7-5/6-4
Cornet won a 2:45 battle over Vikhlyantseva...

Then saw Kasatkina become "The Russian Wall" and overcome a set and a break deficit en route to winning the title.

And with that, the Pastry dropped the mic on her 2018 campaign...

Soon after, on the beaches of Cannes...

3. Moscow SF - Ons Jabeur def. Anastasija Sevastova
History made.

4. Luxembourg Final - Julia Goerges def. Belinda Bencic
Goerges is the 13th different player to win multiple WTA singles titles in 2018. She won two titles from 2010 until August '17. She's won four over the past twelve months.

5. Luxembourg 2nd Round - Dayana Yastremska def. Garbine Muguruza
The 18-year old's win over #13 Muguruza sets a new career mark for the Ukrainian.

6. Luxembourg 1st Round - Vera Lapko def. Carina Witthoeft
Defending champ Witthoeft's title defense attempt didn't last long. Meanwhile, another young German's career can now say the same...

7. Moscow Q1 - Vlada Koval def. Sabine Lisicki
The 17-year old Russian wild card, ranked #585, takes out the former Wimbledon finalist.

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??on the prize????

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8. Luxembourg Q1 - Jil Teichmann def. Greta Arn
The 18-year age gap between 21-year old Teichmann and 39-year old Arn could fit a whole Olga Danilovic. Speaking of the Serb, she lost in the same round of Luxembourg qualifying to Jessika Ponchet. So, you know, she would have been free to experiment with the notion if she'd only been asked. She's thin... so it may have worked. Opportunity lost, I say.
9. $15K Antalya TUR Final - Emma Raducanu def. Johana Markova
The 15-year old Brit wins her second challenger singles crown of the season.

10. $25K Florence USA Final - Anna Danilina/Ulrikke Eikeri def. Tara Moore/Conny Perrin
...6-7(9)/6-3 [10-8].
Moore & Perrin nearly joined Minnen & Van Uytvanck as couples in the weekend doubles winners' circle.
HM- $100K Suzhou 2nd Round - Katie Swan def. def. Lu Jiajing 6-2/6-2
$100K Suzhou CHN QF - Viktoriya Tomova def. Katie Swan 6-4/0-0 ret.
this all happened about the same time this week as my weird dream where Katie Swan was -- for some reason -- playing endless practical jokes on me. Umm... sorry, Katie?

I'll put that one alongside the one from years ago where Justine Henin started playing the piano and singing.

Best Entry: "Strangest Stroke: 1.Hsieh (whole game)"

Of note...

Chakvetadze Sighting - the art of distraction

To divvy up coaching duties by continent... the next big thing?

1. Moscow 2nd Round - Vera Zvonareva def. KAROLINA PLISKOVA
Zvonareva's last Top 10 win came seven years ago. This week's Grade A junior champ Clara Tauson was two months from turning age 9.

2. Luxembourg 1st Round - Donna Vekic def. ANNA KAROLINA SCHMIEDLOVA
Oh, AKS.
3. $25K Florence USA Final - Bianca Andreescu def. MARI OSAKA
While Naomi was in Singapore, her 22-year old big sister Mari was in South Carolina seeking her first pro singles title in a $25K challenger. It didn't happen, though, as the 18-year old Canadian finally picked up her first singles challenger crown of the season.
4. 15K Ofakim ISR Final - ANASTASIA PRIBYLOVA/ANNA PRIBYLOVA walkover Anna Iakovleva/Sadafmoh Tolibova
$15K Ofakim ISR Final - Dia Evtimova def. ANASTASIA PRIBYLOVA 6-2/6-1
back-to-back doubles titles for the Pribs, and back-to-back singles runner-up results, too (Anna last week in Ashkelon, Anastasia this week).
5. $15K Antalya TUR Final - Johana Markova/MAGDALENA PANTUCKOVA def. Polina Gubina/Anastasiya Vasylyeva
The 19-year old Czech has now won more WD titles with Markova (2) than she has her sister Gabriela (1).

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Winners??#TeamJoMa @johymarkova

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With the AELTC's announcement that Wimbledon will move to a final set TB format once things are tied at 12-12 we now have three different end-of-match formats -- with the U.S. Open's TB at 6-6, and the AO/RG's traditional play-it-out set -- at the four majors. How long before Tennis Australia, what with the dangerous heat conditions Down Under, alters the Australian Open's format to something that might guard against something tragic happening down the line? Maybe, at 6-6, using the doubles-style first-to-10-points tie-break format? Variety is the spice of life, right?

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???? #sailor #rocky @srominy what a fun trip! ??

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Caro for Radwanska Abbey... err, I mean Aga's Apartments

DOUBLES TEAM OF THE YEAR: Barbora Krejcikova/Katerina Siniakova, CZE/CZE

*2018 WEEKS AT #1 - to December 24*
4 - Caroline Wozniacki, DEN

377 - Steffi Graf
331 - Martina Navratilova
319 - Serena Williams
260 - Chris Evert
209 - Martina Hingis
178 - Monica Seles
117 - Justine Henin
98 - Lindsay Davenport
71 - Caroline Wozniacki
60 - SIMONA HALEP (to December 24, 2018)
51 - Victoria Azarenka
39 - Amelie Mauresmo
34 - Angelique Kerber
26 - Dinara Safina
21 - Tracy Austin
21 - Maria Sharapova
20 - Kim Clijsters
18 - Jelena Jankovic
17 - Jennifer Capriati
12 - Ana Ivanovic
12 - Arantxa Sanchez Vicario
11 - Venus Williams
8 - Karolina Pliskova
4 - Garbine Muguruza
2 - Evonne Goolagong

#1 = 1976 Chris Evert, USA
#1 = 1977 Chris Evert, USA
#2 = 1978 Chris Evert, USA
#1 = 1979 Martina Navratilova, CZE
#3 = 1980 Martina Navratilova, CZE
#1 = 1981 Chris Evert-Lloyd, USA
#2 = 1982 Chris Evert-Lloyd, USA
#1 = 1983 Martina Navratilova, USA
#1 = 1984 Martina Navratilova, USA
#1 = 1985 Martina Navratilova, USA
#1 = 1986 Martina Navratilova, USA
#2 = 1987 Martina Navratilova, USA
#1 = 1988 Steffi Graf, FRG
#1 = 1989 Steffi Graf, FRG
#1 = 1990 Steffi Graf, FRG
#2 = 1991 Steffi Graf, GER
#1 = 1992 Monica Seles, YUG
#8 = 1993 Monica Seles, YUG
#1 = 1994 Steffi Graf, GER
#1 = 1995 Steffi Graf, GER
#1 = 1996 (co) Steffi Graf, GER
#2 = 1996 (co) Monica Seles, USA
#28 = 1997 Steffi Graf, GER (knee surgery)
#2 = 1998 Martina Hingis, SUI
#2 = 1999 Lindsay Davenport, USA
#1 = 2000 Martina Hingis, SUI
#4 = 2001 Martina Hingis, SUI
#12 = 2002 Lindsay Davenport, USA (injured/missed 3 slams)
#3 = 2003 Serena Williams, USA
#8 = 2004 Justine Henin-Hardenne, BEL
#1 = 2005 Lindsay Davenport, USA
#25 = 2006 Lindsay Davenport, USA (back injury/out 5 months)
#1 = 2007 Justine Henin-Hardenne, BEL
NR = 2008 Justine Henin, BEL (retired)
#8 = 2009 Jelena Jankovic, SRB
#4 = 2010 Serena Williams, USA
#1 = 2011 Caroline Wozniacki, DEN
#10 = 2012 Caroline Wozniacki, DEN
#2 = 2013 Victoria Azarenka, BLR
#1 = 2014 Serena Williams, USA
#1 = 2015 Serena Williams, USA
#2 = 2016 Serena Williams, USA
#21 = 2017 Angelique Kerber, GER (worst non-injury/ret. related ranking)
#1 = 2018 Simona Halep, ROU

Shenzhen - Simona Halep, ROU
Dubai - Elina Svitolina, UKR
Monterrey - Garbine Muguruza, ESP
Rabat - Elise Mertens, BEL
Roland Garros - Simona Halep, ROU
Nottingham - Ash Barty, AUS
Eastbourne - Caroline Wozniacki, DEN
Bucharest - Anastasija Sevastova, LAT
Gstaad - Alize Cornet, FRA
Montreal - Simona Halep, ROU

4 = RUS - Gasparyan,KASATKINA,Kuznetsova,Pavlyuchenkova
3 = GER - Goerges,Kerber,Maria
3 = FRA - Cornet,Garcia,Parmentier
3 = UKR - Svitolina,Tsurenko,Yastremska
2 = BEL - Mertens,Van Uytvanck
2 = CZE - Kvitova,Ka.Pliskova
2 = ROU - Buzarnescu,Halep
2 = SRB - Krunic,Danilovic
[recent season leaders]
2007: Russia (8)
2008: Russia (7)
2009: Russia (6)
2010: Russia (9)
2011: Russia (5)
2012: Italy, United States, Slovakia (3)
2013: Russia (4)
2014: United States (5)
2015: Italy, Russia (4)
2016: United States (7)
2017: Czech Republic, Russia (5)
2018: Russia (4)

2 - Anastasia Potapova (0-2)
1 - Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (1-0)
1 - Svetlana Kuznetsova (1-0)
1 - Margarita Gasparyan (1-0)
1 - Ekaterina Alexandrova (0-1)

3 - JULIA GOERGESs (2-1)
2 - Angelique Kerber (2-0)
1 - Tatjana Maria (1-0)

Sydney - Ash Barty, AUS
Miami - Sloane Stephens, USA (W)
Prague - Petra Kvitova, CZE (W)
Nottingham - Johanna Konta, GBR
Moscow MO - Anastasia Potapova, RUS
Nanchang - Zheng Saisai, CHN
Nanchang - Wang Qiang, CHN (W)
US Open - Serena Williams, USA
Guangzhou - Wang Qiang, CHN (W)
Tokyo PPO - Naomi Osaka, JPN
Hong Kong - Wang Qiang, CHN

Brisbane - Aliaksandra Sasnovich, BLR (23, #88)
Hiroshima - Amanda Anisimova, USA (17, #134)
Quebec City - Jessica Pegula, USA (24, #227)
Tashkent - Anastasia Potapova, RUS (17, #132)
Linz - Ekaterina Alexandrova, RUS (23, #119)
Combined Record: 0-7

*2018 WTA SF*
8 - Simona Halep, ROU (6-1+L)
6 - Petra Kvitova, CZE (5-1)
6 - Wang Qiang, CHN (3-3)
6 - Mihaela Buzarnescu, ROU (3-3)

Anna Blinkova, RUS
Naomi Broady, GBR
Mihaela Buzarnescu, ROU
Choi Ji-hee, KOR
Olga Danilovic, SRB
Georgina Garcia Perez, ESP
Alexa Guarachi, CHI
Simona Halep, ROU
Han Na-lae, KOR
Irina Khromacheva, RUS
Desirae Krawczyk, USA
Anastasia Potapova, RUS
Bibiane Schoofs, NED
Sara Sorribes Tormo, ESP
Fanny Stollar, HUN
Tamara Zidansek, SLO

Coffee Bowl G1: Maria Camila Osorio Serrano/COL
Copa Barranquilla G1: Maria Camila Osorio Serrano/COL
Traralgon G1: Liang En-shou/TPE
Prague G1: Maria Timofeeva/RUS
Australian Open: Liang En-shuo/TPE
Mundial Juvenil G1: Gabriella Price/USA
Asuncion Bowl G1: Maria Camila Osorio Serrano/COL
Banana Bowl G1: Maria Camila Osorio Serrano/COL
Yeltsin Cup G1: Lenka Stara/SVK
Porto Alegre GA: Leylah Annie Fernandez/CAN
Nonthaburi G1: Zheng Qinwen/CHN
Sarawak Chief Minister's Cup G1: Naho Sato/JPN
Perin Memorial G1: Clara Tauson/DEN
Trofeo JCF G1: Diane Parry/FRA
U.S. Int'l Spring Chsp G1: Hurricane Tyra Black/USA
Beaulieu-sur-Mer G1: Eleonora Molinaro/LUX
Mediterranee Avenir G1: Yasmine Mansouri/FRA
Santa Croce G1: Zheng Qinwen/CHN
Trofeo Bonfiglio GA: Eleonora Molinaro/LUX
Astrid Bowl G1: Alexa Noel/USA
Roland Garros: Coco Gauff/USA
Offenbach G1: Lea Ma/USA
Allianz Kundler German Juniors G1: Selma Stefania Cadar/ROU
Roehampton G1: Coco Gauff/USA
Wimbledon: Iga Swiatek/POL
China Junior G1: Wong Hong Yi Cody/HKG
PG Co. Int'l HC G1: Katie Volynets/USA
Banque Nationale du Canada G1: Clara Tauson/DEN
U.S. Open: Wang Xiyu/CHN
Youth Olympic Games: Kaja Juvan/SLO
Osaka Mayor's Cup GA: Clara Tauson/DEN

*2018 $100K CHAMPIONS*
Midland, USA (hci) - Madison Brengle/USA
Khimki, RUS (hci) - Vera Lapko/BLR
Cagnes-sur-Mer, FRA (rco) - Rebecca Peterson/SWE
Trnava, SVK (rco) - Viktoria Kuzmova/SVK
Surbiton, ENG (gr) - Alison Riske/USA
Manchester, ENG (gr) - Ons Jabeur/TUN
Ilkley, ENG (gr) - Tereza Smitkova/CZE
Southsea, ENG (gr) - Kirsten Flipkens/BEL
Contrexeville, FRA (rco) - Stefanie Voegele/SUI
Budapest, HUN (rco) - Viktoria Kuzmova/SVK (2)
Vancouver, CAN (hco) - Misaki Doi/JPN
Suzhou, CHN (hco) - Zheng Saisai/CHN

2005 = S.Williams, Henin-Hardenne, V.Williams, Clijsters (+ Mauresmo)
2017 = S.Williams, Ostapenko, Muguruza, Stephens (+Wozniacki)
2018 = Wozniacki, Halep, Kerber, Osaka (+??)

8 - Martina Navratilova
5 - Serena Williams*
5 - Steffi Graf
4 - Chris Evert
3 - Kim Clijsters
3 - Monica Seles
2 - Gabriela Sabatini
2 - Martina Hingis
2 - Justine Henin
2 - Evonne Goolagong

14 - Martina Navratilova (8-6)
8 - Chris Evert (4-4)
7 - Serena Williams (5-2)
6 - Steffi Graf (5-1)
4 - Lindsay Davenport (1-3)
4 - Monica Seles (3-1)
4 - Martina Hingis (2-2)
4 - Gabriela Sabatini (2-2)
3 - Kim Clijsters (3-0)
3 - Evonne Goolagong (2-1)
3 - Amelie Mauresmo (1-2)
3 - Maria Sharapova (1-2)
3 - Venus Williams (1-2)
2 - Justine Henin (2-0)
2 - Tracy Austin (1-1)
2 - Petra Kvitova (1-1)
2 - Caroline Wozniacki (1-1)
2 - Mary Pierce (0-2)

1979 Tracy Austin, USA
1981 Andrea Jaeger, USA
1994 Lindsay Davenport, USA
1996 Martina Hingis, SUI
2001 Serena Williams, USA (W)
2004 Maria Sharapova, RUS (W)
2011 Petra Kvitova, CZE (W)
2014 Simona Halep, ROU
2016 Dominika Cibulkova, SVK (W)

11 - Martina Navratilova
10 - Pam Shriver
4 - Lisa Raymond
3 - Cara Black
3 - Lindsay Davenport
3 - Martina Hingis
3 - Liebel Huber
3 - Natasha Zvereva
2 - Margaret Court
2 - Gigi Fernandez
2 - Anna Kournikova
2 - Sania Mirza
2 - Jana Novotna
2 - Nadia Petrova
2 - Arantxa Sanchez Vicario
2 - Samantha Stosur

1972 Chris Evert d. Kerry Reid
1973 Chris Evert d.Nancy Richey
1974 Evonne Goolagong d. Chris Evert
1975 Chris Evert d. Martina Navratilova
1976 Evonne Goolagong d. Chris Evert
1977 Chris Evert d. Sue Barker
1978 Martina Navratilova d. Evonne Goolagong
1979 Martina Navratilova d. Tracy Austin
1980 Tracy Austin d. Martina Navratilova
1981 Martina Navratilova d. Andrea Jaeger
1982 Sylvia Hanika d. Martina Navratilova
1983 Martina Navratilova d. Chris Evert-Lloyd
1984 Martina Navratilova d. Chris Evert-Lloyd
1985 Martina Navratilova d. Helena Sukova
1986a Martina Navratilova d. Hana Mandlikova
1986b Martina Navratilova d. Steffi Graf
1987 Steffi Graf d. Gabriela Sabatini
1988 Gabriela Sabatini d. Pam Shriver
1989 Steffi Graf d. Martina Navratilova
1990 Monica Seles d. Gabriela Sabatini
1991 Monica Seles d. Martina Navratilova
1992 Monica Seles d. Martina Navratilova
1993 Steffi Graf d. Arantxa Sanchez Vicario
1994 Gabriela Sabatini d. Lindsay Davenport
1995 Steffi Graf d. Anke Huber
1996 Steffi Graf d. Martina Hingis
1997 Jana Novotna d. Mary Pierce
1998 Martina Hingis d. Lindsay Davenport
1999 Lindsay Davenport d. Martina Hingis
2000 Martina Hingis d. Monica Seles
2001 Serena Williams w/o Lindsay Davenport
2002 Kim Clijsters d. Serena Williams
2003 Kim Clijsters d. Amelie Mauresmo
2004 Maria Sharapova d. Serena Williams
2005 Amelie Mauresmo d. Mary Pierce
2006 Justine Henin-Hardenne d. Amelie Mauresmo
2007 Justine Henin d. Maria Sharapova
2008 Venus Williams d. Vera Zvonareva
2009 Serena Williams d. Venus Williams
2010 Kim Clijsters d. Caroline Wozniacki
2011 Petra Kvitova d. Victoria Azarenka
2012 Serena Williams d. Maria Sharapova
2013 Serena Williams d. Li Na
2014 Serena Williams d. Simona Halelp
2015 Aga Radwanska d. Petra Kvitova
2016 Dominika Cibulkova d. Angelique Kerber
2017 Caroline Wozniacki d. Venus Williams

1973 Rosie Casals / Margaret Court
1974 Billie Jean King / Rosie Casals
1979 Francoise Durr / Betty Stove
1980 Billie Jean King / Martina Navratilova
1981 Martina Navratilova / Pam Shriver
1982 Martina Navratilova / Pam Shriver
1983 Martina Navratilova / Pam Shriver
1984 Martina Navratilova / Pam Shriver
1985 Martina Navratilova / Pam Shriver
1986a Hana Mandlikova / Wendy Turnbull
1986b Martina Navratilova / Pam Shriver
1987 Martina Navratilova / Pam Shriver
1988 Martina Navratilova / Pam Shriver
1989 Martina Navratilova / Pam Shriver
1990 Kathy Jordan / Liz Smylie
1991 Martina Navratilova / Pam Shriver
1992 Arantxa Sanchez Vicario / Helena Sukova
1993 Gigi Fernandez / Natalia Zvereva
1994 Gigi Fernandez / Natalia Zvereva
1995 Jana Novotna / Arantxa Sanchez Vicario
1996 Lindsay Davenport / Mary Joe Fernandez
1997 Lindsay Davenport / Jana Novotna
1998 Lindsay Davenport / Natasha Zvereva
1999 Martina Hingis / Anna Kournikova
2000 Martina Hingis / Anna Kournikova
2001 Lisa Raymond / Rennae Stubbs
2002 Elena Dementieva / Janette Husarova
2003 Virginia Ruano-Pascual / Paola Suarez
2004 Nadia Petrova / Meghann Shaughnessy
2005 Lisa Raymond / Samantha Stosur
2006 Lisa Raymond / Samantha Stosur
2007 Cara Black / Liezel Huber
2008 Cara Black / Liezel Huber
2009 Nuria Llagostera-Vives / Maria Jose Martinez-Sanchez
2010 Gisela Dulko / Flavia Pennetta
2011 Liezel Huber / Lisa Raymond
2012 Maria Kirilenko / Nadia Petrova
2013 Hsieh Su-Wei / Peng Shuai
2014 Cara Black / Sania Mirza
2015 Martina Hingis / Sania Mirza
2016 Ekaterina Makarova / Elena Vesnina
2017 Timea Babos / Andrea Hlavackova

2014 Monica Puig/PUR def. Zheng Saisai/CHN
2015 Naomi Osaka/JPN def. Caroline Garcia/FRA

=FUTURE STARS, 16-and-under=
2014 Karman Thandi/IND def. Rifanty Khafiany/INA
2015 Pranjala Yadlapalli/IND def. Yun Hye Ran/KOR
2016 Violet Apisah/PNG def. Shivani Amineni/IND
2017 Megan Smith/AUS def. Lee Ya-Hsin/TPE

=FUTURE STARS, 14-and-under=
2014 Thasaporn Naklo/THA def. Yuki Ando/JPN
2015 Chu Jiayu/CHN def. Fitriani Sabatini/INA
2016 Shiori Ito/JPN def. Olesya Kim/UZB
2017 Priska Nugroho/INA def. Pimrada Jattavapornvanit/THA

(1) Kerber 2-1
(3) Osaka 2-1
(8) Bertens 1-2
(5) Stephens 1-2
(7) Ka.Pliskova 3-0
(2) Wozniacki 1-2
(6) Svitolina 1-2
(4) Kvitova 1-2

#2 Wozniacki d. #1 Kerber
#3 Osaka d. #7 Ka.Pliskova
#3 Osaka d. #2 Wozniacki

And, finally...

One act that missed out (because their music went back a little *too* far once I shifted the focus) on being included in my U.S. Open "And finally..." series was Boy George and Culture Club. Well, they're back with a new studio album this month. Here they are with a New Year's Eve '84 performance of "Karma Chameleon" (a big thumbs up to the YouTube commenters who noted how much better it is to see a live performance unlike those we get now -- i.e. sans the bank of front row audience members recording everything on their phones), "The Church of the Poison Mind," as well a TV appearance from a few weeks ago.

All for now.


Blogger colt13 said...

Doubles draw out Tuesday morning US time.

8 women have confirmed for Zhuhai-Mertens, Goerges, Keys, Muguruza, Garcia, Barty, Kontaveit, and Wang. Two spots are held for Kasatkina and Sevastova. The two that have not are Sabalenka, who had a Singapore spot until the regular season's final day, and Ostapenko. If they don't, Suarez Navarro and Buzarnescu are next in line.

So all of the qualifiyers on that list(0-7) are after the US Open? Except Brisbane.

Vandeweghe is on the AO bubble as she drops to 101.

Like the 12-12 tiebreak. Long enough that you probably have to break, short enough that the winner has something left for their next match.

Goerges screamed like Serena near the end of the 2nd set vs Bouchard, then dominated from that point.

Kasatkina/Cornet was enjoyable.

Minnen wins a title in her first WTA MD. However, they did play in 2 ITF events 2 years ago, without winning.

Stat of the Week-33- The amount of women with 4 or more slams in history.

30 of them are in the Hall of Fame, and the other 3 are active-Serena, Maria, and Venus. In the Open Era, there are 20 with 3 or more slams. 16 are in, and the 4 that aren't are active-Serena, Venus, Maria.....and Kerber.

Does Kerber need a YEC title to lock in the Hall of Fame? She may be a benchmark, and not in a good way. You see, if you count the older era, there is a woman with three slams that did not make it into the Hall of Fame. That would be Joan Hartigan, who was the Australian Open champ in 1933, 34, and 36. She wasn't overlooked, bur rarely played overseas, and never reached higher than #8.

The other thing that hurts her is that even though the women she beat eventually won a total of 10 slams, 2 time winner Coral Buttsworth was 33 when she was defeated, and the other 2 time winner Margaret Molesworth was 40. Nancye Bolton was a 6 time winner, but had none when she lost in 1936.

So will kerber be the first in the Open Era to win 3 and be shut out? She isn't a lock. They represent 25 pct of her tour titles(12), which is an avg of one a year, as she has been up since 2007, when she played 15 regular events, plus ITF's.

One could argue, and I would, that Wozniacki is more of a lock. 1 slam, 1 YEC, 71 weeks at #1, and 30 titles will get her in.

Quiz Time!
In 1982, Sylvia Hanika won the Avon Championships/YEC. What was unique about that year? Multiple answers accepted.

A.Hanika did not finish the year in the Top 10
B.Anne Smith did not finish the year in the Top 10.
C.This was not an 8 player field.
D.This was not a round robin format.

This was one of the more unique editions. As a reminder, the championships were played in March, so the numbers are skewed.

(A)Hanika is wrong, as she finished the year exactly at 10. The 5th seed there, she wouldn't actually reach number 5 until 1983.

(C) Is also wrong, although you might think that it was a 16 player field as 3 of the 8 players ended up 10 or below. Mima Jausovec was another.

This makes (B) and (D) correct. Anne Smith actually finished 13th. Players ranked 2-4(Evert, Jaeger, Austin) did not play. And one could assume that Austin was injured, but it doesn't explain the other two. Even more curious, is that the woman who finished 6th was Pam Shriver. Injury prone, one might think that she missed it due to injury. But that wasn't the case, as she won doubles with Navratilova, defeating Smith/Kathy Jordan in the final.

It also was not a true round robin. They had 2 groups of 4, but only played 2 matches.

Sun Oct 21, 07:31:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Diane said...

Thanks for the Culture Club videos. My favorite CC song was (is) Church of the Poison Mind. But nowhere is BG's beautiful voice more meaningful than in his recording of The Crying Game. Haunting.

Sun Oct 21, 08:13:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Todd.Spiker said...

I wouldn't expect Ostapenko to want to play Zhuhai, but if Sabalenka doesn't I think it'd be at least a *bit* of a surprise. Though I guess there wouldn't really be anything to gain, and since she was aiming for a late run at Singapore it might feel a bit anticlimactic to play there.

There were also three qualifier finalists in the WTA 125's -- Newport Beach: Collins W, Newport Beach: Zhuk RU, Indian Wells: Errani W -- for what it's worth.

Still think 3/4 of a Career Slam (and who she beat in the finals to get them -- Serena, twice), the #1 ranking, 6 (and counting) Top 10 seasons and her general all-around likeability would get Kerber into the HoF even if her career was frozen in amber as it is today. Another few Top 10 years will only dress things up that much more. A WTAF would maybe put her in the conversation for getting in in her *first* year eligible, though.

Quiz: I said *all four* for the quiz because it just felt right. :)

(So I guess I *did* get it half-right.)

On my picks, I *was* leaning toward Wozniacki before your post the other day made it seem a bit against the history of the event for a repeat. So I switched to Osaka. I still think Caro, even with the Sunday loss to Pliskova, might get through, as I'm wondering now if Kvitova is going to really show up for this. Svitolina might be a real dark horse to win now, a result which would be huge for her going into '19 (and bring up all the Jana and Caro WTAF-title-the-year-before-winning-a-slam notes).

Sun Oct 21, 08:21:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Todd.Spiker said...

Yes, I like that one -- I think I'll add "Poison Mind" to the post.

Oh, I'd forgotten about "The Crying Game." I've always liked Boy George. Not sure I would have necessarily picked him at some point afterward to be one of the last survivors of the big names from that era, but it's nice that he is. :)

Sun Oct 21, 08:29:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Todd.Spiker said...

There were also three qualifier finalists in the WTA 125's -- Newport Beach: Collins W, Newport Beach: Zhuk RU, Indian Wells: Errani W -- for what it's worth.

Check that, make it two: Collins was a WC in Newport Beach.

Mon Oct 22, 01:12:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Todd.Spiker said...

Okay, so Kasatkina *is* ranked in the Top 10 this week, after all.

I'd seen something that said that after the final, but the live ranking page I use for some reason only had her rising to #12 after the final, so I didn't say anything about it. There's massive movement of almost everyone in the Top 20 in the new rankings today, so I suppose it must have had something to do with a mismatch as far as the schedule dates from one year to the next and all the WTAF points from last year went off today rather than next Monday. Everyone seems to be in agreement as far as the standing of everyone now.

As a result, of note: Wozniacki and Kerber switched places at #2 and #3, Ostapenko fell out of the Top 20, and Kontaveit moved to #20 for the first time. In doubles, Krejcikova/Siniakova are first-time #1's, replacing Babos for this week. Latisha Chan falls out of the Top 20.

So, here's the Russian Top 10ers list that I *didn't* use in the post:

Olga Morozova (1975)
Natasha Zvereva (1988=later BLR)
Anna Kournikova (1998)
Elena Dementieva (2001)
Anastasia Myskina (2003)
Nadia Petrova (2004)
Svetlana Kuznetsova (2004)
Maria Sharapova (2004)
Vera Zvonareva (2004)
Dinara Safina (2006)
Anna Chakvetadze (2007)
Maria Kirilenko (2013)
Ekaterina Makarova (2015)
Dasha Kasatkina (2018)

Mon Oct 22, 01:25:00 PM EDT  
Blogger colt13 said...

Re:Sabalenka and Zhuhai- All Top 30 players are considered on call for Singapore and Zhuhai. Withdrawal means a fine and a zero pointer, which can be waived by doing press-ie like Halep did in Singapore. You also are banned from any exhibitions and tournaments until Dec 31, which might explain why Zhuhai eligible Serena signed up for Hopman Cup. She has to play that in January instead of her normal December exo. So Sabalenka will be there(still unofficial).

8 On the Up Side-YEC Doubles Edition.

Listed will be titles, then team record together, then record vs the field this season.

1.Mertens/Schuurs- 3 titles(33-11) 7-5. The slight favorite in draw in which 6 of 8 are almost equal, the tipping point may be Mertens, the highest ranked singles player in the field. Almost like Bertens/Larsson last year, they can ride the hot hand to the final. Schuurs may have to ride her coattails, as Mertens was the most used out of her 5 partners.
2.Babos/Mladenovic- 2 titles(33-12) 7-4. Babos, trying to repeat as champ, and end the year as #1, is one of 8 women to return from last year, although only two teams stayed intact. The red flags are that they haven't played anybody in the field since Birmingham, and that after playing together all season, the only time Mladenovic played with anybody else all season was in her last tournament.
3.Barty/Vandeweghe- 2 titles(11-5) 6-3. If healthy, they would be the favorites, even with the toughest QF clash(Mertens/Schuurs). Winner of the last slam, 6 of their 11 wins were at the US Open. With Barty trying to find her form for Zhuhai and Vandeweghe for Fed Cup, they might just blitz through this field. Most likely to return her in 2019.
4.Krejcikova/Siniakova- 2 titles(33-12) 6-5. The summer girls. Now #1, and on the lighter side of the draw, why are they so low? Well, I don't know if there is more to the story, or just because of Krejcikova's ranking, but they actually haven't played together since the US Open. A threat, but probably too rusty to pull it off.
5.Sestini Hlavackova/Strycova- 2 titles(28-12) 4-5. One of only 2 teams with less than 30 wins. Sestini is defending championship points, so even if she wins, she cannot be #1. One of the quirks of the mid season splits is that she is in danger of ending the season ranked behind someone not even here in Makarova. If they win their first match, and they should be favored over Klepac/Martinez Sanchez, possible defacto Fed Cup playoff as Krejcikova/Siniakova probably would be next. Pala has 7 women here between doubles and singles.
6.Melichar/Peschke- 2 titles(35-20) 3-6. On paper, one of the weaker teams. Also one which may not be together next year. Easy to say, since Peschke is over 40, so every year is year to year, but note this- Chan/Peschke played once, and won a title. Melichar/Peschke played 21 times, and won a title, then picked up #2 in their 22nd event in Tianjin.
7.Klepac/Martinez Sanchez- 1 title(35-19) 1-3. Won Doha for their only title. One of two teams that repeated from last year, the other one is below. Not counting Fed Cup, the only team that did not play with any other partners. Just like last year, make the field on volume, but aren't elite. The only non Czech team in the top half of the draw, they are expected to check out early.
8.Dabrowski/Xu- 2 titles(31-15) 3-4. A team that has been disappointing this season. 3 wins vs the field isn't the reason they are at the back of the pack, but the fact that all 3 were at Indian Wells is. On the side of the draw where my top 3 favorites are, so I am giving them a small, nee minuscule chance to move on.

Tue Oct 23, 09:24:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Todd.Spiker said...

Ugh. Just realized I shouldn't have titled this "To Russia with Dasha," but instead, "To Russia, Love Dasha."

Only two days late. :\

Good averting-disaster (and, more importantly, confidence-building) win from Svitolina over Pliskova today. If she'd blown that 4-0 3rd set lead...

She might be putting together a good week-long resume for (unnamed '19 coach) to build on.

Tue Oct 23, 03:30:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Todd.Spiker said...

Elite Trophy field set (as of 10/23):


Tue Oct 23, 05:32:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Diane said...

I kind of liked "To Russia with Dasha." It made it sound like a spice (something you might use if you were out of olgasavchuk).

Tue Oct 23, 08:46:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Todd.Spiker said...

Heehee ;)

(And it *does* sort of rhyme, too... though not with thyme.) :)

Wed Oct 24, 03:22:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Diane said...

We call that “slant rhyme,” and it’s very common (and pleasing) in formal poetry :)

Wed Oct 24, 09:39:00 AM EDT  
Blogger colt13 said...

Kerber winning ugly. Osaka has another match left, hopefully that 3-3 40-15 point doesn't haunt her.

What has been enjoyable about the YEC is that everybody as brought the effort, if not their A game.

Wed Oct 24, 10:15:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Hoergren said...

To me the round robin system is perfect for this event. This year it's brought very good matches also the match between Wozniacki and Svitolina where BOTH players could be out depending of the result of this match. Wozniacki should win in two then she would continue and Svitolina would be out. Ok the third set was a paradox because the result was given when Svitolina won the second set after a nailbiting end to it . best game of the year. If Svitolina haad lost second set -and the match she would have been out -now she ends up with first place in white group. The scenario for RED group is exactly the same - even Osaka can continue with one win - so yes Round Robin for the year end top 8 is great.

Thu Oct 25, 01:21:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Todd.Spiker said...

Thought Caro was going to win that 2nd set once Svitolina couldn't put away a few SP/Advancement Points, but the Ukrainian (finally) stood up and won out over her nerves in the clutch. Could be a very big moment for her career moving forward, no matter what happens in the SF and beyond.

Thu Oct 25, 04:47:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Diane said...

I agree, Leif, that the round robin format is perfect for the WTA Finals. When you're dealing with the elite 8, several rounds are needed to make it worthwhile.

Thu Oct 25, 07:15:00 PM EDT  
Blogger colt13 said...

Bunch of storylines left for what has been an entertaining week.

Guaranteed 2 first time finalists, Stephens tries to become the first American other than Team Williams to win this event since Davenport in 1999.

As strong as the Czechs have been, Pliskova would only be the 4th winner-Navratilova, Novotna, Kvitova.

Obvious that Ukraine is going for their first, but since the breakup of the USSR, only Russia has had a winner-Sharapova in 2004. Only former republic other than Russia to reach the final? Belarus-Azarenka 2011.

Netherlands has never had a woman in the final, if Bertens were to win, she will either be 4 or 5(actually it looks like all 4 left fit that) meaning that she could tie or pass Betty Stove CH #5 as the highest ranked Dutch woman in history.

Doubles race to #1 cut from 7 to 4. Either Krejcikova/Siniakova or Babos/Mladenovic will end up #1. Mladenovic is the story here, as she has only gotten to #2.

Fri Oct 26, 03:55:00 PM EDT  
Blogger colt13 said...

"Just bring it."

"It's already been brought it."

That's a line from Not Another Teen Movie, the movie that spoofs Bring It On, among others. The YEC surely has brought it. I can't remember a year such as this, where even the people that went 0-3 have good reasons to be happy with the outcome.

Krejcikova/Siniakova locked up year end #1.

And Saturday's matches? Probably best that I didn't see them in real time, I may have not been able to handle it. Pliskova and Bertens both out in matches they could have won, leaving us with Svitolina/Stephens, which hopefully is as good as the rest of the week has been.

Svitolina back on the AO clock. if you think this is just about Wozniacki, no. You see, since 2007, two women have won the YEC, then won Australia the next year-Wozniacki, and to nobody's surprise, Serena in 2009. What may surprise you is that if Svitolina is RU, that fits the profile more, as 3 winners have come in the same time span-Sharapova 2007, Azarenka 2011, Li 2013.

And what else can be said about Stephens? Even with just the one title this year, the progression has continued. From the great first half in 2016, the second half of 2017, and the complete season in 2018, Stephens is a threat everywhere. Arguably has passed Kvitova as the best current player to never be #1.

So who wins? It is a 51/49 match for me, both using their defense to set up the offense. Stephens leads H2H 2-1, which this week has meant almost nothing. Svitolina gets the edge, only because if they take their normal patterns- Svitolina being a frontrunner, and Stephens having to play from behind, she has a little more margin. Svitolina 7-5 7-6.

Sat Oct 27, 12:50:00 PM EDT  

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