Sunday, April 28, 2019

Wk.17- Here a Petra, There a Petra

And Week 17 gives up... more Petras raising trophies than one could ever imagine in their wildest dreams.

STUTTGART, GERMANY (Premier/Red Clay Indoor)
S: Petra Kvitova/CZE def. Anett Kontaveit/EST 6-3/7-6(2)
D: Mona Barthel/Anna-Lena Friedsam (GER/GER) d. Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova/Lucie Safarova (RUS/CZE) 2-6/6-3 [10-6]
ISTANBUL, TURKEY (Int'l/Red Clay Outdoor)
S: Petra Martic/CRO def. Marketa Vondrousova/CZE 1-6/6-4/6-1
D: Timea Babos/Kristina Mladenovic (HUN/FRA) d. Alexa Guarachi/Sabrina Santamaria (CHI/USA) 6-1/6-0
ANNING, CHINA (WTA 125/Hard Court Outdoor)
S: Zheng Saisai/CHN def. Zhang Shuai/CHN 6-4/6-1
D: Peng Shuai/Yang Zhaoxuan (CHN/CHN) d. Duan Yingying/Han Xinyun (CHN/CHN) 7-5/6-2

...finally, Kvitova brought the long 2019 wait for a two-time singles champion to a close, winning her second (in her fourth final) in Stuttgart. Had Anett Kontaveit taken the final, she'd have been the 20th different winner in twenty events this year. Kvitova's 27th career title is the sixth at an indoor event for the tour's active wins leader under the roof, and this week included victories over Greet Minnen, Anastasija Sevastova, Kiki Bertens and Kontaveit. Still seeking her ever-elusive debut in the #1 ranking, Kvitova will once again rise a spot to #2 on Monday (past Simona Halep). She'll be just 136 points behind #1 Naomi Osaka, who reached her first career clay court semi in Stuttgart before pulling out win an abdominal injury.


RISERS: Petra Martic/CRO, Anett Kontaveit/ESP and Zheng Saisai/CHN
...Martic became the fifth first-time singles champ of the season in Istanbul. The oldest (at 28) but the highest-ranked (#40) of the group to become maiden title winners in '19, the Croat's third appearance in a tour-level final (one in 2012 & '18) proved to be a charm. She was the tournament workhorse, going three sets in wins over Tamara Zidansek, Ana Bogdan and Kristina Mladenovic (their 3:17 match is the longest on tour this year), then outlasted Margarita Gasparyan (ret. in the 2nd set) and, in the final, a tiring Marketa Vondrousova after the Czech had claimed the opening set. Martic had defeated Vondrousova on hard court earlier this year in the AO 2nd Round, and is now 4-0 vs. the 19-year old. With a Charleston semi earlier this month, Martic is one of the few players to have already posted big results in multiple events this spring as we head into the meat of the European clay season and its eventual path to Roland Garros, where she's already posted two Round of 16 results (2012 and '17) in her career.

Kontaveit has proven to be an all-surface player throughout her early year on tour, having reached finals on hard court (indoor and outdoor), grass and clay (i/o), with her two biggest finals (Premier 5 Wuhan last fall and Premier Stuttgart this week) coming since bringing aboard coach Nigel Sears last June. Six of her nine career Top 10 wins have come over the past year, as well. But the 23-year old Estonian's quest for career title #2 is now at nearly it's two year anniversary (Rosmalen '17). This week, she posted wins over Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and Victoria Azarenka (who served for the match in the 2nd, then eventually retired a set later) before getting a semifinal walkover from Naomi Osaka. Her straight sets loss to Kvitova in the final drops her to 1-4 in career finals, with three straight losses over the last three seasons.

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?????????? @porschetennis

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Meanwhile, Zheng claimed her third career WTA 125 singles crown (a new record) with her fourth win at the Anning event (three came when it was still part of the ITF circuit schedule), where she'd been the runner-up a year ago. The run, which ended with a 6-4/6-1 win over top-seeded countrywoman Zhang Shuai in the final, continues a year-long surge by the 25-year old. Zheng, who made her first tour-level final appearance last summer in Nanchang, reached a pair of WTA 125 finals (1-1) last spring, as well as in two $100K challengers (1-1) in the fall. After finishing between #70-97 between 2014-17, she was #46 to end last year, and will climb three spots right back to that ranking on Monday. Her career high is #38 (last December).


SURPRISES: Kaylah McPhee/AUS and Ma Shuyue/CHN
...before the past week, the most notable result for the 21-year old Aussie was an appearance in the final of a $25K challenger in Australia in March, a result which topped a pair of $25K semis (one in which she lost to recent WTA finalist Astra Sharma) last year. Before that, she came within two matches of earning an AO MD wild card in 2017, falling to eventual winner Destanee Aiava (who she defeated en route to that final earlier this year, by the way) in the semis of Tennis Australia's Junior Championship tournament. She took a much bigger step this week in Anning, China, reaching the semis of the WTA 125 event after having originally made her way through qualifying. In the semis, she took the opening set off #2-seeded Zheng Saisai, but then claimed just one additional game in the final two sets. Still, McPhee's career week will see her jump 39 spots from #281 to a new career high of #242, allowing her to leapfrog four of her countrywomen into the #12 ranking for Aussies on tour.

In the same Anning 125 event, 19-year old Ma, already 2-1 in ITF challenger finals in the season's opening months, took a wild card entry into the draw and rode it all the way to the QF, adding two more wins (one over Danielle Lao) to her streak of five (which included a $25K title in Hong Kong two weeks ago) before eventually losing to top-seeded Zhang Shuai. She'll move up sixteen spots on Monday, reaching a new career high of #218.
VETERAN: Victoria Azarenka/BLR
...Vika is used to the setbacks by now, but at least they're coming after significant steps forward. Earlier this month in Monterrey, she both recorded her first Top 5 win and reached her first final since 2016, only to be forced to retire in the 2nd set with a leg injury. In Fed Cup, she won her first singles match for BLR in three years to force a deciding doubles match vs. AUS in the semifinals, only to lose there in three (w/ Aryna Sabalenka vs. Barty/Stosur). In Stuttgart, she followed up a win over veteran Vera Zvonareva with a three-set takedown of defending champ Karolina Pliskova, notching her second Top 5 win this month. But in the QF vs. Anett Kontaveit, after failing to serve out the match in the 2nd, Azarenka saw things head to the 3rd where she was forced to retire once again, this time with a sore shoulder. On the bright side, she'll return to the Top 50 on Monday after having briefly dipped to #67 at the start of the month. Hopefully, the injuries won't continue to pile up (or get more serious), and maybe, just maybe, she'll finally have that shot at the great resurgent summer hard court season in North America that Azarenka aficionados have been hoping for since she returned to the tour.

COMEBACK: Kristina Mladenovic/FRA
...could it be? Yeah, maybe.

With her karmic closet seemingly finally cleaned out after reuniting with Caroline Garcia in doubles to send France to the Fed Cup final last week, Mladenovic went to Istanbul to play her first official event with new coach Sascha Bajin. It has to be considered an absolute success. Not only did she pick up a doubles title with Timea Babos, but the former singles Top 10er (now #66) had her most encouraging week in her solo act in quite some time. She opened with a nice win over Dayana Yastremska, then followed up with another over Kateryna Kozlova. She lost in the QF to eventual champ Petra Martic, but it took 3:17 and a 3rd set TB before it was official. After also reaching a QF in Monterrey, this is Mladenovic's first back-to-back final 8 results since RG/Rosmalen/Birmingham in 2017, before the start of her long losing streak in 2017-18.

How far do these Karmic Kiki vibes go? Well, boyfriend Dominic Thiem also defeated Rafa Nadal *again* on clay and picked up the title in Barcelona, too.

FRESH FACES: Marketa Vondrousova/CZE and Elena Rybakina/KAZ
...since the start of spring, few have been better than Vondrousova, even if she doesn't have a title to show for it.

In Istanbul, a week after keeping the Czechs in the Fed Cup World Group for 2020, the 19-year old advanced to her third career tour final (second of '19) without losing a set against the likes of Ajla Tomljanovic, Svetlana Kuznetsova, Lara Arruabarrena and Barbora Strycova. The run improved her post-Australian Open mark -- which has included a Budapest RU and QF in Indian Wells & Miami -- to 18-3. After winning the 1st set from Petra Martic in the final, her first in seven sets played against the Croat, Vondrousova once again proved unable to solve her "Martic problem," dropping the final two sets 4 & 1 as she had a difficult time physically dealing the conditions at the end of a long week. She'll climb six spots to a new career high of #40 this week. She's the third-ranked teenager -- behind #23 Bianca Andreescu and #38 Dayana Yastremska -- of the six currently in the Top 100.

Also in Istanbul, 19-year old Moscow-born Kazakh Rybakina reached her second tour-level QF some fourteen months after she recorded her first last year in Saint Petersburg (w/ wins over Bacsinszky & Garcia). Already a winner of three ITF events this season, Rybakina qualified and made her '19 tour-level MD debut a good one with wins over Katerina Siniakova and defending champion Pauline Parmentier. She was ultimately taken out by Barbora Strycova, but will now climb to a new career high of #134.

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Quarters this week, thank you @istanbul_cup

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DOWN: Katerina Siniakova/CZE, Alona Ostapenko/LAT and Demi Schuurs/NED
...unfortunately, none of these three are strangers to this category in 2019. And as we're now in the thick of spring and the clay court season is fully underway, we've yet to see a sign of any sort of turnaround.

Siniakova proved to be the star of the Czech Republic's Fed Cup final championship weekend last November. The thought was that maybe it would mean that she'd be able to draft off those results and get off to a quick start in 2019. Nope. After not playing in last weekend's FC tie, Siniakova landed in Istanbul and was bounced in the 1st Round by teenager Elena Rybakina, dropping her to 3-10 on the season. While she's been the world #1-ranked doubles player for most of the year, Siniakova has yet to win a title there, either. She and Barbora Krejcikova were dumped out of the QF at the Australian Open, then lost the deciding doubles FC match in the 1st Round vs. Romania. Since winning the Sydney title in Week 2 (w/ Aleksandra Krunic, not Krejcikova), her best result has been reaching the Indian Wells final last month (*that* one was w/ Krejcikova). She hasn't won multiple MD singles matches in a tour event since a QF run in Beijing last October.

Meanwhile... Latvian Asunder. Ostapenko's long slide has come over the last year and a half. It quite possibly reached its low point a week ago when (w/ Anastasija Sevastova a late injury-related withdrawal) she was enlisted with putting the Latvian FC team on her back in Riga vs. Germany, only to lose a pair of straights sets matches to Andrea Petkovic and Mona Barthel. Well, unless that low was surpassed *this* week by being dumped out in the 1st Round in Stuttgart via a love 3rd set by... (wait for it)... Sevastova. She made *something* of her week by reaching the doubles semis with Gaby Dabrowski, defeating #2-seeded Groenefeld/Schuurs in the opening round. Still, Ostapenko will be down to #31 this week in singles, with Rome (QF), Eastbourne (QF) and Wimbledon (SF) points defenses coming up fast. Falling below her ranking (#47) when she won Roland Garros two years ago seems a certainly unless something changes really, *really* quickly.

The aforementioned Schuurs has been having a devil of a season, too. She led the WTA with seven WD titles in '18, and she and Elise Mertens were tied for the most wins (3) by a duo that season. She and Anna-Lena Groenefeld were knocked off 6-1/6-2 in the 1st Round in Stuttgart by Dabrowski/Ostapenko, dropping that pair to 5-3 on this season. Overall, Schuurs is 7-10 in '19, after ending '18 on what was a three-match WD losing skid.
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It’s clay court season babyyyy ?? #80kchamp??

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ITF PLAYERS: Whitney Osuigwe/USA and Arantxa Rus/NED
...Osuigwe, 17, took the title at the $80K challenger in Charlottesville, Virginia, giving the '17 RG girls champ a second pro title to go along with another $80K she grabbed last November. The #8 seed, Osuigwe took out Kayla Day, Zoe Hives, Taylor Townsend, Katarzyna Kawa and Madison Brengle, the last three in three-set encounters, on her way to the title. It'll send a shockwave through her singles ranking on Monday, as she'll climb a whopping fifty spots to #139, a huge leap over her previous career high of #179.

In Pula, Italy, Rus won her second straight $25K title in the city. Qualifying to reach the MD, the '08 AO girls champ ran her winning streak to twelve with a 6-2/6-7(6)/6-1 win in the final over Bannerette Elizabeth Halbauer. It's the 16th career ITF win for the 28-year old.

JUNIOR STAR: Elsa Jacquemot/FRA
...unseeded 15-year old Pastry Jacquemot (jr. #109) picked up her first career Grade 1 title at the Beaulieu-sur-mer event in France, defeating four seeds, including #1 Anastasia Tikhonova (2nd Rd.) and #6 Elina Avanesyan (F) en route to the title. Jacquemot lost the opening set of her 1st Round match, then never dropped another, winning the final via a 6-2/6-2 score. Her biggest previous crown had come in a Grade 2 tournament last summer.

DOUBLES: Timea Babos/Kristina Mladenovic (HUN/FRA) and Mona Barthel/Anna-Lena Friedsam (GER/GER)
...Mladenovic would have had a good week in Istanbul even if she hadn't played doubles, but her tournament-topping title run served to put an exclamation point at the end of her first outing with Sascha Bajin. As her QF run was in singles, it was something of a "comeback" effort. Since reaching the Australian Open WD final in January, Babos & Mladenovic had lost four straight matches together heading into the week. Kiki hadn't won *any* doubles matches (0-5) before teaming with Garcia to win the deciding doubles vs. Romania last Sunday. But the longtime friends won all four they played this week, including a 10-6 3rd set match tie-break in the QF vs. Mitu/Panova. In the final, they destroyed Alexa Guarachi & Sabrina Santamaria 6-1/6-0 to claim their seventh title together, and the 20th overall on tour for both in their careers.

In Stuttgart, Barthel & Friedsam, yet another '19 duo to take home a title in their first pairing, served as something of spoilers in the doubles final. While they became just the second all-German pair to be crowned champions in Stuttgart (the last came in 2013, when Barthel teamed w/ Sabine Lisicki), winning three straight match tie-break sets to close out the competition, they thwarted what would have been a brilliant final stages moment in the career of the retiring Lucie Safarova. Safarova, who suggested Barthel & Friedsam team up this week, had reached the final with Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova a week before what is expected to be her career farewell event back home in the Czech Republic in Week 18's Prague tournament.

WHEELCHAIR: Diede de Groot/NED
...the de Groot/Yui Kamiji rivalry added another chapter in Fukuoka, as the Dutch #1 ended Kamiji's six-year run as Japan Open champion, claiming her first singles title at the event with a 6-3/7-6(6) victory in the final. The win cuts Kamiji's head-to-head lead in the series to 13-11, though de Groot has won nine of eleven since late 2017, including back-to-back wins in '19 after the Japanese world #2 saved five MP and took the win in the Melbourne Open final before the Australian Open (where de Groot won 6-0/6-2 in the final).

De Groot didn't get a title sweep, as Marjolein Buis & Dana Mathewson defeated her & Aniek Van Koot in three sets in the WD final.


1. Stuttgart Final - Petra Kvitova def. Anett Kontaveit 6-3/7-6(2)
Istanbul Final - Petra Martic def. Marketa Vondrousova 1-6/6-4/6-1
based on nothing other than an assumption, I'm going to say that this is probably the first time in tour history that *two* Petras won singles titles on the same weekend, within mere minutes of one another.


2. Istanbul QF - Petra Martic def. Kristina Mladenovic
Mladenovic didn't win this 3:17 match, the longest of the year so far, but that she even engaged in it is a good sign that the fight and health could be at the level for a climb back up the rankings through the second half of the season. Sascha may be jumping onto the wave right at the perfect time.
3. Stuttgart SF - Petra Kvitova def. Kiki Bertens
While Bertens notched good wins in Stuttgart over Bencic and Kerber, it's still noteworthy that she hasn't won a title on red clay since Gstaad in July 2017.
4. Stuttgart WD Final - Mona Barthel/Anna-Lena Friedsam def. Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova/Lucie Safarova
...2-6/6-3 [10-6].
Pavlyuchenkova/Safarova had reached the final (the Czech's 20th in her career) without dropping a set, a run which included a win over Katarina Srebotnik & two-time DC Raquel Atawo. From 2012-15, the pair went 41-31 as a duo, winning titles in Charleston (2012) and Madrid (2013).

Safarova is in this week's Prague draw partnering Barbora Stefkova.


5. Stuttgart 1st Rd. - Dasha Kasatkina def. Elise Mertens 7-6(8)/7-5
Stuttgart 2nd Rd. - Donna Vekic def. Dasha Kasatkina 6-1/7-5
Kasatkina welcomed the start of her clay court season, but her rebirth in Stuttgart only lasted one round. Still, she finished *last* spring's clay court campaign strong, going 8-3 and posting QF in Madrid, Rome and Roland Garros. So, maybe the best is yet to come. Hopefully.

6. Stuttgart 1st Rd. - Anastasija Sevastova def. Alona Ostapenko
In just their second career match-up (Moscow '15, which ended with an Ostapenko retirement), to Alona's Fed Cup insult was added another one. Most importantly on the scoreboard, where she lost ten of eleven games to end the match, though there had to also be at least a twinge of something more that it came against the teammate who wasn't in Riga to help last weekend.

7. Stuttgart 1st Rd. - Victoria Azarenka def. Vera Zvonareva
After their first meeting since 2011, Zvonareva still leads the head-to-head 6-5, though her last win over Vika came in 2010. Azarenka has won five of their last seven matches.
8. Istanbul 2nd Rd. - Zhang Kai-lin def. Ankita Raina
Coming off a big win over Sam Stosur, Raina struggled to finish off Zhang in the follow-up. She served for the match in the 2nd, and led 5-1 in the 3rd, holding three MP. Zheng raced to a 6-2 lead in the deciding TB, then took six tries to finally secure the win.

9. Istanbul SF - Petra Martic def. Margarita Gasparyan
...6-1 ret.
Gasparyan's week ended with a disappointing retirement, but it's worth noting that she came into the week having not played a clay court match since the 2016 Roland Garros, and had *never* won a MD clay match at the tour level (0-6). In Istanbul she posted three: good wins over Johanna Larsson, Mihaela Buzarnescu and Veronika Kudermetova.

10. Stuttgart QF - Anett Kontaveit def. Victoria Azarenka
...5-7/7-5/3-0 ret.
Vika knows getting back is not an easy task. The latest example: after posting her second Top 5 win in April, she served for this match in the 2nd but was taken into a 3rd by the Estonian, where she was forced to pull up with a shoulder injury, exiting her second straight tour-level event via a retirement (but with a *different* injury.

11. Stuttgart 2nd Rd. - Angelique Kerber def. Andrea Petkovic
The non-Drama Queen net treatment (in case you couldn't tell).

12. $25K Osprey FLA Final - Ann Li def. Usue Arconada
The 18-year old Bannerette, the '17 Wimbledon girls finalist, claims her second (and biggest) pro title.
13. $15K Bucaramanga COL Final - Fernanda Brito def. Carla Lucero
The ITF #1 wins her second straight title (and *sweeps* her second straight set of s/d crowns), giving her 29 career singles wins. She's on an 11-0 run in WS finals.

14. $15K Cancun MEX Final - Marcela Zacarias def. Ana Sofia Sanchez
Back from her provisional suspension, Zacarias (who took the WD title via a walkover w/ Andree Renee Villarreal) sweeps the s/d titles for a second straight weekend in Cancun.

15. Rabat Q2 - Olga Danilovic def. Anna Danilina 7-5/6-3
Rabat Q2 - Monica Niculescu def. Bibiane Schoofs 6-0/6-4
I mention this one because it sets up a rather intriguing final Q-round match-up between the teenage Serb and the veteran Swarmette. Well, that and because I needed a 15th item to "round out" the match list).

1. Stuttgart QF - NAOMI OSAKA def. Donna Vekic
The world #1 stages a comeback from 5-1 down in the 3rd, and Vekic twice serving for the match (though she never reached a MP, only getting as close as two points from the her career best victory, which would have topped her win over #2 Kvitova in Saint Petersburg just two and a half months ago). The win put Osaka into her first career semifinal in a clay court event.

2. Stuttgart SF - Anett Kontaveit walkover NAOMI OSAKA
then Osaka pulled out before her semifinal with an abdominal injury. One has to wonder whether Vekic secretly wondered if she could somehow slip into the semis in spite of her loss. #EliteTrophyRules
3. Stuttgart 2nd Rd. - Victoria Azarenka def. KAROLINA PLISKOVA
Though her week didn't end well, Vika's big shiny moment was her second Top 5 win this month as she knocked off defending champion Pliskova by pulling off the only break of the 3rd set to end the match.

4. Stuttgart 2nd Rd. - NAOMI OSAKA def. HSIEH SU-WEI
All of Osaka's previous matches with Hsieh had gone three sets (Naomi was 2-1, with the two splitting earlier '19 meetings in Melbourne and Miami).

5. Stuttgart 1st Rd. - HSIEH SU-WEI def. Wang Qiang
Wang hasn't extended her late 2018 surge into the new season. This loss dropped her to 9-6, 6-5 on the WTA level (even with a decent 4-2 Miami/Indian Wells stretch).
HM- $15K Cairo EGY Final - Despina Papamichail/Simona Waltert def. MAYAR SHARIF/RANA SHERIF AHMED
A week after teaming to help Egypt win out in Europe/Africa zone III, the Sherif sisters turned back the clock to their Fresno State days and teamed up in a tournament-style event. They didn't win it, though, and still haven't won a pro title as a duo. Of course, that's hardly surprising, considering that despite their college teammate status, they hadn't played doubles together in a pro challenger event since 2012.

1. Ash Barty/AUS FC Team: this starting to become quite common, isn't it?
2. Petra Kvitova, CZE: a two-time champion emerges
3. Garcia/Mladenovic & FRA FC Team: Liberté, égalité, fraternité. Well, at least for a few more days in 2020.
4. Johanna Konta/GBR FC Team: now if only she could bring Fed Cup Jo back to the tour
5. Madison Keys, USA: Charleston: great. San Antonio: umm, not so much

[non-FED CUP]
RISERS: Petra Martic/CRO, Garbine Muguruza/ESP and Anett Kontaveit/EST
SURPRISE: Astra Sharma/AUS and Greta Arn/HUN
VETERANS: Polona Hercog/SLO, Caroline Wozniacki/DEN and Magdalena Rybarikova/SVK
COMEBACKS: Victoria Azarenka/BLR, Shelby Rogers/USA and Marcela Zacarias/MEX
FRESH FACES: Amanda Anisimova/USA, Marketa Vondrousova/CZE and Iga Swiatek/POL
JUNIOR STARS: Maria Camila Osorio Serrano/COL, Emma Navarro/USA and Hurricane Tyra Black/USA
DOUBLES: Babos/Mladenovic (HUN/FRA), Groenefeld/Rosolska (GER/POL) and Barthel/Friedsam (GER/GER)
ITF: Barbora Krejcikova/CZE, Vitalia Diatchenko/RUS and Clara Tauson/DEN
WTA 125: Zheng Saisai/CHN
DOWN: Alona Ostapenko/LATA, Katerina Siniakova/CZE
WHEELCHAIR: Jordanne Whiley/GBR, Diede de Groot/NED and Marjolien Buis/NED
MOST IMPROVED: Astra Sharma/SUA, Greet Minnen/BEL and Dana Mathewson/USA (WC)

1.Ash Barty, AUS
2.Garcia/Mladenovic, FRA
3.Johanna Konta, GBR
4.Carla Suarez-Navarro, ESP
5.Barty/Stosur, AUS
6.Sloane Stephens, USA
7.Simona Halep, ROU (L)
8.Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, RUS
9.Marketa Vondrousova, CZE
10.Andrea Petkovic, GER
11.Muguruza/Suarez-Navarro, ESP
12.Misaki Doi, JPN
13.Sonya Kenin, USA
14.Dominika Cibulkova, SVK
15.Katie Boulter. GBR
16.Viktoria Kuzmova, SVK
17.Mona Barthel, GER
18.Pauline Parmentier, FRA
19.Ysaline Bonaventure, BEL (L)
20.Kirsten Flipkens, BEL (L)
21.Karolina Muchova, CZE
22.Anastasia Potapova, RUS
23.Nao Hibino, JPN
1.Anastasia Kulikova, FIN
2.Anastasia Iamachkine, PER
3.Mayar Sherif, EGY
4.Andrea Gamiz, VEN
5.Sherif/Sherif, EGY
6.Gamiz/Uzcategui, VEN
7.Raluca Serban, CYP (L)
8.Mia Eklund, FIN
9.Aymet Uzcategui, VEN
10.Emma Laine, FIN
11.Melanie Stokke, NOR (L)
12.Melissa Morales, GUA and Andrea Weedon, GUA (L)
HM-Dana Guzman, PER
1.Julien Benneteau, FRA
2.Alicia Molik, AUS
3.Kathy Rinaldi, USA
4.Igor Andreev, RUS
5.Anne Keothavong, GBR
6.Jens Gerlach, GER
7.Petr Pala, CZE
8.Toshihisa Tsuchihashi, JPN
9.Anabel Medina-Garrigues, ESP
10.Tatiana Poutchek, BLR (L)
11.Emma Laine, FIN
12.Johan Van Herck, BEL (L)
13.Matej Liptak, SVK
14.Laura Arraya, PER
15.Dia Nabil, EGY
16.Florin Segarceanu, ROU (L)
17.Dias Doskarayev, KAZ (L)

SURPRISES: Cyprus FC and Guatemala FC
COMEBACKS: Russia FC and Great Britain FC
JUNIORS: Dana Guzman/PER, Daniela Vismane/LAT and Vlada Koval/RUS
DOWN (ind.): Alona Ostapeno/LAT, Madison Keys/USA and Garbine Muguruza/ESP
DOWN (nations): Netherlands FC and Italy FC

Hobart - Sonya Kenin, USA (20/#56) - def. Schmiedlova
Acapulco - Wang Yafan, CHN (24/#65) - def. Kenin
Indian Wells - Bianca Andreescu, CAN (18/#60) - def. Kerber
Bogota - Amanda Anisimova, USA (17/#76) - def. Sharma
ISTANBUL - PETRA MARTIC, CRO (28/#40) - def. Vondrousova

30 - Goerges
28 - Kvitova,Hercog,MARTIC
27 - Bertens
26 - Ka.Pliskova
25 - Muguruza
24 - Keys,Van Uytvanck,Wang Yafan
23 - Mertens
22 - Barty
21 - Osaka,Bencic
20 - Kenin,Sabalenka
19 - Yastremska
18 - Andreescu
17 - Anisimova

2...PETRA KVITOVA, CZE (Sydney/Stuttgart)
1...Bianca Andreescu, CAN (Indian Wells)
1...Amanda Anisimova, USA (Bogota)
1...Ash Barty, AUS (Miami)
1...Belinda Bencic, SUI (Dubai)
1...Kiki Bertens, NED (Saint Petersburg)
1...Julia Goerges, GER (Auckland)
1...Polona Hercog, SLO (Lugano)
1...Sonya Kenin, USA (Hobart)
1...Madison Keys, USA (Charleston)
1...PETRA MARTIC, CRO (Istanbul)
1...Elise Mertens, BEL (Doha)
1...Garbine Muguruza, ESP (Monterrey)
1...Naomi Osaka, JPN (Australian Open)
1...Karolina Pliskova, CZE (Brisbane)
1...Aryna Sabalenka, BLR (Shenzhen)
1...Alison Van Uytvanck, BEL (Budapest)
1...Wang Yafan, CHN (Acapulco)
1...Dayana Yastremska, UKR (Hua Hin)
[WTA 125]
1...Bianca Andreescu, CAN (Newport Beach)
1...Viktorija Golubic, SUI (Indian Wells)
1...Veronika Kudermetova, RUS (Guadalajara)
1...ZHENG SAISAI, CHN (Anning)

2 - Karolina Pliskova, CZE (1-1)
2 - Sonya Kenin, USA (1-1)
2 - Biana Andreescu, CAN (1-1)
2 - Ash Barty, AUS (1-1)

17 - Amanda Anisimova, USA (Bogota-W)
17 - Iga Swiatek, POL (Lugano-L)
18 - Bianca Andreescu, CAN (Auckland-L)
18 - Dayana Yastremska, UKR (Hua Hin-W)
18 - Bianca Andreescu, CAN (Indian Wells-W)
19 - Marketa Vondrousova, CZE (Budapest-L)
20 - Sonya Kenin, USA (Hobart-W)
20 - Sonya Kenin, USA (Acapulco-L)
20 - Aryna Sabalenka, BLR (Brisbane-W)

Hobart - Sonya Kenin, USA
Doha - Elise Mertens, BEL
Dubai - Belinda Bencic, SUI
Acapulco - Wang Yafan, CHN
Indian Wells - Bianca Andreescu, CAN (WC)
Bogota - Amanda Anisimova, USA
Lugano - Polona Hercog, SLO
Brisbane - Lesia Tsurenko, UKR
Shenzhen - Alison Riske, USA
Auckland - Bianca Andreescu, CAN (Q)
Sydney - Ash Barty, AUS
Hobart - Anna Karolina Schmiedlova, SVK
Bogota - Astra Sharma, AUS
Lugano - Iga Swiatek, POL

8 (3)...CZE
5 (3)...USA
4 (1)...AUS
2 (2)...BEL

20...Simona Halep (10-10)
18...Karolina Pliskova (9-9)
18...Caroline Wozniacki (8-10)
17...PETRA KVITOVA (13-4)
17...Angelique Kerber (9-8)
13...Elina Svitolina (11-2)
13...Serena Williams (8-5)
10...Julia Goerges (5-5)
10...Dominika Cibulkova (4-6)

94...Serena Williams (72-22)
83...Venus Williams (49-34)
59...Maria Sharapova (36-23)
55...Caroline Wozniacki (30-25)
41...Svetlana Kuznetsova (18-23)
37...Victoria Azarenka (20-17)
36...PETRA KVITOVA (27-9)
34...Simona Halep (18-16)
30...Vera Zvonareva (12-18)
29...Angelique Kerber (12-17)

Sydney, AUS - Ash Barty
Charleston, USA - Madison Keys (W)
[WTA 125]
Newport Beach USA - Jessica Pegula
Indian Wells USA - Jen Brady
Shenzhen CHN - Peng/Yang Zhaoxuan (W)
Shenzhen CHN - Duan Yingying
Auckland NZL - Paige Mary Hourigan
AO AUS - Samantha Stosur (W)
AO MX AUS - Astra Sharma
Saint P RUS - Gasparyan/Makarova (W)
Saint P RUS - Anna Kalinskaya
Budapest HUN - Fanny Stollar
Acapulco MEX - Giuliana Olmos
[WTA 125 WD]
Newport Beach USA - Carter/Shibahara (W)
Newport Beach USA - Taylor Townsend
Indian Wells USA - Taylor Townsend

3...Chan/Chan, TPE/TPE (2-1)
2...Mertens/Sabalenka, BEL/BLR (2-0)
2...Stosur/Sh.Zhang, AUS/CHN (1-1)

*MOST WTA WD TITLES - 2016-19*
17 - Latisha Chan, TPE (3/11/1/2)
14 - Martina Hingis, SUI (5/9 ret.)
12 - Andrea S.-Hlavackova, CZE (4/6/2/0)
10 - TIMEA BABOS, HUN (0/6/3/1)
9 - Johanna Larsson, SWE (4/4/1/0)
9 - Ekaterina Makarova, RUS (3/3/2/1)
9 - Bethanie Mattek-Sands, USA (5/4/0/0)
9 - Sania Mirza, IND (8/1/0/0)

2 - Ekaterina Alexandrova, RUS
2 - Belinda Bencic, SUI
2 - Luksika Kumkhum, THA
2 - Peng Shuai, CHN
2 - Zhang Shuai, CHN
4 - Veronika Kudermetova, RUS
4 - Wang Yafan, CHN
3 - Chuang Chia-jung, CHN
[most w/ both singles and doubles]
5 - Veronika Kudermetova, RUS (1/4)
3 - PENG SHUAI, CHN (2/1)

All for now.


Blogger Diane said...

Thanks for the article on Birmingham, I city I like a lot. I wish I could go there, (especially since my hot stone massage therapist abandoned me a few years and moved back there). Birmingham is a great place for hotels, restaurants, art, etc. They also did a great job with Fed Cup and Davis Cup.

What a great weekend for Petras! It's always great to see Kvitova win a tournament (and especially on clay), but it was so satisfying to see Martic finally win a title. I was so glad for her.

And both Kontaveit and Vondrousova continue to rise.

Sun Apr 28, 10:59:00 PM EDT  
Blogger colt13 said...

All About Eve, I mean Petra. 7 years after her first final, Martic finally gets her title. And Kvitova is auditioning for CNBC's Squawk Box.

Kvitova/Bertens needs to happen at a slam. It would be a 2 1/2 hr masterpiece.

Since Vondrousova lost her final, Kvitova is still the only lefty with a title, Vondrousova and Kerber the only ones to have reached a final.

Bertens not having any wins at Stuttgart before this year seems insane, but she lost to seeds the last 2 years, and would not have made it into the main draw in any other seasons. The highest ranking she had in a year she did not enter was 47, and that was in 2013, when Lisicki was the last in at 36. Last one in this year was Azarenka at 48.

Safarova surprisingly is not playing singles, so ends her career on a 3-17 stretch vs the Top 20. That might mean that somebody else may be retiring soon, as all 3 wins were vs Cibulkova, who just announced her Fed Cup retirement.

Putintseva might pick up her first title in the next month. Morocco is her first shot, and she has a good chance to be seeded at the French. Less than 300 pts out of 32nd, she has little to defend. Her one problem is that she is actually farther back in the rankings than she was last week. No loss of points, but Istanbul winner(Martic), finalist(Vondrousova), and SF(Strycova), all passed her.

Raluca Serban was in qualifying this week, and I realized I did not recognize the Cyprus flag the former Romanian is now playing for.

Kuznetsova might be the Prague pick. She has been cutting down on the errors and using good court placement. If she gets by Buzarnescu, who is getting better, she could go all the way.

Stat of the Week-26- The number of WTA matches played by Anna-Lena Friedsam the last 3 years.

You might think this is about her winning her first doubles title. But no, this is about a recent trend.

You see, Polona Hercog played at a tournament winning level in Miami, but still lost to Halep. Then won her next event in Lugano. Petra Martic did something similar at Charleston when she lost to Wozniacki, then won her next event in Istanbul.

So is Friedsam the next one? Maybe. Her level vs Bertens in Stuttgart may be the best I have ever seen her play. Though it is more likely that she makes a QF/SF run at an international soon, instead of winning, it should be noted that her last QF was in Nurnberg 3 years ago. Keep an eye out.

26 matches in 3 years. Safarova had 26 from Quebec City 2017-18, and hasn't played since. Even Serena starting from Wimbledon has played 26, of course, 14 of those were in 2 slams.

Sun Apr 28, 11:30:00 PM EDT  
Blogger colt13 said...

Quiz Time!
Petra Kvitova has only lost one final on clay. Who defeated her?

A.Victoria Azarenka
B.Roberta Vinci
C.Svetlana Kuznetsova
D.Mihaela Buzarnescu
E.Kiki Bertens
F.Anett Kontaveit

Interlude-Eventually Osaka will need an operation. Might be next year, might be 5 years from now, but the abdominal issue is a recurring thing.

(F)Kontaveit is an obvious wrong choice, but the easiest way to point out how odd Kvitova's numbers are. If I have 6 choices in the poll, that means that she has won 5 clay events. That means that until yesterday, Kvitova had as many wins in Australia as on clay. That means that until yesterday, Petra had as many wins on grass as clay.

Next out is (D)Buzarnescu, whom Petra beat in Prague last year. That's right, 3 of her 6 career clay finals have been in the last 12 months. Included in that stretch was (E)Bertens, who lost in Madrid.

Now you probably should put Kvitova as your Madrid favorite. Even over Halep. Then pick a random person to make the final. Why? Because Kvitova has won Madrid 3 times. But since Osaka is #1, it is possible for Kvitova/Halep to be on the same side of the draw, with Osaka going out by the QF.

(A)Azarenka in 2011, and (C)Kuznetsova in 2015 were the other Madrid victims, leaving (B)Vinci as the only one to win on clay. The 13th ranked Vinci won Katowice in 2013, defeating 8th ranked Kvitova.

Sun Apr 28, 11:48:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Todd.Spiker said...

I really liked those interactive Birmingham photos where you slide the before/after images back and forth.

Kontaveit needs to get over that title hump. Still, it shows her general consistency over the course of the season that she's still Top 15 even without a title and with just one slam Round of 16 in the past 12 months.

Yeah, Serban started representing Cyprus late last year I think, and is already the "heart of soul" of the country's Fed Cup team, if last week's zone play was any indication. ;)

(I don't know if it's Olympics related, but since these sort of switches often occur the year or so before I suspect it's possible. She'd never make it in as part of the Romanian team. Also, I guess she could maybe even play MX with Baghdatis.)

Quiz: Argh. I was torn between Kuznetsova and Vinci, and as you were counting them down I thought my pick of Sveta might have been correct. But... no. :(

Mon Apr 29, 01:42:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Colette Lewis said...

Charlottesville has been an $80K for two years now.

Mon Apr 29, 08:38:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Todd.Spiker said...

Wasn't sure what you were talking about at first, then I realized I'd flipped the $80K (this weekend in C'ville) and $60K (last fall in Texas) designations of Osuigwe's two titles. Probably should have said this was her biggest career title, and I might have caught that one. :/ (Thanks.)

Mon Apr 29, 12:13:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Colette Lewis said...

No, both were $80Ks.

Mon Apr 29, 12:13:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Todd.Spiker said...

Yep. Just realized that. You were too quick for me!

Mon Apr 29, 12:15:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Todd.Spiker said...

And... done.. Osuigwe crisis averted (sort of). ;)

Mon Apr 29, 12:18:00 PM EDT  
Blogger colt13 said...

Early post because of Madrid.

Muchova reaching a final doesn't surprise me, Teichmann does. However, 2019 Prague isn't anywhere close to 2012 Bogota, in which all 8 seeds lost in the first 2 rounds. Arruabarrena won, with Panova, Gallovits, Babos, Duque-Marino, Ormaechea, Shvedova, and Knapp round out the final 8.

This became ever more surreal after the fact when that tournament's #1 seed in Erakovic reached the final the very next week in Memphis.

5 On the Up Side-The Rebecca Black Edition.

Why? Because it's Friday, Friday... Hate all you want, she she charted on Billboard at 13. Has since done an interesting version of Bye, Bye, Bye.

1.Kvitova-The prohibitive favorite. 3 time Madrid winner is 29-6 here, but may have another match with Bertens in QF. Getting to the point where we may have to look at her pre and post attack careers the way we do with Serena's embolism. Good before, there is a hunger that was previously missing.
2.Halep-3 time finalist, but only being a 2 time winner leaves her 2nd on the list. 22-7 here, and has a good draw. The slight red flag is her loyalty. Always ready to support a Romanian, with Tiriac being the director, Halep threw him a bone and entered doubles with Begu.
3.Bencic-Has a good draw, and may get a break in playing an exhausted Van Uytvanck, who is still in Rabat's draw. But countrywoman Teichmann reaching a final brings up Bencic's history, or lack of it. Bencic has never played in a clay final, or reached a QF on one outside of the US, as her SF and QF are both Charleston.
4.Buzarnescu-Playing better, but this is more about doubles. She is a threat to win a slam with the right partner, but is she willing to switch and play with a non Romanian? With Bara again this week, which means 8 of 11 events have been with Romanians, Rosolska and N.Kichenok played the other 3.
5.Konta-White Castle is known for their sliders, while Konta cannot to save her life. But she is doing something different. Off her backhand, she is doing this ballet type toe point, which is helping her immensely. Though a 2nd rd match with Halep may knock her out early, the former Australian and Wimbledon SF is a threat to reach the second week at Roland Garros for the first time.

Fri May 03, 10:11:00 AM EDT  
Blogger colt13 said...

5 On the Down Side.

1.Collins-If there was anybody in the field that needed to play a qualifier, it was Collins. Also probably needs the in over her head French WC to reach the 2nd round there. Why? This field's last direct entry was Flipkens at 56. Collins' best win on clay is 43. And she has never had back to back wins in WTA events on clay outside of the US. So he's the underdog here, without even knowing who she will play.
2.Stephens-Trending up, as her Fed Cup play was impressive, and she just added Groeneveld to her team. But here because the calendar just turned to may, and she still doesn't have a Top 30 win. SF run not out of the question though, because she avoided both the Kvitova and Halep quarters, and only has 6 Top 30 players in her section.
3.Goerges-Another player without a Top 30 win, had a neck issue in Fed Cup, numbness in her hands in Stuttgart, and gets Kuzmova. Now, you might think that Kuzmova would cure Goerges, since Julia is 4-0 vs her without dropping a set. But the injuries for the 30 yr old are getting worse, while the 21 yr old Kuzmova, or will be the day of the final, is getting stronger. To the point that she is 5th on the tour in aces, while Goerges is 7th.
4.Makarova/Vesnina-Neither one of them has a singles win this season, due to Vesnina's pregnancy break, and Makarova's injuries. But it is a cheesy way to spotlight both Kvitova's position, and doubles. Kvitova can't be #1 this week, because of defending last year's points. But this team won last year, so there are points for the taking on the doubles side. Makarova(10th) will drop out of the Top 10, while Sestini stays, but #1 should be in play by the French, and a darkhorse like Mertens could mathematically be #1 after that if things fell into place.
5.Danilovic-Still in Madrid Q(Petkovic) as of this writing, Danilovic has a flaw that can only be cured with time. You see, normally they say serve out wide. But the lefty Danilovic handles the out wide serve exceptionally well. But if you hit it to her body, her footwork is poor to the point that she will just dump it weakly into the net. Something more experience will cure, but one of the reasons why she hasn't built on her tournament title.

Fri May 03, 10:33:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Todd.Spiker said...

I'd picked Muchova to be a first-time winner this year, so if she can get the title that'd mark three off the prediction list in a little over four months. (Naturally, I removed Andreescu from the prediction at the last moment.) :/

Good things to look for with Konta on the clay! Maybe Dimitri Zavialoff has finally been the coach to help her *and* stay aboard for a while.

Fri May 03, 12:42:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Diane said...

I assume that Goerge's neck issue and hand numbness are coming from the same injury, and it troubles me. Of all the times to lose her momentum :( I had such hopes for her this season. It sounds like a nerve issue, which may or may not be easy to fix. (It could also be thoracic outlet syndrome, which I had an especially nasty case of several years ago, and which had to be set off again, part-way through treatment, in order to thoroughly cure it.)

Fri May 03, 09:59:00 PM EDT  

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