Sunday, July 25, 2021

Wk.26- The More Maidens the Merrier

Another week, another first-time champion two more first-time champions.








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*WEEK 26 CHAMPIONS*
PALERMO, ITALY (WTA 250/Red Clay Outdoor)
S: Danielle Collins/USA def. Gabriela Ruse/ROU 6-4/6-2
D: Erin Routliffe/Kimberley Zimmermann (NZL/BEL) def. Natela Dzalamidze/Kamilla Rakhimova (RUS/RUS) 7-6(5)/4-6 [10-4]
GDYNIA, POLAND (WTA 250/Red Clay Outdoor)
S: Maryna Zanevska/BEL def. Kristina Kucova 6-4/7-6(4)
D: Anna Danilina/Lidziya Marazova (KAZ/BLR) def. Kateryna Bondarenko/Katarzyna Piter (UKR/POL) 6-3/6-2


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PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Danielle Collins/USA
...Collins has had a rough go of things in recent years. While she's reached a slam semifinal and ranked in the Top 30, the two-time NCAA champ has also been diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis (2019) and earlier this season underwent surgery for endometriosis. For all she's accomplished on the WTA tour, up until this week she *still* hadn't reached a tour singles final, let alone win a title.

That finally changed in Palermo.

A week after being forced to retire in the Budapest semifinals (making her 0-6 in career attempts to reach a final), Collins was back at it as the #1 singles seed. She cleared multiple obstacles, downing Astra Sharma to reach another semi (her third in '21), then handling Zhang Shuai in straights to reach her maiden final There she defeated Gabriela Ruse 6-4/6-2 to take the crown without ever having lost a set, becoming the fourteenth first-time tour singles champion in this season's thirty-six completed events.

The win will lift her from #44 back into the Top 35.
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RISER: Gabriela Ruse/ROU
...while she'd had a few bright spots in her tour career, including putting a scare into Aga Radwanska at Wimbledon in '18, reaching a WTA doubles final in '19 and qualifying at SW19 in two consecutive seasons, 23-year old Ruse had still recorded just four MD wins at the tour level as of a few weeks ago.

Then, in the "extra" event held in Hamburg during the second week of Roland Garros, the Romanian qualified and won out to claim her first title. This week in Palermo, Ruse qualified again and very nearly pulled off the same feat, reaching a second straight final after posting wins over Mandy Minella, Lucia Bronzetti and Oceane Dodin. Riding a 12-match clay court winning streak, Ruse finally hit the wall in the Italian heat against Danielle Collins, crumpling over in the sideline and having to seek medical treatment down 6-4/2-2 to the Bannerette. Ruse continued to play, and seemed to find her footing again, but it was too late to overcome Collins, who won in straights.

Even with the loss, Ruse now sports a 20-7 mark on clay in '21, including going 12-1 in her last two events and collecting eight additional MD WTA wins, double her previous career total. She'll rise from #137 to a new career high of #105.
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SURPRISES: Maryna Zanevska/BEL and Anna Bondar/HUN
...while a great majority of the tour has been traveling, resting, quarantining, rehabbing or taking part in the Olympics, many players have used this it's-the-WTA-tour-even-if-it-looks-like-a-challenger stretch (this week that ends, as the only non-Tokyo tournaments are a pair of 125's) to make great strides. Zanevska is one of those.

Ranked outside the Top 250 as recently as May, the 27-year old Belgian only slipped back into the Top 200 for the first time since early '19 in mid-June. Last week in Lausanne, Zanevska played her way into her maiden tour semifinal, and this week in Gdynia she carried over her momentum. Wins over Jamie Loeb, Viktoria Kuzmova, Nuria Parrizas Diaz and Kateryna Kozlova put her into her first final. There, after fighting through a bit of nerves when serving for the match (she was broken at love) and then failing to convert four MP before Kristina Kucova forced things into a 2nd set TB, the Waffle finally secured her maiden tour title on her sixth MP chance.



After jumping from #165 to #150 last week, Zanevska will rise to #114 in the new rankings, her best standing in nearly four years and not far off her August '17 career high of #105.



After last week saw Hungarians Dalma Galfi (SF) and Panna Udvardy (QF) post significant results in Budapest, 24-year old Bondar (who lost her opening Q match back home) qualified in Gdynia, Poland and reached her maiden WTA QF with a 2nd Round victory over Anna Karolina Schmiedlova. She'll return to the Top 200 for the first time since October 2019 -- moving to #197 from #231 -- in a season that previously saw the Hungarian reach a WTA 125 QF (Bastad), $60K semi and $25K final.

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VETERAN: Kristina Kucova/SVK
...it took quite a run for the Slovak to reach her maiden tour final in Gdynia, but Kucova found a way. After an opening win over a Radwanska (Urszula, of course), she saw her 2nd Round match with Irina Bara suspended for darkness with the Romanian leading 4-2 in the 3rd set. Kucova swept all four games once play resumed the following day.

In the QF, Kucova was forced to save four MP and play nearly four hours before finally eliminating Ekaterine Gorgodze in the longest women's match of the season. A relatively straightforward win over Tamara Korpatsch rewarded #150-ranked Kucova, whose career high came five years ago (#71), with her first WTA final appearance less than a year after her biggest career win (WTA 125 in Prague last September).

Kucova broke Zanevska as she served for a straight sets win in the final, then saved four MP on her own serve to force a TB, as the Slovak threatened to take another opponent down "the long way." But the Belgian held on for her first title, taking the TB 7-4.

The week will push Kucova into the #1 SVK spot on tour, just passing by Anna Karolina Schmiedlova into the #120 ranking.

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COMEBACKS: Kateryna Kozlova/UKR and Oceane Dodin/FRA
...Kozlova, 27, reached her career height three seasons ago, climbing as high as #69, reaching a tour singles final in Taipei and notching the first (vs. Alona Ostapenko) of two career Top 5 victories (Ka.Pliskova '19). The Ukrainian came into Gdynia ranked #141 and proceeded to run off wins over Katie Volynets, Aliaksandra Sasnovich and Katazyna Kawa (rallying to come back on Day 2 of a QF match after trailing by a set and 3-3 when the match had been stopped due to darkness the previous evening) to reach her first WTA semi since September '18 in Tashkent. Kozlova lost in three sets to Maryna Zanevska, but improves to 6-3 over the first three weeks of this brief clay court back alley tucked into the tour schedule between Wimbledon, Tokyo and the true start of the summer hard court season.



In Palermo, Dodin reached her first tour-level semifinal since 2017 in Washington. The 24-year old Pastry (#120), a WTA title-winner in Quebec in '16, posted wins over Alexandra Dulgheru, Vitalia Diatchenko and Jaqueline Cristian (Dodin led the 1st 4-2, and both the 2nd and 3rd at 5-1 en route to a three-win victory) to reach the semis, where she extended Gabriela Ruse to three sets for just the third time in the Romanian's ten-match winning streak (until her loss in the final) over the last two weeks. The week puts Dodin within reach of a return to the Top 100 (#106) for the first time in more than three years.

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FRESH FACE: Lucia Bronzetti/ITA
...a week after qualifying and reaching the QF in her tour-level MD debut in Lausanne, 22-year old Bronzetti put together another final eight run as a wild card in Palermo. After opening with a win over #5 seed Viktoriya Tomova (losing 5 games), the Italian downed Grace Min (4 games) before falling to Gabriela Ruse in a tight contest (6-4/7-5) that closed out her week. She'll be bumped up to another career-high of #174 on Monday. Two weeks ago Bronzetti was ranked #241, and she began the season (where she's also gone 2-3 in ITF finals) at #339.

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DOWN: Ash Barty/AUS
...in truth, under the circumstances, Barty was handed the worst possible unseeded player in the women's draw as her 1st Round opponent. Still, the world #1's 1st Round loss in Tokyo to Sara Sorribes Tormo is the earliest exit by an Olympic women's #1 since the sport returned to the Games in 1988 (two rounds earlier than Serena Williams' 3rd Round loss in Rio to Elina Svitolina).

The Aussie was making her return to hard courts after winning Wimbledon, already a changeover that might take a moment, and doing so in searing heat against the player who has been the tour's "marathon woman" in 2021. Watching Sorribes, hat-less and hopping around while barely breaking a sweat, it was clear that she could maybe play on the surface of the sun and it'd have little impact. Meanwhile, even Barty's face seemed flushed and stricken by the conditions. What was already a tough match was going to get exponentially more difficult if Barty didn't get off to a good start. And then she didn't, falling down 4-1.

The Aussie managed to pull to within 5-4 in the 1st, saving two SP with line shots and even holding a BP to get back on serve. But the Spaniard got the hold to take the set 6-4. Barty slowly withered down the stretch. She had a BP up 3-2 in the 2nd, but the Spaniard held on again, then broke the Aussie from 40/love down a game later. Barty never won another game, falling 6-4/6-3 with an uncharacteristically huge number of UE (55) coming off her racket in the match.



Barty remains in the doubles in her quest for her first medal.
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ITF PLAYER: Sara Bejlek/CZE
...well, it looks like they've got another one. With Linda Noskova and Linda Fruhvirtova (not to mention her sister Brenda) already waiting impatiently in the wings, this week the Czechs added 15-year old Bejlek to the Player to Watch list.

In just her fifth pro event, the #1004-ranked Bejlek (a lefty, also a "Czech tradition") took a MD wild card and rode it all the way to the title in the $60K challenger in Olomouc, Czech Republic. Posting impressive wins over Dalila Jakupovic, Diane Parry (5 games) and Francesca Jones (3 games), the teenager (who'd been 5-4 in previous pro events, with a win over Whitney Osuigwe) advanced to the final to meet Argentine vet Paula Ormaechea. Ormaechea had defeated Richel Hogenkamp, Jamie Fourlis and last week's WTA Budapest quarterfinalist Panna Udvardy to reach her third ITF final of this spring/summer.

Beljek won 6-0/6-0, and it appears that she'll be the youngest player in the Top 500 in the coming week.

In recent junior outings, girls #57 Bejlek had dropped big event matches to soon-to-be Wimbledon finalist Nastasja Schunk (Villena J1), Wimbledon girls quarterfinalist Mara Guth at SW19 (2nd Rd.), recent Stuttgart qualifier Julia Middendorf (Ricany J1 SF) and last week's Milan JA semifinalist Chervie Ngounoue (2r).

Bejlek isn't currently sporting this look, it seems, but she was recently (it's very similar to Osaka's in Tokyo, actually, just a different color)...

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JUNIOR STAR: Antonia Ruzic/CRO
...in Klosters, Switzerland the European Closed 18s Championship was claimed by the 18-year old Croat (#174 jr.) in glorious fashion, as she won her first title at the top junior level by knocking off a string of seeded/celebrated opponents, including #7 Julia Middendorf (2nd Rd.), #9 Amarissa Kiara Toth (3rd Rd.), #3 Linda Fruhvirtova (QF) and #1 Else Jacquemot (SF) to reach the final. There she met unseeded Swiss Alina Granwehr, who'd upset #2 Diana Shnaider (3rd) and #4 Linda Noskova (SF) -- opponents who then combined to win the doubles title -- during the week.

Ruzic won when Granwehr retired down 7-5/2-0.

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WHEELCHAIR: Diede de Groot/NED
...in the last big event before the Paralympics (Aug.24-Sept.5), the British Open Super Series event in Nottingham was dominated by -- you guessed it -- de Groot. The world #1 took the crown without dropping a set, extending her active winning streak to 19 matches and improving to 24-1 on the season.

De Groot knocked off Dana Mathewson in the semis, then took out #2-seeded Jordanne Whiley (so, no Yui Kamiji... who'll be on the other end of the draw in Tokyo) in a 6-2/6-4 final. De Groot will be seeking her first singles Paralymic medal in Tokyo, having dropped the Bronze Match to Kamiji four years ago.



Not only that, but...
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DOUBLES: Diede de Groot/Aniek Van Koot, NED/NED
...de Groot swept the proceedings in Nottingham, also taking the doubles with Aniek Van Koot, who'll also be her partner in the quest for Paralympic Gold. The Dutch duo defeated Brits Lucy Shuker & Jordanne Whiley 6-2/6-1 in the final, improving to 13-2 as a pair on the season.

I've never heard anyone call de Groot "Trudy" before, but I like it...



Van Koot won Para Gold in '16 alongside Jiske Griffioen, after having won Silver in '12 with Marjolein Buis. A teenage De Groot won doubles Silver in Rio, also with the now-retired Buis.
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1. Tokyo Olympics 1st Rd. - Sara Sorribes Tormo def. Ash Barty
...6-4/6-3. The Wimbledon champ and world #1's time in the draw was brief, while #48 Sorribes finally gets her big win after pushing but ultimately coming up empty (except in "hard-earned respect") in magnificent matches vs. the likes of Andreescu (Miami) and Kerber (Wimbledon) earlier this season.



With Barty's exit, the top section of the women's draw opens up considerably, with the eventual representative who'll definitely reach a Medal Match (be it Gold or Bronze) coming from a group whose highest seeded player is #8 Barbora Krejcikova, followed by #9 Belinda Bencic and #13 Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova. Also not to be overlooked, of course, is Sorribes herself, who even before this win was on the short list of players who could fill the "Puig role" at this Olympics after the Puerto Rican was the giant-killing, surprise Gold medalist four years ago in Brazil.

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2. Gdynia QF - Kristina Kucova def. Ekaterine Gorgodze
...6-7(4)/7-6(7)/7-6(3). In the season's *new* longest match -- at 3:55, the fifth longest women's encounter of the Open era -- Kucova saved four MP in the 2nd and Gorgodze served for the match in the 3rd. Ultimately, 18 of 43 BP opportunities were converted. The assembled crowd gave the pair a two-minute standing ovation.

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3. Gdynia Final - Maryna Zanevska def. Kristina Kucova
...6-4/7-6(4). In maybe *the* "representative" event final of this "middle period" between Wimbledon and Tokyo, Zanaveka and Kucova battled to determine which would become the lastest maiden tour singles champ this season/summer. Zanveska was barely ranked inside the Top 200 two weeks ago, while 31-year old Kucova was seeking to become the oldest first-time singles champ (beating '11 Fes champ Alberta Brianti by a couple of months) of the 2000s.

Kucova had already staged a comeback to win a two-day match earlier in the week, as well as save 4 MP to win another in 3:55 just to reach the final. When she broke Zanevska at love when she served for the match in the 2nd set, then saved 4 MP to hold and force a TB, she seemed to be about to add another chapter to a triumphant week. But after getting to 3-3 in the TB, Kucova's nine lives finally ran out. Zanevska collected the next three points, and finally put away MP #6 to win the breaker 7-4.

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4. Palermo Final - Danielle Collins def. Gabriela Ruse
...6-4/6-2. There wasn't a lot of love to be lost in this match-up, but we've come to expect that in any Collins death mat-... err, I mean tennis match.

Ruse had defeated Collins en route to her title in Hamburg two weeks ago, and apparently was left with a bad taste in her mouth (she wouldn't be the first, as the U.S. player is something of an "acquired taste," or at least one whose intensity and in-her-opponent's-face on-court nature is something that one has to "get used to") due to something Collins said during that match. In the post-match ceremony, Ruse made note of it, but said that it was essentially water under the bridge and congratulated Collins, whom she said she respected, on her accomplishment.

Collins apologized if whatever she said had been taken the wrong way (though, let's be honest here, it was likely taken exactly as it'd been intended), saying that she'd only "wished her the best of luck with her health." Here's the moment (you be the judge):



I do wonder if Ruse might have added another footnote to her comments had she been feeling well enough to see how little concern Collins (who was set to serve in the next game) showed for her condition when Ruse had needed medical attention mid-way through the 2nd set, though. Also of note, when they met at the net, it was clear that Ruse wanted to warmly offer her congrats on a battle won just so shortly after she herself had won her maiden title, but such a "moment" simply wasn't on Collins' mind as even a remote possibility.

But that's just Collins, so... you know. (Shrug.) Take her or leave her.

The belated title run makes Collins the fifteenth active U.S. woman to have won a tour singles crown, and the sixth to do so since the start of the '19 season.

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5. Tokyo Olympics 1st Rd. - Marketa Vondrousova def. Kiki Bertens
...6-4/3-6/6-4. Bertens' singles career ends, ironically, with one of her more competitive post-Achilles surgery performances in what has been a hugely disappointing farewell season.



Just 2-8 in singles in 2021, Bertens' only wins came over Wang Xinyu, in BJK Cup play, and junior Victoria Jimenez Kasintseva. Six of her losses, but not her last, came in straight sets. Vondrousova (#41) was the second highest player the Dutch vet played this year, behind only Veronika Kudermetova (#28).
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6. Tokyo Olympics 1st Rd. - Xu Yifan/Yang Zhaoxuan def. Aleksandra Krunic/Nina Stojanovic
...4-6/6-4 [18-16]. The Serbs thought they'd advanced with a Krunic backhand winner into the corner at 11-10 in the match TB, but the "long" call apparently couldn't be challenged because of the lack of replay availability on the outer courts. The Chinese duo went onto to take the 34-point breaker.

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7. Gydnia 1st Rd. - Tamara Korpatsch def. Olga Govortsova
...1-6/7-5/7-5. Govortsova led 6-1/5-2, held 2 MP and was up 3-1 in the 3rd, but the German won in 2:59 and advanced to a second tour SF, her first since Lausanne '19.

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8. Tokyo Olympics 1st Rd. - Garbine Muguruza/Carla Suarez-Navarro def. Elise Mertens/Alison Van Uytvanck
...6-3/7-6(4). Already a triumph.



Tokyo Olympics 1st Rd. - Carla Suarez-Navarro def. Ons Jabeur
...6-4/6-1. Icing on the proverbial comeback cake, as CSN gets her first singles win since returning from cancer treatment.

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9. Palermo Final - Erin Routliffe/Kimberley Zimmermann def. Natela Dzalamidze/Kamilla Rakhimova
...7-6(5)/4-6 [10-4]. Another pair of first-time title-winners, as the New Zealander and the Belgian team up to take out the all-Russian pair (of which only Rakhimova has lifted a tour WD trophy, at the Philip Island event this year).

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10. Gdynia 1st Rd. - Viktoria Kuzmova def. Varvara Gracheva
...6-4/6-7(4)/7-5. Some recent movement on the generally-sluggish (at least in singles) Kuzmova front, as she followed up her Prague QF with a compelling win over the Russian in Poland. Gracheva rallied from a set and a break down to ultimately lead 5-3 in the 3rd and serve for the match at 5-4, only to see Kuzmova sweep the final four games and advance.

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11. Palermo QF - Zhang Shuai def. Olga Danilovic
...4-6/6-3/7-6(2). Before becoming Collins' first semifinal victim, Zhang had battled back from 5-3 down in the 3rd vs. the Serb. Danilovic was broken at love, as the Chinese vet won three of four games and a deciding 7-2 tie-break.
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12. Gdynia 2nd Rd. - Kristina Kucova def. Irina Bara
...3-6/7-5/6-4. Kucova's path to her maiden final was "paved" by an early-round match stopped due to darkness with Bara up 4-2.

After complaining of bad bounces on the roughed-up clay the night before, Kucova swept all four games played the next day on the freshly dragged court.

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13. Olympic 1st Rd. - Maria Sakkari def. Anett Kontaveit
...7-5/6-2. A "Kontaveit Special," as the Estonian led 5-2 in the 1st, served for the set at 5-3, but lost 11 of 13 to close out the match. She's now 0-3 since reaching the Eastbourne final, falling to Ostapenko and Vondrousova on the grass before this.

Sakkari now leads the head-to-head series 6-4, going 3-1 since 2019 (including a 2nd Round win over Kontaveit in Madrid this spring).
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14. Gdynia 1st Rd. - Anna Bondar def. Valeriia Olianovskaia
...7-5/6-3. The Russian Renaissance runs deep.

In a multi-week stretch where the schedule is allowing for a slew of first-time MD appearances, maiden wins, QF, SF, finals and titles, the 20-year old wild card Hordette -- ranked #682 -- made her WTA MD debut in Poland. She didn't emerge *totally* out of nowhere from the good earth, as Olianovskaia has won one ITF crown (January '20) and reached two circuit finals this season (losing one to Weronika Falkowska, who also made her tour debut in Gdynia).

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15. Tokyo Olympics 1st Rd. - Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova def. Sara Errani
...6-0/6-1. And the Russian was the easy *winner* here.

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16. Palermo 1st Rd. - Zheng Qinwen def. Liudmila Samsonova
...6-3/6-2. The 18-year old qualifier picks up her maiden match win in her WTA MD debut, taking down recent grass season star Samsonova (#54).

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17. Tokyo Olympics 1st Rd. - Elena Vesnina def. Alona Ostapenko
...6-4/6-7(2)/6-4. The women's doubles Gold medalist (w/ Ekaterina Makarova) in Rio, Vesnina opens singles play in '21 with a big upset in her Olympic singles debut.

Hmmm, RG MX final, Wimbledon WD final, and now this. Are we sure this is going to be a short-term comeback? Martina Hingis thought so, too, then put together a *second* Hall of Fame-worthy career in her final chapter. With all her big doubles crowns, Olympic Gold, and a few big singles outings (Indian Wells title, Wimbledon SF), Newport isn't out of the Russian's reach with another title-snatching period of a few years.



She's still alive in her doubles title defense, too.

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18. Tokyo Olympics 1st Rd. - Kiki Bertens/Demi Schuurs def. Caroline Garcia/Kristina Mladenovic
...7-6(4)/5-7 [11-9]. Bertens' career is extended as the Pastries fail to convert a MP, then see Garcia DF at 9-9 in the match TB.

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19. $15K Monastir TUR Final - Dalayna Hewitt def. Ayumi Koshiishi
...6-4/6-4. The 20-year old Bannerette, already a winner of three ITF doubles crowns this season, picks up her first pro singles title.
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20. $25K Telavi GEO Final - Tessah Andrianjafitrimo vs. Valentini Grammatikopoulou
...however this one turns out (it'll be played early on Monday), the winner will prevail in a match that *has* to be in contention for the longest ever, surname-wise. Both Andrianjafitrimo and Grammatikopoulou -- each 16-letters strong -- virtually guffaw at Pavlyuchenkova's "puny" 14-letter length.
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1. Tokyo Olympics 1st Rd. - Naomi Osaka def. Zheng Saisai
...6-1/6-4. A Naomi Barbie. SI Swimsuit issue cover. Lighting the flame. Osaka has had a busy week in the headlines. So much that her return to the court feels somewhat "minor."

She's handled the pressure well while winning four of the last six hard court majors. The closer she gets to the medal rounds, though, the "easier" those slam trips might feel.

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2. Gdynia Q2 - Kateryna Bondarenko def. Weronika Falkowska 6-3/7-6(3)
Gdynia 1st Rd. - Weronika Falkowska def. Kateryna Bondarenko 6-0/6-2
...another one of those quirky situations where a player downs an opponent in the final round of qualifying, only to see them come back to haunt her as a lucky loser in the 1st Round.



For 21-year old Falkowska -- at #487, a qualifying WC who's been shining on the ITF circuit with 4 WS and 3 WD titles in '21 -- it was a win in her tour-level MD debut. The Pole lost a round later to Tamara Korpatsch, who'd go on to reach the semifinals.
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3. Tokyo Olympics 1st Rd. - Lyudmyla Kichenok/Nadiia Kichenok def. Sania Mirza/Ankita Raina
...0-7/7-6(0) [10-8]. The Ukrainian sisters trailed 6-0/5-2, but staged a comeback that included a match-tying 7-0 tie-break and then reeling off eight more points to lead 8-0 in the match TB (having won 19 of 20 points). The Indians made it close with an eight-point run of their own, only to then lose the final two.
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4. Gdynia Final - Anna Danilina/Lidziya Marozava def. Kateryna Bondarenko/Katarzyna Piter
...6-3/6-2. Russian-born Kazakh Danilina picks up her maiden tour crown, while Belarusian Marozava gets her second (first since '17) as the #3 seeds take out the #1 (Kato/Voracova) and #4 (Bondarenko/Piter) duos after having survived a 10-7 match TB in the 1st Round over wild cards Baszak/Flink.

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5. Tokyo Olympics 1st Rd. - Monica Niculescu/Raluca Olaru def. Chan Hao-Ching/Latisha Chan
...7-5/1-6 (10-6). The sisters fell in the QF in Rio to eventual Silver medalists Bacsinszky/Hingis.

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=TOKYO, JAPAN=





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*2021 FIRST-TIME WTA CHAMPIONS*
Lyon - Clara Tauson, DEN (18/#139)
Guadalajara - Sara Sorribes Tormo, ESP (24/#71)
Monterrey - Leylah Fernandez, CAN (18/#88)
Bogota - MC Osorio Serrano, COL (19/#180)
Charleston - Veronika Kudermetova, RUS (23/#38)
Charleston 250 - Astra Sharma, AUS (25/#165)
Belgrade - Paula Badosa, ESP (23/#44)
Strasbourg - Barbora Krejcikova, CZE (25/#38)
Birmingham - Ons Jabeur, TUN (26/#24)
Berlin - Liudmila Samsonova, RUS (22/#106)
Hamburg - Gabriela Ruse, ROU (23/#154)
Lausanne - Tamara Zidansek, SLO (23/#50)
GDYNIA - MARYNA ZANEVSKA, BEL (27/#165)
PALERMO - DANIELLE COLLINS, USA (27/#44)

*2021 FIRST-TIME SINGLES FINALISTS*
Abu Dhabi - Veronika Kudermetova, RUS (#46, 23)
Grampians - Ann Li, USA (#99, 20) - DNP
Lyon - Clara Tauson, DEN (#139, 18) - W
Guadalajara - Sara Sorribes Tormo, ESP (#71, 24) - W
Bogota - MC.Osorio Serrano, COL (#180, 19) - W
Belgrade - Paula Badosa, ESP (#44, 23) - W
Berlin - Liudmila Samsonova, RUS (#106, 22) - W
Hamburg - Gabriela Ruse, ROU (#154, 23) - W
Prague - Tereza Martincova, CZE (#78, 26) - L
Lausanne - Clara Burel, FRA (#125, 20) - L
Budapest - Anhelina Kalinina, UKR (#95, 24) - L
GDYNIA - MARYNA ZANEVSKA, BEL (#165, 27) - W
GDYNIA - KRISTINA KUCOVA, SVK (#150, 31) - L
PALERMO - DANIELLE COLLINS, USA (#44, 27) - W

*2021 WTA FINALS*
5 - Ash Barty, AUS (4-1)
4 - Barbora Krejcikova, CZE (3-1)
3 - Dasha Kasatkina, RUS (2-1)
3 - Aryna Sabalenka, BLR (2-1)
3 - Garbine Muguruza, ESP (1-2)
2 - Iga Swiatek, POL (2-0)
2 - GABRIELA RUSE, ROU (1-1)
2 - Sorana Cirstea, ROU (1-1)
2 - Ons Jabeur, TUN (1-1)
2 - Veronika Kudermetova, RUS (1-1)
2 - Elise Mertens, BEL (1-1)
2 - Anett Kontaveit, EST (0-1-1)
2 - Belinda Bencic, SUI (0-2)
2 - Viktorija Golubic, SUI (0-2)
2 - Karolina Pliskova, CZE (0-2)

*2021 OLDEST WTA FINALISTS*
35 - Kaia Kanepi, EST (Gippsland-L)
33 - Angelique Kerber, GER (Bad Homburg-W)
33 - Andrea Petkovic, GER (Hamburg-L)
32 - Zhang Shuai, CHN (Nottingham-L)
31 - Sorana Cirstea, ROU (Strasbourg-L)
31 - Sorana Cirstea, ROU (Istanbul-W)
31 - KRISTINA KUCOVA, SVK (GDYNIA-L)
30 - Petra Kvitova, CZE (Doha-W)
30 - Johanna Konta, GBR (Nottingham-W)

*U.S. WOMAN WINS MAIDEN WTA TITLE - since 1998*
1998: Venus Williams (Memphis)
1998: Tara Snyder (Quebec City)
1999: Serena Williams (Paris Indoors)
1999: Corina Morariu (Bol)
2000: Meghann Shaughnessy (Shanghai)
2001: Meilen Tu (Auckland)
2002: Jill Craybas (Tokyo JO)
2006: Vania King (Bangkok)
2012: Melanie Oudin (Birmingham)
2014: Madison Keys (Eastbourne)
2014: CoCo Vandeweghe (Rosmalen)
2014: Alison Riske (Tianjin)
2015: Sloane Stephens (Washington)
2016: Irina Falconi (Bogota)
2016: Christina McHale (Tokyo JWO)
2017: Lauren Davis (Auckland)
2019: Sonya Kenin (Hobart)
2019: Amanda Anisimova (Bogota)
2019: Jessica Pegula (Washington)
2019: Coco Gauff (Linz)
2020: Jennifer Brady (Lexington)
2021: Danielle Collins (Palermo)
--
post-Serena '99 title: 9 from 1999-2014, 10 from 2015-21

*2021 QUALIFIERS IN FINALS*
Lyon - Clara Tauson, DEN (W)
Lyon - Viktorija Golubic, SUI
Monterrey - Viktorija Golubic, SUI
Belgrade - Ana Konjuh, CRO
Berlin - Liudmila Samsonova, RUS (W)
Hamburg - Gabriela Ruse, ROU (W)
GDYNIA - GABRIELA RUSE, ROU

*2021 WTA LONG MATCHES*
3:55 - Gdynia QF - Kucova d. Gorgodze
3:51 - Rome 1st Rd. - Sorribes d. Giorgi
3:33 - Melbourne (Gippsland) 3rd Rd. - Begu def. Konta

*OLYMPIC TENNIS #1 SEEDS, w/ result*
1984 (demonstration) Kathy Horvath, USA (QF)
1988 Steffi Graf, FRG (Gold)
1992 Steffi Graf, GER (Silver)
1996 Monica Seles, USA (QF)
2000 Lindsay Davenport, USA (2nd Rd - w/d)
2004 Justine Henin-Hardenne, BEL (Gold)
2008 Ana Ivanovic, SRB (w/d)
2012 Victoria Azarenka, BLR (Bronze)
2016 Serena Williams, USA (3rd Rd.)
2021 Ash Barty, AUS (1st Rd.)

*2021 WINS OVER #1*
Aust.Open QF - #27 Karolina Muchova/CZE d. Barty
Adelaide 2nd Rd. - #37 Danielle Collins/USA d. Barty
Charleston QF - #71 Paula Badosa/ESP d. Barty
Madrid Final - #7 Aryna Sabalenka/BLR d. Barty
Rome QF - #35 Coco Gauff/USA d. Barty (ret.)
Roland Garros 2r - #45 Magda Linette/POL d. Barty (ret.)
Olympics 1r - #48 Sara Sorribes Tormo/ESP d. Barty

*RECENT 18u EUROPEAN GIRLS CHAMPIONSHIP WINNERS*
2013 Barbora Krejcikova, CZE
2014 Sara Sorribes Tormo, ESP
2015 Anna Bondar, HUN
2016 Amina Anshba, RUS
2017 Kaja Juvan, SLO
2018 Clara Tauson, DEN
2019 Anna Kubareva, BLR
2021 Antonia Ruzic, CRO
[notable champions]
1994 Martina Hingis, SUI
1995 Anna Kournikova, RUS
2003 Tatiana Golovin, FRA
2006 Carla Suarez-Navarro, ESP
2008 Ana Bogdan, ROU
2010 Jana Cepelova, SVK




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