Sunday, September 13, 2020

US.14 - Bubblicious Memories


This very unique U.S. Open is over. Who've been the stars of the first six weeks of the sport's return?


1. Naomi Osaka, JPN: a messenger, a two-time Open winner and a three-time major champ at age 22

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The smile of a champion. ??

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2. Victoria Azarenka, BLR: the "Vikaissance" is real, as Azarenka's near-"Gotham Double" came up just one set short


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3. Jennifer Brady, USA: proving that hard work pays off, Brady entered a new phase of her career by winning Lexington and reaching the semifinals at Flushing Meadows
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4. Simona Halep, ROU: the Prague champ will be looking to join the "three-slam" club in Paris


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5. Diede de Groot, NED (WC): after a disappointing 2020 start, de Groot emerged from the shutdown to win the Dutch national championship and secure her third straight U.S. Open wheelchair singles crown
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6. Laura Siegemund/Vera Zvonareva, GER/RUS: the first-time pairing took advantage of the smaller WD draw and the COVID-related removal of AO champs and top seeds Babos/Mladenovic, backing up their QF upset of defending champs Mertens/Sabalenka to claim the title at Flushing Meadows
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7. Serena Williams, USA: she reached yet another slam semifinal, but let slip a match vs. Azarenka. Did Serena's best shot at slam #24 go with it?
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8. Tsvetana Pironkova, BUL: three years removed from the sport, the Bulgarian returned and got back to doing "Pironkova things" (i.e. upsetting seeds in majors) en route to the Open QF


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9. Yui Kamiji/Jordanne Whiley, JPN/GBR (WC): in Whiley's overdue return to the U.S. Open, the duo picked up their first wheelchair title in NYC since 2014 and their eleventh overall slam win as a pair. The reigning AO champs have a shot in Paris to claim their second Grand Slam (though with 3/4 of an "*") to go with the one they pulled off six years ago.
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10. Elise Mertens, BEL: the only player to post SF+ results on clay *and* hard court in the Restart, Mertens followed up with her second straight QF at the U.S. Open
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11. Fiona Ferro, FRA: the Pastry's Restart-opening title run in Palermo brought her within striking distance of becoming the top-ranked French player on tour in 2020 (she's less than 100 points behind both Mladenovic *and* Garcia)
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12. Maria Sakkari, GRE: Sakkari pulled off a rare "Coco/Serena double" on her way back to another Cincinnati (at NYC) QF, then she reached her first U.S. Open Round of 16


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HM- Kveta Peschke/Demi Schuurs, CZE/NED: new partners in '20, they won the Western & Southern Open title at Flushing Meadows the week before the start of slam action on the USTA National Tennis Center grounds
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RISERS: Anett Kontaveit/EST, Karolina Muchova/CZE & Yulia Putintseva/KAZ
SURPRISES: Mayar Sherif/EGY, Jessica Pegula/USA & Patricia Maria Tig/ROU
VETERANS: Petra Martic/CRO, Alize Cornet/FRA & Johanna Konta/GBR
COMEBACKS: Shelby Rogers/USA, Genie Bouchard/CAN & CiCi Bellis/USA
FRESH FACES: Varvara Gracheva/RUS, Leylah Fernandez/CAN & Elisabetta Cocciaretto/ITA
JUNIOR STARS: Zheng Qinwen/CHN, Alexandra Yepifanova/USA & Brenda Fruhvirtova/CZE
DOUBLES: Hayley Carter/Luisa Stefani (USA/BRA), Nicole Melchar/Xu Yifan (USA/CHN) & Lucie Hradecka/Kristyna Pliskova (CZE/CZE)
ITF: Beatriz Haddad Maia/BRA, Nadia Podoroska/ARG & Federica Di Sarra/ITA
TEAM: New York Empire (WTT)
WHEELCHAIR: Marjolein Buis/NED and Angelica Bernal/COL
DOWN: Karolina Pliskova/CZE, Kristina Mladenovic/FRA & Elise Mertens/Arnya Sabalenka (BEL/BLR)
MOST IMPROVED PLAYERS: Jennifer Brady/USA, Ons Jabeur/TUN & Ann Li/USA
COACH: Michael Geserer (Brady), Thomas Hill (Sakkari) & Dorian Descloix (Azarenka)
2021 WATCH: Katrina Scott/USA, Robin Montgomery/USA and Linda Fruhvirtova/CZE
BACKSPIN MVP's: The "Vikaissance," The Messenger, The Church of Simona & The Pironkova Effect




=DAY 14 NOTES=
...in the final women's title to be awarded at Flushing Meadows this year, #2-seeds Yui Kamiji & Jordanne Whiley claimed their second U.S. Open crown as a pair (2014) with a 6-3/6-3 win over top-seeded Marjolein Buis & Diede de Groot.



Whiley, back in New York for the first time since she won the singles in 2015, is the second mother (w/ Vera Zvonareva) to win a title at this U.S. Open which was seemingly overflowing with players who've returned to have success after having a child. Also this year's Australian Open champs, this is Kamiji & Whiley's eleventh slam win together. Afterward, Whiley called Kamiji, her best friend, her "grand slam wife."

This very well (and likely) will be Buis' final chance at a U.S. Open title, and though the soon-to-retire Dutch vet didn't say anything when she spoke after the final you could tell how disappointed she was.

...in Istanbul, Genie Bouchard's bid to win her first WTA title in six years was thwarted by Romanian Patricia Maria Tig, who staged a comeback from a set down to claim her maiden tour title at age 26. She's the third first-time champ in 2020. Bouchard saved six MP in the 3rd set, forcing a deciding tie-break where Tig finally won on MP #8.




Alexa Guarachi & Desirae Krawczyk (CHI/USA) defeated Aussies Ellen Perez & Storm Sanders to claim the doubles.

In Rome, Dasha Kasatkina defeated Gaby Dabrowski 6-2/6-2 to reach the main draw.

...in the Prague $25K challenger, Jana Cepelova (still only 27...how it *that* possible?) won her first singles title in three years, defeating Renata Zarazua 6-4/7-6.



Meanwhile, Spain's Georgina Garcia Perez outlasted Brazilian Beatriz Haddad Maia to win in FOUR HOURS and six minutes (and, no, they didn't slip in a best-of-five format for the final) in the $25K in Figueira da Foz, Portugal. Haddad had three MP in the 2nd set, and led 4-2 in the 3rd.



Argentina's Nadia Podoroska won her biggest career title (third of '20) at the $60K in Saint-Malo. France with a three-set win over Spain's Cristina Bucsa. Podoroska in now 39-6 on the season.

Italy's Federica Di Sarra, 30, won her second straight challenger title in Tarvisio, Italy with a three-set win over Maryna Zanevska.





=WOMEN'S SINGLES FINAL=
#4 Naomi Osaka/JPN def. Victoria Azarenka/BLR 1-6/6-3/6-3

=WOMEN'S DOUBLES FINAL=
(PR) Siegemund/Zvonareva (GER/RUS) def. #3 Melichar/Xu (USA/CHN) 6-4/6-4

=WOMEN'S WHEELCHAIR SINGLES FINAL=
#1 Diede de Groot/NED def. #2 Yui Kamiji/JPN 6-3/6-3

=WOMEN'S WHEELCHAIR DOUBLES FINAL=
#2 Kamiji/Whiley (JPN/GBR) def. #1 Buis/de Groot (NED/NED) 6-3/6-3




BORDERS AND LEADERSHIP ARE IMPORTANT ON DAY 14:




IT'S AN ACQUIRED SKILL TO SPREAD LIES LIKE YOU'RE BREATHING AIR ON DAY 14:




WHEN YOU'RE A GRADE-A SNIVELING SYNCOPHANT, YOUR FIRST MOVE IS *ALWAYS* TO LICK THE BOOTS OF THE BOSS MAN ON DAY 14:



And your last is to act lik- (whoops, cut off... I guess we'll never know)




MEANWHILE... ON DAY 14:

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It’s my birthday! ?????? #September13

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LIKE ON DAY 14:



Heehee. Philly fans are always going to be trashy no matter the professional pedigree, I guess...



Ooh, I hope that dig against the hated owner makes blowing a 17-0 lead to the players in Week 1 feel better. (Psst... it doesn't, because Washington pulled the same choke *against* the Eagles in Week 1 last year.)


FORGOT ABOUT THIS THIS WEEK (Sorry, Joe) ON DAY 14:




LIKE ON DAY 14:




ASPRIRATIONAL DREAMS LIKE... ON DAY 14:
















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Gavrilova (#11 seed) defeated Ingrid Neel in the opening round of qualifying at the $80K challenger in Cagnes-sur-Mer, France.











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*U.S. OPEN "Ms. OPPORTUNITY" WINNERS*
2004 Shinobu Asagoe, JPN
2005 Elena Dementieva, RUS
2006 Tatiana Golovin, FRA
2007 Svetlana Kuznetsova, RUS
2008 Jelena Jankovic, SRB
2009 Caroline Wozniacki, DEN
2010 Kaia Kanepi, EST
2011 Angelique Kerber, GER
2012 Sara Errani, ITA
2013 Li Na, CHN
2014 Peng Shuai, CHN
2015 Roberta Vinci, ITA
2016 Anastasija Sevastova, LAT
2017 All-Bannerette SF: Keys,Stephens,Vandeweghe,V.Williams
2018 Naomi Osaka, JPN and Anastasija Sevastova, LAT
2019 Belinda Bencic, SUI
2020 Laura Siegemund & Vera Zvonareva, GER/RUS

*U.S. OPEN "DOUBLES STAR" WINNERS*
2006 Martina Navratilova, USA
2007 Nathalie Dechy, FRA
2008 Cara Black, ZIM
2009 Carly Gullickson, USA
2010 Liezel Huber, USA
2011 Melanie Oudin, USA
2012 Ekaterina Makarova, RUS
2013 Andrea Hlavackova, CZE
2014 Yui Kamiji & Jordanne Whiley, JPN/GBR (WC)
2015 Martina Hingis, SUI
2016 Laura Siegemund, GER
2017 Martina Hingis, SUI
2018 Ash Barty & CoCo Vandeweghe, AUS/USA
2019 Diede de Groot & Aniek Van Koot, NED/NED (WC)
2020 Yui Kamiji & Jordanne Whiley, JPN/GBR (WC)

*U.S. OPEN "IT" WINNERS*
2005 Sania Mirza, IND
2006 Jelena Jankovic, SRB
2007 Aga Radwanska, POL
2008 CoCo Vandeweghe, USA [Jr.]
2009 Melanie Oudin, USA
2010 Beatrice Capra, USA
2011 Esther Vergeer, NED [Wheelchair]
2012 [Brit] Laura Robson, GBR
2013 [Bannerette] Vicky Duval, USA
2014 [Girl] CiCi Bellis, USA
2015 [Kiki] Kristina Mladenovic, FRA
2016 [Teen] Ana Konjuh, CRO
2017 [Jr. Wild Card] Coco Gauff, USA
2018 [Court] (new) Louis Armstrong Stadium
2019 [Canadian] Bianca Andreescu, CAN
2020 [Champion Moms] Vera Zvonareva/RUS and Jordanne Whiley/GBR

*U.S. OPEN WHEELCHAIR WINNERS*
[doubles]
2005 Korie Homan & Esther Vergeer, NED/NED
2006 Jiske Griffioen & Esther Vergeer, NED/NED
2007 Jiske Griffioen & Esther Vergeer, NED/NED
2008 --
2009 Korie Homan & Esther Vergeer, NED/NED
2010 Esther Vergeer & Sharon Walraven, NED/NED
2011 Esther Vergeer & Sharon Walraven, NED/NED
2012 --
2013 Jiske Griffioen & Aniek van Koot, NED/NED
2014 Yui Kamiji & Jordanne Whiley, JPN/GBR
2015 Jiske Griffioen & Aniek van Koot, NED/NED
2016 --
2017 Marjolein Buis & Diede de Groot, NED/NED
2018 Diede de Groot & Yui Kamiji, NED/JPN
2019 Diede de Groot & Aniek Van Koot, NED/NED
2020 Yui Kamiji & Jordanne Whiley, JPN/GBR

*WHEELCHAIR SLAM DOUBLES TITLES*
[AO-RG-WI-US]
21 - Esther Vergeer, NED [7-5-3-6]
16 - YUI KAMIJI, JPN [5-3-5-3]*
15 - Aniek van Koot, NED [4-5-3-3]*
14 - Jiske Griffioen, NED [5-3-2-4]*
11 - JORDANNE WHILEY, GBR [3-2-4-2]*
8 - Diede de Groot, NED [1-2-2-3]*
7 - Sharon Walraven, NED [2-1-2-2]

*WHEELCHAIR SLAM TITLES*
[singles/doubles]
42 - Esther Vergeer, NED (21/21)
23 - YUI KAMIJI, JPN (7/16)*
18 - Aniek Van Koot, NED (3/15)*
18 - Jiske Griffioen, NED (4/14)*
16 - Diede de Groot, NED (8/8)*
12 - JORDANNE WHILEY, GBR (1/11)*

*2020 WTA FIRST-TIME CHAMPIONS*
Shenzhen - Ekaterina Alexandrova, RUS (25/#34)
Lexington - Jennifer Brady, USA (25/#49)
ISTANBUL - PATRICIA MARIA TIG, ROU (26/#88)

*2020 WTA LOW-RANKED FINALISTS*
#283 - Leonie Kung, SUI (Hua Hin) - lost to Linette
#272 - GENIE BOUCHARD, CAN (ISTANBUL) - lost to Tig
#190 - Leylah Annie Fernandez, CAN (Acapulco) - lost to Watson
#136 - Anna-Lena Friedsam, GER (Lyon) - lost to Kenin

*2020 WTA CHAMPIONS BY RANKING*
#1 - Ash Barty (Adelaide)
#2 - Karolina Pliskova (Brisbane)
#2 - Simona Halep (Dubai)
#2 - Simona Halep (Prague)
#5 - Sofia Kenin (Lyon)
#7 - Elina Svitolina (Monterrey)
#8 - Kiki Bertens (Saint Petersburg)
#9 - NAOMI OSAKA (US Open)
#10 - Serena Williams (Auckland)
#13 - Aryna Sabalenka (Doha)
#15 - Sofia Kenin (Australian Open)
#30 - Elena Rybakina (Hobart)
#34 - Ekaterina Alexandrova (Shenzhen)
#42 - Magda Linette (Hua Hin)
#53 - Fiona Ferro (Palermo)
#59 - Victoria Azarenka (Cincinnati-NYC)
#63 - Jennifer Brady (Lexington)
#69 - Heather Watson (Acapulco)
#88 - PATRICIA MARIA TIG (Istanbul)

*2020 WTA CHAMPIONS BY AGE*
20 - Elena Rybakina (Hobart)
21 - Sofia Kenin (Australian Open)
21 - Sofia Kenin (Lyon)
21 - Aryna Sabalenka (Doha)
22 - NAOMI OSAKA (US Open)
23 - Ash Barty (Adelaide)
23 - Fiona Ferro (Palermo)
25 - Ekaterina Alexandrova (Shenzhen)
25 - Elina Svitolina (Monterrey)
25 - Jennifer Brady (Lexington)
26 - PATRICIA MARIA TIG (Istanbul)
27 - Heather Watson (Acapulco)
27 - Karolina Pliskova (Brisbane)
28 - Magda Linette (Hua Hin)
28 - Kiki Bertens (Saint Petersburg)
28 - Simona Halep (Dubai)
28 - Simona Halep (Prague)
31 - Victoria Azarenka (Cincinnati-NYC)
38 - Serena Williams (Auckland)



TOP QUALIFIER: DNP
TOP EARLY-ROUND (1r-2r): Victoria Azarenka/BLR
TOP MIDDLE-ROUND (3r-QF): #28 Jennifer Brady/USA
TOP LATE-ROUND (SF-F): #4 Naomi Osaka/JPN
TOP QUALIFYING MATCH: DNP
TOP EARLY-RD. MATCH (1r-2r): 2nd Rd. - Varvara Gracheva/RUS def. #30 Kristina Mladenovic/FRA 1-6/7-6(2)/6-0 (trailed 6-1/5-1, 4 MP)
TOP MIDDLE-RD. MATCH (3r-QF): 4th Rd. -Shelby Rogers/USA def. #6 Petra Kvitova/CZE 7-6(5)/3-6/7-6(6) (4 MP saved)
TOP LATE-RD. MATCH (SF-F): SF - Victoria Azarenka/BLR def. #3 Serena Williams 1-6/6-3/6-3 (was 0-10 vs. SW in slams; 1st slam F since '13)
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FIRST VICTORY: #12 Marketa Vondrousova/CZE (def. Minnen/BEL)
FIRST SEED OUT: #32 Rebecca Peterson/SWE (1st Rd.-lost to Flipkens/BEL)
FIRST SLAM MD WINS: Bonaventure/BEL, Fernandez/CAN, Gracheva/RUS, Scott/USA, Tig/ROU
UPSET QUEENS: United States
REVELATION LADIES: Belarus (5-0 in 1st Rd.)
NATION OF POOR SOULS: Australia (0-5 1st Rd.; #1 Barty and former U.S. champ Stosur DNP)
CRASH & BURN: #1 Karolina Pliskova/CZE (2nd Rd.-Garcia; tied for second earliest exit by U.S. Open #1 seed)
ZOMBIE QUEEN OF NEW YORK: Varvara Gracheva, RUS (2nd Rd.: down 6-1/5-1, 4 MP at 5-2 vs. Mladenovic)
IT ("Champion Moms"): Vera Zvonareva/RUS and Jordanne Whiley/GBR
Ms.OPPORTUNITY: Laura Siegemund/Vera Zvonareva, GER/RUS
LAST QUALIFIER STANDING: DNP Q
LAST WILD CARD STANDING: CiCi Bellis/USA, Katrina Scott/USA and Sachia Vickery/USA (all 2nd Rd.)
LAST BANNERETTE STANDING: Serena Williams and Jennifer Brady (SF)
COMEBACK PLAYER: Tsvetana Pironkova/BUL (first event since '17 Wimb; to QF)
VETERAN PLAYER (KIMIKO CUP): Serena Williams/USA and Victoria Azarenka/BLR
DOUBLES STAR: Yui Kamiji/Jordanne Whiley, JPN/GBR
BIG APPLE BANNERETTE BREAKTHROUGH: Jennifer Brady/USA
BROADWAY-BOUND: "Three Moms and the QF" (Serena, Vika & Tsvetana in QF; first time three mothers in slam QF)
LADY OF THE EVENING: Naomi Osaka/JPN (5-0 in night session)
JUNIOR UNDER 18 BREAKOUT: Katrina Scott/USA (16; slam debut as wild card, 1st Rd. win)
RG "Légion de Lenglen" HONOREE: U.S. OPEN SPECIAL: Madison Brengle/USA (chugs wine after 2nd Rd. victory)




Be Safe. All for now.

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