Saturday, June 25, 2011

W.6- A Penny for Some Thoughts, Pt.2

"The day before Sunday in the middle of the tournament, a Dane turned more heads -- but will it be in vain? And then a Pastry was really in a raaaage, but she survived anyway."

On "People's Saturday" at Wimbledon, here's one more "Random Musings" trip around the roundabout:

Once again, Caroline Wozniacki was impressive at Wimbledon. More importantly, she did it against a player with some power, as well as a Round of 16 SW19 result from a year ago. The Dane defeated Jarmila Gajdosova 6-3/6-2, continuing to move forward on the grass (maybe she should pretend the blue hard courts are actually green when she comes to North America next month). Wozniacki didn't face a break point in the 1st set, and when the Aussie failed to take control of the point when she finally DID get one early in the 2nd, the world #1 coasted to the finish line after holding serve. Dominika Cibulkova, who produces a lot of power shots from her small body, is next, but it looks like a quarterfinal match-up with Maria Sharapova is going to decide one of the final four women in this slam.

Meanwhile, Marion Bartoli has really been raising a ruckus the last two days. Yesterday, she saw Lourdes Dominguez-Lino serve for a straight sets win in the 2nd, and saved three match points in a contest in which she was treated for nausea and received a coaching warning from the chair umpire. The wildness carried over to today when she met Flavia Pennetta. Flashing anger at various times -- she argued with chair umpire Mariana Alves and ordered Dr. Bartoli to leave his seat in the stands -- La Trufflette dropped the opening set, then found herself down a break in the 3rd before finally fighting her way to match point. After Bartoli failed on three attempts, Pennetta finally had mercy on the Pastry and double-faulted to end the match, giving her a 5-7/6-4/9-7 victory in 3:09.

Hmmm, I'm smelling a Zombie. But, then again, there are SO MANY Z-Queen candidates at this Wimbledon. Along with Bartoli, there's Venus, Lisicki, Cetkovska and...

Tamira Paszek. In a match with Francesca Schiavone completed from yesterday, the 20-year old Austrian (a quarterfinalist at Wimbledon all the way back in '07 at 16) was two points from the match in the 3rd set, only to see Schiavone get into position to serve for the match at 8-7 and 9-8. The Italian failed to close things out, though, and -- imagine this -- looked noticably tired down the stretch. Paszek finally won 3-6/6-4/11-9 in 3:41. If the match had gone on five minutes longer it would have set a new Wimbledon women's record, topping the longest-ever 3:45 clash between Chanda Rubin and Patricia Hy-Boulais in '96. Schiavone and Paszek have a history similar to this at SW19, as the Italian defeated Paszek in a 10-8 3rd set in the 1st Round in 2008. Of course, Schiavone HERSELF has a history of moments like this. In 2011. Remember, in Melbourne, she and Svetlana Kuznetsova played in a 4:44 match that stands as the longest in women's slam history.

The Five are now a combined 13-1 through three rounds.

"Last Wild Card Standing" Sabine Lisicki defeated "Last Qualifier Standing" Misaki Doi, once again making the Club look good when it comes to handing out the discretionary wild cards in recent years that don't either go to British women of those from the other three slam nations. In 2008, wild card Zheng Jie made it all the way to the SF, and now Lisicki is just a win from the QF. If the Baroness defeats Petra Cetkovska in the 4th Round, Lisicki will become just the eighth wild card to reach a slam quarterfinal, but the fourth to do so in the last three years, following in the footsteps of Jelena Dokic ('09 AO), Kim Clijsters ('09 U.S. champ) and Justine Henin ('10 AO runner-up).

A few noteworthy numbers: seven women in this Round of 16 -- Bartoli, Kvitova, Pironkova, Sharapova, S.Williams, V.Williams & Wozniacki -- also reached this stage at Wimbledon last year. The nine who didn't repeat? Well, Clijsters and Henin, who weren't around to do it, as well as Gajdosova, Jankovic, Kanepi, Li, A.Radwanska, Zakopalova & Zvonareva.

Five of the Final 16 are first-timers in a Wimbledon 4th Round. For one, Ksenia Pervak, it's her first Round of 16 at any slam, while her countrywoman Sharapova now has the longest current slam Round of 16 streak on tour, with this being her fifth consecutive such result.

Just like Svetlana Kuznetsova yesterday, Ana Ivanovic followed up her great early-round play at Wimbledon with a loss today. Aftering dropping just four games in her first two matches, the Serb lost 6-2/7-6 to Cetkovska today, getting shutout 7-0 in the 2nd set tie-break. So, once again, AnaIvo leaves a slam with a very bad taste in her mouth. Earlier this season, she lost in Melbourne and Paris in the 1st Round.

There was on-air talk today about next year's big summer at SW19, as the Olympic tennis tournament will be held at the All-England Club after the regular Wimbledon event. One question: playing so soon after a slam, what will be done to make sure the grass courts hold up?

VANIA KING-TO-#1 WATCH: before the season, one of my predictions for 2011 was that King would -- at least briefly -- rise to the #1 doubles ranking at some point this season. The AO title claimed by Gisela Dulko and Flavia Pennetta sort of set things back on that front, but King has continued to keep the prediction alive through the first half of the year. She had a shot to rise to #1 after RG, but she and Yaroslava Shvedova failed to advance deep enough in the draw. With Dulko out injured, and #1-ranked Pennetta playing with Schiavone at Wimbledon, I believe the chances are STILL alive for King to get that #1 ranking after this tournament. Dulko/Pennetta reached the SF a year ago, and with Pennetta/Schiavone losing in the 1st Round today the 900 points that Pennetta earned will drop out. King is currently ranked #3, 580 points behind the Italian. King/Shvedova, the #1 seeds at Wimbledon, are trying to defend the 2000 points earned for winning last year's title at SW19. With Pennetta out, I believe -- though don't hold me to it -- that King can get to #1 if she and Shvedova win the title again. They next will face Lisicki/Stosur, so the path isn't easy. Liezel Huber & Lisa Raymond could be SF opponents, too. It looks like Huber -- a doubles semfinalist last year -- could also get back to #1 if she wins. She's currently ranked #5, just a little behind King in points. If King/Shvedova and Huber/Raymond meet in the semis, I think either King or Huber will end up getting a chance to play for the #1 ranking in the final.

But, like I said, don't hold me to all that. I really just want the prediction to be right, and am looking for any possible angle, after all.

Speaking of doubles, I didn't catch it earlier, but Roland Garros champions Andrea Hlavackova and Lucie Hradecka have already been dumped out of their Wimbledon campaign. Somehow, I doubt that the Czechs have the same excuse for such an early loss in London that Schiavone had after winning in Paris last year before losing her first match in London.

Serena Williams will next play Bartoli. And although the Frenchwoman's game is always tricky, one has to think she's about at the end of her rope. She always a step away from some sort of muscle strain, and she'll go into the Monday match after having been ill in one match at this Wimbedon, then ill-tempered in another that lasted more than three hours. The few days of rest should do her good, but with Serena looking a bit more awesome once again today against Maria Kirilenko -- winning 3 & 2 and hitting 10 aces to run her Wimbledon winning streak to 17 matches -- it might not matter. After losing to Serena in the 1st Round, Aravane Rezai said that "if she wins the next two or three matches, I think she can win the tournament." Well, today makes it two matches down.

Not long after the looking-better-and-better Serena beat up on the Hordette today, ESPN2's Mary Joe Fernandez said that, if Williams is going to play like that, she (MJF) sort of "feels bad for the rest of the (women's) field."

Especially if none of them are named Penny.

...the "Junior Star" for Week 25 is Indy de Vroome. The 15-year old from the Netherlands, the #41-ranked junior, just won the Roehampton grass event's Girls title in London, defeating Hordette Yulia Putintseva 6-4/6-1 in the final.

Speaking of the juniors, the Wimbledon draws are out and the action has begun at the All-England Club. And the #1 seed is already gone. Top-seeded Daria Gavrilova lost today 7-6/6-3 to Ukrainian Kateryna Kozlova. It's Gavrilova's second consecutive ouster as the #1 seed in a grass court event, as the Russian lost in the 1st Round in Roehampton, as well. Actually, since Gavrilova won the U.S. Open junior title last summer, she's been the #1 seed at all three of 2011's slam Girls events. She reached the QF in Paris, but was also upset in the 1st Round in Melbourne.

#12 Ashleigh Barty/AUS d. ?? (I had Gavrilova losing here)
#7 Yulia Putintseva/RUS d. Indy de Vroome/NED
#10 Alison van Uytvanck/BEL d. #3 Irina Khromacheva/RUS
#2 Caroline Garcia/FRA d. Francesca Stephenson/GBR (I had to pick SOMEONE here)
#7 Putintseva d. #12 Barty
#10 van Uytvanck d. #2 Garcia
#10 van Uytvanck d. #7 Putintseva

..well, here I go again. I picked van Uytvanck, who hadn't lost a junior match all season and only a few on the ITF and WTA circuits, in Roland Garros and she lost early. I wasn't going to pick her again, especially since she'll now face Krista Hardebeck in the 2nd Round. Hardebeck reached the semis in Roehampton after upsetting Gavrilova, but today's second straight loss on the grass by the Russian sort of makes that look a bit less impressive. That said, a player I don't have here might be a spoiler, as hard-serving American Madison Keys' game could take rather well to the grass. She knocked off #8 Victoria Bosio today. Maybe "Carl" would like to pick Keys?

...and, finally, the middle Sunday is the traditional day off for Wimbledon, so the Daily Backspin will take a break along with everyone else tomorrow. Some people don't like it that the tournament does this, but I really enjoy the day to refresh and get ready for the rest of the tournament. And since that's all I'll really have to care about tomorrow, I sort of love it. Ha.

#1 Caroline Wozniacki/DEN vs. #24 Dominika Cibulkova/SVK
#20 Peng Shuai/CHN vs. #5 Maria Sharapova/RUS
(WC) Sabine Lisicki/GER vs. Petra Cetkovska/CZE
#9 Marion Bartoli/FRA vs. #7 Serena Williams/USA
Tamira Paszek/AUT vs. Ksenia Pervak/RUS
Nadia Petrova/RUS vs. #4 Victoria Azarenka/BLR
#8 Petra Kvitova/CZE vs. #19 Yanina Wickmayer/BEL
#23 Venus Williams/USA vs. #32 Tsvetana Pironkova/BUL

#1 Rafael Nadal/ESP vs. #24 Juan Martin del Potro/ARG
#10 Mardy Fish/USA vs. #6 Tomas Berdych/CZE
#4 Andy Murray/GBR vs. #17 Richard Gasquet/FRA
(Q) Lukasz Kubot/POL vs. Feliciano Lopez/ESP
#7 David Ferrer/ESP vs. #12 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga/FRA
#18 Mikhail Youzhny/RUS vs. #3 Roger Federer/SUI
(Q) Bernard Tomic/AUS vs. Xavier Malisse/BEL
#19 Michael Llodra/FRA vs. #2 Novak Djokovic/SRB

[by age]
20...Ksenia Pervak
20...Tamira Paszek
20...Caroline Wozniacki
21...Petra Kvitova
21...Yanina Wickmayer
21...Sabine Lisicki
21...Victora Azarenka
22...Dominika Cibulkova
23...Tsvetana Pironkova
24...Maria Sharapova
25...Peng Shuai
26...Petra Cetkovska
26...Marion Bartoli
29...Nadia Petrova
29...Serena Williams
30...Venus Williams
[by ranking]
#1 - Caroline Wozniacki
#5 - Victoria Azarenka
#6 - Maria Sharapova
#8 - Petra Kvitova
#9 - Marion Bartoli
#19 - Yanina Wickmayer
#20 - Peng Shuai
#24 - Dominika Cibulkova
#30 - Venus Williams
#33 - Tsvetana Pironkova
#62 - Sabine Lisicki
#25 - Serena Williams
#37 - Nadia Petrova
#80 - Tamira Paszek
#81 - Petra Cetkovska
#89 - Ksenia Pervak
[by slam Round-of-16's]
40...Venus Williams
36...Serena Williams
22...Maria Sharapova
20...Nadia Petrova
10...Caroline Wozniacki
9...Victoria Azarenka
8...Marion Bartoli
6...Petra Kvitova
4...Dominika Cibulkova
4...Yanina Wickmayer
3...Tamira Paszek
2...Petra Cetkovska
2...Sabine Lisicki
2...Peng Shuai
2...Tsvetana Pironkova
1...Ksenia Pervak
[by Wimbledon Round-of-16's]
12...Venus Williams
10...Serena Williams
7...Nadia Petrova
7...Maria Sharapova
3...Marion Bartoli
3...Caroline Wozniacki
2...Victoria Azarenka
2...Petra Kvitova
2...Sabine Lisicki
2...Tamira Paszek
2...Tsvetana Pironkova
1...Petra Cetkovska
1...Dominika Cibulkova
1...Peng Shuai
1...Ksenia Pervak
1...Yanina Wickmayer
[by career WTA singles titles]
43...Venus Williams
37...Serena Williams
23...Maria Sharapova
17...Caroline Wozniacki
9...Nadia Petrova
7...Victoria Azarenka
6...Marion Bartoli
4...Petra Kvitova
3...Yanina Wickmayer
2...Sabine Lisicki
2...Tamira Paszek
0...Petra Cibulkova
0...Dominika Cibulkova
0...Peng Shuai
0...Ksenia Pervak
0...Tsvetana Pironkova
[women+men - by nation]
4...Russia (Pervak, Petrova, Sharapova, Youzhny)
3...Czech Repubic (Berdych, Cetkovska, Kvitova)
3...Spain (Ferrer, Lopez, Nadal)
3...United States (Fish, S.Williams, V.Williams)
2...Belgium (Malisse, Wickmayer)
1...Argentina (del Potro)
1...Australia (Tomic)
1...Austria (Paszek)
1...Belarus (Azarenka)
1...Bulgaria (Pironkova)
1...China (Peng)
1...Denmark (Wozniacki)
1...France (Bartoli)
1...Germany (Lisicki)
1...Great Britain (Murray)
1...Poland (Kubot)
1...Serbia (Djokovic)
1...Slovak Republic (Cibulkova)
1...Switzerland (Federer)

[women + men]
306...Martina Navratilova
299...Chris Evert
278...Steffi Graf
232...Jimmy Connors
224...Andre Agassi
222...ROGER FEDERER (post-3r)
222...Ivan Lendl
210...Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario
209...VENUS WILLIAMS (post-3r)
203...Pete Sampras
202...SERENA WILLIAMS (post-3r)

TOP EARLY ROUND (1r-2r): #8 Petra Kvitova/CZE
TOP QUALIFYING MATCH: Q3: Alexa Glatch/USA def. Galina Voskoboeva/KAZ 3-6/7-6/12-10
TOP EARLY RD. MATCH (1r-2r): 2nd Rd. - #23 Venus Williams/USA def. Kimiko Date-Krumm/JPN 6-7/6-3/8-6 (2:55)
TOP UNDER-THE-ROOF MATCH: Nominee: 2nd Rd. - V.Williams d. K.Date-Krumm 6-7/6-3/8-6 (2:55)
FIRST WIN: Kimiko Date-Krumm/JPN (def. O'Brien/GBR)
FIRST SEED OUT: #22 Shahar Peer (1st Rd. - lost to Pervak/RUS)
NATION OF POOR SOULS: Australia (1-3 in 1st Rd., losses by Stosur & Dokic)
LAST BRITS STANDING: Elena Baltacha, Anne Keothavong & Laura Robson (2nd Rd.)
LAST WILD CARD STANDING: Sabine Lisicki/GER (in 4th Rd.)
CRASH & BURN: #15 Jelena Jankovic/SRB (1st Rd. loss to Martinez-Sanchez/ESP, worst slam result since '05 RG)
* V.Williams (survives 8-6 3rd set vs. Date-Krumm in 2nd Rd.)
* S.Lisicki (down 2 MP vs. Li in 2nd Rd.)
* P.Cetkovska (down 6-4/5-4 30/30 vs. A.Radwanska in 2nd Rd.)
* M.Bartoli (down 3 MP vs. Dominguez-Lino in 2nd Rd., wins 9-7 3rd set vs. Pennetta in 3rd Rd.)
* T.Paszek (Schiavone served for match in 3rd Rd., wins 11-9 3rd set)

All for Day 6. More on Monday.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good job Todd as usual - but Carl is messing up too little - is he tired? I'm thinking or was thinking when Caro ended her game yesterday - impressive low UE and forgot that she had 1 UE in the previous game. My thought is when did that happen last time that there was only 1 UE in a complete match? must be way back.
And I like some commentators saying that until now Caroline has been flying under the radar in Wimbledon. I think she's doing it pretty good perhaps she can have a future as pilot on Liverpool Airways ;-)

Sun Jun 26, 04:16:00 AM EDT  

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