Thursday, September 06, 2012

US 11.0 - Hello, My Name is Victoria (Part 2)

No women's singles matches were on the docket, but there WERE a few others things of note happening on the grounds of the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Queens on Day 11... and one of them produced a big upset.

...the first champions of this U.S. Open were crowned today, as Ekaterina Makarova & Bruno Soares, after ending Kim Clijsters' career last week, rode the wave all the way to a win in the Mixed Doubles final over Kveta Peschke & Marcin Matkowski, winning 6-7/6-1/12-10. It's Makarova's first slam title, and she gets the "Doubles Star" award for this slam.

...Sara Errani & Roberta Vinci, a day after Errani eliminated Vinci in the singles QF, were back to being BFFs & doubles partners on Day 11. They defeated Nuria Llagostera-Vives & Maria Jose Martinez-Sanchez to reach the final, their third slam championship match of 2012. They won in Paris, but lost in Melbourne.

They're scheduled to play the winner of the other semifinal to be player later on Thursday between Andrea Hlavackova/Lucie Hradecka and Hsieh/Medina-Garrigues.

...after having junior matches cancelled for the past couple of days, most of the girls and boys looking to advance to the QF were scheduled to play two matches today. And there was at least one huge upset, too.

After becoming the final player to ever lose to Clijsters in singles in the women's 1st Round last week, 16-year old Bannerette Victoria Duval came out today and took down #3-seeded girl Eugenie Bouchard -- who just recently became the first-ever Canadian junior slam champ when she swept the Wimbledon Girls singles and doubles, and put up some nice ITF and WTA results, too, this summer -- in their 2nd Round encounter, winning 2-6/6-1/6-4. And with that, the earliest-ever "Junior Breakout" award for a slam will now go to Duval. The cartoon-voiced teen was set to play Liechtenstein's Kathinka Von Deichmann in a 3rd Round match later on Day 11. Von Deichmann defeated American Krista Hardebeck in the 1st Round this week.

It wasn't a good day in the juniors for top Canadian girls. Along with Bouchard's loss was one by Francoise Abanda at the hands of #6-seeded Czech Maiden Katerina Siniakova. The last remaining Canadian girl in the draw is #14-seed Carol Zhao, who'll soon play #2 Yulia Putintseva (KAZ) in the 3rd Round.

In other 2nd Round matches, Turkey's Ipek Soylu defeated #10 seed Chelena Scholl (USA), and #16-seed Marcela Zacarius (MEX) knocked off American Jamie Loeb. In another intriguing 3rd Rounder scheduled for later in the day on Thursday, Zacarius was set to play top-seeded Taylor Townsend, the American singles and doubles Girls champ at this year's Australian Open.

...and, finally, Esther Vergeer, set to play for the Paralympics singles Gold on Friday against countrywoman Aniek Van Koot, has also advanced to the doubles Gold Medal match with Marjolein Buis. It, too, will be an all-Dutch affair, as they'll meet the Netherlands' Jiske Griffioen and, yet again, Van Koot. No matter what colors, Vergeer is assured of adding a seventh and eighth medal to her career totals (she already has five Golds and a Silver).

#1 Victoria Azarenka/BLR vs. #3 Maria Sharapova/RUS
#4 Serena Williams/USA vs. #10 Sara Errani/ITA

#6 Tomas Berdych/CZE vs. #3 Andy Murray/GBR
#4 David Ferrer/ESP vs. #2 Novak Djokovic/SRB

#3 Hlavackova/Hradecka (CZE/CZE) vs. #2 Errani/Vinci (ITA/ITA)

#5 Paes/Stepanek (IND/CZE) vs. #2 Bryan/Bryan (USA/USA)

Makarova/Soares (RUS/BRA) def. #4 Peschke/Matkowski (CZE/POL)

#1 Taylor Townsend/USA vs. #12 Anett Kontaveit/EST
(WC) Victoria Duval/USA vs. #9 Anna Danilina/KAZ
Ilka Csoregi/ROU vs. #4 Antonina Lottner/GER
(WC) Samantha Crawford/USA vs. #2 Yulia Putintseva/KAZ

#1 Kimmer Coppejans/BEL vs. #8 Kaichi Uchida/JPN
#13 Liam Broady/GBR vs. Wayne Montgomery/RSA
Yoshito Nishioka/JPN vs. #3 Gianluigi Quinzi/ITA
#7 Nick Kygios/AUS vs. #2 Filip Peliwo/CAN

#1 Danilina/Kulichkova (KAZ/RUS) vs. #4 Andrews/Townsend (USA/USA)
#8 Lottner/Von Deichmann (GER/LIE) vs. #2 Bencic/Uberalova (SUI/SVK)

#6 Kyrgios/Thompson (AUS/AUS) vs. #5 Marterer/Masur (GER/GER)
Nishioka/Panta Herreros (JPN/PER) vs. #8 Edmund/Ferreira Silva (GBR/POR)

[through QF]
17-10...Russia (Sharapova)
12-15...United States (S.Williams)
10-7 = CZE
9-4...Italy (Errani)
9-7 = FRA
7-1...Belarus (Azarenka)
7-3 = SRB
6-5 = AUS
6-7 = ESP
4-3 = CHN
4-4 = GBR
4-6 = GER,ROU
3-1 = BUL
3-1 = GEO
3-2 = POL
3-3 = BEL,SVK
2-1 = LUX
2-4 = KAZ
1-1 = CAN
1-2 = JPN,SWE
1-3 = NED,SUI
1-4 = HUN
0-2 = CRO,ISR
0-3 = UKR

2007 Kristina Kucova, SVK
2008 Gabriela Paz, VEN
2009 Heather Watson, GBR
2010 Yulia Putintseva, RUS & Sloane Stephens, USA
2011 Grace Min, USA
2012 Victoria Duval, USA
AO: Taylor Townsend, USA
RG: Anna Schmiedlova, SVK
WI: Eugenie Bouchard, CAN
US: Victoria Duval, USA

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
AO: Bethanie Mattek-Sands, USA
RG: Sara Errani/Roberta Vinci, ITA
WI: Lisa Raymond, USA
US: Ekaterina Makarova, RUS

[1st Round Weekend]
MVP: Petra Kvitova, CZE
RISER: Yanina Wickmayer, BEL
SURPRISE: Flavia Pennetta/Roberta Vinci, ITA
VETERAN: Svetlana Kuznetsova, RUS
COMEBACK: Serena Williams/Venus Williams, USA
FRESH FACE: Bojana Jovanovski, SRB
DOWN: Kateryna Bondarenko, UKR
[SF Round Weekend]
MVP: Jelena Jankovic, SRB
RISER: Dominika Cibulkova, SVK
SURPRISE: Lucie Safarova, CZE
VETERAN: Samantha Stosur, AUS
COMEBACK: Anna Tatishvili, GEO
FRESH FACE: Ayumi Morita, JPN
DOWN: Francesca Schiavone, ITA

TOP QUALIFIER: #1q Magdalena Rybarikova, SVK
TOP EARLY-ROUND (1r-2r): #7 Samantha Stosur/AUS
TOP MIDDLE-ROUND (3r-QF): #4 Serena Williams/USA
TOP QUALIFYING MATCH: Q1: (WC) Krista Hardebeck/USA def. Tamaryn Hendler/BEL 7-6(9)/5-7/7-6(3)
TOP EARLY-RD. MATCH (1r-2r): 2nd Rd. - #6 Angelique Kerber/GER def. Venus Williams/USA 6-2/5-7/7-5
TOP MIDDLE-RD. MATCH (3r-QF/Doub.): Mixed Doubles 2nd Rd. - Makarova/Soares (RUS/BRA) def. Clijsters/B.Bryan (BEL/USA) 6-2/3-6/12-10
TOP ASHE NIGHT SESSION MATCH: Nominee: 2nd Rd. - #6 A.Kerber/GER d. V.Williams/USA 6-2/5-7/7-5 (2:45, ends at 12:20 am)
FIRST WINNER: Anna Tatishvili/GEO (def. Foretz-Gacon/FRA)
FIRST SEED OUT: #27 Anabel Medina-Garrigues/ESP (lost to Hradecka/CZE)
NATION OF POOR SOULS: Germany (four of five highest-ranked Germans fell in 1st Round)
CRASH & BURN: #8 Caroline Wozniacki/DEN (lost 1st Rd. to I.Begu/ROU -- was Open #1 seed in 2010-11; second straight 1st Rd. slam loss)
ZOMBIE QUEEN: Nominee: #3 Sharapova/RUS (down 2-0 in 3rd set vs. Petrova in 4th, before rain delay; back from set down vs. Bartoli in QF)
LAST WILD CARD STANDING: Mallory Burdette/USA & Kristina Mladenovic/FRA (3rd Rd.)
IT: Laura Robson/GBR (best British slam result since 1998)
Ms.OPPORTUNITY: #10 Sara Errani/ITA (first Italian in U.S. Open SF)
COMEBACK PLAYER: #12 Ana Ivanovic/SRB (best slam results since won '08 RG)
BROADWAY-BOUND: "Future Sloane" (entering the spotlight... eventually)
LADY OF THE EVENING: Nominees: M.Sharapova/RUS, S.Williams/USA, V.Azarenka/BLR
DOUBLES STAR Ekaterina Makarova/RUS

All for Day 11. More tomorrow.


Blogger Eric said...

LOL! I wonder who asked the last few questions in Serena's presser...

Q. You have been to this stage of the tournament quite a number of times. What do you have to do to sort of lock in and get ready for the next couple of matches?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I feel like I'm going to get more focused and serious and start playing Serena tennis in the next couple of rounds, if I get to play two rounds. That's my goal. I didn't think I came into this tournament playing my best, but I definitely played better in the last two matches. I hope I have two matches left, and, you know, give 200%.

Q. You don't feel like you're playing Serena tennis yet?


Q. Yeah, I do.


Q. Yeah, I do.

SERENA WILLIAMS: Okay. Thank you.

Thu Sep 06, 04:00:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Todd.Spiker said...

Perfectionism = 14 (soon to be 15?) slam singles titles ;)

Thu Sep 06, 04:11:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Todd.Spiker said...

Oh, my. Ashe plays host to a special version of hell tonight before the Djokovic/del Potro match: an exhibition doubles contest featuring John McEnroe and Jim Courier... with Adam Sandler and Kevin James.

Really, USTA?

Thu Sep 06, 04:19:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Eric said...


Thu Sep 06, 06:48:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Eric said...

You know...I really think Coco Vandeweghe could be a Top 30 (if not Top 20) player if she improved her offense. She has the power to blow people off the court...but her recognition is bad. The balls she needs to step in on, she rallies back and the top players eat those shots up for winners.

And if she improved her fitness and defense/movement, she'd maybe even crack the Top 10. She really does have the whole package in terms of skill.

I can't really tell about her mentality...i.e. love of the that would be the third area to improve...and then she'd definitely be in the top 10.

Fri Sep 07, 10:30:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Eric said...

I guess I should remember that Coco's a work in progress... A couple seasons ago she was just blasting every ball. Now, she tries some discretion...

But I was watching her video against Serena and I noticed that she was giving away a lot of points because she was almost being too patient and not going for the kill when she needed to. But consistency is definitely better for Coco than just firing away. Her pace is unreturnable for many people so if she can keep the ball in the court, then that's a good thing. But I hope she recognizes that she can still go further.

Fri Sep 07, 10:53:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Todd.Spiker said...

If all the Bannerettes could reach their potential, I wonder how high they might rank -- as far as home-grown American tennis generations -- on the women's side?

Surely, the generation between the Davenport/MJF group and this one was easily the worst.

Fri Sep 07, 02:48:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Eric said...

I think that women's tennis changed a lot in the last 10 years...not only with the emphasis on athleticism...but also in terms of global competition. And I think a lot of American girls in the system during this change weren't equipped to handle the new competition -- both physically and mentally. I think now the USTA is getting the types of athletes it needs...and also because the tour itself is more organized and players can earn more, better athletes are drawn to tennis say over basketball.

But I mulled your question over in my head...and I don't think we'd have a best ever generation... I mean it's hard to top Seles/Davenport/Capriati/Venus/Serena or the double-headed Navratilova/Evert monster...

I mean just looking at the girls in the top 250...I don't envision any of those girls winning slams even if they reach their full potential. I can see some of them (namely Coco, Sloane, Madison Keys) becoming premier tournament winners and Top10ers... But without slams, they can't challenge these other generations.

Is that on par with your assessment?

Fri Sep 07, 09:10:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Eric said...

I don't know if you've been following this or not...

Fri Sep 07, 09:18:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Todd.Spiker said...

Yeah, I generally agree. But since I don't really count Seles or Navratilova, since they reached the top before ever becoming Americans, as part of "American generations" of players, I was just talking about where this one might rank in terms of sheer numbers or very good players if all the Bannerettes reached their high-end potential. Maybe one or two, if you count a few current juniors, could win a slam, so that'd give the whole group some credibility as far as that goes.

Obviously, Serena/Venus/Davenport/Capriati + MJF would be impossible to top (sort of like Sampras/Agassi/Courier/Chang + maybe Martin), but, numbers-wise, this one could maybe come in second in a best-case scenario. The the Evert/Austin/Shriver (+ I'm sure a few others very good players that are slipping my mind) group would likely be tough to pass for the "Silver," too, solely because of Evert's career.

Sat Sep 08, 12:29:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Todd.Spiker said...

I agree with Navratilova and Davenport, if everything went down as reported, about that being a pretty sorry situation to develop. Stressing fitness is one thing, but doing so in a way that might otherwise thwart a young players development or earning potential isn't what many would call clear-headed leadership.

As far as Townsend goes, she probably could become more fit. But, as Davenport says, she has a different body type than most juniors and is going to be different (of course, the same can be said for Serena).

Sat Sep 08, 12:42:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Eric said...

Ok, I'll give u Seles...but Navratilova won all her slams under the us flag after 1975 when she became a citizen.

Evert/ Navratilova is my golden era. Two players combining for 36 slams and having a riveting yet friendly rivalry. I mean even if you add all the slams of Williams / davenport / capriati (and throw in sharapova heh heh) u won't get 36 slams...

Was mjf really good? I've never seen her play before. Similarly I've never seem bjk play... I never know how to account for them.... Lol...

Sat Sep 08, 01:58:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Todd.Spiker said...

Of course, Evert & Navratilova are the greatest combo in the sport's history (even more so than Roger & Rafa in the current era).

Actually, Martina didn't officially become a US citizen until '81 (according to her WTA bio), but had been in the US for years after seeking political asylum. She spent a lot of years, effectively, "stateless."

I love that Martina is listed as an American player, but she came up in the Czech system and had already played in two slam finals before she defected in '75. So, for numbers-counting stats as far as "generations" go, I wouldn't account for her in ranking U.S. generations. In the Czech generation with the likes of Sukova and Mandlikova, maybe, and in the group of WTA players who were approximately the same age coming up in the 1970's, but not specifically the Americans as a subset.

Well, MJF did reach three slam finals, so I think she gave a more-than-nice account for herself when it came to how good she actually was as a singles player.

Sat Sep 08, 11:04:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Diane said...

BJK was incredibly good--one of the great backhands, plus all those doubles skills. One of the greatest.

Sat Sep 08, 01:29:00 PM EDT  

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