Monday, November 11, 2013

Backtalk I - November 11

The first of my "between-seasons" updates, as matches continue to be played, and preparations for 2014 are already underway...

Love/Love... the star of the first post-WTA season week was a Waffle. Alison Van Uytvanck, to be precise. The 19-year old, ranked #129, advanced to the final of and won the biggest title of her career at the WTA 125 challenger in Taipei. She notched wins over Olga Puchkova, Alla Kudryavtseva, Ekaterina Bychkova, Dinah Pfizenmaier and countrywoman Yanina Wickmayer in the championship match -- the first all-Belgian title clash in any WTA-sponsored event since Barbie & LPT met in Brisbane in January '10. AVU reached the doubles final with Anna-Lena Friedsam, as well.
Love/15... in losing 6-4/6-2 to Van Uytvanck, Wickmayer falls to 0-5 in the last three years in WTA and WTA 125 challenger level finals.
Love/30... while Caroline Wozniacki has taken up with Thomas Hogstedt as her new coach, Samantha Stosur will do so with Miles Maclagan in 2014. We'll see how this works out for the Aussie, in particular, because she really seemed to be sparked -- to the tune of three straight appearances in finals -- while temporarily working with Alicia Molik in the closing weeks of '13 following her split with long-time coach David Taylor.

15/40... Yaroslava Shvedova, one of the former-Hordettes who had to observe from afar the whole Russian Fed Cup mess of a week ago through intrigued eyes, is shining a little light on what was a disappointing murky season in singles in '13 (outside of the Top 80), and something hardly up to her previous standards in doubles (outside the Top 50), as well. For the second straight week, she appeared in the doubles final of a WTA 125 challenger. In Nanjing, she and Zhang Shuai lost, but the Kazakh managed to take the crown in Taipei with Caroline Garcia. Shvedova won two tour level doubles crowns earlier this season.
30/40... though it didn't help anyone out of a bad situation this year, it should be noted that next season the Fed Cup final will be moved back a week so that it won't conflict with the WTA's fabled Tournament of "Champions" event.
Deuce... the NCAA 2013-14 season is underway, with two majors having already been played. The result of both was the same, with University of North Carolina freshman Jamie Loeb defeating UCLA junior Robin Anderson in the final. A New York state native, new Tar Heel Loeb grabbed her most recent title at the NCAA's USTA/ITA Indoor Championship at Flushing Meadows.
Advantage, Russian... in ITF news, Russian (again) Ksenia Pervak claimed the $50K challenger in Istanbul with a win in the final over Eva Birnerova (CZE) to run her winning streak to ten matches. Of note, the 22-year defeated Hordette Fed Cup (almost) heroine Alexandra Panova in the quarterfinals of the event.

Meanwhile, Mandy Minella (LUX) defeated Gabriela Dabrowski (CAN) in the $50K event at Captiva Island, Florida. The veteran got earlier wins over youngsters Allie Will and Allie Kiick, as well. Dabrowski and Will ended up taking the doubles crown.

In Lima, Peru, 19-year old Mexican Ana Sofia Sanchez defeated Francesca Segarelli (born in Rome, though playing for the Domenican Republic) to take her third ITF challenger of the season, tying her for the most amongst North Americans in 2013.

Also, #10-ranked junior Ivana Jorovic of Serbia won a $10K in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt. The 16-year old, who recently won the girls title at the Osaka Cup, took her third challenger title of the season with a win in the final over Janina Toljan (AUT).

[WTA + WTA 125 + ITF]
Zhang Shuai/CHN - 1 WTA / 1 WTA 125 / 1 ITF
[WTA + WTA 125]
Bojana Jovanovski/SRB - 1 WTA / 1 WTA 125
Yvonne Meusburger/AUT - 1 WTA / 3 ITF
Karolina Pliskova/CZE - 1 WTA / 1 ITF
Lucie Safarova/CZE - 1 WTA / 1 ITF
Elina Svitolina/UKR - 1 WTA / 2 ITF
[WTA 125 + ITF]

Kristina Mladenovic, FRA
Elina Svitolina, UKR
Lara Arruabarrena, ESP
Bojana Jovanovski, SRB
Shahar Peer, ISR
Zhang Shuai, CHN
[2012-13 RUNNERS-UP]
Catalina Castano, COL
Chang Kai-Chen, TPE
Kimiko Date-Krumm, JPN
Ayumi Morita, JPN
Yanina Wickmayer, BEL
Zhang Shuai, CHN
Zheng Saisai, CHN

Brisbane - Clijsters d. Henin (BELGIUM)
Kuala Lumpur - Kleybanova d. Dementieva (RUSSIA)
Barcelona - Schiavone d. Vinci (ITALY)
Istanbul - Pavlyuchenkova d. Vesnina (RUSSIA)
Tashkent - Kudryavtseva d. Vesnina (RUSSIA)
Baku - Zvonareva d. Pervak (RUSSIA)
Acapulco - Errani d. Pennetta (ITALY)
Stanford - Serena Williams d. Coco Vandeweghe (USA)
Palermo - Vinci d. Errani (ITALY)

**2013 ITF TITLES - North Americans**
3...Bernarda Pera, USA
3...Shelby Rogers, USA
2...Madison Brengle, USA
2...Victoria Rodriguez, MEX

Advantage, sisterly devotion...

1. $25K Astana Final - Nadiya Kichenok/UKR d. Ilona Kremen/BLR
Nadiya picks up her third singles challenger crown of the season, and...
2. $25K Astana Doubles Final - Kichenok/Kichenok d. Artamanova/Pashkova
She picks up her 17th career ITF crown with her twin sister Lyudmyla, too.
3. $15K Phuket 2nd Rd. - Lu Jia-Jing/CHN d. Lu Jia-Xiang/CHN
The 23-year old sisters face off against one another in singles, then...
4. $15K Phuket Doubles Final - Lu/Lu d. Plipuech/Varunya Wongteanchai
They make up by joining together to claim their 10th career ITF doubles title.
5. Taipei WTA 125 1st Rd. - Ekaterina Bychkova d. Chan Yung-Jan 6-1/7-5
Taipei WTA 125 1st Rd. - Zheng Saisai d. Chan Hao-Ching 6-3/6-1
Taipei WTA 125 Doubles 1st Rd. - Friedsam/Van Uytvanck d. Chan/Chan 6-2/6-4
things didn't go nearly as well for the Chan siblings in Taipei, though.

Match... and, finally, I'll be back soon with more Backspin Awards, including the Performance & Match Lists this week, and the WTA Yearbook sometime between today and next Monday.

All for now.


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