Saturday, May 31, 2014

RG.7- To Recap is Wonderful, but to List is Divine

The Round of 16 field is set... and you know what that means.

NUMBER OF DIFFERENT NATIONS REPRESENTED: thirteen. Nations with more than one: Germany (2), Russia (2) and Spain (2). Russia is the only nation with multiple Round of 16ers at both the Australian Open and Roland Garros this year.

FIRST-TIME SLAM ROUND OF 16ers: Three woman -- unseeded Ajla Tomljanovic, qualifier Kiki Bertens & wild card Pauline Parmentier -- are in the 4th Round of a slam for the first time in their careers. Two -- Genie Bouchard and Garbi Muguruza -- were the only first-timers in Melbourne. Bouchard and Muguruza have backed up their Round of 16 results Down Under by doing it again in Paris.

The last time a qualifier reached the RG 4th Round was 2012 (Yaroslava Shvedova), while the last wild card was Jarmila Gajdosova (then Groth) in 2010. That was also the last year BOTH a wild card and qualifier reached the final sixteen, as Chanelle Scheepers advanced that far after surviving qualifying.

Six of the final sixteen woman have never been this far in Paris before.

MASTERFULLY LISTED?: After fifteen of the final sixteen women in Melbourne appeared on Backspin's preseason "Grand Slam Master List," three slipped through to the 4th Round in Paris. Casey Dellacqua was the sole unlisted woman in Australia, while first-time slam Round of 16ers Tomljanovic, Bertens and Parmentier make up the trio that were absent this time around.

With Serena Williams' early exit, Sam Stosur is the only thirtysomething remaining in the draw. Four players aged 30+ have reached slam Round of 16's in 2014. Meanwhile, four 21-and-under players are still alive, running the NextGen's season slam 4th Round total to seven of thirty-two.

Ummm... Sloane Stephens is now the "most consistent" slam player on tour, having reached the 4th Round at six straight majors, twice as many as the three women with the next-highest streak. Speaking of consistency, Maria Sharapova's Round of 16 results gives her thirteen since 2010, equaling none other than Serena for the most on tour during the five-season span. There has been at least one Hordette in the 4th Round of 54 of the last 55 slams.

[by ranking]
#4 - Simona Halep
#7 - Jelena Jankovic
#8 - Maria Sharapova
#9 - Angelique Kerber
#11 - Sara Errani
#15 - Carla Suarez-Navarro
#16 - Eugenie Bouchard
#18 - Samantha Stosur
#19 - Sloane Stephens
#24 - Lucie Safarova
#27 - Andrea Petkovic
#28 - Svetlana Kuznetsova
#35 - Garbine Muguruza
#72 - Ajla Tomljanovic
#145 - Pauline Parmentier
#148 - Kiki Bertens
[by age]
30...Samantha Stosur
29...Jelena Jankovic
28...Svetlana Kuznetsova
28...Pauline Parmentier
27...Lucie Safarova
27...Maria Sharapova
27...Sara Errani
26...Andrea Petkovic
26...Angelique Kerber
25...Carla Suarez-Navarro
22...Simona Halep
22...Kiki Bertens
21...Sloane Stephens
20...Ajla Tomljanovic
20...Garbine Muguruza
20...Eugenie Bouchard
[by nation]
2...Germany (Kerber,Petkovic)
2...Russia (Kuznetsova,Sharapova)
2...Spain (Muguruza,Suarez-Navarro)
1...Australia (Stosur)
1...Canada (Bouchard)
1...Croatia (Tomljanovic)
1...Czech Republic (Safarova)
1...France (Parmentier)
1...Italy (Errani)
1...Netherlands (Bertens)
1...Romania (Halep)
1...Serbia (Jankovic)
1...United States (Stephens)
[by career slam Round-of-16's]
30...Maria Sharapova
27...Svetlana Kuznetsova
20...Jelena Jankovic
9...Angelique Kerber
9...Samantha Stosur
7...Sloane Stephens
7...Carla Suarez-Navarro
5...Sara Errani
5...Andrea Petkovic
3...Simona Halep
3...Lucie Safarova
2...Eugenie Bouchard
2...Garbine Muguruza
1...Kiki Bertens
1...Pauline Parmentier
1...Ajla Tomljanovic
[by consecutive slam Round of 16's]
6...Sloane Stephens
3...Simona Halep
3...Jelena Jankovic
3...Angelique Kerber
2...Eugenie Bouchard
2...Garbine Muguruza
[by career RG Round of 16's]
10...Svetlana Kuznetsova
10...Maria Sharapova
7...Jelena Jankovic
4...Samantha Stosur
3...Sara Errani
3...Angelique Kerber
3...Sloane Stephens
3...Carla Suarez-Navarro
2...Andrea Petkovic
2...Lucie Safarova
1...Kiki Bertens
1...Eugenie Bouchard
1...Simona Halep
1...Garbine Muguruza
1...Pauline Parmentier
1...Ajla Tomljanovic
[by consecutive RG Round of 16's]
4...Svetlana Kuznetsova
4...Maria Sharapova
3...Sara Errani
3...Angelique Kerber
3...Sloane Stephens
2...Jelena Jankovic
2...Carla Suarez-Navarro
1*..Andrea Petkovic (reached QF in last RG played: 2011)
[by preseason "Grand Slam Master List" rankings]
4 - Maria Sharapova
5 - Samantha Stosur
9 - Angelique Kerber
10 - Sara Errani
11 - Sloane Stephens
12 - Simona Halep
13 - Jelena Jankovic
18 - Carla Suarez-Navarro
20 - Eugenie Bouchard
21 - Svetlana Kuznetsova
37 - Andrea Petkovic
48 - Lucie Safarova
53 - Garbine Muguruza
unlisted - Kiki Bertens
unlisted - Pauline Parmentier
unlisted - Ajla Tomljanovic
[WTA career slam Round of 16's - active]
45...Serena Williams
40...Venus Williams
21...Nadia Petrova
19...Agnieszka Radwanska
18...Ana Ivanovic
18...Francesca Schiavone
17...Victoria Azarenka
16...Li Na
16...Vera Zvonareva
[WTA slam Round of 16's since 2010 - active]
13...Serena Williams
12...Victoria Azarenka
11...Agnieszka Radwanska
10...Li Na
9...Ana Ivanovic
9...Petra Kvitova
9...Caroline Wozniacki
8...Francesca Schiavone
(use for end of rd of 16's)
[2014 slam Rd. of 16's - youngest]
19 - Eugenie Bouchard (AO)
20 - Eugenie Bouchard (RG)
20 - Garbine Muguruza (AO)
20 - Garbine Muguruza (RG)
20 - Ajla Tomljanovic (RG)
20 - Sloane Stephens (AO)
21 - Sloane Stephens (RG)
[2014 slam Rd. of 16's - oldest]
32 - Serena Williams (AO)
31 - Li Na (AO)
31 - Flavia Pennetta (AO)
30 - Samantha Stosur (RG)
29 - Jelena Jankovic (RG)
[2014 slam Rd. of 16's - unseeded]
AO - Casey Dellacqua, AUS (WC)
AO - Garbine Muguruza, ESP
RG - Garbine Muguruza, ESP
RG - Pauline Parmentier, FRA (WC)
RG - Ajla Tomljanovic, CRO
RG - Kiki Bertens, NED (Q)
[2014 slam Rd. of 16's - 1st-time GS 4th Rd.'s]
AO - Eugenie Bouchard, CAN
AO - Garbine Muguruza, ESP
RG - Kiki Bertens, NED
RG - Pauline Parmentier, FRA
RG - Ajla Tomljanovic, CRO
[2014 slam Rd. of 16's - lowest-ranked]
#148 - Kiki Bertens, NED (RG)
#145 - Pauline Parmentier, FRA (RG)
#120 - Casey Dellacqua, AUS (AO)
[2014 slam Rd. of 16's - by nation]
4 - Russia
3 - Germany, Serbia, Spain, United States
2 - Australia, Canada, Italy, Romania


=DAY 7 NOTES= expected, the match between the confounding Svetlana Kuznetsova and the equally frustrating Petra Kvitova, who combined have won three of the four majors and caused their fans to suffer all sorts of injuries while falling out their chairs (or smacking their own skulls) after some less-than-savory performances from their favorite player, provided the most exciting, back-and-fourth contest of the day on Saturday.

Speaking on Tennis Channel, Ian Eagle hit the proverbial nail directly on the head when he said, after a discussion of the Czech's rollercoaster ride game, "We've talked about the up and down nature of Kvitova. But the parameters are pretty wide for Kuznetsova, as well."

The two -- shocker! -- split the first two sets, leaving the 3rd as the who-wants-it-the-most (or maybe the least... today... at this precise moment... though she might change her mind a minute from now) battle. Kvitova, with her upper right leg wrapped, went up a break in the 3rd and, at 3-1, could see the finish line. But, stop me if you've heard this before, unforced errors eventually proved her undoing.

Kuznetsova got a break of serve for 3-3 then, up 4-3, took a 40/love lead on Kvitova's next serve game, as well. The Czech saved four break points to hold. Of course, naturally, in the next game, Kvitova went up 40/love on the Russian's serve. On break point #5, she took a 5-4 lead and then served for the match.

She couldn't do it.

In game #11, more Kvitova errors gave Kuznetsova a 6-5 lead when the Hordette held serve after the Czech botched a backhand slice shot in the short court. A game later, Kuznetsova held two match points after going up 40/15 on Kvitova's serve. Petra saved both, with a high forehand volley that smacked the baseline and then a clean forehand winner to make it 6-6 and push the match into "extra time." Kuzenetsova had three game points game #13. The Russian battled throughout with good-to-great-to-mind-boggling defensive gets, fighting off a break point to no avail as the Czech crushed a second serve return to get another BP. A Kuznetsova error gave Kvitova a 7-6 advantage and another chance to serve for the match.

Again, errors put Petra down love/40 and Kuznetsova broke to tie things at 7-7. After a hold from the Russian, Kvitova now had to hold to stay in the match. A double-fault put her down love/40 again. A long forehand ended a rally and Kuznetosva won 6-7(3)/6-1/9-7 in 3:13, getting her first win in four tries against the Czech.

Oh, Petra. Oh, Sveta!

Kuznetsova, for all the inconsistency in results for her career, has been more at home over the past decade in Paris than anywhere else. This is her tenth 4th-Round-or-better result at Roland Garros in the last eleven years. much for Ana Ivanovic's media-friendly run through this Roland Garros. Faced with Czech lefty Safarova, still smarting from the memory of that missed MP vs. Li Na in Melbourne, AnaIvo had no answers. Safarova won 6-3/6-3 to advance to her first RG Round of 16 since 2007. She's now won five straight over the Serb, including turning the surface tables on Ivanovic today since their last meeting on clay came in the 2nd Round of AnaIvo's successful 2008 Roland Garros championship run.

...elsewhere, one Romanian (Sorana Cirstea) fell, courtesy of Jelena Jankovic (1 & 2), while another Swarmette continued her so-far-unfettered run through the bottom half of the draw. #4 Halep took out Maria-Teresa Torro-Flor 6-3/6-0 to reach her third straight slam Round of 16 by dropping just eleven total games through the first three rounds. Halep will now get the player with the longest current streak of slam 4th Round results -- Sloane Stephens.

Stephens took out Ekaterina Makarova 6-3/6-4 as the big stage-loving Bannerette moved the ball around the court rather than hitting it directly into the Hordette's strike zone. Tennis Channel's Lindsay Davenport stated today that the Russian doesn't handle having to reach for shots rather than having a perfectly set-up shot, and she turned out to be correct.

Afterwards, as Diane pointed out at Women Who Serve, Stephens noted of Halep, "She's played really, really well at the smaller tournaments, which I haven't." Of course, one could point out that Stephens broached the subject of her own inability to do something well on the regular tour (something Future Sloane would feel comfortable doing), but it's hard to see the forest for the trees when the true note on her own lack of accomplishment sort of gets overshadowed by what can also be seen as a sly dig at the Romanian's "small" victories (very Current Sloane).

The real truth is, though, at the last three slams Halep and Stephens both reached the 4th Round at the U.S. Open, Halep did better than Sloane in Melbourne (QF to 4th) and now they're both in the same round in Paris. And seven titles on three surfaces in a little more than a year, as well as a final at the "not small" Madrid event, is sort of something that a player has to do in order to move up the rankings and, you know, get better. Halep is #4, while Stephens is #19. There's a reason for that.

Of course, Sloane doesn't really know what reaching a final on tour actually feels like, so... well, maybe some day.

...rounding out the rest of the 3rd Round matches, Sara Errani dropped just one game to Julia Glushko, qualifier Kiki Bertens took out Silvia Soler-Espinosa to reach her first slam Round of 16 and Andrea Petkovic's comeback continued as she put an end to Kristina Mladenovic's best-ever slam run in singles. The Pastry, who was treated for lower back pain, didn't go down without a fight, though. She held serve to force a 3rd set, then broke the German to get the set back on serve at 4-3, and then did it again when Petkovic served for the match at 5-3.

Petkovic won 6-4/4-6/6-4, then greeted the disappointed Mladenovic with a warm hug at the net.

Mladenovic's loss hand's the "Last Pastry Standing" honor to Pauline Parmentier, while Petkovic's win earns her "Comeback Player" props as she reaches the 4th Round of a slam for the first time since 2011, before injuries caused her to miss five of the eight slams in 2012-13. Actually, the last time Petko played in Paris (2011) she reached the QF in the season in which she was a three-time slam quarterfinalist.

...the Mladenovic Magic might have run out today, but she's still alive in the doubles and mixed. She had been the last woman still in contention in all three disciplines. As it is, six of the Final 16 are still kicking in doubles: Errani, Jankovic, Suarez-Navarro, Muguruza, Petkovic and Parmentier.

More Parmentier: today she and veteran Pastry Julie Coin took out the defending RG doubles champions Ekaterina Makarova & Elena Vesnina in the 2nd Round.

Four women are still alive in both the doubles and mixed: Mladenovic, Katarina Srebotnik, Lucie Hradecka and Arantxa Parra-Santonja.

...the junior draw is out:

1. Ivana Jorovic, SRB
2. CiCi Bellis, USA
3. Tornado Alicia Black, USA
4. Aliona Bolsova Zadoinov, ESP
5. Jill Belen Teichmann, SUI
6. Varvara Flink, RUS
7. Sun Ziyue, CHN
8. Darya Kasatkina, RUS
9. Anhelina Kalinina, UKR
10. Francoise Abanda, CAN
11. Kristina Schmiedlova, SVK
12. Priscille Hon, AUS
13. Olga Fridman, UKR
14. Anna Bondar, HUN
15. Sandra Samir, EGY
16. Iryna Shymanovich, BLR

...possibly of some note, #16 seeded girl Symanovich just won the Grade 1 Astrid Bowl title in Belgium. But I'm going to go with a player who isn't even seeded -- Jelena Ostapenko -- to take the junior crown. The 16-year old Latvian hasn't played much junior tennis over the last year (that's why she's unseeded), but she did win the Eddie Herr title last December and has claimed three ITF pro titles on clay in 2014. In fact, Ostapenko is 20-0 in singles/doubles finals on the ITF circuit the last few seasons. She and Hordette Varvara Flink had a few run-ins last year in junior competition -- one, recounted here at Zoo Tennis, included Flink refusing to shake the Latvian's hand after the match. Naturally, the two could meet up again in the girls 3rd Round at Roland Garros.

Ostapenko d. #11 K.Schmiedlova
#2 Bellis d. #8 Kasatkina
Ostapenko d. #2 Bellis


she's baaaaack!!!!

Well, no. La Trufflette was just participating in the Longines Future Aces Tournament at Roland Garros. Still, nice to see Mademoiselle Bartoli on a court again. Hard to believe it hasn't even been a year since she won Wimbledon. However, it's not as hard to believe that the phrase "since she won Wimbledon" still has a slightly dreamy quality to it when it's attached to Marion.


weekend tennis action on NBC means a return of Jimmy Roberts doing periodic sports updates. At least the network is smartly no longer trying to shoe-horn him into the regular live telecast in the role of some sort of on-site, poetic historian of the racket game who longs to wax nostalgic about the nuances of the game... or some such nonsense. I never believed a word of it in the past simply because it was coming from HIS has-always-sounded-like-a-used-car-salesman mouth. But that's just me.

...and, finally, answering the question of what do you do after you've lost a tennis match in Paris. Apparently you head to Miami to watch the Heat win the Eastern Conference and reach a fourth straight NBA Finals.

Garbine Muguruza/ESP vs. (WC) Pauline Parmentier/FRA
#19 Samantha Stosur/AUS vs. #7 Maria Sharapova/RUS
Ajla Tomljanovic/CRO vs. #14 Carla Suarez-Navarro/ESP
#18 Eugenie Bouchard/CAN vs. #8 Angelique Kerber/GER
#27 Svetlana Kuznetsova/RUS vs. #23 Lucie Safarova/CZE
#15 Sloane Stephens/USA vs. #4 Simona Halep/ROU
#6 Jelena Jankovic/SRB vs. #10 Sara Errani/ITA
(Q) Kiki Bertens/NED vs. #28 Andrea Petkovic/GER

#1 Rafael Nadal/ESP vs. Dusan Lajovic/SRB
#19 Kevin Anderson/RSA vs. #5 David Ferrer/ESP
Guillermo Garcia-Lopez/ESP vs. #23 Gael Monfils/FRA
x vs. x
#6 Tomas Berdych/CZE vs. #10 John Isner/USA
#18 Ernests Gulbis/LAT vs. #4 Roger Federer/SUI
#8 Milos Raonic/CAN vs. Marcel Granollers-Pujol/ESP
#13 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga/FRA vs. #2 Novak Djokovic/SRB

#1 Hsieh/Peng (TPE/CHN) vs. #15 Huber/Raymond (USA/USA)
Jankovic/Kleybanova (SRB/RUS) vs. #5 Black/Mirza (ZIM/IND)
#4 Peschke/Srebotnik (CZE/SLO) vs. Kanepi/Panova (EST/RUS)
Muguruza/Suarez-Navarro (ESP/ESP) vs. Begu/Knapp (ROU/ITA)
Keys/Riske (USA/USA) vs. Hradecka/Krajicek (CZE/NED)
#16 Erakovic/Parra-Santonja (NZL/ESP) vs. (WC) Coin/Parmentier (FRA/FRA)
#7 Barty/Dellacqua (AUS/AUS) vs. #12 Mladenovic/Pennetta (FRA/ITA)
Petkovic/Rybarikova (GER/SVK) vs. #2 Errani/Vinci (ITA/ITA)

#1 Bryan/Bryan (USA/USA) d. #15 J.Murray/Peers (GBR/AUS)
#12 Granollers/M.Lopez (ESP/ESP) d. Pavic/Sa (CRO/BRA)
#3 Nestor/Zimonjic (CAN/SRB) d. #13 Rojer/Tecau (NED/ROU)
F.Lopez/Melzer (ESP/AUT) vs. Draganja/Mergea (CRO/ROU)
#9 Kubot/Lindstedt (POL/SWE) d. Erlich/Melo (ISR/BRA)
Sock/Sousa (USA/POR) vs. Golubev/Groth (KAZ/AUS)
#5 Llodra/Mahut (FRA/FRA) vs. #11 Benneteau/Roger-Vasselin (FRA/FRA)
M.Gonzalez/Monaco (ARG/ARG) d. Begemann/Haase (GER/NED)

Parra-Santonja/S.Gonzalez (ESP/MEX) vs. x/x
(WC) Cornet/Eysseric (FRA/FRA) vs. Babos/Butorac (HUN/USA)
#8 Goerges/Zimonjic (GER/SRB) vs> #2 Srebotnik/Bopanna (SLO/IND)
x/x vs. x/x
x/x vs. x/x
x/x vs. x/x
x/x vs. x/x
x/x vs. x/x

2008 Alize Cornet & Emilie Loit (3rd Rd.)
2009 Virginie Razzano & Aravane Rezai (4th Rd.)
2010 Marion Bartoli & Aravane Rezai (3rd Rd.)
2011 Marion Bartoli (SF)
2012 Mathilde Johansson (3rd Rd.)
2013 Marion Bartoli, Alize Cornet & Virginie Razzano (3rd Rd.)
2014 Pauline Parmentier (in 4th Rd.)

2007 Patty Schnyder, SUI
2008 Elena Dementieva, RUS
2009 Maria Sharapova, RUS
2010 Kimiko Date-Krumm, JPN
2011 Casey Dellacqua, AUS
2012 Yaroslava Shvedova, KAZ
2013 Jelena Jankovic, SRB
2014 Andrea Petkovic, GER

Dinara Safina, RUS (2 MP down in 4r, 2 MP down in QF; reached final)
Victoria Azarenka, BLR (down 7-5/4-1 in 3r, match suspended/darkness; reached QF)
Samantha Stosur, AUS (down MP in QF; reached final)
Maria Sharapova, RUS (down 6-3/4-1 in 2r; reached SF)
Victoria Azarenka, BLR (down 7-6/4-0 in 1r; avoided earlier #1 exit; reached 4r)
Marion Bartoli, FRA (down break 3 times in 1st & 2 MP in 3rd set in 1r; 4-1 1st & break in 2nd set in 2r)
Svetlana Kuznetsova, RUS (down 3-1 in 3rd set, opp.served for match twice in 3r)

AO: Venus Williams (3rd)
RG: Vania King & Bethanie Mattek-Sands (3rd)
WI: Serena Williams (4th)
US: Serena Williams (RU)
AO: Serena Williams (4th)
RG: Sloane Stephens (4th) & Varvara Lepchenko (4th)
WI: Serena Williams (W)
US: Serena Williams (W)
AO: Sloane Stephens (SF)
RG: Serena Williams (W)
WI: Sloane Stephens (QF)
US: Serena Williams (W)
AO: Sloane Stephens & Serena Williams (4th)
RG: Sloane Stephens (in 4th Rd.)

TOP EARLY-ROUND (1r-2r): #4 Simona Halep/ROU
TOP QUALIFYING MATCH: Q2: Cagla Buyukakcay/TUR d. Alberta Brianti/ITA 6-3/5-7/10-8
TOP EARLY-RD. MATCH (1r-2r): 2nd Rd: (WC) Taylor Townsend/USA d. #20 Alize Cornet/FRA 6-4/4-6/6-4
TOP MIDDLE-RD. MATCH (3r-QF): Nominee: 3rd Rd: #27 Kuznetsova d. #5 Kvitova 6-7(3)/6-1/9-7
FIRST VICTORY: Aga Radwanska/POL (def. Sh.Zhang/CHN)
FIRST SEED OUT: #25 Kaia Kanepi/EST (lost 1st Rd. to Niculescu/ROU)
NATION OF POOR SOULS: The Chinese (0-4 in 1st Rd.)
LAST QUALIFIER STANDING: Kiki Bertens/NED (in 4th Rd.)
LAST WILD CARD STANDING: Pauline Parmentier/FRA (in 4th Rd.)
LAST PASTRY STANDING: Pauline Parmentier/FRA (in 4th Rd.)
IT "??": Nominees: K.Mladenovic/FRA, T.Townsend/USA, G.Muguruza/ESP, A.Tomljanovic/CRO, S.Halep/ROU
COMEBACK PLAYER: #28 Andrea Petkovic/GER
CRASH & BURN: #1 Serena Williams/USA (DC, lost 2nd Rd./Muguruza) & #2 Li Na/CHN (lost 1st Rd./Mladenovic - 1st AO champ out early since 2000)
ZOMBIE QUEEN: #27 Svetlana Kuznetsova/RUS (3rd Rd.: Kvitova up 3-1 in 3rd, twice served for match; Kuznetsova wins 9-7)
JOIE DE VIVRE: Nominees: K.Mladenovic/FRA, P.Parmentier/FRA, JJ's "French" dress
AMG SLAM FUTILITY UPDATE: Medina-Garrigues lost in second round of qualifying to Smitkova/CZE (ends streak of 41 con. appearances in slam main draws)

All for Day 7. More tomorrow. Before then -- it's Justine Henin Day on Sunday!


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