Wednesday, July 01, 2015

W.3- The Heat is On, But the Coast is Clear

On this day of heated vigilance, all remained quiet on the Radwanskian front.

Well, unless you count the weather...

And maybe this...

Surely, the hottest day in Wimbledon history (35.7 C/96 F, breaking the previous mark set in 1976) has at least some connection to our old malevolent "friend," correct? AnaIvo losing early in a major? Ummm, not so much.

But, still, if either or both are all that It has to offer two years after the Massacre, well, I think we can all live with that.

So be it. Long live The Cause.

=DAY 3 NOTES= was the case on Day 1 with the top half of the draw, form (mostly) held and the storyline of the day was about just how little the players with their eyes on a second week run at this slam would give up against their opponents.

#1 Serena Williams didn't wipe out Timea Babos by any means, but the big-serving Hungarian was still facing a losing battle with Serena looking as if she's going to slowly build up her performance level with each round while seeking to be in position to hit full flight once we get near the second weekend. And we've seen how THAT plays out before. She won today 6-4/6-1, knocking down break point attempts with aces and never being forced to truly dig way, way down to find a final missing element that would finally put the match away.

Five more to go for Serena Slam II. Twelve more to go for the Grand Slam.

While Serena was advancing to the 3rd Round for the sixteenth time in sixteen trips to the AELTC, sister Venus was being pushed a bit more by young Kazakh Yulia Putintseva. The calm #16 seed always exists in her own world when she's on the court, so there was no way she was going to be distracted or annoyed by the energetic (to say the least) and demonstrative Putintseva. She seemed to handle the heat well, also, though it probably helped that she didn't hit the court until the closing hours of the day.

Venus won 7-6(5)/6-4 to advance to her fifteenth career Wimbledon 3rd Round, and now finds herself just one win away from a possible Round of 16 match-up with Serena. This win moved Venus past Steffi Graf in career Wimbledon match wins with #75, but she hasn't reached the 4th Round at SW19 since 2011.

Of note, Serena actually tied Graf today with her own 74th win.

...#4 Maria Sharapova allowed just four games for the second straight round, defeating qualifier Richel Hogenkamp 6-3/6-1, while #14 Andrea Petkovic followed up her 1st Round double-bagel with a 3 & 1 win over Mariana Duque. #6 Lucie Safarova, who barely escaped her 1st Round match, handled qualifer Hsieh Su-Wei 2 & 3.

#23 Vika Azarenka lost just three games in each set against Kirsten Flipkens, and will next face a tough test against Kiki Mladenovic, who put an end to the Wimbledon of Last Wild Card Standing Jelena Ostapenko in a tight 6-4/7-5 win. the biggest "upset" of the day (though you could easily call it as a possibility as soon as the draw was released), and the one moment that recalled the original Radwanskian Massacre, qualifier Bethanie Mattek-Sands took out #7 Ana Ivanovic (one of the seven one-time men's and women's #1's to lose on Day 3 two years ago) 6-3/6-4 in a master class of "old school" grass court tennis, an athletic display of serve-and-volley tactics with constant net approaches that put her opponent on her heels.

BMS out-hit AnaIvo to the tune of a 32-15 advantage in winners, including nineteen via volleys as she converted 29-of-38 net approaches on the day. She won 65% of her 2nd serve points, and covered far more ground on the day (1008.3 meters/1103 yds. vs. 855.4 meters/935 yards) compared to the Serb.

One might wonder if an Ivanovic loss here might be a sign of Radwanskian influence. Maybe, but that's probably not the case. AnaIvo doesn't really count. Did anyone really expect her to follow up her big semifinal run in Paris with a second straight good slam result? Yeah, I didn't think so.

...the lack of a breakthrough slam performance continues to dog the near-Top 10 ranked Karolina Pliskova. The #11-seeded Czech has never advanced beyond the 3rd Round of a major, and she once again failed to even get that far at a second consecutive slam (and for the eleventh time in thirteen career slam appearances) with her loss to Coco Vandeweghe today. Although, it should be noted that the American simply outplayed Pliskova on Day 3 to match the best-ever slam result she put up six months ago in Melbourne.

Vandeweghe fired fifteen aces (in just two sets) against the tour's ace queen (Pliskova had seven), winning 7-6(5)/6-4. There were no breaks of serve in the 1st set, and Pliskova led the tie-break 3-0 before dropping seven of the final nine points. In the 2nd, the Czech was up a break at 3-0, but lost her next two service games in the key stretch of the match. Vandeweghe converted just two of eleven BP chances (2/6 in the 2nd set), but that was enough to get the victory.

...the 1st Round comebacks that began on Day 2 continued to and were completed on Day 3, as Stefanie Voegele and Yanina Wickmayer squandered matches that had previously appeared to be theirs less than twenty-four hours earlier.

After trailing by a set and 3-1 down yesterday, #21 Madison Keys forced a 3rd set by winning five straight games before things were stopped at 2-2. After a night to think about things, Keys broke the Swiss in the first game played today and held onto that advantage for the rest of the set. She finally put away Voegele on her sixth MP to win 6-7(6)/6-3/6-4.

In the other suspended match, Wickmayer had held a MP against Elizaveta Kulichkova yesterday, but the Russian forced a 3rd set before the end of play for the day. They returned with the final set tied at 1-1, and Kulichkova raced to a 4-2 lead. Wickmayer got back on serve, but the Hordette eventually won a marathon 10-8 set to advance.

The two wins solidified the positions of the American and Russian contingents as the most heavily-represented in the 2nd Round. Eight U.S. players won 1st Round matches, while six Hordettes did the same. a 2nd Round match, the highest-ranked Swarmette still alive in the draw had to survive a scrape with Ukraine's Lesia Tsurenko, but #29 Irina-Camelia Begu won a 7-5/6-7(4)/7-5 match. Begu had held a MP In the 2nd while serving at 5-4, but Tsurenko forced a deciding set and led in the 3rd by a 3-1 score before the Romanian surged back to win.

Elsewhere, Belinda Bencic won her third straight three-set match, taking her second contest in that stretch via a love 3rd set with a 7-5/4-6/6-0 win over Anna-Lena Friedsam. Bencic also bageled Aga Radwanska in the Eastbourne final this weekend. And The Bracelet lives! Aleksandra Krunic continued her first-ever grass court run with a 6-3/6-7(2)/6-2 win over #19 Sara Errani. She'll next face Venus.

...Sloane Stephens won in straight sets over Lauren Davis, after having taken out #27 Barbora Strycova, a '14 quarterfinalist, in the 1st Round. That previous win, along with BMS's win over #7 Ivanovic and Vandweghe's victory over #11 Pliskova, gives the "Upset Queens" award to the Bannerettes. It's the third Wimbledon in the last four that the U.S. woman have won it. doubles, Ekaterina Makarova & Elena Vesnina handed Laura Robson (w/ Madison Keys) her second loss at this Wimbledon, winning 6-4/6-1. SuperVet doubles duos Kimiko Date-Krumm/Francesca Schiavone and Cara Black/Lisa Raymond both won 1st Round matches, as did Roberta Vinci & Karin Knapp. Knapp retired from her singles match yesterday, while Vinci is actually the defending Wimbledon women's doubles champ, having won the title in 2014 with former partner Sara Errani.

Top-seeded Martina Hingis & Sania Mirza also advanced, as the #1-ranked Indian kicks off another attempt to grab her long-awaited first career slam women's doubles title.

Karolina Pliskova was 0-2 for Day 3, as she and sister Krystina lost their opening doubles match to Monica Niculescu & Olga Savchuk in three sets. Thus, the Rodionova sisters -- winners today over Irina Falconi/Daria Gavrilova -- are the only remaining all-sibling pair in the women's doubles draw.

LIKE FROM DAY 3: At least Flavia won't exit this week totally empty-handed.

DISLIKE FROM DAY 3 2: Simona Halep's post-match comments after her loss to Jana Cepelova yesterday weren't exactly immediately encouraging. Once again, she talked about what was missing from her game. “I think emotion. I wasn't there,” she Halep conceded. “I couldn't handle it very well. She came back in a good way with her game. She was pushing me a lot. She was aggressive. But I can say that I let her come in and play aggressive.”

Of course, one hopes that admitting her faults will eventually lead to fewer of them, but she's been saying similar things for months now.

LIKE FROM DAY 3: Those Swiss cartoonists...

OF NOTE FROM DAY 3: On the unofficial (observed) Radwanskian Massacre Day, a Radwanska was "massacred."

LIKE FROM DAY 3: Cara Black, 36, and Lisa Raymond, 41, getting their first-ever slam win as a duo. They're 11-2 as a pair in five events stretching back to 2003.

LIKE FROM DAY 3: Just an accident... honest!

LIKE FROM DAY 3: B&W Maria, naturally. (And it's always good to have a big knife handy on Rad Day.)

LIKE FROM DAY 3: Even if it didn't work out as they'd hoped, it's nice to see Aga and Martina still keep in touch. (Hey, SOMEONE has to keep an eye out for The-You-Know-What and make sure this whole thing doesn't start all over again, right? Who better than Wimbledon's greatest champion?)

...and, finally, on this "observed" commemoration day of the Radwanskian Massacre of 2013, the awards have been sorted out. Yes, with the "official" date (June 26) separated from the in-tournament day (Day 3) that coincides with what happened two years ago, there will be TWO Radwanska Awards in the inaugural edition of a new Wimbledon honor.

=June 26=
Aga and the seagull, for the incident last Friday in which a seagull swooped at Radwanska in the Eastbourne semis. A day later, she lost the final... as was ordained after the bird had delivered the message that nothing else would be a wise conclusion to the week. Obviously, Aga and The Rad are still not on speaking terms. Unless something has happened in the last few days, that is. Keep an eye out, Martina.

=Wimbledon Day 3=
Come on, the monster heat arrived TODAY of all days? That CAN'T be a coincidence, right? It is still out there. Waiting in the shadows. Lurking in the corner. Hoping for a moment to become strong yet again.

2013 Radwanskian Massacre Edition (well, actually this was two days earlier...but it directly led to her Rad Day walkover)

2013 Radwanskian Massacre Edition

2013 Radwanskian Massacre Edition (as an astounded spectator)

*SERENA WILLIAMS at the Slams*
59-1...1st Rd. ['12 RG: Razzano]
57-2...2nd Rd. ['98 AO: Venus; '14 RG: Muguruza]
48-8...3rd Rd.
40-8...4th Rd.
24-3...SF [Venus 00,Henin 03,Clijsters 09]
20-4...F [Venus 01,Shar 04,Venus 08,Stosur 11]
33-32...when loses 1st set in Slam match 2015 Slams
=== slam three-setters
7-0...2015 slam three-setters
AO: 15-5
RG: 15-8
WI: 13-4
US: 9-3 (only 3-sets from 2007-13 are 2 F's vs. Azarenka)
4...Jennifer Capriati (RG 01,WI 01,RG 04,US 04)
2...Justine Henin (RG 03,WI 07)
2...Irina Spirlea (AO 98, US 98)
1...Alize Cornet (WI 14)
1...Mary Joe Fernandez (RG 99)
1...Martina Hingis (AO 01)
1...Ana Ivanovic (AO 14)
1...Svetlana Kuznetsova (RG 09)
1...Sabine Lisicki (WI 13)
1...Amelie Mauresmo (US 06)
1...Virginie Razzano (RG 12)
1...Arantxa Sanchez (RG 98)
1...Sloane Stephens (AO 13)
1...Samantha Stosur (RG 10)
1...Sandrine Testud (AO 99)

[multiple wins]
2...Belinda Bencic, SUI
2...Genie Bouchard, CAN
2...Alize Cornet, FRA
2...Zarina Diyas, KAZ
2...Kirsten Flipkens, BEL
2...Madison Keys, USA
2...Andrea Petkovic, GER
2...Maria Sharapova, RUS
2...Sloane Stephens, USA
2...Serena Williams, USA
[multiple losses]
2...Hsieh Su-Wei, TPE
2...Ana Ivanovic, SRB
2...Karolina Pliskova, CZE
2...Lesia Tsurenko, UKR
2...Silvia Soler-Espinosa, ESP
[played all three years on Wimbledon "Rad Day"]
2-1...Kirsten Flipkens, BEL
2-1...Andrea Petkovic, GER
2-1...Maria Sharapova, RUS
1-2...Ana Ivanovic, SRB
# - [history]
2013: June 26 (Wimbledon)
2014: June 26 (Wimbledon)
2015: June 26 (Eastbourne) & Day 3 (Wimbledon)

2004 Great Britain
2005 United States
2006 Great Britain
2007 Austria
2008 Russia
2009 Germany
2010 Czech Republic
2011 Russia
2012 United States
2013 Czech Republic
2014 United States
2015 United States

120...Martina Navratilova
96...Chris Evert
74...Steffi Graf
65...Billie Jean King *
* - King also had 30 pre-Open era wins

TOP QUALIFIER: Petra Cetkovska, CZE
TOP EARLY-ROUND (1r-2r): xx
TOP QUALIFYING MATCH: Q1: #21 Michelle Larcher de Brito/POR d. Ysaline Bonaventure/BEL 1-6/6-3/12-10 (saved 4 MP)
TOP EARLY-RD. MATCH (1r-2r): xx
FIRST WINNER: #23 Victoria Azarenka/BLR (def. Kontaveit/EST)
FIRST SEED OUT: #24 Flavia Pennetta/ITA (lost 1st Rd. to Diyas/KAZ)
UPSET QUEENS: The Bannerettes
NATION OF POOR SOULS: Italy (Pennetta "FSO" - ITA 4/6 FSO at Wimbledon; Schiavone another 1st Rd; Knapp ret.; Vinci disappoints)
LAST QUALIFIER STANDING: In 2nd Rd.: Duan/CHN, Govortsova/BLR, Hogenkamp/NED(L), Hsieh/TPE, Mattek-Sands/USA(W), Sasnovich/BLR(L)
LAST WILD CARD STANDING: Jelena Ostapenko/LAT (2nd Rd.)
LAST BRIT STANDING: Heather Watson/GBR (in 3rd Rd.)
IT ("??"): xx
CRASH & BURN: #12 Genie Bouchard/CAN (1st Rd. loss to qualifier #117 Duan; was '14 finalist; two con. slam 1st Rd. losses) & #3 Simona Halep/ROU (1st Rd. loss to #106 Cepelova; lost to Bouchard in '14 SW19 semi)
ZOMBIE QUEEN: Nominees: #6 Safarova (1st Rd. - down set and 4-2 vs. Riske, who served at 5-4 for the match, then led 2-0 in the 3rd); Watson (1st Rd. - down 3 MP as Garcia served at 5-4 in 3rd set, won 8-6); #21 Keys (1st Rd. - down set and 3-1 vs. Voegele, forced 3rd set and finished off win the next day)
THE RADWANSKA AWARD (June 26): Aga Radwanska & the seagull (in Eastbourne, bird swoops at Radwanska as she serves... one day later, she loses in the final)
THE RADWANSKA AWARD (Day 3): Day 3 is the hottest day ever recorded in Wimbledon history (35.7 C / 96 F)
KIMIKO DATE-KRUMM VETERAN CUP (KDK CUP): Nominees: Date-Krumm/Schiavone (combined 79 years old), Black/Raymond (combined 77 years old)

All for Day 3. More tomorrow.


Blogger Eric said...

that tennis timeline link is amazing.

Wed Jul 01, 05:24:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Eric said...

I KNEW you would know who the chair umpire was for Serena's match today! You never let me down Todd. :)

Serena never forgets...

Wed Jul 01, 05:58:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Eric said...

For your "Massacre" collection:

Wed Jul 01, 06:07:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Eric said...


Wed Jul 01, 06:37:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Diane said...

Love the graphic!

Wed Jul 01, 09:53:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Todd.Spiker said...

In both 2D and 3D versions (the timeline). ;)

It sort of reminds me of the scene from the original "V" NBC miniseries when the Holocaust survivor grandfather spray paints the big "V" (for victory) on the posters the Visitors had put up around town. Yeah, I know, a really obscure reference. :)

Wed Jul 01, 10:54:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Diane said...

Oh, didn't see that :(

Thu Jul 02, 05:39:00 PM EDT  

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