Wednesday, July 08, 2015

W.9- It's Semifinal Eve... are the melons safe?

Four for the dish.


...well, one Grand Slam dream died today at Wimbledon. Australian Open and Roland Garros champs Bethanie Mattek-Sands & Lucie Safarova were taken out in the Round of 16 of the women's doubles by Raquel Kops-Jones & Abigail Spears, as the all-BanneretteVet pair won a decisive 6-3/6-2 decision.

Of course, with one veteran pair (65 combined age) advancing, one SuperVet duo must also exit to keep things in balance. Cara Black & Lisa Raymond (77 years) lost to #2-seeded Hordettes Ekaterina Makarova & Elena Vesnina in an 8-6 3rd set.

#1 Martina Hingis/Sania Mirza and#4 Timea Babos/Kristina Mladenovic also advanced, meaning that four of the top five seeds are in the semis.

Though several individuals of the group of eight women (though, interestingly, not #1-ranked Sania Mirza, who is still the only doubles #1 without a slam WD title to her credit) have won majors with other partners, and largely because of the shake-up and dismemberment of so many top duos over the past year, Makarova/Vesnina are the only remaining pair that have won a slam title together, having claimed Roland Garros in '13 and the U.S. Open last year. the mixed, RG champs Mattek-Sands & Mike Bryan advanced to the QF, along with veterans Anabel Medina-Garrigues (w/ Robert Lindstedt) and Katarina Srebotnik (w/ Horia Tecau). In the final match of the day on Wednesday, which ended at nearly 9pm, Elena Vesnina (w/ Marcin Matkowski) defeated Andrea Hlavackova (w/ Lukasz Kubot) in an 11-9 3rd set. Serving up 10-9, Vesnina was given a "hindrance" call on the first point of the game for what the umpire said sounded as if she was calling "out" and stopping the point. She then double-faulted to fall behind love/30, but regrouped to win the final four points to get to the final eight. Seven of the Top 8 seeds remain.

With the doubles SF and mixed QF fields now complete, there are five women still alive for a WD/MX sweep, including partners Hingis (w/ Leander Paes) & Mirza (w/ Bruno Soares) and Babos (w/ Alexander Peya) & Mladenovic (w/ Daniel Nestor), as well as Vesnina. the juniors, the quarterfinals are set, and only two of the sixteen seeded girls are still standing: #5 Katie Swan (GBR) and #12 Anna Blinkova (RUS). Both won the only two match-ups of two seeded players in the Round of 16, as Swan defeated #9 Sonya Kenin and Blinkova took out #6 Usue Arconada on Day 9. Overall, three Russians remain in the final eight, as well as two Americans (including wild card Tornado Black). And while Vika may be gone, there IS one remaining hope for a Belarusian title run, as Vera Lapko added AO junior champ Tereza Mihalkova (#10) to her list of victims (she's now upset two Top 10 seeds) on Day 9.

In the boys competition, #4 Michael Mmoh went out, but the U.S. still has four of the remaining eight players in singles (three of the four in the top half of the draw), including #1 Harry Taylor Fritz, #7 Tommy Paul, #10 William Blumberg and big, unseeded Reilly Opelka, who was my pre-tournament pick to win the boys crown. He only served four aces today, after having 15 and 17, respectively, in his first two matches.

U.S. teen Noah Rubin won the Wimbledon junior title last year. The last time Americans won at SW19 two consecutive years was 1973-74 (Billy Martin both times).

American boys filled four of the QF slots at Roland Garros, three in the SF and both berths in the final, with Tommy Paul winning the title. The last time U.S. boys won back-to-back slam singles titles was 1977, when they won three straight: John McEnroe at RG, then Van Winitsky sweeping Wimbledon and the U.S. Open.


Vigilance, baby. And a meaty treat.

ANNNNND, ONCE MORE ON DAY 9: And again... and again... and again...


Yeah, I really wasn't, either. But it's Taylor Swift, so I guess it HAS to mentioned. Those ARE the rules, right?



I actually lowered The Radwanska Threat Level from "Paranoia" to "Concern" after yesterday's quarterfinals. One, because nothing "weird" seemed to emerge from Aga's win and, two, because Serena is still around. And I really do think that Azarenka was the last REAL challenge standing between her and major #21, Serena Slam II and being one step from the Grand Slam.

Sure, things could change. Aga took her to three sets in the SW19 final in '12, and Muguruza -- maybe the biggest threat, game-wise, though we don't really know how she'd react to being in such a big match for the first time -- handed her her worst slam defeat ever last year in Paris. Still, even with Radwanska's win, it seems as if The Rad threat is being kept at bay, with only "slightly evil" influences being recognized around the grounds this fortnight. Of course, someone could still open that door and let loose evil.

(But I can't talk about that -- that's JJ's story to tell. At some point, but not too long from now.)


Or should I say "bloke?"

Maybe Madonna will come by and chase him away?

What is it with Canadian music stars getting their picture taken with every tennis figure in the world, anyway? Remember THIS guy?

Do you really want to follow in Bieber's shoes?

LIKE FOR DAY 9... and beyond: Duval's journey.


Oh, there are SO many to choose from. I'll go with the classic, "Good luck with that." Just because it's the all-purpose sharp, snarky comeback to almost anything idea, notion or belief that one might ever wish to puncture.

...and, finally...

#1 Serena Williams/USA vs. #4 Maria Sharapova/RUS
#20 Garbine Muguruza/ESP vs. #13 Aga Radwanska/POL

#1 Novak Djokovic/SRB vs. #21 Richard Gasquet/FRA
#3 Andy Murray/GBR vs. #2 Roger Federer/SUI

#1 Hingis/Mirza (SUI/IND) vs. #5 Kops-Jones/Spears (USA/USA)
#4 Babos/Mladenovic (HUN/FRA) vs. #2 Makarova/Vesnina (RUS/RUS)

#9 Bopanna/Mergea (IND/ROU) vs. #4 Rojer/Tecau (NED/ROU)
#13 J.Murray/Peers (GBR/AUS) vs. (Q) Erlich/Petzschner (ISR/GER)

#1 Mattek-Sands/M.Bryan (USA/USA) vs. #8 Mladenovic/Nestor (FRA/CAN)
#3 Vesnina/Matkowski (RUS/POL) vs. #7 Hingis/Paes (SUI/IND)
#6 Srebotnik/Tecau (SLO/ROU) vs. Medina-Garrigues/Lindstedt (ESP/SWE)
#5 Babos/Peya (HUN/AUT) vs. #2 Mirza/Soares (IND/BRA)

(WC) Anastasia Potapova/RUS vs. Sofya Zhuk/RUS
(Q) Viktoria Kuzmova/SVK vs. #5 Katie Swan/GBR
#12 Anna Blinkova/RUS vs. (WC) Tornado Black/USA
Vera Lapko/BLR vs. Michaela Gordon/USA

#1 Taylor Harry Fritz/USA vs. #11 Chung Yunseong/KOR
Reilly Opelka/USA vs. #10 William Blumberg/USA
#12/WC Mikael Ymer/SWE vs. Alvaro Lopez San Martin/ESP
#7 Tommy Paul/USA vs. Patrick Niklas-Salminen/FIN

#1 Kamiji/Whiley (JPN/GBR) vs. Hunt/Kruger (GBR/GBR)
Ellerbrock/Shuker (GER/GBR) vs. #2 Griffioen/Van Koot (NED/NED)

#1 Houdet/Kunieda (FRA/JPN) vs. Fernandez/Peifer (ARG/FRA)
Gerard/Hewett (BEL/GBR) vs. #2 Jeremiasz/Reid (FRA/GBR)

Looking ahead?

I'm a barbie girl ?? I can dance ??

A video posted by Daria Gavrilova (@daria_gav) on

2004 Miami 4th - Williams 6-4/6-3
2004 Wimbledon F - Sharapova 6-1/6-4
2004 WTA Chsp F - Sharapova 4-6/6-2/6-4 (SW 4-0 in 3rd)
2005 Australian SF - Williams 2-6/7-5/8-6 (MS 3 MP)
2007 Australian F - Williams 6-1/6-2
2007 Miami 4th - Williams 6-1/6-1 (no BP)
2008 Charleston QF - Williams 7-5/4-6/6-1 (MS SP 1st)
2010 Wimbledon 4th - Williams 7-6(9)/6-4 (MS 3 SP 1st)
2011 Stanford QF - Williams 6-1/6-3
2012 Madrid QF - Williams 6-1/6-3
2012 Olympics F - Williams 6-0/6-1
2012 WTA Chsp F - Williams 6-4/6-3
2013 Doha SF - Williams 6-3/6-2
2013 Miami F - Williams 4-6/6-3/6-0
2013 Madrid F - Williams 6-1/6-4
2013 Roland Garros F - Williams 6-4/6-4
2014 Brisbane SF - Williams 6-2/7-6(7)
2014 Miami SF - Williams 6-4/6-3 (MS up bk. both sets)
2015 Australian F - Williams 6-3/7-6(5) (18 aces)
2015 Wimbledon SF - ??
NOTE: Williams has won 25 of the last 26 sets

2012 Miami 4th - Radwanska 6-3/6-2
2014 Australian Open 4th Rd.- Radwanska 6-1/6-3
2015 Dubai 3rd - Muguruza 6-4/6-2
2015 Sydney 2nd - Muguruza 3-6/7-6(4)/6-2
2015 Wimbledon SF - ??

4...Darya Kasatkina, RUS
4...Anastasiya Sevastova, LAT
4...Julia Terziyska, BUL
4...Marcela Zacarias, MEX
3...Marie Bouzkova, CZE
3...Fernanda Brito, CHI
3...Magarita Gasparyan, RUS
3...Hsu Ching-Wen, TPE
3...Denis Khazaniuk, ISR
3...Anastasiya Komardina, RUS
3...Sofia Kvatsabaia, GEO
3...Giuliana Olmos, MEX
3...Kristyna Pliskova, CZE
3...Maria Sakkari, GRE
3...Anne Schaefer, GER
3...Katerina Stewart, USA
3...Tamara Zidansek, SLO

TOP QUALIFIER: Petra Cetkovska, CZE
TOP EARLY-ROUND (1r-2r): #2 Petra Kvitova/CZE
TOP MIDDLE-ROUND (3r-QF): #4 Maria Sharapova/RUS
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): 1st Rd. - #6 Lucie Safarova/CZE d. Alison Riske/USA 3-6/7-5/6-3 (Riske up set and 4-2, served 5-4, 2-0 in 3rd)
TOP MIDDLE-RD. MATCH (3r-QF): 3rd Rd. - #1 Serena Williams/USA d. Heather Watson/GBR 6-2/4-6/7-5 (Watson up dbl-bk 3-0 in 3rd, served at 5-4, 2 pts from win)
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: Olga Govortsova/BLR (4th Rd.)
LAST WILD CARD STANDING: Jelena Ostapenko/LAT (2nd Rd.)
LAST BRIT STANDING: Heather Watson/GBR (3rd Rd.)
IT ("??"): ("Vandeweghe") Coco Vandeweghe/USA (1st slam QF, lives up to family history w/ New York Knick commentary)
Ms.OPPORTUNITY: #20 Garbine Muguruza/ESP
COMEBACK: #13 Aga Radwanska/POL
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: #1 Serena Williams (3rd Rd. - down double-break 3-0 in 3rd set vs. Watson, who served for match at 5-4 and was two points from victory)
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), fire alarm evacuates Centre Court
KIMIKO DATE-KRUMM VETERAN CUP (KDK CUP): Nominees: S.Williams, M.Hingis, K.Srebotnik, A.Medina-Garrigues, Kops-Jones/Spears

All for Day 9. More tomorrow.


Blogger Eric said...

Since opelka has career prize money...that means he's pro right? How can he play the junior draw still? Or do those rules only apply for collegiate participation, but not junior tournament participation...?

(And my, what bushy eyebrows you, grandmama...)

Todd, why did you feel like Opelka was going to win?


I hope Kops Jones/Spears make it further. It would be nice for a stalwart doubles-focused team to get their due. I want to know more about their story. Like why they chose to team up and never switch partners...etc etc.

Wed Jul 08, 10:33:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Eric said...

Maybe all players go out the night before matches...but it's just kind of surprising to me... Don't they need to rest and be focused? Social situations can add a lot of stress... And what about consuming something that's bad for you?

Maybe it's all old hat...dunno.... O.O Caro shouldn't be a bad influence! (jk...)

Wed Jul 08, 10:35:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Todd.Spiker said...

I went with Opelka because of his serve, which you'd think would help at Wimbledon. I mean, at 17 he's the same height as John Isner.

As it says in this story from earlier this year, he's turned pro but since he doesn't turn 18 until August he can still play the junior slams.

Of course, who knows when it comes to picking junior slams. The very top seeds usually don't win, and you can't even look at what happened at Roehampton for clues, as both the girls finalists there lost in the 1st Round at Wimbledon. Mmoh won the boys title, but he lost today. He beat Opelka in the SF last week.

Wed Jul 08, 11:09:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Eric said...

Continuing the "smartest" players discussion:
- I think Heather Watson made a case at Wimbledon.

Thu Jul 09, 10:47:00 AM EDT  
Blogger colt13 said...

Well, some streaks continue. With Muguruza making the final, we now have six straight years with a first time finalist at Wimbledon(Zvonareva, Kvitova, Radwanska, Lisicki, Bouchard, Muguruza). We also have another almost streak, although since Serena already faced Safarova this year, this just adds to it, but with the exception of 2013, when Serena only faced the other members of The Big Three(Sharapova/Azarenka), she has managed to play a non slam winner in a final every year since 2008(Jankovic-08 USO, Safina-09 AO, Zvonareva-10 W, Stosur-11 USO, Radwanska-12 W, Wozniacki-14 USO, Safarova-15 F, Muguruza-15 W).

Thu Jul 09, 12:19:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Todd.Spiker said...

Ah, you got me. I was going to use that six straight years w/ a maiden finalist stat today. Oh well, I'll use it anyway, though. :)

Thu Jul 09, 12:33:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Eric said...

I truly believe that Sharapova will beat Serena one day...kind of like how Roddick beat Federer (is there a better comparison...except that Roddick is much less successful than Sharapova) towards the end of Roddick's career...

But that defeat will not come on grass.

I feel like she didn't play with the right tactics today. It always seemed like she wanted to rally with Serena...and maybe hope for errors... She needed to go for lines. Because she didn't, as soon as she was moved, she lost the point.

I'm really surprised she played so conservatively. All her balls were 3-5 feet inside the lines.

Thu Jul 09, 02:31:00 PM EDT  

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