Sunday, June 12, 2016

Wk.23- The Grass is Almost Always Greener

Ah, it's that time of year again.

When some love the grass court season...

While others want to love it.

When some arrive and immediately step into a different world (though, granted, some are more "different" than others)...

And even former SW19 finalists have to fight thoughts of running away as quickly as possible after rocky starts.

Meanwhile, some are just happy to be back...

And others, well, their calculations just tend to be just a little off...

But give them time. They'll get there.

After all, Radwanskian Massacre Day isn't far off. They know it's wise to always be prepared at this time of year. Well, I mean, if they know what's good for them.

S: CoCo Vandeweghe/USA def. Kristina Mladenovic/FRA 7-5/7-5
D: Oksana Kalashnikova/Yaroslava Shvedova (GEO/KAZ) d. Xenia Knoll/Aleksandra Krunic (SUI/SRB) 6-1/6-1

S: Karolina Pliskova/CZE def. Alison Riske/USA 7-6(8)/7-5
D: Andrea Hlavackova/Peng Shuai (CZE/CHN) d. Gabriela Dabrowski/Yang Zhaoxuan (CAN/CHN) 7-5/3-6 [10-7]

CO-PLAYERS OF THE WEEK: Karolina Pliskova/CZE and CoCo Vandeweghe/USA
...welcome to the 2016 season, Karolina. While the Czech has mostly held her own in Fed Cup competition in 2016, she'd been disappointing in regular tour action before completing her title run in Nottingham this weekend. And not just in slams, either, though she's still seeking her first career Round of 16 result there (and has just three 3rd Rounds in sixteen majors). Pliskova stood third on the list of the most final appearances on tour since 2014, but she'd gone through twenty-two weeks of action this season without reaching even one, a stretch that saw her fall from her season-ending ranking of #11 to fighting to just stay in the Top 20 this spring. As is often the case with Czech players, though, the grass proved to be a saving grace this week. Pliskova dropped the opening set of her 1st Round match vs. Anastasija Sevastova, but then ran off ten straight sets with additional wins over Anna Tatishvili, Ashleigh Barty, Monica Puig and Alison Riske in the final. It's Pliskova's fifth career title in thirteen WTA finals, and her first career grass court crown.

At Rosmalen, Vandeweghe won her second title at the tournament in the last three years. The wins are the Bannerette's only two career WTA singles title runs. Her no-sets-lost route to the title included victories over Indy De Vroome (CoCo vs. Indy!), Mayo Hibi (CoCo vs. Mayo!), Evgeniya Rodina, Madison Brengle and, finally, Kristina Mladenovic (CoCo vs. Kiki!) in a 7-5/7-5, oft-rain interrupted final. She's the fifth different U.S. player to win a tour singles title in 2016, and had Alison Riske also won on Sunday in the Nottingham final it would have made it six different Bannerette champs in a season for the first time since 2003. Vandeweghe is now just one of five active singles players (though one of those is currently on suspension) with multiple grass court titles in their career, and her bump up to #32 in the new rankings will likely put her in line for a seed at the All-England Club.

Meanwhile, that's a big ol' cup...

RISERS: Kristina Mladenovic/FRA and Alison Riske/USA
...Mladenovic seems to have found her groove, and maybe her super-successful Fed Cup outings and doubles run with Caroline Garcia has something to do with it. Success does tend to breed confidence, then even more success. After a big spring title-lifting jaunt with her fellow Pastry, Mladenovic reached the semis in Strasbourg the week before Roland Garros, then followed up in Paris with wins over Francesca Schiavone and Timea Babos before playing Serena Williams well in a 6-4/7-6(10) 3rd Round defeat. Her appearance at Rosmalen continued the trend, as she put up wins over the likes of Yaroslava Shvedova and best friend Belinda Bencic to reach her second career tour-level singles final. She's still title-less, losing 7-5/7-5 to CoCo Vandeweghe, but she'll be up to #29 on Monday, likely securely in position to be seeded at Wimbledon. Mladenovic reached the girls singles and doubles finals at Wimbledon in 2009, and last year finally got her first MD win at SW19 in her fourth appearance, reaching the 3rd Round, her second in what is now a five-slam run of 3rd Round-or-better results in majors.

On the grass is where Riske first gained her footing in professional tennis, and she's shown in recent weeks that she's still got "it." A week ago, she won the $50K Eastbourne challenger, then this week the Bannerette followed up with a run to her third career tour-level singles final with Nottingham wins over Mona Barthel, Hsieh Su-Wei, Anett Kontaveit and Zheng Saisai. After not dropping a set all week, Riske lost two tight ones to Karolina Pliskova in a 7-6(8)/7-5 after she failed to convert six SP in the 1st. The 25-year old world #89 also reached a WTA final in Shenzhen in Week 1 this year.
SURPRISES: Tara Moore/GBR and Natalia Vikhlyantseva/RUS
...British women didn't fair well by any measure in the first week of the grass court season. Well, except for Moore, who was the last Brit standing in Week 23. While so many of her countrywoman were crashing out in the early stages in Nottingham, the 23-year old treated the home crowd to a successful qualifying run (w/ wins over Yang Zhaoxuan, Alla Kudryavtseva and Shuka Aoyama), then backed that up with MD wins over Donna Vekic and Christina McHale to reach her first career tour-level QF. Coming a week after an appearance in the grass court $50K challenger final in Eastbourne (a loss to Riske), this run will lift her ranking some fifty spots, from #280 to around #230, and could very well be enough to earn her a Wimbledon WC from the AELTC. Another good result in Birmingham this week would surely seal the deal for Moore, but she'll have to go through British #1 Johanna Konta, her 1st Round opponent, to do it.

In the Netherlands, 19-year old world #254 Vikhlyantseva (her name's been coming up more and more of late, so I guess it's time to memorize that spelling) advanced through qualifying with wins over Jennifer Brady and fellow Russian Irina Khromacheva. A 1st Round win over Denisa Allertova set a up a meeting with Kristina Mladenovic. The Hordette ultimately lost to the eventual runner-up Pastry, but she pushed her to three sets. Earlier this season, Vikhlyantseva won her first pro title by taking the doubles at a $25K challenger in Wesley Chapel, Florida with Bannerette Ingrid Neel.
VETERANS: Tamira Paszek/AUT and Evgeniya Rodina/RUS
...Paszek is still only 25, but it's been nine long years since her slam breakout year when she reached a pair of slam Round of 16's as a 16-year old in her first season of slam action. The Austrian has a history of grass success, including a tour title in Eastbourne in 2012, back-to-back Wimbledon QF results in 2011-12 and successful Wimbledon qualifying runs the last two years. Paszek fell to Ashleigh Barty in the final round of Nottingham qualifying last week, but made the MD as a lucky loser and got victories over Kurumi Nara and Magdalena Rybarikova to reach the QF. She'll only rise to around #119 in the new rankings, so the Austrian will likely be back at it once again in Wimbledon qualifying in a few weeks, just as she's also attempting to do in Birmingham going into Week 24.

Rodina, 27, continued her rise back up the rankings since becoming a mother. Rosmalen wins over Dalma Galfi and Jelena Jankovic allowed her to reach the QF, the Russian's best tour-level result since last September. Before her two-win week in the Netherlands she'd been just 4-18 this season since ending 2015 with a semifinal in the WTA 125 Series event in Taipei. She'll be up to #113 this week, still a good ways off from the career-high of #74 she set back in 2011.

COMEBACKS: Ashleigh Barty/AUS and Melanie Oudin/USA
...with her cricket career behind her, Barty returned to tennis back in February. But after great success in doubles (three titles in four finals), it wasn't until the start of grass court season that the 20-year old Aussie picked up her singles racket once again. So far, it's been like riding a bicycle. A week ago she notched six wins in qualifying and MD matches to reach the semis (losing to eventual champ Alison Riske) in a $50K in Eastbourne in her first singles action since the 2014 U.S. Open, putting up wins over Ula Radwanska, Daniela Hantuchova and Tamira Paszek. This past week, she had a successful Q-run in the tour-level Nottingham event, knocking off Zhang Yifan (love & love), Paula Cristina Goncalves and Paszek (again), all in straight sets, and followed up with additional MD wins over Jessica Pegula and Andrea Hlavackova to reach the QF, where she stretched eventual champion Karolina Pliskova in a pair of tie-break sets. The result was Barty's best singles result of any kind since April '13 in a $25K challenger in Pelham, and her best in a tour event since February of that season in Kuala Lumpur.

While Barty stepped away from the sport by choice, Oudin's numerous health issues the last few years have been a consistent reason for her absences. She finally opened her '16 season in March, and on the grass in this past week's $50K Surbiton challenger she had her best week yet. A former WTA titlist on the grass in Birmingham in 2012 (and with a Round of 16 run in her Wimbledon debut in '09), Little MO reached the singles semis with wins over Ons Jabeur, Emily Appleton and Samantha Murray before falling to Stephanie Foretz in three sets. It's her best singles result since a semi at a $50K challenger in Lexington in July '14. The 24-year old also won the doubles title with Sanaz Marand, her first title of any kind since a doubles run in a $75K in Albuquerque in 2014.
FRESH FACES: Elise Mertens/BEL and Anett Kontaveit/EST the Netherlands, 20-year old Mertens, the world #171, qualified and pulled off wins over Genie Bouchard and Aleksandra Krunic to reach her first tour-level QF in just her first WTA main draw appearance (though she has she played in a WTA 125 MD last fall). The Belgian is hoping for another Q-run in Mallorca, and has opened her attempt with a Q1 win over Shelby Rogers and another over Asia Muhammad (she defeated the Bannerette in Rosmalen qualifying, as well). She'll face Eri Hozumi for a spot in the MD.

In Nottingham, 20-year old Kontaveit, reached the QF with wins over Lauren Davis and Caroline Wozniacki. They're her first MD tour wins since reaching the semis in Monterrey in February. The Estonian made her first big move at this time last year on the grass, winning a $50K title in Eastbourne and earning a Wimbledon wild card from the AELTC. Later last summer, she qualified for the U.S. Open and advanced to her first slam Round of 16.
DOWN: The Brits and Genie Bouchard/CAN
...British women's tennis has been on a gloriously upward climb over the last year or so, culminating in Johanna Konta's Australian Open semifinal run and recent Top 20 ranking. One hopes that the arrival of the grass court season isn't going to produce a nightmare flashback to how things used to be, though, as it was all pretty ugly last week. Heather Watson (lost to Magdalena Rybarikova), Naomi Broady (Hsieh Su-Wei) and Laura Robson (Michaelle Larcher de Brito) won zero combined matches in Nottingham last week, while #2-seeded Konta won just one before falling to Zheng Saisai in the 2nd Round. Tara Moore's QF run helped the group save a little face, but she was the only one of the group (youngster Freya Christie, who also lost in the 1st Round, excluded) who didn't have either a spotlight or any real expectation hanging over their heads.

Meanwhile, Bouchard's wildly up-and-down season turned sharply downward once again at Rosmalen, as the '14 Wimbledon finalist lost her opening grass match of the season to #171 Mertens, taking just two games off the Waffle. Since reaching the final at SW19 two years ago, the Canadian is just 1-6 on grass.
ITF PLAYER: Marina Melnikova/RUS
...the 27-year old Russian (#238) claimed her third career ITF title -- and the biggest yet -- on the grass at the Surbiton $50K challenger. The unseeded Hordette knocked off Jaimee Fourlis, #1-seeded Duan Yingying (in two TB's), #7 Robin Anderson, Catalina Pella (in a 3rd set TB) and Pastry Stephanie Foretz, 35, in a 6-3/7-6(6) final.

JUNIOR STARS: Rebeka Masarova/SUI, Ashley Lahey/USA and Kaja Juvan/SLO
...for a Roland Garros girls champion, there is no such thing as resting on your laurels. Or resting, at all, for that matter. 16-year old RG junior winner Masarova immediately jumped back into the fray in the Grade 1 Offenbach clay event in Germany, taking another title and running her winning streak to eleven matches. The Swiss is 26-4 in junior competition this season. Girls #5 Masarova's opponent in the final was ranked a full 348 places behind her, in the form of 16-year old (#353 jr.) Lahey. The Bannerette won a qualifying match, then put up MD wins over the #5, #8 and #12 seeds to reach her first career Grade 1 final. The California native recently committed to Pepperdine University.

In the $10K challenger in Velenje, Slovenia it was 15-year old Juvan (#20 jr.) reaching her first pro singles final in just her second event, losing out on a title run to Czech Gabriela Pantuckova. Juvan had defeated Pantuckova's sister Magdalena in the 2nd Round, as well as #1-seeded Anna Bondar in the semis. The Slovenian teen also came up just short in the recent Grade A girls event in Milan, where she reached a fourth straight junior final with an impressive string of wins over Morgan Coppoc, Elena Rybakina, Charlotte Robillard-Millette, Katarina Kavatska and Anastasia Potapova before falling in the final against Olesya Pervushina.
DOUBLES: Andrea Hlavackova/Peng Shuai (CZE/CHN) and Oksana Kalashnikova/Yaroslava Shvedova (GEO/KAZ)
...the veteran duo of Hlavackova (29) & Peng (30) combined in Nottingham to win their second title together ('14 Beijing), sweeping through to the final without losing a set and then defeating Gabriela Dabrowski & Yang Zhaoxuan in a 10-7 3rd set TB. They'd defeated the #1-seeded Chan sisters early in the event, then got a walkover from the Pliskovas in the SF. It's Hlavackova's 17th career title (second in '16), while Peng -- back in her first tour-level event after her back injury -- improved to 18-4 in WTA doubles finals (12-1 since '11), quite a difference from her woeful record (0-6) in singles finals, though she did manage to win a WTA 125 Series event two years ago a month before her U.S. Open semifinal run. Peng lost in her 1st Round singles match in Nottingham to Ashleigh Barty, while Hlavackova (who lost in qualifying) notched a lucky loser 1st Round victory over Yanina Wickmayer before also falling to Barty in the 2nd Round.

In the Nertherlands, 25-year old Georgian Kalashnikova won her third tour-level doubles title, sharing a trophy for the first time with 28-year old Kazakh Shvedova, who grabbed title #13 as the pair defeated Xenia Knoll & Aleksandra Krunic 6-1/6-1 in the final.


In motion, movement, motivation. #NeverStop

A photo posted by Maria Sharapova (@mariasharapova) on

After a 5mile hike and a run, #GelatoTime. Special to have this team next to me in good times and in tough.

A photo posted by Maria Sharapova (@mariasharapova) on


A photo posted by Maria Sharapova (@mariasharapova) on

1. Nottingham 2nd Rd. - Kontaveit d. Wozniacki
#34 (!!) Wozniacki, in her first event since Miami, battled back from 4-1 and 5-4 down in the 3rd set, but the Estonian held on to notch her first career Top 100 grass win.

2. 's-Hertogenbosch Final - Vandeweghe d. Mladenovic
Vandeweghe wins the Coco-vs.-Kiki clash, serving well and sweeping the final four games of the match before ending things with an ace on MP (after a replay look, that is). The best news for the Wimbledon draw is that CoCo will likely get a SW19 seed now, so she won't be the unseeded grass court present that no seeded player would particularly relish having to open on Day 1 or 2.

3. 's-Hertogenbosch 1st Rd. - Mertens d. Bouchard
Now that we've finally "sort of" gotten a decent read on the likes one former Wimbledon finalist ('15 RU Muguruza = good, and maybe more stable than we thought), it's time for '14 RU Genie to do something to produce a little clarity of her own. At this point, she's bound to defeat or lose to almost anyone on a any given day.

4. 's-Hertogenbosch 2nd Rd. - Brengle d. Hogenkamp
BrengleFly saves a MP and surges back from down 5-3 in the 3rd set to get the victory en route to the semifinals. Of note, another breakthrough moment still awaits for the newly #60-ranked Bannerette: her first MD win at Wimbledon. She lost in her only MD appearance in London last year.
5. Birmingham Q1 - Savchuk d. Chirico
Savchuk saved two MP in the 2nd, then stood by as Chirico fired sixteen DF and failed to hold her break advantage in the 3rd set on three separate occasions en route to a rude welcome to the grass court season after such a breakthrough clay campaign for the Bannerette.

6. 's-Hertogenbosch QF - Bencic d. Golubic
Bencic wins the all-Swiss battle with her qualifier countrywoman. Bencic, a finalist a year ago at Rosmalen, saved two SP in the 1st and went on to win in straights, preventing Fed Cup heroine Golubic (#104 on Monday) from rising into the Top 100. The two played doubles together, losing in the 1st Round. Bencic, out since April with a back injury, had a successful return to action with her third semifinal result of the season, still tied for the fifth-best total on tour in '16 despite her (so far) limited schedule.

7. 's-Hertogenbosch SF - Mladenovic d. Bencic
Bencic can be as fiery as they get during matches, but I think she might just lead the tour in warm post-match greetings at the net. Even when the opponent ISN'T also her best friend.

8. Nottingham 2nd Rd. - Zheng Saisai d. Konta
The biggest win in Zheng's SF run in Nottingham, during which she took on the role of "Brit Destroyer," as she also notched two additional dream-crushing victories over more Brit crowd faves, ending the runs of Freya Christie (1st) and Tara Moore (QF).

9. Nottingham Q1 - Kudryavtesva d. Zhu
The two still managed to team up in doubles to take out '15 finalists Jocelyn Rae & Anna Smith, as the decidedly disappointing fate of the Brits in the event extended beyond even the singles draw.
10. $25K Minsk Final - Anna Kalinskaya d. Vera Lapko
The 17-year old Russian, the '15 RG girls runner-up, wins her second '16 title with a victory over the 17-year old reigning AO junior champ from Belarus.
11. $10K Puszczykowo Final - Marie Bouzkova d. Valeria Savinykh
The '14 U.S. Open girls title-winning Czech, still only 17, picks up her fourth ITF title this season, improving her career final record to 8-2.
12. $25K Padua Final - Xu Shilin d. Ipek Soylu
18-year old Xu, a former girls #1, takes out the second-highest ranked Turk to claim her third career ITF title.
13. $10K Baku Final - Stefanie Tan/Kamila Kerimbayeva d. Katya Malikova/Angelina Shakhraychuk
Singapore-born TCU alum Tan, a week after picking up her first career pro singles title in Baku and also reaching the doubles final, sticks around to win her second ITF doubles crown with Kerimbayeva, who also won the singles title, giving the Kazakh ten for her career.

14. $10K Bethany Beach Final - Ingrid Neel d. Alexandra Mueller
The 17-year old wins her second career ITF title, but her first while also converting a MP (she won a $10K Amelia Island title when Edina Gallovits-Hall retired in the 1st set in 2014).

15. $10K Bethany Beach QF - Ingrid Neel d. Lindsay Lee-Waters 7-5/6-3
$10K Bethany Beach Q1 - Gabriela Arias d. Sevyn Waters 6-4/6-2
a whole new entry in the "generational" aspects of today's tennis tour, as 38-year old LLW and her 15-year old daughter both competed in Bethany Beach qualifying. Lindsay made it through and ultimately lost in the QF to 17-year old eventual champ Neel, while Sevyn lost in straight sets in debut pro match. It was LLW's best singles result since 2010. If Sevyn had won, they'd have played EACH OTHER in the second round of qualifying. As it was, mother got some revenge for daughter, handing Arias a double bagel Q2 loss.


Flavia! Fabio! Flavio??

Yeah, that's a pretty nice shot, but it has to be one of the more pedestrian Shot of the Month winners we'll see in 2016. How nothing from Radwanska/Strycova even got nominated is perplexing -- and unlike what a comment on the tweet contends, something from that match won't likely be honored for June since, you know, Muguruza was just crowned by the tour as the Player of the Month for May... for winning Roland Garros in the first week in June. So...

1. Nottingham Final - Karolina Pliskova d. Riske
A good sign? Of Pliskova's thirteen career finals, she's lost eight, and was pushed to three sets while winning four. This was her first straight sets final win. Hello, Good Karolina!
2. Nottingham 1st Rd. - Tatishvili d. Kristyna Pliskova
This prevented an all-Pliskova 2nd Round match-up. The sisters withdrew from their semifinal doubles match late in the week.
3. $10K Velenje Final - Gabriela Pantuckova d. Juvan 4-6/6-2/6-0
$10K Velenje Final - Gabriela Pantuckova/Magdalena Pantuckova d. Pislak/Redersak 4-6/7-6(0) [13-11]
21-year old Czech Gabriela picks up her seventh career ITF singles title, then teams up with her 17-year old sister Magdalena to win their first career title as a doubles pair. Magdalena won her maiden ITF singles title earlier this season, defeating Gabriela in the final in a Bol challenger.
4. 's-Hertogenbosch Q1 - Martincova d. Ula Radwanska 6-1/6-2
Mallorca Q1 - Erakovic d. Ula Radwanska 6-3/6-2
the grass court season didn't get off to a very good start for ONE Radwanska sister. Aga is up next, vs. Vandeweghe in Birmingham.
5. $10K Sharm el-Sheikh Final - Burman/Varunya Wongteanchai d. Bamburac/Njuki
For Wongteanchai, it's her tenth career ITF doubles title, but her first since 2014 without sister Varatchaya by her side.

And Caro on a campaign...

I am sure your mother would be proud of you if she saw this! So sad! I usually don't answer haters and very rarely look at my DMs, however behavior like this, bullying, as well as death threats have become more and more "normal" in today's world. It's easy to hide behind a screen and write abuse to others. At this point I have grown pretty immune to haters, but there are a lot of people out there who are being called names worse than this every day, and they don't have the same voice, to be able to speak up or fight back.. So let's STOP bullying!! Let's help build each other up, tell your friends and family today that you love them and care for them! Give a stranger a compliment, smile! It's the small things! You never know what kind of day they have had unless you have walked a mile in their shoes, and even the smallest encouragement and compliment can mean the world and make someone's day! That's all! Have a beautiful and blessed day everyone????

A photo posted by Caroline Wozniacki (@carowozniacki) on


Some footwork today #grasscourtseason

A video posted by Daria Gavrilova (@daria_gav) on

Brisbane - Victoria Azarenka, BLR
Shenzhen - Aga Radwanska, POL
Auckland - Sloane Stephens, USA
Kaohsiung- Venus Williams, USA
Miami - Victoria Azarenka, BLR (2)
Rome - Serena Williams, USA
's-Hertogenbosch - CoCo Vandeweghe, USA

**MOST WTA FINALS 2014-16**
16 - Serena Williams (13-3)
12 - Angelique Kerber (6-6)
11 - Simona Halep (6-5)
8 - Maria Sharapova (6-2)
8 - Petra Kvitova (6-2)
8 - Venus Williams (5-3)

**MOST WTA SF in 2016**
5...Angelique Kerber (3-2)
5...Aga Radwanska (1-4)
4...Serena Williams (4-0)
4...Dominika Cibulkova (3-1)
3...Victoria Azarenka (3-0)
3...Sloane Stephens (3-0)
3...Svetlana Kuznetsova (2-0+L)
3...Kiki Bertens (1-2)
3...Carolina Garcia (1-2)
3...Samantha Stosur (0-2+W)

**2015-16 WTA SF**
13 - Aga Radwanska (8/5)
13 - Angelique Kerber (8/5)
13 - Serena Williams (9/3)
11 - Simona Halep (9/2)

7...Martina Hingis (5-2)
7...Sania Mirza (5-2)
6...Caroline Garcia (4-2)
6...Kristina Mladenovic (4-2)
3...Anabel Medina-Garrigues (3-0)
3...Arantxa Parra-Santonja (3-0)
3...Bethanie Mattek-Sands (2-1)
3...Maria Irigoyen (1-2)
3...XENIA KNOLL (1-2)

**WTA TITLE-WINNERS - USA, since 2012**
2012: Oudin,S.Williams,V.Williams
2013: S.Williams
2014: Keys,Riske,Vandeweghe,S.Williams,V.Williams
2015: Stephens,S.Williams,V.Williams
2016: Falconi,Stephens,Vandeweghe,S.Williams,V.Williams

7...Serena Williams
6...Venus Williams
3...Maria Sharapova
2...Petra Kvitova
NOTE: 2-Tanasugarn

**2016 WTA TITLISTS - by nation**
5 - USA (Falconi, Stephens, Vandeweghe, S.Williams, V.Williams)
3 - ITA (Errani, Schiavone, Vinci)
2 - CZE (Ka.Pliskova, Safarova)
2 - ESP (Muguruza, Suarez-Navarro)
2 - FRA (Cornet, Garcia)

**CAREER WTA TITLES - active Czechs**
17 - Petra Kvitova (2009-15)
6 - Nicole Vaidisova (2004-06)
6 - Lucie Safarova (2005-15)
3 - Klara Koukalova (2005-14)


And... Chakvetadze Sighting! "Above-It-All Edition"... or "If I walk this all the way down the red carpet, he won't DARE stick that mic in my face." Heehee.

Kasatkina skills...

When the accidental answer is funnier than than the explanation...

And so it begins again...

15 Final: Kerber d. Ka.Pliskova
15 Doubles Final: Muguruza/Suarez-Navarro d. Hlavackova/Hradecka
16 Singles Top Seeds: A.Radwanska/Kerber

#4 Bencic d. #1 A.Radwanska
#7 Keys d. #2 Kerber
#4 Bencic d. #7 Keys

...I suppose you could have called the section in the top half of the draw that had included Aga, CoCo and Petra a "quarter of death," with the survivor likely meeting with Bencic or Pliskova in the semis. But when Halep withdrew from her spot in the bottom half, shipping Kvitova out (Aga says, "Whew!") and into a new spot in the draw, it made maneuvering through the top half a good deal more manageable for whichever player ultimately reaches the final.

Meanwhile, here she comes again... Garbi does grass court tennis in Spain!

15 Final: -new event-
15 Doubles Final: -new event-
16 Singles Top Seeds: Muguruza/Jankovic

#1 Muguruza d. #3 Ivanovic
Shvedova d. #4 Mladenovic
#1 Muguruza d. Shvedova

...back in Spain, on the surface on which she reached her first slam final. Two weeks after winning Roland Garros. It goes without saying that after this event, for good for bad, we'll THINK we've learned something about Muguruza. But, really, what happens here might not mean a cotton pickin' thing.

And, finally...

All for now.


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