Friday, June 24, 2016

W.Q- Roehampton Dreams & Nightmarish Exits

Before the start of play at Wimbledon on Monday, the preliminary battles took place at Roehampton to earn the right to head to the AELTC next week...

A look back at the qualifying rounds:

1. Mandy Minella, LUX (30, #128)
...the Luxembourg vet continues her great thirtysomething spring/summer run. Minella won back-to-back-to-back three-setters to reach her first slam MD since RG 2014, surviving Ana Bogdan twice serving for the match in the Q1, Misa Eguchi leading 5-1 in the 3rd in the Q2 and then winning a "routine" 4-6/6-4/6-2 final round match over Barbora Stefkova. The recent Bol WTA 125 Series event champ is on a 10-1 run (5-1 on grass).

2. Maria Sakkari, GRE (20, #115)
...a qualifier at three of the last four slams, the Greek will make her Wimbledon debut (she won her 1st career slam MD match in Melbourne in January) after opening her week with a double-bagel (over Polina Leykina) and ending it by sweating out a 6-7/7-6/6-2 win over Maryna Zanevska.
3. Amra Sadikovic, SUI (27, #150)
...currently the sixth highest-ranked Swiss, Sadikovic retired from the sport in the spring of 2014. Since returning last summer, she's reached her career-high singles ranking and will now play in her first slam MD. Her run in Roehampton included victories over Oceane Dodin, #2-seed Viktoriya Golubic (the Swiss who'd qualified at both the AO and RG this season) and Chang Kai-Chen. She'll now face Serena. Sigh.
4. Ekaterina Alexandrova, RUS (21, #213)
...the Hordette made her WTA tour-level MD debut this spring in Katowice, and will now make her slam MD debut in London. While six of the successful qualifiers this week did so without dropping a set in three matches, Alexandrova played enough games on her own to make up the difference. She survived a 14-12 3rd set in the Q2 over Stephanie Vogt (saving a MP), then went 13-11 in the 3rd vs. Harriet Dart a day later.
5. Luksika Kumkhum, THA (22, #170)
...the upset-making Thai, already with a slam win over Petra Kvitova on her resume ('14 AO), will make her debut at the Czech's favorite tournament after completing her second '16 slam Q-run (AO) with wins over Silvia Soler-Espinosa, Ashleigh Barty and Vania King.

Julia Boserup, USA (24, #223): the Bannerette is the lowest-ranked player to qualify for a slam in '16. The '08 Orange Bowl champ earned her first career spot in a slam MD w/ a Q3 win over Barbara Haas.
Jana Cepelova, SVK (23, #127): the Slovak's best career slam result is a Wimbledon 3rd Rd. in 2012 (def. Mladenovic & AMG). She defeated #3 Q-seed Zhang Kailin to reach the MD on Friday.
Marina Erakovic, NZL (28, #149): the Kiwi reached the 3rd Round at SW19 in 2008 and '13, but her last MD slam win came at the U.S. Open in 2014.
Paula Kania, POL (23, #211): the third #200+ ranked player to qualify this week, Kania will make her second career (w/ 2014) Wimbledon MD appearance.
Aleksanda Krunic, SRB (23, #120): a year after she reached the 3rd Round in her Wimbledon debut, Krunic will make her second MD appearance after getting over the big obstacle of shoulda-gotten-a-WC Elise Mertens in her second match. She'll face Monica Niculescu in what should be a fiery 1st Rounder. Go Bracelet!
Tatjana Maria, GER (28, #103): the #1 Q-seed, Maria held her spot and didn't drop a set in three matches. Thus, no threats of lawsuits. So far, at least.
Tamira Paszek, AUT (25, #110): the two-time SW19 quarterfinalist (2011-12) made it through Wimbledon quailfying for a third straight year, but it took a dramatic Q3 win over Andrea Hlavackova -- with multiple blown leads by the Austrian, an unconverted MP, a turned ankle and a screaming Czech forced to retire due to cramping down 10-9 in the 3rd set -- to get the job done. Paszek also made it through AO qualifying in Melbourne this season.

Duan Yingying, CHN (26, #126): the Chinese woman who, as a qualifier, upset Genie Bouchard in the 1st Round of Wimbledon a year ago gets a LL spot in the main draw (after losing to The Bracelet) this time around. The win over the Canadian is still Duan's only career MD match victory.

Elise Mertens/An-Sophie Mestach, BEL/BEL (so at least the Waffle got that)
Demi Schuurs/Renata Voracova, NED/CZE (a dangerous MD floater duo?)
Shuko Aoyama Makota Ninomiya, JPN/JPN
Chan Chin-Wei/Han Xinyun, TPE/CHN

DOWN: Klara Koukalova/CZE
...the end may be near for the 34-year old Czech. A perennial wild card/upset contender throughout her career, Koukalova has alternated between brilliant success and jarring disappointment for more than a decade. She made her slam debut at the Australian Open in 2003, upsetting Maria Sharapova and Monica Seles in her first two matches... and then losing to Meghann Shaughnessy in her third. She didn't win another MD match in Melbourne until 2011. She has reached fifteen tour-level singles finals on four different surfaces, but has gone 3-12. She notched a win over Serena Williams in 2009, reached the Wimbledon Round of 16 in 2010 and the Roland Garros 4th Round in 2012. But she's 0-12 for her career at the U.S. Open. With a season-ending Top 100 ranking in eleven of twelve years from 2003-14, the Czech slipped to #106 in 2015. She entered Wimbledon qualifying at #158, without a MD win of any kind since last November (at a $75K challenger), and none in a WTA event since last July in Bad Gastein. Things didn't improve at Roehampton, as Koukalova fell in the opening round to Stephanie Vogt, a 26-year old who has never won a slam MD match in her career. Vogt lost 14-12 in the 3rd set in her follow-up 2Q match.

And the failure to qualify was only the tip of the iceberg for Koukalova in her brief Wimbledon 2016 cameo...

Q1: #10 Risa Ozaki d. (WC) Freya Christie
Eight of the British Crumpets advanced to the second round of qualifying on Day 1, but Christie saw her Q1 match continued to a second day, tied 5-5 in the 2nd. The teen led 5-3 in the 3rd set and held match points, but failed to close things out. Ozaki ultimately won in three and a half hours, eliminating a teary Christie who'd been so thrilled to have been given a WC into the Q-rounds a week earlier.

Q1: #13 Rebecca Peterson d. Ipek Soylu
There was no second consecutive slam Q-run by Soylu, but Buyukakcay will still be representing Turkey in the MD singles. Well, for an hour or two, at least.

Q1: Vania King d. Alla Kudryavtseva
Just days after teaming to reach the Birmingham doubles final, King and Kudryavtseva were suddenly opponents.

Q1: #3 Zhang Kailin d. Lucie Hradecka
Hradecka is 0-6 in Wimbledon MD matches, and has failed to qualify on two other occasions. So "Czech" and "Wimbledon success" do not ALWAYS mix well. Just ask her doubles partner Hlavackova about that.

Q1: Paula Kania d. #21 Veronica Cepede Royg
A few days after becoming the first woman from Paraguay to reach a tour-level grass court singles QF in Mallorca, VCR lasted just one match once she got a little closer to "the real thing."

Q1: #17 Mandy Minella d. Ana Bogdan
The Swarmette served for the match twice, but Minella was just getting started.
Q2: #13 Rebecca Peterson d. (WC) Katie Boulter
The Crumpets' propensity to lose a big lead on Q-Day 2 continued with Boulter, who failed to secure a 6-4/5-0 lead -- and a MP -- against the Swede.

Q2: Amra Sadikovic d. #2 Viktoriya Golubic
Luckily for Golubic, she won't likely ever have to face her fellow Swiss in Fed Cup competition.

Q2: #4 Aleksandra Krunic d. Elise Mertens
Three consecutive tour-level grass court qualifying runs was too much for Mertens, who defeated The Bracelet in the 2nd Round at Rosmalen two weeks ago en route to her first WTA QF. Yep, a wild card into the MD really would have been nice for the Waffle, huh? As it is, she ended up settling for a two-win qualifying run in doubles with fellow Belgian An-Sophie Mestach. The duo combined to win a tour title in Auckland in Week 1.

Q2: Luksika Kumkhum d. (WC) Ashleigh Barty
Yep, a wild card into the MD really would have been nice for the 2011 Wimbledon Girls champion, too. Even though it's only qualifying, this still adds another "upset notch" to Kumkhum's career belt.

Q2: (WC) Harriet Dart d. #10 Risa Ozaki
Dart took out Ozaki just a few hours after the Japanese woman had finished off her Q1 win over Dart's fellow Brit Freya Christie. With the win, Dart was the Last Brit Standing in the women's qualifying.

Q2: Ekaterina Alexandrova d. Stephanie Vogt
Vogt had a MP at 12-11, but failed to win another match after being unable to convert.

Q2: #17 Mandy Minella d. Misa Eguchi
Minella's good luck continued, as she overcame a 5-1 3rd set deficit vs. Eguchi one day after Ana Bogan twice served for the match against her. Neither opponent ever got to MP.
Q3: Ekaterina Alexandrova d. (WC) Harriet Dart
So, that's "only" fifty total games played by Alexandrova in back-to-back 3rd sets. Easy-peasy.

Q3: #7 Tamira Paszek d. Andrea Hlavackova
...6-3/5-7/10-9 ret.
Seeking her third consecutive successful SW19 Q-run, Paszek held MP at 5-4 in the 2nd set, but turned her ankle in the game and failed to put away the win. Hlavackova forced a 3rd set, where Paszek again took the lead at 5-3 before the Czech took the match even deeper before starting to cramp. She took a medical timeout at 8-8, and both players were treated simultaneously during the 9-8 changeover. Ultimately, Hlavackova couldn't go on and collapsed flat on her back after being forced to retire down 10-9.

Q2: #6 Demi Schuurs/Renata Voracova d. #1 Yang Zhaoxuan/Zhang Kailin 0-6/7-6(1)/6-4
Q3: #14 Jana Cepelova d. #3 Zhang Kailin 6-0/6-1
Zhang was the only woman with a chance to qualify in BOTH singles and doubles on Friday, but instead she was the only one to LOSE in the final Q-round in both draws.

=Five Tennis Sisters Arrived with Wimbledon Main Draw Dreams=
Q1 - #9 Kristina Kucova d. Hiroko Kuwata 6-4/7-6(3)
Q1 - Ula Radwanska d. Petra Martic 6-4/7-6(2)

...two lived to dream another day.

Q1 - (WC) Ashleigh Barty d. Lu Jia-Jing 7-6(3)/6-3 (Barty's first slam match since 2014)
Q1 - Chang Kai-Chen d. #24 Julia Glushko 6-2/6-3
Q1 - Virginie Razzano d. Michaella Krajicek 7-6/7-6(7)

...three weren't so lucky. Krajicek reached the Wimbledon QF in 2007, but has failed to win another MD match at SW19 in her entire career (she's 4-4 overall).

=With Their Numbers Down to Two...=
Q2 - Barbora Stefkova d. #9 Kristina Kucova 6-3/7-5
Q2 - #19 Marina Erakovic d. Ula Radwanska 6-4/6-2

...a third match was most definitely not a charm for either. In fact, it didn't exist.

=And then there was...=
Q2 - #2 Elise Mertens/An-Sophie Mestach d. #8 Jessica Moore/Varatchaya Wongteanchai 6-0/6-4

...Wongteanchai failing in the final sister qualifying effort on Friday in a case of the Tennis Gods just gettin' a little bit snarly.

2006 Meilen Tu, USA
2007 Hsieh Su-Wei, TPE & Olga Govortsova, BLR
2008 Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez, ESP & Eva Hrdinova, CZE
2009 Viktoriya Kutuzova, UKR
2010 Kaia Kanepi, EST
2011 Alexa Glatch, USA
2012 Sandra Zaniewska, POL
2013 Petra Cetkovska, CZE
2014 Michelle Larcher de Brito, POR
2015 Petra Cetkovska, CZE
2016 Mandy Minella, LUX
[2016 slams]
AO: Naomi Osaka, JPN
RG: Viktoriya Golubic, SUI
WI: Mandy Minella, LUX

Daniela Hantuchova, SVK - the 33-year old gets a WC after having to qualify for RG. She reached the QF in her second SW19 appearance in 2002. More recently, Hantuchova has lost in the 1st Rd. in four of five slams.
Marina Melnikova, RUS - the late-blooming Surbiton challenger champion makes her slam debut at age 27
Tara Moore, GBR - the Eastbourne challenger finalist and Nottingham quarterfinalist was the only Brit to play her way into a WC berth this grass season
Laura Robson, GBR - her second straight Wimbledon WC, the now-perpetually-on-the-comeback-trail (ala del Potro, not coincidentally) Robson last won a slam MD match in 2013
Evgeniya Rodina, RUS - the Ilkley challenger winner reached the 3rd Rd. at SW19 in 2008
Katie Swan, GBR - the former AO junior finalist makes her slam MD debut at 17
WC #7 - unawarded (one gets the feeling SOMEONE was deserving this golden ticket)
WC #8 - ditto

AO - Priscilla Hon, AUS (17)
AO - Kimberly Birrell, AUS (17)
AO - Maddison Inglis, AUS (17)
RG - Tessah Andrianjafitrimo, FRA (17)
WI - Katie Swan, GBR (17)
AO - Oceane Dodin, FRA (19)
RG - Oceane Dodin, FRA (19)
AO - Samantha Crawford, USA (20)
RG - Taylor Townsend, USA (20)
AO - Naomi Osaka, JPN (18)
RG - Sara Sorribes Tormo, ESP (19)
RG - Louisa Chirico, USA (20)
AO - Maria Sakkari, GRE (20)
WI - Maria Sakkari, GRE (20)
RG - Katerina Siniakova, CZE (20)
RG - Ipek Soylu, TUR (20)

=OLDEST 2016 SLAM...=
RG - Virginie Razzano, FRA (33)
WI - Daniela Hantuichova, SVK (33)
AO - Tammi Patterson, AUS (26)
RG - Arina Rodionova, AUS (26)
RG - Daniela Hantuchova, SVK (33)
RG - Lucie Hradecka, CZE (30)
WI - Mandy Minella, LUX (30)
WI - Marina Erakovic, NZL (28)
WI - Tatjana Maria, GER (28)
RG - Silvia Soler-Espinosa, ESP (28)
WI - Duan Yingying, CHN (26)

#223 - Julia Boserup USA (WI)
#213 - Ekaterina Alexandrova, RUS (WI)
#211 - Paula Kania, POL (WI)
#196 - Sara Sorribes Tormo, ESP (RG)
#175 - Ipek Soylu, TUR (RG)
#172 - Daniela Hantuchova, SVK (RG)
#170 - Maria Sakkari, GRE (AO)
#170 - Luksika Kumkhu, THA (WI)

=MOST 2016 SLAM Q=
2 - Viktoriya Golubic, SUI (AO/RG)
2 - Luksika Kumkhum, THA (AO/RG)
2 - Tamira Paszek, AUT (AO/WI)
2 - Maria Sakkari, GRE (AO/WI)
2 - Maryna Zanevska, UKR (AO/RG)

2 - Oceane Dodin, FRA (AO/RG)

=CONSECUTIVE SLAM Q - active streaks=

3 - Tamira Paszek, AUT (2014-16)


2 - Laura Robson, GBR (2015-16)

2 - Daniela Hantuchova, SVK (2016 RG Q, 2016 WIMB WC)

QF AO - Zhang Shuai, CHN
3rd Rd. AO - Naomi Osaka, JPN
2nd Rd. AO - Nicole Gibbs, USA
2nd Rd. AO - Kristyna Pliskova, CZE
2nd Rd. AO - Maria Sakkari, GRE
2nd Rd. AO - Anastasiya Sevastova, LAT
2nd Rd. AO - Wang Qiang, CHN
2nd Rd. RG - Louisa Chirico, USA
2nd Rd. RG - Veronica Cepede Royg, PAR
2nd Rd. RG - Cagla Buyukakcay, TUR
2nd Rd. RG - Viktoriya Golubic, SUI
[wild cards]
2nd Rd. AO - Han Xinyun, CHN
2nd Rd. RG - Myrtille Georges, FRA
2nd Rd. RG - Virginie Razzano, FRA
2nd Rd. RG - Taylor Townsend, USA
[lucky losers]

4...United States (1/2/1)
3...China (3/0/0)
3...Czech Repubic (1/2/0)
3...Switzerland (1/1/1)
2...Austria (1/0/1)
2...Greece (1/0/1)
2...Slovakia (0/1/1)
2...Thailand (1/0/1)
2...Turkey (0/2/0)
2...Ukraine (1/1/0)
1...AO: JPN, LAT

All for now. SW19 Preview, Week 25 recap and Radwanskian Massacre Day remembrance to come.


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