Saturday, July 02, 2016

W.6- Petra Falls, and the World Breathes a Sigh of Resignation

Petra Kvitova's career has evolved into a wonderful, horrible mash-up of frustrating, head-banging torture sessions that run the gamut of emotion from elation to pain to a feeling of relief when it's all finally over.

Saturday was just another twisted day in the life of the Czech, as her long and winding 2016 Wimbledon road (she was finally looking to finish her SECOND Round match mid-way through Day 6) came to an end at the hands of Ekaterina Makarova. Well, and herself. Kvitova often played quite well today, but only on a few brief occasions did her game rise to the brilliant level it had throughout her 1st Round win. But while Bad Petra's presence wasn't quite as evident on Saturday as is often the case in a loss by the Czech, when it counted the very most, she pulled off her mask to reveal herself far too often.

Yesterday, Makarova had broken Kvitova in the first game of the match and opened up a 4-2 lead in the 1st set, only to see Good Petra arrive and seemingly seize control of the momentum of the match. But after the Russian had held serve to stay in the set at 5-5, Bad Petra emerged again and handed over a break with a truly horrendous volley attempt. The Czech held a BP a game later, then another, then fired a ball just beyond the line once Makarova had gotten a set point of her own and the Hordette won 7-5. The rain arrived just a few points into the 2nd set.

The two women returned on Saturday to complete one of the few 2nd Round matches still left unresolved (why a two-time champ never got on Centre Court vs. a two-time slam semifinalist is a legitimate question -- though one we could probably provide a theory on without much of a brainstorm, eh? -- as is why this match was scheduled on Court 2 AFTER a 3rd Round women's match today). Much like the 1st set, the 2nd was characterized by rain, and Kvitova failing to take advantage of her numerous opportunities while Makarova jumped on nearly all of her own. Also just like yesterday, down the stretch when Good Petra was sorely needed, it was Bad Petra who chose that inopportune time to remind everyone that she's never to far away from snatching away a moment.

After reaching 3-3 in the 2nd set, play was stopped due to rain again. They returned to play one more game, a Kvitova hold, before having to exit the court once more. Finally, the skies cleared (well, they were clear enough) for uninterrupted play from that point forward. With the Czech leading 5-4, Makarova found herself in the same position as in the opening set, serving in game #10 to stay in it. Kvitova took a 15/30 lead, and soon held a set point. But she fired a forehand long, and donated a few more errors in the remainder points of the game as the Russian again held for 5-5. On Friday, Makarova broke Kvitova a game later and then served out the set. This time, she took a love/40 lead in game #11, but Good Petra arrived to save the game. She saved two BP with big serves, then a third with an ace. She then used a powerful forehand to force a Makarova error and held for 6-5. They'd go to a tie-break, where Bad Petra would have the final say.

A forehand error from the Czech put her down a mini-break at 1-0. Two more errors made it 3-0. Makarova delivered a slow second serve which Kvitova mistimed to frame her return to fall behind 4-2, and another forehand error made it 5-2. Makarova just missed on a passing shot that would have given her MP a point later. Then the Czech closed to 5-4 and tied things at 5-5 with a Makarova DF. But the Russian reached MP a point later, and Kvitova's netted forehand finally put an end to things. Makarova won 7-5/7-6(5) to advance to her third Wimbledon 3rd Round in the last four years, while Kvitova falls one round earlier at SW19 than she did last year (she's 3-2 since her '14 title run) and earlier than in any Wimbledon since 1st Round exits in her two MD appearances in 2008-09 as a teenager.

As is often the case, Makarova now advances rather quietly while the focus remains elsewhere, including on her fallen opponent. She'll face #24 Barbora Strycova next, the only seeded player remaining in a section that also includes qualifier Julia Boserup and Makarova's doubles partner, Elena Vesnina. After injury scuttled the back half of the Russian's season in 2015, knocking her out of the season-ending Top 20, she has been slow to gather steam. Her two wins in London bring her to 18-14 on the season, with two of the four events in which she's won three matches having come in her two most recent tournaments (here and in Eastbourne, after Melbourne and Miami at the start of the season). After reaching a career-high of #8 fifteen months ago, Makarova entered Wimbledon at #35 after having nearly slipped out of the Top 40 a few weeks ago. But the last two months have seen the Hordette begin to build back, including re-teaming with fellow WD slam champ Vesnina on the doubles court. Before the recent clay season they hadn't played together since last summer, but they reached a semi (Madrid), and two finals (Rome & RG) in three events. They're the #4 seeds at this Wimbledon.

Of course, this wasn't an "earth-shaking kersplat" of an upset like that of Novak Djokovic on this day, and not just because of the longstanding havoc of the past week and the upset-ripe environment of the rain-mangled and Rad influence-colored tournament, either. It's because we've come to expect the "unexpected" from Kvitova, so much so that any loss is no longer unexpected at all. Every match she plays these days begins with Petra Watchers holding their collective breath, after all. While Bad Petra may not have had a starring role vs. Makarova, she did her damage throughout. Kvitova's 43 total unforced errors, remember, were stretched out over two days, but the comparative numbers of the 1st and 2nd sets weren't that different: 11 winners and 20 UE's in the 1st, 15 and 23 in the 2nd. But they came in bunches, and usually at the very worst time imaginable.

This result only adds another frustrating layer to the most disappointing year of Kvitova's career. While her personal life has seemingly blossomed, her health questions are still a lingering (and unknowable) issue. And then there was the break with longtime coach David Kotyza, and even the worst Fed Cup performance (0-2 in singles vs. ROU in the 1st Round) of her career. She came out of the spring clay season (where she was a respectable 7-4) sporting a 13-12 record for the year and looking forward to playing on her favorite surface, obviously hoping that it would be an oasis in her storm. But even the grass season didn't snap her out of it. She went 3-3 this past month. She's a mediocre (for a Top 10 player) 4-3 in slams this year, and 16-15 overall.

The odds seemed increasingly stacked against her at this Wimbledon from Day 1. While hope was still high for her being able to pool all her talents at the AELTC, it all felt like a case of blind faith in this corner. Even after her Brilliant Petra performance in the 1st Round, nothing ever seemed a given in regards to being able to sustain such a level of effectiveness for seven matches. And then the rain and poor scheduling of her matches put her even more behind the 8-ball.

"It's weird when you're sitting in the locker room and someone finish(es) the third round, as Carla Suarez Navarro, and I was still waiting for my second (round). We were just making laugh of it," Kvitova said. "What we can do, right, in the locker room? It is how it is. I wish I should be scheduled a little bit better, but it's the past now."

Now she heads to the North American summer hard court circuit, where her asthma has often held her back due to the heat and (especially) humidity (but where she's still won back-to-back titles in New Haven, and the U.S. Open Series crown in 2012). Of note, Kvitova was 4-2 in Indian Wells and Miami in March, so maybe the hard court will ultimately turn out to the where she finds her game again.

So, again, hopes creeps in. I guess "good egg" Petra just naturally brings it out in people.

Still, I'd advise against anyone holding their breath. You know, for their own well-being.

=DAY 6 NOTES= more unfinished business from Friday, Sloane Stephens once again handed Mandy Minella slam devastation in the form of a 3-6/7-6(6)/8-6 win to finally complete their 2nd Rounder.

The 30-year old from Luxembourg failed to put away Stephens in the 1st Round of the U.S. Open three years ago despite leading 4-2 in the 3rd set, and 3-1 in the deciding TB. Yesterday, the qualifier served for the match up 5-4 in the 2nd set vs. the #18 seed, and held a MP at 6-5 in the TB before Stephens won it and forced a 3rd. They were tied 3-3 when play resumed on Saturday.

Stephens opened with a break of serve, but Minella broke back a game later. Serving down 5-4, Stephens went up 40/0 on serve in game #10, only to see Minella twice get within two points of victory at deuce. She sprayed a return forehand on the first, then, saw a backhand trip the net cord and fall on her side of the court on the second. Stephens broke for7-6, then reached triple MP at 40/love in game #14. Minella saved all three MP, but handed Stephens a fourth try when she netted a forehand return. On MP #4, Minella's backhand slice from the baseline failed to make over the net. As Stephens claimed the victory, Minella threw her racket across the backcourt, the victim of a 2nd Round defeat in a match in which she actually won more points (123-116) than her opponent.

...Australian Open champ Angelique Kerber reached the Round of 16 with a two-set win over fellow German Carina Witthoeft, a 21-year old who before this week hadn't won back-to-back tour-level MD matches since last summer in Toronto. The 1st set was a tight affair, despite Kerber committing half as many (14-30) unforced errors. She got a break for a 6-5 lead, but was broken at love when she attempted to serve out the set. In the tie-break, Kerber went up 6-2, but Witthoeft saved four consecutive SP and suddenly had a SP of her own at 7-6. The younger German would ultimately hold three more SP in the TB before Kerber finally put it away on SP #6 for a 13-11 win. In a rain-interrupted 2nd set, the 28-year old took control for a 7-6(11)/6-1 victory.

...Lucie Safarova had already saved three MP in her 1st Round match vs. doubles partner Bethanie Mattek-Sands, and today she added another "Zombie Queen" nomination notch to her belt by saving another against qualifier Jana Cepelova en route to a 4-6/6-1/12-10 win to reach her third straight Wimbledon Round of 16.

Garbine Muguruza conqueror Cepelova served at 5-3 in the 3rd set, and held a MP at 9-8 on Safarova's serve, but netted a backhand off a spinning second serve from the Czech. Safarova held for 9-9, then after constantly having to play from behind in the set got a break for 11-10 to get the chance to serve for the match. During the changeover, the injury-plagued Slovak had her left knee examined by a trainer. Safarova, in Serena-esque fashion, opened game #22 with an ace. She went up 40/15, then put away the match with a volley.

...Madison Keys, one of the players in the bottom half of the draw looking to take advantage of #2 seed Garbine Muguruza's early exit, ran into some trouble with Alize Cornet on Saturday. The Pasty was able to break her serve six times on the day, five times in the first two sets. Cornet broke to go up a double break at 5-2 in the 2nd, only to see the Bannerette show her new ability to recover from bad stretches once again and get a break back, hold at love for 5-4, then knot the set at 5-5 with another break of serve. But Keys double-faulted twice in game #11, failed to convert two GP, and then followed up her second DF with a backhand error to hand the break advantage right back to Cornet. The Frenchwoman served out the set at 7-5. But Keys rebounded once more, taking control in the 3rd with a break in game #2 and surging to a 4-0 lead. She won 6-4/5-7/6-2 in a little under two hours. She'll face Simona Halep on Monday.

Halep took out Kiki Bertens 4 & 3 to continue her roll at this Wimbledon, once again taking a few spare moments to peek over the edge of The Cliffs... but only from a safe distance.

Bertens powered to a break in the opening game of the 1st, but Halep soon took control with four straight games won to go up 4-2. But then she handed the break back a game later. In game #10, with Bertens serving to stay in the set down love/40, Halep surged to a love/40 lead. But she wasn't going to mess with the view from The Cliffs this time. Two points later, the Romanian blasted a crosscourt forehand winner to take the set 6-4. She got an early break in the 2nd for 2-0, then backed it up a game later. Halep avoided a trip-up in game #9, saving a BP and serving out the 6-4/6-3 win. She's into the Round of 16 for the second time ('14 SF), overcoming the early-round exits that have characterized her other SW19 appearances (two 1st's and two 2nd Round losses). She's lost fourteen total games through three rounds.

She'll be the focus of much more attention on Monday, though. We'll see how that works out THIS time.

...elsewhere, Kvitova wasn't the only Wimbledon-loving woman to see her '16 SW19 experience end on Day 6. 2013 finalist Sabine Lisicki fell to Yaroslava Shvedova, losing in the 3rd Round for the second straight year. Shvedova reached the Round of 16 in 2012 and '14. Genie Bouchard continued her one-step-forward-and-one-step-back pattern for this season, as one day after she claimed a match reminiscent of her breakout '14 campaign over #16 Johanna Konta the Canadian fell to #19-seeded Eastbourne champ Dominika Cibulkova in straight sets as the Slovak locked up her second career Wimbledon Round of 16 berth with her eighth straight grass court win. Misaki Doi (who held MP vs. Kerber in the AO 1st Round) defeated Anna-Lena Friedsam to reach her first Wimbledon 3rd Round since her SW19 debut in 2011. And Timea Bacsinszky arrived on Day 6 trailing Monica Niculescu 1-0, serving at deuce, in the 3rd set. By the time she was through, the Swiss had won six straight games to get the 2nd Round victory. She still loves her job.

...the doubles competition finally kicked into high gear on Day 6, as the #1 (Hingis/Mirza) and #2 (Garcia/Mladenovic) seeds both won 1st Round matches. The Williams Sisters defeated the all-Waffle team of Mertens/Mestach, lifting their career SW19 record to 40-2. And Jelena Jankovic & Aleksandra Krunic (Go Bracelet!) defeated Lara Arruabarrena & Danka Kovinic (who regarded JJ as her idol before the Serbian vet became her friend and mentor).

Also, The Dashas are currently putting a scare into Bethanie Mattek-Sands & Lucie Safarova. The interesting duo of Gavrilova/Kasatkina erased a 2-0 3rd set deficit in the fading light of Saturday and got things to 5-5 before play was suspended due to darkness.

...there were twenty junior girls singles matches scheduled for today, but they were all cancelled. They must feel like professionals now... they grow up so quickly. Here are the seeded players:

1. Olesya Pervushina, RUS
2. Rebeka Masarova, SUI
3. Amanda Anisimova, USA
4. Anastasia Potapova, RUS
5. Kayla Day, USA
6. Bianca Andreescu, CAN
7. Dayana Yastremska, UKR
8. Sonya Kenin, USA
9. Usue Arconada, USA
10. Olga Danilovic, SRB
11. Yuki Naito, JPN
12. Katie Swan, GBR
13. Kaja Juvan, SLO
14. Katarina Zavatska, UKR
15. Elena Rybakina, RUS
16. Mai Hontama, JPN

The pick didn't work out for me in Paris (when they both lost in the semis), but I'll go with it again for London: Pervushina def. Potapova. They both reached the Roehampton final this week, with the #4 defeating the #1. I'll go with a little Hordette "revenge" in an match-up of doubles partners for a singles slam title (it'd be the second straight all-Russian SW19 final, after Sofya Zhuk's win over Anna Blinkova last year). I kept picking Ostapenko to win junior slams in 2014 until she finally did it at Wimbledon, so maybe it'll happen that way again.

...and last, but hardly least, in the final women's match of the day, Aga Radwanska returned after having saved three MP and needing a net cord and Ana Konjuh stepping on a ball and rolling her ankle to advance to the 3rd Round. She had no such trouble today, but that wasn't because of young Czech Katerina Siniakova. The 20-year old Maiden tried with all her might, will and considerable talent to dent the Radwanska exterior today, but it was all of no use. She'll be having nightmares with Aga's face appearing on every horrible beast her subconscious can dream up starting tonight.

Aga was, as she often is, simply naturally brilliant while seemingly barely breaking a sweat throughout the day. At one point she ran off twelve straight points to take a 5-2 lead in the 1st, pulling off a series of amazing shots made to look casually achieved with deft angles, soft wrists and expert anticipation working to create one of those "perfect Radwanska storms" that she's known for. One again, it was a joy to watch. Her 6-3/6-1 win puts her in the Round of 16 for a fifth straight year, eighth of nine, and ninth time in eleven SW19 appearances.

...oh, and then there are the Pliskovas.

Life will always find a way????

A photo posted by Kristyna Pliskova (@kristynapliskova) on

I threatened the other day to initiate a four-times-annual "Pliskova Slam Futility Update," so here it is. For years, I maintained Anna Smashnova and/or Anabel Medina-Garrigues Slam Futility Updates, highlighting the fact that those two players are the only in WTA history to win ten tour-level singles titles but never reach a slam singles QF. But since AMG retired from singles a short while ago, it's been absent from this space. Roberta Vinci was the most likely recent player to avoid such a designation when she first reached a U.S. Open QF in 2012. The Italian finally got career title #10 this season, but it was too late to make it a Futile Trio.

But another may be in the picture.

As of yet, Karolina is only half-way to double-digit tour titles, but there's a good chance she'll get there. One would think she'll eventually reach a slam QF, but thus far even the Round of 16 has been an unreachable level of success. So I'm getting out in front of this one, and I'm including Kristyna in the stats, too... for now.

Here are the updated numbers, as well as those of AMG and Smashnova for comparison:

0 / 0 - W
0 / 0 - RU
0 / 0 - SF
0 / 0 - QF
0 / 0 - 4th Rd.
3 / 1 - 3rd Rd. (Ka: 14 US/15 AO/16 AO ; Kr: 15 WI)
7 / 4 - 2nd Rd.
7 / 7 - 1st Rd.
7 / 12 - lost in qualifying
14 - Ka.P (AO 14-16; RG 11-12,14-15; WI 10/13-14/16; US 13-15)
6 - Kr.P (AO 13; RG -; WI 12/15; US 10-12)
4 - tied (AO 11-12; RG 13/16; )
1 - both didn't play = 11 Wi
NOTE: Karolina needs 5 more tour titles to match A.Smashnova & A.Medina-Garrigues as only players in WTA history with 10+ singles titles but no career slam QF results

0 - W
0 - RU
0 - SF
0 - QF
3 - 4th Rd.
12 - 3rd Rd.
10 - 2nd Rd.
22 - 1st Rd.
3 - lost in qualifying

0 - W
0 - RU
0 - SF
0 - QF
2 - 4th Rd.
7 - 3rd Rd.
10 - 2nd Rd.
30 - 1st Rd.
7 - lost in qualifying

Karolina DID win her doubles match today with Julia Goerges, though. So it's not all bad. They won 6-2/6-1 over Denisa Allertova and, umm, Anna Karolina Schmiedlova. Sigh.

Now THAT'S "futility" of a different order... and I can't even go there again.


She'd been given a WC when she hadn't asked for it, and didn't really want it, huh? It'd been nice if the Australian Open could have done that to get her that consecutive slam appearance record.

LIKE ON DAY 6: Well, that explains her first week, at least. I suppose.

DISLIKE ON DAY 6: Wimbledon, maintaining its reputation for fair and honest judgments...

LIKE ON DAY 6: the story of Serena's racket continues...

ALWAYS THE CENTER OF ATTENTION ON DAY 6: Here, there and everywhere, it seems.

Even with so many legends within arm's reach, too.


LIKE ON DAY 6: Yung-Jan trying to fight The Rad the old fashioned way...


LIKE ON DAY 6: This. Again.

JOB APPLICATION VIDEO FOR DAY 6: The AELTC should keep this on file (someone has to eventually pull a hamstring at some point, right?).

DINARA SIGHTING ON DAY 6: Not eight years removed... but with a lot of sky.

FLAVIA SIGHTING ON DAY 6: Even if she can't see HERSELF...

TENNIS FACT ON DAY 6: Watching a Radwanska match is like perfectly-seasoned comfort food in the form of tennis.

At her best, Aga simply mesmerizes, relaxing and centering the soul... but while also keeping you super-alert, because you never know what brilliance might suddenly come out of nowhere. And you wouldn't want to miss THAT.

There's nothing quite like it, really.

"THE WAY THINGS ARE GOING..." ON DAY 6: Tomorrow will be a rain-out...

...and, finally...

Hmmm... Djokovic loses. Petra loses. Aga wins. So...

Sunday (Official Radwanskian Massacre Day): CALM
Day 3 (Observed Radwanskian Massacre Day): CONCERN
Day 4: ALARM
Day 6: ALARM

Serena might be able to single-handedly lower the threat with a quick win on Sunday. The again, if...

x vs. x
x vs. x
#3 Aga Radwanska/POL vs. #19 Dominika Cibulkova/SVK
x vs. x
#5 Simona Halep/ROU vs. #9 Madison Keys/USA
Misaki Doi/JPN vs. #4 Angelique Kerber/GER
#8 Venus Williams/USA vs. #14 Carla Suarez-Navarro/ESP
Yaroslava Shvedova/KAZ vs. #28 Lucie Safarova

2002 (Week 1 POW) Venus Williams, USA
2003 (Week 1 POW) Venus Williams, USA
2004 (Week 1 POW) Lindsay Davenport, USA
2005 (Week 1 co-POW) Lindsay Davenport, USA & Maria Sharapova, RUS
2006 Justine Henin-Hardenne, BEL
2007 Amelie Mauresmo, FRA
2008 Serena Williams, USA
2009 Venus Williams, USA
2010 Venus Williams, USA & Serena Williams, USA *
2011 Petra Kvitova, CZE *
2012 Agnieszka Radwanska, POL
2013 Serena Williams, USA
2014 Maria Sharapova, RUS
2015 Petra Kvitova, CZE
2016 Simona Halep, ROU
* - won title

TOP EARLY-ROUND (1r-2r): #5 Simona Halep/ROU
TOP QUALIFYING MATCH: Q3: #7 Tamira Paszek/AUT d. Andrea Hlavackova/CZE 6-3/5-7/10-9 ret. (Paszek MP in 2nd, ankle injury; Paszek up 5-3 3rd; Hlavackova ret. w/ cramps, collapses onto back after match)
TOP EARLY-RD. MATCH (1r-2r): 2nd Rd. #3 Aga Radwanska/POL d. Ana Konjuh/CRO 6-2/4-6/9-7 (3 MP, one on net cord; Konjuh rolled ankle stepping on ball)
FIRST WINNER: #29 Daria Kasatkina/RUS (def. Duval/USA in :51)
FIRST SEED OUT: #25 Irina-Camelia Begu/ROU (lost 1st Rd. to Witthoeft/GER)
NATION OF POOR SOULS: China (1-4 1st Rd.; only win by LL Duan Yingying)
LAST QUALIFIER STANDING: In 3rd Rd.: J.Cepelova/SVK(L), M.Erakovic/NZL(L), J.Boserup/USA
LAST WILD CARD STANDING: Tara Moore/GBR and Evgeniya Rodina/RUS
IT ("??"): xx
CRASH & BURN: #2 Garbine Muguruza/ESP (reigning RG champ and '15 Wimbledon finalist; lost 1st Rd. in under an hour to qualifier Cepelova/SVK)
ZOMBIE QUEEN (TBD at QF): Nominees: #28 Safarova (1st Rd. - down 7-6/5-2, 5-3 in 3rd and saved 3 MP vs. Mattek-Sands; 3rd Rd. - saved MP at 9-8 vs. Cepelova, who served for match at 5-3; won 12-10 3rd set); Beck (1st Rd. - saved 3 MP vs. Watson; won 12-10 3rd set); #3 A.Radwanska (2nd Rd - Konjuh 3 MP, one on a net cord; Konjuh turned ankle stepping on a ball in game #15 of 3rd set, Radwanska wins 9-7); #1 S.Williams (down 2-0 in 3rd vs. McHale in 2nd Rd.); #8 V.Williams (2nd Rd. - longest 3rd set of Wimb. career, 10-8 vs. Kasatkina); #18 Stephens (2nd Rd.: Minella served for match in 2nd set, held MP at 6-5 in TB; won 8-6 3rd set)
THE RADWANSKA AWARD (June 26 official/Day 3 observed): 74 s/d matches are scheduled: due to rain, 41 are cancelled, 15 suspended and 18 completed. Only 6 matches were both started and finished solely on Day 3, with 4 of those played under the Centre Court roof. But Aga Radwanska opens the Centre Court schedule and wins without incident, while her '16 RG conqueror Tsvetana Pironkova loses in previously unscheduled C.C. match.

All for Day 6. More tomorrow.


Blogger colt13 said...

Stat of the day-91- The amount of matches Galina Voskoboeva has played in singles since the last Olympics. This is the name on the initial list that jumps out at you. If you need to root for an underdog, she may be it. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity for someone who got in with a protected ranking at 458. Actually, it is not. Her career high of 42 was in may of 2012, right before the last olympic cutoff. Plus, even though she has a lousy 4-28 record against the Top 20, she could catch lightning in a bottle. Because her only 2 Top 10 wins were in the same tournament-Toronto 2011.

To put into perspective how little she has played, the other Kazakh in the singles draw(Putinseva)has played 104 matches since the beginning of 2015. Should be noted that she wouldn't be the first from her country to win a singles match, that would be Shvedova, whom she will be playing doubles with in Rio. Ironically enough, Shvedova's Wimbledon doubles partner Babos(teaming with backspin favorite Reka Luca Jani in Rio) is the one that beat her in London. All 3 players form Kazakhstan were born in Moscow, which isn't surprising as two of them were born in the 80's and the country officialy gained their independence in 1991.

Galina is by far the lowest player in the feild, although we don't know who will replace Schiavone. But she wouldn't be the lowest in recent memory. When Cara Black got her surprise wild card in 2008, she was ranked 662, and had only played 73 singles matches in that 4 year span. They could have given Natalie Grandin a wild card. What? Grandin doesn't play singles.

Grandin and the 2012 Olympic doubles team of Alicja Rosolska/Klaudia Jans-Ignacik are what are called field fillers. The women who go to places like Baku and Tashkent, and play in qualies so they dont have to give out extra byes. Grandin took this to the extreme, as her last 64(and 78 of 80) attempts to get to the MD in singles were the qualies. The only time she had direct intey in a 10 year span was Bali twice, ranked 144 and 254. She did qualify on occasion.

But what about the doubles partners? That is a misnomer, as by the Olympics, they weren't. After playing 25 events together together in 2011, they only played 5 in 2012. In fact, Jans played with 12 people in 27 tourneys. Jans did this less than Rosolska, going 0-23, but did make the MD once as a lucky loser. On the other hand, somebody needs to give Rosolska a wild card just once. With a career singles high ranking of 636, still higher than Black when she got her wild card, she has gone 0-42.

Sat Jul 02, 09:09:00 PM EDT  

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