Saturday, June 08, 2019

The Ash Barty Way

Ash Barty's career path to a grand slam championship wasn't a common one. In fact, no one has ever done it quite like her. But for the 23-year old Aussie, she likely wouldn't have been crowned the latest queen of Roland Garros today if she hadn't done it her way.

There were probably more than a few casual fans (you know the ones) tuning into the latter stages of this week's happenings in Paris who were only *then* even becoming fully aware of the 23-year old. Sure, Barty's the only player in the entire sport whose versatility is on full *official* display due to the fact that she's the lone woman or man ranked in the Top 10 in *both* singles and doubles, but it's never been as if she's actively shoved her existence in the face of the sport and its followers. She didn't "stun the world" with an thunderous result on the big stage early in her Generation PDQ career, but has instead built one increasingly larger success upon another. She isn't physically imposing in stature, nor does she have the sort of loud, boastful or extroverted personality that forces eyes to divert and necks to crane whenever she's around. Instead, she's humble, and maybe a bit shy by nature. Her game doesn't pop with the sort of brute power that has carried the likes of Naomi Osaka to slam titles and international name recognition over the past year, either. Barty's game is far more varied and nuanced, and though her competitiveness is clear, a day of steady and studied play is viewed as an unqualified success in her book. No fireworks are necessarily required.

Even the noticeable evolution in on-court confidence that has significantly elevated her standing in the game over the past two seasons has arrived in typically understated fashion. Until now. On the sole basis of her 2019 success, attentions are finally focusing in her direction. Whether or not Barty ever dreamed of inviting so many guests to her party, all of a sudden it's become a crowded affair.

Barty's climb through the ranks has seen her go from child prodigy to Wimbledon girls champ, from being a multiple slam doubles finalist before her 18th birthday to making the decision to take a year and a half sabbatical from the sport for her own peace of mind due to the stress created by high expectations and the tough life of the WTA tour, From taking up a brief cricket career for the Brisbane Heat while she was away to walking back into tennis in 2016 with a refreshed attitude, a rare self-awareness when it comes to knowing how to deal with her chosen life, and possessing a sincere gratitude for everything that would subsequently come her way.

Barty reentered the fray as a player ranked #623, and gradually worked her way back. At her own pace. Step by step. Improving and gaining confidence with every new experience. Each new success. With each new goal set, and then accomplished.

First came some doubles on the ITF, then singles. Then she returned to the WTA tour. Come the end of 2017, she'd won her maiden tour singles title and was ranked in the Top 20 in both singles and doubles. She won the U.S. Open doubles title in '18. 2019, though, has seen her break through in every conceivable way: her first second week slam result with a QF in Melbourne, assuming a leadership role while going undefeated and carrying Australia to its first Fed Cup final in twenty-six years, winning her first Premier Mandatory crown in Miami, reaching the Top 10 and, now becoming the first Aussie to lift the Coupe Suzanne Lenglen since 1973 on the surface on which she's felt the least confident during her career.

There's the usual way, and then there's the Ash Barty Way.

It didn't take long for one of Barty's best attributes to become clear in the women's final against unseeded Czech teenager Marketa Vondrousova on Court Philippe Chatrier. Due to the conclusion of a men's suspended (and further rain-interrupted today) semifinal, the women didn't walk onto the playing surface until about an hour and a half after the original scheduled start of the match, and the wait likely helped the Aussie win the initial battle of the day. The 19-year old had never stepped onto the court until her practice session there earlier in the day (yet another offshoot of the "disgusting," in the world of French Hall of Famer Amelie Mauresmo, decision by French Tennis Federation to not play the women's semis on the tournament's biggest show court on Friday), and that combined with the enormity of the moment for a player of such a young age -- Vondrousova was the youngest slam semifinalist since 2009, and was seeking to become the first teen to win a major since 2006, as well as the first from her nation to win in Paris since 1981 -- to prevent the lefty Czech from ever truly feeling comfortable.

All the winning variety and cool-as-a-cucumber game play that had allowed Vondrousova to show an admirable closing ability while being the only player in the draw to not lose a set were not evident at the start of the match, and save for a few flashes here and there never would be on the day. In the biggest match of her life, with so many variables spinning in her head, Vondrousova's shots often lacked the same conviction that they had had all tournament (and, really, since the Australian Open, as she's been one of the hottest players on tour ever since). Even her stated "favorite" shot -- the drop shot -- was rarely executed by her with the sort of skill that has made it the sort of threat that often has lethal consequences even though her opponents can see it coming.

And while that mental and emotional swirl was taking place on the other side of the net, Barty simply went about her business. Oh, after the match the Aussie (no shock) self-effacingly admitted to being very nervous during play, but you'd have a hard time identifying any precise moments when a single nerve got the best of her. Barty had somehow managed to lose at 5-0, 40/15 1st set lead yesterday in her semifinal against 17-year old Amanda Anisimova, and trailed the Bannerette 7-6/3-0 in the match before staging a rally without a note of panic or stress. Such an escape likely helped to tamp down any shaky moments that might have accompanied her maiden slam final appearance today, as she knew -- as she accepts so many things to be -- *this* experience was a gift to be enjoyed rather than fretted over.

Barty was by far the more ready of the two for this moment in her career. After breaking Vondrousova in game #2, she held at love for a 3-0 lead (12-3 in total points). After several failed attempts at drop shots early in the match, the Czech finally won a point in which she utilized the shot, saving a BP when Barty pushed her own reply out. But the Aussie nevertheless got the break on her third BP chance to take a 4-0 lead. Fluently hitting out during rallies for the first time, Vondrousova got one break back a game later, but fell behind love/40 on her own serve a game later. She managed to reach deuce, but when one of her shots skipped off the net cord it set up Barty with a perfect ball with which to pass her and set up her soon-to-be-converted fourth BP chance of the game. Serving at 5-1, Barty continued to be on point. She used a combination of big serves, aggressive forays to the net and put-away winners to reach double set point. A forehand down the line secured the 6-1 stanza after just twenty-eight minutes. The Aussie led 16-3 in winners, while Vondrousova had also littered the stat sheet with thirteen unforced errors.

While the 19-year old increasingly found her footing in the 2nd set, Barty never gave up ground. Vondrousova held a GP in the opening game, but Barty kept the game alive, ventured to the net behind a picture-perfect approach shot and flashed her doubles bonafides by smacking a volley to reach BP. A forehand winner got the break. The Czech saved two BP (one w/ an ace) and held for 2-1, then did so again at love for 3-2. Perhaps hoping for Barty to blink ala Johanna Konta in yesterday's semi, in which the Brit failed to serve out both sets and ultimately lost in straights, the teenager's chances for a title run remained precariously tethered to the match. But Barty was having none of it. Her love hold to take a 5-3 lead had the feel of a door closing, and that's just what happened.

After flirting with reaching MP for most of Vondrousova's proceeding service game -- getting to 30/30, then deuce -- Barty finally got within a point of the title with the Czech's forehand error. As the Aussie ran to the net to get to a high bouncing ball, the Roland Garros title was presented on a platter for her enjoyment. She didn't push it away, putting away the final point with an overhead, then turning to her player's box (and coach Craig Tyzzer) and raising her arms in triumph a few feet from the umpire's chair.

Ashes to Ashes, dust to dust... the one from Down Under had won, due to some big-name absences and upsets, what had turned out to be an upside down slam. Barty's win, though, as so many of her results have done in 2019, set things right-side-up once more.

In her 6-1/6-3 win, Barty was never asked to be great or spectacular. She needed only to be her steady self to emerge with the victory, and on that mission her actions were perfectly by the book.

While one wonders if Vondrousova's relative uncomfortability might have been overcome had she faced Anisimova in this final (it'd been the first all-teen slam final since 1999), we may have to wait for *that* potential match-up to occur (and it just might) on the slam stage before we're know for sure. As it is, the Czech will move to #16 in the new rankings, and take her 26-6 record since the AO into the grass court season.

The new #2 (the highest for an Aussie since Evonne Goolagong) will next move on to the part of the schedule that she likes best. You know, the one that includes (snicker) Barty's (now suddenly) "worst" slam, aka Wimbledon. No worries, mate... the new RG champ won't be lacking in motivation to remove *that* ironic note from her career resume.

But while the grass will always have her heart, Barty's relationship with clay may be only just beginning. Her variety-filled game is a good match to the surface, even if she had to be convinced as much, and still isn't quite ready to say she has "fun" playing on it. In a way, a player with such a checkered past -- but maybe a nice future -- with the terre battue being the decade's final champion is a fitting conclusion to this 2019 Roland Garros.

In all, the tournament maintained its history of providing the cradle for first time champions, as the 2010's started with two such winners, and Barty's run extends a similar decade-ending streak in Paris to four. The numbers stand as both a tribute to how difficult RG is for even well-established players to master, as well as a reminder that hard work and dedication does often pay off in the end.

But enough about all that. It's time for the Parisian Barty Parties to officially commence.

Good on ya, Ash... err, I mean Mademoiselle Ash. Now go have some fun. It's gonna be a ripper!

...the junior final saw top-seeded Leylah Annie Fernandez become the second Canadian girl to be crowned a slam champion, as the 16-year old defeated #8-seeded Bannerette Emma Navarro, 6-3/6-2. The last Canadian to win a girls slam title was Genie Bouchard at Wimbledon in 2012. LAF was runner-up to Clara Tauson in the Australian Open junior final in January.

Navarro returned later in the day on Saturday and went home with the doubles title, teaming with Chloe Beck to defeat the #4-seeded Hordette duo of Alina Charaeva & Anastasia Tikhonova, 6-1/6-2. Beck/Navarro, like LAF, were runners-up in Melbourne, losing to Natsumi Kawaguchi & Adrienn Nagy, half of whom (Nagy, w/ Park So-hyun) the two U.S. girls defeated in the semis in Paris via a 17-15 match TB (Natsumi, with Diane Parry, lost to Charaeva/Tikhonova in the other SF).

...meanwhile, Diede de Groot further earned her "Diede the Great" moniker, sweeping the singles and doubles titles in a fourth consecutive slam. It makes her the first player ever win all *eight* slam titles in a career, as well as simultaneously reign as the champion in all eight disciplines.

The 22-year old Dutch #1 defeated #2 Yui Kamiji 6-1/6-0 in the singles final to "finally" claim the only slam title she'd yet to win, and won a pair of doubles matches (w/ Aniek Van Koot) to take the title there, as well. In the semis, the top-seeded duo defeated Kamiji & Giulia Capocci, then defeated #2 Marjolein Buis/Sabine Ellerbrock 6-1/6-1 in the final.

In all, de Groot's numbers right now are looking a bit Vergeerian:

* - the first to complete Career Slam in both singles and doubles
* - the first to hold all eight slam titles simultaneously
* - she's won four straight slam singles titles and five in a row in doubles, sweeping both competitions at the last four majors
* - she's played in sixteen straight slam finals, going 6-2 in both singles and doubles
* - in 10 career slam appearances, she's played in 17 finals (8/10 in singles, 9/10 in doubles)
* - she's tied for second (w/ Kamiji) for the most WC singles slam titles (6) behind Vergeer (21)
* - she's half-way to the first 8-event Combined Grand Slam in a single season in WC tennis history (there were only seven events when Vergeer played, so if de Groot can complete the Grand Slam in just one *that* would be a first-time accomplishment, too)

As far as her rivalry with Kamiji:

* - Kamiji still leads the overall career head-to-head 14-12, though de Groot has the edge this season (3-2), in majors (4-2) and in their last thirteen match-ups (10-3)
* - they've met in three straight, and six of seven, slam finals (de Groot leads 4-2)

The two have never met in singles at Wimbledon, where de Groot is the two-time defending champion. Kamiji needs only the Wimbledon singles title to become (now) the *second* player to win all eight major titles in a career. the WTA 125 event in Bol, Kaja Juvan failed to get over her closing problem. After falling *twiceI in RG after holding leads in qualifying (up a break three times in the 3rd, served at 5-4 vs. Pera) and MD play (up set and 4-2, served at 5-4 in the 3rd vs. Cirstea), the 18-year old Slovenian led top-seeded Tamara Zidansek 4-0 in the 3rd and at served 5-3, before falling 7-5 in the final set in the semifinals.

Zidansek will meet Sara Sorribes Tormo (def. AKS) in the final. Timea Bacsinszky & Mandy Minella defeated Cornelia Lister & Renata Voracova in a 10-4 match TB to win the doubles.

...Ailson Riske and Magdalena Rybarikova will face off in the final of the $100K grass event in Surbiton. Both have extensive grass court histories, with Riske reaching a tour level final (Nottingham '16) and winning this same event a year ago. Rybarikova is 1-1 in tour finals on grass, and won a pair of $100K's in '17 prior to reaching the Wimbledon semifinals that summer.

...LIKE ON DAY 14: Hidden no longer...

...LIKE ON DAY 14: It's never a bad time for some mini-Ash...

...LIKE ON DAY 14: 2016 Ash is interesting in 2019, too...

...LIKE ON DAY 14: Countdown to the speech...

...THE DEFINITION OF "FALLING UP" ON DAY 14: Say hello to Elina and Aryna...

...Hmmm... ON DAY 14: So, does CoCo get any credit for breaking Ash out of her shell on court?

...Ummm... ON DAY 14:

...QUESTION ON DAY 14: So, does Ash get a song now?

...LIKE ON DAY 14: Good on ya, Tennis Channel...

...LIKE ON DAY 14: No one here but us champions...

The Clay Court Awards will appear in this space tomorrow, with the "Decade's Best" final lists (and updated Players of the Decade nomination list) at the start of the week.

But first...

1. Ash Barty, AUS: Fed Cup MVP. Check. Miami champ. Check. Roland Garros winner. Check. She came into the clay season as the "leader in the clubhouse," and amazingly *increased* her lead (by a lot) on her least favorite surface.
2. Diede de Groot, NED: Could a WC athlete be "Ms.Backspin?" Why not? Eight-for-eight would be a feat of such Vergeerian brilliance that it would realistically put her in the mix.
3. Petra Kvitova, CZE: The AO runner-up, and a two time title winner, her results still *feel* a tad bit "light." Maybe we expect *too* much. Wins over Barty, Bertens, Kerber, Sabalenka and Bencic make it a real race for "top Czech," with a certain teenager gaining ground fast.
4. Karolina Pliskova, CZE: Two titles, a Miami final and a slam semi. Wins over Halep, Serena, Muguruza, Vondrouosva and Azarenka speak well of her year, and come in just slightly "below" Petra. So...
5. Naomi Osaka, JPN: Won her second straight major in Melbourne and was better than expected on clay. But she's still missing a "signature" win since Melbourne (maybe Vika at RG?), and it almost defies imagination how she's managed to avoid losing the #1 ranking for this long (and now Barty is in the mix to take it, too).
6. French and Australian Fed Cup Teams: Two head into the November final, only one will contend for high "Ms.Backspin" list placement.
7. Bianca Andreescu, CAN: Since she essentially missed the whole clay season, it's easy to forget how dominating DQ had become before her shoulder started acting up. A second week slam run (or two) could combine with her I.W. title to make her a solid Top 5 "Ms.B" contender.
8. Elise Mertens/Aryna Sabalenka, BEL/BLR: They'll always have the "Sunshine Double," but a slam crown would look nice, too.
9. Marketa Vondrousova, CZE: No titles (0-3 in finals), but stunningly consistent results since the AO and a final at Roland Garros.
10. Timea Babos/Kristina Mladenovic, HUN/FRA or Hsieh Su-wei/Barbora Strycova, TPE/CZE: The former if they add the RG crown to their AO final and Istanbul title. The latter -- the Dubai and Madrid champs -- if they don't.

Kiki Bertens, NED: Two titles, but two 2nd Round slam exits are holding her back (ala Petra in '18)
Belinda Bencic, SUI: Won Dubai, reached the I.W. & Madrid semis and upset Osaka (twice) to run her Top 10 win total for the season to seven
Simona Halep, ROU: Yet to get over the hump and *win* something, but has been admirably solid all year: 4th/QF in slams, two finals, a SF in Miami and leading ROU over CZE in Fed Cup make for a good "year after the year after" season following back-to-back #1 campaigns
Johanna Konta, GBR: A great clay season (Rome & Rabat F, RG semis), but she's also a solid #2 FC MVP behind Barty for '19

To be continued...

#8 Ash Barty/AUS def. Marketa Vondrousova/CZE 6-1/6-3

Duan/Sai.Zheng (CHN/CHN) vs. #2 Babos/Mladenovic (HUN/FRA)

L.Chan/Dodig (TPE/CRO) def. #2 Dabrowski/Pavic (CAN/CRO) 6-1/7-6(5)

#1 Leylah Annie Fernandez/CAN def. #8 Emma Navarro/USA 6-3/6-2

Beck/Navarro (USA/USA) def. #4 Charaeva/Tikhonova (RUS/RUS) 6-1/6-2

#1 Diede de Groot/NED def. #2 Yui Kamiji/JPN 6-1/6-0

#1 de Groot/Van Koot (NED/NED) def. #2 Buis/Ellerbrock (NED/GER) 6-1/6-1

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[# - first-timer]
2016 AO: Angelique Kerber, GER #
2016 RG: Garbine Muguruza, ESP #
2016 WI: Serena Williams, USA
2016 US: Angelique Kerber, GER
2017 AO: Serena Williams, USA
2017 RG: Alona Ostapenko, LAT #
2017 WI: Garbine Muguruza, ESP
2017 US: Sloane Stephens, USA #
2018 AO: Caroline Wozniacki, DEN #
2018 RG: Simona Halep, ROU #
2018 WI: Angelique Kerber, GER
2018 US: Naomi Osaka, JPN #
2019 AO: Naomi Osaka, JPN
2019 RG: Ash Barty, AUS #
[RG Finals]
10: Francesca Schiavone/ITA def. Samantha Stosur/AUS
11: Li Na/CHN def. Francesca Schiavone/ITA
12: Maria Sharapova/RUS def. Sara Errani/ITA
13: Serena Williams/USA def. Maria Sharapova/RUS
14: Maria Sharapova/RUS def. Simona Halep/ROU
15: Serena Williams/USA def. Lucie Safarova/CZE
16: Garbine Muguruza/ESP def. Serena Williams/USA
17: Alona Ostapenko/LAT def. Simona Halep/ROU
18: Simona Halep/ROU def. Sloane Stephens/USA
19: Ash Barty/AUS def. Marketa Vondrousova/CZE

4...Serena Williams (3-1)
3...Maria Sharapova (2-1)
3...Simona Halep (1-2)
2...Svetlana Kuznetsova (1-1)
1...Ash Barty (1-0)
1...Garbine Muguruza (1-0)
1...Alona Ostapenko (1-0)
1...Sara Errani (0-1)
1...Sloane Stephens (0-1)
1...Samantha Stosur (0-1)
1...Marketa Vondrousova (0-1)
1...Venus Williams (0-1)


31...Serena Williams (23-8)
16...Venus Williams (7-9)
10...Maria Sharapova (5-5)
4...Angelique Kerber (3-1)
4...Svetlana Kuznetsova (2-2)
4...Victoria Azarenka (2-2)
4...Simona Halep (1-3)
3...Petra Kvitova (2-1)
3...Garbine Muguruza (2-1)
3...Caroline Wozniacki (1-2)
2...Naomi Osaka (2-0)
2...Sloane Stephens (1-1)
2...Samantha Stosur (1-1)
2...Vera Zvonareva (0-2)

*SLAM FINALS - 2010-19*
17 - Serena Williams (12-5)
6 - Maria Sharapova (2-4)
4 - Angelique Kerber (3-1)
4 - Victoria Azarenka (2-2)
4 - Li Na (2-2)
4 - Simona Halep (1-3)
3 - Petra Kvitova (2-1)
3 - Garbine Muguruza (2-1)
2 - Kim Clijsters (2-0)
2 - Naomi Osaka (2-0)
2 - Francesca Schiavone (1-1)
2 - Sloane Stephens (1-1)
2 - Samantha Stosur (1-1)
2 - Caroline Wozniacki (1-1)
2 - Venus Williams (0-2)
2 - Vera Zvonareva (0-2)
= 1 - [1-0]=
Bartoli, Barty, Ostapenko, Pennetta
= 1 - [0-1]=
Bouchard, Cibulkova, Errani, Henin, Keys,
Lisicki, Ka.Pliskova, A.Radwanksa,
Safarova,Vinci, Vondrousova
blue - retired

2010 Roland Garros - Francesca Schiavone, ITA
2011 Roland Garros - Li Na, CHN
2011 Wimbledon - Petra Kvitova, CZE
2011 U.S. Open - Samantha Stosur, AUS
2012 Australian Open - Victoria Azarenka, BLR
2013 Wimbledon - Marion Bartoli, FRA
2015 U.S. Open - Flavia Pennetta, ITA
2016 Australian Open - Angelique Kerber, GER
2016 Roland Garros - Garbine Muguruza, ESP
2017 Roland Garros - Alona Ostapenko, LAT
2017 U.S. Open - Sloane Stephens, USA
2018 Australian Open - Caroline Wozniacki, DEN
2018 Roland Garros - Simona Halep, ROU
2018 U.S. Open - Naomi Osaka, JPN
2019 Roland Garros - Ash Barty, AUS

1971 Evonne Goolagong, AUS
1974 Chris Evert, USA
1976 Sue Barker, GBR
1977 Mima Jausovec, SLO
1978 Virginia Ruzici, ROU
1987 Steffi Graf, GER
1989 Arantxa Sanchez, ESP
1990 Monica Seles, YUG
1997 Iva Majoli, CRO
2003 Justine Henin, BEL
2004 Anastasia Myskina, RUS
2008 Ana Ivanovic, SRB
2010 Francesca Schiavone, ITA
2011 Li Na, CHN
2016 Garbine Muguruza, ESP
2017 Alona Ostapenko, LAT
2018 Simona Halep, ROU
2019 Ash Barty, AUS
NOTE: Ann Haydon-Jones won first career slam at '61 Roland Garros, before Open era began in '68
NOTE: Ostapenko '17 only unseeded RG champ in Open era

1971 Helen Gourlay, AUS
1976 Renata Tomanova, TCH
1977 Florenta Mihal, ROU
1983 Mima Jausovec, YUG
2017 Alona Ostapenko, LAT (W)
2019 Marketa Vondrousova, CZE

4 - Petra Kvitova, CZE (2-2)
3 - ASH BARTY, AUS (2-1)
3 - Karolina Pliskova, CZE (2-1)
2 - Kiki Bertens, DEN (2-0)
2 - Dayana Yastremska, UKR (2-0)
2 - Sonya Kenin, USA (1-1)
2 - Bianca Andreescu, CAN (1-1)
2 - Johanna Konta, GBR (0-2)
2 - Simona Halep, ROU (0-2)

2007 Alize Cornet/FRA def. Mariana Duque-Marino/COL
2008 Simona Halep/ROU def. Elena Bogdan/ROU
2009 Kristina Mladenovic/FRA def. Dasha Gavrilova/RUS
2010 Elina Svitolina/UKR def. Ons Jabeur/TUN
2011 Ons Jabeur/TUN def. Monica Puig/PUR
2012 Annika Beck/GER def. Anna Schmiedlova/SVK
2013 Belinda Bencic/SUI def. Antonia Lottner/GER
2014 Dasha Kasatkina/RUS def. Ivana Jorovic/SRB
2015 Paula Badosa/ESP def. Anna Kalinskaya/RUS
2016 Rebeka Masarova/SUI def. Amanda Anisimova/USA
2017 Whitney Osuigwe/USA def. Claire Liu/USA
2018 Coco Gauff/USA def. Caty McNally/USA
2019 Leylah Annie Fernandez/CAN def. Emma Navarro/USA

1994 Roland Garros - Sonya Jeyaseelan
2012 Wimbledon - Genie Bouchard (W)
2019 Australian Open - Leylah Annie Fernandez

AO: Karolina Pliskova, CZE
RG: Elina Svitolina, UKR
WI: Kristyna Pliskova, CZE
US: Dasha Gavrilova, RUS
AO: An-Sophie Mestach, BEL
RG: Ons Jabeur, TUN
WI: Ash Barty, AUS
AO: Grace Min, USA
AO: Taylor Townsend, USA
RG: Annika Beck, GER
WI: Genie Bouchard, CAN
US: Samantha Crawford, USA
AO: Ana Konjuh, CRO
RG: Belinda Bencic, SUI
WI: Belinda Bencic, SUI
US: Ana Konjuh, CRO
AO: Elizaveta Kulichkova, RUS
RG: Dasha Kasatkina, RUS
WI: Alona Ostapenko, LAT
US: Marie Bouzkova, CZE
AO: Tereza Mihalikova, SVK
RG: Paula Badosa, ESP
WI: Sofya Zhuk, RUS
US: Dalma Galfi, HUN
AO: Vera Lapko, BLR
RG: Rebeka Masarova, SUI
WI: Anastasia Potapova, RUS
US: Kayla Day, USA
AO: Marta Kostyuk, UKR
RG: Whitney Osuigwe, USA
WI: Claire Liu, USA
US: Amanda Anisimova, USA
AO: Liang En-shuo, TPE
RG: Coco Gauff, USA
WI: Iga Swiatek, POL
US: Wang Xiyu, CHN
AO: Clara Tauson, DEN
RG: Leylah Annie Fernandez, CAN

[Girl's Doubles]
2010 Timea Babos & Sloane Stephens, HUN/USA
2011 Irina Khromacheva & Maryna Zanevska, RUS/UKR
2012 Daria Gavrilova & Irina Khromacheva, RUS/RUS
2013 Barbora Krejcikova & Katerina Siniakova, CZE/CZE
2014 Ioana Ducu & Ioana Loredana Rosca, ROU/ROU
2015 Miriam Kolodziejova & Marketa Vondrouosva, CZE/CZE
2016 Paula Arias Manjon & Olga Danilovic, ESP/SRB
2017 Bianca Andreescu & Carson Branstine, CAN/CAN
2018 Caty McNally & Iga Swiatek, USA/POL
2019 Chloe Beck & Emma Navarro, USA/USA

2007 Esther Vergeer, NED
2008 Esther Vergeer, NED
2009 Esther Vergeer, NED
2010 Esther Vergeer, NED
2011 Esther Vergeer, NED
2012 Esther Vergeer, NED
2013 Sabine Ellerbrock, GER
2014 Yui Kamiji, JPN
2015 Jiske Griffioen, NED
2016 Marjolein Buis, NED
2017 Yui Kamiji, JPN
2018 Yui Kamiji, JPN
2019 Diede de Groot, NED
2007 Maaike Smit/Esther Vergeer, NED/NED
2008 Jiske Griffioen/Esther Vergeer, NED/NED
2009 Korie Homan/Esther Vergeer, NED/NED
2010 Daniela Di Toro/Aniek van Koot, AUS/NED
2011 Esther Vergeer/Sharon Walraven, NED/NED
2012 Marjolein Buis/Esther Vergeer, NED/NED
2013 Jiske Griffioen/Aniek van Koot, NED/NED
2014 Yui Kamiji/Jordanne Whiley, JPN/GBR
2015 Jiske Griffioen/Aniek van Koot, NED/NED
2016 Yui Kamiji/Jordanne Whiley, JPN/GBR
2017 Yui Kamiji/Margolein Buis, JPN/NED
2018 Diede de Groot/Aniek van Koot, NED/NED
2019 Diede de Groot/Aniek van Koot, NED/NED

*CAREER WC MAJOR TITLES - slams/Paralympics/Masters YEC*
[Diede de Groot]
AO S: 2018,19
AO D: 2019
RG S: 2019
RG D: 2018,19
WI S: 2017,18
WI D: 2018
US S: 2018
US D: 2017,18
PA S: [SF/4th Place-2016]
PA D: [RU/Silver-2016]
MA S: 2017,18
MA D: 2016,17
[Yui Kamiji]=====================================
AO S: 2017
AO D: 2014,15,16,18
RG S: 2014,17,18
RG D: 2014,17
WI S: [SF-2017,18]
WI D: 2014,15,16,17,18
US S: 2014,17
US D: 2014,18
PA S: [QF-2012]
PA D: [QF-2012]
MA S: 2013
MA D: 2013,14

*WC SLAM SINGLES FINALS - since 2013, post-Vergeer*
13 - YUI KAMIJI, JPN (6-7)*
8 - DIEDE DE GROOT, NED (6-2)*
8 - Aniek Van Koot, NED (2-6)*
6 - Jiske Griffioen, NED (4-2)
6 - Sabine Ellerbrock, GER (2-5)*
1 - Marjolein Buis, NED (1-0)*
1 - Jordanne Whiley, GBR (1-0)*

21 - Esther Vergeer, NED [9-6-x-6]
6 - DIEDE DE GROOT, NED [2-1-2-1]*
6 - Yui Kamiji, JPN [1-3-0-2]*
4 - Jiske Griffioen, NED [2-1-1-0]
3 - Monique Kalkman, NED [0-0-x-3]

21 - Esther Vergeer, NED [7-5-3-6]
14 - Jiske Griffioen, NED [5-3-2-4]
14 - Yui Kamiji, JPN [4-3-5-2]*
13 - ANIEK VAN KOOT, NED [4-5-2-2]*
9 - Jordanne Whiley, GBR [2-2-4-1]*
7 - Sharon Walraven, NED [2-1-2-2]
6 - DIEDE DE GROOT, NED [1-1-1-2]*
5 - Korie Homan, NED [1-1-1-2]
5 - Marjolein Buis, NED [2-2-0-1]*

42 - Esther Vergeer, NED (21/21)
20 - Yui Kamiji, JPN (6/14)*
18 - Jiske Griffioen, NED (4/14)
15 - ANIEK VAN KOOT, NED (2/13)*
12 - DIEDE DE GROOT, NED (6/6)*
10 - Jordanne Whiley, GBR (1/9)*

2004 Anastasia Myskina, RUS & Elena Dementieva, RUS
2005 Mary Pierce, FRA
2006 Svetlana Kuznetsova, RUS
2007 Maria Sharapova, RUS
2008 Ana Ivanovic, SRB
2009 Samantha Stosur, AUS
2010 Francesca Schiavone, ITA
2011 Francesca Schiavone, ITA & Li Na, CHN
2012 Samantha Stosur, AUS
2013 Victoria Azarenka, BLR
2014 Simona Halep, ROU
2015 Timea Bacsinszky, SUI & Alison Van Uytvanck, BEL
2016 Kiki Bertens, NED & Shelby Rogers, USA
2017 Simona Halep, ROU & Karolina Pliskova, CZE
2018 Simona Halep, ROU
2019 Ash Barty, AUS & Diede de Groot, NED (WC)

TOP QUALIFIER: #22q Elena Rybakina/KAZ
TOP EARLY-ROUND (1r-2r): #2 Karolina Pliskova/CZE
TOP MIDDLE-ROUND (3r-QF): #26 Johanna Konta/GBR
TOP QUALIFYING MATCH: Q3: #1q Bernarda Pera/USA def. #21q Kaja Juvan/SLO 6-4/1-6/7-6(1) [Juvan up break three times in 3rd, served at 5-4]
TOP EARLY-RD. MATCH (1r-2r): 2nd Rd. - #1 Naomi Osaka/JPN def. Victoria Azarenka/BLR 4-6/7-5/6-3 (down 6-4/4-2, BP for 5-2)
TOP MIDDLE-RD. MATCH (3r-QF): 3rd Rd. - #12 Anastasija Sevastova/LAT def. Elise Mertens/BEL 6-7(3)/6-4/11-9 (saved 5 MP; 3:18)
TOP LATE-RD. MATCH (SF-F/Jr.): SF - #8 Ash Barty/AUS def. Amanda Anisimova/USA 6-7(4)/6-3/6-3 (Barty lost 5-0, 40/15 lead in 1st; trailed 7-6/3-0)
FIRST VICTORY: #31 Petra Martic/CRO (def. Jabeur/TUN)
FIRST SEED OUT: #5 Angelique Kerber/GER (1st Rd./Potapova)
NATION OF POOR SOULS: Italy (0-2, none in RG 2nd Round for first time since 1982)
LAST WILD CARD STANDING: Lauren Davis/USA, Priscilla Hon/AUS, Diane Parry/FRA (all 2nd Rd.)
LAST PASTRY STANDING: Carolina Garcia, Krisinta Mladenovic & Diane Parry (all 2nd Rd.)
MADEMOISELLE OPPORTUNITY: Ash Barty/AUS and Diede de Groot/NED (first with all 8 WC major titles)
IT "??": Generation PDQ Teens (Amanda Anisimova/USA, Iga Swiatek/POL and Marketa Vondrousova/CZE)
CRASH & BURN: Alona Ostapenko, LAT (1st Rd.; zero RG wins before/after '17 title)
ZOMBIE QUEEN OF PARIS: Anna Blinkova/RUS (Q2: trailed 6-3/3-1 vs. Kalinina; Q3: trailed Glushko 3-0 in 3rd; 1st Rd.: trailed Gaspayarn 4-0 in 3rd; 2nd Rd.: trailed Garcia 3-0 in 3rd)
DOUBLES STAR: Nominees: Mladenovic (new #1), Duan Yingying/Zheng Saisai
VETERAN PLAYER (KIMIKO CUP): Latisha Chan/TPE (defended MX title)
JUNIOR BREAKOUTS: Diane Parry/FRA (young MD winner since '09) and Emma Navarro/USA (in girls final)
Légion de Lenglen HONOREE: Court Simonne-Mathieu
Coupe LA PETIT TAUREAU: Simona Halep/ROU (awarded on LPT Day/June 1, Henin's birthday)

All for Day 14. More tomorrow.


Blogger Todd.Spiker said...

Oh, so this was what that tantalizing clip of La Divine was about a few days ago. :)

Sat Jun 08, 07:52:00 PM EDT  
Blogger colt13 said...

Where is Den Bosch located? 3 Dutch women are in the main draw, but 5 from Belgium? Should be noted that 2 of Belgium's 5 qualified, while the Netherlands had 5 lose in the 1st round.

Ms Backspin?

1.Barty- On a 58-14 run in the last year, which started with her winning Nottingham, she keeps racking up titles. That, and Zhuhai don't even count, but Miami and the French Open do. Plus the year could get even better, with a possible Fed Cup title and a #1 ranking.
2.Osaka- Won a slam, and is still #1. Went 9-4 on clay this year(2 W/O), and is improving.
3.Vondrousova- On a 32-10 run starting with last year's USO, she is 0-3 in finals, but there is a short list of women that can reach 3 finals.
4.Kvitova- Had she played more than one slam, she would be higher. 4 of her 7 losses have been to the eventual champ.
5.Bertens- Has 2 titles. Surprisingly, already has 10 losses. The twist, is that though it isn't in the same event, 7 of the 10 have won a title this year. The three that haven't? Kuzmova(2-counting ret), and Pavlyuchenkova. And that might change before season's end.
6.Halep- #8 in the rankings, and no titles. Why is she here? Because sh is what Serena used to be-#1 without the ranking, and a litmus test for the tour. Look at the clay season- You saw the improvement of Barty in her loss to Halep, as well as Konta. Vondrousova beat her. heck, look at the Hercog match on hard. used to be if you could beat Serena at a slam, you could win one. Now Halep's regular season play is the measuring stick.
7.Pliskova- Clay season isn't a throwaway anymore. Even with a disappointing french Open, 3 finals this year, and 6 going back to Tokyo.
8.Andreescu- The breakout star of 2019. I have compared her to Vondrousova before and before Marketa's injury at the French in 2017, she was off to a 42-7 start that year. Bibi is 32-4.
9.Yastremska- International queen is 4-6 vs players ranked above her this year. Has won multiple titles this year. Just waiting for that slam breakthrough.
10.Bencic- I wanted to put Konta or Martic here, if it were clay only, both would be Top 5, but Bencic, like Barty, did something in a part of the season that she has been lucky to be .500 in. This year went 11-6, and carries momentum onto a surface that she has had more success on. Hmmm.... what Jr. Slam did Barty and Bencic both win?

Sun Jun 09, 04:02:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Todd.Spiker said...

I still feel like a player has to win *something* to rank high on PoY lists, so for me there's still a bit of a ceiling for Vondrousova *and* Halep (though I really like your litmus test thoughts w/ her) until that changes.

Bertens is having a similar season to the one Kvitova had last year, where her slam results really pulled her overall season back down to earth.

Even without RG, it would be easy to see Barty being on the path for a GREAT Wimbledon. Ostapenko, also a former SW19 Jr. champ, reached the QF after winning in '17 (then the SF the next year). With her game having caught up to how she feels about the grass, might Ash really pull off something special?

Sun Jun 09, 05:53:00 PM EDT  

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