Sunday, October 25, 2020

Restart Wk.10- Belarusian Boom (2x)!!!

The court read "Ostrava!!!," but it was really all about "Aryna!!!"

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Ostrava??#7 @mertenselise

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OSTRAVA, CZECH REPUBLIC (Premier/Hardcourt Indoor)
S: Aryna Sabalenka/BLR def. Victoria Azarenka/BLR 6-2/6-2
D: Elise Mertens/Aryna Sabalenka (BEL/BLR) def. Gaby Dabrowski/Luisa Stefani (CAN/BRA) 6-1/6-3

...just as her (hoped for) quest for (eventual) slam success hasn't exactly proceeded on an Iga-like straight line, Sabalenka's path to career title #7 was a weaving, near-calamitous, sometimes-exhilarating journey.

The 22-year old came into Ostrava!!! looking for the same sort of strong finish she's cobbled out for herself the last two WTA seasons, when she went to China and claimed three titles (Wuhan 2018-19, Elite Trophy '19) in the season's closing weeks. With the COVID pandemic ruling out a return to her usual Chinese "safe haven," Sabalenka was nearly bounced in unceremonious fashion in her first two outings in the Czech Repubic. She was down a double-break in the 3rd against Coco Gauff in the 2nd Round before rallying to win, then had a terrible time finding her footing in the QF, trailing Sara Sorribes Tormo 6-0/4-0 (with points for 5-0) before a stunning about-face that saw the Belarusian win twelve straight games. Having twice survived, Sabalenka didn't drop a set against Jennifer Brady in the SF or Victoria Azarenka in the WTA's first-ever all-Belarusian singles final.

The win gives Sabalenka multiple titles in three consecutive seasons, and improves her record to 7-1 in her last eight finals after having started 0-3 in her career in 2017-18.

But Sabalenka wasn't finished. After taking the singles title, she came back later on Sunday and won the doubles with Elise Mertens, becoming the only woman to sweep both crowns at a WTA event this season.
RISERS: Maria Sakkari/GRE and Jennifer Brady/USA
...Sakkari's trip to Ostrava!!! resulted in her second SF result (w/ Saint Petersburg) of 2020, as the Greek used wins over Elina Svitolina and Ons Jabeur to improve to 11-5 in the Restart and collect her fourth consecutive multi-win event result (a stretch which has included victories over the likes of S.Wiliams, Gauff, Anisimova and Putintseva). With such consistency, a brief jump into the Top 20, as well as career-best Round of 16 runs in Melbourne and New York, one wonders what the 25-year old might have been able to accomplish had this season been a full one. But as one of the few players on tour able to successfully navigate both the pre *and* post-shutdown schedule while posting some of her best WTA results, Sakkari has good reason (and maybe even more than most) to be awaiting 2021 with great anticipation.

While Paris (1r loss to Tauson) didn't work out well for her, Brady has often been a lethal force on hardcourts during the Restart, going 13-3 (after being 12-5 pre-shutdown) on the surface. And that's not even counting her 19-0 mark in summer exhibitions while the tour was offline. In Ostrava!!! the 25-year old Bannerette knocked off Dayana Yastremska, Dasha Kasatkina and Veronika Kudermetova (winning the latter match after dropping the 1st set after leading 4-0, then taking 12 of the final 16 games) en route to her fourth SF appearance of the season, just one off the '20 tour lead (Rybakina). She fell in the final four to Sabalenka, dropping her SF mark to 1-3 this season, but will inch up to a new career high of #24 this week.

SURPRISES: Sara Sorribes Tormo/ESP and Veronika Kudermetova/RUS
...while she didn't soar to the heights of, say, a Nadia Podoroska in the Restart, Sorribes Tormo has surely been one of success stories since the resumption of play. The 24-year old Spaniard kept sharp during the shutdown by winning multiple Mapre League exhibition tournaments during the summer, and since the August return she's maintained her level of play, reaching a tour QF in Prague, winning an $80K challenger (her biggest career title) and recording her first career U.S. Open MD win (after having gotten her maiden AO win in January). This week, Sorribes qualified in Ostrava!!! with wins over Ana Bogdan and Anna Blinkova, then backed that up with victories over Magda Linnette and Anett Kontaveit (her biggest hard court win) to reach the QF. She saw her chance for an even bigger splash wash away when Aryna Sabalenka rallied from a 6-0/4-0 deficit to stage a massive comeback to get the victory, but the Spaniard's week still improves her Restart mark to 13-6 and will see her ranking improve to #66, just two off the career high she set last season (though her standing slipped a bit en route to a #82 finished in '19).

Kudermetova essentially wrapped up her second consecutive Top 50 season with a qualifier-to-QF run in Ostrava!!! that included victories over Donna Vekic and #2-seeded Karolina Pliskova. Her win over the Czech was the second in two Restart meetings for her fourth career Top 10 win. This week was a much-needed uptick in results for the Russian, who'd started 2020 by going 10-8 before arriving in the Czech Republic in a 1-4 slump that included early exits at both the U.S. Open (1r) and Roland Garros (2r). Kudermetova's 4-1 week puts her above .500 both for the entire season (17-14) as well as the Restart (7-6).


VETERAN: Victoria Azarenka/BLR
...the "Vikaissance" has been one of the most wonderful aspects of the Restart, as the 31-year old Belarusian has returned to prominance precisely when no one was really expecting such a thing to happen. Again, Azarenka didn't leave Ostrava!!! with a title (just like at the U.S. Open), as a series of overnight migraine headaches left her something less than at her best in the championship match against countrywoman Aryna Sabalenka. But the run that Vika put together before that was but more evidence of her having re-climbed the tour list of (at the very least) the world's best hardcourt players. After dropping the 1st set of her opening match against Barbora Krejcikova, Azarenka won the next six -- allowing just 3 more games to Krejcikova, then 5 to Elise Mertens and 4 to Maria Sakkari -- on her way to her third straight hardcourt final, the 31st on the surface of her 40 career tour singles finals.

The loss to Sabalenka drops Azarenka to a still-impressive 18-5 in the Restart (she'd played just one pre-shutdown match) as she rises one spot to #13, her best standing since the first week of 2017. Her last Top 10 ranking week was in August 2016.

COMEBACK: Oceane Dodin/FRA
...still more good news for French women's tennis this week in the $25K challenger in Reims, France, as Dodin continued her successful comeback from missing time with dizziness due to a "mystery" illness that turned out to be medical vertigo.

At one time, the big-hitting Dodin was included in the group of exciting new generational Pastry stars alongside the likes of Kristina Mladenovic and Caroline Garcia. In 2016, she won a WTA title in Quebec City and by mid-year the next season was ranked inside the Top 50 and had posted MD wins at three of the four slams. After the onset of her medical issues, during which she played just one match between the 2018 Wimbledon and the following April before being correctly diagnosed, Dodin found herself mired in the #500's in June 2019 before finally surging over the back half of last season and returning to the Top 200.

Dodin came into the week at #124 after having reached a pair of tour-level QF in Saint Petersburg & Lyon (her first since Washington D.C. in August '17) and winning a $25K title in March before the shutdown, putting together a 10-2 stretch before the games stopped. She'd gone just 9-8 in the Restart prior to this week, but posted $60K QF (losing to eventual RG semifinalist Nadia Podoroska, one of two Restart losses to the Argentine) and $80K QF (from which she retired) results around quick exits (poor draw 1st Rd. losses to Sabalenka and Kvitova in NYC and RG, respectively) in her first two slam MD appearances since 2018.

This week in Reims, Dodin got wins over Zheng Qinwen, Jessika Ponchet, Robin Montgomery and Wang Xinyu before defeating Liudmila Samsonova 6-4/6-2 in the final, just a day after celebrating her 24th birthday. The Pastry is a combined 36-12 in '20, and an eye-opening 71-28 since losing in RG qualifying last year.
FRESH FACE: Joanna Garland/TPE
...the 19-year old from Taiwan claimed her first pro title at the $15K Sharm El Sheikh challenger, dropping no sets en route to the final and then defeating Katie Boulter 6-3/3-6/6-3 to grab the win. This was Garland's second straight final in back-to-back tournaments in Sharm El Sheikh, having lost last weekend to Sandra Samir.

Boulter, too, is worth noting here. This was the 24-year old Brit's first Restart event after having gone 9-5 prior to the shutdown. Boulter broke into the Top 100 in 2018, and ranked as high as #82 last season. But she missed six months with a back injury that occurred during that thrilling Fed Cup weekend in April '19 that saw Great Britain knock off Kazakhstan to reach the World Group for the first time since 1993. Boulter had lost to Yulia Putintseva to three sets on Saturday, leading 4-1 in the 3rd and holding 3 MP before dropping a deciding TB, then returned a day later (though already injured) to defeat Zarina Diyas in three sets to clinch the 3-1 win.

Boulter had fallen into the #440's in February, and entered this week at #383 before getting four wins to reach her first final since July '18.

DOWN: Czechs in Ostrava!!!
...not only did Petra Kvitova decide not to play the Ostrava!!! event, but #2-seeded Karolina Pliskova was bounced in her first match while the entire Czech contingent in the MD went a combined 2-7 (after three had made it through qualifying). Marketa Vondrousova pulled out pre-event due to a positive COVID test, and Krejcikova/Siniakova withdrew from the doubles semis because of an illness to the former.

Not exactly the ending the somewhat hastily-arranged, WTA (sort of) schedule-saving event had likely been hoping for.
...though the ending on Sunday didn't come about as one would have hoped, Bellis' comeback from four arm surgeries reached another milestone this weekend with her title run in the $80K challenger in Macon, Georgia to claim her first singles title since November 2016.

Bellis' 2020 campaign had already had quite a few highlights after her 20-month absence from the court finally ended last November. Prior to this week, she'd gotten an Australian Open win over a seeded Karolina Muchova en route to the 3rd Round, as well as her first U.S. Open MD victory in four years.

The 21-year old wild card posted victories in Macon over Lara Arruabarrena, Sara Errani and Varvara Lepchenko (ret.) while reaching the final without dropping a set. There, she took the 1st set against Marta Kostyuk, then broke the 18-year old Ukrainian twice when she served for the 2nd set. Bellis served for the match, only to be broken to take things to a tie-break, which Kostyuk won. But things didn't last much longer, as Kostyuk began to cramp in the opening game of the 3rd, and was ultimately forced to retire when she was unable to continue after the MTO clock had run out, ending the 2:23 match with a 6-4/6-7(4)/0-0 ret. final scoreline.

Bellis' first post-surgery title makes her 7-1 in challenger finals in her career (as well as 1-0 in a WTA 125 final in her most recent title match in November '16), and improves her combined record since her return eleven months ago to 17-8. Bellis will rise to #142 on Monday, her best ranking since December 2018.

Kostyuk, who'll nonetheless rise to a new career high of #105, would have made her Top 100 breakthrough had she won the event.
JUNIOR STARS: Robin Montgomery/USA and Victoria Jimenez Kasintseva/AND
...even with relatively few opportunities, 16-year old Montgomery has made 2020 a significant year in her career. Months after winning the junior Orange Bowl title in December, she claimed her first pro singles title in a $25K challenger in Las Vegas in early March in one of the final events completed before the shutdown. When she returned in the summer, Montgomery made her tour MD debut (via a WC) in the Cincy/NYC event at Flushing Meadows, then (at 15, again as a WC) was the youngest participant in the U.S. Open women's main draw. Last week, while still the #7 junior in the world, she reached the QF at the $25K challenger in Reims, France after posting wins over Robin Anderson and Olga Danilovic before falling in three sets to eventual champion Oceane Dodin. Meanwhile, Montgomery took the doubles crown (her first pro win) alongside Pastry Selena Janicijevic via a walkover in the final over Brits Harriet Dart & Sarah Beth Grey.

First, a flashback...

Before Montgomery's success in pro events, she lost in the Australian Open girls QF to Jimenez Kasintseva, the 14-year old who'd go on to pull off one of the more surprising recent juniors slam runs as she became the first player from the European microstate of Andorra (population 76,000) to win a junior slam title. The QF clash was a three-set affair in which Montgomery served for the match.

This week in Plovdiv, Bulgaria, VJK claimed another big junior title. The 15-year old, the #3-ranked girl, was a late entry in the Grade 1 event, meaning she had to go through qualifying. After notching three wins, she was installed as the MD's #1 seed, where she ran off five more victories, wrapping up the crown with a 6-2/6-1 win over Belgian Sofia Costoulas (#7 seed) that improves her 2020 junior mark to 17-2.

DOUBLES: Elise Mertens/Aryna Sabalenka, BEL/BLR
...after a sterling '19 campaign that saw them win three titles -- BIG ones, too, as in Indian Wells, Miami and the U.S. Open -- and rise as high as co-#2 in the doubles rankings, 2020 had been something of a "lost" season for the pair. Then same Ostrava!!!

Mertens/Sabalenka were 10-5 on the season heading into the week, but hadn't reached a final and had put up mediocre (QF-QF-2r) results in the majors in '20. Then much like with Sabalenka's singles title run this week, the duo had to escape the early rounds in Ostrava!!! -- winning match tie-breaks in their first two matches -- before then settling in and wiping away Flipkens/Schuurs (SF) and Dabrowski/Stefani (F) in straight sets to claim their fourth title together.

...Marjolein Buis is retired, and now the final event of the 2020 wheelchair season essentially is, too, as the pandemic claimed yet another tournament before the calendar is flipped over to 2021.

At least it allowed Yui Kamiji the chance for some cross-federation training.


1. Ostrava!!! Final - Aryna Sabalenka def. Victoria Azarenka
...6-2/6-2. The WTA's first all-Belarusian final didn't really pan out when it came to being a truly memorable clash, as Sabalenka's "immovable object" play met up with the "irresistible force" that was Azarenka's migraine headache to produce one of the more lopsided finals of 2020. But the very reality of such a match-up speaks once more to the depth and worldwide reach of a women's game that has seen players -- at all levels -- find success, whether they hail from traditional "western" tennis powers, new "eastern" breakout nations, unexpected (and largely untapped) regions, or even the occasional tiny, independent principality situated between France and Spain in the Pyrenees mountains that is known for its ski resorts and tax-haven status.


2. Ostrava!!! QF - Aryna Sabalenka def. Sara Sorribes Tormo
...0-6/6-4/6-0. After trailing 6-0/4-0 (with points for 5-0), Sabalenka suddenly found her footing and reeled off twelve straight games. If only she could bottle the good side of her streakiness during a major, maybe that deep run would finally become a reality. Ostapenko's 2017 RG performance truly was a "unicorn" for players with similar playing patterns.

3. Ostrava!!! 1st Rd. - Anett Kontaveit def. Ekaterina Alexandrova
...4-6/6-2/7-6(6). Any Kontaveit match is essentially a roll of the dice when it comes to whether the potential-laden version of the Estonian, or the perpetually disappointing one, will show up. We got a little bit of both here, as Kontaveit trailed 3-1 and 5-2 in the 3rd set and Alexandrova thrice served for the match before taking a 6-4 lead in the deciding TB. Kontaveit saved the two MP, winning the final four points of the match to take the breaker 8-6. She then lost her next match in straights to Sara Sorribes Tormo.
4. Ostrava!!! 2nd Rd. - Aryna Sabalenka def. Coco Gauff
...1-6/7-5/7-6(2). Sabalenka's rollercoaster week began with her overcoming a double-break deficit in the 3rd set to defeat Gauff, avenging her early Restart loss to the teenager in Lexington.
5. Ostrava!!! 1st Rd. - Dasha Kasatkina def. Elena Rybakina
...6-2/3-6/6-3. Kasatkina had lost eight straight matches vs. the Top 25, and was 1-11 in her last twelve vs. such players. Looking to continue her run of encouraging late '20 results after struggling over most of the last two seasons, the Russian qualifier's win over #19 Rybakina ended the streak and gave her her best win since upsetting #14 Sabalenka in Beijing in September of last year.

6. Ostrava!!! 2nd Rd. - Maria Sakkari def. Elina Svitolina
...6-3/6-3. Ah, just the sort of rebound match you were looking for after Svitolina's broken-down, out-classed, cover-your-eyes loss in the RG quarterfinals against Nadia Podoroska.


7. $80K Macon USA Q2 - Katie Volynets def. Genie Bouchard
...6-4/3-0 ret.. Bouchard's abdominal injury likely ends her 2020 season after a resurgent Restart run that saw her raise her ranking from #330 to back inside the Top 150 (and maybe give Iga Swiatek her "best" match during her RG singles title sweep).
8. Ostrava!!! QF - Gaby Dabrowski/Luisa Stefani def. Bethanie Mattek-Sands/Barbora Strycova
...6-4/7-6(4). This week it often seemed as if the doubles teamings were picked out of a hat before the start of the draw.


1. Ostrava!!! 2nd Rd. - Veronika Kudermetova def. Karolina Pliskova
...4-6/6-4/6-3. Two of Kudermetova's five Restart wins have come at the expense of Pliskova, accounting for half of her four career Top 10 victories.

2. $15K Sharm El Sheikh EGY Final - Veronika Pepelyaeva/Anastasia Tikhonova def. Leylah Fernandez/Bianca Jolie Fernandez
...4–6/6–3 [10–6]. The Fernandez (18 & 16, respectively) sisters ultimately lost out to the all-Hordette pair, but the Canadians reached their first pro final as a duo.


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TIME TO SAY GOODBYE ?????? . . Dear Tennis, I am writing to you, because I am ready to say “Goodbye”. When I started playing tennis at the age of 5, I would never have thought that we would go such a long way together. You have given me so many different types of emotions throughout our journey and I am very thankful for everything you have shown and taught me. I learnt how to deal with the toughest losses but also enjoy the most amazing wins of my career, to fight back many times when I was struggling with you and through it all we never lost sight of our dreams. I always knew how I would feel when it is time to say goodbye to you, and that moment has arrived. I am ready to close the tennis chapter of my life and open a new one, which I am really excited about. Thank you for everything you have given me. You will stay forever in my heart ?? Yours, Jules P.S. Huge thank you to my family, friends, team, sponsors and fans for supporting and believing in me always, I couldn’t have done it without you. . . Liebes Tennis, ich schreibe Dir diese Zeilen, weil ich bereit bin mich von Dir zu verabschieden. Als ich mit 5 Jahren mit Dir angefangen habe, hätte ich niemals gedacht, dass wir einen so langen Weg zusammen gehen. Du hast mir so viele verschiedene Emotionen auf unserer Reise beschert und ich bin sehr dankbar für alles was Du mir gezeigt und beigebracht hast. Ich habe gelernt mit den härtesten Niederlagen umzugehen- die größten Siege meiner Karriere zu genießen- wiederzukommen als ich mit Dir gekämpft habe und nie aufzugeben meine Träume zu verwirklichen. Ich habe immer gewusst, dass ich es fühlen werde, wenn der richtige Zeitpunkt gekommen ist, zu Dir Tschüss zu sagen - der Moment ist da. Ich bin bereit das Kapitel Tennis zu schließen und ein Neues aufzumachen, worauf ich mich sehr freue. Vielen Dank für alles, was Du mir gegeben hast- Du wirst für immer in meinem Herzen sein ?? Deine Jule P.S. Ein großes Dankeschön auch an meine Familie, Freunde, Team, Sponsoren und Fans. Ihr habt immer an mich geglaubt und ohne Eure Unterstützung hätte ich es nicht geschafft . . ?? Credits- #1:Parents #2: @porschetennis #3: @jimmie48tennis #4,5,6: @gettyimages

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Congrats @julia.goerges on an amazing career! There is so much to be proud of. We share many memories and a whole tennis life to say the least... from the early junior days thru the ups and downs on the pro circuit! Above all, the time we spent as teammates on the Fed Cup team will always have a special place in my heart ??? ?? ???? ?? All the best for this exciting new chapter that you‘re about to start. — Gratulation @julia.goerges zu einer großartigen Karriere! Etwas worauf du für immer stolz sein kannst. Wir teilen viele Erinnerungen und haben ein ganzes Tennisleben miteinander verbracht. Angefangen in der Jugend bis hin zu den Höhen und Tiefen im Touralltag... die gemeinsame Zeit im Fed Cup-Team wird immer unvergessen bleiben ??? ?? ???? ?? Alles Gute für die spannende Zeit, die jetzt beginnt.

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I missed this city so much ????

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3 - Simona Halep, ROU [Dubai,Prague,Rome]
2 - Sofia Kenin, USA [Australian Open,Lyon]
2 - Elina Svitolina, UKR [Monterrey,Strasbourg]

5 - Elena Rybakina (1-4)
3 - Simona Halep (3-0)
3 - Sofia Kenin (2-1)
2 - Elina Svitolina (2-0)
2 - Naomi Osaka (1-0+L)
2 - Karolina Pliskova (1-1)

*MOST WTA SF in 2020*
5 - Elena Rybakina, KAZ (5-0)
4 - Simona Halep, ROU (3-1)
3 - Sofia Kenin, USA (3-0)
3 - Naomi Osaka, JPN (2-1)
3 - Ash Barty, AUS(1-2)
3 - Petra Kvitova, CZE (1-2)
3 - Garbine Muguruza, ESP (1-1+L)

7 - (4) USA
5 - (3) BELARUS (Azarenka 1-2, Sabalenka 2-0)
5 - (1) KAZ
4 - (4) ROU
4 - (1) CZE
3 - (2) UKR
2 - (2) POL
2 - (1) JPN
2 - (0) CAN,SUI

*MOST WTA TITLES - 2018-20*
7...Ash Barty, AUS
7...Simona Halep, ROU
7...Petra Kvitova, CZE
7...Karolina Pliskova, CZE
6...Kiki Bertens, NED
6...Elina Svitolina, UKR
5...Sofia Kenin, USA
5...Naomi Osaka, JPN
4...Elise Mertens, BEL
3...Bianca Andreescu, CAN
3...Julia Goerges, GER
3...Alison Van Uytvanck, BEL
3...Dayana Yastremska, UKR
12 - Simona Halep (7-5)
10 - Ash Barty (7-3)
10 - Petra Kvitova (7-3)
10 - Karolina Pliskova (7-3)
10 - Kiki Bertens (6-4)
8 - Naomi Osaka (5-2+L)
7 - Sofia Kenin (5-2)
7 - Elina Svitolina (6-1)
7 - Elena Rybakina (2-5)

98...Serena Williams (2020:1)
83...Venus Williams
60...Kim Clijsters
42...Svetlana Kuznetsova
39...Simona Halep (2020:3)
37...Petra Kvitova (2020:1)
30...Vera Zvonareva
30...Angelique Kerber
29...Karolina Pliskova (2020:2)
25...Samantha Stosur
NOTE: Jankovic (35)

*ALL-NATION FINALS - since 2017*
(USA) Australian Open - S.Williams d. V.Williams
(RUS) Indian Wells - Vesnina d. Kuznetsova
(AUS) Strasbourg - Stosur d. Gavrilova
(USA) Stanford - Keys d. Vandeweghe
(USA) US Open - Stephens d. Keys
(CHN) Nanchang - Q.Wang d. Sai.Zheng
(RUS) Tashkent - Gasparyan d. Potapova
(FRA) Lausanne - Ferro d. Cornet
(JPN) Hiroshima - Hibino d. Doi
(USA) Auckland - S.Williams d. Pegula

Auckland: Serena Williams, USA (W-L)
Hobart: Zhang Shuai, CHN (L-L)
Lexington: Jil Teichmann, SUI (L-L)

Margarita Gasparyan, RUS [Baku]
Johanna Larsson, SWE [Bastad]
Kiki Bertens, NED [Nuremberg]
Peng Shuai, CHN [Tianjin]
Yanina Wickmayer, BEL [Washington]
Serena Williams, USA [Wimbledon]
Ash Barty, AUS [Kuala Lumpur]
Irina-Camelia Begu, ROU [Bucharest]
Kiki Bertens, NED [Gstaad]
Simona Halep, ROU [Shenzhen]
Elise Mertens, BEL [Lugano]
Nao Hibino, JPN [Hiroshima]
Aryna Sabalenka, BLR [Ostrava]

8...Hsieh/Strycova, TPE/CZE (4/4)
5...Babos/Mladenovic, HUN/FRA (3/2)
4...Chan/Chan, TPE/TPE (4/0)
3...Aoyama/Shibahara, JPN/JPN (2/1)
3...Krejcikova/Siniakova, CZE/CZE (2/1)
3...Melichar/Peschke, USA/CZE (3/0)

5 = Hsieh Su-wei, TPE (4-1)
5 = Barbora Strycova, CZE (4-1)
4 = Nicole Melichar, USA (2-2)
3 = Desirae Krawczyk, USA (2-1)
3 = Xu Yifan, CHN (1-2)




Kim Clijsters live tweeting the presidential debate...














Australian Rules Football doesn't get much play in the U.S. It should. The Grand Final champs were crowned on Saturday, with Richmond staging a comeback from a 35-13 deficit. I DVR'd the final -- it began at 4:30 a.m. here -- and woke up to a familiar face handing over the trophy.


Be Safe.
All for now.


Blogger colt13 said...

With the exception of using the same walkout song all week, Ostrava did not make a misstep all week. Used a Fed Cup venue and only two courts. And made it work.

Hopefully Ostrava is not a one off. They could slot either before or after Moscow, and bump the end of the regular season back a week. With no Fed(BJK) Cup after the finals, season would at the same time.

Wonder if somebody in 2021 will pull a Chinese Taipei and pass on hosting Fed Cup?

One of those 2020 stats. Rybakina led the tour in wins with 29. Mertens tied her this week. Your #1 will have 12.

Sabalenka YE rank:


On Linz entry list, which she did not play last year, but maxed out on events. Seems she needs more than one win to pass Serena.

Siniakova is like Bertens a couple of years ago. The results aren't there, but she has improved in singles.

Sorribes Tormo almost sliced Sabalenka to death. Then Sabalenka bludgeoned her, and everyone else.

Obviously not the year to revive Hopman Cup, but curious what combo of Brisbane, Adelaide, Hobart, Sydney, Australian Open, we get as a swing.

Stat of the Week- 5 - Number of slams won by Siniakova/Krejcikova.

That is a combined number with juniors. That does bring up a question, along with Swiatek's recent win. If Barty, Ostapenko, Swiatek, etc, are expected to do well in singles after winning a junior slam, what are the doubles players expected to do?

To answer that, I went through every doubles junior slam winner in the Open Era and decided to list the Top 10, no 20, since two girls win each year.

Most WTA Titles- Doubles:

80- Natalia Zvereva
76- Jana Novotna
65- Larisa Neiland
64- Martina Hingis
60- Cara Black
46- Evonne Goolagong
42- Sania Mirza
38- Lindsay Davenport
33- Latisha Chan
31- Barbora Strycova
28- Anabel Medina Garrigues
25- Meredith McGrath
25- Patty Fendick
25- Roberta Vinci
24- Timea Babos
22- Mercedes Paz
22- Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez
17- Gisela Dulko
17- Flavia Pennetta
17- Anna-Lena Gronefeld

Before it talk about them, there are a select few I want to mention. Some are like Gabby Andrews, who won twice in 2012, then eventually played 4 years of college tennis, ending her career at UCLA in 2019.

The other four selected were not busts. In fact, they had a great amount of success, just on the ITF tour.

South Africa's Surina de Beer never won a WTA title, but the 2 time junior winner won 36 ITF titles between 1993-2011.

USSR born Irina Selyutina, also a 2 time junior winner, took home 20 of her own. More importantly, she was one of the first players to only represent Kazakhstan in her career.

Keeping with the trend, 2 time winner Petra Cetkovska took home 25 ITF crowns.

91 French Open winner Eva Bes also won no WTA titles, but pulled 29 ITF titles. Not bad

Now about the main numbers. When we say Open Era, doubles has less numbers. Mainly because until 1981, Australia was the only event to have one. Since Goolagong won in 1969, there aren't any women from the 70's on this list.

The French started in 1981, and the other slams joined in 1982. The list is populated with 80's and 90's women, but the tip seems to be winning multiple slams. 6 of those 20 won multiple slams, heck, McGrath won 4, while Zvereva, Black, Dulko and Babos won 3.

This also is a tip for adding singles slams,as Strycova, Gronefeld and Hingis did so.

You may notice that the only person on this list after 2005 is Babos, who won 3 slams. However, in the same time frame, there are 6 women(Azarenka, Stephens, Bouchard, Vondrousova, Andreescu, Swiatek) that won doubles slams and reached a WTA slam final.

Listing those women that way doesn't do it justice. Let me do it correctly.

Junior doubles slams:

4- Azarenka
3- Stephens
2- Bouchard
2- Vondrousova
2- Andreescu
1- Swiatek

And the only person with one on the list also won in singles. Hmmm.

It does show that winning at any level is great for development.

Sun Oct 25, 08:47:00 PM EDT  
Blogger colt13 said...

Quiz Time!

Siniakova/Krejcikova have won 5 WTA titles. Which one of these junior groups won the most titles together?


Interlude if you need a laugh.


(D)Pennetta/Vinci is wrong. They did reach a final, but lost. Pennetta actually reached a final with Vinci, Schiavone, and Errani, only winning with Errani. Also lost a historic final in Barcelona in 2012 w/Schiavone to Errani/Vinci.

(C)Medvedeva/Zvereva is out, because of Medvedeva's 12 titles, none were with Zvereva. However, she won with two other USSR junior winners in Meshki and Savchenko.

(A)Black/Selyutina reached 2 finals, winning Porto in 2002. That leaves them one short of (B)Gauff/McNally, who have two.

McNally won two junior slams, one with Gauff, who also won singles, and the other with Swiatek. Hmmm. Do I have to pick Gauff to win a slam by 2023?

Sun Oct 25, 09:02:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Unknown said...

4 - (3) ROU.

This is incorrect. Tig won Istanbul so ROU should be four WTA titles this year, to go along with Halep's three.

Sun Oct 25, 10:30:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Todd.Spiker said...

I know, Ash Barty is going to be the most "asterisk-laden" season-ending #1 in the history of almost anything, isn't she?

I almost think the tour shouldn't even have an "official 2020 #1" on the books since it won't really be for the traditional one-season time period anyway. Maybe extend the pandemic ranking system to the end of 2021 and crown a 2020-21 #1 at the end of next year and then (hopefully) return to a normal accounting system for 2022.

You get the feeling there probably won't be much of a lead-in to the AO. Of course, the US and RG showed that -- at least as far a player readiness is concerned -- there doesn't necessarily need to be much of a tune-up period for most to be ready to go.

A good try for Daniel Jones, but there's no danger that it'll overtake the "butt fumble" in New York QB "lore." ;)

Gauff might be a good bet in this time period (she'd be 19 in '23). For that matter, so might Gauff/McNally.

Although, I should mention some of the season grades for Gauff on Tennis Channel's Center Court segment this weekend seemed to judge her on a slight curve. I thought Chanda Rubin's B+ was slightly generous, but I could live with it. I was thinking something like a strong B. But then someone threw out an A+. :\

Even at 16, with all the off-court issues she took on during the shutdown, that seems a bit of a reach. Even with some very good results (five Top 50 wins, AO 4r, Lexington SF), she was still only 12-8 on the season, went 1-2 in the US/RG and had a 2-5 stretch during the Restart. If you're going to hand out grades, you have to leave room for improvement, after all.

Sun Oct 25, 10:40:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Todd.Spiker said...

Oh, and I went with Black/Selyutina :(

Sun Oct 25, 10:40:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Todd.Spiker said...

Thanks for that catch. I went ahead and redid the finalists/nations list, and somehow I'd shorted the U.S. one finalist, too. It should be good now. ;)

Sun Oct 25, 10:57:00 PM EDT  

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