Sunday, June 12, 2022

Wk.23- Rushin' to Get a Win on Grass

Ekaterina Alexandrova won't get to play Wimbledon. This week she showed everyone at SW19 what they'll be missing.






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*WEEK 23 CHAMPIONS*
's-HERTOGENBOSCH (Rosmalen), NETHERLANDS (WTA 250/Grass Outdoor)
S: Ekaterina Alexandrova/RUS def. Aryna Sabalenka/BLR 7-5/6-0
D: Ellen Perez/Tamara Zidansek (AUS/SLO) def. Elise Mertens/Veronika Kudermetova (RUS/RUS) 6-3/5-7 [12-10]
NOTTINGHAM, ENGLAND UK (WTA 250/Grass Outdoor)
S: Beatriz Haddad Maia/BRA def. Alison Riske/USA 6-4/1-6/6-3
D: Beatriz Haddad Maia/Zhang Shuai (BRA/CHN) def. Caroline Dolehide/Monica Niculescu (USA/ROU) 7-6(2)/6-3
VALENCIA, SPAIN (WTA 125/Clay Court Outdoor)
S: Zheng Qinwen/CHN def. Wang Xiyu/CHN 6-4/4-6/6-3
D: Aliona Bolsova/Rebeka Masarova (ESP/ESP) def. Alexandra Panova/Arantxa Rus (RUS/NED) 6-0/6-3




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PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Ekaterina Alexandrova/RUS
...while Alexandrova only won *one* title this week at the Rosmalen event in 's-Hertogenbosch, unlike her counterpart in Nottingham, the Russian's commanding performance in the only tour-level event she was *allowed* to play makes her the star of the week.



After dropping the 1st set and nearly squandering a 5-1 2nd set lead in her 1st Rounder against Dayana Yastremska (after twice failing to serve out the set and losing five straight games, she was forced to win a TB to extend the match), Alexandrova was virtually untouchable the rest of the week at Rosmalen. She dominated a 7-1 TB, then dropped just two points on serve in the 3rd.

In what was an ironic *second* straight match-up vs. a Ukrainian opponent, Alexandrova followed up by dropping just two games (and firing 9 aces) vs. Anhelina Kalinina, then lost just one against Caty McNally (putting up 30 winners vs. 9 UE against the Bannerette). Countrywoman Veronika Kudermetova got just four games in a contest to reach the final. In her fourth career tour-level championship match, Alexandrova trailed Aryna Sabalenka 5-4 in the 1st set, then ran off nine straight games to pick up her second WTA title, ending the match with an emphatic ace that reminded everyone one more time just what she was able to accomplish this week.

For the week, doing her best "Iga," Alexandrova produced two bagel sets, and lost just a single game in two others. After dropping the 1st vs. Yastremska, she swept her final ten sets, dropping 16 total games in her last four matches. After twice failing to serve out the 2nd set in the 1st Round, Alexandrova had no such issues the rest of the way. She held in 26 consecutive serve games before Kudermetova finally ended the streak in the semis, and ended the event having secured a hold in 36 of her last 38 service games.

Alexandrova has gone just 2-5 at Wimbledon, but this season has found success on surfaces that before '22 wouldn't have been considered her best. All three of her previous tour finals (+3 at the 125 level) had come in hard court events (5 of the 6 indoors), but this season alone has seen Alexandrova reach clay court semis in Charleston and Madrid before this great run on grass. In fact, the only surface on which the Russian hasn't reached a semifinal on this season is, oddly enough, hard court.



Might Alexandrova have been capable of something great at the AELTC this summer, or was this simply a dominant week (ala Samsonova last June in Berlin) that she wouldn't have been able to carry over to the different lawns on a bigger stage? We'll never know.
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RISERS: Beatriz Haddad Maia/BRA and Aryna Sabalenka/BLR
...move over Jabeur, Sherif, et al. We've added Brazil's Haddad Maia to the list of players now able to put together a collection of "first from her nation to (since)..." footnotes. In this case, the 26-year old is the first Brazilian woman in the Open era to reach and/or win a grass court final since Hall of Famer Maria Bueno in 1968.

In Nottingham, Haddad won her maiden tour singles title, posting wins along the way over Wang Qiang, Maria Sakkari (her fourth Top 10 win, and second over the Greek this season) and Tereza Martincova (ret. 2nd set) before outlasting Alison Riske in a three-set final on the grass.

2022 is finally turning out to be Haddad's breakout season after she had to stage a comeback from a 2019 provisional doping suspension (due to a contaminated supplement) and then a slow(ed) return partly due to the Covid-mangled schedule in '20. She dropped as low as #1342 during her suspension. This year, even before this week reaching her first tour-level singles final (her second) since Seoul back in 2017, had seen her reach a pair of WTA 125 finals on clay (winning one), as well as a tour-level SF on hard court in Monterrey, and serve in the lead role for Brazil in BJK Cup zone play for which she was given the Heart Award.



Haddad will jump sixteen spots to a new career high of #32 this week, becoming the third Brazilian woman to reach the Top 40 after Bueno and Niege Dias (in the late 1980s).



It's too bad Brazil hasn't produced a great many (Guga excluded, and a few others to a lesser degree) great tennis players since Bueno, because the nation's sports fans *do* know how to support their own (unlike some grand slam host nations). Of course, they've had a lot of practice in other sports over the years decades, haven't they?



Meanwhile, Alexandrova's last opponent lost in the Nottingham final, but continued what has turned out to be a pretty decent season after being so overwhelmed with DF in the early weeks of '22.

Sabalenka's run to the final, her second on grass ('18 Eastbourne), included wins over last week's Surbiton $100K winner Alison Van Uytvanck and Shelby Rogers. She led the Russian in the 1st set of the final, but was simply undone by her the rest of the way. Still, after starting this season at 0-2 and looking like a falling satellite on serve, Sabalenka has mostly outrun that narrative, but not Iga Swiatek. Since her slow start, Sabalenka has reached the Australian Open Round of 16, Doha QF, Stuttgart final and Rome SF, falling in the last three to a certain Pole.

Of course, none of that replaces being able to defend her '21 Wimbledon semifinal, does it?


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SURPRISES: Tereza Martincova/CZE and Harriet Dart/GBR
...both Martincova and Dart tend to possibly be *the* most overlooked player from their respective nations.



Martincova (#60, fifth-ranked Czech) had lost six straight tour-level MD matches (4 on clay), so she surely embraced the return of the grass season after having reached QF in Nottingham and Birmingham a year ago, then her first slam 3rd Round at Wimbledon as she went 8-3 (then rode the momentum to a hard court final -- her first in WTA singles -- in Prague a week later). Right on cue, Martincova won her first three matches in straight sets this week, defeating Oceane Dodin, Magda Linette and '21 finalist Zhang Shuai in Nottingham, facing just six total BP through three rounds. Unfortunately, she was forced to retire with an injury from her semifinal match against Beatriz Haddad.



Dart (#114, third-ranked Brit) arrived with a return home likely serving as a light at the end of a recently dark tunnel. She was under-.500 (13-14) on the season, on a five-match losing streak (including a defeat in the Surbiton $100K last week vs. #264 Natilija Stevanovic) and 1-8 since reaching the Round of 16 as a qualifier at Indian Wells in March. While Dart was a disappointing 1-4 on grass last season (her only win, wouldn't you know it, had come over Emma Raducanu before her SW19 second week run last summer), in 2019 she posted her best slam result with a 3rd Round run at Wimbledon as a wild card.

In Nottingham, Dart reached her first tour-level QF with wins over Donna Vekic and Camila Giorgi, saving three MP against the Italian. She then took the 1st set from Alison Riske before ultimately falling in three.


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VETERAN: Alison Riske/USA
...you get the feeling that Riske has always waited all year for the short grass court season to take place. In fact, she's probably *said* as much at some point over the course of her career, during which she's often come off as a something of a grass court "specialist." Her biggest career results -- one of her three WTA wins, two tour singles finals, two $100K challenger crowns, a Wimbledon QF in '19 and lone #1 win (Barty) -- have come on the surface that is only played on for about one month every summer.

While Riske has actually broadened her success quite a bit in recent seasons, reaching seven tour finals (5 on hard court) since the start of 2019, and four (3 HC) since last September, she stills seems her most comfortable and confident on the lawns. This week in Nottingham the 31-year old reached her second '22 final (w/ Adelaide) with wins over Daria Snigur, Caroline Garcia, Harriet Dart and Viktorija Golubic. She forced a 3rd set in the final against Beatriz Haddad Maia, but the Brazilian proved to be too good for *anyone* to beat this week (in singles *or* doubles).



Riske is now 3-10 in career tour singles finals.
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COMEBACK: Kristina Mladenovic/FRA
...hmmm, so Mladenovic plays and wins a doubles title at Roland Garros, then carries over that momentum to her best singles result in years. Hmmm. It's almost as if she gained confidence from doing something she's great at, and it had a positive impact on something she's been struggling with of late. Did I already say, "hmmmm?"

The Pastry, who came in as the French #7 at #119, picked up her first singles title of any kind since 2017 (and first on the ITF level in 11 years) with her run at this week's $60K in Caserta, Italy. Mladenovic lost no sets en route to the final, which she then won over Italian Camilla Rosatello, 6-4/4-6/7-6(3).


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FRESH FACES: Zheng Qinwen/CHN and Wang Xiyu/CHN
...while the big tour-level action was taking place on the grass in England and the Netherlands, what may turn out to be an even bigger long-term development was occuring on the clay in the WTA 125 challenger in Valencia, Spain.



While the tour's relationship with China is (to say the least) "strained," that doesn't mean that the Chinese players are persona non grata. While we'll let the LTA explain that to the Russian and Belarusian players, we're still able to see what might be the early stages of a sea change when it comes to Chinese talent on tour. Li Na was a great and beloved champion, and her success was always thought to have been the seed that could one day populate the tennis tour will an overflowing level of talent from a nation that already has a great history with racket sports like badminton and table tennis. We're finally starting to see the first real wave of Li Na Generation talent, and this week we even got *two* of the top three young Chinese stars facing off for a tour-related title in the Valencia 125.



19-year old Zheng Qinwen, fresh off having really been the *first* young Chinese player to step into the big stage spotlight and pushing Iga Swiatek once she got there (for a set, at least, before an injury and menstrual cramping caused her great problems in a three-set loss), reached and won her biggest title in Valencia to improve to 9-0 in pro singles finals. Her opponent was 21-year old Wang Xiyu, the '18 U.S. Open girls' champ who'd already reached a pair of $100K finals this season (and won a $60K) before advancing to what was also her bigggest career final.

Zheng cracks the Top 50 this week with a new career high of #46.



Meanwhile, the other member of the young Chinese trio who could change quite a lot about the tennis landscape, Wang Xiyu, won a $100K title last month and just qualified for the tour-level Berlin MD. This week, with Xiyu reaching a new career high, all three are simultaneously ranked in the Top 100 for the first time.
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DOWN: Liudmila Samsonova/RUS
...2021 saw Samsonova win her maiden tour title and lead the Hordettes to a BJK Cup title in the new Finals format last fall, but 2022 has yet to work out as planned.

The 23-year old showed her potential when she gave Iga Swiatek her best run during her 35-match streak in a three-set battle in the Stuttgart SF, but the Pole got that win while Samsonova entered the grass season, where she won in Berlin a year ago, sporting a 9-11 mark since the Cup finals. Her grass court opener didn't go well, either, as Samsonova fell 3 & 4 to Ann Li in the 1st Round, her fourth one-and-done in her last five events. She and Elena Rybakina were even forced to retire from their 1st Round WD match vs. eventual champs Perez/Zidansek before the start of a match TB.

Next up is Samsonova's Berlin title defense, while she'll be forced to miss Wimbledon due to the LTA RUS/BLR ban, despite her having lived in Italy since she was an infant while maintaining her Russian citizenship.
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ITF PLAYERS: Laura Siegemund/GER and Anastasia Zakharova/RUS
...a week after winning a $25K challenger in Annenheim, Austria during the second week of play in Paris, Siegemund followed up her disappointing RG stint (Q3 singles loss, 1st Rd. WD/MX exits) with another clay court title run at the $60K in Pörtschach am Wörthersee. The 34-year old German posted wins over Tena Lukas, Barbara Haas, Stefanie Voegele and Viktoria Kuzmova to pick up her biggest singles title since winning a tour-level crown in Stuttgart in 2017.



20-year old Hordette Zakharova won her third '22 challenger crown, taking a second $25K title in two weeks in Tbilisi (GEO) with a 6-2/3-6/6-2 win over countrywoman Darya Astakhova in the final. Now 9-1 in career ITF singles finals, Zakharova also improved to 7-3 in doubles finals by taking a second straight Tbilisi title with Angelina Gabueva to complete a second consecutive s/d title sweep.
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JUNIOR STAR: Alina Korneeva/RUS
...14-year old Hordette Korneeva claimed her second straight J1 clay title (w/ the pre-RG Charleroi-Marcinelle) in Bamberg, Germany. The girls' #53, Korneeva won her fifth ITF junior crown of the seaon, extending her winning streak to ten matches with a 7-5/6-3 win in the final over Slovakia's Nina Vargova.

Korneeva is 18-2 on clay in '22, and 38-2 overall in junior play (a stretch which included a 24-match streak) since November.
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DOUBLES: Ellen Perez/Tamara Zidansek (AUS/SLO) and Beatriz Haddad Maia/Zhang Shuai (BRA/CHN)
...Perez & Zidansek had a "varied" path to the winner's circle at Rosmalen. They opened the week by seeing their 1st Round match against Rybakina/Samsonova suspended after the 2nd set, before advancing without playing another point when their opponents retired from the match before it could resume. In the semis, #2 Krawczyk/Schuurs retired just five games into the match. In the final, through, the Aussie/Slovak pair staved off a comeback from a set down by top-seeded V.Kudermetova/Mertens, who then held a MP at 10-9 in the deciding match tie-break (saved by a Perez return winner). Perez/Zidansek won 12-10, as Zidansek improved to 4-1 in tour WD finals, while Perez is now 4-5.

Perez has a history of grass court success in doubles, reaching previous tour-level finals in Nottingham (2019) and Birmingham (2021), as well as in $100K challengers in Surbiton (2018) and Ilkley (2019, the only one she'd won). This is her first tour-level title on the surface.



Meanwhile, Haddad Maia wasn't finished...



After winning her maiden singles title in Nottingham, the Brazilian returned to complete the title sweep alongside Zhang, defeating Monica Niculescu & Caroline Dolehide 7-6/6-3, finishing off a week that had previously seen the duo eliminate *both* Chan sisters (Latisha w/ Sam Stosur in the QF, Hao-ching w/ Shuko Aoyama in the SF). Haddad improves to 4-1 in tour WD finals, winning her second this season (Sydney w/ Anna Danilina), while Zhang gets career title #12 one year after a runner-up finish in singles at the event.


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WHEELCHAIR: Diede de Groot/NED
...different event, same de Groot.

The world #1 defended both of her titles at the French Riviera Open Super Series event this week, winning the singles for a third time (2017, '21-22) with yet another victory in the final over #2 Yui Kamiji. This time the score was a *bit* closer, 6-1/7-6 (after de Groot had also had to win a TB set in the semis vs. KG Montjane). It still all equals up to the Dutch (already) great extending her singles winning streak to 55, 60-1 the past two seasons. She's now won 14 consecutive titles, and 39 sets, as well as claiming 104 of her last 106 sets played.

De Groot's dominance once again extended to doubles, as well, as she and Aniek Van Koot ran their winning streak to 24 matches (de Groot has 26 in a row overall, and is 37-2 in 2021-22 w/ 9 straight titles) with a 4 & 1 win in the final over Kamiji & Montjane.

32-0 combined in both disciplines in 2022, de Groot is 97-3 over the past two seasons and last lost a match -- any match -- 67 matches ago in the Wimbledon doubles semis. De Groot then went out and won the singles at SW19 that weekend and hasn't lost since.
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1. Nottingham 2nd Rd. - Harriet Dart def. Camila Giorgi
...5-7/6-4/7-6(3). In a match that had been suspended after two sets due to rain the day before, Dart saves three MP from 4-5, love/40 down in the 3rd -- via three UE from Giorgi -- to reach her maiden WTA QF.


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2. Nottingham Final - Beatriz Haddad Maia def. Alison Riske
...6-3/1-6/6-3. Haddad becomes the third first-time tour singles champ of 2022, and just the second Brazilian in the Open era (the late great Maria Bueno) to win a grass court title.


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3. Valencia 125 Final - Zheng Qinwen def. Wang Xiyu
...6-4/4-6/6-3. The start of something big, on an individual *and* national level?


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4. Valencia 125 1st Rd. - Mirjam Bjorklund def. Aliona Bolsova 3-6/6-3/7-5
Valencia 125 2nd Rd. - Mirjam Bjorklund def. Kristina Kucova 1-6/6-4/7-5
Valencia 125 QF - Mirjam Bjorklund def. Arantxa Rus 3-6/7-6(4)/6-2
...Bjorklund's SF run saw her stage back-to-back-to-back comebacks, rallying from 5-4 in the 3rd in the 1st Round, 5-2 in the 3rd in the 2nd Round, and 4-2 down in the decider in the QF.

Additionally, the Swede was sporting a smart, business-like outfit that looked quite good this week. (Reverse the black-and-white on the top and it'd be a very Sharapova-esque look that would adhere to the AELTC guidelines.)




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5. Rosmalen Final - Ekaterina Alexandrova def. Aryna Sabalenka
...7-5/6-0. Aka the All-Banned final of Week 23.

After winning in six straight finals from fall 2019 until January '21 (and in 9 of 10), Sabalenka has lost three of her last four. Of note, those last four have been on clay and grass (on which she's gone 1-5), while all of the previous ten were on hard court (9-2 career).


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6. Makarska 125 Final - Jule Niemeier def. Elisabetta Cocciaretto
...7-5/6-1. I overlooked the WTA 125 held during the second week of Roland Garros (it'd be nice if the WTA Twitter at least noted such an event's existence during the week of a major), but it was quite newsworthy.



Niemeier, after nearly knocking out Sloane Stephens in the opening round in Paris, claimed her biggest career title (and returned to the Top 100); while Cocciaretto improved to 22-5 since mid-March, reaching her fourth final of '22 ($25K, $80K, $60K and now WTA 125).

Linda Noskova followed up her near upset of Emma Raducanu at RG with a SF result, while Anna Karolina Schmiedlova reached her first singles semi since last July (Belgrade 125).
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7. Nottingham QF - Beatriz Haddad Maia def. Maria Sakkari
...6-4/4-6/6-3. Haddad's fourth career Top 10 win, and second over Sakkari this season alone (w/ Miami). She's 3-0 vs. the Greek, with the other win coming in a challenger back in 2014.


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8. Valencia 125 2nd Rd. - Julia Grabher def. Anastasia Potapova
...5-7/6-3/6-4. Potapova led 7-5/3-1, 40/15. It's the Austrian's third Top 100 win of the year.
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9. Nottingham 1st Rd. - Viktorija Golubic def. Emma Raducanu
...4-3 ret. Sigh... rinse, and repeat.


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10. Rosmalen QF - Shelby Rogers def. Kirsten Flipkens
...3-6/6-1/6-4. As Flipkens' singles career comes to an end in a few weeks, a reminder that Flipper was once a slam singles semifinalist at Wimbledon back in 2013.


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11. Nottingham 1st Rd. - Lily Miyazaki def. Magdalena Frech
...6-4/1-6/6-1. The newest Brit (as of March) on the WTA scene, Miyazaki gets her first tour-level MD win. Miyazaki is yet another of the growing group of former NCAA players (Oklahoma 2014-18) making their way to and finding success on tour.


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12. Berlin Q2 - Wang Xinyu def. Anna-Lena Friedsam
...4-6/6-3/6-3. While Zheng and Wang Xiyu were busy in Valencia, the third part of the young Chinese triumverate was qualifying on the grass in Berlin. The two Wangs combined to win the Wimbledon girls' doubles in 2018.
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13. Berlin Q2 - Leolia Jeanjean def. Stefanie Voegele
...6-3/7-6(5). Suddenly, there she goes again.
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14. Berlin Q2 - Dasha Saville def. Sabine Lisicki
...6-0/7-6(7). You sort of had to figure that their complicated comeback paths might intersect at some point, right?
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15. $25K Santo Domingo DOM Final - Jana Kolodynska def. Vicky Duval
...6-0 ret. As has been the case for much of the last decade, Duval's comeback (or, you know, tennis career) carries on after having been a cancer survivor. This was her first singles final since 2019, but she recorded no games and retired after a love 1st set.

Duval, in just her third event of the year (all since mid-May, including a 1st Round loss and 2nd Round retirement in her others), had won a pair of three-setters and two tight straight set matches (4/4 and 4/6) to reach the final. Ranked #371, Duval recently received a Business Administration degree. After losing in the second round of U.S. Open qualifying last summer, she ended '21 by winning eight of twelve matches.


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16. $25K Madrid ESP Final - Jamiee Fourlis def. Guiomar Maristany
...6-4/6-2. The 22-year old Aussie wins her second straight challenger event, picking up where she left in winning a $60K in Brasov (ROU) last week. Now 7-0 in ITF finals in her career, Fourlis is 31-12 in '22, with three titles and (now) a 10-match winning streak, as well as a career-high ranking of #177.


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HM- $15K Monstir TUN Final - Francesca Curmi def. Yao Xinxin
...6-2/6-4. 19-year old Curmi becomes the first Maltese player to crack the pro tennis code, getting her (and her nation's) maiden title in her third career final appearance.


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1. Rosmalen 1st Rd. - Ekaterina Alexandrova def. Dayana Yastremska 2-6/7-6(1)/6-2
Rosmalen 2nd Rd. - Ekaterina Alexandrova def. Anhelina Kalinina 6-4/6-2
...since the invasion of Ukraine, there have been precious few match-ups of Ukrainian and Russian players on the women's tour, but Alexandrova had two *in-a-row* in the Netherlands at the start of the Russian ban period.

Against Yastremska, Alexandrova led 5-1 in the 2nd, but twice failed to serve things out, losing five straight games before holding to force a TB, which she dominated 7-1 TB and then carried things over through the 3rd. After the match, Alexandrova and Yastremska simply tapped rackets at the net.



Kalinina, who had an MTO in the 2nd, went out in straights, but the post-match at the net was at least a bit less "at arms length."


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2. Rosmalen WD Final - Ellen Perez/Tamara Zidansek def. Veronika Kudermetova/Elise Mertens
...6-3/5-7 [12-10]. It wasn't a great day for Kudermetova, who also lost in the singles semis on the day she and Mertens fell to 1-3 in WD finals this season (even while being #1 and #2 in the rankings). They staged a comeback vs. Perez/Zidansek, and held a MP at 10-9 in the MTB. Perez saved it with a clean return winner off a Kudermetova serve.



Kudermetova, off her career-best slam singles QF run at Roland Garros, has reached more finals than anyone in '22, but is 0-3 in singles and 2-3 in doubles (she and countrywoman Pavlyuchenkova took the Rome crown in their only pairing, her best result of the year). Kudermetova reached the Wimbledon final last year with another Hordette, Elena Vesnina.
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Grass court season means musicals... at least that's the idea (randomness is overrated)









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*MOST WTA FINALS in 2022*
6 - Iga Swiatek, POL (6-0)
3 - Ons Jabeur, TUN (1-2)
3 - Veronika Kudermetova, RUS (0-3)
2 - Ash Barty, AUS (2-0)
2 - Anett Kontaveit, EST (1-1)
2 - ALISON RISKE, USA (0-2)
2 - ARYNA SABALENKA, BLR (0-2)
2 - Maria Sakkari, GRE (0-2)
[2020-22]
10 - 1/7/2 - Kontaveit (5-4-1)
9 - 1/6/2 - Barty (8-1)
9 - 1/2/6 - Swiatek (9-0)
8 - 3/3/2 - SABALENKA (5-3)
6 - 1/5/0 - Muguruza (3-3)
6 - 0/3/3 - Jabeur (2-4)
6 - 5/0/1 - Rybakina (1-5)
5 - 3/1/1 - Halep (4-1)
5 - 0/4/1 - Krejcikova (3-2)
5 - 0/2/3 - V.Kudermetova (1-4)
5 - 2/3/0 - Ka.Pliskova (1-4)

*2022 FIRST-TIME WTA CHAMPIONS*
Anastasia Potapova, RUS - Istanbul (21/#122)
Martina Trevisan, ITA - Rabat (28/#85)
Beatriz Haddad Maia, BRA - Nottingham (26/#48)
[recent maiden WTA champs - won at grass event]
2015 Rosmalen - Camila Giorgi, ITA
2015 Nottingham - Ana Konjuh, CRO
2015 Eastbourne - Belinda Bencic, SUI
2017 Rosmalen - Anett Kontaveit, EST
2018 Rosmalen - Aleksandra Krunic, SRB
2018 Mallorca - Tatjana Maria, GER
2021 Berlin - Liudmila Samsonova, RUS
2021 Birmingham - Ons Jabeur, TUN
2022 Nottingham - Beatriz Haddad Maia, BRA

*2022 OLDEST WTA FINALISTS*
34 - Tatjana Maria, GER (Bogota - W)
34 - Angelique Kerber, GER (Strasbourg - W)
33 - Zhang Shuai, CHN (Lyon - W)
31 - ALISON RISKE, USA (NOTTINGHAM - L)
31 - Alison Riske, USA (Adelaide 2 - L)
30 - Simona Halep, ROU (Melbourne 1 - W)

*2022 WTA SINGLES/DOUBLES FINAL IN EVENT*
Adelaide 1: Ash Barty, AUS (W/W)
Dubai: Alona Ostapenko, LAT (W/L)
Dubai: Veronika Kudermetova, RUS (L/W)
Roland Garros: Coco Gauff, USA (L/L)
Nottingham: BEATRIZ HADDAD MAIA, BRA (W/W)

*WON WTA & WTA 125 TITLES IN SEASON*
2012 -
2013 Bojana Jovanovski/SRB, Zheng Shuai/CHN
2014 -
2015 Jelena Jankovic/SRB, Yanina Wickmayer/BEL
2016 Karolina Pliskova/CZE*
2017 Zhang Shuai/CHN*
2018 -
2019 Bianca Andreescu/CAN, Zheng Saisai/CHN
2020 -
2021 Jasmine Paolini/ITA, Clara Tauson/DEN*, Alison Van Uytvanck/BEL*
2022 Beatriz Haddad Maia/BRA
-
* - also won ITF title

*2022 WTA DOUBLES FINALS*
5 (2-3) = VERONIKA KUDERMETOVA, RUS
3 (2-1) = BEATRIZ HADDAD MAIA, BRA
3 (2-1) = Jessie Pegula, USA
3 (1-2) = Coco Gauff, USA
3 (1-2) = Elise Mertens, BEL
2 (2-0) = Eri Hozumi, JPN
2 (2-0) = Makoto Ninomiya, JPN
2 (2-0) = Katerina Siniakova, CZE
2 (2-0) = Laura Siegemund, GER
2 (2-0) = Vera Zvonareva, RUS
2 (1-1) = Gaby Dabrowski, CAN
2 (1-1) = Anna Danilina, KAZ
2 (1-1) = Andreja Klepac, SLO
2 (1-1) = Desirae Krawczyk, USA
2 (1-1) = Asia Muhammad, USA
2 (1-1) = Giuliana Olmos, MEX
2 (1-1) = Demi Schuurs, NED
2 (1-1) = ZHANG SHUAI, CHN
2 (0-2) = Tereza Martincova, CZE
2 (0-2) = MONICA NICULESCU, ROU
[2022 finals - duos]
4...V.KUDERMETOVA/MERTENS, RUS/BEL (1-3)
2...Siegemund/Zvonareva, GER/RUS (2-0)
2...Dabrowski/Olmos, CAN/MEX (1-1)
2...Danilina/Haddad Maia, KAZ/BRA (1-1)
2...Gauff/Pegula, USA/USA (1-1)
2...Hozumi/Ninomiya, JPN/JPN (2-0)
2...Krawczyk/Schuurs, USA/NED (1-1)
2...Hradecka/Mirza, IND/CZE (0-2)

*MOST CAREER RUSSIAN WTA TITLES - active*
18 - Svetlana Kuznetsova
12 - Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova
12 - Vera Zvonareva
4 - Dasha Kasatkina
3 - Elena Vesnina
2 - EKATERINA ALEXANDROVA
2 - Magarita Gasparyan
1 - Veronika Kudermetova
1 - Anastasia Potapova
1 - Liudmila Samsonova

*2022 WTA 125 FINALS*
Marbella, ESP (rc) - Mayar Sherif/EGY def. Tamara Korpatsch/GER
Saint-Malo, FRA (rc) - Beatriz Haddad Maia/BRA def. Anna Blinkova/RUS
Paris, FRA (rc) - Claire Liu/USA def. Beatriz Haddad Maia/BRA
Karlsruhe, GER (rc) - Mayar Sherif/EGY def. Bernarda Pera/USA
Makarska, CRO (rc) - Jule Niemeier/GER def. Elisabetta Cocciaretto/ITA
Valencia ESP (rc) - Zheng Qinwen/CHN def. Wang Xiyu/CHN





Meanwhile... the latest chapbook from Women Who Serve's Diane Dees is now ready for pre-order!


My latest chapbook, The Last Time I Saw You, is now available for pre-publication order from Finishing Line Press. This collection of poems is both a memoir of and a tribute to noted New Orleans photographer and art critic D. Eric Bookhardt, who died in November of 2019.

D. Eric Bookhardt was a New Orleans renaissance man. A noted photographer and art critic, he was also an author, editor and museum curator. Bookhardt, a standard-bearer of the contemporary art scene, was also the ultimate New Orleanian. In The Last Time I Saw You, Diane Elayne Dees pays tribute to Bookhardt’s arts career, but also to his Big Easy lifestyle. On a more personal level, the author recalls her decades-long friendship with Bookhardt, his dedication to Buddhism, his love of New Orleans, and her grief surrounding his death. Bookhardt is the subject of The Last Time I Saw You, but the city of New Orleans is a main character.

Read what poets are saying about The Last Time I Saw You:

"Legacy is always a heavy weight to bear. A person’s life offers so many gifts, so much insight and influence, that the debt is difficult to repay. Diane Elayne Dees more than carries that load in her new collection, The Last Time I Saw You, which memorializes the life and impact of New Orleans photographer and art critic Eric Bookhardt. Intimate and earnest, these poems find the best ways to honor the memories and life of a loved one."
— Jack B. Bedell, author of Color All Maps New, Poet Laureate, State of Louisiana, 2017-2019

"What’s really difficult to take is the realization that the last time you saw an old friend whom you haven’t hung with in a while—how quickly and finally that person passes from your life, with no repeat performance, no write-up, no review. Diane Elayne Dees owns that feeling in The Last Time I Saw You. Her poems are a long letter to her late friend, art critic Eric Bookhardt, floating her grief through balmy sea to sky."
— Dennis Formento, poet, editor of Mesechabe: The Journal of Surregionalism

"Great poetry can be both intensely intimate and extensively relevant to a wider audience. Such is the case with The Last Time I Saw You, a collection of 31 poems by poet Diane Elayne Dees, which passionately explores the universal human emotions surrounding lifelong friendship and the inevitable loss which ultimately must be endured.

"In Dees’s collection, the deceased friend is a stranger to the reader, yet she invites you in to grieve and reflect alongside her. The reader will quickly progress from politely attentive to thoroughly invested, as the poet’s skillful exploration of grief and recollection will give readers an unapologetically authentic and often relatable experience. I empathized with the speaker at every page turn and expect other readers will do the same. I wholeheartedly recommend this collection."

— Randal A. Burd, Jr., author of Memoirs of a Witness Tree

A note about the cover: The cover art and design for The Last Time I Saw You You are the creations of the talented Diana Souza.

You can order The Last Time I Saw You here, and pre-publication orders are very much appreciated.



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All for now.

6 Comments:

Blogger Diane said...

Thank you!

Mon Jun 13, 09:38:00 AM EDT  
Blogger colt13 said...

Haddad Maia was impressive. Tries to play like Venus on grass where she uses her big serve to advantage, then smothers the net when she gets there.

Great note on Dias and Bueno. Even as a part timer, she made it up to 29 in 1976.

Another Czech teen..oops, she isn't, but Taylah Preston was impressive. Very skilled and has a nice soft touch.

Miyazaki might be on the Wimbledon upset list. Comes to net often.

In case players ranked 33-41 get knocked out early, 17 of 32 seeds got knocked out before the 3rd rd last year.

Stat of the Week- 3- Number of Hungarian women in singles that have reached slam QF in Open Era.

That is a small number. That does not include the one most expected to in Andrea Temesvari. She reached 7 in the rankings, but never made it past the 4th rd of a slam.

It also does not include Marie Pinterova, who represented Hungary after marriage, but was known as Neumannova when she reached the French Open QF in 1974 for Czechoslovakia.

QF in Open Era:

2007- US QF- Agnes Szavay
2001- RG QF- Petra Mandula
1975- RG QF- Eva Szabo

Szabo may be one of the more shocking runs in history. A clay court specialist to the point that 90% of her career singles results are on clay, She had never won a match there, losing in 68, 70 and 71. Not only was it the only singles slam in which she won a match, also winning a round in 76, it was the only slam she played. She did play every slam except AO in doubles.

Mandula made her run through Q, even more surprising for someone who never won a singles title.

Szavay won 5 titles, but injuries wrecked what should have been the peak of her career.

Quiz Time!

True or false-Did Andrea Temesvari ever play an event as #1 seed?

Interlude- Just Eat.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qQGwQFpby0k


I don't think people realize how much hype Temesvari had back in the day. It wasn't like Capriati, but like mid 90's Hingis. I'm not kidding.

One reason why is that she reached 7 in the world at 17. In an injury riddled career in which she wasn't seeded(not including Q) for the last 7 years of her career, she was a #1 seed only twice.

She lived up to the seeding, winning both as a 17 year old. They were Hitfield and Indianapolis, giving her 2 of her 5 career titles.

Mon Jun 13, 01:38:00 PM EDT  
Blogger colt13 said...

5 On the Up Side- Kneel Before Sod Edition.

1.Sabalenka- I know, this is Berlin, but since I can't pick the one time Eastbourne finalist and also 2 time QF next week, why not now? One of the more underrated grass players in recent years.
2.Zhang- 2021 Nottingham RU is a replacement pick for Tomljanovic, who pulled out late enough for Krunic to be LL. Not flashy, but puts up decent results on this surface.
3.Pliskova- The most accomplished grass player active, she has reached the final of all current UK grass events. Tries to find form for a Wimbledon event she seems excited to go to.
4.Riske- "It's the most wonderful time of the year." Literally, I could pick her to go deep each week, because she understands how to play, and how not to fall, on grass.
5.Kanepi- Already out, but because of 8, maybe 9 depending where Samsonova ends up, seeded players out, Kaia is in line to be seeded at a slam for the first time since RG 2014. If that happens, 31 seeds will add her to their Christmas card list.

Mon Jun 13, 01:48:00 PM EDT  
Blogger colt13 said...

5 On the Down Side.

1.Hungary- Down now, but could be very good in 2 weeks. Admittedly, Bondar, Uvardy, Galfi, and Jani struggled at RG. Wimbledon history hasn't been good recently, with Babos, Czink and Arn being the only 3 Hungarians to win a match since 2010. But 3 of those 4 will make their MD debut, with Jani 6 out as of now.
2.Maria- Grass court specialist only has 5 MD wins on the season. All were in Bogota, which she won. Playing a 125 event this week, and might need to win it to be safely in the US Open field.
3.Minnen- On a 2-9 stretch. Hasn't had a MD win on grass since Den Bosch 2019. Is her breakup affecting her play?
4.Kontaveit- Hasn't won since Stuttgart. Split from coach, though Tursunov might be the WTA version of Doug Collins, a coach that could get you to the playoffs, not through the playoffs. She is one of 29 Top 100 women who have not played since RG. On that list, the only 3 women that seem like bigger risks to miss Wimbledon are Sorribes Tormo, Tauson and Peterson, each of whom missed RG.
5.Diyas- Has only played the slams this year, Q at RG, but will miss Wimbledon.

Mon Jun 13, 01:58:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Todd.Spiker said...

D-

Welcome!


C-

Had to do some searching to find out the third player was Dias. I was thinking maybe Teliana Pereira had gotten into the Top 40, but she topped out at #43. What I had seen said three BRA players, but I'd figured that they were counting Bueno's pre-Open era top ranking. Didn't
realize she'd managed a brief ranking high that late.

AUS has some decent young players coming up at the moment. Charlotte Kempenaers-Pocz reached the AO Jr. semis, and then there's Olivia Gadecki, too.

Every time I see Szavay's name I remember that her injury shortcircuited a great nickname I'd started to use for her -- "The Valkyrie." ;)

Whenever I hear Mandula's name I always remember how she particularly bedeviled Jelena Dokic back in the day. Dokic lost to her at RG in' 01, then twice in early '04 in a matter of weeks in Dubai and Charleston. On JD, with her latest news, hoping she's doing okay. I'd noticed
she'd been really quiet on social media since the AO and had been a little worried, considering her history. :(

Has any singer worn more crazy costumes since early Elton John than Katy Perry?

Quiz: I had to say yes, because why would it even come up otherwise, right?

"Kneel Before Sod." :)

After the way Pliskova ended her match vs. Kanepi (and even while losing the 1st set), she might have good reason to be excited for SW19. We're not that far off about the time when she turned around her season *last* year.

Was wondering the same thing with Minnen. Van Uytvanck has played pretty well, though. Sort of like -- or maybe the reverse of? -- how after they got together Monfils seemed to play more seriously and with better focus, while Svitolina seemed to lose all of hers on both accounts (and now won't be playing for quite a while, of course).

Kontaveit seemed to hint that part of her split with Tursunov was because of visa problems with his Russian citizenship. I guess that's possible, though I haven't heard anything w/ other Russians involved on the tours.

So, Serena is back for Wimbledon (and the streak w/ at least one Williams continues, from 1997-2022). You have to wonder if this is it, though. Maybe, really *IT*.

Tue Jun 14, 05:02:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Todd.Spiker said...

A great new tool, this right here is, I do declare. ;)

Fri Jun 17, 05:33:00 PM EDT  

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