Sunday, July 03, 2022

W.7- Maria Rides the Tilt-a-Penko and Lives to Tell About It

You must be THIS TALL to ride the Tilt-a-Penko. Tatjana Maria surely was.

Some tennis matches are elegant battles of wits, replete with classic shotmaking and tactical brilliance that bring the stalwart competitors involved just a tiny bit closer to the sort of polished perfection that athletes of estimable standing seek to attain over the course of their long and honorable careers.

But other tennis matches are white-knuckle rollercoaster journeys, with the ever-present exhilaration of survival the single goal, over scarily-unsound tracks that will either hold the weight of the sleek but hastily-assembled vehicle designed to travel over them at breakneck speeds, or will crumble under the pressure of such overwhelming burden in such cataclysmic fashion that the sight will be seared into the memories of every witness for all eternity. For no one could ever avert their eyes from such a cracked, but fascinating vision, now could they?

The former such entities are few and far between, but the latter is an apt description of an Alona Ostapenko match. Almost *every* Alona Ostapenko match played since the very beginning of humanity, save for the moments when the Latvian's breathless exploits cause all with eyes on the proceedings to simultaneously hold their breaths and literally cause time itself to stop for the sort of unmeasurable instant that makes such experiences worthwhile, not to mention one of the greatest spectacles in tennis sport.

Or something like that.

Needless to say, the "more entertaining" version of events (if you like your entertainment fallible and without noticeable polish) describes Sunday's Round of 16 match at Wimbledon between #12-seeded Ostapenko, quite possibly the WTA's version of the Lone Horsewoman of the Apocalypse, and 34-year old, #103-ranked Maria, a two-time mom who less than a year ago returned from her *second* pregnancy leave of absence from the sport to now suddenly find herself accomplishing things on the slam stage for the very first time, some fifteen years after the German made her major debut.

Ostapenko is a former slam champ, but also the only player in the sport whose matches require her opponents *and her* to grip a virtual safety bar with one hand and a racket in the other from first ball to match point (and sometimes a short while afterward, if the conditions compel it) until the Tilt-a-Penko ride comes to a full and complete stop. For their own safety, and sanity and, well, usually our amusement, too.

Today proved to be quite the ride on Court 1 at the All-England Club, as the match careened first around one corner and then the other, turning from a classic loop de loop into a fearful hairpin dive without pausing to enjoy the inherent sensation associated with any part of the experience. Ultimately, it would take a woman with the patience of a saint to complete the ride intact. Thankfully for Maria, she travels the tennis tour with two kids under ten years of age, so avoiding getting flustered in the face of would-be chaos is by now imprinted on her psyche. It likely served her well on this day.

Ostapenko began the match at low speed, falling behind 3-1 and 15/40 on serve. But as slowly as things began, the danger (for Maria) accelerated at a (Latvian) Thunderous pace. Ostapenko reached GP, then smacked a ball out of mid-air with her backhand for a down the line winner to hold for 3-2. With stunning speed, Ostapenko then began to resemble King Kong climbing atop Big Ben and swatting bi-planes into Scotland and Wales. Backhands, and forehands and winners, oh my! Maria was doing well if she could just a racket on a ball. Then Ostapenko put up a lob over her head and followed it with an easy putaway into the corner behind the German to lead 4-3. Ostapenko held for 5-4, characteristically collecting two points with shots off the lines.

On ESPN+, commentator Caroline Wozniacki explained Maria's situation as essentially, to just try and get the ball back and "hope for the best."

It was exactly what Maria did in the 10th game, as she saw Ostapenko rocket a few shots outside the markers. It helped her extend the 1st, but two games later her pair of double-faults, the second coming after Ostapenko had challenged a line call (Wozniacki had noted that Ostapenko seemed confident in her challenge, forgetting for a moment that the Latvian always presents a confident front, even if she has no reason other than her belief in her own confidence to go on). The BP provided Ostapenko with the chance to close out the set, which she did with a big return that she came in behind to fire off a winner to take the 1st at 7-5.

For the set, Ostapenko outpaced Maria in winners 17-5, as well as unforced errors by a 17-9 count.

Ostapenko opened the 2nd set with the same bat-out-of-hell intensity behind her shots. At one point, she chased after a ball to the left corner of the backcourt and then turned on it to produce a screaming backhand cross court winner past a helpless Maria. If Serena Williams had hit the shot, it'd surely be in the running for The Shot of the Tournament. On the Tilt-a-Penko ride, it made the score 30/15. The Latvian held and broke Maria to lead 2-0, then went up 3-0 on another correctly challenged call on a ball that had actually been *half* on the line (the scary nature of this trip was even rattling the nerves of the linespeople, apparently.)

As this continued, with Ostapenko going up 4-1, Wozniacki noted that the better Maria served the better Ostapenko was returning.

But it was somewhere around there that the passenger started to become the driver in the match, or at least the person who held onto the steering wheel and made sure that *she* wasn't going to fly off the tracks. Ostapenko, though, was another thing. Coming out of a mid-set changeover, Ostapenko decided to change her racket after time had been called by the chair umpire and as Maria was waiting at the baseline to serve. As she took her time and finally got to her position on the court, it was clear by Ostapenko's demeanor that she felt that her day was almost over and that she gave little regard to the notion of Maria getting back into the match.

After the scheduled ball change, Maria starting firing her serves. At the same time, errors began to creep into the Latvian's game. The shots that Ostapenko had previously been firing past Maria, or which she was barely able to touch, started to be gotten back with lunging defensive stretches that often floated deep into the court and forced the Latvian to make another shot. Then another. And sometimes another. A missed Ostapenko forehand on BP cost her her break lead in the set as Maria closed to 4-3.

But just as quickly as she'd lost a bit of her punch, Ostapenko scraped together enough of her former momentum to grab back the lead. At 4-4, while 30/love turned into 30/30 with back-to-back errors, she put away a volley to hold, then waved her arms above her head toward the crowd as if to try to stir the collective group to scream with her around every corner and down every loop of the rollercoaster.

Ostapenko went up 15/40 on Maria's serve a game later, holding two MP. But she didn't attack the points as she had in the 1st set, and the chances went away. Maria held for 5-5 with an ace, then carried over her surge to break Ostapenko a game later. Fully leaning into the proceedings, Maria held at love to swipe the 7-5 2nd set (and near straight-sets win) from Ostapenko's grasp.

Again, though, Ostapenko opened the 3rd by reasserting herself, breaking to lead 2-0. But the Latvian's own errors cost her game #3 as the set went back on serve, and immediately starting talking to herself and yelling in the direction of her team in the stands between points. While Maria remained steady, or rallied from an early DF and love/30 deficit (in game #6) to hold, Ostapenko took three GP to hold to stay ahead at 3-2, and continued to rack up errors while being forced to save a BP to do it again two games later. Meanwhile, the German fired three aces and held at love for 4-4.

Ostapenko's UE on GP a game later set up a series of moments in which she'd take a lead on a big shot, then give it back with an error a point later. This trend continued as she squandered three GP before Maria got a BP. She then played remarkable defense until Ostapenko finally fired a ball just long to give the German a 5-4 lead. Maria closed her eyes around the most dangerous turn of the Tilt-a-Penko ride, though, DF'ing to open game #10 and dropping serve at love when Ostapenko fired a return winner as the 3rd set, just like the 1st and 2nd had been, was knotted at 5-5.

Serving to reclaim the lead, Ostapenko went up 30/love, but a nervous DF preceded an UE that brought Maria back. Floating back defensive slices until Ostapenko missed a shot, the German reached BP and reclaimed *her* lead after Ostapenko missed on a shot she fired across the far side doubles alley after chasing down a Maria shot that had just caught the sideline (she gestured -- as she's wont to do -- that Maria's ball had missed, but had no challenges left in the set even if there had been a chance that she was right).

Serving for the match for a second time, Maria didn't make the same mistake she had moments earlier by giving points away to Ostapenko. The Latvian missed on a lob attempt on the opening point, then cracked her racket in anger. A long Ostapenko return put Maria up 30/love, and the German's overhead winner gave her triple MP. Ostapenko's final error, on another return, closed out the 5-7/7-5/7-5 match, sending Maria into her first career slam quarterfinal.

While Maria found a way to nearly ride the Tilt-a-Penko on a straight line that gently sloped upward and allowed her to reach the end without incident, Ostapenko's track more resembled an EKG readout as she continually traveled off and on and ultimately off the tracks. Her 52 winners were slightly nixed by her 57 UE, just enough to make a difference in a match that she twice seemed to have a firm grip on and in which she held double MP. As she left the court, Ostapenko slammed down her water bottle, upsetting her chair and leaving behind a near-perfect lasting image of what it's like to end this particular sort of ride by dangling off those very same tracks that Maria, who won 78% of her first serve points and had 9 aces, steadfastly refused to jump.

Afterward, Ostapenko noted her role in her own demise. It's happened so many times -- both on the court, as well as off it in the aftermath -- that she could really just issue written answers to questions *before* the match, to be used should she ultimately lose.

But, once again as usual, the Latvian isn't wrong, at least not for the most part. Maria *did* "collect her mistakes" en route to the win, as it was the only smart play to make under the circumstances (but one that some Ostapenko opponents may not have had the patience to undertake over the long haul of the match), but she did so with a discipline that helped along the process a great deal. Maria's admirable defense and good serving throughout made her victory far more possible, and finally pushed her over the final line to safety. Still, as always, the match was on Ostapenko's racket... for both good and bad.

Basking in the glory of her accomplishment, Maria did what anyone who climbs onto the Tilt-a-Penko desires to do at the end of the day. She lived to tell about it. And so she did, and will continue to do.

...when you say "fairytale" at this Wimbledon, you could throw a pea across the draw and almost assuredly hit *someone* for which their run at this slam applies. Marie Bouzkova is one of those, and the Czech has slipped through the first week (+) of this draw almost unnoticed even while having come into today having already upset two seeded U.S. women in #7 Danielle Collins and #28 Alison Riske-Amritraj.

The 23-year old today faced Bad Homburg champ Caroline Garcia on Sunday. And, well, yes. It *can* be said...

Before this season, Bouzkova was just 1-10 in slam MD matches in her career. Ever after posting her maiden tournament wins at both the AO and RG already in '22, she came into Wimbledon still only 3-12 in majors. Now she's the last remaining Czech at the slam where so many Czechs dot the championship lists. Even she's at a loss for words about how she got here.

Truth is, everyone else probably feels the same way, largely because Bouzkova has shown flashes for years and been viewed as a player to watch for a while now, but *something* -- an injury, inconsistency, a just-missed-it loss or bad draw -- has always seemed to hold her back and prevent the "big moment" that might change everything from taking place. So far at this Wimbledon, though, she's found a way through.

As far back as 2019, Bouzkova -- the U.S. Open girls' champ in' 14 -- opened eyes wide by reaching the SF (as a qualifier) in her maiden career 1000 MD in Toronto, recording wins over Leylah Fernandez, Sloane Stephens, Alona Ostapenko and Simona Halep before having to *then* face Serena Williams. She lost, but took Williams to three sets. Bouzkova has reached three tour finals, one each from 2020-22, but has yet to win one, falling in three sets in all three matches, while also recording six Top 10 wins since 2019 on three different surfaces against the likes of Halep, Stephens, Andreescu, Pliskova and Svitolina (before Collins at this Wimbledon). Injury issues saw her nearly drop out of the Top 100 earlier this season after being ranked in the Top 50 as recently as about this time last year.

Still, while having to climb back up the tour ladder, Bouzkova has produced some of her most consistent series of results in '22 as she's continued to seek the big breakout result. A year after losing in the Guadalajara SF to the eventual champ (Sorribes Tormo), the Czech returned this year and defeated the Spaniard in a QF rematch and reached the final, losing to Stephens. Soon after in Monterrey, she had three MP against Beatriz Haddad Maia in the QF, only to lose in 3:22. She picked things up again on clay, qualifying in Madrid and knocking off countrywoman Karolina Pliskova en route to the 3rd Round, only to lose a 7-5 3rd set to Ekaterina Alexandrova in the Round of 16 in another three-hour marathon filled with long, deuce-filled games.

At this Wimbledon, though, she's now won eight straight sets since dropping the 1st against Collins, solidly taking out good grass courters in Riske and Garcia while allowing 3 or fewer games in three of four sets. Now, with her four wins at SW19, she's 26-9 on the season and in her maiden slam QF. But, naturally, she won't make what would be an important jump (especially heading into summer hard courts, where she'll often have to climb up from the lower middle again, either through qualifying or as an unseeded entrant) from her current #66 standing. Under normal circumstance, she'd likely be preparing for a new career high debut ranking (it's #46 as of now) at the end of this fortnight but, you know, she'll get ZERO points for this Wimbledon just like everyone else, and will only inch up a few spots to around #60 as those around her lose their '21 point totals.

One would say that Bouzkova is due to *finally* catch a break... but, of course, she'll next face the player who many think might be the favorite to win out of the slam's decimated draw. Of course she will.

...all Jule Niemeier has done at that Wimbledon is impress. Either by dominating with her serve, knocking off the #2 seed, or by finding a way to win relatively comfortably even while she having difficulty finding her best shot and fully utilizing her power game because of it. The 22-year old German, in just her second career slam MD, made her Centre Court debut today, immediately following a long 100-year celebration ceremony that featured some of the sport's greats. She played against a Brit, too, with a spot in the QF at stake.

But, no biggie. Jule just did her thing, losing only six games in dispatching Heather Watson to keep her improbable Wimbledon run alive. But is it *really* all that improbable, considering what we've seen in recent majors? After all, Niemeier isn't the first power player -- many of them fellow Germans -- to find success at the AELTC almost immediately upon arriving there. With the power to blow a ball past an opponent, as well as the racket work to place the ball more delicately, she seems to be a pretty good fit for the place.

Niemeier's not the favorite to emerge from the bottom half and reach the final, but it's hard to see her as anything but a low-key legitimate second choice considering her impressive composure so far. Remember, it's been less than a year since a player *won* a major in just her second career MD appearance in a major. That Niemeier knew to apologize to the British crowd after the match for taking out one of their own shows that the German is composed enough to understand the smart thing to say, and the same goes for choosing to not watch the Centre Court ceremony before the match because it would likely only made her more nervous.

Doing something big early in one's slam career is helped along quite a bit by having a good head on one's shoulders, and Niemeier *does* seem to possess that quality. I'm just sayin'.

...the final women's match of the day featured the only match-up of seeded players as #3 Ons Jabeur (undefeated on grass in '22) and #24 Elise Mertens faced off about ten months after the Belgian had defeated the Tunisian in the 3rd Round of last year's U.S. Open.

Today's two-set match was tight, and the highest quality of the four women's matches played today. Naturally, it was going on on Court 1 while Venus Williams and Coco Gauff were both playing mixed doubles matches on outside courts, and a men's match featuring two Top 10 seeds (#5 Alcaraz/#10 Sinner) was taking place on Centre Court. It sort of got squeezed out as if between a rock and a hard place.

Jabeur led early in the 1st at 4-2, only to see Mertens battle back to get the set back on serve, leading 5-4. At 5-5, 30/30 on the Belgian's serve, Jabeur netted a shot while both women were positioned at the net on what seemed at the time to be a super-important point. Rather than hold a BP to serve for the set, Jabeur saw Mertens hold. The Tunisian held to force a TB, where Mertens took an early 3-1 lead and reached SP at 6-3. In all, Jabeur went on to save five SP in the breaker, finally winning it 11-9 on her own second SP.

One didn't know what to expect from Mertens after such a disappointment, and she did fall down a break at 2-0 in the 2nd. But she immediately got the break back, and the two remained on serve -- with Jabeur holding twice after saving 2 BP in game #5 and winning a two-deuce game in #7 -- until Jabeur reached MP at 30/40 on Mertens' serve in game #10. The Belgian DF'd to end the match in an unfortunate fashion that didn't represent the level of play in the contest, but Jabuer's 7-6(9)/6-4 win sends her into the QF at SW19 for a second straight year, where she'll next face Bouzkova.

...Simona Halep is now the only former slam winner and finalist remaining of the 12 women left in the draw, and Amanda Anisimova is the only other past semifinalist. Two first-time slam semifinalists are assured in the bottom half from the Jabeur/Bouzkova and Maria/Niemeier QF match-ups, while another is certain from the Cornet/Tomljanovic/Rybakina/Martic section in the top. If either Paula Badosa (vs. Halep) or Harmony Tan (vs. Anisimova) win on Monday, the possibility would be alive for four first-timers in a major final four for the second time in the last six slams.

Before the '21 Roland Garros, it hadn't happened over a stretch of 170 majors since the previous occurrrence at the 1978 Australian Open.

...the Ostapenko Experience ended in singles today, but she's still alive with Lyudmyla Kichenok in doubles. They'll play their Round of 16 match tomorrow. She's still in MX doubles with Robert Farah, as well.

Alize Cornet & Diane Parry lost their 2nd Round WD match, but Cornet advanced into the MX quarterfinals alongside Édouard Roger-Vasselin. They'll play Coco Gauff & Jack Sock (or as the ESPN+ commentator -- a Brit named "Nick," though I can never identify the voice of *anyone* on there other than Tracy Austin and Caroline Wozniacki -- wonderfully called them "CoJack").

Who loves ya, baby?

Elsewhere in the MX, Venus Williams' Wimbledon came to an end when she and Jamie Murray lost to the all-Brit duo of Alicia Barnett & Jonny O'Mara. Williams/Murray led the match by a set and 4-2, 30/15, but the Brits rallied and forced a deciding 10-point TB. It turned out to be a brilliant 34-point affair which saw Williams/Murray hold five MP before the Brits won on their own fifth MP, taking the breaker at 18-16. juniors, #1 Liv Hovde (Roehampton jr. champ) and #6 Taylah Preston (Nottingham jr. champ) both opened their Wimbledons with wins today. As did #5 Victoria Mboko, #7 Luca Udvardy, #8 Qavia Lopez, #11 Johanne Christine Svendsen (Nottingham RU), #13 Kayla Cross and unseeded Ela Nala Milic (Nottingham RU). ITF action:

Canada's Carol Zhao matched her biggest career title today by taking the $100K ITF challenger in Charleston, defeating Japan's Himeno Sakatsume in three sets. 19-year old Hordette Oksana Selekhmeteva claimed the $60K Montpellier title over Kateryna Baindl (Kozlova), while Germany's Katharina Hobgarski defeated Austria's Sinja Kraus in Stuttgart-Vaihingen to pick up her first singles win since 2018.

At The Hague, 18-year old Natalia Szabanin added her name to the growing list of relevant young Hungarians, winning her maiden pro title at a $25K with a win over Belgian Magali Kempen. Serbia's Lola Radivojevic won her third title of '22 with a straight sets victory over Luisa Meyer auf der Heide in Prokuplje ($15K), while 18-year old Katrina Scott defeated NCAA champ Peyton Stearns in an all-USA final to claim the $25K Columbus event, her second ITF title of '22.

Alize Cornet/FRA vs. Ajla Tomljanovic/AUS
#17 Elena Rybakina/KAZ vs. Petra Martic/CRO
#4 Paula Badosa/ESP vs. #16 Simona Halep/ROU
#20 Amanda Anisimova/USA vs. Harmony Tan/FRA
Marie Bouzkova/CZE ef. Caroline Garcia/FRA
#3 Ons Jabeur/TUN def. #24 Elise Mertens/BEL
Tatjana Maria/GER def. #12 Alona Ostapenko/LAT
Jule Niemeier/GER def. Heather Watson/GBR

#1 Mertens/Sh.Zhang (BEL/CHN) vs. #15 N.Kichenok/Olaru (UKR/ROU)
#9 Xu/Yang (CHN/CHN) vs. Klepac/Guarachi (SLO/CHI)
Collins/Krawczyk (USA/USA) def. #3 Dabrowski/Olmos (CAN/MEX)
#11 Rosolska/Routliffe (POL/NZL) vs. #5 Muhammad/Shibahara (USA/JPN)
#8 Aoyama/H-C.Chan (JPN/TPE) def. Riske-A./Vandeweghe (USA/USA)
(WC) Dart/Watson (GBR/GBR) vs. #4 L.Kichenok/Ostapenko (UKR/LAT)
#10 Melichar-M./Perez (USA/AUS) def. Frech/Haddad Maia (POL/BRA)
#2 Krejickova/Siniakova (CZE/CZE) def. Flipkens/Sorribes Tormo (BEL/ESP)

x vs. (WC) Barnett/O'Mara (GBR/GBR(
Gauff/Sock (USA/USA) vs. (PR) Cornet/Roger-Vasselin (FRA/FRA)
#6 Pavic/Mirza (CRO/IND) vs. #4 Dabrowski/Peers (CAN/AUS)
x vs. #2 Krawczyk/N.Skupski (USA/GBR)


Apparently, Martina Navratilova wasn't there because she just tested positive for Covid. Honestly, it's no suprise that Sampras chose not to show up. Agassi & Graf would have been nice. As one of just two Wimbledon singles champions of the Open era no longer living (the other is Arthur Ashe, while the recently deceased Maria Bueno's three wins came before '68), a shout out to Jana Novotna *should* have been a given... but, no.

Buy, hey, at least we got Margaret Court, right? Right? Right? (crickets)

Compartmentalism at its very finest right there. (Look at Angie and Simona being polite.)

I bet Boris Becker would have gotten a big ovation stepping back out onto Centre Court, but... well, you know. As much as Novotna stands as my all-time favorite player, Becker might be the *most important* for me because it was his bombastic early-career success at Wimbledon that really hooked me on the sport.


Although I know "Niemeier" is a tough one to get down with all these "i's" and "e's" having to be placed just right. "Anisimova" gets me on occasion as well, with a transposed "i" causing one's eyes to hurt looking for the detail.


Just like 50% of Jule Niemeier's name is "e" or "i."

...THIS... ON DAY 7:


...APPARENTLY, between Tan, Maria and Jabeur... ON DAY 7:

This Wimbledon "is all about the kids."



Alize Cornet, FRA (63rd MD)
Veronika Kudermetova, RUS (13th)
Marie Bouzkova, CZE (14th)
Tatjana Maria, GER (35th)
Jule Niemeier, GER (2nd)
NOTE: Tan (7th) to play 4r

1968 SF - Ann Jones
1968 4th Rd. - Joyce Williams
1968 4th Rd. - Shirley Brasher
1969 W - Ann Jones
1969 4th Rd. - Christine Janes
1969 4th Rd. - Nell Truman
1970 QF - Winnie Shaw
1970 4th Rd. - Virginia Wade
1971 QF - Winnie Shaw
1971 4th Rd. - Virginia Wade
1971 4th Rd. - Lindsey Beaven
1971 4th Rd. - Christine Janes
1972 QF- Virginia Wade
1972 4th Rd. - Winnie Shaw
1973 QF - Virginia Wade
1973 4th Rd. - Glynis Coles
1974 SF- Virginia Wade
1974 4th Rd. - Lesley Charles
1975 QF - Virginia Wade
1975 4th Rd. - Lindsey Beaven
1975 4th Rd. - Winifred Woolridge
1975 4th Rd. - Glynis Coles
1976 SF - Virginia Wade
1976 QF - Sue Barker
1977 W - Virginia Wade
1977 SF - Sue Barker
1978 SF- Virginia Wade
1978 4th Rd. - Sue Barker
1979 QF - Virginia Wade
1979 4th Rd. Deborah Jevans
1980 4th Rd. - Virginia Wade
1981 4th Rd. - Jo Durie
1981 4th Rd. - Anne Hobbs
1983 QF - Virginia Wade
1984 QF - Jo Durie
1984 4th Rd. - Anne Hobbs
1985 4th Rd. - Jo Durie
1998 4th Rd. - Samantha Smith
2013 4th Rd. - Laura Robson
2017 SF - Johanna Konta
2019 QF - Johanna Konta
2021 4th Rd. - Emma Raducanu
2022 4th Rd. - Heather Watson

54 - Chris Evert
54 - Serena Williams
53 - Martina Navratilova
43 - Margaret Court
42 - Steffi Graf
40 - Billie Jean King
39 - Venus Williams
35 - Arantxa Sanchez Vicario
32 - Doris Hart
31 - Monica Seles
31 - Lindsay Davenport

2015 Martina Hingis, SUI
2016 Venus Williams, USA
2017 Venus Williams, USA
2018 Angelique Kerber, GER
2019 Barbora Strycova, CZE
2021 Karolina Pliskova, CZE and Hsieh Su-wei, TPE
2022 Tatjana Maria, GER and Alize Cornet, FRA

1968 Ann Jones
1969 Rosie Casals
1970 Francoise Durr
1971 Judy Dalton
1983 Yvonne Vermaak
1989 Catarina Lindqvist
1994 Gigi Fernandez
1994 Lori McNeil
1996 Meredith McGrath
1997 Anna Kournikova
1998 Natasha Zvereva
1999 Alexandra Stevenson (Q)
1999 Mirjana Lucic
2000 Jelena Dokic
2008 Zheng Jie (WC)
2010 Petra Kvitova
2010 Tsvetana Pironkova
2011 Sabine Lisicki (WC)
2016 Elena Vesnina
2017 Magdalena Rybarikova
2019 Barbora Strycova

AO: Serena Williams (W)
RG: Serena Williams (W)
WI: Serena Williams (W)
US: Serena Williams (SF)
AO: Serena Williams (RU)
RG: Serena Williams (RU)
WI: Serena Williams (W)
US: Serena Williams (SF)
AO: Serena Williams (W)
RG: Venus Williams (4th)
WI: Venus Williams (RU)
US: Sloane Stephens (W)
AO: Madison Keys (QF)
RG: Sloane Stephens (RU)
WI: Serena Williams (RU)
US: Serena Williams (RU)
AO: Danielle Collins (SF)
RG: Amanda Anisimova (SF)
WI: Serena Williams (RU)
US: Serena Williams (RU)
AO: Sofia Kenin (W)
US: Serena Williams and Jennifer Brady (SF)
RG: Sofia Kenin (RU)
AO: Jennifer Brady (RU)
RG: Coco Gauff (QF)
WI: Coco Gauff and Madison Keys (4th)
US: Shelby Rogers (4th)
AO: Danielle Collins (RU)
RG: Coco Gauff (RU)
WI: Amanda Anisimova (in 4r)


TOP QUALIFIER: Maja Chwalinska/POL
TOP EARLY-ROUND (1r-2r): #16 Simona Halep/ROU
TOP QUALIFYING MATCH: Q1 - Jaimee Fourlis/AUS def. Dea Herdzelas/BIH 5-7/7-6(4)/6-4 (trailed 7-5/5-3, saved 2 MP)
TOP EARLY-RD. MATCH (1r-2r): 1st Rd. - Harmony Tan/FRA def. (WC) Serena Williams/USA 7-5/1-6/7-6(7) (Williams for match at 5-4 in 3rd, up 4-0 in TB; first match in a year for SW; Tan Wimb. debut
FIRST VICTORY: #28 Alison Riske/USA (def. Y.In-Albon/SUI)
FIRST SEED OUT: #31 Kaia Kanepi/EST (1st Rd.-Diane Parry/FRA)
FIRST SLAM MD WINS: Maja Chwalinska/POL, Elisabetta Cocciaretto/ITA, Dalma Galfi/HUN, Catherine Harrison/USA, Mai Hontama/JPN, Katarzyna Kawa/POL, Jule Niemeier/GER, Panna Udvardy/HUN
NATION OF POOR SOULS: AUS (1-5 1st; DC Barty retired in March)
LAST QUALIFIER STANDING: Maja Chwalinska/POL, Catherine Harrison/USA, Mai Hontama/JPN, Katarzyna Kawa/POL, Yanina Wickmayer/BEL (all 2nd Rd.) (LL 2r: Kerkhove/NED)
PROTECTED RANKING WINS: Elisabetta Cocciaretto/ITA, Kirsten Flipkens/BEL, Yanina Wickmayer/BEL(Q) (all to 2r)
LAST BRIT STANDING: Heather Watson (4r)
Ms. OPPORTUNITY: Nominees: Tan, Martic, Bouzkova, Badosa
IT "??": Nominees: Jabeur, Niemeier, Rybakina
COMEBACK PLAYER: Nominees: Garcia, Halep
CRASH & BURN: #23 Beatriz Haddad Maia/BRA (1st Rd./Juvan; had won 2 grass titles); #9 Garbine Muguruza/ESP (1st Rd./Minnen; love 2nd lost when back; worst three-slam stretch of career
ZOMBIE QUEEN OF LONDON: #24 Elise Mertens/BEL (2nd Rd.: P.Udvardy 2 MP in 2nd set, Mertens wins set and play susp; takes 3rd set a day later)
VETERAN PLAYER (KIMIKO CUP): Tatjana Maria/GER and Alize Cornet/FRA
SPIRIT OF JANA (NOVOTNA) HONOREES: Nominee: Bouzkova (CZE in 1st QF), Halep (champion's return), Anisimova (back from adversity)

All for Day 7. More tomorrow.


Blogger colt13 said...

It was a miracle that Ostapenko even got to hold MP. She threw in a number of 65 mph second serves, but Maria let her off the hook.

Ostapenko won 23 second serve points.

Part of me wants to see a Bouzkova/Niemeier SF just for the fact that like Raducanu, it would guarantee someone going for their first career title.

Stat of the Day- 37- Number of wins for Evonne Goolagong in 1980.

Did you know Maria is a mom? I kid, but history is not on her side. An enjoyable run, for as long as it lasts, but one of the odd things is that every mom that won Wimbledon also won it as a single person.

Goolagong fit the trend, as she won it single in 1971 before coming back in 1980.

The others from the challenge era also did so, with Blanche Hillyard(2 before/4 after), Charlotte Sterry(4/1) and Dorothea Chambers(3/4) also doing the same.

As big as Goolagong's win was, it was really the end of her story. 37 wins is the lowest total since 1969, excluding her pregnancy break year of 1977.

After losing 4 finals earlier in the year, the last to Evert Lloyd, Goolagong got her revenge by winning Wimbledon.

It would be her last career title.

Dealing with back issues during that year, it made her follow up event non existent, as she withdrew from the US Open, missing 3 months, never to be a full time player again.

She played 5 slams after her historic win.

Mon Jul 04, 05:52:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Todd.Spiker said...

Ah, interesting note about mothers/slam champs all having previously won before having a child.

Though the chances Maria wins the title seem less than minimal, it's worth noting that it seems like she might be the first mother on tour for whom a case can be made that she's playing her *best* tennis *after* having a child (or in Maria's case, two). Of course, it's become common in the current era for players to have their best years after age 30, too, so she's right in the "sweet spot" for that, as well.

Mon Jul 04, 09:16:00 AM EDT  

Post a Comment

<< Home