Monday, October 16, 2017

Wk.41- The Days are Short, but the Russians are Aplenty

The final weeks of the 2017 season have arrived.

Time for seasons to end...

I was always going to finish my season with a smile no matter what ??

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Ahojky! Letošní sezóna byla v mých ocích úspešná a mám zase spoustu zážitku a krásných vzpomínek, ale bohužel pro me koncí dríve, než bych si prála. Doufala jsem, že se ješte letos vrátím na kurty, ale stále me trápí zranené zápestí a radeji se uzdravím, abych byla 100% na tu príští! Zdraví je na prvním míste! Vše má svá pozitiva a delší dovolená mi snad dodá o to víc energie a sil na príští rok! Dekuji za vaši podporu, kterou mi dáváte! Moc si toho vážím! Hi guys! Unfortunately I had to end my season early this year because of my wrist injury. I was hoping I would be able to still play some matches but I decided I rather heal it properly to be able to start the next season 100%! I have a lot of great memories from this 2017 season! Thank you for your support this year I really appreciate it and look forward to the next one!

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Time for names and numbers to be counted...

Time for a final rush to judgment the winner's circle before the curtain comes down...

Time for 2018 plans to be set...

And 2017 finishes to be written...

And so we go...

S: Maria Sharapova/RUS def. Aryna Sabalenka/BLR 7-5/7-6(8)
D: Irina-Camelia Begu/Sara Errani (ROU/ITA) d. Dalila Jakupovic/Nina Stojanovic (SLO/SRB) 6-4/6-3
S: Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova/RUS def. Dasha Gavrilova/AUS 5-7/6-3/7-6(3)
D: Chan Hao-ching/Chan Yung-jan (TPE/TPE) d. Lu Jiajing/Wang Qiang (CHN/CHN) 6-1/6-1
LINZ, AUSTRIA (Int'l/Hard Indoor)
S: Barbora Strycova/CZE def. Magdalena Rybarikova/SVK 6-4/6-1
D: Kiki Bertens/Johanna Larsson (NED/SWE) d. Natela Dzalamidze/Xenia Knoll (RUS/SUI) 3-6/6-3 [10-4]

PLAYERS OF THE WEEK: Maria Sharapova/RUS and Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova/RUS
...fourteen years ago, a 16-year old Sharapova claimed her maiden tour singles title in Tokyo, and the now 30-year old has maintained a solid foothold on and off the court in Asia ever since. Not surprisingly, since her return from suspension, the Russian has seemingly been on the receiving end of her most fervently positive fan reactions from the fans on the continent. So it goes to figure that it would be there -- in Tianjin, China to be exact -- that the Russian would pick up her first title in her "second" career (unless you'd say "third," counting her post-shoulder surgery comeback as her "second"... by the way, she claimed her first title in Asia in that one, too, by winning in Tokyo in late 2009, breaking an 18-month title-free stretch).

Sharapova's clean, no-sets-lost sweep through the draw as a wild card entrant began with a win over Irina-Camelia Begu, picked up steam with a follow-up over Magda Linette, got serious with a semifinal takedown of defending champ Peng Shuai, then finished up with a tough 7-5/7-6 win over a player eleven years her junior, Aryna Sabalenka, who was playing in her maiden final. If that didn't make Sharapova feel "old" enough, the Belarussian teenager idolized her as a kid.

?? title 11 ,3rd of 2017!!! So happy ! ?? ??????? ???? ?? ????????? , 3 ????? ? ??????!@simivey

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Career title #36 comes twenty-nine months after Sharapova last won in Rome in May '15, her longest-ever title drought since she won #1 back in 2003. She's now picked up a title in fourteen of her fifteen seasons on tour, and will jump from #86 to #57 in the new rankings

In Hong Kong, the second half of the Hordette two-fer for Week 41 came in the form of Pavlyuchenkova, who by now has perfected the art of the "underachieving-but-underrated-great-but-also-frustrating season." Rounding out a week in China that included wins over Timea Babos, Jacqueline Cako, Naomi Osaka and Wang Qiang without dropping a set to reach her 17th career final, Pavlyuchenkova set forth on Sunday to win career title #11, which would break her seventh place tie with Fed Cup mentor/enabler Anastasia Myskina on the all-time Russian WTA title list topped by Sharapova. In the end, the final was both appropriately "apocalyptic," but also not. The Pavlyuchenkova/Dasha Gavrilova tilt started late due to a typhoon off the Hong Kong coast, and there was a half-hour rain delay at 5-5 in the 3rd set after the Russian had failed to convert two MP. She was ultimately broken by the Aussie to force a deciding TB. But then, as has become the Pavlyuchenkovian way, things turned out all right, as she handled Gavrilova when it mattered most, picking up her third title of the season (her most ever), with only Elina Svitolina's five wins now standing above her on the '17 season list.

After being stuck in a season-ending rankings rut in the #20's the last four years, Pavlyuchenkova now looks set for her first Top 20 season since her only previous such campaign back in 2011, when she climbed as high as #13 before finishing at #16. She'll rise three spots to #18 on Monday.

RISERS: Dasha Gavrilova/AUS and Wang Qiang/CHN she did when she reached both the singles and doubles finals in Moscow last October, Gavrilova is closing out her season in a rush. In Hong Kong, the Aussie advanced to her fourth career final (all in the past twelve months) with wins over Miyu Kato, Shelby Rogers (helping to re-stage their historically long U.S. Open 2nd Rounder from this summer, but with a far different result), Lizette Cabrera and Jennifer Brady. She then faced off with Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in a late-starting, three-set, weather-interrupted final in which she broke the Russian after saving two MP down 4-5 in the 3rd, then broke her again to force a deciding TB for the title. Pavlyuchenkova won it 7-3, but the result will provide Gavrilova, with her Kremlin Cup RU points falling off in the coming week, with a little extra cushion between herself and Ash Barty (for now) -- and maybe a resurgent Sam Stosur -- when it comes to holding onto her top-ranked Aussie standing once 2018 arrives.

As the season draws closer to its end, Wang continues to impress down the stretch of her revelatory 2017 campaign. In Hong Kong, the 25-year old reached her first tour-level semifinal after notching wins over Chang Kai-chen, Luksika Kumkhum and Stosur, as well as reaching her first maiden WTA doubles final with Lu Jiajing. After reaching a pair of WTA 125 Series finals (winning one) and two other semis in recent seasons, Wang has stepped up to produce her first Top 50 campaign in '17. Since losing in three sets to Dasha Kasatkina in the 1st Round at Flushing Meadow, she's gone 8-5 in the 4Q Asian swing, posting upset wins over the likes of Wozniacki, Cirstea, Mladenovic and a post-Open title Stephens. Earlier in the season, she came mouthwateringly close to what would have been a great win -- falling to Svitolina in 3 at I.W. -- and a career-definer at Wimbledon -- a three-set loss to Venus, but even earlier in '17 put down the confidence-building foundation for her recent success with wins over the likes of Vesnina (Rome), Garcia (Madrid), Mladenovic (Dubai), Peng (Zhenghou 125 via ret. in the 3rd set), Sakkari (Prague), Vekic (Miami), Niculescu (Shenzhen) and, yes, even Ostapenko (Dubai). She'll rise to another new career high ranking of #46 on Monday.


SURPRISES: Mihaela Buzarnescu/ROU and Jennifer Brady/USA
...after maintaining a high level of success on the ITF circuit for years -- winning 20 singles and 33 doubles titles -- despite battling through numerous injuries, 29-year old Buzarnescu has finally found her way to the WTA tour following a very good junior career more than a decade ago (she was the #4-ranked girl in '06, and had been a year-end Top 10er the previous season along with players with names such as Azarenka, Radwanska, Wozniacki and Cibulkova). After playing just twelve events in '16 and ending the season at #351, she completed her PhD in Physical Education and Sport last December. Buzarnescu has since played her '17 season like a Swarmette on a mission, piling up match wins and picking up four consecutive ITF crowns in June/July. She qualified at the U.S. Open to reach her first career slam MD (and first MD at *any* event higher than the ITF circuit). After returning to the challengers to pick up her fifth '17 ITF win, last week the Romanian qualified to reach her first career non-slam tour-level MD in Linz. After getting Q-round wins over Alexa Glatch, Kayla Day and Lesley Kerkhove, Buzarnescu proceeded to record her maiden MD WTA wins over Anett Kontaveit, Ajla Tomljanovic and Belinda Bencic (on her sixth MP, after the Swiss had saved five over the 2nd and 3rd sets after falling behind 5-2 in both) to reach the semifinals. She also reached the doubles semis with Oksana Kalashnikova, another career first. After having had just one Top 200 season (#155 in 2011) in a career that saw her play her first pro event in 2004, Buzarnescu entered this past week at #105 and will climb into the Top 100 for the first time on Monday at #89. She'll be the nineteeth Romanian to reach the Top 100, and the oldest player to ever make her debut there.

Meanwhile, in Hong Kong, Brady also reached her first career WTA semifinal, and notched her first non-slam MD tour-level wins since her QF run in Guangzhou in September '16. The 22-year old Bannerette made her slam MD debut Melbourne in January, reaching the Round of 16, a result she matched this summer at the U.S. Open. But those six wins (and another at Wimbledon) were her only MD tour-level victories in '17 until she took out Misa Eguchi, Zhang Shuai and Nicole Gibbs this week. She lost to Dasha Gavrilova in the semis, but will jump eleven spots to a new career-high of #59 on Monday, making her ninth of ten U.S. women ranked in the Top 60.


VETERANS: Barbora Strycova/CZE and Magdalena Rybarikova/SVK
...Strycova and Rybarikova faced off for the Linz title in just the third tour-level singles final this year in which both the top two seeds advanced to the championship match. In the end, it was Strycova who celebrated with her first title in six years... and some tasty Kaiserschmarrn during her post-match press conference.

A year after her completing her career season, the 31-year old Czech is now finishing her *2017* season strong. Since reaching the U.S. Open doubles semifinals while subbing for Bethanie Mattek-Sands as Lucie Safarova's partner, Strycova has gone 11-3, this week following up her Tokyo (where she got a 1st Round victory over Rybarikova) and Beijing (def. a retiring then-#1 Muguruza) QF runs with her eighth career singles final, and first title since winning her only other tour crown in Quebec in 2011. After sweeping through Marina Erakovic to take the 2nd and 3rd sets by a 6-1/6-0 score in her last title run, Strycova had lost ten consecutive sets in five final appearances, dropping her career record to 1-6. But after gathering a head of steam with her previous results, the Czech lost just once while posting victories over Madison Brengle, Jana Fett (the sole three-setter), Tatjana Maria and Mihaela Buzarnescu before finally ending her finals slump with a straight sets win over Rybarikova. Strycova still won't climb back into the Top 20 (#23) for the first time since a brief one-week stay immediately after Roland Garros, but has likely wrapped up her second straight Top 25 season after recording the best season-ending ranking (#20) of her career a year ago.

For top-seeded Rybarikova, her runner-up result was her best since her surprise Wimbledon semifinal run this ummer. The 29-year old Slovak had gone just 8-8 since SW19, but her string of victories over Richel Hogenkamp, Carina Witthoeft, Sorana Cirstea and Viktorija Golubic ('16 RU) placed her in her first tour-level final since New Haven in 2014. She failed to pick up her first title since claiming the fourth of her career in 2013 in Washington, but she'll inch up to a new career high of #26 this week.

COMEBACKS: Belinda Bencic/SUI and Sara Errani/ITA
...having not played since April, Bencic returned from wrist surgery a few weeks ago. The 20-year old compiled an 8-1 record in two ITF challengers, winning a $100K singles title and reaching a doubles final. Via a wild card in Linz, the Swiss participated in her first tour-level event since her return. Wins over Kirsten Flipkens (one MP saved) and Lara Arruabarrena (3 sets) got her into her first tour-level QF since her SF run on the grass in Rosmalen last summer. She battled qualifier Mihaela Buzarnescu for a spot in the semis, dropping the 1st set and coming back from 5-2 down in both the 2nd and 3rd while and saving a total of five MP before the Romanian finally won on #6. But rather than be too upset with the loss, Bencic has instead decided to focus on the progress she's made from where she was six months ago. She'll jump from #228 to #190 on Monday.

After serving her short suspension for the "tortellini incident," Errani (#280) charged back into action last week in Tianjin. After making her way through qualifying, the 30-year old advanced all the way to the semifinals with victories over Kateryna Kozlova, Beatriz Haddad and Christina McHale (in a contest that saw the women combine for both a long bathroom break and MTO late in the 2nd set) before falling to teenager Aryna Sabalenka. She'll jump 100 spot to #180 in the new rankings. Meanwhile, playing with Irina-Camelia Begu, Errani took the doubles title, defeating top-seeded K.Bondarenko/Kudryavtseva to reach her 41st tour-level WD final (but only her sixth w/o Roberta Vinci), then defeating Jakupovic/Stojanovic to take the title. It's Errani's 26th (first since January '15), and Begu's sixth (second this season).

Sara Errani beat Christina McHale 5/7 7/6 6/1! #Wta #Tianjin #QuarterFinals

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FRESH FACES: Aryna Sabalenka/BLR and Zhu Lin/CHN
...Sabalenka's breakthrough campaign has been sharpening its message in recent weeks. The big-hitting 19-year old Belarussian made an early mark as a capable #2 on the upstart BLR Fed Cup team, winning two matches (and putting a scare into Kiki Bertens in a loss, quite possibly leading to a break in confidence from the Dutch woman that led to the streak-ending singles defeat that played a key role in Belarus' 1st Round upset of the Netherlands). She posted her first career MD slam win at Wimbledon and reached her first tour SF last month in Tashkent. Last week, wins over Han Xinyun, Duan Yingying, Zhu Lin and Sara Errani got her into her first tour singles final, where she faced off with childhood idol Maria Sharapova. She dropped a tight decision, playing just well enough -- but not quite good enough in the biggest moments -- to lose in frustrating fashion in straight sets, 7-5/7-6(8). After coming up just short of the Top 100 (#101) after Tashkent, Sabalenka breaks through in a big way this week, as she'll jump to #76. After going 2-2 in home FC ties vs. the Dutch and Swiss, Sabalenka should be on hand next month when Belarus (possibly with Vika Azarenka on board, which could bump Sabalenka down to a bench role if '17 FC star Aliaksandra Sasnovich holds onto her top level spot) heads back to Minsk to face off with the U.S. in an attempt to win the nation's maiden Fed Cup championship.

In Tianjin, 23-year old Zhu once again put up one of her best tour-level results in a tournament in Asia. The world #113 reached her maiden tour SF in Kuala Lumpur last season, and last week posted her third QF finish after previous results in Taipei City (February) and Nanchang (July). Of course, her HUGE win was a 1st Round upset of Petra Kvitova, which she followed up with a victory over veteran Hsieh Su-wei before losing to Sabalenka. She'll debut at her new career-high rank of #106 on Monday.

DOWN: Anett Kontaveit/EST
...Karmic Kiki is the #1 seed this week in Moscow, so hold this space for the next edition. As for this one...

Make no mistake, Kontaveit has had a great year. 2017 has included her maiden tour title (and finals on hard, grass and clay), a career-high ranking (#27 in July), wins over Garbine Muguruza and Angelique Kerber (the latter when the German was #1), a Wimbledon 3rd Round run and QF in Rome. But as her results have fallen off the table in the season's closing weeks, what's developed is something of a browbeating ending to the season that might leave the 21-year old Estonian with a bad taste in her mouth when it really shouldn't be the case. Kontaveit's 1st Round loss in Linz to Mihaela Buzarnescu was has fourth straight defeat, and she's gone 1-8 starting with her loss in the Gstaad final in July. Before that she'd experienced a 17-3 stretch, and 34-9 period going back a few more months. She's got to be tired, but there she is again the Luxembourg draw for the coming week.

ITF PLAYER: Polona Hercog/SLO
...since the 26-year old from Slovenia returned to action in the Roland Garros qualifying rounds after a nine-month absence, Hercog has continued to produce the sort results that made her a Top 100 player from 2009-15. Since winning a $60K title and soon after reaching the Wimbledon 3rd Round -- her best slam result since 2010 -- as a qualifier, she's maintained her roll. This week in Italy in the $25K in Santa Margherita di Pula, Hercog picked up her fourth ITF crown since her return, and her third since the start of September. Her 6-1/6-0 win in the final over Hordette Valentyna Ivaknenko will lift the former world #35 (2011) to #120.

JUNIOR STARS: Wang Xiyu/CHN and Whitney Osuigwe/USA Tianjin, 16-year Wang made her tour-level MD debut via a wild card, and the world #933 (jr. #40) got her first career WTA victory with a 6-3/7-6(8) victory over Danka Kovinic. She lost in the 2nd Round to tournament defending champ Peng Shuai. Earlier this year, Wang reached the Roland Garros girls doubles semis, and was the GD runner-up at the U.S. Open.

In Tulsa, Oklahoma, junior #2 Osuigwe added another title to a season that already includes a Roland Garros girls singles crown and Grade 1 wins at the Ascuncion (Paraguay) and Banana (Brazil) Bowls early in the year. Top-seeded Osuigwe, 15, won the Grade B1 crown at the Pan-American Closed Championships without dropping a set, defeating fellow Bannerette (jr. #44, #3 seed) Natasha Subhash, 16, 6-4/6-3 in the final. It'll be enough to return her to the #1 ranking this week after having had a brief relationship with the spot earlier this year. Osuigwe has gone 18-3 from the start of the RG junior competition until now, and is 37-6 on the year.
DOUBLES: Chan Hao-ching/Chan Yung-Jan (TPE/TPE) and Kiki Bertens/Johanna Larsson (NED/SWE)
...Martina or no Martina, Chan Yung-jan (aka "Latisha") is unstoppable. After running off four straight titles, and 18 consecutive matches, with Hingis by her side, she teamed up once again with sister Hao-ching (aka "Angel") in Hong Kong. The pair then went to work defending the title they won there last year and claiming their tenth overall tour-level crown as a duo, making them just the second all-sister combo (after Venus & Serena) to win double-digit titles. It's the Taiwanese siblings' second title of the season, having also defended a title in Taipei City earlier this year. Yung-jan's 28th WTA crown ups her tour season lead for most titles to two over her "other" partner as her eleventh championship run extends her personal winning streak to 22 matches. For Hao-ching, it's career win #13.

In Linz, Bertens & Larsson also defended the doubles title they won a year ago, giving both woman (Nurnberg for Bertens, Seoul for Larsson) a second successfully defended WD crown this season. They've won eight overall as a duo, four titles in 2017 alone, and now two in consecutive outings (w/ Seoul) in Asia this fall. They reached the final without dropping a set, but had to take a 10-4 3rd set TB over Dzalamidze/Knoll in the final to claim the crown.

Slam champion baby-steppin' (back)

When you're denied a wild card into the Kremlin Cup, but then the only person who can take away your spot in the WTA Finals field pulls out the tournament and you're safely through as the first Pastry in the season-ending championships field since 2006, anyway.

Garcia (France)
Halep (Romania)
Muguruza (Spain)
Ostapenko (Latvia)
Pliskova (Czech Republic)
Svitolina (Ukraine)
V.Williams (United States)
Wozniacki (Denmark)

1. Hong Kong Final - Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova def. Dasha Gavrilova
A typhoon. A late start. Blown match points, then a half-hour rain delay. (But, amazingly, no JJ!) And, finally, a deciding tie-break that ended things after three hours. Gavrilova missed out on career title #2, as well as becoming the only active Aussie woman not named Sam to have multiple tour singles titles. Barty has one, as well. For now.
2. Linz QF - Mihaela Buzarnescu def. Belinda Bencic
Bencic, who came back from 5-2 down in the 2nd and 3rd sets, saved three MP in the 2nd, then two more in the 3rd before finally going out.

3. Tianjin Final - Maria Sharapova def. Aryna Sabalenka
Sharapova's first final match-up vs. a teenager since she defeated Cibulkova in Amelia Island in 2008, and just the fifth she's faced in 59 career WTA finals.
4. Hong Kong 1st Rd. - Caroline Wozniacki def. Genie Bouchard
TPFKAGB is 2-10 in her last twelve, and 3-11 since defeating Cornet, Sharapova and Kerber in Madrid in May.
5. Linz Final - Barbora Strycova def. Magdalena Rybarikova
The Czech avoids a loss that would have made her 1-7 in career WTA singles finals, leaving the likes of Lucie Hradecka (0-7) and Kiki Mladenovic (1-6) with the "ugliest" career marks still in circulation.
6. $25K Sumter Final - Taylor Townsend def. Ulrikke Eikeri
Townsend wins ITF singles title #4, and took home doubles crown #13, as well (w/ Jessica Pegula).
7. $15K Buenos Aires Final - Fernanda Brito def. Thaisa Grana Pedretti
For the second straight week, the 25-year old Chilean swept the singles and doubles title at an ITF event.


8. Moscow Q1 - Valentini Grammatikopoulou def. Margarita Gasparyan
Sure, she lost after having held two MP, but the 23-year old Hordette is finally back. After more than a year away. After three knee surgeries. After fears that her promising career may be over.

Hopefully, there soon won't be a need to be melancholy about Gasparyan's winning past, which included a title in Baku in '15, a Top 50 ranking early last season, as well as a Round of 16 result in her Australian Open debut (and just third major MD ever) in 2016.


1. Hong Kong Final - CHAN HAO-CHING/CHAN YUNG-JAN def. LU JIAJING/Wang Qiang
Chan Yung-Jan won ten tour doubles titles form 2009-16. She's won eleven this season.

2. Hong Kong 2nd Rd. - NAOMI OSAKA def. VENUS WILLIAMS
Venus won in the 3rd Round at Wimbledon this summer in their only previous meeting.

3. Hong Kong 2nd Rd. - Samantha Stosur def. AGA RADWANSKA
Aga is looking for the finish line (she was up a set and a break), while Sam found a port in the late-season comeback storm. Radwanska, who began 2017 at #3, is just 41 ranking points away from falling outside the Top 20. It's been a decade since she finished a season ranked so low.

For the first time ever, the Kichenok twins faced off against each other in a doubles match. The Ukrainian sisters have played 22 matches together on all levels in '17, going 12-10.
5. Moscow Q1 - ARINA RODIONOVA def. Anastasia Potapova 6-3/6-1
Moscow Q1 - Olga Savchuk def. Dayana Yastremska 3-6/6-2/6-4
narrowly avoiding a Kremlin Cup qualifying match-up featuring the '16 Wimbledon girls finalists and recent $80K challenger doubles title partners.
HM- Linz 1st Rd. - Viktoriya Tomova def. NAOMI BROADY
Broady got into the draw as a lucky loser, then lost after leading 4-0 in the 3rd. There has to be an unfair name for something like that, right?

When the music is ??????

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5 - Elina Svitolina, UKR
3 - Karolina Pliskova, CZE
2 - Garbine Muguruza, ESP
2 - Alona Ostapenko, LAT
2 - Caroline Garcia, FRA
2 - Johanna Konta, GBR
2 - Kiki Bertens, NED
2 - Katerina Siniakova, CZE

Sydney - Johanna Konta. GBR
Hobart - Elise Mertens, BEL
Australian Open - Serena Williams, USA
Bogota - Francesca Schiavone, ITA
[Biel - Marketa Vondrousova, CZE] - none in MD, 2 in Q
Nurnberg - Kiki Bertens, NED
Bucharest - Irina-Camelia Begu, ROU

7 - Caroline Wozniacki, DEN (1-6)
5 - Elina Svitolina, UKR (5-0)
5 - Simona Halep, ROU (1-4)
4 - Kristina Mladenovic, FRA (1-3)
1...Daria Kasatkina (1-0)
1...Elena Vesnina (1-0)
1...Ekaterina Makarova (1-0)
1...Svetlana Kuznetsova (0-1)
1...Natalia Vikhlyantseva (0-1)
* - Vera Zvonareva (0-1 - WTA 125)
3...Karolina Pliskova (3-0)
2...Katerina Siniakova (2-0)
1...Petra Kvitova (1-0)
1...Marketa Vondrousova (1-0)
1...Barbora Krejcikova (0-1)
1...Kristyna Pliskova (0-1)
1...Lucie Safarova (0-1)

36 - MARIA SHARPOVA (2003-17)
17 - Svetlana Kuznetsova (2002-16)
16 - Elena Dementieva (2003-10)
13 - Nadia Petrova (2005-12)
12 - Vera Zvonareva (2003-11)
12 - Dinara Safina (2002-09)
10 - Anastasia Myskina (1999-05)

9 yr, 3m+ = K.Bondarenko, UKR [6/08 Birmingham > 9/17 Tashkent]
7 yr, 1m+ = A.Sevastova, LAT [5/10 Estoril > 6/17 Mallorca]
6 yr, 1m = B.STRYCOVA, CZE [9/11 QUEBEC > 10/17 LINZ]
5 yr = T.Babos, HUN [2/12 Monterrey > 2/17 Budapest]
4 yr = Zhang Shuai, CHN [9/13 Guangzhou > 9/17 Guangzhou]

14 years - Muguruza (23) def. V.Williams (37) - Wimbledon
11 years - SHARAPOVA (30) def. SABALENKA (19) - TIANJIN
11 years - Schiavone (36) def. Arruabarrena (25) - Biel
11 years - Pavlyuchenkova (25) def. Schiavone (36) - Rabat
10 years - Stosur (33) def. Gavrilova (23) - Strasbourg

36y,9m,3w - Francesca Schiavone, ITA (Bogota)
35y,4m - Serena Williams, USA (Australian Open)
33y,2m - Samantha Stosur, AUS (Strasbourg)
31y,6m,3w - Peng Shuai, CHN (Nanchang)
31y,1m,3w - Kateryna Bondarenko, UKR (Tashkent)
30,7m,3w - Elena Vesnina, RUS (Indian Wells)

17 - Marketa Vondrousova, CZE (Biel-W) - 17,9m,2w
19 - Ana Konjuh, CRO (Auckland-L) - 19,2w
19 - Alona Ostapenko, LAT (Charleston-L) - 19,10m
19 - Dasha Kasatkina, RUS (Charleston-W) - 19,11m
20 - Alona Ostapenko, LAT (Roland Garros-W) - 20,2 days
20 - Alona Ostapenko, LAT (Seoul-W) - 20,3m,2w
20 - Natalia Vikhlyantseva, RUS ('s-Hert.-L) - 20,4m
20 - Katerina Siniakova, CZE (Shenzen-W) - 20,8m
20 - Ash Barty, AUS (Kuala Lumpur-W) - 20,10m,2w
20 - Donna Vekic, CRO (Nottingham-W) - 20,51w

5 CZE: Kvitova,Ka.Pliskova,Siniakova,STRYCOVA,Vondrousova
5 RUS: Kasatkina,Makarova,Pavlyuchenkova,SHARAPOVA,Vesnina
4 USA: Davis,Keys,Stephens,S.Williams
3 AUS: Barty,Gavrilova,Stosur
3 UKR: K.Bondarenko,Svitolina,Tsurenko
2 BEL: Mertens,Van Uytvanck
2 CHN: Peng,Sh.Zheng
2 FRA: Garcia,Mladenovic
2 GER: Barthel,Siegemund
2 LAT: Ostapenko,Sevastova
2 ROU: Begu,Halep

11 (8) - Czech Republic
10 (6) - Russia
8 (4) - United States
7 (7) - Ukraine
7 (3) - Australia
7 (3) - France
7 (2) - Romania
7 (1) - Denmark
6 (2) - Germany
4 (3) - Latvia

12..CHAN YUNG-JAN, TPE (10-1+W)
10..Martina Hingis, SUI (8-1+W)
8...Andrea Hlavackova, CZE (4-4)
6...Timea Babos, HUN (4-2)
6...Ash Barty, AUS (3-3)
6...Casey Dellacqua, AUS (3-3)
5...Ekaterina Makarova, RUS (3-2)
5...Elena Vesnina, RUS (3-2)
5...Lucie Hradecka, CZE (0-5)
5...Katerina Siniakova, CZE (0-5)

*WTA DOUBLES TITLES - all-sister duos*
22 - Serena & Venus Williams
3 - Karolina & Kristyna Pliskova
3 - Alona & Kateryna Bondarenko
2 - Lyudmyla & Nadiia Kichenok
1 - Chris & Jeanne Evert
1 - Katerina Maleeva & Manuela Maleeva-Fragniere
1 - Cammy & Cynthia MacGregor
1 - Aga & Ula Radwanska
1 - Adriana & Antonella Serra-Zanetta

2017 11 - Chan Yung-Jan
2016 8 - Sania Mirza
2015 10 - Martina Hingis, Sania Mirza
2014 5 - Sara Errani, Peng Shuai, Roberta Vinci
2013 5 - Hsieh Su-Wei, Sania Mirza, Peng Shuai, Kristina Mladenovic
2012 8 - Sara Errani, Roberta Vinci
2011 6 - Kveta Peschke, Katarina Srebotnik
2010 8 - Gisela Dulko
2009 7 - Nuria Llagostera Vives, Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez
2008 10 - Cara Black, Liezel Huber
2007 9 - Cara Black, Liezel Huber
2006 10 - Lisa Raymond, Samantha Stosur
2005 7 - Samantha Stosur
2004 7 - Cara Black, Nadia Petrova, Meghann Shaughnessy
2003 8 - Ai Sugiyama
2002 9 - Lisa Raymond

#LifewithDasha "Hello dear friends and haters..."

Hello dear friends and haters!:) It has been very very long #photoshoot Friday. This evening #LifeWithDasha will be in front of TV ?? I just want to watch my favorite movie and recover from being model?? But what to watch? I have tones of the movies, what are living in my heart. Most of them are melodramas of course. It will be two #DashaChart of favorite movies- Russian and international. International: 1. Untouchables 2. The pursuit of Happiness 3. The notebook 4. Harry Potter (all) 5. Gone girl Russian: 1. ???????17 2. ? ??? ??????? ???????, ? ??? ??????? ???????2 3. ????, ????2 4. ???????????? ???? 5. 9 ???? Can movies change something in your life? What do you prefer in the world of cinema? #Share yours in the comments????

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MOSCOW, RUSSIA [Premier/Hard Indoor]
16 Singles Final: Kuznetsova def. Gavrilova
16 Doubles Final: Hlavackova/Hradecka d. Gavrilova/Kasatkina
17 Top Seeds: Mladenovic/Vandeweghe

Kasatkina def. #6 Gavrilova
(WC) Sharapova def. #7 Goerges
(WC) Sharapova def. Kasatkina

...well, Karmic Kiki won't lose in the 1st Round this week. Sure, it's because she's got a 1st Round bye as the #1 seed, but still. Going from China to Russia, Sharapova might be a longshot to win a second straight title. But, you know, Kiki is the #1 seed, so karmic logic says I have to pick Maria.

#1 Babos/Hlavackova def. #4 Begu/Olaru

16 Singles Final: Niculescu d. Kvitova
16 Doubles Final: Bertens/Larsson d. Niculescu/Tig
17 Top Seeds: Kerber/Bertens


...really, who knows? Kerber is the #1 seed... but, really? I suppose I'll take a flier on #4-seeded Cirstea (but I'll hold out hope that Jana Fett will win her final qualifying match -- she faces Vickery on Monday -- and m-a-y-b-e get that maiden title in her very last opportunity of 2017).

#1 Bertens/Larsson def. Buzarnescu/Kalashnikova

All for now.


Sunday, October 08, 2017

Wk.40- An Accumulation of Experiences

It's often been said that a picture says a thousand words...

Well, how about *two* pictures?

Fighting against what might have been seen by some as early-season opportunities to free fall through what remained of their 2017 seasons, neither Simona Halep nor Caroline Garcia chose a personal route that included them backing down on any level. Instead, they've continued to learn to fly. Both managed to run down a dream in Beijing.

In the end, in victory and defeat, they both turned out to be winners for the week.

BEIJING, CHINA (Premier Mandatory/Hard)
S: Caroline Garcia/FRA def. Simona Halep/ROU 6-4/7-6(3)
D: Chan Yung-Jan/Martina Hingis (TPE/SUI) d. Timea Babos/Andrea Hlavackova (HUN/CZE) 6-1/6-4

...where, oh where, has this Garcia been hiding? Well, who cares, really. She's here now, and that's what matters.

Of course, a case can be made that it's been Garcia's accumulation of experiences, from the early praise to her renowned cases of nerves and honest doubts about her own ability to handle pressure, to her Fed Cup awakening (thanks, Amelie), doubles success, belated singles breakthroughs and the decision to focus her efforts on reaching her full potential there, as well as her handling of the public back-stabbing antics of her former doubles partner and FC teammate and the national fire that it lit, may be the reason that the soon to be 24-year old (October 16) has emerged as *the* form player is Asia in the 4th Quarter of the '17 season. Through it all, she's not only learned how to focus, but also who to trust, who to shrug off, and who has her best interests at heart. It's surely seemed to evolve into something of a clarifying moment for the young Pastry, and her reward has been a career-defining and changing stint on the other side of the world.

Even better, Garcia's success in itself has been the public answer to all the mudslinging and personal insults hurled in her direction earlier this year. And while she's been rising like a rocket, her earlier antagonist can now be seen in her rear view mirror.

In pulling off the WTA's first Wuhan/Beijing title sweep in singles, Garcia has flown into the Top 10, becoming the first French woman to debut there since Marion Bartoli in 2007. Last week she extended her current winning streak to a career-best eleven matches by adding victories over Elise Mertens, Alize Cornet, Elina Svitolina (in a back-and-forth match that highlighted Caro's hardened nerves and Latvian Thunder-like embrace of gutsy, risky shotmaking making that dares herself to play at her very best, and her opponent to match her level, if they're able), Petra Kvitova and, in the final, on-deck-#1 Simona Halep. Her run pushes her past her former doubles partner, and former #1-ranked Pastry, and (currently) into the field of eight for the WTA Finals, edging out Johanna Konta, who'll have to perform a stark turnaround from her lacking recent form to snatch back the spot over the next two weeks. It's not likely.

Over two weeks in China, Garcia has put up three Top 10 wins, including two Top 5 victories in Beijing over #2 Halep (now #1) and #3 Svitolina, denying the latter a shot at #1 and dealing the former a final defeat before assuming the top spot. Garcia will be the new #9 on Monday, a meteoric rise that began with her Top 20 debut just two months ago. Surely, it's a run that backs up her "I don't need to prove anything to anyone" notion, and also one that simply begs for some dishes of crow to be served. As noted here earlier, Cornet has done much to soften her role in the "LOL incident" that occurred during Fed Cup season. Alize, as she did a week ago, tweeted congrats (after also acting as a stepping stone to the title for Garcia in Beijing) after Caro's win, as did French Fed Cupper Amandine Hesse (though she wasn't part of the LOL crown). Meanwhile, LOLer Pauline Parmentier retweeted a post commending Garcia's accomplishment.

Only you-know-who has remained publicly silent on social media, though she had no problem wielding it as a weapon to personally attack Garcia's veracity, patriotism, trustworthiness and personal character just a few months ago. Not that the loud silence is much of a surprise. If it was someone else, the notion that a private reconciliation might have occurred would be in play, but it's difficult to believe that to be on the table where one Kiki Mladenovic is concerned.

Not that Garcia is going to be staying up late worrying about it all. Nor should she.

RISERS: Simona Halep/ROU and Alona Ostapenko/LAT
...just call her "S1mona."

During a week that included "World Smile Day," at least until her final outing this weekend, no one's smile was bigger than that of Halep. After much trail and error, and failing on three occasions to win a match that would have lifted her to the #1 ranking, the Romanian made her fourth try the ultimate charm, becoming the 25th woman to become the WTA's singles #1 with a semifinal victory over Alona Ostapenko, ending her fifteen-week run at #2, and finally surpassing the career-best ranking she first achieved back in August 2014. The Latvian had been one of the players to deny Halep the #1 ranking when she'd been one win away, staging a comeback in the Roland Garros final this past spring. But Ostapenko was just the final player to be on the receiving end of a little Halep revenge in Beijing. In addition to wins over Alison Riske and Magadalena Rybarikova, Halep knocked off U.S. Open Night 1 conqueror Maria Sharapova and Dasha Kasatkina, who throttled her a week ago in Wuhan, confidently taking down both in straight sets. While she fell to 1-4 in '17 finals while coming up short vs. Caroline Garcia in the final, Halep noted that the in-form Pasty "won" the match rather than *her* losing it, quite a step forward in thinking from a playing who's sometimes in the past berated herself for missing a shot in a match that she's decisively leading. It's been a long, tough road to get to #1, but Halep has persevered and come out on top, proving what others said she was capable of, though it took a while for the woman in question to be fully convinced. While a maiden slam title remains on her career "To-Do" list, Halep's ability to maneuver the obstacle course of success, failure and the sometimes-trouble "in-between" in recent seasons to get to what she described as "my special day" should serve her well as she seeks her *next* career goal.

"It was the toughest year but also the best year," Halep said of a season in which she's battled injury, disappointment, gut-checks and a long look in the mirror after a brief break-up with/challenge put down by coach Darren Cahill. But, of course, it's the trials that make the ultimate successes that much more sweet. After the joy she experienced in Beijing, even with the lack of a virual exclamation point at the end of the week, can you imagine what winning that elusive major would be like for Si-mo-na?

Hopefully, we'll soon find out.

Ostapenko was also flying high once again in Beijing as she further sharpened the final point of an already fine season. Her third SF-or-better result in a row in Asia, where's she gone 11-2 in recent weeks, the Latvian opened (after a 1st Round bye courtesy of her late work in Wuhan) with a victory over Samantha Stosur, was on the receiving end of a quick retirement three games into the match by the heavily-taped Peng Shuai, then knocked off Sorana Cirstea to advance to her tour lead-tying seventh semifinal of the season. But with a chance to once again thwart Simona Halep's rise to #1, ala in Paris, Ostapenko was on the receiving end of the confident and soaring version of the Romanian that we'd hoped to see for an entire match in her three previous attempts this season to put up a single victory that would lift her atop the rankings. For her part, Alona will also rise to another career-high on Monday (#7), and very well could see Halep again (maybe even more than once) before the end of the season. At least we can only hope.
SURPRISES: Guo Hanyu/CHN and Alexa Guarachi/CHI
...the early Week 41 spotlight goes to a pair of qualifiers who both won back-to-back matches to reach their maiden tour MD in their first qualifying attempts.

In Tianjin, 19-year old Guo (#331, though she was inside the Top 300 as recently as August) notched wins over Dalila Jakupovic and Nina Stojanovic to qualify in her WTA tournament debut. The closest Guo, a winner of a $10K singles and doubles title in '16, had come to a full tour-level WTA event was in a pair of WTA 125 Series tournaments earlier this year. She lost in the opening Q-round in one, then qualified and fell to Eri Hozumi in the 1st Round in another in April.

In Hong Kong, 26-year old Chilean Guarachi will make her WTA MD debut after posting wins over Riko Sawayanagi and Jill Teichmann in her first attempt to qualify at a tour-level event. The Florida-born Guarachi, a former Alabama player, represented the U.S from 2005-15 before utilizing her dual citizenship to play for Chile beginning two years ago. She's #413 in singles, but has won six ITF doubles titles (she's #174) this year. Guarachi missed nearly all of 2016 with a knee injury, but now believes she can be Top 50 in doubles.
VETERAN: Barbora Strycova/CZE
...the 31-year old isn't likely (though it's not impossible) to back up her first career Top 20 season of a year ago with another, as she'll be at #26 (up 3 spots) on Monday, but she's had a successful season despite having not reached a final after playing in two in '16. The third-ranked Czech *has* produced six QF results, and had three trips to semis. In Beijing, she notched three wins en route to the quarters, including the first of her career over a world #1 (her 8th vs. Top 10) against a retiring Garbine Muguruza in the 1st Round (besting her win over a #2 Li Na at Wimbledon in 2014), and additional victories over Julia Goerges and Dasha Gavrilova. She ultimately lost to Fed Cup teammate Petra Kvitova. But, you know, for all the camaraderie Petra shows her fellow Maidens, she *does not" allow them to defeat her on the singles court. So...

COMEBACKS: Petra Kvitova/CZE and Sorana Cirstea/ROU
...a former Beijing finalist (2014), Kvitova continued to add to her Comeback Player of the Year resume in her return to the event, putting up her first semifinalist result since she won in Birmingham in her second tournament back from emergency surgery on her hands and fingers last December. Her week was bookended by a pair of wins over fellow Czechs Kristyna Pliskova and Barbora Strycova -- her 23rd and 24th consecutive wins over countrywomen -- surrounding two more against Varvara Lepchenko and Caroline Wozniacki.

Meanwhile, Cirstea, already having worked her way back into the Top 50 after finding her way through her latest stretch of injury, had her fifth QF-or-better result of the season in Beijing, stringing together wins over Mona Barthel, Christina McHale and Karolina Pliskova. Her win over the #4-ranked Pliskova was the fifteenth of her career over a Top 10 player, and matches her best-ever result (her upset of #4 Jelena Jankovic in Fed Cup play for her very first Top 10 win in 2008). Cirstea lost in the QF to Alona Ostapenko, who was also her doubles partner for the week (the Latvian enthusiastically said the Romanian "is really nice"). At #38 on Monday, after a campaign that has seen her post MD wins at all four slams for the first time since 2013 (including her first Round of 16 since 2009, in the AO), Cirstea is assured of her best season-ending finish since 2013 (#22).


FRESH FACE: Dasha Kasatkina/RUS
...though she was ultimately on the receiving end of a bit of Halep-style revenge for her Wuhan dismantling of the Swarmette a week ago, Kasatkina had another good week in Beijing. She got a measure of her own Russian vengeance (eek) with a win over Natalalia Vikhlyantseva, who defeated her in their first meeting in Saint Petersburg in February, then followed up with victories over Lara Arruabarrena and defending champ Aga Radwanska to reach the QF, her first final eight result since she claimed her maiden tour title in Charleston in April. 9-4 since the start of the U.S. Open, where she put together her first slam Round of 16 run, Kasatkina jumps five more spots to #29 on Monday, just five off her career-best.
DOWN: Aga Radwanska/POL
...first, the good news. Aga still has *it* and can pull it out on occasion, even at the end of a long season.

Now, the rest.

As the defending champ, Radwanska's 3rd Round loss to Dasha Kasatkina officially made Beijing the last of three 2016 singles titles that Aga has failed to defend in '17. Actually, she's never successfully defended any of her twenty career singles WTA singles titles, but unlike in previous seasons she hasn't replaced those past titles with new ones in different tournaments this year. In fact, she's reached just one final, her fewest since 2010, and it was all the way back in Week 2 in Sydney. Much injury and (admitted) exhaustion later, she didn't produce a slam QF result all year ('10 was the last time for that, too) and has zero Top 10 wins (she's never gone a season without at least one since she made her tour debut in '06 after a banner junior career).

Now, it's not as if she's fallen totally off the table in Mladenovic-like fashion. Even at a mediocre 24-17 -- 18-14 since her encouraging 6-3 start in January -- her two-win week in Beijing is her second in her last two events, and sixth in seven (9/17 on the year). But after having already fallen out of the Top 10 for the first time in over 100 weeks prior to the U.S. Open, after six straight Top 10 seasons (and eight in nine) Radwanska is now in imminent danger of slipping even further down the tour ladder. With her Beijing '16 points falling off this week, she'll go from #11 to #17 on Monday and find herself just 125 points from falling out of the Top 20 (and she's still yet to lose her WTA Finals semifinal points from last fall). And that's big news, since the 28-year old Pole has the longest -- by a long shot -- current streak of weeks in the Top 20. She's been secure in (at least) that position for over 500 weeks, since February 18, 2008, nearly three years longer than the player (Petra Kvitova) with the second-most Top 20 weeks in a row, and last finished outside the ranks in 2007 (#26).
ITF PLAYER: Fernanda Brito/CHI
...while the likes Beatriz Haddad Maia and Veronica Cepede Royg have produced better than average (and better than expected) results on the WTA tour this year for the whole of South America, players from the continent have predictably maintained a presence on the ITF circuit, too. Chile's Brito notched her third title of the season -- tying her with VEN's Andrea Gamiz for the lead in S.A. -- this week in Villa del Dique, Argentina. The 25-year old, 3-2 in '17 finals (and 5-6 since August '16), won her 16th career ITF crown with a win in the final over ARG's Stephanie Mariel Petit, and picked up the doubles title (her 21st, and third this season) with Paraguay's Camila Giangreco Campiz.

3 - Fernanda Brito, CHI
3 - Andrea Gamiz, VEN
2 - Beatriz Haddad Maia, BRA
2 - Nathaly Kurata, BRA
1 - Emiliana Arango, COL
1 - Gabriela Ce, BRA
1 - Maria Lourdes Carle, ARG
1 - Paula Cristina Goncalves, BRA
1 - Barbara Gatica, CHI
1 - Maria Fernanda Herazo, COL
1 - Catalina Pella, ARG
1 - Daniela Seguel, CHI

JUNIOR STARS: Emily Appleton/Caty McNally (GBR/USA) Hilton Head, South Carolina the $15K women's doubles champions were a pair of teenagers.

18-year old Brit Appleton teamed with 15-year old Bannerette McNally to claim the title in their very first outing as a pair, defeating the likes of veteran Ukrainian Alona Bondarenko in the QF before taking out Kylie Collins & Meg Kowalski in a 7-5/6-3 final. For McNally, who reached summer's Wimbledon girl doubles final and the RG junior singles QF, it's her first career pro title, while it's Appleton's second in recent weeks. 2017's Coffee Bowl champ (January), AO girls quarterfinalist and Banana Bowl finalist (February) also picked up the $15K title in Buenos Aires last month while partner fellow teen (and U.S. Open girls semifinalist) Maria Lourdes Carle.
DOUBLES: Chan Yung-Jan/Martina Hingis (TPE/SUI)
...make no mistake about it, Chan & Hingis are putting the finishing touches on one of THE great doubles seasons. The duo won their fourth straight title in Beijing, grabbing their ninth title (they're undefeated in finals) of the season and extending their current winning streak to eighteen matches, wrapping up the title with a 6-1/6-4 win over Timea Babos/Andrea Hlavackova (who were going for their third straight tour title) that gives Hingis her second Beijing crown (2015 w/ Sania Mirza, def. Chan and her sister Hao-ching in the final). This week marked Hingis' return to the #1 doubles ranking (her 67th week there in her career), nineteen years after she first reached the spot back in 1998. 52-6 on the season, Chan/Hingis have won six of this season's nine Premier Mandatory/Premier 5 titles (5 of the last 6), as well as the U.S. Open. If they add the WTA Finals to their title list their '17 season will officially take on an epic glow.

With her tenth title of the season, Chan (a title ahead of Hingis thanks to a win with her sister earlier this year) matches the recent season title highs recorded by Hingis & Mirza (9 together, and one each with other partners, in 2015), Cara Black & Liezel Huber (as a duo in '08) and Lisa Raymond & Samantha Stosur (duo '06). Before re-teaming with Martina, she's back this week in the Hong Kong draw with Hao-ching by her side.

Less than 12 months ago I visited the beautiful island of Puerto Rico as the guest of Monica Puig for her exhibition match. I fell in love with the island, the people and the culture. From a distance, it is incredibly devastating to see how much the island and people are suffering. I have been following all the amazing and heartfelt work Monica has been doing for the island and I will continue to support her fund raising efforts. All profits beginning today through the end of the year from will go directly to support Monica's fund. She has raised close to $100K and we will continue to grow that number all together. Please visit for all information about Monica's fund, as well as from which all proceeds will go directly to helping Puerto Rico. I ?? you ????!!

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1. Beijing QF - Caroline Garcia def. Elina Svitolina
And now the Ukrainian assumes the role of "lady in waiting." It was Svitolina's chances to reach #1 that took the blow with this match, but it was Garcia's bold, nerve-less shotmaking that earned the headlines here. In the 3:21 epic encounter, Garcia played from both ahead and behind, but never, ever gave up, even after failing while trying to pull off some of her more aggressive tactics. She led and blew leads in both the 1st and 2nd sets, splitting the pair, then trailed 3-1 in the 3rd (Svitolina had a BP for 4-1), but held on and broke for 3-3. Svitolina served for the match at 6-5, but Garcia finished off the last of seven straight 3rd set breaks of serve to force a deciding TB. Garcia stayed alive with big serving, but it was the Ukrainian who held a MP at 6-5. Garcia swept the final three points, putting away the win with a second serve return winner to finish with 60 winners (vs. 67 UE's, while Svitolina was 31/42) and coast past a certain countrywoman in the rankings.

2. Beijing Final - Caroline Garcia def. Simona Halep
Though they actually tied in total points (76-76), Garcia was the leading player throughout the final as she extended her winning streak to eleven matches and completed the maiden Wuhan/Beijing title sweep. Halep didn't fold, but her inability to convert one of nine BP attempts on Garcia's serve in game #7 of the 2nd set was her last chance to operate from any sort of position of power in this one. Garcia never allowed her to surge ahead and, save for erroneously letting go one Halep passing shot sail into the corner without a volley attempt (it cut the Pastry's TB lead to 4-3), kept full control of the match on her own racket.
3. Beijing 3rd Rd. - Simona Halep def. Maria Sharapova
In 1:12, Halep puts on on consummate show to avenge her 1st Round U.S. Open loss to Sharapova and get her first win in eight tries vs. the Russian (in the biggest blowout scoreline of the head-to-head series). Halep had just six UE's (to Sharapova's 39) in the match, and her post-match smile told the story of her week to come.

Even while suffering her first straight sets loss of the season, and being out-pointed by a decisive 63-36 edge, Sharapova jumps eighteen spots in the rankings this week to #86.

4. Bejing SF - Simona Halep def. Alona Ostapenko
Halep slays another personal demon to become the 25th WTA singles #1, and the first Romanian to hold the spot. Being broken for 4-4 in the 2nd, but not buckling under in disappointment and "here we go again" frustration, turned out to just be one final rite of passage. "The Heart of Backspin" showed her heart this week.

5. Beijing 1st Rd. - Barbora Strycova def. Garbine Muguruza
...6-1/2-0 ret.
Muguruza's (first) stint at #1 ends with a whimper, and a 4-3 mark.

And then Garbi turned 24...

6. Beijing 2nd Rd. - Maria Sharapova def. Ekaterina Makarova
She's no Petra-vs.-Maidens, but this 2:13 win ran Sharapova's record to 89-25 (35-4 since early '10) vs. fellow Hordettes.
7. Beijing 2nd Rd. - Alize Cornet def. Angelique Kerber
After sparking some hope with a mini-run in Tokyo, Kerber has now lost three straight for the third time this season.
8. Beijing 1st Rd. - Christina McHale def. Sloane Stephens
With every passing week, both prior to and after her win in Paris, Ostapenko's post-first slam title form is more and more the exception to the WTA rule.

Meanwhile, Stephens is still winless (to the tune of 24-7 in total games) since winning the Open. As the first slam winner not to qualify for the WTA Finals, she really has no reason to have her head in the right place to compete and doesn't have anything to play for, anyway. She should just go ahead and take a page from Serena's book and call it a season now. Take some time off and be ready to go again come January. Few could sincerely argue against the decision, and most wouldn't even notice.
9. Beijing 3rd Rd. - Caroline Garcia def. Alize Cornet
Garcia is 3-0 vs. Cornet. 2-0 post-LOL.
10. Tianjin Q1 - Sara Errani def. You Xiaodi 6-2/6-1
Tianjin Q2 - Sara Errani def. Han Xinyun 6-3/6-2
the Italian makes a successful return from her two-month "tortellini suspension."
HM- $25K Toowoomba Q3 - Viktoriya Rajicic def. Alexandra Stevenson
...1-6/6-4/5-4, 40/30 ret.
So this is what it takes for Stevenson, eighteen years beyond her Wimbledon semifinal run, to get some attention these days: retire when she's MP down.


Coffee with Lucie...

???? ??#monaco #cafedeparis #coffeewithlucie

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And Bethanie won't back down...

1. Beijing SF - CHAN YUNG-JAN/Martina Hingis def. Sania Mirza/Peng Shuai 2-6/6-1 [10-5]
Beijing Final - CHAN YUNG-JAN/Martina Hingis def. Timea Babos/Andrea Hlavackova 6-1/6-4
Hingis is 6-2 vs. Mirza in the post-"Santina" era, including a 3-0 mark with Chan by her side in the semis of their last three events. As a duo, Chan/Hingis are 6-1 vs. Mirza this season. While Garcia's Wuhan/Beijing sweep was the first ever in singles, that of Chan/Hingis is the third in doubles. Hingis/Mirza did it in 2015, and Mattek-Sands/Safarova matched the feat last year.
2. Beijing 3rd Rd. - Dasha Kasatkina def. AGA RADWANSKA
Kasatkina adds her first win over a defending champion to her previous two this season over tournament #1 seeds.
3. $15K Hilton Head SF - Ulrikke Eikeri def. ANNA TURATI 6-0/6-0
$15K Hilton Head Final - Ulrikke Eikeri def. BIANCA TURATI 6-4/6-1
Eikeri prevented the very first all-Turati twin final (Bianca holds a 3-1 head-to-head lead over Anna in other ITF singles match-ups) with a double-bagel win over Anna in the semis, then she created an Italian family revenge pact that will last for all eternity by taking out Bianca in the final, as well. The twins are teammates on the women's tennis squad at the University of Texas.
4. $25K Pula F - CHIARA SCHOLL def. Michaela Honcova 6-1/4-6/6-1
$25K Pula Final - Anastaia Grymalska/CHIARA SCHOLL def. Michaela Honcova/Akiko Omae 4-6/6-3 [13-11]
at Honcova's expense (twice), Scholl swept the titles in Pula for her eighth (s) and ninth (d) career ITF crowns. It's the seventh title sweep of her career, as well.
5. $15K Nonthaburi Final - Nudnida Luangnam/VARUNYA WONGTEANCHAI def. Elaine Genovese/Oona Orpana
This match is listed in this section because it's Wongteanchai's 16th career ITF win, but it's listed at all because 26-year old Genovese thus makes it TWO -- with junior Helene Pellicano -- current players of note from, of all places, Malta. This was Genovese's first career final.


Sigh (rolls eyes and shakes head)...

So... could someone give me some info on divorce process in Australia? ?? #renogonewrong #wedidntmakeitthru #sob

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Excuse me

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?? #Beijing #MaybeNotTheSelfieStick

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1975 Chris Evert, USA
1976 Evonne Goolagong, AUS
1978 Martina Navratilova, USA
1980 Tracy Austin, USA
1987 Steffi Graf, FRG/GER
1991 Monica Seles, YUG (later USA)
1995 Arantxa Sanchez Vicario, ESP
1997 Martina Hingis, SUI
1998 Lindsay Davenport, USA
2001 Jennifer Capriati, USA
2002 Venus Williams, USA
2002 Serena Williams, USA
2003 Kim Clijsters, BEL
2003 Justine Henin, BEL
2004 Amelie Mauresmo, FRA
2005 Maria Sharapova, RUS
2008 Ana Ivanovic, SRB
2008 Jelena Jankovic, SRB
2009 Dinara Safina, RUS
2010 Caroline Wozniacki, DEN
2012 Victoria Azarenka, BLR
2016 Angelique Kerber, GER
2017 Karolina Pliskova, CZE
2017 Garbine Muguruza, ESP
2017 Simona Halep, ROU

5 - 2008 (Henin/Sharapova/Ivanovic/Jankovic/S.Williams)
5 - 2017 (Kerber/S.Williams/Ka.Pliskova/Muguruza/Halep)
4 - 2002 (Davenport/Capriati/V.Williams/S.Williams)
4 - 2006 (Davenport/Clijsters/Mauresmo/Henin)

August 2003 - Kim Clijsters (won 2005 U.S. Open)
September 2004 - Amelie Mauresmo (won 2006 Australian)
August 2008 - Jelena Jankovic (-)
April 2009 - Dinara Safina (-)
October 2010 - Caroline Wozniacki (-)
July 2017 - Karolina Pliskova (-)
October 2017 - Simona Halep (-)

3 - Madrid/Rome/RG - Simona Halep (WLL)
2 - Doha/Dubai - Caroline Wozniacki (LL)
2 - Bogota/Rabat - Francesca Schiavone (WL)
2 - Monterrey/Rabat - Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (WW)
2 - Stuttgart/Madrid - Kristina Mladenovic (LL)
2 - Bastad/Toronto - Caroline Wozniacki (LL)
2 - Quebec City/Tashkent - Timea Babos (LL)

Taipei City - Elina Svitolina, UKR (4 MP - QF/Jabeur)
Prague - Mona Barthel, GER (3 MP - Q2/Paolini)
Cincinnati - Garbine Muguruza, ESP (3 MP - 3r/Keys)
Tokyo TPP - Caroline Wozniacki, DEN (2 MP - QF/Cibulkova)

7 - Caroline Wozniacki, DEN (1-6)
5 - Elina Svitolina, UKR (5-0)
4 - Kristina Mladenovic, FRA (1-3)
14 - Angelique Kerber (7-7)
13 - SIMONA HALEP (7-6)
13 - Karolina Pliskova (6-7)
12 - Caroline Wozniacki (4-8)
11 - Serena Williams (8-3)

*2017 WTA SF*
7 - Caroline Wonziacki DEN (7-0)
7 - Karolina Pliskova, CZE (2-4+W)
7 - Garbine Muguruza, ESP (2-5)
6 - Elina Svitolina, UKR (5-1)
6 - Johanna Konta, GBR (3-2+L)
22 - SIMONA HALEP (9/6/7)
22 - Angelique Kerber (8/11/3)
21 - Karolina Pliskova (8/6/7)
19 - Elina Svitolina (6/7/6)
19 - Aga Radwanska (8/9/2)
18 - Caroline Wozniacki (7/4/7)
16 - Serena Williams (9/6/1)
15 - Garbine Muguruza (5/3/7)

[w/ two 2017 titles]
2 years - Karolina Pliskova, 2016-17
2 years - CAROLINE GARCIA, 2016-17
[w/o 2 2017 titles]
10 years - Serena Williams, 2007-16
6 years - Petra Kvitova, 2011-16
4 years - Simona Halep, 2013-16
2 years - Angelique Kerber, 2015-16
2 years - Aga Radwanska, 2015-16

[by Top 10 debut]
1975 Francoise Durr
1994 Mary Pierce
1998 Nathalie Tauziat
1999 Amelie Mauresmo
1999 Julie Halard-Decugis
2000 Sandrine Testud
2007 Marion Bartoli
2017 Caroline Garcia

13 - Elina Svitolina (+2 wins post-walkover loss)
11 - CAROLINE GARCIA (active)
11 - Elise Mertens
10 - Simona Halep
18 - Y.CHAN/HINGIS (active)
13 - Bethanie Mattek-Sands
13 - Y.Chan/Hingis
12 - Makarova/Vesnina (+1 pre-streak before walkover loss)
11 - BABOS/HLAVACKOVA (ended in Beijing final)
11 - Chan Yung-Jan

9...Y.CHAN/HINGIS (8-0+W)
6...Barty/Dellacqua (3-3)
5...Makarova/Vesnina (3-2)
5...Hradecka/Siniakova (0-5)
11..CHAN YUNG-JAN (9-1+W)
6...TIMEA BABOS (4-2)
6...Ash Barty (3-3)
6...Casey Dellacqua (3-3)

2017 - 10 - Chan Yung-Jan; 9 - Martina Hingis
2016 8 - Sania Mirza
2015 10 - Martina Hingis, Sania Mirza
2014 5 - Sara Errani, Peng Shuai, Roberta Vinci
2013 5 - Hsieh Su-Wei, Sania Mirza, Peng Shuai, Kristina Mladenovic
2012 8 - Sara Errani, Roberta Vinci
2011 6 - Kveta Peschke, Katarina Srebotnik
2010 8 - Gisela Dulko
2009 7 - Nuria Llagostera Vives, Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez
2008 10 - Cara Black, Liezel Huber
2007 9 - Cara Black, Liezel Huber
2006 10 - Lisa Raymond, Samantha Stosur
2005 7 - Samantha Stosur
2004 7 - Cara Black, Nadia Petrova, Meghann Shaughnessy
2003 8 - Ai Sugiyama
2002 9 - Lisa Raymond

Dubai - Elina Svitolina, UKR
Indian Wells - Elena Vesnina, RUS
Miami - Johanna Konta, GBR
Madrid - Simona Halep, ROU
Rome - Elina Svitolina, UKR
Toronto - Elina Svitolina, UKR
Cincinnati - Garbine Muguruza, ESP
Wuhan - Caroline Garcia, FRA
Beijing - Caroline Garcia, FRA
Dubai - Makarova/Vesnina, RUS/RUS
Indian Wells - Y.Chan/Hingis, TPE/SUI
Miami - Dabrowski/Xu Yifan, CAN/CHN
Madrid - Y.Chan/Hingis, TPE/SUI
Rome - Y.Chan/Hingis, TPE/SUI
Toronto - Makarova/Vesnina, RUS/RUS
Cincinnati - Y.Chan/Hingis, TPE/SUI
Wuhan - Y.Chan/Hingis, TPE/SUI
Beijing - Y.Chan/Hingis, TPE/SUI


Chakvetadze sighting!

And this...

16 Singles Final: Peng d. Riske
16 Doubles Final: McHale/Peng d. Linette/Xu Yifan
17 Top Seeds: Garcia/Kvitova

(WC) Sharapova d. #3 Peng
#2 Kvitova d. #6 Sakkari
#2 Kvitova d. (WC) Sharapova of right now, Sharapova is still set to play Garcia in the 1st Round. Whether Caro -- harboring a leg injury, with an expected WTA Finals date and Konta needing to have a huge Kremlin Cup run to even have a chance to replace her in the field -- ultimately decides to play at all, or go full-out if she does, with so much at stake is the big question. Of course, maybe we've only witnessed the first half of a Cibulkova-like final weeks run from the Pastry that ultimately results in still more hardware being lifted over her head.

Late Note: Garcia ultimately decided to withdraw

Jiang/Tang d. Kozlova/Ar.Rodionova
Chuang/Wang Yafan d. #2 Hibino/Kovinic
Jiang/Tang d. Chuang/Wang Yafan

...considering my relative recent success rates, maybe I should *only* predict the doubles.

16 Singles Final: Wozniacki d. Mladenovic
16 Doubles Final: Chan/Chan d. Broady/Watson
17 Top Seeds: Svitolina/V.Williams

#1 Svitolina d. #3 Wozniacki
#2 V.Williams d. Stosur
#2 V.Williams d. #1 Svitolina

#1 Chan/Chan d. #4 Hozumi/Kato
#2 Aoyama/Yang Zhaoxuan d. #3 Ninomiya/Voracova
#2 Aoyama/Yang Zhaoxuan d. #1 Chan/Chan

LINZ, AUSTRIA (Int'l/Hard Indoor)
16 Singles Final: Cibulkova d. Golubic
16 Doubles Final: Bertens/Larsson d. Groenefeld/Peschke
17 Top Seeds: Rybarikova/Strycova

#6 Siniakova d. #5 Cirstea
(WC) Bencic d. #2 Strycova
(WC) Bencic d. #6 Siniakova

#1 Bertens/Larsson d. #3 Flipkens/Schuurs
Krajicek/Strycova d. Buzarnescu/Kalashnikova
#1 Bertens/Larsson d. Krajicek/Strycova

And, finally...

All for now.