Thursday, July 13, 2017

W.10- Vintage Venus

Many years ago, there was only Venus Williams on the worldwide tennis stage. It was only later that Serena came along and grabbed the spotlight. Two decades after she first appeared on the scene, at a time when Serena is taking a break before her impending motherhood, Venus is still here. And, at 37, she's looking spectacular.

It was twenty years ago when a 17-year old Venus played her first Wimbledon match, on the middle Saturday after a rainy, schedule-cancelling first week of the fortnight. She lost that 1st Round match. Three years later, though, she won her maiden slam title in London, ten months after younger sister Serena had won her own in New York. Today in the semifinals, in what was her 100th singles outing at SW19 since that first loss, she recorded her 87th career SW19 win, ending Johanna Konta's quest to become the first British woman to reach the Ladies final in thirty-nine years, and giving herself the opportunity this weekend to become the oldest women's slam champ in Open era history.

This Wimbledon began with Williams' name in the news for her involvement in a fatal Florida auto accident in June, and the filing of a civil lawsuit against her by the family of the deceased. After a tight 1st Round victory, a tearful Venus broke down in a press conference. Since then, local police have rescinded their ruling that Williams was "at fault" in the accident, and coverage of the story has gradually become less and less prevalent as, on the court, Venus has consistently defied any notions about her age being a reason why she *couldn't* win this tournament. Over the past two weeks, she's knocked off two teenagers and the 20-year old Roland Garros champ, never wavering as she's maintained a level of play we haven't seen from her in years, even after having already witnessed her reach the Wimbledon semis a year ago, and then the Australian Open final in January, at a stage in her career when most (but not all) past players would have long since been retired. On the strength of a fine serve game and consistently deep and driving forehands that have prevented aggressive, big-hitting opponents from aggressively stepping in an challenging her with power that is sometimes even greater than her own, Williams has often resembled the player who once made Centre Court her "home," reaching eight finals and winning five Ladies titles from 2000-09.

Maintaining such a high game level was especially key in a contest against Konta. The #6 seed already held a 3-2 head-to-head advantage over Venus, including a slam win (AO) and in the Stanford final last year, the Brit would not be intimidated by her opponent's experience, would have the crowd in her corner, and had already shown a unwillingness to back off playing the brand of ulta-aggressive tennis that had already allowed her to win three-setters at this Wimbledon against Donna Vekic, Caroline Garcia and Simona Halep in what have been some of the highest quality matches of the entire tournament.

It was clear in the opening games of the 1st set that breaks -- and even break points -- were going to come at a premium for both women. As both served well through the first half of the set, the belief that all sets in this semifinal would likely be decided by a single break of serve took root. In the middle of the set, both serves had to stave off challenges -- some more striking than others -- in order to avoid falling behind. Down 15/30 in game #5, Williams was the first to recover from a potentially dangerous moment. After a Konta forehand return error, Venus followed up a big serve with a forehand down the line, after which she put away an overhead to reach GP before securing the hold for 3-2. In the next game, Konta fired back-to-back aces to break free from a 30/30 tie, then Venus again went down 15/30 after she was handcuffed by a big return shot from the Brit in game #7. Konta overhit two returns shots around a Venus forehand winner, and Williams held for 4-3. A Konta double-fault knotted the score at 30/30, but she came back with a deep shot off the baseline that jammed Venus, giving her a GP. A forehand down the line winner got the hold.

In the key game that followed, at 4-4, a Williams DF was followed by a badly flubbed forehand volley that gave Konta a 15/30 lead. A forehand winner moments later gave the Brit two BP. They would prove to be the only she'd see all day. Williams saved the first with a backhand winner behind Konta, then served directly at Konta on a second serve on the next point. The body serve tied her hands and she couldn't get the return back over the net. Out of immediate danger, Venus back-peddled to position herself for a forehand shot that she fired down the line for a rally-ending winner to reach GP. A big serve up the middle got the hold for 5-4, and it was all progressively more uphill for Konta from that point forward.

Serving to stay in the set, Konta fell behind love/40 as Venus consistently stood behind the baseline, blasting balls near her opponent's baseline and preventing her from moving into the court to try to seize control of the rally. And when she did attempt to do, Konta sailed a backhand out of bounds in the corner to give Williams the break to take the 1st set at 6-4.

Venus continued to play *her" game in the 2nd, utilizing big first serves, often body shots that seemed to catch Konta off guard, and driving groundstrokes, she was able to dictate rallies that continually pinched the Brit, leaving her without a clear path to victory. Her best hope, as had been the case with Jelena Ostapenko when the RG winner tried to get back into the match vs. Venus in the QF, was to tidily hold serve and hope that Williams' play would hit a brief rough spot that might give her a chance to get a foot in the door. The Latvian nearly was able to pull off the plan of action and force a 3rd, though ultimately to no avail, but Konta's wasn't so fortunate. Unlike in her QF match vs. Simona Halep, Konta wasn't able to overcome her early missed opportunities, the few that she had on the Williams serve. And then she began to struggle to even hold her own serve.

Down 15/30 in game #3, Venus jammed Konta again with a body serve, and then the Brit's back-to-back errors gave Williams a hold for a 2-1 lead. As small as the moment was, it would be the Brit's final chance to carve out any sort of foothold in the match. In the next game, a Williams shot hit the net cord and jumped over Konta's racket at the net, giving her a love/30 lead. Konta's DF gave her triple BP. Konta saved the first with a fine volley, then the second with an angled crosscourt forehand. But another Williams shot clipped the net cord and slightly disrupted the Brit's rhythm in the backcourt, producing a forehand error that secured the break for a 3-1 lead. Konta squandered a 40/love lead two games later, but after having to go to deuce she held with a backhand winner down the line off a short Williams return. In game #7, Venus' deep serve got Konta to spray a backhand on GP as she moved one game from the final at 5-2.

Serving to stay in the match, on her first GP, Konta stepped inside the court and fired a backhand down the line long. On GP #2, she kept alive a rally with stretching defense, but Williams put away the point with an overhead smash, one of the few times she even *had* to move into position at the net since her baseline game had been so consistently lethal all match. A Williams deep shot led to Konta's angled forehand landing outside the line, giving Venus her first MP. She netted a forehand (the shot had been there for the taking), but Konta's long forehand gave her another chance. On MP #2, Konta stayed alive with a big wide serve, but then double-faulted moments later. Finally, on MP #3, Venus' crosscourt backhand return landed short. Konta raced to retrieve it, then Williams blasted a forehand passing shot down the line to end the 6-4/6-2 match in 1:13. She raised her arms and shuffled to the net, knowing that another big(ger) match in London now awaited her on the weekend.

Williams, now the only woman to reach two slam finals in '17, wasn't broken on the day. At 37, she's the oldest Wimbledon finalist since Martina Navratilova in 1994, and six months after a 35-year old Serena's win in Melbourne (over *her*), Venus now has the chance to (for now, at least) become the NEW oldest women's slam champ in Open era history. Her win today moved her one match win ahead of Serena, making *her* the active career Wimbledon leader. Her ninth SW19 final matches her sister's total, as well, and if she picks up her first Ladies title since '09 she'd be just one behind Serena's career total of seven.

At this year's Wimbledon, as she has throughout her recent career resurgence, Venus has given us a series of vintage reminders of her consequential place in the game's history, allowing us to not only openly marvel at her longevity, but also her still significant skills. In many ways, after her arrival so many years ago likely precluded Venus' sole domination of the sport in the prime of her career, Serena's absence now seems to be giving her the chance to take her place in the spotlight once again. All by herself, as was formerly the case, and on her own terms, just as both sisters have preferred things all along.

Of course, even when they're apart, Venus and Serena are, as always and forever, still together as "one."

...the odd historical note that I mentioned might be possible last week has turned out to be so. No, not Pat Cash coaching CoCo Vandeweghe to her maiden slam title thirty years after he won his only major at Wimbledon. I'm talking about a 37-year old Martina Navratilova losing the '94 SW19 final to none other than Spaniard Conchita Martinez, who'll now be in the Centre Court coaching box this weekend rooting on another Spaniard, Garbine Muguruza, as *she* tries to take down the *current* 37-year old living Wimbledon legend trying to finish off yet another title run.

The Tennis Gods think they've clever little geniuses, don't they?

While Venus will surely be favored by most to lift the Venus Rosewater Dish, no one should ever look past Muguruza. Even if others do, Williams won't, though. She's seen the Spaniard take down Serena TWICE in slams (both times in Paris) and play well in a 6-4/6-4 SW19 final against her two years ago. If Muguruza, who moved on almost frighteningly easily today over Magdalena Rybarikova (considering how well the Slovak has been playing) by a 6-1/6-1 score, were to win the Ladies title she'd join the very short list of players who've defeated both Serena and Venus in slams, but have never been ranked #1. Karolina Pliskova's name will move off that list on Monday as she ascends to the top spot, leaving only Ekaterina Makarova and Sloane Stephens behind.

The Spaniard was in dominating -- dare we say it, "Serena-like?" -- form today against Rybarikova. The Slovak had won their previous grass match-up 3 & 1 two years ago in Birmingham, but Muguruza went on to reach the SW19 final a few weeks later that summer, then won the RG crown last year. But until her win today, she hadn't even reached another final, as she's spoken openly about not enjoying the pressure her win in Paris placed on her.

Against the world #87, who's raised her ranking literally 100's of places in just a few months after returning from a seven and a half month absence after two 2016 surgeries, Muguruza never allowed the variety-filled, all-court game of her long-limbed opponent to spread its wings. After having only lost her serve four times all tournament (three vs. Kerber in the 4th Rd.), she was perfect in today's semifinal. While Rybarikova seemed to have a nervous start in her first career slam QF, Muguruza was in full sprint from the start. Accurate and solid, she was constantly looking to move forward into the net when possible, controlling the rhythm of every aspect of the match, pushing her opponent back and not allowing her the chance to mix things up and risk taking her off course.

Muguruza won 15 of the first 20 points, taking a double-break lead at 4-0 after finally breaking Rybarikova on her fifth BP chance of the game after having initially led love/40. She saved a BP in game #5 (the only she'd face in the match), then fired an ace to hold for 5-0. Two games later, after Rybarikova finally held serve, the Slovak went up love/30 as Muguruza tried to serve out the set, but four consecutive errors, the last on a slice forehand return that curved outside the AD service box, gave the Spaniard the set at 6-1.

Rybarikova had come back from a set and a break down vs. Pliskova in the 2nd Round, but the impending-#1 ranked Czech had given her a shot with a bad serve game late in the 2nd set. Muguruza wasn't about to do such a thing today. Rybarikova reached GP in the opening game, but Muguruza only saw the moment as an opportunity to up the pressure, and tighten the screws. She took control of the GP rally, moved into the net and produced an error off the Slovak's racket, then used her big groundstrokes to keep Rybarikova pinned behind the baseline until she got another error to reach BP. A swing volley fired a ball too far out of reach for Rybarikova to get to it back, and Muguruza had the opening break. Firing hard and accurate shots, moving well all over the court and, maybe most importantly, displaying a take-no-prisoners attitude, Mugurza was untouchable down the stretch. She crushed a backhand down the line return winner to break at love for 3-0, then forced Rybarikova to go four deuces and save two BP just go get on the board at all for 4-1. The hold allowed the match to go past the 1:00 mark, but it was a minor victory.

Up love/40 on Rybarikova's serve two games later, Muguruza nearly pulled off a lob winner on MP. But, no matter, she simply then proceeded one point later to follow up a backhand down the line with a net rush that produced a final Rybarikova error, as she failed to get her passing shot attempt over the net. Muguruza won 6-1/6-1, but some of her match stats were even more striking. In just fourteen games, she racked up 22 winners, and was 18-of-24 at the net. Rybarikova never had a chance.

So, Muguruza will now attempt to become a multiple slam winner, and defeat a SECOND Williams in a major final in the process, too. And the crazy thing is that she's CAPABLE of doing it. A win on Saturday, if it comes, should surprise no one. But the deal with the devil (or the TG's) in her career so far is that while all her talent allows her to accomplish such things in sometimes shockingly dominant ways, the personal backlash to her success is that she can't really *enjoy* it. Almost immediately after she shows her potential she then becomes one of -- in not THE -- most frustrating player on tour, as sometimes she can be just as shockingly bad as she can be great, and often doesn't look like she even wants to be on the court. While Petra Kvitova has often been in the same situation, we KNOW that she's so much more of a force on grass, where she's won both her slams, than any other surface. Muguruza can win -- and dominate -- on ANY surface, against virtually ANYONE. Well, maybe not Serena at the AELTC, but a win over Venus would be coming mighty close.

Of course, if she does win, it'll only serve to revive all that "future #1" talk, putting the pressure right back on her after it was finally lifted last month when she was no longer the *reigning" RG champ. If she becomes the reigning Wimbledon champ, well... then what?

...the mixed doubles semis are set, and #1-seeded Martina Hingis & Jamie Murray, one after the Chan/Hingis meltdown in the WD QF, are keeping alive the Swiss Miss' final chance at this Wimbledon to claim career slam title #23, even as Venus is now a win away from career win #24. Both trail Serena on the active list, of course. Also advancing today were #2-seeded Elena Vesnina (also still in the WD) & Bruno Soares.

The MX competition began in London with four consecutive slams having produced first-time slam champs as far as the women's side of the title-winning duos. It could still happen at SW19, too, as veteran Maria Jose Martinez-Sanchez would claim her first career slam win by taking the crown with partner Marco Demoliner of Brazil. The 34-year old Spaniard, another of the WTA's growing list of mothers (to nearly four-year old Andrea), has reached three WD slam semifinals, but never a championship match, though she did win two junior doubles slams and reached the '00 AO girls singles final.

2016 Wimbledon champs Heather Watson & Henri Kontinen are still alive, as well, winning today in three sets over RG MX champs Gaby Dabrowski & Rohan Bopanna. What with the often haphazard nature of mixed pairings -- Watson/Kontinen, remember, was a last moment combination a year ago -- a successful title defense by the Brit/Fin pair would make them the first to defend a MX slam crown since the 1996-97 SW19 titles were won by the Czech all-sibling pair of Helena Sukova & Cyril Suk. juniors, even while three Bannerettes fell in the singles QF, the chances for a second straight all-U.S. girls slam final are alive and well.

The biggest result of the day involved Day. Kayla Day, that is. The #1-seed, the U.S. Open girls champion last summer, was looking to end her junior career with a Wimbledon crown, but it won't happen. She fell to fellow Bannerette Ann Li 4-6/6-2/6-1 today, a result which wasn't helped by an additional loss in doubles (w/ Katie Swan) to Jule Niemeier/Daniela Vismane (AUT/LAT). Meanwhile, Li will face Switzerland's Simona Waltert in the semis after her win over another U.S. girl, #14 Sofia Sewing, 6-2/3-6/6-3.

In the bottom half of the draw, we won't be seeing a London match-up of the Roland Garros finalists, as #2-seeded Whitney Osuigwe, who just rose to the #1 junior ranking, fell to Russian Sofya Lansere. Lansere didn't initially think she could actually play on grass, showing up in Roehampton last week, giving things a try, and telling her coach, "That's not me. Let's go back to Moscow." Thankfully, for her, she was convinced to do otherwise. Her 7-5/6-3 win over the RG champ today means she's two wins way from becoming the third straight Hordette to claim the SW19 girls title.

She'll face RG runner-up and #3 seeded Claire Liu in the semis. The #2-ranked Bannerette, who's been on a spring/summer tear on all levels, took down Canadian Carson Branstine, 4-6/6-1/6-1.

If Liu and Li reach the final, it'll be the first time back-to-back girls slam finals have been all-U.S. affairs since 1979.

...there were big doings in the opening day of wheelchair play, as #1-seeded defending champ Jiske Griffioen fell 3 & 2 in singles to her doubles partner, Aniek van Koot, who finally knocked off her fellow Dutch player after yet again being drawn to face her at a major.

On the other side of the draw, #2-seed Yui Kamiji's quest to become the first woman to win all eight slam WS/WD slam titles is alive after her 3 & 1 win over Lucy Shuker. The 23-year old from Japan will face 41-year old Sabine Ellerbrock in the semis. The German defeated Marjolein Buis (NED) 4-6/7-6(6)/6-4 today.

Van Koot will face countrywoman Diedre de Groot. The 19-year old got her first slam match win today, defeating Brit Jordanne Whiley 6-2/7-6(4).

"I WONDER...?" ON DAY 10: long it'll be before someone will try to tie Serena's pregnancy into some sort of "conspiracy theory" where the aim was to get Venus back to the top of the sport? After all, just like success at Wimbledon, THAT sort of ridiculous accusation is something of a tradition when it comes to the Sisters, too.


A KNOWN FACT ON DAY 10: A little Fed makes every player feel better.




A post shared by Daria Gavrilova (@daria_gav) on

...and, result will seal the deal in the "Colt (Centre Court) Challenge."


#14 Garbine Muguruza/ESP vs. #10 Venus Williams/USA

#9 H.Chan/Niculescu (TPE/ROU) vs. Ninomiya/Voracova (JPN/CZE)
#12 Groenefeld/Peschke (GER/CZE) vs. #2 Makarova/Vesnina (RUS/RUS)

#1 Hingis/J.Murray (SUI/GBR) vs. Martinez-Sanchez/Demoliner (ESP/BRA)
Watson/Kontinen (GBR/FIN) vs. #2 Vesnina/Soares (RUS/BRA)

Ann Li/USA def. #1 Kayla Day/USA
Simona Waltert/SUI def. #14 Sofia Sewing/USA
#3 Claire Liu/USA def. #6 Carson Branstine/CAN
Sofya Lansere/RUS def. #2 Whitney Osuigwe/USA

#1 Branstine/Kostyuk (CAN/UKR) vs. #8 Arango/Douglas (COL/USA)
#4 McNally/Osuigwe (USA/USA) vs. Apisah/Brune Olsen (PNG/NOR)
Danilovic/Juvan (SRB/SLO) vs. Niemeier/Vismane (GER/LAT)
Portillo Ramirez/Sewing (MEX/USA) vs. #2 Johnson/Liu (USA/USA)

Aniek Van Koot/NED def. #1 Jiske Griffioen/NED
Deide De Groot/NED def. Jordanne Whiley/GBR
Sabine Ellerbrock/GER def. Marjolein Buis/NED
#2 Yui Kamiji/JPN def. Lucy Shuker/GBR

#1 Griffioen/Van Koot (NED/NED) vs. Kamiji/Whiley (JPN/GBR)
Ellerbrock/Shuker (GER/GBR) vs. #2 Buis/De Groot (NED/NED)

2013 Florianopolis 2nd Rd.: Venus Williams 6-4/2-6/7-5
2014 Auckland QF: Venus Williams 6-3/6-3
2015 Wuhan Final: Venus Williams 6-3/3-0 ret.
2017 Rome QF: Garbine Muguruza 6-2/3-6/6-2
2017 Wimbledon Final: ?

4 - Elina Svitolina, UKR (4-0)
4 - Kristina Mladenovic, FRA (1-3)
4 - Caroline Wozniacki, DEN (0-4)
3 - Karolina Pliskova, CZE (3-0)
3 - Johanna Konta, GBR (2-1)
3 - Simona Halep, ROU (1-2)
2 - Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, RUS (2-0)
2 - Ash Barty, AUS (1-1)
2 - Anett Kontaveit, EST (1-1)
2 - Francesca Schiavone, ITA (1-1)
2 - Elise Mertens, BEL (1-1)
2 - Jelena Ostapenko, LAT (1-1)
14 - 5/8/1 - Angelique Kerber (7-7)
13 - 6/4/3 - Karolina Pliskova (6-7)
11 - 5/3/3 - Simona Halep (7-4)
11 - 5/5/1 - Serena Williams (8-3)
9 - 3/2/3 - Caroline Wozniacki (3-6)
8 - 4/3/1 - Petra Kvitova (6-2)
8 - 4/3/1 - Aga Radwanska (6-2)
8 - 1/3/4 - Elina Svitolina (6-2)
7 - 0/7/0 - Dominika Cibulkova (4-3)
7 - 3/2/2 - VENUS WILLIAMS (4-2)*
7 - 1/2/3 - Kristina Mladenovic (1-6)
6 - 2/3/1 - Svetlana Kuznetsova (3-3)
[2017 - U.S.]
1...Serena Williams (1-0)
1...Lauren Davis (1-0)
1...Alison Riske (0-1)

14 yrs - V.WILLIAMS (37) vs. MUGURUZA (23) - WIMBLEDON
11 yrs - Schiavone (36) d. Arruabarrena (25) - Biel
11 yrs - Pavlyuchenkova (25) d. Schiavone (36) - Rabat
10 yrs - Stosur (33) d. Gavrilova (23) - Strasbourg

36 - Francesca Schiavone (Rabat-L/Bogota-W)
36 - Venus Williams (Australian Open-L)
35 - Serena Williams (Australian Open-W)
33 - Samantha Stosur (Strasbourg-W)
41 - Kveta Peschke (Prague-W)
36 - Martina Hingis (5-1 in 6 finals)
36 - Katarina Srebotnik (Stuttgart-L)
35 - Katarina Srebotnik (Doha-W)
35 - Abigail Spears (Doha-W/Stuttgart-L)
NOTE: Peschke (42) in WD semis
35 - Abigail Spears (Australian-W)
NOTE: Hingis (36) and MJMS (34) in MX semis

Martina Navratilova (37 yrs, 258 days) — lost '94 WI to C.Martinez
VENUS WILLIAMS (37/28 days on Saturday) - in '17 WI F vs. Muguruza
Venus Williams (36/226) — '17 AO, lost to S.Williams
Serena Williams (35/125) — '17 AO, def. V.Williams
Martina Navratilova (34/325) — '91 US, lost to Seles
Serena Williams (34/287) — '16 WI, def. Kerber
Serena Williams (34/252) — '16 RG, lost to Muguruza
Serena Williams (34/127) — '16 AO, lost to Kerber

Ekaterina Makarova = Serena (2012 AO), Venus (2014 AO)
Sloane Stephens = Serena (2013 AO), Venus (2015 RG)
PREVIOUSLY ON LIST: Angelique Kerber (became #1 in 2016)
TO BE REMOVED FROM LIST ON 7/17: Karolina Pliskova (def. Serena & Venus at '16 US)
COULD JOIN LIST w/ WIN: Garbine Muguruza (def. Serena at '14 and '16 RG)

34 - Chris Evert (18-16), 1973–1988
32 - Martina Navratilova (18-14), 1975–1994
31 - Steffi Graf (22-9), 1986–1999
29 - Serena Williams (23-6), 1999–2017*
18 - Evonne Goolagong (7-11), 1971–1980
16 - VENUS WILLIAMS (7-8), 1997–2017*
13 - Monica Seles (9-4), 1990–1998

29...Serena Williams (23-6)
16...VENUS WILLIAMS (7-8)*
10..Maria Sharapova (5-5)
[5=Hingis 5-7]
4...Svetlana Kuznetsova (2-2)
4...Victoria Azarenka (2-2)
3...Angelique Kerber (2-1)

9...Serena Williams (7-2)
2...Petra Kvitova (2-0)
2...Maria Sharapova (1-1)
[1=Hingis 1-0]
1...Genie Bouchard (0-1)
1...Angelique Kerber (0-1)
1...Sabine Lisicki (0-1)
1...Agnieszka Radwanska (0-1)
1...Vera Zvonareva (0-1)

[Australian Open]
2003 lost to Serena Williams 6-7,6-3,4-6
2017 lost to Serena Williams 6-4,6-4
[Roland Garros]
2002 lost to Serena Williams 5-7,3-6
2000 d. Lindsay Davenport 6-3,7-6
2001 d. Justine Henin 6-1,3-6,6-0
2002 lost to Serena Williams 6-7,3-6
2003 lost to Serena Williams 6-4,4-6,2-6
2005 d. Lindsay Davenport 4-6,7-6,9-7
2007 d. Marion Bartoli 6-4,6-1
2008 d. Serena Williams 7-5,6-4
2009 lost to Serena Williams 6-7,2-6
2017 vs. Garbine Muguruza
[U.S. Open]
1997 lost to Martina Hingis 0-6,4-6
2000 d. Lindsay Davenport 6-4,7-5
2001 d. Serena Williams 6-2,6-4
2002 lost to Serena Williams 4-6,3-6

[Arantxa Sanchez Vicario - 12]
1989 Roland Garros (W)
1991 Roland Garros
1992 U.S. Open
1994 Australian Open
1994 Roland Garros (W)
1994 U.S. Open (W)
1995 Australian Open
1995 Roland Garros
1995 Wimbledon
1996 Roland Garros
1996 Wimbledon
1998 Roland Garros (W)
[Conchita Martinez -3]
1994 Wimbledon (W)
1998 Australian Open
2000 Roland Garris
[Garbine Muguruza - 3]
2015 Wimbledon
2016 Roland Garros (W)
2017 Wimbledon

AO: Karolina Pliskova, CZE
RG: Elina Svitolina, UKR
WI: Kristyna Pliskova, CZE
US: Daria Gavrilova, RUS
AO: An-Sophie Mestach, BEL
RG: Ons Jabeur, TUN
WI: Ashleigh Barty, AUS
AO: Grace Min, USA
AO: Taylor Townsend, USA
RG: Annika Beck, GER
WI: Eugenie Bouchard, CAN
US: Samantha Crawford, USA
AO: Ana Konjuh, CRO
RG: Belinda Bencic, SUI
WI: Belinda Bencic, SUI
US: Ana Konjuh, CRO
AO: Elizaveta Kulichkova, RUS
RG: Darya Kasatkina, RUS
WI: Jelena Ostapenko, LAT
US: Maria Bouzkova, CZE
AO: Tereza Mihalikova, SVK
RG: Paula Badosa, ESP
WI: Sofya Zhuk, RUS
US: Dalma Galfi, HUN
AO: Vera Lapko, BLR
RG: Rebeka Masarova, SUI
WI: Anastasia Potapova, RUS
US: Kayla Day, USA
AO: Marta Kostyuk, UKR
RG: Whitney Osuigwe, USA
WI: ?

[Australian Open]
1989 Kim Kessaris def. Andrea Farley
[Roland Garros]
1980 Kathy Horvath def. Kelly Henry
2017 Whitney Osuigwe def. Claire Liu
1977 Lea Antonpolis def. Mareen "Peanut" Louie
1979 Mary-Lou Piatek def. Alycia Moultron
[U.S. Open]
1979 Alycia Moulton def. Mary-Lou Piatek
1980 Susan Mascarin def. Kathrin Keil
1981 Zina Garrison def. Kate Gompert
1982 Beth Herr def. Gretchen Rush
1986 Elly Hakami def. Shaun Stafford
1992 Lindsay Davenport def. Julie Steve

TOP EARLY-ROUND (1r-2r): #6 Johanna Konta/GBR
TOP MIDDLE-ROUND (3r-QF): #14 Garbine Muguruza/ESP
TOP QUALIFYING MATCH: Q3: Petra Martic/CRO def. #1q Aleksandra Krunic/SRB 3-6/7-6(4)/7-5 (saved 6 MP)
TOP EARLY-RD. MATCH (1r-2r): 2nd Rd. - #6 Johanna Konta/GBR def. Donna Vekic/CRO 7-6(4)/4-6/10-8 (3:10; nearly 100 total winners)
TOP MIDDLE-RD. MATCH (3r-QF): 4th Rd. - #15 Garbine Muguruza/ESP def. #1 Angelique Kerber/GER 4-6/6-4/6-4
FIRST VICTORY: Wang Qiang/CHN (def. K.Chang/TPE)
FIRST SEED OUT: #31 Roberta Vinci/ITA (1st Rd. - lost to Kr.Pliskova/CZE)
REVELATION LADIES: GBR (two women -- Konta & Watson -- in 3rd Rd. for first time since '86; WC Boulter played well vs. McHale)
NATION OF POOR SOULS: CZE (0-6 2nd Rd., including"co-favorites" Kvitova & Ka.Pliskova w/ two other seeds; first time no Czechs in Wimb. 3r since '09, second time since '04)
LAST WILD CARDS STANDING: Heather Watson/GBR and Zarina Diyas/KAZ (3rd Rd.)
LAST BRIT STANDING: Johanna Konta (in SF, best British result since 1978)
IT ("??"): Nominees: Konta ("Brit"), Kamiji ("WC Career Slam Winner?")
Ms.OPPORTUNITY: Magdalena Rybarikova/SVK
COMEBACK: Victoria Azarenka/BLR
CRASH & BURN: Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova/RUS (1st Rd. loss to Ar.Rodionova after having 7 MP, one year after Wimb. QF and "Career QF Slam" completed at this year's AO; won two titles '17)
ZOMBIE QUEEN: Arina Rodionova/AUS (1st Rd. - qualifier saved 7 MP vs. Pavlyuchenkova; won 9-7 3rd for first career GS MD win; lost 2nd Rd.)
VETERAN PLAYER (KIMIKO CUP): Venus Williams/USA (37 - oldest finalist since 1994)
June 26 official: Eastbourne DC Dominika Cibulkova loses opening match to WC Heather Watson; 4 LL's win MD matches (one LL vs. LL match-up); LL Tsvetana Pironkova advances to 2nd Rd. w/ 1st Rd. bye when Petra Kvitova withdraws, gets 2nd Rd. win
Day 3 observed: On "Flying Ant Day," newly-emerged insects swarm the AELTC grounds. Meanwhile, six women's seed fall, including two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova.
"Alternate" Rad Day (Day 4): In muggy conditions, four women's seeds (and four men's) fall, including "favorite" #3 Karolina Pliskova, as no Czech woman reach the 3rd Round for the first time in eight years. Bethanie Mattek-Sands suffers a devastating knee injury. Aga Radwanska saves two MP vs. Christina McHale to advance.

All for Day 10. More tomorrow.


Blogger colt13 said...

A weird mix of jumbled thoughts, and a treasure trove of statistics.

The fact that Colt's Challenge has even managed to pick a finalist in this weird year is interesting to me. You see, Muguruza nor Williams has won a title this year, so Wimbledon will be the first this season, just as it was for Ostapenko at the French, and Serena in Australia. First time in the Open Era that the first 3 slam winners are title-less.

Konta backed up her premier Miami with a slam SF. Not counting AO as that was 2016. But that type of result puts Svitolina, and to some extent, Vandeweghe on the clock.

Vesnina did the SF first, then Indian Wells in less than a year. Pliskova won Cincinnati, the reached the USO final. So when is Svitolina going to get hers?

So why am I going after Vandeweghe? Because of the similarity to Pliskova. When that USO final rolls off, look at their results from the last 3 slams. Each have 1 SF, 1 QF. The difference? Pliskova has the 2nd rd, where Vandeweghe has the 1st. If your slam stats are similar to #1, you need to step up.

Stat of the Day-17-The amount of women in the Open Era(counting Muguruza) that have reached the Wimbledon final 2 or more times.

The prior 16 are 8-8 in their second appearance. Of that bunch, the only 3 never to have won? Henin, Sanchez Vicario, Mandlikova).

Just to be silly, I had to also check the HOF wing. Of the players to have made 9 or more finals, Venus being the 5th, they went 1-3 in their 9th attempt. And you know these things go. The only one of the four to have won in her 9th attempt? Serena.

Thu Jul 13, 06:53:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Diane said...

Those semifinal matches were just this side of boring. I wanted more! And while I know this is not a popular opinion, I'm inclined to believe it's going to be Mugu in 3 sets. When Garbine is in the zone, it's like--well, like when Petra is in the zone, or Serena.

Speaking of Petra, I know she shines on grass and indoor courts, but I consider her an all-surface player, too. I think it's just easier for her to overcome her demons on grass and indoors. If she could ever get it all straight, the Australian, at the least, would be hers. Really, the French, too. But this is Petra....just glad to have her back :)

Thu Jul 13, 08:25:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Todd.Spiker said...

Ah, great weird first-title stat there.

Maybe since Svitolina had hers on her racket in Paris she now has to "start over" as far a big title leading into a slam SF+ result? :\

Yeah, Vandeweghe's "in between" events (FC aside) have NOT been good. I wonder if that had anything to do with the Kardon-to-Cash switch?

Yeah, true about Petra. It's just that the only thing that ever really holds Mugu back is Mugu. At least Petra has her asthma, the heat, that even she admits that she'll likely never be the "most fit" player out there, etc. as a big "reason." But it's nice to be even able to wonder about all that where she's concerned, and not about whether she even CAN play again. Thankfully.

And, hey, there's nothing wrong at all if does she ultimately win 4 (or more) slams and they all end up being at Wimbledon. Nothing wrong at all. Hopefully she can get back to being her old self at SW19 in 2018 -- we've still never gotten to see that Serena/Petra final that could bring down the roof. :)

Thu Jul 13, 09:20:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Diane said...

The Rock vs. The Serena

Fri Jul 14, 12:45:00 AM EDT  

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