This week, the Czech named Kvitova showed up at the site of her first post-home invasion title run. And, well, you knoooow...
To be continued... in London?
S: Petra Kvitova/CZE def. Magdalena Rybarikova/SVK 4-6/6-1/6-2
D: Timea Babos/Kristina Mladenovic (HUN/FRA) d. Elise Mertens/Demi Schuurs (BEL/NED) 4-6/6-3 [10-8]
S: Tatjana Maria/GER def. Anastasija Sevastova/LAT 6-4/7-5
D: Andreja Klepac/Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez (SLO/ESP) d. Lucie Safarova/Barbora Stefkova (CZE/CZE) 6-1/3-6 [10-3]
...Birmingham was where everything began to come together again for Kvitova. Six months after emergency surgery that saved her career, the Czech returned to her beloved English grass courts last summer and showed just why she's been the most lethal and feared lawn ornament not named Serena since she burst through the field to claim her first Wimbledon championship in 2011. Exactly one year ago, the Czech made Birmingham the site of her first title run in her comeback.
Well, this week, she returned. After a spring in which she shined on the clay, quite possibly a better player than she was before. When it was all over, she'd won the sixth title since her return, reaching five season titles faster than anyone since 2013 (Serena again), improving her '18 record from the QF on to an insane 15-0, and becoming the first player since 2015 (Kerber) to win titles on three different surfaces in a season. Her 25th career title breaks her out of a third place tie with Jana Novotna (24) for the most on tour by a player representing Czechoslovakia/Czech Republic, putting her two behind all-time leader Hana Mandlikova's 27 (Ms.Navratilova, of course, won most of *her* crowns as either a "stateless" player or when representing the U.S.).
Last week, Kvitova reached the final without dropping a set, taking down Johanna Konta, Dasha Gavrilova, Julia Goerges and Mihaela Buzarnescu allowing just 7, 4, 5 and 5 games, respectively, to her opponents. While trying to defend her title in the final against Magdalena Rybarikova, Kvitova dropped the 1st set to the Slovak, but quickly rebounded and won the final two at 1 & 2.
More 2018 Petra stats:— WTA Insider (@WTA_insider) June 24, 2018
- Fastest to 5 titles since 2013 Serena.
- Has won a title on all 3 surfaces.
- 5-0 in QFs, 5-0 in SFs, 5-0 in finals.
- Leads tour in match-wins (37-7).
- Leads tour in 3-set wins (14-2).
- 14-2 vs. Top 20.#NatureValleyClassic pic.twitter.com/xEy96eX3bc
"It's amazing to defend a title. It hasn't happened in a long time for me, it's great" - @Petra_Kvitova, who became the first person since 2005 to defend the #NatureValleyClassic crown! pic.twitter.com/XkGLjFPn6Q— WTA (@WTA) June 24, 2018
We'll find out this week just what the All-England Club is going to do with Serena Williams and her position in the draw, but we won't know just where the seven-time SW19 is (figuratively, and competitively, I mean) with the injury that caused her first career mid-slam withdrawal in Paris until a little after that. But, until then and if/when Williams looks the part she's played in London so many times in the past (she hasn't lost there since 2014, coincidentally-or-not also the last year a certain Czech lifted the Venus Rosewater dish at the end of the fortnight), I suppose it's pretty clear who the Wimbledon favorite will be heading into Day 1, huh?
RISERS: Mihaela Buzarnescu/ROU, Anastasija Sevastova/LAT and Alison Riske/USA
...the surfaces change, but Buzarnescu doesn't.
Since the turning of the calendar to 2018, the 30-year old Romanian haven't favored any one surface over another. She's just been consistently better than average, and sometimes *very* good, on all of them as she's steadily moved up the rankings through the season's first half. What once was a #72 ranking at the end of 2017 will be another new career high of #28 in the Monday rankings following Buzarnescu's fourth SF-or-better result of the season. After recording an early season RU result (and $100K SF) on hard courts, then another RU, SF and RG 4th Round on clay, the veteran Swarmette following up her Nottingham QF with another SF in Birmingham this week, defeating both Timea Babos and Petra Martic (Wimbledon Round of 16 in '17) in three sets, then solidifying her first career Top 5/10 win in Paris over Elina Svitolina by taking down the #5-ranked Ukrainian for the second time in a matter of weeks. Petra Kvitova proved to be too much to overcome in the semifinals, but Buzarnescu's latest spark of success is just another chapter in what is turning out to possibly be a runaway Most Improved Player candidacy for 2018.
Meanwhile, Sevastova's appearance in the Mallorca final was her third straight since the tournament was founded in 2016 (she also reached the WD final in '17). This week the 28-year old Latvian put up wins over Svetlana Kuznetsova, Antonia Lottner, Ajla Tomljanovic and Sam Stosur in her title defense attempt, though her loss to Tatjana Maria in the final does drop her overall singles record in the event to 13-2.
Riske didn't add another *huge* result to a grass court season that already included a $100K challenger win in Surbiton and a QF result at Rosmalen, but the Bannerette's second straight tour-level QF in Mallorca, where she went from qualifier to an upset winner over Angelique Kerber in a two-day match that was suspended at 1-1 in the 3rd set. She then got another win over Polona Hercog before somewhat surprising going down at the hands of Sam Stosur. Still, her uneven week *does* give her more QF-or-better results on tour than *any* of her countrywomen this season. Riske's four such results top the three posted so far from Sloane Stephens and Madison Keys. After being ranked outside the Top 100 for much of 2018, Riske will be back in the Top 60 on Monday, her best standing since last October.
SURPRISES: Dalila Jakupovic/SLO and Johanna Larsson/SWE
...after having mostly toiled in virtual obscurity over the past decade, 27-year old Slovenian Jakupovic has made a quantum leap in results this season. Just over the last four months, really. Since winning the biggest title of her career in March in a $60K in Canberra, Australia (def. Destanee Aiava in the final), Jakupovic has posted her best WTA result (a SF in Bogota) and has surged into the grass court season by producing her second/third best tour level results by reaching back-to-back QF in Nottingham (where she got her first Top 50 win over #49 Camila Giorgi) and Birmingham (where she notched two Top 20 victories). This week in Birmingham, she qualified for the MD with wins over Jasmine Paolini (on her 7th MP in the two-day match, which had been suspended at 5-3, 40/30 in the 3rd set after Jakupovic had failed to convert 2 MP), Sachia Vickery and Bernarda Pera. In the 1st Round against Elise Mertens, she saved three MP and notched her first career Top 20 win on her sixth MP, then got past a second Top 20 player when Naomi Osaka retired from their 2nd Round contest. Jakupovic fell in the QF to Magdalena Rybarikova, but will climb into the Top 100 for the first time on Monday as she'll come in at #92.
Dalila Jakupovic in action during her Birmingham QF pic.twitter.com/KABO2bsydE— Jimmie48 Photography (@JJlovesTennis) June 22, 2018
That Larsson had a successful week isn't a "surprise," per se. The 29-year old Swede did win a title in Nurnberg a few weeks ago. But this week in Mallorca the success came on grass, and that *is* a break from Larsson's normal career pattern. She arrived in Spain having not won a singles match on grass since 2014 (a Q1 Eastbourne victory that came via a retirement from Mirjana Lucic-Baroni), and hadn't converted a MP on the surface since 2011 (Rosmalen vs. Kirsten Flipkens). Other than the Lucci retirement win, Larsson had lost all thirteen *full* grass court matches she'd played starting with a loss to Jelena Dokic in the Rosmalen QF seven years ago. Over the course of this past week, though, Larsson notched three straight wins on grass, defeating Kathinka von Deichman and Maryna Zanevska (from 7-5/5-1 down and saving 6 MP) in qualifying, then one in the MD over Sorana Cirstea before falling to #1-seeded Caroline Garcia.
VETERANS: Tatjana Maria/GER, Magdalena Rybarikova/SVK and Barbora Strycova/CZE
...while she hasn't gotten the same sort of press as others on tour, the now 30-year old Maria has put up her best career results since having her daughter Charlotte in December 2013. Her best slam result (RG 3rd '16), highest ranking (#46 last November) and now maiden tour singles final and title this week in Mallorca have all come since she became a mother. Truthfully, she got more attention when she threatened to sue -- or at least didn't deny that she was looking into the matter -- because Alize Cornet took too much time doing all her usual "Alize stuff" in a match between the two in Paris in 2016.
Last week, Maria posted wins over Anett Kontaveit, Carina Witthoeft, Lucie Safarova and Sonya Kenin to reach her first tour-level singles final (she's won fifteen ITF crowns, going 5-3 in $100K challenger finals going back to 2007). Once there, she outlasted defending champ Sevastova 6-4/7-5, coming back from 0-4 down in the 2nd to win in straights and record her second career Top 20 win. It makes her just the third first-time WTA singles champ of 2018, but the second in the past two weeks (along with "The Bracelet" Krunic, after Naomi Osaka in March). At 30 years old and a little over ten months, Maria is the oldest first-time singles champ on tour since a 31-year old Alberta Brianti won in Fes in 2007, and just the second thirtysomething maiden WTA title winner (w/ a 30-year old Peng Shuai in Tianjin in '16) in the last ten seasons.
In Birmingham, the same tournament where she won her maiden tour title nine years ago, 29-year old Rybarikova once again showed her affinity for grass court tennis. Essentially giving herself a "mulligan" for her Nottingham result -- going three vs. Gabriela Ruse, then losing in three to Mona Barthel -- Rybarikova reminded everyone that she's a former Wimbledon girls finalist (2006, a loss to Wozniacki), and won a pair of $100K grass challenger tune-ups last year preceding her semifinal result at SW19. She opened with a win over Karolina Pliskova (she also defeated the Czech in the 2nd Round at last year's Wimbledon), than ran off a string of victories over Kristina Mladenovic, Dalila Jakupovic and Barbora Strycova to improved her grass court record to 23-3 in her last twenty-six matches on the surface and reach her eighth career tour-level final. Of course, that's when she met up with good friend Petra Kvitova. Rybarikova took the opening set, but then saw the Czech lift her game to a place where the Slovak could not follow, as she won just three total games in the 2nd and 3rd sets. So, while Rybarikova *still* hasn't won a tour singles title since defending her Washington D.C. crown in 2013, she's now likely put herself in confident position for another second week experience at the AELTC. Starting with her semifinal there last year, she's had four consecutive personal best (new or matching) slam results, advancing as deep as she ever has at the U.S. Open (3rd), Australian Open (4th) and Roland Garros (3rd) since her breakthrough result in London last summer.
In Birmingham, 32-year old Czech Strycova reached her first singles semifinal since her final four run in Linz last October, courtesy of victories over Jennifer Brady (who defeated her in the U.S. Open 2nd Round last summer), reigning Wimbledon champ Garbine Muguruza (2 & 4) and Lesia Tsurenko (who retired mid-way through the 2nd set). She lost to Magdalena Rybarikova in the semis, but will head to SW19 with momentum as she looks to record a Round of 16 or better result at a third consecutive slam for the first time in her career (she did it at the AO & RG). Strycova reached the Wimbledon QF in 2014, her best singles result at a major.
COMEBACKS: Samantha Stosur/AUS and Lucie Safarova/CZE & Barbora Stefkova/CZE
...Stosur and Safarova have combined for eleven overall slam titles (and seven more finals) during their career, with both reaching the singles Top 5 and doubles #1. Going into this past week, though, neither could call herself a Top 50 player, and only one was ranked in the Top 100.
Stosur was #103, sporting a triple-digit ranking for the first time since 2008. But the 34-year old Aussie, coming off a spring that saw her post two QF results on clay heading into Roland Garros, this week in Mallorca warmed up for Wimbledon by reaching a semifinal for the first time on tour since she won in Strasbourg last year. Wins over Marketa Vondrousova, Lara Arruabarrena and Alison Riske (yes, THAT Riske, 4 & 2, on GRASS... yes, THAT Sam Stosur) put the Aussie into the final four at a grass event for the first time since 2011 (Eastbourne). The result will lift Stosur to #86 this week.
Alison Riske thought her return backhand was way out (me too!) it wasn't ??! So Stosur smashes the ball back.. NEVER SEEN THIS BEFORE.. #naturevalleyclassic @Riske4rewards ?? Ali ! ?? pic.twitter.com/msvuTQt5Sc— Maarten vdMaazen (@myalansky) June 22, 2018
Also in Mallorce, 31-year old Safarova made the first big strides in her latest comeback after missing time due to a recurrence of the sort of viral illness that's knocked her down and out in the past. The Czech was #53 in singles heading into the week, and #27 in doubles, but put up significant results in both disciplines. In just her third event since having to take another break from the tour in February, Safarova came into the week having gone 2-2 (and 1-1 in doubles) since her return. She posted back-to-back wins over Marta Kostyuk and Victoria Azarenka, the latter her second straight over the former #1 in their first meeting since the 2015 Doha final (officially turning the tables on their eight-match head-to-head series, as she'd lost her first six career match-ups with Vika from 2007-11, winning just one set). Safarova lost in the QF to eventual champ Tatjana Maria, but her first two-win tournament since the Australian Open will bump her ranking up to #66 on Monday.
In doubles, after announcing that Team Bucie would reunite at Wimbledon one year after Bethanie Mattek-Sands' ugly knee dislocation injury at the All-England Club, Safarova teamed with fellow Czech Stefkova to reach the doubles final (her first without BMS since 2014) without dropping a set. They fell to Klepac/Martinez Sanchez, but as was the case with her countrywoman it was a very good week for Stefkova. She was out of action in 2017 from mid-March until December due to a wrist injury, after having taken an upturn and reached a new career high of #154 in February. She returned at the end of the year, but then missed an additional two months this year with a lower leg injury. She's since rebounded by winning a $15K doubles title in March, reaching the WTA 125 WD final in Bol a few weeks ago, and now putting up her first tour-level doubles final result with Safarova. Playing with a protected ranking, Stefkova had been #727 in singles this week, and #247 in doubles.
First top 10 win:))) pic.twitter.com/PU9Y6yINny— Sonya Kenin (@SonyaKenin) June 22, 2018
FRESH FACES: Sonya Kenin/USA and Kaja Juvan/SLO
...19-year old Moscow-born Hordette Kenin broke out of her mini-slump (a five-match clay court losing streak, four of them in tour-level events, and 0-5 in her last five WTA events starting with Charleston) in Mallorca. Big time. Kenin, a top junior just a few seasons ago (ranking as high as #2, winning a Junior Fed Cup crown and reaching the '15 U.S. Open girls final), had been hitting her stride on the pro tour earlier this year on hard courts. She reached the Auckland QF, defeating Jana Fett *before* the Croat nearly upset Caroline Wozniacki in Melbourne, and then taking the 1st set herself vs. the Dane before losing in three. Kenin then qualified in both Indian Wells and Miami, posting three combined MD wins in the two events, one of them over Dasha Kasatkina, and then following that one up by taking Petra Kvitova to three sets after taking the 1st. In Mallorca, the world #91 qualified (knocking off Rosmalan semifinalist Viktoria Kuzmova) then added additional victories over Kateryna Kozlova, Alison Van Uytvanck and top-seeded Caroline Garcia to reach her maiden WTA semi and finally garner her first career Top 10 win after having come so close in her only two previous matches against top-ranked players Wozniacki and Kvitova. Her run ended at the hands of Tatjana Maria, but she'll climb to a new career high of #76 on Monday as she moves past the likes of Venr Lapko and CiCi Bellis to become the highest ranked teenager on tour.
Meanwhile, 17-year old Juvan picked up her fourth career ITF challenger win in the $25K event in Ystad, Sweden. The Slovenian defeated Romania's Andreea Amalia Rosca (a four-time ITF champ in '18) in three sets in the final to take the crown, winning her second title in four events and improving to 17-2 overall on the circuit since the the first week of May. On the verge of breaking into the Top 300, the teenager hasn't played a junior match since last October, but she's still the #19-ranked girl, having won the European Junior Championship last summer (def. Marta Kostyuk in the final), reached the Roehampton final (falling to Claire Liu, who'd go on to win the SW19 girls crown), and won the Wimbledon girls doubles title in '17. In 2016, she was the Orange Bowl champ after running off a (now obviously) impressive string of victories over Ashley Lahey, Olga Danilovic, Maria Carle, Whitney Osuigwe and Anastasia Potapova.
DOWN: Anett Kontaveit/EST
...Kontaveit has always had a good relationship with the grass in her tennis career, but her experiences on the surface so far this month have left her wanting. The 22-year old Estonian lists Wimbledon as her favorite tournament, and she has good reason. In 2012, she reached the girls semis there, and a year later she played the final junior match of her career at the AELTC (losing to eventual champ Belinda Bencic in the 3rd Round). She made her slam MD debut at Wimbledon in '14 after a successful qualifying run (which had followed a 10-2 run in grass court challengers at age 18). In '15, another Kontaveit string of successes on grass (successively, a $50K Eastbourne win, $50K Surbiton SF and $50K Ilkley SF) earned her a Wimbledon wild card from the All-England Club. In 2016, the Estonian recorded a win over Caroline Wozniacki en route to the Nottingham QF, and qualified at Eastbourne. Last year, she won her first seven grass court matches of the season, grabbing the title at Rosmalen and reaching the 3rd Round at Wimbledon (def. Wozniacki again). This year, though, Kontaveit will arrive in London without a grass win under her belt. A week after falling to Veronika Kudermetova in the 1st Round in her title defense attempt in the Netherlands, she lost her opening match in three sets to Tatjana Maria this week to fall to 0-2. She won't be in Eastbourne this week trying to rectify the matter before things get truly serious in the season's third slam a week from Monday, so she'll have to create her momentum from scratch this time around.
ITF PLAYER: Tereza Smitkova/CZE
...while 23-year old Czech Smitkova won the Wimbledon lottery this weekend in Ilkley, 18-year old former SW19 girls finalist Yastremska continued her recent history of being an unlucky runner-up.
?? Fuzion 100 Ilkley Trophy women’s singles Champion Tereza Smitkova qualifies for Wimbledon with win & tells Tom Clayton,— Live Sports FM (@LiveSportsFM) June 24, 2018
“I can’t believe it, it’s like a dream”
Listen via: https://t.co/2x23Sk8Toh#IlkleyTrophy #Wimbledon ?? pic.twitter.com/faYfybAd85
At the last if-you-want-to-get-into-Wimbledon-do-something-here $100K grass court challenger of the month (there's another tune-up in South Sea this week, but winning won't get anyone a last second "call up"), after Alison Riske and Ons Jabeur had walked off with titles in Surbiton and Manchester, respectively, in recent weeks, Smitkova's title run in Ilkley will allow her to set up an overdue "second date" with the All-England Club four full years after her first encounter with the main draw there. In 2014, Smitkova successfully qualified and made her MD slam debut at Wimbledon, making it all the way to the Round of 16. She finished that season at #83 after winning a WTA 125 title, but has slowly drifted from the spotlight ever since. After appearing in her sixth straight slam MD at the '15 U.S. Open (she won at least one match in four of them), Smitkova had missed or failed to qualify for the last ten majors before her win in Ilkley garnered her the AELTC's final women's MD WC berth. She did manage to win her first ITF title (a $25K) in three years last season, and added another earlier this year. After reaching a high ranking of #57 in '15, the Czech found herself at #235 this week. The title run that ended with a 7-6(2)/3-6/7-6(4) win over Yastremska will lift her ranking to #167.
For Yastremka, ranked #151 but still seeking her first career slam MD berth, she'll have to make her way to through the Q-rounds in order to reach the Wimbledon Ladies singles field. She was part of a great girls final there (losing in three to Anastasia Potapova in what sort of resembled a "young Caro/Maria mash-up vs. Vika 2.0" battle) two years ago, and has now reached (but lost) three $100K challenger finals (on three different surfaces) since last September. The Ukrainian is the only player to reach multiple $100K finals in 2018, also falling to Rebecca Peterson in Cagnes-sur-mer this spring. She'll be at #127 on Monday. Yastremska recently celebrated her 18th birthday with, umm, understated fanfare.
JUNIOR STARS: Selma Stefania Cadar/ROU and Coco Gauff/USA
...at the clay court Grade 1 Allianz Kundler German Juniors event in Berlin, 18-year old Romanian Cadar claimed her biggest career title, defeating four seeds, including #1 Margaryta Bilokin in the semis and #10-seeded Hordette Oksana Selekhmeteva (def. #11 Elli Mandlik in the SF) in a 6-3/6-0 final. Both were playing in their first G1 singles final. Earlier this year, Cadar lost to Clara Tauson in the Perin Memorial QF, while the 15-year old Russian last week fell to Offenbach champ Lea Ma in the semis.
And, if a Romanian isn't picking up a copy of something from Bram Stoker, I'd say this'll do...
In Baton Rouge, Louisiana it was Roland Garros girls champ Gauff causing a stir on the ITF level with a brief run in a $25K challenger. The 14 (and three months)-year old, playing in just her second pro event (w/ a $25K in Florida last month), made her way through qualifying (3 wins) for a second time *and* once again notched a MD victory, defeating countrywoman Hayley Carter, who just wrapped up her NCAA career at Oklahoma State and kicked off her pro career with a doubles titles at this very event alongside Ena Shibahara (who just wrapped up her own UCLA career). Gauff should soon become the first player born in 2004 (!!) to earn a pro ranking.
DOUBLES: Timea Babos/Kristina Mladenovic (HUN/FRA) and Andreja Klepac/Maria Jose Martinez-Sanchez (SLO/ESP)
...while yet another shoe was dropping in the odd, mysterious and secretive world of WTA doubles in 2018 -- Elena Vesnina's sudden and (as yet) unexplained withdrawal from Eastbourne and Wimbledon, where she was the defending champ with co-#1 ranking Ekaterina Makarova and has played every year since 2006... speculation has ranged from her being pregnant to, well, who knows what -- two more doubles champion duos were crowned in this week's grass events.
AO champions Babos & Mladenovic finally lifted their second trophy of the year (they'd gone six events w/o reaching a final since Melbourne) while defeating the only other team to win multiple tour-level WD titles in 2018, Elise Mertens & Demi Schuurs. Last week's winners at Rosmalen, Mertens & Schuurs were looking for a second consecutive title run, which would have give Schuurs *three distinct* back-to-back title runs this season on a third different surface (after HC Brisbane/Hobart and RC Rome/Nurnberg). But Babos/Mladenovic put a stop to that, following up a banner week that saw them reach the final without dropping a set vs. the likes of Barty/Vandeweghe, King/Srebotnik and Krejcikova/Siniakova with a win on Sunday via a 10-8 3rd set TB, coming back from a set down take the crown. It's their fifth overall title together, and the eighteenth for both in their careers.
In Mallorca, the veteran pair of Klepac & MJMS (who got the win over the Williams Sisters in Paris a couple of weeks back) finally got their first '18 title in their fourth apparance in a final this year. Like Babos/Mladenovic, they didn't drop a set on their way to the final, putting up wins over Medina-Garrigues/Parra-Santonja, Week 24 champs Rosolska/Spears and Knoll/A.Smith. The all-Czech duo of Safarova/Stekova forced things to a deciding super TB in the final, but Klepac & Martinez-Sanchez won it 10-3. Their second title together, it's Klepac's fourteenth WTA win and MJMS's nineteenth.
FED CUP MVP: Marcela Zacarias/MEX
...before the Fed Cup final this fall, there is still some unfinished business to take care of in zone play, as the Americas II region promoted one nation to Americas I play in '19 in a round of competition in Metepec, Mexico this week, while another will advance in Week 29 in Ecuador.
As it turned out, the host team from Mexico completed an undefeated week, sweeping through the competition (allowing just two games in Pool play in one match-up with Barbados) and closing things out with a 2-0 win over Peru in the Promotional Playoff. Marcela Zacarias (14-2 in her FC singles career) picks up MVP honors with her 3-0 singles performance, which included the clinching win over Anastasia Iamachkine to defeat Peru. Fernanda Contreras Gomez (Vanderbilt) went a combined 3-0 (2-0s/1-0d), while Maria Jose Portillo Ramirez (1-0/2-0) contributed, as well. As for the 2nd place Peruvians, 15-year old Dana Guzman's was a notable story. The #105-ranked girl made her non-junior debut in this FC competition. She took on the team's lead role, going a combined 3-1 (2-0/1-1) in pool play before falling 6-0/7-5 in the opening match (vs. Contreras Gomez) in the Promotional Playoff.
WHEELCHAIR: Diede de Groot/NED
...we got another dose of de Groot/Kamiji (or Kamiji/de Groot) this week in France. At the BNP Paribas Open de France, the #1-ranked de Groot and #2 Yui Kamiji once again crossed paths. First they teamed up to take the doubles title, defeating Dana Mathewson & Lucy Shuker 2 & love in the final, then were on opposite sides of the net for the 18th times in singles. In yet another singles final between the two (the eighth straight in their head-to-head series), the Netherlands' de Groot, who reclaimed the top ranking despite losing to Kamiji in the RG final (after having defeated her in the AO final), got her sixth career win over the Japanese woman (fourth in their last five meetings) with a 7-5/6-4 victory. The result ended Kamiji's 23-match singles winning streak since losing to de Groot in Melbourne. The win will keep de Groot at #1 (she was a semifinalist at the event in '17, while Kamiji won it), but the top ranking will likely be up in the air again in London, where de Groot is the defending champ while Kamiji (seeking to become the first to win all eight slam s/d titles) fell in the semis last summer.
*Kamiji vs. de Groot*
2018 BNP Paribas Open de France Final - DE GROOT 7-5/6-4
2018 Roland Garros Final - KAMIJI 2-6/6-0/6-2
2018 Australian Open Final - DE GROOT 7-6(6)/6-4
2017 NEC Wheelchair Tennis Masters Final - DE GROOT 7-5/6-4
2017 Open d'Amiens Hauts de France Final - DE GROOT 1-6/7-5/6-3
2017 US Open Final - KAMIJI 7-5/6-2
2017 US Open USTA Wheelchair Chsps Final - KAMIJI 5-7/6-3/7-6(12)
2017 British Open WC Tennis Chsps Final - KAMIJI 6-4/6-3
2017 BNP Paribas Open de France SF - KAMIJI 6-4/6-3
2017 Japan Open Final - KAMIJI 6-2/6-2
2017 Melbourne Wheelchair Tennis Open SF - KAMIJI 6-3/6-4
2017 Apia Int'l Sydney WC Tennis Open SF - DE GROOT 7-5/7-6(5)
2016 Paralympic Games Bronze - KAMIJI 6-3/6-3
2016 BNP Paribas Open de France Final - KAMIJI 6-3/7-6(4)
2016 Toyota Open Int'l de L'ile de Re SF - DE GROOT 4-6/7-5/1-0 ret.
2015 Sardinia Open QF - KAMIJI 6-1/6-1
2015 BNP Paribas Open de France QF - KAMIJI 6-2/6-4
2014 Swiss Open Starling Hotel Geneva 1st Rd. - KAMIJI 6-1/6-2
This week i saw the first test set-up for my new wheelchair. The first model is made of plastic and will be adjusted after the fitting. I can't wait to play in the new fitted seat. #wheelchairtennis #yonex #newchair @SunriseMedical pic.twitter.com/7Z99fxfiKy— Diede de Groot (@DiedetheGreat) June 19, 2018
Magdalena Rybarikova in action during her Birmingham quarterfinal pic.twitter.com/0E9MEbVjR0— Jimmie48 Photography (@JJlovesTennis) June 22, 2018
Magdalena Rybarikova talks to the media after making the Birmingham semi-final pic.twitter.com/rH4hPZyLkX— Jimmie48 Photography (@JJlovesTennis) June 22, 2018
1. Birmingham 1st Rd. - Dalila Jakupovic def. Elise Mertens
...3-6/7-6(7)/6-1. Mertens led 6-3/5-3, and held three MP. Jakupovic ultimately won on her sixth MP, getting her first career Top 20 win en route to the quarterfinals. Mertens has lost three of her last four singles matches.
Roar! Big win for Slovenia’s Dalila Jakupovic who beats Elise Mertens to make Birmingham R2 pic.twitter.com/IuxWfEgjYq— Jimmie48 Photography (@JJlovesTennis) June 19, 2018
2. Mallorca Q2 - Johanna Larsson def. Maryna Zanevska
...5-7/7-6(1)/6-3. The Swede's surprising grass court run almost didn't happen. And probably shouldn't have. Zanevska led 7-5/5-1 and held six MP before Larsson surged back to convert a MP of her own on the surface for the first time since 2011.
25 titles! I can't quite believe it ??— Petra Kvitova (@Petra_Kvitova) June 24, 2018
Thanks so much to everyone in Birmingham for a fantastic tournament ??
Also, congratulations to Magda... and to my headband for staying on all week ?? pic.twitter.com/ZU4SAS6xMj
3. Birmingham Final - Petra Kvitova def. Magdalena Rybarikova
...4-6/6-1/6-2. Rybarikova knows the feeling. She also lost to Kvitova in the New Haven final in 2014.
4. Birmingham 2nd Rd. - Magdalena Rybarikova def. Kristina Mladenovic
...3-6/6-2/6-1. Sometimes the cycle that one begins is a never-ending one.
Jo Durie just dragged Mladenowitch on commentating ???? “she may speak many languages but does she speak tennis right now” ??????— J (@cornutsintercom) June 20, 2018
5. Mallorca Final - Tatjana Maria def. Anastasija Sevastova
...6-4/7-5. Germany is the first nation to produce three different singles champions -- Goerges, Kerber and now Maria -- in 2018.
Meanwhile, in other German tennis news...
???????? pic.twitter.com/7NJxl1cve1— Jule Goerges?????? (@juliagoerges) June 18, 2018
6. Birmingham Q1 - Dalila Jakupovic def. Jasmine Paolini
...7-6(5)/4-6/7-6(6). After failing to convert two MP and seeing play suspended while she was leading 5-3, 40/30 in the 3rd, Jakupovic finally won on her seventh overall MP the following day, ending the 2:32 (and overnight) contest.
7. Mallorca 1st Rd. - Victoria Azarenka def. Stefanie Voegele
...6-7(4)/6-3/7-5. These two have faced off four times, with the matches having a healthy, sometimes life-altering period of time between them (2010, '12, '14 and '18). Azarenka is now 4-0 vs. the Swiss, but this one had a bit of a similar feel to her win over Voegele four years ago. In Brisbane in 2014, it took Vika ten MP -- after having led 6-4/5-4, 40/love -- to finally secure the win.
8. Birmingham Q1 - Jodie Anna Burrage def. Bojana Jovanovski Petrovic
...7-6(5)/6-3. 26-year old Serb Jovanovski was a Top 100 player from 2010-15, but saw injury send her crashing outside the Top 600 in 2016. After a nearly 20-month absence due to wrist and shoulder surgeries, she's posted an overall 7-6 mark since returning to the courts in January. And, hey, she didn't show up at an airport in Birmingham, ALABAMA for this match, either... so, bonus! Sometimes the cycle that one begins is a never-ending one.
9. Birmingham QF - Mihaela Buzarnescu def. Elina Svitolina
...6-3/6-2. What does it say for Elina (and Mihaela) that she'd likely rather face Simona than Buzarnescu, if she could play a game of "Pick Your Romanian Opponent?" Since defeating Halep in the Rome final, Simona has won Roland Garros, while Svitolina has lost twice to her countrywoman on two different surfaces.
10. Mallorca QF - Sonya Kenin def. Caroline Garcia
...6-3/6-3. Another teen Bannerette. Another eyebrow-raising result.
11. $25K Baton Rouge Final - Astra Sharma def. Maria Mateas
...6-2/6-1. Shades of Danielle Collins, as all the graduating NCAA stars begin to pop out onto the pro tour. Aussie Sharma, the #1-ranked NCAA singles player for 2017-18 while at Vanderbilt, picked up her fourth career ITF crown here (and reached the WD final, too).
12. $25K Klosters SUI Final - Akgul Amanmuradova/Ekaterina Gorgodze def. Lucie Hradecka/Yuki Naito
...6-2/6-3. Congrats to Amanmuradova/Gorgodze, but here's to Hradecka & Naito, as the 33-year old Czech and the 17-year old Japanase junior formed a rather unexpected duo and nearly walked away with a title. Why is Hradecka playing in a $25K, and reaching her smallest doubles final since 2009? Well, probably because she's only recently back after missing nine months due to knee surgery. This was her fourth event in her return, and she finally recorded her first post-surgery wins, getting one in singles and three more w/ Naito by her side.
Elena Rybakina, now representing Kazakhstan ???? pic.twitter.com/R3OF5nr7Ow— Graham (@juki_tennis) June 20, 2018
Look who's back on the court again! ??— USTA (@usta) June 21, 2018
Just one month after knee surgery, #TeamUSATennis @FedCup ?? @Shelby_Rogers_ begins the road back to the pro tour.
Follow the Americans: https://t.co/87WjFgGbQB
??: @Shelby_Rogers_ pic.twitter.com/JA9PrxFtU5
...6-2/6-3. Pliskova didn't know what hit her. Again. After losing to the Slovak on grass in three sets at last year's Wimbledon, Karolina got just five games this time. Rybarikova, already with an all-court style advantage, actually led the Czech 8-5 in aces on the day, too.
2. Birmingham 1st Rd. - Dasha Kasatkina def. KRISTYNA PLISKOVA 3-6/7-5/6-4
Eastbourne Q2 - KRISTYNA PLISKOVA def. Arantxa Rus 7-6(2)/7-5
...there was little joy in Birmingham for the twins. Kristyna served for the match vs. Kasatkina, but lost (hmmm, I get the feeling I've heard a similar scenario involving Pliskova before... many times, in fact). But at least she'll get another shot at getting her grass court footing at Eastbourne. She'll face Harriet Dart in the 1st Round, and if she can win there and over Anastasija Sevastova in the 2nd Round, she COULD get another shot at the Russian.
3. Birmingham 1st Rd. - ANGEL CHAN/Yang Zhaoxuan def. LATISHA CHAN/Gaby Dabrowski
...6-4/3-6 [10-5]. While Latisha continues to bleed ranking points -- she was the defending champion in Birmingham, and is again in Eastbourne -- the players who surpassed her for #1 will miss another slam as a duo due to Elena Vesnina's sudden withdrawal (Makarova will play w/ Zvonareva). Does Birmingham champ Timea Babos now essentially have the #1 ranking on her racket for London?
Naomi Broady, GBR (28) - Broady (whose brother Liam also got a WC from the AELTC) has been in the Wimbledon draw as either a qualifier (2008-09) or wild card (2011-12,14-15,17-18) eight times since 2008. She lost in qualifying twice (2010,13) and has only been automatically placed in the draw once (2016, when she was #83). She's only won one SW19 MD match (2014).
Harriet Dart, GBR (21) - at her career-high ranking just outside the Top 200, the London native will make her slam debut in her back yard
Katy Dunne, GBR (23) - after falling in previous efforts to reach the MD as a Q-round WC, Dunne gets an outright pass into the big draw this time around. It'll be her slam debut.
Ons Jabeur, TUN (23) - a Wimbledon qualifier in 2017, Jabeur earned her WC with a title run at the $100K Manchester event
Tereza Smitkova, CZE (23) - the Czech reached the 4th Round of Wimbledon at age 19 in 2014, but hasn't played in a slam MD since 2015. Her win at the $100K Ilkley challenger got her into this one.
Katie Swan, GBR (19) - the *third* British Katie/Katy presented with a WC, Swan reached the Wimbledon girls QF in '15, and got a women's MD WC in '16. She lost in qualifying last year, though, when the All-England Club decided to not use up all its potential WC passes (Swan was #361 at the time). Finally 100% healthy, the teenager is currently pushing for her first Top 200 ranking.
Gabriella Taylor, GBR (20) - she'll make her slam MD debut after reaching the $100K Surbiton quarters, and pushing Nottingham defending champ Donna Vekic to a 3rd set TB in the 1st Round
Ever since I was a young girl, I dreamed of playing on the biggest stage, it doesn’t come any bigger than @Wimbledon .????Thank you @Wimbledon for this incredible opportunity !!! pic.twitter.com/aM3uQBfluI— Gabriella Taylor (@gabitaylorr) June 20, 2018
*YOUNGEST 2018 SLAM WC*
AO - Wang Xinyu, CHN (16)
AO - Destanee Aiava, AUS (17)
AO - Jaimee Fourlis, AUS (18)
WI - Katie Swan, GBR (19)
AO - Lizette Cabrera, AUS (20)
WI - Gabriella Taylor, GBR (20)
AO - Jessika Ponchet, FRA (21)
RG - Jessic Ponchet, FRA (21)
RG - Fiona Ferro, FRA (21)
RG - Isabelle Wallace, AUS (21)
WI - Katie Boulter, GBR (21)
WI - Harriet Dart, GBR (21)
=OLDEST 2018 SLAM WC=
RG - Pauline Parmentier, FRA (32)
WI - Naomi Broady, GBR (28)
RG - Myrtille Georges, FRA (27)
AO - Olivia Rogowska, AUS (26)
I’m sorry to announce that I’ve had to withdraw from Eastbourne next week. Below is my statement. I hope to see you there next year ?? pic.twitter.com/U1Vta0pvNP— Simona Halep (@Simona_Halep) June 20, 2018
Life ???? pic.twitter.com/LhXcLaSHyO— Caroline Wozniacki (@CaroWozniacki) June 18, 2018
Thought I was very artsy fartsy ??? pic.twitter.com/eJpwTehYcP— Daria Gavrilova (@Daria_gav) June 20, 2018
When your big brother is not behaving and you have to step in like... pic.twitter.com/uLKO2Ohuk5— Jimmie48 Photography (@JJlovesTennis) June 20, 2018
Can we please hire you?? ?? https://t.co/drQhFbzEDh— Maria Sharapova (@MariaSharapova) June 19, 2018
5 - PETRA KVITOVA, CZE [HC/RC/GR]
3 - Elina Svitolina, UKR [HC/RC]
3 - Elise Mertens, BEL [HC/RC]
2 - Simona Halep, ROU [HC/RC]
**MOST WTA FINALS in 2018**
5 - PETRA KVITOVA, CZE (5-0)
4 - Simona Halep, ROU (2-2)
3 - Elina Svitolina, UKR (3-0)
3 - Elise Mertens, BEL (3-0)
**CAREER WTA TITLES - active**
72 - Serena Williams, USA (2017)
49 - Venus Williams, USA (2016)
36 - Maria Sharapova, RUS (2017)
28 - Caroline Wozniacki, DEN (1)
25 - PETRA KVITOVA, CZE (5)
20 - Victoria Azarenka, BLR (2016)
20 - Aga Radwanska, POL (2016)
17 - Svetlana Kuznetsova, RUS (2016)
17 - Simona Halep, ROU (2)
**CAREER WTA GRASS TITLES - active**
8 - Serena Williams
6 - Venus Williams
4 - PETRA KVITOVA
3 - Maria Sharapova
2 - Madison Keys
2 - Karolina Pliskova
2 - CoCo Vandeweghe
**WTA TITLES ON THREE-OR-MORE SURFACES**
**2018 WTA CHAMPIONS BY NATION**
3 - GER [Goerges,Kerber,MARIA]
2 - BEL [Mertens,Van Uytvanck]
2 - CZE [Kvitova,Ka.Pliskova]
2 - UKR [Svitolina,Tsurenko]
1 - AUS,DEN,ESP,FRA,HUN,JPN,LAT,NED,ROU,RUS,SRB,SVK,SWE,USA
TOTAL DIFFERENT NATIONS: 18
**CAREER FINALS - active**
92...Serena Williams (0 in '18)
83...Venus Williams (0)
59...Maria Sharapova (0)
52...Caroline Wozniacki (2)
40...Svetlana Kuznetsova (0)
36...Victoria Azarenka (0)
35...Jelena Jankovic (0)
32...PETRA KVITOVA (5)
31...Simona Halep (4)
30...Vera Zvonareva (0)
28...Aga Radwanska (0)
27...Angelique Kerber (1)
27...Patty Schnyder (0)
24...Samantha Stosur (0)
**2018 WTA REPEAT SINGLES CHAMPIONS**
Elise Mertens, BEL - Hobart 2017-18
Elina Svitolina, UKR - Dubai 2017-18
Lesia Tsurenko, UKR - Acapulco 2017-18
Elina Svitolina, UKR - Rome 2017-18
PETRA KVITOVA, CZE - Birmingham 20178-18
**2018 WTA FIRST-TIME FINALISTS**
Hobart: Mihaela Buzarnescu, ROU (#57, 29) -lost to Mertens
Taipei City: Kateryna Kozlova, UKR (#85, 23) -lost to Babos
Acapulco: Stefanie Voegele, SUI (#183, 27) -lost to Errani
Mallorca: TATJANA MARIA, GER (#79, 30) - def. Sevastova
**MOST WTA SF in 2018**
6 - Simona Halep (4-1+L)
5 - PETRA KVITOVA (5-0)
4 - Elise Mertens (3-1)
4 - MIHAELA BUZARNESCU (2-2)
4 - Garbine Muguruza (1-2+W)
3 - Elina Svitolina (3-0)
3 - Caroline Wozniacki (2-1)
3 - Dasha Kasatkina (2-1)
3 - Julia Goerges (2-1)
3 - Ash Barty (2-1)
3 - Karolina Pliskova (1-2)
3 - Angelique Kerber (1-2)
3 - ANASTASIJA SEVASTOVA (1-2)
**BEST WTA QUALIFIER RESULTS in 2018**
Brisbane - Aliaksandra Sasnovich, BLR (23, #88)
Auckland - Sachia Vickery, USA (22, #122)
Sydney - Camila Giorgi, ITA (26, #100)
Hobart - Heather Watson, GBR (25, #74)
Acapulco - Rebecca Peterson, SWE (22, #139)
Miami - Danielle Collins, USA (24, #93)
Lugano - Vera Lapko, BLR (19, #130)
Mallorca - SONYA KENIN, USA (19, #91)
**PLAYERS WITH WTA SINGLES & WTA DOUBLES TITLES in 2018**
TIMEA BABOS = S:Taipei City / D:Australian Open/Birmingham
Ash Barty = S:Nottingham / D:Miami/Rome
Kiki Bertens = S:Charleston / D:Brisbane
Simona Halep = S:Shenzhen/RG / D:Shenzhen
TATJANA MARIA = S:Mallorca / D:Acapulco
Elise Mertens = S:Hobart/Lugano/Rabat / D:Hobart/Lugano/Rosmalen
**2018 WTA DOUBLES...**
5 - Demi Schuurs, NED - 2 HC/2 RC/1 GR
3 - Elise Mertens, BEL - 1 HC/1 RC/1 GR
2 - Gaby Dabrowski, CAN - 2 HC (+1 MX HC)
2 - TIMEA BABOS, HUN - 1 HC/1 RC
2 - Ash Barty, AUS - 1 HC/1 RC
2 - KRISTINA MLADENOVIC, FRA - 1 HC/1 RC
[most finals - duos]
4...KLEPAC/MARTINEZ SANCHEZ (1-3)
[most finals - individuals]
6...DEMI SCHUURS (5-1)
4...ELISE MERTENS (3-1)
4...Kirsten Flipkens (1-3)
4...ANDREJA KLEPAC (1-3)
4...MARIA JOSE MARTINEZ-SANCHEZ (1-3)
42 - Kveta Peschke, CZE (Prague)
37 - Katarina Srebotnik, SLO (Charleston/Nurnberg)
36 - Abigail Spears, USA (Nottingham)
35 - Raquel Atawo, USA (Stuttgart)
35 - MARIA JOSE MARTINEZ SANCHEZ (Mallorca)
[oldest championship combination]
68 yrs - Rosolska/Spears (32/36) = Nottingham
67 yrs - Kudryavtseva/Srebotnik (30/37) = Charleston
67 yrs - Atawo/Groenefeld (35/32) = Stuttgart
67 yrs - KLEPAC/MARTINEZ SANCHEZ (32/35) = Mallorca
66 yrs - Melichar/Peschke (24/42) = Prague
**2018 $100K FINALS**
Midland, USA (hci) - Brengle/USA (#88) d. Loeb/USA (#153)
Khimki, RUS (hci) - Lapko/BLR (#111) d. Potapova/RUS (#238)
Cagnes-sur-Mer, FRA (rco) - Peterson/SWE (#113) d. Yastremska/UKR (#180)
Trnava, SVK (rco) - Kuzmova/SVK (#106) d. Cepede Royg/PAR (#88)
Surbiton, ENG (gr) - Riske/USA (#83) d. Perrin/SUI (#193)
Manchestser, ENG (gr) - Jabeur/TUN (#180) d. Sorribes Tormo/ESP (#114)
Ilkley, ENG (gr) - Smitkova/CZE (#235) d. Yastremska/UKR (#151)
=2013 (inciting event)=
June 26 (Wimbledon Day 3)
"The Radwanskian Massacre" - 7 former #1's lose, w/ 4 additional walkovers and three ret. on day filled with falls, slips and stumbles
June 26 (Wimbledon Day 3)
First unofficial commemoration of The Radwanskian Massacre. With the Radwanskian Threat Level meter in place and all on guard and vigilent, calm prevails.
June 26 (official)
Aga Radwanska & the seagull (in Eastbourne, bird swoops at Radwanska as she serves... one day later, she loses in the singles final)
Wimbledon Day 3 (observed)
The hottest day ever recorded in Wimbledon history (35.7 C / 96 F), fire alarm evacuates Centre Court
June 26 (official)/Wimbledon Day 3 (observed)
The wet London weather rains... err, reigns. 74 singles and doubles matches are scheduled: 41 are cancelled, 15 interrupted and 18 completed. Only 6 matches were both started and finished solely on Day 3, with 4 of those played under the Centre Court roof. But Aga Radwanska opens the Centre Court schedule and wins without incident and, in a previously unscheduled C.C. match, Radwanska's '16 RG conqueror, Tsvetana Pironkova, loses.
June 26 (official)/Wimbledon Day 3 (observed)
Eastbourne defending champ Dominika Cibulkova loses in 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, wins 2nd Rd. match
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. At Wimbledon on Day, on "Flying Ant Day," newly-emerged insects swarm the AELTC grounds. Meanwhile, six women's seed fall, including two-time Wimbledon champion Kvitova.
EASTBOURNE, ENGLAND (Premier/Grass)
=MOST SINGLES TITLES=
11 - Martina Navratilova
3 - Chris Evert
2 - Tracy Austin
2 - Justine Henin
2 - Chanda Rubin
NOTE: Jana Novotna (won in '98; abandoned final vs. ASV in '97)
ACTIVES (1): Kuznetsova (2004), A.Radwanska (2008), Wozniacki (2009), Makarova (2010), Paszek (2012), Vesnina (2013), Keys (2014), Bencic (2015), Cibulkova (2016), Ka.Pliskova (2017)
QF: Kerber d. Konta
QF: Ka.Pliskova d. Kuznetsova
QF: Watson d. Strycova
QF: Wozniacki d. Halep
SF: Ka.Pliskova w/o Konta
SF: Wozniacki d. Watson
F: Ka.Pliskova d. Wozniacki
SF: Barty/Dellacqua d. Babos/Hlavackova
SF: L.Chan/Hingis d. Melichar/Smith
F: L.Chan/Hingis d. Barty/Dellacqua
'18 TOP SEEDS
WS: #1 Wozniacki, #2 Ka.Pliskova
WD: #1 Sestini-Hlavackova/Strycova, #2 Klepac/Martinez Sanchez
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