Friday, July 12, 2019

She's (drumroll, please) back!

It was the forehands. The backhands. The volleys. And--wait for it--the serves. Alona Ostapenko, who has shone throughout her mixed doubles competition at Wimbledon, reached 2017 French Open levels today, playing brilliantly with partner Robert Lindstedt to defeat Yang Zhaoxuan and Matwe Middlekoop to advance to the mixed doubles final.

Where has this Alona been? Ostapenko has been quite open about her struggle to find "2017 Alona" again, and who knew that she was hanging out with Robert Lindstedt, ready to receive her wayward half and kick some ass in mixed doubles.

Maybe it was the security of having a partner. Maybe it was the charm of the venue where Ostapenko reached the semifinals in singles right after she won the French Open. Maybe it was sight of the green lawns. Or maybe it was just time.

The consistently double-faulting singles player known as Alona Ostapenko changed her persona into a big-serving threat for the mixed doubles competition. Today, she served for both sets and ended both sets by hitting an ace (and serving out the final game at love). She was on fire with both her forehand and backhand, and excellent at the net.

Twice during mixed doubles competition, Ostapenko has hit her fiery serves right into the head of her partner, yet it is Ostapenko herself who appears to have had her brain scrambled--in the very best way.

Lindstedt sustained a groin injury during today's match, so here's hoping that a day of rest will take care of that.

Also advancing to the mixed doubles final were 8th seeds Latisha Chan and Ivan Dodig. They defeated 5th seeds Kveta Peschke and Wesley Koolhof.

There were two big upsets in women's doubles today. Top seeds Timea Babos and Kiki Mladenovic went out in straight sets to 3rd seeds Hsieh Su-Wei and Barbora Strycova, and defending champions and 2nd seeds Barbora Krejcikova and Katerina Siniakova lost to 4th seeds Gabriela Dabrowski and Xu Yifan.

Of the four finalists, only Hsieh has won a major.

In wheelchair singles, top seed and defending champion Diede De Groot advanced to the final with a straight set win over Kgothatso Montjane. And Aniek Van Koot upset 2nd seed Yui Kamiji in straight sets. De Groot and Van Koot, the top seeds, also advanced to the doubles final, in which they will play 2nd seeds Marjolein Buis and Giulia Capocci.

In juniors, top seed Emma Navarro of the USA was upset in the quarterfinals by 6th seed Natsumi Kawaguchi.

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