Monday, July 2, 2018

Upsets, yes--but the usual suspects

The first day of Wimbledon has come and gone, and Sloane "Get Me Out of Here" Stephens is gone with it. Donna Vekic was always going to be a potential threat on grass, but she really didn't have to do anything remarkable to defeat Stephens. The U.S. Open champion/French Open runner-up/4th seed spent the entire match looking like she just didn't want to be there. Stephens played no grass warm-up tournaments, and didn't even arrive at Wimbledon until Friday. Maybe she didn't feel well--or maybe she was just being, you know, Sloaney.

Then there was 5th seed Elina Svitolina, whose tendency to crash out in majors has recently taken on an even worse turn than usual. Out in the 3rd round of the French, today, the Ukrainian made an exit in the first round. She was defeated by 57th-ranked Tatjana Maria, who does know her way around a grass court.

A few days ago, I wrote that I didn't think Coco Vandeweghe was a reliable contender for the title. She's gone, too--a victim of Katerina Siniakova. We can cut Vandeweghe a lot of slack, though; she played injured throughout the match, but still managed to drag it out for three hours. Vandeweghe took a bad spill during the match, and her ankle was troubling her quite a bit.

Three other seeds were upset today--grass specialist Magda Rybarikova, Anastasija Sevasatova and Zhang Shuai, who were defeated, respectively, by Sorana Cirstea, Camila Giorgi and Andrea Petkovic.

Anna Karolina Schmiedlova made another three-set, first-round exit, going out to Kiki Mladenovic. Grass is probably Schmiedy's most difficult surface. At least she's going three sets now.

I had trouble focusing on watching today's matches. There were too many that I wanted to watch that were being played at the same time, and my inability to settle with one took me all over the place and destroyed my concentration. Also, other things were going on. My worst "performance" today was not watching one moment of Aga Radwanska's match. Normally, I would be glued to anything featuring Radwanska, but I let this one go, only to learn that she saved six match points against Elena-Gabriela Ruse.

And speaking of Romanians--that Buzarnescu-Sabalenko match (I did get to see some of it) was a pretty good one, as far as I could tell, but--as predicted--Aryna Sabalenko was a bit drained from all of her recent match play. Mihaela Buzarnescu now has a main draw victory at Wimbledon, and who knows how far she might go? Next for her is Great Britain's Katie Swan.

The most dramatic thing that occurred today, in my opinion, was the defeat of Svetlana Kuznetsova by Barbora Strycova (7-6, 7-5), which will knock the Russian out of the top 100 for the first time since August of 2002.

Meanwhile, Serena Williams won her opening match, as did Karolina Pliskova, Caroline Wozniacki, Venus Williams, Julia Goerges, Madison Keys, and Vika Azarenka.


Todd.Spiker said...

Ruse was impressive (and fun) in her slam debut. Oh so close, and one has to think she regrets trying to execute a drop shot (vs. Aga, of all people) on her sixth MP. On ESPN, Evert was talking about Rus (as in Arantxa, who lose to Serena) as a "name to remember." But, really, Rus has been around quite a while now, and her fight vs. Williams was probably a one-off, or close to it. Ruse, though... she's done well on the ITF tour, and is just 20. It'll be interesting to see what comes next for her. (The extra "e" makes the difference, I guess.) :D

Finally, the Romanians are swarming after all these years. ;)

Diane said...

I did hear that Ruse was a lot of fun to watch. I guess, in my frantic court-switching, I was thinking “Oh, Aga’s got this.” I’ll try to catch some highlights.

Evert, for whom I have a lot of regard (outside the commentary booth), just doesn’t know who the players are. She also isn’t alone.

Todd.Spiker said...

Evert is at least better than she used to be when she first returned to commentating, so I give her credit for trying and knowing more now than she did then.

Shriver's lapses are a little more aggravating for me, as she's been doing this for so long. Although, I did get a bit of a kick out of her saying that Wozniacki doesn't like playing on grass and that it's her least favorite surface quite *literally* less than two days after Caro won Eastbourne and said she loves to play on grass and that it's her favorite surface. ESPN tennis coverage entertainment wherever you can get it, I guess. :P

During Kvitova's loss, unless I missed it, I don't think anyone on ESPN ever brought up her history with asthma and harsh weather for even possibly being a cause for how she was acting throughout. Not shocking.

Diane said...

I was watching on ESPN+ and someone did say that she had a history of struggling in very hot weather.