Feb/20

3

2020 Off To A Roaring Start

We have another first time Grand Slam major winner, a girl who was losing to Zidansek at Eddie Herr four years ago. Sonic Sofia Kenin outshined the biggest stars in the WTA with her sensational AO win.

Novak Djokovic took another step to all time greatness with his 17th major and one of his hardest-earned, the five set triumph over Dominic Thiem.

Lleyton Hewitt extended his non-retirement with another Grand Slam appearance, another loss with Jordan Thompson to two Korean wildcards.

Benoit Paire is 7-3 this season. All three of his losses have come in final-set tiebreakers. ATP Cup RR: l. to Kevin Anderson 2-6 7-6(1) 7-6(5); Auckland F: l. to Humbert 7-6(2) 3-6 7-6(5); Australian Open R2: l. to Cilic 6-2 6-7(6) 3-6 6-1 7-6(10-3).

Thai-Son Kwiatkowski just won his first ATP Challenger in Newport Beach. The 24 year old is ranked 181.

Tennys Sandgren needed six years to win his first ATP main tour main draw match (Citi Open vs. Go Soeda 76 63 in 2017). Now he’s reached two major quarterfinals and is ranked 56. His career high best ranking was 41 in January 2019.

35 year old Dustin Brown is still out there. He lost in the second round of qualifying to 36 year old Gabriel Garcia Lopez 63 63 in Montpellier. He’s now 2-6 career vs GGL. Brown is currently ranked 230.

Alexsandr Dolgopolov, remember him? He has not played a match since Rome 2018.

The US top ten women’s rankings don’t look like you’d expect: Kenin 7 – career-high; Serena 9; Keys 12; Riske 18; Anisimova 29; Stephens 35; Collins 50; Gauff 51 – career-high; Brady 52; Davis 62.

Top 10 American men as of 2/3: Isner 18; Fritz 36; Opelka 38; Querrey 40; Sandgren 56; Paul 70 – career-high; Johnson 75; Tiafoe 79; Giron 111; Kudla 113 .

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278 comments

  • Andrew Miller · February 7, 2020 at 9:40 pm

    Tiafoe should have broken. Kudla lucky to get to 6-6. Wrong shots at the wrong time. Good for both these guys to read Winning Ugly, hit a $5.00 shot if it gets the job done, rather than a $100 shot. He’s playing the tiebreak more strategically than Kudla and needs to, to stay in this match.

  • Andrew Miller · February 7, 2020 at 9:50 pm

    Tiafoe from 6-1 up in tiebreak now at 6-7, with Kudla at match point. And Kudla aces Tiafoe and takes it.

    What a collapse. Tiafoe had the set in the bag SIX TIMES. Six set points to push a third set. Somehow Kudla, down 6-1 in the tiebreak, pulled this out.

    Tiafoe will have to think about this one. He just lost to a prime member of the “last generation of next generation US players” in Kudla, who he would know from Kudla being just over the line in Virginia (Tiafoe trains in Maryland and in Orlando, and Kudla trains in Virginia and in Florida, these guys know each other pretty well!)

    A lot to think about. Good job by Kudla to collect himself. His groundies looked better by the end of the match, he wasn’t as much on the back foot. He has excellent instincts on the net, and a very good overhead.

  • Andrew Miller · February 7, 2020 at 9:55 pm

    Kudla last U.S. men’s player left in Dallas semifinals.

  • Andrew Miller · February 7, 2020 at 10:14 pm

    In France, it’s Pospisil-Goffin, Monfils-Krajinovic in the semis.

    In Argentina, Garin-Martin, and Schwartzman vs. Djere or Londero.

    In India, Berankis-Vesely, Duckworth-Gerasimov

    In Dallas, Koepfer-Rodionov, and Kudla-Gomez (who knocked off JJ Wolf)

  • Scoop Malinowski · February 8, 2020 at 5:04 am

    Kudla is Tiafoe hero and big brother. Subconscious tank by Foe, he was afraid to beat big bro. Did you see the embrace at net? Tiafoe clearly loves Kudla, clear case of being afraid to win.

  • jackson · February 8, 2020 at 6:39 am

    “Another reason I appreciate the old school approach of Uncle Toni – no Uncle Toni, no future sporstman in Nadal. His logic comes almost entirely from Uncle Toni, how to conduct himself etc.”

    Wrong. Rafa’s upbringing comes from his parents. They are all, Rafa, his sister, his aunts and uncles, his grandparents, very close so of course he was influenced by all of them and Toni was part of that very close family and spent a great deal of time with him and thus influenced him. But it’s his parents that taught him to respect his elders and have such good manners.

  • Scoop Malinowski · February 8, 2020 at 8:05 am

    Jackson, what is the basis of all your inside family information on Rafa? Are you a family member? If you are reading everything you know from the media, you do realize it could be propoganda? I don’t think there is anythinh phony about Rafa though, what we see is what you get. Nobody personifies the word “champion” better than Nadal. And I’m talking from the history of all sports.

  • Hartt · February 8, 2020 at 9:17 am

    Wow, 17-year-old Leylah Annie Fernandez just beat Belinda Bencic in SS. It wasn’t that Belinda played poorly, but that Leylah was great – aggressive and fearless, going for her shots. Belinda had no answers to what the commies called a “tiger.”

    We sometimes talk here about the girls training in Florida, so it was interesting to hear that Leylah’s family moved to Florida, Delray Beach I think they said, so that Leylah could train year-round on public courts without belonging to a private club.

    This win will go down in Canadian tennis history, along with 2 Davis Cup matches – 19-year-old Daniel Nestor beating No.1 Stefan Edberg, and Frank Dancevic playing the match of his life to help upset Spain.

    Leylah should take a lot of confidence from this match. She is ranked No.185 and said her goal for this season is to make the top 100.

  • catherine · February 8, 2020 at 9:18 am

    Hartt – Fernandez bt Bencic ! Why isn’t Genie playing ? Injury ?

  • catherine · February 8, 2020 at 9:19 am

    Sorry – your post only came up when I sent mine – thanks for info.

  • Hartt · February 8, 2020 at 9:35 am

    Yes, Genie got a wrist injury during practice, so did not play yesterday either. Unfortunately, Gaby Dabrowski is a doubles specialist and not great at singles, so not much hope for Canada.

    It looks like Canada will play a home or away tie in April. It would be great if it could be in Canada. With Leylah coming into her own, if Bianca could play, Canada would have an excellent Fed Cup team.

  • Scoop Malinowski · February 8, 2020 at 9:56 am

    Who told you Fernandez was ready? 🙂 Not a shock win at all. You just can’t stop a teenager who truly believes.

  • Scoop Malinowski · February 8, 2020 at 9:58 am

    Did Bouchard chicken out?

  • Andrew Miller · February 8, 2020 at 10:04 am

    So Nadal’s parents coached Nadal? No Toni Nadal, no Nadal. His parents were not feeding balls and training Nadal as a competitor, his sister wasn’t there in the men’s locker room, etc. They certainly weren’t there consoling Nadal after his loss to Federer in the 2007 Wimbledon final. His mom and sister couldn’t be.

  • Andrew Miller · February 8, 2020 at 10:07 am

    Amazing win by Fernandez. Bencic is getting beaten black and blue this year – derailed by Kontaveit in Australia, now by the young teenager. Hope she, as in Fernandez, takes this as a good sign to keep up the good work and keep developing. No one’s ever “arrived” in tennis – either you keep arriving or you keep getting back in line!

  • Scoop Malinowski · February 8, 2020 at 10:11 am

    Toni Nadal was in charge of the tennis development of Rafa, he was there for the long hours, he brought in all the additional coaches to help round out the Nadal skillset and game. Uncle Toni taught Rafa the life lessons and kept him grounded and humble. Rafa’s mom, dad and sister just sit in the box and support the team. Like a good tennis family should. Uncle Toni was the mastermind. Any agenda to shootdown the value and importance of Uncle Toni to Rafa will be shot down. Why Jackson, why the agenda to minimize Uncle Toni?

  • Hartt · February 8, 2020 at 10:14 am

    Genie really does have a wrist injury. It is heavily wrapped and she pulled out of her next tourney.

  • Hartt · February 8, 2020 at 10:20 am

    It sounds like Fernandez is a hard worker and is ambitious. I’m sure she will continue to develop her game.

    Obviously she won’t play at this incredible level all the time, but it shows what she is capable of at her best. This tweet describes her play in this match:

    @CircuitDuSoleil

    LEYLAH FERNANDEZ D. BELINDA BENCIC 6-2, 7-6(3)
    Giving a DYNAMIC lesson of aggressive, strong, sharp, smart & precise tennis, always jumping, moving her feet, pumping herself, BELIEVING SHE CAN AND WILL all the way!! ROLAND-GARROS FILLES CHAMPION! THE BEST IS YET TO COME

  • Hartt · February 8, 2020 at 12:23 pm

    Bianca was interviewed about playing Fed Cup. She said she was young when she played her first Fed Cup tie, and was the No.1 player for Canada, so there was a lot of pressure. This was the Americas Zone Group I in Feb. 2017 when Bianca was just 16. She won all her matches, both singles and doubles, for a 6-0 record.

    Bianca said she loves Fed Cup, it is one of her favourite tournaments because she likes playing on a team and playing for her country.

  • catherine · February 8, 2020 at 12:51 pm

    While Andreescu did not participate in a singles match on Friday, she will team up with Gabriela Dabrowski for the determining doubles match on Saturday. The Canadian has been practicing with her teammates. Winning the doubles match will increase Canada’s hopes of a comeback victory in the best of five series. After failing to participate in singles action this week, Bianca’s next chance in the singles competition will be at the Dubai Tennis Championships. The WTA tournament will begin on 17th February. Speaking about her ongoing rehabilitation, the world number six said she was staying positive and hoped to be back on the court soon. “Well, I don’t need surgery so I wouldn’t say it’s very bad. I’m just trying to rehab as much as possible and stay as positive as I can.”

    This quote, from TT, is pretty much what Bianca was saying 3 months ago. I’m looking forward to the Fed Cup doubles but I’m holding out no hopes for Dubai. Or Qatar. Or for the rest of the year come to that. I hope I’m wrong.

  • Hartt · February 8, 2020 at 12:52 pm

    Fed Cup captain Heidi El Tabakh said that Gaby Dabrowski has been ill this week, and played that match with a strep throat. Wow, these players really do give it their all.

    There is a photo of Canada’s team celebrating Leylah’s win that I wish I could post here. Nathalie Tauziat, Bianca and Gaby all have their arms in the air, and Louis Borfiga has a huge smile. 🙂

  • Hartt · February 8, 2020 at 1:45 pm

    In the same interview where Bianca talked about Fed Cup she was asked about winning her first Slam. She said it was a good thing “for confidence, for exposure and all of that.” But it was bad in a way, in that she hadn’t been on the WTA circuit for a while before her success. She said she wasn’t physically at her best, and that showed with her shoulder and knee.

    As far as when Bianca will play next I am not making any predictions.

  • Hartt · February 8, 2020 at 1:53 pm

    When Bianca was asked about playing doubles in Fed Cup she did not sound very positive. Of course it did not matter, as it turned out.

    At this point I am not going to count on Bianca playing until she is actually on the court.

    I see I forgot to post this. I did wonder why it did not show up.

  • Hartt · February 8, 2020 at 2:02 pm

    Miracle of all miracles, Milos said in an interview today that he came out of the AO without any physical issues, the first time in years. He will play in the New York Open which begins on Monday, and has a few tourneys scheduled for the next couple months. He said which clay tourneys he plays will depend on how the next few weeks go.

    Genie had an MRI and other tests and will be out of commission for 2-3 weeks with the wrist injury.

    Vasek Pospsil managed to win against Goffin in Montpellier and will face Monfils in the final. Surprisingly, this is just Vasek’s 2nd final in his career. The other was the Citi Open in 2014 when he lost to Milos. He is now at No.104 in the live rankings and would make another big jump if he should win the title. Vashy was given a SE for Rotterdam, but the poor lamb will face Medvedev.

  • catherine · February 8, 2020 at 2:12 pm

    Well, I’ll keep quiet about Bianca from now on, until she shows up again, except to say it’s a real shame that she’s not around because she could have a pretty good rivalry with Kenin. Naomi looks as though she’s going into some kind of slump, maybe personal, and although it’s early days I fear we might be in for a season of Coco/Serena mania.

  • Hartt · February 8, 2020 at 2:30 pm

    Catherine, I think you are right to fear a season of Coco and Serena mania.

  • catherine · February 8, 2020 at 4:23 pm

    Fed Cup thrills with Belarus pulling out the doubles decider v Netherlands in 3 sets. Sabalenka lost to Bertens in SS but looked in good form overall. Seems to have lost some weight. Azarenka no longer present for Belarus.

    Germany clean swept Brazil 4-0 – not missing Georges or Kerber who don’t star on clay. Debut for Schuettler as captain.

  • Andrew Miller · February 8, 2020 at 6:22 pm

    Get used to COCOMANIA! At least until BIANCAMANIA is up and running again. Andreescu right now is chopped suey. No worries, so is everyone else other than anyone who can find a microphone as quickly as possible!

  • Andrew Miller · February 8, 2020 at 6:23 pm

    Monfils-Pospisil will be good. Pospisil playing how everyone knows he can play.

  • Andrew Miller · February 8, 2020 at 6:29 pm

    Vesely vs Gerasimov, ATP India/Pune – Vesely scoreline for the Vesely-Berankis match? 6-7 7-6 7-6. Vesely “has a shot” at a title to add to his lone ATP win back in 2015. Back then he was on the rise…the “next gen” star from the Czech Republic. This would be a sweet win. For Gerasimov of course it would be even better – if he can pull it off, it becomes his first ever. They are around the same age, and around the same ranking.

  • Hartt · February 8, 2020 at 6:39 pm

    Andrew, outside of Canada I don’t think Biancamania will ever match Cocomania. I doubt that any player can match the mania around a 15-year-old American player who plays well and has charisma. The other women will have to be satisfied with being big deals in their own countries and among serious tennis fans outside their countries.

    In terms of Canada, my twitter was exploding from all the talk about Leylah Annie Fernandez. Because she was playing juniors this time last year, Leylah does not have many points to defend and should move up the rankings quickly over the next few months.

  • Scoop Malinowski · February 8, 2020 at 6:51 pm

    This might be the birth of Leylahanniemania. Belindamania never got off and running, it sparked when she beat Serena in Cincy but sputtered out.

  • Scoop Malinowski · February 8, 2020 at 6:54 pm

    Hartt is right, Cocoamania will never be topped. Media especially drawn to underdog black tennis success, blows it up far more than a young white prodigy. Cocoamania is the all time high point of tennis mania. Could even surpass the all time no. 1 mania, Beatlemania. Outside chance of Suweihsiehmania making top five manias.

  • Andrew Miller · February 8, 2020 at 7:01 pm

    Belindamania ended in Shenzen. Sorry to write that, but it died in Shenzen. Possibly even passed away in Zhuhai. Bencic has been Ben-nowhere. I’m not sure where her game is, if it joined her on vacation and went for a walk on the beach. Maybe Belinda’s game or killer instinct has a lot in common with Andy’s mojo that Tipsarevic persuaded to take a hike during their 2005 US Open match.

  • Andrew Miller · February 8, 2020 at 7:05 pm

    I meant Belindamania may have died in Moscow, not Zhuhai. Maybe Bajin stole Bencic’s killer instinct and promised it to Yastremska, but Mladenovic found it outside the women’s locker room and brought it with her to Fed Cup. You never know where the “spirit” of a player game lands.

  • Andrew Miller · February 8, 2020 at 7:09 pm

    Tiafoe, will to lose. Really was a good set. Surprised Kudla pulled that out, as if he knew Tiafoe couldn’t muster up the desire to beat his friend.

    That said, they were both class acts for that match and it would good to see two guys that respect each other. Kudla if you say he is like a big brother that seems right, they are friends. It’s hard to play your friends. Tiafoe somehow melted when he had the chance to push it into a war of attrition third set, and Kudla was revived and made Tiafoe pay for not locking down the first set.

  • Andrew Miller · February 8, 2020 at 7:12 pm

    Bertens pushing many players around. Gotta say I appreciate it. I would be surprised if players get distracted and Bertens somehow makes it to a slam final. She was shocked by Muguruza playing out of her mind in their Australian Open match this year, shaking her head as Muguruza pounded winner after winner.

  • Scoop Malinowski · February 8, 2020 at 7:46 pm

    Tiafoe gifting that match last night to Kudla from 6-1 up in the tiebreaker could be one of the all time most obvious subconscious tanks in tennis history, if not the overall cake taker.

  • Andrew Miller · February 8, 2020 at 8:11 pm

    Meant Bertens SHOULD make a slam final. Too solid. And Cocomania is here to stay, it took an ultra pro like Kenin, who focused like no one ever, to beat CocoG. It will not be “easy” for anyone at a big tournament, there aren’t many wta players that employ a sophisticated strategy – some of course and many, no

  • Scoop Malinowski · February 8, 2020 at 8:14 pm

    Kikimania could happen too, Kiki never misses a ball in practice, if she can transmute that talent to actual matches, Kikimania kicks off.

  • catherine · February 9, 2020 at 1:00 am

    Penko bt Kenin ! Penkomania kicks off !

  • catherine · February 9, 2020 at 1:04 am

    And Sevastova bt Serena !

  • catherine · February 9, 2020 at 1:17 am

    Whatever happens in the doubles a great effort by Latvia – to beat Kenin and Williams and go to the doubles decider would have seemed an absurd prediction. Small but vociferous Latvian contingent.

  • catherine · February 9, 2020 at 1:40 am

    65 UEs from Serena. She’ll have to do better than that.

  • catherine · February 9, 2020 at 7:12 am

    I know those results were reversed but IMO the Latvians were tired and Kenin and Williams were beaten 🙂

    Will Simona get any stick in Roumania because she wouldn’t play ?

  • Hartt · February 9, 2020 at 8:00 am

    Belinda Bencic was very gracious immediately following her loss to Leylah Annie Fernandez, and continued that in her press conference.

    “First of all I have to really congratulate her,” Bencic said sportingly at her post-match media conference about Fernandez. “I think she played a fantastic match. She was the really the better player all around. I didn’t really have the solutions to beat her today. She took the ball early and gave me some problems.

    “I could have played better here and there and on the important points, and served a little bit better (she won only 32 per cent of second-serve points to 52 per cent for Fernandez). But at the end of the day she was just really solid and mentally strong. I think she’s already at great player at 17 years old.”

  • Scoop Malinowski · February 9, 2020 at 8:43 am

    Correction Catharine, Sevastova did not beat Serena, Serena beat herself.

  • Scoop Malinowski · February 9, 2020 at 8:44 am

    Side note: Wozniacki must have cured her arthritis, hasn’t been mentioned in months. Was not a factor in any of her matches. Maybe it was a PR move illusion?

  • Harold · February 9, 2020 at 9:27 am

    Why does Woz have to run her medicals by you? She retired fairly young, that might be proof enough.

    You must carry a long grudge to be so freaking petty. If they turn down a chance to do a bio file you get put on the non Rios, Hewitt, Escobedo.. everyone else is a fake

  • Scoop Malinowski · February 9, 2020 at 9:33 am

    I like Wozniacki a lot but the arthritis thing seemed suspect from the get go and then the whole story disappeared. Just calling it how I see it. If she is cured of the arthritis, what did it? Why not keep giving updates to her fans about this affliction? Why totally stop talking about it? Here’s the Caro Biofile…https://www.tennis-prose.com/articles/biofile-with-caroline-wozniacki/

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