Day 5 Review, Day 6 Picks and Ace’s Match to Watch

In our Day 5 match to watch, Ace picked the match between young Americans, Jamie Hampton and Sloane Stephens.  As with most of our matches to watch this USO, this one failed to live up to expectations.  Stephens without a doubt loves a stage.  Hampton not so much. It showed in the tennis.  The grit that got Hampton to the third round was absent today.  The fight that got Stephens through the first round was in evidence today.   The outcome was never in doubt.  American TV now has one-half of the round of 16 match up that they want.  A rematch of the Australian Open match between Serena Williams and Sloane Stephens.  Maybe Shvedova will have something to say about that, but I doubt it.

As expected Jheng Jie had nothing left in the tank and bowed out 2 and 4 to Suarez-Navarro.  I watched this match today and I have to say that I was very disappointed in Jie’s play.  The tactics that she used so effectively against Venus were non-existent today.  Her early returns and moving forward into the court to take the ball on the rise was not present and she was run ragged all over the court by Navarro.  All in all as a Venus fan I was disheartened by Jie’s play.  However, how good does Suarez-Navarro look?  I watched her doubles match against the Williams Sister and while she did not maintain her excellent play in the first set, she carried over that play into her singles match against Jie.  Look for her to make the quarter-finals and maybe even higher.

Na Li had her revenge against Robson today.  Li has changed her game and is now much more varied. I wonder though how long before she stops looking up into the stands as her coach tells her what to do or how soon before the umpires start warning her for coaching from the stands.

Aga Radwanska had her hands full today with Pavlyuchenkova.  It was a hard fought 4 and 6 win today, but I am sure that Aga will take it as it gets tougher from here on out.

Ace’s Matches to Watch

Svetlana Kuznetsova vs Flavia Pennetta – Kuznetsova won her first match in 2 tight sets against Burdette then won a three setter against Peng, who got injured late in the match along with having cramps. Believe it or not, she is one of only two champions left in the field. Pennetta has returned from the tour from injury and has lost only 6 games which includes a thumping of Errani in her last match. About 2 to 3 years ago, this would have been a quarterfinal or later match.

Maria Kirilenko vs Simona Halep – Kirilenko is quietly moving through the draw defeating Wickmayer and Larcher De Brito in straight sets. Halep struggled in her first match against Watson coming from a title run at New Haven. Then, she won easily over an up and comer in Vekic. Winner of this match may be the odds on favorite to win the third quarter.

Ana Ivanovic vs Christina McHale – Ivanovic has defeated Tatishvili and Dulgheru in uneventful straight sets. McHale has won two matches in a tournament for the first time since Doha. She needed the wins as she has been struggling to revert back to her 2011 form. Both ladies could use another win to boost their confidence where the winner will most likely face Azarenka on Labor Day Monday.

Spin’s Day 6 Picks

Caroline Wozniacki v Camila Giorgi
Karin Knapp v Roberta Vinci
Maria Kirilenko v Simona Halep
Svetlana Kuznetsova v Flavia Pennetta
Petra Kvitova v Alison Riske
Julia Glushko v Daniela Hantuchova
Ana Ivanovic v Christina McHale

Alize Cornet v Victoria Azarenka


Day 4 Review and Day 5 Picks and What to Watch

No review today except that Venus is a goddess and she is an awesome tennis player and she should never stop playing doubles.

Ace’s Matches to Watch  – Day 5

Jamie Hampton vs Sloane Stephens – Hampton has won both of her matches in straight sets over Arruabarrena and Mladenovic. In her match against Mladenovic, she rallied from 4-1 in the second set to win the match in straight sets as both ladies were hitting the ball. Stephens has played a tight three set match against Minella barely escaping 7-5 in the deciding tiebreaker. Stephens rallied from a break in the third set. Against U Radwanska, Stephens may have played the best match of her career as she gave two breadsticks in the late match. These ladies faced each other at Wimbledon in the first round where Stephens was the winner. Hampton was coming off a final appearance at Eastbourne from qualifying. The winner will be part of a CBS Sunday blockbuster match against the winner of the S Williams/Shvedova match.

Laura Robson vs Na Li – Robson has won both matches in straight sets. In her match against Garcia, she won the crucial points. Garcia had one game point to force the decider at 6-5, 40-15 but Robson rallied to break and force the tiebreaker. Li has taken care of business in the first two rounds like a Slam contender supposed to do. This is a rematch of last year’s battle where Robson pulled off her second consecutive upset.

Serena Williams vs Yaroslava Shvedova – S Williams has lost only 4 games in 2 matches. She is trying to defend the USO for the first time in her career. Shvedova is a very inconsistent player who has been slowed by injuries but she has a tendency to make a deep run at Slams. In her first two matches, she played a struggling Puchkova and a lucky loser in Mayr- Achleitner. Their last meeting was at Wimbledon last year and Shvedova pushed her to 7-5 in the deciding set and this came after Zheng extended S Williams to 9-7 in a deciding set in the prior round.

Spin’s Day 5 Picks

Serena Williams v Yaroslava Shvedova
Jamie Hampton v Sloane Stephens
Jie Zheng v Carla Suarez Navarro
Kaia Kanepi v Angelique Kerber
Agnieszka Radwanska v A.Pavlyuchenkova
Ekaterina Makarova v Sabine Lisicki
Jelena Jankovic v Kurumi Nara

Laura Robson v Na Li


We here at the Spin have decided that we are no longer going suggest matches to watch because clearly we have no clue.  On Day 3 of the USO all matches that we have picked as matches to watch have failed to live up to expectations.  That being said, the matches that have not made the review list have been sensational so far.  Today was no different.

As many of you know a sentimental favourite of this blog is Venus Williams. Today, at 33 years young, Venus showed why she should never be counted out, no matter what.  Even though she lost to Jheng Jie, Venus fought every step of the way in a heartbreaking, 6-3, 3-6, 7-6(5) loss today.  Her serve was non-existent for the first part of the match and while I don’t think the rain delay helped in that first set, I think it might have affected her focus somewhat.

However, despite everything, Venus in the second set showed us why she is a 7 time Grand Slam champion, and why every single player on the women’s tour that faces her goes out there ensuring that they play their very best of tennis, because despite age, illness and assorted injuries, Jie had to win this match today because Venus did not hand it to her.

It was a great match and it shows how important it is not to write off players, no matter how much we are tempted to do so.

Ace’s Matches to Watch on Day 4 are

3 matchups to watch
Daniela Hantuchova vs Victoria Duval – In the first round, Hantuchova did not have to be involved in any drama as she won in straight sets over Maria Sanchez, who received a wild card. Some people felt like other players deserved a wild card ahead of Sanchez. Duval, who qualified for the main draw, pulled off the upset of the tournament rallying from a set and 4-2 down to defeat Samantha Stosur, the 2011 USO champion. With Duval getting media attention during her off day, the question is will she be emotionally flat. If Duval wins this match, she may face Sachia Vickery, who won the USTA 18s wildcard and has a winnable match against Julia Glushko. Could we say a CBS televised match on Saturday if that happened?

Maria Kirilenko vs Michelle Larcher De Brito – In the first round, Kirilenko pummeled Yanina Wickmayer, who continues to be a disappointment since making the 2009 semifinals and losing a tough three set match to Justine Henin at the 2010 Australian Open. I thought Wickmayer would have given Kirilenko a better match. Larcher De Brito, who qualified for the main draw, won in straight sets over Eleni Daniilidou, who had Top 10 talent but injuries derailed her career. At Wimbledon, Larcher De Brito defeated Maria Sharapova and with Kirilenko struggling lately, could another upset be in the making?

Alison Riske vs Mona Barthel – In the first round, Riske defeated Tsvetana Pironkova, who only does well at Wimbledon, in straight sets. Before 2013 started, Riske only won main draw matches at Birmingham; therefore, she is in the midst of a career year. Riske made the third round at Wimbledon and got her first main draw hardcourt win at Washington at the Citi Open. Barthel won in straight sets over Johanna Larsson but can be suspectible to the upset.

Spin’s Picks for Day 4 are:-

Caroline Wozniacki v Chanelle Scheepers
Camila Giorgi  v Su-Wei Hsieh
Elena Vesnina v Karin Knapp
Lucie Safarova  v Roberta Vinci
Maria Kirilenko v M.Larcher De Brito
Donna Vekic v Simona Halep
Svetlana Kuznetsova v Shuai Peng
Flavia Pennetta v Sara Errani

Petra Kvitova  v Bojana Jovanovski
Alison Riske v Mona Barthel
Julia Glushko v Sachia Vickery
Daniela Hantuchova v Victoria Duval
Ana Ivanovic v Alexandra Dulgheru
Christina McHale v Elina Svitolina
Alize Cornet  v Ajla Tomljanovic

Aleksandra Wozniak v Victoria Azarenka


Let us get this out of the way.  Spin got Slammed


Right now that we have that out of the way, let us get to the important stuff

We were going to write about the matches to watch, but we prefer to talk about the matches that we hope all our readers actually watched.  First up is the epic that was Duval v. Stosur. Duval, a young 17 year old Haitian refugee, who, if you do follow women’s tennis played Kim Clijsters last year on Arthur Ashe stadium and comported herself remarkably well. This time around, she not only  composed herself, but took out 2011 USO champion Sam Stosur.

As Duval said in her post match interview with Pam Shriver,  Stosur did not play her best on the day, but credit Duval for making the most of this opportunity and notching a huge win in her young career.  Last year after she played Clijsters ,she said that she needed to work on her serve and she did.  It is never ever going to be Serena like but the placement was there and her groundies were gorgeous.  Her return of serve is equal to that of Azarenka and after watching her match I am convinced that she watched how Azarenka returned the serve of Stosur by placing it directly at her feet which does not give Stosur time to run around her backhand to hit her lethal forehand.  During the last game, Duval saved three break points with good play and closed out the match by hitting a forehand winner.

Duval next faces Hantuchova in what should be a winnable match and we can only hope that the high that she is now experiencing serves her well in her next match.  If Duval can win that match, she may face Sachia Vickery, who had a nice win over Mirjana Lucic-Baroni. Vickery won the 18 group USTA wildcard.

Simona Halep gave a lot of folks who picked her as a dark horse to make the quarter final of this year’s tournament heart burn after going down a set and seemed unable to hold serve against Heather Watson.  Credit to Halep for going back to basics in her game and running Watson, who has been off the Tour for awhile with mono, and who is not yet back to full fitness, ragged in the latter part of the second set and much of the third.  There is a lot to like about Halep’s game and one only has to hope that her dismal performance today was as a result of playing New Haven, which leads us to the next match that we should have picked as a match to watch, that being Kvitova v Doi.  

As is the norm, Kvitova cruised through the first set, winning it 6-2 and no one really knows what happened after that but it seemed as if the object of the game simply escaped Kvitova and every single ball found its way in the bleachers, the sidelines or at the bottom of the net.  Credit Doi who forced most of these errors from Kvitova’s racquet by taking the ball early and moving Petra around the court.  Kvitova took her usual break between the second and third sets (because she has been playing a lot of those recently) and came back out, broke Doi’s serve and it was basically one way traffic from that point on.

Caroline Wozniacki almost had to play a third set today against Ying -Ying Duan, the so-called Chinese Lindsay Davenport. Wozniacki’s retrieving saved her against Duan’s laser shots. Duan served for the second set but lost it without getting to set point. In  Wozniacki’s next service game, Duan got to set point but hit her backhand into the net after Wozniacki’s backhand hit the line. During the second set, Wozniacki received a soft warning from the chair umpire, Louise Engzell, for illegal coaching,. According to Virginia Wade, Wozniacki played well as Duan kept firing shots on a consistent basis.  In the  first part of the match, Duan barely missed her shots. Early in the second set, Duan  won the first three games hitting winners while cutting down her unforced errors.

Aces Matches to Watch on Day 3

3 matchups to watch

Laura Robson vs Caroline Garcia – In the first round, Robson started out slowly against Dominguez Lino but when Dominguez Lino served for the set at 5-4, Robson won the last 9 games of the match showing us why she defeated Clijsters and Li at last year United States Open.  Garcia had a straight forward win over the American wildcard Rogers. Murray, who Robson won a silver medal at Olympics in mixed doubles, called Garcia a future number one when Garcia was giving Sharapova a difficult match at the French Open in 2011. Hopefully, we can see this matchup more in the future.

Eugenie Bouchard vs Angelique Kerber – In the first round, Bouchard had to rally from a set to defeat Pliskova by getting a late break in the deciding set. Kerber had an easy time serving breadsticks to Hradecka. The only competition Kerber had was trying to finish her match before the rain fell which canceled play until Day 2. With Bouchard playing solid and Kerber not matching her 2012 results, this matchup has upset alert written all over it.

Jamie Hampton vs Kristina Mladenovic – In the first round, Hampton looked very good in defeating Arruabarrena in straights as she dictated the action. After a good clay and grass season, Hampton has struggled during US hard court season. Mladenovic won a three set match over Medina Garrigues in where every set had a breadstick involved. Mladenovic has won the mixed doubles title at Wimbledon with Nestor, four WTA tour doubles titles and is climbing the rankings in singles. This is a matchup of heavy hitters where the first strike is essential.

Below are Spin’s Picks for Day 3 of the USO

Serena Williams  v Galina Voskoboeva
Yaroslava Shvedova  v P.Mayr-Achleitner
Jamie Hampton v Kristina Mladenovic
Urszula Radwanska  v Sloane Stephens

Venus Williams  v Jie Zheng
Coco Vandeweghe v Carla Suarez Navarro
Kaia Kanepi v Anna Schmiedlova
Eugenie Bouchard v Angelique Kerber

Agnieszka Radwanska v M.Torro-Flor
Ashleigh Barty v A.Pavlyuchenkova
Ekaterina Makarova v Bethanie Mattek-Sands
Paula Ormaechea v Sabine Lisicki

Jelena Jankovic v Alisa Kleybanova
Kurumi Nara v Sorana Cirstea
Laura Robson v Caroline Garcia

Sofia Arvidsson v Na Li


What a way to start the opening day of the 2013 edition of the United States Open. The final Grand Slam tournament of the tennis season. Poor Lauren Davis, what did she do to get double bagelled by Carla Suarez-Navarro. Rybarikova. How can you have such a big game and play so dismally. Sloane Stephens did her magic trick today, pulling out a tough win against Mandy Minella. Our sympathies to Minella. She fought hard.

Aga Radwanska lived up to her No. 3 seeding and routined her opponent. Laura Robson got things back on track after being down 5-4 and seeing her opponent serve for the set. She would not lose another game.

Onwards to our Match Report from Aces’ 3 matches to watch

Match Report

Williams d Flipkens (6-1, 6-2)

It was the rematch that wasn’t. The last time these two met at Toronto, Venus got out to a great start putting down a bagel on Flipkens but Flipkens would rally to win in 3 sets. This time around, Venus played much better. While serving at 2-all in second set , Venus managed to get a huge hold in a fifteen minute serving game saving multiple break points with stellar net play and big serves. After that point, Flipkens did not threaten while Venus closed out the match.

Venus moved very well. She served big when she needed to and her forehand held up under pressure. She sounds quite confident about her game and her back troubles seem to be a distant memory. It is lovely to see Venus playing like the Venus of old and as a big fan of hers I was heartened to see her staying mentally focused throughout this match. It was a very good win for Venus and to see that smile on her face as she raised her arms in victory did this blogger proud.

Bouchard d Pliskova (4-6, 6-4, 7-5)

This match had everything and then some. This was my first time watching the majority of a Pliskova match and I am impressed with her poise and game. However, Bouchard did what I expected her to do. She started slow but she picked it up as the match went on and I can really see her having a breakout tournament at this year’s USO.

Jankovic d Keys (6-3, 6-4)

As expected, one of the best returners and movers on court exposed Keys’ movement and blunted her most powerful weapon, i.e. her serve. Jankovic did what she was supposed to do.  She used her experience as a former No. 1 and big match player to out think Keys.  Going forward Keys needs to work on her backhand and movement.  I know that Keys has been injured for most of this hard court season, and the score line really does not indicate that she fought hard in this match.  

Below are Spin’s Picks for Day 2.  

Caroline Wozniacki (DEN) v Ying-Ying Duan (CHN)
Chanelle Scheepers (RSA) v Chanel Simmonds (RSA)
Jana Cepelova (SVK) v Camila Giorgi (ITA)
Su-Wei Hsieh (TPE) v Klara Zakopalova (CZE) [31]
Elena Vesnina (RUS) [22] v Annika Beck (GER)
Karin Knapp (ITA) v Grace Min (USA)
Lesia Tsurenko (UKR) v Lucie Safarova (CZE)
Timea Babos (HUN) v Roberta Vinci (ITA) [10]

Maria Kirilenko (RUS) [14] v Yanina Wickmayer (BEL)
M.Larcher De Brito (POR) v Eleni Daniilidou (GRE)
Donna Vekic (CRO) v Mariana Duque-Marino (COL)
Heather Watson (GBR) v Simona Halep (ROU) [21]
Svetlana Kuznetsova (RUS) [27] v Mallory Burdette (USA)
Shuai Peng (CHN) v Yvonne Meusburger (AUT)
Nicole Gibbs (USA) v Flavia Pennetta (ITA)
Olivia Rogowska (AUS) v Sara Errani (ITA) [4]

Petra Kvitova (CZE) [7] v Misaki Doi (JPN)
Bojana Jovanovski (SRB) v Andrea Petkovic (GER)
Tsvetana Pironkova (BUL) v Alison Riske (USA)
Johanna Larsson (SWE) v Mona Barthel (GER) [28]
Nadia Petrova (RUS) [20] v Julia Glushko (ISR)
Mirjana Lucic-Baroni (CRO) v Sachia Vickery (USA)
Maria Sanchez (USA) v Daniela Hantuchova (SVK)
Victoria Duval (USA) v Samantha Stosur (AUS) [11]

Ana Ivanovic (SRB) [13] v Anna Tatishvili (GEO)
Varvara Lepchenko (USA) v Alexandra Dulgheru (ROU)
Julia Goerges (GER) v Christina McHale (USA)
Elina Svitolina (UKR) v Dominika Cibulkova (SVK) [17]
Alize Cornet (FRA) [26] v Maria Joao Koehler (POR)
Casey Dellacqua (AUS) v Ajla Tomljanovic (CRO)
Aleksandra Wozniak (CAN) v Vesna Dolonc (SRB)
Dinah Pfizenmaier (GER) v Victoria Azarenka (BLR) [2]

Ace’s Matches to Watch on Day 2 are:

Svetlana Kuznetsova vs Mallory Burdette – Kuznetsova won the title in 2004 and has an all around game but the question is her motivation and focus. She took S Williams to three sets at the French Open. Also, in two separate years, she lost to Wozniacki in up and down matches. Burdette made her debut last year and decided to turn professional after losing in the third round to Sharapova.

Maria Kirilenko vs Yanina Wickmayer  – Kirilenko could be a solid choice to make the semifinals in the wide open quarter but has not played well during the past few weeks. Wickmayer is a very athletic player who made the semifinals in 2009. Since making that semifinal in 2009 and losing in three sets to Henin at 2010 Australian Open, she has struggled to meet expectations. During that time, Wickmayer felt like she should have been on her country’s Fed Cup team when Clijsters and Henin was named.

Julia Goerges vs Christina McHale – Goerges have struggled mightily losing her first match in about 10 to 11 tournaments. She managed to win a match at New Haven before losing to Stephens. During 2011, can you believe, other than maybe the Williams Sisters, McHale was the top American getting her signature win over Wozniacki, who was number 1 at the time, in Cincinnati. She contracted mono in the fall and has not gotten back to her consistent play. Today, she is the 12th ranked American and maybe a good run may give her the confidence that she needs.

Spin’s Matches to Watch

Ana Ivanovic v. Anna Tatishvili

Why you should watch – Former No.1 and Grand Slam champ against a player who is mercurial at best but who will hit you off the court if given the chance.  Battle of the fiery personalities in this one

Dinah Pfizenmaier v.  Victoria Azarenka

Why you should watch – Is Vika ready to assume the throne?  Is she really ready to take down Serena at a Grand Slam.  This will be a test. Pfizenmaier is a wily opponent. Good serve, great movement and not afraid of the spotlight.  Expect fireworks in this one

Upset Special – Mallory Burdette taking out Svetlana Kuznetsova

USO Day 1 Picks and What to Watch

by @TWMasterAce
Monday, 26 August, marks the beginning of the 2013 edition of the United States Open. There are 32 matches scheduled from the top half of the women’s draw. Spin will be doing her daily picks for those who play Suicide Pool. For those who don’t and would like to see some fun women’s matches, or maybe just pay attention to a player that you have never heard of before, or might like to say I saw Jane Brown before she became famous, Master Ace will be picking 3 matches to watch and telling you why you should pay attention to those matches. From time to time we might throw in a veteran or two and both Spin and Patrick will try to watch as many matches as we can just so we can provide useful match analysis.
So, without further ado, below are Ace’s matches to watch:

Kirsten Flipkens vs Venus Williams – These ladies can not avoid each other in the draw. Flipkens has played well in the last year capped off by a semifinal appearance at Wimbledon. V Williams is a 2 time champion but has not played well lately. Flipkens won their last meeting but V Williams is looking for some Open Magic for the next two weeks.
Jelena Jankovic vs Madison Keys – This could be a tight affair. Jankovic played well at Cincinnati and is looking to continue her momentum while Keys wants to have another solid Slam resuls. However, Keys has been slowed down by injury which caused her to withdraw from both Toronto and Cincinnati qualifying.
Karolina Pliskova vs Eugenie Bouchard – Pliskova won her maiden title at Kuala Lumpur and made the Top 100 in the process but has been struggling lately. Bouchard has had a solid summer having a solid result in Toronto and took S Williams to three sets in Cincinnati. Bouchard has a chance to make it to week two.

Spin’s Picks – Spin’s pick is in red

Serena Williams (USA) [1] v Francesca Schiavone (ITA) – no 1st round loss at the USO
Galina Voskoboeva (KAZ) v Monica Niculescu (ROU) – on form only 
Yaroslava Shvedova (KAZ) v Olga Puchkova (RUS) – what is Yaro’s form these days?
P.Mayr-Achleitner (AUT) v Magdalena Rybarikova (SVK) [29]  – title in DC
Jamie Hampton (USA) [23] v Lara Arruabarrena (ESP) -not played much but home court 
Kristina Mladenovic (FRA) v A.Medina Garrigues (ESP) – does poorly at Slams
Irina-Camelia Begu (ROU) v Urszula Radwanska (POL) on form alone
Mandy Minella (LUX) v Sloane Stephens (USA) [15] – on form alone 

Kirsten Flipkens (BEL) [12] v Venus Williams (USA) – sentimental pick 
Kiki Bertens (NED) v Jie Zheng (CHN) on form alone
Coco Vandeweghe (USA) v Aleksandra Krunic (SRB)  – better athlete
Lauren Davis (USA) v Carla Suarez Navarro (ESP) [18] – on form alone 
Kaia Kanepi (EST) [25] v Vania King (USA) – on form alone 
Stefanie Voegele (SUI) v Anna Schmiedlova (SVK) – form 
Karolina Pliskova (CZE) v Eugenie Bouchard (CAN) – battle of the young uns
Lucie Hradecka (CZE) v Angelique Kerber (GER) [8] just because she is a seed

Agnieszka Radwanska (POL) [3] v Silvia Soler-Espinosa (ESP) nothing to hurt this top seed 
M.Torro-Flor (ESP) v Marina Erakovic (NZL) playing really great tennis 
E.Cabeza Candela (ESP) v Ashleigh Barty (AUS) very talented youngster
Virginie Razzano (FRA) v A.Pavlyuchenkova (RUS) [32] made quarters in New Haven
Ekaterina Makarova (RUS) [24] v Polona Hercog (SLO) made quarters in New Haven
Mathilde Johansson (FRA) v Bethanie Mattek-Sands (USA) home court advantage 
Paula Ormaechea (ARG) v Kimiko Date-Krumm (JPN) 2nd retirement in sight 
Vera Dushevina (RUS) v Sabine Lisicki (GER) [16] on form alone 

Jelena Jankovic (SRB) [9] v Madison Keys (USA) on form alone + Keys injury 
Monica Puig (PUR) v Alisa Kleybanova (RUS) on her way back, due for a big win 
Kurumi Nara (JPN) v Alexandra Cadantu (ROU) pick em 
Sharon Fichman (CAN) v Sorana Cirstea (ROU) [19] on form alone. Made  Toronto final
Laura Robson (GBR) [30] v Lourdes Dominguez Lino (ESP) how is that wrist Ms. Robson
Caroline Garcia (FRA) v Shelby Rogers (USA) a real pick em. Garcia has been up and down 
Petra Cetkovska (CZE) v Sofia Arvidsson (SWE) nothing since Wimby but loves the big stage
Olga Govortsova (BLR) v Na Li (CHN) [5] – could be a tough one but top seed should go through


By Patrick Hinton @TWMasterAce

With the pullout of Maria Sharapova, Sara Errani was given a quarter and without further fanfare, here is a look at each quarter. Numbers and letters (F = floater) in parthensis are where the players were in my WTA contenders and floaters article.
First quarter
Top 4 players – (1) Serena Williams, (F)Angelique Kerber, Kirsten Flipkens and (10) Sloane Stephens
This section should not be difficult for S Williams. However, we could have a Labor Day battle between S Williams and Stephens, which would be a rematch of the 2013 Australian Open quarterfinals. Sloane recently fell in the quarter-final in New Haven against former No. 1. Caroline Wozniacki.   Also, featured players below the top four in this quarter are V Williams, 2000-2001 champion, Jamie Hampton and the return of Kaia Kanepi, who has been MIA since her quarter final loss to this year’s Wimbledon finalist, Sabine Lisicki.  She has not played any tune up events, and it will be a miracle if she makes it pass the first round.
Predicted quarterfinal – S Williams vs V Williams with S Williams advancing to the semifinals
Second quarter
Top 4 players – (4) Agnieszka Radwanska, (3)Na Li, (8) Jelena Jankovic and Sabine Lisicki
This section is the most difficult quarter. The featured players below the top four are Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, who double faulted her way out of a semifinal place in New Haven, (F) Sorana Cirstea, who made the finals of Toronto, Ekaterina Makarova, Laura Robson, who eliminated Kim Clijsters and Li last year and Bethanie Mattek-Sands. Interesting that Pauline Parmentier gave her wildcard to Virginie Razzano, who made the semifinals at Carlsbad.
Predicted quarterfinal – A Radwanska vs Jankovic with A Radwanska advancing to the semifinals
Third quarter
Top 4 players – (F) Sara Errani, (9) Caroline Wozniacki, Roberta Vinci and (F)Maria Kirilenko
This section is the one where someone that is not known could make a breakthrough to the semifinals as the heavy hitters are not located here. Featured players below the top four in this quarter are (F) Simona Halep, who has won 3 titles in 5 weeks after the French Open, Elena Vesnina, who Pete Bodo is predicting to make the semifinals, Svetlana Kuznetsova, 2004 champion and the ever dangerous Lucie Safarova.
Predicted quarterfinal – Wozniacki vs Halep with Wozniacki advancing to the semifinals
Fourth quarter
Top 4 players – (2) Victoria Azarenka, (6) Petra Kvitova, (7) Samantha Stosur and Ana Ivanovic
This section is the most aggressive quarter. The featured players below the top four are Dominika Cibulkova, 2013 Stanford winner, Nadia Petrova, Andrea Petkovic and Varvara Lepchenko. Also, returning back to the tour is Aleksandra Wozniak, who lost a tight 3 setter against Ekaterina Makarova in New Haven.
Predicted quarterfinal – Stsour vs Azarenka with Azarenka advancing to the semifinals
S Williams vs A Radwanska – In their last meeting at Toronto, A Radwanska played a tight 2 setter but S Williams was tougher on the bigger points. At 2012 Wimbledon, A Radwanska forced a 3rdset once S Williams got nervous leading by a set and a break. If A Radwanska was to pull off the upset, she must win the crucial points.
Wozniacki vs Azarenka – In their last meeting at Cincinnati, Wozniacki played more aggressive than expected but lost in straight set as Azarenka played the crucial points better. Wozniacki did show improvements but in order for her to win, she must continue to be aggressive.
Predicted final – S Williams vs Azarenka
S Williams vs Azarenka – In three finals played in 2013, Azarenka has won two. Azarenka wins were at Doha and Cincinnati with S Williams winning in Rome. In last year’s title match, Azarenka rallied from a set down to lead 5-3 in the final set but could not close the match. In their last meeting in Cincinnati, Azarenka repeated the same story as last year United States Open but stepped her game up when S Williams was serving for the title and the winning point in the match, in my opinion, was the volley Azarenka made in the deciding tiebreaker to earn her second match point. A key point in that tiebreak was S Williams missed a backhand long as she had the open court as Azarenka was pulled wide and if I recall, would have given S Williams 2 match points. S Williams must get cheap points on her serve and footwork must improve. Azarenka must be returning well and stay mentally focused for the entire match.
Predicted champion – Victoria Azarenka


As we approach the final Grand Slam of the year, the Spin takes a look at the list of floaters and contenders for the USO Title.  For the next 2 weeks, I will have Master Ace, a tennis fan and fellow WTA aficionado breaking down the women’s draw and assisting with Suicide Picks and daily commentary on the matches to watch and providing up to date commentary on the match that was.  You can follow Master Ace on Twitter at @TWMasterAce
You will also have your very own Spin’s takes on matches to watch and why you should mute your tv and go find a stream on which to watch tennis matches. 
So, without further ado, below are Master Ace’s contenders and floaters.
United States Open Top 10 WTA Contenders and Floaters

2013 record (as of 8/18/13) – Best United States Open Result – Wins, other results and comments

(1) Serena Williams(60-4) : 1999, 2002, 2008 and 2012 W:  French Open, Miami, Madrid, Rome, Toronto, Brisbane, Charlestonand Bastad . Even though she has had a dominant year, some people would consider her year a disappointment if she does not defend her United States Open title. She lost a tough final in Cincinnatito Victoria Azarenka despite not playing well all tournament. She will be playing for 2.6 million dollars as she won the USO Series.

(2) Victoria Azarenka(34-4): 2012 F:  Australian Open, Doha and Cincinnati. Recovering from the fall from Wimbledon, she won the title at Cincinnatidefeating Serena Williams and made the finals at Carlsbad. However, injury and a questionable serve can derail her from winning her first Slam outside of Melbourne. In 2012, she was one game away from the title leading 5-3 in the final set.

(3) Na Li (32-11): 2009 QF:  Shenzhen. She had a solid summer as she made the semifinals at Torontoand Cincinnati. If she gets on a hot streak, there are only two players that can slow her down but if she is struggling, she can make plane reservations back to China.

(4) Agnieszka Radwanska (42-13): 2007, 2008 and 2012 R16: Sydneyand Auckland.  She made the finals at Stanford, semifinals at Toronto, quarterfinals at Carlsbadand quarterfinals at Cincinnati. She pulled out of the tournament at Cincinnatidue to the death of her grandfather. She is the only player to make at the least the quarterfinals in the previous 3 Slams played.

 (5) Maria Sharapova (37-7): 2006 W: Indian Wells and Stuttgart. Since making the finals at the French Open, she has been struggling. She lost in the second round at Wimbledon and at Cincinnati. At Wimbledon, she slipped and injured her hip in the process which caused her to miss Toronto. In that time frame, she hired Jimmy Connors to coach her but after losing in Cincinnati, she gave Connors his dismissal papers via her Dad. If I saw and/or read correctly, her Dad will be coaching her for the United States Open.

(6) Petra Kvitova(35-18): 2009 and 2012 R16:  Dubai. So far during US Open Series, she made the quarterfinals at Carlsbadlosing a 3 hour and 35 minute match, quarterfinals at Torontoand losing a tough 3 setter at Cincinnati. Since 2012 started, Kvitova has struggled to meet expectations despite winning some good tournaments.

(7) Samantha Stosur(28-17):  2011 W:  Carlsbad. She won the title at Carlsbaddefeating Victoria Azarenka. Since then, she has not been able to consolidate that win at Toronto and Cincinnati. After her loss in Cincinnati, she and David Taylor spilt after 6 years. Alicia Molik will be coaching her for the United States Open but a permanent coach is scheduled to be in place for the fall season.

(8) Jelena Jankovic(36-15). 2008 F:  Bogota. She has played well so far in 2013 and in Cincinnati, she gave Azarenka a tough 3 set match where that match had 23 breaks of serve in 27 service games played.

 (9) Caroline Wozniacki (24-18): 2009 F:  This year has been a disappointment for her as she is losing matches against players that she would have defeated in 2010 and 2011.  In the last 2 weeks, she lost a tough 3 setter in Toronto and a tight 2 setter in Cincinnati. In Toronto, she had 2 match points to defeat Sorana Cirstea and in Cincinnati, she played well against  Victoria Azarenka but Azarenka was too tough on the crucial points. Will she continue to play decently when the United States Open starts as this has been traditionally her best Slam?

 (10) Sloane Stephens (27-17): 2011 and 2012 R32. Her best performances of the season have been in Slam play where she has made the 4th round or better in all Slams. In Cincinnati, she got her 2nd signature win of the season defeating Sharapova in Cincinnati. Before Cincinnati, she won only one match in USA for the year.


Sorana Cirstea (29-20): 2009 R32. She had her best tournament of the season when she made the finals at Torontodefeating 4 seeds along the way. All the seeds she defeated were either a former number 1 or a Slam champion getting good coaching advisement from Darren Cahill along the way.

Sara Errani (43-18): 2012 SF. Acapulco

Simona Halep (31-14):2011 & 2012 R64.  Nurnberg,’ s-Hertogenbosch and Budapest.  She made the quarterfinals at Cincinnati in her only US Open Series event\

Angelique Kerber (30-17): 2011 SF

Maria Kirilenko (31-14): 2011 R16 – PattayaCity
Since the above list was compiled, we have had the withdrawal of Maria Sharapova from the US Open, citing a recurrence of the shoulder injury that sidelined her for almost a year.   We wish Ms. Sharapova well in her recuperation.   However, can we say WAG time as I am sure that she will be cheering on her beau on the ATP from the stands and selling her candy while she is at it.

The Spin will be back later today or tomorrow when Master Ace will give a breakdown in the  Spin’s Seed Report.


Forbes just published its list of celebrity sports personality.  At the top of the list was the reigning No. 1 women’s player in the world, Serena Williams.
Forbes also published a list of the biggest earners in professional sports marketing.  At the top of the list was Maria Sharapova, currently the WTA No. 3, right behind her were Serena Williams, Victoria Azarenka and Li Na.
The WTA, at the Championships, Wimbledon this year patted itself on the back as it celebrated 40 years of its existence.  
During this USO hard court season, a time when fans and casual fans of the sport are being bombarded with the Emirates USO Series, the WTA announced a new partnership with SAP as it relates to delivering up to the minute stats on women’s tennis.
Earlier this year, the WTA announced that it was partnering with BT Sport to showcase women’s tennis around the globe.  Indeed, during this particular announcement, the WTA also announced that come 2014 its WTA Tour Championships will be moving from Istanbul, Turkey, where it has enjoyed exceptional crowd support to Singapore, not exactly a hot bed of professional tennis, but the word is that Asia is the new black, so everyone and their mother seems to be packing up to head to the Far East.  Does not matter that empty stands seems to be a feature of tennis in Asia.
The above announcements shows that women’s tennis is popular.  They seem able to secure partnerships and sponsors and their leading ladies are pulling in the money and getting their names in the news and making money.  Why then is it that whenever there is a combined event, which seems to be happening all over these days, do the women get shoved aside for mediocre men’s matches.  A case in point.  Today, 13 August 2013, during the W&S Open, there were 5 matches featured on Centre Court, 2 of those matches were women’s matches.  On the Grand Stand Court, there were 5 matches scheduled, the lone female singles match, featured former No.1 and French Open champion Ana Ivanovic.  It was not even televised.   I am assuming that the only courts that are televised are Centre Court and the Grand Stand.  The men’s matches which were played on the Grand Stand courts were televised.
The recently concluded Rogers Cup, which is a combined event held in separate cities (women in Toronto, men in Montreal) featured more men’s matches on tv, rather than women.  To show how bad things were, the current WTA No.1, a crowd pleaser if ever there was one, had her match livestreamed for those living in the US.  Meanwhile, Tennis Channel, that bastion of quality programming, featured the US Davis Cup effort and in case you missed it the first time around, the Dubai Duty Free Championships, because frankly that is what people pay good money to see.
I do not reside in the United States.  I reside in the Cayman Islands and I subscribe to the Tennis Channel via Dish Network.  I had to install a 6 foot dish in order to get that particular channel, so I invested a pretty penny to get this channel and it has been the most disappointing investment of my life.
However, what is even more disappointing is the dreadful coverage for women’s tennis, not only at these combined events, but especially when the women’s tour hits the United States.  Fans on Twitter and other social media complain daily of the lack of coverage of women’s tennis.  The powers that be would have us think that it is only men’s tennis that fans wish to see, but a quick survey taken today showed that the discussion surrounding the lack of coverage of the women’s event far outweighed the coverage of the men’s matches that were being shown.
Surely Stacey Allaster must be aware of the fact that women’s tennis is dying not because of lack of attendance at Tour events but because there is a lack of recognition of the needs of fans.  How can anyone become involved in women’s tennis if they never get to see the sport being played?  How can you become engaged with the women of the Tour if you never get to see them display their skill at this and other events on Tour? What is happening now to women’s tennis is akin to what happened prior to the formation of the WTA.  The women are being treated as if their Tour is not as important as the men’s tour and this is not right.
It is bad enough when at a women’s event there are men who are being paid to do exhibitions at these events and nothing is being said about this by the head of the WTA. How is it possible that this is allowed to happen?  How is it that on the one hand fans of women’s tennis are being bombarded about how much the sport has grown, when in actuality, unless you are a dedicated fan, you are hardly pressed to try and find young and upcoming players for which to root?
I know I have said this a million times, and I suspect that I will continue to do so, but surely, at some point in time, the WTA has to take stock of its product and realize that it is losing out on a massive audience that is just dying to engage with the women of this wonderful sport, the way they are supposed to.