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post #1 of 951 (permalink) Old Jun 25th, 2004, 07:53 AM Thread Starter
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match of the day

Wimbledon - First Round
Karolina Sprem def. Venus Williams (3) 7-6(7-5) 7-6(8-6)

This was the day when we kept writing Matches of the Day and trashing them. First Raymond's win over Asagoe. Then Ruano Pascual's over Pierce. Or maybe Sequera's over Martinez.

Yeah, right. How could we possibly settle on any match but this one?

Really, this wasn't just Karolina Sprem against Venus Williams. It was Sprem against her nerves and her clay footwork, too. She was slipping and skidding all over the place, and it wasn't just the dew on the grass; she did try to slide more than a few times (shades of that inspirer of so many Croat players, Goran Ivanisevic). But when she fell, she got up quickly -- in at least one case, inducing a Venus error as a result.

Really, it should have been shorter than it was. Sprem was up a break on Venus repeatedly, in both first and second sets. But the rule is close to universal: It's easier to break than to hold when you're nervous.

It's unfortunate that Sprem couldn't polish it off in the second, because it produced the Tiebreak That Went Bad. We won't rehearse the details of how the umpire awarded Sprem an extra point in the tiebreak (in a process which also caused them to play a point on the wrong side and caused Sprem to hit a second serve on what arguably should have been a first serve); you'll probably see it replayed thirty or forty times. It shouldn't have mattered anyway; Venus had the chance to win the tiebreak on her serve, and didn't, and that let Sprem, helped by that extra point he awarded her, finish off the second set. In a way, you have to pity Sprem. She was clearly so nervous that she didn't really know what the score was, and accepted the point because she trusted the chair umpire. But we know our Williams Fans; they'll be calling her "cheater" for the next dozen years. Venus took it very well; she was clearly upset about the loss, but didn't blame anyone except herself, and took the error with class.

It will hurt her even so: She was last year's finalist (indeed, she had been in the last four finals, winning two of them), and that was the biggest single result on her record -- a third of her points. Venus came in at #8; the loss will drop her far below the Top Ten -- looking at the numbers, the likeliest result is #14 or #15. And she's almost used up her special seeding exemptions, meaning that, come the U. S. Open if not before, she'll have to use her actual ranking.

Of course, she has now hit bottom; she has no more points to defend. From now on, she has nowhere to go but up.

That's where Sprem is going, too. This is her first-ever Top Ten win, and it comes at a Slam, where the points are doubled, and she gets the extra points based on Venus's special ranking. She came in at #30. This will probably move her above #25. And she is in a part of the draw that is rather well cleaned out. She very possibly is not done. Maybe that will help her with the nerves next time.

We said from the first that this was an incredibly tough draw for Venus; we were even more right than we thought....

Bob larson´s tennisnewsletter.

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post #2 of 951 (permalink) Old Jun 25th, 2004, 08:00 AM
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"But we know our Williams Fans; they'll be calling her "cheater" for the next dozen years. "

Did he really say that?????
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post #3 of 951 (permalink) Old Jun 25th, 2004, 08:24 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brαm
"But we know our Williams Fans; they'll be calling her "cheater" for the next dozen years. "

Did he really say that?????
the fact is, even Venus said it, 1 point doesn't make a match, especially not when Venus then goes on to 6-4 up in the tiebreak, and serving. and still she couldn't finish it, K'Lina just breezed trough to matchpoint.
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post #4 of 951 (permalink) Old Jun 25th, 2004, 08:27 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spike83
the fact is, even Venus said it, 1 point doesn't make a match, especially not when Venus then goes on to 6-4 up in the tiebreak, and serving. and still she couldn't finish it, K'Lina just breezed trough to matchpoint.
What's this got to do with my post?

I'm talking about Larson's comment. He's really rude here!
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post #5 of 951 (permalink) Old Jun 28th, 2004, 05:30 PM Thread Starter
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Wimbledon: Paying the Price
The repercussions came quickly. The chair umpire who cost Venus Williams so dearly will not be working again at this Wimbledon. But the real question was, which player in the bottom half would take advantage of her absence?

It was not to be Anastasia Myskina. In a third round match on Friday, she took on Amy Frazier, and it was about a un-grass-like as a match could get. It really looked like two hardcourters struggling on clay. But finally Frazier managed to get enough balls in on a match point to win it. She put herself back in the Top 30 -- indeed, probably put herself back in the Top 25 -- 4-6 6-4 6-4.

You have to wonder a little bit about all the people oohing and aahing about Maria Sharapova. Maybe that cute little dress of hers keeps the men from looking at her lousy little footwork, but we thought the women would notice. Crummy footwork or not, she once again proves the rule: Hit hard enough, and it doesn't matter too much if you're tripping over your feet. She won the all-glamour (and all lowcut-dress-with-bare-shoulders) contest with Daniela Hantuchova 6-3 6-1.

That was about typical of the six third round matches on Friday. Other than Frazier vs. Myskina, all the matches were two sets, and the winner in no case lost more than six games. #5 seed Lindsay Davenport lost exactly three in beating Tatiana Panova 6-2 6-1 (though the Russian at least is back in the Top 100); #11 Ai Sugiyama also lost three in beating Marion Bartoli 6-1 6-2, putting herself briefly at the head of the group of five players (Sugiyama, Petrova, Suarez, and Zvonareva, with Sharapova on the outside of the race) looking for two or at most three spots in the Top Ten. #12 Vera Zvonareva is at the back of that pack, but she too looked good, beating Gisela Dulko 6-4 6-2; that leaves Dulko just short of the Top 50.

The one third round upset was rather mild. Tamarine Tanasugarn has made the Wimbledon fourth round in five of the last six years. She made it six of seven with a 6-2 6-4 win over Alicia Molik -- only the second time this year (in 14 events) that Molik has lost to a player ranked below her (the first being to Nagyova at Estoril). Tanasugarn, #66 coming in, will gain at least a dozen places, and is one win away from the Top 50; Molik, who had just hit a career high of #26, will lose at least two spots but should stay Top 30.

In addition to the six third round matches, 17 second round matches remained to be completed. One went very quickly: Meghann Shaughnessy, who had been tied 8-8 with qualifier Nuria Llagostera Vives, polished off the last two games for a 6-4 4-6 10-8 win. Llagostera Vives still earned her first WTA win since Bogota 2003.

Few of the high seeds needed much more time on the court. #1 Serena Williams pounded Stephanie Foretz 6-0 6-4 to put herself one win away from the Top 25. #4 Amelie Mauresmo was almost as quick in disposing of qualifier Jennifer Hopkins 6-3 6-3 (it's still the first WTA win since Charleston 2002 for Hopkins, and her first Slam win since the 2002 Australian Open). Jennifer Capriati had much more of a struggle against the still-not-fully-well Elena Baltacha, but even on grass, Capriati was able to handle Baltacha's serve, and advanced 6-4 6-4. #9 Paola Suarez is usually vulnerable on grass, having come in with a 5-9 career record at Wimbledon, but Els Callens just isn't herself these days, and lost 6-2 6-2. And #14 Silvia Farina Elia took advantage of her last grass event of the year with a 6-3 6-3 win over namesake Silvija Talaja.

The highest seed to struggle, once again, was #10 Nadia Petrova -- though, admittedly, she faced the highest-ranked opponent; Maria Vento-Kabchi was the #2 unseeded player. Petrova edged her 6-3 3-6 6-2.

Patty Schnyder, in a way, justified her low opinion of her results on grass. Her two worst losses of the year, in terms of opponent rankings, came on the green stuff: She lost to #58 Medina Garrigues at 's-Hertogenbosch, and at Wimbledon topped it off with a loss to #115. Countrywoman Emmanuelle Gagliardi, who has been in a horrible slump, beat the #16 seed 6-2 6-7 6-2.

If Karolina Sprem is looking like the Most Impressive Newcomer of late 2003 through early 2004, Tatiana Golovin is looking like the Most Impressive of 2004 as a whole. She put herself on the verge of the Top 40 with a 6-1 6-0 drubbing of Francesca Schiavone, ending the Italian's quest for a Top 15 ranking. Even more amazing, Ludmila Cervanova -- who came here with a four match losing streak and who is mostly a clay player anyway -- upset #26 Lisa Raymond 6-4 6-3, raising a real possibility that Raymond would drop out of the Top 30.

The other seed in action was #25 Nathalie Dechy, who beat Maria Sanchez Lorenzo 6-1 6-1 to become the player most likely to dump Raymond from the Top 30 (except for the minor detail that she had to face Capriati).

Another Frenchwoman, Virginie Razzano, provided the biggest surprise among the unseeded players, posting her second big win of the tournament as she beat Elena Likhovtseva 6-1 6-2. Nor is she the only player ranked below #100 to reach the third round: Rita Grande beat Arantxa Parra Santonja 5-7 6-2 6-3, while Anne Kremer beat qualifier Sun Tian Tian 6-3 7-5. Kremer is up to 16 events now, and can't get more injury exemptions -- but she has her ranking up to around #120, so she will at least be able to get into better qualifying fields. And, by the looks of things, she might at last be ready to do damage again.

Virginia Ruano Pascual, in her past Big Wimbledon Wins, has tended to lose in the next round. Not this time; she beat Henrieta Nagyova 6-4 6-4, putting her just below the Top 50. Magui Serna is already there; she set up a meeting with Serena by beating Jane O'Donoghue, the one remaining British player, 6-3 6-3.

Friday's other singles match ended with Tatiana Perebiynis beating Milagros Sequera 6-2 7-5.

Saturday's entire action, of course, was rained out, forcing play on the middle Sunday.

It's interesting to note that the men are now further along than the women, despite finishing on Sunday whereas the women's final is on Saturday: Men's third round singles action is done; the women have two matches still to complete. Tatiana Golovin and Emmanuelle Gagliardi were at 3-3 in the third set, and #14 Silvia Farina Elia had split sets with Virginia Ruano Pascual, before Sunday's rain ended action.

Eight matches did complete on Sunday, every one of which followed form. (A rather surprising statement, given that the women will have five or six unseeded players in the fourth round, equalling or nearly the six the men have; the women, what's more, have lost four of their top eight seeds, the men three of seven players seeded #8 or higher.) Serena Williams beat Magui Serna 6-4 6-0, though she needs at least one more win if she wants to stay in the Top 20. Amelie Mauresmo is one win away from taking the #3 ranking back from Anastasia Myskina after her 6-1 6-4 victory over Ludmila Cervanova. Jennifer Capriati saw to it that Nathalie Dechy did not stay in the Top Thirty 7-5 6-1. Paola Suarez kept herself in the race for the Top Ten with a 6-1 4-6 6-0 victory over Anne Kremer. Nadia Petrova is now at the head of the block of players trying to hit the Top Ten after she finally won an easy match, 7-5 6-2 over Tatiana Perebiynis. Magdalena Maleeva will probably be Top 20 following her 7-5 6-3 win over Denisa Chladkova. Rita Grande won a battle of players just getting back into the Top 100 as she beat Virginie Razzano 6-4 4-6 6-3. And Karolina Sprem won two more tiebreaks, over Meghann Shaughnessy, to clinch a Top 25 spot and move to within one win of hitting the Top 20. (Yes, we know, Shaughnessy was seeded and Sprem wasn't, but Sprem came in ranked higher even so, so it isn't an upset.)

The doubles was about as productive of withdrawals as upsets; not only did Jelena Dokic bail out, but #10 seeds Elena Dementieva and Lina Krasnroutskaya withdraw. The Russians had, of course, made the semifinal last year (and beaten the Williams Sisters, though that didn't matter rankings-wise); they will be falling out of the Top 50. Taking their place as seeds were Alicia Molik and Magui Serna, who took part in a mass advance by seeds on Friday: 14 seeded pairs in action, 13 through. The one pair to fall were #12 Li Ting and Sun Tian Tian, who haven't been the same since Li got hurt this spring; they lost their fourth straight match 6-2 6-3 to qualifiers Dominikovic and Rodionova. But #1 Ruano Pascual/Suarez won their nineteenth straight Slam match 6-2 6-2 over Lucky Losers Augustus and Grandin (who took Dokic's place). Also advancing in straight sets were #3 Navratilova/Raymond, #4 Petrova/Shaughnessy, #5 Huber/Sugyiama, #6 Black/Stubbs, #9 Casanova/Pratt, #11 Bartoli/Loit, #13 Myskina/Zvonareva, #14 Farina Elia/Schiavone, #15 Callens/Mandula, and of course #17 Molik and Serna. If they win their next match, or if Casanova and Pratt do, then Kim Clijsters will be out of the doubles Top 20.

One other seeded team advanced in straight sets, but that deserves particular mention. Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario came back in doubles at least partly with an eye on the Olympics, and has played her last two events with Anabel Medina Garrigues as a result. Unfortunately, Medina Garrigues isn't much of a doubles player; she came in ranked #102. And so the all-Spanish team of Medina Garrigues and Sanchez-Vicario, who were wildcarded in, lost to the half-Spanish team of Husarova and Martinez, the #7 seeds, 6-2 6-2. If we were the Spanish Olympic officials, we'd name Martinez and Ruano Pascual for doubles -- but we'll find out soon enough; final rosters are due today (Monday).

What we had thought would be the most interesting unseeded match proved instead a blowout; Lisa McShea and Milagros Sequera had just come off a title at 's-Hertogenbosch, but they lost to Prakusya and Tanasugarn 6-1 6-3. Tanasugarn, who until about two years ago was a singles specialist, finds herself on the verge of the Top 30 in doubles.

The rain on Sunday meant that the first round still isn't over; Nathalie Dechy and Daniela Hantuchova are up a set on a pair of wildcards, but will have to wait to finish.

Most of the schedule, of course, was second round matches, and form once again held (though the top two teams, #1 Ruano Pascual/Suarez and #2 Kuznetsova/Likhovtseva, didn't get a chance to play). #3 Navratlilova/Raymond, #4 Petrova/Shaughnessy, #5 Huber/Sugiyama, #6 Black/Stubbs, #11 Bartoli/Loit, and #15 Callens/Mandula all advanced in straight sets, though #7 Husarova/Martinez needed three sets, and #8 Vento-Kabchi/Widjaja were pushed to 16-14 in the third by Prakusya and Tanasugarn.

Only one team was upset; #9 Casanova/Pratt, who haven't played all that much together, lost in three sets to the Chinese team of Yan and Zheng. The draw also lost #13 seeds Anastasia Myskina and Vera Zvonareva; Myskina, for the second time this year, has a toe problem.

We currently calculate the doubles rankings as follows:

1..(2) RUANO PASCUAL ..... 4623*
2..(1) SUAREZ .............4623*
3..(3) KUZNETSOVA .........3319*
4..(4) LIKHOVTSEVA ....... 2978*
5..(6) NAVRATILOVA ....... 2704*
6..(7) PETROVA ........... 2606*
7..(8) SHAUGHNESSY ....... 2601*
8.(10) BLACK ............. 2307*
9..(9) RAYMOND ........... 2126*
10..(5) SUGIYAMA ...........2124*
11.(12) STUBBS .............1967*
12.(13) HUSAROVA ...........1720*
13.(14) MARTINEZ ...........1625*
14.(15) HUBER ............. 1576*
15.(18) BARTOLI ........... 1322*
16.(16) WIDJAJA ........... 1259*
17.(21) ZVONAREVA ......... 1216
18.(17) VENTO-KABCHI .......1204*
19.(20) CASANOVA ...........1203
20.(11) Clijsters ......... 1110
21.(23) MOLIK ............. 1107*
22.(24) PRATT ............. 1106
23.(27) SERNA ............. 1087*
24.(22) Maleeva ........... 1074
25.(29) VINCI ............. 1073*
Wimbledon: Rain, Rain, Can We Make a Deal?
At Daily Tennis, we have an interesting relationship between rain and Slams. We cover every match, so the first few days are utterly exhausting. (Go ahead. You try to figure out the significance of, say, Popp vs. Montanes or Grande vs. Santangelo when it's match #54 you've had to cover in the day.) Rain can sometimes be a welcome break.

But the price can be high -- as on Thursday, when they played about two and a half days' worth of matches.

The price for the players can be pretty high, too. On Thursday, Goran Ivanisevic had to play five sets to reach the third round. Which put him up against another past champion, Lleyton Hewitt. (Talk about a top-heavy draw: There were only three past champions in the field, all in the top quarter.) You could see some of the weariness. The serve was working pretty well, but of course Hewitt is a great returner. And he lobs pretty well, too, and Ivanisevic isn't really a natural volleyer, so the Australian was murdering him there at the net. Left with just the serve, Ivanisevic didn't last long. Hewitt eliminated the 2001 champion 6-2 6-3 6-4. And that was it. The End, in big curlicued Olde English letters. After 15 Wimbledons, and 49 Wimbledon wins, Goran Ivanisevic was retired.

Today's feature looks back on the distinguished career of one of tennis's most outspoken characters.

The rain may also have cost Juan Carlos Ferrero, who had been pushed deep into the fifth set by Stefan Koubek in the first round. Ferrero just didn't seem to be there against Robby Ginepri, who is liking grass more and more with each passing year. His routine 6-3 6-4 6-1 win over Ferrero will almost certainly put him in the Top 30. Ferrero, though, will fall from #5 to no better than #6.

The Spanish did manage to get a player into the fourth round despite Ferrero's loss. Carlos Moya is now certain to be the top Spanish player after Wimbledon; he beat Dmitri Tursunov 6-1 6-4 7-5.

It's not just chair umpires who make mistakes. The ATP does it, too. And, in the urgency of Thursday's immense number of matches, we didn't check it. Jan-Michael Gambill did not lose on Thursday; he made it through to the third round.

Which just meant that he had to face Sebastien Grosjean. Some reward. Even the television commentators are finally noticing just how much Grosjean likes grass. He took out Gambill 7-6 6-3 6-3.

Even with Ivanisevic gone, Croatia is not without its influence at Wimbledon. The matches above were all third rounders, but most of Friday's schedule was second round matches -- no fewer than nineteen of them. Including two big-serving Croats, Ivo Karlovic and Mario Ancic. For the second straight year, Karlovic is in the third round, having beaten Gilles Elseneer 6-4 6-4 3-6 7-6. As for Ancic, he finally beat a non-seeded player at Wimbledon, making the third round for the first time with a 4-6 7-6 2-6 7-5 6-4 win over Lucky Loser Julien Benneteau.

Nor did every veteran go out; Wayne Ferreira, playing in his fifteenth consecutive Wimbledon, made the third round for the tenth time by beating Karol Kucera 7-6 6-3 6-1.

The top seed to lose, not surprisingly, was #3 Guillermo Coria, who seemed to be spending almost as much time talking to the trainer as actually playing. He lost to the promising German Florian Mayer 4-6 6-3 6-3 6-4 (and would later lose in doubles, too); at least he can boast of his first Wimbledon win, and he is guaranteed to keep the #3 ranking.

Still, his loss guarantees that Andy Roddick will end up no worse than #2. Not that there was much question about that, based on the way he is playing; he handily beat Lucky Loser Alexander Peya 6-3 7-6 6-4.

For Tim Henman, it took a couple of games longer to get in gear, but only that; the #5 seed beat qualifier Ivo Heuberger 7-5 6-3 6-2. Other seeds advancing quickly were #30 Vincent Spadea, who made the Wimbledon third round for the first time in nine tries, 6-1 6-1 6-2; #26 Taylor Dent, who beat Lucky Loser Stefano Pescosolido 6-3 6-3 7-6; and #25, who also made his first third round, beating wildcard Mark Hilton 7-5 6-4 6-2.

#20 seed Tommy Robredo, though, is out, and it just might cost him his Top 20 ranking; he took on Karol Beck, who is turning into a very good grass player; Beck made his first-ever third round at any Slam 6-3 6-2 7-6. Also out is #22 Andrei Pavel, who will probably make the Top 20 despite his 7-6 6-3 6-3 loss to Kenneth Carlsen.

Rainer Schuettler has shown a clear ability to make life tough for himself this year. It's just possible that he would be on his way home by now had not Greg Rusedski slipped and fallen in a heap in the forth set; it looked as though he banged up his serving wrist just a little, and he was never the same. Of course, the very fact that it was well into the fourth set might have been the cause. The #8 seed beat Rusedski 6-7 7-6 6-7 6-2 6-2. There is speculation that it might be Rusedski's last Wimbledon -- though it's hard to imagine Rusedski wanting to retire with his ranking in the pit where it is now. On the other hand, will he want to play enough qualifying to get back into main draws?

Other seeds to advance with a lot of effort included #11 Mark Philippoussis, last year's finalist, who won a serving battle with Martin Verkerk 4-6 6-3 7-6 7-5; #12 Sjeng Schalken, who took out a tired Todd Martin 6-3 6-2 4-6 6-3 and will probably stay Top 30 at least as a result; #24 Fernando Gonzalez, who almost blew a two set lead but put things together in the fifth to beat Igor Andreev 7-5 6-3 5-7 6-7 6-3; and Hicham Arazi, who is in the third round for the third time after his 6-7 6-4 6-3 7-6 win over David Ferrer.

If you took your scores from the ATP, watch out for the result of the contest between #21 Juan Ignacio Chela and Thomas Enqvist; for the second straight day, the ATP had the score wrong. Enqvist blocked Chela's attempt to make the third round for the first time in his career 6-3 6-7 6-1 3-6 6-3.

Alexander Popp continued his streak of never losing early at Wimbledon; he had the day's most lopsided win, beating Albert Montanes 6-1 6-0 6-1. Also reliving past glories was Xavier Malisse, a 3-6 6-3 6-2 6-4 winner over Tommy Haas.

Then came Saturday, and more rain, and more waiting to see just how far behind the tournament would fall. By late afternoon, it was far enough behind that they decided to play on Sunday. And the rain never did stop; for the second time in four days, the entire session had to be postponed.

By the end of Sunday, there was a certain air of deja vu around the place. All eight of last year's quarterfinalists had reached the third round -- and, as it turned out, seven of eight would reach the fourth round.

The one exception was Jonas Bjorkman, who for the second straight week found himself facing a young countryman with a big serve. At Nottingham, it was Robin Soderling who disposed of his nation's #1 veteran. At Wimbledon, Joachim Johansson did the damage, beating Bjorkman 6-7 7-6 7-6 6-3. The loss costs Bjorkman his Top 30 ranking; he'll end up around #35.

The other Johansson, Thomas, had the bad luck to run into Roger Federer, who continued to be his incredible grasscourt self. The result was an easy 6-3 6-4 6-3 win for the #1 seed. It appears that Johansson, #123 coming in, will end up just short of the Top 100. Federer, incidentally, made it that much harder for Andy Roddick to get to #1. With Federer in the fourth round, Roddick has to reach at least the final to have a chance.

The American once again looked ready for the challenge. He, too, remains undefeated on grass this year following his 6-3 7-6 7-6 win over Taylor Dent. Dent will probably be Top 30 next week (up from #31), but he can't hit the Top 25.

The Great American Surprise of this Wimbledon, though, is surely Vincent Spadea, who now has as many wins at this Wimbledon as at his entire previous eight. He took out #8 seed Rainer Schuettler 6-4 6-2 6-3, which may well be enough to put him in the Top 25. Schuettler, though, ends up at no better than #8, and it will be #9 if Lleyton Hewitt makes the semifinal or Sebastien Grosjean wins Wimbledon.

Even so, Germany finds itself with two players in the fourth round. Florian Mayer continues to look like the country's Next Big Thing, having ended Wayne Ferreira's final Wimbledon 4-6 6-4 6-1 6-4. The German came in at #66, and at this time last year didn't even have an ATP qualifying match; he was still playing mostly Challenger qualifying. He is very close to reaching the Top 50.

Alexander Popp isn't going to hit the Top 50 any time soon, unless he goes beyond his standard quarterfinal here -- but, for the third time in three tries, he's in the fourth round, having beaten Kenneth Carlsen 7-5 6-4 6-4. That at least will keep the German within spitting distance of the Top 100.

Feliciano Lopez is finally out before the fourth round. In the biggest-serving match of them all, Ivo Karlovic beat the #18 seed 7-6 7-6 6-7 7-5.

And Karlovic has company from his homeland (on both the men's and women's sides, since Karolina Sprem is also in the fourth round). Mario Ancic is in his first Slam fourth round with a 7-5 6-3 7-5 win over #25 Dominik Hrbaty, who once again fails to perform at the required events. Ancic too is knocking on the door of the Top 50; Hrbaty falls just short of the Top 20.

This is supposed to be Tim Henman's big chance. He's not doing a very good job of taking advantage, having struggled in his first match and at the beginning of his second. And, in his third, he struggled again, despite facing Hicham Arazi, who was having neck problems and who prefers clay anyway. Henman kept getting in trouble on serve, and while he rescued things in the first two sets, he couldn't overcome it in the third. He needed four sets to advance 7-6 6-4 3-6 6-2. Once more win and he will be in line for the #5 ranking -- but if he loses his next match, he'll fall to no better than #7.

And that next match will be against last year's finalist Mark Philippoussis. Philippoussis beat Fernando Gonzalez 6-4 6-1 6-7 7-5 (meaning that Gonzalez won't be making the Top 20 just yet), and faces a bleak prospect: If he wins that fourth round match, he'll stay Top 50. Otherwise, he looks to be out.

Sjeng Schalken has that dilemma cut in half: Win his fourth round match, and he should be Top 25. Lose it, and he won't be. He gave himself the chance to reach that ranking with a come-from-behind win over Thomas Enqvist, 5-7 6-2 3-6 7-6 6-2.

The other player to reach the Round of 16 was 2002 semifinalist Xavier Malisse, who beat Karol Beck 6-3 6-3 6-4. Beck still has his best-ever Slam, and is very close to the career-high #60 he briefly reached last fall.

Friday's doubles was, as usual, far more routine than the singles; almost all the seeded teams, especially the high-seeded teams, advanced. In fact #1 Bjorkman/Woodbridge, #3 Bryan/Bryan, #6 Black/Ullyett, #7 Arthurs/Hanley, #8 Damm/Suk, and #9 Etlis/Rodriguez all advanced without loss of a set; they had to play a combined one tiebreak. The top team to lose was last year's semifinalists Erlich and Ram, the #10 seeds; they took one on of the best unseeded teams, Novak and Stepanek, and lost 6-4 7-6. The Israelis will be falling from #19 and #20 to probably somewhere around #30. Also out are #13 Cermak and Friedl, but #11 Paes/Rikl advanced in three sets, and #12 Palmer/Vizner in straights.

The biggest loss, in fact, wasn't even as a result of match action. Michael Llodra and Fabrice Santoro, who were supposed to be the #4 seeds, withdrew, replaced by Lucky Losers Ayala and Vahaly, who promptly lost to Lopez Moron and Skoch. It appears likely that Santoro will keep his #7/#8 ranking even so, though Llodra is in danger of falling out of the Top Ten.

Sunday's action was mostly more of the same: #5 Knowles and Nestor became the final seeded team to reach the second round with a 6-1 6-3 win over Ginepri and Merklein (though there is one first round match still to complete: Sa/Saretta and Karlovic/Thomas were at 6-6 in the third -- no tiebreak, remember -- when the weather halted play). In second round action, #2 Bryan/Bryan, #3 Bhupathi/Mirnyi, #7 Arthurs/Hanley, #8 Damm/Suk, #12 Palmer/Vizner, and #16 Knowle/Zimonjic all advanced -- though #9 Etlis and Rodriguez, who made the third round last year, are out, as are Leander Paes and David Rikl, last year's semifinalists; they'll be heading down to around #30. Also out are #15 Hood and Prieto. #1 Bjorkman and Woodbridge were about to win their match against Arnold and Garcia when play was stopped, but #14 Malisse and Rochus were in a dogfight with Leach and MacPhie, on serve late in the third set. #6 seeds Wayne Black and Kevin Ullyett didn't play; they're awaiting the Sa/Saretta/Karlovic/Thomas winner.

At present, we calculate the men's doubles Top 18 (which is as far as we trust our list) as follows:

1..(3) BBryan.............4545
1..(3) MBryan.............4545
3..(5) Bhupathi...........4075
4..(1) Bjorkman...........3885
5..(2) Woodbridge.........3850
6..(6) Mirnyi.............3820
7..(7) Santoro............3770
8..(8) Llodra.............3260
9..(9) Nestor.............3180
9.(10) Knowles............3180
11.(11) Ullyett............3155
12.(12) Black..............3030
13.(13) Hanley.............2980
14.(14) Arthurs............2580
15.(15) Damm...............2445
15.(15) Suk................2445
17.(17) Rodriguez..........2275
18.(18) Etlis..............2070

Women's Match of the Day

Wimbledon - Third Round
Amy Frazier (31) def. Anastasia Myskina (2) 4-6 6-4 6-4

Yes, we know, this happened on Friday. It's hardly a strong candidate for Match of the Day for Monday. But look at Sunday's matches; the only "upset" was Sprem's win over Shaughnessy, and that wasn't actually an upset, and in any case, Sprem doesn't really need any more publicity right now.

And this was the biggest outcome of the tournament so far, men or women. Anastasia Myskina has never won a grass tournament, but she has a couple of finals, and she likes the surface, and she came into this match with a nine match losing streak.

You probably have seen the match by now: Breaks all over the place, Frazier having half a dozen match points and blowing all but the last (of course, every winner blows everyone but the last), and seeming unable to serve the match out. Myskina scrambling like mad but having more than usual trouble keeping the ball in. As it turned out, Myskina would withdraw from her doubles match on Sunday, so she may have been suffering already. It was still a shock. Frazier has some very good wins in her career -- she retired Steffi Graf, she took out Martina Hingis at San Diego 2000, she beat #8 Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario at Roland Garros 2001. But the Hingis win was her last Top Five victory, and her only Top Ten win in the last two years was over Hantuchova at Stanford 2003, and her only Top Twenty win this year was over Dokic at Amelia Island. She didn't seem to be ready for an ambush. Wrong, obviously. And, with the win, she puts herself back in the Top 30 -- close to the Top 25. For at least the third time, after people have written off her career, she's back.

And, as a result, Myskina may lose the #3 ranking she gained at Roland Garros. Certainly she won't be moving up. If Amelie Mauresmo can win her fourth round match, then Mauresmo will be #3 and Myskina #4. Though neither has much to defend this summer. With Kim Clijsters losing points fast, we could have a wild race for the #2 ranking this summer.

Men's Match of the Day

Wimbledon - Third Round
Ivo Karlovic def. Feliciano Lopez (18) 7-6(14-12) 7-6(7-3) 6-7(2-7) 7-5

When two of the biggest serves in tennis meet, something has to give. And the something, in this case, was Feliciano Lopez's streak of Wimbledon fourth rounds.

Lopez is a very atypical Spaniard; he's never had much luck on clay, posting most of his big career results on hardcourts, indoor and out.

Well, plus on grass. In fact, it's been largely Wimbledon that's made him what he is. When he arrived at Wimbledon 2002, he had exactly one Slam match win, but he made the fourth round with wins over Canas and Schuettler. Last year, he did it again, though he beat rather lesser players (the best of them was probably Youzhny).

Now, finally, he's out in the third round, to the Incredible Tiebreak-Playing Croat. Given how big Wimbledon has been for Lopez, it will cost him surprisingly little -- he came in at #22, and will lose between one and four places, with two being perhaps the most likely number. It will be more interesting to see how this affects his future results.

And Ivo Karlovic's, too. It was his breakthrough here last year that made him a respectable player, and now the 25-year-old has gone himself one better. He still doesn't have much of a ground game -- but with that serve, it almost doesn't matter. #62 coming in, he joins the large clump of players just on the edge of the Top 50. Now if only he didn't have to face Roger Federer next....

The Good, the Bad, and the Retired
You could make the case that some guys with a single Slam title don't deserve it. Not so Goran Ivanisevic. The surprise in his case is not that he had so many but so few.

People think of Ivanisevic as a grass-court player, and of course that's where he won his only Slam and had his other three Slam finals. But though Wimbledon was his best major, with a winning percentage in excess of 75%, he had a winning record at all four Slams, with two Australian Open quarterfinals (1989, 1994), three Roland Garros quarterfinals (1990, 1992, 1994), and a U. S. Open semifinal (1996). In terms of titles, he covered everything. In his career, he had a total of 22 titles:

Clay: Stuttgart 1990, Bucharest 1993, Kitzbuhel 1994
Grass: Manchester 1991, Wimbledon 2001
Hardcourt: Adelaide 1992, Dubai 1996
Indoor Hardcourt: Sydney 1992
Carpet: Stuttgart 1992, Stockholm 1992, Vienna 1993, Paris 1993, Tokyo 1994, Grand Slam Cup 1995, Zagreb 1996, Milan 1996, Rotterdam 1996, Moscow 1996, Zagreb 1997, Milan 1997, Vienna 1997, Split 1998

It's obviously the portrait of a guy who likes fast surfaces (in addition to Wimbledon, his two Masters Series titles were on carpet: Stuttgart 1992 and Paris 1993), but he could survive anywhere, and he really liked clay a lot -- to the very end, you could see him trying to slide on grass; indeed, he appeared to twist his ankle one last time in the last service game of his career.

All those singles titles naturally translated into some pretty good rankings as well. He peaked at #2 in 1994, and ended the year in the Top Ten six times (1990, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996); he was Top Five in 1992, 1994, and 1996.

Nor was he, like so many other great singles players, allergic to doubles; in fact, his first title came in doubles in 1988, at the age of 17, when he won Frankfurt; he ended up with nine doubles titles, and he twice made the Roland Garros doubles final (1990 and 1999). His best ranking in doubles was #20. And what American tennis fan could forget his dramatic doubles match against the United States in Davis Cup two years ago? Unable to play singles, Croatia put him in the doubles almost more as a good luck charm than anything else -- and the Croats won the match, and the tie, even so. Pain seemed to inspire him; he was popping painkillers on his way to the 2001 Wimbledon title, and was playing with a shoulder that would require surgery later that year.

In Dubai, Ivanisevic quit after trying to slide for a ball on hardcourt one too many times. If there's ever a wing in the Hall of Fame for bizarre injuries, it could easily be named after the Croat. Not only has he managed to injure himself sleeping and splashing on the beach, but also suffered a hand injury while shutting a door and required stitches after banging into his doubles partner. In fact, as far back as 1998, a web site calculated that Ivanisevic was one of the all-time leaders for receiving stitches with 28 -- and that's only on his head. (Does running out of racquets count? How about getting hit on the back of the head with Marc Rosset's serve?)

That Davis Cup result was emblematic of his service to his country in national competition. He did have a brief quarrel with the Croatian tennis federation, but could usually be counted on to play where needed. He also brought home an Olympic bronze medal in 1992 -- the first Olympic medal won by his newly-created country.

And his service extended beyond just Davis Cup and the Olympics. When local tournaments needed him, he turned up, even if it didn't fit his schedule. He even helped to manage Zagreb 1996, where he was part-owner. "For the first time in my life I see what it is like to run a tournament," he told an interviewer that year. "When I got to Zagreb they tell me Yevgeny Kafelnikov has pulled out and we need another big name. So I sit in the office and start calling players. But they won't come. They are busy. They are tired. It is tough.

"So my colleagues on tournament committee say, 'OK so you must win tournament yourself or you are in big trouble.' Great! Very relaxed I am after that. Never felt such pressure. They are going to hang me if I don't win the tournament!"

That was typical of an interview style that endeared him to fans and press: He said what he thought, and what he thought was often hilarious. He himself spoke of a "Good Goran," a "Bad Goran," and an "Emergency Goran." Neither did he hesitate to caricature his own famous serve; when they reduced the time between points to 20 seconds, he declared "It doesn't matter to me. I can play four points in twenty seconds."

But perhaps his most significant legacy to the sport and his country is the generation of Croatian players he has inspired and supported. Mirjana Lucic (who, ironically, falls off the WTA rankings the week Ivanisevic plays his last match) was called "female Goran" because of her serve; Mario Ancic is still the "baby Goran"; Ivanisevic has played mixed doubles with Iva Majoli, Croatia's other Slam winner. Karolina Sprem, their biggest young female talent, talks freely of how his results influenced her. And Ivan Ljubicic, Croatia's #1 in his absence, admits to being inspired by him.

The crowd went wild when he won his first round match at Wimbledon. And his second, which he won in five sets. But they applauded even more when he lost, in the third, to Lleyton Hewitt. He will be missed.

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The truth:
Serena Williams: Greatest African-American tennisplayer in history
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post #6 of 951 (permalink) Old Jun 29th, 2004, 01:41 AM
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Just a point of correction... it was NOT K-Lina's first top 10 win.
See 2003 Internationaux de Strasbourg. Round Two.
Karolina Šprem d. #10 Jelena Dokic 75 16 63
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post #7 of 951 (permalink) Old Jun 29th, 2004, 01:48 AM
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Go e-mail Bob Larson to tell him how imperfect he is!

"You Worry About Your Jump Rope and Yourself!" -Coral on Battle of the Sexes 2
(1/20/17) Just discovered this gem in my private messages from 2006:
Who is Rtael?
This guy Rtael ,brainless and ignorant, is one of the most obnoxious, arrogant and coward guys whos has been a pest in this forum for years now.Given the new anti-bully policy he'll probably be expelled soon. Observe how he tries to rally and gang others against you. Mean people like him shouldn't be allowed here. And all because he "doesn't like your attitude"!!
**Everyone should consider themselves warned!**
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post #8 of 951 (permalink) Old Jun 29th, 2004, 01:50 AM
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Done. And ESPN, too. They said it wrong as well.
I'm a facts junkie. If you're gonna say it, it better be right.
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post #9 of 951 (permalink) Old Jun 29th, 2004, 11:08 AM Thread Starter
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Wimbledon: Missing Ingredient
Amy Frazier was playing at the pro level before Maria Sharapova was born. She played her first Slam when Sharapova was four months old, and her first Wimbledon before Sharapova reached the age of 15 months. She reached the second round, too.

You'd think, after this much time as a pro, she would have learned how to serve!

Contrary to what we've heard several announcers say, Frazier did not beat two seeds to get to the fourth round; she is a seed herself -- for all that even the WTA once forgot to put a seed number by her name. That's how good her return game is.

But even though she's 5'8" (1.73 m), she has a serve that looks like something out of the 1980s. She was broken repeatedly against Anastasia Myskina in the third round, and still won because she was able to break with even greater regularity. Against Maria Sharapova, she was up a break in the first set. She served for the set in the second. She double-faulted twelve times. Naturally Sharapova kept breaking back. And Sharapova finally earned the key hold. In the end, she reached the quarterfinal 6-4 7-5.

It was Frazier's fourth Wimbledon fourth round. She's never made it past that level. Chances are, she'll end the fortnight at #25.

Silvia Farina Elia, though, looks as if she'll actually be able to stay Top 20. Last year's quarterfinalist had been in a slugfest with Virginia Ruano Pascual, which was suspended after two sets, and a slugfest it remained. But Farina Elia finally won the contest 2-6 6-4 7-5. Ruano Pascual ends up at #53; Farina Elia is currently #19, with Serena Williams the only player with a reasonable shot at passing her.

Though, theoretically, Tatiana Golovin could, too; she too was in a suspended third round match, against Emmanuelle Gagliardi -- but she came back strong and finished quickly, 6-2 2-6 6-3. That should put Golovin in the Top 40 for the first time. Unfortunately for her, it also earns her a meeting with Serena.

Speaking of players at career highs, add Karolina Sprem to the list -- and, in her case, the high is in the Top 20. She beat Magdalena Maleeva 6-4 6-4.

We did eliminate the first of our candidates to make the Top Ten. Vera Zvonareva had to face Lindsay Davenport, and Davenport had one of her better serving days, advancing 6-4 6-4. That means the best Zvonareva can finish is #12, and Sharapova and Sprem and Farina Elia and Serena are all moving up on her.

For the moment, the player in the lead in the contest for that Top Ten spot is Ai Sugiyama. Unlike all the other Japanese players, Sugiyama has not particularly enjoyed Wimbledon or grass; it was, in fact, her worst Slam coming into this year. But she's in the quarterfinal (and, clearly, out of her spring slump); she beat Tamarine Tanasugarn 6-3 7-5. Tanasugarn ends up just short of the Top 50.

The twelve remaining players are an interesting lot: Amelie Mauresmo, who faces Farina Elia next, is the top-ranked. We have two other guaranteed Top Ten players (Davenport and Capriati), four others struggling for Top Ten spots (Sugiyama, Petrova, Suarez, Sharapova), two others just inside the Top 20 (Farina Elia, Sprem) though separated by as much of an age gap as Frazier and Sharapova, plus Serena just inside the Top 25, Golovin who is just entering the Top 40 -- and Rita Grande, who came in at #103.

It's also interesting to note that we have one very one-handed quarter: Mauresmo, Farina Elia, and Grande are all one-handers; only Suarez plays with a two-hander in that part of the draw (and seems most unlikely to be the semifinalist). The rest of the field is your basic WTA collection of two-handers.

We thought, briefly, that we were going to have a Match of the Day in doubles, as Virginia Ruano Pascual and Paola Suarez saw their Grand Slam hopes threatened. They were down 3-1 in the first against the Japanese team of Shinobu Asagoe and Rika Fujiwara. But, perhaps unfortunately for the sanctity of the term Grand Slam, the world's top pair recovered, and posted a 7-6 6-1 win. They are, of course, assured of the #1 ranking whatever happens here.

The other high seeds also tended to do well, though #2 Kuznetsova and Likhovtseva had to wait to play; their second round opponents are Nathalie Dechy and Daniela Hantuchova, who finally completed their first round match 6-4 6-1 over Borwell and Webley-Smith. But #3 Navratilova and Raymond beat Russell and Santangelo 7-5 6-3, while #4 Petrova and Shaughnessy remain on track for another meeting with Ruano Pascual and Suarez after their 6-3 6-0 win over #15 Callens and Mandula. That's a tough loss for Mandula, who was already down to #40 and had big points to defend; she's sliding back toward #50. Plus #6 Cara Black and Rennae Stubbs beat Barbara Schett and Patty Schnyder 7-6 6-4.

A couple of doubles results somehow managed to sneak by us on this crazy weekend. For starters, Silvia Farina Elia and Francesca Schiavone, the #14 seeds, are out, having given Gisela Dulko and Patricia Tarabini a walkover. In addition, Janette Husarova and Conchita Martinez made the second round over Grande and Pennetta -- not that it did them any good, since they lost 6-4 3-6 6-4 to Marion Bartoli and Emilie Loit in the third.

The draw is about as messed up as we are; four teams (Navratilova/Raymond, Petrova/Shaughnessy, Black/Stubbs, and Bartoli/Loit) have made the quarterfinal, but four, including Kuznetsova/Shaughnessy, are still back in the second round, and four more are in the third. That last list includes Tatiana Golovin and Mary Pierce, who kept Alicia Molik out of the Top 20 as they beat Molik and Serna, the #17 seeds, 7-6 6-7 6-3. That also ends a five match winning streak for Molik and Serna.

In context, with some teams so far ahead of others, the rankings don't mean all that much, but we currently calculate the Top 25 as follows:

1..(1) SUAREZ .............4623*
2..(2) RUANO PASCUAL ..... 4623*
3..(3) KUZNETSOVA .........3319*
4..(4) LIKHOVTSEVA ....... 2978*
5..(6) NAVRATILOVA ....... 2735*
6..(7) PETROVA ........... 2694*
7..(8) SHAUGHNESSY ....... 2689*
8.(10) BLACK ............. 2356*
9..(9) RAYMOND ........... 2202*
10..(5) SUGIYAMA ...........2124*
11.(12) STUBBS .............2047*
12.(13) HUSAROVA ...........1724
13.(14) MARTINEZ ...........1629
14.(15) HUBER ............. 1576*
15.(18) BARTOLI ........... 1424*
16.(16) WIDJAJA ........... 1259*
17.(21) ZVONAREVA ......... 1216
18.(17) VENTO-KABCHI .......1204*
19.(20) CASANOVA ...........1203
20.(11) Clijsters ......... 1110
21.(23) MOLIK ............. 1107
22.(24) PRATT ............. 1106
23.(32) LOIT ...............1103*
24.(27) SERNA ............. 1087
25.(22) Maleeva ........... 1074

We note with some interest that the partner-swapping between Kevin Ullyett, Daniela Hantuchova, Rennae Stubbs, and Todd Woodbridge has been un-swapped. After Stubbs played with Ullyett and Hantuchova with Woodbridge at Roland Garros, Hantuchova is back with Ullyett. It worked, too, even though Hantuchova's ranking is low enough now that they didn't get seeded and so didn't get a bye; they beat Jared Palmer and Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario 6-2 7-6. Stubbs, in an even more fascinating move, hooked up with Woodbridge's partner Jonas Bjorkman, though we'll have to wait and see how that works; they got a walkover over Tu and Olivier Rochus, putting them in the third round without playing a ball. But Jennifer Capriati, who skipped ordinary doubles to play mixed, had about her usual doubles luck; although she and Scott Humphries managed to win their mixed opener, then lost easily in the second round to Sugiyama and Hanley, 6-4 6-2.
Wimbledon: Do Not Forsake Me O My Darling
Could this be the week that Andre Agassi finally leaves the Top Ten?

If you put a gun to our head and forced us to guess, we'd guess no. But it's coming closer. As of now, Agassi is down to #10, and Lleyton Hewitt is #9.

It was a closer thing than one might have expected. Lleyton Hewitt is a former Wimbledon champion. Carlos Moya hadn't even played the lawns in the past two years, and prior to that, had a 4-6 record here, with no results better than a second round. But he does serve pretty well, and his forehand is always dangerous. Against a lesser opponent, he might have had his first Wimbledon quarterfinal. Against Hewitt, he went down 6-2 6-4 4-6 7-6. Moya still will probably end up back in the Top Five.

For Agassi, in addition to being behind Hewitt, there remains the possibility that Sebastien Grosjean could pass him, though the Frenchman would need a final to do it. But he continues to look very good here, having made the quarterfinal for the second straight year. He took on Robby Ginepri, and all but the third set proved utterly routine. In that set, after going up a break, Grosjean melted down for about five games, giving the break back and ending up 5-3 down. But he managed another break, worked things to a tiebreak, and won that easily to advance 6-2 6-2 7-6. That guarantees that Grosjean will stay Top 15 if not better, and he doesn't have much at all to defend this summer (third round at the Canadian Open, first round at Cincinnati and the U. S. Open). Ginepri can at least console himself with a Top Thirty ranking -- until Newport comes off.

Ginepri will, however, end up behind Vincent Spadea. Spadea lost pretty routinely to Sjeng Schalken, 6-2 7-5 3-6 6-2, but it's still his best-ever Wimbledon, and is likely to leave him at #25. Certainly no worse than #26. As for Schalken, who makes the quarterfinal for the second straight year, the win assures that he will stay Top 25.

It will tell you how well Ivo Karlovic serves to note that Roger Federer broke him only once. But the Croat couldn't manage a single break of his own. As so often happens, his fate was decided by tiebreaks, and Federer won both of those. The top seed won consecutive grass match #21 6-3 7-6 7-6. With Moya out, that assures that Federer will stay #1 in the Race when all this is over.

In the Race, but not yet in the rankings. Because Andy Roddick is also through. He found it almost impossible to break Alexander Popp's serve -- except when it counted, at the end of sets. And Popp managed only one break of his own. For the first time in his career, Popp is out before the quarterfinal, 7-5 6-4 6-4. Popp will fall just below #100; Roddick of course remains at #2, but with the chance to move up.

In the day's last match, Tim Henman made it five out of five serious candidates to win who made the quarterfinal, beating Mark Philippoussis 6-2 7-5 6-7 7-6. That also meant that five of last year's quarterfinalists -- Federer, Roddick, Henman, Grosjean, and Schalken -- are back this year.

There are some first-time quarterfinalists, to be sure. Mario Ancic finally has his breakthrough Slam, advancing when Xavier Malisse retired trailing 7-5 3-1; the Croat is pushing toward the Top 40. And Florian Mayer is right behind after his 6-3 6-7 7-6 6-4 win over Joachim Johansson.

The doubles is an incredible mess, with first, second, and third round matches being played. The first round is finally over, with Sa/Saretta beating Karlovic/Thomas 12-10 in the third. In second round action, #1 seeds Bjorkman/Woodbridge and #5 Knowles/Nestor both advanced. But all the people complaining about Old Lady Navratilova should look at Old Man Rick Leach, who is in the third round with Brian MacPhie; they advanced when Roland Garros champions Malisse and Olivier Rochus retired. It's curious to note that both would retire twice on this day: Malisse in singles and doubles, and Rochus in doubles and mixed doubles.

The big news, though, came in the third round, as #16 Knowle and Zimonjic beat last year's finalists Mahesh Bhupathi and Max Mirnyi 6-4 3-6 8-6. That takes Bhupathi out of the race for #1, and Mirnyi won't be moving above his current #6, though he isn't especially likely to fall below it, either. The other upset came as Davydenko and Fisher beat #8 seed Martin Damm and Cyril Suk 15-13 in the third -- though Damm and Suk should stay at their current #15. We did see Wayne Arthurs and Paul Hanley beat Novak and Stepanek in straight sets; that keeps Hanley's Top Ten hopes alive.

Allowing that things are all a mess due to some players having progressed so much deeper than others, we calculate that the Top 20 is something like this:

1..(3) BBryan.............4545
1..(3) MBryan.............4545
3..(5) Bhupathi...........4075
4..(1) Bjorkman...........3960
5..(2) Woodbridge.........3925
6..(6) Mirnyi.............3820
7..(7) Santoro............3770
8..(8) Llodra.............3260
9..(9) Nestor.............3255
9.(10) Knowles............3255
11.(11) Ullyett............3155
12.(13) Hanley.............3080
13.(12) Black..............3030
14.(14) Arthurs............2680
15.(15) Suk................2445
15.(15) Damm...............2445
17.(17) Rodriguez..........2275
18.(18) Etlis..............2070
19.(21) Zimonjic...........1925
20.(24) Hood...............1815

We note with some interest that the partner-swapping between Kevin Ullyett, Daniela Hantuchova, Rennae Stubbs, and Todd Woodbridge has been un-swapped. After Stubbs played with Ullyett and Hantuchova with Woodbridge at Roland Garros, Hantuchova is back with Ullyett. It worked, too, even though Hantuchova's ranking is low enough now that they didn't get seeded and so didn't get a bye; they beat Jared Palmer and Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario 6-2 7-6. Stubbs, in an even more fascinating move, hooked up with Woodbridge's partner Jonas Bjorkman, though we'll have to wait and see how that works; they got a walkover over Tu and Olivier Rochus, putting them in the third round without playing a ball. But Jennifer Capriati, who skipped ordinary doubles to play mixed, had about her usual doubles luck; although she and Scott Humphries managed to win their mixed opener, then lost easily in the second round to Sugiyama and Hanley, 6-4 6-2.

Women's Match of the Day

Wimbledon - Fourth Round
Karolina Sprem def. Magdalena Maleeva (21) 6-4 6-4

At least, this time, the story of the match is simply the match.

If all you saw was the changeovers, you might wonder how Karolina Sprem did so well here. She had her right ankle wrapped, and was sitting with that leg stretched out on the breaks -- but it didn't seem to affect her as she took on Maleeva. She was certainly hitting in her usual all-or-nothing way -- and, usually, getting the ball in. She blasted past Maleeva in the first. The second was perhaps a little tighter; Sprem has shown signs of nerves in the past, and sprayed some balls at 5-3 on Maleeva's serve. But though Maleeva held, and saved the first match point against her, Sprem finally came through.

And that means that Sprem, who was barely in the Top 60 when the year started, is a Top 20 player. As of right now, she's at #18, though Silvia Farina Elia and Serena Williams could either or both of them pass her. Even if they do, though, she stays at #20. And, of course, she could still go higher. She faces Lindsay Davenport next -- and she's one of the few players who can match Davenport's power with power, assuming her ankle holds up. Win that and she's thinking about a Top 15 spot. And, possibly, a Slam final; the bottom half of this draw is looking quite weak. We hate to think what will happen with her nerves if she gets there -- until this week, she had never been past the second round of a Slam. But who knows -- it might give her the confidence to actually play her best.

Maleeva finds herself on the bubble, rankings-wise. Right now, she's #20, but that's still a risky position. Serena Williams gets the last Top 20 spot if she reaches the semifinal; otherwise Maleeva keeps the #20 spot.

Men's Match of the Day

Wimbledon - Fourth Round
Tim Henman (5) def. Mark Philippoussis (11) 6-2 7-5 6-7(3-7) 7-6(7-5)

The British said beforehand that they weren't worried. If Mark Philippoussis couldn't beat Ian Flanagan, he wasn't in shape to threaten "Oor Tim."

That, evidently, was before Philippoussis had half his points on the line and had desperate need to defend them. The Australian has been a completely different player this week. And, of course, Henman has struggled. It showed, in particular, in the fourth set. Henman had the match on his racquet; he served for it -- and was broken. But he pulled it out in the end.

And so last year's finalist had to watch 550 of his points disappear. That was over a third of his total. It was even bigger when you consider that Philippoussis has earned almost nothing this year. He falls below #40, and is if anything likely to fall further before he can start climbing.

For Henman, this still doesn't guarantee anything except that he won't fall in the rankings. He came in at #6, and right now he's at #5, but Lleyton Hewitt could still overtake him. On the other hand, if Henman can make the semifinal, he is guaranteed to move up to #4 in the world. Problem is, he has to beat Sebastien Grosjean to do it. And Grosjean, despite his #10 seeding, is arguably Top Five on grass, and he was a semifinalist last year, so he won't have any particular reason to be nervous -- and he's looked much better so far than has Henman.

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post #10 of 951 (permalink) Old Jun 29th, 2004, 11:23 AM
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Henman doesn't have to play Grosjean in the semi's. if he gets there, he will play Roddick, Seb is in the other half.

Myskina * Henin-Hardenne * Zvonerava

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post #11 of 951 (permalink) Old Jun 29th, 2004, 11:28 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Br?m
"But we know our Williams Fans; they'll be calling her "cheater" for the next dozen years. "

Did he really say that?????
...it's not just Wertheim who reads this board, then...
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post #12 of 951 (permalink) Old Jun 29th, 2004, 12:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brαm
"But we know our Williams Fans; they'll be calling her "cheater" for the next dozen years. "

Did he really say that?????
while what he said isn't completely untrue, the way he said it was a little juvenile, esp. for a person in his posistion. he shouldn't lump all williams fans together like that. i know many levelheaded, classy williams fans.

and i also do think it's unfair to call sprem a cheat. calling justine a cheat i can understand, but this incident is the umpire's fault.

hollywood's girls:




ana ivanovic daniela hantuchova jelena jankovic martina hingis


and... jennifer capriati !!
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post #13 of 951 (permalink) Old Jun 30th, 2004, 10:52 AM Thread Starter
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Wimbledon: Weapon of Mass Self-Destruction

Nadia Petrova is unusual among female tennis players in that she has a really, really good serve. She's equally unusual in that she hasn't a clue what to do with it.

Most of the top Russians have something special about their games: Anastasia Myskina has her speed (as did Anna Kournikova, back in the day), Elena Dementieva has a great forehand, Maria Sharapova just plain hits big. Petrova -- the one top Russian who didn't really grow up as part of the crowd; she spent a lot of time in Egypt when she was young -- perhaps benefited from that exile in that she learned how to serve very well (which is about as un-Russian as good government). But she truly hasn't managed to take the pieces of her game -- her spectacularly big, thoroughly solid game -- and turn them into a whole.

And while Jennifer Capriati can't match The Serve, she at least has an integrated game. And she doesn't tie herself in knots too easily. And so she took out Petrova 6-4 6-4 despite Petrova's frequent service winners.

And that means that Petrova will once again fall short of the Top Ten, though she should rise above her current #13; her likeliest ranking is #11.

At least Petrova looked like she belonged out there. Tatiana Golovin didn't seem ready to be on the same court with Serena Williams. Serena assured that she would stay Top 25 with a 6-2 6-1 win; Golovin will end up at #40.

Also into the quarterfinal in straight sets is Amelie Mauresmo, who beat Silvia Farina Elia 7-5 6-3. The one player to really struggle in the top half was Paola Suarez, even though she had the easiest opponent in the entire field. She beat Rita Grande 4-6 6-0 6-2. (Curiously enough, Suarez has won a 6-0 set and lost a 4-6 set in both of her last two matches, and they are her only bagels of the year.) That win, with Petrova and Vera Zvonareva down, could spell a return to the Top Ten for Suarez.

Could. But it's not guaranteed. Two players could still pass her. One is Serena, if and only if she wins the whole thing. The other is Maria Sharapova, who is now assured of a career high of no worse than #13. She and Ai Sugiyama had just the sort of match you would expect them to have: Sharapova serving bigger, hitting bigger, making more errors, looking clumsier; Sugiyama struggling with her serve, but being much steadier and moving much better. But Sugiyama somehow never seems comfortable on grass -- odd for a Japanese player. Sharapova finally took control of the match 5-7 7-5 6-1. Sugiyama should return to the Top Ten even so; Sharapova will move up to #12 or #13, depending on how Serena does, and of course is in her first Slam semifinal.

Though she faces a tough task in the next round: Lindsay Davenport is the highest-ranked player left in the bottom half, and of course she's been in the Wimbledon final before. And opponent Karolina Sprem, apart from the inevitable nervousness, has been playing on a sprained ankle. It caught up to her to the tune of a 6-2 6-2 loss. Sprem will still move up to a career-high #18 or #19 -- again, depending on how Serena does.

In the doubles, Virginia Ruano Pascual and Paola Suarez struggled yet again, and this time against a team that mostly likes clay. Struggle or no, they're halfway to winning the only Slam they've never won; they beat Gisela Dulko and Patricia Tarabini 6-3 3-6 6-3.

Next up for them is another team that needed three sets to make the quarterfinal; Maria Vento-Kabchi and Angelique Widjaja took out Golovin (who isn't even ranked in doubles) and Mary Pierce 3-6 7-6 6-1.

Ai Sugiyama and Liezel Huber seem at last to be getting on track, at least a little; Sugiyama's chances of staying Top Ten are improved a bit after she and Huber beat Yan and Zheng 6-1 7-5.

Those were all third round matches, meaning that seven of our eight quarterfinalists are set: #1 Ruano Pascual/Suarez, #3 Navratilova/Raymond, #4 Petrova/Shaughnessy, #5 Huber/Sugiyama, #6 Black/Stubbs, #8 Vento-Kabchi/Widjaja, and #11 Bartoli/Loit. But one slot is still open, because the teams contending for it had to play their second round matches on this day. Neither seeded pair in that section had much trouble; #2 Kuznetsova/Likhovtseva beat Dechy/Hantuchova 6-3 6-2, while #16 Gagliardi/Vinci beat Beygelzimer and Poutchek 6-3 6-3.

We calculate the doubles Top 30 as follows:

1..(1) SUAREZ .............4666*
2..(2) RUANO PASCUAL ..... 4666*
3..(3) KUZNETSOVA .........3319*
4..(4) LIKHOVTSEVA ....... 2978*
5..(6) NAVRATILOVA ....... 2735*
6..(7) PETROVA ........... 2694*
7..(8) SHAUGHNESSY ....... 2689*
8.(10) BLACK ............. 2356*
9..(5) SUGIYAMA ...........2204*
10..(9) RAYMOND ........... 2202*
11.(12) STUBBS .............2047*
12.(13) HUSAROVA ...........1724
13.(15) HUBER ............. 1656*
14.(14) MARTINEZ ...........1629
15.(18) BARTOLI ........... 1424*
16.(16) WIDJAJA ........... 1331*
17.(17) VENTO-KABCHI .......1276*
18.(21) ZVONAREVA ......... 1216
19.(20) CASANOVA ...........1203
20.(29) VINCI ............. 1111*
21.(11) Clijsters ......... 1110
22.(23) MOLIK ............. 1107
23.(24) PRATT ............. 1106
24.(32) LOIT ...............1103*
25.(27) SERNA ............. 1087
26.(22) Maleeva ........... 1074
27.(28) SCHIAVONE ......... 1070.5
28.(33) MYSKINA ........... 1069
29.(31) CALLENS ........... 1058
30.(25) SUN ............... 1047.5

We've got to start paying more attention to mixed doubles. Who would have thought Lindsay Davenport would be playing mixed, but isn't playing regular doubles? She is, though -- despite not playing doubles since losing first round at Amelia Island. She and Bob Bryan are in the third round after a 6-4 6-2 win over Sequera and Arthurs.

The big draw in mixed, Martina Navratilova, is also though; she and Leander Paes, the defending champions, beat Gagliardi and Prieto 6-1 6-3. Other important teams to advance include Likhovtseva/Bhupathi and Stubbs/Bjorkman. But Kevin Ullyett and 2001 mixed champion Daniela Hantuchova are out 6-4 6-2 to Cara Black and Wayne Black. And Virginia Ruano Pascual remains jinxed on grass; she and Mark Knowles lost 6-3 6-3 to Callens and Koenig.

Wimbledon: Uneasy Lies the Head
For guys with a 14-match winning streak at Wimbledon, Jonas Bjorkman and Todd Woodbridge sure didn't look very good. They started out slow, and even after they warmed up, they had their hands more than full with the team of Rick Leach and Brian MacPhie -- a team with even more combined years than Bjorkman and Woodbridge. But the top seeds survived, barely, 3-6 6-4 9-7.

And that means that we still have a contest for the #1 doubles ranking, because the Bryan Twins are out in a shocker, falling 6-3 3-6 6-4 to Justin Gimelstob and Scott Humphries.

The rest of the high seeds did fine. #5 Mark Knowles and Daniel Nestor beat Parrott and Spadea 6-3 6-2; #6 Wayne Black and Kevin Ullyett finally finished off second round action (the other matches were all third round contests) with a 4-6 6-3 6-4 win over Andre Sa and Flavio Saretta.

We currently calculate the men's doubles rankings as follows:

1..(3) BBryan.............4545
1..(3) MBryan.............4545
3..(5) Bhupathi...........4075
4..(1) Bjorkman...........4060
5..(2) Woodbridge.........4025
6..(6) Mirnyi.............3820
7..(7) Santoro............3770
8.(10) Knowles............3355
8..(9) Nestor.............3355
10..(8) Llodra.............3260
11.(11) Ullyett............3230
12.(12) Black..............3105
13.(13) Hanley.............3080
14.(14) Arthurs............2680
15.(15) Damm...............2445
15.(15) Suk................2445
17.(17) Rodriguez..........2275
18.(18) Etlis..............2070
19.(21) Zimonjic...........1925
20.(24) Hood...............1815

Women's Match of the Day

Wimbledon - Fourth Round
Amelie Mauresmo (4) def. Silvia Farina Elia (14) 7-5 6-3

As a match, it wasn't all that incredible, unless you're a fan of one-handed backhands; while grass is Silvia Farina Elia's favorite surface, and Amelie Mauresmo prefers clay, Mauresmo is simply the stronger player, and that was just enough advantage to pull her through.

But there is a rather dramatic effect: This costs Anastasia Myskina the #3 ranking, which she enjoyed for exactly four weeks and one tournament. Myskina and Mauresmo came in fairly close together in points, and this win gave Mauresmo more than enough to pass the Russian; her lead exceeds 100 points.

Admittedly that is not a very safe lead, at least if Mauresmo stops here. Between now and the U. S. Open, Mauresmo has only four wins (Canadian Open quarterfinal, New Haven semifinal) -- but Myskina has only two; she made the Sopot quarterfinal, the Canadian Open third round, and lost her opener at New Haven. They both made the quarterfinal at the U. S. Open. And Myskina is certainly the happier of the two on DecoTurf; this summer represents a real opportunity for the Russian.

But there is no particular reason to think Mauresmo is done yet. Her quarterfinal is against Paola Suarez -- a very good, steady player, but one who has never liked grass at all. Mauresmo, who is incorporating more and more volleying into her game, is much happier here, and was a semifinalist in 2002. Her chances of making it again don't look bad at all.

And the prize is still out there: If Mauresmo can win the title (admittedly a big if), she will pass Kim Clijsters to become #2 in the world. And even if it doesn't happen this week, Clijsters won't be able to play until the U. S. Open. Given what she has to defend, she is certain to fall behind both Mauresmo and Myskina -- and possibly Lindsay Davenport as well. Whoever can stay in the lead among those three should get to #2 sometime this year. And Mauresmo currently has the clear inside track; Davenport has to win Wimbledon to pass her, and if Mauresmo beats Suarez, that's it; Mauresmo is guaranteed the #3 spot.

For Farina Elia, this is a disappointment, but things look a lot better than they might have. She came in at #19, and she is now absolutely sure of staying Top 20. She'll be #19 if Jennifer Capriati beats Serena Williams, #20 if Serena beats Capriati.

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post #14 of 951 (permalink) Old Jul 19th, 2004, 06:11 PM Thread Starter
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Stanford: Super-Symmetry
Om Friday, the upsets and the complete non-surprises came out even at Stanford: One surprise upset, one non-surprise upset, one surprise non-upset, one non-upset non-surprise. Topping the non-surprises: Venus Williams beat Anna Smashnova-Pistolesi 6-0 6-3.

More surprising was the amount of trouble Mashona Washington caused Lindsay Davenport. Just getting to the quarterfinal made Stanford the best tournament of the 28-year-old's life. But she fought Davenport level for two sets before the #2 seed finally advanced 6-4 3-6 6-1.

The other two matches both ended in paper upsets. Paper upsets because Amy Frazier loves hardcourts, and Patty Schnyder prefers clay; it was a little surprising even to see Schnyder here when could have stayed in Europe and played Palermo and Stockholm and the Olympics. Frazier clinched her Top 25 ranking (and left Schnyder at #15) 6-3 7-6.

Maria Vento-Kabchi, meanwhile, was putting herself at a career high. She beat #4 seed Francesca Schiavone 6-4 6-1. That moved the Venezuelan to #26 in the world; she had never been Top 30 before. Of course, she made the Stanford semifinal last year also, and that comes off next week....

What followed was not exactly a Super Saturday. The first singles match finally gave us a true everybody-loves-hardcourt contest as Frazier faced Venus. That was rather closer than the score: If Frazier could keep the point neutral until the third stroke of the rally, she could hang with Venus. The problem was surviving the serve and return. Venus served bigger, and her return pressured Frazier, never the best of servers anyway, into a colossal number of doubles faults, and Venus won 6-3 6-1.

The night match featured Lindsay Davenport frowning and glaring at the linespeople a lot, but she was never in any danger. She blocked Vento-Kabchi's bid for a Top 25 spot 6-3 6-2.

And then she blocked Venus's return to the Top Ten. Davenport took home her third title of the year (on three different surfaces), and snapped a six-match losing streak to Venus, 7-6 5-7 7-6.

It was a highly improbable doubles final (brought about by the fact that it was a highly improbable doubles field). Eleni Daniilidou and Nicole Pratt, the #2 seeds in a very weak field, beat Iveta Benesova and Claudine Schaul 6-2 6-4. It's Daniilidou's first doubles title; Pratt picks up her fifth, her first of 2004. It's been a rather wild year; this is the eighteenth different Tier II or higher event, and Daniilidou and Pratt are the tenth different team to win one of them. We've had only nine distinct winners at singles events. More evidence, perhaps, of the weakening of doubles; historically, doubles teams tended to clean up more than individual singles players.

Women's Match of the Day

Stanford - Final
Lindsay Davenport (2) def. Venus Williams (1) 7-6(7-4) 5-7 7-6(7-4)

It's hard to believe either player will look back on this with joy. It was about as close as it can get, but it was the closeness of big points blown. There weren't many breaks -- but there were break points everywhere. Three dozen of them. Venus Williams probably should have taken the first set. Lindsay Davenport was two points from the match in the second. It could have gone either way -- if either player had kept a few more balls in the court on key points.

Maybe it was the injuries. You know it's bad when even the linespeople were standing around with legs and arms wrapped. Davenport was having problems with her left wrist (the place where most of her early injuries took place, though her knees and foot have been catching up lately): She came out with it wrapped, and had it re-wrapped early in the match. Venus didn't have any obvious bandages, but even she seemed to be walking a bit softly by the end (blisters, maybe? Easy to believe, given the hot conditions and the extreme length of the match).

Which is not to say that it wasn't exciting. The commentators made a great deal of the fact that Davenport hadn't beaten Venus in almost four years -- hadn't beaten to her, in fact, since she broke Venus's all-summer-long winning streak that fall. That means a little less than it might; they've both been injured so much that they've really both been active for only about half that time. Still, Venus had won their last six meetings (two on grass and four on hardcourts). And both went through bad title droughts last year, and both have started to emerge this year. Both were looking for their third titles of 2004 -- for each woman, two more than she earned the year before.

The irony is, this doesn't do Davenport any good in the rankings; she came in #5, and she stays #5. But she's much closer to Anastasia Myskina than she was; she will certainly move up to #4 if she wins Los Angeles next week, and a final would likely put her over the top.

And, improbable as it may sound, she's #1 in the WTA Race, bare points ahead of Amelie Mauresmo and about 120 points ahead of #3 Justine Henin-Hardenne. That doesn't mean much in the context of the year-end rankings -- we have four players (Davenport, Mauresmo, Henin-Hardenne, and Myskina) between 2150 and 2450 points, which is as close to a tie as makes no difference. Still, being #1 in a near-tie is a lot better than being #4....

Venus Williams would have been #10 had she won. As it is, she rises only from #15 to #13. But she has another Top Ten chance next week. And she's up to #6 in the Race.

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post #15 of 951 (permalink) Old Jul 21st, 2004, 10:27 AM Thread Starter
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Los Angeles
Early last year, Laura Granville appeared as if she would become the first significant American college-educated player since Lisa Raymond: She was Top 30, and was winning consistently enough that she seemed a genuine candidate for the Top 20.

These days, she's looking more like a genuine candidate for a real job. Whatever changed, she's been sinking fast, and came here ranked #79. Nor will she be rising this week; Lucky Loser Anne Kremer beat her 6-3 5-7 6-0.

Tina Pisnik is still Top 50, but she's been struggling almost as much as Granville, with only three wins in her last eight events. But she stopped the bleeding, at least temporarily, with a 4-6 6-4 6-2 win over Barbora Strycova.

Akiko Morigami and Silvia Farina Elia both like grass a lot; Morigami won Surbiton and beat Eleni Daniilidou at Birmingham, while Farina Elia made the Wimbledon fourth round. Both were playing their first WTA matches post-grass (Farina Elia did play Fed Cup). It proved a surprisingly tough transition for the #12 seed; Morigami produces the tournament's first big upset by beating the Italian 6-2 6-4.

Other than that, it was a bad day for Japanese players. Qualifier Lilia Osterloh, who is down to #225 and hadn't won a WTA match since Birmingham 2002, broke her streak with a 7-5 7-5 win over Saori Obata, while wildcard Ashley Harkleroad, who has only two WTA wins in the six months and change since she reached the Auckland final, beat Shinobu Asagoe 6-3 6-2; Asagoe now has a four match WTA losing streak although she did win all the matches in her Fed Cup tie two weeks ago.

Jessica Kirkland came to Los Angeles ranked #285 -- too low to even get into the qualifying draw. But the wildcard, who had only one previous WTA match (at Indian Wells last year, where she qualified but lost first round to Svetlana Kuznetsova) had the advantage of facing the amazingly inconsistent Tathiana Garbin. Kirkland earned her first WTA win 6-1 6-3; she should rise to around #250.

After a rough patch this spring in which she lost first round in five of eight tournaments, Marion Bartoli finally seems to be back on track; she took out Tamarine Tanasugarn 2-6 6-4 6-4.

Late afternoon brought another match involving a seeded player, and another upset; Anca Barna topped #13 Fabiola Zuluga 6-1 6-1. There is a slight but real chance that that will cost Zuluaga her Top 25 ranking.

#11 Francesca Schiavone did better, becoming the first seed to win as she beat Shenay Perry 6-0 6-3. Schiavone, who had 129 points to defend, has little chance of moving above her current #18, but with Farina Elia out, she's almost certain to stay at that ranking.

The big battles of the day involved the #30 spot, outlined in the Match of the Day. Jelena Kostanic kept her hopes alive with a 7-6 2-6 6-2 win over Martina Sucha, and Nathalie Dechy killed Conchita Martinez's chances with a 6-4 6-4 win.

In the evening, #14 seed Chanda Rubin tried again for her first WTA win since February, and this time finally earned it. She was down 4-1 to qualifier Marissa Irvin in the third set, but came back to win 6-2 1-6 7-6.

In a contest to see who would be #60 next week, Arantxa Parra Santonja managed to beat Jill Craybas in two tiebreaks.

The doubles proved much more predictable than the singles. Top seeds Svetlana Kuznetsova and Elena Likhovtseva beat Gisela Dulko and Patricia Tarabini in straight sets, and #4 Nadia Petrova and Meghann Shaughnessy lost only three games against the didn't-quite-manage-to-be-an-Olympic-lineup of Elena Dementieva and Vera Zvonareva.

Palermo: Coming Out of the Woodwork
We've commented time and again on how many first-time winners Palermo has produced, including important players such as Anastasia Myskina, Sandrine Testud, and Irina Spirlea. Maybe we should go back and look at how many players have played their first WTA matches here. Everyone who earned direct entry we've heard of. But the qualifiers? Marta Domachowska, who beat Alberta Brianti in the qualifying final, has six previous WTA events. Delia Sescioreanu has none; neither did the player she beat, Alice Canepa, though she was in the final of the Cuneo Challenger two weeks ago. Darija Jurak, who beat Valentina Sassi, will be playing her second WTA event. And Anastasia Yakimova, a winner over Tatsiana Uvarova, also will be making her WTA debut. If there is call for a Lucky Loser, it will be Canepa, so we have at least two and potentially three first-timers, and potentially as many as four players looking for their first wins.

Adriana Serra Zanetti has a reasonable number of career victories -- but not many lately. Since Tashkent 2003, she has only one WTA-level win, and that was all the way back at Hyderabad. She couldn't break the streak; Yulia Beygelzimer beat her 4-6 6-2 6-0. Barbara Rittner also failed to get her second win of the year; she lost to #3 seed Denisa Chladkova 4-6 7-5 6-4. The other seeds in action also advanced; #2 Anabel Medina Garrigues beat Julia Vakulenko 7-5 6-3, while #4 Katarina Srebotnik beat Sofia Arvidsson 6-3 6-4.

It's interesting to see that the Serra Zanetti sisters are not playing together in doubles despite a weak field where they might actually accomplish something. At least, Antonella did with Julia Schruff; they upset #4 seeds Mervana Jugic-Salkic and Angelika Roesch in two tiebreaks. Better luck attended the other seeds: The Italian pair of Grande and Pennetta, seeded #2, advanced in straight sets; #3 Kurhajcova and Nagyova came through in three.

Women's Match of the Day

Los Angeles - First Round
Nathalie Dechy def. Conchita Martinez 6-4 6-4

If you like round numbers, this match was for you. There is, curiously, almost no contest for the Top 20 this week; although Silvia Farina is out, it appears she is safe, and even Karolina Sprem, #20 coming in, will probably keep her spot. There is a contest for the Top 10, but all of the players involved have first round byes.

But the Top 30, now, that's another matter. Coming in, Maria Vento-Kabchi was #26, Jelena Dokic #27, Mary Pierce #28, Alicia Molik #28, and Meghann Shaughnessy #30 -- but Vento-Kabchi, Dokic, and Shaughnessy all had points to defend this week. That means that Pierce is safe, but no fewer than nine players were seriously competing for the four remaining spots at the low end of the list (and, implicitly, a chance for seeding at the U. S. Open): Vento-Kabchi, Dokic, Molik, Shaughnessy, Nathalie Dechy, Conchita Martinez, Jelena Kostanic, Daniela Hantuchova,and Eleni Daniilidou. This was the first blow in that contest.

The loss takes Martinez out of contention; the best she can hope for is to stay at her current #36, and Daniilidou is one win away from passing her, and Daniilidou's first round opponent is Teryn Ashley. Martinez is hovering around her lowest ranking in a year and a half (and she was injured the other time; she's healthy now, so there are no excuses). It's going to be interesting to see if she can rebuild on hardcourts.

As for Dechy, this almost clinches her Top 30 spot; as of now, she is #28 in safe points. And she has only 71 points to defend for the rest of 2003, so -- assuming she doesn't fall apart again -- she has a good chance to climb in the coming months.

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The truth:
Serena Williams: Greatest African-American tennisplayer in history
22 majors:6376


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