Friday, August 30, 2013


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

Thursday, August 29, 2013


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

Tuesday, August 27, 2013


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

Monday, August 26, 2013


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