September 11, 2013 – US Open denouement, WTA Tashkent – WTA Quebec City second rounds
Although it took us 13 days to reach it, the public finally got the match up of the world’s available best (with all due respect to Maria Sharapova, her rehab and the Larry King taping today…) we had all been waiting for. When the dust and preamble cleared it was once again Serena and Vika at the big dance, and much like in Cincy, their finals match made the rest of the ladies’ singles tournament seem like a warm-up act.
Maybe it was the lingering memory of having dropped that Cincy final to Vika in the third set tiebreaker that gave Serena the hunger to put the hammer down in the third set of their US Open meeting and stake her claim to an unprecedented 5th US Open title.
Was there a bigger winner at the US Open then Andrea Hlavackova? Always noticed wherever she goes, but not often remembered, the young Czech may have changed that once and for all by winning not just one, but two US Open championships this year: mixed doubles with Belarusian Max Mirnyi and women’s doubles with compatriot Lucie Hradecka . Is there anyone hotter than Lava right now?
Playing number one –seed doubles in the Quebec City WTA Challenger the very next day after winning in New York, the champs were put to the test by an enthusiastically over-eager wildcard team of Swede Sophia Arvidsson and local hero Stephanie Dubois. Despite the travel and celebration lag, the Czech team took care of business in straight sets 75 62, although Dubois and Arvidsson impressed the crowd by showing they could play with the big girls.
Canadian Alek Wozniak, playing on the singles’ draw in what was only her second or third competitive match back since taking the spring and summer off for injury rehab, was able to measure herself against the French Caroline Garcia. While Aleksandra’s ground stokes, rally strategy, accuracy and strength were all up to par, her mobility and range were lacking. With the off-season to focus on what she needs to improve, 2014 could prove to be a special year for the over-looked Canadian player.
It wasn’t such a good day for defending champions at the WTA Quebec City. Defending champ Kirsten Flipkens ran into a bit of a road block in the person of Polona Hercog 36 16, while 2010 champ Tamira Pazsek, dealing with lingering injury problems of her own, was beaten by American Christy McHale 62 61, who is playing some of her best tennis right now.
At WTA Tashkent, number one-seed Bojana Jovanovski took care of business against Japanese Kumuri Nara 64 63 in her first-round match.
And in the best match since the US Open – the day 2 night match in Quebec City, number 2-seed Kristina Mladenovic defeated American Melanie Oudin 76 57 62 in three competitive sets. Twelve aces for M’lady – where was that serve at the Open?