Roland Garros ramblings — Final quotes from Paris — Must-click women’s tennis links
The IX: Tennis Tuesday with Joey Dillon, June 13, 2023
Iga Swiatek continues to reign supreme in Paris. The World No. 1 captured her fourth Grand Slam and third at Roland Garros with a dramatic three-set win over surprise finalist Karolina Muchova. It looked like the Pole would be cruising to another straight-set victory, but the wheels came off and Swiatek showed the world why she’s the best. Three of her four Slams have come in Paris, but we all forget her junior glory came on the lawns of Wimbledon. With the grass season here, can she etch her name on the Venus Rosewater dish?
You have to give Muchova a lot of credit for a valiant effort from a set and 3-0 down to take it to a third and actually be up a break twice before falling. Muchova has all of the tools in her wheelhouse so as long as her body holds up, this could really just be the beginning.
Pour one out for Aryna Sabalenka. Not only was the No. 1 ranking up for grabs, but she narrowly missed out on a Nos. 1 vs. 2 showdown with Swiatek if she converted her match point against Muchova in the semifinals. It had been quite a fortnight for the Australian Open champion, who had to battle the press off-court on top of her opponents.
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Beatriz Haddad Maia has been touted for quite some time, but injuries and a doping suspension thwarted the Brazilian of meeting her potential. All of that was swept away in Paris, as she leaves a Grand Slam semifinalist and the newest member of the World’s Top 10 — the first woman from Brazil to do so in singles.
Some other players I’m excited and hopeful to see off of a productive Roland Garros: IX friend Sloane Stephens, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and Elina Svitolina. When they’re playing their game, they are some of the world’s toughest to beat.
Moving onto doubles, how about a round of applause for Hsieh Su-Wei, who hadn’t played a Grand Slam since the 2021 US Open and left champion? She and last-minute partner Wang Xinyu were being routed by Leylah Fernandez and Taylor Townsend before scraping the second set in a tiebreaker and then cruising in the third.
Perhaps the best clip from finals weekend came from Townsend consoling Fernandez following their defeat. We stan women supporting women:
One of the biggest stories of the fortnight was Miyu Kato’s wrongful disqualification in the women’s doubles second round. Give the Japanese lemons and she made lemonade in mixed doubles by winning her first Grand Slam with Tim Puetz. The duo won the championship over Michael Venus and Bianca Andreescu to complete a roller coaster of a tournament for Kato.
Alina Korneeva may be 15, but she is certainly one to watch after taking her second consecutive junior Grand Slam trophy. The Russian hit the halfway mark to the calendar Grand Slam with a win over Peru’s Lucciana Perez Alarcon, while Americans Clervie Ngounoue and Tyra Grand won the Girl’s Doubles crown over Korneeva and Sara Saito.
Diede de Groot won her tenth consecutive wheelchair Grand Slam singles title with a decisive win over Yui Kamiji. Fortunately Kamiji left Paris with a champion’s trophy by taking the doubles title with Kgothatso Montjane over de Groot and Maria Florencia Moreno.
While Roland Garros did it right by hiring Amelie Mauresmo as the tournament director, this year wasn’t very kind. It took nearly an entire week for a women’s match to be the night feature on Phillipe Chatrier, so look for that to be rectified for 2024.
So now we’re at the season’s halfway point. Are we living on a prayer? Time will tell….
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This Week in Women’s Tennis
The next batch of episodes of Netflix’s Break Point will unroll next week and it looks pretty good:
Mayar Sherif had to save a whopping six championship points to claim the WTA 125 Makarska Open over Jasmine Paolini. Ingrid Neel and Wu Feng-Hsien took the doubles crown in Croatia over Anna Siskova and Renata Voracova.
At the WTA 125 Open Internacional Femení Solgironès in La Bisbal d’Empordà, Spain, Aranxta Rus won the biggest title over her career with a straight-sets win over Panna Udvardy. The doubles title went to Caroline Dolehide and Diana Shnaider, who bested Aliona Bolsova and Rebeka Masarova.
Remember last week when I said Mason, Ohio voted to put millions of dollars in upgrades to help keep the Western & Southern Open from moving to Charlotte? Well, Charlotte’s City Council just unanimously voted to spend $65 million to help build the tennis center to bring the tournament there. Things are starting to get very interesting.
The WTA announced a taskforce alongside Hologic to help advance women’s health worldwide. Players on the taskforce include Kim Clijsters, Latisha Chan, Valerie Ziegenfuss and IX friends Leslie Allen, Rennae Stubbs and Luisa Stefani.
The grass season always brings out the best in Great Britain’s talent, but Katie Boulter says the country’s female players are on the brink of some big breakthroughs.
Venus Williams makes her comeback from a January hamstring tear today and released a YouTube video about training before the Libema Open:
In college tennis, the Intercollegiate Tennis Association National Awards were announced with Fiona Crawley headlining the winners by being named ITA’s National Player of the Year.
Tracy Austin said what many are thinking — it’s time to embrace the technology on clay courts.
Junior players at Roland Garros were treated to a workshop that included Alize Cornet to discuss the role of media, the rise of social media and handling it as professionals.
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Tweet of the Week
BJK’s hands are still unreal:
Five at The IX: Roland Garros Champions
Q. I just wondered what were your emotions at the end? We saw you crouched down on the clay. Obviously there were a lot of emotions flooding over you. Can you just say a bit what you were feeling.
IGA SWIATEK: I don’t know. At first I was surprised, because I saw all these matches of Karolina when she was actually coming back from scores like that, before the match point I wasn’t really thinking it’s going to happen now. I just kind of, I just played — I just gave it all. But I was a little bit surprised that it actually happened, you know. She was always coming back.
So I felt like, I don’t know, I don’t know what I felt. It’s hard to describe. But a lot of happiness. I felt suddenly, you know, tired of these three weeks. Maybe my matches weren’t like physically exhausting, but it’s pretty hard to kind of keep your focus for these almost three weeks.
And also the whole swing, you know. Since Stuttgart I haven’t been home. So I’m happy that, I don’t know, I finished the whole clay court swing so well, and that I kind of survived. I guess I’m never going to kind of doubt my strength again maybe because of that (smiling).
Q. In the on-court presentation, you talked about the expanded draws and how that actually even made it even more special for you. Can you elaborate on that? What makes that so important?
DIEDE de GROOT: Yeah, for me when I was younger, I knew that I had to be like on top of the rankings almost to get into the Grand Slams. When I think now towards the youth, like towards the junior players, they have so much more opportunities to even make it to the Grand Slams.
I think it’s so good that all of the Grand Slams are supporting this, and I think it will definitely help raise the level of wheelchair tennis. I think it will need a few years for those players to keep up, but also, I think it’s like it’s an opportunity for them. They have a little bit more money to spend in the year to maybe bring in another coach to the tournaments or even just playing tournaments.
So I think it will really help the level. Hopefully it doesn’t take too long for all of those good players on the bottom of the draw to keep up.
Q. At your age, how do you manage pressure? Are you under pressure? Is it easy to be a tennis player at 15 years old?
ALINA KORNEEVA: Not yet. I’m just 15 (smiling). You know, yeah, yeah, when I will be I think like 20 and when I will have a family that I have to — I don’t know how it’s called — to buy everything? You know, this is pressure when you already have to have money. But now I’m just 15. I already said I just enjoy the tennis now.
Q. Hsieh Su-Wei, what does this mean for you to play your first slam since US Open 2021 and to walk away with the title?
HSIEH SU-WEI: You know, it’s important to find a young girl. Then you feel fresh and young (smiling). No, I feel I’m very young.
Q. Congratulations to you both. Miyu, I wanted to ask you, at what point did you think, I’m going to be a Grand Slam champion during this run? Did you think you had a chance after you beat the Australian Open champions in the quarterfinals?
TIM PUETZ: You understand? When you think we will win? Maybe at 9-6 maybe? He asked when do you think we will win the tournament? After first round? After second round? When did you start believing?
MIYU KATO: (Shakes head.)
TIM PUETZ: Never? Come on. (Laughter.)
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