The Doubles DL: Loaded Field in Cincinnati

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Herbert-Mahut Make Big Move

It’s been a rather mediocre season for the French duo of Pierre Hugues-Herbert and Nicolas Mahut. Still, two big wins now have them in the thick of the race for a spot in the ATP World Tour Finals. Herbert-Mahut topped Rohan Bopanna and Ivan Dodig 6-4, 3-6, 10-6 to take the Rogers Cup doubles titles. It was just their second title this year, but the other also came in a Masters-level event in Rome this Spring. The win in Montreal catapulted the Frenchies five spots in the rankings and put them into fourth place. They now stand just a few hundred points behind the Bryans for third, but also just 15 points ahead of Jamie Murray and Bruno Soares who dropped down to the 5th spot.

PHHMahut

Slotting in behind Murray-Soares in 6th are Raven Klaasen and Rajeev Ram who moved up a spot from last week. Klaasen-Ram had a semifinal run in Montreal to give them the slim five point lead over Michael Venus and Ryan Harrison who stand in 7th. The French Open champs continue to struggle for wins in non-Slams, although they did end a four match losing skid on Monday in Cincinnati. Ivan Dodig and Marcel Granollers dropped down to the final spot in the race for London at #8. They will drop out of the race with Dodig partnering regularly with Rohan Bopanna at least through the U.S. Open. Bopanna-Dodig are ranked 22nd with just three tournaments played, but one big title could push them into the London conversation.

The top three spots were unchanged with Marcelo Melo and Lukasz Kubot remaning as the #1 team despite losing their opener in Montreal. They hold a 1,710 point lead over Henri Kontinen and John Peers. The Bryans remained in third, still well behind the #2 spot by 1,295 points. Unlike singles where many of the top players are missing in Cincinnati this week, the top seven men’s doubles teams are all in action at the Western & Southern Open this week with more positional jockeying likely ahead of the U.S. Open.

Cincinnati Features Battle For Overall #1 Ranking

Outside of the team races, there is also an interesting race for the #1 overall doubles player shaping up on the ATP tour. Marcelo Melo assumed the top spot in early July after winning the Wimbledon titles with Kubot. He took that spot from Henri Kontinen who had moved up to #1 overall with little fanfare in April despite Kontinen-Peers struggling at the time for positive results. Now in Cincinnati, it’s possible that Kontinen could recapture the #1 spot from Melo. Kontinen-Peers will again be the top seeds this week. After winning the Citi Open the week before, they were disappointing quarterfinal losers to Oliver Marach and Mate Pavic. Marach-Pavic look poised to get into the mix for London if they can secure a few wins this week.

Kubot-Melo will be seeded second and are in a rare spot where they have lost two straight matches after a 17 match win streak that started with the grass court swing. They were upset in their opener last week in Montreal by Fabrice Martin and Eduoard Roger-Vasselin with the top ranked team looking flat. Murray-Soares are seeded third in Cincy with the Bryans rounding out the top four seeds.

Western & Southern Preview

Play has already begun in Cincinnati with several doubles matches going down on Monday. So here is a look at the draw in progress with some quick thoughts on what could shake down in Cincinnati where there will be a different champion for the third straight year with the now defunct team of Ivan Dodig and Marcelo Melo winning here last year.

Kontinen-Peers Quarter (1)
It’s a tricky quarter for the top seeds with Marach-Pavic seeded 8th and placed in the other half of the quarter. Kontinen-Peers will open against Roberto Bautista Agut and David Ferrer, who beat Paolo Lorenzi and Albert Ramos-Vinolas in a super tiebreak on Monday. Marach-Pavic have a tougher get with Harrison and Venus as their first foes. Harrison and Venus beat Steve Johnson and Daniel Nestor in round one action 6-2, 6-3. Marach-Pavic were back together in Montreal for the first time since losing the Wimbledon final. Their chemistry was still there with an upset win over Kontinen-Peers before losing to the eventual champions, Herbert-Mahut.

Kontinen-Peers might be keen to get a shot at redemption against Marach-Pavic this week, but the quick conditions in Cincinnati will give the big game of Pavic a chance to shine again. Venus-Harrison could factor in as well after finally shaking off that losing streak, which makes this quarter really wide open.

Bryans Quarter (4)
Bob and Mike won’t be too happy to see Herbert-Mahut stuck in this quarter. The French duo beat them last week in Montreal and have now won all four career meetings between the two teams. The Bryans will face either Alexander Zverev and Leander Paes of the Spaniards, Marc and Feliciano Lopez. Team Lopez has been down this year, but contended two of the testiest Grand Slam matches of 2016 against the Bryans. They won both at Roland Garros and the French Open in three sets. They are just 8-14 together this season and have lost five straight. It will be an all-French opener on the other side with Herbert-Mahut battling Martin-ERV. Martin and Roger-Vasselin took down John Isner and Donald Young 10-6 in a super breaker to open on Monday.

This is another difficult quarter to predict with tough teams around every turn. You’d like to thnk Herbert-Mahut might be about to reel off a big win streak after last week, but their opener is tough. If they make it through that, then you like their chances although the Bryans have rarely been stopped short of the semifinals in Cincinatti.

Murray-Soares Quarter (3)
This might be the toughest quarter overall in a loaded field. Murray-Soares have been a bit up and down in the last month or so after winning two titles on grass early in June. Last week in Montreal, they dropped their opener to Gael Monfils and Benoit Paire. This week, they face Spaniards Fernando Verdasco and Pablo Carreno Busta. Both are excellent doubles players, so this will not be easy. Verdasco-PCB won their opener in Cincy against Dominic Thiem and Karen Khachanov. On the other side, 6th seeds Klaasen-Ram have a tough task as well with Jean-Julien Rojer and Horia Tecau as their first opponents. Rojer-Tecau defeated Jared Donaldson and Stefan Kozlov in straight sets on Monday. These two teams played once before back in 2015 when Klaasen-Ram prevailed 11-9 in a super tiebreak. Rojer-Tecau are a tough out, but have had problems beating top tier teams this season.

If this comes down to the two seeded teams, it could be one of the better matches of the tournament. Murray-Soares and Klaasen-Ram met four times last year with both teams winning twice. Three of the four matches went the distance. Give Klaasen-Ram a slight edge.

Kubot-Melo Quarter (2)
It’s been rare for Kubot-Melo to struggle for wins and a two match losing skid isn’t quite cause for alarm just yet. They do get a good early draw this week. They will face either Diego Schwartzman and Mischa Zverev or Nikola Mektic and Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi. Mektic-Qureshi would certainly be the more problematic team if they win, but certainly a very winnable match still for the top ranked duo. On the other side of the quarter, 7th seeds Rohan Bopanna and Ivan Dodig should be afforded a chance to meet Kubot-Melo in the quarters. The 7th seeds take on either Jack Sock and Jackson Withrow or Juan-Sebastien Cabal and Fabio Fognini. The chemistry of Bopanna-Dodig should be enough to see them past either team.

This is one semifinal spot that definitely should fall to a seeded team. Bopanna-Dodig are dangerous and in rhythm after making the Rogers Cup final. I wouldn’t be surprised to see them in the title mix again this week in Cincy.

AND THAT’S THE BOTTOM LINE BECAUSE THE PIG SAID SO …

Last week, I said it felt like we wouldn’t get another #1 vs #2 situation like we saw in the Citi Open final and this week again has that sort of feel to it. It’s a loaded field with a small draw, so that means tough matches almost every round for the seeds. For me, that also means more chances for upsets. If one of the top two teams is going to get to the final, I’d give a slight advantage to Kubot-Melo who have a slighty better draw over Kontinen-Peers. For me, Bopanna-Dodig and Marach-Pavic are the teams to watch this week as possible “outside” title contenders.

WTA: Makarova-Vesnina Take Over Top Spot

Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina have firmly established themselves as contenders to the throne as the WTA’s best team. The Russians won the Rogers Cup titles in Toronto last week and in doing so, moved past Martina Hingis and Yung Jan Chan for the top spot in the rankings. They now hold a 450 point lead of Hingis-Chan who lost in their second match last week in Canada. The newly minted number ones are the top seeds in Cincinnati this week. The Russians have won ten straight matches.

MAKVES

Hingis-Chan will be seeded second this week for the Western & Southern Open. Lucie Safarova and Barbora Strycove serve as the third seeds. They made the semifinals in Toronto last week. Sania Mirze and Shuai Peng are slated in as the fourth seeds. Mirza’s disasterous recent run continued in Canada last week, where Peng was forced to withdraw due to a knee injury. The pair had won their opener at the Rogers Cup. Of late, Mirza’s partners have had trouble staying health with Yaroslava Shvedova, Coco Vandeweghe and Kirsten Flipkens all coming up injured while partnership with the former world #1.

Still waiting for that Hingis and Mirza reunion. Am I the only one who sees the sense it makes?

The Doubles DL: Rogers Cup Previews

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Top Teams Edging Further Ahead

As the summer hard court swings to back-to-back Masters events, the doubles draw will again feature all the teams in the running for the ATP World Tour Finals. Lukasz Kubot and Marcelo Melo remain well ahead in the top spot in the rankings as the only team qualified for London. Last week however, they saw a 17 match win streak ended in the Citi Open final at the hands of the second ranked team, Henri Kontinen and John Peers. Kontinen-Peers had been fairly mediocre since winning the Australian Open, but they have now turned it back up a notch with the season in its final few months. Kontinen-Peers now also have two wins over Kubot-Melo this year with the third meeting between the two at Wimbledon seeing Kubot-Melo taking it in a tense five set thriller. For Kubot-Melo, they have been the most consistent team still with five titles and two other finals appearances in 2017.

The top two duos on the ATP Tour look to have separated themselves quite a bit in the rankings race. Kubot-Melo come to Montreal with a large lead still at around 1,900 points over Kontinen-Peers. Kontinen-Peers put some space between themselves and the third ranked Bryans. Kontinen-Peers lead the Bryans by about 1,300 points. Jamie Murray and Bruno Soares round out the top four in the rankings. They come to the Rogers Cup just 75 points behind the Bryans for third. Last week showcased these top four teams who were all in the semifinals. Clearly at this point, these four teams have established themselves with good consistency in the last four to six weeks.

Other Seeds Provide Depth to Draw

This week marks the return of French duo Nicolas Mahut and Pierre-Hugues Herbert. Herbert-Mahut have not played together in doubles since a second round exit at Wimbledon. This week’s fifth seeds have not been able to capture the magic of 2015 and 2016 this season. They are just 16-8 after winning 73 combined matches the previous two seasons. They have just one title this season, winning in Rome – which was also their only finals appearance in 2017. Behind them in the sixth slot are Raven Klaasen and Rajeev Ram. Klaasen-Ram scored both their titles early in the year on hard courts in Delray Beach and Indian Wells. As a team, they are just 1-2 all-time at this event.

Rohan Bopanna and Ivan Dodig reunited as the 7th seeds. They have teamed up just one other time this year at Queen’s Club, where they made the semifinals. Both played with different partners last week in DC with both losing in the quarterfinals. The 8th seeds are Oliver Marach and Mate Pavic who are back together for the first time since losing that epic five set battle in the Wimbledon final to Kubot-Melo. They went 11-3 on grass as they seemed to find a groove after going just 7-7 since they first teamed up for the Miami Open. It will be interesting to see if they can rekindle the chemistry that propelled them from non-factors to the #11 spot in the rankings. They are just over 300 points back of the 8th spot, so they could move up rapidly again if they catch fire.

ATP Rogers Cup Draw Preview

The top half features top seeds Kontinen-Peers, Herbert-Mahut, the Bryans and Marach-Pavic. Kontinen-Peers didn’t get the best of draw as they could see Jean-Julien Rojer and Horia Tecau in their opener. Rojer-Tecau battle Santiago Gonzalez and Donald Young in round one. Gonzalez-Young will be tough in their own right. The surprise French Open finalists have been a tough out everywhere they have played. Rojer-Tecau do own a win over Kontinen-Peers from early in the season in Dubai. Either team has upset potential even with Kontinen-Peers in good form. Marach-Pavic are the other seeds in their top quarter who could block them from the semifinals. Do watch out for the team of Nikola Mektic and Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi. They are a first time pairing, but both are skilled doubles players. They open against Juan-Sebastian Cabal and Pablo Carreno Busta. Cabal’s regular partner Robert Farah is still recovering from an injury suffered from Wimbledon, forcing his fellow Colombian to seek new partners.

In the other quarter in this half, Herbert-Mahut and the Bryans are the seeds. Herbert-Mahut will see either Marc and Feliciano Lopez in round two or Lucas Pouille and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. Herbert-Mahut are 1-3 against Team Lopez over the last season and a half. The Bryans had a six match winning streak halted by Kubot-Melo in the Citi Open semifinals. They have had trouble beating the elite teams on tour this season. They will face either Michael Venus and Ryan Harrison or Grigor Dimitrov and Juan Martin Del Potro. Venus-Harrison have had trouble outside of Slams where they are a combined 9-1 with the French Open title and Wimbledon quarterfinals appearance. Outside of those two tourneys, they are just 5-6. They have lost both matches they have played on this hard court swing. Perhaps they can change that luck this week against Dimitrov and Del Potro.

This is a difficult half to call. Kontinen-Peers have a tough road to get to the final. The pluses are that the Bryans have lost to them twice and Herbert-Mahut have not found much consistency this season. Marach-Pavic are the X-factor for me. If their chemistry is still there, they could make a push this week. Of the unseeded duos to monitor, I think the winner of the Rojer-Tecau/Gonzalez-Young match could stun Kontinen-Peers and use that as a catalyst to a big run.

Bottom Half Sets up for Kubot-Melo to Get Back On Track

Kubot-Melo are seeded second in the bottom half with Murray-Soares, Bopanna-Dodig and Klaasen-Ram as the other seeds in this half. Kubot-Melo will get either all-Canadian pair Frank Dancevic and Amil Shamasdin or all-French duo Fabrice Martin and Eduoard Roger-Vasselin to start. The all-French pair would be a tougher match-up, I think. Klaasen-Ram will likely face Daniel Nestor and Vasek Pospisil in round two. The Canadians face Roberto Bautista Agut and David Ferrer in the opening round. The Spaniards will be pesky, but Nestor-Pop really should win in the end. Klaasen-Ram might be the team to cause the most issues for Kubot-Melo. They beat Kubot-Melo in the Indian Wells final, but Kubot-Melo beat them at the Ricoh Open on grass in June.

In the other half, Murray-Soares may have to deal with Sam Querrey and Steve Johnson in their opener. Johnson-Querrey battle Paolo Lorenzi and Albert Ramos-Vinolas in a very winnable match for the Americans. Focus might be the thing that keeps the Americans from pulling off the upset. Johnson is already out of the singles draw and Querrey is likely to be a little big heavy legged from travel after last week’s Los Cabos victory. Bopanna-Dodig will open against the one-off team of Karen Khachanov and Dominic Thiem who upset Nicholas Monroe and Jack Sock in a super breaker on Monday in round one. Those one-off teams do pull their fair share of round one stunners, but often flame out after that. Bopanna-Dodig should have an edge there as both Khachanov and Thiem focus more on singles.

This one smells like a highly competitive half that likely comes down to one of the seeds getting through: Kubot-Melo, Murray-Soares or Klaasen-Ram. Murray-Soares made the final last year in Toronto, but lost to Kubot-Melo twice early in the year on hard courts in Miami and Indian Wells. Both came in super breakers, so the difference between the two is small.

2007 was the last time a team outside the top four seeds took home the Rogers Cup doubles titles. This week doesn’t look like that streak might end, although perhaps one of the lower seeds could slip into the mix like Klaasen-Ram or Marach-Pavic. I don’t think we’re going to get 1 versus 2 again this week with Kontinen-Peers for me the more likely not to get to the final.

Toronto Could Tilt WTA Doubles Race

It will be an interesting week in Toronto for the Rogers Cup doubles draw on the WTA side. The Citi Open didn’t have many glamour names taking part last week as second seeds Shuko Aoyoma and Renata Voracova beat unseeded duo Eugenie Bouchard and Sloane Stephens in the championship match. The top seeds, Sania Mirza and Monica Niculescu, were ousted in the semis by Bouchard and Stephens. It continued a long slump for Mirza without a finals appearance. This week, she’ll partner up with Shuai Peng who has been announced as Mirza’s partner during the hard court swing to the U.S. Open. They are seeded fourth this week.

Wimbledon champions Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina return for the first time since their triumph in London. They serve as the top seeds this week and sit just 260 points behind Martina Hingis and Yung Jan Chan to the top spot in the rankings. Makarova-Vesnina are the defending champions. Hingis-Chang will be seeded second in Toronto. They have combined to secure five titles this season, but have fallen short in both Grand Slams they have participated in together in 2017.

RCDUBS

The third seeds are an interesting combo with Lucie Safarova and Barbora Strycova teaming up. Remember they won the bronze medal in Rio last year, so they do have some chemistry. Strycova was Mirza’s regular partner when the year started, but they split as Strycova wanted to focus more on her singles career. Safarova of course is without her regular partner Bethanie Mattek-Sands who continues her long rehab from that knee injury suffered at Wimbledon.

The other team to watch out for in the bottom half with Hingis-Chan and Safarova-Strycova is the all-Aussie combo of Ashleigh Barty and Casey Dellacqua. They rank fourth in the year-end race right now and have been a consistent threat. They made the French Open final and the quarters in Wimbledon. They have three titles together this season. Much like the Bryans on the men’s side though, they have struggled to beat the top teams when presented with the chance.

This would be a great week to get the #1 vs #2 seeds and the #1 vs #2 teams in the final. Hingis-Chan beat the Russians on clay earlier this season, so let’s see who is better on hard courts heading towards the U.S. Open.

The Doubles-DL: Rajeev Ram to Focus on Doubles

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Bryans Lead Field in Atlanta

The Bryan Brothers return to action in Atlanta on Tuesday. They are the top seeds in the draw and currently find themselves ranked fourth despite winning just one title this season. Opposite of them are Slam specialists Michael Venus and Ryan Harrison aka Team Venison. Venus-Harrison enter the week just 145 points behind the Bryans. The third seeds in Atlanta are Nicholas Monroe and Donald Young with Purav Raja and Divij Sharan seeded fourth. Raja-Sharan won their opener against Treat Huey and Robert Lindstedt in a super tiebreak on Monday.

One of the fun teams to watch in Atlanta will be Jack Sock teaming with his brother Eric. It will be the first time the Sock Brothers have teamed up for a professional event. It’s a great story after Eric’s battle a few years ago with bilateral pneumonia and a rare infection called Lemierre Syndrome. Eric was on life support for eight days during that stretch, so being able to play alongside his brother this week is a dream come true for both. They will play Hyeon Chung and Jeevan Nedunchezyihan. Even if they lose big, it’s a great story.

SOCKS

As for the draw itself, the Bryans have a tough opener against Aussies Matt Reid and John Patrick Smith who are coming off a finals loss in Newport over the weekend. They’ll be a tough out. Monroe-Young are the seeds in the top half with the Bryans and are both solid doubles players that have played together many times. Still, if the Bryans can escaped round one, this is a draw conducive to a finals run.

In the bottom half, Venus-Harrison have to contend with Raja-Sharan and Santiago Gonzalez and Scott Lipsky, who are dangerous floaters in this half. Gonzalez-Lipsky won their opener Monday and battle Raja-Sharan for a semifinal spot. Gonzalez-Lipsky have played together in Atlanta three previous times with the quarters as their best finish. Raja-Sharan won their lone meeting back in 2014 in clay in Houston. Venus-Harrison seem the class of the bottom half, but in a 250-level event I’m wondering about their motivation. They did win their first title together at a 250 in Estoril this season, but they are just 1-3 in non-Slams since that win.

Regular Teams Off

Most of the teams taking part in the clay tournaments in Gstaad and Hamburg are mix and match for the week as most regular tandems are off for the week. That will change next week in Washington at the Citi Open. Wimbledon champions and world #1s Marcelo Melo and Lukasz Kubot are confirmed to lead the field along with Jamie Murray and Bruno Soares, the Bryans, Venus-Harrison and more. Both halves of the Wimbledon runners-up, Oliver Marach and Mate Pavic, will also be in the field. They will however be with different partners with Marach pairing with Nikola Mektic and Pavic teaming with Ivan Dodig for the second straight week. Dodig-Pavic are currently taking part in the German Open in Hamburg.

Ram Will Focus on Doubles

Rajeev Ram made it official this week as he announced his retirement from singles play on the ATP World Tour. It does not come as a surprising move with Ram ranked #237 in singles. Ram went 57-93 in his ATP singles career with two career titles, both coming on grass in Newport. The 33-year-old has found success in doubles easier to come by with 13 career titles. His best success has come recently with Raven Klaasen. The duo has won six titles in the past three season and lost a thrilling super tiebreak to Henri Kontinen and John Peers in last year’s ATP World Tour Finals championship match.

K-RAM

Ram has three titles this season in the doubles rank with his last coming with Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi in Newport. His other two titles came with Klaasen at Delray Beach and Indian Wells. Klaasen-Ram are currently ranked 7th in the doubles race for London. Ram said the wear and tear the last few years of playing singles and doubles had begun to take its toll on his body. Ram lost his final singles match last week in Newport to Matthew Ebden.

Mirza Chooses Peng for Hard Court Season

On the WTA front, Sania Mirza will play with her sixth different partner this year as the season flips to hard courts. Mirza has announced that she will pair with Shuai Peng as the season heads towards the U.S. Open. Peng is a two-time Grand Slam winner who started the season in a winning partnership with Andrea Hlavackova. They won the titles in Shenzhen to start the season and followed that up with a finals appearance at the Australian Open. They would make the final in Dubai before parting ways after Miami, where they made the semifinals.

Peng played with Ying-Ying Duan during the clay swing with a 2-2 mark ending with a third round exit at the French Open. Peng has not played doubles since Roland Garros. Apparently this partnership has been in the making for some time, but this is the first time that the stars have aligned for Mirza and Peng to play together. Mirza will be hoping that this partnership can return her to the winner’s circle. Mirza has just one title this season which came during her first tournament this season in Brisbane, teaming up with Bethanie Mattek-Sands.

Keep following @tennispig for the low-down on doubles.

September 4: Pig-pourri

While you’re dining on Federer vs. Monfils this evening, here’s some stuff to consider about tomorrow’s WTA semis. Bon appettite!

WTA SEMI-FINALS PREVIEW

Shuai Peng vs. Caroline Wozniacki

It’s unchartered territory for Peng to be at this stage of a Grand Slam, while Caroline Wozniacki hasn’t seen a Slam Semifinal since 2011. In breaking that streak, she;ll now look to get to a Slam Final for just the 2nd time. The first time came in 2009 at this very tournament where Kim Clijsters completed her remarkable comeback to tennis with a Championship in New York. A lot has changed for Wozniacki since that time. The much-ballyhooed breakup with golfer Rory McIlroy has drawn much of the attention this year. The benefits of the breakup apparently working well for both. Wozniacki has used her trademark defense to propel herself to this point & has done a great job keeping her unforced errors to a minimum.

Peng has been solid as a rock to this point. She has been able to dominate her service games, winning 70% or more of her service points in each of the last three rounds. Peng has been efficient in breaking her opponents, scoring eight breaks in a minimal ten attempts in that same span. And her error count has been very low with less than ten in each of the last two rounds. She’ll need all that efficiency on display tomorrow. Wozniacki has won five of the previous six meetings between the two with the last two coming on hard courts last year. It should be noted  that Peng won the opening set when they played in New Haven last year before retiring due to dizziness. Weather could be an issue Friday with highs forecast in the mid 80s and that pesky 70% plus humidity back. Wozniacki’s marathon training may well come into play again in these conditions where she has been running from start to finish.

 Serena Williams vs. Ekaterina Makarova

The conditions could be a factor here as well with this match likely to take place during the hottest part of the day. Will that be enough of a factor to derail Serena? Makarova may think back to the 2012 Australian Open for inspiration, but that was a hobbled Serena with a bum ankle that she beat for the only win in four tries in the head-to-head. Williams beat her in Dubai earlier this year, roling to a 6-0  2nd set after surving an opening set tie breaker. The two also met at the U.S. Open last year. Serena winning the third round encounter 6-4, 6-2 as Makarova had no answer for Serena’s power. Serena won 86% of her 1st serve points in that match and 74% of her 2nd serve. She had 31 winners and just 16 errors compared to only ten winners for the Russian and 18 errors. Serena will need a better start than her quarterfinal against Pennetta where she had to climb out of an 0-3 hole in the 1st set. Her serve was a little wobbly early, but she got rolling after that and won 70% of her service points in the 2nd set after  only winning 55% in the opener. Makarova’s serve was stout against Azarenka in the quarters and could offer her hope of keeping up with Serena for a bit. She won 81% of her 1st serve points and took advantage of some poor serving from Azarenka to rack up the straight sets win. She’ll face an entirely different task on Friday in the semis.

Thanks for reading. Please sign-up for the blog and/or follow on Twitter @tennispig – I’ll be doing this all year long through all the tournaments.

U.S. Open Day 3: Fine Swine

The biggest upset of the tournament so far & a nervy rally from two sets down ..

Shuai Peng
The biggest upset on the women’s side comes from this little bacon bit from China. Peng did a masterful job of wiggling out of seven break points, only allowing Radwanska to break her once. She did better with her chances as she broke Radwanska three out of five chances given. She finished with 28 winners to 22 errors, while Radwanska was right at 1:1 with 19 of each. Peng heads to the third round for just the third time in her career at the U.S. Open.

Martin Klizan
Klizan rallied from an 0-2 sets deficit to notch a five set come-from-behind win in his 1st round opener. Klizan was broken four times in the first two sets, but really settled in and by the deciding set he was wining 87% of his 1st serve points to close out a 3-6, 2-6, 7-6, 7-5, 6-4 win. Klizan was the BIG PIG in the 3rd set tie break. After being broken to trail 4-5 with Steve Darcis given a chance to serve out the match, he broke Darcis twice on-serve and then closed it out on his own serve.