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Wednesday: Maria won in singles and lost in doubles; both matches were on side courts, so no stream for me. I watched part of the Taylor Townsend/Sachia Vickery match. It was amusing to hear the commentators kind of knocking Sachia's defensive (aka counterpunching) style early in the match (along the lines of not having offensive weapons, especially compared to Taylor) but later praising it for its consistency (as it became increasingly likely she was going to win in straight sets). The gist of the narrative by the end was that consistency trumps having a lot of choices but (1) not choosing the right one and (2) not turning to Plan B when (1) keeps happening. (The funny thing is that I saw Sachia hit more winners than Taylor, but my attention was split 85-10-5 between cooking dinner, peeking in at the match, and trying not to trip over the dog.

Today: Watched a little bit of Sanchez-Duval. It was mostly baseline rallies, but when I checked back in later in the second set, Maria hit the 2nd and 3rd of three volley winners in a row.
pondhop: Li Na sitting on umpire chair (Nike ad) (Li Na on chair)
Maria Sanchez is scheduled for two matches tomorrow up in Michigan: the last day match on Stadium Court (playing doubles with Irina Falconi) and the second match on Court 3 vs. qualifier Maria Fernandez Alves (who is playing against Sanchez/Falconi, with Samantha Murray). (Order Of Play posted at http://www.dowcorningtennisclassic.com/wednesday.html.) Admission to the day matches is free.

The matches on Stadium Court are being livestreamed via the tournament site (http://www.dowcorningtennisclassic.com/). I watched parts of Mallory Burdette vs. Stephanie Foretz Gacon, and Taylor Townsend/Samantha Crawford vs. Coco Vandeweghe and Jill Craybas. The commentators seemed especially impressed by Taylor Townsend (they employed the phrase "unbelievable pickup" multiple times), but they had good things to say about all the players in the doubles match, and spent a fair amount of time explaining how rankings work and how life on the challenger circuit is not cushy for these women (including how air travel is expensive, since they cannot book tickets far enough in advance for cheap rates, and how Midland helps out by providing home hospitality for most of the players). While I knew much of this already, it was really nice to hear the commentators talking about the players actually on the court and about the match in question (those of you who followed me on Twitter during the Australian Open may have heard me rant at and about Jeff Tarango and other sinners...); it struck me as a good introduction for people who haven't looked at how the system works, and even those with a vague idea of it. (A close friend watches tennis only during the Slams, and talking to him is a useful perspective check to me, since he was asking me questions about WCs, and others have asked about SEs, PRs, LLs, etc. -- it's useful to be reminded that normal people don't keep tabs on this stuff. )

Also, Douglas Robson's story about the tournament is a nice read. I especially liked this part:

The tournament's long track record means Woody can recall some of the big names when they were small names.

He says seven-time major winner Henin of Belgium quietly read in the players' lounge between matches, and China's Li Na blew through the final in less than an hour when she won in 2002.

Sharapova's arrival at 15 also sticks out. Flashy marketing materials preceded the Florida-trained Russian, who has gone on to win four majors, including Wimbledon at 17.

"She was already sensationalized," Woody says.

Sharapova had a cold and lost in the first round but sent Woody an apologetic post card thanking him for making her feel so welcome.

"That's when you go, 'Wow, pretty classy person,' " he says.
pondhop: white jointed mannequin in glass door (Default)
[cribbed and expanded from a post I made earlier to another journal]

Maria Sanchez: some details

Current WTA ranking: 119
Highest ranking to date: 117
11th-ranked US woman
Wikipedia entry: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maria_Sanchez
WTA profile: http://www.wtatennis.com/players/player/13169/title/maria-sanchez ("Favorite shot is volley; favorite surface is hard; favorite tournament is US Open")
Recent results: (via http://www.matchstat.com/Player/Maria%20Sanchez) 1-3 in this year's Australian swing; 39-17 in quals/challengers last year, on clay and hard courts; winner of Albuquerque and Sacramento challengers, plus three doubles titles with Yasmin Schnack [one of Vania King's besties and a WTT regular, if memory serves])

23 years old (started playing when she was 10); turned pro in 2011; graduate of USC

Played for NY Aces in 2011 World Team Tennis.
Mentored by Chris Evert (they mention each other on Twitter a fair bit).
pondhop: white jointed mannequin in glass door (Default)
My project: to learn more about the lesser-known US players in the the WTA. I'm starting with Maria Sanchez, the highest-ranked player I hadn't heard of until now.

I just added these links to the Wikipedia entry on Sanchez:

* her Twitter: https://twitter.com/mariavs10
* posts about her at Tennis Grandstand: http://www.tennisgrandstand.com/tag/maria-sanchez/


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Peg Duthie

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