American Women Surge in Paris. The Men, Not So Much #RG13
Jamie Hampton capped off an amazing Saturday for the women of American tennis, beating former Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova in straight sets. Hampton is now poised to crack the top 50 for the first time in her career, and crack it hard. This will be her first ever Slam Sweet 16, which you call the 4th round.
Prior to that, Bethanie Mattek-Sands punched her ticket to only her second Slam Sweet 16 in a victory over qualifier Paula Ormaechea.
Earlier yet, Sloane Stephens outlasted Marina Erakovic to earn a second consecutive spot in the Roland Garros.
And of course Serena will be there, too.
A full quarter of the field in the hunt to win it all at Roland Garros are Americans, and Venus Williams isn’t even one of them.
Even better, they won’t have to face a fellow American in the 4th round.
Hampton and Mattek-Sands surprised. Sloane and Serena did not disappoint. Stephens will face Sharapova, Serena will take
out on Roberta Vinci, Mattek-Sands will play Maria Kirilenko and Jamie Hampton gets Jelena Jankovic.
There’s nothing sweet about the 4th round for the American men’s field. Not a single one will be dirtballing in Paris next week. In the final American singles match of the day, John Isner played some mean overtime (2 tiebreaks and an extended fifth set) but lost to Tommy Haas in the end.
In Haas, the Germans have a 35-year-old man in the Sweet 16. That doesn’t sound clean. But it’s better than the alternative.
The success of the American women will help ease the pain of an underwhelming performance by their male counterparts. Cheers to them and God Bless the men.
You would think Jamie Hampton was content to cruise along like a stealth bomber over the last couple of years as a name that only US tennis enthusiasts knew. She had to go and ruin all of that last night by taking 12 games off of Vika Azarenka. The world #1 looked weak in that second set and the first half of the third. The Auburn Tiger’s run ended at the Australian Open with the 3rd round loss, but there has never been more internet chatter about the Birmingham Bomber.
2013 looks to be a great year for Jamie which will see her crack the top 50 or better. Now I just wish she’d claim the free url that’s been held in trust for her for years, jamiehampton.com. She’s no triple threat chatterbox like Irina Falconi, but her growing fan base demands to know more about her. Here’s hoping!
Last year, it took a second round matchup against Maria Sharapova to introduce Jamie Hampton to the world. This year, she’ll take on Vika Azarenka for an Australian Open Rod Laver Arena encore, thanks to a 6-1, 6-2, 57 minute drubbing of Thailand’s Luksika Kumkhum tonight in Melbourne. Hampton won her first ever grand slam match during the same week last year and advanced to her first ever grand slam third round tonight. She seems to play her best tennis at Melbourne Park.
With the match certain to be featured on Laver (and to be shown on television everywhere, including the US, which is no small matter), Hampton will be a profound underdog against Vika. It’s a role the Alabama native is used to playing, and the experience she gained last year against Sharapova should help her nerves throughout the big match. And she does have the consolation of knowing that win or lose, Hampton’s current career high ranking of 63 can only improve next week. What a year for her, and it’s only January 17.
Jamie Hampton played in her first WTA semifinal tonight, and despite a sloppy performance by both players in Auckland, she managed to take 12 games from world #4 Agnieszka Radwanska before falling in two close tiebreaks where both players had chances. At a career high ranking of #70, she is certain to improve on that leading into the final week before the Australian Open. This was a run of which to be proud and poises her for great expectations in Melbourne Park.
A. Radwanska d. J, Hampton 7-6 (4), 7-6(3)
It also appears that Yanina Wickmayer is finally back. She’ll face Aga in the final after dispatching Mona Barthel in a tight three setter.
If you know a thing or two about this blog, you know that we love Irina Falconi and Jamie Hampton. The Family Circle Cup just got a little better as they have both been awarded main draw wild cards, according to the tournament’s website.
Hampton, a 19-year-old Auburn, Alabama native who used to drive three hours each way every day to train at the Racquet Club of the South in Atlanta, is the subject of a very inspirational story, especially at today’s gas prices.
Irina Falconi, the former Georgia Tech Yellow Jacket/Energizer Bunny, is a compact and competitive player with as much heart as the top 10 combined.
No Family Circle Cup would be complete without Melanie Oudin, who could definitely use a long run into the main draw at a WTA Premier event. She received a qualifying wild card.
They join Hayley Carter, Shelby Rogers, Alison Riske, Grace Min and Maria Sanchez as Family Circle Cup contestants with South Carolina or Georgia connections.
Forget Miami for a moment. Charleston is the real Southern Ball of the WTA.
Seven of the women playing today in the Sony Ericsson Sweet 16 are headed to Charleston next week for the Family Circle Cup. Of the Charleston top seeds, only Vera Zvonareva, Jelena Jankovic and Julia Goerges have been eliminated from contention in Miami. Zvonareva looked terrible in a career-low loss to Muguruza-Blanco and Jankovic lost to Mona Barthel last week after having been bounced from Indian Wells two weeks earlier by Jamie Hampton. At least Julia Goerges doesn’t have to hang her head low after suffering defeat from Kim Clijsters in Key Biscayne. Based on their most recent past performances, we’re definitely not picking Bepa or Jelena in our Family Circle Cup bracket.
It’s early, but I’d look for a Sony Ericsson semi-finalist to win it all in Charleston. Too often the winner (or finalist) of a two-week tournament is too weakened to make another run to raise a second consecutive trophy.
Sam Stosur, Marion Bartoli and Agnieszka Radwanska should all be able to make deep runs at Charleston given their recent play. Our wild card will be Yanina Wickmayer. She’s had her ups and downs of late, but it is good to see her playing in the second week of a tournament for the first time in a long time. Besides, she could put those 470 WTA points for the winner to the best use of all the contenders.
The main draw selection show for Family Circle Cup will be covered at this site and tweeted @TennisEastCoast next Saturday from 3:00 p.m. EDT on the Grand Lawn of the Family Circle Tennis Center.
Cardiac Kid Christina McHale Barely Fails to Repeat as Quarter Finalist at Indian Wells; Hampton Retires #bnppo12
What a day of ups and downs for the USA WTA contingent. The sole surviving American interests in the women’s part of the BNP Paribas Open faced significant drama and yes, ’swings’ of all kinds.
First, Jamie Hampton, the New South’s new tennis darling (after ignominious hard times for Melanie Oudin), had placed #5 Agnieszka Radwanska in a difficult spot. After giving away the first set, Hampton rallied to win the second in the breaker and clearly had the momentum. Then, Hampton gave way and retired in the third set, yet another victim of the Infamous Indian Well Water Bug.
But the toughest news of today is that Christina McHale, our Mid-Atlantic sister, lost in dramatic style against 2011 US Open Semi-finalist Angelique Kerber of Germany. It was another topsy-turvy match for McHale, who won a comeback three-setter on Sunday against 2011 Wimbledon Champion Petra Kvitova. Today’s final score of 3-6, 6-3, 6-7(4) was even a tighter loss than the tight win McHale notched against Kvitova. McHale and her Navy failed to sail forward to face the winner of Kirilenko/Petrova, who play later tonight. Kerber will face that winner. But tonight, it was McHale who showed an aura of grit and determination about her that suggests that she will do much greater things in her career than simply getting back to a second straight Quarterfinal in Indian Wells.
Though Roger Federer has 602 times the career earnings of Denis Kudla, it didn’t stop Kudla from playing a good first set against the Greatest of All Time last night in Indian Wells, California. Though Fed took the match 6-4, 6-1, Kudla gained valuable experience points on a Stadium Court in prime-time play under the lights against a crowd favorite.
Tennis Channel analyst (and doubles specialist) Ashley Fisher remarked during the match that Kudla ought to be ”encouraged by his play. He broke Roger Federer in the first set and held his own on the big stage, on the second-biggest court in the world. He started to find his range.”
In Federer’s post-match interview, he said “I didn’t know Kudla very much, at all actually”.
In other Mid-Atlantic news, Christina McHale launched a dramatic and successful comeback against 2011 Wimbledon Champion Petra Kvitova 2-6, 6-2, 6-3 to join fellow American Jamie Hampton in the Round of 16. McHale will face Angelique Kerber for a trip the quarterfinals and Hampton will square off against Agnieszka Radwanska.
The first matches of the day are just wrapping up at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, California, and it can already be declared a banner day for USA tennis. Two American women have cruised through to the third round. World #99 Jamie Hampton upset #14 Jelena Jankovic 6-4, 6-3 for the Alabama native’s first victory over a top-15 opponent. Christina McHale also took care of business against Elena Vesnina 6-3, 7-5.
On a local note, Denis Kudla finished off a nice comeback against Tobias Kamke moments ago, 2-6, 7-6 (3), 6-4 in a match where it seemed neither player had the will to win at times. This was a rematch from their last meeting in Memphis, and a much closer result than in Kudla’s victory over Kamke in the Volunteer State. If you’re wondering what took them so long to decide the winner of the match, now you know. Kudla not only won the match, but he also won the right to play the greatest of all time, Roger Federer, in the next round.
Americans Sloane Stephens and Vania King play later tonight.
Jamie Hampton, a Birmingham, Alabama native who used to drive five hours a day to train at the Racquet Club of the South, has made it through to the second round of the Australian Open in Melbourne. Hampton notched her first career grand slam win against Mandy Minella on Tuesday. No unforced errors on her part allowed her to wrap up the match 1 and 1.
“I’m from the South, and it’s really hot there, so the heat doesn’t bother me”, she said, undeterred by blistering and blustery conditions in the mid-90s.
2012 will be her second full year on the tour and Hampton, like any other similarly situated player, wants to crack the top 100 soon.
She also discussed her state of health. “When I went over to Stuttgart for Fed Cup, I found out that I was anemic.” Though it came as a surprise, the treatment has not interfered with her training. “Eat a little bit of red meat now and then, take an iron pill”, she said.
That red meat will not include kangaroo. “That might be pushing it. Being from the South, my dad likes to hunt occasionally. When it was my turn to go out there, I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t shoot. So, it’s hard to think there’s a cute little kangaroo on my plate.
Hampton plays Maria Sharapova tomorrow. “This is one of the four biggest tennis stages of the world. This is what we all play for.”
Craig Gabriel, who most of us Yanks know for his hilarity on Australian Open radio, conducted the interview as a special correspondent for USTA.com. The link to the full video is found below.