Kim Clijsters and her daughter, 2009 US Open

In 2007 at the age of 23, Kim Clijsters retired to start a family. Two years later she defeated Caroline Wozniacki in the US Open final to become the first mother to win a Grand Slam title since Evonne Goolagong in 1980.

From Bud Collins History of tennis:

Serena, the title holder, was the one constant in the quarterfinals – but who were these other folks?
Well, 23-year-old Kim Clijsters, the 2005 champ, looked familiar. However, she’d been retired almost three seasons, had a baby, and played only seven matches coming into New York as a wild card with no WTA ranking.

Amazingly, she also looked formidable, the lone unseeded/wild card entry to win the title, 7-5 6-3, over 19-year-old Caroline Wozniacki. As the first Dane to ascend to the final, Caroline had ousted 2004 champ Svetlana Kuznetsova 2-6 7-6 7-6 in the fourth round.

But of course, the sweetheart of Flushing – the crowds’ darling was 17-year-old Georgian Melanie Oudin; who tool off from number 70 and didn’t come down until number 9 Wozniacki stopped her in the quarters 6-2 6-2. But prior to that, come-backing Melanie the Fair Maid of Marietta, conducted her private war with Russia. Short, but long of baseline strokes and fight, she overcame numbers 36-4-29-13 Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 6-1 6-2, Elena Dementieva 5-7 6-4 6-3, Maria Sharapova 3-6 6-4 7-5, Nadia Petrova 1-6 7-6 6-3.

Co-favorites were the Sisters Williams, but Clijsters chased both of them, Venus in the fourth round 6-0 0-6 6-4, and Serena in a bizarre and contentious semi, 6-4 7-5. The latter disrupted the tournament, a match disintegrating on a sad though historic note – a penalty point leveled a raging Serena was the abrupt end. At 15-30, Serena serving a second ball, was called for a foot fault, stepping on the baseline. That made it 15-40, match point. Whereupon Serena lost her head and directed a profane, threatening tirade at the Japanese baseline judge, Shino Tsurubuchi, raising her racquet menacingly at the official. Since the American had already incurred a warning violation for smashing her racquet at the close of the first set, the next infraction – her blow-up – called for a penalty point from umpire Louise Engzell. That concluded the game and the match, an unprecedented closure without a ball being struck. Williams was fined $10,000 by the US Open, but later fined another $82,500 (a record fine) by the Grand Slam Committee. She was fortunate not to be suspended. Another stranger, number 50, Belgian Yanina Wickmayer, got to the semis, there beaten by Wozniacki, 6-3 6-3.

Nadal, Barcelone 2017

Rafa Nadal, Dominic Thiem and Alexander Zverev on the men’s side, Simona Halep, Elina Svitolina and Kristina Mladenovic on the women’s side have dominated the clay court season; while world number ones Andy Murray and Angelique Kerber appeared in big trouble. Here’s our recap of who won what.

Men

Marrakech: Borna Coric

Runner-up in Marrakech last year, Borna Coric came back from the brink, saved 5 match points to overcome Philip Kohlschreiber and capture his maiden ATP title.

Monte Carlo: Rafael Nadal

Rafa‘s reign in Monte Carlo continues: he defeated fellow Spaniard Ramos-Vinolas, who stunned Andy Murray en route to his maiden Masters 1000 final. With that victory, Nadal became the first man in the Open Era to win 10 titles at a tournament, and the first to win 50 clay-court titless, surpassing Guillermo Vilas (49).


Read More

Taylor Townsend

Sara Errani:

Sara Errani

Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova:

Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova

Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova

Lucie Safarova:

Lucie Safarova

Jurgen Melzer:

Jurgen Melzer

Kimiko Date:

Kimiko Date-Krumm

Taylor Townsend:

Taylor Townsend

Taylor Townsend

Flavia Pennetta:

Flavia Pennetta

Flavia Pennetta

Gael Monfils:

Gael Monfils

Gael Monfils

Gael Monfils

Elina Svitolina:

Elina Svitolina

Elina Svitolina

Martina Hingis:

Martina Hingis

Martina Hingis

Photo credit: Peg

More reports from Cincinnati:
On the way to the Western & Southern Open
The Western & Southern Open main draw party
Friday evening at Lindner Family Tennis Center
Seeking relief from the heat
Proximity
Interviews and Press Conferences
The Mixed Zone
Stars and Flowers
Players at practice

Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova

At the Western and Southern Open, I saw lines for autograph signings stretching out from the Midwest Sports tent (where Berdych was stationed Monday morning) and the Western and Southern tent (where ticketed signings were conducted with Sharapova, Murray, Wozniacki, and others).

line for Berdych autographs

line for autographs

The crowds at the entrance to the players’ center were thick at the start of the week, but thinned out considerably by the second and third rounds. The marshals no longer needed to move the barriers (to clear a path to the entrance) each time a recognizable player approached.

Martina Hingis

Gilles Simon

Recognizability wasn’t always a criteria with the autograph hunters. Near the entrance, I overheard one child ask another, “Who is she?” as the rest of the crowd called out, “Sam! Sam!” During the first round of qualifying, I watched a gaggle of kids gather at the far gate of Court 7 after Teymuraz Gabashvili suddenly won his match (Jimmy Wang having retired in the third set after just one game, with a right leg problem). Some of the girls had been watching Jelena Jankovic practice over on Court 8, running over when their guardian gestured to them. When Gabashvili left the court through the center gate instead of the far gate, the kids chased after him:

children chasing after Gabashvili

After they obtained his signature, two teenagers walked past me, looking at the balls he’d signed for them. One said to the other, “So what’s his name?” “Oh, we’ll never know.” Then they caught sight of the scoreboard and tried to sound out “Gabashvili.”

Who knew that Adrian Mannarino was so popular?

autographs and selfies

The tournament prides itself on offering plenty of non-tennis diversions (the headline for one ad reads, “Not a tennis fanatic? Not a problem”). Among its many committees is a crew of horticulture volunteers. In tandem with LaMond Design, the official landscape company of the tournament, they planted thousands of flowers (mostly annuals) around the tennis center before the tournament started.

Flowers at the Western & Southern Open

Flowers at the Western & Southern Open

There were two plant sales that I know of at the end of the tournament. One was to the volunteers, and one was to the public (with proceeds going to the Mason High School boys’ tennis team). I returned to the center near the end of the sale to see what “everything must go!” looked like:

cincy tennis plant sale 006

at the end of the tournament

Here’s a last look at the flowers as they were, after the Wednesday night session:

at the end of the evening session

More reports from Cincinnati:
On the way to the Western & Southern Open
The Western & Southern Open main draw party
Friday evening at Lindner Family Tennis Center
Seeking relief from the heat
Proximity
Interviews and Press Conferences
The Mixed Zone

Roger Federer

Check out the first part here with pictures of Berdych, Nadal, Ferrer, Wawrinka, Wozniacki and more!

Francesca Schiavone:

Francesca Schiavone

Jump!

Francesca Schiavone 
Francesca Schiavone

Kristina Mladenovic:

Kristina Mladenovic

Sara Errani:

Sara Errani

Sara Errani

Federer first round match vs Lukas Lacko:

Roger Federer

Lukas Lacko

Mirka with twins 1 and 2:

Mirka Federer and twins

Serena first round match vs Alizé Lim:

Serena Williams

Serena Williams

Alizé Lim

Serena Williams and Alizé Lim

Gilles Simon:

Gilles Simon

Lucie Safarova:

Lucie Safarova

Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova:

Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova

Tommy Haas:

Tommy Haas

Tommy Haas

Yanina Wickmayer:

Yanina Wickmayer

Martina Hingis, who’ll play the Legends tournament and who “coaches” Sabine Lisicki:

David Ferrer second practice session of the day, this time with Pico Monaco:

David Ferrer

Juan Monaco

Garbine Muguruza vs Grace Min:

Garbine Muguruza

Grace Min