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.

No big names like yesterday (I had ground passes today), but some interesting matches and practice sessions.

I arrived quite late today and headed to court 9 to watch Mikhail Youhzny and John Isner at practice:

Court 9 at Roland Garros

Mikhail Youzhny

Mikhail Youzhny

Mikhail Youzhny
Read More

Let’s begin with a little bit of self promotion: Tennis Buzz recently reached 400 followers on Twitter and 100 on Facebook. So join us!

Here is our Best and Worst of June 2012. (Read here our Best and Worst of Roland Garros 2012).

Best:

Tamira Paszek:
5-3 down in the third set, she saved 5 championships point to win her first title since 2010, defeating Angelique Kerber 5-7, 6-3, 7-5, in Eastbourne. A few days later, she upset former number one Caroline Wozniacki in the first round at Wimbledon 5-7, 7-6, 6-4 in an encounter lasting 3 hours and 12 minutes.
After an easy second round win over Alizé Cornet, she defeated Yanina Wickmayer in another gruelling match 2-6, 7-6 (4), 7-5 in two hours and 40 minutes

Kim Clijsters:
Last Wimbledon for Kim who beat Jelena Jankovic, Andrea Hlavackova and Vera Zvonareva. Next opponent: Angelique Kerber.

Sania Mirza‘s reaction to the Indian Olympic team mess:

“As an Indian woman belonging to the 21st century, what I find disillusioning is the humiliating manner in which I was put up as a bait to try and pacify one of the disgruntled stalwarts of Indian tennis.”

“While I feel honored and privileged to have been chosen to partner Leander Paes, the manner and timing of the announcement wreaks of male chauvinism where a two time Grand Slam champion, who has been India’s number 1 women’s tennis player for almost a decade in singles and doubles is offered in compensation to partner one of the feuding champions purely in order to lure him into accepting to play with a men’s player he does not wish to play with! This kind of blatant humiliation of Indian womanhood needs to be condemned even if it comes from the highest controlling body of tennis in our country.”
Well said.

Tommy Haas:
German veteran Tommy Haas beat Roger Federer in Halle to capture his 13th career title, its first since 2009.

Andy Roddick:
Roddick ended a 16 months title drought by winning his 31th career title in Eastbourne. He entered the event as a wild card after losing his opening match at Queen’s Club the week before, a defeat that stretched his losing streak to six matches dating to mid-March.

Arnaud Clément:
Arnaud Clément is France new Davis Cup captain. He was hired to replace Guy Forget, who resigned after 14 seasons in charge.

Arnaud Clément

The WTA says NO to grunting, finally!
The WTA is developing a “sport-wide plan” to keep future players from grunting by educating them and instituting rule changes. USA Today reported the plan includes developing a device for umpires to measure grunting during matches, and a rule to set limits on how much noise is acceptable.

Maria Sharapova

ATP says NO to blue clay:
ATP President Brad Drewett has announced blue clay courts will not be allowed at tour events next season.
He said that while the new color, in place of the traditional red clay, “may have offered better visibility on television, there were clearly issues with the quality of the courts in Madrid this year, which were not acceptable.”

Tournament winners:

Bad Gastein: Alizé Cornet
Birmingham: Melanie Oudin
‘s-Hertogenbosch: Nadia Petrova, David Ferrer
Queen’s: Marin Cilic
Halle: Tommy Haas
Eastbourne: Tamira Paszek, Andy Roddick

Worst:

David Nalbandian: disqualified at Queen’s and ousted by Tipsarevic in the first round at Wimbledon.

Venus Williams:
For the first time since her debut appearance at the All England Club 15 years ago, five-time Wimbledon champion Venus Williams failed to get past the first round of Wimbledon. She was beaten by doubles specialist Elena Vesnina 6-3 6-1.
I must say I don’t get why she keeps playing. Perhaps retirement is the best option right now.

Gilles Simon:
He totally has the right to express what he thinks about women’s tennis and equal money, but offence people and say stupid thing like there was 20 spectators attending the women’s Rome final, it’s simply stupid.

I really liked Bartoli‘s reaction:

He should wake up earlier (to have a practice court)

and Sloane Stephens comments:

“Whatever he says means nothing to me. He hit me with a ball when I was ball kid for the first time. He hit me right in my chest because he lost a point and set he turned around and slammed the ball and it hit me,”

Stephens told a small group of U.S. reporters.

“Whatever he says, that means nothing to me. We had discussion about it on the court last year because he was trying to kick me off the practice court in Estoril and I’m like dude you don’t have this court. His coach was nice and he asked me, ‘Why don’t you like him?’ and I said because when I was 10 he hit me with the ball and he didn’t even say sorry and kind of walked off. So I was like, ‘I don’t like him.”

And for all of you who have no idea who Simon is, that’s him:

2012 French Open adidas outfits

Flavia Pennetta:
The first seed eliminated at Wimbledon was No. 16 Flavia Pennetta, who fell 6-4, 6-3 to fellow Italian Camila Giorgi. With the recent achievements of Sara Errani and Francesca Schiavone, nobody remembers that in 2009, she became the first female Italian player to reach the top 10.

The whole Indian olympic team mess, Paes, Bhupathi and co: none of them deserve a medal

Part 2 of my Sunday Start photo recap: players at practice:

Melanie Oudin

Melanie Oudin

Melanie Oudin

Read More

2010 Fed Cup final preview

Italy and USA will meet in San Diego this week end for a rematch of last year’s Fed Cup final, won by Pennetta and co 4-0 in Reggio Calabria.
Even though USA lead their head-to-head 9 to 1, italian players are the big favorites in the absence of Serena and Venus Williams. All 4 members of the italian team (Francesca Schiavone, Flavia Pennetta, Roberta Vinci and Sara Errani) are better ranked than the best US player: Bethanie Mattek-Sands.
Hard courts are obviously not Francesca’s and Flavia’s best surface, but they will be both boosted by their recent good results: Schiavone qualified for the first time for the WTA championships whereas Pennetta captured the doubles WTA Championships with partner Gisela Dulko last week.
Read More