Katerina Siniakova’s breakout autumn continued in Nantes, France last week, as the 18-year-old dropped just one set en route to claiming the $50,000 title. Siniakova beat top seed Anna Schmiedlova in the semifinals before defeating Tunisia’s Ons Jabeur in the final to take home her second ITF crown of the season.
The Czech has won 11 of her last 12 matches, having first reached the semifinals of the WTA Premier event in Moscow as a qualifier in October. She’s also excelled on the doubles court, as she and Aleksandra Krunic partnered to win their first WTA title of any kind in Tashkent in September.
Siniakova ended 2013 ranked No. 211, but courtesy of her late season exploits, she’ll end this season as the youngest of eight Czechs ranked inside the WTA’s top 100.
If a racket hits a linesperson, but no one is around to hear it….
If you said you knew who Darian King was before last Tuesday, you were probably lying. The 22-year-old from Barbados, who’s never spent a day inside the top 300, was involved in a bizarre incident at the Charlottesville Men’s Pro Challenger in Virginia last week.
Come for the controversy, stay for Ben Stein’s commentary.
Trailing 4-6, 6-6(2-4) to Eddie Corrie of Great Britain in the first round, King came out on the losing end of a lengthy rally after Corrie rifled a forehand out of his reach. In frustration, King hurled his racket in anger against the tarp at the back of the court, which then ricocheted off of a lineswoman. Steve Fogelman of Tennis East Coast was on the scene for all the carnage, and reported that King repeatedly asserted that he didn’t hit her, and had the expectation that he’d be able to keep playing. That didn’t happen, and King was defaulted in accordance with the ATP’s Code of Conduct.
i) During the match. The supervisor may default a player either for a single
violation of the Code (immediate default) or as outlined in the Point Penalty Schedule
ii) On-site. The supervisor may withdraw a player from all events for a single violation of the Code occurring during the event but not during a player’s match.
iii) In all cases of default, the supervisor’s decision shall be final and may not
If King feels hard done by, I hear Yanina Wickmayer can relate.
Baghdatis is back (again)
On the comeback trail from yet another injury, former World No. 8 Marcos Baghdatis claimed his fourth ATP Challenger Tour title of the year at the Geneva Open in Switzerland. Seeded No. 6, Baghdatis defeated former World No. 12 Viktor Troicki (who’s on a comeback of his own) and up-and-comer Jiri Vesely en route to the final, where he defeated Poland’s Michal Przysiezny 6-1, 4-6, 6-3.
The Cypriot retired in the opening round of the US Open against eventual champion Marin Cilic with an ankle injury, and had played just four matches since then. According to the ATP, he’s one of five players to win four or more titles on the Challenger Tour this year, and his win in Geneva vaulted him up 27 spots to No. 89.
Party like it’s 1999
While Siniakova’s youth was the story in Nantes, Alexandra Stevenson and Maureen Drake were turning back the clock across the Atlantic in Toronto. The pair’s second career meeting came in the final round of qualifying at the Tevlin Women’s Challenger, 15 years after their first.
We all know the story of the 1999 Wimbledon semifinalist, but Drake, a former World No. 47, reached the fourth round of the Australian Open in 1999. Today, she is 43 years old. She’s played three Canadian ITF events this year, and it remains to be seen if this is the beginnings of a Kimiko Date-Krumm-style comeback for the Toronto native.
Drake and Stevenson last played in the first round of the WTA event in Quebec City in 1999, which Stevenson won 4-6, 7-6, 7-6. Her victory in Toronto was a much more straightforward 6-3, 6-3, but the two had some more catching up to do. They played doubles together but lost in the opening round to Ayan Broomfield (age 17) and Fanni Stollar (age 15.)
Respect your elders, kids.