This week saw eight of the top 20 players in the world descend upon Southern California and prepare for battle at the Southern California Open.
While there were far less headlines than at last month's Wimbledon, Carlsbad provided valuable insight as to which underdogs are shining, how some of the top players are faring and what to expect at this week's Rogers Cup and this month's U.S. Open.
Samantha Stosur and Victoria Azarenka.
In the second final and ninth match that these two ladies have played against each other, Samantha Stosur finally came out with the win. Until last year's U.S. Open—where Stosur was the defending champion—Stosur lost 13 consecutive sets before finally taking one off of Victoria Azarenka.
The next time they played was earlier at this year's Internazionali BNL d'Italia. Just like in Flushing Meadows, they faced off in the quarterfinals where Stosur was once again able to take the second set off of Azarenka.
Going into this match, Stosur had nothing to lose as she was a wild card and reportedly said, via WTAtennis.com, that she "had planned just to go to Stanford, then take a week off and head back to my training base in Florida."
Stosur recognizes that this win is a confidence booster as it's her first tournament win since taking down Serena Williams in the 2011 U.S. Open final.
She said, "It has been a long time since I've held a winner's trophy. To do it here, I'm very, very happy. It's really exciting and a good boost going into the last Grand Slam tournament of the year."
This is the second week in a row and the third tournament in a row that Agnieszka Radwanska was unable to close out a match that got down to the wire.
Last month's Wimbledon saw Radwanska reach the semifinals, where a wide-eyed Sabine Lisicki awaited. After a relatively quick first set, Radwanska found herself on the disappointing end of a 4-6 scoreline. It didn't take her long to bounce back and take the second 6-2, though. Radwanska carried her momentum into the third to get ahead 3-0, but she would lose the set, 7-9.
While this time in the final, Radwanska would suffer a similar fate in Stanford. After beating Dominika Cibulkova 6-0, 6-0 in Sydney earlier this year, Radwanska lost to her in the Stanford final 6-3, 4-6, 4-6.
Once again, Radwanska was unable to put the match away.
This week, Radwanska lost to Samantha Stosur. After losing the first set handily, 5-7, Agnieszka was once again able to regroup and take the second set decisively. By the third, she found herself coming out just short once more, and by the end of the match, Stosur was the surprise winner against the second seed by a score of 7-5, 2-6, 6-3.
This begs the question: Will Radwanska break her three-set losing streak in the latter stages of tournaments in time to perform well at the U.S. Open?
Who would have thought that Virginie Razzano would shine as much as she did at this year's Southern California Open?
Not only did this No. 131 ranked French tennis player get to the quarterfinals, but she took out two-time Grand Slam champion Svetlana Kuznetsova, eighth seeded Carla Suarez Navarro and third seeded Petra Kvitova to do so.
Her match against Kvitova was one of the tournament's longest and most entertaining matches. It took Razzano three sets and two tiebreakers to put Kvitova away. She was able to hold her nerves and come back from losing the first set to win 6-7(6), 7-5, 7-6(8).
While Razzano's win against Serena Williams at last year's French Open is probably her most historic, her run at this year's Southern California Open is nothing short of impressive.
Yes, it is.
Martina Hingis announced her comeback not too long ago, and it took her far less time to record her first WTA tour win since Beijing in 2007.
She partnered with Daniela Hantuchova and took the courts at the Southern California Open without hesitation.
Prior to retiring in 2007, Hingis had played three consecutive tournaments with Hantuchova and their experience as a doubles duo showed as they took out Julia Goerges and Darija Jurak 6-1, 6-1 before falling to Americans and eventual champions Raquel Kops-Jones and Abigail Spears.
The Swiss Miss showed the tennis world that she's not quite ready to fully hang up her racquet, and the tennis world is happy to have her back—even if it's just on the doubles court.
The younger of the two Randwanskas has been posting some solid results as of late.
While the world No. 39 lost in the second round of Wimbledon, she got to the quarterfinals of the Topshelf Open in 's-Hertogenbosch, where she lost to Wimbledon semifinalist Kirsten Flipkens; the quarterfinals of last week's Bank of the West Classic in Stanford, where she lost to eventual champion Dominika Cibulkova; and this week's quarterfinals, where she lost to world No. 2, Victoria Azarenka.
While big sister Agnieszka is still holding the family name's strong as the world No. 4, Urszula seems to finally have found the consistency her sister thrives on.
The WTA returns to Toronto this week where 15 of the top 17 players are scheduled to begin playing on Monday, Aug. 5.
What to look out for:
- Serena Williams and Marion Bartoli make their first appearances since Wimbledon.
- Venus Williams is back. Look out for her match against the red-hot Kirsten Flipkens. It will be their first meeting and a match between a multiple Wimbledon champion and a Wimbledon semifinalist.
- Will Lucky Loser, Svetlana Kuznetsova, continue her comeback on a positive note?
- How will Jamie Hampton, Urszula Radwanska, Dominika Cibulkova and Samantha Stosur perform after their recent success?