As tennis has been pretty quiet since Wimbledon, it has provided an opportunity to reflect on what’s happened so far in 2015. I was flicking through my screencaps and came across one which had the caption “Lucie Safarova – 2015 Roland Garros Finalist”… it still gives me goosebumps.
2015 has been such an eventful year for Lucie and quite different to that experienced in 2014. Last year, Lucie enjoyed her best ever result at a Grand Slam, reaching the semi-finals of Wimbledon. It was her consistency throughout the year that really shone through. She only made two semi-finals all year, one being at Wimbledon, but unlike other years, she won a lot of matches against players she was expected to beat and that hasn’t always been the case for Lucie during her career!
2015 hasn’t been quite as consistent with five first round losses; this included a really tough loss at the Australian Open to Yaroslava Shvedova, 8-6 in the third set and a poor showing in the Indian Wells-Miami double, winning just one match. However, there have have been a number of glittering highs. I still can’t quite believe that Lucie reached the final of Roland Garros. It was such a crazy tournament and felt like it lasted about a month.
I watched Lucie’s first round match live against Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova where she scrapped her way to a 7-6(6) 7-6(9) victory. It was one of the most memorable matches i’ve ever watched live and it took Lucie seven match points before finally securing the win. It was the start of a majestic run that would see Lucie win six straight sets matches and catapult her way into a first Grand Slam singles final.
While Lucie came up short in the final, it was an admirable showing as she pushed Serena Williams to a third set. To go with her singles success in Paris, Lucie has won two Grand Slams this year in doubles with Bethanie Mattek-Sands at the Australian Open and the French Open. I think the win in Melbourne was a HUGE confidence boost, particularly after the first round loss in singles. Just a couple of weeks later, Lucie won her biggest career singles title in Doha, beating four top 30 players and Victoria Azarenka to win the Premier event. Lucie has hit a couple of hot streaks this year; in the week before Doha, she delivered a sensational performance to defeat Venus Williams in Dubai. If only we could see this Lucie every week but I think that’s asking a lot!
Lucie did well to reach the fourth round at Wimbledon, coming from a set down to beat Alison Riske and Sloane Stephens. In both matches, her ability to fight back and win whilst not playing at her best was befitting of the new top 10 ranking. The loss to CoCo Vandeweghe was a disappointing one considering she served for the first set, but it felt like all the tennis she had played over the month had finally caught up with her. 2015 has already been a super year for Lucie but there is still so much on the line as we head into the US summer hard court season… Lucie has a top ten place to defend and is also well in contention to reach the WTA Finals in Singapore for both singles and doubles. It’s going to be a funnnnn ride!
Lucie’s been practising in Canada this past week and she posted another fun video with Rob. I love their relationship and it’s one of the reasons i’m a fan.
Before the tournament started, Lucie was in action at the Rogers Cup Ball Hockey game where Jimmie48 was on hand to get some great snaps. She was also involved in the All Access Hour which is now something to get used to for Lucie as a top eight seed!
There was also a great piece about Rob in the National Post written by Kaitlyn McGrath which is definitely worth a read HERE.
Lucie finally gets underway in Toronto on Wednesday (weather permitting!) where she will play Daria Gavrilova in the second round. Gavrilova scored a superb win over Sam Stosur, 6-4 6-4 where she wasn’t broken once in the 78 minute contest. In my head that felt like a tough match-up for Gavrilova… my head sucks haha. I would have preferred Lucie to open up against Stosur compared to Gavrilova. Lucie led the head-to-head against Stosur, 10-3 while she has never played Gavrilova. Dasha is the kind of opponent that can trouble Lucie… she gets lots of balls back, has plenty of variety and is a decent returner.
It’s a 50-50 one for me and as with the seeds, you just don’t know how they’re going to fare after the break since Wimbledon. I’d go for Lucie to come through in three sets but it won’t be easy at all. The winner has a real chance to go deeper in this draw after Karolina Pliskova was unable to convert on a set and a double break lead and lost in three sets to Mirjana Lucic-Baroni.