Wednesday at the Rogers Cup started with a flurry of upsets as Garbiñe Muguruza, Ekaterina Makarova and Lucie Safarova all exited. Muguruza lost to Lesia Tsurenko, 7-5 6-1 who has now won 15 of her last 16 matches on hard courts (heads up to @oceanside6 on Twitter for the stat). Garbi was madddddd in this match.
Makarova fell to Polona Hercog who twice served for the match having led 6-2 5-2. Hercog then lost her early break in the third set but somehow, managed to prevail in the end, 6-2 6-7(2) 7-5. Makarova had retired in her semi-final in Washington so this result didn’t surprise me so much. The third of the upsets saw the gutsy, Daria Gavrilova take out Safarova in three sets.
It was a tough loss for Lucie and I hope she can get over this one quickly. The Czech player needed just one break of serve to take the opening set and then recovered from a 4-2 deficit in the second set to present the opportunity to serve for the match. Lucie looked confident after winning the first two points but the nerves, some gusty wind and a spirited opponent saw the tide turn. Gavrilova fought back and won the next three games as Safarova double faulted down set point. The third set wasn’t particularly pretty with the wind creating tough conditions for playing tennis.
For much of the third set, Lucie was not doing much with the ball other than trying to keep it in. She played two good games in the middle where she was aggressive and showed intent but otherwise, struggled against Gavrilova’s bag of tricks and returned poorly. Gavrilova broke through at 6-5 on a horribly nervyyyy match point. Full credit to Gavrilova who scored her third top ten win of 2015. It was another one of those displays where Gavrilova found a way to come back. Mentally, she’s one of the best right now and really tough to beat.
Gavrilova will play Roberta Vinci in the third round who has had another decent run in Canada. The Italian player reached back-to-back quarter-finals in 2011 and 2012, and she’s into the last 16 without dropping a set. In fact, Vinci didn’t drop a game in her first match against Karin Knapp. Vinci won, 6-0 6-0 in 44 minutes, losing just 16 points. Vinci backed it up with a 6-3 6-3 victory against Mirjana Lucic-Baroni, coming back from an early break down in the first set.
This is a brilliant opportunity for both players to reach a Premier quarter-final. Vinci seems to be playing well but her first two opponents were both big hitters who can be erratic. Gavrilova is a completely different type of opponent who gets balls back, mixes up the play and always gives off some attitude, mostly positive, but sometimes negative! Vinci’s quality could be too much for Gavrilova. However if Dasha can stay with the Italian for long enough, she’s the stronger player mentally and has shown that she is capable of turning matches around even where she is not the better player. Another aspect could be health as Dasha has struggled with a recurring abdominal injury. Still, i’m going for Dasha to gut out another win.
Prediction: Gavrilova d. Vinci in 3 sets