Set Points, Charleston Day 3: Sloane and Venus pick up valuable wins, JJ-Petko hilarity part 2!

Wednesday was a joyous day of WTA tennis with 14 second round matches at the Volvo Car Open in Charleston. Five seeds went out, quite a few rolled through and there was one notable retirement. No previews for Thursday, to be honest i’m hitting the wall majorly in my fifth straight week of blogging. A bumper set points though for you to cover a frenetic day in Charleston. Polls for the pick of the third round matches at the end of this post…

Set Points

The first set of Sloane Stephens v Danka Kovinic was the most wild set i’ve seen all year. Stephens was so flat, lacking energy, but Kovinic just COULD NOT FIND THE COURT. Stephens settled down in the second set and started to move the ball around the court better; while she was broken serving for the match, it never really looked like this one would swing around as Stephens broke again for a 6-4 6-3 victory. For Kovinic, it was just an all-round bad day at the office!

And Stephens will play Daria Gavrilova in a FUN sounding third rounder as the Aussie flew past Shuai Zhang, 6-3 6-0. The way the scoreline unfolded it reminded me of Zhang’s loss to Elina Svitolina earlier this year in Miami. This will be the first time that Gavrilova and Stephens will play each other on the WTA tour after the Aussie was forced to pull out of their prospective quarter-final at Eastbourne last year. It’s a tough one to call because Stephens didn’t play a great match against Kovinic, but i’d expect her to raise her level significantly…

Venus’s year had mirrored Sloane’s in that her their only wins at a WTA tournament had come on a title run. Their similar years continued in 2016 as Venus scored a win in Charleston. In a hard fought battle with some long games and bruising rallies, Venus defeated Alison Riske, 6-4 6-2.

In a match that was thankfully streamed HERE (although every WTA fan wish they could have been courtside), Yulia Putintseva defeated Sabine Lisicki, 7-5 4-6 6-3. There was some peak Poots drama at the end…

It was another tough loss for Sabine… I had a weird feeling she might go on a run after that first round win but it was not to be. I feel like she needs matches right now, to find her game, and to try and build confidence and rhythm. The clay season could be a rocky road before the grass…

I had high hopes for Daria Kasatkina during the clay court season and through this tournament (Note she is my champ this week!) but I didn’t quite expect this rapid start. The 18-year-old was a 6-1 6-1 winner over Ana Konjuh on Wednesday.

Louisa Chirico defeated the number four seed, Lucie Safarova, 6-3 6-3 in the second match on Althea Gibson Club Court. This was the first match of Lucie’s that i’ve been able to watch in a while… it was a tough watch! Lucie is still a few steps slow and this impacts on all areas of her game. I love that she never gives in, keeps trying and at some point, i’m sure the results will come. For now, it’s going to be a long road back. As Lucie stated on her Facebook page in that long post, she’s starting again from practically nothing and it’s going to take time…

Chirico plays Kasatkina in the third round… despite my sadness for Lucie, that’s a nice match-up! Chirico is a little more steady than Konjuh, but i’d still anticipate Kasatkina’s variety to be too much (and on this surface) for the American wildcard. In their only previous match, Kasatkina defeated Chirico in Linz qualifying last year, 6-2 6-4.

Rollercoaster scoreline alert… Kateryna Bondarenko was up 6-0 *2-0 *40-0 on Kristina Kucova…

The one retirement saw an abdominal injury rear up for Eugenie Bouchard, who was forced to pull out of her second round match against Lourdes Dominguez Lino after one game in the third set. Tough one for Genie and I hope it’s not a problem… she has huge opportunities to gain ranking points now up to the US Open.

The highest seed to fall so far was the number two seed, Belinda Bencic, who was comprehensively defeated by Elena Vesnina, 1-6 1-6. The Russian player is having a superb year and has already notched up wins over Simona Halep and Venus Williams in 2016. However, Bencic again didn’t look healthy with heavy strapping on the ankle and perhaps hindered by the back injury too. Rest up, BB!

Laura Siegemund continued her fantastic year, beating last year’s finalist and number eight seed, Madison Keys, 6-7(3) 6-4 6-4. I only saw the end (Note to self, watch this match back) but it was certainly eventful with Siegemund eventually wrapping up the win on a drop shot winner on her sixth match point.

The fifth and final seed to depart the tournament on Wednesday was Andrea Petkovic who lost in straight sets to the in-form, Monica Puig, 5-7 2-6. Some of Petko’s comments on court were concerning, particularly after all her struggles last year. She started with some promise but has just lost her way with a couple of tight losses in Indian Wells and Miami. Puig though, continues to build on a strong start in Sydney…

And let’s end on a happy Petko note… it’s Petko and JJ in Charleston part 2! Seriously, these two should have their own TV show.

Here’s the uncensored version! Watch all nine minutes and 47 seconds, you won’t regret it…

And finally, polls for the pick of Charleston’s third round matches…

3 thoughts on “Set Points, Charleston Day 3: Sloane and Venus pick up valuable wins, JJ-Petko hilarity part 2!

  1. Jankovic has always got on my nerves to be honest but she does have a great sense of humor.

    It’s a shame for Bouchard to be honest because this draw was opening up for her to make a bit comeback. I’m thrilled to see Vesnina playing so well though, and Puig and Kasatkina are probably my favorite two rising stars.
    I’m really looking forward to Stosur v Errani. The two strongest clay courters in the event battling it out so early…

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    • Yes real shame, could see that Bouchard was desperate to keep playing. Definitely playing better this year and glad she’s over the general horror of 2015, practically all her matches were uncomfortable viewing. Vesnina’s playing great and Puig’s quietly having an impressive year too. I’m intrigued to see which way Stosur-Errani goes.

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