Charleston is flyyyyying by and we are already down to the final eight with quarter-finals day on Friday. Another top four seed fell on Thursday in the longest match of the day, but the number one seed is still in there along three other seeds. In case you missed it, a full recap of day 3 at the Volvo Car Open can be found HERE. Read on for Thursday’s Set Points with quarter-final polls at the end…
Yulia Putintseva had failed to win a set off Venus in three previous matches… on Thursday in Charleston, Putintseva made her mark in this match-up, outlasting the world number 14 for a 7-6(5) 2-6 6-4 victory in a match that lasted three hours. It was a brutal match, quite entertaining for the most part, with some long rallies and LONG games. Venus was clearly hindered by the leg injury, which was once again taped, but she fought so, so hard.
It was a mixed bag from Putintseva… boy she can come up with some amazing winners! She still seems to lack the consistency though and goes off on random tangents. Putintseva was smart though in the first set, frequently going to the dropshot, which Venus unable to run down. While Putintseva was unable to close out the first set at *5-4, she played a decent tiebreak to take the opener. Venus didn’t roll over, serving great in the second set and hitting the ball with more conviction and precision as Putintseva (who only missed one first serve in the second set!) went off the boil.
The third set began with four consecutive breaks of serve and Venus missing six game points through her first two service games. There were some physically demanding games which took their toll on Venus (particularly the serve) as Putintseva drew away to lead *4-2. Venus fought back once more to 4-4. Serving to stay in the match at *4-5, with the wind causing havoc, she couldn’t prolong the match any further. A valiant effort from Venus, but well done to Poots for keeping it together at the end.
Putintseva will play Sara Errani in Friday’s night session… this could be a dramatic one! Errani edged Sam Stosur, 6-4 7-6(5). Errani was consistent as ever, but Stosur chucked in a pretty wild display.
Daria Kasatkina continues to impress as she secured her third consecutive straight sets win, this time over Louisa Chirico, 6-0 6-4. The second set was the toughest one she’s faced so far, coming back from 1-3 down and serving out the match in an epic nine-deuce game. Kasatkina finally secured the win on her sixth match point with an ace. Chirico had three break point opportunities; one of those was on an absolutely insane rally where Chirico looked to have it…
Kasatkina next gets a shot at Sloane Stephens in the pick of the quarter-finals. The American defeated another Daria in the third round, Daria Gavrilova, 6-4 6-3.
There were five breaks of serve to begin the first match on the Volvo Car Stadium between Angelique Kerber and Kristina Kucova; Kerber eventually settled down on her serve, prevailing, 6-2 6-3 in one hour and 25 minutes. It’s great to see Kerber back in form and she will play Irina-Camelia Begu in the quarter-finals.
Begu defeated Monica Puig in the third round (who had served for the match at *6-5 third set), 6-1 2-6 7-6(4). Begu has won two of her last three matches against Kerber, but the German player did win their match in Charleston last year, saving multiple set points across both sets to win, 7-6(3) 7-6(4).
Elena Vesnina won her fifth match of the week to reach the quarter-finals of Charleston for the first time since 2011. The Russian player won her 18th match of the year with a 6-1 6-3 victory over Lourdes Dominguez Lino. It wasn’t quite as straightforward as the scoreline suggested as Vesnina needed EIGHT set points to wrap up the first set. After five consecutive breaks of serve in the second set, Vesnina got the crucial hold at *4-3 before breaking for the victory.
Vesnina will play Laura Siegemund in the quarter-finals who defeated Mirjana Lucic-Baroni, 7-5 6-2. The German player, who is at a career high ranking of 75, is into her first Premier quarter-final and is enjoying a wonderful year so far.
Ending with some non-Charleston news, Caroline just cannot catch a break this year :-(.
And finally, it was announced on Thursday that the Aegon International tournament in Eastbourne would be getting a men’s draw again from 2017… i’m not sure how I feel about this. When they were joint, I always felt the WTA got a rough deal with the scheduling even though the classification of tournament (WTA Premier to ATP 250) was different. I’m also concerned it will give them an excuse to up the ticket prices…