Set Points, Rome Day 2: A good day for the seeds, Serena through and farewell Flavia

There were a couple of entertaining matches on Tuesday at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia but so far, there have been no major upsets and it’s been a pretty quiet start. Four seeds were in action on day two of main draw action in Rome and all four won in straight sets with the first of the second round matches being played. The remaining 14 matches in the second round will be played in a dynamite schedule for Wednesday… someone transport me to Rome PLEASE. For a second round preview of the late night match on Wednesday between Petra Kvitova and Madison Keys, click HERE. Read on for Tuesday’s Set Points…

Set PointsIn Tuesday’s night session, Serena Williams played her first singles match since Miami… and on the whole, it was a very solid performance as she defeated Anna-Lena Friedsam, 6-4 6-3.

While Serena’s match was being played on Center Court, there was a ceremony over on Pietrangeli to celebrate Flavia Pennetta’s career. It was a lovely tribute including a video with messages from the likes of Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, Serena Williams, Sara Errani, Lucie Safarova, Elena Dementieva (speaking in Italian!) and Gisela Dulko. It was nice to see quite a few players staying late to show their support for Flavia. You can watch it back in full below…

And here’s a couple of screencaps from Tennis Twitter… awww look at Elena!

The only other second round match on Tuesday’s schedule saw the number eight seed, Carla Suárez Navarro beat Teliana Pereira, 6-1 7-5. Carla looked to have the match in the bag at 6-1 5-1 but lost four straight games, twice failing to serve out the match. Pereira had three game points to go up 6-5 in the second set but Suárez Navarro broke again and then served out the match at the third time of asking with a much better game.

Back to first round action and Eugenie Bouchard overcame Jelena Jankovic in three sets in the first match on Center Court, 6-4 2-6 6-3. Jankovic had twice been up a break in the first set but folded with back-to-back double faults to give away the set. The Serb dictated the majority of rallies in the second set, but never recovered from a woeful start to the third set. It’s good to see JJ back, but Bouchard progresses to a mouthwatering second round match against the number two seed, Angelique Kerber.

Two thoughts about this match from JJ. Firstly, she had Ricardo Sanchez on the coaching changeover… when did they start working again?! And secondly, the dress…

And some funny moments from JJ in practice…

Sam Stosur saved a match point to advance past Alison Riske, 4-6 7-6(5) 6-1. Poor Ali hit back-to-back double faults after the match point and ended the match on one too as Stosur’s serve and forehand found their mojo from the second set tiebreak. The Aussie will play Svetlana Kuznetsova in the second round; the Russian player edged Caroline Garcia, 7-5 6-4, with a super solid performance both physically and mentally. For a preview of that second round match on Moo’s Tennis Blog, click HERE.

In another dramatic three setter, Lesia Tsurenko fought back from a set and a break down (1-6 2-4) to beat Julia Goerges, 1-6 7-6(5) 6-3. The match ended on a Goerges double fault but it’s worth a watch below. I’ve seen a few players step in on the return and then retreat (Bencic does it occasionally) but i’ve never seen this before where Tsurenko launches herself backwards! It’s an interesting one and I can’t say I am a fan of this to be honest…

Daria Gavrilova is defending semi-final points in Rome and got off to a good start with a 6-1 7-6(3) victory over Sabine Lisicki. In the second set tiebreak, Gavrilova opened up with an absolute horror overhead miss into the net. She dusted herself down to win the tiebreak quite comfortably with Lisicki throwing in two double faults. It’s sad to watch Sabine right now, who looked so tense at the end.

And finally, this week’s WTA Insider podcast is a real winner. The interview with Barbora Stycova was most enlightening as Bara opened up about her doping ban from a few years ago. She’s awesome!

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11 thoughts on “Set Points, Rome Day 2: A good day for the seeds, Serena through and farewell Flavia

  1. I think Serena was more than solid. She was completely fearsome on her backhand, her first serve percentage started slow but rapidly rose and she was hitting her forehand so cleanly in the last part of the match. Not to mention she hit two flawless dropshots.

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  2. Its interesting with Tsurenko blatantly trying to put Goerges off there because in the womens doubles finals in Dubai with Garcia and Mladenovic (i think Dubai…) Jurak kept running to the net and swinging her arms around for no other reason than dirty play.

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  3. The Georges video showing her double faulting is interesting with Tsurenko retreating . I have regularly seen players including Belinda step in and then retreat when their opponent serves and it could be argued that they retreat because they are reading their opponent’s serve and I do not think that their actions put the server off. However I have never seen a player retreat so quickly as Tsurenko does here and it must disrupt the concentration of the server when their opponent does that. I would have liked to have heard the conversation between them at the end ! I am like you and am not a fan of this – it may not be against the rules but it does seem unsporting.

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    • Yeah Aga used to do it before she really hit her prime. And you could argue Stupid Attack By Roger is unsporting for the same reasons.

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      • Yes, Aga openly admitted it was a key tactic for her in her win over Maria (the defending champion) at the 2007 US Open, which I believe was her big breakthrough win at the age of 18.

        As for “Roger’s Stupid Attack” though, how is it different from “chip and charge” which a lot of the players used to do when there was more serve and volleying in tennis? I’m not saying it isn’t, I’m just a bit puzzled how Roger’s tactic is controversial now whereas chip and charge wasn’t.

        http://www.active.com/tennis/articles/the-lost-art-of-chip-and-charge-2445017

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  4. I think Victoria’s chances at Roland Garros are 50/50 at the moment after her loss to Begu. If you believe what she says, then her back injury is still playing on her mind, and she lacks ‘clay’ match fitness. Helps Kasatkina’s progress here in Rome although Begu would still be a tricky opponent.
    With this in mind, I’m starting to entertain Haleps slam prospects at the French. Would have been great if she had the number 2 ranking for draw purposes. Hope she stays injury free.

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    • Was Azarenka ever really a contender for the French Open?

      I agree about Kasatkina’s chances. Begu has the expectation following a huge upset and she’ll have to try and back that up. Daria’s one big downfall is still her lack of confidence coming forward. I watched her match today and she had so many opportunities to come in after a well struck forehand and she waivered. Or she did come in and didn’t put it away as she really needs to be doing.

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      • Victoria isn’t necessarily the first top pick when it comes to the french, but given the current state of the top 20, a fit Victoria is always one to look out for at any of these slams. Sharapova isn’t playing thats another open window for anyone who wants this badly. Petra is so so, Serena isn’t or is not yet at her razor sharp best.
        I’m thinking it’s all to play for. The important thing is to get a good strategy going, and let the draw do the rest. I would certainly go in and take my chances. I just cant read Vika well sometimes as whether she is being straight forward honest or using a convenient situation. Begu did expose her.

        You can still tell Daria Kasatkina is a fresh face just striking it with the pros. I hope with more experience/maturity she gains that confident edge. Though they share some similarity in game styles Daria Gravilova seems to be over bounding with confidence, sometimes audaciously too much even. I prefer Kasatkina if I had to pick a Daria. Much easier to fine tune I think.

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      • The back injury sounds like a concern for Azarenka. Fully fit and healthy, i’d still put her as one of the contenders for RG even if clay’s not her best surface. Kasatkina’s been on the tour for less than a year and has made such positive strides forward. I hope she gets a seeding for RG. Still a long way to go for Daria though!

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      • Yeah her career is still very young. I think playing doubles over the next couple months would give her a big push in the right direction. Should she land a good draw at the French she could still push on for a good run

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