Here’s a quick Set Points post to wrap up Thursday’s third round action at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome. Thursday night is when i’m actually on the tennis court as it’s my tennis club night… so for reference, i’ll always be a little bit quieter on Thursday! I played horribly tonight but it’s so much fun to play and gives me so much more respect for what the players are doing, especially mentally as I often fold like a cheap tent haha! Just four seeds are into quarter-finals of Rome with two all unseeded quarter-finals set for Friday. Read on for Thursday’s Set Points which also includes polls for all four quarter-finals.
I’ve been putting Garbiñe Muguruza deep in all my draws, expecting that big result to come soon in 2016. Rome was the first one where I wasn’t so convinced and yet there are signs this could be *the* tournament where everything falls into place for Muguruza. The Spaniard overcame Jelena Ostapenko in the third round, 6-1 6-4, recovering from a 1-4 deficit in the second set to win the last five games of the match.
Carla Suárez Navarro looked to be on her way to the quarter-finals when she served for the match against Timea Bacsinszky at 7-5 *5-4. The Spaniard came within two points of the win but was unable to serve it out with Bacsinszky roaring back into contention to win nine of the last 11 games of the match.
In the first of Friday’s quarter-finals, Muguruza will take on Bacsinszky on Center Court. I love the way that Timea fought in her match against Carla, but this has historically been a tricky match-up for her against the Spaniard. Muguruza leads the head-to-head, 3-0 and if she can extend that to 4-0, she will be into her first semi-final of 2016.
Irina-Camelia Begu overcame a late wobble to defeat Daria Kasatkina in straight sets, 6-1 6-4. Begu led 6-1 5-0, but twice failed to serve out the match with Kasatkina making a comeback. Begu sealed the win at the third time of asking. This was a disappointing result for Kasatkina, but she’s still on a learning curve playing all these tournaments for the first time so i’m taking all her results right now with a pinch of salt. Begu’s playing great but is still suspect when trying to serve out matches.
In an unlikely Premier quarter-final, Begu will play Misaki Doi on Friday. The Japanese player recovered from a set down to defeat Johanna Konta for the first time in her career with a 4-6 7-5 6-2 victory. Doi nearly let slip a 5-1 lead in the second set but once she levelled up at one set all, didn’t drop serve again in the third set. Begu and Doi will be playing for the first time on the WTA tour and with the form she’s shown over the past two weeks, i’m going for the Romanian player.
Top of my list of matches to rewatch in full this weekend is the second match from Thursday’s Pietrangeli schedule where Svetlana Kuznetsova edged Daria Gavrilova, sealing the win on a brilliant match point, 6-2 2-6 6-3, in two hours and 14 minutes. It sounded like a super battle and it was the match I was most excited about from the slate of third rounders.
Kuznetsova gets another shot at Serena Williams in the quarter-finals after the world number one saved a set point in the first set of her match against Christina McHale before strolling through the second set to win, 7-6(7) 6-1.
Serena and Sveta played in Miami a few months ago where the Russian player came from a set down to win, 6-7(3) 6-1 6-2. I went for Kuznetsova in my draw to the semi-finals although this was partly expecting Serena to withdraw! I’d actually give Sveta a fair shot at the upset as she’s been playing great this week. It will be a firm test of Serena’s credentials and she will no doubt be wary of what Kuznetsova can bring on a clay court.
And the final quarter-final will be a repeat match from Madrid with Madison Keys and Barbora Strycova playing for the second time in a week. Keys didn’t drop her serve once with a 7-6(2) 6-3 win over Timea Babos while Strycova was all over her match against Eugenie Bouchard, producing a near-perfect display and giving Bouchard the runaround, who missed A LOT at the net. Strycova won, 6-1 6-0 (!) in 62 minutes. Keys won their match in Madrid, 6-3 6-3 and i’ve got no idea for this one!
A quick word about the ATP… I couldn’t quite believe my eyes when I checked the live scoreboard to find that Novak Djokovic was dropped a first set bagel by Thomaz Bellucci AND David Goffin double bagelled Tomas Berdych, dropping just 15 points! I was initially disappointed to see that tomorrow’s quarter-final between Djokovic and Nadal was during the day, but i’m coming round to the choice of the night match which will be Dominic Thiem against Kei Nishikori… that *could* be a cracker! Serena-Sveta is at night too so safe to say i’m looking forward to Friday night :-D.
A little bit later than usual but the full entry list for the Aegon International in Eastbourne finally came out last night via Tennis Forum. My top three who I really wanted to see were Lucie Safarova, Timea Bacsinszky and Daria Kasatkina… and i’m chuffed they are all there! The list is marginally weaker compared to last year with the likes of Angelique Kerber and Garbiñe Muguruza both skipping Eastbourne but outside of the top ten, most players are here.
I’ll be heading down to Eastbourne for four days (Saturday to Tuesday) and will hopefully have plenty of new content here on Moo’s Tennis Blog and of course, lots of pictures (if you have any player requests please let me know!). You can see the full entry list below…
WTA Eastbourne Main Draw: Radwanska, Vinci, Bencic, Kvitova, Bacsinszky, Suárez Navarro, Safarova, Errani, Kuznetsova, Ka. Pliskova, Stephens, Stosur, Konta, Keys, Cibulkova, Pavlyuchenkova, Mladenovic, Makarova, Petkovic, Wozniacki, Gavrilova, Kasatkina, Niculescu, Begu, Strycova, Schmiedlova, Siegemund, Ostapenko, Vandeweghe, Beck, Tsurenko, Giorgi, Doi, Bouchard and Vesnina (last in #47).