Set Points, French Open Day 3: Eight wins and counting for Bertens, Kerber out & Azarenka retires

Day 3 was a crazy, mad and hectic day of Slam tennis with a total of 71 singles matches completed. In the women’s draw, two of the top five seeds went out and three more were off to begin their grass court preparations early. Just a round-up for today with a poll at the end for the highlight second round match on Tuesday featuring Agnieszka Radwanska and Caroline Garcia. I’ll try to get a post out tomorrow but time is against me now as i’m getting ready for my holiday. I’m sad that I can’t do the French Open justice with my coverage but i’ll be making up for it at Wimbledon! Read on for Tuesday’s Set Points…

Set PointsThe first match of the day on Philippe Chatrier between Angelique Kerber and Kiki Bertens was earmarked with an upset alert. Kerber hadn’t won a match since Stuttgart, losing her openers in Madrid and Rome, while Bertens had won seven matches to win her second WTA title in Nurnberg at the weekend. The match went with the formbook as Bertens knocked out the number three seed, 6-2 3-6 6-3.

For Bertens, it was the best win of her career. Just last week in Nurnberg she sealed her first top ten win over Vinci and she’s doubled her tally just one week later. Bertens has had a solid year all round, compiling a 36-10 W-L record. She’s more than capable of taking Kerber’s place in the draw and running with it. A dicey second round match awaits though against Camila Giorgi.

Kerber, who took a MTO for her shoulder in the third set, had begun the clay court season with much optimism after winning Stuttgart but it went downhill quite rapidly after then. While it’s a very disappointing result, the upside is being able to fully prepare for the grass court season where I still reckon she will be a force.

In a baffling watch, Victoria Azarenka retired down 0-4 in the third set against Karin Knapp. The Italian player had been in control after winning the first set, 6-3. Azarenka was clearly hampered by a knee injury and took a medical time-out midway during the second set, hobbling her way to her chair. She continued to play on and was moving fine for a time. Knapp twice failed to serve out the match and then missed a match point in the second set tiebreak as Azarenka fought back to force a decider.

The issue was still there though and Azarenka pulled the ripcord two games from defeat with Knapp leading 6-3 6-7(6) 4-0. I found it all rather befuddling as Azarenka has been so cautious with injuries this year. I don’t like to judge injuries because who are we to know what pain a player is suffering but it came across as an odd one that she kept on playing considering she looked in some considerable pain. I wonder whether the grass court season is in doubt but all in all, this just sucks for Vika as her body let her down once more. Knapp moves forward to a second round match against Anastasija Sevastova.

There were three more seeded casualties on day 3. Tatjana Maria defeated the number 23 seed, Jelena Jankovic, 6-3 3-6 6-3, while Julia Goerges played a terrific match to take out the number 20 seed, Johanna Konta, 6-2 6-3. I think Konta will be relieved to be heading to the grass, while i’m not sure if the same can be said for JJ although she did play better on the green stuff last year!

And Pauline Parmentier upset the number 31 seed, Monica Niculescu, 6-2 7-6(2), in the last match to finish on Tuesday. In a WILD second set, Niculescu twice failed to serve out the set and also missed a set point.

The world number one, Serena Williams eased past a clearly hampered, Magdalena Rybarikova, 6-2 6-0 in the last match on Philippe Chatrier. Rybarikova could barely run and it was quite clear that she was playing for the prize money… and I don’t blame her.

There were rumours circling that Francesca Schiavone had retired after she bowed out to Kristina Mladenovic in straight sets on Suzanne Lenglen court. Fran put those rumours to bed though in press and on social media. A great win for Kiki.

I was happy that one of Andrea Petkovic and Laura Robson was going to win a match… it was Petko who prevailed for her first victory since Stuttgart, winning 6-2 6-2. The match was closer than the scoreline suggested but as expected, Robson didn’t have the consistency to be a real threat in this match. Petkovic plays Yulia Putintseva in the second round (LOVE, LOVE, LOVE!) with the winner having a prime opportunity to go deep in the absence of Azarenka.

I was pumped to get back from work and watch Elina Svitolina against Sorana Cirstea. I was convinced an upset was on the cards but how wrong could I be! Svitolina played a decent match but something didn’t seem right with Cirstea… illness, injury, i’m not sure, but she was strangely subdued from the start. The cold conditions were obviously not to her liking. Svitolina had an early tumble in the fifth game, needing a medical time-out to patch up her ankle. She was also holding her wrist but as play continued, she looked fine.

There was one brief flutter from Cirstea who looked tuned in for one game to break back in the second set, but she couldn’t sustain it as Svitolina romped home for a comfortable 6-1 6-3 victory in 67 minutes.

Timea Bacsinszky twice came from a break down in the first set before rolling through the second to beat Silvia Soler-Espinosa, 6-3 6-1. Timea will now play Eugenie Bouchard in a blockbuster second round match after the Canadian player had a surprisingly routine win over Laura Siegemund, 6-2 6-2. My two favourite first round matches on paper were both duds! Bacsinszky v Bouchard is such a tough match and i’d fancy the winner to go very deep in this draw. Who wins it? Ain’t got a clue!

In an all-American battle, Louisa Chirico kept up her excellent clay court form, defeating Lauren Davis, 6-2 2-6 8-6. This was a rollercoaster match and it looked for a time like Chirico might have missed her opportunity. From 5-2 up in the third set and having had two match points at 5-3, Chirico’s lead dissolved. Davis even had a break point at 5-5 that would have seen her serve for the match. The key game was at 6-6 as Chirico survived a seven deuce game and saved three more break points to hold to 7-6. In another all-American clash, Chirico will play Venus Williams in the second round… it could be a cracker!

In another extra-time finish, Teliana Pereira saw off Kristyna Pliskova, 7-5 3-6 9-7. It was a fun match with the crowd getting behind Pereira. I find her grunt strangely soothing haha! I loved her celebration. She’ll get a show court next as she plays Serena in the second round.

Mona Barthel played her first match since the Australian Open, going down in a wacky three setter to Irina Falconi. Barthel had a medical time-out for what appeared to be a back injury in the decider. I hope she’ll be OK for the grass but it’s just nice to see her back :-).

My brother was checking the scoreboard earlier and noticed that Magdalena Rybarikova had a tick next to her name whilst playing Serena Williams! There also seemed to be some issues with Azarenka and Allertova being given the wins on the scoreboard after retiring… not good!

Second round action will start on Tuesday… I can’t say there are many matches that excite me. The big one seems to be the last one up on Suzanne Lenglen between Agnieszka Radwanska and Caroline Garcia. I’m surprised it’s not on Philippe Chatrier but I wonder if CarGar didn’t want to play PC? For me, i’m going with Aga in three. There’s no doubt that CarGar has the form right now but she’s still a flight risk in my opinion!

Screencap in this post by Jimmie48 Tennis Photography

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4 thoughts on “Set Points, French Open Day 3: Eight wins and counting for Bertens, Kerber out & Azarenka retires

  1. I was not surprised that Kerber lost she has been battling a shoulder injury.Another ill timed injury for Vika,her back now her leg,hopefully Angie and Vika can get their bodies healthy for the grass season.

    Good to see Elina with a good straight sets win over Cristea.

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    • Gutted for Vika. I was regretting not putting Vika in my top ten predictions at the start of the year after Australia and definitely after IW and Miami. The clay court season though is the prime example why I didn’t as I feared her body may still let her down.

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      • I remember being adamant that Vika wouldn’t be #1 again this year and did start to doubt myself after Miami but the past month is exactly why I doubted her. Same with Kerber.
        Both could rebound on grass. Vika has a great net game which hasnt brought her the results it should have done in the past, but its not too late.

        I feel like Kvitova’s draw is really opening up and she could well be one to watch.

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  2. I called Kerber and thought Vika would struggle.
    Ivanovics score was crazy as ever.

    Really want Garcia to win. Not one hundred percent convinced but I hope its a good match.

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