Wednesday’s action in Nottingham and Rosmalen was overshadowed by the news that Maria Sharapova is set to face a two year ban for a failed drugs test…. My Twitter timeline was a mess this afternoon! More of the Sharapova ruling to come in this post. Second round action began on Wednesday in Nottingham and Rosmalen, and will conclude on Thursday with the four remaining second round matches up on the schedule. Read on for Wednesday’s Set Points…
Let’s start with Maria Sharapova… If you’ve got some spare time, the 33-page PDF document in the tweet below is worth a read. Like an episode of LOST, it’s thrown up more questions than answers. The fact that Maria had not disclosed meldonium on her doping form seems to be the clincher. I’m also shocked that most of her team didn’t know she was taking it.
I was very surprised when I read that she had been banned for two years as I expected something in the region of one year. While my initial thought was that’s that, I actually don’t think that this is the last we’ve seen of Sharapova. Just from her spirit on the court as a competitor, I think she will be HIGHLY motivated to get back on court and make sure that the failed drugs test is not the last tennis memory people have of her.
As Maria has unsurprisingly stated her intention to appeal the decision, it’s not the last we’ve heard of this case, which makes me sad that this just going to dragggg on. I’ll be sticking to the actual tennis though from here on!
The only seed to fall on Wednesday at either tournament was Caroline Wozniacki. Anett Kontaveit defeated Wozniacki in the second round of Nottingham, 6-7(5) 6-3 7-5 in two hours and eight minutes. It sounded like a good match but with no coverage on TV at the moment, there’s no means for me to catch up! Eurosport coverage for Nottingham begins on Thursday.
I don’t think this was a great surprise and Kontaveit’s a talented player with a good game for the grass. Wozniacki sounded in good spirits in press and furthermore, she stated that the ankle was holding up, which is the most important thing!
Kontaveit progresses to a quarter-final match with Alison Riske who stretched her winning streak to seven matches. Riske defeated Su-Wei Hsieh, 6-2 6-4, overcoming a late wobble to finally close out the match in straight sets. Karolina Pliskova and Monica Puig also progressed to the quarter-finals of Nottingham with straight set wins. Pliskova played Anna Tatishvili who thrashed her at the US Open last year… ten months later and it was a routine win for Pliskova, 6-1 6-3 in just 57 minutes.
The first match of the day in Rosmalen was a wild WTA rollercoaster ride of a match. Madison Brengle saved a match point to defeat Richel Hogenkamp, 7-5 5-7 7-5. Hogenkamp served for the match and had one match point, but Brengle fought back, winning 10 of the last 11 points.
The two seeds in action, Kristina Mladenovic (3) and CoCo Vandeweghe (6) both won. Credit to Mladenovic who came from a set down to defeat Natalia Vikhlyantseva, 5-7 6-3 6-4. Mladenovic arrived in Rosmalen shortly after her triumph in doubles at the French Open with Caroline Garcia and early signs are very promising. Vandeweghe has won back-to-back matches for the first time since Miami and has yet to drop more than four games in any of the sets she has played… you know it’s the grass court season!
And finally from Rosmalen, Elise Mertens backed up her upset win over Eugenie Bouchard with a 6-4 7-6(3) victory over Aleksandra Krunic to reach her first WTA quarter-final.
Entry list news for the grass court season… After a 2-6 1-6 loss to Alison Riske in Nottingham on Tuesday, Mona Barthel announced on her Facebook page that she has pulled out of Mallorca and Eastbourne. It’s going to be a long road back for Mona so fingers crossed she will feel ready to compete at Wimbledon.
Svetlana Kuznetsova has pulled out of the Aegon Classic in Birmingham for next week.
Annika Beck had withdrawn from Mallorca and Eastbourne. According to the latest injury report posted on the WTA website, Beck is suffering from a spine injury… doesn’t sound too good!
Mallorca starts next week and the French Open champ has already arrived!
I was also baffled to see Ana Ivanovic and Angelique Kerber practising together in Mallorca… mainly because Angie is playing Birmingham next week!
Dipping into the ATP, this is absolute comedy gold!
And finally, i’m delighted to see the return of the Tennis Days Podcast with Dave Gertler. You can listen to their French Open round-up episode below.