Tuesday’s Eastbourne Round-up Part 2: Bondarenko edges Kuznetsova in a dramatic second rounder

And onto part two of the mega extravaganza of trying to recap Tuesday in Eastbourne… Part one is here!

After a brief time to get some photos out, I headed back to the action to watch the first set of Karolina Pliskova against Daria Gavrilova, which was enjoyable despite the one-sided scoreline. I forgot how much fun Gavrilova is to watch live. She’s always a hoot with her facial expressions and general demeanor on court. She was pissed at a couple of umpiring decisions. About one of her shots which she was admant was in, she said “it’s windy, it was always going to drop in”. On another one where the umpire overruled, she screamed out “noooooo why are you making corrections!”

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Pliskova double faulted away one service game in the first set but she was hitting SO well in the first set. It’s the hardest hit ball I think i’ve seen this week and the sound of the ball hitting the racquet is pretty immense. Gavrilova’s second serve was extremely vulnerable and this seemed to get in the Aussie’s head who was going for too much on serve. Gavrilova was generally making far too many unforced errors to make this competitive. It was just a tough day for her against an in-form Pliskova.

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In the second set, Pliskova needed EIGHT match points but finally sealed a 6-2 6-2 victory to book her spot in the third round.

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I then went over to watch some of Carla Suárez Navarro’s match with Misaki Doi. I joined at the end of the second set where the pair played a drawn out game at 4-4 with the Spaniard having already won the first set. Suárez Navarro made a string of tired looking errors as Doi capitalised. This continued into the third set where Carla continued to commit errors. I wasn’t surprised to see the final scoreline with Doi winning, 3-6 6-4 6-1.

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The match on court 2 between Svetlana Kuznetsova and Kateryna Bondarenko was an absolute humdinger! It’s such a shame everyone couldn’t see it because it was EVENTFUL. Kuznetsova won the first set, 6-2, and I joined the match towards the end of the second set. Kuznetsova was serving at *30-15 when she thought she had served an ace, only for it to be called a let. She didn’t seem to agree with the umpire, Zhang on this matter! A few points later and Kuznetsova double faulted the set away.

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I came back midway through the third set and it was superb entertainment. When Kuznetsova is on, she’s bloody brilliant. However, this match will be one that stays in her memory for some time. Kuznetsova missed two match points at 5-3* and three more at *5-4. One of them I remember being this brutal rally with Kuznetsova being drawn in and then netting. The pictures describe the process…

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After missing the match points, Kuznetsova did crumble a little bit and she was gesticulating wildly in the direction of her coach. I also got a death stare for trying to take a photo! Bondarenko broke to 5-5, then held with ease and quickly earnt three match points. Kuznetsova saved the first two with excellent points and on the third, she *barely* went wide with a shot down-the-line. Bondarenko didn’t really react because I think she thought it was in.

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It was a really tough loss for Sveta but at the same time, a gutsy win for Bondarenko, who won two three setters on Tuesday.

Bondarenko d. Putintseva, 6-2 4-6 6-4 (2h 05)

Bondarenko d. Kuznetsova, 2-6 6-4 7-5 (2h 09)

A few funny moments in this match:

One of Kuznetsova’s serves was overruled to which she said out aloud “F*** what do I expect from you!”. On another point the umpire had to overrule a shot that was clearly out but called in. The Russian player said “thank you” and gestured her arms to the line judge. To be fair, the line judge said “i’m sorry” as he realised he had made a mistake.

The most hilarious aspect to this match was a Kuznetsova fan who kept shouting out “come on Svety”! There was also a “come on Svets, you got this girl”. This woman even shouted it when one of the players was in their service motion. “Svety” was one of the highlights of the day!

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I also saw the very end of the three setter played out on court 1 between Roberta Vinci and Ekaterina Makarova. I was pleased to see a great attendance. The crowd don’t often get too heavily involved but it’s nice to see bums on seats. A double fault set up the match point for Makarova which she converted to win, 4-6 6-4 6-3.

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Finally, I sat courtside for Lucie’s match… not gonna lie, i’m a bit gutted about this one! This is the second straight year i’ve seen Lucie lose in straight sets in Eastbourne. At the same time, huge credit to Anna-Lena Friedsam who prevailed, 7-6(5) 6-4 and won her second match of the day. The German player was rubbing her shoulder in the first set but battled on. Lucie served very well in the first set but her return was… not good. Friedsam was also dominating many of the rallies and she’s got a nice game for the grass with a competent slice.

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Friedsam went ahead in the first set tiebreak but on her first set point at 6-5, she double faulted. However, Lucie couldn’t capitalise and dumped a forehand into the net on Friedsam’s second set point. Lucie was always ahead in the second set and was twice up a break, but her serve became more attackable in the second set and the return continued to be mostly wayward on the crucial points. Lucie missed a sitter on match point :-(.

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Dubious line calls have been one of the talking points of the week and both Lucie and Anna-Lena had a situation where they couldn’t believe the decision. Firstly, Lucie in the first set was laughing at one of Friedsam’s serves that was called in. She actually argued it and you rarely see Lucie do that! These are my favourite pics of the day.

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Anna-Lena was even more forceful in the second set with a serve of Lucie’s she felt was clearly out. She went up to the umpire and said how can you not see this in such a close match. The umpire responded “it is a close match but I think we are doing a good job”. Friedsam then said something in German… i’d love to know what she said!

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At the end of the match, some fans asked Lucie for selfies. I don’t like this and I saw Lucie’s despondent face as she kindly obliged. She’s such a sweet person and even in the match, while she wasn’t playing well, she never gave up. These are some of the reasons why I have so much respect for Lucie. I’m really hoping that Lucie can get some wins in doubles with Sam Stosur to erase this match from memory. I’ve got my fingers crossed for Wimbledon.

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And that’s it, what a day! Despite Lucie and Timea both losing, this was one of the best days of WTA tennis i’ve experienced. I had such a great time in good weather and I met and talked with lots of tennis fans around the grounds. Thanks to you all for making this such a super day! Tomorrow is my last day in Eastbourne 😦

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4 thoughts on “Tuesday’s Eastbourne Round-up Part 2: Bondarenko edges Kuznetsova in a dramatic second rounder

  1. Tuesday’s mega extravaganza was definitely worth everyone’s pay!!! Gutsy effort from the players who had to play two matches and came out the winner in both!

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  2. Cibulkova really did her homework, I guess sitting in the crowd watching Jelena Ostapenko against Daria really paid off. Ostapenko, she is quite an emotionally charged person, a bit brash as well. I think she can temper it as she grows. Anyway, that is if she wants to at all, maybe it’s what gets her revved up for the tournies.
    Speaking of which, I was going to tell you(@james) the other day, you’ve seen Ostapenko’s facial expressions, just wait till you take in Gravilova’s. They’re like comic book panels. Although I don’t always like Ostapenko’s ‘trash talk’ in game sometimes but different strokes for different folks. However, both still can’t top Mademoiselle Alize Cornet.

    Bondarenko was in good form, I wanted Svetlana to come through, but she would have had to play some top notch tennis to get by Kateryna to be honest. Lucie will get there again, fingers crossed, it may just take a bit longer than expected.

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  3. I like Daria Gavrilova a lot and always enjoy watching her matches. I think that this was her 2nd match of the day due to the rain delays which was tough on her so she may have been tired.
    Will it get even harder to complete the schedule in time next year when the men will also be playing ?
    You must have been gutted to see your favourite player lose. It’s bad enough when watching on tv so it must be even worse when seeing it live at the tennis courts. I like Lucie’s temperament and I cannot remember seeing her angry.

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  4. I’m not surprised Carla lost, she must have been really tired after all the matches she had to play in the last few days of Birmingham. I hope she gets a good rest now.

    Good win from Domi (who went on to beat Bondarenko). Domi will play Aga Radwanska next; that should be a great match although I think Aga will win as she’s the stronger of the two on grass. It was nice to see Aga and Domi practising together before the tournament began.

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