Wednesday’s Eastbourne Round-up: Puig beats Wozniacki to reach the quarter-finals

Wednesday began with some drizzle, which pushed back the start of play by about an hour and a half. This was my last day at the Aegon International in Eastbourne so unfortunately I had to leave halfway through the afternoon just as Petra-Jo was starting. I’ve had a super time and being media for the first time has been an eye-opening experience. I’ve met so many people around the grounds in Eastbourne and I can’t wait to come back next year! I’ll be keeping up to date with Eastbourne (back at work for two days) and I still have so many photos I haven’t actually gone through yet! Attention will soon switch to Wimbledon and I will be at SW19 for at least one day so more photos and live coverage will be on its way. Read on for Wednesday’s round-up…

As the sea mist came over and drizzle started to fall, I managed to get a few snaps of Lucie Safarova and Karolina Pliskova finishing their practice. It was lovely to see Lucie smiling after her loss to Friedsam on Tuesday night.

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And I spotted Aga too!

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In the first match of the day on Centre which got underway at about 12.30pm, Monica Puig came from a set down to defeat Caroline Wozniacki, 4-6 6-3 6-4. It was a high quality match and I watched the first and third sets. Peak Puig raced into an early 2-0 lead; Wozniacki broke back, but then Puig threatened to go ahead in what turned out to be a pivotal sixth game that featured seven deuces. Wozniacki saved five break points before unleashing a killer backhand down-the-line to set up a game point which she promptly took.

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Puig seemed to take that mental baggage into the following games, committing more unforced errors. On the whole, I was impressed with Wozniacki who was hitting her forehand well and being reasonably aggressive when the opportunity arose, smacking away her fair share of winners. Wozniacki served out the set to love.

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I went off to watch some doubles (more of that to come!) and came back to find Puig up in the third set. I couldn’t quite understand the situation because it felt like Wozniacki had the momentum after winning the first set. As soon as I rejoined the match, Wozniacki won three straight games and I was starting to feel like her lucky charm. It then turned out that this was not the case (!) as Puig rolled off three straight games. The 22-year-old was hitting the ball sweetly, getting the all important break to lead thanks to some relentless depth on her returns.

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I don’t think Wozniacki played a bad match but she didn’t quite have the oomph to rival Puig’s ball striking. It’s a classic case of where Wozniacki comes up against a heavy hitter on their day. Puig moves through to the quarters where she will play Kristina Mladenovic.

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I attended both Puig and Wozniacki’s press conferences… it’s been fascinating to watch them this week and pick up insights from the players. Wozniacki was in surprisingly jolly mood and there were some good questions (this excludes one question which implied that the results aren’t coming – a bit harsh considering she’s only just started her comeback from a pretty bad injury). It wasn’t a good start but she settled and answered a lot of questions. I liked Wozniacki’s assessment of her position right now.

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Wozniacki also talked about her tough draws and the fact she won’t be seeded at Wimbledon. Victoria Azarenka’s name was mentioned…

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I thought Puig would be more jubilant but she was actually quite grounded, which I liked. Puig spoke about how far she has come in the last two years, highlighting maturity as a key factor in this change.

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And Puig also talked about her game on the grass. For sure, she’s one of a long list of unseeded players that could be a dangerous floater at Wimbledon. There are so many players to watch out for in this Wimbledon draw, much more so than the French Open, and the draw on Friday is going to be hugeeee.

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In the middle of the Wozniacki-Puig match, I headed out to watch the stand-out doubles match in the first round featuring Martina Hingis and Sania Mirza against Lucie Safarova and Sam Stosur. I needed to get Lucie’s loss to Friedsam out of my system and despite the eventual loss in doubles, this was fun! Hingis hit a beautiful lob on set point to bag the opener, 6-1.

The second set began with three consecutive deciding points on deuce. While the first one went against Lucie and Sam, they won the next two. There was a funny moment when a seagull swooped just as Lucie was serving and they had to replay the point. There was another situation where Sam went for a ball at the net, completely missed it, but it went long. Lucie and Sam were both laughing on the changeover!

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Safarova and Stosur won the second set to force a champion’s tiebreak. HIngis and Mirza drew away rather convincingly as Stosur had a bit of a mare with two missed volleys, a shank and a groundstroke long. Lucie nailed one down-the-line shot but Hingis and Mirza were just too good. It was a really fun match and I do love me some doubles. I heard multiple people walk away from the match saying how much they enjoyed it and there was a great crowd on court 2. I really struggled to get a decent view but in another sense, it’s encouraging to see women’s doubles attracting such a healthy crowd. The net exchange was nice, Lucie and Sania hugged!

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In other matches, Agnieszka Radwanska defeated Eugenie Bouchard in straight sets with the Canadian player unable to improve on the six games she won at the Australian Open in their second round match. Radwanska faces Dominika Cibulkova in tasty-sounding quarter-final after the Slovak player came from 2-5 down in the first set to prevail in straight sets against Kateryna Bondarenko, 7-6(3) 6-3. In the only other match to be completed. Johanna Konta came from a set down to defeat Petra Kvitova, 5-7 6-4 6-0 (!). I was worried about this match for Petra but still a bagel set is tough. I think the leg injury is still there and it’s a concern so close to Wimbledon.

Rain halted play on Wednesday meaning two third round matches are still to be completed. Thursday’s forecast is also rubbish so i’m intrigued and slightly worried where they will be come Thursday evening.

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19 thoughts on “Wednesday’s Eastbourne Round-up: Puig beats Wozniacki to reach the quarter-finals

  1. Monica Puig rises! Wozniacki actually played a great match. She served well and was aggressive on both wings, but Puig played lights out for unusual periods of time. I just love her game and her demeanor! She’s a humble winner and a gracious loser and she could be a real star with the right management as she’s obviously a stunner and already seems to have something of a following.

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      • I started writing a preview but I need to sleep lol instinct was Mladenovic in 3 but after looking at their serving stats for the week, I was starting to sway a bit!

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      • The only thing that makes me wary of Puigs chances is how much tennis she’s played the last 3 weeks. And she may suffer a blowback from such an awesome performance. I can’t remember seeing anybody hit so many backhand winners off the top of my head… her BHDTL was just ferocious!

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    • On the fence with Monica. She is playing well but, she’s had these stretches of excellent play before. I’ll give it some time and see if she’s there to stay. Bouchard had the big star thing on lock with Garbine currently trying to usurp her. Not so sure Puig can stand out to that level.

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      • Puig has shown potential before, but she’s been much more *consistent* this year. Something that Muguruza actually hasn’t this year despite her Slam win, and something she wasnt last year until this point either.

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      • It’s usually the ranking isn’t it? she ought to maintain a high/decent ranking, then things should fall into place for her.

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  2. Puig wins again! If she has anything in the tank tomorrow and assuming it’s Aga coming through then it could be an interesting match.

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    • Nicely done by Puig, almost got my predictions spot on but for Radwanska! Shame about the rain delay for Aga, knowing Cibulkova, she’s going to jump on her as soon they resume.

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      • Yeah and I wonder if what happened to Aga after the rain delay in Paris will play on her mind at all…

        If it’s a Pliskova v Radwanska final then I hope Karolina can find something special because it could be a one sided final…

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    • I think Jo Konta’s in with a chance for the final. Her next opponent will be either Kate Makarova, whom she’s beaten before at the Australian Open, so she could easily do it again.

      The match I’d like to see though is her against Aga Radwanska, with their very contrasting styles. Maybe it will happen in this tournament.

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      • Got that one wrong lol! Domi vs Karolina in the final; should be a very entertaining match if both are playing their best tennis (and congratulations to Domi for beating boith Aga and Monica to get this far).

        I’d like Domi to win her first tournament on grass but I think Karolina will be too strong for her tomorrow and will win the title.

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      • A nice final to look forward to in Eastbourne! I wanted to write a preview but I’m trying to get my head around the Wimby draw. I’ve gone for Pliskova in three sets. I’ll definitely try and watch the match and let’s hope the weather behaves itself 😉

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