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