The first week of the season is always one of the most hectic due to the number of tournaments and the time difference, but with no more TennisTV catch-up service, it’s going to be even more of a challenge to cover! My Set Points posts this week are not going to cover everything but will pick out things that caught my eye. I’m already behind on what I had planned after celebrating New Year… a very Happy New Year to all readers of Moo’s Tennis Blog!
Main draw action began on Sunday at the Brisbane International with six first round matches. The only match that I was able to watch was the third match up on Show Court 1 between Daria Kasatkina and Irina-Camelia Begu. I’d actually gone for Begu in my predictions but Kasatkina delivered an excellent display to post her first win of the year, 6-3 6-3 in 90 minutes.
I forgot how much I enjoy watching Kasatkina play and her point construction was excellent with slightly more intent than usual to be aggressive when the opportunity arose. She was winning many of the longer rallies, taking advantage of a mostly sluggish and error-strewn display from Begu. Kasatkina also won 87% of first serve points as she overcame a slight second set wobble to win the last four games of the match. It sounds like Daria has been working hard in the off-season!
Of the two seeds in action in Brisbane, one won convincingly and the other was edged out in a third set tiebreak. Karolina Pliskova sailed past Yulia Putintseva with 12 aces in a 6-3 6-1 victory, while Elena Vesnina let slip a set and a break lead with Alizé Cornet producing a stirring comeback to prevail, 3-6 6-4 7-6(5). Vesnina finished the match with 65 unforced errors, 27 more than Cornet. Already we have a contender for handshake of the week!
The 16-year-old Aussie, Destanee Aiava booked her place in the Brisbane main draw with a rampant run through qualifying that saw her drop just eight games (!) in three matches. This included a thumping 6-1 6-1 win over Carina Witthoeft on Sunday. I’m looking forward to learning more about Destanee, who plays fellow qualifier, Bethanie Mattek-Sands on Monday in a match that i’m hoping will be at a reasonable hour to watch!
Angelique Kerber seemed to be in good spirits and spoke of the retirement of good friend, Ana Ivanovic during pre-tournament press on Sunday.
And woahh Angie!
The main draw for the ASB Classic in Auckland will kick off on Monday along with the third and final round of qualifying. Sunday saw a charity exhibition including the Williams sisters and Caroline Wozniacki. Check out Jimmie48 Tennis Photography on Twitter (see below) for some great pics!
A full preview for the ASB Classic main draw is now up on mootennis.com.
The main draw for the Shenzhen Open also started on Sunday and took me by surprise! I had hoped to write a preview but i’m already behind after New Year celebrations. This was meant for the preview but here’s a summary of the eight seeds’ previous record in Shenzhen.
I’ve barely had time to look at the draw for Shenzhen, but two first round matches did catch my eye: the number two seed, Simona Halep plays Jelena Jankovic and the number four seed, Timea Bacsinszky squares off against Camila Giorgi. Both are tricky matches for the seeds on Monday and in fact, Bacsinszky’s route through the draw looks brutal with nemesis, Monica Niculescu potentially awaiting in the quarters.
Action at the Hopman Cup started on Sunday although I was almost more interested in the pictures from the Ball on New Year’s Eve!
I’ve always enjoyed the Hopman Cup but the decision to play the FAST4 format for the mixed doubles is a dreadful one. Mixed doubles is one of the unique selling points of the Hopman Cup; shortening the mixed doubles matches and using a format not well known to the players is beyond me. I really hope this format won’t be continued in 2018 and i’ve noticed that it has been almost universally hated on by Tennis Twitter.
There’s going to be a lot of moaning from me about streaming over the next few months so get used to it 😂! If anyone has any problems or questions about watching tennis then please flood the comments section and hopefully, wherever we are in the world, we can help each other out to keep following WTA tennis while we wait for the WTA’s subscription service to replace TennisTV.
I’m in the UK and I was going to purchase BT Sport but I just can’t justify the cost, particularly when I don’t believe there is a catch-up service which makes it rather useless for me during the Australian tournaments when most of it happens for me overnight. For now, i’m using the Bet365 streams which you can access by depositing a small amount of money (normally £5) into your account… thanks to CreatedSick for a comment last year on the blog about downloading the Bet365 app on a smartphone, which allows you to watch on full screen. It’s not ideal but it’s certainly better than nothing!
I don’t know what’s happening this year with streaming but TennisTV also posted this bombshell today.
And finally, ALWAYS ending on a positive note, this was beautiful from Petra.