Day 5 of the 2017 Australian Open began with some rain and a trio of three setters. In only the third extra-time finish in the women’s draw so far, the number eight seed, Svetlana Kuznetsova served out the win over Jelena Jankovic at the third time of asking, 6-4 5-7 9-7 in three hours and 36 minutes.
Kuznetsova failed to serve out the match at *5-4 in both the second and third sets. It’s not the first time we’ve seen Kuznetsova take the scenic route but she got there in the end!
For Jelena, she seems to be enjoying her tennis injury-free despite this fall… you can see the smile at the end! I really feared that she may retire at the end of 2016 but this week was certainly encouraging and it was her best result at the Australian Open since 2014. Jankovic is next scheduled to play the Taiwan Open, which begins on the 30th of January.
Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova needed five match points in a final five-deuce game to see off Elina Svitolina, 7-5 4-6 6-3. I thought this might be Elina’s time to make the next steps but from the reader comments on the preview I wrote, it sounds like Svitolina resorted to defence. Pavlyuchenkova powered her way into the second week of the Australian Open for the first time in her career.
In the first match on Rod Laver Arena, CoCo Vandeweghe recovered from a break down in the third set to edge Eugenie Bouchard, 6-4 3-6 7-5, hitting a beautiful backhand winner on match point.
There’s a fine line between confidence and arrogance, and I think CoCo is one of the few players that crosses it.
Vandeweghe next plays the world number one, Angelique Kerber who had her first straight sets win of 2017, beating Kristyna Pliskova, 6-0 6-4.
I think this is a very dangerous fourth round match for Kerber and she’ll have to improve significantly to stop an in-form, Vandeweghe. I’m totally rooting for Angie in this one 😂
What a week for Mona Barthel! In the Rod Laver night match between two players outside of the world’s top 180, Barthel fought back from a break down in the decider to win the last four games against Ash Barty, 6-4 3-6 6-3. I was nervous for Mona considering one of her previous matches in the third round at a Slam against Pauline Parmentier at Roland Garros but she served out the match to 15!
I wrote in a previous Set Points post about how Mona has struggled with injuries and poor health, and she was sidelined for four months last year due to a mystery virus. There’s more about Mona’s struggles in the latest WTA Insider Notebook piece where she said that she has felt healthy again for the first time since December. She’s a good player and a really sweet person so I couldn’t be happier for her.
Venus Williams tore past Duan Ying-Ying, 6-0 6-1 in a 58-minute beatdown to set up an intriguing fourth rounder with Barthel. I’d actually picked Duan to win in my daily predictions – that goes down as the most embarrassing prediction of 2017 and I think it could be tough to top all year.
The fourth and final fourth round match from the top half will be contested between Garbiñe Muguruza and Sorana Cirstea. Muguruza defeated Anastasija Sevastova, 6-4 6-2, recovering from an early break down in the first set, while Cirstea produced a superb performance to beat Alison Riske, 6-2 7-6(2).
I watched most of the first set of Cirstea-Riske and the Romanian player was excellent, hitting through the windy conditions and looking much more assured than Riske. The American rallied in the second set and even served for it, but Cirstea broke back to love and then eased through the second set tiebreak. I’m still laughing at one of the points where Riske’s visor came off.
Here’s a preview for Saturday’s match of the day between Johanna Konta and Caroline Wozniacki… really looking forward to this one and will get to watch it as it should be about 5am UK time.
Here are polls for my top three matches on Saturday. I’m chuffed with the schedule as the other match I really wanted to watch was the one between Timea Bacsinszky and Daria Gavrilova which is first up in the night session on Rod Laver Arena. All eight polls are up in the usual place and thoughts on the matches will go up soon.
And finally, Angelique Kerber and carebears… just perfect!