Tuesday’s Set Points, WTA St. Petersburg: Vinci victorious, Petkovic wins 4th match of the week

Set PointsRoberta Vinci got off to a good start in the defence of her St. Petersburg title, edging a tight three setter against Timea Babos. Vinci had beaten Babos en route to winning the title last year and this was another very close match with many switch-ups in momentum in just the third set alone. Vinci won four of the last five games to win, 6-3 3-6 6-4 in two hours and four minutes.

Vinci is always fun to watch…

And this was an amazing rally from the match!

Vinci will play Andrea Petkovic in the second round after the German player secured a very  solid win over Irina-Camelia Begu, 6-1 7-5. Petkovic rallied from 2-4 down in the second set and needed two attempts at serving out the match but she got there in the end.

Petkovic has now won four matches in St. Petersburg having come through qualifying – it is the first time in nearly a year (Doha, 2016) where she has won four matches at the same tournament. I think that playing qualifying was actually a blessing in disguise for Petkovic in terms of building up match play and confidence. She already seems to be reaping the benefits…

In the marquee match of the day between two 19-year-olds, Daria Kasatkina beat Belinda Bencic, 6-2 7-5. It’s still not happening for Belinda who is set to drop outside of the world’s top 100 in the next few weeks. Like Petkovic, she may actually benefit from playing qualifying matches to build up some momentum and form. On a plus note, she won’t be defending many points for the rest of the year.

As to be expected, there was a nice moment of sportsmanship at the net between the pair. Kasatkina advances to the second round where she will play fellow Russian, Natalia Vikhlyantseva on Wednesday.

For the second straight time, Ana Konjuh fought back from a 1-6 breadstick blow-out set against Monica Niculescu to win in three sets. Konjuh beat Niculescu, 1-6 6-3 6-2. Konjuh faces Simona Halep in an enticing second round match, second up on Wednesday’s schedule. There’s definitely a sense in her pre-match interviews that she is still wary of how the knee will hold up in competitive play.

Venus Williams has arrived in St. Petersburg and will play Kristina Mladenovic in the second round. The Frenchwoman battled hard to get past the qualifier, Elise Mertens, coming from a break down in both sets to win, 7-6(5) 6-4. It was Mladenovic’s first singles win on the tour in 2017. Mladenovic and Williams will be playing each other for the first time on tour in what should be an interesting match-up. Venus’s pre-tournament interview can be found below.

Monday’s players party was a fun one to follow on social media.

I was hoping to catch up with some of the action at lunchtime but the link from the St. Petersburg website that I shared yesterday wasn’t working. I’m seriously losing my patience with the WTA and I don’t like how they are mistreating their fans this year. This new streaming platform better be good or i’m going to be furious 😂.

The only seed to go out on day 2 of the Taiwan Open was Jelena Jankovic. I’d tagged JJ for a good run at this tournament but it wasn’t to be as she struggled late on with a back/leg injury that clearly impeded her movement. Credit to Kurumi Nara who came through for the win, 6-7(4) 7-5 6-4 in two hours and 41 minutes. It was Nara’s first ever win over Jankovic as she snapped a four match losing streak on tour.

Elina Svitolina, Sam Stosur and Caroline Garcia all eased into the second round with straight set wins. Stosur’s 6-2 6-4 victory over Danka Kovinic was a noteworthy win as the Aussie halted a nine match losing streak. There was a little smile at the end from Sam!

Lucie Safarova and Peng Shuai both enjoyed straight set wins on Tuesday against Aleksandra Krunic and Zheng Saisai respectively. I’ve gone for both players to reach the semi-finals in my draws this week!

Good start in Taiwan! Tomorrow against Sevastova! #teamsafarova #pojd #taiwanopen

A post shared by Lucie Safarova (@lucie.safarova) on

 

And so it begins… the Race to Singapore is underway! Early days but a pretty decent list already.

I’m a bit busy for the next few days so unlikely that I will have time to post. I hope to be back on Friday as I slowly gear up for the Doha-Dubai double.

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11 thoughts on “Tuesday’s Set Points, WTA St. Petersburg: Vinci victorious, Petkovic wins 4th match of the week

  1. Good win for Kasatkina. There’s a pretty great highlights video on youtube- she really mixed up her shots well and her slices in particular really caused Bencic grief. I think BB just has to learn to be a LOT more patient with her game and seriously needs to work on her speed and fitness. It feels like she’s trying to be more of a power player and it obviously isn’t working for her…

    I had no idea that Petkovic had dropped so much in the rankings that she’s having to qualify for these smaller events!

    Jelena Jankovic seems to be the Asian Court Queen no longer. First round exits on Shenzen and Taipei!

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    • I agree with you about Belinda and I think that she does need to get in better shape and become fitter and faster on court. I watched the match today and I noticed that there were times when she focused too much on hitting the ball hard and not on accuracy. She did not win her two WTA titles by being a power player and I think that she needs to get back to the style of tennis that she performed in 2015.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Agree, Peter about her BB’s game. Her ranking will take a hit now but I actually think having to qualify for events will be good for her as she hasn’t played that much competitive tennis over the past year due to the injuries.

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    • Thanks for the heads up about the YT highlights, they were great. Yes I noticed that too about BB being very aggressive. I quite like this draw for Dasha going forward. I’m surprised Petkovic had to qualify as players in the main draw are ranked below her. I’m not sure if she missed the deadline or just her ranking was lower at the cut-off.

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  2. James, there’s a geo block. In order to watch you need to “change” your position. If you google that you will find some good tutorials. It’s quite complicated though 😉 If you use Google Chrome like me you could install an add-on called “Hola”. It’s pretty good as it’s some sort of vpn 😉 You just need to change countries from UK to Russia in the add-on. It worked pretty well for me today. The stream quality was great and I was able to legally watch Bencic – Kasatkina 😉 Hope this will help you!!

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    • Thanks, Murphy, much appreciated! Not very technically minded (as you can probably tell haha) but I will give it a go. To be honest, I probably won’t be able to watch much the next two days but I’ll try on Friday. It’s just so frustrating all these obstacles to watch tennis!

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      • Yes indeed – it’s really frustrating. I was able to Watch AO on Eurosport though. I hope this works out for you on Friday. I plan on watching Fri, Sat and Sun – yay! Haven’t done this for quite a while.
        I hope Petko will gain some confidence, I feel like she still has some tennis left in her 😉

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Natalia Vikhlyantseva(The Vik) out played Kasatkina in their match. The Vik at 6’1 had more power on the serve and ground strokes(with good placement) than Kas. Prediction- The Vik top 50 by the end of year. i’m now a fan of both teenagers.

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  4. Saw the highlights too and I agree Vikhlyantseva was very impressive – I’m sticking with Natalia (or The Vik) for now though, it took me long enough to learn to spell Bacsinszky!

    Also, I was sorry to see Belinda go out so early; I hope she can come back from this. On other news, Lucie’s playing well at the moment and has reached the quarters in Taiwan, along with Mandy Minella and Ons Jabeur.

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    • Tough draws at the last two tournaments for Belinda. I’d like to see her play more International events. It’s likely she will have to go through qualifying soon due to her ranking which I think will actually be a benefit in disguise as she will get more matches and hopefully build up momentum and confidence again.

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