The start of Tuesday’s bumper order of play was delayed an hour by rain but soon got underway with the number three seed, Dominika Cibulkova up against Ekaterina Makarova. Prior to 2017, Makarova had never beaten Cibulkova – now she has two hard fought three set wins to her name as she claimed the upset win, 6-2 4-6 6-2 victory. Makarova won the last six games of the match.
My hunch was that Cibulkova would win this particular match after speaking a good game in press before the tournament. Taking stock on the year so far, Cibulkova’s current form and record in three setters (2-6) would indicate that her confidence is lacking right now.
Kristina Mladenovic won her seventh consecutive match on the WTA tour, staving off break points in the final game to inflict just a second defeat of the year on Doha champion and number two seed, Karolina Pliskova, 6-2 6-4. It was Mladenovic’s third top five win of her career after defeating Li Na (#2) at the French Open in 2014 and Simona Halep (#3) at Birmingham in 2015.
Mladenovic’s press conference is linked below from the WTA Facebook page, which was an interesting listen. Mladenovic was asked about the comments she made after Fed Cup to which she clarified she was NOT referring to Caroline Garcia. Instead, she had been comparing Amadine Hesse to Oceane Dodin.
And boom… there goes my champ for the week! After five games, Garbiñe Muguruza was forced to retire from her second round match against Kateryna Bondarenko due to injury. In the video linked below, the Spaniard explains that the problem was a left achilles injury that she picked up in Doha.
One seed that didn’t drop was the number one seed, Angelique Kerber who sealed a invaluable win over Mona Barthel, 6-4 6-3. I really like Mona, but a part of me also wanted to see Angie get back on track. There were a pair of great points including a cracking match point linked below.
CiCi Bellis had another superb win, recovered from hefty deficits in both sets to defeat Laura Siegemund, 7-5 7-6 (3). Bellis failed to serve out sets on three occasions but showed a lot of character to win a tough match against Siegemund who tried every trick in the book.
The German player took a medical time-out just before Bellis stepped up to the serve for the match for the second time. I always try and give the benefit of the doubt to players but this is not the first time that Siegemund has used these kinds of tactics. I’m glad that Bellis managed to rise above it and win in straight sets.
Bellis will play Agnieszka Radwanska who came back from a break down in both sets to beat the qualifier, Elise Mertens, 6-3 6-2. A fun point linked below…
The final match of the day saw Elina Svitolina fend off a first set surge from Zheng Saisai before easing through the second set to win, 7-5 6-1. Zheng couldn’t find the court early on but some ultra-aggressive returns and nice touches of variety helped her find her a foothold in the match. Svitolina’s game started to crumble a tad including a hilarious drive volley miss in the game at *4-5. Svitolina though broke again and finished the first set in style with two excellent serves.
Zheng produced some nice moments but just made too many regulation errors, mostly going long. Svitolina’s ability to rally and keep the ball in play for longer was a huge factor and the Ukrainian player settled down to play a decent second set.
I’d tagged Ana Konjuh for a good week in my main draw preview and she’s looking good so far! She recorded her second straight sets win of the week, beating the number 12 seed, Sam Stosur, 6-4 6-3. I managed to catch the end where Konjuh looked pretty stable – she finished off the match with a fourth break of the Stosur serve and a sweet forehand winner.
Konjuh will play the number eight seed, Elena Vesnina in the third round after the Russian player beat Misaki Doi, 6-2 7-5. The scoreline was just one game off Vesnina’s previous win over Doi (6-1 7-5 in New Haven in 2015) as she rallied from a break down in the second set to win the last four games.
Monica Puig has continued her recent good form with another three set win, this time over the number 15 seed, Caroline Garcia, 6-1 4-6 6-2. It looked like the tide was turning when Garcia broke Puig’s serve at 5-4 to win the second set and then had two early break points in the third set. After levelling up at 2-2 in the decider, Puig dropped just four more points en route to a second straight sets win over Garcia.
Interesting stat alert – Puig has a superb record in three set matches. Since Prague last year, she is 16-2 in three setters!
In other matches…
Peng Shuai produced another excellent win, beating the number nine seed, Barbora Strycova, 6-3 6-2. It had been nearly nine years since their most recent meeting in Charleston. Peng now leads the head-to-head, 3-0.
Caroline Wozniacki played her seventh match in as many days but got the win over Viktorija Golubic, 6-4 6-2.
Christina McHale backed up the victory over Bertens with another super win, this time against Naomi Osaka, 6-3 6-4.
For the second day in a row, Lauren Davis came from a set down to beat Kristyna Pliskova, 1-6 6-1 6-3. It was the second time that Davis had come from a set down to beat Kr. Pliskova.
Anastasija Sevastova beat Alison Riske, 6-4 6-7(3) 6-2 in two hours and 29 minutes. There were no break points in the second set!
Wang Qiang reached the third round of a Premier tournament for the first time in her career with a routine 6-3 6-1 victory over Ons Jabeur.
Wednesday’s schedule is a little so-so, headlined by an Olympic final rematch between Angelique Kerber and Monica Puig. Who you got?
And finally, Budapest had a pretty limited schedule for day 2 with still six first round matches to be played on Wednesday. Tuesday was a great day for the qualifiers as Anna Blinkova, Tamara Korpatsch and Aliaksandra Sasnovich all booked their places in the second round. Julia Goerges had an excellent come-from-behind win over Anett Kontaveit, 6-7(3) 6-3 6-4, while the world number 282, Fanny Stollar, won her first WTA main draw match against the slumping, Danka Kovinic, 6-2 7-6(4).
For photos from Budapest, check out the Hungarian Ladies Open Facebook page.