Sunday’s Set Points, WTA Budapest: Timea Babos wins second WTA title at home

Set Points

Timea Babos hadn’t won a singles match on the WTA tour in 2017 heading into her home tournament of Budapest. Five matches later and with victories over Ipek Soylu (6-3 6-2), Anna Blinkova (6-3 6-2), Oceane Dodin (6-4 2-6 6-1), Julia Goerges (7-5 6-1) and Lucie Safarova (6-7(4) 6-4 6-3), Timea scooped her second WTA title. This was a very impressive effort…

I watched the third set of Babos-Safarova and it was one of the smartest sets of tennis i’ve ever seen Babos play. It wasn’t flat-out power as she mixed up the pace and depth of her strokes, and disrupted Safarova’s rhythm. Babos double faulted down break point when serving out the match but broke for the win for a fully deserved victory. The Hungarian had been roaring through her matches with fistpumps aplenty but she looked visibly moved by her win at the end.

I was disappointed for Lucie but I am really encouraged by her start to the year – this final follows a semi-final in Taipei City. Lucie is set to crack the world’s top 40 in next week’s ranking as she continues her pursuit to get a seeding for the French Open. I really like her scheduling this year to play more Internationals and it’s paying off right now with more matches which is exactly what she needs right now. I’m feeling positive for the future and Lucie will next be in action at Indian Wells.

Next week is the last week of tournaments before Indian Wells – we have two WTA Internationals in Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia) and Acapulco (Mexico). Firstly, the draw for Kuala Lumpur is out…

The Dubai champion, Elina Svitolina is the number one seed and said in her press conference last night she was flying out on Sunday night. I’m sure there are some obligations to play for the tournament having committed but i’m kind of hoping she will take a break before Indian Wells. On the opposite end of the spectrum, Carla Suárez Navarro is in need of matches and will play her just her second tournament of the year having been troubled by a shoulder injury.

The Acapulco draw is not out yet and from previous experience, it’s always one of the latest every year. It look like it should drop about 8:30pm UK time. I feel like this every year but please take me to Acapulco. It looks amazing…

Buenos Dias 🤗

A post shared by Nicole Gibbs (@gibbsyyyy) on

Acapulco is more beautiful every year 😍#sunset @abiertomexicanodetenis

A post shared by Shelby Rogers (@shelbsrogers) on

Never leaving

A post shared by Louisa Chirico (@louisachirico) on

 

Not such great news for Sorana Cirstea who is resting up her wrist.

 

Loved this from Nicole… it’s all about bread.

Pledge Sports have been posting their series on “The Fittest Sport” and tennis was their focus in the article linked below and HERE. A good read…

And finally, I wanted to share my own experiences on a tennis court and will continue to do so for the rest of the year. Blogging about it will give me the chance to look back in the future and please feel free to share any of your own experiences. I played a pair of doubles matches with my brother, David for our tennis club. It was the best we’ve ever played together and we battled really hard but just came up short in both matches!

In the first match, I felt under pressure from the get-go – one of the players was close-ish to my age and from the warm-up, I could tell he was more powerful and more skilful than me in every department. I was proud of our efforts as we played some really smart tennis. I was just trying to manage my nerves by keeping balls in play and hitting with plenty of topspin. I held my first four service games which was hysterical because my serve is terrible – in fact the lack of pace was going in my favour as my opponents couldn’t seem to handle it and kept ballooning it long.

We failed to serve out the first set from *5-4 and ended up losing it on the tiebreak. We battled hard in the second set and came from a break down to win it. I was really chuffed that we won the set but I then lost my focus/energy in the ensuing champions tiebreak which our opponents won easily. We avoided the tiebreak bagel but lost the match, 6-7(3) 6-4 2-10.

The second match was a heartbreaker – again, we came from a set down and forced a champions tiebreak. We were 5-0 in the second set, playing the best we’ve ever played together and eventually won it, 6-3. We missed three (eeek) match points in the champions tiebreak. At 9-7 up, I served and had a major case of jelly legs. I managed to get the serve in but my opponent fizzled a return right at my feet. I thought it was out but as I processed it, I realised it was plum on the line. I shanked a return wide on the second match point.

We forced another match point and it was sooo close! I managed to hold my ground at the net and get two balls back into court and then one of our opponents hit a short one and David darted in, but it just drifted long. If it had been me, it would have hit the back fence… 😂😂😂

Unfortunately, it was downhill from there as I netted a volley and then miscued a return – we were gutted because we had battled so hard to get back into it but eventually lost, 4-6 6-3 10-12. Reflecting on the match now, I actually feel really positive. We played well, communicated well and most importantly of all, never stopped fighting. My game is pretty ropey in places. My strength though is that I will chase everything down… I am scrappy. There was one point where I was getting dragged out wide on my weaker backhand side but I just kept gritting and eventually got the error. I hope next time we can build on this experience and get the win!

This was my third competitive match for our club and it gives me even more respect for the professionals. It’s good fun and I enjoy dealing with all the emotions. One thing I have taken away from this is that I will never speak bad of a player for failing to serve out a set or a match – I definitely feel the nerves and while the professionals do this for a living, we are all human and we all get nervous. I’m looking forward to building up my stamina and playing more tennis this year, particularly when my club nights come back on Thursday evenings in March/April. Bring it on… 🙂

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7 thoughts on “Sunday’s Set Points, WTA Budapest: Timea Babos wins second WTA title at home

  1. I really enjoyed reading about your own Tennis experiences! Serving out a match has proved very difficult for me recently in doubles – my serve is one of the weakest parts of my game and you have the added pressure of not letting your partner down.

    Infact the last two doubles matches I have played where I was serving for the match, I double faulted on the 1st match point both times (when I hadn’t double faulted previously in either match)! Fortunately I managed to serve both matches out – either by an unintentionally good serve or my opponent missing an easy return. 😛

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    • Thanks, Vithun. Same for me, my serve is the weakest part of my game. I’m glad you managed to serve both matches out! I actually prefer to play singles because I like to run and I hate to let my partner down if I play badly. I can see the benefits of playing doubles though and I think my net game is improving!

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      • James, have you seen the video that always comes up when you watch tennis highlights on Youtube and which claims to improve your serve? It generally starts with a guy serving on his knees.

        Good win from Timea today; she was visibly crying after championship point. It must have taken its toll on her to not have won a single WTA match this year, up until the start of this tournament. Nice hug at the net from Lucie as well.

        Also, good to see Carla back playing again.

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  2. Lucie has become a bit of a choker in singles to be honest. Ive been noticing the BIG moments usually get the best of her. She would have won if Rob was still her coach. Kind of off topic but i think thats a HUGE issue in tennis. Too many players ditch their coach and don’t take enough accountability themselves. Lucie wouldn’t be half the player she is today without Rob, I firmly believe that.

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    • Lucie’s ranking dropped significantly due to the illnesses she had in 2015 and 2016 and with that, confidence dropped a lot, and it doesn’t just come back instantly. I think she’s been improving and getting a lot of matches which is what she needs now. Playing more Internationals has been beneficial and she’s winning more matches, even a couple of tight three setters which eluded her at the back end of 2016.

      I agree that Rob had a huge impact on Lucie’s game, particularly mentally. I was disappointed they split but we don’t really know why so it’s hard to judge. I noticed that last year Rob didn’t seem to be going to any tournaments outside of the US so perhaps he couldn’t commit to travelling? I know he has a young family and I think there was some issue in the middle of the last year (not sure what). Perhaps Lucie opted for a coach that could travel all year round. I do miss their partnership 😦

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