Kicking off day 2 of main draw action at the 2017 BNP Paribas Open was Lucie Safarova up against Lara Arruabarrena. I’ve missed so many of Lucie’s matches this year – the schedule was kind on this occasion and it was the perfect time for me to watch!
Safarova got off to a winning start at Indian Wells with a 6-3 6-2 victory. Safarova won six of the seven games that went to deuce and won the crucial seventh game in the first set that featured eight (!) deuces. Safarova missed two returns on break points (admittedly good serves by Arruabarrena) but got a second serve on the third and took it. Safarova was mostly clutch in the second set, saving five break points and getting a whole host of chances on Arruabarrena’s leaky serve with just 42% first serves in for the Spaniard.
Safarova failed to serve out the match at *5-1, but broke for the win on her third match point. The one down note for Safarova is something that always eludes her – the conversion rate on break points! Safarova was six out of 17 on break points. I’ll take the positive out of this though in that she managed to break six times. The return has been the weakest aspect of Safarova’s game since her comeback from the bacterial infection/rheumatic fever. Overall, a solid display and the forehand looked potent.
Lucie gets CoCo in the second round… I wonder who Tennis Twitter will be cheering for? 🤔😂
It was a good day all round for Lucie as she paired up Bethanie Mattek-Sands in the doubles to win their first round match against Christina McHale and Monica Niculescu, 6-3 3-6 10-7.
And lovee this! Lucie is always great with her fans.
From a break down in the first set, Julia Goerges won 12 of the last 15 games to beat the returning, Ajla Tomljanovic in straight sets, 7-5 6-2. Tomljanovic, who was sporting heavy strapping on her shoulder, struggled on serve in the game at 5-5 in the first set with the instability creeping into the rest of her game. At this stage of her comeback, coming through the match unscathed is as good as a win, considering she was out for 13 months. There were some promising comments from Ajla in press too…
Goerges will play Sam Stosur in the second round – the German player has won four of their five encounters but the last four matches between the pair have all gone to three sets.
Jelena Jankovic needed three sets to see off Irina Falconi,6-2 3-6 6-3. One of the talking points from the match was a JJ monologue and then some in between the second and third sets when she had A LOT of things on her mind including comparing herself to a dead dog 😂. Thanks to Lucy Sophia on Twitter for sharing.
JJ did address her changeover rant in press and said she’d apologise to her coach, Guillermo Cañas!
It wasn’t pretty but Jankovic got the win at the end of the day. Falconi has all the shots but she rarely seems to find the right one at the right time.
A heads up now for two throughly absorbing matches – firstly, Katerina Siniakova beat the qualifier, Mona Barthel, 4-6 6-4 6-4 in two hours and 24 minutes. The first set was break-happy with six breaks of serve to start the match. Barthel looked a little subdued, perhaps because of the heat, but was in control of her game, and more so than Siniakova. Barthel had a great hold at 4-4 with a gorgeous angled groundstroke winner and then Siniakova played a tense final game, losing the set on a point I can’t even describe other than an absolute shocker!
Barthel was mostly solid through the final two sets but became increasingly passive as Siniakova really went after her shots, albeit with mixed success. The Czech player was eventually rewarded for her boldness and positivity, coming through for just her second win since winning a maiden title in Shenzhen in the first week of 2017.
Shelby Rogers held on for a tight two set win over fellow compatriot, Jennifer Brady, 6-4 7-6(4). I really enjoyed the last few games which featured some good quality tennis. An inside-out forehand winner from Rogers midway through the second set tiebreak was pivotal and I was generally impressed with Rogers’s mentality throughout the match – she didn’t panic when she lost her lead midway through the second set and was able to close out the match in straights.
Andrea Petkovic advanced to the second round with a retirement win over Vania King, who was reportedly struggling with an ankle injury. This was a nice moment.
Petkovic will play good friend, Angelique Kerber in the second round. This quote had me howling this morning 😂😂😂
While I was sleeping…
Another match, another win – Lauren Davis continued her excellent recent form by toughing out a tight three setter against Viktorija Golubic, 6-4 4-6 7-5.
67… Annika Beck hit a 67mph second serve ace and was aided by 67(!) unforced errors by her opponent, Eugenie Bouchard to win, 3-6 6-2 6-2.
The OMG scoreline of the day saw Sara Sorribes Tormo defeat Ekaterina Makarova, 6-4 6-2. In hindsight, this makes sense since Makarova struggles so much with the likes of Madison Brengle and players who do not generate much pace and mix up the play effectively.
In one of the most intriguing first rounders, Peng Shuai saw off the Acapulco champion, Lesia Tsurenko, 6-2 2-6 7-5. It was much closer than their most recent match-up where Peng just dropped two games in Dubai.
Here’s a very interesting article by Dominika Cibulkova about dealing with the pressure she has faced at the start of 2017 – big respect for her honesty!
Cibulkova will play Jelena Ostapenko in her first match of the tournament on Friday.
I’m also intrigued by Karolina Pliskova’s first match of the tournament against Monica Puig. Pliskova has all won three of their previous matches in straight sets but I think this could be a close one as I like Puig on this court. I’m going for Puig to get her first set against Pliskova but not brave enough to call an upset. Ka. Plisk in three. Who you got?
Here is a full preview is up for the second round match between Timea Bacsinszky and Monica Niculescu.
And finally, the full schedule for Friday’s order of play… it’s nearly the weekend! 😀