Friday’s order of play on Stadium 1 kicked off with an all-Brit battle between the number 11 seed, Johanna Konta and Heather Watson. It wasn’t all plain sailing for Konta as she came from an early break down in the first set and needed two bites of the cherry when serving out the match. Konta won, 6-4 6-4. There was no handshake from the umpire, who I think was feeling under the weather!
Konta talked about her foot injury in press that she has been dealing with since Fed Cup action.
In her first match in nearly a month, Daria Gavrilova produced a sound display with a mix of slices, spins and exceptional defence to overcome Yanina Wickmayer, 6-2 7-6(5). Gavrilova played a superb first set, producing multiple hot shot winners. Wickmayer improved on serve in the second set – In a tense tiebreak, Wickmayer looked to have levelled up proceedings at 6-6 with an ace. Gavrilova challenged and Hawkeye showed Wickmayer’s serve to be out… the Belgian player followed it up with a double fault.
Elina Svitolina survived a brutal match lasting two hours and 38 minutes against a spirited, Wang Qiang, 3-6 6-3 7-6(3). While Svitolina was below-par for much of the match, unable to take advantage of numerous leads, she showed some characteristically gutsy defence. Wang came up with some brilliant, decisive tennis at times, but Svitolina kept more balls in play when it counted in the third set tiebreak.
Svitolina is a terrific fighter on court and her ability to get through matches like these is impressive. She was clearly struggling physically but found a way. As i’ve written many a time this year, she’ll need to improve in the next round when she plays Daria Gavrilova.
In a head-to-head that had bamboozled Timea Bacsinszky in the past, the Swiss player seems to have finally found the measure of Monica Niculescu as she recorded her third consecutive win over the Romanian player. Bacsinszky was mostly patient and found her backhand in the crucial moments, coming away with a 7-5 6-2 victory. It was much more challenging than the scoreline suggested with the match lasting one hour and 47 minutes.
A nice moment from Timea after the match…
| had everything crossed for a Bacsinszky-Bencic third round as this is a match i’ve wanted to see for soooo long! Sadly it was not be as Kiki Bertens dropped just four games against birthday girl, Belinda Bencic. Credit to Bertens who won her first match on tour since Hobart.
Happy Birthday, Belinda!
While I was watching Bacsinszky-Niculescu, the 17-year-old, Kayla Day scored the biggest win of her career so far, fighting back from 3-5 down in the final set to dispatch the number 32 seed, Mirjana Lucic-Baroni, 6-4 5-7 7-5.
While I was asleep…
Karolina Pliskova escaped a tricky second rounder against Monica Puig, coming from a set down and digging out a 0-3 hole in the third set to win, 1-6 6-4 6-4. A big, big win for Karolina.
Dominika Cibulkova also needed three sets to get past Jelena Ostapenko in a match that contained 21 (!) breaks of serve. Cibulkova through, 6-4 3-6 6-3.
Wow scoreline of the evening – Kristyna Pliskova recorded a second consecutive 6-0 6-3 scoreline of the tournament, thrashing Daria Kasatkina. I’m a little worried for Dasha after what had been such an encouraging start to the year. Great win though for Kr. Plisk.
Barbora Strycova sealed just a third career win in ten meetings against Sara Errani. It was a struggle though with Strycova needing three sets and two hours and 36 minutes to book her place in the third round, 6-4 5-7 6-2.
Saturday’s line-up of matches looks super – polls below for three of the best matches. I was hoping to get a preview out for Venus-JJ but just ran out of time. I’m hoping to do a bit more this weekend but the time difference and watching matches on a tiny screen is not going well this week 😂
My anger for the WTA continues to grow with still no information on the streaming. I have no idea what’s going on with their Twitter pages this year – we all makes mistakes but it’s just error-after-error.
And here’s the schedule for Saturday which i’m looking forward to – i’m looking forward to seeing Madison for the first time in 2017!