The 2017 Stuttgart main draw finally got underway on Tuesday with Barbora Strycova the first winner of the tournament. In a surprisingly efficient display and dropping just nine points (!) behind her serve, Strycova defeated lucky loser, Jennifer Brady, 6-2 6-2. Next up for the Czech player will be Simona Halep on Wednesday.
Anastasija Sevastova turned the tables on Sam Stosur from a recent loss in Doha to reach the second round with a 6-1 4-6 6-3 victory.
Twitter was heaping praise on the third match of the day on Centre Court between Svetlana Kuznetsova and Kiki Bertens… it looked great from the highlights! Kuznetsova won in three sets, 6-3 5-7 6-3, but some encouraging signs from Bertens after a disapointing start to the year.
Over on court 1, my favourite match-up of the day saw Anett Kontaveit win her 22nd (!) match of the year with a 7-6(5) 6-4 victory over Ana Konjuh. I got to watch the first few games during my lunch break where there was some potent hitting from both. Kontaveit is having a superb year, even more so since she was injured at the very start of the year. Confidence is booming right now for the Estonian player and i’m pleased to see her thriving because i’ve always felt her game has top 30 potential.
In the night session, Laura Siegemund and Ekaterina Makarova both recorded straight set wins to move into the second round. I got back for the last singles match of the day where Makarova beat the number seven seed, Agnieszka Radwanska, 6-2 6-4. The first set was pretty drab but things picked up in the second set and it was a quality set.
Makarova didn’t have to do anything special in the opener, gobbling up short balls from a mostly lacklustre and flat, Radwanska. The Polish player had the trainer on midway through the first set and took some medication. Radwanska was definitely more energised in the second set, hitting with more pace and playing a handful of superb points.
There were some wonderful down-the-line winners and on the whole, despite missing some opportunities to close the match sooner than she did, Makarova played a fine match. The Russian player produced two magnificent points at *4-3 *40-40 to hold and then dug out of a *0-40 hole with some superb serving to serve out the match. Makarova’s form has been wildly inconsistent this year by her high standards but she was surprisingly clutch to win this in straights. I was sensing that Radwanska might sneak back and win the second set.
I decided to play tennis instead of watching Siegemund-Zhang… it was a good decision and one that i’ll probably start doing more until the WTA pull their finger out and sort the streaming. I started with a mixed doubles mini set which was one of the most enjoyable sets I can remember playing. My partner and I had lost a lot of times recently together but we always have a laugh!
In this particular set, which was only first to four games, there was one game with about ten deuces and then in a nervy tiebreak at 3-3 (I hit two double faults!) we eventually won it somehow, 13 points to 11. It was a great feeling to win it as some of the points had been wild! I feel like i’m finding my rhythm again and I was really solid today with lots of balls back in play. I’m starting to hit the ball with a bit more conviction other than just pushing it back. It was a bit chilly tonight and we got lucky with the rain passing through quickly, but I am loving playing again regularly!
A few pointers from the International tournament in Istanbul – the first match of the main draw on Monday saw a first ever WTA win for Dayana Yastremska. You may remember Yastremska reached the Girls final at Wimbledon last year, losing out to Anastasia Potapova. Big respect to Andrea Petkovic who suffered a tough loss here but remained exceptionally classy at the end.
In another surprising result in terms of ranking, Basak Eraydin (#257) beat Tsvetana Pironkova in straight sets on Tuesday. Eraydin didn’t even realise that she had won at the end!
And Eugenie Bouchard continues to struggle… Jana Cepelova advanced into the second round with a 6-0 6-4 (!) victory.
Wednesday’s order of play in Stuttgart is a stunner including Maria Sharapova’s return as she takes on Roberta Vinci in the first round. I’m fascinated to see how it all goes down… who you got?
The new WTA website was unveiled today and what can I say… not impressed. I don’t see how, unless there are further edits, that this can be deemed an upgrade with seemingly no filters and less options on the player pages. I have no idea what the WTA are doing this year but it’s been an absolute mess. I’ll continue to use Tennis Abstract for stats…
Tiebreak Tens, a tennis exhibition where only tiebreaks are played, is coming to Madrid and shockingly, viewers in UK will be able to watch it! It will be well worth a follow with Muguruza, Sharapova, Halep, Konta, Radwanska, Keys and Puig all confirmed to play.
While it was already on her schedule, Muguruza’s attendance at the Aegon Classic in Birmingham has now been officially confirmed.
And finally, loved these updates from Serena on Instagram.