Another new week of tournaments began on Monday with main draw action in Prague (Czech Republic) and Rabat (Morocco). Starting with Prague, there was a rather noteworthy upset as Camila Giorgi upset the number one seed, Karolina Pliskova, 7-6(6) 6-2. It was Giorgi’s first ever victory over Pliskova having lost their three previous encounters.
It was one of those days where Giorgi’s shots were landing in and she is a treat to watch in this kind of form. Bang… there goes my champ for the week!
The only match from Prague that I caught some action of was the first main draw match of the tournament between Marketa Vondrousova and Carina Witthoeft. The Czech player was unable to win the first set despite making a superb start, quickly going up 4-0 and serving for the set at *5-4. With increasing errors into the net, an at-times wasteful but more consistent, Witthoeft claimed the opener.
I was rather impressed to find later that Vondrousova recovered from the disappointment of losing the first set to win in three sets, 6-7(6) 7-5 6-2. The Czech player recovered from a 1-3 deficit in the second set to turn the match around. I noticed how calm she was in the first set despite her game crumbling somewhat. There were some fantastic drop shots in the first set and she showed some decent movement on the clay… the winner linked below is an absolute cracker!
In other first round matches from Prague…
Oceane Dodin produced the best win of her year so far by ranking, defeating the world #63, Annika Beck, 7-5 6-4.
Wang Qiang scored her first top 100 win on clay, beating Maria Sakkari, 6-1 4-6 6-2 in one hour and 49 minutes.
First round action will conclude in Prague on Tuesday with one of the most intriguing matches of the day out on Court 1 between wild card, Jelena Jankovic and Kristyna Pliskova. JJ is having a pretty dire year and has won back-to-back matches at just one tournament this year, the Australian Open. Kr. Pliskova is enjoying arguably her best year on tour so far but i’d expect a close match since JJ is much better equipped to play her best tennis on this surface. It will depend on whether JJ can hold her nerve.
In Rabat, the first seed to fall was the number four seed, Timea Babos as Francesca Schiavone extended her winning streak to six matches with a surprisingly comfortable 6-4 6-1 victory. It was the eighth time this year in 12 tournaments that Babos has lost her first match at a tournament.
The other two seeds in action both won in straights – the number five seed, Yulia Putintseva edged Andrea Petkovic in straight sets, 6-3 6-4. Once again, full respect to Petko for the sportsmanship with a hi-five and hug at the net.
And the number eight seed, Alison Riske scored a third straight sets win over Alizé Cornet, 6-2 6-4. Cornet produced some resistance in the second set, breaking back a few times with some excellent drop shots.
However, Cornet struggled on serve throughout the match and Riske was a little more proactive, eventually serving out for the win on her fourth match point. Cornet seemed to be feeling her lower back during the second set – she was sidelined for a back injury at the start of the year.
In other first round matches from Rabat…
Twice a break down in the first set, Ekaterina Makarova recovered well to post a comfortable straight sets win over the returning, Yanina Wickmayer, 6-3 6-2.
Sara Errani has now won her first match at seven of eight tournaments in 2017 following a 6-3 6-3 victory over Anna Blinkova. However, she has secured back-to-back wins at just one tournament this year and will look to better that against Riske in the second round.
Varvara Lepchenko snapped a three match losing streak with a 6-3 1-6 6-3 win over Kirsten Flipkens in one hour and 48 minutes.
Timea Bacsinszky will play her first singles match on the WTA tour on Tuesday since Miami after being forced to retire in the fourth round with a worrying wrist injury. Her first match against Johanna Larsson in Rabat won’t be a straightforward one against another player who loves the clay.
Another update on the streaming in the tweet below – what does this actually mean though? The updates are constantly changing and i’m taking each one with a pinch of salt.
I’ve found a few new ways to watch tennis this weekend and it wouldn’t have been possible without readers of the blog! Thanks to mixedcuentos for their suggestion in the comments last week. On Google Chrome, you can install an extension called “SportZone” (simply Google it) and this has a number of tennis streams. While the quality is not great, I really like that you can maximise the screen and the stream doesn’t end immediately once the match is over. I was able to watch the Stuttgart final on a decent sized stream by watching a live YouTube stream (just typed in Siegemund Mladenovic Stuttgart). The quality of the stream was very stable and it worked well!
And finally, in case you missed it, my round-up of the best bits from Stuttgart is up on the blog including a recap of a superb final where Laura Siegemund triumphed over Kristina Mladenovic in a third set tiebreak.