It’s a busy weekend of tennis with the finals for Prague and Rabat set and the main draw of Madrid starting on Saturday. Firstly in Prague, Saturday’s all-unseeded final will be contested between Mona Barthel and Kristyna Pliskova.
Barthel has won seven (!) matches, coming through qualifying and even saving three match points in her second round qualifying match against Jasmine Paolini. Barthel secured the best win of her year so far and a first top 20 win since Stanford 2015, beating the highest seed remaining, Barbora Strycova, in the semi-finals, 3-6 6-2 6-3.
Kristyna Pliskova has had a few slices of luck come her way this week as she received a walkover in the second round and was the fresher in the semi-finals with Jelena Ostapenko having had to finish her quarter-final earlier on Friday. Still, an excellent and unexpected run for Kr. Pliskova on clay! For the third straight year, the crowd will have a home player to cheer on.
Here’s one point from Thursday’s match between Barthel and Camila Giorgi worth sharing!
In Rabat, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova will play Francesca Schiavone in Saturday’s final. Pavs is building a nice run of form, winning her ninth consecutive match on the WTA tour with a pretty comprehensive 6-4 6-0 win over Sara Errani in the semi-finals. Schiavone is also on a nine match winning streak with a hard fought 7-5 6-4 victory over Varvara Lepchenko in the second semi-final.
Pavlyuchenkova leads the head-to-head, 4-3, but Schiavone won their only previous clay encounter at the French Open in 2011, 1-6 7-5 7-5. It’s a match I remember fondly because it had bucket loads of drama! Pavs had been rolling before Schiavone came roaring back into contention. The Russian player mounted a late comeback but it wasn’t quite enough. One player will head into Madrid having won two consecutive titles on the WTA tour…
Never leave us, Fran.
Tiebreak Tens took place on Thursday night with Simona Halep and Grigor Dimitrov crowned the champs. There were some nice moments up at the net!
A sweeping main draw preview for Madrid is up on the blog including mini-previews for eight of the most tantalising first round matches.
Agnieszka Radwanska is out of both Madrid and Rome, citing a foot injury. Something feels odd about this announcement since Radwanska was part of Tiebreak Tens on Thursday. I wonder if something is going on behind the scenes. Anyway, hope all is good with Aga and she’ll be back for the French Open.
The doubles draw for Madrid is also out.
I’m really enjoying The Body Serve Podcast this year. This week’s episode included a recap of Stuttgart from René Denfeld who was on site at the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix.
Player announcements are coming thick and fast for Eastbourne. Caroline Wozniacki and Svetlana Kuznetsova have joined the original quartet of Johanna Konta, Karolina Pliskova, Dominika Cibulkova and Agnieszka Radwanska. There are few Centre Court tickets left for the latter stages of the tournament so get in quick if you are planning to attend!
The full list for the Aegon Open in Nottingham is now up including Johanna Konta, Lucie Safarova, Naomi Osaka and Ashleigh Barty.
And finally, I didn’t get tickets for Wimbledon in my club’s ballot on Thursday 😞. Therefore, my last chance will be Ticketmaster to try and get Court 3 tickets the day before play… queuing and camping is not for me!