I was travelling for the first few hours of play on the third day of action at Roland Garros and got back just in time for the end of the first match on Philippe Chatrier Court between the number seven seed, Johanna Konta and Hsieh Su-Wei. In a surprise result, it was Hsieh who came from a set down to win, 1-6 7-6(2) 6-4.
At the end the British commentator on Eurosport, Simon Reed, digged at Hsieh not having much of a singles career which I strongly disagreed with as Hsieh has been a top 30 player and has two WTA titles to her name. However, I was surprised to look up that this was her first ever top ten win – her previous best was against the then number 23 in the world, Varvara Lepchenko in Dubai in 2013.
As the match wore on, Konta became entangled in the web of Hsieh’s trickery. Hsieh did a good job at moving Konta side-to-side and the Brit struggled to get on top of the rallies towards the end of the third set. In what would be the final game, Konta missed a drop shot (hit the top of the net and bounced back on her side) which felt like a panic shot.
Konta had never won a match at Roland Garros but i’d still register this as a pretty sizeable upset as Hsieh had not beaten a top 100 player this year.
Madison Keys snapped a four match losing streak and won her first match since Miami with a superb win over Ashleigh Barty, 6-3 6-2. I was super impressed by Keys, particularly with her movement and footwork, and she looked very comfortable on the clay. Barty targeted the Keys backhand but it held up well in the second set. Keys never allowed Barty into contention – the American didn’t face a break point during the 61 minute contest.
Keys spoke about the wrist and what confidence means to her in an interview with Tennis Channel in the US.
Next up for Keys is Petra Martic who is on the comeback – the Croatian player won a $25K ITF on her return from injury in April and after successfully coming through qualifying at Roland Garros last week, won her first Slam main draw match since Wimbledon 2013. Martic beat Kateryna Bondarenko, 6-2 7-5 on Tuesday.
Talking of comebacks, Alison Van Uytvanck is another player who has come through qualifying and won her first round match. The Belgian player had ankle and wrist surgery in 2016 (via her official website) but looked great in a 6-3 7-5 win over Naomi Osaka. The Belgian player served well and kept Osaka back with superb depth. Osaka was surprisingly petulant with multiple racquet throws. Despite battling well in the second set, Osaka was never really able to get her serve or backhand going.
This was Van Uytvanck’s first WTA main draw win of 2017 and her first Slam main draw win since Roland Garros 2015 when she reached the quarter-finals. It was a fun match, which attracted a good crowd with support for both players, slightly more for Van Uytvanck.
Marketa Vondrousova continues to impress – the Czech player has dropped just eight games through four matches and never looked in danger during a routine 6-1 6-0 win over French wildcard, Amandine Hesse. There was nothing too flashy about Vondrousova but she rallied well, showed great patience, and all too often finished with a winner or forced the error from Hesse.
Next up for Vondrousova will be a fascinating second rounder against Daria Kasatkina who won her first match since Charleston. The Russian player had been a doubt for Roland Garros after badly injuring her ankle in Rome. While she was pretty defensive at times, the movement looked OK and Kasatkina looked thrilled, with a mixture of surprise and relief, to get the win at the end, 7-5 6-4 over an erratic, Yanina Wickmayer.
Simona Halep and Eugenie Bouchard, two more players who came into Roland Garros with dodgy ankles, got off to good starts. Bouchard came from a set down to beat Risa Ozaki, 2-6 6-3 6-2.
Halep played a decent match, fighting through an intense patch in the middle of the second set and seeing off Jana Cepelova, 6-2 6-3. Cepelova has some wonderful strokes but lacked patience. While slightly more competitive in the second set, a series of wild errors were her undoing at the end. Movement-wise, I thought Halep looked OK. She was fine coming forward and a little tentative, understandably, side-to-side. Next up for Halep in the second round will be Tatjana Maria.
An update on Halep and Kasatkina’s ankle injuries via WTA Insider on Twitter.
In her first match since Stuttgart, Agnieszka Radwanska produced an encouraging display to beat the French wildcard, Fiona Ferro, 6-1 6-1.
In other notable matches…
Alizé Cornet took the scenic route against Timea Babos – she failed to serve out the match in the second set at *5-3 and missed a match point at 5-4*, but came back to win in three, 6-2 6-7(5) 6-2 in two hours and 35 minutes.
Elina Svitolina, Carla Suárez Navarro, Caroline Garcia, Anastasija Sevastova and Barbora Strycova all posted straight set wins to move into the second round.
Taylor Townsend won her fourth main draw match at Roland Garros, beating the qualifier, Miyu Kato, 6-4 6-0. Townsend hasn’t managed a main draw win at any of the other three Majors.
The French wildcard, Chloe Pacquet, scored the best win of her career over Kristyna Pliskova, 6-7(4) 6-2 6-2. Kr. Pliskova had actually been in good form during the clay court season.
In the baffling result of the day, Tsvetana Pironkova defeated Mona Barthel, 6-0 6-4. Pironkova had lost her last seven matches, while Barthel had managed 12 wins in a row through Prague and Rome. One of the classic WTA scorelines that you just cannot see coming from a mile off!
A few catch-ups from day 2 – really enjoyed this piece on Francesca Schiavone by René Denfeld.
A couple of nice nuggets in Reem Abulleil’s post from yesterday including a cute Dasha squared story.
Looking ahead to the start of second round action on Wednesday, one of the most intriguing matches will see Kristina Mladenovic take on Sara Errani. Kiki discussed her back issues in press yesterday.
Kiki or Sara, who you got? When I wrote my post yesterday I was convinced Mladenovic wasn’t going to be in any state to face Errani. Now i’m kind of coming round to Mladenovic. The Frenchwoman dominates Errani, 3-1 in their head-to-head and all those wins all came when Errani was the higher ranked player. Anyway, i’m fascinated to see how it will all unfold on Wednesday…
My match of the day is second up on Philippe Chatrier Court between Garbiñe Muguruza and Anett Kontaveit… i’m torn. I’ve stuck with Anett in my predictions but Garbiñe looked good in the first round! Also, sending happy thoughts for Petra!
A preview for the fourth match up on Court 1 between Svetlana Kuznetsova and Oceane Dodin is up on the blog.
I’m back to work tomorrow… it’s been a fun weekend with family and then today just chilling out with the tennis. A lot of the matches I want to watch tomorrow are early, which is a shame. On a plus note, it’s really not long now until Eastbourne and Wimbledon when i’ll be in tennis bliss 🙂