Wednesday’s Set Points, WTA Nottingham, Rosmalen: Kontaveit rallies again, Lottner’s best win

Set PointsWednesday was a pretty quiet singles day in Nottingham with the first four second round matches of the tournament all decided in straight sets. While all unseeded, Ashleigh Barty, Tsvetana Pironkova and Donna Vekic have all had excellent results on the grass so it’s no surprise to see them starting off strongly in Nottingham. Kristie Ahn’s 6-3 6-1 win over Magda Linette was more of a surprise – backing up her rout of Naomi Osaka in the first round, the American qualifier has now trebled her number of WTA main draw wins and is into a first ever WTA-level quarter-final.

Thursday’s schedule of second round matches in Nottingham will begin with Johanna Konta taking on Yanina Wickmayer. The Belgian player won their last encounter on the grass courts of Birmingham last year. The pair are also teaming up in doubles this week and won their first match of the week against Chang Chia-Jung and Renata Voracova.

Lucie Safarova will also be in action and plays Hsieh Su-Wei. I thought this would be a tough match-up on paper for Lucie but she’s never dropped a set to Hsieh in three previous matches. Still a dangerous opponent, particularly after Hsieh’s good run in Paris. I’m also excited by a match-up between grass court GOATs, Alison Riske and Magdalena Rybarikova. Since her return to the tour following wrist and knee surgeries, Rybarikova has won 28 out of 32 matches!

Over in ‘s-Hertogenbosch, it was ninth time lucky for Antonia Lottner as she won her first ever WTA main draw match… and she did it with the best win of her career against the world number six, Dominika Cibulkova, 7-5 2-6 6-4. I was impressed with Lottner’s ball striking in the first set and she held her nerve, particularly after a brief delay in the game at *4-5 due to a spectator being taken ill in the crowd. Lottner saved a set point and then went onto the win the opening set.

I’m concerned for Cibulkova who continues to look uninspiring in 2017. The Slovak player is still missing that spark – this is the kind of match where I would have expected her experience and grittiness to triumph. Cibulkova’s position in the top ten will soon come under jeopardy as she defends her Eastbourne title and quarter-finals at Wimbledon.

Anett Kontaveit came from a set down for the second time this week to beat a struggling-with-injury, Kirsten Flipkens, 3-6 6-1 6-2. Flipkens took a medical time-out at the end of the second set.

Kontaveit was challenged in her first two service games of the third set but remained persistent – finding increasing rhythm on her groundstrokes and success behind the first serve, Kontaveit won her 32nd match of the year. This is well and truly Kontaveit’s breakthrough year and halfway through 2017, she’s already won 13 more matches than 2016! Another stat via Tennis Abstract – Kontaveit has won nine of her last ten matches that have gone three sets.

In other matches from ‘s-Hertogenbosch…

Lesia Tsurenko is the first seed through to the quarter-finals in Rosmalen after a 6-2 6-3 win over Petra Krejsova.

Carina Witthoeft had a good win over Camila Giorgi, 7-6(5) 6-3.

Natalia Vikhlyantseva is into her second WTA quarter-final of the year after beating Andrea Petkovic, 6-3 5-7 6-2.

Kristina Mladenovic and Ana Konjuh will play their second round matches on Thursday. There’s also two all unseeded match-ups with Andrea Hlavackova vs. Arantxa Rus and Antonia Lottner vs. Evgeniya Rodina – big chances for all four involved!

The withdrawals for Birmingham sadly keep coming thick and fast – Karolina Pliskova is out with an elbow injury. There are also articles citing that Simona Halep will not play either.

And finally, Victoria Azarenka is preparing for her return in Mallorca… exciting times!

Note – There will be no post on Thursday as weather’s looking good so my tennis club night will likely be a late one! 🎾🌞

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11 thoughts on “Wednesday’s Set Points, WTA Nottingham, Rosmalen: Kontaveit rallies again, Lottner’s best win

  1. Lottner looks like an exciting new talent; I hadn’t heard of her before but she played really well today.

    About Domi Cibulkova; it’s odd how with the exception of Sveta, all the players who made the final stages of ther WTA finals last year (Aga, Angie and Domi herself, who won it) have so far failed to shine in this season (apart from Sydney, where Aga made the final).

    Could it be a motivational issue for all of them? I remember Domi smashing her racket, which she’s not in the habit of doing, out of frustration after losing to Garbine in the early rounds of Miami last year; she was in the doldrums, badly wanted to get out of them and wasn’t able to (until Madrid). My guess is that having achieved her goal last year, she’s finding it hard to motivate herself again to find new ones to aim for.


    • Lottner is like a Yoyo, she can win or lose on any given day. You can’t predict her performance based on this match. Basically, Cibulkova is not good on grass.


      • Then how did Domi win Eastbourne last year, and win an epic quarter-final against Aga last year, if she isn’t any good on grass? It may not be hoer preferred surface but she’s more than competent on it normally.


      • Cibulkova proved last year she can play on grass. She’s always been a dangerous player for the top seeds and thrived in the underdog role but now that she is one of the top seeds and being challenged by lower ranked players most of the time, she hasn’t looked comfortable IMO. I remember how you could never count her out in matches. She seems to have lost some confidence this year.


      • Cibulkova’s slump this year was so predictable that I’d have bet my life on it.
        You have to be SO mentally sound to get by playing back-against-the-wall tennis. I think only Sharapova has done it at such a high level for a long period of time.


      • Yes, Cibulkova is suffering a bit of a letdown from her past years achievements. I think we shouldn’t forget that prior to 2016, she tended to excel in the first half of the season, the second half was always so-so.
        In 2015, she underwent the leg surgery and was sidelined for a while. She came back well rested and was also making up for lost time, getting her body used to the grind again. So 2016 was her full comeback season, plus getting married mid-season.
        Aside from her wrist injury earlier, I hope she can reset herself and her goals.


      • If you look at Cibulkova’s stats from 2011 to 2017, her grass court results were not that great. She only played well on hard court. I won’t use one match to judge a player because she had won at Eastbourne last year. WTA players tend to peak at certain times then go underwater. Frankly speaking, her overall performance in 2016 was an outlier from statistics standpoints. However, I do agree that she doesn’t have much motivation this year.


    • I agree with Frank about Lottner. A few years back, I lumped her in with Siniakova, Bencic, Ana Konjuh, Ostapenko, and Taylor Townsend as some of the upcoming girls to watch. She’s been quite inconsistent along with Townsend. Let’s see if Ostapenko’s win can inspire the lot to greater play.


      • I have been following this girl two years ago. Sometimes, she played like a top player but suddenly lost to a lower ranked player for no reasons in the next round. For example, Dayana Yastremska, Anah Konjuh, etc are in the same category. Kontaveit and Ostapenko used to be in this category but they have improved a lot this year.


  2. Even James dares not provide predictions for Nottingham and Den Bosch. If he does, it will a big mess-up. We can’t predict who will actually turn out to play a proper tennis match. Even Safarova has to play three sets in the first round. OMG!


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