One more week to go at work until my holiday and two and a half weeks off… nearly there! My focus will switch solely to Eastbourne from Friday when i’ll be heading down to the South coast for the week.
The main draw for the Aegon Classic in Birmingham began on Monday with four first round matches. First up was Naomi Osaka vs. Lauren Davis – snapping a five match losing streak and winning her first ever WTA main draw match on grass, Osaka squeaked through in a third set tiebreak, 6-1 2-6 7-6(4).
I watched a few games in my lunch break and Osaka was obviously in control but missing a lot of shots with Davis doing plenty to make life difficult. The American served for the match at *5-4 and was two points from the win – two double faults didn’t help her cause including one down break point. Into a third set tiebreak and I loved Osaka’s on-the-run forehand crosscourt winner at 3-2 (1:56 in the video below) which helped her on the way to a vital win.
Next up for Osaka will be Dominika Cibulkova or Lucie Safarova… should be a good one either way!
Last year’s finalist, Barbora Strycova had a comfortable win over Yulia Putintseva, 6-3 6-3, saving all three break points she faced. The post-match interview was a good one!
Elina Svitolina and Heather Watson shared their third consecutive three set match with Svitolina prevailing, 6-2 5-7 6-3. I watched the final set and was mostly impressed with Svitolina’s quality and experience coming through. Watson had a few lapses, while Svitolina kept things solid without becoming passive. Svitolina couldn’t find her first serve for toffee in the final game but launched down some decent second serves. Watson tried to be aggressive but missed too many key returns. A good start for Svitolina in her first match back since the French Open quarter-final against Simona Halep.
Naomi Broady enjoyed her best win of the year, defeating Alizé Cornet, 7-6(3) 6-0. Broady came from 0-3 down in the first set and played a fine first set tiebreak. After a nasty slip in the second set, Cornet’s interest seem to wane as she argued for the match to be halted at 7pm local time. The commentators mentioned that Cornet said she had requested for the match to be played earlier in the schedule.
Qualifying was completed with Marketa Vondrousova, Camila Giorgi, Hsieh Su-Wei and Elizaveta Kulichkova all advancing to the main draw. Vondrousova had a notable win against Tereza Smitkova, who had served for the match in the second set. Vondrousova won, 4-6 7-5 6-3.
There were some interesting doubles matches on Monday with the new pairing of Garbiñe Muguruza and Dominika Cibulkova winning their first rounder together. They will play Ash Barty and Casey Dellacqua in the second round!
Tuesday’s line-up is very inviting with 12 singles matches up on the schedule. Safarova-Cibulkova will be good, also liking Vondrousova-Barty!
Over in Mallorca, there were first round wins for Anastasija Sevastova and Kristyna Pliskova. Both players went the distance with Sevastova beating Elise Mertens, 7-6(2) 5-7 6-1 and Kr. Pliskova overcoming Timea Babos, 6-2 3-6 6-3. This was Babos’s seventh consecutive loss on tour.
Pavlyuchenkova-Sorribes Tormo was halted in the third set for bad light. Tuesday’s line-up is a cracker with the return of Victoria Azarenka and Sabine Lisicki, as well as fun match-ups such as Jankovic-Garcia, Schiavone-Bouchard, Suárez Navarro-Bellis, Vinci-Kontaveit and Konjuh-Jabeur.
And finally, a nice shot from the players party in Mallorca!