After watching Riske finally see off Cornet in two tight sets (Set Points part one for Sunday HERE), I headed over to Court 3 to see Timea Bacsinszky and Svetlana Kuznetsova in doubles action together against Andreja Klepac and Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez. Since Lucie’s not here, i’m all in on watching Timea and I had a feeling this was going to be fun – it was one of the rare occasions where I predicted something right 😂.
On the very first point, a serve from the MJMS-Klepac team (can’t remember who) went flying outside of the court and took off someone’s hat! Timea shouted out to the poor woman to see if she was OK which thankfully she was. After the first game, I thought Bacsinszky and Kuznetsova were very sharp and working well together – I remember they had a lovely embrace after their singles match in Cincy last year and they played doubles in Wuhan last year.
Timea seemed to be having a ball with Sveta!
There were some amusing moments in this match, most notably when a pair of seagulls came on the court. Timea and Sveta started chasing after them! Timea was then looking up at every seagull and shooing them away – from her reaction, one seemed to produce a deposit near her!
Timea also managed to hit Sveta in the back of the head when serving. It was a mighty strike and Timea looked mortified as she ran forward to check Sveta was OK. The Swiss player then shook her head when she got back to the baseline – Sveta is a tough cookie! They also argued quite a few calls with Timea dropping her racquet at one point in disbelief. After one call, Sveta shouted out a sarcastic “thank you” that made me laugh.
Doubles wise, there were some great points on show with Klepac and MJMS rallying from a break down to win in the second set with some quality play. The Swiss-Russian pair raised their game in the Champion’s tiebreak by tempting MJMS into a pair of errors at the net and playing strong themselves. It was lovely to see the pair embrace at the end and look so thrilled with the win. There was a nice handshake too.
I was chuffed Timea shared some of my photos and she sent me a message on Twitter – highlight of the day and week so far!
The wind was typically brutal in Eastbourne so I took an hour out in the media centre to warm up and process some photos. I then headed back out for fun and games on Centre Court where Mirjana Lucic-Baroni and Monica Niculescu were into a third set. Note that Niculescu hadn’t won a match since Indian Wells and had led 6-4 4-1 in the second set before Lucic-Baroni mounted a comeback.
Lucic-Baroni blew hot and cold in the decider – she started well, then fell back a bit, and then seemed to be racing for the finish line as she looked to finally have control of her groundstrokes. Leading 5-3* 40-30*, Lucic-Baroni even chalked up a match point. The Croatian player missed it and then rather fell away with a few shocking misses and a couple that barely missed the line. Niculescu kept things steady and broke to love at the end with Lucic-Baroni, who was sporting streams of strapping all over her shoulder, clutching her leg at the end and clearly hindered in her movement.
Niculescu took one almighty detour but won, 6-4 5-7 7-5. The Romanian player was beaming at the end and she was really sweet in her post-match interview. The guy interviewing her remarked on her forehand slice being a tricky weapon and she responded “thank you” which made me chuckle. It was the way she said thank you!
Barthel advanced via retirement, leading 6-4 1-0, with Konjuh bothered by what seemed like a back injury, which she took a medical time-out for. The atmosphere was pretty mute but it was nice to watch with some Tennis Twitter friends. I was really struck by how awesome Konjuh’s groundstrokes are up close. Barthel was playing some good stuff and gets Kuznetsova in the second round. All the best to Ana and hopefully this was just precautionary.
And that concluded what was another great day in Eastbourne. It was windy and cold, but I love this place so much and am already building a lot of great memories from this 2017 edition of the tournament.