Thursday was another busy, busy day at the 2017 Aegon International in Eastbourne. It started with one of my few sightings of Jelena Ostapenko as I followed her into the grounds! There were seven matches up at 10:30am on the schedule with only one WTA match – therefore, it was Agnieszka Radwanska vs. Lauren Davis for me. The match resumed with Davis up *5-4 and preparing to serve out the first set (see photos from the start of the match on Wednesday HERE).
Following on from the first set on Wednesday, Davis kept attacking and coming forward. Radwanska broke back immediately though with a couple of passing shot winners. The first set went into the tiebreak where Davis stormed it, seven points to one. The American hit a bundle of winners and passed Radwanska at the net with ease. It was a shocker from the world number ten who lost the set on what looked like a relatively routine overhead into the net.
Davis continued to play aggressively and dictate the majority of points. Continuing on from her most recent singles match against Alizé Cornet, at Roland Garros, I felt that many of her ventures into the net were not convincing. Radwanska was rather lacklustre and never looked like making a comeback in the second set. Davis sealed the win, 7-6(1) 6-1.
The highlight of the match though… I couldn’t help but chuckle. Last year someone in Eastbourne was calling Svetlana, Svety!
I’m sad to see Aga struggling this year and particularly on her favoured surface of grass. Note that she was forced to pull out of ‘s-Hertogenbosch and Birmingham – I think it was due to illness?
This was a second round match so Davis advanced to the third round where she went out in straight sets to Barbora Strycova. The American also played in doubles with Alison Riske and lost out in straight sets to Chan Yung-Jan and Martina Hingis. Lauren played three matches but it could have been five if she had won her singles and doubles!
After Davis-Radwanska, I had a wander and went up to Court 1. As I wrote yesterday, my favourite vantage point is behind the court. It wasn’t so busy at this moment, perhaps because Novak Djokovic was playing on Centre Court, so I managed to get a few shots of Caroline Wozniacki and Elena Vesnina. I saw Wozniacki win the first two games… she went onto win ten more in a 6-1 6-2 victory in just 63 minutes. I heard Caro played very well!
I watched sections of the first set between Karolina Pliskova and Peng Shuai on Court 3. The Chinese player made a great start by going up 3-0 – Pliskova missed four break points in the first game and then was broken on her fourth break point in the second set. The way that she can get out of trouble on her serve is so impressive. Pliskova questioned a line call in the second set (“it was thisss far out!”)when she left a ball she presumed would be called out. On this note, I have seen so many instances of players arguing line calls on the outside courts, this year and also last year.
I returned to the match when Pliskova was serving for the first set at *5-4. Surprisingly, Peng broke back with a down-the-line winner and Pliskova going into the net on break point. Peng was returning well and competing superbly. The set went into the tiebreak which was pretty even until a lucky net cord went Pliskova’s way in the middle of the tiebreak at 4-3. From there, she ran away with it thanks to a deep return and a decent serve. Pliskova came from a break down in the second set to edge it in two tight sets, 7-6(3) 6-4. Another clutch win for Karolina!
Then it was over to Court 2 for the end of the first set and start of the second set of Svetlana Kuznetsova vs. Kristina Mladenovic. I was surprised how quiet the grounds were and I had no problem getting a good view. Perhaps, because Djokovic was on at the time and Wozniacki-Vesnina had a decent crowd too. Mladenovic had her opportunities but couldn’t take them with Kuznetsova rolling along quite nicely. Mladenovic netted a drop shot down set point. Mladenovic secured the early break in the second set but just as I left, she lost it again! In the end, Kuznetsova won in three sets, 6-4 2-6 6-3 for her first ever win over Mladenovic.
In other third round matches…
Angelique Kerber dropped just three games against Lara Arruabarrena, 6-2 6-1.
Simona Halep survived a marathon against Tsvetana Pironkova, missing seven set points in the first set but prevailing in three sets, 6-7(6) 7-6(4) 7-5 and two hours and 40 minutes.
I’ll cover the Brits in my next post…