Monday’s Set Points #2, Wimbledon 2017 Day 1: Kvitova wins on Centre, Azarenka battles back

Set PointsFor a recap of everything that happened in the third quarter of the Wimbledon draw, check out part one of Monday’s Set Points HERE. This post covers the fourth quarter of the draw for part two of Set Points where Simona Halep, Johanna Konta and Petra Kvitova all began their 2017 Wimbledon campaigns. I just spent the whole day watching tennis – I loved it but I didn’t know just watching could be so tiring!

Second up on No.2 Court, Simona Halep began her Wimbledon campaign with a 6-4 6-1 victory over Marina Erakovic. I was in and out of the match but the general impression I got was that Halep was not happy with her performance. The stats weren’t very favourable, even more so since the Wimbledon statisticians are normally quite positive! Halep hit 19 winners to 24 unforced errors, while Erakovic made 7 winners to 31 unforced errors. A win is a win though and Halep advances to the second round.

Halep will play Beatriz Haddad Maia in the second round – the Brazilian player rather eased past Laura Robson, 6-4 6-2. Haddad Maia’s serve was a big factor with 75% first serves in and dropping just nine points behind it. I’m sad for Laura, who has won just one of her last six matches.

In their most recent encounter, Johanna Konta lost to Hsieh Su-Wei when they played in the first round of Roland Garros. One month on and playing her first match since that terrifying-looking fall in Eastbourne, Konta made smooth progress into the second round of Wimbledon with a 6-2 6-2 victory. Konta kept things tidy and served well to progress in just 64 minutes.

Petra Kvitova opened her campaign with a hard fought, 6-3 6-4 win over Johanna Larsson. I thought it was a lovely touch to see Petra get to open on Centre Court and I loved watching her walk out with a smile.

After a slow start on serve, Kvitova soon relaxed and played a pretty decent match. There were a trio of hot shots from the Czech player – a forehand return winner to break at 4-3* in the first set, an incredible stretch volley (see below) and a running-to-the-baseline-and-then-spin-around forehand winner. Go Petra! 😍😍😍

BBC Sport did an interview with Petra in her Wimby home for the tournament, which ran before her match.

The two TBA matches, Victoria Azarenka vs. CiCi Bellis and Carla Suárez Navarro vs. Eugenie Bouchard got onto No.1 Court and No.2 Court respectively. Recovering from a slow start, an increasingly aggressive, Azarenka took control of her first round match to beat Bellis, 3-6 6-2 6-1. Azarenka’s willingness to come forward is a pleasure to watch and was key in this match – she won 19 of 28 points up at the net. Azarenka also went from winning 20% of second serve points in the first set to 80% (!) in the second set as her first serve percentage increased. That figure came way down in the second set but Azarenka was in charge of the majority of the rallies.

A word for Bellis who I thought was superb in the first set and played some wonderful points. Her movement is great and I liked how she used the slice, which always went back very deep, to help get her back into the point when forced out wide. She anticipated so well and won most of the long games in the first set. This flipped around in the second and third sets, but i’m still super impressed by what she has already achieved in 2017. I’m kind of sad that the pair had meet in the first round. It was still a good match and probably my favourite of the day in terms of the quality of tennis on show.

In a trio of breadsticks, Suárez Navarro beat Bouchard, 1-6 6-1 6-1! Bouchard was in complete control in the first set, dictating the rallies with depth and the Spaniard limited to retrieving. This completely turned on its head in the final two sets. Suárez Navarro was playing some BEAUTIFUL tennis at the end and hitting one-handed backhand winners with such precision and ease. It was glorious to watch.

Konta was joined in the second round by fellow Brit, Heather Watson who overcame a late wobble to see off Maryna Zanevska, 6-1 7-6(5). Watson had missed out on three match points serving at *5-4 but got the job done in the second set tiebreak, serving two aces in a row at *4-5 before getting the error from Zanevska on match point.

Watson became passive at the end, but her serve got her out of trouble. There was a nice embrace at the end. Is it me or does Zanevska look a little like Safarova?! It suddenly hit me haha

In other matches…

The Nottingham champion, Donna Vekic beat the ‘s-Hertogenbosch finalist, Natalia Vikhlyantseva, 6-7(6) 6-4 6-1. I think that there was a medical time-out for Vikhlyantseva towards the end of the first set.

Maria Sakkari beat Katerina Siniakova in straight sets, 6-3 6-4 – Siniakova has won just one of her last six matches on tour.

Kristyna Pliskova caused the “upset” over the number 31 seed, Roberta Vinci, 7-6(6) 6-2 – it was Kr. Pliskova’s third win over Vinci in 2017.

Caroline Garcia dropped just two games in a 6-1 6-1 (!) win over Jana Cepelova.

Ana Bogdan beat Duan Ying-Ying, 6-4 6-2 – a surprise for me as Duan had looked impressive in Eastbourne.

Madison Brengle remains a tricky player to get past on any surface as Richel Hogenkamp found out today – Brengle won, 6-3 6-3.

Last year’s semi-finalist, Elena Vesnina needed three sets to get past the 18-year-old, Anna Blinkova, 6-4 5-7 6-2.

Anastasija Sevastova saved three set points in the second set to beat Yulia Putintseva, 6-1 7-6(3).

In a classic WTA scoreline, Peng Shuai beat Marketa Vondrousova, 6-7(5) 6-0 6-4. Peng came from an early break down in the third set.

An update on Marion Bartoli – great to see her happy and healthy.

From last week, loveddd the episode on the No Challenges Remaining podcast with umpire, Felix Torralba. My favourite episode the year so far.

Catching up with the Aegon International – loved these pictures from the Eastbourne final by Luke Mayes on Twitter.

And finally, all 18 posts from my week in Eastbourne can be found at the link below or HERE.

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7 thoughts on “Monday’s Set Points #2, Wimbledon 2017 Day 1: Kvitova wins on Centre, Azarenka battles back

  1. Bellis played very well in the beginning but kudos to Azarenka for fighting and taking it in 3. I am not a fan of Azarenka but she was very good at finding a solution to win.

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    • Hit the nail on the head there, Bryan. I’ve always though Azarenka is one of the best at being able to adapt and change her gameplan if things are not working.

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  2. I enjoyed the Bellis vs AZarenka match even if my favorite, Bellis, didn’t win. A ton of good shot making from both players. Watch out for Azarenka for the rest of The Big W.

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  3. Caroline Garcia was INSANE in her match against Cepelova! Her serving was just extraordinary and she hit almost 30 winners in just 50mins! One of those matches where you reallt felt sorry for the other player who was trying desperately to hang in…

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