The second part of Tuesday’s Set Points covers the 16 matches from the second quarter of the 2017 Wimbledon draw where Karolina Pliskova and Caroline Wozniacki were in action. For a recap from the first quarter of the draw, which was a mostly safe day for the top seeds including Angelique Kerber and Garbiñe Muguruza, click HERE.
CoCo Vandeweghe ended her 2016 Wimbledon campaign in a disappointing straight sets loss to Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova… beginning on the same court, Vandeweghe avoided the same fate and secured her safe passage into the second round with a 7-5 6-2 victory over Mona Barthel. Vandeweghe’s focus wasn’t always there as she was unable to consolidate breaks of serve on three occasions. However, she served better and was decent up at the net – CoCo won 15 of 21 net points.
Vandeweghe hit a number of hot shots and when she’s on the money, love or loathe her, she’s dynamite on this surface. There were a few keys points at the end of the first set – Barthel had 5-4* 30-30* with Vandeweghe keeping tremendous depth in a point where Barthel looked to be coming out on top. Serving at 5-5 and down break point, Barthel went way longgg to double fault and gift the break to the American.
The champion from the ITF tournament in Southsea last week, Tatjana Maria advanced via a retirement after Anastasia Potapova, who was playing her first ever Slam main draw, slipped during the second set and injured her knee. I was gutted to see this one end so prematurely because it was one of the most entertaining sets i’ve seen in a long time! It was so refreshing to watch with Maria’s slice-and-dice game going up against an aggressive, Potapova.
There was one incredible rally in the first set where Maria sliced and approached the net, and was lobbed by Potapova – this happened twice in the same rally before Potapova won the point with a smash winner. There were so many entertaining points! Maria’s game marries up beautifully with the grass, but it was an unfortunate way to win. Maria was an early break down in the first set and was leading 6-3 2-2 when Potapova retired.
Arina Rodionova won her first ever main draw Slam match, beating Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, 3-6 7-6(6) 9-7 in two hours and 31 minutes. Arina did it the hard way and looked in shock at the end! An amazing moment for Ar. Rodionova, but another missed opportunity in a Slam draw for Pavlyuchenkova.
My favourite match of the day was out on court 14 where Petra Martic outlasted the number 20 seed, Daria Gavrilova, 6-4 2-6 10-8 in two hours and 35 minutes. Every blade of grass was covered in what was a great match packed with stunning rallies. Martic won the first set on an ace and was rewarded for her impressive point construction and net play. Martic lost her way in the second set, winning just 30% of net points, as Gavrilova gained a foothold in the match with some characteristically scrappy play. Martic gave up on the final two points of the set, which was a concern.
Gavrilova had the momentum at the start of the decider and was the more aggressive player with Martic backing off a tad. After an early exchange of breaks, there were 11 consecutive holds of serve. Gavrilova produced some sensational tennis on her serve at *4-4, *5-5 and *6-6, but never quite translated that into Martic’s service games, as she often went for a bit too much with Martic serving intelligently.
At 8-7, Gavrilova clutched her leg on a missed volley. She couldn’t move that well for a time and it definitely seemed to impact her, particularly as her game depends so heavily on movement. The breaking point was a 15-minute, eight deuce game with Gavrilova serving at *8-8. Martic missed four break points, mostly with passive play and not going after the ball. On the fifth break point, Gavrilova served up a double fault. Martic looked shattered at times but remained smart with her tennis, solid in her overheads and most important of all, dominant on serve. The qualifier served out the win to love.
There was a nice hug at the end between the pair. I’m gutted for Dasha, who has suffered first round heartbreakers at the last two Slams. At the same time, i’m thrilled that Martic’s comeback picks up another quality win. Martic looked relieved at the end and will need that Wednesday for recovery after this tough match.
The number three seed and Eastbourne champion, Karolina Pliskova got off to a good start, beating Evgeniya Rodina, 6-1 6-4. Pliskova’s stats were sensational in the first set. The second set was tighter with Pliskova dropping her first service game of the Championships. Pliskova though finished the match comfortably with a service hold to love. Tougher challenges await in the second round…
It was wonderful to see Sloane Stephens back on the court after almost a year out due to a foot injury. The 24-year-old didn’t get the win but did give Alison Riske a test in the second set. Riske controlled many of the rallies and did well to close at the net – Riske won, 6-2 7-5.
Closing with an ace, Daria Kasatkina enjoyed a solid win over Zheng Saisai, 6-2 6-4. I think both players had injury concerns as neither had played any competitive matches on grass, but Zheng Saisai perhaps the more noteworthy with the heavy knee strapping that has been present since Madrid. Dasha looked thrilled at the end.
Next up for Kasatkina is Anett Kontaveit, which should be a good one. The Estonian player was a break down in the second set but continued her excellent grass court season with a 6-2 6-4 win over Lara Arruabarrena. Both Dasha and Anett are 100% on the grass this year so something will have to give on Thursday!
Caroline Wozniacki was given a scare on Centre Court but ultimately prevailed in three sets against Timea Babos, 6-4 4-6 6-1. The Hungarian player levelled up at one set all with arguably her best set of the entire year. Babos served brilliantly and was in control of her game. There was a backhand slice when serving for the second set that was just incredible.
Babos carried the momentum into the third set and led *1-0 *40-0. However, with a bad miss up at the net, it all came crashing down as Wozniacki quickly took control and won 26 of the last 34 points. Babos came into the match on an eight match losing streak and clearly the turnaround in the match showed the lack of confidence that is there. I want to give Timea a hug. Caroline was nice at the net.
In other matches…
Magdalena Rybarikova came from an early break down to record just a second win in six encounters over Monica Niculescu, 6-4 6-1. I was gutted that this match was on court 15 and therefore, not streamed!
In an absolutely brutal encounter, Lesia Tsurenko saved a match point to scrape past Julia Goerges, 6-7(5) 7-6(8) 6-4 in two hours and 48 minutes. I really feel for Goerges who had that tight loss to Madison Brengle in Paris, 13-11 in the decider.
Viktorija Golubic couldn’t convert on a 6-3 *4-0 lead, but came back in the decider to beat Zhang Shuai, 6-3 6-7(2) 6-1. This was a huge win for Golubic who had won just one of her last 10 matches.
Denisa Allertova won her first WTA main draw match of the year. and at Wimbledon of all places. 7-6(5) 2-6 6-3 over Risa Ozaki.
Zarina Diyas beat Han Xinyun, 6-3 6-4 – Diyas has a great chance to make the last 16.
Kristina Mladenovic made swift progress into the second round, beating fellow compatriot, Pauline Parmentier, 6-1 6-3.
The ultimate grass-court GOAT, Tsvetana Pironkova needed just 68 minutes to see off Sara Errani, 6-1 6-4.