This post features three snap previews for the third day of main draw action at the 2017 Wimbledon Championships when the bottom half of the women’s draw will contest the second round. I’m thrilled to say that my brother (somehow!) managed to get a pair of tickets for Court 3 so i’ll be at Wimbledon on Wednesday and have more photos to share with you all. For recaps of action on day 1 – Set Points #1 covers matches and results from the third quarter and Set Points #2 covers everything from the fourth quarter.
1. Barbora Strycova vs. Naomi Osaka
My match of the day on day 3 features the number 22 seed, Barbora Strycova up against the always dangerous and powerful, Naomi Osaka. Both players won their first round matches in straight sets. Strycova beat the in-form, Veronica Cepede Royg, 6-3 6-3. I was impressed with how Strycova stayed in the match mentally. After breaking in a six-deuce game on Cepede Royg’s serve to lead 3-1 at the start of the second set, Strycova was the more effective player on serve and decisive at the net.
Osaka needed a second set tiebreak to get past Sara Sorribes Tormo in a 6-3 7-6(3) first round victory. It was Osaka’s first ever main draw win at Wimbledon. The Japanese player was unable to serve out the match in a wild game at *6-5. Osaka had actually celebrated the win on one of the three match points she had in that game! It must be a horrible feeling to have had the release of joy and then realise it’s not over, but Osaka refocused and got the job done in the tiebreak.
In their only previous meeting, Strycova defeated Osaka, 7-5 6-2 in Tokyo in 2015. Osaka lost five straight matches between Stuttgart and Birmingham, but has picked up a win in each of Birmingham and Eastbourne, the latter, a superb display to beat her fellow compatriot, Risa Ozaki in the first round. Osaka seems to be finding her feet on the grass.
Strycova has a great game for this surface and is a former quarter-finalist at Wimbledon. She still scares me at times as she can wander at times mentally – you just never know what mood Bara is going to be in! All in all, i’d take Strycova’s ability to absorb pace, willingness to come forward and experience on grass as the key factors. Osaka has the power but she’ll have to play a super consistent match to knock out the Czech player.
2. Madison Keys vs. Camila Giorgi
Helmets at the ready! Two of the heaviest hitters on tour, Madison Keys and Camila Giorgi, will meet for the fourth time on Wednesday for a place in the third round of Wimbledon. Keys played her first match since Roland Garros and more importantly, since minor wrist surgery. The American faced a race against time to be fit for Wimbledon but she’s here and into the second round after a 6-4 6-2 victory over Nao Hibino. Keys played a measured match and capitalised on a lapse service game from Hibino at 4-4 in the first set. Keys’s first serve percentage was down at 42% in the second set – when she did get the first serve in, she was a perfect eight out of eight.
Giorgi lost the first five games of her opening round match against Alizé Cornet but managed to come back and win in three long sets, 5-7 6-4 6-4. It took a while for the Italian to find her game but with her aggressive game style and coming forward to the net, Giorgi found a way through. Giorgi has a 32-16 W-L record on grass and her game marries up well with the green stuff.
Keys leads Giorgi, 2-1 in their head-to-head. The pair last played in Linz at the end of 2016 where Keys won in straight sets, 6-3 6-4. It’s a tricky one to call because both have huge games that can go on and off in a flash. Giorgi has had more time on the grass during the past few weeks, while i’m sensing Keys is in a good place mentally, now officially playing pain free. Both like the grass and both know each other’s games having played several times. Not much to call between them but the edge for me is with Keys, who I think has the more effective serve.
3. Johanna Konta vs. Donna Vekic
In a repeat of the Nottingham final, the number six seed, Johanna Konta will play Donna Vekic. The Croatian player won her 2nd WTA title with a fearless display of hitting in that final, 2-6 7-6(3) 7-5. Vekic was down a set in her first round match at Wimbledon but recovered in three to defeat the ‘s-Hertogenbosch finalist, Natalia Vikhlyantseva, 6-7(6) 6-4 6-1 in a match that was not streamed.
Konta arrived at Wimbledon with a little uncertainty after a horrendous fall during her quarter-final win over Angelique Kerber in Eastbourne. It was a magnificent day for the Brit who beat the French Open champion and world number one all in one day. She was forced to withdraw from the tournament before her semi-final match due to the thoracic spine injury from the fall. Konta was cagey in press afterwards, yet thankfully her recovery has been smooth. Konta looked solid in her opener against Hsieh Su-Wei, winning 6-2 6-2.
For the second straight match, Konta plays against someone who has beaten her in the last two months. Vekic has a big game, well suited to the grass. After Nottingham, Konta went onto play Birmingham and Eastbourne, and improved with each tournament, playing a total of ten matches on the grass before Wimbledon. Konta will be fully aware of the threat that Vekic poses, but i’d fancy the Brit to be at a higher level than in Nottingham and to hold her nerve in the pressure moments.