Thursday was a long day of tennis with a big upset and one horrendous moment, which i’ll get to later in the post. There were three women’s matches up first – Svetlana Kuznetsova and CoCo Vandeweghe both looked in great form as they booked their places in the third round with straight set wins.
Svetlana Kuznetsova played a blinding first set, before saving a set point in a tight second set to record a 7th win over Ekaterina Makarova, 6-0 7-5. Despite playing lights out tennis in the first set, I still expected this to go three sets! Makarova was serving at 90% first serves in during the first set but won only seven points on serve as Kuznetsova was lethal on return. She moved Makarova from side-to-side and arrowed down-the-line winners for fun.
Makarova improved significantly in the second set, particularly on serve. The 29-year-old even managed a smile when the crowd erupted after she won her first game of the match. Kuznetsova lost her break and Makarova even chalked up a set point leading 5-4* 40-30* – it didn’t go to plan with a drop shot into the net. Kuznetsova held and then romped home, winning 10 of the last 11 points and serving out to 15 with two aces.
Someone was having fun during Kuznetsova-Makarova!
CoCo Vandeweghe is one to watch this week – against a tricky opponent in Tatjana Maria, who was on a five match winning streak, the American showed better focus compared to her first round match and handled Maria’s chip-and-charge game brilliantly to post a 6-4 6-2 victory.
Vandeweghe was seeded to meet Kristina Mladenovic in the third round – instead, it will be Alison Riske who awaits after the American pulled off the upset from a set and a break down, 2-6 6-4 6-4. The pair were unhappy with the court surface on Court 18 at the start and after both slipped, Mladenovic was quite forceful in saying that she wasn’t happy to play. After discussions with the WTA supervisor, Mladenovic continued and settled down, playing a fine set with her first serve and backhand slice particularly potent.
Mladenovic earnt the first break of the second set, but seemed to lose focus as Riske, who competed magnificently well, came back to force a decider. Mladenovic threw in a poor game serving at 3-3 and Riske rode with it, holding her nerve in the final game with a high volley and overhead winner to secure a fantastic victory. This is the third time that Riske has reached the third round of Wimbledon, but the first time since 2014. Mladenovic had another fall in the decider and seemed to be bothered by her leg.
Saving two match points, Agnieszka Radwanska survived a two hour and 42 minute marathon with Christina McHale to win, 5-7 7-6(7) 6-3. The American held two match points in the second set tiebreak – a series of careful volleys helped Radwanska save the first, while McHale drove a backhand into the net on the second. It was the backhand that let the American down in the decider as a gritty Radwanska came to back win in three, forcing the error on her own match point with a drop shot off the return.
Radwanska has spoken in press about dealing with a virus during the grass court season and while she’s not playing anywhere close to the level she is capable of, this is still a fine effort to have reached the third round.
Next up for Radwanska is Timea Bacsinszky who has played two sensational matches – after a three set win over Monica Puig in the first round, Bacsinszky dropped just one game in a 6-1 6-0, 48-minute (!) win over Kristina Kucova. Timea’s stats have been incredible!
Four days in and the two pre-tournament favourites, Petra Kvitova and Karolina Pliskova are both out of the tournament. On Thursday, Rybarikova produced a sensational performance, rallying from a set and a break down to beat Pliskova and post the second top five win of her career, 3-6 7-5 6-2.
Rybarikova showed some wonderful touches in the first set but Pliskova’s serve got her through, most notably winning 90% of second serve points. The Czech player sealed the one and only break with a deep forehand return. Rybarikova recovered from an early break down in the second set and then stayed in front on serve. Serving to stay in the set, Pliskova produced a pair of shockers – a drive volley miss and an errant overhead where she didn’t move her feet. Another error long and a nervous-looking Pliskova rather gifted the set away.
The final set saw Rybarikova continue to produce stunning grass court tennis and Pliskova not on her game, losing out on a handful of tight games. The Czech player made a lot of uncharacteristic errors and dropped serve in her last three service games. This loss means that Pliskova is still yet to make it past the second round of Wimbledon. Rybarikova was obviously a big threat but I am shocked that she pulled off the upset.
All the credit to Magda – I can’t stress enough how gorgeous her game is to watch!
And here is point of the tournament so far.
The third quarter has been blown wide open with Pliskova’s loss. We now know that Rybarikova, Lesia Tsurenko, Petra Martic or Zarina Diyas will be a Wimbledon quarter-finalist. Three of those players on the comeback in 2017 so there’s going to be some wonderful storylines in the next few days.
The world number one, Angelique Kerber beat Kirsten Flipkens, 7-5 7-5 in a super entertaining match, which dazzled the highly engaged No.1 Court crowd. Some of the shotmaking in this match was stunning. The embrace that Angie and Kirsten shared at the end was everything. Again, not the most convincing match from Kerber, but the one thing that strikes me is that she seems to really be enjoying her tennis this week. In my opinion, that’s big.
Over on Court 16, there was an absolutely horrendous moment as Bethanie Mattek-Sands was forced to retire from her second round match against Sorana Cirstea due to a very serious knee injury. I’m not going to share the video that was going around on Twitter because it is very distressing to watch. The knee went with Beth moving forward to the net. Beth was screaming for help and clearly in a tremendous amount of pain. Cirstea immediately tended to the American and there’s a moment where she suddenly realises this is a very bad injury.
I felt sick for a long time and I can’t stop thinking about it. I am wishing Beth all the best in her recovery. Beth’s injury clearly had an impact on the players with many of them tweeting their best wishes on social media.
This was just lovely from Lucie.
Sorana spoke in press about the situation.
Barely an hour after Beth’s injury and being courtside in the aftermath, Lucie took to the court to play her second round match against Shelby Rogers. After edging a tense and tight first set tiebreak with two superb points, Rogers came back to win the final two sets and win, 6-7(4) 6-4 6-3. The pair both looked emotional at the end and shared a long embrace. Well done to Shelby for her first ever third round showing at Wimbledon. Hugs to Lucie, today was just a brutal day.
Quietly moving through the draw and looking like a real contender from this top half, Garbiñe Muguruza beat Yanina Wickmayer, 6-2 6-4. Muguruza escaped a *0-40 deficit serving at *4-4 before breaking for the win.
A blockbuster third round match between Caroline Wozniacki and Anett Kontaveit is all set after both won their second round matches in straight sets – Wozniacki beat the darkness to take out a mummified, Tsvetana Pironkova, 6-3 6-4 in a match that featured some sensational rallies. Kontaveit delivered a brutal display of hitting to beat the number 29 seed, Daria Kasatkina, 6-3 6-2.
In other matches…
Polona Hercog is into the third round of a Slam for the first time since the 2010 French Open with a come-from-behind win over Varvara Lepchenko, 6-7(2) 6-2 6-2. This is yet another super comeback story as Hercog spent an extended time on the sidelines between last year’s US Open and this year’s French Open where she won her first round qualifying match.
Petra Martic backed up her 10-8 third set victory over Daria Gavrilova in the first round with a much more straightforward win – 6-1 6-4 over Denisa Allertova.
Lesia Tsurenko edged a tight three setter with Viktorija Golubic, 6-1 2-6 6-3. Golubic won a magnificent point to get back to deuce with Tsurenko leading *4-3 in the decider, but the Ukrainian player held serve, thanks to a stunning backhand winner at deuce. Tsurenko broke to love for the win.
Zarina Diyas came from 1-5 down in the second set, saving three set points, before sealing a straight sets win over Arina Rodionova, 6-4 7-6(4).
ICYMI: A pair of posts from my day at Wimbledon on Wednesday are up. The joy from the Team Bucie’s first round win in doubles feels odd now after such a terrible day. There’s lots of photos up so enjoy!
For a full album of photos from Wednesday, check out the Moo’s Tennis Blog Facebook page.
The order of play is up for Friday’s schedule and I am mega disappointed. Azarenka-Watson is up first on Centre, followed by two men’s matches. The WTA matches have been awesome this week and I was hoping the schedulers would give the nod for two women’s matches on Centre. Venus Williams vs. Naomi Osaka was the obvious contender for Centre considering Venus has played both her matches this week on No.1 Court. Furthermore, many of the women’s matches are likely to be at the same time tomorrow so I am disappointed.
Still, it’s an exciting line-up for Friday and I am hoping it will be slightly more chilled than Thursday. A trio of snap previews are up on the blog.
And finally, wishing all the best to Daniela Hantuchova who announced her retirement from the WTA tour today.