Before I dive into action on day 2 of the Rogers Cup in Toronto, a heads up for a new guest post on the blog! Many thanks to Ben who has written a great post about his week at the Bank of the West Classic in Stanford with plenty of insight into the tournament where Madison Keys beat CoCo Vandeweghe in Sunday’s final.
These are my favourite posts to write/share! If anyone is attending a tennis tournament and would like to share their experiences on the blog then please do get in touch on Twitter, Facebook or via e-mail at MooTennisBlog@gmail.com. For a collection of all guest posts to date including experiences from Melbourne, Paris, New York, Miami and Stuttgart, click HERE.
I’ve been making the most of the summer (although you wouldn’t have guessed it by the recent weather) and been playing lots of tennis. I was at my club’s Tuesday session tonight, which was eventful as I got to play two singles sets. Firstly, I played this guy who was so much better than me that it was actually embarrassing. He was even going easy on me and still won, 6-1! I actually played OK and I do find it’s a case that I raise my level to the opponent, even if it’s nowhere near good enough! I couldn’t read his serve and all of his shots were on the line and with such depth and power.
Then I went straight into a singles set with my brother. You may remember me writing about playing him and losing every time. This time little bro (that’s me, by the way 😂) won, 6-1! My brother said at the end that he just couldn’t control the ball and keep it into court. The conditions were damp – while the ball was skidding through, the balls were heavy. My backhand slice was working well and I just kept getting balls back. I managed to come up with three or four lobs that were plum on the line! I was tight in the final game but managed to serve it out to 30. It was a rare moment and I will cherish it forever 😂.
And finally, now onto day 2 of the Rogers Cup. The first result of the day came after just 14 minutes of play as Oceane Dodin retired down 0-5 to Ashleigh Barty. Hope everything is OK with Oceane!
Turning the tables from a 1-6 1-6 loss in Mallorca, CiCi Bellis came from a set down to defeat the Washington finalist, Julia Goerges, 4-6 6-3 6-2. Bellis gets Svetlana Kuznetsova in the second round – should be a good one!
I was very pleased to see Donna Vekic continue to impress as she defeated home favourite, Eugenie Bouchard, 6-3 6-4, in the second match on Centre Court. Next up is the former world number one, Angelique Kerber in Wednesday’s night session.
Magdalena Rybarikova won the last 12 games (!) of her first round match to beat Mirjana Lucic-Baroni, 7-5 6-0. Lucic-Baroni is having a bit of a mare right now – she was 5-1 up in the first set against Rybarikova. Furthermore, she missed match points in her last two matches on tour against Monica Niculescu (in Eastbourne) and Carina Witthoeft (in Wimbledon), unable to convert on a 5-0 third set lead in the latter.
Ekaterina Makarova keeps rolling. In a battle of recent WTA champions and five match winning streaks, the Russian player rather cruised past Peng Shuai, 6-1 6-3. Peng held serve just twice during the 72 minute contest.
Caroline Garcia booked her place in the second round – while she failed to serve out the match at 6-2 *5-3, the Frenchwoman came back to edge a tight deciding set against Sorana Cirstea, 6-2 6-7(4) 6-4.
In a match that i’d tagged as an upset alert (well done, me 😂), the number 16 seed, Elena Vesnina enjoyed a relatively comfortable win over Alison Riske, 6-3 6-3. Vesnina was on the WTA Insider podcast yesterday – really looking forward to listening to it this morning!
I was back in time for the third match on Centre Court featuring the number 10 seed, Agnieszka Radwanska up against the Stanford finalist, CoCo Vandeweghe. While Vandeweghe wasn’t really at the races, Radwanska produced an encouraging display, finishing with 13 winners to 6 unforced errors in a 6-3 6-2 victory.
Radwanska served very well (opened the match with an ace!) while at the same time, Vandeweghe could have returned better. From midway through the first set, Vandeweghe lost her way mentally and Radwanska was surprisingly solid compared to many of her performances this year. A good sign for Aga going forward.
Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova maintained her 100% record over Alizé Cornet with a thumping, 6-0 6-1 victory. Of course, I tuned in at 6-0 4-0 when Pavs lost her one and only game!
Three second round matches were played on Tuesday with Elina Svitolina vs. Daria Kasatkina first up in the night session on Grandstand. I watched the first set before bedtime – it wasn’t exactly a pretty watch, but intriguing nonetheless. Svitolina won, 7-6(4) 6-4, winning the last six games of the match!
I thought Kasatkina was the better player in the first set, as did her coach Vladimir Platenik (please be my life coach). The Russian player was more positive with Svitolina sitting back more and overforcing a tad from the back of the court when trying to be aggressive. Svitolina twice failed to serve out the set but battled so well (as always) and eventually took the set in the tiebreak with Kasatkina committing a string of unforced errors.
For Kasatkina, she has played so little since Rome and assuming she’s healthy, I think she just needs more matches. I think it will take her some time to build momentum on tour again. Svitolina wasn’t all that impressive but she often takes her time to feel her way into a tournament. I remember in Dubai when she played some shockers early on but improved with each match and was sensational by the end where she triumphed as the champion. She’ll likely need to raise her level in a big way though with Venus Williams or Katerina Siniakova up next in the 3rd round.
Loved this jumping backhand winner from Dasha!
On a side note, I am really enjoying Jill Craybas in the commentary booth for WTA TV this week. She makes a great partnership with Pete Odgers.
While I was sleeping…
Timea Babos snapped a nine match losing streak stretching back to April to beat the Canadian wildcard, Bianca Andreescu, 6-4 6-1.
Caroline Wozniacki won her first match in Toronto (!!!), defeating Ekaterina Alexandrova, 6-3 6-0.
In a gruelling battle lasting two hours and 51 minutes. Barbora Strycova recovered from a 4-6 1-4 deficit to beat Daria Gavrilova, 4-6 7-6(5) 6-3 in the late night match on Grandstand.
Wednesday will see the remaining 13 second round matches and it’s set to be a cracking day! A trio of polls for my top three matches of the day.
For some great pictures from Toronto, check out Max’s Twitter page below.
And finally, so happy to see Belinda back on the court again! 🙂