There was no post on the blog yesterday as I had tickets for the World Athletics Championships at the Olympic Stadium in London. It was a good night and athletics is a lot of fun to watch live. The atmosphere was super and there was so much going – it was hard to keep up with everything with up to five events going on at one time! We were in the upper tier but still had a decent view, particularly for the men’s triple jump. The 200 metres final was exciting! A few pictures below…
I’ve had two very busy weeks (sleep needed) and rather neglected the blog. Aside from work, i’ve tried to keep my diary clear-ish for Cincy (😂) although i’m away for finals weekend. Next week should be a good one with another stellar line-up (draw details below!). In addition, i’ll be working with a local photographer, Omar Boraby and should have some photos to share with you all.
Back to Toronto and it was a frustrating day all-round with just two of the quarter-finals getting finished. First up was a repeat of the Eastbourne final between the number one and six seeds, Karolina Pliskova and Caroline Wozniacki. Wozniacki scored a brilliant win, outlasting Pliskova, 7-5 6-7(3) 6-4 in two hours and 56 minutes.
Pliskova had started well, dictating the rallies and serving superbly to go up 5-1. In complete contrast, Wozniacki was not serving well at all and leaving her forehand short. The first set was a mess with at least three rain delays. In the end, this seemed to favour Wozniacki who slowly began to find her mojo and eventually reeled off six straight games to steal the opener.
The second set featured the highest level of tennis of the match. There were no breaks with both players saving break points and Wozniacki missing out on a 0-40 opening on Pliskova’s serve at 2-2. The Czech player began to take control of the rallies again and stepped it up in the second set tiebreak to force a decider.
I felt both players looked a little tired in the third set and Pliskova really went away at the end. Wozniacki was back to her grinding best from the baseline, chasing down balls from all over the court and lengthening the rallies, often getting the errors. To be honest, I thought it was mostly passive from Woz, but it got the job done. In particular, Pliskova played a particularly ropey game serving at *4-3 where she was broken to love with error-after-error. Credit to Wozniacki who stuck in it mentally and came through for her first ever win over a world number one.
The second match of the day due for Centre Court was moved to Grandstand – Sloane Stephens saved three match points to edge Lucie Safarova, 6-2 1-6 7-5. I fell asleep midway during the first set and have just watched back the third set this morning. Here’s a mish-mash of thoughts:
I’m revelling in those back-to-back return winners from Lucie to break back in the 3rd set!
The game in which Lucie served for the match at *5-4 was absolutely bonkers! Lucie understandably got a little tight and while playing some solid points, backed off a tad on the big ones and wasn’t really moving her feet. Hats off to Sloane who went for it on the match points. The second save with the backhand winner down-the-line was sensational.
That backhand cross-court return winner from Sloane in the final game was exceptional.
I’m sad about the final game with Lucie ending on a double fault. This was still a good week and in all honesty, I didn’t expect Lucie to make it this far in her first tournament since Wimby.
It was nice to see Lucie’s former coach, Rob Steckley in the crowd!
There were some fab moments in that 3rd set and all the credit to Sloane. To take out Kvitova, Kerber and Safarova in a row in just her third tournament back after a serious foot injury is an incredible effort.
So it will be Wozniacki vs. Stephens in the first of the semi-finals at not before 1pm local time. Wozniacki leads Stephens, 5-1 in their head-to-head. Wozniacki didn’t drop a set through their first five meetings, yet Stephens won their last match at the start of the 2016 season in Auckland, 6-2 7-6(3). I think that Stephens can definitely outhit Wozniacki and her shotmaking has been superb at times this week. I just wonder if all the matches may catch up with her and this is a big match in a first Premier 5 semi-final. Wozniacki’s going to be rock solid from the baseline, that’s a given. I think the chance is there for Sloane if she plays well but mentally, it will be a tough one.
The second semi-final is yet to be determined. Garbiñe Muguruza leads Elina Svitolina by a set, 6-4, while Simona Halep and Caroline Garcia didn’t even get onto court. All four possible semi-finals are good but it’s just hit me that we could get a Halep-Muguruza match for the first time since 2015!
The Cincy draw is out and wow wow WOW. It’s an absolute cracker with some brutal first round matches. I’ll get on it with a preview today/tomorrow. I gasped at Ostapenko-Sharapova R1! Kvitova vs. Kontaveit too!
A few wrap-ups from Thursday – so sad for Naomi Osaka that her third round match against Pliskova had to end this way. I love what she said to Karolina though!
Great shots of Pliskova and Bouchard in doubles action together.
This was a good match point.
And finally, a pair of fun segments with the top eight seeds in Toronto. Love Jo’s impression of Ana in the first video and then Sveta closing the second video! 😂