Thursday’s Set Points, WTA Cincinnati: Match points saved, Muguruza beats Keys for the first time

Set PointsThursday was my tennis club night so I missed the first set of Cincy matches. I was a bit of a wreck and had nothing in my legs – it’s been a long week! I won one doubles set with my brother (he did all the work ha) but I lost everything else. Apart from a couple of sweetly timed forehand returns, I was just off. I’m hoping to get my energy back for next week!

Since it was raining cats and dogs with thunder, lightning and the whole caboodle in Cincy, I caught up with the first matches of the day via WTA TV On Demand. On the WTA TV front, i’m loving it and would recommend it to any WTA fan. The streams have been super smooth for me, even more so considering I don’t have the best internet connection. My only gripe right now is that I wish they’d name the players on each court as I have to check the scoreboard to see who is playing where! Not a big deal though.

Simona Halep was the first player into the quarter-finals of the 2017 Western & Southern Open with a third straight sets win of 2017 over Anastasija Sevastova, 6-4 6-3. There’s no sugar coating this match – it was an absolute shocker!

From an early break down Sevastova won four straight games to lead 4-2 in the first set. The Latvian player was throwing in some drop shots and was able to dictate with variety. Halep was flat and passive, and called down her coach, Darren Cahill midway through the set. It was an interesting chat as Darren was quite forceful and told Simona “this is on you” and advised her to drive through on the backhand.

Halep tidied up her game a tad, noticeably getting more aggressive and looking sound on the forehand side. The Romanian player reeled off four games of her own to win the first set, 6-4. It must be said she got a huge helping hand from Sevastova who became mega passive and made some poor errors serving to stay in the set.

Halep was clearly not happy with her performance, and generally very negative in another changeover chat with Cahill midway through the second set. While it wasn’t a great day at the office, Halep still managed to score the win in two and will get an opportunity to keep improving on Friday. Halep has put together a very neat streak of quarter-finals – on Friday, she’ll be going for her sixth semi-final of 2017.

Svetlana Kuznetsova beat Carla Suárez Navarro, 6-2 6-4. It was a sound display from Kuznetsova who did well to win in two with Suárez Navarro showing some signs of fight in the second set.

Kuznetsova was excellent in the first set, winning the battle of the forehands and playing the more aggressive of the pair. Suárez Navarro began to step it up towards the end of the first set. The Spaniard had a very positive hold to lead 3-2 in the second set – however, she couldn’t build on it and rather went into her shell, committing a series of tame errors to get broken at 3-3. Kuznetsova carried the break and served out the match with an excellent service hold to 15.

From a break down in the first set, Caroline Wozniacki won 11 of the last 14 games to beat Ashleigh Barty, 6-4 6-2.

The first spell of rain halted the lone women’s match on the Center Court day session with Garbiñe Muguruza and Madison Keys tied at 2-2 in the third set. On the resumption and in an exciting finish, Muguruza would go onto save three match points to secure a first ever win over Keys, 6-4 3-6 7-6(3). Both players took medical time-outs during this match – Muguruza for a leg injury and Keys for her forearm.

After an early exchange of breaks in the decider, Keys played a lights-out return game to break Muguruza at 5-5, coming up with two fab forehand winners.

Keys had three match points when serving for the match at *6-5 but was unable to find a big serve. At the same time, Muguruza returned very consistently and with great depth too. Into a tiebreak and Keys’s forehand let her down. In fact, all seven of Muguruza’s points were on errors from Keys (both forced and unforced) with Muguruza maintaining excellent depth, rushing the American from the baseline. From 4-3 up, Muguruza won the last three points of the tiebreak to complete the escape.

Muguruza has made at least the quarter-finals in her three tournaments since Wimbledon – a fine effort! The Spaniard’s press conference is linked below from the WTA’s Facebook page. She spoke about the attack in Barcelona and when she found out 😢

 

Johanna Konta defeated Dominika Cibulkova in straight sets, 6-3 6-4. Konta’s forehand held up really well in the opening set.

The remaining three singles matches were cancelled for the day…

The doubles match between Lucie Safarova and Barbora Strycova vs. Casey Dellacqua and Ashleigh Barty was halted – a win will send Lucie to the world number one spot on doubles!

I am absolutely baffled by Friday’s Cincy schedule. My main issue is do they realise that they have Pliskova-Giorgi at not before 1pm and then the winner to play Wozniacki at not before 3.30pm?????????! 

The Cincy draw has held up brilliantly so far and the two quarter-finals we currently know of are both rematches of Wimbledon quarters!

Garbiñe Muguruza will play Svetlana Kuznetsova at 11am local time on Center Court, which is before the three third round matches will be played. I’m guessing they need time to get the outside courts prepared after all the rain? At Wimbledon Muguruza beat Kuznetsova, 6-3 6-4, but the match was closer than the scoreline suggested and Muguruza was absolutely clutch. In fact, Kuznetsova was better in most of the stats. I’m wondering how Muguruza’s leg will be on Friday and with such an early start. I think Muguruza owns this match-up with her consistent power striking, yet if she’s not feeling it then Kuznetsova should sweep up.

 

Simona Halep will play Johanna Konta in the late night match at not before 19:00pm local time. Halep won easily on clay in Fed Cup action earlier this year but otherwise, their three matches on the WTA tour have been very competitive with Konta winning all three. While i’m certain that Halep will raise her level from her third round win over Sevastova, i’d still fancy Konta to take this one.

 

Wishing Vika all the best. This sucks.

A Personal Note

A post shared by Victoria Azarenka (@vichka35) on

 

I’m struggling with the Cincinnati spelling this week – here’s how the stars of the WTA got on with it!

I am still laughing so hard at this! 😂😂😂

Next week is the Connecticut Open in New Haven – Vera Zvonareva is playing qualies on Friday!

The New Haven qualies draw is bonkers.

And finally, a full collection of Omar’s photos from Wednesday in Cincy are up on the MTB Facebook page. We’ll have plenty more photos from Cincy to share from the final three days of the tournament!

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9 thoughts on “Thursday’s Set Points, WTA Cincinnati: Match points saved, Muguruza beats Keys for the first time

  1. I hope Kuznetsova can come up with a better gameplay against Muguruza than their past couple meetings. She needs to be directing to that forehand, keeping the ball deep and using short angles to pull the Spaniard off court.

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    • Sometimes I feel Muguruza draws more confidence from their practice sessions in Spain. It has provided her with a better understanding of Svetlana’s game. I would like Svetlana to come through here as well, but it might require a lot of tact and digging in. Not so sure if Svetlana is up for that.

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      • I feel like Svetlana just let’s her have it too easy. At Wimbledon she was dropping balls short and directing most of her groundstrokes to Muguruzas strongest wing. Someone with Sveta’s weight of shot and variety should know better.

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  2. The rain has certainly been helpful to Makarova giving her a days rest after the long match with Kerber. I still don’t think she will beat Stephens even with a days rest.

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