Four second round matches were on the schedule for Tuesday at the Connecticut Open in New Haven. The first match of the day was the last of the first rounders as Carla Suárez Navarro advanced to the second round by retirement while leading the qualifier, Jana Cepelova, 6-4 4-0. The Slovak player was forced to retire with a thigh injury. Suárez Navarro had looked decent through the first set and a half.
Daria Gavrilova scrapped her way to a straight sets win over Timea Babos, 7-5 7-6(6). Gavrilova called it a rollercoaster match in her post-match interview and she was spot on! The Aussie player recovered from 2-5 down in the first set to win five straight games and then, having failed to serve out the match at *5-4 in the second set, saved a quartet of set points in the ensuing tiebreak to win the last six points of the match.
After a positive start, Babos lost her way on serve and began doubting herself up at the net. Gavrilova’s defence and variety were key in the turnaround but she stuttered trying to close out the match. Babos broke back and then saved five break points, most with flashy winners, to hold at 5-5. In a second set tiebreak, Babos began to dictate rallies with aggressive strikes from the baseline.
The Hungarian player looked to have all but forced the decider up at 6-2 in the second set tiebreak – there would be yet another twist in the tale as a tame double fault from Babos on her first set point marked the start of a Gavrilova comeback. It wasn’t all Babos with Gavrilova hitting an ace and a return winner, but her woes at the net remained with a missed volley on match point. Babos was understandably frustrated during this match. Well done to Gavrilova for getting a smile at the end for whatever she said up at the net!
As much as I like Dasha, I feel that she hasn’t progressed a great deal in the past year or two – she still seems to lose concentration and lack confidence in closing out sets and matches – easier said than done! Interestingly, she mentioned the focus in her press conference and that’s what the notes are for. Still, a win is a win and wrapping this up in straights was impressive! Next up is Kirsten Flipkens or Ana Bogdan, which is a good draw on paper for the quarter-finals of a Premier event.
Elise Mertens scored her 13th top 50 win of 2017 with a 6-2 7-5 triumph over Daria Kasatkina. I actually really liked the way Dasha was going after her shots and coming forward, and it was the most aggressive i’ve seen her play in ages. However, it was a shame that a lot of her shots didn’t land in the court (😂) and perhaps it wasn’t the best tactics against a consistently aggressive, Mertens. Even her coach, Vladimir Platenik said she she needed to be more solid in the first set and he’s normally the one telling her to stop being passive!
Mertens though continues to impress and is having a superb year. The 21-year-old Belgian player has got sound groundstrokes off both wings and hit some cracking winners in this match. Onwards and upwards, and next will be Magda Linette or Zhang Shuai in the quarter-finals.
Love this shot of Dasha! 😂
While I was asleep…
Agnieszka Radwanska began the defence of her New Haven title with a 6-3 7-5 victory over Eugenie Bouchard.
In a battle of the seemingly injured, Peng Shuai set up a quarter-final with Radwanska.
Errors aplenty in the New Haven night session!
Qualifying began at the US Open on Tuesday with first round wins for Hsieh Su-Wei, Lucie Hradecka, Kaia Kanepi, Louisa Chirico, Kateryna Bondarenko, Vera Zvonareva, Victoria Duval, Allie Kiick and Polona Hercog.
The stars are arriving in New York – Caroline Wozniacki and Madison Keys were both out on the practice courts on Tuesday.
Sad news – Victoria Azarenka has officially withdrawn from the US Open.
And finally, i’ve been reminiscing about my trip to New York and the US Open last year! You can read all my posts from last year at the link below or by delving into the Tournament Experiences section at the top of the page.
For anyone visiting this year, here’s my comprehensive guide to visiting the US Open covering everything from booking tickets, getting to Flushing Meadows, security, what to take/not to take, a review of the courts, food and drink, and plenty more!