Wednesday featured the four remaining second round matches from the Connecticut Open in New Haven. First up at 12pm local time was a qualifier-qualifier match-up between Kirsten Flipkens and Ana Bogdan. The Belgian player was seemingly cruising up 6-1 4-2 and with a break point for 5-2 before Bogdan mounted a comeback. Flipkens required the doctor on one of the changeovers. Halting Bogdan’s momentum with increased aggression and charging the net, Flipkens saved four set points at *4-5 and then cruised through the ensuing second set tiebreak to prevail, 6-1 7-6(1).
Zhang Shuai joined Flipkens in the last eight with a three set win over Magda Linette, 6-3 6-7(4) 6-3 – the Chinese player took a mid-match detour from a set and a break up and then recovered from a break down in the decider to win the last four games of her match.
Opening with 12 straight points and holding her first nine service games, Zhang was brilliant for a set and a half. Serving for the match at 6-3 *5-4, Zhang threw in a bit of a shocker and was broken for the first time. It had kind of been coming with Linette getting stuck in on the Zhang service games and beginning to get more involved in the rallies.
Linette built the momentum into the third set and was hitting the ball really well. However, she just seemed to lose focus, dropping serve twice and with her backhand breaking down. Zhang capitalised and upped the aggression, akin to her first set level. Linette saved a pair of match points in the final game and should have made that a trio, tamely ending her plight with a forehand drive volley into the net.
Both took medical time-outs during the match – Linette was bothered by her back in the second set, while Zhang was having her shoulder/arm worked on in the decider. I wonder if this could be an issue going forward for the Chinese player. Zhang plays Elise Mertens in the quarter-finals.
Rare to see both players end with the same number of winners and unforced errors!
In the final match from the day session, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova was leading Carla Suárez Navarro *4-1 in the first set when I went to bed, playing some fine aggressive tennis. The first set became a struggle for Pavs, even saving a set point at *5-6. The Russian player won it on the tiebreak and then powered through the second set to win, 7-6(3) 6-0.
While I was asleep…
Dominika Cibulkova beat Alizé Cornet for the second time in a week, coming back from a set down and then a break down in the decider to win, 2-6 6-2 6-4.
The quarter-final line-up for New Haven on Thursday is linked below. I’d go for Radwanska, Gavrilova, Mertens and Pavs to reach the semi-finals – the Pavs/Cibulkova match is close to 50-50 for me!
First round action in US Open qualifying continued on Wednesday with wins for Ipek Soylu, Francoise Abanda, Patty Schnyder, Antonia Lottner, Danka Kovinic, Nicole Gibbs, Claire Liu, Cagla Buyukakcay and Naomi Broady.
Really enjoyed the interview with Ash Barty on the latest edition of The Body Serve Podcast – she’s awesome!
And finally, a look at who could be occupying the world number one spot after the US Open. Unsurprisingly, it’s wide open with eight players in the mix.
Please note that i’ll be busy for the next two days (work sob) and will be back at the weekend for US Open previews.