Wednesday’s Set Points, WTA New Haven: Zhang and Flipkens advance to the quarter-finals

Set PointsWednesday 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.

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12 thoughts on “Wednesday’s Set Points, WTA New Haven: Zhang and Flipkens advance to the quarter-finals

  1. James, love your account of Pavs’ match, she was leading 4-1 before I went to bed haha!! Looks like it should have been a routine set but Pavs is Pavs ^^

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  2. Patty Schnyder in the USO Qualies above, said driving to the tennis site was surreal. What!!–Driving in New York City —–INSANE!!!!

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  3. Just been watching the extended highlights of Aga Radwanska vs. Genie Bouchard. Genie seemed to raise her game once she was match point down; from then on, Aga really had a fight on her hands to win it.

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  4. I still think the seeds should be expanded from 32 to 64. There are too many very good players outside the top 32 that wind up as floaters in the draw (Bellis, CSN, Safarova, Kasatkina, Barty, Mertens, Cornet, etc.). There is no good reason for top stars to knock out other top stars in the first round. The strong depth of the field and the money and points in the Grand Slams means that the 32 seed draw is obsolete.

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      • I didn’t see the match but I gather from reports that Elise was somewhat below par whereas Domi was much more like her old self and deserved to win. It should be a great final this evening between Domi and Daria (who did well to beat an Aga who looks like she’s coming back into form). It’s Domi’s first final of the season.

        Someone said a while back that Domi’s playing style resembles a boxer in the ring. I’ve noticed another example of that recently; the way she dances sideways up to the net now after she’s just won a match.

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    • Maria’s playing Simona in the first round, a player she’s always beaten in the past (much to Simona’s dismay). It may be different this time but I wouldn’t bet on that happening.

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