Tuesday was a busy day in Wuhan with 15 second round matches on the schedule. The first match of the day on Centre Court featured Agnieszka Radwanska and Julia Goerges – this was my 5:30am wake-up call! Goerges had prevailed in their most recent match in Cincy, yet it was Radwanska turned the tables for a solid 7-5 7-5 win.
It was a decent match with Goerges gobbling up anything short and Radwanska more than holding her own with depth and precision. In the end, Radwanska benefitted from more first serves in (59% to 44%) and Goerges’s errors. Two poor games serving at *5-6, particularly in the first set, were the German player’s undoing.
This was a good result and performance from Radwanska against an in-form opponent on a quick surface. Next up will be a first time match-up against Ash Barty in the third round. For Radwanska, she’ll be bidding to win three matches at the same tournament for just the third time in 2017. Aga-Ash is a bit a toss-up for me and could be a very nice watch – I quite like players with variety going up against Aga. Ash has consistently delivered through much of the year so i’d give her more than a fair shot at the upset. Who you got?
The WTA go OTT with Aga hotshots but this was a sensational passing shot winner. Perhaps not miraculous though 😂.
Radwanska avoided the upset bug but others won’t so fortunate. As we approach the end of another long year, it’s inevitable to see more upsets. Daria Kasatkina scored her third top five win of 2017, beating Simona Halep, 6-2 6-1. I’d fancied Kasatkina to get a set, but never could have predicted this kind of scoreline!
I’m thrilled for Dasha and to see her growing in confidence after a bit of a stuttering year, halted by the ankle injury picked up in Rome. Kasatkina got the tactics spot on against Halep and was much more convincing in attack, peaking towards the end of the match.
The key stats from Kasatkina vs. Halep – Halep won just 11% of second serve points and Kasatkina won six of the seven deuce games. While understandably there was some rust following a month’s break since the US Open, it was Halep’s third comprehensive loss since Wimbledon. Halep spoke in press about improving her serve, which remains a key area to work on going forward.
Loved this from Dasha. She’s definitely been more positive in her play in recent months.
If you happened to catch Dasha squared on Instagram in their attempts to catch a toy minion in Tokyo, here’s an update… 😂😂😂
Alizé Cornet completed the Russian double, knocking out the number six seed, Svetlana Kuznetsova, 6-3 6-3. Cornet had beaten Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova for the first time on Monday. It sounds as if Sveta is still not 100% – with Singapore looking unlikely, I wonder if she may call it a day for the 2017 season.
The Tokyo champion and number four seed, Caroline Wozniacki also went out in her first match. Step forward Maria Sakkari who scored the biggest win of her career, winning 7-5 6-3. Sakkari had previously gone 0-7 against top 20 opposition and is steadily progressing having only earnt her first top 30 win at the US Open earlier this year against Kiki Bertens.
Sakkari gets Elena Vesnina in the third round – Vesnina secured her second straight sets win of the week, defeating Elise Mertens, 6-2 6-4. The Russian player served out the match with two winners, finishing off on match point with a cute drop shot. Vesnina has been consistently picking up wins, winning at least one match at seven of her last eight tournaments. However, she hasn’t won more than two matches at the same tournament since winning Indian Wells in March. This will be her best chance yet…
Karolina Pliskova and Jelena Ostapenko both survived three setters to reach the last 16 of Wuhan. Pliskova had another lengthy match against Zhang Shuai, advancing, 6-4 3-6 6-4, while Ostapenko battled from a set down to beat Barbora Strycova, 2-6 7-5 6-3. The latter was a feisty affair, naturally, with Strycova losing her temper towards the end of the second set.
This was another impressive win for Ostapenko who continues to reign supreme in deciding sets – the Latvian player has won 19 of her last 22 three set matches. It’s been encouraging to see over the past week that even when Ostapenko has been up against it in the scoreline, she hasn’t thrown in the towel. Singapore is looking good…
In the final match of the day on Centre Court, Garbiñe Muguruza required a medical time-out in the first set for her thigh, but still came through in straight sets against Lesia Tsurenko, 6-4 6-4. The Spaniard will play Magda Linette in the last 16 on Wednesday.
Back to Monday and i’m one-third through catching up with Kvitova vs. Peng. After Bake Off, i’m going to watch the second set 😂.
The WTA officially confirmed four more names for Singapore – Simona Halep, Elina Svitolina, Karolina Pliskova and Venus Williams. I’m really loving this line-up so far and the mix of game styles. Caroline Wozniacki looks all but there with Jelena Ostapenko and Johanna Konta currently holding the final two spots, who are looking good with many of their nearest challengers out of Wuhan. Big points still up for grabs in Beijing though…
The matches keep on coming with third round action up on Wednesday in Wuhan. I’m especially intrigued by a quartet that delivers Kasatkina-Makarova and Cibulkova-Garcia.