A late one tonight as it was the last club night of the summer! It was the best i’ve played in weeks and the first time that I felt comfortable with my new racquet. I was really trying to put a bit more pace on my serve, which has been dreadful of late. It was definitely better today and I think I hit my best ever second serve! My forehand is the weapon and I was really hitting it well today and pretty flat. It was nice to finish the the final point with one of my best forehands of the entire summer!
I’ve got a mixed doubles match on Saturday afternoon which should be interesting. I’m more concerned that I played well today because that probably means i’ll be terrible on Saturday 😂. I’ve got a 100% record from matches this summer – one out of one! I gather our opponents on Saturday are decent so we’ll see. I’ve just committed to three men’s matches for our winter league… 🙈
Back to professional tennis and the slate of quarter-finals at the Wuhan Open began with a cracker between Karolina Pliskova and Ashleigh Barty – after two hours and 31 minutes, Barty prevailed for the best win of career so far, 4-6 7-6(3) 7-6(2).
The most impressive aspect of the match for me was Barty’s ability to reset deep in the third set. Barty missed three match points leading *5-4 *40-0 and then found herself down *5-6 *0-30. I don’t think there are many players on tour who could have kept their emotions under control to come back and win from that position.
And win, she did so in style. Barty played a brilliant third set tiebreak, creating the openings and then getting a helping hand from Pliskova at the end who double faulted on match point. I’m running out of superlatives for Barty. By virtue of this week’s results, she will crack the world’s top 30 in next week’s rankings.
Barty doubled up for the second day in a row as she moved into the semi-finals of the doubles tournament with Casey Dellacqua after a straight sets win over Gabriela Dabrowski and Xu Yi-Fan.
While we’re on the topic of quality women’s matches, never a better time to share this 👍👍👍.
Caroline Garcia reached her fifth semi-final of 2017 with a 7-6(3) 6-4 victory over Ekaterina Makarova. Reaching the quarter-finals of the French Open, her best ever run at a Slam, seems to have opened the floodgates for Garcia who is set to rise to a new career high ranking next week. I don’t think Garcia’s talent has ever been questioned, but I honestly wondered whether she could ever put it altogether on a consistent basis and hold up mentally in the tight moments. On Friday she’ll be bidding to reach the biggest final of her career so far.
An insight from Caroline about coping in the crux moments of matches.
This is a sound description of confidence!
Maria Sakkari won her sixth match of the tournament to reach a first Premier semi-final – what a wonderful week for the Greek player! In another tight two setter, Sakkari edged Alizé Cornet, 7-6(2) 7-5 in two hours and 25 minutes. There were some stunning points during this match with two of my favourites linked below.
In the last match of the day and the most anticipated of the tournament so far, Jelena Ostapenko extended her winning streak to eight matches with a first ever win over a world number one, beating, Garbiñe Muguruza, 1-6 6-3 6-2. Ostapenko sealed a virtual bagel in the decider, recovering from 0-2 down. The match seemed to turn when Muguruza missed with an open court leading *2-1 *30-30. Ostapenko delivered a sensational display of baseline hitting through the last four games of the decider, powering through despite getting just 25% of first serves in.
Friday’s semi-finals are an intriguing pair – i’m always a fan of seeing new faces come through and I like this line-up! First up at not before 17:30pm local time (10:30am UK time) will be Jelena Ostapenko up against Ash Barty. Ostapenko won their only previous match on clay in Rome earlier this year, 5-7 6-4 6-4. I think this is actually a good match-up for Barty who has the much consistent serve right now and plenty of variety, which is a key attribute to have against Ostapenko because she likes nothing more than rhythm. While Barty has had a busy week herself, I think that all the matches may finally catch up with Ostapenko having played in Seoul last week.
The second semi-final will pit Caroline Garcia against Maria Sakkari in a first time meeting. It’s a huge match for both with a first Premier final on the line. In fact, Sakkari is going for her first ever WTA final! Sakkari has battled tremendously well this week. Garcia has got the bigger game – the question is whether she can handle the occasion and play like she has played all week. I’d be more inclined to say yes after some of her words in press and with the consistency she has delivered through large swathes of the 2017 season.
Polls are up for Friday’s semi-finals – who you got?
And finally, i’m sad for my two favourite players who are both injured at the moment! Thrilled to see Timea very positive about her comeback after surgery on her hand. I’m not really sure the extent of Lucie’s wrist injury, but i’m just really hoping i’ll get to see them both play in Australia.