Wednesday’s Set Points, WTA Hong Kong, Linz & Tianjin: Osaka’s best win, Bencic through to QFs

Set PointsThe first four second round matches took place on Wednesday in Hong Kong. The first result of the day saw the number seven seed, Daria Gavrilova turn the tables on Shelby Rogers from their recent encounter that broke records at the US Open. Gavrilova won, 6-1 2-6 6-2 in one hour and 44 minutes, taking one hour and 47 minutes less than their match in New York!

Naomi Osaka scored her first top ten win at the US Open and today, scored her first top five win, beating Venus Williams, 7-5 6-2. The Japanese player arrived at this tournament on a five match losing streak but is now into the quarter-finals of Hong Kong. From 3-5 down in the first set, Osaka reeled off ten straight games as she took control of rallies and cranked up the aggression on an increasingly laboured Williams serve, which produced seven double faults.

Venus gave plenty of credit to Naomi after the match. It was clear how much this win meant to Naomi who clapped Venus off at the end.

From 3-6 4-4 and break point down, Sam Stosur held serve and then went onto to win the last eight games, beating a fading Agnieszka Radwanska, 3-6 6-4 6-0. Stosur played a stunning third set, dropping just two points on serve and pushing Radwanska back with awesome power and touch.

It was the first time since four months out with a hand fracture that Stosur has won back-to-back matches on tour and she seemed genuinely thrilled in the post-match interview, stating that even when down in the scoreline she was really enjoying the match. For Radwanska, it was another tough loss from a winning position – her three losses through Asia have all been from a set up.

Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova twice failed to serve out the opener against American, Jacqueline Cako, yet came through in the first set tiebreak before rolling through the second set. Pavs through, 7-6(3) 6-1.

Pavs vs. Osaka in the quarters in a first time match-up – liking it!Β πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘

Tianjin finally got some tennis with the two highest profile names in the draw going 1-1. Maria Sharapova beat the number nine seed, Irina-Camelia Begu, 6-4 6-2, while Zhu Lin knocked out the number two seed, Petra Kvitova, 6-4 5-7 6-4. Petra rallied in the second set from a break down and was on the comeback in the third from a double break down too. Zhu Lin eventually served out the match to 15 on her fourth match point.

Three more seeds fell on the first day of main draw action in Tianjin:

Wang Yafan condemned the number eight seed, Alison Riske to a fifth consecutive loss, 6-3 6-3.

Beatriz Haddad Maia overturned a 2-6 1-6 loss to Donna Vekic at the US Open, recovering to win in three against the number four seed, 6-7(4) 6-4 6-2.

Duan Ying-Ying upset the number seven seed, Lesia Tsurenko, 6-4 7-6(2), for the fourth top 50 win of her season.

Sara Errani has made her comeback from a drugs ban this week and with much success. The Italian player won through two rounds of qualifying and dropped just three games in a first round win over Kateryna Kozlova.

Over in Linz, the first round concluded with wins for the number two and five seeds, Barbora Strycova and Sorana Cirstea respectively. Viktorija Golubic beat the number six seed, Katerina Siniakova in three sets. Siniakova’s year has been spearheaded by two stunning title wins in Shenzhen and Bastad which make up almost half of her wins in 2017. Since winning Bastad, Siniakova has won just two matches out of ten.

Belinda Bencic enjoyed another three set win, beating Lara Arruabarrena, 6-3 2-6 6-3. BB served well again and dropped just seven points in the decider, serving out the match to love. Next up for Bencic is Mihaela Buzarnescu in the quarter-finals. Bencic will be seeking to reach a first WTA semi-final since 2016, while Buzarnescu will be going for her first WTA semi-final… ever!

And finally, entry list news for tournaments in Australia is coming thick and fast – Ash Barty is confirmed for Brisbane.

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11 thoughts on “Wednesday’s Set Points, WTA Hong Kong, Linz & Tianjin: Osaka’s best win, Bencic through to QFs

  1. Naomi’s clearly the real deal. She’s still a bit inconsistent but already she’s a player no one wants to meet early on in a tournament.

    Great wins from Belinda today and Sam Stosur. Not so long ago people were saying Sam was washed upo and should retire; today she showed there’s still some life in her game.

    In other news, Naomi Broady lost to Viktoriya Tomova in Linz but hit 16 aces. According to my mental arithmetic, she’s got the highest aces to no. of matches played ratio of any player in the WTA, even above the Pliskova twins.

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    • I like Naomi, not a great year overall, but I do think she’s heading in the right direction. Sam also said about enjoying yesterday’s match too which is a positive sign. I still think without that injury she could have won the French Open this year. Interesting stat there about Naomi B., Graham!

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  2. Naomi is very promising and learning with experience. Do not expect it to be too long until she wins her first WTA title and maybe it will be this week. I hope so. Great to see Belinda back on court and enjoying her tennis. Is Aga on the decline ? She is 29 next March and got married this year and it has been a disappointing year for her so far by her usual standards. I watched an interview with her last year and she said that she did not want to have a long career as a tennis player. I hope she can get back to her best as I find her a pleasure to watch.

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    • Yep that’s the next step for Naomi. Been a tough year for Aga – I think some of that comes down to injuries and illnesses. I wonder if 2018 may be a make-or-break year for her in terms of whether she keeps on competing.

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      • Aga still wants that elusive first slam, so I think she’s going to carry on until either she gets one or it becomes clear she’s got no chance. She said about a year ago that she gives herself two more years to be able to do that.

        Nevertheless, as you said this has been a tough year by her standards – she didn’t win any tournaments and only made one final. I’m sure she won’t be happy with this and, with her coach, will be pondering what to do to improve for next season.

        I agree that Sam was unlucky to have been injured for the French Open; she could have gone deep in the draw and as you said might even have won (it would have been a heck of a final if she’d played Jelena with the amount of power they both have).

        P.S. So far this year Naomi (Broady) has hit 118 aces in 13 matches, or just over nine per match. Kristyna’s second with 361 aces in 44 matches (or about 8.2 per match) and her sister is some distance behind with 438 in 65 matches, or about 6.74 per match. So, at least one victory for British women’s tennis!

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  3. Looks like Sharapova’s biggest threat for the Tianjin trophy is Peng.

    Hong Kong— The two biggest stars, Woz and Svit both pullout. Whats going on?

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    • Yup i’d agree, assuming Peng’s knee holds up.

      Svits with leg injury and Woz with an elbow injury – I guess both are precautionary ahead of Singapore but a shame for the Hong Kong tournament and the crowd.

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      • At least The Woz looked very pretty in her retirement speech. Maybe Sports Illustrated should think about including her in their Swimsuit Edition πŸ˜‰

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