Sunday’s Set Points, WTA Miami: Venus fights back, saves three match points to beat Bertens

The last 16 is set for Magic Monday Miami style with all eight fourth round matches to be played on Monday. The third round for the bottom half of the women’s draw saw a trio of three setters with Venus Williams vs. Kiki Bertens the longest of the day. This Set Points post covers the matches that I watched with five stories from Sunday’s action in Miami.

Barty’s best result at a Premier Mandatory 

From 2-4 down in the first set, Ash Barty won six games on the trot and did not waver from then, beating Petra Martic, 6-4 6-3. After a chat with her coach midway through the set, Martic’s game rather careered off into the abyss with a succession of errors. Martic got on the board in the second set but couldn’t break Barty’s serve. Barty landed only 35% of first serves in yet her second serve, one of the best on the WTA tour IMO, held up well as she won 58% of points behind it.

This was the first time that I have watched Barty since seeing her live on RLA against Aryna Sabalenka. I was a little worried about the early loss in Indian Wells to Maria Sakkari. This was a very solid display and while she did make errors on the topspin backhand, the slice backhand was stable and the forehand was impressive. Onwards and upwards for both players as Martic has had a decent March after reaching the quarter-finals of Indian Wells.

Venus saves three match points, Konta next

In a brutal encounter lasting just shy of three hours, Venus Williams saved three match points to beat Kiki Bertens, 5-7 6-3 7-5. I really felt for Bertens who tightened up on the match points and then seemed to suffer from cramp in her hand. The racquet flung out of her hand on one return close to the end! Bertens had produced an extraordinary comeback in the first set, reeling off seven straight games from 0-5 down. She showed some nice touches on the drop shots and often overpowered Williams with her heavy forehand.

It goes without saying that Venus is an unbelievable fighter on court. The American went big at the end with some down-the-line strikes and it paid off. Chin up, Kiki. Clay is coming. Venus gets the defending champion, Jo Konta in the fourth round in what will be a semi-final rematch from Miami last year and their first meeting since Wimbledon. I’ve learn to never write off Venus… still, I think it’s going to be tough for Venus to back up that bruising encounter against Bertens without a rest day.

Back-to-back wins for Ostapenko

Jelena Ostapenko scored back-to-back wins for the first time since the Australian Open with a 6-2 7-6(2) win over Beatriz Haddad Maia. I caught the end of the match while Gavrilova-Svitolina were in between the second and third sets. Haddad Maia played a poor second set tiebreak with two double faults as Ostapenko prevailed with a beautifully constructed point finished off with a volley winner.

Ostapenko hasn’t made the best of starts to 2018. This week has been more encouraging for the Latvian player and she gets Petra Kvitova in Monday’s late night match. Kvitova has won their last three encounters including a 6-0 6-2 rout earlier this year in St. Petersburg. I’d expect it to be much closer since this is outdoors. Still going with the Petra.

Svitolina back with a bang

Elina Svitolina won 12 of the last 13 games to beat Daria Gavrilova, 4-6 6-0 6-1 in an entertaining match. The first set was the best i’ve seen Gavrilova play this year as she was aggressive, dictated play and held her nerve to serve out the opener. Her game rather unravelled in the second set as Svitolina played an almost perfect set. The decider was closer than the scoreline suggested. Svitolina advanced up onto the baseline after the first set and became more aggressive. I liked the injections of pace and her willingness to come forward – impressive net skills! Two of my favourite points from the match are linked below.

R4 previews for Monday

A preview of the last 16 matches from the top half of the WTA draw is up on the blog including Radwanska vs. Azarenka and Muguruza vs. Stephens.

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10 thoughts on “Sunday’s Set Points, WTA Miami: Venus fights back, saves three match points to beat Bertens

  1. I really enjoyed the Svitolina and Gavrilova match although it seemed like it was never going to end, despite the score. I personally think Svitolina was ignoring the gameplan that Bettles was asking her to do. For some reason she was trying to hit through Gavrilova. Once she lost that set, she changed tactics and NAILED it. One ball deep, one ball wide, into the net and finish it off.
    Interested to see how the Barty match will go. Elina really got a horrible draw, didn’t she?! Osaka/Serena, Gavrilova, Barty, Kvitova/Ostapenko. Whoever makes the semi of that section will be thankful Wozniacki is out and that Venus will likely be pooped by that point. Although Puig Power is gaining momentum at an alarming rate.

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    • I enjoyed it too, I gave up when Svitolina held to 4-1 in the third set. She definitely seemed to get more aggressive after the first set where she looked very flat. Agreed that it has been a challenging draw for Svitolina. I would guess that she gets past Barty but you can never can be sure these days. I thought Barty looked decent yesterday.

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      • This has been such a great tournamenr for strong match ups. Aga vs Azarenka could be a real cracker, and it’ll be followed with a meeting with a fresh Pliskova!

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  2. It’s really humid today at Crandon Park in Miami, that’s good news for Azarenka, as heavy conditions will favour her game…. and go against the lighter style of Radwanska’s game.

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      • I guessed that one wrong 🙂 Well done Vika anyway, when she’s playing near her best she’s very hard to beat (she won the Sunshine Double in 2016).

        Danielle Collins continues to impress too; she’s just beaten Monica Puig who’s been playing very well recently.

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  3. I never heard of the 24 y/o Danielle Collins before her 4th round run at Indian Wells, although she did win the 125K at Newport Beach. Collins is now in the QFs of Miami, and has moved her ranking up to #66. Both Collins and Kristy Ahn played college tennis for 4 year.
    The great majority of the crowd cheering for the Puerto Rican Puig instead of the Collins, was the important thing in this match. Collins home state is Florida, but she was being treated as an unknown foreigner. With millions of Hispanics invading the US every year, and with Hispanic women have a birth rate of 3 times that of women of European descent, it is estimated that in 150 years Spanish will be the national language in the US.(Of course by then, some of us will be occupying the great discarded tennis ball room up in the sky).

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    • Invading? Are you an American? Because if you are, you would do well to remember that white folk are not natives. In fact white folk aren’t native anywhere, in Europe we are a result of a generational evolution.

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      • In about 1990 Robert MacNeil had a 7 part video series called the “Story of English” (on YouTube). In the last part he interviewed a Mexican who called this “The Reconquista”.
        Very similar to 400 AD when the Anglos, Saxons, and Jutes invaded Britain and their Germanic language became dominate, or when the Italians invaded Gaul and Spain 2,000 years ago and their Latin language became dominate, or when the Spanish invaded America 500 years ago and their Latin language became dominate from Mexico to Argentina, or when the northern Europeans invaded North America 500 years ago and their Germanic language became dominate in the USA and Canada, etc.,etc.,etc.
        The peculiar thing is, the USA is largely responsible for English becoming “The International Language” post WW2 , but English is becoming a second language in the USA.
        (Not much to do about tennis- sorry Moo).

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      • Yeah my issue was the use of the word invading. White people invaded America, hispanic people are simply immigrating.

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