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.