Prague and Rabat are both through the second round with quarter-finals to be played on Thursday. There’s a trio of intriguing, third-round-at-a-Slam style matches that will be worth catching. Read on for seven stories from the past two days of WTA action. It’s unlikely i’ll be able to do another post before Madrid, the third Premier Mandatory tournament of 2018, which gets underway at the weekend.
Get well soon, Timea!
I was thrilled to see Timea Bacsinszky take a wild card into Rabat. Sadly, it didn’t work out as Timea was forced to pull out of her first round match against Christina McHale due to an injury sustained in the warm-up. Injuries have thwarted Timea for much of the last year. I’m hoping her luck will turn soon. I’m concerned about the sound of this injury and I really hope she will be OK for Roland Garros.
Paolini upsets Kasatkina in Prague
My third favourite, Daria Kasatkina, was bundled out of Prague in the first round by the 22-year-old, Jasmine Paolini. Kasatkina hurt her leg towards the end of second set. Still, she was in a precarious position already down a set and i’m not really sure what happened there as I only got home in time to see her get injured. Credit to Paolini who was unphased by the situation and closed out in style. That’s now three straight set losses in a row for Dasha…
Kvitova in good form
Petra Kvitova played a great match to reach the quarter-finals in Prague, beating Natalia Vikhlyantseva, 6-3 6-1 in just 56 minutes. Kvitova was imperious on serve and dropped just three points behind her second serve. She used the serve so well to set up the next point, all too often a winner. Vikhlyantseva missed so many returns and just couldn’t get the first strike in as Kvitova rolled to victory.
Next up for Kvitova is fellow compatriot, Katerina Siniakova in what will be a first career match-up. I’m really pleased to see Siniakova winning some matches here as I sensed confidence was pretty low when I last watched her play. I wouldn’t be surprised to see this one going the distance. Advantage Petra I guess.
The other quarter-finals will see Paolini, who backed up the win over Kasatkina by ending Anna Karolina Schmiedlova’s winning run, take on Zhang Shuai and last year’s finalist, Kristyna Pliskova play Mihaela Buzarnescu. The final quarter-final is very intriguing with Sam Stosur vs. Camila Giorgi. Stosur won their only previous match at the US Open in 2016 in three sets, 7-5 6-7(4) 6-1.
Siegemund retires to Mertens
Laura Siegemund limped out of Rabat in tears as she pulled up in pain with the knee during a third set with Elise Mertens. It had been a decent contest up till then as Siegemund saved five set points to win the opening set on the tiebreak. Mertens regrouped impressively after the disappointment and was in the ascendancy in the third set when Siegemund retired. This was Mertens’s ninth win in a row following a title in Lugano and two victories in Fed Cup.
Mertens gets Sara Errani in the quarter-finals. A brutal draw as these pair are arguably the two strongest players left in the Rabat draw. Mertens has twice beaten Errani on clay including in Fed Cup action last month, 6-3 6-1. I think it’s a good match-up for Mertens as she has a pretty stable game with an aggressive edge. I’d go for Mertens in three in that one.
Yesss Jo! 😀
Changes in Eastbourne
My next live event will be the newly named Nature Valley International in Eastbourne. There’s a few changes around the grounds this year with a brand new court 2. The information linked below from the website sounds like there will be just one stand of seats – perhaps not fully ready for 2018? I’m disappointed the seating will all be reserved.
I’m interested to see the new seating for court 3, which I think is the old court 2, just south of court 1. There’s also more seating on Centre Court which looks to be on the East and South stands. As has become the case in recent years, there are few tickets left for Centre Court.