It was a hectic day of tennis as the finals of Prague and Rabat overlapped with the first day of main draw action in Madrid where 11 first round matches were on the schedule along with the final round of qualifying. I’ve had issues with Madrid in the past but i’m willing to embrace it for now ha! Read on for ten stories in Saturday’s Set Points
Kvitova and Mertens win titles
Petra Kvitova and Elise Mertens triumphed in Prague and Rabat respectively to both win their third titles of 2018. Yay for both! Kvitova came from a set down to beat Mihaela Buzarnescu in the final of Prague, while Mertens extended her winning streak to 12 in Rabat with a straight sets win over Ajla Tomljanovic. Both players are on Sunday’s schedule in Madrid…
Bookmarked for the 2018 edition of handshakes and hugs on MTB…
Based on previous draws in Madrid, I was expecting some blockbuster clashes and plenty of excitement from the draw. I was actually a tad underwhelmed by the line-up of first round matches. It’s all about expectation and clearly, I expected too much! I like how there are no byes in Madrid. It’s so tricky trying to do a draw this week and my champion is already out 🙈🙈 . My predicted QFs were as follows:
Simona Halep vs. Victoria Azarenka
Sorana Cirstea vs. Petra Kvitova
Julia Goerges vs. Elina Svitolina
Jelena Ostapenko vs. Anastasija Sevastova
Match thoughts and polls
I’ve decided for Madrid to add all my thoughts on matches and polls to a separate page HERE like before. Next week is shaping up to be a busy week for me so I doubt I will have time to write any detailed previews posts on the main site. Therefore, I thought this would be a quicker and more informal way for me to share thoughts on selected matches.
Svitolina d. Cornet
Elina Svitolina has never won back-to-back matches before in Madrid. She’ll get a chance to erase that stat after she moved into the second round with a comfortable 6-2 6-2 win over Alizé Cornet in the first main draw match of the tournament. I was pleased to Svitolina play aggressively and with positive intent. The number four seed hit 28 winners and gets Barbora Strycova or Carla Suárez Navarro in her next match.
Garcia d. Cibulkova
Caroline Garcia looked really strong in a 6-1 7-5 win over Dominika Cibulkova. I watched the first set where Garcia was consistently aggressive and hitting with good depth. It was just clean ball striking from Garcia who seems to be on the upward trajectory after a challenging stretch from AO to Miami.
Kasatkina d. Wang Qiang
Daria Kasatkina snapped a three match losing streak with a hard fought, 7-5 7-6(6) win over Wang Qiang. It was not a vintage display from Kasatkina by any means but I liked her intensity throughout the match. As is often the case, she played much better and with more positivity when behind in the scoreline. Kasatkina rallied from a break down in both sets and a 1-4 deficit in the second set tiebreak. Wang was generally unclutch in the big moments. Her coach, Peter McNamara, seemed to spend most of the match shaking his head!
Kontaveit d. V.Williams
Amping up the aggression against a sharp-starting Venus, Anett Kontaveit scored a superb come-from-behind victory over the number eight seed for a 3-6 6-3 6-2 victory. Granted clay is not Venus’s surface and she hadn’t played a competitive match since Miami. Still, this was a hugeee win for Kontaveit and one of the most confident displays i’ve seen from her in a long time. After saving three break points in a six deuce game at *1-2 in the third set, Kontaveit rolled through the final five games of the match including a confident close. Way to go, Anett!
Begu d. Ostapenko
Irina-Camelia Begu completed an evening of upsets as a second top eight seed bit the dust. Begu played a great match to beat Jelena Ostapenko, 6-3 6-3. The Romanian player stayed with Ostapenko in the rallies with a largely consistent and determined display. Begu was mega on the clay a few years ago and has always played well in Madrid. Ostapenko failed to break down Begu on a consistent basis and didn’t really take on board her coach’s advice to play with angles as she went for the lines and just missed too many.
Nottingham Entry List
The full line-up has been announced for the 2018 Nature Valley Open with the likes of Magdalena Rybarikova, Ash Barty, Naomi Osaka, Johanna Konta, CiCi Bellis, Donna Vekic, Camila Giorgi and Heather Watson all set to play.