Wednesday’s order of play at the 2018 Internazionali BNL d’italia was a wild one with 14 second round WTA matches and one, at the time of writing, still to be played between Garbiñe Muguruza and Daria Gavrilova. I’m off to enjoy that match so here’s my recap of the day and what I got to see. Read on for 10 stories from Rome. It was a dramatic day!
Kasatkina d. Collins (Rome, R2)
Clay has long been touted as Daria Kasatkina’s best surface, yet her results have not really demonstrated this. Kasatkina is off to a very promising start in Rome though with two straight set wins. On Wednesday, she beat the ultra-positive, Danielle Collins, 6-2 6-3. Kasatkina was calm and looked in control of her game. Next up is a Dubai final rematch with Elina Svitolina – tasty!
Stephens d. Kanepi (Rome, R2)
Sloane Stephens took the scenic route to beat Kaia Kanepi in her second consecutive three setter of the week, 6-0 5-7 6-4. I actually think the hard fought wins are good for Sloane and while there’s clearly an improvement in her level required, match play is needed. This match is a gentle reminder that Kanepi is still a very dangerous player, despite all the layers of strapping!
V.Williams d. Vesnina (Rome, R2)
Venus Williams scored her first win on clay in 2018 with a typically gutsy display to beat Elena Vesnina in a topsy-turvy third set, 6-2 4-6 7-5. It was an absorbing decider and was never clear which way this match was going to swing. Williams won the last three games after Vesnina failed to serve the match out at *5-4. Vesnina will want that final game back as she made a bundle of errors. Venus gets a rematch with Anett Kontaveit on Thursday.
Sharapova d. Cibulkova (Rome, R2)
Maria Sharapova made it back-to-back third rounds with a great win over Dominika Cibulkova, 3-6 6-4 6-2 in two hours and 30 minutes. I was very impressed with Sharapova’s level in the decider as she served extremely well and was powerful from the baseline. Sharapova, who was totally up for this one, produced two hot shots in the decider – a remarkable get to a Cibulkova drop shot in the final game and the cross court winner linked below.
I had read that Sharapova was feeling her forearm in the previous win over Barty so I didn’t have many expectations for her in this match. After losing four consecutive three setters, Sharapova has now won back-to-back three setters and is looking strong on the clay.
Sakkari d. Pliskova and dramaaaaaaa
Maria Sakkari scored a hugeee win over the number six seed, Karolina Pliskova, 3-6 6-3 7-5. The big talking point of the match, and the entire day, was a disputed call on Pliskova’s serve at 5-5 40-40 in the third set. Pliskova hit an overhead that was called out by the linesperson. The Czech player didn’t realise at first that it had been called out and strongly argued the case with the umpire having clearly seen the ball in.
The umpire couldn’t locate the mark (???) and neither could the linesperson who she called over. Pliskova tried to get Sakkari involved who said she didn’t see the mark either and then suggested to the umpire for the point to be replayed. The supervisor was called who sided with the umpire and the initial call as the mark couldn’t be located so the point went to Sakkari.
Sakkari would go onto break and serve out the match. Pliskova lost it at the end, offering her hand briefly to shake the umpire before thwacking the umpire’s chair several times with intent. Sakkari’s reaction of shock was priceless 😂. Pliskova was hard done by as it was a shocking call (the replay showed the ball was CLEARLY in) but you just can’t be attacking the chair with the umpire sitting right there.
It’s an absolute cracker for Thursday! Thoughts on all of the matches are up on the separate page with polls for my favourite matches below.
Eastbourne Entry List
The full entry list for Eastbourne was announced on Tuesday and it’s another cracker! I’m delighted to see Petra, Angie and Dasha K. all in there. I’m disappointed to see Lucie and Timea have missed the cut and am hoping they could sneak into the main draw, if they are on the list. All the entry lists are now out for the grass and I noticed that Svitolina isn’t currently down to play a grass court warm-up event…
Eastbourne will be my next live event and i’ll be at the tournament from Saturday to Wednesday.
Wimbledon practice courts
My bro got his tickets for Wimby today and I noticed in the ticket holders’ guide that it states there are no practice court viewing facilities this year. To be honest, they’ve never been good at Wimby so i’m really hoping with the master plan that access to the practice courts will improve significantly for the fans.
Tennis on Tuesday
We’re enjoying some nice weather in the UK so we played tennis on Tuesday night. I got in plenty of singles including a first singles set with my bro this year. He won, 6-3 after I had made a bright start and won the first two games. I’d knackered myself out and just ended up retrieving behind the baseline. He was hitting so deep and I couldn’t work out how to stop him! I need to build up my stamina…