Sunday was the final day of the 2018 Internazionali d’Italia where the singles and doubles champions were decided. A recap of the singles final between Elina Svitolina and Simona Halep is included below. There are two tournaments next week in Strasbourg and Nurnberg with final preparations for the second Slam of the year in Paris! I won’t be blogging next week and will be intermittent for the first week of Roland Garros as i’ll be on holiday. Read on for seven stories in Sunday’s Set Points post.
Svitolina wins Rome
Elina Svitolina defended her Rome title with a 6-0 6-4 victory in Sunday’s final against the world number one, Simona Halep. This was Svitolina’s third title of 2018 and the second time in a row that she has defended a title (achieved that feat in Dubai earlier this year). All of Svitolina’s title runs this year have been very routine and uneventful, and she hasn’t really been tested along the way.
I think this was Elina’s best performance of the year, at least from the matches i’ve watched. She didn’t face a break point all match and was always positive and looking to come forward. The most impressive aspect of the performance, in my opinion, was not letting the momentum swing Halep’s way. Halep had a medical time-out midway through the second set and started to raise the intensity with her groundstrokes, staving off three break points to hold to 3-4. Svitolina could easily have backed off. She didn’t and kept trying to be positive and go after her shots. There’s no doubt for me that Elina is a contender for the French Open. I am still a tad wary as to whether she can hold it together mentally and be aggressive in the pressure moments of a Slam quarter-final or beyond.
For Simona, i’m glad that she at least ended the final playing her best tennis of the match. The first set was befuddling. Sadly, there’s been quite a few occasions where sets like these have gone by very quickly. The Romanian player was bothered by a back/hip injury in the second set – hopefully nothing serious. Again, a definite contender for the French but with question marks!
Doubles in Rome
Congrats to the new team of Ash Barty and Demi Schuurs who won the doubles title in Rome, beating Andrea Sestini Hlavackova and Barbora Strycova in the final.
Sharapova d. Ostapenko (Rome, QF)
I just finished watching Friday’s quarter-final between Maria Sharapova and Jelena Ostapenko where Sharapova scored a stirring, 6-7(6) 6-4 7-5 victory in three hours and ten minutes. It was a contest of undulating quality, but fabulous entertainment. Ostapenko’s down-the-line groundstrokes remain potent, yet her second serve is a concern. So much of this match seemed to come down to serve and it was Sharapova’s that seemed to hold up better in the pressure moments. Ostapenko, seemingly struggling with a leg injury in the third set, seemed to back off with Sharapova finishing superbly.
Halep d. Sharapova (Rome, SF)
I haven’t got round to watching Saturday’s semi-final between Simona Halep and Maria Sharapova where Halep scored her first three set win over Sharapova, prevailing 4-6 6-1 6-4. I did see Simona’s reaction though… wow!
Waiting for Lucie…
I was keeping an eye on the live scoreboard for Lucie’s first round match in Strasbourg on Sunday against Marina Melnikova. It got moved to court 1 but as I loaded the stream, the covers were on! The match has been called off for rain until Monday so will miss it.
French Open changes
There will be a new Court 18 at this year’s French Open – looks great!
I went to Brownsea Island on Saturday with a friend. It was such a nice day and the weather was perfect. I took over 300 pictures! 😂. I’ve moved on from cakes to pastry with my baking and tried a fruity frangipane tart on Sunday. Frangipane continues to thwart me!