The women’s draw at the 2018 French Open is shaping up rather beautifully with a series of blockbuster third round matches set up for Friday and Saturday. This post meanders through the matches that I got to watch, as well as the most gruelling match with my bro so far. Tomorrow is our last day in Portugal and it’s been a wonderful holiday. Read on for nine stories in Thursday’s Set Points post…
Gavrilova d. Pera (RG, R2)
Daria Gavrilova and three set epics go hand-in-hand in 2018. For the 13th time this year and second time in a row at RG18, Gavrilova went the distance as she came from a set down to beat Bernarda Pera, 5-7 7-5 6-3. This match was an absolute rollercoaster as Gavrilova was forced to save a match point in the second set. I checked the live scoreboard with Pera leading 7-5 5-2. I was shocked to find later that they were into a third set!
I watched the end of the match with Gavrilova pulling away as Pera seemed to run out of steam. Gavrilova missed a few match points on the Pera serve but produced a confident final service game with no double faults! I’m really chuffed for Dasha because she’s had some rough losses at the Slams of late and always seems to be battling with her confidence. In fact, this is the first time she has reached the third round of a Slam aside from the Australian Open. I am always in admiration of Gavrilova’s work ethic and fighting spirit out on court. I love her scrappiness on court and it’s kind of how I play tennis too.
Gavrilova gets Elise Mertens in the third round – a rematch of the second rounder at the Australian Open where things went awry for the Aussie after a brilliant start.
Pliskova d. Safarova (RG, R2)
Karolina Pliskova won eight of the last nine games to beat Lucie Safarova, 3-6 6-4 6-1. I was really encouraged by Lucie’s display and she played a superb first set. Lucie dictated the points and maintained her aggression, even in the last game when Pliskova produced two thunderbolt returns. I went off with the family to get ice cream after the first set and returned to Pliskova running away with the decider 😞. Credit to Pliskova who did really well to hang in the match and then fly through the decider. She’s done this many times in the past year and it’s an underrated quality.
Fingers crossed that Lucie can stay fit and healthy for the grass court season. I’m hopeful! Pliskova gets Maria Sharapova in the third round. I ain’t got a scooby who wins that one…
Kerber d. Bogdan (RG, R2)
I caught the end of Angelique Kerber’s 6-2 6-3 win over Ana Bogdan. It was a fantastic final game as Kerber produced a pair of hot shots. Bogdan gave it some welly but Kerber finished the match with a delightful drop shot. There was a great crowd at the end and Kerber genuinely looked thrilled. I’m so happy to see her in such a good place with her tennis. Next up is Kiki Bertens which is going to be a tough one on clay. Whatever happens, I think Kerber will be a title contender at Wimbledon.
S.Williams d. Barty (RG, R2)
I was chuffed to get back from dinner in time to catch the end of this match as Serena Williams held off Ash Barty, winning 3-6 6-3 6-4 in the last match of the day on Philippe Chatrier. The energy and intensity in the third set was fantastic and Ash gave it her best shot. Serena’s close of the match was sensational. I really liked the exchange of words at the net between the pair. I’m willing Ash to have a great grass court season. She’s had a solid, yet unspectacular year. I hope it all comes together for her on the grass.
Serena moves on and looks very dangerous. That serve 🔥🔥🔥.
Goerges d. Van Uytvanck (RG, R2)
Serena’s third round opponent will be Julia Goerges who edged Alison Van Uytvanck in the fading light, 7-5 7-6(5). In a topsy-turvy tiebreak, Goerges found the big forehand at 5-5 to set up the match point that she converted. Goerges’s reaction said it all. Julia stayed for ages to sign autographs and take selfies with fans 😊.
RG ground updates
I’m loving some of the new updates around the grounds at Roland Garros. Definitely thinking about going in 2019…
Sascha Zverev and the reporter from Yorkshire
This was classic 😂😂😂.
I am loving the slate of third round matches on the schedule for Thursday with the likes of Kvitova vs. Kontaveit, Keys vs. Osaka and Kasatkina vs. Sakkari. Also a special mention for Strycova vs. Siniakova which could be all kinds of madness.
Tennis battles vs. the bro
For the first morning on this holiday we woke up with glorious sunshine. I will miss eating my morning pain au chocolat on the balcony! We started our tennis sesh a little earlier this morning as it was so warm. The first set was probably the worst we have both played. The bro won it, 6-4. I was too focused on my sore throat 🤒. I was just treading water and playing passively.
I started to play better at the start of the second set and forgot about my sore throat 😂. It’s amazing how you notice all your ailments when you are losing. I was serving first and just about holding my own. At 4-4, I felt nervous. All my serves were landing short in the box. I got away with it though as the bro missed some returns. I didn’t deserve to hold but somehow I did.
The sun was getting up and the quality of tennis was improving too. The bro had a mammoth game on serve at *4-5. It went to deuce and I stuck to the tactics, hitting deep to the backhand. The bro had game point after game point after game point. I kept plugging away from the sunnier side and finally got a set point. The bro went into the net… one set all!
I held a tough opening service game to start the third set and then went up a break. This was the best i’ve played so far and my groundstrokes felt better than ever. The bro was clearly struggling as he hit a lot of double faults and kept coming in with little success as I nailed the passing shots and lobs. I led *3-1 *40-15 in the decider. I was looking good! You can probably guess what’s going to happen now…
I got a little tight and the bro stepped it up. Back to 3-3. This proved to be the pivotal game of the match. We had multiple deuces (at least five or six) with me serving. I was actually serving well but the bro kept running around the backhand onto his forehand and hitting it deep into my forehand corner. My serve got shorter and shorter, and the bro finally converted on the break point after a really great rally. I went for the ball but my legs stopped working and I ended up in a heap on the floor, using my hands to break my fall. There was blood. Drammmaaaaa.
I never really recovered from then on as the bro stepped it up with big serves and aggressive groundstrokes. I became a bit desperate at the end as I lunged for balls with my legs not really working. The racquet rarely stayed in my hand. My performance was akin to Katerina Siniakova 😂. The bro won, 6-4 4-6 6-3 in what must have been well over two hours of play. He went for the hug but I rejected him. I was gutted 😂.
I was disappointed with myself for blowing the opportunities but it was a good match overall. I’d never dreamed I could win sets against the bro at the start of the holiday. Last day tomorrow and one final match. Let’s go for it 💪.