Friday’s order of play was cut short again by the rain resulting in a backlog of matches set for Saturday. In the matches that were played out there was the biggest shock of the tournament so far. I’ll be travelling on Saturday so not sure if i’ll have time for a post. I’m hoping to see some tennis when I get back home! Read on for four stories in Friday’s Set Points post.
Keys d. Osaka (RG, R3)
In the opening match on Suzanne Lenglen court, Madison Keys maintained her 100% record over Naomi Osaka with a 6-1 7-6(7) victory. This is the third consecutive time that Keys has reached the last 16 of a Slam.
Most impressive of Keys’s performance was her ability to reset having failed to serve out the match at 6-1 *5-4. Keys missed a match point and went just long on the backhand side as Osaka came back into contention. The Japanese player had two set points in an entertaining tiebreak. On the first set point, Keys barely found the line with a defensive backhand before Osaka went after a forehand, which felt like the right shot to attack. Osaka found the net. A big serve saved the second for Keys before Osaka unfortunately double faulted on match point.
Keys moves forward to the last 16 of the French Open and her draw is looking rather dreamy on paper for this stage of a Slam…
Buzarnescu d. Svitolina (RG, R3)
The shock of the tournament so far saw Mihaela Buzarnescu score the biggest win of her career with a 6-3 7-5 triumph over one of the tournament favourites, Elina Svitolina. Buzarnescu’s story is rather extraordinary and she’d never won a main draw match at a Slam before this week. Rather amazing considering she was a seed for this tournament, showcasing how rapid her rise has been.
Buzarnescu was so good in the first set as she moved a reactive Svitolina around the court. Surprisingly, it was Svitolina who was making the errors. She looked a little panicked in her face. Svitolina battled valiantly in the second set but never looked at ease, resorting mostly to defence and never striking the ball with conviction. Even when she was down a break in the second set, Buzarnescu kept attacking and her level never really dropped. Buzarnescu’s forehand was sensational.
Svitolina failed to serve out the set at *5-4 and Buzarnescu kept on coming, clearing thriving and growing in confidence. The upset came into sight and she grabbed it. Gutted for Elina as I thought this was her time. Props to Mihaela for a really inspired performance.
It’s going to be a wacky day of tennis! I can’t believe Halep-Petkovic is on Court 18. Polls for my favourite matches linked below.
Tennis battles vs. the bro – the final one!
Today was the last day of our holiday so the bro and I had our last tennis match. I’m pleased (and relieved!) to say that we went out on a high. It was by far and away the best match of our trip.
To break the mould of previous matches, I started really well! This was easily the best i’ve hit my groundstrokes and I rediscovered a shot that has gone missing for me in recent years – the forehand down-the-line. I’ve got into a rhythm on this holiday and finally feel confident to go for it. I led with a break at 4-2 and was trying to get the double break. The bro kept finding the big serve down break point. On another point he found the line with one shot that just didn’t bounce. The bro holds. I’m cursing myself as usual.
Shockingly, I manage to hold my next service game to lead 5-3. The bro holds to 5-4. I’m serving for the first set. We’ve been here before. I quickly go down *0-40 as the bro just gobbles up my serve and goes all-out attack. Suddenly he’s finding the lines and attacking everything. Where was this ten minutes ago? How is he able to attack me? Why am I so focused on what he’s doing? Why am I so rubbish? Just a few of thoughts that went through my head 😂.
The score was at 5-5 and he won the first point on serve. I was furious. For a rare moment, I managed to channel the anger into my tennis. I played a great point to go to 15-15 and let out a huge roar. The next point was probably our best point of the match, both hitting with peak power and intensity on our groundstrokes. You know that awesome moment when both players are playing their best – it finally happened here! I had two break points but the bro was absolutely peak. Finding the lines and being bold on the big points. The bro held and I was once again furious. I was being aggressive, playing the right way, but I found myself down in the scoreline.
I stepped up at *5-6 feeling a little nervous and desperate to hold serve. I’m shocked by what unfolded… I actually held serve! Two volley winners and a hold to 30. I was very proud of myself as I expected to flop. The tiebreak was close to start with. Nothing special from either of us. Serving at *4-5, I threw in a tame, short serve. The bro bludgeoned the return. I found a great passing shot but the bro came up with an exceptional volley (his words 🙄). On the first set point he hit another aggressive return. I dug in and got a good lob back and suddenly I was mid court with the ball on my favoured forehand side. Sadly, I just wasn’t ready for it and pushed it wide. The bro wins the first set, 7-6(4).
I was devastated. I chucked my racquet, my hat and all my energy onto the side of the court. And then I tried to move on…
The bro quickly went up 2-0 in the second set. I reeled off two games to level up at 2-2. I was still hitting pretty well and trying to be aggressive, and hit into his backhand. This is when the family turned up by the side of court and it turns out I don’t play well with an audience 😂. My bro is a complete show-off and suddenly started hitting harder and coming forward. The bro ran away with the next three games to lead 5-2.
The family moved off and I managed to dig in. I was not letting this one go without a fight. I broke the bro when serving for the match and played a really good service game to get within one game. The bro served for it again and while serving big, seemed to be going for too much. I got the break back with my best return of the entire week. The bro hit a great serve but I used the pace and arrowed it back crosscourt, almost for the return winner!
Back to 5-5 but my serve was just sitting up to be bludgeoned. The bro breaks. I kept plugging away on return but the bro had settled down and on his second match point, he won, 7-6(4) 7-5.
It was a great match and I was really proud of my efforts. I gave it everything and feel shattered now. I feel my game has come on so much having played every day for a week. I hope I can keep it up. My legs have transformed over this week – I actually have muscles 😂😂😂.