I was out on Tuesday playing tennis and have just finished catching up with Wednesday’s action in time to write this Set Points post. All four quarter-finals are covered with a focus on Wednesday’s blockbuster quarter-finals. We’re approaching the end of the tournament (didn’t it just start?!) with the semi-finals set for Thursday. Read on for six stories from Paris.
Muguruza d. Sharapova (RG, QF)
Garbiñe Muguruza powered past Maria Sharapova in a scintillating display, winning 6-2 6-1 in just 70 minutes. Muguruza had her game face on from the start and looked like she meant business. Sharapova didn’t play a good match but I felt quite a lot of her errors were linked to how sharp and aggressive Muguruza played. I timed my lunch break to watch the start of this match but only saw three games! The difference early on was the serve as Sharapova committed three double faults in the opening game and Muguruza jumped on any second serve opportunities. The Spaniard missed quite a few returns long but the intent and purpose was there.
I’ve been convinced since watching Muguruza’s first round win over Kuznetsova that she looked in Slam winning form and nothing since has made me stray from that opinion. There was something about her attitude and intensity that reminded me of how she played at Wimbledon last year. The Spaniard has played a superb tournament up till now and continues to dazzle at the French Open where her record stands at 24-4.
Halep d. Kerber (RG, QF)
Simona Halep is into her third Roland Garros semi-final after a hard fought victory over Angelique Kerber, 6-7(2) 6-3 6-2. This was the first three setter since Stephens-Giorgi on Saturday! The last few days of the tournament have been very underwhelming in the sense of competitive matches. You can always rely on Halep-Kerber matches delivering though as the pair put on a good show.
Halep quickly went down 0-4 in the first set. Watching on the scoreboard, I was thinking not againnnnn Simona! Having watched back the first set, I felt differently. I thought quite a few of Halep’s errors were positive errors where she was trying to be aggressive. It wasn’t working at the time but I liked the intent and it was tough going against a rock-solid Kerber.
Halep did well to get back on level terms in the first set but played a poor tiebreak to go down a set. From the second set onwards, Halep dominated on serve and eventually wore down a struggling Kerber, who was bothered by her foot. Halep saved a break point at *4-3 *30-40 in the second set and crucially held serve with a sensational get to a Kerber drop shot, which got a well deserved racquet clap from the German player.
I’m hoping Kerber can rest up for a grass where her commitment should propel her forward as a contender for Wimbledon. I wonder how much this match took out of Halep with no rest day before the semi-final. I think these kinds of wins are so much more valuable to Halep than the easy straight setters and will surely give her renewed belief going into the semi-finals which she will need in abundance against Muguruza.
Press conference snippets from Wednesday’s winners
Even in the press conference, Muguruza’s focus is unwavering. Halep talked about trying to do too much early on in her quarter-final against Kerber.
Sloane Stephens and Madison Keys both won their quarter-final matches on Tuesday in straight sets to set up a rematch of last year’s US Open final in the last four. Stephens beat Daria Kasatkina, 6-3 6-1 and Keys beat Yulia Putintseva, 7-6(5) 6-4. I was disappointed to see Dasha go out but at least a good experience going forward with this being her best result at a Slam.
It’s hard to fathom what Sloane and Madison have been able to achieve having both been on the sidelines for serious injuries this time last year. Their performances at the Slams have, on the whole, been stunning. We can be guaranteed a nice exchange at the end of Thursday’s semi-final 🤗.
I’d like to see a Halep vs. Keys final with both players going for a first Slam title. In truth, I think it’s going to be Muguruza vs. Stephens. Who you got?
My tennis experiences – a shocker!
Tuesday was a club night and my first time playing tennis since Portugal. I started really well but it soon went downhill. In the first doubles set, I managed to hit a ball into my face 😂. I was at the net preparing for a volley. I think the ball caught the frame and then rebounded into my mouth (it’s OK, you can laugh). It bloody hurt and everyone was kind enough not to laugh at the time because they realised I was in pain. I’m now sporting a bruised lip. My head was in the clouds and we didn’t win another point!
I then played a few games of singles against a new guy – he was really good and I was dreadful! I kept hitting long and getting passed at the net. I was lucky to be leading 3-2 in the score when it was time to change. I was then on doubles duty and was generally a hilarious mess. I managed to mistime a wild forehand on the stretch that went flying out of our court onto the adjacent court and hit a girl in the arm. I felt absolutely terrible. Finally, I nearly managed to go over on my ankle trying to deal with a deep return. I saved it but still ended up in a heap on the floor.
I’ve had better nights… 😂😂😂