MTB is back for four weeks of grass court tennis as the season moves to the UK. I’d actually hoped to cover some of Nottingham but had a busy week at work. I had to do a presentation at work on Thursday and spent most of my free time preparing and worrying about it. Then I was baking for much of the weekend for a barbecue today. I’ve barely pondered going to Eastbourne and i’m off there in less than a week! Let’s take a look at the weekend of tennis with a look ahead to Birmingham.
Nottingham Champ – Ash Barty
Ash Barty won her second WTA title, beating Johanna Konta, 6-3 3-6 6-4 in Sunday’s final. I only got to see bits of the final but did see Barty’s straight sets win over Naomi Osaka on Saturday. I was so, so impressed. Barty has had a solid year without any real standout results – the Aussie hasn’t beaten a top 20 player this year before Nottingham. I had high hopes that Ash would spring into life on the grass and it’s proving that way as her game looks fantastic on this surface. In my opinion, she’s a definite contender for Wimbledon.
The end to the final was rather controversial as Konta was furious at a lack of an overrule by the umpire. It was tough on Konta and obviously emotions are raw at such a crucial stage of the match. Still, I wasn’t keen on her outburst at the umpire. From what I saw, this was a very promising start to the grass court season for Jo. It’s a challenging few weeks with so many points on the line.
Rosmalen Champion – Aleksandra Krunic
Aleksandra Krunic was a surprise winner in the Netherlands as she rallied from a set down in her last two matches to win her first WTA International title. I saw some of Krunic’s semi-final win over Vandeweghe where she saved a match point and produced a stunning shot linked below. Her winner’s speech was very endearing.
WTA Birmingham draw
I was disappointed with the entry list for Birmingham. There’s nothing disappointing though about the main draw and slate of first rounders…
WTA Birmingham R1 matches for Monday
Four first round matches are on the schedule for Monday, as well as qualifying and doubles matches. I’m shocked that Muguruza and Kasatkina are pairing up in doubles. That’s one to watch for sure!
A rematch of the New Haven final between Daria Gavrilova and Dominika Cibulkova will be intriguing. That match from last year was one of my favourite matches from 2017. Monday will also see a rematch between Karolina Pliskova and Magdalena Rybarikova who last met at Wimbledon. Rybarikova knocked out the pre-tournament favourite en route to a first Slam semi-final.
Check out @i_am_peterpan_ on Twitter for some cracking photos from day 1 of qualifying in Birmingham.
Finally, I really enjoyed this piece by Ash Marshall on Caroline Dolehide. There have been so many bright talents emerging in 2018 and Dolehide has really impressed me with her aggressive and thoughtful game. I’m not sure if grass will be her thing. Dolehide went out in the first round of Birmingham qualifying to Eugenie Bouchard.