The main draw for the 2018 Nature Valley Classic started on Monday. I’m still not fully into the tennis having missed most of the tennis at work and then a bit of evening baking and watching the football. This post is a sweeping summary of Monday’s action. Hopefully there will be a bit more to report on tomorrow with a packed schedule in Birmingham. I’m starting to crave some live tennis – five days to go until Eastbourne!
Mladenovic d. Siniakova (Birmingham, R1)
From a set down, Kristina Mladenovic snapped a three match losing streak stretching back to Madrid with a 1-6 6-2 6-4 victory over Katerina Siniakova. I caught some of the first and second sets during my lunch break which didn’t move me. I thought Mladenovic stepped it up in the second set and played a nice, aggressive game to close out the second set from 0-30.
Gavrilova d. Cibulkova (Birmingham, R1)
Daria Gavrilova saved a pair of set points in a tidy straight sets win over Dominika Cibulkova, 6-3 7-6(6). Gavrilova played a fanastic point to save the second of the set points with a gorgeous angle on the forehand, followed by a tricky slice that Cibulkova couldn’t chase down. I only watched back the end of the second set but I was pleasantly surprised by how aggressive Gavrilova was.
Rybarikova d. Ka. Pliskova (Birmingham, R1)
The first upset of the tournament saw Magdalena Rybarikova beat the number three seed, Karolina Pliskova, 6-2 6-3. This was Rybarikova’s second straight win over Pliskova on grass. I caught most of the match and felt Pliskova’s heart wasn’t in it. The Czech player was very laboured in her footwork and movement, and definitely needs more matches on the grass. Rybarikova dropped just nine points on serve in what was her 18th victory in Birmingham.
Next up for Rybarikova is Mladenovic in R2. Magda has won their two previous matches in three sets.
Best of the rest from Brum
Naomi Osaka dropped just three games against Katie Boulter to move into the second round. The final round of qualifying also wrapped up with Oceane Dodin, Jennifer Brady, Dalila Jakupovic and Kristyna Pliskova all qualifying for the main draw. There was also an excellent doubles win for Daria Kasatkina and Garbiñe Muguruza who beat the number two seed, Andrea Sestini Hlavackova and Barbora Strycova!
R1 Polls for Birmingham
A brilliant schedule awaits in Birmingham on Tuesday. A pair of polls linked below for Kvitova vs. Konta and Muguruza vs. Pavlyuchenkova.
An update on Lucie
For Lucie fans, there’s an in-depth interview up on her official website (great work, Morgane!). It’s sad to read that Lucie considered retirement during another bacterial infection that kept her away from the tour between February and May. I’ve wondered lately if she may drop the singles and focus only on doubles. From this interview, it seems that this soon may be a possibility.