Wednesday was my last day in sunny Eastbourne. I don’t think we will ever get a better weather week than this one. It was another memorable week – the highlight was definitely the one-to-one interview with Johanna Konta. While a good week, i’m happy to be home and eager to catch up on sleep. Eastbourne is always very rewarding, but exhausting. I’ve got two days at work and then i’m off next Monday to Wednesday for the first week of Wimby. Read on for 7 stories from Wednesday’s action in Eastbourne.
I will miss my morning wander around the grounds watching players practice. This morning, Daria Kasatkina and Elise Mertens, and Agnieszka Radwanska and Mihaela Buzarnescu were practising together. Jelena Ostapenko was out on Court 6 with her new coach, Glenn Schapp who is Anett Kontaveit’s former coach. Ostapenko was very frustrated with her serve this morning and bounced her racquet after missing a couple into the net.
Kvitova withdraws from Eastbourne
It was announced this morning that Petra Kvitova had withdrawn from the tournament with a hamstring injury. I was going to try and get on Centre Court for her third round match against Agnieszka Radwanska as had yet to see Petra. Oh well!
Match Recap – Ostapenko d. Buzarnescu (Eastbourne, R3)
As expected, I couldn’t get onto Court 3 for Kasatkina-Sevastova so opted to watch Jelena Ostapenko vs. Mihaela Buzarnescu on Court 1. I’d love to see these two play each other when they are both at their best. Sadly, Buzarnescu’s heavy schedule finally caught up with her as she looked flat and was struggling with a shoulder injury. This translated into the service stats as Buzarnescu held serve just once out of seven tries.
Ostapenko played a pretty solid match and dropped just four points behind her first serve. She clearly got it together after practice! I’m pleasantly surprised to see Ostapenko playing well after nearly a month away from the tour. Granted, she hasn’t been properly tested yet this week.
Match Recap – Sabalenka d. Mertens (Eastbourne, R3)
Aryna Sabalenka reached her first Premier quarter-final with a hard fought win over the number nine seed, Elise Mertens, 7-5 2-6 7-6(4) in two hours and 40 minutes. I watched the first set which was a humdinger!
The first two games of the match took nearly half an hour with a combined 19 deuces! It’s common to see some quick matches and retirements/withdrawals in Eastbourne the week before a Slam so it was refreshing to see such a well contested match. I noted the improvement from Sabalenka compared to when I saw her in the first round as she played with controlled aggression to lead *4-2 *40-30. However, Sabalenka started to get frustrated and the errors soon came. Mertens, who was annoyed at a number of line calls, eventually levelled up in the scoreline. I was impressed with her defence up close as she moved really well to track down balls into the corners.
Sabalenka battled hard to hold onto serve, saving two break points at 4-4 and one at 5-5, getting out of the latter with some excellent serving. Sabalenka then broke Mertens for the set on her third set point with a super point finished with a dinky drop shot. I had to leave after the first set. It was a nice way to end my Eastbourne trip as this was one of the better sets I saw all week.
For Tuesday’s photos from Eastbourne including Ostapenko, Sabalenka, Rybarikova, Hsieh, Goerges, Strycova, Kerber, Kasatkina, Van Uytvanck, Barty and Mladenovic, check out the MTB Facebook page.
For Wednesday’s photos from Eastbourne including Mertens, Kasatkina, Radwanska, Buzarnescu, Ostapenko and Sabalenka, check out the MTB Facebook page.
QFs in Eastbourne
Eastbourne’s quarter-final line-up is all set for Thursday and it’s a cracker!
Caroline Wozniacki vs. Ash Barty
Angelique Kerber vs. Daria Kasatkina
Jelena Ostapenko vs. Agnieszka Radwanska
Karolina Pliskova vs. Aryna Sabalenka
I’m going for Barty, Kerber, Ostapenko and Pliskova to reach the semi-finals. I’m hoping to get back in time for Kerber-Kasatkina which is not before 5pm. Kasatkina has owned Kerber of late, but the German player is much more comfortable and experienced on the grass so i’m intrigued to see how that balances out.
And that’s a wrap on my live coverage from Eastbourne!