Monday’s Set Points, Wimbledon 2018 Day 1: Radwanska saves 6 match points, Safarova next in R2

This post is the second Set Points recap of the day, which covers the fourth and final quarter of the draw. For the first Set Points post that covers the third quarter, click HERE. It was another Slam day of surprises with a top five seed and two of last year’s quarter-finalist both going out on day 1. Read on for nine stories from Monday’s matches.

Maria d. Svitolina (Wimbledon, R1)

Two of the top five seeds are already out of Wimbledon as the number five seed, Elina Svitolina joined Sloane Stephens in exiting the tournament. Step forward, Tatjana Maria who won, 7-6(3) 4-6 6-1 on Court No.2. In the madness of the last few hours, I only saw the last few games of this match. Maria obviously came into it with bundles of confidence after winning her first WTA title in Mallorca. Maria looked so secure at the end and that slice was just devilish.

It was always going to be a tough draw at Wimbledon for Svitolina although I never saw this result coming. I’m really surprised. It’s been a rough time since Rome. I do expect Svitolina to come back strong on the hard courts.

Radwanska d. Ruse (Wimbledon, R1)

This was a contender for match of the day as Agnieszka Radwanska saved SIX match points to somehow claw her way back to beat the impressive Romanian qualifier, Elena-Gabriela Ruse, 6-3 4-6 7-5. Radwanska saved all the match points in a marathon eight deuce game at *4-5 in the decider. I tuned in for the end which was super entertaining!

My ultimate takeaway from the match was yet another find from Romania. I loved Ruse’s attitude and she has a really neat game. I hope we get to see more of her on the WTA tour. Props to Radwanska for digging out the win.

Funny moment of the day

I’m still cackling at this. Ruse managed to walk into a ballboy with the towel still on her head. The commentator’s reaction was hilarious!

S.Williams d. Rus (Wimbledon, R1)

Serena Williams came from a break down in the second set to beat Arantxa Rus on a windy No.1 Court, 7-5 6-3. It certainly wasn’t a classic! It was a good first outing for Serena to get done in straights. The serve held up for the most part.

Siniakova d. Vandeweghe (Wimbledon, R1)

In a match that was mostly painful to watch, Katerina Siniakova recovered from a 2-5 third set deficit to see off a heavily hobbling, CoCo Vandeweghe, 6-7(3) 6-3 8-6. Vandeweghe was practically on one leg as she battled an ankle injury. She also suffered an awful slip up at the net towards the end of the first set. She stubbornly played on and came very close to the win. Siniakova seemed completely lost in her tactics. Playing an injured player is not as easy as it sounds!

Really rough luck for CoCo who is always at her best on the grass. It just didn’t happen her for this year as Siniakova progresses to a fascinating second round clash against Ons Jabeur who won her first main draw match at Wimbledon.

Cirstea d. Rybarikova (Wimbledon, R1)

Winning her first match on the grass this year, Sorana Cirstea upset the 2017 Wimbledon semi-finalist and number 19 seed, Magdalena Rybarikova in straight sets, 7-5 6-3. It was a nice start to the match with the grass looking gorgeous and the tennis pretty damn good too! The first breakthrough came at 3-3 where a string of errors saw Cirstea lose her serve. Cirstea kept up with her aggressive tactics, breaking Rybarikova’s serve with a return winner that clipped the net and then taking the first set with a crunching backhand winner.

Ultimately, it was Cirstea’s aggressive hitting and ability to handle Rybarikova’s slice that won the match as she continually pushed Rybarikova back. Magda’s record at Wimbledon is a bizarre one – nine first round losses, one third round appearance and one semi-final appearance!

Keys d. Tomljanovic (Wimbledon, R1)

Madison Keys didn’t face a break point in a 6-4 6-2 first round win over Ajla Tomljanvoic. There were no data points on grass for Madison in 2018 heading into Wimbledon. Taking that into account, this was a very encouraging performance as she continues to be a very reliable player at the Slams. Keys faces a tricky second rounder against Luksika Kumkhum – one to watch!

Giorgi d. Sevastova (Wimbledon, R1)

Camila Giorgi knocked out the number 21 seed, Anastasija Sevastova, 6-1 2-6 6-4. Giorgi’s success behind the first serve and willingness to come forward felt like the difference between the two. Sevastova has had a disappointing month with first round losses at both the French Open and Wimbledon. Giorgi on grass is always a danger!

Safarova d. Bondarenko (Wimbledon, R1)

We will finish this post on a high as Lucie Safarova was not broken once in a 6-4 6-4 first round win over Kateryna Bondarenko. This was a surprisingly drama free performance from Lucie and she served out both sets with no fuss. Lucie gets Aga in the second round. I’m at Wimbledon on Wednesday so hoping this will get No.1 Court. I think it’s unlikely but I can dream!

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10 thoughts on “Monday’s Set Points, Wimbledon 2018 Day 1: Radwanska saves 6 match points, Safarova next in R2

  1. Lucie’s got a winning record against Aga (4 wins to Aga’s 1), although they haven’t played each other since 2011, so it should be a very interesting match. I think Aga has trouble coping with Lucie’s power, just as she does Petra’s (another leftie).

    Harriet Dart may have lost to Karolina Pliskova but she took Karo to three sets, so that was a very creditable effort, as was Katie Swan’s two-set victory over Irina-Camelia Begu (her first ever main draw victory at Wimbledon)..

    Tatjana Maria (who just won her first ever WTA title in Mallorca) is now through to the second round after beating Elina Svitolina for probably the best win of her career; faces Kiki Mladenovic next. This looks like a real Indian summer for Tatjana’s career, but Elina seems to underperform in slams for some reason – either that or she was simply flummoxed by Tatjana’s unorthodox slicey game.

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    • Svitolina is definitely in a very strange place mentally at the moment. People make out like she doesn’t have the game to win a Slam, but those of us who have watched her title runs this year know that she has more than enough. For some reason she just doesn’t bring it in the Slams! She serves slower, doesn’t come into the net and is generally just very passive…

      Not a bad first performance from Serena. Despite being a break down in the second, she never really felt in trouble. Hit a lot of errors but it was very windy and she was obviously wanting to go for it from the get go. If it stays hot and Serena stays injury free, I think she’s gonna win it.

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      • Well Svitolina was coming into the net loads at the end of yesterday’s match but not sure she wanted to! Yes I agree, she’s been fantastic at the WTA Premier level. I’ve never been convinced grass is for her.

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      • On paper, Svitolina should be able to play well on grass. She hits a hard, flat ball and (now) has quite a quick first serve. She did make the finals of Wimbledon as a junior, which she only narrowly lost to Bouchard.

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    • They had never played each other since 2011. It is difficult to tell what is the outcome. I love Lucie but I think Aga can steal the match too.

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    • The competition is much stiffer for her on grass. She maybe ranked top 10, but there are easily 10 girls who play better than her on grass. That said, even Radwanska has made it deep into wimbledon, opportunities will come.

      Putting the surface aside, her tournament starts are generally slow. It’s like, she kind of feels her way into the tournament. For a Tier 1 tourney, you can do that relatively easily because the fight is not intense at the starts and you have the coach along to fine tune. Slams, it’s hot, right off the bat. Players are up for it cause opportunity to greatness beckons.

      I still see some similarities with Stephens, in that, they are the kind of players who are harder to beat as the tournament progresses. Wozniacki was my pick for some time to win USopen to break her Gslam duck. Svitolina can do that now, but for grass, I will default to aggressive power players/power serves. It calls to them.

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  2. What is going on with WTA? Almost all the top players were struggling on the first day of Wimby. The results of the first day were so unpredictable. Some players could play well in the past week and then they slumped.

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    • It’s in a flux, fluid in some sense. The top players are also not killing themselves to maintain any high levels. I remember Garbine at the french said the no.1 ranking didn’t mean that much to her when going to face Halep since she prioritized winning the tournaments instead. Mentalities are changing, and for a young, top ranked power player like her being that circumspective about the tour, you can see why you wont seeing her winning tournament after tournament. They’re choosy.

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  3. Six seeds knocked out in only half of the 1st round. If the ITF goes ahead with the 16 seed format next year, there could be mass carnage in certain sections of the draw. Next year there could be not only nobodies knocking out stars, but also stars knocking out stars in the 1st round. Next year there could be a section in the quarter finals with two 100+ ranked players, due to luck of the draw and two upsets.

    I am amazed at how deep the talent is in the WTA today. When Chris Evert played, she might not lose a game in the first three matches of a GS, due to lack of talent of the lower ranked players.
    Yesterday, not only were six seeds knocked out, but many of the top stars had a difficult time with very lower ranked players.

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