The last 16 is set for Wimbledon 2018 with the top half of third round matches completed on a balmy Saturday. Today was a crazy day of sport as England won through to the semi-finals of the World Cup. My ears are still hurting from my brother’s screaming 😂. There will be two preview posts up on the main page for 4th round matches with the first one already up. Once finished writing, i’ll be retreating to a dark room and doing nothing. I’d say sleeping but it’s too damn hot 😂. Read on for 13 stories in Saturday’s Set Points.
Kasatkina vs. Barty (Wimbledon, R3)
Saving two break points at *1-4 down in the first set, Daria Kasatkina came back to beat Ash Barty, 7-5 6-3. As regular readers will know, i’m a big fan of these two and wanted them both to win! I was hoping it would go the distance. There were some gorgeous points and if you’re not a fan of ball bashing tennis, this was the match for you.
Barty had started in irresistable form with three consecutive love service games. Kasatkina hit a bundle of double faults early on, but was playing aggressively in the rallies and using her forehand positively. As Kasatkina’s serve became more steady, Barty’s went the other way. Kasatkina saved two break points at *1-4 with an ace and serve-FH combo, and went onto win six of the last seven games of the set. The big different was Barty’s erratic backhand with the slice not working and almost passive.
Barty and Kasatkina traded breaks to get to 3-3 in the second set. Barty was becoming a bit more consistent off the backhand and was looking for the forehand. Kasatkina was starting to back off and retreat behind the baseline having looked in control of her game. Barty had *3-3 *40-15 but gave Kasatkina a hamper of gifts to go behind in the score once again. From there on, Barty’s game rather unravelled. It was sad to watch and I can’t remember ever seeing Barty fall apart like that.
Kasatkina played a great match, perhaps her best on grass. She handled Barty’s slice so well and actually looked more dangerous with her own slice. Kasatkina constructed the points better and was more convincing at the ends of both sets. I wanted a hug at the end and I think Dasha wanted one too but Ash was just not in the mood! Dasha all the way now…
Kontaveit vs. Van Uytvanck (Wimbledon, R3)
Causing a major upset is one thing. Backing it up is a whole new level. Props to Alison Van Uytvanck who knocked out the number 28 seed, Anett Kontaveit in straight sets, 6-2 6-3. My focus was on Barty-Kasatkina so I only watched the end. Kontaveit peaked on some of the match points. Van Uytvanck kept plugging away and got the win. Well done, Alison!
Ostapenko vs. Diatchenko (Wimbledon, R3)
Jelena Ostapenko has spent less than two hours on court in her last two matches as she comfortably saw off Vitalia Diatchenko, 6-0 6-4. It was so quick that I only caught the last few games! Ostapenko failed to serve out the match at *5-3 as Diatchenko produced a late comeback. A foot fault called on a second serve for Diatchenko seemed to halt her momentum as Ostapenko broke for the win with another aggressive strike on a second serve. Diatchenko won just four points out of 22 on her second serve in what was another brutal display of hitting from Ostapenko.
Halep vs. Hsieh (Wimbledon, R3)
Hsieh Su-Wei rode an aggressive late surge to save a match point and win the last five games to beat the world number one, Simona Halep, 3-6 6-4 7-5. What a sensational match!!!!!!!!!
I’d tagged this as one to watch but didn’t expect Hsieh to go all the way and actually win the match. Hsieh was embroiled in some classics at the Australian Open where she beat Muguruza and Radwanska, and had Kerber on the ropes for a time. This was another one to add to the memory box. It looked like Hsieh was tiring in the final set as Halep ran out to a 5-2 lead. Hsieh gave it one last go and started to hit more aggressively, moving Halep from side-to-side.
Halep was noticeably hesitant to come forward and this ultimately was her undoing as she stayed back and tried to battle from the baseline. Hitting with gorgeous angles and some quite remarkable defence, Hsieh went from serving to stay in the Championships to serving to WIN the match at *6-5. Hsieh saved two break points to serve out the biggest win of her career. Halep will be disappointed with the final few points as she missed some key returns. All the credit to Hsieh, who even managed a chuckle during a pause in between first and second serves on match point 😂.
Hsieh Su-Wei in press
There was a wonderful interview with Hsieh on the Wimbledon Channel. See a snippet below on Twitter and the full interview can be found HERE. The ending had me in stitches – “see you, Dominika, let’s have some fun on the court!” 😂😂😂
Suárez Navarro vs. Bencic (Wimbledon, R3)
Belinda Bencic is back into the second week of a Slam for the first time since the 2016 Australian Open after a 6-1 7-6(3) victory over Carla Suárez Navarro. CSN twice failed to serve out the second set at *5-4 and *6-5.
Bencic played a fantastic first set. She was so sharp in all aspects of her game and looked ultra confident. Up 3-0 in the second set, CSN had a resurgence and Bencic came down from that high level. Still, the Swiss player managed to stay present and aggressive, and prevail in the second set tiebreak. I’m most happy just to see BB back on court and seemingly fit and healthy again. After all her injury issues, this run has been wonderful to watch.
Cibulkova vs. Mertens (Wimbledon, R3)
In the afternoon excitement of Halep-Hsieh and various other matches, I didn’t see any of this match! By all accounts, Dominika Cibulkova is one to watch this week as she comfortably defeated Elise Mertens, 6-2 6-2. The Slovak player has not dropped a set this week and is in fabulous form. I was very surprised at the nature of this result as had thought it had the makings of a three set epic.
Gavrilova vs. Sasnovich (Wimbledon, R3)
Following Vekic and Van Uytvanck, Aliaksandra Sasnovich is another player who has backed up her top ten upset in style. After beating Petra Kvitova in the first round, Sasnovich hasn’t dropped a set en route to reach the last 16 of a Slam for the first time in her career! Sasnovich beat Daria Gavrilova, 6-3 6-1 in just 76 minutes. A key stat in this one – Gavrilova hit 10 double faults and her serve was broken six times.
Kerber vs. Osaka (Wimbledon, R3)
Angelique Kerber produced a sensational display, one of her best in 2018, to beat Naomi Osaka, 6-2 6-4. I haven’t seen many better starts to a match this year as both players tore up the court with winners. Kerber ran away with the first set from 2-1 as Osaka just couldn’t get a foothold in the match.
Osaka was broken early in the second set and this match began to have a rather inevitable feel to it. To her credit, Osaka stayed in touch with Kerber and actually played at a decent level in the second set. Kerber was unstoppable in the second set, dropping just six points behind her serve. She consistently moved Osaka around the court, striking down-the-line winners for fun. Kerber served out the match to 15 and finished with 23 winners to 5 unforced errors. INSANE STATS!
Team Bucie into R3 of doubles
Team Bucie, aka Lucie Safarova and Bethanie Mattek-Sands, won their second round doubles match against Kaia Kanepi and Andrea Petkovic, 6-4 6-4. They failed to serve it out with Lucie missing two volleys up at the net. They were able to break for the win though with Kanepi throwing in two double faults including one on match point.
Next up is Andrea Sestini Hlavackova and Barbora Strycova. What a third round match!
Bertens’s Press Conference from Friday
Really nice to see Kiki so happy after her fantastic third round win over Venus. I like what she said about playing on grass – “I have to go a little bit more for my shots and I have to make more mistakes and I find it tough to accept the mistakes, but you have to go for it a little bit more”.
The first of two previews posts is up on MTB for the four matches from the bottom half of the women’s draw.
In all my time of doing draws for a Slam, I can safely say this is my WORST EVER PERFORMANCE. For the last 16, I correctly predicted TWO players! Interesting my men’s draw is actually looking quite good as I had Tsitsipas and Khachanov to the last 16. I’m proud of my disaster and am ready to embrace the second week… after a day of not thinking about tennis!!!