The WTA is rocking back into action with the finals of San Jose and Washington all set, and most players ready to go in Montreal for next week’s Premier 5 stop on the calendar. Washington has finally caught up with their schedule with the two finalists both having to play two matches on Saturday. Read on for 9 stories in Saturday’s Set Points post.
WTA San Jose
Another three setter for Buzarnescu… and another win!
Mihaela Buzarnescu is a machine. End of story.
Buzarnescu rallied from a set down to beat Elise Mertens, 4-6 6-3 6-1. It was Buzarnescu’s third three set win of the week and 14th of the year. I could keep listing stats to further cement what has been a quite remarkable year for Buzarnescu. Surely she’s a banker for one of the season-ending awards but not sure which one – I guess most improved?
Mertens was struggling at the end of the match with a forearm injury. Credit to Buzarnescu who was completely unphased by this and just went after her shots. We’ve seen many occasions where a player can lose focus when their opponent is struggling with an injury.
Buzarnescu spoke in press (via WTA Instagram stories) about pulling out of Moscow last week with an injury and that she has surprised herself by reaching the final in San Jose. This will be her third final of the year following Hobart and Prague, and she’s going for her first WTA level title.
A stunning comeback from Sakkari
Maria Sakkari came back from 3-6 1-4 down to win 11 of the last 14 games and beat Danielle Collins, 3-6 7-5 6-2. Sakkari is into her FIRST WTA final and a Premier at that! I’m going to go and watch back some of that match now…
Sunday’s final – Buzarnescu vs. Sakkari
A very unexpected, but intriguing final awaits in San Jose. I like the dynamic that both are going for their first WTA title. I’ve stated in previous posts that I am worried about the amount of tennis that Buzarnescu has played. She looked OK on Saturday although did speak about dealing with the heat. Buzarnescu has the more explosive game and weapons that can hurt Sakkari. The Greek player though has had a great week and looked solid for the most part. We know that Sakkari will keep scrapping away and that could be a factor.
Kuznetsova, Vekic & Zheng Saisai win early on Saturday
Three of the four quarter-finals in Washington were unable to finish on Friday so they had to come back on Saturday to finish before their semi-finals. Thankfully all three matches were decided in straight sets. Kuznetsova beat Yulia Putintseva, 6-2 6-2, winning all four games on Saturday’s resumption. Vekic failed to serve out her match against Magda Linette at *5-3 and missed two match points at 5-4. Vekic would go onto sweep through the second set tiebreak with a tiebagel. Zheng Saisai, a finalist in Nanchang last week, dropped just four games against Allie Kiick.
Kuznetsova emphatically reaches D.C. final
Svetlana Kuznetsova had won just four matches heading into Washington. Dropping only 14 games in four matches, Kuznetsova has doubled her number of match wins for 2018 this week and is into her first final since Indian Wells last year. Kuznetsova beat an erratic, Andrea Petkovic, 6-2 6-2. Kuznetsova needed a few match points at the end but on the whole, was in control of her game and demonstrated all her variety.
Vekic’s first final since Nottingham 2017
After a breakthrough run at Wimbledon last month, Donna Vekic is now into the Washington final. Vekic beat Zheng Saisai in the semi-finals, 7-5 6-3. Notably, Vekic saved match points in her quarter-final match against Fanny Stollar, 6-2 3-6 7-6(13). I’d recommend watching back the third set tiebreak on WTA TV On Demand (hurry, you’ve only got today!). It was high quality for the most part and both players, especially Stollar, produced fearless winners down match point. I was impressed that Vekic didn’t completely lose the plot and stayed in the present.
Sunday’s Final – Kuznetsova vs. Vekic
The pair are tied at 1-1 in their head-to-head with Kuznetsova winning their last match in Tianjin just under two years ago, 7-5 6-4. I actually had Sveta to reach the final this week in my Draw Challenge! I’ll go with Sveta considering how she has swept through the draw and played this week.
Petko is awesome
One of the great things about Andrea Petkovic doing well on tour is we get to hear her more of her in press. The Citi Open have posted some of her press conferences and they are all delightful. Petkovic is so thoughtful with her answers.
During Friday’s rainy day, Petkovic went through her third set tiebreak against Bencic on Tennis Channel. This was a great idea and there were so many fascinating insights. Click on the Tennis.com article below and the video at the top of the article.
S.Williams out of Montreal
The players seem to be having a great time in Montreal. Check out Jimmie48 Photography on Twitter for more super pics.