Day 2 of main draw action at the Western & Southern Open saw the conclusion of the first round and the beginning of the second round. It was a pretty quiet day session with most matches wrapped up in straight sets. The night session seemed to be much more exciting so plenty to catch up on! Read on for 12 stories in Tuesday’s Set Points from Cincy.
Super Sakkari beats Osaka in straights
Varying her serve superbly and holding in all 10 (!) service games, Maria Sakkari beat a flat and somewhat passive Naomi Osaka, 6-3 7-6(8). Sakkari saved three set points in an entertaining second set. Sakkari was strong on serve and the rest of her game followed as surprisingly, she dominated Osaka in many of the rallies. It was an all round impressive display from Sakkari who held her nerve in the key moments for her 5th top 20 win of 2018.
Osaka didn’t have the strapping on her leg like in Washington and was moving a bit better. Still, she didn’t quite look herself despite putting a solid fight in the second set including saving two match points at *4-5 in the second set.
Anisimova continues to impress
The 16-year-old, Amanda Anisimova produced another impressive display with a 6-3 6-4 win over Timea Babos. It’s got to the stage where I am not surprised by these kind of results for Anisimova beating top 50 players. The American came from a break down in the second set and served out both sets with such composure. As i’ve said before, of all the exciting talent coming through on the WTA tour I am most sold on Anisimova. She’s going to be a huge star. Intrigued to see how Anisimova fares in the second round against Petra Martic.
Eighth time’s the charm for Pliskova
Karolina Pliskova finally snapped the streak of seven straight set losses to Agnieszka Radwanska with a 6-3 6-3 victory. This was a noteworthy win for Pliskova and a decent all round performance. The Czech player had new consultant/coach, Rennae Stubbs in her box. Stubbs came down for a changeover chat in the second set and had an instant response. Stubbs asked the question to Pliskova of how she had got to 0-40 on Aga’s serve at 3-2 in the second set (Radwanska went on to hold) to which she responded by being aggressive. Stubbs reiterated this point further and Pliskova clearly took on board the advice, committing to the aggressive gameplan and winning seven of the last eight points.
I have been disappointed with Pliskova’s level over the last 18 months or so and have generally felt that she has become more passive. Early days but I think the partnership with Stubbs could be a very positive one. Radwanska, who was playing her first match since Wimbledon, was just OK – not bad but not great and just missing a spark.
Pavlyuchenkova cruises past Krunic
Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova cruised past a listless and error-strewn Aleksandra Krunic, 6-1 6-0 in just 53 minutes! Krunic has won just four games in her last three matches and looks completely devoid of confidence. I hope all is OK with Aleksandra and she can find her game again soon because this was sad to watch. It is hard to really gauge Pavlyuchenkova’s level as she wasn’t tested at all. The Russian player did look sharp and there was no wavering at all at the end. Pavlyuchenkova will play Angelique Kerber in the second round with the pair tied at 6-6 in their head-to-head.
Bertens most improved player of 2018?
Kiki Bertens produced a near-faultless display to beat a rusty CoCo Vandeweghe, 6-2 6-0. Playing her first match since Wimbledon where she injured her ankle, CoCo was not really at the races and wasted a lot of early leads in games in the second set. Bertens fired eight aces and was completely secure in all aspects of her game. Bertens dropped five points on serve and finished with stats of 13 winners to just 4 unforced errors.
There wasn’t much going on in the match so it did get me thinking… Bertens has to be in the mix for the most improved player on the WTA tour in 2018? She’s playing with so much belief in her game and has been consistent throughout the entire year and across all surfaces. She’s made at least the third round of each Slam, broken new ground at Wimbledon by making the quarter-finals, won her biggest title in Charleston, made a Premier Mandatory final in Madrid and is starting to build again on the hard courts where she made the quarter-finals of Montreal last year.
Another fab win for Garcia
My final viewing of the night was the first of the second round matches between Caroline Garcia and Victoria Azarenka. There were a few WTA TV technical issues but once the stream came back, it was a good watch with hard hitting from both. Garcia sneaked the opener with back-to-back winners. Garcia broke Azarenka serving for the second set and went on to record a superb 6-4 7-5 victory. From what I saw Azarenka played well. Garcia played even better. I feel like Vika needs more matches before the US Open.
While I was sleeping…
So much happened 😭😂
Petra Kvitova beat Serena Williams, 6-3 2-6 6-3 in what sounded like an excellent match. I’ve got three days to watch back before the full match replay disappears on WTA TV! 😬.
Elina Svitolina snapped Svetlana Kuznetsova’s six match winning streak with a 7-6(1) 4-6 6-4 second round victory.
Petra Martic came from a set down to beat Daria Kasatkina in the last of the first round matches, 4-6 6-4 6-3. Dasha definitely needs more matches before the US!
WTA Insider Podcast
Enjoyed the latest episode of the WTA Insider podcast with Simona Halep after her title win in Montreal.
Halep qualifies for Singapore
By virtue of her win in Montreal, the WTA officially announced that Halep has qualified for the WTA Finals in Singapore.
US Open wild cards announced
Good decisions from the US Open who have awarded Victoria Azarenka and Svetlana Kuznetsova wild cards into the main draw.
Amazon Prime coverage for the US Open
Further details of Amazon Prime’s coverage of the US Open for UK viewers have been announced. Slightly concerned by the wording in the video on the second tweet linked below that says “multiple streams from several courts”. It says full match replays though which would be fantastic!
The remaining 12 second round matches will be played on Wednesday. A trio of polls linked below. Wozniacki-Bertens should be a good one. Martic-Anisimova is my hipster match of the day.
8 thoughts on “Tuesday’s Set Points, WTA Cincinnati: Pliskova snaps the streak, Sakkari & Anisimova impress”
Caroline Garcia really needs a title. Or at least a final. I feel like her stats this year have been a little misleading, because she seems to play her best tennis the first few rounds and then throw in a shocker in the 4th or quarter finals. Maybe it’s those looming title defences and tonne of points…
Another tough match for Garcia in the next round against Sabalenka.
For me the most improved player of 2018 remain Mihaela Buzarnescu, no matter if she play anymore this year or not.
Yep I tend to agree! Definitely my top two.
Don’t forget Elise Mertens! 3 singles titles and 3 doubles titles and a semi final in Australia. Unless she suffers a dip in form, it’s looking like she will qualify for Singapore.
Oops! Yes Mertens is definitely up there too.
Of course, Bertens and Mertens are improved this year but we knew they are good players with room for improvement but most improved is Buzarnescu coming out of nowhere and make top 20. My opinion, not everyone have to see it my way:)))
I’d agree! I think Buzarnescu would be my no.1 in this category, closely followed by Mertens and Bertens.