Wednesday’s Set Points, US Open 2018 Day 3: Blockbusters set, Venus-Serena & Sloane-Vika!

Day 3 of the US Open saw the second round played out for the top half of the women’s draw. There were two notable upsets including the first one overnight which was a shocker! Otherwise, the seeds were mostly successful and these results have paved the way for a couple of blockbuster match-ups for Friday. Thoughts on Thursday’s matches are up on the blog on the separate page. Read on for 9 stories in Wednesday’s Set Points post from the US Open.

Svitolina turns the tables on Maria

Elina Svitolina opened proceedings on Louis Armstrong stadium with a comfortable 6-2 6-3 win over Tatjana Maria. Svitolina turned the tables on Maria after suffering a surprising first round loss to the German player in the first round of Wimbledon. This was a professional display from Svitolina who won the battle at the net and was clean with her passing shots. Svitolina has looked mostly calm through her first two rounds, despite dropping a set in her first round match. I feel like not many people are talking up her chances for this tournament and that’s probably a good thing for Elina.

Next up in the third round for Svitolina is Wang Qiang. Svitolina leads the head-to-head, 2-0, but both previous matches have gone the distance.

Louis Armstrong TV view fixed!

I was delighted to see through watching Svitolina-Maria that they’ve got a new camera for the Louis Armstrong stadium! A rather radical move, as outlined in the tweet below, but good to see the US Open reacting quickly to all the complaints. Looking forward to watching more matches on Armstrong 😊.

Azarenka storms past Gavrilova

Victoria Azarenka is back into the third round of a Slam after a routine 6-1 6-2 victory over Daria Gavrilova. Azarenka was lethal on return with Gavrilova holding serve just once throughout the 88-minute contest. The pair were having a good old natter at the end of the match!

Stephens survives, a win is a win

Sloane Stephens was pushed all the way by the world number 134, Anhelina Kalinina. From a set down and just two games from defeat, Stephens survived to reach the third round, 4-6 7-5 6-2 in two hours and 46 minutes. This was the first time i’ve seen Kalinina play. In her first match against a top 40 player and on the big stage, Kalinina made a name for herself.

For Stephens, it was not a vintage display by any means but she got the win. It doesn’t matter how you do it, as long as you get across the finish line! Considering the conditions and expectation, Stephens was very steady in the third set and was on her way after saving two break points at *0-1 as Kalinina eventually ran out of steam. Big respect to Stephens who applauded Kalinina off the court and also encouraged the crowd to clap her off too👏 . Really nice touch from Sloane (see below).

Next up in the third round – Sloane Stephens vs. Victoria Azarenka 🔥🔥🔥

Heck of an effort from Venus

From an early break down in both sets, Venus Williams edged past Camila Giorgi in two tight sets, 6-4 7-5. This was a heck of an effort from Venus to get the job done in straight sets. It was very different to her last match against Kuznetsova where she was looking to come forward. That was never going to get the job done against Giorgi. Williams once again demonstrated her intelligence on court and ability to adapt to the opponent. Williams weathered the Giorgi storm with excellent depth and placement on her groundstrokes, and avoided getting pushed back too far behind the baseline.

Williams won the majority of key points, especially in the second set. The American player came from *0-30 down in her last three service games and saved five break points at *4-4. While there was a sense that Giorgi could have done more and generally struggled to play good points back-to-back, Williams showed great variation on serve and found the first serve when it mattered.

Venus-Serena #30 incoming in the third round!

Makarova d. Goerges after a WILD 1st set tiebreak

After a wild first set tiebreak, Ekaterina Makarova took control with better serving to knock an increasingly erratic, Julia Goerges, 7-6(10) 6-3. Via Tennis Abstract, this was the 13th time that Makarova has beaten a top ten player at a Slam!

The match felt like it was decided on the first set tiebreak. Makarova saved three set points to get to the tiebreak and then needed NINE set points before sealing the set with a great serve down-the-tee. Goerges didn’t have any set points in the tiebreak! Makarova double faulted on two of the set points. After what had been a high quality 12 games, the tiebreak was a tense and nervy affair with both players tightening up.

Goerges kept fighting but Makarova was just too good on serve, dropping just four points behind it in the second set. Makarova advances to a third round date with Anastasija Sevastova. Not a clue who wins that one!

While I was sleeping…

The biggest upset of the day saw the world #202 beat the number 12 seed, Garbiñe Muguruza, 3-6 6-4 6-4. The match was still going on when I woke up so I saw the last game where Muguruza looked out-of-sorts and was desperately grunting. What a win for Muchova!

As alluded to above, Serena Williams won her second round match, easing past Carina Witthoeft, 6-2 6-2.

Ash Barty beat Lucie Safarova, 7-5 6-3. Mixed feelings about this one! Don’t know anything about how the match went apart from some loud noise? Barty’s draw has now opened up on paper as she will play Muchova in the third round. Both will be seeking to break new ground and reach the last 16 of a Slam for the first time.

Common sense prevails with Cornet

The incident with Alizé Cornet was picked up in the comments on yesterday’s Set Points post and was even on the BBC News front page (!) after Judy Murray tweeted about it. I’m glad to see that the US Open and WTA cleared up the situation and both issued statements.

Thursday’s US Open schedule

All the matches I want to see are first up on Thursday… will probably go and play tennis instead!

Follow Moo’s Tennis Blog on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Photo in this post by Omar Boraby Photography.

6 thoughts on “Wednesday’s Set Points, US Open 2018 Day 3: Blockbusters set, Venus-Serena & Sloane-Vika!

  1. I saw most of the first set, Lucie actually played well even though there were a few misses in key moments. Ash was very very solid on her serve and I think this is why she won the match. I’m not sure what happened in the second set, but I guess Lucie had issues to recover from the loss of the first set. The noise issue was absolutely terrible, I’ve never seen something like this! I had to mute my computer lol.

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    • Thanks for the update, Morgane! Appreciate it 🙂 I feel like Lucie is generally playing at a high level these past few months? Her last five losses have been against Barty, Goerges, Makarova, Maria and Ka.Pliskova. All quality opponents, only the match vs. Maria where I was surprised she lost but Maria won the title that week! I hope she keeps going in singles because I think she still has a lot to offer, if she stays healthy. Her ranking has dipped and therefore the draws have been tough. My fear is she may retire from singles at the end of the year and just keep going in doubles. We shall see…

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  2. Stephens def Kalinina 4-6,7-5,6-2
    The bookies had Stephens as a 11 to 1 favorite, no doubt they were sweating out of all pores.

    Muchova def Muguruza 3-6,6-4,6-4
    The bookies only had Mug as a 4 to 1 favorite, and I had never heard of Muchova before.

    Kenin def Sakkari 4-6,6-1,6-4
    Two relative no names and the huge Grandstand was 95% EMPTY.
    The casual fans want to see stars not no names. When the 16 seeded draw starts, with stars knocking out stars, empty stands might be common in the GS QFs.
    Kenin has average WTA speed, power, and height. Her assets are, IMO, racquet control and her mind. She can hit cross court backhands with big angles and she knows where to move in anticipation of her opponents shots. Possibly a solid top 30 player.

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  3. Sabalenka vs Collins
    For those interested.
    For some strange reason the entire match is still on the chrome app “SportZone”.
    Normally they remove the match about 30 min after it finishes, but 3 days later the Sab/Collins match is still there, but you need to hit the roundabout arrows to see this match.
    All the USO matches are on “SportZone” and its free.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Karolína Muchová is hands down the player I am most excited about in the draw right now after seeing most of her match that night! Other than getting flustered at a few key moments, Muguruza did not play that bad a match and was in fact looking quite sharp overall, she simply came up against someone who was playing bigger, better tennis, both on average and when it mattered most. Muchová was moving fluidly, attacking well, using variety, pushing forwards very often, and executing some deft volleys and touch shots — very impressive stuff. She did hit a lot of errors and seems to be a bit of a confidence player, but she excelled here, too, by regaining her concentration multiple times after letting it slip.

    Personal highlights:
    – no question, that’s a big forehand with lots of spin variety, more like Barty (who she plays next) or vintage Stosur than, say, Ostapenko or Sharapova (who play each other next); the backhand has lots of shape and speed to it, too
    – she hit a superb high backhand flick lob volley clean over Garbiñe’s head — no mean feat in any situation — as a follow-up to a delicate drop half-volley approach; Pam Shriver and Rennae Stubbs were starting to run out of ways to express their admiration for her net game around this point
    – during one service game she got a deep floating return thanks to a strong first serve and had ample time to set up the next shot, so what does she do? She hovers around the baseline looking like she might take it high on the rise but then very quickly takes half a step forward and punches a hard two-handed backhand half-volley straight at her opponent’s feet, causing Shriver (I think) to utter a genuinely astonished “Wow”

    All in all, she reminds me a bit of Jo-Wilfried Tsonga when he tore a gaping hole in the Aussie Open draw 10 years ago, with that same rare combination of precise power, natural athleticism, instinctive net-play, and, when focussed, fighting spirit. Even if this ends up being just a flash in the pan performance, I for one greatly enjoyed it. Fingers crossed that she continues to make noise and quickly climbs up the rankings to the heights her talent merits!

    (Worth noting: both Muchová and Muguruza looked pretty unfazed by the muggy evening conditions, in sharp contrast to the Nadal v Pospisil match happening simultaneously, in which Vasek, though playing fairly well, all but collapsed halfway through set 2, down a set but up a break, and both men were thoroughly drenched in sweat within 10 minutes of play.)

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    • Wow high praise, Alexander! I sadly didn’t get to see Muchova-Muguruza and have never seen Muchova play before. Since it’s the weekend coming (yay) I may try and stay up for Barty-Muchova tonight.

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