Hello to all! It’s been a while since I have blogged so thought it was time for an update. After the US Open, and particularly with everything that came with the final, I needed a break. I’ve just changed roles at work so that took most of my thoughts in the week immediately after the US Open. I have spent the last week on holiday with family in North Wales. It was a lovely relaxing break, even if the weather was absolutely shocking. We’ve been so lucky with September holidays so it leveled up! Still, we managed to get out in the fresh air, always with an umbrella in hand, and lots of good food. I’ve come back quite a bit heavier after consuming an array of decadent puds (for those interested, check out my Instagram page).
I watched a bit of tennis from Tokyo. To be honest, I didn’t really have the appetite for watching. I’ve definitely scaled back in the last year on tennis having been so, so intense for a long time. Tennis is still a big fascination for me but I now like focusing on other things.
The one main takeaway from my slightly peripheral position over the past two weeks is that Naomi Osaka is looking good! While coming up short to Karolina Pliskova in the final, it was an impressive week for the Japanese player. The main draw for Wuhan is out and already underway, and I was watching some of Sunday’s matches. I happened to check my work e-mail (big mistake) and next week is looking busy! I’ll take it day-by-day and see if I have the time and motivation to write. Read on for five stories in Sunday’s Set Points post.
Goerges turns the tables on Vondrousova
Julia Goerges recovered from a mid-match slump to beat Marketa Vondrousova, winning 6-3 3-6 7-6(4). This was one of four three set matches on the Centre Court on Sunday in Wuhan. Goerges was in control of the match up a set and a break, leading 6-3 *3-2. The difference for Goerges in the first half of the match was a high percentage of points won behind the first serve and her willingness to come forward. From there, Goerges completely lost her way as Vondrousova reeled off six straight games to win the second set and get the early break in the third set. Goerges almost seemed to tank at the end of the second set. The German player had a chat with the umpire towards the end of it but didn’t have the trainer on. She had a pretty long trip off court in between the second and third sets.
Goerges managed to reset in the decider and saved six break points at 5-5, most with bold and brave hitting. Goerges dominated the ensuing third set tiebreak and fended off a late charge from Vondrousova to record her first win since the US Open. It’s unclear what happened to Goerges midway through the second set. The fact that she managed to get back into her groove and win the match is a testament to the improvements she has made in the last few years. It was another gritty three set win. In fact, Goerges is 15-4 in three set matches in 2018 and has won her last eight (!) that have gone the distance.
Kasatkina’s first win over Tsurenko
Daria Kasatkina recorded a first ever win over Lesia Tsurenko, coming from a break down in both sets to win in straights, 6-4 7-5. This wasn’t a pretty match with a lot of unforced errors from both players. I thought that Kasatkina’s intensity was decent from the get-go and she was just a bit better at the ends of both sets. I think this was a big win for Kasatkina who hasn’t made much of an impact on tour since a quarter-final run at Wimbledon. Tsurenko had the trainer on for an ankle injury in the second set – Lesia always seems to have some kind of physical issue going on!
Kasatkina gets Bernarda Pera or Wang Xiyu in the second round. Hopeful of a solid week for Dasha who looks set for the Zhuhai line-up with an outside shot at Singapore.
Zhang eases past Stosur
Zhang Shuai beat good friend, Sam Stosur, 6-2 6-2 in a very comfortable first round win. Zhang’s had a pretty quiet year up till now with just two semi-final showings in Prague and Hiroshima. The draw has opened up for the Chinese player in Wuhan as her second round opponent is now Polona Hercog who has taken the place of Naomi Osaka. Stosur struggled to make much of an impact in this match. That’s now four straight set losses in a row for Sam although they have all come against top 50 players.
Zhang vs. Hercog will be the only second round match on Monday’s schedule in Wuhan.
A valiant effort from Kontaveit
In the last match of the day, Anett Kontaveit produced a valiant effort to come from a set and a break down to beat Sloane Stephens, 4-6 7-5 6-4 in two hours and 33 minutes. This was Kontaveit’s first top ten win since beating Kvitova at Roland Garros and her eighth victory against top ten opposition.
It was an interesting match with missed opportunities from both sides. Kontaveit was unable to build on a bright start as Stephens won six of the last seven games to win the opener. The American took control of the match with her superior defence as Kontaveit simply made too many unforced errors. It felt like she was overforcing and coach, Nigel Sears, urged for more composure and positivity. Kontaveit fought tremendously and came from a break down to win the second set against an increasingly passive and edgy, Stephens.
The third set was another close affair with Kontaveit saving the best till last. She produced some crushing winners at the end, digging herself out of a *0-40 hole at *4-4 with some fierce ballstriking. Stephens had her chances to win this one but was wasteful with a lead and mistimed a lot of shots in the decider as she tried to be more aggressive. Ultimately, Kontaveit’s fighting spirit in the second and bravery in the third helped her home for the upset win.
The latest bake
I’m now a week behind on my 2018 GBBO bakes after the holiday. Today I made some sticky spiced orange Chelsea buns. Kontaveit-Stephens provided a nice interlude between waiting for the damn dough (it’s coldddd) to rise! All pretty successful though 🙂.