Tuesday’s schedule was headlined by the first match in the night session between Garbiñe Muguruza and Aryna Sabalenka. I love it when a hotly anticipated match lives up to expectation! Wednesday’s schedule is pretty light with the conclusion of the second round and two of the third rounders. The draw has held up better so far than in Wuhan. Read on for seven stories to cover Tuesday’s action in Beijing.
Cibulkova sets up Stephens showdown
Dominika Cibulkova levelled up her head-to-head against Daria Gavrilova with an impressive 6-3 6-3 victory. Cibulkova dominated with her forehand and was much more effective on serve with Gavrilova throwing in eight double faults during the 84 minute contest. Cibulkova has cut down her schedule this year but has been enjoying a resurgence of form in the second half of 2018. I still can’t stand her cheering unforced errors 😂.
Next up for Cibulkova is Sloane Stephens in the third round. Stephens leads the H2H, 3-1 although their last two matches have gone the distance including their frenetic and fabulous final in Acapulco back in 2016. I’d go for Domi in this one.
Sabalenka beats Muguruza
Aryna Sabalenka extended her winning streak to seven with a 7-5 6-4 victory over Garbiñe Muguruza. I watched the match back to front – I caught the second set in between meetings at work and just watched the first set back. It was a captivating contest and one of the better matches i’ve watched in recent months. The rallies were fantastic 🔥🔥🔥.
Muguruza definitely got up for this clash, bringing her level in respect of Sabalenka’s quality. I was so impressed with Sabalenka’s ability to reset in this match. She missed out on a lot of break point opportunities, many well saved by Muguruza, but it didn’t seem to deter Sabalenka at all. I think that Sabalenka is so much more than a brainless ball basher. It feels like she has harnessed her power and her game is still intensely aggressive yet contained.
Muguruza played some superb points to save break points at *2-3 and *4-5 in the second set. A bulldozing Sabalenka kept on ploughing forward and eventually sealed the win on her third match point. I’ve always maintained that Muguruza is at her best coming forward. She missed some howlers in the final game of the match but otherwise looked dangerous at the net.
Great match and one well worth watching back on WTA TV. I’m getting Garcia 2017 vibes for Sabalenka and really wouldn’t be surprised if she goes all the way again in Beijing. Interestingly, Sabalenka plays Garcia next in the third round.
Kerber-Suarez Navarro highlights
This looked like a good match. An encouraging win for Kerber against an in-form opponent.
Wang Qiang d. Jelena Ostapenko, 6-0 6-0. Yeah, wasn’t expecting that scoreline! Just as surprised that Ostapenko went for the hug at the end?!
I’d wondered around Wimbledon whether Elena Vesnina may be pregnant. Elena confirmed the news on social media yesterday! Congrats, Elena 😃.
Osaka qualifies for Singapore
Thrilled to see that Naomi Osaka has qualified for Singapore. The Japanese player has now won 12 of her last 13 matches and will play Julia Goerges in the third round of Beijing.
Halep’s back injury
Simona Halep provided more details about her back injury – i’m no doctor but it doesn’t sound too promising for Singapore?