The quarter-finals are already set in Brisbane and Shenzhen where the “expect the unexpected” tagline for the WTA has shone bright like a beacon! There are three seeds remaining in Brisbane and only two in Shenzhen. Most of the players who have been causing the upsets though have all been on the radar, showcasing the wide ranging depth on the WTA tour.
I’m on holiday with my family at Center Parcs so am enjoying the last few days of holidays before going back to work next Monday. Any posts will be later this week but I should be able to watch more tennis than if I was at work! Read on for four stories in Wednesday’s Set Points…
Vekic saves 2 MPs, beats Bertens in Brisbane
Donna Vekic saved two match points to score a first top ten win of 2019 over Kiki Bertens, 7-6(5) 1-6 7-5. Despite 25 ranking places separating the pair, this felt like a 50-50 clash and so it panned out with a very tight deciding set. For the second match in a row, Bertens looked to have nicked it with a break of serve at 4-4 in the decider. While the first serve did evade Bertens when serving for the match, Vekic was bold on the match points. Bertens crumbled a tad in the final game. All the credit to Vekic who fought superbly to win the final three games of the match.
Vekic quietly had a brilliant 2018 season and early signs are very promising for the New Year. I’m totally sold on her partnership with coach, Torben Beltz. I hope that Bertens doesn’t dwell too much on this loss as she’s looked pretty decent in her first two matches.
Sasnovich’s best win
Gosh how good was Aliaksandra Sasnovich today?! Enjoying another fairytale run in Brisbane, Sasnovich knocked out the number one seed, Elina Svitolina in a repeat of last year’s final, 6-4 0-6 6-3. I was blown away by Sasnovich’s level in the first and third sets. Her backhand was absolutely sensational in the first set and she was able to test Svitolina’s movement by redirecting the ball beautifully and using angles. Sasnovich continued to move Svitolina around in the third set, using the drop shot to great effect and playing very aggressively.
I thought it was a really tough opener for Svitolina in her first match of the year. I definitely felt this result was more about Sasnovich playing a blinder. The Belarusian plays Vekic for a place in the semi-finals of Brisbane.
Kontaveit d. Kvitova in Brisbane
In an enjoyable contest, Anett Kontaveit beat Petra Kvitova, 7-5 7-6(1). After dismantling Carla Suárez Navarro in the first round for the loss of just three games, Kontaveit has made a very promising start to the season. I’m sensing that Kontaveit’s belief is growing as she managed to close out both sets convincingly, coming back from 2-5 down in the third set.
I’m really fond of the partnership between Kontaveit and coach, Nigel Sears. He came on court with Kontaveit at 2-5 down in the second set and was great with his charge as he asked her to be more disciplined and use her legs. Next up is for Kontaveit is Lesia Tsurenko in Thursday’s late night match in Brisbane.
Sharapova through to the QFs of Shenzhen
While sad to see the 17-year-old Wang Xinyu retire in Shenzhen, there was a lovely moment at the end as Sharapova had some consoling words. The most enticing match from Thursday’s order of play will feature Aryna Sabalenka against Maria Sharapova, the only two seeds remaining in Shenzhen.