Monday’s Set Points, AO 2019 Day 1: Sakkari & Collins upset seeds, Putintseva-Strycova handshake!

The first day of the 2019 Australian Open is in the books! It was actually a pretty quiet day for the women with just three seeds falling. There have been some first days of the Australian Open where there have been upsets galore so I was prepared to be shocked. I woke up naturally at 4am – I think I was excited about the tennis! Read on for the debut of a revamped Set Points post with highlights of day 1.

Upsets 😲

It was a surprisingly routine day for the seeds with just three falling in the first round. While they are technically “upsets”, I don’t think any of these results will come as huge shocks.

Danielle Collins d. (14) Julia Goerges, 2-6 7-6(5) 6-4

This was probably the most surprising result of the day. Collins though is such a feisty competitor and has had some excellent results on hard courts over the past year so it’s not a big upset. Goerges was two points from the win leading 6-2 6-5 *30-0 when Collins decided to change her racquet 😂. Whatever you say about Collins, she’s certainly a character and an entertaining watch.

Goerges missed a volley with half an open court at 4-4 in the second set tiebreak. From there on, an aggressive Collins surged to the victory. The American broke in the first game of the decider and held onto it for the rest of the match. Via Tennis Abstract, this was Collins’s first ever main draw win at a Slam! A tough one for Goerges who has now twice come into the Australian Open as the Auckland champ and lost in the first two rounds. She looked absolutely gutted in press 🙁.

Maria Sakkari d. (22) Jelena Ostapenko, 6-1 3-6 6-2

I think Sakkari was actually the favourite in this match. I watched the third set where a better-serving, Sakkari overcame a wayward effort from Ostapenko. I was taken aback by how good Sakkari’s serving was as she nailed a handful of aces down-the-tee and hit seven aces in the third set alone. Ostapenko was characteristically shaky on serve and didn’t seem to have her usual buzz. Sakkari was able to stay in most rallies and force the error. The support for Sakkari from the Greek fans was really quite something! Ostapenko said in her press (via WTA Insider) that her off-season was hindered due to a wrist injury.

Yulia Putintseva d. (32) Barbora Strycova, 6-4 7-6(1)

While extremely passive trying to serve out the match at 6-4 *5-4, Putintseva was ultimately the more consistent and patient player, and took advantage of a river of unforced errors from Strycova in the second set tiebreak. In the second set, it felt like Strycova was trying to be aggressive and come forward, and change things up, but she just made too many errors. Strycova’s screams certainly woke me up this morning . Another good win in 2019 for Poots who gets Belinda Bencic in the second round.

Under the radar 🚨

The number 9 seed, Kiki Bertens is looking in good form as she defeated the Shenzhen finalist, Alison Riske, 6-3 6-3. Bertens saved a break point at *4-3 in the second set with a second serve ace. Bertens looked very assured and dealt with Riske’s aggressive striking and rushes to the net to book a second round date with Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova. I fancy Kiki to reach the quarter-finals.

Super stat 🔢

Katie Boulter and Ekaterina Makarova played the first EVER final set tiebreak at the Australian Open with Boulter scoring a fantastic win, 6-0 4-6 7-6(6). I haven’t got used to it yet and neither has Katie who thought she had won leading 6-4 in the tiebreak! I’m so glad she was able to close out the win and impressed too that she could reset.

Handshakes and hugs 🤗

This section will normally be used to promote nice handshakes and sportswomanship on the tour. However, I cannot ignore what will likely be one of the iconic handshakes of 2019 between Babs and Poots (see HERE) that had me howling 🤣. Ben Rothenberg on Twitter tweeted Strycova’s reaction to the handshake in press.

Press highlights 📰

While lacking any highlights, the Australian Open YouTube page has a whole host of press conferences up. My favourite was Sloane Stephens who seemed in a good mood. A couple of highlights from the video linked below:

5:28 – Sloane is asked about her plans after tennis and tells a journalist to “mind your business, girl” 😂

8:14 – Sloane discusses her love for Judy Murray and the Murray family in general

8:22 – Sloane explains her coaching situation where she confirmed that she and Kamau Murray on a break for now

Recommended media 🔗

Really enjoyed this piece by Reem Abulleil on Aryna Sabalenka. Interested to hear her feelings on last year where the crowd mocked her grunt against Ash Barty on Rod Laver Arena. A match that I remember well!

Tomorrow’s OOP ⭐

The top half come out to play on Tuesday in what will be another mega Slam day. I’m most intrigued by Simona Halep’s repeat clash against Kaia Kanepi which is first up in the night session on MCA. Timea Bacsinszky vs. Daria Kasatkina is a personal highlight for me although it’s unlikely i’ll be awake to see that live. Realistically, i’m hoping to catch some of Mihaela Buzarnescu vs. Venus Williams, which is 3rd up in the MCA day session.

Random rant 🤬

Is it just me or is the Australian Open app awful?! It takes about a minute to load up the scores or the schedule. My bro gave me a tip just to use Google which displays the latest results as soon as you type in the Australian Open.

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7 thoughts on “Monday’s Set Points, AO 2019 Day 1: Sakkari & Collins upset seeds, Putintseva-Strycova handshake!

  1. I think Sakkari is absolutely fabulous, I *love* watching her play. Ditto to Sabalenka, who I really hope promises on her potential (and I think might?!). I like that Aryna is aware of the reception of her grunting though. It really was unbearable a couple years ago, to the point where I found myself wanting to see her do poorly. And I’m a Serena/Kuznetsova/Djokovic fan.

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  2. Sakkari’s a popular player in Melbourne because there are a lot of Melburnians of Greek ancestry, just as Ana Ivanovic used to get a rousing welcome from the Serbs in the city. I think she’s going to do well this year.

    Despite Serena’s just having beaten Tatjana Maria 6-0, 6-2 with Tadde winning just five points in the first set, their match was described on the AO website as a “friendly match between two tennis mums”, with Serena saying it was a shame they couldn’t have played each other later in the tour. Apparently their daughters Olympia and Charlotte are playmates on tour, which is nice to see (wonder how long it’ll be before they start picking up a tennis racket each and trying to emulate their mothers?).

    Not really that many shocks so far for me apart from Julia Georges going out to Danielle Collins.

    I suppose everything in the women’s game yesterday was overshadowed by what could be Andy Murray’s last match, but it was heartening to see all the tributes paid to him by other players and thanks for all that he did to give women’s tennis more respect, such as hiring the first ever female coach in the memn’s game and delaying a press conference so he could watch Aga Radwanska play (he was a big fan of her game).

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    • Absolute statement from Serena. I would argue that she’s back to her 2015 form, possibly closer to her level in 2013. The serve was devastating, the return was ferocious, she was hitting so well on both wings. And she actually moved around the court on light feet, not nearly as laboured as we’ve seen her the past couple years. Most of all I enjoyed seeing her come into the net to finish points, when she’s feeling like that it’s kind of game over for everyone else.

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    • Cypriot player, Marcos Baghdatis used to have a wonderful supportive crowd full of song. If I recall correctly, 🙂 Genie Bouchard had an army of sorts, diehard fans on the battle field of tennis. Braving treacherous humid weather, against the odds, in victory or defeat, simply to cheer her on. Their numbers weren’t great, so the story goes, but I believe they are still going on strong…

      Collins first round was always going to be tricky. She is improving her game. Hopefully Julia comes back strong next tournament. Serena looked good. Not sure of the temps in Australia now but probably more favorable this year. Complaints haven’t been that many so far. Simona has her work cut out to get to that slam final again. That half of the draw is tough. I think most of usual suspects have looked great, could end up being one of those solid tournaments all the way through.

      Commiserations to Vika, off court issues exacting an emotional toll on her both on and off court.

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  3. I thought it was funny that they described it as a “friendly match between two mums” when Serena conceded just two games and 24 points in the match. I agree though, she’s back with a vengeance.

    An interesting stat from the match though was that Tatjana’s fastest serve was actually faster than Serena’s, at 191 km/h to 190 km/h (the link from matchstat wouldn’t go through);

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