What a wild day in the desert! The fourth round is in the books after all eight matches were played at Indian Wells. It was a thrilling day with five of the eight matches going the distance and the top two seeds both going out of the tournament. Tonight’s plan is to catch up with everything I missed from Tuesday! Read on for four stories in Tuesday’s Set Points post.
Muguruza’s best win in over a year
Battling from a set down, Garbiñe Muguruza scored her best win since Dubai last year by beating the number seven seed, Kiki Bertens, 5-7 6-1 6-4 in two hours and 25 minutes.
I thought Muguruza was the better player in all three sets. Bertens rather the stole the opener as she twice came from a break down, held her own in a tight game at 5-5, and then took the set with some gifts from Muguruza who sailed a series of forehands long. Rather impressively, Muguruza managed to reset in the second set and power her way past a increasingly one-dimensional, Bertens.
The third set was closer again. Muguruza was the more aggressive player, but I wasn’t entirely convinced she would end up the winner. Muguruza did get the job done, using her first serve much more effectively than Bertens, and jumping on the scoreboard pressure at 5-4 to gain the crucial break. The match point was amazing (see below) and arguably the best point of the match!
Muguruza had been quietly racking up the wins in 2019 but come unstuck against top ten opposition before the desert. This was a monumental win for Muguruza and perhaps a game-changer going forward. The way she battled from a set down and overcame the disappointment of losing a set she should have won was very encouraging to see.
Andreescu’s first Premier Mandatory QF
Bianca Andreescu continues to dazzle in 2019 as she beat the number 18 seed, Wang Qiang, 7-5 6-2, to reach her first ever Premier Mandatory quarter-final. Andreescu is now at 25-3 (!) for the year. Her confidence shone through in this match as she saved four break points in the second set including one when serving out for the match. A sensational run so far for Andreescu who gets a shot at Muguruza in Wednesday’s quarter-final match.
Svitolina outlasts Barty
Wow. Elina Svitolina held onto her 100% record against Ash Barty but had to fight exceptionally hard, outlasting the Aussie in an absolute marathon match, 7-6(8) 5-7 6-4, lasting three hours and 12 minutes. The WTA confirmed it was the longest match of the year so far.
This match had a bit of everything. The first set was one of the best i’ve watched all year with tremendous quality from both players. I went to bed after the first set (struggled to get to sleep as I was all buzzed up!) and just watched back the final two sets this morning. While the quality of tennis did generally drop after the first set, it was still a thrilling contest.
Missed opportunities was one of the overriding themes of this match. All three sets should have gone the other way…
- Barty had five set points in the first set – Svitolina won the set, 7-6(8)
- Svitolina served for the match in the second set at 7-6 *5-3 and had two match points – Barty won the set, 7-5
- Barty led 3-1 in the third set and had two break points to claim the double break lead – Svitolina won the set, 6-4.
Svitolina was superb behind her first serve in the first set and hit some cracking winners. I thought she became more defensively minded as the match wore on, retreating further and further behind the baseline, and becoming more reactive to what Barty was doing. I thought that Svitolina managed to wear down Barty in what became purely a physical battle by the end.
There were flashes of absolute peak Barty in this match. She moved the ball from side-to-side and constructed the points so beautifully. The slice was very consistent, and effective, and I thought she had a lot of shape on her forehand and went after it. The missed opportunities were more on Barty’s side and a couple of sloppy games towards the end of the third set were the difference. Barty is progressing very steadily and she’s going to be a top ten player very soon. I’m hoping that with more matches and experience at this level and against the top players, she’ll become more clutch in the crux moments.
Such an enjoyable match to watch! 😍
Svitolina-Barty hot shots
There were a handful of hot shots from the Svitolina-Barty match including a sensational (I screamed) passing shot winner from Svitolina in the first set and a Barty stretch volley in the decider.