Thursday’s schedule was a mish-mash of first and second round matches after two rain-affected days at the Miami Open. There was so much tennis on but a lot of the matches I wanted to see were on unstreamed courts, or late in the day! This post covers my evening of watching tennis including Venus Williams and Petra Kvitova. Read on for seven stories in Thursday’s Set Points post.
Venus opens with straight sets win
It was a standard result for Venus Williams as she once again recovered from a slow start to record a straight sets win over Dalila Jakupovic, 7-5 6-3. Jakupovic served for the first set at *5-4 but played a shocker of a game with missed backhands all over the shop. Venus was rolling in her serve but as always, she battled valiantly and played smart. The American advances to a 10th career meeting with Carla Suárez Navarro.
Gauff’s first tour level win
I was a bit gutted as two of the matches that were on my radar for Thursday were on Court 7 which wasn’t streamed. The first of those featured two teens who i’d been hoping to watch for the first time – 15-year-old, Cori Gauff, against the 17-year-old, Catherine McNally. Rallying from 2-4 down in the decider, it was Gauff who prevailed to win her first WTA tour level match, 3-6 6-3 6-4.
Gauff was interviewed by Tennis Channel after the match. She sounded so mature for her age as she talked about trying “to control the controllables” on court. She also said about running to the TV if she hears her name mentioned! I’m hoping to finally watch Gauff in the next round as she gets Daria Kasatkina.
Martic eases past Zhang
Continuing their rain-delayed match from Wednesday, Petra Martic enjoyed a surprisingly routine victory over Zhang Shuai, 6-2 6-1. Martic played such a steady match, injecting variety to disrupt Zhang’s rhythm. There were a number of drop shots and one sensational lob (see below). Zhang struggled to impose her game and committed too many unforced errors. Next up for Martic in the second round is the number five seed, Karolina Pliskova.
Kvitova’s 18th win of 2019
Petra Kvitova won her first match in a month with a routine victory over a mostly one-dimensional, Maria Sakkari, 6-1 6-4. Sakkari showed signs of life at the end. The Greek player produced one of her most aggressive points of the match to save a match point to force Kvitova to force it out. The renewed optimism was short-lived as a strong-serving, Kvitova, served out to 30.
Sakkari was very negative in her changeover chats with coach, Tom Hill, and said she was playing like s*** at one point 😂. Sakkari seemed low on confidence. She was mostly flat and reactive with many of her groundstrokes sailing long. I would have liked to see her try to mix things up. To be fair, it was easier said than done as Kvitova got off to such a quick start. Kvitova committed more unforced errors in the second set but always stayed in control.
Muchova sets up Kerber R2 clash
I find myself trending towards any match involving Karolina Muchova. The 22-year-old Czech player fended off a late flurry from Nao Hibino to record a straight sets win, 6-3 6-3. Muchova now plays Angelique Kerber in the second round which is one of the matches I have circled for Friday. It’s out on court 6 but i’m happy it’s during the day!
While I was watching other matches/sleeping
Rallying from 4-6 1-5 down and saving a match point (!) Bianca Andreescu kept her remarkable run going with a 4-6 7-6(2) 6-2 victory over Irina-Camelia Begu.
Kiki Bertens, Caroline Garcia, Ash Barty, Donna Vekic and Sam Stosur all won through to the third round. Stosur produced the first seeded upset of the tournament by beating Madison Keys, scoring her best win by ranking on tour since the 2016 French Open.
It’s another wild schedule, akin to a Slam opening day, with 25 (!) second round matches. It’s going to be absolute carnage during the middle of the day as it’s likely that Venus Williams, Caroline Wozniacki, Garbiñe Muguruza, Angelique Kerber, Daria Kasatkina and Bianca Andreescu will all be on court at the same time! Hopefully they should be all caught up today ready for the third round on Saturday.