Thursday’s Set Points, Madrid 2019: Halep vs. Bencic, Stephens vs. Bertens in the semi-finals

Four players remain in Madrid after Thursday’s quarter-finals which delivered some quality matches. Read on for highlights from Thursday’s quarter-finals including reviews of Halep-Barty and Osaka-Bencic. On a separate note, I found out today that I was successful in my tennis club’s ballot for Wimby tickets! Excited to get to see the new No.1 Court this year πŸ™‚.Β 

Match reviews 🎾

Simona Halep d. Ash Barty, 7-5 7-5

Halep snapped Barty’s 11-match win streak with a relentless and resilient display to prevail in two tight sets. Despite the loss, it was another encouraging clay-court display from Barty. It was nice to see the variety with the drop shot (see what she produced later in this article!). In the end, there were just a few pockets of errors that ultimately cost her.

Halep produced another terrific display. Key to the victory was her serve with 87% (!) of first serves in and 75% of points won behind it. Halep was relentless from the baseline as she moved the ball from side-to-side, keeping Barty on the move. Halep was also resilient as she reacted positively mentally when she dropped her serve in both sets. After failing to serve out the first set, she quickly broke back and then served it out to love with four straight winners!

Good match, great respect from both players and many positives for both players to take away from the match.

Belinda Bencic d. Naomi Osaka, 3-6 6-2 7-5

Bencic scored her seventh top 10 win of 2019, rallying from a set down and then a break down in the decider to oust Osaka for the second time this year. The third set was a fascinating watch. After a chat with coach, Jarmere Jenkins, Osaka came out rejuvenated to break at 2-2. Osaka served for the match at *5-4 but was unable to serve it out. A forehand long on the first point got her off to bad start and even drew a gasp from Sestini Hlavackova in the commentary on WTA TV. The Japanese player never really settled down after that as Bencic came roaring back. Bencic returned well most of the match (Osaka won just 40% of second serve points) but she was absolutely lethal in the final few games as she took the ball so early on return.

Another cracking result for BB who has won nine of her last ten three set matches. I thought her serve used to be a bit of a liability but it’s been increasingly reliable in 2019. I’ve got everything crossed that she stays healthy for the grass court season because she could go on an absolute tear. I’m surprised that Osaka lost her grip on the match in the third set because she had seemed to get the match back on her terms and was playing some great stuff. Not concerned at all by the loss. Overall, I thought it was a positive week for Osaka.

Kiki Bertens d. Petra Kvitova, 6-2 6-3

In the last of the quarter-finals, Bertens avenged last year’s final loss to Kvitova with another superb display in Madrid. Bertens has dropped just 20 games through four matches. Bertens drew away from 2-2 in the opener and despite some resistance from Kvitova in the second set, managed to come through in straights with Kvitova throwing in too many errors. Bertens looks great – serve was on, groundstrokes were solid, variety with the slice and drop worked well and the movement was exceptional. Watch out for Kiki!

Hot shots of the day πŸ”₯

A duo of drop shot hot shots!

Handshakes and hugs πŸ€—

Respect.

Super snap πŸ“Έ

Gorgeous shot of Sloane in press.

Tomorrow’s OOP ⭐

Halep vs. Bencic and Stephens vs. in Friday’s semi-finals. Who you got?

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3 thoughts on “Thursday’s Set Points, Madrid 2019: Halep vs. Bencic, Stephens vs. Bertens in the semi-finals

  1. I have to say that Bencic is really impressing me on clay! Was not expecting this from her at all. I worry that a long week of tough matches may hurt her chances against Simona, though. Think I fancy a Halep v Bertens final, would like to see Kiki win the title.

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    • Well halep has better record on clay than any of the players. A halep vs stephens final would be great though. But whatsoever would love if halep wins it all and regain the top spot.

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      • Of course she does. But Bencic right now is playing with SO much confidence. She’s moving beautifully, she’s serving superbly, she’s making all the right shot choices and really has few weaknesses. So she has the game to beat Simona even on clay. As does Bertens IMO.

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