Wednesday’s Set Points, 2019 French Open Day 4: Safarova retires, Bertens out due to illness 😢

Calm prevailed for a time but Wednesday soon turned into the most dramatic day of the tournament. Lucie Safarova officially retired from tennis with a doubles loss, and this was followed by two high profile departures in the singles including one of the favourites. Kiki Bertens retired during her second round match against Viktoria Kuzmova due to illness, while Bianca Andreescu also pulled out with a shoulder injury. The day ended with a dramatic late-night clash on Chatrier between Belinda Bencic and Laura Siegemund that hangs in the balance. First day back at work during the French and not much fun! There will be no post tomorrow as i’m playing tennis so i’ll be back on Friday. Stay tuned for another post tonight…

Match reviews 🎾

Garbiñe Muguruza d. Johanna Larsson, 6-4 6-1

My lunchtime viewing took in some of the first match on Suzanne Lenglen where Muguruza booked her place in the 3rd round of the French Open for the sixth consecutive year. While a favourable draw for Muguruza against a player that has struggled for wins in 2019, I thought the Spaniard looked impressive. In particular, the serve has been a weapon through the first two rounds and she didn’t face a break point in this 64 minute encounter. It was a very stable display and the forehand held up well. Next up for Muguruza is a tantalising third rounder against Elina Svitolina.

Viktoria Kuzmova d. Kiki Bertens, 3-1 40-15 ret.

Absolutely gutted for Kiki who was forced to retire with a gastrointestinal illness in just the fifth game of her second round match against Kuzmova. The Slovakian player made a really bright start with Bertens back way behind the baseline. It was on the last point when I noticed Bertens didn’t bother sliding out wide to a Kuzmova shot. The Dutch player sat down and called the trainer/doctor. She spoke of having no energy in her arms and shaking. At first, I thought she was having a panic attack.

Such incredibly rough luck for Kiki who had been the form player during the clay court season. I was rooting for Kiki to win the whole caboodle. Wishing Kiki a very speedy recovery!

Belinda Bencic-Laura Siegemund tied at 4-6 6-4 4-4

After the retirement of Kiki Bertens, the last match on the Simonne Mathieu Court was moved to Philippe Chatrier court. Not the best quality but a gripping clay-court clash. After a series of breaks in the opener, Siegemund began to dominate as she exploited Bencic’s movement on the clay by drilling powerful groundstrokes into the corners.

Siegemund led 6-4 4-2 before Bencic mounted another comeback on the clay. Bencic came back from a set and two breaks down to beat Anastasija Sevastova in Rome earlier this month. It felt like Bencic relaxed and Siegemund suddenly realised she was on the verge of a big victory as the errors mounted.

Bencic took advantage of Siegemund’s lapse and the pendulum swung as suddenly it was Bencic who was dictating more and more, going up a double break in the decider. Of course this 🎢 match had another twist as the darkness closed in. The Siege reeled off three straight games to level up at 4-4 when play was called. Siegemund wanted off early in the third set. Hilariously, she didn’t want to go off at 4-4 having wrestled back the momentum 😂. The pair will resume second up on Chatrier on Thursday.

Handshakes and hugs 🤗

Lucie officially retired from tennis today 😭😭😭😭😭. She teamed up with Dominika Cibulkova in a straight sets loss to Andrea Petkovic and Sofia Kenin. Thanks to Jimmie48 for some great shots after the match.

Super snap 📸

Great celebration shot of Donna who came from a set down to beat Rebecca Peterson.

Press highlights 📰

A tearful Kiki spoke about her illness in press 😢. It’s a tough watch.

Recommended media 📺

The WTA shared some nice player messages for Lucie.

Tomorrow’s OOP ⭐

Thursday’s slate of second round matches is much more appealing than Wednesday’s with Naomi Osaka vs. Victoria Azarenka the blockbuster match-up of the day. I can’t believe it’s on Lenglen and first up!!! A bit disappointed all the matches I wanted to see are up early.

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9 thoughts on “Wednesday’s Set Points, 2019 French Open Day 4: Safarova retires, Bertens out due to illness 😢

  1. Gutted about Kiki too, I really wanted her to win the title. But there is always next year!

    I feel like Kozlova retiring was bad luck for Svitolina too. She’s really needing match play and win confidence! Going into a Muguruza match with one win is pretty scary for her…

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      • I hope we still get a good match from them. It should be a Chatrier match, but then you would think Osaka v Azarenka would be on there too… Can’t help but feel that if they only put the matches which are likely to be high quality, they would gain more fans of tennis. And not just of the women’s, but in general. Instead we get really one sided matches with big name players against nobodies.

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      • I agree. I can’t believe Osaka-Azarenka wasn’t on Chatrier. And also first up too although it seemed to have a decent enough crowd. There have been some great matches over the past two days. Trying to catch up!

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  2. I’m sad about Kiki too; I thought she was going to go all the way to the final (or the semis at least).

    I know I’ve said this before but … I think there are far too many press conferences in tennis, especially in the early rounds and when somebody’s just lost. It’s almost a form of cruelty to oblige a player to sit there, when she’s just lost an early round match and is feeling ill to boot, and have her try to cope with questions from reporters which aren’t even all in her own language.

    Michelle Pfeiffer, the Hollywood actress (for those who don’t know?), once said that she acted for free and got paid for dealing with the media; it sometimes seems as though that’s true of women’s tennis as well.

    All that was necessary in this instance was a couple of lines in writing issued through her coach and explaining the situation (and wishing her opponent well for her coming matches).

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    • I love that Pfieffer quote! Unfortunately the press are part and parcel of the gig. But I agree that it’s an added stress and strain. The best example was the INTENSE media focus on Serena in 2015 when she was going for the calender Slam…

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