The last two days at the French Open have been pretty wild. Chuck in Lucie’s retirement and it’s been too much to handle! I missed practically everything on Thursday but did manage to catch up with Osaka-Azarenka in the evening which was fantastic, a great match. There were patches of vintage Azarenka but Osaka was just so damn tough and gritty when it counted. As much as I like Naomi, I was really rooting for Vika on this occasion. Friday was another gripping day of tennis. The last two days at work have been painful 🤣. I’ve managed to catch up with a few of the matches for this Set Points post. Yay for the upcoming weekend 😊.
Match of the day 🎾
Anastasija Sevastova d. Elise Mertens, 6-7(3) 6-4 11-9
This match wasn’t even on my radar this morning. Neither Sevastova or Mertens had made much of an impact during this year’s clay court season but the pair combined for the match of the tournament and one of the best of the year so far. I’ve only caught up with the third set but it was just joyous as as the pair produced point-after-point of gorgeous tennis. Sevastova even said after the match that she didn’t want it to end because it was so fun!
Sevastova saved five match points to defeat Mertens in a three hour and 12 minute extra-time thriller. The match point saves from Sevastova were spectacular. I’ll never work out Sevastova – at times, she looks frozen with frustration and anxiety, but then today she was remarkably bold as she conjured up four winners, going nervelessly close to the lines. The best of the lot was on the third match point saved, an audacious drop shot that saw Mertens hit the deck. It wasn’t the first time as Mertens fell four times in a short space of time as Sevastova delighted with the drop shot.
Aside from a title in Doha, Mertens has had quite a disappointing year. This showing was the Belgian player at her very best with tenacious and spirited defence. Mertens also served extremely well in the third set, landing 66% of first serves in and winning 69% of points behind it, and frontrunning the third set for the most part. Sevastova seamlessly combined aggression off the forehand with her variety. After saving two match points at 8-9, Sevastova went on an absolute tear with some peak tennis to win the last three games of the match.
A clay-court classic. Definitely recommend watching back that third set if you have time!
Seeded upsets 😲
Petra Martic d. (2) Karolina Pliskova, 6-3 6-3
Martic produced a clay-court masterclass to knock out one of the pre-tournament favourites with a straight sets victory over the number two seed, Karolina Pliskova. Martic served brilliantly, maintained great depth on her groundstrokes and neutralised play with her beautiful slice. By recent standards, Pliskova had an off day. Normally she finds a way back into these matches but Martic was just too good.
Pliskova was broken from 40-0 and 30-0 in her final two service games of the first set. After going down an early break in the second set, Pliskova rallied to win three straight games. Martic retaliated with a four game win streak to seal the deal. Serving at *3-4, Pliskova had one shocking volley miss and a pair of double faults. Not like Pliskova at all. Normally the Czech player is clutch but on this occasion it was Martic who won the key points and advanced to the last 16 of the French Open for the third time in her career. The signs were definitely there but I was still surprised as Pliskova is so difficult to beat these days.
Marketa Vondrousova d. Carla Suarez Navarro, 6-4 6-4
Not an upset at all but another hugely impressive win for the unseeded Vondrousova who is 25-6 (!) for the year. The Czech player will be bidding to reach her first Slam quarter-final on Monday.
Under the radar 🚨
Kaia Kanepi had won just one match on red clay this year heading into Roland Garros. The Estonian player has quadrupled that number with another belting Slam run, beating Veronika Kudermetova in the third round, 4-6 6-3 6-0. Kanepi has reached the last 16 in three of her last seven main draw Slam appearances.
Stat watch 🔢
In the blockbuster clash of the day, Garbiñe Muguruza beat Elina Svitolina, 6-3 6-3. Six was the magic number for Muguruza – the Spaniard extended her record in third round matches at Roland Garros to 6-0 and is into the second week for the sixth consecutive year. Muguruza’s total W-L record in Paris is now a remarkable, 27-5. You just can’t discount Garbiñe at this tournament!
LOL moment 🤣
This was from the Petkovic-Hsieh match on Thursday where Hsieh picked up a spectator’s phone after a point and pretended to make a call 😂.
Super snaps 📸
These pictures of Daria Kasatkina and Anett Kontaveit by Jimmie48 Tennis are just delightful!
Press highlights 📰
Fascinating comments from Lesia Tsurenko after the completion of her second round match against Aleksandra Krunic where she saved a match point to win, 5-7 7-5 11-9 in three hours and three minutes.
Recommended reading 📚
Stunning article on Simona from Louisa Thomas.
Recommended media 📺
The full video of player messages for Lucie 💖.
And here is Lucie’s ceremony on Chatrier to commemorate her retirement 😭.
Tomorrow’s OOP ⭐
I’ll be honest that Saturday’s slate of eight doesn’t move me but sometimes you get a gem that you are just not expecting! The one i’m most intrigued by is Puig-Swiatek. I haven’t seen either of them play this week but I quite like Swiatek to reach the second week. Petkovic-Barty is a feel-good match-up. Osaka, Halep, Keys and Serena all have recently straightforward looking matches on paper but wondering whether there will be any shocks in there. I’m intrigued to see what Kenin can do against Serena. I think that could go the distance at least. You never know with Siniakova, up against Osaka. Anisimova-Begu and Alexandrova-Bolsova are both huge matches offering up a golden opportunity with the winner of that quartet reaching the quarters.