Saturday’s Set Points, 2019 French Open Day 7: Siniakova & Swiatek reach second week

The first week of the 2019 French Open is in the books. Saturday was another dramatic day in Paris with a pair of noteworthy upsets and a load of players breaking new ground at a Slam. Read on for the highlights from day 7 of the French Open including match reviews of Halep vs. Tsurenko, Keys vs. Blinkova and Swiatek vs. Puig, as well as coverage of the upsets of Naomi Osaka and Serena Williams.

Match reviews 🎾

Simona Halep d. Lesia Tsurenko, 6-2 6-1

The defending champion, Simona Halep, cruised into the second week after a snappy 55-minute straight sets win over Lesia Tsurenko. It was a very solid display from Halep who was hitting the ball well and moving beautifully around the court. Tsurenko was aggressive but extremely erratic, going far too close to the lines and ending with a total of 32 unforced errors. I wondered if Tsurenko was going for more because of how she was feeling? The Ukrainian player took a medical time-out for a right thigh injury in the second set.

A good win for Halep and important to get the job done quickly after two tough three setters in the first two rounds. I don’t think this match tells us anything new about Halep’s level considering Tsurenko was clearly inhibited. Definitely a title contender and a very nice draw on paper. Tougher challenges will likely loom later in the second week…

Madison Keys d. Anna Blinkova, 6-3 6-7(5) 6-4

Keys has now reached the last 16 at six of her last seven Slams. She did it the hard way on Saturday, gritting out a three set win against a determined, Anna Blinkova. I haven’t seen much of Blinkova but I liked her positive attitude and she’s been fighting hard all tournament, coming back from all kinds of deficits for her best ever run at a Slam.

Keys’s first serve was the difference in the first set. The American became almost passive in the second set and lost her way. An early lead evaporated in the third set but when it counted, Keys raised her level. Keys saved two break points at 4-4 and then played an excellent return game including one of the shots of the match, a running forehand down-the-line smasher, to seal another hard-fought win.

Iga Swiatek d. Monica Puig, 0-6 6-3 6-3

Advancing to the second week of the Slam, Iga Swiatek produced a stunning performance to beat Monica Puig in three sets, recovering from a bagel first set.

This was the first time i’ve properly sat down and watched a match of Swiatek. First thoughts – I did not expect that serve! Really strong considering her height. She managed to go toe-to-toe with Puig and produced effective nuggets of variety. The drop shots caught out an increasingly frustrated, Puig pretty much every time in the decider. Most impressive of all was her composure. Swiatek showed calmness well beyond her years as she held onto her early break in the third set, overcoming a brief wobble at 4-3 with some big serving, and then breaking for the win.

At just 18 years old, Swiatek is yet another huge talent on the WTA tour. And Swiatek’s reward? Only a date with the defending champ, Simona Halep.

Seeded upsets 😲

Katerina Siniakova d. (1) Naomi Osaka, 6-4 6-2

With a first top three win of her career and advancing to the last 16 of a Slam for the first time in her career, Siniakova ended Osaka’s slam winning streak at 16.

Osaka found herself down a set for the third match in a row and left herself with too much to do. The world number one never really looked like turning this around as the errors continued to mount in the second set, 38 in total. I thought there would be a chance back in the match with Siniakova but the Czech player was surprisingly solid. Siniakova served and scrambled well, consistently forcing Osaka to play one more ball.

Didn’t see this one coming. I wrote on my previews page a few days ago that I don’t have much faith in Siniakova these days! Glad to see her enjoy this special moment in singles.

Sofia Kenin d. (10) Serena Williams, 6-2 7-5

I thought Kenin would make this competitive and get a set but surprised she beat Serena in straights! I love Kenin’s attitude. She refused to be intimidated by the champion across the net, or the crowd who were booing her when she even circled marks on the court. In the crux moments, Kenin flourished. The 20-year-old served superbly in the final game, saving a break point and converting on her second match point.

I’m not too surprised by this early exit for Serena. She’s played so little this year and the standard and depth on the WTA is, in my opinion, stronger than it has been in years. After coming from a break down in the second set, I thought Serena would go on and win the set. She made a trio of unforced errors at 5-5, all of them pretty close to the lines but just out. It was surprising considering the timing and that she normally elevates her game in these moments.

Under the radar 🚨

Ash Barty is quietly into the second week of the French Open for the first time after a 6-3 6-1 win over Andrea Petkovic. The draw has opened up for Barty and despite this not being her favourite surface, there are certainly opportunities to better her best Slam performance set earlier this year at the Australian Open where she reached the quarter-finals.

Stat watch 🔢

Of today’s eight winners, six of them have reached the second week of the French Open for the first time in their careers. The two not yet mentioned were 17-year-old, Amanda Anisimova and 21-year-old, Aliona Bolsova. The pair will play each other in the fourth round with a first Slam quarter-final on the line. It’s also been a great tournament for the teens!

LOL moment 🤣

This made me laugh!

Super snaps 📸

A personal one today as I shared my favourite pictures of Lucie on the MTB Facebook page 💖.

Press highlights 📰

This is very interesting. Birmingham? Mallorca? Eastbourne?

Recommended reading 📚

An enlightening read on the WTA site about Aliona Bolsova. Always nice to read about new players and their story.

Tomorrow’s OOP ⭐

The second week begins on Sunday and i’m excited about all four of these matches. Muguruza-Stephens is the blockbuster match of the day but i’m most looking forward to Sevastova-Vondrousova. Disappointed they’ve put two women’s matches up first which I don’t remember them doing before? Who you got?

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14 thoughts on “Saturday’s Set Points, 2019 French Open Day 7: Siniakova & Swiatek reach second week

  1. I’m definitely rooting for Ash Barty and Marketa Vondrousova to go far. Which probably means they will both lose in the next round!

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  2. Serena needs a reality check. The tour is too strong for her to be a part time player and expect to come into these slams and just win it anymore. Either commit or keep losing at slams.

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    • Serena herself has acknowledged this, so she doesn’t need a ‘reality check’. She obviously wasn’t expecting to be so plagued with injury- she has signed up to play events, she just hasn’t gotten to play the matches she needs to get her confidence going. The deciding moments against Kenin were the three or four games where Serena had break points and played very tense shots. You wouldn’t have gotten that three years ago. Those really lifted Kenin, who then swung freely in Serena’s service games.

      I do agree though that if she can’t play more, she needs to think about retiring.

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  3. How far do people think Jo Konta’s going to get now (she’s having a great run on clay)? The quarters, the semis, the final, or will she lose to Donna today?

    Well done Kat Siniakova yesterday too. I didn’t expect her to beat Naomi Osaka (just as I didn’t expect Petra Martic to beat Karo Pliskova). This is turning into a tournament of surprises (if not, so far, one huge surprise like 2017).

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    • I thought she played well in Rome. Just met a calmer, more tactical opponent in that final. She is in fact, my only pre-tournament ‘pick’ alongside Halep & Garbine left to make the QF, with the winner coming from the top half. As at the time of writing, she may be the only one.

      Amongst the obvious top players, I was looking at Bertens, Kvitova, Garbine, Pliskova or Halep to kind of control the leading story. Ashleigh Barty, Sloane, Garcia, Svitolina and/or Azarenka to be the spoilers. I like both Serena and Naomi, but I didn’t think they would have a good tournament. I even thought Kasatkina would be out the first round, not the greatest season this time around. Sloane plays Garbine so the list dwindles. However, Martic, Vondrousova and the others are playing good tennis and deservedly so. Welcome to the second week, it is grind time.

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  4. Vondrousova into the QFs with a loss of only 21 games! Really hoping she can turn her losing streak to Martic round. I would love to see her make the finals.

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      • Watching Martic play Pliskova, I was waiting for her to choke. I remember her being a set and 52 up against Svitolina here a few years ago and getting very tight. So I was really surprised she kept her composure! I think Marketa is going to be the one wanting to make things happen here though, she’s going to be on a mission and she will feel like the underdog.

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