Tuesday’s order of play in Birmingham was cut short by the rain which means that four first round matches, including Ash Barty and Venus Williams, are yet to start. It was still an enjoyable day of tennis with two more three setters on Centre Court including the world number one Naomi Osaka in action. For additional coverage from Birmingham, check out the MTB Twitter and Facebook pages which are shared throughout this post. Read on for the highlights from Tuesday’s action in Birmingham… and it’s live! 😀
Match reviews 🎾
Julia Goerges d. Dayana Yastremska, 3-6 6-4 6-3 (R1)
From a set and a break down, Julia Goerges produced an impressive comeback to defeat Dayana Yastremska in three sets. From 3-6 2-4 down, Goerges won six straight games. Goerges found herself in trouble as she landed just 41% of first serves in during the first set and too many missed returns. Yastremska was absolutely ripping on the return as she produced multiple return winners that drew gasps from the crowd.
Goerges managed to fire herself up (see roar below) with a hold of serve to 2-3 and from there, improved significantly. The German player upped her first serve percentage and crucially got more returns into court. Goerges said in her post-match interview that she felt that experience helped her in the end and she did really well to turn the match around against an increasingly hit-or-miss, Yastremska.
Naomi Osaka d. Maria Sakkari, 6-1 4-6 6-3 (R1)
Naomi Osaka enjoyed a hard fought win against an improving and tactically astute, Maria Sakkari. After getting blown away in the first set, Sakkari changed up her tactics midway through the second set by using the slice and drop shots, and generally giving less pace. It was a really interesting dynamic because I had watched the pair practising slices, probably with this match in mind, on Monday evening. The tactic seemed to unsettle Osaka. Sakkari was also serving superbly, finding her spots on the serve, and playing with much more intensity than Osaka.
The turning point in the decider was at 2-2 where Osaka rallied from a *0-40 deficit and saved six break points. On at least half of them, Sakkari had a look at a second serve but she couldn’t put the return back into court. Towards the end of the game, there was a noticeable injection of pace on Osaka’s serve as she managed to hold. In the next game, Sakkari produced an error-strewn service game that opened with two double faults. Osaka found her serve and won the match in the nick of time as the rain started during her post-match interview.
It’s the third time that Osaka and Sakkari have played each other and Sakkari continues to be a tricky opponent for Osaka. If I remember correctly, Sakkari also changed up her tactics in the second set of their Indian Wells clash last year when she started to hit with more height and shape.
Jelena Ostapenko d. Iga Swiatek, 6-0 6-2 (R1)
Jelena Ostapenko needed just 51 (!!!) minutes to see off the 18-year-old qualifier, Iga Swiatek. It was an emphatic display from Ostapenko who won 89% of first serve points and generally just overwhelmed Swiatek with her power and depth. Ostapenko has won just two of her last ten matches, but both those wins were comprehensive in barely an hour with a couple of games dropped. Perhaps a positive sign for Ostapenko and now that we’re on grass. Interested to see how Ostapenko’s serve holds up against Johanna Konta in the next round.
Hot shot of the day 🔥
Sakkari was chucking after this point and quite a few others too where Osaka kept finding the lines.
Handshakes and hugs 🤗
No hugs but plenty of respect!
LOL moment 🤣
When hitting the balls into the crowd at the end of the match, Julia Goerges needed several attempts to get a ball into the East stand! The crowd cheered when at about the fourth attempt, a spectator finally got their hands on a tennis ball.
Favourite snap 📸
Like this shot of a laughing Jo Konta during her morning practice in Birmingham.
MTB on social media 🎾
An album of photos from Monday in Birmingham is up on the Moo’s Tennis Blog Facebook page.
Around the grounds 👟
When I entered the grounds this morning, Bernarda Pera, Jelena Ostapenko and Ekaterina Alexandrova were all out on on the practice courts. I walked up to Centre Court and sat and watched Jo Konta warm up on Court 4. She was in a very happy mood and was laughing with her practice partner. They were doing some strange warm-up sessions before hitting!
Julia Goerges was asked in her post-match interview about whether her name should be pronounced with a J or Y. She said she didn’t mind but clarified that the English way is with a J and the German way is with a Y.
Some of Osaka’s shotmaking drew gasps from the guys behind me. Her raw power up close is a sight to behold! I watched Osaka get mobbed as she tried to make her way away from Centre Court. She obliged with many selfies but it was clear she just wanted to move on. She didn’t seem too engaged in her post-match interview.
Tomorrow’s OOP ⭐
Wednesday’s order of play is a bumper affair with four first rounders and four second rounders. I’m still excited to see Barty vs. Vekic and Venus’s first singles outing too! Of the second rounders, there’s a power hitting clash between Konta and Ostapenko, a hipster’s variety clash between Strycova and Hsieh, and a first WTA level meeting between the Pliskova twins. Gasparyan-Martic is also not to be ignored and i’m eager to try and catch that as i’ve never seen Gasparyan and not watched Martic live for years!
Forecast is looking dicey for Wednesday morning so let’s see how it goes… 🤞