Hello from Eastbourne! I’m excited to be at the Nature Valley International for my tenth consecutive year and will be here just for the weekend. It’s the first time i’ve got down for the Friday of qualifying and it was nice to get down early and see a bit more of Eastbourne. I ventured up to Beachy Head yesterday afternoon where the views were glorious. Friday’s Set Points post focuses on the first round of qualifying with highlights from around the grounds to come later tonight.
Match reviews 🎾
Daria Gavrilova d. Vera Lapko, 6-4 6-0 (QR1)
Wins have been hard to come by for Daria Gavrilova this year but she got off to a good start in Eastbourne with just her fifth singles win of 2019 in the first round of qualifying. Gavrilova grew in confidence as the match wore on and won 12 of the last 14 games to beat a hit-or-miss, Vera Lapko. I was worried for Gavrilova early on as Lapko dominated early proceedings with heavy hitting off both wings. However, Lapko became increasingly error-strewn as Gavrilova worked her way into the match.
The serve has been a real issue for Gavrilova this year but I thought it held up well. She threw in a couple of double faults when serving for both sets but she managed to get over the disappointment quickly. I thought she returned very well and put lots of returns back in court. Most effective in her game was the use of the slice, particularly the short one that drew Lapko into the net.
A positive start for Dasha who gets Fiona Ferro in the final round of qualifying on Saturday.
Viktorija Golubic d. Timea Bacsinszky, 6-4 7-6(1) (QR1)
In an all-Swiss derby, Viktorija Golubic got the better of Timea Bacsinszky in two tight sets. It was lovely to see Timea again live as it had been two years since I had last seen her. My favourite moment of this match is that the pair hugged BEFORE and after the match which was just lovely!
I thought Golubic was generally the more solid of the pair. Bacsinszky committed more unforced errors, even quite a few off the normally reliable backhand wing. The forehand was landing short and she missed a lot of returns, particularly at the end of the first set. Both players improved in the second set with Bacsinszky able to get more returns into play and get her first break. Despite having opportunities, Bacsinszky was unable to consolidate the break.
The pair played out the longest game of the match at 5-5 in the second set. Bacsinszky finished two wonderful cat-and-mouse points up at the net. Golubic, who missed a plum break point with a volley pushed long, finally took her chance on the 4th go. Golubic was unable to serve out the match in the next game and never looked like doing so, double faulting the game away. Golubic though dominated the ensuing tiebreak, seven points to one. Not to be for Timea but so much respect between the pair at the end with an extended embrace.
Seeded upsets 😲
Fiona Ferro beat the number eight seed in qualifying, Eugenie Bouchard, 6-2 6-0 (!) in just 48 (!) minutes. It was only Bouchard’s second match in the last three months. I spoke to a spectator who watched the match and said that Bouchard didn’t exactly look engaged and had her shoulders slumped. I didn’t watch the match so can’t comment any more on her performance. I’d seen her just before on the practice courts and then still warming up outside of Court 3 after her name had already been called.
The only other seeds to go out were the number four seed, Iga Swiatek and the number 11 seed, Astra Sharma. Swiatek won just three games in what was a very impressive win for Sam Stosur.
Stat watch 🔢
Court 2 ended up having five qualifying matches and all of them were finished in straight sets with a total of three bagels and two breadsticks. Court 2 looked busy all day (packed for Genie!) so I didn’t manage to get on. While it’s non-ticketed for the weekend, I don’t like the set-up for Court 2 with just the one stand.
Handshakes and hugs 🤗
One of my favourite ever H&H moments that I have witnessed live!
Favourite snaps 📸
Aside from the Bacsinszky-Golubic embrace, the sun was kind for a Wozniacki-Stephens practice session.
Around the grounds 👟
Coming in a separate post later tonight…
Tomorrow’s OOP ⭐
The final round of qualifying will be played on Saturday, as well as the unveiling of the main draw. The six remaining qualifying matches will be played across Court 1 and Court 3. I missed Veronika Kudermetova today so hoping to watch her live for the first time on Saturday.