Saturday’s Set Points, Eastbourne 2019: Stosur qualifies for main draw, Kasatkina-Svitolina practice

It was another glorious, sunny day in Eastbourne. We were lucky with the weather last year and it’s been stunning so far with a potential threat of thunderstorms for Tuesday. This post focuses on the final round of qualifying from Eastbourne, as well as all the action on the practice courts at Devonshire Park. Read on for Saturday’s report from Eastbourne…. and it’s live!

Match reviews 🎾

Polona Hercog d. Pauline Parmentier, 4-6 6-1 6-4 (QR2)

From a set down, Polona Hercog won 10 of 11 games before holding off a late surge from Pauline Parmentier to qualify for the main draw of Eastbourne. Parmentier took a medical time-out at the end of the first set for what looked like a foot/ankle issue. She seemed to be moving OK but was mostly inconsistent through the last two sets. Key to the win for Hercog was her serve as she upped her first serve percentage in the second set and generally just won a lot more free points behind it.

I’m noticing (and i’m not sure if it’s because I haven’t paid attention in the past!) more and more use of the slice. Hercog used it very effectively to break up Parmentier’s rhythm and forced quite a few errors with it. It can be a real asset on the grass. Hercog failed to serve out the match first time round but got the job done at the second time of asking, relying on her first serve. It was nice to see an 80-90% full and invested crowd for a qualifying match between two players that won’t be well known to most. I don’t think you’d see that at many other tournaments!

Dayana Yastremska d. Viktorija Golubic, 6-4 6-1 (QR2)

I was trying to stay out of the sun today so rediscovered my favourite vantage point behind Court 1 to watch the second set of this match. It was evenly contested at the start of the second set with Golubic’s variety causing Yastremska a few issues. From 2-1, Yastremska powered to the finish line with strong serving and bludgeoning returns.

I like Yastremska’s attitude and commitment to the cause. Her team are always shouting “davai davai davai” from the stands! I noticed in Birmingham after a doubles loss, she was straight out on the practice courts for about an hour afterwards. I think her game matches up well with the grass and she is one to keep an eye on. Her reward is a first round match with Johanna Konta on Centre Court. Probably the match of the day for Sunday…

Sam Stosur d. Magda Linette, 6-4 6-4 (QR2)

With two excellent wins against Iga Swiatek and Magda Linette, Sam Stosur has qualified for the main draw. This was a decent match and easily the best qualifying match that I watched over the past two days in Eastbourne. Stosur served superbly, saving all 12 (!) break points faced. I stayed in my favourite spot and loved watching all the spins that Stosur was putting on the ball. Her forehand was so heavy and she found the corner time and time again. It was rather deceptive from where I was standing as many of them looked to be going out but then dropped in.

I thought Linette played a pretty solid match. I liked how she moved the ball around the court and used angles, and she served well for the most part. At 4-4 30-30 in the first set, Stosur earnt a break point with a vicious backhand slice forcing a Linette error, and then Linette double faulted on break point. Linette produced a couple of flashy winners down match point in the second set but a pumped-up, Stosur managed to serve it out. I really liked Stosur’s attitude – she was so positive and totally up for this match. I know grass has never been her thing but there are attributes to her game that I feel can thrive on this surface.

Seeded upsets 😲

Perhaps the biggest surprise from qualifying has been Fiona Ferro. The 22-year-old Frenchwoman has dropped just five games with emphatic victories over Eugenie Bouchard and Daria Gavrilova!

Handshakes and hugs 🤗

No hugs today but two live handshake shots form Hercog-Parmentier and Yastremska-Golubic.

Favourite snap 📸

I quite liked this shot of Sam in the afternoon sun. I love taking pictures from behind Court 1 😍.

Recommended reading 📚

I’ve heard this is good so looking forward to reading later tonight!

Recommended media 📺

Random segway to Birmingham where it will be an Ash Barty vs. Julia Goerges final. Loved this interview with Barty after her quarter-final win over Venus Williams.

MTB on social media 🎾

My favourite shots from day 1 of the 2019 Nature Valley International in Eastbourne are up on the MTB Facebook page.

Around the grounds 👟

I saw Elina Svitolina and Andrew Bettles dragging suitcases around Devonshire Park this morning. A few hours later, she was on Court 5 practising with Daria Kasatkina. There weren’t many smiles from either player. I think the pair were playing a practice match and while I have no idea what the score was, I felt like Kasatkina won more points. Svitolina did produce one tremendous lob and there was one tweener from Kasatkina. I thought Kasatkina was hitting the ball pretty well. Svitolina generally seemed frustrated. Her coach, Andrew Bettles, advised her at one point to step in on the return as if she stands back, it is going to jump up on her.

Also seen on the practice courts: Simona Halep, Karolina Pliskova, Sloane Stephens, Marketa Vondrousova, Caroline Wozniacki and Mihaela Buzarnescu (together), Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Katie Swan (together), Anna-Lena Friedsam and Ajla Tomljanovic (together). Two other mildly interesting spots that I can remember:

  • I saw Donna Vekic running around by Court  2 in the afternoon. I was then surprised to learn that she has pulled out of singles.
  • Evgeniya Rodina was dining in the same restaurant as me this evening! 😂

Draw watch 👀

The main draw was unveiled on Saturday morning and naturally, there are some very exciting first rounders. A few shuffles already with Donna Vekic withdrawing due to a right hip injury.

Johanna Konta vs. Dayana Yastremska

Hsieh Su-Wei vs. Camila Giorgi (screaming)

Danielle Collins vs Yulia Putintseva (still screaming)

Daria Kasatkina vs. Andrea Petkovic

Jelena Ostapenko vs. Mihaela Buzarnescu

I’ll *try* and get a few snap thoughts up on R1 matches tonight/tomorrow morning.

Tomorrow’s OOP ⭐

My loose plan for tomorrow which will be out the window very quickly no doubt is Kontaveit-Dart, Gasparyan-Siniakova, Konta-Yastremska and Kasatkina-Petkovic BUT i’d like to take in some of Sasnovich-Peterson, Tomljanovic-Alexandrova and Puig-Mertens. And watch some practices as well 😂. Simona Halep is also in doubles action so i’ll try to finish with that if i’m not already a sunburnt mess.

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