Today was my last day attending the 2019 Nature Valley International. I’ve had a wonderful week following the WTA tour in Birmingham and Eastbourne. It’s back to the day job for four days before another week off for the first week of Wimby. This post features highlights from my morning in Eastbourne. I’ll still be blogging for Eastbourne, just not with the photos! Read on for Monday’s report…
Match reviews 🎾
Yulia Putintseva d. Danielle Collins, 5-0 ret.
My main reason for sticking around this morning in Eastbourne was to watch me some Poots-Collins drama! Sadly I only saw 25 minutes of play before I had to leave as the drizzle set in and play was suspended. Putintseva began the match with two passing shot winners having drawn Collins into the net with slices. Collins, who was playing her first competitive match since the French Open, looked very rusty. The American player signalled to the umpire down 0-4 that she would like to call the trainer due to a lower back injury.
I think I heard Collins say to the trainer that she tweaked her back in the first game of the match and she looked to be in considerable pain as the trainer assessed her injury. They completed a medical time-out but by the end of it, the drizzle had started. They were held on court, eventually to return to the locker room. On the resumption of play, Collins then retired due to the back injury. Putintseva advances to a second round date with Kiki Bertens. Sadly, a damp squib!
Hsieh Su-Wei d. Camila Giorgi, 6-3 4-6 6-4
In a rollercoaster match, Hsieh Su-Wei saw off the returning, Camila Giorgi in three sets. This match was noteworthy because it was Giorgi’s first match since Miami in March. The key stat of the first set and a half was Giorgi’s 13 double faults. While playing some good points, the Italian player was unable to string them together consistently.
Cutting out the double faults and and relentless in her aggressive gameplan, Giorgi turned the match on its head to win the second set and even go up a break in the decider. Giorgi though couldn’t sustain that form as Hsieh broke back immediately and then played a solid game at 4-4, playing into the corners to get Giorgi on the move. Hsieh broke rather comfortably for the win.
It’s nice to see Giorgi back on the tour and good timing as she’s at her best on the grass. Hsieh’s fantastic year just keeps on rolling. This was her 20th (!) singles win of 2019 and next up is a Wimby rematch with Simona Halep.
On a random sidenote, I really dislike Court 2. I’d hoped they would improve it this year but it remains as just one stand that is set back from the court and and provides little atmosphere. Even the camera angle for the court is terrible for watching.
Alizé Cornet leads Elina Svitolina, 6-3 *2-1
There were no upsets on Monday although the final match on Court 1, eventually halted by the rain, was developing into one. Alizé Cornet led the number five seed, Elina Svitolina by a set and a break. While I thought Cornet was playing very well, Svitolina seemed rather out-of-sorts. I didn’t think Svitolina looked great on the practice courts and to me, she comes across as not having much confidence in her game right now. She’ll get a second chance tomorrow when the pair resume their first round match. The winner will have to do double duty on Tuesday.
Hot shot of the day 🔥
There were some fabulous points towards the end of Wozniacki-Flipkens. Liked this match point save from Kirsten Flipkens!
Handshakes and hugs 🤗
A nice exchange between Wozniacki and Flipkens who had a good natter at the net!
Super snap 📸
Liked this shot of a smiley Jelena Ostapenko on the practice courts this morning.
Recommended reading 📚
Great piece from Matt Zemek at Tennis with an accent on Ash Barty who withdrew from Eastbourne today with a right arm injury.
Recommended media 📺
Around the grounds 👟
I headed straight to the practice courts this morning where Jelena Ostapenko and Ons Jabeur were sharing a practice court with doubles players. There were plenty of laughs as the pair traded fierce groundstrokes. Jabeur has such incredible touch and feel. Both players went on to win their first round matches on Monday.
I finally saw Kiki Bertens for the first time on Monday as she was watching the Collins-Putintseva match with her team. It was a popular choice, unsurprisingly, as I spotted Maria Sakkari’s coach, Tom Hill and umpire, Zhang Juan watching from the side.
As the drizzle fell, I headed back over to the practice courts for one last time. I saw Hsieh Su-Wei for the first time and stood and watched Caroline Wozniacki and Bethanie Mattek-Sands practising together.
MTB on social media 🎾
A selection of my favourite photos from day 3 of the 2019 Nature Valley International are up on the MTB Facebook page.
Tomorrow’s OOP ⭐
Another manic schedule awaits on Tuesday with quite a few first round matches still to finish. The lack of leeway in this tournament never seizes to amaze me as everyone bar Pliskova will now have to play every day up to the final on Saturday. The forecast looks set fair for the rest of the week (after a night of thunderstorms!) so they should be OK now.