Tuesday was another manic day at the 2019 Nature Valley International with first and second round matches on the schedule. I was sad to miss the early action today but the schedule was kind in that many of the enticing match-ups were later in the day. I’m counting down the days until Wimbledon – three days left at work! This post includes reviews of the matches that I watched on Tuesday, as well as highlights from the day. Read on for Tuesday’s Set Points in Eastbourne…
Match reviews 🎾
Simona Halep d. Hsieh Su-Wei, 6-2 6-0 (R2)
Simona Halep needed just 53 minutes (!) to beat Hsieh Su-Wei and book her place in the third round of Eastbourne. Halep was forced to save a break point in her first service game but once she was on the board, she cruised through and played a great match. Halep served very well, saving all four break points faced, and maintained a high first serve percentage throughout the match. Halep was also aggressive and didn’t allow Hsieh to control the points with her funkiness. I liked how Halep used the angles to her advantage and she chased down most of Hsieh’s drop shots with ease.
Jelena Ostapenko d. Sloane Stephens, 1-6 6-0 6-3 (R2)
In a wildly lopsided match, Jelena Ostapenko rallied from a set down and overcame an early blaze of double faults to see off Sloane Stephens in three sets. Remarkably, this was Ostapenko’s first top ten win in over a year (via Tennis Abstract).
Ostapenko hit eight double faults in a wildly erratic opening set that I found frankly unwatchable. I ended up flicked over to another stream 😂. Eurosport picked it up during the second set so I returned to watching once Kerber-Stosur finished. Ostapenko came roaring back in the second set and core to that was managing to shore up the serve. In fact, Ostapenko didn’t hit a double fault in the third set and dare I say, actually served very well!
Ostapenko is almost unplayable at times but a subdued Stephens gave off a vibe with her body language that she didn’t believe she could turn it around. While she kept things pretty steady, I don’t feel like Stephens tried anything different and she essentially was a bit of a passenger in this match. Barring any withdrawals, Ostapenko will be unseeded in the Wimbledon draw and I think she’s going to be one of the most dangerous floaters. No one will want to draw her in the first round…
Caroline Wozniacki d. Andrea Petkovic, 6-4 6-4 (R2)
In the final match of the day, Caroline Wozniacki produced a superb display to beat Andrea Petkovic in straights. It was a high-quality match all round with the pair combining for 43 winners to just 14 unforced errors 😲. I thought Petkovic had two really good matches in Eastbourne. Wozniacki keeps repeating that she is finally healthy and I think that’s a big deal. When she’s been fully fit over the past few years, she has played some stunning tennis. Rounding into form once again in Eastbourne.
Seeded upsets 😲
As well as Ostapenko beating Stephens, there were another four upsets on Tuesday in Eastbourne.
Alizé Cornet d. (5) Elina Svitolina, 6-3 7-6(3) – Great win for Cornet. Svitolina has now lost 6 of her last 7 matches and seems to be low on confidence.
Ekaterina Alexandrova d. (10) Belinda Bencic, 6-7(5) 6-2 6-3 – Tough ask for Belinda who came from Mallorca on Sunday and already won a match on Tuesday morning against Kudermetova. Still dependent on the draw but I really like Bencic for a deep run at Wimby.
Elise Mertens d. (13) Marketa Vondrousova, 6-1 5-7 6-2 – This match wasn’t on the completed matches on the scoreboard! Not a big surprise as I don’t think Vondrousova has played much on the grass.
Anna-Lena Friedsam d. (16) Anett Kontaveit, 6-3 6-4 – Surprised by this result. To be fair, I wonder if Kontaveit would have beaten Dart if it hadn’t been for that slip for the Brit in the second set. Kontaveit seemingly struggling since reaching the final of Stuttgart.
Stat watch 🔢
Angelique Kerber has a 15-5 W-L record in Eastbourne but she’s yet to win a title at Devonshire Park. In six appearances, Kerber has never lost her opening match and she maintained that run with a 6-4 6-4 win over Sam Stosur on Tuesday. While I wasn’t that impressed with Kerber, I thought it was a solid display as she forced errors from Stosur at 4-4 in both sets to break.
Hot shot of the day 🔥
What a shot by Simona linked in the WTA match highlights below!
Handshakes and hugs 🤗
Maria Sakkari seems to be one of the biggest huggers on tour! A nice moment between Jo Konta and Sakkari after Konta’s 6-4 7-6(4) victory.
Recommended media 📺
Johanna Konta seemed relieved to get through her second round match, even admitting she thought Sakkari played a better match.
MTB on social media 🎾
A selection of my favourite photos from day 4 of the 2019 Nature Valley International are up on the MTB Facebook page.
Tomorrow’s OOP ⭐
Really surprised that Konta is on Court 1 and first up, and Wozniacki-Sabalenka, a repeat of last year’s final and the best looking match-up on paper, is also on Court 1. The scheduling has been baffling for the past two days. Clearly there’s a deal in place to split the ATP and WTA across the top courts, even though this is a WTA Premier event compared to an ATP 250. Not a good look though when you’ve got a match between two ATP players ranked outside the top 25 on Centre Court, while the defending champion is on Court 1 and a three time Slam champ is out on Court 2.
There’s obviously a lot going on behind the scenes that we don’t know about but I still think it’s disrespectful to the WTA. In the opposite case, Washington as the example that springs to mind, they have an ATP 500 against a WTA International. The WTA are ALWAYS demoted to the outside courts. Rant over 🤬😂.