Tuesday’s Set Points, Toronto 2019: Kenin beats Barty for best win, Azarenka through to R2

The first round is in the books at the 2019 Rogers Cup and the second round is underway after a busy day in Toronto. It was another day of upsets with 5 of the 6 seeds in action going out and so much happening at night. I feel so many of these “upsets” have caveats and aren’t really that surprising because of the depth of the WTA tour right now. Read on for the highlights of Tuesday’s action in Toronto.

Match reviews 🎾

Victoria Azarenka d. Camila Giorgi, 6-2 6-2 (R1)

Victoria Azarenka produced a supremely solid display to defeat a mostly erratic and impatient, Camila Giorgi, 6-2 6-2. After Giorgi’s run to the final in Washington, I had high hopes for this match. Sadly it didn’t deliver as a contest as Azarenka won pretty handily. Giorgi struggled to hit through Azarenka as all-too-often, the Italian player produced the error in the rally. Azarenka moved well and soaked up pressure, keeping Giorgi back with decent depth. Azarenka served much, much better of the pair as she landed 63% of first serves in and benefited from Giorgi’s nine double faults. All in all, a good start for Vika in Toronto who gets Dayana Yastremska in the second round – really looking forward to what will be a first time clash between the pair.

Sofia Kenin d. Ash Barty, 6-7(5) 6-3 6-4 (R2)

In a topsy-turvy encounter, Sofia Kenin scored the biggest win of her career with a come-from-behind victory over the world number one, Ash Barty. Kenin had chances to win the opener too but played a shaky game when serving for the first set at *5-4.

I was impressed with how unphased Kenin was with Barty’s slice. Few have managed to handle it this year. It is worth noting that Barty did look rusty off the backhand wing for much of the match and took some pointers from coach, Craig Tyzzer, at the end of the first set. While hit-or-miss during the final two sets, Kenin was increasingly aggressive, particularly on return, and served well when it mattered. Barty didn’t seem to trust her groundstrokes with even her forehand looking vulnerable in the decider. As well as Kenin did serve with 74% of first serves in, I thought that Barty didn’t put enough returns back in court.

While a big upset on paper,  I wasn’t that surprised because this was Barty’s first match since Wimbledon and Kenin is the real deal IMO. I guess it is a surprise in the sense of how reliable Barty has been over the past year. This is the first time that Barty has lost her opening singles match at a tournament since Rome 2018.

While I was asleep… 😴

So much happened again!

Donna Vekic saved three match points to beat Madison Keys, 3-6 7-6(5) 7-6(5). Keys had her match points leading 6-3 *5-4 *40-0. A bit of a rough spell for Madison since the French Open.

Bianca Andreescu won her first match back since the French Open, beating Eugenie Bouchard in the heavily anticipated all-Canadian night clash, 4-6 6-1 6-4.

Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova snapped a six match losing streak and won her first match since Stuttgart in April (!), beating Aryna Sabalenka, 3-6 6-3 7-5.

Marie Bouzkova scored the biggest win of her career so far, beating Sloane Stephens in the last match of the day on Centre, 6-2 7-5. Bouzkova was beaming in her post-match interview! 😁

Stat watch 🔢

Carla Suárez Navarro snapped a run of five straight losses to Venus Williams with an impressive 6-4 6-2 victory on Tuesday afternoon. The Spaniard landed more first serves in and defended better behind her second serve as she set up a second round meeting with Anett Kontaveit.

Point of the day 👏

Only caught this one today but well worthy of a mention! Not the first time that Kerber and Kasatkina have combined to produce some awesome tennis.

Handshakes and hugs 🤗

Andreescu and Bouchard hug it out after what sounded like a very entertaining match.

Favourite snap 📸

As I mentioned yesterday, mesmerised by this serve! And also kicking myself that I didn’t get any pictures of Kenin at Wimbledon this year!

Press highlights 📰

Via WTA Insider, Ash Barty said that she struggled with the lively conditions in Toronto and of course, gave all the credit to Kenin.

Recommended reading 📚

Really enjoyed this latest post from WTA Insider about practice partners. Lots of fun tidbits that I won’t spoil so go and read it!

Recommended media 📺

Enjoyed this!

Tomorrow’s OOP ⭐

Wednesday’s schedule features the remaining the 13 second round matches with Simona Halep, Naomi Osaka, Serena Williams, Karolina Pliskova and Elina Svitolina all playing their first matches of the tournament. Three that intrigue me the most…

Bianca Andreescu vs. Daria Kasatkina

Victoria Azarenka vs. Dayana Yastremska

Caroline Wozniacki vs. Iga Swiatek

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3 thoughts on “Tuesday’s Set Points, Toronto 2019: Kenin beats Barty for best win, Azarenka through to R2

  1. Kenins serve is bizarre- it’s like the opposite of Caroline Garcia’s! I quite like her, overall. I know she’s rubbed some the wrong way, but I quite appreciate her no-nonsense dedication to the sport and think she’s professional. There aren’t many players who work harder than her, and I think it’s going to pay off with a successful (albeit not spectacular) career with plenty of top 5 stints and titles. Can she win Slams? I’m not sure…

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    • Agree with your assessment of Kenin, Andrew. I think she’s a great competitor and I like that she doesn’t seem to fear anybody. I think she’ll be top 10 by next year.

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      • I find her quite endearing, actually! But then I’ve always really liked when the girls just get on with it (eg. Svitolina, Garcia, Barty). I’m sure she will relax a little when she gets a little older and feels she has less that she has to prove.

        Could definitely see her in the top ten soon, although there is an awful lot of competition out there and especially in this group of super talented under 21s (Vondrousova, Andreescu, Anisimova, Yastremska, Swiatek) plus Bencic and Osaka. I would argue that the variety on display right now is higher and wider than it has ever been!

        Liked by 1 person

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