Friday’s Set Points, Toronto 2019: Kenin vs. Andreescu, Serena vs. Bouzkova all set for the semis

The 2019 Rogers Cup has been a great tournament so far for the women with many close matches, new players coming through, home favourites rolling, upsets among the band of seeds but stability too with four of the top eight making the quarter-finals. Read on for a Set Points round-up from Friday’s quarter-finals in Toronto.

Match reviews 🎾

Sofia Kenin d. Elina Svitolina, 7-6(2) 6-4 (QF)

Sofia Kenin continued her superb year by reaching a first Premier level semi-final. Kenin found herself down 0-4 in the first set but soon locked in as she cut out the early errors and played aggressively, managing to open up the court. Kenin played a superb first set tiebreak and was then clutch throughout the second set as she saved a total of seven break points across three service games.

I am just so impressed with Kenin who was able to rely on her first serve when serving out the match. At 20, I think she’s already one of the best competitors on WTA tour. For Svitolina, it was another tough loss having had a favourable lead in the opening set. Even with her run to the semi-finals at Wimbledon, I feel she’s lacking a bit of belief in her game. Her coach, Andrew Bettles, tried to gee her up at the end, telling her to be more positive and stop being so hard on herself.

Bianca Andreescu d. Karolina Pliskova, 6-0 2-6 6-4 (QF)

Talking of great competitors… in her first tournament back since the French Open after a second spell on the sidelines for a shoulder injury, Bianca Andreescu is tearing up the tour again. Andreescu battled through a leg/groin injury to see off Karolina Pliskova in three wild sets to advance to the semi-finals of her home tournament.

Pliskova rebounded impressively from a first set bagel (!!!) and looked to have the upper hand on serve in the decider. Andreescu kept plugging away with tenacious defence and variety. Pliskova buckled with a poor, rushed service game at 4-4 and then Andreescu served it out like with a champ. Running out of superlatives for Andreescu. To produce such gutsy tennis against top opposition and having played so little tennis since March is really special.

Serena Williams d. Naomi Osaka, 6-3 6-4 (QF)

Serena Williams recorded her first win over Naomi Osaka and a first top ten win since the Australian Open with a straight sets victory over the soon-to-be world number one. It was an excellent performance from Serena who looked sharp in all departments and was especially strong on serve where she hit 12 aces and won 82% of points behind her first serve. I thought Osaka was a tad conservative, perhaps because of the wind, and up against a sharp Serena. A positive week though for Osaka who shared on her social media that she was feeling happy after this tournament in Toronto.

Marie Bouzkova d. Simona Halep, 6-4 ret. (QF)

Marie Bouzkova is having a banner week in Toronto. The 21-year-old Czech player advanced to the semi-finals as Simona Halep was forced to retire after the first set with what looked like an achilles issue? Hopefully just precautionary for Halep but a shame as it would have been an exciting to see a Wimby rematch had she won. Bouzkova’s dream week continues and now she gets a shot at Serena…

Stat watch πŸ”’

All of Andreescu’s victories this week have come in three sets with all four matches going 6-4 or beyond in the deciding sets. Via Tennis Abstract, Andreescu has improved her three set record in 2019 to 15-3 and she’s now 6-0 against top ten opposition πŸ‘.

R1: Andreescu d. Eugenie Bouchard, 4-6 6-1 6-4

R2: Andreescu d. Daria Kasatkina, 5-7 6-2 7-5

R3: Andreescu d. Kiki Bertens, 6-1 6-7(7) 6-4

QF: Andreescu d. Karolina Pliskova, 6-0 2-6 6-4

Handshakes and hugs πŸ€—

Ash Barty and Victoria Azarenka are into the semi-finals of the doubles in Toronto.

Favourite snap πŸ“Έ

Adore this photo of Simona Halep from her third round win over Svetlana Kuznetsova.

Press highlightsΒ πŸ“°

Serena’s press conference from Thursday was a hoot!

Recommended listening 🎧

The latest episode of the Tennis with an Accent podcast features interviews with Sofia Kenin and Kiki Bertens’s coach, Raemon Sluiter. Interested to hear Kenin reel off all her tough losses. You don’t often hear players openly discuss losses like that.

Recommended media πŸ“Ί

Another fun interview from the Rogers Cup social media pages where Barty and Azarenka talked about some of their worst weather experiences on the court. Ash also called Vika a “cruisy chick” πŸ˜‚.

Tomorrow’s OOP ⭐

Saturday’s semis will see Bianca Andreescu take on Sofia Kenin and Serena Williams play Marie Bouzkova. Tough to call Kenin-Andreescu – I thought Andreescu’s run was going to end every round from the second round! I feel like Kenin should win but Andreescu is just in the zone.

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6 thoughts on “Friday’s Set Points, Toronto 2019: Kenin vs. Andreescu, Serena vs. Bouzkova all set for the semis

  1. I wonder if Bettles might get the boot soon. I thought she might think about changing after that loss to Sakkari last week from a set and 41 up. I’m one of the few that believe Svitolina should stick to her base game and not try to be overly aggressive, but she was way too defensive against Kenin. Elina brought him on twice, and both times Andrew told her to keep hitting high margin, midcourt balls, hoping for errors that were not coming. Kenin was outstanding though!

    I really want Serena to win the title. It will be her first as a mother, and I think it’s really needed to clear her nerves for the Slam finals. Because her last 3 Slam finals have been some of the worst matches that I’ve ever seen her play, which is so sad since she was the best player in those three events leading to the final.

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    • I’m not sure what to think with Svitolina right now. It was a solid week but I feel she’s never really hit top form this year. I’d like to see her being more aggressive (or at least less passive) in the key moments but easier said than done. I think it was a good decision from Serena to play Toronto and she seems very relaxed in press. I think it would be huge for her if she were to win the tournament.

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      • I want Svitolina to be aggressive…but I also think that she needs to find a balance with her natural game so that it doesn’t go OFF when she gets tight. I just found Bettles strategy bizzare! Instead of finishing midcourt points off with the forehand, she kept hitting these deep forehand slice shots. It worked initially, but once Kenin cottoned on, she was getting picked off with them. And Andrew told her to do it more? Fittingly, she lost the MP on a forehand slice…

        I’m all in for Serena. She looks like she’s in incredible shape physically.

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  2. Bianca Andreescu’s got a home advantage over Sofia (Kenin) and I think that may be enough to swing it in her favour.

    About the other semi; the odds do obviously favour Serena but Marie (Bouzkova’s) got nothing to lose, will go in playing freely and might just pull off a shock (no one thought Belinda Bencic had much of a chance against Serena in 2015). Shes also got a very appealing and positive personality and is someone I can’t help but wish well.

    There’s been some discussion on Tennis Forum about why Simona retired yesterday. I think the most likely one is that she doesn’t want yet another first round exit from the US Open and was feeling enough of a pain when she was playing not to want to take any chances.

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  3. I am sorry to say but Andreescu, in my opinion has some character issues, I am romanian and I was glad to see someone else except Simona Halep to play at this level (I know she is canadian now) but is sad to see all this MTO, some1 should tell her that there is a thing called fair play in sport!!

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    • Can I just say… I told you so… (not you personally, but during Indian Wells I commented on her behaviour/attitude). One thing I DO admire is that she doesn’t use on court coaching, since she won’t be able to rely on it in the Slams. I think more players would be wise to follow the example (set by Serena).

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