Bye bye Toronto, hello Cincy! It’s a quick turnaround as we move onto the Premier 5 event at the Western & Southern Open. The draw in Cincy has produced some fantastic first round match-ups and main draw action began on Monday with 12 first round matches. This post covers the highlights of WTA action from day 1 of main draw action in Cincy including photos from Omar Boraby.
Match reviews 🎾
Yulia Putintseva d. Jelena Ostapenko, 6-2 6-7(3) 6-3
In a match-up that is a beacon to all WTA fans, Yulia Putintseva beat Jelena Ostapenko and her 15 double faults in three sets. Ostapenko enjoyed patches of quality hitting, such as in the second set tiebreak, but it was rarely sustained as her vulnerability on serve appeared to seep into the rest of her game. Putintseva scrambled well and extended the rallies by varying the pace and height on her groundstrokes. In the deciding set, Ostapenko rarely got a look in on Putintseva’s service games as the Kazakh player landed 71% of first serves in. Still howling that they put this on a court without Hawkeye… as to be expected, Ostapenko was frequently disgruntled by the line calls 😬.
Aryna Sabalenka d. Petra Martic, 6-1 6-4
Aryna Sabalenka played arguably one of her best matches of the year, beating a passive and frustrated, Petra Martic in straight sets. Sabalenka served ten double faults but was lethal behind her first serve, winning 82% of first serve points behind it. Sabalenka played with thoughtful aggression and showed some nice touches around the court. Sabalenka has the tendency to overhit, but there was something different about her in this match.
Sabalenka was clutch as she twice rallied from *0-40 down on serve including when serving for the match. It was a rough day at the office for Martic who was never allowed to play her game by Sabalenka and lost her cool on one changeover as she thwacked a couple of racquets. I wonder if all the matches on clay and grass are catching up with Petra?
Rebecca Peterson d. Johanna Konta, 6-3 3-6 7-5
My favourite match of the day was on Stadium 3 where Rebecca Peterson earnt her second top 15 win since Wimbledon, beating Johanna Konta. Peterson dominated the first set, dropping just three points on serve, but Konta began to find her rhythm on return and with her drop shots in the second set – woeful for a time, Konta kept persevering with the droppers and they eventually started to pay off as she dragged an increasingly passive, Peterson all over the court.
Peterson was much more aggressive in the third set and anticipated the Konta drop shot as she became increasingly sharp with her footwork. Peterson had points for a 5-1 lead but Konta saved five break points, all with bold shotmaking, and then the Brit even had a break point that would have seen her serve for the match. Peterson’s serve kept her in contention and she then took advantage of a string of errors from Konta at the end.
The Brit argued with the umpire in the final game as one point, she stopped play when Peterson had momentarily stopped thinking one of her groundstrokes was out. Hawkeye showed Peterson’s shot to be in and therefore her point. Konta argued for a while after the match and appeared to reference the umpire’s wife from something that happened in Nottingham?! Not sure what that was about but I don’t think Jo really had a case.
Every time I watch Peterson, I am impressed with her game and surprised that she isn’t higher in the rankings. Her results have been decent of late with five top 50 victories over the past two and a half months.
While I was sleeping… 😴
The highest seed to fall on Monday was the number 11 seed, Anastasija Sevastova. Svetlana Kuznetsova produced another great win, outlasting Sevastova, 7-6(3) 6-7(4) 6-4 in two hours and 35 minutes.
Maria Sharapova enjoyed an excellent win over the in-form, Alison Riske, 6-3 7-6(4). Next up is Ash Barty!
Dayana Yastremska scored her second top 20 win of the summer hard court season, beating Caroline Wozniacki in straight sets, 6-4 6-4.
Stat watch 🔢
Venus Williams snapped a four match losing streak with a first victory since Birmingham, beating fellow American, Lauren Davis in straight sets, 7-5 6-2. It was a solid serving performance from Venus who won 66% of service points. Davis will rue missed opportunities as she went one for eight on break points.
Favourite snap 📸
Delighted to be working again with Omar Boraby in Cincy! Loved the lighting in this shot of Alison Riske.
Press highlights 📰
Maria Sharapova spoke in press about playing Ash Barty in the next round (Via WTA Insider on Twitter).
Tomorrow’s OOP ⭐
Tuesday’s schedule is lit 🔥. Polls for my three favourite matches of the day are linked below. More can be found on the separate previews and polls page here.