Wednesday’s Set Points post covers the remaining second round matches at the 2019 Western & Southern Open. It was a busy day of tennis and there were surprisingly few upsets as all eight seeds in action advanced to the third round. Read on for the highlights of the day including match reviews of Halep-Alexandrova, Barty-Sharapova and Osaka-Sasnovich. Stay tuned for another photo gallery from Omar Boraby later today!
Match reviews 🎾
Simona Halep d. Ekaterina Alexandrova, 3-6 7-5 6-4
In the opening match of the day on Center Court, the Wimbledon champ survived a scare in a three set tussle with Ekaterina Alexandrova. The Russian player was one game away from the biggest win of her career, leading 6-3 5-4 in the second set. Unfortunately, Alexandrova’s game rather crumbled towards the end of the second and third sets. You could see the tension in her shoulders as she faded in a sea of unforced errors. Credit to Halep who was rock solid and gave very little away in the crux moments.
Donna Vekic d. Victoria Azarenka, 6-2 7-5
A super-serving, Donna Vekic, earnt her second straight sets win over Victoria Azarenka in the past two weeks. Vekic had a little wobble in the second set, leading 6-2 4-2, as Azarenka found her rhythm to reel off three straight games. Vekic managed to reset when serving to stay in the set and then continued in much the same vein of the first set and a half as served out the match in convincing fashion. Azarenka never really got going after a slow start where her forehand was leaking errors. As well as Vekic served, Azarenka just didn’t put enough returns back in court. Vekic advances to a fascinating third rounder against Venus Williams. For Azarenka, she’s 3-3 during the summer hard court season.
Ash Barty d. Maria Sharapova, 6-4 6-1
Winning 11 of the last 13 games against Maria Sharapova, Ash Barty won her first singles match since Wimbledon. It was Sharapova who made a fast and aggressive start, going up 3-1 in the first set. Barty did such a brilliant job at changing the tempo with her backhand slice and getting the match onto her terms. Barty increasingly drew errors from Sharapova as she moved the Russian player from side-to-side. Barty looks back in business….
Naomi Osaka d. Aliaksandra Sasnovich, 7-6(3) 2-6 6-2
Naomi Osaka lost her first ever set to Aliaksandra Sasnovich but maintained her 100% record against the Belarusian player with a three set victory. It was a bizarre match as Osaka was grinning and giggling through much of the first set. Both players produced superb depth at times but it was Osaka who edged the first set tiebreak with some big serves and even a couple of jumping backhands! Osaka’s coach asked for more focus in the second set but that didn’t really go to plan as she completely lost her way. Osaka got it back in the third set, serving much more effectively and ultimately more stable than a hit-or-miss, Sasnovich.
Handshakes and hugs 🤗
Nice from Svetlana Kuznetsova who tried to help an injured, Dayana Yastremska at the end of their match (via The Body Serve on Twitter). What a win for Sveta, saving two match points and prevailing, 4-6 7-6(7) 6-2.
LOL moment 🤣
This was hilarious.
Favourite snaps 📸
So many snaps to choose from and a full gallery coming soon! Love these shots from an entertaining Osaka-Sasnovich match on Grandstand.
Press highlights 📰
Osaka explained why she was grinning and giggling in the first set (via WTA Insider on Twitter).
Recommended media 📺
Simona Halep was on good form in an interview with Tennis Channel. She talked about her injury in Toronto and feeling nervous to run, but it seems she’s feeling OK for now.
Tomorrow’s OOP ⭐
Third round matches are up on the schedule on Thursday including a Svitolina-Kenin rematch, a 4th meeting between Osaka and Hsieh in 2019 and a first meeting since the 2016 WTA Finals between Halep and Keys. Polls also up a first ever meeting between Sabalenka and Sakkari and a fascinating clash for Center Court between Venus and Vekic.