We’re rolling through the rounds in Cincy with the last eight all set. It was a day of thrilling three setters with five of the eight matches going the distance. Just the one post today and we will have more photos to share from Omar Boraby at the weekend. Read on for the highlights from Thursday’s third round action at the Western & Southern Open.
Match reviews 🎾
Venus Williams d. Donna Vekic, 2-6 6-3 6-3 (R3)
Venus Williams is into the quarter-finals of Cincy after rallying from a set down to beat Donna Vekic. I caught the end of the match where Venus saved two break points at *1-2 in the deciding set as she went onto win five of the last six games. In a series of intense extended rallies, Venus managed to outlast Vekic. Rather surprisingly, Venus won a higher percentage of points behind her second serve (64%) compared to her first serve (49%). I wonder if Vekic could have done more to put pressure on Venus’s serve.
Incredible effort from Venus who has shown her trademark heart and resilience on court to notch two big wins over Bertens and Vekic, both in the heat of the day. The talking point of the match was Venus ordering a coffee through the second set!
Naomi Osaka d. Hsieh Su-Wei, 7-6(3) 5-7 6-2 (R3)
The fourth installment this year of the compelling Osaka-Hsieh rivalry produced another great contest as Osaka won her second three set match of the week. An aggressive, Hsieh twice led by a break in the first set, but couldn’t serve it out at *5-4, playing a poor game. Hsieh was redirecting Osaka’s pace beautifully and hitting with impeccable depth, particularly on return. Osaka won the ensuing first set tiebreak and then had her chances in the second set to pull away. Hsieh remained resolute on serve as Osaka folded in her final service game.
Hsieh had four break points at the start of the third set but they were all expertly saved by Osaka who then built on the momentum to win five of the last six games against a fading Hsieh. I loved their exchange at the net. They both paused for a moment before going in for the hug! It was just perfect. Hsieh tends to bring the best out of Osaka and it was a very focused and committed display from the world number one. Hsieh is such an absolute delight to watch and I seek out her matches on the schedule. Great match for all those with a ground pass but still can’t believe they put this on Court 10 which doesn’t even have Hawkeye,
While I was playing tennis… 🎾
Ash Barty rallied from a break down in the second and third sets, and won the last four games to beat Anett Kontaveit, 4-6 7-5 7-5.
Maria Sakkari rallied from a set and 1-4 down to beat Aryna Sabalenka, 6-7(4) 6-4 6-4 in the longest match of the day lasting two hours and 43 minutes. Sakkari has now beaten the big hitting trio of Giorgi, Kvitova and Sabalenka in Cincy.
While I was asleep… 😴
Madison Keys scored her best win of 2019, snapping a five match losing streak against Simona Halep to win a gripping match on Grandstand, 6-1 3-6 7-5. Loved the point linked below by Madison!
Sofia Kenin beat Elina Svitolina for the second time in a week to reach back-to-back quarter-finals in Toronto and Cincy. Kenin won, 6-3 7-6(3).
Point of the day 👏
Just one of many fabulous points in Osaka-Hsieh
Handshakes and hugs 🤗
Lovely moment at the net between Sabalenka and Sakkari after such a gruelling match. I feel like Maria is involved in the most hugs at the net of any player!
LOL moment 🤣
Hsieh Su-Wei is just the best.
Favourite snap 📸
A pumped-up Ash during her third round win over Anett Kontaveit!
Press highlights 📰
Naomi Osaka discussed her third set feelings in press (via WTA Insider on Twitter).
Recommended reading 📚
Nice article on Sveta by WTA Insider.
Tomorrow’s OOP ⭐
Friday is quarter-finals day in Cincy. Especially intrigued by the bottom half quarters with two polls linked below. Osaka-Kenin is my match of the day.