It’s a weird French Open this year. The tennis hasn’t always been great in these miserable conditions, but i’m simply enjoying some live tennis to get stuck into. I took the afternoon off work to watch some tennis and there was so much choice this afternoon! Read on for a review of the matches that I watched including Garbiñe Muguruza’s narrow escape against Tamara Zidansek in a three hour epic.
Bertens’s first win since February
Kiki Bertens won her first match since February, rallying from a set down to beat Katerina Zavatska, 2-6 6-2 6-0. Bertens, who was blending into the clay with her orange outfit, began to make her mark in the second set as she extended the length of the rallies and increasingly won points on the Zavatska serve. I really felt for Zavatska in the third set who broke three strings in the space of five minutes! She was tearful as she had to use her coach’s racquet. I liked Zavatska’s spirit and she kept plugging away despite everything going Bertens’s way.
It’s not going to get any easier for Bertens in the next round as she faces the resurgent, Sara Errani. Fun stat alert – Errani leads their head-to-head, 5-0! A caveat to that though as Bertens retired in two of those matches and they haven’t played since the 2016 Rio Olympics when Errani was the higher ranked player.
Swiatek’s statement win, d. last year’s finalist
Marketa Vondrousova against Iga Swiatek was my match of the dayt didn’t really live up to expectations as a contest as Swiatek was just too good! Swiatek played a stunning match as she knocked out last year’s Roland Garros finalist in just over an hour, 6-1 6-2.
Swiatek served very well (won 63% of 1st serves and 76% of second serve poi. Ints) and was strong off the second ball. She was aggressive in the rallies, menacing at the net and was simply better in every department. Vondrousova couldn’t do anything to threaten Swiatek on this occasion and was not helped out by some poor serving in the second set.
Amanda Anisimova is now the only one of last year’s semi-finalists remaining in this year’s tournament. This was a statement win from Swiatek who has now beaten seeds at all three Slams this year. Next up for Swiatek is Hsieh Su-Wei – bring it on 😍.
Muguruza survives Zidansek
Garbiñe Muguruza survived an almighty scare, winning a three hour plus nailbiter against Tamara Zidansek, 7-5 4-6 8-6. Muguruza came back from 0-3 down in the third set and twice served to stay in the tournament.
Muguruza wasn’t all that impressive in the first set but she competed well, as she has done for all of 2020, and committed to aggressive hitting from the baseline. The Spaniard was two games away from the win at 7-5 4-4. A patch of unforced errors midway through the second set let Zidansek back in. From playing a solid match, Zidansek became increasingly aggressive and enjoyed an inspired spell of hitting including a wonderful drop shot winner on set point to force a decider.
Zidansek continued to bamboozle Muguruza with an array of drop shots. A double fault from Zidansek on her first service point at 3-0 showed that the nerves were there. It descended into a tense affair as Muguruza failed to fully capitalise as she sent numerous returns and groundstrokes long. As passive and errant Muguruza was at times, she did well to stay in contention and found some lines with her backhand in key moments. Matches like this remind me why I love this sport – it wasn’t pretty but I was hooked in that third set!
I’m always of the opinion that getting through tough matches like this are huge. Three hours for the first round in these conditions is brutal. Muguruza, my champ (😬) lives to fight another day.
Juvan’s best win at a Slam
Kaja Juvan scored her best win at Slam, beating the number 18 seed, Angelique Kerber, 6-3 6-3. This wasn’t a huge surprise considering Kerber’s clay court credentials. The German player has now lost in the first round of the French Open in four of the last five years. I thought both players were hitting the ball well at the start (conditions seemed a bit quicker?).
Juvan was knocking on the door for a break but couldn’t convert. I wondered if she might pay for her missed opportunities… nope! Juvan broke through at 4-3 and then won six games in a row. Juvan broke Kerber’s serve five times for a pretty routine win in the end. I like Juvan’s game and she is yet another one to watch.
Recommended reading 📚
Love Mert’s detailed recaps, well worth a read! 👍
9 thoughts on “2020 French Open, Day 2 Highlights: Muguruza outlasts Zidansek, Swiatek’s statement win”
Scary times today! At one point, Serena, Svitolina and Vondrousova were all losing (at the same time), then my predicted winner Muguruza came dangerously close to getting dumped out!
I only managed to watch Serena today. She was pretty awful in the first set – lots of errors, tense frustration. But she was pretty superb in the second set, really playing with margin and variety. Her use of short angles was really promising. And IMO she’s looking physically strong. Pironkova will be a tough test next but I wonder if she could make a run here actually…
I was live scoring Serena and Svitolina and was equally concerned for a time! I opted for Swiatek-Vondrousova. Serena’s use of angles is very underrated. I’d think she would have the beating of Pironkova on clay.
Pironkova did make the semis here last time it was cold and wet. I feel like her flat strokes and slices could be deadly here right now – and she’s high on having reached the quarter finals in New York.
I underestimated Pironkova in their QF match at the US so i’ve probably done it again 😂
Since none of our players made it past the first round in this tournament, is anyone up for a discussion on the state of play in British tennis? I quite understand if no one is.
What are your thoughts on British tennis, Graham?
I watched bits of Ostrava last week, notably Sabalenka’s comeback win against Sorribes Tormo! Struggling to get into the tennis though with so few tournaments left on the WTA side and nothing much to play for with the WTA Finals cancelled.
Hi James, thanks for asking. I was reading Heather Watson’s thoughts on this and she was critical of the LTA’s decision to put most of its eggs in one basket with the big national tennis centre in Roehampton, and I think she was right to be.
It’s a fantastic place if you’re an up and coming player and live anywhere near London, but what happens if you don’t and can’t get there? I suspect that a number of smaller centres spread throughout the country would work better.
We probably need more local initiatives like the Heron Tennis Centre in Newquay, a few miles from where I live in Cornwall;
Ahh Cornwall! Seems like a fair point and from Watson’s comments too. It’s clear that it’s not working right now. Wondering who will take over the helm from Konta and Watson? Raducanu was quite impressive during the exhibitions over the summer.
Yes, Raducanu’s been playing well recently. She’s only 17 so has got plenty of time to show what she can do.
Taking over from Heather and Jo; I thought Katie Swan looked at one time like she was going to do it, but she’s not been doing too well lately. Maybe the other Katie (Boulter) or Harriet Dart? Sadly I think it’s all over for Laura Robson’s tennis career, though I’d like to be wrong about that.