Day 3 of main draw action in Charleston saw the completion of the second round matches. After Tuesday’s complete sweep of straight set matches, Wednesday was at the other end of spectrum with over half the matches going the distance and six of the ten seeds in action bowing out of the tournament. The two most eye-catching matches on the schedule were both in the night session. Read on for Wednesday’s diary with thoughts on the three matches, all three setters, that I watched…
Day 3️⃣ Highlights
Paula Badosa d. (5) Belinda Bencic, 6-2 6-7(2) 6-1
This was a bizarre match to open proceedings on the Althea Gibson Court. Badosa was the better player for much of the match. The Spaniard missed two match points and two opportunities to serve out the match in the second set. Badosa lost her way after a strange opening point when serving for the match at 6-2 *5-4. A defensive shot from Bencic just about landed onto Badosa’s side of the court. Badosa had to reach over the net to put the ball away and touched the net in the process. Bencic found her serve and a rare moment of calm in the second set tiebreak to force a decider.
Bencic was unable to build on the momentum of winning the second set as Badosa regrouped and cruised through the third set. A bad day at the office for Bencic who seemed to be arguing with someone when she walked off court – wondered if it was because she wasn’t wearing a mask? Is now a good time to say that I had Belinda as my Charleston champ? 👀. I randomly remembered her breakthrough run to the semis on her debut in 2014 and felt there was potential in her draw if she could get through the first two rounds. I don’t know what I was thinking 😂. This was actually Badosa’s career best win having never previously beaten a top 30 player. The second set was a mess but Badosa showed a lot of character to reset mentally and come through in the end.
Lauren Davis d. (2) Sofia Kenin, 4-6 6-3 6-4
Lauren Davis scored her best win since 2014, beating the number two seed, Sofia Kenin, in an uninspiring contest. The most interesting thing that happened was Kenin taking an off-court medical time-out down 0-3 in the third set. Kenin returned with strapping on her left thigh. The stoppage did see a change in momentum as Kenin, hitting the ball cleaner and with more conviction, levelled up at 3-3.
I thought Kenin would go onto win but the errors that crept into her game from a set and a break up returned. Davis eventually wore down Kenin with some smart play as she extended the length of the rallies and was lopping up the ball which Davis said afterwards she noticed Kenin didn’t enjoy.
It’s been a testing year so far for Kenin. She was very open in struggling to deal with the pressure of defending the Australian Open and then underwent surgery for appendicitis just a week later. I’m not really expecting much from Kenin right now and to be honest, i’m surprised to see her competing so soon after that surgery. In the long-term, i’m not worried. Kenin will find her way.
Ajla Tomljanovic d. (17) Marie Bouzkova, 4-6 7-5 7-5
This was a throughly enjoyable match and a real treat after the first two matches I watched! Tomljanovic-Bouzkova was well-contested from start to finish with plenty of long, gripping rallies, many that seemed to be won rather than lost.
After each securing a three game sprint in the first set, Bouzkova seemed to acknowledge the need to stay closer to the baseline and served out the first set with some solid serving. Serving second in the second set, Bouzkova stayed in touch and kept putting the pressure back on Tomljanovic. The Aussie wouldn’t budge either though, saving a break point at 5-5 in the second set. Tomljanovic then went onto break for the set as she really started to go after her forehand.
In the third set, Tomljanovic led 4-1, served for the match at *5-3 and missed three match points at 5-4. Bouzkova was resolute in defence. Tomljanovic has had some shaky losses in her time so the fact she managed to win the last two games and stuck to her gameplan of being the more aggressive player was very impressive.
Best of the rest 🎾
Alizé Cornet won back-to-back matches for the first time in 2021, beating the number seven seed, Elise Mertens, 7-5 6-3. Surprising result IMO.
Sloane Stephens made it four wins out of five against the number eight seed and defending champion, Madison Keys, 6-4 6-4. Madison struggling for form in 2021 but at least encouraged to see Sloane on an upward trend and like Cornet, with back-to-back wins for the first time this year.
Shelby Rogers came back from 1-6 1-4 down to beat the number 13 seed, Amanda Anisimova, 1-6 7-5 6-4. Anisimova seemed to have an injury in the second set from what I read. Not a very nice racquet tap at the end?
Favourite snap 📸
Charleston under the lights ❤.
Recommended media 📺
One from yesterday. I find Muguruza absolutely fascinating. She doesn’t give much away these days so I really appreciated this interview where Muguruza started to open up.
R3 watchlist 📺
(6) Garbiñe Muguruza vs. (11) Yulia Putintseva
(1) Ash Barty vs. Shelby Rogers
(12) Ons Jabeur vs. Alizé Cornet