We’re now powering through the Volvo Car Open with the quarter-finals all set for Friday. Thursday’s last 16 matches witnessed yet more upsets with just one of the top eight seeds, the number one seed, reaching the elite eight. Thursday’s big tennis news was the announcement of a one week delay of the French Open. I am disappointed because I had my annual leave all beautifully timed with that first week of RG 😂. I would guess it’s still touch and go whether the tournament goes ahead considering the situation in France. I’m hoping the tournaments stated in the first week of the grass court season go ahead as normal. Anyway, back to Charleston and read on for Thursday’s diary…
Day 4️⃣ Highlights
(11) Yulia Putintseva d. (6) Garbiñe Muguruza, 0-6 2-2 ret.
This was a crusher to start to the day as Muguruza was forced to retire leading 6-0 2-2. It was made all the more depressing because Muguruza was PLAYING SO WELL! Putintseva tried everything to get Muguruza out of sync but nothing was working.
In the first game of the second set, Muguruza asked for the trainer. She then had an off-court medical time-out for a leg injury. In a long game at 2-2, it was clear Muguruza wasn’t moving right and she pulled the plug. Muguruza said afterwards that she was already feeling something in her first match. Fingers crossed this was just precautionary and won’t keep Muguruza on the sidelines for too long. A real bummer…
Danka Kovinic d. (3) Petra Kvitova, 6-4 6-1
Twice in 2016, Danka Kovinic was two points away from beating Kvitova. The first of those matches was at Indian Wells where Kvitova survived, 6-3 4-6 7-6(5). The second of those matches was in the first round at Roland Garros where Kovinic was unable to serve out the match in the third set with Kvitova prevailing, 6-2 4-6 7-5. Well, the third time’s the charm for Kovinic as she won eight of the last nine games to record that elusive win over Kvitova that she had been so close to in 2016.
Not to be for Petra who didn’t quite look herself in either of her two matches in Charleston. Kovinic played a really sound match. I think her serve is underrated and she used it to great effect. Kovinic looks really comfortable on the clay. Back in 2015, Charleston was the home of Kovinic’s breakthrough run where she reached the quarter-finals, notably beating Bencic in the second round.
(12) Ons Jabeur d. Alizé Cornet, 5-7 6-3 6-3
This was a rather extraordinary win for Jabeur who was clearly suffering physically in the depths of a twisting third set. Prior to converting on her second match point, Jabeur appeared to be sick in the corner of the court. A similar thing happened in Miami where Jabeur somehow managed to win a gruelling three setter against Paula Badosa.
The first set was wild 🎢. Cornet 3-1 to Jabeur 4-3 to Cornet 7-5. Jabeur had triple set points at *5-4 *40-0 and blew them with some sloppy errors. Jabeur did really well to put the disastrous end of the first set behind her and win the second set, albeit with another tricky close needing four set points.
The third set was wild again. Jabeur 2-0 to Cornet 3-2 to Jabeur 6-3. I thought Cornet’s physicality was going to prevail but Jabeur, still in obvious discomfort, had a bit of a second wind from 2-3 down and began to hit more freely. A lot of drop shots in this one, some good, some not so good! It will be interesting to see how Jabeur recovers for her quarter-final match…
Sloane Stephens d. Ajla Tomljanovic, 6-3 6-4
Sloaneeeee! This is the best match I’ve seen her play in a long, long time. Stephens’s footwork was sharp and she was striking the ball beautifully and with real gusto. Probably the best quality match I have watched in Charleston so far. A shame that Tomljanovic completely went away at the end having played a strong match up till then.
This is obviously a favourable match-up for Stephens who has now won all six matches against Tomljanovic. I think Stephens thrives off the pace of ball that Tomljanovic gives her. Perhaps i’ve got ahead of myself off the back of just a few performances… but in a wide open final eight, I could see Sloane going onto win the whole caboodle.
Best of the rest 🎾
In the night match, the number one seed, Ash Barty needed three sets to see off the home favourite, Shelby Rogers, 7-6(3) 4-6 6-4 in two hours and 25 minutes.
The number 14 seed, Coco Gauff rallied from a break down in the second set four times to prevail on the tiebreak, beating Lauren Davis, 6-2 7-6(2).
Paula Badosa reached her first WTA 500 quarter-final, beating Caty McNally, 6-3 6-3.
The number 15 seed, Veronika Kudermetova was the first player into the quarters as she cruised past Kurumi Nara, 6-0 6-3.
Funny moment 🤣
Petra made me laugh in this video haha!
Recommended media 📺
I’ve loved the players hitting the target at the end of their matches and Ash went one better last night!
QF watchlist 📺
(12) Ons Jabeur vs. (14) Coco Gauff
(15) Veronika Kudermetova vs. Sloane Stephens
(1) Ash Barty vs. Paula Badosa
(11) Yulia Putintseva vs. Danka Kovinic