Yay for the Bank Holiday Weekend. It was bliss to watch uninterrupted tennis this afternoon with the second round matches from the top half of the draw played out in Madrid. This tournament hasn’t quite kicked into gear yet. I’m excited about some of Monday’s matches from this half of the draw though. More on that in Saturday’s diary from Madrid.
Day 3️⃣ Highlights
(9) Petra Kvitova d. Angelique Kerber, 6-4 7-5
2021 continues to deliver with some of the most tantalising match-ups on the WTA tour. In the marquee match of the day, Kvitova beat Kerber in an enjoyable contest. I thought Kerber played well and she definitely seems to be in a better mindset than a few months ago. Kerber’s serve was poppier than usual and she was generally moving the ball around with real confidence.
Kerber led by a break in both sets. Both times, she failed to consolidate. Kvitova was clinical and ruthless at the ends of both sets and heaped on the scoreboard pressure when Kerber served to stay in both sets. 33 winners to 16 unforced errors for Kvitova. Oh yes! Kvitova and Kerber have played each other 14 times in their career. They’ve never played before on grass, arguably their best surfaces. One for this year’s tennis wishlist…
(14) Iga Swiatek d. Laura Siegemund, 6-3 6-3
Swiatek needed ELEVEN match points to see off Siegemund in a prolonged final game. It kind of summed up Siegemund’s match. She played some good stuff but kept shooting herself in the foot with a raft of unforced errors. This was a disciplined display from Swiatek. Her first serve percentage was on the low side but the heavy kick on the serve seemed to cause Siegemund all kinds of problems.
Oh and you know I keep harping on about match-ups this year… Swiatek advances to a third round meeting with Ash Barty. BRING. IT. ON.
Ons Jabeur d. Sloane Stephens, 4-6 6-1 6-3
Improving on serve as the match wore on and constantly looking to be positive, Jabeur overcame a mostly passive Stephens in three sets. This wasn’t a particularly high quality match. The first set was miserable 😂. It did pick up though as Jabeur played a super second set and then the third set was strangely compelling with lots of long games and mini battles.
Jabeur sounded very positive in press via WTA Insider. I thought Stephens was steady, yet tenative, and is generally looking more engaged on the tennis court. I still think Sloane has turned a corner.
Best of the rest 🎾
The number one seed, Ash Barty, improved her three set record to 10-1 in 2021 with a 6-4 1-6 6-3 victory over Tamara Zidansek.
After a slow start to the year, Anastasija Sevastova is finding some form. Sevastova beat the number 15 seed, Johanna Konta, 6-3 6-3.
Veronika Kudermetova knocked out the number seven seed and defending champion, Kiki Bertens, 6-4 6-3. Not a surprise on recent form. Bertens actually led 4-2 in the first set but grew increasingly frustrated. Signs she’s on her way back but probably too soon for Kiki make a dent during this year’s clay court season.
Paula Badosa held her tremendously in the third set to beat Jill Teichmann, 5-7 6-1 6-2. Badosa advances to the third round of a WTA 1000 event for the first time in her career.
Best point 🎾
What a point from Siegemund! Sadly this was few and far between but a demonstration of what Siegemund is capable of on a clay court.
Recommended reading 📚
Carla ❤❤❤ .
Sunday watchlist 📺
Thoughts on a trio of Sunday’s matches can be found on the separate page HERE.
(2) Naomi Osaka vs. Karolina Muchova
(12) Victoria Azarenka vs. Jessica Pegula
(16) Maria Sakkari vs. Anett Kontaveit