The Aegon Classic and Mallorca Open continued with first round action wrapping up in the cities. Read on to find out who recorded wins on Tuesday…
Birmingham action for Day 2 kicked off with Petra Kvitova notching her second win since her comeback against lucky loser Tereza Smitkova, 6-2 6-3! Kvitova struck 6 aces and won 80% of first serve points enroute to booking her ticket to the second round. Her forehand was peak and if she continues to play like this she could just steamroll through the draw.
Johanna Konta scrapped past Lesia Tsurenko in straights to record her fifth win this year on the green stuff. Konta claimed the first set 6-3 pretty comfortably, dropping just two points behind her first serve and didn’t need to save any break points. Tsurenko was serving at 5-3 in the second set when I managed to watch some tennis. (link for the YouTube live stream in my previous roundup post here) The Ukranian quickly fell behind and Konta started to dictate play which eventually helped her to finish the match in straights. The stats weren’t that in favour of the Brit though!
Lucie Safarova edged past Dominika Cibulkova in an epic that lasted 2 hours and 40 minutes. I watched the first two sets and it was pure quality. Cibulkova got broken early with Safarova firing on all cylinders especially on the forehand side. The Czech was leading 5-3 but in the blink of an eye Cibulkova reeled off four straight games to take the first set. I was convinced Cibulkova was going to win this match even when Safarova broke for a 4-3 lead – the Slovak player’s confidence seemed to be back and the groundstrokes were just plummeting down the line. Indeed, the World No.6 broke back and forced the match into a tiebreak – she had two match points but Safarova saved them all! It was literally ‘save’, just look at the clip below…
I wasn’t surprised to see that Safarova came away with the win, claiming the third set 7-5 including seven aces in that set! Just found out Cibulkova was leading 4-2 in that decider – I don’t even think she was playing badly, it was just that Safarova was too good.
Garbine Muguruza was 0-2 in Birmingham prior to her first round match, but she barely got a win by overcoming Elizaveta Kulichkova 6-3, 3-6, 6-4. Kulichkova, a qualifier, was definitely more adapted to the conditions as she hit hard-hitting winners from the baseline and was out-hitting the Spaniard. However unforced errors crept into the Russian’s game and Muguruza’s consistency shone through to come through in three sets.
Action on the outside courts also continued, with Katerina Siniakova kicking off her grass court campaign with a tight two set win over Nao Hibino. Siniakova’s nerves seem to always kick into play at the latter stages of matches – she let a huge lead in the second set fly away!
Grass court stalwart CoCo Vandeweghe rebounded from an opening loss in ‘s-Hertogenbosch, beating Christina McHale 6-4 6-2 while only managing 43% of first serves into play!
Meeting Vandeweghe in the second round is Alison Riske, who defeated Nottingham champion Donna Vekic 6-2, 7-6(2). Riske’s serving today was a complete difference from Vandeweghe – she got 81% of first serves in!
Ashleigh Barty saved four set points in the second set against Marketa Vondrousova who seemingly crumbled under the pressure in the latter stages on both sets. Barty won, 7-5 7-6(1).
And lastly, Camila Giorgi, Daria Gavrilova, Zhang Shuai and Kristina Mladenovic all recorded straight set wins over Natalia Vikhlyantseva, Hsieh Su-Wei, Magda Linette and Duan Ying-Ying respectively.
Over to Mallorca, two players who haven’t played a competitive match in AGES came back to the court as Victoria Azarenka and Sabine Lisicki made their returns onto the WTA tour – Lisicki benefitted from Kiki Bertens’ retirement when they were one set all. Azarenka was decent in her match against Risa Ozaki but she was commiting many errors from the baseline. Due to darkness, play was suspended with Ozaki going to serve for the match at 5-4.
Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova wrapped up another delayed match due to darkness against Sara Sorribes Tormo, 4-6 7-5 6-4. The Russian plays Julia Goerges next, after cruising past home hope Lara Arruabarrena with the loss of just three games.
Other first round matches included…
Mona Barthel claimed her first WTA grass win since 2014 over Anna Kalinskaya, 7-6(6) 6-4.
Shelby Rogers defeated Beatriz Haddad Maia, 7-6(4) 6-3.
Francesca Schiavone hasn’t had her best results on grass but she fought off an erratic, Eugenie Bouchard in a rollercoaster three-set match.
After ‘s-Hertogenbosch champion Anett Kontaveit’s withdrawal, Sara Errani took her place as a lucky loser but was comprehensively beaten by fellow Italian Roberta Vinci 6-2, 6-1.
Ana Konjuh, Varvara Lepchenko and Kirsten Flipkens all made it to the second round with three-set victories.
Much easier for defending champion Caroline Garcia and Jana Cepelova, who made light work of their opponents Jelena Jankovic and Pauline Parmentier respectively.
On her first WTA match on grass, Catherine Bellis inflicted a straight-set loss to home favourite Carla Suarez Navarro.
Day 3’s OOP for both tournaments are linked below.