Top seed and former finalist Caroline Wozniacki beat Viktorija Golubic 6-2, 2-6, 6-4 to claim her spot in the quarterfinals in Bastad, SWE. Just shy of two hours, Wozniacki and Golubic traded breaks left and right in this see-saw battle. Both players were impressive on return of serve, but Wozniacki played just a little better on her second serve points than Golubic. Playing just a little more consistent than her opponent, Wozniacki keeps her record spotless against Golubic. Unfortunately, sixth seed Kiki Bertens had to withdraw before her match against qualifier Barbora Krejcikova with a right shoulder injury. Qualifier Kateryna Kozlova played very impressively to beat 2014 champion Mona Barthel for a place in the quarterfinals. Having a 77% of first serves in really helped Kozlova dictate play; Kozlova also won 65% on second serve return points. The Ukrainian was able to break 6 out 13 times, while Barthel managed to break only three times. Kozlova improves her record to 2-0 against the German. The final spot went to Elise Mertens, who upset fifth seed Carla Suarez-Navarro 6-3, 6-7(2-7), 7-5 in two hours and 43 mins. Another match that featured tons of breaks, Mertens broke Suarez-Navarro 7 out of 19 times, while the Spaniard broke Mertens 4 out of 16 times. This was their first meeting, so it took awhile for each player to figure the game style of the other.
In Nanchang, CHN two more seeds went out. Third seed Kristyna Pliskova was up 3-0 in the first set when she had to retire against Nao Hibino with a hand injury. This was Hibino’s first “win” against the Czech in four meetings. Former world No.1 Jelena Jankovic also lost today. The sixth seed stormed through the first set 6-2 against qualifier Lu Jing-Jing. As the match continued, Lu’s confidence grew. The heat also played a big role; Jankovic called the trainer about the conditions. Lu went on to win the match 2-6, 6-1,6-2, winning 53% on second serve points, and saving 5 out of 8 break points against her. Lu’s impressive groundstrokes helped her capitalize on Jankovic’s second serve, winning 66% of those points, and breaking five times. In all-Chinese match, Zhu Lin served seven aces and won 90% on first serve points to beat Fang Ying-Xun 6-3, 6-4. Fang actually won more points on her second serve than first serve, but Zhu was just too strong today. Chang Kai-Chen, who knocked out the No.1 seed yesterday, could not keep the momentum going, bowing out 6-0, 6-2 to wildcard Wang Yafan. The match yesterday also lasted almost three hours in the brutal heat, so Chang had probably not fully recovered since then. The odds-on favorite now Peng Shuai moved on into the quarterfinals. The second seed’s match was cut short when Tereza Martincova retired, trailing 6-2, 3-2 with an injury.
On the clay courts of Hamburg, GER, lucky loser and former champion Leonardo Mayer made his way into the quarterfinals. Taking on Jan-Lennard Struff, Mayer’s play on his second serve points proved to be critical. Mayer won 71% on second serve points compared to 50% from Struff. Mayer also saved all break point against him, while Struff got broken three times. After a convincing first set, Struff put up resistance in the second, but ultimately, the 2014 champion won 6-2, 7-5. Third seed Karen Khachanov was the only seed to win today. The NextGenATP player beat Aljaz Bedene 7-6(7-4), 5-7, 6-4 in two hours and 27 mins. In a match where the majority of the loser’s stats were higher than the winner’s, the only thing that went for Khachanov was his points won on second serve and higher first serve percentage. That meant he did not have to hit as many second serves, so he did not feel the pressure of playing defensive from the start of every point. 2014 finalist David Ferrer went out 7-5, 6-3 to 2013 finalist Federico Delbonis, who he had a 3-0 head-to-head record with. In fact, Ferrer beat Delbonis a week ago in Bastad. Delbonis attacked the Ferrer second serve, winning 61% of those points. Fifth seed Benoit Paire also went out today, to Nicolas Kicker. Despite winning 82% of first serve points, Paire only got the first serve in 50% of the time. Kicker was able to hold off a late surge from the Frenchman, winning 6-4, 7-6(9-7). Philipp Kohlschreiber, a former top 20 player knocked out 2011 champion and fourth seed Gilles Simon 6-3, 3-6, 6-2. Both players were impressive on first serve points, but it was Kohlschreiber who played better on break points, winning 5 out of 8 opportunities.
At the moment, no matches have been completed in Atlanta, GA. From yesterday, three-time champion John Isner needed a little more than an hour to beat Vasek Pospisil 6-3, 6-4. The big-serving American won 96% on first serve points and 81% on second serve points. Another American, Donald Young went out to Lukas Lacko 6-3, 6-1. The match only took 58 mins. Young never got a break point opportunity, and got dominated on second serve points, winning only 27% of them. Lacko now takes the edge in their head-to-head 2-1. More to come from Atlanta.
In Gstaad, SUI, seeds went 2-2 for the day as second round play wrapped up. Qualifier Yannick Hanfmann out aced defending champion Feliciano Lopez 13 to 9 in his 7-6(7-5), 3-6, 6-1 upset. This was another match where the stats are very close. The winner of the match came down to who took advantage of break point opportunities. Hanfmann played extremely well down break point, saving 7 out of 8. Hanfman also controlled the majority of second serve points on Lopez’s serve. Eighth seed Joao Sousa needed only 55 mins. in his 6-1, 6-2 dominance over Henri Laaksonen. Laaksonen was broken six times, and only won 29% on second serve points. The big-hitting Ernest Gulbis took out another seed; the latvian knocked out fifth seed Paolo Lorenzi. After winning the first set in a tiebreak 12-10, Gulbis lost focus in the second. After two hours and 39 mins. Gulbis finally ended the match, winning 7-6(12-10), 3-6, 6-4. Gublis’ serve is also a big part of his game. He hit 11 aces for the match, and won 87% on first serve points. Each player only managed to break once, but sometimes one break is all it takes to win the set. Fabio Fognini was the other seed to get through today. The fourth seed recovered from a lop-sided first set to slug out a 1-6, 6-4, 6-3 victory over Norbert Gombos. Surprisingly for a men’s match, this encounter featured a lot of break point opportunities, just not a lot of conversions. Usually the men are able to hold serve, or not allow the opportunity to come up as frequent, due to their powerful first serves. In this match, both players broke four times, but what is interesting is that Gombos had 15 chances and Fognini had 12.
So the exciting news is I got a position as a tennis writer for The Runner Sports! I am super excited to write about tennis for them. I hope to not only help them grow, but allow them to help me grow as well. I think after I start publishing on their site I will change the direction of this one. Maybe I will do music again, or just advice/lifestyle content from time to time. I definitely want to keep this blog going, so that I have another platform to put out content. Thank you to those that read these posts and like the link on Facebook. Let’s see what the future holds!