The last stop (for most) before New York 🗽

The US Open is just around the corner, for the majority of players this is the last calling card before a trip to New York. Cincinnati always draws the crowds and has done again this year with the best due to play.

Following Cincinnati a week in New Haven (ladies) and Winston Salem (men’s) is on offer but most of the top players will want to be on site a week before so will head over to Flushing Meadows.

Roger Federer is back having not competed since Wimbledon, how are his New York preparations going? He will play either Sousa or Gojowcyk in the second round.

Roger is in a top heavy quarter of the draw which includes Dominic Thiem, Kei Nishikori and wildcards Andy Murray and Stan Wawrinka.

Serena Williams is also due to take part here having opened up about her struggles as a mother lately and feeling like she isn’t doing enough for her baby. Serena’s first round opponent? Daria Gavrilova, the Australian will as ever be energetic from the off!

Across the week 128 players will take to court and that includes the top 10 from both the ladies and the men’s draw making it a draw with plenty of interesting clashes;

Coco Vandeweghe v Kiki Bertens

Julia Georges v Kristina Mladenovic

Serena Williams v Daria Gavrilova

Victoria Azarenka v Carla Suarez Navarro

Karolina Pliskova v Agnieska Radwanska

Andy Murray v Lucas Pouille

Diego Schwartzman v Stan Wawrinka

Kei Nishikori v Andrey Rublev

Hyeon Chung v Jack Sock

David Goffin v Stefanos Tsitsipas

Denis Shapovalov v Frances Tiafoe

Advertisements

Wimbledon 🎾 Day 3 – Serena and Venus 💪🏻 Vika, Woz & Aga 😞 Donna and Daniil😎 Pliskova 👌🏻 Keys 👍🏻

Serena & Venus win!

A very good day at the office for Serena and Venus Williams. A day which saw Serena secure her 139th career win at SW19 and for Venus her 147th career win.

Serena was soo much better than in her opening round win. She moved so much better and was hitting winners for fun. The wind on Monday did play a factor and it did bother her but she looked much more in control today and it did take her a couple of matches at Roland Garros to get going and it is a massive bonus she isn’t playing doubles here.

Venus had to fight the hard way after losing the first set in what has been a difficult year for the American but from a set down rallied to take 12 of the next 13 games as she won the match 4-6 6-0 6-1 and progress to the third round for the 18th time!

3 out!

Well, what a day once again with plenty of upsets!

Caroline Wozniacki, Agnieszka Radwanska and Victoria Azarenka have all gone home early after defeats today with the most surprising being that of Stan Wawrinka who lost to Fabbiano from the Italy.

The only one expected to hang around at Wimbledon is Victoria Azarenka who is due to play mixed doubles with Jamie Murray.

Donna and Daniil impress!

Another very good day for Donna Vekic and Daniil Medvedev.

Donna was up against Peterson from Sweden and the match was close throughout but when the first set got towards the end Donna broke at a crucial time as she edged to take it 7-5 and the second 6-4.

After his win against Coric on Monday, Garcia-Lopez was the opponent today and he dispatched the Spaniard pretty straight forward winning 6-3 6-4 6-2 booking his place in the third round of Wimbledon the furthest he has ever gone in a Grand Slam.

Pliskova impressive with a surprising stat!

Karolina Pliskova has the game to be a contender on grass but surprisingly it is her least favourite surface of them all which is a surprise. This is the first time that Karolina has ever made the third round of Wimbledon.

She was very impressive today against Azarenka. From the first game she served well and remained calm which is just her character but she went after Vika’s serve and hit her ground strokes well. She played some naïve shots but overall was barely troubled and if she can continue like that she has a chance.

Madison impresses again!

Madison Keys is another player I think can go far at Wimbledon, another straight forward win with the American looking in control and confident right now something which is a big factor for her as we have seen long periods where Keys was not confident and how it affected her. Madison has made it to at least the quarter finals of the last three Grand Slams.

Wimbledon 🎾 Day 1 – Dimitrov 👎🏻 Federer & Serena 🐐 Donna 😆 Borna 😭 Svitolina 🤔

Day 1 of Wimbledon has come to a close. A day which delivered so many talking points to get through!

Dimitrov crashing out

They say that a moment changes the course of a match and early on when Wawrinka led 40-0 on serve and was broken and then lost the set 6-1 the three time former champion came back to win in four sets, a really disappointing finish for Dimitrov who surely has to now look at what happens next?

🐐😀

A good day at the office for the GOATS. Federer and Serena we’re both in action this afternoon and walked away with wins.

Federer played Lajovic and it wasn’t straight forward dropping 8 games in three sets where as Serena had to fight hard against Rus winning 7-5 6-3 despite the Dutchwoman leading 3-1 in the second set.

Donna’s delight

I said in my preview piece Donna Vekic will be one to watch… and she wasted no time at all as she saw off Sloane Stephens 6-1 6-3 with a stunning performance which she deserves a lot of credit for! Well done Donna!

Coco out, Venus through!

Coco Vandeweghe who has big points to defend is out in round one against Siniakova who has improved so much on the tour this year being a threat in singles and doubles.

One lady who has been at Wimbledon longer than most is Venus Williams who from a set down has secured her place into round two.

Welcome Woz!

Following her win in Eastbourne the Dane has started off her Wimbledon campaign in great fashion with a no nonsense 6-0 6-3 win on Centre Court against Varvara Lepchenko of the USA.

Goodbye Borna! 😭

Following what he has done on the tour this year Borna will be the most disappointed player from day 1 to go out in straight sets against the impressive Medvedev. After what he did in Halle beating Federer he will be annoyed about today but credit to Daniil!

Aga in!

It’s so good to see Radwanska back playing. She looked good in Eastbourne and looked strong today in round one on court 1 at Wimbledon as she edged her way to an important win at SW19.

Svitolina stunned!

I met and watched Elina Svitolina in Birmingham and she was lovely but her tennis against Buzarnescu led me to many questions about her performance and I felt a lot of overthinking was going on in points and it really fell apart quickly. Same happened tonight, so what next? Stay tuned!

The ladies who could be a danger at Wimbledon!

Wimbledon, the biggest tennis tournament in the world where the best shine but who will be a danger in the draw?

Kiki Bertens

Kiki brings a strong and solid style to the baseline. At 6 foot the 26 year old has had her best year on the tour with her steely style of tennis from the baseline she is a dangerous player who doesn’t seem to let occasions bother her. I certainly think that Kiki could be one to watch her at Wimbledon as a seeded player she could cause some trouble.

Mihaela Buzarnescu

Mihaela is the story of the year without a doubt. At the age of 30 she is playing her best tennis, now ranked top 30 she is going from strength to strength. She plays strong from the baseline and has no fear playing opponents but also trusts her game and that speaks volumes. She did well at Roland Garros and I was thankful to meet her in Birmingham not long ago and she was lovely a danger for sure!

Donna Vekic

Donna is a player on the tour who doesn’t get credit she deserves. Her personal life is one that has usually been more spoken about than her tennis but at this time of the year she is a dangerous player. Donna first made her appearance on the tour in 2012 at the age of 15 and made a WTA final just under two years later won a title. A lot was expected but she hasn’t delivered yet but she is only 22 years old and has seen a lot on the tour. She is a dangerous grass court player and I expect her to cause some problems.

Monica Puig

Monica will always be remembered for that Gold Medal win at the Olympics a true great tennis story. I like Monica’s game but it is sometimes it can be a little too much power and the accuracy can go a little wild. Before the Olympics I did see her in Eastbourne and she is such a down to earth player and her ranking of 72 at the moment does not to her talent justice but she has been out lately with a hip problem so I do hope she is ok for Wimbledon and if she is then she will cause problems.

Magdalena Rybarikova

Magda is the perfect example of a grass court player. Back in the top 20 after her run to the final in Birmingham she is strong from the baseline and her ground strokes give her an edge against players to force them back and mix that in with her variety there was no surprise how well she did in Birmingham. Last year she made the semi-final of Wimbledon on a protected ranking. A threat? Of course!

img_4373

Barbora Strycova

Before Roland Garros the year was a write off for Barbora! She couldn’t buy a win and suddenly it came to life for her. She was a delight to watch over the grass courts in Birmingham and was so lovely to her fans after on her way back to the players’ lounge. She can bring a fiery side to the tennis court as well and she’s a player who has been on the tour for a long time and has seen a lot and is very clever!

Dominika Cibulkova

Domi won’t be seeded for Wimbledon and she isn’t happy about it and now the top 32 seeds will be keeping an eye on the draw as no one will want to be playing Domi in the first couple of rounds. She is tough from the baseline and doesn’t give you much breathing space just consistency is an issue for the Slovakian who just a couple of years ago won the WTA Finals but we have not seen form like that since.

Agnieszka Radwanska

It’s great to see Aga back on the tour. Eastbourne was Aga’s first tournament back on the tour since April having had injury issues but consistency a problem as well with a 9/8 win/loss for the year. On the grass she is very dangerous, of course she once made the Wimbledon final back in 2011 but hasn’t reached those heights since and has dropped down over the last few years but on her day there aren’t many technically better players than Aga on the tour.

 

Aga 3-6 6-2 6-3 Halep – Aga shows her best as Halep falters again!

World number one Simona Halep is out of Miami. The Romanian ran into Agnieszka Radwanska who since her big week in Singapore in 2016 has not delivered.

As a WTA Finals champion, 20 time singles champion and former Wimbledon finalist she knows how to perform on the biggest stages just a shame that she hasn’t taken her game to that next level since Singapore in 2016 and last year her ranking tumbled and it became the first time in her career she finished the year without a top 10 win!

Halep started the better she began to find the forehand and dictate play running to a 4-1 lead in the first set which she saw off 6-3 in the end.

The intensity dropped from Halep and Aga managed to work her magic around the court. Watching Aga for years she does produce these moments but I’ve never had her down as a player who makes your work with a danger of losing the point on her terms usually on your own terms.

I felt like this watching Halep however Aga’s relentlessness on the court seemed to bother the world number one. Aga wasn’t playing tennis to blow Halep off the court but keeping the ball in play and keeping your running is how she creates her danger and it worked perfectly.

The performance asks more questions over Halep who has not played great this month at all and an interesting point picked up by Anne Keothavong on BT Sport is that at Miami we didn’t see Darren Cahill on court once.

During Indian Wells Cahill came on a lot and I wrote a piece about what he said and tensions and frustrations were high as Halep said to Cahill “just tell me how to play” and it looks like Halep had been told to figure it out for herself with a big clay court period coming up!

For Aga a big well done, her biggest win since winning the WTA Finals and a performance which shows it isn’t always about power. More consistency would see her back in he top 15 but it would be a tough ask.

Aga

40th on route to Singapore, Wimbledon dream looks unlikely for one former finalist!

At a time where the women’s draw is wide open opportunity knocks and for former Wimbledon finalist Agnieszka Radwanska you would have thought would be one of those looking for that opportunity but so far it’s been a horrendous season for the former world number 2 now at 10 in the world comes into Wimbledon with a 11-10 win/loss ratio after her defeat to Lauren Davis in Eastbourne where she is usually effective on the grass but lasted not long over an hour into the week.

There are moments in a career where you think this could propel a player going forward or on the other hand could halt them. Back in 2015 Aga was the surprise champion at the WTA Finals in Singapore and I asked the question can Aga push on and in all honesty she hasn’t.

At the moment Aga is ranked at 40 in the world on the Road to Singapore and unless something changes quickly Singapore will not happen for her and the ranking will continue to deteriorate.

Aga’s game is about flair and producing those brilliant shots most can dream about but it lacks that steel from the baseline and players aren’t afraid, yes they may get lobbed at some point but it hasn’t been a sustainable style of playing for some time and we saw against Lauren Davis the lack of impact on the baseline and during her own service games just a lack of movement and where the rest of the tour is right now is quite far ahead of Aga and a ranking of 10 I would say is false.

First up for Aga is Jelena Jankovic and to be honest I don’t see her coming through that match at all, I’d love to be proved wrong but the way the season has gone something incredible would have to happen!

 

Similar story once again for Radwanska as Bellis stars in Dubai!

Last week I spoke about Agnieszka Radwanska and her lack of aggression against Caroline Wozniacki and once again we have a similar story as the former Wimbledon champion fell in three sets to 17 year old Cici Bellis in Dubai.

Watching the match back it is the similar talking points, the serve especially the second serve is one of the big ways into the match for an opponent of Aga’s with the Pole winning just 13/28 points behind which might not sound too bad but is below 50%.

Something I saw too much of was that lack of depth but it can be turned around and maybe she needs to take a step forward literally on the court and be less defensive.

At the end of the first set between the two we saw this graphic as shown below showing the rally hit point.

 c5sc6ewwqaifsn9

You can see Aga was spending the majority of the set about a metre behind the baseline but looking at the graphic you could just turn around and say that Bellis was too aggressive and Aga couldn’t deal with it but watching the match you just hoped that the Pole would take that step forward as there was an opportunity but her shot depth wasn’t asking questions of Bellis.

 depth

Now, what I have put together may look a bit confusing but it is pretty self explanatory. This isn’t an accurate impression of the depth but the bigger the green rectangle the better, the bigger the red rectangle the worse as there isn’t much depth on shots with no power or aggressive behind and the yellow is the bit in the middle.

You can see how small Aga’s green box is, there weren’t too many times when she got that ball near the paint work of the baseline but too many shots were played in that red area not asking questions of Bellis but just going through the motions instead of cranking up the gears.