Volvo Car Open, Monterrey Open Day 1 Review

Today was the start of the new tennis week with two WTA events kicking things off as Davis Cup will begin later this week. In Charleston, the one seed in action went down with an injury leaving the seeds with a 0% success rate in the States. In Monterrey, both seeds in action went through leaving the seeds with a 100% success rate in Mexico.

The first match on court in Monterrey saw big-hitter Naomi Broady overcome young gun Catherine Bellis 7-6(9-7), 6-4 to reach the second round. It was a very competitive contest as both women matched each other in most departments and were playing quite well, meaning that match came down to just a couple of points in the end. The pair made very few mistakes in the opening set and neither woman was looking the stronger as they exchanged breaks from 3-3 before a tiebreaker was forced. The tiebreaker followed in the same fashion as the set with neither woman able to make a break ahead but Bellis eventually tightened up and handed Broady the set with a forehand error. Bellis had a slight letdown from losing the first set at the beginning of the second set as Broady took the early break to lead 2-1 and didn’t let go of it for the rest of the match as she served out a 6-4 set to take the match. Broady has always had the powerful game but hasn’t been able to back it up with deep runs at tournaments, this week may be a turn around.

Our feature match was next up in Monterrey and Caroline Garcia struggled a lot more than she should have against a player ranked outside the top 300 but she ended up taking the match 4-6, 6-2, 6-3. To be fair to Garcia, Zarazua played an incredible match and when Garcia tightened up her game a bit into the second set she got a firm grip on the match. Garcia wasn’t playing anywhere near the level she should have been playing at early on and Zarazua took advantage of that as she got the break to lead 3-2. Garcia ended up breaking back the very next game but that didn’t dishearten Zarazua as she went on to break which gave her a 4-5 lead. From there she served out the set at 4-6 and she carried her momentum into the start of the second set. Zarazua broke to start the second set and then went on to lead 0-2 and that was when Garcia turned her game on. She went on to win the next six games straight games, including three breaks of serve and she didn’t face another break point in the rest of the set. Zarazua did manage to get a grip for the final set but Garcia showed off her forehand skills to get a break and lead 4-2. However, Zarazua found some final fight and she got one final break but from there she was to worn out and had no answers. Garcia took the last two games to complete the three-set win. Garcia will need to lift her level if she wants to go deeper in this tournament as the result of her opponents will be of a higher quality.

In Charleston, Jelena Jankovic put forward one of the most dominant and successful performances I have seen from her in a long time as she got past Ekaterina Alexandrova 6-0, 6-4. Jankovic has really struggled with her game recently so it’s really great to see her get a convincing win at a tournament where she has had some big success in the past. Jankovic was serving fantastically throughout the first set and she didn’t face one break point on the way to easily moving through the set 6-0. It only took the Serbian 25 minutes for her first set demolition of 22 year-old Alexandrova. This will be a major confidence booster for Jankovic as she hadn’t won a bagel set in over twelve months. Jankovic immediately broke in the first game of the second set but from there, Jankovic started to slightly tire and her intensity dropped.  She was still playing at a high enough level to keep Alexandrova at bay and she didn’t let go of the break which led her to serve out the set and the match. I really hope that Jankovic will take this confidence into her match with Stosur tomorrow and she will make the match competitive.

The final match I will talk about today is former champion Andrea Petkovic moving through to the second round with a 7-5, 6-2 victory over clay court specialist Lara Arruabarrena. Petkovic is another player who has struggled recently with form so this is a great win for her as she was down a break in the first set. Petkovic started slow and Arruabarrena took advantage of that as she broke in the first game of the match and she held on to that break until the German finally took her opportunity and got the break back to level the set at 3-3. Petkovic kept applying pressure and eventually when Arruabarrena was serving to stay in the set, the German managed to capture the break and the set. The second set was very Petkovic dominate as she wasn’t doing much wrong at all and from 2-2, Petkovic went on a spree and captured two breaks of serve in four straight games as she finished it off. Although this is a very good win for the German whenever she comes up against someone who she’s not expected to beat her game just goes outside the window.

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