Volvo Car Open, Monterrey Open Day 4 Review

Today was the last day before the quarterfinals and the upsets in Charleston continued but Monterrey’s results were expected. The seeds in Charleston had a 50% success rate as 3 of the 6 seeds went through to the quarterfinals were as the seeds in Monterrey had a 75% success rate with 3 of the 4 seeds going into the quarterfinals.

The defending champion in Monterrey, Heather Watson, rolled on in the tournament as she played a very solid match to get a 6-4, 6-1 win over Ekaterina Makarova. The first set was really high quality and very entertaining to watch as both players were playing really good tennis. This win is also particularly impressive for Watson as Makarova doesn’t normally lose the set when she’s playing well. In the first set, neither woman was giving much on their service games and both of them were hitting their forehands really cleanly. When Makarova was serving to stay in the first set at 5-4 down, Watson played a really good game and managed to take the set 6-4. Makarova’s intensity dropped for the second set and she was giving Watson quite a few more free points on her return. After winning the opening game of the set, Makarova lost the next six games straight and the defending champion got the win quite dominantly in the second set. Watson has never successfully defended a title in her career but she doesn’t look like she is playing with a lot of pressure this week so she might get lucky.

Caroline Wozniacki started her Charleston campaign successfully as she got past Annika Beck 7-5, 6-1 in a match with a bit of ugliness from both players. Wozniacki was defininetly playing the better of the two throughout the whole match but she did let her emotions get the better of her mid-way through the first set. The Dane started unbelievably as she was hitting drop shots, passing shots and lobs beautifully which led her to race out to a 4-0 lead with the double break. Beck started to make a comeback from there and got one of the breaks back but eventually Wozniacki stepped out to serve out the set at 5-3. In the first point of the game Wozniacki’s shot was called out, which she didn’t agree with, and an argument with umpire and Annika Beck ensued. Eventually Wozniacki accepted the call but she wasn’t able to refocus and Beck broke her before levelling the score at 5-5. Wozniacki managed to switch back on from there and she broke a game later to take the 7-5 set with a forehand unforced error from Beck. The second set was a lot more straight forward because when Wozniacki got out to a dominant lead, she did not want to let it go this time. Beck held to start the set but then Wozniacki reeled of six straight games including three breaks of serve while playing some great backhands to take the match. Wozniacki had to play again later  in the day due to backlog of scheduling from rain but she got through that one as well and is in to the quarterfinals.

Also in Charleston was the battle the best friends as Daria Kasatkina topped Daria Gavrilova 6-3, 4-6, 6-0. This match was highly anticipated because these two are very good friends on the tour and occasional doubles partners but they kept it very professional on the court as well as light hearted. Both of these women play best on the clay so it’s a shame that they were seeded to meet so early in the draw. Kasatkina started strongly, as she has in all of her matches so far this week; she broke early and got out to a 2-0 lead. Gavrilova quickly broke back to get it on serve again but Kasatkina just kept hitting winners and broke again to lead 3-1. From there, both women were solid and there were no more breaks of serve on the way to Kasatkina taking the set 6-3 with a forehand unforced error from Gavrilova. Kasatkina started the second strongly as well as she broke to lead 2-1 but Gavrilova was quick to pounce this time and levelled it at 3-3. It was the Aussies turn to break then and she did it comfortably, which gave her the opportunity to serve for the set at 5-3 up. Kasatkina stopped her from serving it out but the very next game Gavrilova hit some great passing shots to break and take the 6-4 set to force a decider. The third set was all Daria Kasatkina as she left nothing for Gavrilova to work with as the Aussie watched shot after shot fly past her until Kasatkina put Gavrilova out of her misery by getting the bagel set and taking the match. Now that my tip for the title, Lucie Safarova, is out I wouldn’t be suprised if Kasatkina went on to take home the trophy because she looks very confident on clay this week.

Our feature match was in Monterrey and the world number 1 Angelique Kerber scored a very solid and comfortable 6-1, 6-3 win over Mandy Minella. Minella never got her serve going to its full potential, which is a shame as she might have challenged Kerber if her weapon was working. Kerber’s backhand was stunning as she hit over 15 winners off it and for bits of the match she was playing 2016 Kerber tennis. Kerber started strongly as she got the early break and aside from Minella getting her lone service hold it was all Kerber and her forehand dominating the opening 6-1 set. The second set was a little more competitive as Kerber started to take her foot of the pedal a little but towards the end of the match. After Kerber broke and went up 4-1, she was just hitting shots over the net without much purpose and luckily, Minella got too few back. Kerber got the very dominant 6-1, 6-3 victory which will give her a lot of confidence going into her next couple of matches and the rest of the tounament. Although it may seem people are overreacting about Kerber getting one dominant win, I think the only thing that people want right know is for Kerber to play like she was playing last year.

I will be discussing the first day of all the Davis Cup ties in tomorrows review so I can talk about all the matches at once.

Other Matches:

Monterrey:

Carla Suarez Navarro defeats Sara Soribbes Tormo 6-2, 6-0

Alize Cornet defeated Donna Vekic 6-3, 6-4

Charleston:

Irina-Camelia Begu defeated Samantha Stosur 7-5, 6-3

Laura Siegemund defeats Lucie Safarova 6-2, 6-3

Shelby Rogers defeats Naomi Osaka 6-4, 6-2

Anastasija Sevastova defeated Ons Jabeur 7-5, 7-6(8-6)

Mirjana Lucic-Baroni defeated Kiki Bertens 7-6(7-5), 6-4

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