Today was the finals day of the WTA tournaments this week and it was also the last day of the Davis Cup quarterfinals. There were no seeds in the Charleston final and the Monterrey final was between the top and second seed so there was a 50% success rate, obviously.
In Monterrey, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova notched a big 6-4, 2-6, 6-1 win over the world number 1 Angelique Kerber to take her fourth Monterrey Open title. Kerber wasn’t playing at her best throughout most of the match but she was still playing at a high level for the first two sets. Pavlyuchenkova was on fire and it felt like she was hitting winners off nearly every shot, which was astonishing to watch. The first set was quite competitive but Kerber never got her forehand firing so there weren’t as many hot shots as fans were expecting. Pavlyuchenkova was hitting her cross-court forehand beautifully but she wasn’t making an impact on the Kerber serve for most of the time. Both women were strong on their serves until Kerber tensed up under pressure to give Pavlyuchenkova the 6-4 set. Pavlyuchenkova’s level dropped for the second set but Kerber was playing so much better as she started getting her forehand going like it had in her other matches this week. She went up a break to lead 3-1 and then broke again to lead 5-2 as the Russian wasn’t able to do much about the German. Pavlyuchenkova played some great points at the net but it still wasn’t enough to stop Kerber from taking the dominant set. The third set was something to marvel at as I doubt that anybody par Serena Williams at her best would have been able to stop Pavlyuchenkova playing the way she was playing. She hit forehands that looked impossible and volleys like she had never hit them before and Kerber was defenceless. Kerber could barely get a ball back as she only got the one hold as Pavlyuchenkova showed who ruled Monterrey. Kerber was very polite and professional in her post-match speech in which she made clear that she was happy with her performance this week.
The Charleston final was a lot more straight forward with Daria Kasatkina taking home her first ever title with a 6-3, 6-1 victory over Jelena Ostapenko. Ostapenko wasn’t playing her best but Kasatkina played a great match and her tactics were on point. I was impressed with the mental strength the Russian displayed as she didn’t show any signs of nerves at any point in the match, which is something you wouldn’t expect for a first-time finalist. The only real competitive part of the match was the first 20 minuted but when Kasatkina broke to lead 3-2 it was all on her racquet. It was on serve from there until Ostapenko tensed up when serving to stay in the set and Kasatkina took the set. Ostapenko won the first game of the second set on her serve but from there it was all Kasatkina. The Latvian started missing more and was frustrated by the tactic Kasatkina had used against her, which was to just slice or lightly hit the balls on the line to give Ostapenko plenty of opportunities to miss. Kasatkina ended the match as the Ostapenko forehand went wide and long but it was still a slightly entertaining match. The post-final formalities were awkward and a bit messy as Ostapenko went up and talked about how badly she played today and didn’t even thank Kasatkina, which is common courtesy in tennis. Kasatkina was very professional however as she thanked Ostapenko and was bought to tears in her happiness. Many of the WTA players, especially the youngsters, have come out and congratulated Daria on twitter which isn’t so common and Elena Vesnina even went out and condemned how Ostapenko acted after the match.
The Davis Cup quarterfinals ended with both ties yet to be decided finished after the first match of the day. In Australia, Nick Kyrgios finished off their victory over the United States as he got past Sam Querrey 7-6(7-4), 6-3, 6-4 but in the dead rubber John Isner got past Sam Groth 7-6(7-5), 6-3. In Belgium, the home nation finished off the tie over Italy as David Goffin breezed past Paolo Lorenzi 6-3, 6-3, 6-1 but they also lost in the dead rubber as Alessandro Giannessi got past Joris De Loore 6-4, 7-6(11-9).
I will be taking the next week off as none of the tournaments contain a top ten player but I will still be doing the daily predictions.