Naomi Broady’s impressive form to another step in the right direction as she came through her first opponent in Birmingham, beating Alize Cornet in straight sets.
The Brit is on the outside looking in in regards to the World’s Top 100. She has been as high as No. 76 in the world in 2016 and her goal will be to win some matches at WTA level in order to qualify rightfully for these bigger premier events courtesy of her ranking rather than through the wildcard system.
Last week Broady made the semifinals of her home event in Manchester and also had a successful quarterfinal showing in Surbiton the week prior. The game is there for all to see. Broady’s long leavers, fantastically powerful first serve and big groundstrokes should theoretically suit a fast grass court, because of the sheer explosiveness of her game.
In Broady’s post-match press conference she talked about the effectiveness of her slice and the way it complements a grass court perfectly.
“It was all about my game, and my serve and me being aggressive and not having to get into rallies with my opponent. I was really trying to mix the ball up a lot today, use my slice and then hit the next ball as hard as I could, just keep mixing the pace up, not give her any rhythm.”
Broady was down an early break, *0-3 to her French opponent, but quickly turned the match around, by winning the tiebreak and sealed the win with a bagel set victory in the second. The Brit played a smart match and recognised that Cornet is a player that loves seeing the same ball from her opponent, so utilising the slice and changing the variations of pace and slice on the ball, actually prevented Cornet from ever getting settled.
Sometimes in tennis we see players play to their own strengths but fail to adapt to the playing style and approach of their opponent, which actually works against them in the long run. Broady was adamant that she had prepared perfectly and knew what to expect:
“Alize is a great mover, she’s a very consistent player, so I knew if I played with a lot of rhythm, I was playing into the way she wants to play. So I was just trying to stay as far away from her game style as I could.”
We often talk about the opportunities that British players are handed during this period of the season, but what is rare is many of the lower-ranked players finding serious form and Broady talked about how confident she felt for the remainder of the grass season:
“The grass season is a week extra now; they’ve moved Wimbledon a week back from the French Open. So definitely trying to get as many matches in as I can. I didn’t win one match on the grass last year, so I’m doing much, much better this year. I knew I was playing well and I brought that here.”
This marked Broady’s most impressive win since beating Monica Puig at last year’s tournament in Montreal, so it has been a long wait for a win like this. Hopefully the big-serving British wildcard can build on from this win and make a real mark on the grass courts here at Birmingham and later on at Wimbledon.