On the first day of third round play, five of the seeded players were eliminated. And, I think we’re watching another teenage phenom, Marketa Vondrousova, finally find her breakout best.
French Open Day 6 Recap
Seeds fall on Day 6
Belinda Bencic, the #15 seed, says goodbye to Roland Garros. The resurgent Swiss was handed a disappointing straight sets loss at the hands of 23rd seed Donna Vekic. It’s not altogether surprising that Bencic’s play would falter after her contentious second rounder against Laura Siegemund. The German and the Swiss exhausted far too much energy chirping at the chair. Surely it took an emotional toll on the World #7. But, credit where credit’s due, Donna Vekic is showing herself as a force to be reckoned with. Eight aces, six break points, and a 71% first serve against the Swiss are undeniably solid stats. I think we’ll see Vekic next week.
Garbine Muguruza, the #19 seed, was able to claim victory, turning in a 58% first serve percentage. Falling victim to the Spaniard’s strong return of serve, the #9 seed, Elina Svitolina, is out. Perhaps a walk-over in the second round didn’t benefit the Ukrainian. Looks like she could have used that court time to fine tune before meeting up with a tournament tough Muguruza. The World #19 always has the ability to surprise, sometimes losing to the most unlikely opponents only to take out a superior talent in the very next tournament. And, that’s the Garbine Muguruza who’s moving on to the Round of 16 when Sloane Stephens awaits.
Elise Mertens and Anastasija Sevastova, both seeded at the French Open, have had a very up and down year. Mertens’ success has been confined to doubles. Both Mertens and doubles partner Aryna Sabalenka have been eliminated from the singles draw. Perhaps their disappointing singles play will be allayed by a slam doubles title? After two straightforward matches, Sevastova had to prove her prowess. It took more than two hours for the third set decider, which Sevastova finally claimed 11-9. Next, the Latvian will face red-hot Marketa Vondrousova.
Stephens and Konta move on
The #7 seed Sloane Stephens continues to escape potential upsets. Today’s threat came in the form of Polona Hercog who out-aced the American. Again, the momentary lapses Sloane experiences could soon prove her undoing. While she was able to reclaim the momentum, the tournament’s toughest won’t let Stephens back in the door. If she hopes to continue on at Roland Garros, the American will need to do better protecting her serve.
Still pushing through this tournament is the #26 seed, Johanna Konta. It looked like she would be exited by Lauren Davis in the second round. Perhaps it was that battled that toughened the Brit. Konta dropped only three games in her win over Viktoria Kuzmova. Hard to believe it’s her first French Open seeing anything other than a first round loss. Britain’s #1 will faces her toughest task next, when she meets Donna Vekic in the Round of 16.
Both unseeded, Veronika Kudermetova and Kaia Kanepi battled through a three setter. While the first two sets were competitive, the Estonian took the decider without dropping a game. Unfortunately, her celebration will be short lived as she’s slated for a Round of 16 visit to Petra Martic.
Martic and Vondrousova make Day 6 statements
Second seed Karolina Pliskova bids adieu to Paris on Day 6, leaving Naomi Osaka in full control of the World #1 position. The Pliskova exit brings the total to four Top 10 players now exited in France. Patience paid off for the #31 seed, Petra Martic who has now won more clay matches on the WTA Tour. Clay is a surface which suits the Croat’s game. With crafty shot selection and a consistent serve, you would be foolish not to consider Martic a title contender, even if she’s still a long-shot. It’s likely that Martic will be in the round of 16, as Kanepi shouldn’t prove that big a challenge for the Croatia’s red-hot player.
Carla Suarez Navarro’s only straight sets match surely didn’t end as she’d like. Spain’s clay court specialist and #28 seed fell to teenager Marketa Vondrousova, 4-6 4-6. The young Czech has a game well suited to clay. A powerhouse baseliner, Vondrousova is a great mover. Those skills are what Vondrousova will rely on to help her reach the quarterfinals. Standing in her path is the #12 seed, Anastasija Sevastova. A confident Vondrousova should find her way through the struggling Sevastova.
A Look at Day 7
American teenager Amanda Anisimova will take on Romania’s Irina-Camela Begu. Anisimova’s easy power and solid defense should make Begu very uncomfortable. If the 17-year-old gets through this match, she can certainly be considered a contender for the title.
Another teenager vying for a Round of 16 appearance is Poland’s Iga Swiatek. This remarkable teenager defeated the #16 seed Wang Qiang while dropping only three games. Puig, the former Gold Metal Olympian will have her hands full in this meetup.
The All American skirmish between a solid performing Sofia Kenin against former Slam champion Serena Williams is the match of the day. Kenin was just knocked out of the doubles draw and is now able to have a single focus on her singles play. Unfortunately, it comes against the legend that is Serena Williams. After questionable movement and cement footwork in her opening round, Williams shook off the rust to bring in a second round win 6-3 6-2. If the Williams’ serve continues its power and precision demonstrated in round two, we’ll see Serena move on to the Round of 16.
Other seeds in action on Day 7 include #1 seed Naomi Osaka, # 3 seed Simona Halep, #8 seed Ashleigh Barty, #14 seed Madison Keys and #27 seed Lesia Tsurenko – all looking for a spot in the Round of 16.