This is a day or two later than normally published! What did you expect? It’s a massive come down from a major, the week after a slam. You also have to account for the fact that Liverpool are trying to win their first league title since 1990 and Hereford are fighting a relegation battle in the Vanarama North. I hope that clears up my excuses for you.
Kiki Bertens won the title in St. Petersburg as the second seed. Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, as you would expect, gave her a right match in the last 8, but it was relatively plain sailing from there. Wins over Aryna Sabalenka and then Donna Vekic completed the week for the Belgian. It is about time Bertens put a run together in a slam. Yes, there was the French in 2016, when expectations were lower. Only one Wimbledon Quarter-Final (lost to Goerges last year) to show for her bar this though.
Vekic looks to be making big inroads at last. She seems to have been around for so long now but she is still only 22. Her form really has improved from Nottingham last season (an event where she has had success). She is now up to a career high of number 25. She comfortably took out top seed Petra Kvitova last week and a rejuvenated wildcard in Vera Zvonareva in the semis. She had her chances in the first set of the final, she was was a double break up, but having lost the opener she was second best in set two.
Dayana Yastremksa won Hua Hin, even if in slightly controversial circumstances against Alja Tomljanovic. The Aussie led by a double break (5-2) in the decider before the Ukranian called for a ‘medical time out’. Tomljanovic wasn’t impressed but neither was Nick Kyrgios who took to social media to give his opinion. Nick referred to Yastremska’s timeout as “trash”. Good old Nick, never one to mince his words. It still means Tomljanovic is yet to break her duck at main tour level. For the talented 18-year-old Ukranian though it is her second title. She is backing up Serena’s compliments and belief in her game after their last 32 encounter in Melbourne a few weeks ago. She also ousted top speed Garbine Muguruza on her way here. The Spaniard still looking miles off her best and it’s been for some time now.
The Davis Cup had its qualifying round for the World Group in Madrid, with twelve teams joining the six already there. There were wins for Italy, Canada, Serbia, Germany and Belgium. Switzerland’s (minus Fed and Stan) loss to Russia meant I did some research into Fed’s Davis Cup plans and then I bumped into this article in the Express. I mean, if you have ever watched Fonejacker, Terry Tibbs once said “I couldn’t faaackin believe it”, that’s pretty much what I was like after reading this. See what you think, I was actually laughing by the end. I think I know who David Haggerty wants to dish his first ‘Wildcard’ out to in Tokyo 2020.
Andy Del Potro