A family party (complete with UK Swingball world championships) meant that I could not write a Day 1 summary – so here we are.
Day 1 – Defending champ Ostapenko ousted and Venus left hanging by Wang
In saying yesterday that I find Ostapenko impossible to predict, I could try and claim a Nostradamus-esque victory , but I won’t. The 2017 surprise champion here had no answer yesterday to Kateryna Kozlova who played a very smart and tactical game full of slices and drop shots that bamboozled the admittedly already-rusty Latvian 20 year old.
It’s a familiar story, but being a dangerous floater with no pressure is a world away from then defending your title – Julia joined the many before her to learn that lesson.
Something of course Venus Williams knows all too well also, but yesterday the 37 year old veteran had no answer to Wang Qiang who kept her nerve and stayed consistent as her opponent looked fatigued.
Elsewhere in the women’s game we lost Jo Konta, which was no surprise sadly – the ‘Brit’ is in a real slump (not quite to the levels of Heather Watson of course, but who could compete with that?) and needs the grass to kick-start her season.
On the men’s side we had no seeded exits, but plenty of traditional tropes as Karlovic was beaten, Verdasco gave us another marathon slogfest and – as I predicted – Goffin vs Haase delivered the goods as the Belgian came back from two sets to love down.
Day 2 picks and so far
Petra Kvitová just produced a very gutsy and very entertaining win over clay specialist Veronica Cepede-Royg in three hours or so. Poor Vika Azarenka lost earlier to Siniakova as her personal life continues to affect her on-court exploits. Timea Babos is also out, which is a shock as she had shown great form on clay this year.
Wawrinka is going well after an early scare and we have been robbed of the Tomic vs Kyrgios showstopper as the latter withdrew from the tournament. Still, a story there as lucky loser Marco Trungelitti drove nine hours last night from Barcelona to get to the tournament after getting the call.
Round-up later this eve once the dust settles.