The rain kept falling on the courts of Aegon Classic in Birmingham, forcing another day of play interruptions and delays. In the two last matches of the first round, Johanna Konta, and Yanina Wickmayer grabbed their delayed victories.
Four of the doubles first round matches had been moved to indoor courts to recover the play delay.
Ostapenko upset Kvitova, Keys and Pironkova into the quarterfinals
The major upset of the day happened on Ann Jones Centre Court, as rising star Jelena Ostapenko upset fifth seed Petra Kvitova in a three-set battle interrupted by rain. Ostapenko now leads the head to head with the Wimbledon champion for 2 wins to 0; she had already defeated her in Doha this year, while the Czech was ranked eight in the world.
In today’s match, it had been Ostapenko the first to gain the lead, saving three break points (the first ones of the set) in the eighth game and breaking Kvitova’s serve right after. She then successfully served out the set. Kvitova granted herself a chance to decrease the disadvantage, as she broke the Latvian’s serve right at the start of the second set. Ostapenko won the break back right before the players were forced out of the court for the rain.
After the play had resumed, the Czech needed two more break points in the last game of the set; she eventually converted her second set point to break Ostapenko’s serve again and book the second set.
The third showed a replay of the second, as Kvitova immediately rushed ahead to take the lead, breaking the Latvian to love. After that, however, the Czech lost her serve three more times without managing to regain the advantage, and eventually the 19-year-old won the set and the match with a 6-4, 4-6, 6-3 scoreline. She had advanced on her first WTA level quarterfinal on grass.
On Court 1, Madison Keys didn’t face any trouble in getting rid of qualifier Tamira Paszek to reach her third quarterfinal of the year. The Rome finalist showed consistency on serve, never giving up a single break point to her opponent. Paszek got broken four times in total, two per set, and it had been enough for the American to win the match with a 6-1, 6-3 scoreline. In both sets, she gained an early advantage and consolidated it in the final games.
Keys had been helped by her first serve, with a good percentage of 74 percent of first serves in, and 28 out of 40 points won with it. A general weakness from Paszek in both first and second serve allowed Keys to attack and win the break points who eventually granted her the victory.
Madison Keys and Jelena Ostapenko will meet for a place into the semifinals.
On Court 2, qualifier Tsvetana Pironkova defeated Irina-Camelia Begu in the last of the second round matches completed today. A big inconsistency of Begu’s second serve (only 6 out of 24 points won) eased the Bulgarian’s way to the victory, as she won the match losing only one service game, with the final score of 6-3, 6-3.
Two more second round matches, the first one seeing defending champion Angelique Kerber against Daria Gavrilova, and the second one starring Carla Suárez Navarro and Andrea Petkovic, had been interrupted for the weather conditions.
Kerber was serving in the first set, down 5-6 to the Australian, while Suarez Navarro was up 2-0 to Petkovic in the second set tie-break, after losing the first 4-6.
Wickmayer and Konta advanced to second round after long delays
The last two of the first round singles matches had also been played today. The respective winners, Yanina Wickmayer and Johanna Konta, were scheduled to meet in their second round match today too, but the rain one more time forced a delay.
On Court 1, Yanina Wickmayer and Caroline Wozniacki reprised their game interrupted from yesterday, stopped with a 3-all scoreline in the first set. The rain delay affected Wozniacki, as she lost four of the following five games; Wickmayer won the first set with a 6-4 scoreline, without giving up her serve.
As it already happened in the first set, Wozniacki immediately earned a 3-0 advantage in the second set. Again, the Belgian regained the break, but this time the Danish immediately broke her back, earning the chance to serve for the set; chance she wasted right away, as the Belgian broke her serve one more time and leveled off to 5-all.
Two more holds, and the set went into a tie-break, won by Wozniacki with a 7-5 scoreline. forcing the match into a decider. The third set started with two exchange of holds, but from 1-2 down, the Belgian took full control of the match, winning five games in a row and breaking Wozniacki to love in the last game to win the set and the match.
It’s a tough loss for Wozniacki, who had already suffered an early defeat last week in Nottingham, where she lost in the second round. With the addition of her previous injury, who had forced her out of the courts for the entire clay season, the former number one will probably be forced to enter the competition in Wimbledon unseeded for the first time since 2008.
Later on Centre Court, Johanna Konta and Misaki Doi had been the last ones who battled for a place in the second round. Konta took her revenge for their previous meeting in Rome by defeating the Japanese in two sets.
The British number one wasted an early advantage obtained in the first set, as Doi broke her back to level off to 4-all scoreline. The set went to a tie-break, in which Konta immediately won six points in a row and gained six set points. She converted the fourth one to win the first set.
All easy for Konta in the second set, as her opponent only managed to hold in the fourth game, losing the rest of her service games to the British. The Japanese saved three match points in the last game, but Konta converted the fourth one, winning the match with a 7-6(3), 6-1 scoreline.
The British's first serve, with a total of 9 aces hit, helped her through the match, while the Japanese’s poor consistency in both first and second serve complicated for her the defense of her service games.
All the doubles first round matches had also been completed today, even if the play needed to be moved on indoor courts to be able to respect the schedule.
The Slovenian pair formed by Andreja Klepac and Katarina Slevotnik and the one formed by Vania King and Alla Kudriavtseva are the only ones who gained their victories on Court 2 before the rain delay.
Four more matches had been moved to indoor courts. The biggest doubles upset happened as British wild cards Naomi Broady and Heather Watson defeated Sania Mirza and CoCo Vandeweghe in straights sets. Another wild card pair, Elina Svitolina and Johanna Konta, booked their victory. The last two pairs to advance to quarterfinals are the Czech pair of Karolina Pliskova and Barbora Stricova (who also met in the first round in singles), and the one formed by Chuang Chia-jung and Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova.
The order of play had been released for tomorrow, hoping that the rain won’t affect it as it did in this first days.
Ann Jones Centre Court will see the reprise of the match between Angelique Kerber and Daria Gavrilova, followed by Yanina Wickmayer taking on Johanna Konta. The first quarterfinal match with Madison Keys and Jelena Ostapenko will follow after.
On Court 1, after the end of the match between Carla Suárez Navarro and Andrea Petkovic, CoCo Vandeweghe will meet Christina McHale. The last of the second round matches, starring Heather Watson and Barbora Strycova, will be played on Court 2.
All the remaining quarterfinal matches, for both singles and doubles, are included in tomorrow’ schedule. That would mean that all the singles players safe Keys, Ostapenko and Pironkova could be forced to play two matches on the same day.