Swiatek shows first glimpses of weakness with rivals lurking | Iga Swiatek

WWith her winning streak in 37 games and counting, Iga Swiatek She remains the favorite to lift the Women’s Singles Cup here on Saturday a week after her 6-4, 4-6, 6-3 defeat to Leslie Patinama Kerkhove on Thursday. But the fact that the top seed has only surrendered her third set since March – and for an opponent who qualified only as a lucky loser – should give hope to her rivals that a player who seems to have forgotten how to lose may not be quite a shield. -plated as they look.

Swiatek was comfortable enough in the first set but her forehand was lost in the second. She was briefly delayed to the locker room to regroup before returning to break Patinama Kerkhove in the fourth and ninth games of the third. The loss of that second set was added to the second set that she ceded to Zeng Chenwen at the French Open and the other to Lyudmila Samsonova in Stuttgart.

While the Polish No. 1 is still a favorite with bookies, it’s not quite a likely shot just yet, which means there are a couple of ways to think about her chances of following her win at the French Open last month. On the other hand, Swiatek is the most likely winner. On the other hand, the bet still suggests that at some point over the next nine days, someone will likely hit her.

Ons Jabeur, who knocked out Swiatek in the fourth round last year, is a live threat to the top seed. Jelena Ostapenko, who has a 3-0 career record against Swiatek including a win on grass, is another. And in most of her second-round matches against Anna Bogdan, a two-time winner of Wimbledon Petra Kvitova Every inch seemed a contender for her third title.

Kvitova set off in the form that carried her to surname in Eastbourne advance this month. The raw power in her forehand striking, a staple of her tournaments here in 2011 and 2014, hasn’t diminished: Bogdan couldn’t even come up with the beginnings of an answer as Kvitova’s hits to the ground found the lines and sent her straight forward. Since the end of the Roman court, her Czech opponent’s six-foot frame appears to be getting taller with time.

But after losing only three points in her first three serve matches, Kvitova needed to save three break points amid six stumbles and two double faults before securing the set 6-1. And if this game raises some questions about the murderous instincts of the 25th seed, the most worrisome wobbles are to follow. From 5-1 in the second half, Bogdan fought five in a row as her opponent twice failed to serve.

Bogdan was shooting to get back to her opponent’s feet, and several of Kvitova’s attempts to get them back looked almost embarrassing when they fell into the net. But an ace that crashed in the middle helped anchor the ship at a set point to Bogdan at 5-6, and the big forehand, missing in action for much of the previous 20 minutes, made it just in time to put down other specific moments. Later.

Petra Kvitova showed signs of her best form against Anna Bogdan, as well as some less impressive periods.
Petra Kvitova showed signs of her best form against Anna Bogdan, as well as some less impressive periods. Photo: Simon Stacpoole/Offside/Getty Images

Kvitova has now recovered somewhat, conquering the tiebreak and with it the match, but there was some measure of relief like celebration in the aftermath.

“I think it was a great game even 5-1, 5-2,” she said. “Suddenly I was so tired from the matches I had. I don’t know, it was hard to describe. I got a little tighter and went for it a little bit more. Didn’t miss. It was really hard to close.

“I really thought that maybe [there would] To be the third set, I did not even attend the tiebreak. In the end I did, I don’t know how. I’m glad it was definitely done.”

Kvitova’s championship credentials will be put to another stern test in the third round, as No. 4 seed Paula Padusa lurks, after defeating Irina Barra 6-3 6-2.

“I just practiced [with] “She’s in Eastbourne before the tournament starts,” Kvitova said. “It was good practice, very aggressive on both sides. That’s what I’m going to do for sure to be ready for it, big serve, great returns. But I still think she likes hard courts and mud more than grass. I hope that’s my little advantage.”

2019 champion Simona Halep also reached the third round, defeating Kirsten Flickens 7-5, 6-4, but another seemingly plausible contender failed to get past the second hurdle as Bianca Andreescu, the 2019 US Open winner who plagued him. The injury, which she lost in straight sets to 17th seed Elena Rybakina.

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