Second Round on matches in Group Chichen Itza now. Top seed Sabalenka taking on former French Open champ Iga Swiatek of Poland. Iga’s movement was awesome in set one complemented by her effective first serving. Watch 4-2(30-0). Aryna is a confidence player. So going after her second serve putting her under pressure is usually the tonic for victory. Check out 5-2(40-30) set point Iga. You could sense the double fault coming couldn’t you?Watch the body language after the first serve fault. Iga too comfortable for my liking in winning the first set 6-2.
Notice something different about Aryna going into set two?New shirt? Damn right. Sometimes a change of attire can be what is needed to get that confidence back. Representing a new you, a new player a new set virtually starting the match afresh. Saba was off to a shaky start though. Check out 1-1 second set deuce. The backhand was bang on the corner but the forehand was too short inviting Iga back into the point. Saba was losing the battle at the net as well, needed to groundstroke it out from the baseline if she was to win this match.1-1 adv Swiatek an example. She did this at 2-2(30-15) and watch the result. When she hits the ball deep that is when she has a lot of success. Iga realizing Aryna’s shortcomings at the net and went for the surprise drop shot at 4-2(15-15). What a difference in serving the second set was for the Belarusian. A double fault to hand the set to the Pole in set one contrasted with an emphatic strong serve to win the second set.
The bagel third set handed out to Saba by Padosa in match one will no doubt have been at the back of the world number two’s mind going into set 3. What was crucial for Aryna was to get the early break of serve to ease the nerves. She did just that at 1-1. Watch 40-30, the kick serve from Iga wasn’t exactly the best choice for me but I could see her reasons for playing it. Some variation maybe. The lob like forehand was too short there teeing up Saba for the huge winner in the corner. They would exchange breaks to level it up to 2-2 and match went on serve until the eleventh game. Iga simply couldn’t cope with the powerful shots by Aryna especially the forehand and was broken at 5-5 to lose the match on a heartbreaker 7-5. You can see the relief in Sabalenka. She is back in contention for the semis. Swiatek looks like she is virtually out of the WTA Finals barring a surprise set of results in the third round of matches. Paula Padosa won her match against Maria Sakkari to make it to the semis in the other group game.