A short but fun afternoon at Kiwi Club today just before the afternoon rains hit.
Ulrikke Eikeri of Norway blasted through USA’s Julia Cohen, 6-0 6-1, continue her fine run here that started in qualifying.
Elise Mertens and Heidi El Tabakh drew a raucous crowd for their first round encounter, as Heidi’s doubles partner, Allie Kiick, Annette Kontaveit, and Allie and Heidi’s ‘host mom’ for the week sat with family and friends to cheer on Heidi, and discuss things like the dessert menu for later on, Allie’s new face tattoos, and the color of the dresses Heidi should be wearing.
As for the match, the Belgian Mertens jumped out to a 5-0 lead, capitalizing on El Tabakh’s errors, before the Canadian began finding her range with her big groundstrokes. El Tabakh fought back to 4-5 with a pair of service breaks before coughing up the first set, which seemed to fire her up and motivate her more than anything, then battled in a long game to a break to open set 2 before consolidating that break with a hold of serve and another fine break for a 3-0 lead she never relinquished.
After Mertens then broke and held, from 3-2 in the second set, Heidi lost only one more game, confidently hitting winners into the corners and throwing in a couple of nice forehand drop shot winners to show her touch on clay. Mertens called for the trainer twice before the end of the match, though she did not appear seriously injured, nor did her movement appear compromised. The second medical T/O came when she was down 1-4 in set three, presumably timed so that she could try to throw off El Tabakh’s rhythm as Heidi was serving for 5-1 in the final set.
El Tabakh def. Mertens 4-6 6-2 6-1
Other scores from Wednesday:
(1)Marina Erakovic (NZL) def. (Q)Samantha Crawford (USA) 46 63 62
Anett Kontaveit (EST) def. Montserrat Gonzalez (PAR) 63 30
Nicole Gibbs (USA) def. (5)Irina Falconi (USA) 63 36 60
Sofiya Kovalets (UKR) def. (LL)Ellie Halbauer (USA) 76(4) 41
(SE)Taylor Townsend (USA) def. Petra Rampre (SLO) 62 46 60
(8)Allie Kiick (USA) def. (wc)Josie Kuhlman (USA) 62 62
(Q)Dia Evtimova (BUL) def. (6)Grace Min (USA) 75 75
Julia Boserup (USA) def. Elitsa Kostova (BUL) 75 62
Maria Sanchez (USA) def. (wc)Allie Will (USA) 64 64
Melanie Klaffner (AUT) def. (wc)Asia Muhammad (USA) 46 64 63
(2)Michelle Larcher De Brito (POR) def. Ilona Kremen (BLR) 26 61 62
Wednesday photos: https://www.flickr.com/photos/28300821@N05/sets/72157644040211689/