A third, smaller WTA tournament in Gaiba/Italy…
13/6/22 – Some informations do reach my consciousness a little bit later than that of other people. So I only just got by now, that Kerber withdrew from Berlin following some frictions with the Austrian promoter. Osaka, Swiatek, Badosa, Kontaveit, Kenin have withdrawn last-minute as well. As most of my past WTA accreditations came from that other Austrian team around Sandra Reichel it’s probably no surprise, that I didn’t get any reply to my Berlin application so far. Maybe some compatriot animosities there. The bunch of withdrawals maybe a sign for a general shortage of communication skills on the side of the organiser. Being as unimportant as I fortunately am it’s clear that inmidst such a mess and chaos there is no time to send me a reply, not even a pre-formatted mail of refusal. Well, well, well…
16/6/22 – This would’ve been the day for me to go to Berlin with my camera. And now? How nice and right it feels to stay cozily at home watching all the action on TV instead. If you want to make the god(esse)s laugh, just show them your plans.
Berlin, 13/6/22[ → order of play ]Kasatkina, Teichmann, Pliskova, Andreescu, Wang and Sasnovich. Will those be the names to be found again in the round of 16?
Berlin, 14/6/22[ → order of play ] There is one match missing in todays schedule. Hasn’t it been possible to place the sixteenth, the Li/Gauff match there as well? Given the antecedents one probably is too keen-eared by now, suspecting the promoter of doing crazy things. Maybe Cori couldn’t get to Berlin earlier than tomorrow or stuff like that… … …let’s see how this new French wonder weapon Jeanjean does today against Sakkari. Fingers crossed for Jule Niemeier, who quite likely will try and give favorite Belinda Bencic a very hard time on court, to say the least. Zidansek/Samsonova, a thriller? Sabalenka, will she wondrously (and happily) lose again, letting Kudermetova pass through to the next round? Jabeur/Muchova probably an edge-of-the-seater with equal chances for both players. Often the Tunisian ball conjurer manages to win those tricky matches. Muguruza and Alexandrova I do expect to solve their tasks as well. Zheng/Parks and Kalinskaya/Cornet open to me. // Bencic needs all her skills to wrestle down Niemeier in three sets. Which Petkovich does with Muguruza in two. Jabeur clearly superior to Muchova. Samsonova to Zidansek. Sabalenka losing again.
Birmingham, 13/6/22[ → order of play ]Tomljanovic vs Martic could easily go either way. Both of them being similarly skilled and talented the latter probably has her nose in front in the mental department. Juvan has shown some convincing performances of late. Davis always a dangerous opponent. Dart vs Osorio, no clue as to that fixture. How strong is Donna Vekic? Can she cope with the firepower of reinvigorated Coco Vandeweghe? Halep should be able to prevail against Tsurenko, albeit probably not without having to fight for it. Ruse imho with slight advantages against her Chinese opponent Wang Qiang, who is still trying to tie on bygone strength and form. Garcia vs Golubic, match of the day? // Tomljanovic has withdrawn, Krunic moves up.
Birmingham, 14/6/22[ → order of play ]Ostapenko, Mertens, Riske, Kvitova, Zhang are my expectations for today. No clue about the rest. And then again… …Linette could easily be in the winner’s list as well. Yastremska still has issues to reach the height of quality she had prior to her doping ban. // Wow, Haddad Maia is on the rise, and no mistake! Yastremska strong, Mertens and Riske surprisingly out to McNally and Boulter.
Berlin, 15/6/22[ → order of play ]Pliskova vs Andreescu, a litmus test for both players as to their current form. Kasatkina and Alexandrova on eye level. Is the Serbian blood wild, hot and poisonous enough to enable German Andrea Petkovic to win against sophisticated and imho superior Aliaksandra Sasnovich? Daria (Gavrilova) Saville is in wild form as well. Can she stop Sakkari on her way to the quarter finals? // Pliskova stronger this time then her opponent. Let’s hope that it gives her confidence for future tasks. Everything is Wimby prep right now and Flushing Meadows is not far as well. No chance for Saville and Petkovic. Kasatkina wins expectedly, but the 61 61 in set two and three against an Alexandrova is a surprise to me.
Berlin, 16/6/22[ → order of play ]Jabeur, Gauff and Bencic my clear favorites today. Samsonova/Kudermetova could easily go either way. […]
Birmingham, 15/6/22[ → order of play ] Aleksandra Krunic is a worthy lucky loser. After ousting Martic in the previous round today she will try and overtake wonder bag Sorana Cirstea. Fingers crossed for the as likable as impressing ‘midget’. Garcia likely the final stop for Boulter. As Halep for Dart. McNally vs Vekic could be something. // Krunic with empty batteries. The Boulter win over Garcia to me the surprise of the day. A nice day in the office for Vekic and Halep.
Birmingham, 16/6/22[ → order of play ] All four encounters, Ostapenko/Yastremska, Ruse/Zhang, Haddad Maia/Frech and Davis/Giorgi with the potential of becoming interesting three-setters. // And interesting three-setters they became. A weird discussion with the chief umpire Haddad Maia had to have after slipping and falling on the due to nightfall more and more slippery grass court. First she was denied her request to interrupt the match for the sake of the player’s safety. After minutes of talking she was sent back to her side of the court to continue the match, which she did very hesitatingly. The only other option for her would’ve been to retire, which obviously she didn’t want to do. Immediately after the next rally had ended the play was interrupted due to darkness. A perfect sketch on life’s Theatre of the Absurd.
Birmingham, round of 16
 Sorana Cirstea def Aleksandra Krunic | 61 61
Katie Boulter def Caroline Garcia | 765 61
 Simona Halep def Harriet Dart | 63 62
Donna Vekic def Catherine McNally | 75 63
Dayana Yastremska def  Jelena Ostapenko | 36 75 75
Berlin, 17/6/22[ → order of play ]Sakkari (vs Kasatkina), Bencic (vs Kudermetova), Pliskova (vs Gauff) and Jabeur (vs Sasnovich), who probably will be the lineup for tomorrow’s semi finals, each have to deal with tricky opponents who easily could make their paths to these victories bumpy, steep and messy. // Jabeur and Sakkari with a quick pass-through. Gauff conquers poor Pliskova, who, with some more of these losses, probably will decide to retire not very far from now. Bencic conquers Kudermetova in three.
 Ons Jabeur def Aliaksandra Sasnovich | 673 62 62
Birmingham, 17/6/22[ → order of play ]Haddad Maia, will she be able to successfully complete her match today against strong and tricky Frech in order do what then against Giorgi? Win? Lose? And what will Boulter be able to conjur against Halep after her surprisingly clear win over Garcia in the previous round? Vekic/Cirstea and Yastremska/Zhang potential nailbiters. // As expected Cirstea/Vekic and Zhang/Yastremska tough matches. Boulter chanceless against Halep. Haddad Maia storms through…
Birmingham, 18/6/22[ → order of play ]All the semifinal action had to be postponed today due to heavy weather…
Birmingham, 19/6/22[ → order of play ] Fingers crossed for Zhang in what might be one of her last seasons at the professional WTA circus. Of course one is rooting for Haddad Maia now after all what she has reached of late. But to be honest I don’t believe that she’s got a chance against Halep today. // Wow, how deservedly the Brazilian wins that tremendously watchable see-saw match! And Zhang did me the favor to win hers as well.