Phew!!! That was one crazy, intense match. Heather was cruising along nicely, but just as with so many matches in the past couple of months, she tightened up at 4-1 in the second set. She began pushing the ball, rather than hitting it, and Domi started unloading on monster forehands. During the on-court coaching Veronelli told Heather to keep the ball away from Domi's forehand at all costs but it was easier said than done. Heather courageously raised her level again in the 3rd set and when she came back from 15-40 down on her serve at 4-2 to hold with two successive aces for 5-2 I thought she'd finally broken free. Not a bit of it. Domi came right back at her and though Heather had two matchpoints against her opponent’s serve at 5-4 she wasted them with tentative play.
Great that she was able to win the final set tiebreak from 0-3 down. She found her nerve when she needed it. Psychologically I think this was a huge win too. All these close three setters and her inability to finish off her opponents when she has them on the ropes must be taking a toll. If she'd lost today from a winning position again it would have been very hard to take. Instead, she's finding a way to overcome her nerves and grind her way through.
After Pennetta at Eastbourne this is the biggest scalp of her career.
She needs to find something with her second serve which is a liability at the moment.
She hit two aces with her second serve. I would say the biggest liability can be her forehand, which she can hit too short and Cibulkova was just smacking them away. She did hit some good forehands today though. But her strengths are her backhand, volleys and her first serve is becoming a real weapon too to help get her out of trouble.
They were replaying the 3rd set of yesterday's epic on BT Sport during the rain delay in the Sharapova match. So, being a masochist I subjected myself to it again.
A couple of things stood out. The cross-court backhand winner Cibulkova produced off a strong drive volley from Heather at 5-6 40-30 was an absolute stunner and was an amazing way to take the set into a tie-break. It appeared to give Domi all the momentum in the world because she promptly followed up with a fizzing forehand return winner up the line on the opening point of the tie-break.
I'm still not sure how Hev managed to pull this match out.