Wednesday at the BNP Paribas Fortis Diamond Games in Antwerp was all about Belgian players, as two local favorites took to center court, cheered on by a very enthusiastic crowd.
Activity visibly picked up inside the arena. The very large Sportpaleis started filling up for the very first time this week and while the fans got plenty of tennis for their money, the outcome probably wasn’t what the patriotic Belgians would have hoped for.
The first player to carry the national hopes was Kirsten Flipkens, who faced Romania’s Monica Niculescu. Playing her usual slice-heavy game, Niculescu never allowed Flipkens into the match and despite being pushed forward by the crowd, the Belgian had to admit defeat in straight sets.
Flipkens wasn’t the only player to leave the arena in disappointment, as Camila Giorgi is out of the tournament as well. The Italian was bested by Carla Suarez Navarro in straight sets. The Spaniard joined Dominika Cibulkova, who won her match against Kateryna Bondarenko in two swift sets as well.
Undoubtedly the match of the evening, and quite possibly the tournament, involved the second Belgian player of the day, as Alison van Uytvanck met Andrea Petkovic. The popular German played her first match after enjoying a first-round bye, being the tournament’s #3 seed. The young Belgian managed to edge out a 7-6 lead in the first set and pushed the German’s back against the wall in the second set. Cheered on by the enthusiastic crowd, Van Uytvanck had no less than eight (!) match points, all of which were viciously fought off by Petkovic. Starting to feel the pressure and the sting of the wasted chances, Van Uytvanck lost the second set and started to let the match slip away in the third set. The match clock showed 3:19 hours when Petkovic finally converted her match point well past midnight, sending the last Belgian player out of the tournament.
It wasn’t all bad news for the Dutch-speaking Antwerp crowd though, as the Netherlands’ Indy de Vroome celebrated her first-ever WTA main draw win today. The 18-year-old upset Tsvetana Pironkova after fighting her way through the qualifying rounds.
Main draw play at the BNP Paribas Fortis Diamond Games will continue tomorrow and top seed Eugenie Bouchard will make her Antwerp debut against Germany’s Mona Barthel. Tomorrow’s lineup also features the possibly very entertaining encounter between Alize Cornet & Barbora Zahlavova Strycova, so there’s plenty of reason to keep checking back to Women’s Tennis Blog for more from the diamond city!