Disappointment for Alice Mertens (WTA-17) in the United Kingdom on Tuesday. The 25-year-old Limburger was knocked out in the first round of the WTA grass tournament (235,238) in Birmingham. Belgium’s No. 1 lost to Australian Ajla Tomljanovic (WTA-72) in three narrow sets with 7-6 (7/5), 6-7 (5/7), 7-6 (7/4) and 3 hours and play 9 minutes.
‘It’s never easy to change the surface’, Mertens explained. “Also, it was the first time in two years that I played on the grass again. I haven’t played badly, but I haven’t got my feet yet, especially in attack from defense, but also in serve, return and my footwork. It’s not okay yet. I must admit he played well. He didn’t make many mistakes. Losing 7-6 in the third set isn’t fun, but at least I’m able to determine what I need to work on for the rest of this short season.”
For the same money, Mertens could have won the match in two sets. She took a 5-4 lead in the first set, bagged a set point and then led 4/2 in the tiebreak. “Yeah, that’s true, although maybe she could have won in two sets because it was so close. The fact is that I should be able to take better advantage of situations where I have the upper hand, for example when I have The brakes lead,” she analyzed. “Maybe I should take a little more risk, especially on the grass, because I tried to separate the slices, but I couldn’t balance it. I put more aces (14) but also 12 double faults, depending on my taste. Anyway, I’m still in the doubles tournament so I can work on my serve and my return. That’s an advantage.
Mertens plays a double with Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei, who was also knocked out in the first round of singles on Monday. They start against veteran Americans Coco Vandeweghe and Samantha Stosur.