Tag: anastasia potapova

WTA Tour wrap: Samsonova stars with upset win in Bett1Open

THERE was no shortage of excitement at both the Viking Classic and the Bett1Open as a couple of surprise upsets headlined the action particularly in Berlin. With rain plaguing the Viking Classic all of the quarter and semi-finals were played making for plenty of intense battles but in the end it was Ons Jabeur and Daria Kasatkina that set up the final showdown.

History could be in the making at the Viking Classic with Jabeur securing hard fought wins against Anastasia Potapova (6-4, 6-0) and Heather Watson (6-3, 6-3) to progress to the final day of play and gifting her a chance to win her first WTA title.

Jabeur made light work of her opponent in Potapova disposing of her in 56 minutes as the second seed went about her business in a highly clinical manner. Down early on in the match, the Tunisian knuckled down to dominate and win 11 of 12 games to topple the up and coming youngster.

“I tried not to waste my time on court, to keep my energy for a long day,” Jabeur said.

It was a slightly different story for Kasatkina who spent a little while longer out on court than Jabeur, taking an hour and 44 minutes to down Tereza Martincova 6-4 2-6 6-0 and just as long to overcome Coco Vandeweghe 6-2 6-4. The three set thriller was hard work with Kasatkina forced to work for every shot as the young Czech. Kasatkina will now play Jabeur in the final with the former looking for her third title this year in what is set to be an absolute thriller.

It has been a fairytale week for Liudmila Samsonova who has continued her run of hot form at the Bett1Open this time knocking out former world number one Victoria Azarenka 6-4 6-2. It was a clinical performance from Samsonova who stifled Azarenka, getting the job done in one hour and six minutes.

The win sees her advance into her first career WTA singles final when she takes on Belinda Bencic in the main event. The Russian dug deep in her outing against the number seven seed in Azarenka with her big hitting well and truly coming to the fore.

“It’s all incredible for me, it’s so new, and I’m very happy for it,” Samsonova said, after her win. “It’s unbelievable for me.”

Samsonova had a good day out on the park with her cleanliness causing all sorts of headaches for Azarenka. In fact the win is only her second in her entire career over a Top 20 talent and she did so in style producing 24 winners including 11 aces and only making a mere six unforced errors.

She now looks ahead to Bencic who also progressed through to the final day of action thanks to a strong performance against Alizé Cornet.

“I’m sure it’s going to be a tough match because [Bencic] plays very good on this surface, and she’s a good player,” Samsonova said. “I will try to do my best and focus on my game, and we will see.”

Bencic got the job done in two sets against Cornet 7-5 6-4 to move through to yet another final. The Swiss talent has been in strong form this year and this battle was no different hitting 29 winners and only racking up 19 unforced errors for the match.

“Of course it gives me a lot of confidence,” Bencic said, after her win. “It’s always great to have this confirmation on grass that it’s working well.”

It took just under two hours for the match to be decided with both players working in overdrive as the world number 12 in Bencic dug into her bag of tricks to try and outsmart the world number 63 to advance to the final stage.

VIKING CLASSIC SEMI FINALS RESULTS:

[4] Daria Kasatkina (RUS) defeated Coco Vandeweghe (USA) 6-2 6-4
[2] Ons Jabeur (TUN) defeated Heather Watson (GBR) 6-3 6-3

BETT1OPEN QUARTER FINALS RESULTS:

Liudmila Samsonova (RUS) defeated [7] Victoria Azarenka (BLR) 6-4 6-2
[5] Belinda Bencic (SUI) defeated Alize Cornet (FRA) 7-5 6-4

Photo credit: WTA/Jimmie48

WTA Tour wrap: Mixed bag of results across grass court events

IT was a bit of a mixed bag of results across the WTA Tour’s two grass court events yesterday, with two seeds making their way through in each of the Viking Classic and Bett1Open quarter finals, whilst in the other two matches the underdog prevailed. In Berlin, fifth seed Belinda Bencic advanced through to the final four with a hard-fought three-set win over Russian Ekaterina Alexandrova 6-4 4-6 7-6, needing two hours and 31 minutes to dismiss her opponent.

The Swiss star will now face Frenchwoman Alize Cornet who stunned Grand Slam winner and sixth seed Garbine Muguruza in an epic contest, winning in a third set tiebreaker, 7-5. The overall match saw Cornet come from behind to post a 4-6 6-3 7-6 win over the Spanish seed in two hours and 40 minutes to claim her spot in the final four. Cornet won 76.6 per cent of his first serve points and broke twice from her two chances, whilst rallied hard against a solid Muguruza who broke twice form four chances, and won 67.9 and 70 per cent of her first and second serve points.

“It was a long match with a lot of emotion, especially in the tiebreak,” Cornet said post-match. “I can’t believe I made it at the end. She’s a champion, she never gives up. I should have gone for a it a bit more, I was waiting for a mistake and I was a bit tight – it’s normal. But I was very resilient too, I was always behind in the score in the third set but I kept grinding, I kept fighting to the end and it’s a really nice victory.

“I had a really tough clay season, I couldn’t play well and I don’t know why – but to play well on grass, it’s unexpected but beautiful.”

VIKING CLASSIC QUARTER FINALS RESULTS:

[2] Ons Jabeur (TUN) defeated Leylah Fernandez (CAN) 6-4 3-6 7-6
[4] Daria Kasatkina (RUS) defeated Marta Kostyuk (UKR) 6-2 7-5
Tereza Martincova (CZE) defeated [5] Jelena Ostapenko (LAT) 7-6 4-6 6-2
Anastasia Potapova (RUS) defeated Kristina Mladenovic (FRA) 6-3 6-3

BETT1OPEN QUARTER FINALS RESULTS:

[5] Belinda Bencic (SUI) defeated Ekaterina Alexandrova (RUS) 6-4 4-6 7-6
Alize Cornet (FRA) defeated [6] Garbine Muguruza (ESP) 4-6 6-3 7-6
[7] Victoria Azarenka (BLR) defeated Jessica Pegula (USA) 6-2 5-7 6-4
Liudmila Samsonova (RUS) defeated Madison Keys (USA) 7-6 2-6 7-6

Picture credit: Jimmie48/WTA

WTA Tour wrap: Azarenka wins battle of former number ones as Samsonova cracks Top 100

A SEED fell at each of the grass events overnight, with the WTA 500 tournament in Berlin seeing Karolina Pliskova go down in straight sets while at the 250 event in Birmingham Jelena Ostepenko competed hard to go down in three.

It was Jessica Pegula who took down Pliskova, overcoming the former world number one 7-5 6-2 credit to a consistent serve and plenty of hunt to claim a 75-minute victory over the Czech. The unseeded American fought hard throughout and was able to convert six of her nine break point opportunities, whilst also winning 59 per cent of her overall first serve points to steal early momentum out from under Pliskova.

Sixth and seventh seeds Garbine Muguruza and Victoria Azarenka had far more luck, with the former dominating against Kazakh Elena Rybakina in the longest clash of the day coming out to one hour and 42 minutes, 6-4 6-3. Whilst Rybakina threw everything she had at the Spaniard, including 11 aces, Muguruza was cleaner and more efficient on serve, also saving six of seven break points and converting four of her own. Azarenka only required 80 minutes to claim the win over fellow former world number one Angelique Kerber, the Belarusian was tested and almost taken to a third set during the 6-3 7-5 matchup.

“I always really enjoy our battles,” Azarenka said. “I always know that it’s going to be a battle, no matter what and I prepare myself for that – there is a certain preparation and motivation going into matches like that.

“[In the second set] I feel like I was coming back to what was working for me – some of the points I was falling off and not playing aggressive. Once I knew that I was stepping up a bit more consistently.”

Meanwhile Liudmila Samsonova has claimed an official maiden Top 100 berth as of next week, upsetting compatriot Veronika Kudermetova, 6-4 6-3. Samsonova did not face a break point, winning 88.5 per cent of her first serve points in a huge effort, with a solid 69.2 per cent second serve effort assisting in her pursuit.

At the Viking Classic in Birmingham, Ostapenko was overthrown by Czech Tereza Martincova in three, 7-6 4-6 6-2, with the Czech firing on all cylinders to register seven aces for zero double faults. In contrast, Ostapenko struggled to control her serve, registering nine double faults for one ace as Martincova controlled proceedings, not allowing Ostapenko to retain her second set momentum as the third loomed. Martincova will take on fourth seed Daria Kasatkina in the quarters, following the Russian’s 6-2 7-5 disposal of Marta Kostyuk. The second quarter final will play out between second seed Ons Jabeur and another unseeded Russian in Anastasia Potapova, after the two both claimed second round wins.

BETT1OPEN ROUND OF 16 RESULTS:

Jessica Pegula (USA) defeated [4] Karolina Pliskova (CZE) 7-5 6-2
[6] Garbine Muguruza (ESP) defeated Elena Rybakina (KAZ) 6-4 6-3
[7] Victoria Azarenka (BLR) defeated Angelique Kerber (GER) 6-3 7-5
Liudmila Samsonova (RUS) defeated Veronika Kudermetova (RUS) 6-4 6-3

VIKING CLASSIC BIRMINGHAM ROUND OF 16 RESULTS:

[2] Ons Jabeur (TUN) defeated Leylah Fernandez (CAN) 6-4 3-6 7-6
[4] Daria Kasatkina (RUS) defeated Marta Kostyuk (UKR) 6-2 7-5
Tereza Martincova (CZE) defeated [5] Jelena Ostapenko (LAT) 7-6 4-6 6-2
Anastasia Potapova (RUS) defeated Kristina Mladenovic (FRA) 6-3 6-3

Picture credit: Jimmie48/WTA

WTA Tour wrap: Azarenka and Kerber set up second round clash, Tomljanovic outlasts Mertens

THE two grass event continued in Germany and England overnight, with the WTA 500 bett1open in Berlin and WTA 250 Viking Classic in Birmingham both seeing one big seeded upset apiece amongst relatively  predictable results.

In Germany, a huge second round has been set with a couple of former world number ones in Victoria Azarenka and Angelique Kerber both claiming wins in the Round of 32. Whilst Azarenka was somewhat tested by Kerber’s compatriot Andrea Petkovic, Kerber had little to no issue disposing of Japanese left-hander Misaki Doi in one hour flat.

“It was a really solid match,” Kerber said. “It’s never easy to play a first match on grass courts, especially against a lefty as well. So I’m really happy about my performance and how I started the grass-court season.”

“It’s really nice being back on grass, that’s my favourite surface,” Kerber said. “It’s never easy to start a grass-court season because it’s completely different from the clay courts, but it’s great for me to play in Germany, it’s always really special. That gives me a little bit more motivation.”

Whilst Azarenka leads the duo’s head-to-head 9-1 and is seeded seventh here in Berlin, Kerber is on home soil and looking forward to the clash.

“I will try to play my game, and try to take another chance, and play as many matches as I can before I go to Wimbledon,” Kerber said. “It’s another good match at a high level, and this is why I’m here. The draw is really strong, so it’s good to have another good match.”

“I was sometimes dropping my level a bit with not being aggressive enough,” said Azarenka following her clash with Petkovic, which resulted in a 6-4 7-6(2) finish. “I was getting too frustrated in some moments when I had opportunities and didn’t take them, so I want to learn from that for my next round. I think I was putting myself into too much of a dangerous situation when I could have been more disciplined.”

Sixth seed Garbine Muguruza found success against Romanian Sorana Cirstea, 6-3 6-2, and whilst Muguruza and Cirstea hit a similar amount of winners (15-12), Cirstea registered a whopping 35 unforced errors throughout the one hour and 19-minute clash.

“Very pleased,” Muguruza said. “You never know how it’s going to go in the first match, especially on grass after two years, so I’m very excited to win in two sets against Sorana. We’ve played many times, and it’s always difficult.”

Things did not quite go to plan for eighth seed Czech Karolina Muchova, who fell to Russian Veronika Kudermetova in three, 7-6 5-7 6-2. Kudermetova said she drew on her third round loss at the Roland Garros to another Czech in Katerina Siniakova to get over the line in this encounter.

“I don’t know how to explain it but at the French Open I lost a very close match,” Kudermetova said. “I was 5-1 up, 5-2 up in both sets and I lost. Today I was a little bit thinking about it when I was up and serving. Mentally, it’s not really easy because I think and think about my serve. But I am really happy I stayed in the match in the third set.”

Another Russian-Czech matchup played out with the results going the way of the Russian once more with Liudmila Samsonova claiming the victory over Marketa Vondrousova and set to take on Kudermetova in the second round. Just one of four Americans claimed wins, as Jessica Pegula claimed a straightforward win over compatriot Hailey Baptiste who retired at the latter stage of the first set, while Roland Garros quarterfinalist Elena Rybakina and Croatian Petra Martic both took out wins over Shelby Rogers and Asia Muhammad, respectively.

At Birmingham, a huge upset was orchestrated by Australian hard-hitter Ajla Tomljanovic, disposing of top seed Belgian Elise Mertens in a marathon three hour and nine-minute clash, requiring three tiebreakers before the 7-6(5) 6-7(5) 7-6(4) result was decided. Fourth seed Daria Kasatkina overcame a slow start to steal victory off Polona Hercog, whilst second seed Ons Jabeur, fifth seed Jelena Ostapenko and sixth seed Zhang Shuai all dominated their respective contests to win in two. Meanwhile, Anastasia PotapovaMarta Kostyuk and Leylah Fernandez all found wins on their opening day of action.

BETT1OPEN ROUND OF 32 RESULTS:

[6] Garbine Muguruza (ESP) defeated Sorana Cirstea (ROU) 6-3 6-2
[7] Viktoria Azarenka (BLR) defeated Andrea Petkovic (GER) 6-4 7-6
Veronika Kudermetova (RUS) defeated [8] Karolina Muchova (CZE) 7-6 5-7 6-2
Angelique Kerber (GER) defeated Misaki Doi (JPN) 6-2 6-1
Elena Rybakina (KAZ) defeated Shelby Rogers (USA) 2-6 6-3 6-4
Petra Martic (CRO) defeated Asia Muhammad (USA) 7-6 4-6 6-3
Jessica Pegula (USA) defeated Hailey Baptiste (USA) 6-6 RET
Liudmila Samsonova (RUS) defeated Marketa Vondrousova (CZE) 6-4 7-6

VIKING CLASSIC BIRMINGHAM ROUND OF 32 RESULTS:

Ajla Tomljanovic (AUS) defeated [1] Elise Mertens (BEL) 7-6 6-7 7-6
[2] Ons Jabeur (TUN) defeated Caty McNally (USA) 6-4 6-2
[4] Daria Kasatkina (RUS) defeated Polona Hercog (SLO) 4-6 6-3 6-3
[5] Jelena Ostapenko (LAT) defeated Lauren Davis (USA) 6-4 6-1
[6] Zhang Shuai (CHN) defeated Vitalia Diatchenko (RUS) 6-2 7-5
Anastasia Potapova (RUS) defeated Nina Stojanovic (SRB) 5-7 7-6 6-4
Marta Kostyuk (UKR) defeated Madison Brengle (USA) 4-6 7-5 6-3
Leylah Fernandez (CAN) defeated Wang Yafan (CHN) 7-5 6-3

Picture credit: WTA/Jimmie48

WTA Tour wrap: Kontaveit downs Kenin as Kostyuk and Konjuh clean up at Istanbul

ANOTHER fascinating day of action was had at both the WTA 500 event in Stuttgart, Germany and the WTA 250 event in Istanbul, Turkey, as the Round of 16 continued at both tournaments. Whilst seeds cleaned up the competition at the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix, it was a different story entirely at the TEB BNP Paribas Tennis Championship Istanbul, as both of the day’s seeds fell in intriguing results.

Sofia Kenin‘s shocking run of form has continued with another loss, this time to Anett Kontaveit. With just seven wins for the year, Kenin has failed to surpass the Round of 32 since prior to the Australian Open in early February. Conversely, Kontaveit has been fairly consistent and did that again in this encounter to sweep Kenin 7-5 6-4 in just over 90 minutes. Kenin was the only seed to fall on the day as first seed Ash Barty came out flying in her one hour and 24-minute matchup with German hopeful Laura Siegemund, overcoming a second set fight back to claim the 6-0 7-5 victory, though Siegemund’s compatriot and former world number one Angie Kerber was much more successful, cleaning up Georgian Ekaterine Gorgodze 6-2 6-2 for the quickest win of the day, requiring just 72 minutes.

Sixth and seventh seed Czech hard-hitters Karolina Pliskova and Petra Kvitova both reigned supreme as a third Czech in Marketa Vondrousova joined the winners list following a victory over compatriot Marie Bouzkova. Whilst Vondrousova claimed a fairly quick victory in comparision, both Pliskova and Kvitova were taken to three sets by their opposition as German lucky loser Tamara Korpatsch well and truly gave world number nine Pliskova a run for her money in a 7-5 3-6 6-3 clash. Kvitova slumped in the second set before reclaiming momentum to take home a classy win over Maria Sakkari. The remaining win of the day went to Latvian Jelena Ostapenko, who disposed of Stefanie Voegele in straight sets 6-4 7-5 to head into the quarter finals.

PORSCHE TENNIS GRAND PRIX ROUND OF 16 RESULTS:

[1] Ash Barty (AUS) defeated Laura Siegemund (GER) 6-0 7-5
Anett Kontaveit (EST) defeated [3] Sofia Kenin (USA) 7-5 6-4
[6] Karolina Pliskova (CZE) defeated Tamara Korpatsch (GER) 7-5 3-6 6-3
[7] Petra Kvitova (CZE) defeated Maria Sakkari (GRE) 6-3 3-6 6-3
Marketa Vondrousova (CZE) defeated Marie Bouzkova (CZE) 6-1 7-6
Angelique Kerber (GER) defeated Ekaterine Gorgodze (GEO) 6-2 6-2
Jelena Ostapenko (LAT) defeated Stefanie Voegele (SUI) 6-4 7-5

 

Both Daria Kasatkina and Wang Qiang fell in straight sets during the Istanbul Round of 16, failing to really challenge their opposition as Marta Kostyuk and Ana Konjuh came out flying and did not back down. Whilst Kasatkina forced a comeback in the second set to Kostyuk, a sloppy error rate left her unable to take advantage of opportunities as she fell 6-3 7-5 in just over 90 minutes. For Wang, it was Konjuh’s continued intensity which left the Chinese eighth seed unable to compete, struggling to retain composure as Konjuh’s consistency proved valuable in the 6-1 6-4 scalp.

In the remaining three games, it took three sets for Katerina Siniakova to overcome Kristina Mladenovic in by far the day’s longest matchup, with the Czech requiring almost two and a half hours to claim the 6-4 3-6 6-4 victory. Whilst Mladenovic made a second set comeback, it was not enough as Siniakova remained composed to save 13 break points and claim seven to take out a controlled victory. Romanian Sorana Cirstea was challenged early by Russian Anastasia Potapova before earning a break in the second and riding out the 7-6(6) 6-4 victory, while Kaia Kanepi was the fifth winner of the day with a 6-4 6-4 sweep of Kazakh Zarina Diyas to claim the quickest win of the day in one hour and 19 minutes.

 

TEB BNP PARIBAS TENNIS CHAMPIONSHIP ISTANBUL ROUND OF 16 RESULTS:

Marta Kostyuk (UKR) defeated [4] Daria Kasatkina (SLO) 6-3 7-5
Ana Konjuh (CRO) defeated  [8] Wang Qiang (CHN) 6-1 6-4
Katerina Siniakova (CZE) defeated Kristina Mladenovic (FRA) 6-4 3-6 6-4
Sorana Cirstea (ROM) defeated Anastasia Potapova (RUS) 7-6 6-4
Kaia Kanepi (EST) defeated Zarina Diyas (KAZ) 6-4 6-4

WTA Tour wrap: Seeds successful in big second day of action at Stuttgart and Istanbul

ANOTHER big day of proceedings were had at both the WTA 500 event in Stuttgart, Germany and the WTA 250 event in Istanbul, Turkey, as majority of the seeds across both competitions reigned supreme.

Six matches played out in Stuttgart on Day 2 of proceedings at the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix, seeing a couple of seeds get their clay season started successfully as four German talents took the court on home soil. Both seeds reigned supreme in straight sets, with Aryna Sabalenka taking out the quickest result of the day 6-2 6-2 over China’s Zhang Shuai in just 66 minutes. Seventh seed Petra Kvitova encountered a tougher opponent in Jennifer Brady but still claimed a clean 6-4 6-3 win in just over 90 minutes to head to the second round.

Two of the four German competitors reigned supreme, with Laura Siegemund collecting the win over her compatriot in Mona Barthel, 6-4 3-6 6-1, whilst Anna-Lena Friedsam downed Norwegian Ulrikke Eikeri 6-2 6-0 in one hour and 24 minutes. Julia Middendorf was not quite so lucky though, falling to Estonian Anett Kontaveit, while the remaining Round of 16 spot went to Ekaterina Alexandrova, claiming a come-from-behind victory over Karolina Muchova, 4-6 6-2 6-3.

PORSCHE TENNIS GRAND PRIX ROUND OF 32 RESULTS:

[5] Aryna Sabalenka (BLR) defeated Zhang Shuai (CHN) 6-2 6-2
[7] Petra Kvitova (CZE) defeated Jennifer Brady (USA) 6-4 6-3
Anett Kontaveit (EST) defeated Julia Middendorf (GER) 6-2 6-3
Ekaterina Alexandrova (RUS) defeated Karolina Muchova (CZE) 4-6 6-2 6-3
Laura Siegemund (GER) defeated Mona Barthel (GER) 6-4 3-6 6-1
Anna-Lena Friedsam (GER) defeated Ulrikke Eikeri (NOR) 6-2 6-0

 

At Istanbul, Anastasia Potapova bounced back well from a delayed third set against sixth seed compatriot Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova yesterday, registering a third set win and only requiring an additional 20 minutes to take out the match 7-6 6-7 6-4. Continuing onto Day 2’s proceedings at the event, and it was a fairly predictable day of action with four of the top five seeds earning wins. Elise Mertens and Daria Kasatkina took out the cleanest wins of the day with the top seed Belgian defeating Spaniard Lara Arruabarrena 6-2 6-0 whilst Kasatkina snagged the quickest result of the day with a 6-1 6-0 sweep of Tereza Mrdeza in just 65 minutes.

Third seed Veronika Kudermetova and fifth seed Barbora Krejcikova both also reigned supreme but were forced to overcome deficits, with the former slipping in the second set to give American Bernarda Pera a look in before claiming the three hour victory 6-4 4-6 7-6. Krejcikova overcame a tight 6(8)-7 first set to claim victory over hometown hopeful Cagla Buyukakcay, easily accounting for her in the remainder of the 6-7 6-2 6-0 encounter. Meanwhile, second seed Petra Martic was disposed of by Frenchwoman Fiona Ferro, slipping in the 7-5 6-2 encounter and failing to take back momentum.

Of the five remaining matches for the day, all were resolved in straight sets with the closest of the bunch between Romanian Sorana Cirstea and Ukrainian Kateryna Kozlova, resulting in a 6-4 7-6 victory the way of the Romanian in just under two hours. On the other end of the spectrum was a one hour and nine minute victory to Marta Kostyuk, who downed Russian Kamilla Rakhimova 6-4 6-3 in an impressively speedy encounter. Ana Bogdan, Vera Zvonareva and Kristina Mladenovic also joined the winners list to head to the Round of 16.

TEB BNP PARIBAS TENNIS CHAMPIONSHIP ISTANBUL ROUND OF 32 RESULTS:

[1] Elise Mertens (BEL) defeated Lara Arruabarrena (ESP) 6-2 6-0
Fiona Ferro (FRA) defeated [2] Petra Martic (CRO) 7-5 6-2
[3] Veronika Kudermetova (RUS) defeated Bernarda Pera (USA) 6-4 3-6 7-6
[4] Daria Kasatkina (RUS) defeated Tereza Mrdeza (CRO) 6-1 6-0
[5] Barbora Krejcikova (CZE) defeated Cagla Buyukakcay (TUR) 6-7 6-2 6-0
Vera Zvonareva (RUS) defeated Polona Hercog (SLO) 6-3 6-3
Ana Bogdan (ROM) defeated Nao Hibino (JPN) 6-3 6-3
Marta Kostyuk (UKR) defeated Kamilla Rakhimova (RUS) 6-4 6-3
Kristina Mladenovic (FRA) defeated Barbara Haas (AUT) 6-4 6-3
Sorana Cirstea (ROM) defeated Kateryna Kozlova (UKR) 6-4 7-6
Anastasia Potapova (RUS) defeated [6] Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (RUS) 7-6 6-7 6-4

WTA Tour wrap: Bencic and Sakkari start off Stuttgart proceedings as Istanbul open begins

ANOTHER two WTA Tour events have picked up this week, with the clay court circuit continuing across Europe in Stuttgart, Germany, whilst the Istanbul Championship has begun in Turkey.

Just two matches played out on the opening day of proceedings at the WTA 500 event in Stuttgart, with the two favourites reigning supreme over a couple of homegrown German compatriots. Both Belinda Bencic and Maria Sakkari got away with excellent sub-90-minute victories in straight sets to proceed to the Round of 16.

Eighth seed Bencic was tested early by teenager Nastasja Schunk before settling into an eventual 6-4 6-2 victory in one hour and 28 minutes. A tight first set was effectively only saved by Bencic’s excellent service game, winning 70.8 per cent of first serve points off a 70.6 per cent clip, and winning 50 per cent of her second set points at a lower efficiency than Schunk, but ultimately only winning three less than the German who was forced to rely on her second serve. The second set saw Bencic kick it up a notch, not broken once in the second on her way to victory over the 17-yeear-old.

For Sakkari, it was a much more straightforward win as she disposed of Andrea Petkovic 6-2 6-2 in just 66 minutes. Messiness could well have messed it up though, with missed opportunities during the first set and double faults aplenty. But whilst Sakkari was error-ridden, Petkovic did not capitalise where she could have and served at just 36.8 per cent in the first set, bizarrely not winning a single point off her first serve and just three off her second serve, playing the defensive game much better. Where Sakkari faltered in the first though, she stepped up in the second to run out victor credit to a three-ace second set, winning 92.9 per cent of points off her first serve en route to a scrappy victory.

PORSCHE TENNIS GRAND PRIX ROUND OF 32 RESULTS:

[8] Belinda Bencic (SUI) defeated Nastasja Schunk (GER) 6-4 6-2
Maria Sakkari (GRE) defeated Andrea Petkovic (GER) 6-2 6-2

At the WTA 250 event in Istanbul, eighth seed Wang Qiang overcame a first set deficit to reign supreme as sixth seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova‘s matchup against compatriot Anastasia Potapova was suspended in intriguing circumstances, with the 7-6 6-7 encounter – which currently sits at three hours and 10 minutes in length – suspended due to rainfall, as was the remainder of the day’s draw. Whilst Potapova took out the first set tiebreaker 7-6(2), sixth seed Pavlyuchenkova would not be outdone, fighting back for an extraordinary 7-6(8) second set win to extend the match further. For Wang, it was a sloppy first set that allowed a third Russian in Anastasia Gasanova to gain the early upper hand, before the Chinese sixth seed and world number 50 flicked a switch to overcome the Russian in the latter stages, eventually winning 4-6 6-1 6-2 in two hours and 14 minutes.

In other matches, it was only up-and-coming Croatian Ana Konjuh who got away scot free claiming a straight sets victory on the day, defeating Italian Sara Errani 7-5 6-2 in the clear quickest match of the day. Comparatively, Czech Republic’s Katerina Siniakova and Switzerland’s Viktorija Golubic both required the full length to overcome their respective Spanish opponents, as Siniakova overcame an early surge from Cristina Bucsa to post a 7-6 3-6 6-3 win, whilst Golubic defeated Nuria Parrizas Diaz in just over two hours, 6-4 2-6 6-3.

TEB BNP PARIBAS TENNIS CHAMPIONSHIP ISTANBUL ROUND OF 32 RESULTS:

[8] Wang Qiang (CHN) defeated Anastasia Gasanova (RUS) 4-6 6-1 6-2
Ana Konjuh (CRO) defeated Sara Errani (ITA) 7-5 6-2
Katerina Siniakova (CZE) defeated Cristina Bucsa (ESP) 7-6 3-6 6-3
Viktorija Golubic (SUI) defeated Nuria Parrizas Diaz (ESP) 6-4 2-6 6-3

Anastasia Potapova (RUS) v. [6] Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (RUS) 7-6 6-7 SUSP

WTA Miami Open 1000: Americans fall on day one as qualifiers continue hunt for main draw entry

WHILST qualifying rounds are still being complete, the WTA Tour Miami Open 1000 event has officially begun, with intriguing results pouring out already on the first day of competition.

The top ranked player of the day was Shelby Rogers, and the homegrown hope was the only United States talent to proceed to the second round as a whopping six compatriots fell. While the fall of Madison Brengle was down to Rogers’ 6-3 6-3 sweep, the most high profile loss went to three-time Miami champion Venus Williams who was disposed of by Kazakh Zarina Diyas 6-2 7-6(10), as 16-year-old Katrina Scott went down 6-2 6-2 in the quickest match of the day to Sorana Cirstea, with the Romanian needing just 60 minutes to collect the win. Losses to Lauren DavisRobin Montgomery and Christina McHale completed the United States’ day, with Russia also proving unlucky on day one as Anastasia Potapova and Anna Blinkova both fell.

Looking to successful performers on the opening day, and the likes of Paula Badosa were fortunate to remain in the draw, with the Spaniard winning through in strange circumstances as her Swiss opposition in Jil Teichmann retired despite leading the first set, whilst Barbora Krejcikova and Magda Linette completed the only three set wins of the day against Blinkova and Montgomery, respectively. Krejcikova’s victory was the only match to go over two hours at two hours and three minutes, though the 6-3 7-5 matchup between Laura Siegemund and McHale came close coming down to one hour and 58 minutes.

In the remaining matches, Arantxa RusWang Xinyu and Nadia Podoroska all reigned supreme in their respective outings, with all three straight sets sweeps completed well within 90 minutes.

MIAMI OPEN ROUND OF 128 RESULTS:

Paula Badosa (ESP) defeated Jil Teichmann (SUI) 5-6 RET
Ajla Tomljanovic (AUS) defeated Anastasia Potapova (RUS) 7-5 6-0
Shelby Rogers (USA) defeated Madison Brengle (USA) 6-3 6-3
Arantxa Rus (NED) defeated Marie Bouzkova (CZE) 6-3 6-2
Kaia Kanepi (EST) defeated Lauren Davis (USA) 6-3 7-5
Zarina Diyas (KAZ) defeated Venus Williams (USA) 6-2 7-6
Wang Xinyu (CHN) defeated Rebecca Peterson (SWE) 6-2 6-2
Nadia Podoroska (ARG) Mayar Sherif (EGY) 6-3 6-1
Sorana Cirstea (ROM) defeated Katrina Scott (USA) 6-2 6-2
Magda Linette (POL) defeated Robin Mongomery (USA) 6-1 3-6 6-0
Laura Siegemund (GER) defeated Christina McHale (USA) 6-3 7-5
Barbora Krejcikova (CZE) defeated Anna Blinkova (RUS) 6-1 3-6 6-3

For the remainder of the men’s and women’s qualifiers, results went as unpredictable as ever with just one of the women’s top 10 seeds heading through to the main draw, as seventh seed Nina Stojanovic defeated Bethanie Mattek-Sands, while Kirsten Flipkens (fourth seed), Tamara Zidansek (fifth) and Varvara Gracheva (sixth) all fell at the second hurdle. The men’s proceedings were just as interesting, with top two Mackenzie McDonald and Thiago Seyboth Wild both reigning supreme, while four top 10 seeds fell. Both wildcards in Mischa Zverev and Shintaro Mochizuki proceed to the main draw.

WTA Tour wrap: Muguruza and Mertens fight back for semi spots

GARBINE Muguruza and Elise Mertens have found a way to win in their respective quarter finals at the 2021 WTA Tour’s Dubai 1000 event after going down a set before grinding out a three-set victory. Both seeds were up against red-hot in-form players in Aryna Sabalenka and Jessica Pegula respectively, but despite losing the opening set, maintained a steady approach and got the job done to join Jil Teichmann and Barbora Krejcikova in the semi-finals.

Muguruza won 3-6 6-3 6-2 against third seed Sabalenka in one hour and 51 minutes. The Spaniard won 79.5 per cent of her first serve points and put down seven aces to surprisingly have a much higher ratio than the powerful Sabalenka who finished with 70 per cent and five aces. The Belarusian also served an additional double fault (5-4), and was broken five times to three throughout the course of the match.

The 10th seed Belgian in Mertens had a struggle on her hands in the opening couple of sets, dropping the first set 7-5 then returning the favour with the second set success at 7-5. It was all one-way traffic in the third, as the Belgian went from 5-5 in the second set to win eight consecutive games and storm to a 5-7 7-5 6-0 victory. Serving consistency was not a highlight in the match as Mertens produced 10 double faults for three aces, while Pegula did not have an ace and recorded seven double faults. Mertens was more consistent upon return though, breaking seven times to four, with the last three coming in the final set, and winning 39.2 per cent of her first serve return points compared to Pegula’s 29.7 per cent.

While the two seeds will face off in the semi-final, the other semi-final will feature two unseeded talents and players unfamiliar with this stage of a WTA Tour 1000 event. Neither Teichmann nor Krejcikova had reached a 1000 quarter final before, and neither had their opponents, wildcards Coco Gauff and Anastasia Potapova. Despite the experience in the other half of the draw, the winners were always going to be in uncharted territory.

Teichmann took care of the highly talented Gauff, ending the soon-to-be 17-year-old’s run before she could reach the final on her birthday. The Swiss up-and-comer is building some nice consistency of late, and won 6-3 6-3 in an hour and 22 minutes. Her semi-finals appearance follows on from her quarter final at the Phillip Island Trophy, and semi-final at the Adelaide International, but critically turned the tables on Gauff who bundled her out in the first round of the Australian Open in straight sets.

Gauff was her usual self with some brilliance but inconsistency, serving at just 48.1 per cent, but also producing five aces and winning 80 per cent of her first serve points. Teichmann on the other hand was able to control the tempo with a 71.8 and 66.7 per cent success rate off her first and second serve points, also saving all break point opportunities for her American opponent, whilst capitalising on three of five when she had her chances.

Meanwhile Krejcikova is yet to win a title with a career-high ranking of 59 to soon be changed post-tournament, and the 25-year-old did it with a dominant 6-0 6-2 win over Potapova. The match lasted just 62 minutes as the Czech dominated from start to finish, being the more consistent of the two and only dropping the 16 points on serve, and only three points off her first serve. Potapova had four aces, but also seven double faults, and was broken six times as she struggled to win off her serve, finishing with a 46.4 and 29.2 per cent success rate off her first and second serve points, and only holding serve once in the match.

The seeded semi-final between Muguruza and Mertens is up first today, with Teichmann locking horns with Krejcikova in the match following that contest.

DUBAI TENNIS CHAMPIONSHIPS QUARTER FINALS RESULTS:

[9] Garbine Muguruza (ESP) defeated [3] Aryna Sabalenka (BLR) 3-6 6-3 6-2
[10] Elise Mertens (USA) defeated Jessica Pegula (USA) 5-7 7-5 6-0
Jil Teichmann (SUI) defeated [WC] Coco Gauff (USA) 6-3 6-3
Barbora Krejcikova (CZE) defeated [WC] Anastasia Potapova (RUS) 6-0 6-2

 

Picture credit: Getty Images

WTA Tour wrap: Pegula smashes Pliskova on her way to final eight

RED-HOT Jessica Pegula is knocking down the door of the Top 30 during the 2021 WTA Dubai Tennis Championships, and her form suggests it could be a lot higher given her dominant 6-0 6-2 demolition job on second seed Karolina Pliskova, her second victory in as many weeks over the Czech. In 2021, Pegula is 21-4 and has made two quarter finals and one semi-final in her past three tournaments including the WTA 1000 Dubai event.

Coming into Dubai. Pegula was already at a career-high 36th in the world, but after her 53-minute rout of world number six Pliskova, Pegula has the opportunity to roll into the seeded places at a Grand Slam, breaking her highly fancied opponent in six of Pliskova’s seven games, and only dropping 11 points on serve in an eye-opening upset victory. The win backed up her previous victories over fellow Top 10 player Elina Svitolina and Pliskova in Doha.

Pegula will be a first-time WTA 1000 quarter finalist alongside another couple of underdogs in Russian wildcard Anastasia Potapova and Czech doubles talent Barbora Krejcikova. Potapova ended the run of sixth seed Belinda Bencic in three sets, 6-1 2-6 7-5 in a topsy turvy match, leading the top half of the draw completely seedless. Krejcikova disposed of Russian Svetlana Kuznetsova in straight sets to enter her first WTA 1000 quarter final, and will battle Potapova for further history eyeing off a semi-final.

With Coco Gauff and Jil Teichmann facing one another in the other quarter final in the top half, one player will reach their first ever WTA Tour 1000 final. Gauff took care of Czech qualfier Tereza Martincova in straight sets, 6-4 6-2 to face Teichmann who overcame Tunisian Ons Jabeur in an eye-opening match, 6-3 6-3. Gauff turns 17 on Saturday – the Dubai Tennis Championships final – with the teenager the highly fancied one to reach the decider.

In other results, the seeds rolled through with victories, as 10th seed Elise Mertens took care of France’s Caroline Garcia 6-4 6-2 to set up a clash with Pegula in the quarter finals. Meanwhile third seed Aryna Sabalenka will meet ninth seed Garbine Muguruza in a battle of different styles, with the Belarusian power player knocking out 15th seed Estonian Anett Kontaveit, while the reliable Spanish all-court talent took down Roland Garros winner Iga Swiatek, 6-0 6-4 in a dominant performance.

Krejcikova and Potapova are up first on Centre Court with Mertens and Pegula facing off in the other day match. At night, Muguruza and Sabalenka open the prime time slot, finished off by rising talents Teichmann and Gauff. Both Krejcikova and Pegula have a busy schedule on quarter finals day, also taking part in the doubles quarter finals too.

DUBAI TENNIS CHAMPIONSHIPS ROUND OF 16 RESULTS:

Jessica Pegula (USA) defeated [2] Karolina Pliskova (CZE) 6-0 6-2
[3] Aryna Sabalenka (BLR) defeated [15] Anett Kontaveit (EST) 6-3 6-2
[WC] Anastasia Potapova (RSU) defeated [6] Belinda Bencic (SUI) 6-1 2-6 7-5
[9] Garbine Muguruza (ESP) defeated [8] Iga Swiatek (POL) 6-0 6-4
[10] Elise Mertens (BEL) defeated Caroline Garcia (FRA) 6-4 6-2
Jil Teichmann (SUI) defeated Ons Jabeur (TUN) 6-3 6-3
[WC] Coco Gauff (USA) defeated [Q] Tereza Martincova (CZE) 6-4 6-2
Barbora Krejcikova (CZE) defeated Svetlana Kuznetsova (RUS) 6-3 6-2

 

Picture credit: Jimmie48/WTA