THE grass court events have begun over the past week, with one victor already crowned at the first of two tournaments in Nottingham, as Johanna Konta claimed her fourth career title on home soil. With the first of the grass events out of the way for the first time since 2019, we now cast our eye to the WTA 500 bett1open Berlin tournament and the WTA 250 Viking Classic Birmingham, which follows up last week’s Viking Open.
The bett1open results were fairly comprehensive, with just the one seed competing and realistically the only player really challenged on Day 1. Jule Niemeier put up a tough effort against sixth seed Swiss talent Belinda Bencic, stealing away the first serve with a handy break, before Bencic bit back in the second to take it to one apiece. The decider was a hard contest with neither player willing to give an inch, however Bencic’s impressive service game got the job done, winning 90.5 per cent of her first serve points off a 65.6 per cent clip to turn the tides and claim the eventual 4-6 6-4 7-5 result in two hours and 12 minutes.
Overall, both players were influential on serve, but while Niemeier hit 12 aces to Bencic’s 10, she also had elevated double faults (11-7) which were ultimately in her way of a victory.
“She’s a great opponent,” Bencic said post-match. “I knew she was capable of great tennis, and she’s playing her best tennis right now, so I was expecting a tough match.”
World number 28 Madison Keys also got her grass season off to a quick start, disposing of Pole Magdalena Frech in straight sets, requiring just 75 minutes to claim the 6-3 6-4 encounter. Despite holding a 5-2 lead on serve in the second, Frech surged to break the American and claim back a couple of games, before Keys reeled off four straight points to love to claim the match.
“I think [Frech] played a couple of good points in my [second-to-last] service game, and she came out and had another good service game on her side,” Keys said “I was happy I made it a little less complicated in the last game.”
In the remaining two matches, Alize Cornet and Ekaterina Alexandrova both won in straight sets, with the latter claiming the quickest result of the day requiring just 63 minutes to down wildcard compatriot, Anna Kalinskaya.
At Birmingham, the two seeds looked confident as Donna Vekic downed Francesca Jones in just 67 minutes, 6-1 6-3, while Marie Bouzkova had a shaky start but was hard to deny in the remainder of her clash with Hsieh Su-Wei, claiming the 3-6 6-1 6-2 clash in two hours and one minute.
Camila Giorgi and Tereza Martincova both swept their opposition withe the former disposing of compatriot Giulia Gatto-Monticone in just 67 minutes, as Martincova well and truly shook Australian Sam Stosur, who failed to really fire in their 6-3 6-4 clash. Viktorija Golubic stole the first set away from Heather Watson before the Brit competed hard in the remaining sets on home soil to claim victory in two hours flat, while Caroline Garcia required just under two and a half hours to clean up another Brit in Harriet Dart, eventually claiming the 7-5 4-6 6-4 result. The final match of the day saw Coco Vandeweghe tested by Kristyna Pliskova, with both players forced to fight hard for the second set tiebreaker which saw Vandeweghe gain the upper hand and claim the 6-4 7-6 clash in 81 minutes.
BETT1OPEN BERLIN ROUND OF 32 RESULTS:
 Belinda Bencic (SUI) defeated Jule Niemeier (GER) 4-6 6-4 7-6
Madison Keys (USA) defeated Magdalena Frech (POL) 6-3 6-4
Alize Cornet (FRA) defeated Amanda Anisimova (USA) 6-3 6-1
Ekaterina Alexandrova (RUS) defeated Anna Kalinskaya (RUS) 6-3 6-2
VIKING CLASSIC BIRMINGHAM ROUND OF 32 RESULTS:
 Donna Vekic (CRO) defeated Francesca Jones (GBR) 6-1 6-3
 Marie Bouzkova (CZE) defeated Hsieh Su-wei (TPE) 3-6 6-1 6-2
Camila Giorgi (ITA) defeated Giulia Gatto-Monticone (ITA) 6-3 6-0
Tereza Martincova (CZE) defeated Sam Stosur (AUS) 6-3 6-4
Heather Watson (GBR) defeated Viktorija Golubic (SUI) 3-6 6-2 6-2
Coco Vandeweghe (USA) defeated Kristyna Pliskova (CZE) 6-4 7-6
Caroline Garcia (FRA) defeated Harriet Dart (GBR) 7-5 4-6 6-4
Picture credit: WTA/Jimmie48