FOUR of the eight quarter finalists at the events in Luxembourg and Potoroz have been decided as we take a quick glimpse at how the first two rounds of action panned out in the WTA Tour 250 events.
Over in Slovenia, it was a great day for the home nation, with young gun and future star Kaja Juvan grabbing an upset win over top seed Petra Martic. The 20-year-old who toppled Belinda Bencic at Wimbledon before Bencic went on to win Gold at Tokyo was at it again, triumphing in straight sets over Martic, 6-3 6-4. She is on a collision course with fifth seed and compatriot Tamara Zidansek for a potential quarter finals hitout. Juvan must first get past Serbian Aleksandra Krunic tomorrow, but Zidansek is already waiting for her in the final eight.
Zidansek had a walkover against Ukrainian Anhelina Kalinina, who was unable to take the court in the second round, though she had an impressive win over former Top 5 player Sara Errani 7-6 6-2, in the first round. Zidansek took care of Italian Cristiana Ferrando 6-1 6-1 in the first round, meaning she has only dropped two games prior to the final eight. In the one determined quarter final, Kristina Mladenovic will try and take down third seed Alison Riske. Both players had to knock off Next-Gen Slovenians in the first round, with Riske defeating Pia Lovric, and Mladenovic knocking off Nika Radisic.
The Frenchwoman had a tougher encounter against the 21-year-old world number 535, winning 4-6 6-1 6-2 after a slow start. She found her groove in the second round however, toppling the dangerous Ana Konjuh easily, 6-0 6-4. Eighth seed Donna Vekic found out first hand just how dangerous Konjuh could be despite winning the first set of their Round of 32 clash to love, with the Croatian storming to victory 0-6 6-3 6-2 before falling to Mladenovic in the second round.
In the bottom half of the draw, second seed Kazakhstan Yulia Putintseva will face Italian surprise packet Lucia Bronzetti in the quarter final. Putintseva defeated Jacqueline Cristian 6-4 6-4 in the first round, and got past Brit Katie Boulter 6-3 6-1 in the Round of 16 for her spot. Meanwhile Bronzetti upset seventh seed Rebecca Peterson in the Round of 32 6-3 6-3, before winning in a come-from-behind fashion against Bernarda Pera, 2-6 6-3 6-3.
In the other results, Jasmine Paolini outlasted a retiring Dayana Yastremska, with the sixth seed Ukranian bowing out as she was 7-6 4-1 down, with the Italian to now take on Russian Anna Kalinskaya. The Russian blitzed Montenegro’s Danka Kovinic 6-0 6-4 in the first round of action, with fourth seed Sorana Cirstea and Czech Tereza Martincova to lock horns in the other second round battle. Cirstea won 6-1 6-3 against Heather Watson, while Martincova knocked off Kristina Kucova, 6-4 6-1.
In Luxembourg, no quarter final is fully decided yet, with the Round of 16 matches half completed, but one in each prospective final eight clash. Up the top, seventh seed Russian Liudmila Samsonova has reached the quarter finals, defeating Japan’s Misaki Doi, and France’s Oceane Dodin to achieve the place in the final eight. She is yet to drop a set in the tournament, though needed two tiebreakers to topple Dodin. She will await the winner of top seed Belinda Bencic – yet to play after a first round bye – and Kazakh Zarina Diyas, with the latter holding off Slovakian Anna Karolina Schmiedlova in the opening round, 6-0 1-6 6-4.
The seeds are on track to face off in the other top half quarter final as well, with eighth seed Alize Cornet already through after wins over Russian Anastasia Potapova and sole Luxembourg representative Mandy Minella. Cornet only dropped six games in both matches, while Minella picked up only her second WTA Tour win of the year, both of which have come against Russian Next-Gen talent Varvara Gracheva. Third seed Jelena Ostapenko will be strong favourite in her Round of 16 clash, after the Latvian blitzed German Jule Niemeier 6-2 6-2 in the first round, and now will faced Netherlands’ Arianne Hartono who upset experienced German Anna-Lena Friedsam, 7-6 3-6 7-6.
Whilst the top half has gone to plan so far, it is not quite the same for the bottom half, with both seeds out of the third quarter of the draw. Young Danish talent Clara Tauson is through to the final eight after upsetting fourth seed Ekaterina Alexandrova in three sets, 6-4 3-6 7-6 to reach a quarter final. She also toppled Australian Astra Sharma in the first round in straight sets. She will meet either Marie Bouzkova or Greet Minnen in the quarter finals, following their respective three-set wins over Chinese sixth seed Zhang Shuai and Spain’s Nuria Parrizas Diaz in the first round.
Wrapping up the Luxembourg Open thus far, fifth seed Marketa Vondrousova found some form with back-to-back easy wins to reach a quarter final. The Czech defeated veteran Belgian Alison Van Uytvanck 6-2 6-3, and then knocked off Croatian Jana Fett, 6-2 6-4. A tough final eight match awaits with second seed Elise Mertens set to play her first match of the tournament after a bye in the second round. Mertens is the highest ranked remaining player in the draw, but she will not have it easy in the Round of 16, taking on Belarusian Aliaksandra Sasnovich.
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