Tag: caroline garcia

2021 WTA Tour Qatar & Lyon previews

DESPITE losing four Grand Slam winners to-date, the 2021 WTA Tour Qatar Ladies Open still looms as a quality event to take place next week. Top five players, Ash Barty, Simona Halep and Sofia Kenin, as well as US Open winner Bianca Andreescu and Roland Garros runner-up Marketa Vondrosova all withdrew from the 500 tournament, but four Top 10 players still remain.

Elina Svitolina has been upgraded to the top seed with the world number five taking advantage of Australian Open champion Naomi Osaka also not attending the event, while Karolina Pliskova, Aryna Sabalenka and Petra Kvitova round out the top four seeds. Both Pliskova and Kvitova have been in a funk of late, and need to find a way to get back into form. Sabalenka, on the other hand has had nothing but scintillating form, going on a massive winning streak that included a couple of titles late last year, and will look to pick up that again after again falling short of the target at the Australian Open.

Kiki Bertens returns to the Tour at Doha as the fifth seed, while Belinda Bencic has hit her straps in Adelaide and will look to face a host of reinvigorated talents of late. Jennifer Brady is fresh off an Australian Open final to head into the event, while Victoria Azarenka made a Grand Slam final just last year, has rekindled her career-best form and is back inside the Top 20.

The lower end of the draw is still yet to be determined, but the likes of Jelena Ostapenko, Ons Jabeur, Amanda Anisimova and Yulia Putintseva are all expected to take to the court in the 2021 event. Sabalenka is the reigning champion, but Kvitova (2018) and Pliskova (2017) are both past winners here in Doha. Azarenka is a back-to-back winner, having lifted the trophy in 2012-13.

 

Lyon Open:

A second-time event after last year’s debut, the Lyon Open does not quite have the prestige of the Qatar Ladies Open, with world number 33, Ekaterina Alexandrova the top seed. She loves to beat up on lower ranked tournaments and should really get the job done here against a weakened and predominantly European field in France. Though in saying that, there are some good talents here that will push her all the way.

The top two that jump off the page are Argentinian Nadia Podoroska who reached the semi-final at Roland Garros, while rising American teenager Coco Gauff will cause headaches. French trio, Fiona Ferro, Caroline Garcia and Kristina Mladenovic are also among the Top 50 players at the event, as is Slovenian Polona Hercog.

Lower down the order, United States’ Shelby Rogers, Romanian Sorana Cirstea, Italian Camila Giorgi and Belarusian Aliaksandra Sasnovich are all among the bigger dark horses that could surpass their lower rankings against Top 50 opponents in France.

2021 Adelaide International: Qualifiers share spotlight as main draw takes the court

DAY 2 of the Adelaide International qualifying round saw the WTA 500 tournament’s main draw begin, with plenty of hotly contested matches on centre court during the first day of the official competition, as Anastasija Sevastova, Wang QiangShelby Rogers and Danielle Collins headed into the Round of 16 with relative ease.

Sevastova was the first to win through to the Round of 16, defeating Caroline Garcia in 81 minutes 6-2 6-4. It was a solid first serve efficiency that saw the Latvian take out the victory, winning 65 per cent of first serve points off a 72.7 per cent clip, controlling the match despite the Frenchwoman fighting back in the second. A game-for-game first set between eighth seed Wang and wildcard Olivia Gadecki – who sits barely within the top 400 at 399th in the world – drew plenty of eyes as the Australian challenged Wang, before the Chinese talent ran away with the second set and eventual victory with her ability to win off her first serve paying dividends with an effectiveness of close to 88 per cent.

On the first and second show courts, it was the underdogs that showcased their form as the likes of Storm Sanders and Liudmila Samsonova reigned supreme and headed into the main draw. Sanders had an excellent outing against American Caty McNally, downing the ninth seed in 75 minute 6-2 6-3. Whilst not as huge a scalp as Sanders’ victory – ranking 292nd in the world to McNally’s 118th – 10th seed and 117th ranked Samsonova got the chocolates over Japanese fifth seed and world number 86 Misaki Doi, 7-6 6-3. Meanwhile, an excellent showing from Latvian Kaja Juvan saw the 20-year-old speed away to an early lead, before 16-year-old top seed Coco Gauff clapped back midway through the second to force a deciding set after a huge come from behind effort, eventually winning 3-6 7-5 6-3 in two hours and 10 minutes.

A mammoth effort from Maddison Inglis saw the Australian join the winners list with an excellent outing against third seed Christina McHale. Whilst the American seemed to have all proceedings going her way early, a stellar comeback across the second and third sets handed Inglis her entry into the main draw and a chance at her maiden WTA Tour win. With a 65.6 per cent win rate on her first serve off a 78 per cent clip, Inglis was far more effective on serve and utilised her service speed to knock off the world number 85, 4-6 6-2 6-1 in just under two hours.

The remaining two Round of 32 encounters saw a fired-up Rogers fly through the first set against Veronika Kudermetova, before the Russian bit back in the second to force a tiebreaker but unable to rein in the American, as Rogers’ compatriot Collins downed Zheng Saisai and Madison Brengle won through to the main draw alongside Italian Jasmine Paolini.

2021 Adelaide International WTA preview: Barty Party not over down under

THOSE Australians wanting more Ash Barty will get what they wished for after the world number one made a surprise late charge at the 2021 Adelaide International WTA 500 event. The tournament was initially featuring a stacked field, but with many of them reaching deep into the Australian Open, withdrawals had left the tournament without a Top 10 player. Then came Barty.

The Australian reached the quarter finals of her home Grand Slam during the week, and has opted to play another tournament Down Under having missed out on so much tennis in the past 12 months. Unsurprisingly, the tournament committee was more than happy to hand her a wildcard alongside fellow Australians Olivia Gadecki – coming off a stunning win over Grand Slam winner Sofia KeninSam Stosur and Ajla Tomljanovic.

The field for the Adelaide International is not the strongest one, but still features some great young talent alongside some players really hoping to build better form in 2021. Roland Garros reigning champion Iga Swiatek could loom as one of the main threat’s to Barty’s crown, with the 17th ranked Pole coming in as the fifth seed. Fellow young gun, Yulia Putintseva is seventh seed and one of seven Top 30 competitors at the event.

Elise Mertens is the one to watch, with the tricky Belgian flying under the radar at times, but has the capacity to push for a Top 10 spot, currently ranked 16th and coming in as the fourth seed. Belinda Bencic and Johanna Konta round out the top four players at the event, with both the Swiss up-and-comer and British talent looking to have better outings than their third and first round exits at Melbourne Park. Sixth seed Petra Martic is in the same boat, exiting the first Grand Slam of the year in the Round of 128 and now the world number 19 is hoping to impress here.

The withdrawals from the tournament include Australian Open runner-up Jennifer Brady, and young guns Bianca Andreescu, Elena Rybakina, Dayana Yastremska and Marketa Vondrousova. Instead a number of Chinese and French hopes have come into the tournament, with Zhang Shuai, Zheng Saisai and Wang Qiang joining eighth seed Qiang Wang in the draw, as well as Caroline Garcia and Kristina Mladenovic. American duo Danielle Collins and Shelby Rogers are also among the inclusions following the withdrawals.

While the Australian Open did not go to plan for the world number one, the Barty Party is predicted to roll on in Adelaide, with the Australian star a winner her 12 months ago and is clearly the best player in the draw. Mertens and Swiatek are the biggest threats to her crown based on their form, while one of the other seeds could finally click into gear in 2021 and cause some headaches.

Picture credit: Getty Images

Australian Open Women’s Round of 128 wrap: Barty dominates as Sherif first Egyptian woman to make it to grand slam second round

A flurry of exciting players joined the Australian Open fray on Day 2 of proceedings at Melbourne Park, with world number one Ash Barty making her Open return in smashing fashion, while the likes of Sofia KeninElina Svitolina and Karolina Pliskova all came out flying as the top seeds of the day. In a highly competitive day of action – with nine matches going to three sets and four of those hitting the two-hour and 30-minute mark – just a couple of seeded competitors fell, with 12th seed Victoria Azarenka leading the pack after an excellent outing from American Jessica Pegula, while Johanna Konta retired from her 6-4 0-2 encounter with Slovenian Kaja JuvanPetra Martic struggled to maintain composure after Serbian qualifier Olga Danilovic took out the first set tiebreaker, eventually going down 7-5 3-6 6-4, while Maria Sakkari was error-ridden in defeat, and 31st seed Zhang Saisai was exposed by American Ann Li who hit 22 winners to Zhang’s two to come away with a 6-2 6-0 victory in 47 minutes.

But while a 47-minute victory was one thing, Barty’s 6-0 6-0 utter domination of Danka Kovinic was another, with the Australian disposing of the world number 82 in just 44 minutes. Collecting 10 winners for five unforced error’s compared to Kovinic’s three and 28, Barty dismantled her opposition on home soil and proved far too good for the Montenegrin, who spent 20,120 minutes in hotel quarantine in Melbourne for a devastating 44 minutes of play. Barty is joined by a couple of compatriots in the second round, as Daria Gavrilova and Sam Stosur were both successful on their opening day. World number 387 Gavrilova stunned 64th ranked Spaniard Sara Sorribes Tormo on return with a 6-1 first set setting up a straight sets 6-1 7-5 victory, while Stosur downed compatriot Destanee Aiava 6-4 6-4. Kenin’s outing against fellow Australian Maddison Inglis may not have been quite as dominant, but she still came away with a classy 7-5 6-4 victory over the Australian who is still yet to win an match on the WTA Tour, while a duo of green and gold wildcards in Astra Sharma and Arina Rodionova will join Inglis and Aiava on the sidelines.

Mayar Sherif became the first Egyptian woman to make it past the first round at a Grand Slam with her 7-5 7-5 victory over Frenchwoman Chloe Paquet, joined by Danilovic and Liudmila Samsonova as the only qualifiers to make it through the day, while young gun Coco Gauff continued her running grand slam form with a 6-3 6-2 sweep of Jil Teichmann to head into yet another second round at a major tournament. Powerhouses Pliskova and Svitolina may have had supremely different playing times – 47 minutes and two hours, respectively – but both also head into the second round, after disposing of Jasmine Paolini and Marie Bouzkova, while the seeded duo is joined in the second round by a flurry of top talent as 2020 Australian Open runner up Garbine MuguruzaBelinda BencicElise Mertens and Anett Kontaveit all came away with excellent wins, as did Jennifer Brady, Karolina MuchovaYulia PutintsevaDonna Vekic and Ekaterina Alexandrova with all bar five seeds making it out alive on Day 2 of the Open.

The second round of action begins at Melbourne Park today, with the day session headlined by the likes of Serena Williams and Bianca Andreescu, while the night session will see Naomi Osaka and Simona Halep take the court against unseeded opposition in Caroline Garcia and Ajla TomljanovicVenus Williams will look to continue her run when she takes on Italian qualifier Sara Errani, while Iga Swiatek will take on Errani’s higher ranked compatriot Camila Giorgi.

AUSTRALIAN OPEN WOMEN’S ROUND OF 128 RESULTS:

[1] Ash Barty (AUS) defeated Danka Kovinic (MON) 6-0 6-0
[4] Sofia Kenin (USA) defeated [WC] Maddison Inglis (AUS) 7-5 6-4
[5] Elina Svitolina (UKR) defeated Marie Bouzkova (CZE) 6-3 7-6
[6] Karolina Pliskova (CZE) defeated Jasmine Paolini (ITA) 6-0 6-2
[11] Belinda Bencic (SUI) defeated Lauren Davis (USA) 6-3 4-6 6-1
Jessica Pegula (USA) defeated [12] Victoria Azarenka (BLR) 7-5 6-4
Kaja Juvan (SLO) defeated [13] Johanna Konta (GBR) 4-6 2-0 RET
[14] Garbine Muguruza (ESP) defeated [LL] Margarita Gasparyan (RUS) 6-4 6-0
[Q] Olga Danilovic (SRB) defeated [16] Petra Martic (CRO) 7-5 3-6 6-4
[18] Elise Mertens (BEL) defeated Leylah Fernandez (CAN) 6-1 6-3
Kristina Mladenovic (FRA) defeated [20] Maria Sakkari (GRE) 6-2 0-6 6-3
[21] Anett Kontaveit (EST) defeated Aliaksandra Sasnovich (BLR) 7-5 6-2
[22] Jennifer Brady (USA) defeated Aliona Bolsova (ESP) 6-1 6-3
[25] Karolina Muchova (CZE) defeated Jelena Ostapenko (LAT) 7-5 6-2
[26] Yulia Putintseva (KAZ) defeated Sloane Stephens (USA) 4-6 6-2 6-3
[28] Donna Vekic (CRO) defeated Wang Yifan (CHN) 4-6 6-3 6-4
[29] Ekaterina Alexandrova (RUS) defeated Martina Trevisan (ITA) 6-3 6-4
Ann Li (USA) defeated [31] Zhang Saisai (CHN) 6-2 6-0
Coco Gauff (USA) defeated Jil Teichmann (SUI) 6-3 6-2
[WC] Daria Gavrilova (AUS) defeated Sara Sorribes Tormo (ESP) 6-1 7-5
Danielle Collins (USA) defeated Ana Bogdan (ROU) 6-3 6-1
Nao Hibino (JPN) defeated [WC] Astra Sharma (AUS) 2-6 6-3 7-5
Madison Brengle (USA) defeated [WC] Arina Rodionova (AUS) 6-1 6-2
Kaia Kanepi (EST) defeated Anastasija Sevastova (EST) 6-3 6-1
Heather Watson (GBR) defeated Kristyna Pliskova (CZE) 7-6 7-6
[Q] Liudmila Samsonova (RUS) defeated Paula Badosa (ESP) 6-7 7-6 7-5
Nadia Podoroska (ARG) defeated Christina McHale (USA) 6-4 6-4
Svetlana Kuznetsova (RUS) defeated Barbora Strycova (CZE) 6-2 6-2
Zhu Lin (CHN) defeated [Q] Whitney Osuigwe (USA) 6-1 6-1
[WC] Sam Stosur (AUS) defeated [WC] Destanee Aiava (AUS) 6-4 6-4
[Q] Mayar Sherif (EGY) defeated [Q] Chloe Paquet (FRA) 7-5 7-5
Alison Van Uytvanck (BEL) defeated [Q] Clara Burel (FRA) 4-6 6-3 6-4
Shelby Rogers (USA) defeated [Q] Francesca Jones (GBR) 6-4 6-1
Mona Barthel (GER) defeated [Q] Elisabetta Cocciaretto (ITA) 3-6 6-4 6-4

WTA 500 wraps: Ash Barty returns to the court as 2020 Grand Slam champions make their mark

ANOTHER huge day at the two WTA 500 tournaments was had as the Round of 32 continued in the lead up to the Australian Open next week. Ash Barty made a triumphant return to the court at the Yarra Vally Classic for the first time since early 2020, while a number of seeds fell at the Gippsland Trophy in a less predictable day on the track.

At the Yarra Valley Classic, Barty led the charge as the top seed and did not disappoint with her 6-3 6-3 sweep of Romanian Ana Bogdan. She will be joined in the Round of 16 with all six other seeds from the day after a successful showing from the top talent on the park, with 2020 Australian Open winner Sofia Kenin ultimately having the easiest outing of the day with a one-set victory after Italian Camila Giorgi retired. The second seed American’s Australian Open runner up Garbine Muguruza came away with a classy 6-2 6-0 victory over Belgian Alison van Uytvanck, while Kenin’s compatriot Jessica Pegula joined the Round of 16 after disposing of German Mona Barthel. Meanwhile, Argentinian Nadia Podoroska was also successful downing Greet Minnen.

A couple of Czech Republic and Russian representatives were also successful, seeing Czech seeds Petra Kvitova (fourth) and Marie Bouzkova (16th) dispose of Venus Williams and Aliona Bolsova respectively, while Russians Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (11th seed) and Vera Zvonareva also reigned supreme, albeit in less tighter matches than the Czech duo, who were both taken to two hours before shaking their respective opposition.

YARRA VALLEY CLASSIC ROUND OF 32 RESULTS:

[1] Ash Barty (AUS) defeated Ana Bogdan (ROM) 6-3 6-3
[2] Sofia Kenin (USA) defeated Camila Giorgi (ITA) 7-5 RET
[4] Petra Kvitova (CZE) defeated Venus Williams (USA) 7-6 7-5
[6] Garbine Muguruza (ESP) defeated Alison Van Uytvanck (BEL) 6-2 6-0
[11] Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (RUS) defeated Anastasija Sevastova (LAT) 6-0 6-3
[14] Nadia Podoroska (ARG) defeated Greet Minnen (BEL) 6-3 6-4
[16] Marie Bouzkova (CZE) defeated Aliona Bolsova (ESP) 6-3 6-7 6-2
Vera Zvonareva (RUS) defeated Caroline Dolehide (USA) 6-2 6-4
Jessica Pegula (USA) defeated Mona Barthel (GER) 6-4 7-5

At the Gippsland Trophy, results were far less predictable with the big loss of the day coming from fourth seed Belarusian Aryna Sabalenka, who was upset by 94th ranked Estonian Kaia Kanepi in a blistering 6-1 2-6 6-1 outing. Elsewhere, a couple of 2020 Grand Slam title-holders continued their excellent runs as Iga Swiatek and Naomi Osaka got their 2021 seasons on track straight away. Roland Garros champion Swiatek had a sloppy first set, before regaining confidence and the upper hand over Slovenian Kaja Juvan to come out victorious, 2-6 6-2 6-1 in one hour and 45 minutes. US Open victor Osaka completed her 6-2 6-2 sweep of Frenchwoman Alize Cornet in just 71 minutes, collecting her 12th straight win and her first since the US Open final last September.

Sabalenka was not the only seed to fall during the Round of 32, with young gun Coco Gauff going down to 24-year-old Brit Katie Boulter, who stands a whopping 323 ranks behind the 16-year-old American prodigy. Polona Hercog also fell to a lower ranked opposition in Russian Daria Kasatkina, while turning to successful seeds, and it was go, go, go for the likes of fifth seed Johanna Konta and 16th seed Laura Siegmund who came away with two of the quickest victories of the day over Bernarda Pera and Destanee Aiava, respectively. In other games, Carolina Garcia downed Timea Babos and Irina-Camelia Begu outlasted a hungry Aliaksandra Sasnovich in the only match of the day that went more than two hours, coming away with the 5-7 6-4 6-4 victory in two hours and 35 minutes.

GIPPSLAND TROPHY ROUND OF 32 RESULTS:

[2] Naomi Osaka (JPN) defeated Alize Cornet (FRA) 6-2 6-2
Kaia Kanepi (EST) defeated [4] Aryna Sabalenka (BLR) 6-1 2-6 6-1
[5] Johanna Konta (GBR) defeated Bernarda Pera (USA) 6-2 6-3
[6] Iga Swiatek (POL) defeated Kaja Juvan (SLO) 2-6 6-2 6-1
[12] Caroline Garcia (FRA) defeated Timea Babos (HUN) 6-4 6-4
Katie Boulter (GBR) defeated [14] Coco Gauff (USA) 3-6 7-5 6-2
Daria Kasatkina (RUS) defeated [15] Polona Hercog (SLO) 6-4 6-3
[16] Laura Siegemund (GER) defeated Destanee Aiava (AUS) 6-2 6-2
Irina-Camelia Begu (ROM) defeated Aliaksandra Sasnovich (BLR) 5-7 6-4 6-4

WTA 500 wraps: Seeds stumble in Yarra Valley Classic as Australians fall across the board

ON the opening day of the WTA Tour’s Summer Series in Australia, all bar one of the host nation’s players fell, while a couple of French seeds bowed out in the first round at the Yarra Valley Classic.

Kicking off the 2021 Summer Series in the Yarra Valley Classic, a couple of Americans in Shelby Rogers and Jessica Pegula both made life difficult for their French opponent’s Australian Open preparations. Rogers defeated 12th seed Fiona Ferro 6-2 7-5, while Pegula was too good for 15th seed Kristina Mladenovic 6-4 6-1. Only one of the three seeds on day one secured a spot in the second round, as 16th seed Czech Marie Bouzkova smashed local hope Sam Stosur, 6-2 6-0.

It was one of a number of Australians who fell across the day’s play with Kimberley Birrell, Lizette Cabrera and Maddison Inglis all losing out in first round encounters. Birrell and Inglis fell in straight sets to German Mona Barthel and Swede Rebecca Peterson respectively, whilst Cabrera pushed Russian Varvara Gracheva, but went down in three sets, 2-6 6-4 6-2. Other one-sided contests included Australia’s sole winner on day one, Daria Gavrilova, having a 6-2 6-0 smashing of Slovakian Viktoria Kuzmova.

In other results, Ana Bogdan took care of Russian Kamila Rakhimova, Grand Slam winner Venus Williams proved too good for Dutchwoman Arantxa Rus, fellow veteran Tsvetana Pironkova won over Liudmila Samsonova, and Anastasia Sevastova defeated American Madison Brengle in straight sets. In only one of two three-set matches, Italian Elisabetta Cocciaretto came back from the brink after losing the first set 6-0 to China’s Lin Zhu, to win the second set, but then find herself down in the third, but bounced back to win 0-6 6-3 7-5 and advanced through to the Round of 32.

YARRA VALLEY CLASSIC ROUND OF 64 RESULTS:

Shelby Rogers (USA) defeated [12] Fiona Ferro (FRA) 6-2 7-5
Jessica Pegula (USA) defeated [15] Kristina Mladenovic (FRA) 6-4 6-1
[16] Marie Bouzkova (CZE) defeated Sam Stosur (AUS) 6-2 6-0
Tsvetana Pironkova (BUL) defeated Liudmila Samsonova (RUS) 6-2 6-1
Venus Williams (USA) defeated Arantxa Rus (NED) 6-1 6-3
Mona Barthel (GER) defeated Kimberley Birrell (AUS) 7-5 6-3
Daria Gavrilova (AUS) defeated Viktoria Kuzmova (SVK) 6-2 6-0
Varvara Gracheva (RUS) defeated Lizette Cabrera (AUS) 2-6 6-4 6-2
Rebecca Peterson (SWE) defeated Maddison Inglis (AUS) 6-2 6-1
Ana Bogdan (ROU) defeated Kamilla Rakhimova (RUS) 6-2 6-2
Anastasia Sevastova (LAT) defeated Madison Brengle (USA) 6-4 6-2
Elisabetta Cocciaretto (ITA) defeated Lin Zhu (CHN) 0-6 6-3 7-5

In the Gippsland Trophy which was also held in Melbourne Park, three of the four seeds got up to win their first round matches, but it was more disappointment for the home nation across the board, with the three Australians out on court losing their Round of 64 encounters.

Seeds, Jelena Ostapenko and Polona Hercog both recorded three-set wins over their respective opponents after slow starts, as the 13th seed Latvian toppled former Top 5 player Sara Errani 4-6 6-3 6-1, while Hercog knocked off Russian Margarita Gasparyan 2-6 6-3 6-3. Caroline Garcia became the only Frenchwoman to win across either tournament when she knocked off Australia’s Arina Rodionova 6-3 6-4, whilst Rodionova’s compatriots, Olivia Gadecki and Astra Sharma both went down in three-set losses.

Gadecki was brave against Bernarda Pera before losing 6-7 6-3 6-3 in a tight contest, while Sharma stunned Estonian Kaia Kanepi in the first set 6-1, before ultimately being overrun 1-6 7-5 6-2. In another three-set match, Irina-Camelia Begu came from behind to knock off China’s Saisai Zheng. The 11th seed won the first set 6-3, but Begu managed to get it back on her terms and hold off her Chinese opponent to win 3-6 7-5 6-4 in and impressive victory.

Other three-set winners included Slovenian Kava Juvan who knocked off China’s Yafan Wang, 4-6 6-1 6-4, while German Andrea Petkovic got over Italian Martina Trevisan, 6-1 3-6 7-5. Over to the straight set winners and Hungarian Timea Babos defeated Romania’s Patricia Tig, Anna Schmiedlova toppled Valeria Savinykh 6-1 6-3, Jasmine Paolini won a hard-fought tussle over Canada’s Rebecca Marino 7-6 6-3, while Daria Kasatkina and Danka Kovinic won comfortably against Mihaela Buzarnescu and Tamara Zidansek respectively.

GIPPSLAND TROPHY ROUND OF 64 RESULTS:

Irina-Camelia Begu (ROU) defeated [11] Saisai Zheng (CHN) 3-6 7-5 6-4
[12] Caroline Garcia (FRA) defeated Arina Rodionova (AUS) 6-3 6-4
[13] Jelena Ostapenko (LAT) defeated Sara Errani (ITA) 4-6 6-3 6-1
[15] Polona Hercog (SLO) defeated Margarita Gasparyan (RUS) 2-6 6-3 6-3
Kaja Juvan (SLO) defeated Yafan Wang (CHN) 4-6 6-1 6-4
Timea Babos (HUN) defeated Patricia Tig (ROU) 7-6 6-3
Andrea Petkovic (GER) defeated Martina Trevisan (ITA) 6-1 3-6 7-5
Anna Schmiedlova (SVK) defeated Valeria Savinykh (RUS) 6-1 6-3
Bernarda Pera (USA) defeated Olivia Gadecki (AUS) 6-7 6-3 6-3
Kaia Kanepi (EST) defeated Astra Sharma (AUS) 1-6 7-5 6-2
Jasmine Paolini (ITA) defeated Rebecca Marino (CAN) 7-6 6-3
Daria Kasatkina (RUS) defeated Mihaela Buzarnescu (ROU) 6-1 6-1
Danka Kovinic (MCE) defeated Tamara Zidansek (SLO) 6-3 6-3

Picture credit: Getty Images

Carnage in Austria while Bouchard stuns top seed

JETLAG certainly became a topic of conversation in both Austria and Turkey as key players dropped matches in uncharacteristic fashion, backing up for their Round of 16 matches today.

FOGNINI BELTED AS SCHWARTZMAN SOLE SEED THROUGH IN AUSTRIA

Returning to the circuit after opting to miss the US Open, world number 12 Fabio Fognini had a match he would rather forget in Kitzbuhel, copping an absolute shellacking from 303rd ranked Marc-Andrea Huesler in the Round of 16. The Italian was fresh off a seven-month break after not taking to the court since Dubai in February, but he was miles from his best, suffering a 6-1 6-2 defeat at the hands of the Swiss qualifier. In fairness to the firebrand, he had surgery on his ankles back in May, but if he is to challenge at Roland Garros will need to pick up real quick.

Fognini was far from the only seed to fall on a day of upsets, with third seed Dusan Lajovic, fourth seed Nikoloz Basilashvili, fifth seed Hubert Hurkacz and seventh seed Guido Pella all going down. All four players travelled to the US Open and might be suffering some form of jetlag, but it was great work by their opponents to open up the draw. German qualifier, Yannick Hanfmann knocked off Lajovic in a come-from-behind win, 4-6 6-3 6-4 to take on fellow German qualifier, Maximilian Marterer in the quarter finals. Marterer took care of Hurkacz in straight sets, 6-1 6-4 in a huge upset.

Meanwhile Feliciano Lopez will get a crack at Huesler in the last eight, defeating seventh seed Pella in three tight sets, 7-5 6-7 7-6 to book his spot in the next round. The final upset was Federico Delbonis who took out Basilashvili in straight sets, 7-5 6-3. Meanwhile Miomir Kecmanovic had no troubles against an in-form Jordan Thompson to win 6-2 6-2 and move through to the last eight, whilst Laslo Djere also booked safe passage with a 6-4 6-4 victory over Jannik Sinner.

In the only predictable result of the day, second seed Diego Schwartzman became the only seeded player to advance into the quarter finals. The world number 13 had to overcome a real right from Austrian wildcard Sebastian Ofner, winning 6-2 2-6 7-5 in two hours and 16 minutes. Neither player was particularly clinical, with Schwartzman being more consistent, winning 71 per cent of his first serve points, and breaking five times to four on his way to winning three more points than the 159th ranked Ofner.

“It was difficult for both of us, too many mistakes in the first set,” Schwartzman said post-match. “But I got lucky at the end and I’ve very happy to be in the next round. “I’m trying to get my confidence back after a difficult US swing.”

BOUCHARD STUNS TOP SEED KUZNETSOVA TO KEEP FORM ROLLING

Canadian qualifier Eugenie Bouchard continues to make the right strides towards getting back to her best, after the former top five player knocked off top seed, Svetlana Kuznetsova at the BNP Paribas Tennis Championships. Ranked just inside the top 300, Bouchard took a couple of tiebreakers before she could get some freedom, winning 7-6 6-7 6-2 in two hours and 50 minutes.

Bouchard served at a 69.3 per cent efficiency, winning 67.1 per cent of her first serve points, and 61.3 per cent of her second serve points. She broke five times to three to be the difference, and was more consistent than Kuznetsova, who was playing her first tournament since the break due to Russia’s strict COVID-19 regulations. Bouchard had three match points in the second set and led by 4-1 at one stage, then had to overcome the pressure of potentially choking from a winning position to settle and take out the win.

“That was extremely tough mentally,” Bouchard said post-match. “I honestly just tried to not think about [losing a lead] at all, to block it from my mind – because if I did think about it I would be frustrated and angry, and that wasn’t going to help me. “I literally tried to have amnesia and forget about it.”

The number one seed was joined on the sidelines by fourth seed Caroline Garcia whose great form of late came to an end at the hands of Tereza Martincova. The Czech qualifier needed just 69 minutes to knocked off the US Open third round competitor, 6-1 6-4. It showed that Garcia could do with a break after the long trip back to Europe.

Meanwhile Macedonian hope Danka Kovinic moved through to face Bouchard in the quarter finals after defeating sixth seed Alison Van Uytvanck. Kovinic won 6-3 6-4 in 90 minutes of matchplay to book her spot in the final eight, as did Romanian Patricia Maria Tig who destroyed eighth seed Misaki Doi 6-2 6-0 in just 64 minutes. In the other seeded matches, Rebecca Peterson won after just five games following opponent Margarita Gasparyan‘s retirement at 2-3, while third seed Polona Hercog also made it into the quarter finals after defeating Jasmine Paolini 7-5 6-4.

In other results, Aliaksandra Sasnovich needed three sets, but overcame Anna Karolina Schmiedlova 6-7 6-4 6-3 to take on Martincova in the quarter finals, while Paula Badosa won the battle of the Spaniards, defeating Sara Sorribes Tormo 6-1 6-4 to now lock horns with Hercog.

Picture: Gokhan Taner

Osaka survives Kostyuk scare to book fourth round berth

FOURTH seed Naomi Osaka is through to the Round of 16 at the US Open after knocking off teenage Ukrainian, Marta Kosyuk in three sets. The match lasted two hours and 33 minutes before Osaka could safely advance through to the fourth round. The 18-year-old Ukrainian won a second set tiebreaker and forced Osaka onto the back foot at times, drawing praise from the Japanese star post-match.

“I’m kind of scared of (how) good she’s going to be in the future,” Osaka said. “My biggest takeaway from her game is that she didn’t back down from me or from the speed of my ball, which for someone that young is kind of amazing… The first set went [my] way, and then she could have faded in the second set. Of course in the third set towards the end I feel like physically I was better, and I was, of course, more experienced. “But, yeah, I feel like she’s definitely going to be dangerous.”

Kostyuk actually outhit Osaka in a surprising result, slamming home 36 winners to Osaka’s 30, but also had 13 more unforced errors (51-38). Osaka’s ability to dominate off her first serve, with a 82 per cent record, as well as a 51 per cent efficient off her second serve was quite impressive. Additionally, Osaka broke five times from 21 chances, while Kostyuk only had the one from eight chances.

“I was very displeased with how I was performing towards the end of the second set,” Osaka said. “The thing that made me most displeased was probably the decisions that I was making and the fact that I started becoming way too passive and hoping that she would make an unforced error. “For me, I felt everything was going really well for her during the tiebreak. And I remember she came to the net, and I hit it as hard as I could towards her, and she made it, and for me I was just, like, whoa, this is unbelievable.”

Osaka now takes on 14th seed Anett Kontaveit in the Round of 16. The Estonian defeated Poland’s Magda Linette in straight sets 6-3 6-2 in a convincing victory. Also through to the Round of 16 was eighth seed Petra Martic who defeated Varvara Gracheva 6-3 6-3. Gracheva showed her damaging ability with a come-from-behind Round 2 win over Kristina Mladenovic from 6-1 5-1 down, only to come back and win, 1-6 7-6 6-0. But it was Martic who got on top and made sure she kept on top of the counterpuncher.

“I played her a couple of weeks ago and I knew it was going to be a tough match,” Martic said post-match. “She likes to grind, she’s really quick and she’s a great counterpuncher. “I definitely had to work today and I’m pleased I got the win in straight sets. “I managed to change up the rhythm well. “When she plays at the same rhythm she doesn’t make many mistakes and I was getting pulled into that game. “My serve always helps, this court is a bit slower so my kick works well and I think that was key.”

The Croatian will take on Kazkahstan young gun, Yulia Putintseva who won through in a tight three sets over Belarusian Aliaksandra Sasnovich, 3-6 6-2 6-1. In that top quarter of the draw, unseeded American Jennifer Brady continued her dream month win a win over Caroline Garcia, 6-3 6-3 to now face Grand Slam winner Angelique Kerber 6-3 6-4 in the quarter finals. Kerber was able to defeat talented American Ann Li 6-3 6-4 to move through to yet another major quarter final.

In the final two matches of the day, Shelby Rogers won the battle of the Americans, defeating compatriot Madison Brengle 6-2 6-4 to advance to the Round of 16 where she will play Petra Kvitova following the sixth’s seed’s win over another United States representative in Jessica Pegula.

Picture: Getty Images

Garcia stuns top seed Pliskova to book third round US Open spot

CAROLINE Garcia has caused the boil-over of the US Open by defeating top seed and world number three, Karolina Pliskova in straight sets today. The unseeded Frenchwoman made her way into the third round at the Grand Slam with a 6-1 7-6 victory, winning the last five points of the match after the Czech seed threatened to level the match.

“It’s top players, so if you wait for the mistake it’s never going to happen,” Garcia said post-match. “If you let Pliskova breeze and take your serve, you’re never going to make a return, and then it’s 6-4, 6-4 and you’re done in one hour. “So you have to make her in trouble – that’s what I liked and it was a great challenge for me. “I did well in this challenge and I can take the happiness for it, and now I’m after another one.”

The former top 10 player who is now ranked 50th in the world will compete in her fourth third round match at Flushing Meadows, bouncing back after a first round loss in 2019. Two consecutive breaks in the opening set resulted in the underdog racing to a 5-0 lead before Pliskova finally got on the board by holding serve. It mattered little to Garcia show served it out herself 6-1.

Breaking her opponent in the opening game of the second set, Garcia led by a break in the seventh game at 4-2, but lost three consecutive games as Pliskova had a couple of set points on Garcia’s serve at 5-4. Garcia recovered to force the match into a tiebreaker, where she won 7-2 after being 2-2 early in the break. She now takes on 28th seed Jennifer Brady who is coming off some great form by winning her first title at the Top Seed Open.

“She (Brady) won her first title and she did good since the last year and a half,” Garcia said. “I think we have pretty much the same weapons, the serve and the forehand. “She moves well on court, and she’s playing in her country even if it’s without fans. “We had a battle in the past and I’m looking forward to it. “Because she’s not ranked maybe as high as Pliskova is today, but she’s definitely going to keep improving, so it’s really a great challenge for me.”

Brady comes into the Round of 16 match off the back of an absolute shellacking of compatriot, CiCi Bellis. While Bellis has shown good form upon return on the tour from injury, Brady showed just what she was capable of, winning 6-1 6-2 in just 51 minutes of matchplay. The more experienced American would not allow Bellis to work into the match, hitting 21 winners to three, while only conceding 13 unforced errors to 20.

Speaking of all-American clashes, the only upset that might have rivalled Garcia’s win over Pliskova, was young gun, Ann Li‘s 6-0 6-3 smashing of 13th seed Alison Riske. The match lasted just 75 minutes with the 20-year-old world number 128 hitting 20 winners to 16, and only 20 unforced errors to 33, whilst capitalising on eight of her nine net points. Her ability to attack Riske’s second serve – winning 74 per cent of the points – whilst breaking even off her compatriot’s first serve, was the key to victory. She made Riske move around the court and force her into uncomfortable shot-making positions during the straight sets thrashing.

The 20-year-old now takes on 17th seed Angelique Kerber in the third round with the winner of that match to face the winner of Garcia and Brady for a spot in the quarter finals. Also in the top quarter of the draw two more seeds joined Pliskova and Riske on the sidelines with Belarusian Aliaksandra Sasnovich smashing 12th seed Marketa Vondrousova 6-1 6-2, while Russian Varvara Gracheva shook off 30th seed Kristina Mladenovic to win 1-6 7-6 6-0. Gracheva goes head to head with eighth seed Petra Martic in the Round of 16, while Sasnovich now locks horns with Kazakhstan young gun, Yulia Putintseva.

The news was not as good for top rank Kazakh hopeful, Elena Rybakina who was bundled out by Shelby Rogers in straight sets, 7-5 6-1. The American said she was pleased with how her game had gone against a real up and comer on the WTA Tour.

“It definitely felt good to get that one in two sets,” Rogers said post-match. “The first set, I came out playing pretty cleanly, executing the game plan I had very well, and was serving well. Things got dicey when she started playing better, playing more aggressive and making her shots. “I just kept telling myself, ‘One more point, keep making balls,’ and thankfully got through the first set. “I really buckled down in the second because I really didn’t want that to happen again!”

Similarly, it was a mixed bag for Ukrainian fans, with Marta Kostyuk defeating 31st seed Latvian Anastasia Sevastova 6-3 7-6, but Kateryna Kozlova went down to sixth seed Czech Petra Kvitova, 7-6 6-2. Jessica Pegula joined Rogers in the Round of 32 to face Kvitova after defeating Belgian Kirsten Flipkens 7-6 6-2.

Other winners on day three included fourth seed Naomi Osaka, 14th seed Anett Kontaveit and 24th seed Magda Linette, whilst in the last game of the day, 19th seed Ukrainian Dayana Yastremska went down to American Madison Brengle 6-2 6-3.

Picture: USTA

Martic survives thriller to advance through to US Open Round of 64

PETRA Martic had some nervous moments but eventually came up trumps in a three-set win over former top 30 player, Tereza Martincova. Not the easiest of first round matches, Martic came from a set down to post the 5-7 6-4 6-2 win in two hours and 27 minutes. The Croatian, who was a top eight seed for the first time at a Grand Slam event, was just grateful to get through the match knowing how potent the Czech could be.

“I expected a tough match, because she’s very aggressive and likes this surface, which is playing quite fast this year,” Martic said post-match. “It took me a bit of time to adjust, and I was really happy that after the first set I could find my game and play better. It wasn’t easy but I’m glad I managed to get through.”

It was a relatively straightforward day for the seeds, with only the last placed seed – world number 48 and 32nd at the tournament – Rebecca Peterson bundled out, going down to Belgian Kirsten Flipkens, 7-6 6-4. The world number 72 took two hours and two minutes to get up in the straight sets win, and move through to the next round to face American, Jessica Pegula who won against Czech, Marie Bouzkova.

It was a good day for the Americans, with 28th seed Jennifer Brady and return queen, CiCi Bellis both winning their respective matches to book a head-to-head clash in the second round. It will not be the only all-American Round of 64 clash after 18th seed Alison Riske made her way through to the second round, to now take on young gun, Ann Li. The latter overcame an in-from Arantxa Rus – fresh off an upset win over Karolina Pliskova at the Western & Southern Open – in a 6-4 2-6 6-1 triumph in just under two hours.

Shelby Rogers and Madison Brengle both advanced through to the Round of 64, while it was not as positive for teenage sensation Coco Gauff. The 16-year-old went down in three sets to 31st seed Anastasija Sevastova, 6-3 5-7 6-4. It was a danger game for the Latvian who had defeated Serena Williams earlier in the year at the Fed Cup. She said she was in awe of Gauff’s abilities at such a young age.

“I wish I would play like this when I was 16 years old,” Sevastova said, praising her opponent in the virtual post-round press conference. “Great player. “Nothing more to say. “I think she maybe started a bit slower than me, but she was getting better as the match went on. “That’s so important I think in tennis.

“In the end I think third set she played her best tennis. “She was serving better, moving better. “It was tough, yeah. “Fortunately I stayed calm in the third set and managed to win, to close it out.”

Also out at the hands of a seed was Danielle Collins who lost to Estonian 14th seed, Anett Kontaveit. After winning the first set, Collins was outclassed, going down 5-7 6-2 6-2 in what was a clinical performance in two hours and six minutes. The world number 21 said she never lost faith despite Collins’ strong play early.

“[Collins] came out playing great,” Kontaveit said post-match. “I think she was hitting it really strong, moving me around the court, hitting winners. I felt like I played the same the whole match, I was just really trying to stay tough, maintain my level, and I feel like I did that really well.”

“I never stopped believing that I could come back after the first set,” Kontaveit continued. “I just had to stay really tough and fight as hard as I could, and I managed to do that. It definitely helped that I had played a lot of matches and had to get through a lot of tough matches.”

Fourth seed Naomi Osaka overcame hamstring tightness that ruled her out of the Western & Southern Open final to knock over compatriot, Misaki Doi in straight sets, joining fellow top 10 players, Karolina Pliskova, Petra Kvitova and Martic in the next round. Other triumphant seeds included Angelique Kerber, Marketa Vondrousova, Yulia Putintseva, Kristina Mladenovic, Magda Linette, Elena Rybakina and Dayana Yastremska.

From an unseeded players perspective, Anna-Lena Friedsam won through to face off against compatriot Kerber, Belarusian duo Aliaksandra Sasnovich and Vera Lapko, Frenchwoman Caroline Garcia, Russian Varvara Gracheva and Ukrainian Kateryna Bondarenko all moved through in the top quarter of the draw. As for the other half of the day’s action, Danka Kovinic, Kaja Juvan and Kateryna Kozlova joined the host of seeds and Americans running around in a couple of days.

Picture: Getty Images