Tag: coco gauff

WTA Tour wrap: Sorribes Tormo outlasts in longest match of the season

A BIG first day of women’s proceedings at the 2021 Internazionali BNL d’Italia saw the longest match of the year so far, as all four of the day’s seeds head into the second round.

It took a marathon three hours and 51 minutes, but it was Sara Sorribes Tormo who came out victor in her huge clash with Italian wildcard Camila Giorgi, 7-6(4) 6-7(7) 7-5. The seesawing contest saw neither player really able to make the most of their momentum or claim a significant ascendancy, as the Spaniard and Italian went toe-to-toe and were unable to be split. But with six double faults to her name compared to Giorgi’s 12, Sorribes Tormo was marginally cleaner on serve and won 52.8 per cent of the match’s total points to reign supreme. It was not the only three-setter of the day, as Petra MarticAnastasija Sevastova and Coco Gauff all ground out wins in three, with the last of the three seeing 17-year-old Gauff require two hours and 57 minutes to dispose of Kazakh, Yulia Putintseva as Sevastova turned around a sloppy start and Martic claimed her first top 50 win of the season.

Petra Kvitova and Maria Sakkari were the remaining three set winner of the day, as the 11th and 17th seeds were tested by their respective opposition. For Kvitova, it ended up being a fairly comprehensive victory despite dropping the first set 1-6. Her opposition in Magda Linette flew out of the blocks but could not continue the same form once the Czech left-hander worked her way into the contest and reduced her unforced errors, eventually reigning supreme 1-6 6-0 6-2 in 95 minutes.

“The first set I started very badly. I was missing almost everything. On the court… [the ball] was bouncing everywhere as well. A little bit windy. I just had to used to probably everything,” Kvitova said post-match. “The beginning of the second set when finally I held my serve and broke her serve, I think since then it was much, much better.”

Four of Kvitova’s six double faults were hit in the first set, before the Czech broke back to eventually claim five aces and win 75.6 per cent of her first serve points off a 66 per cent clip. Sakkari’s matchup went slightly different as she claimed the opening set, before her opposition in Polona Hercog bit back to take it to three. The 17th seed claimed the ascendancy once more though, running out 7-6 3-6 6-2 victor in two hours and 48 minutes.

Proceedings went very different for the remaining two seeds on the day, as Iga Swiatek worked from a 1-4 deficit to eventually claim a 5-4 victory over retiree Alison Riske, who battled an ongoing injury throughout the contest and could not maintain intensity or mobility to continue the matchup. While Swiatek had a horror start, recording 18 unforced errors throughout the 52 minutes of play, she was fortunate to proceed as Riske jarred her left foot, and was forced to retire following medical attention. The 13th seed in Jennifer Brady continued her run after claiming a 6-1 6-4 victory over Zhang Shuai, winning 72 per cent of her first serve points off a sloppy 43 per cent clip and converting five break points and saving three in the process.

The remaining matches of the day saw two more Americans in Jessica Pegula and Amanda Anisimova join the winners list, whilst one more in Christina McHale fell to Vera Zvonareva, whilst Ekaterina Alexandrova claimed the quickest win of the day – bar Swiatek’s early finish – over Marta Kostyuk, needing just 75 minutes to claim the 6-3 6-1 victory.

INTERNAZIONALI BNL D’ITALIA ROUND OF 64 RESULTS:

[11] Petra Kvitova (CZE) defeated Magda Linette (POL) 1-6 6-0 6-2
[13] Jennifer Brady (USA) defeated Zhang Shuai (CHN) 6-1 6-4
[15] Iga Swiatek (POL) defeated Alison Riske (USA) 5-4 RET
[17] Maria Sakkari (GRE) defeated Polona Hercog (SLO) 7-6 3-6 6-2
Sara Sorribes Tormo (ESP) defeated Camila Giorgi (ITA) 7-6 6-7 7-5
Vera Zvonareva (RUS) defeated Christina McHale (USA) 6-3 6-0
Jessica Pegula (USA) defeated Daria Kasatkina (RUS) 7-5 6-3
Amanda Anisimova (USA) defeated Wang Qiang (CHN) 7-5 6-3
Ekaterina Alexandrova (RUN) defeated Marta Kostyuk (UKR) 6-3 6-1
Petra Martic (CRO) defeated Shelby Rogers (USA) 5-7 6-3 6-4
Anastasija Sevastova (LAT) defeated Jil Teichmann (SUI) 3-6 6-1 6-3
Coco Gauff (USA) defeated Yulia Putintseva (KAZ) 7-5 4-6 6-4

WTA Tour wrap: Top seeds all survive day two in Madrid

NAOMI Osaka was among all eight seeds to book their spot in the Madrid Open second round, following a straight sets win over compatriot Misaki Doi. In her first clay event in almost two years, Osaka overcame some early resistance from Doi to post a 7-5 6-2 victory and move through to the Round of 32.

“When I was playing on clay that year, I didn’t feel uncomfortable at all,” Osaka said post-match. “The two matches that I lost, it was more mental than it was physical. “Like, I didn’t feel uncomfortable sliding or I didn’t feel that tired. “So I’m actually really excited to get that mindset back and to start feeling more comfortable on clay.”

Osaka was one of four Top 10 seeds to advance through to the second round, with sixth seed Karolina Pliskova coming back from a set down to shake off teenage talent Coco Gauff in three sets. Pliskova won 5-7 6-3 6-2 in a tight contest to eventually finish the stronger of the pair and post a comfortable victory.

“We never played so it was definitely a difficult match. “I think I didn’t start really well, but later in the match, I was finding by game and finding my serve. “This was very important in this match because she can also serve very big,” Pliskova said post-match.

“I’m super happy that I’m through. “I’ve played one semifinal here, so I’ve had a couple of good matches here in the past, but I’m hoping to hopefully improve my game in the next match.”

Third seed Simona Halep started like a house on fire by racing to a 6-0 first set win, before having more of a struggle against Spaniard Sara Sorribes Tormo in the second set, eventually getting up 6-0 7-5. The other Top 10 seed to advance was fifth seed Belarusian Aryna Sabalenka who destroyed Russian Zera Zvonareva in 66 minutes, 6-1 6-2.

Fellow Belarusian Victoria Azarenka won in three sets over Russian Ekaterina Alexandrova, with 13th seed Elise Mertens and 16th seed Maria Sakkari also advanced into the Round of 32, with Sakkari remarkably going 6-0 down against American Amanda Anisimova before getting up 0-6 6-1 6-4.

In other results, Russian duo Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and Daria Kasatkina both won through to the next stage, with a mixed bag for the Chinese hopefuls. Saisai Zheng defeated Poland’s Magda Linette in three sets, before Wang Qiang went down to Karolina Muchova in a disappointing 6-1 6-3 loss. Also through to the second round were Kazakhstan’s Elena Rybakina, Latvia’s Jelena Ostapenko, Estonia’ Anett Kontaveit and United States’ Jessica Pegula.

MADRID OPEN ROUND OF 64 RESULTS:

[2] Naomi Osaka (JPN) defeated Misaki Doi (JPN) 7-5 6-2
[3] Simona Halep (ROU) defeated Sara Sorribes Tormo (ESP) 6-0 7-5
[5] Aryna Sabalenka (BLR) defeated Vera Zvonareva (RUS) 6-1 6-2
[6] Karolina Pliskova (CZE) defeated Coco Gauff (USA) 5-7 6-3 6-2
[11] Jennifer Brady (USA) defeated Venus Williams (USA) 6-2 6-4
[12] Victoria Azarenka (BLR) defeated Ekaterina Alexandrova (RUS) 7-5 3-6 6-1
[13] Elise Mertens (BEL) defeated Zhang Shuai (CHN) 6-3 6-3
[16] Maria Sakkari (GRE) defeated Amanda Anisimova (USA) 0-6 6-1 6-4
Elena Rybakina (KAZ) defeated Ajla Tomljanovic (AUS) 6-4 6-0
Jelena Ostapenko (LAT) defeated Polona Hercog (SLO) 6-3 6-1
Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (RUS) defeated Madison Keys (USA) 7-5 6-2
Saisai Zheng (CHN) defeated Magda Linette (POL) 6-2 3-6 6-1
Jessica Pegula (USA) defeated Sorana Cirstea (ROU) 7-6 6-3
Anett Kontaveit (EST) defeated Nina Stojanovic (SRB) 7-6 7-5
Karolina Muchova (CZE) defeated Wang Qiang (CHN) 6-1 6-3
Daria Kasatkina (RUS) defeated Irina-Camelia Begu (ROU) 4-6 6-4 7-6

Picture credit: Jimmie48/WTA

WTA Tour wrap: Badosa stuns Barty to book Charleston semi spot

SPANISH up-and-comer Paula Badosa has stunned world number one Ash Barty to book herself a semi-finals spot at the 2021 Volvo Car Open in Charleston. The 71st ranked Paula Badosa won in straight sets, 6-4 6-3 to book herself a place in the final four, joining fellow unseeded talent Danka Kovinic in the final four.

Kovinic took down 11th seed Kazakh Yulia Putintseva in three sets, coming from behind 6-7 7-5 6-1 in a whopping two hours and 52 minutes, but it was Badosa’s straight sets knockout of Barty that caught the attention. The Spaniard needed just one hour and 16 minutes to claim the victory, serving seven aces to four, and winning 71.1 per cent of her first serve percentage to the Australian’s 58.7 per cent. Despite the world number bringing up 14 break point opportunities, she could only capitalise twice, as Badosa had the 10 but broke five times for the extra three breaks and secure the win.

The other two victors through to the semi-finals are a couple of seeds in 12th seed Ons Jabeur and 15th seed Veronika Kudermetova. Jabeur won in straight sets 6-3 6-3 against American young gun Coco Gauff while Kudermetova won in a a similar fashion, posting a 6-3 6-4 victory over another American in Sloane Stephens. Now Kudermetova will take on Badosa after Jabeur and Kovinic lock horns in the earlier semi-final.

In the other WTA Tour tournament at Bogota, just the one seed remains with fifth seed Slovenian Tamara Zidansek winning into the semi-final against former Top 5 player Sara Errani, 6-3 6-4. She was joined by a mix of players who will eye off maiden WTA Tour titles, with three of the four quarter finals played out in straight sets. Maria Camila Osorio Serrano claimed a 6-3 7-5 win over the in-form Stefanie Voegele in two hours of match play.

The other two winners were Frenchwoman Harmony Tan winning in the quickest match of the day, 6-1 6-4 in just 71 minutes. She was too good for Lara Arruabarrena in that matchup, whilst Viktoriya Tomova defeated Nuria Parrizas Diaz in the longest contest of the day. The Bulgarian won 5-7 6-2 6-4 in a come-from-behind victory in two hours and 25 minutes and make her way into the final four.

Now Tomova will take on Zidansek early tomorrow, followed by Osorio Serrano and Tan in the second semi-final as all players eye off a WTA Tour 250 event.

VOLVO CAR OPEN QUARTER FINALS RESULTS:

Paula Badosa (ESP) defeated [1] Ash Barty (AUS) 6-4 6-3
Danka Kovinic (ME) defeated [11] Yulia Putintseva (KAZ) 6-7 7-5 6-1
[12] Ons Jabur (TUN) defeated [14] Coco Gauff (USA) 6-3 6-3
[15] Veronika Kudermetova (RUS) defeated Sloane Stephens (USA) 6-3 6-4

COPA COLSANITAS QUARTER FINALS RESULTS:

[5] Tamara Zidansek (SLO) defeated Sara Errani (ITA) 6-3 6-4
Harmony Tan (FRA) defeated Lara Arruabarrena (ESP) 6-1 6-4
Viktoriya Tomova (BUL) defeated Nuria Parrizas Diaz (ESP) 5-7 6-2 6-4
Maria Camila Osorio Serrano (COL) defeated Stefanie Voegele (SUI) 6-3 7-5

Picture credit: Volvo Car Open/Chris Smith

WTA Tour wrap: Home hope continues dream run at Bogota as Kvitova and Muguruza fall at Charleston

THE Round of 16 at both Charleston and Bogota are done and dusted, with plenty of intriguing results coming out of both events.

Charleston saw an intriguing day of results as third seed Petra Kvitova fell to Montenegrin Danka Kovinic and Garbine Muguruza retired in her encounter with fellow seed Yulia Putintseva, unfortunately handing over a dominant first game victory and tight second set to the Kazakh.

Kovinic’s 6-4 6-1 victory over Kvitova was completed in just 76 minutes, with her effectiveness on serve the main kicker, winning points off 69.7 per cent of her first serve compared to Kvitova’s 46.7 per cent, and in arguably one of her biggest wins to-date. For Muguruza, it was a lower leg injury and the quick changeover from hard-court to clay which took a toll and forced her retirement mid-match.

“I was already feeling some pain in my first match,” Muguruza said. “The switch of hard courts to clay was tough, and in a very short amount of time. I started very well, and all of a sudden I felt a sharp pain in my leg, and it got worse. I didn’t want to continue without playing my best tennis. It didn’t make sense to me.”

Also successful on Day 6 were 12th and 14th seeds in Ons Jabeur and Coco Gauff, both reigning supreme under pressure. Tunisian, Jabeur was forced into the only three-setter of the day when she encountered Frenchwoman Alize Cornet, eventually overcoming a first set deficit to claim the 5-7 6-3 6-3 victory in two hours and 40 minutes – far and away the longest match of the day. Meanwhile, Gauff took on compatriot Lauren Davis and came away with a 6-2 7-6(2) victory to stop Davis in her tracks.

A third American in Sloane Stephens joined the winners circle with a 6-3 6-4 dismissal of Australian Ajla Tomljanovic, 6-3 6-4, however things did not go quite as well to plan for compatriot Caty McNally, who fell to Spaniard Paula Badosa in a similar result. The final matches saw Veronika Kudermetova claim a 71-minute 6-0 6-3 victory over Kurumi Nara, whilst the remaining matchup between world number one Ash Barty and a fifth American in Shelby Rogers saw Barty take out the first set tiebreaker before Rogers took out the second set, with Barty just holding on for the 7-6 4-6 6-4 victory under pressure.

VOLVO CAR OPEN ROUND OF 16 RESULTS:

Danka Kovinic (MNE) defeated [3] Petra Kvitova (CZE) 6-4 6-1
[11] Yulia Putintseva (KAZ) defeated [6] Garbine Muguruza (ESP) 0-6 2-2 RET
[12] Ons Jabeur (TUN) defeated Alize Cornet (FRA) 5-7 6-3 6-3
[14] Coco Gauff (USA) defeated Lauren Davis (USA) 6-2 7-6
Sloane Stephens (USA) defeated Ajla Tomljanovic (AUS) 6-3 6-4
Paula Badosa (ESP) defeated Caty McNally (USA) 6-3 6-3
Veronika Kudermetova (RUS) defeated Kurumi Nara (JPN) 6-0 6-3

[1] Ash Barty (AUS) v. Shelby Rogers (USA)

 

Wildcard Maria Camila Osorio Serrano has continued her dream run on home soil in Bogota, as has qualifier Harmony Tan who reigned supreme in her own Round of 16 encounter. The third winner of the day was fifth seed Slovenian – and only remaining seed – Tamara Zidansek. Zidansek and Osorio Serrano came away with relatively simple victories on the sixth day of proceedings, as the fifth seed disposed of Italian Giulia Gatto-Monticone 6-2 6-3 in one hour and 11 minutes. The Colombian teenage hope in Osorio Serrano completed her maiden Top 100 victory by downing seventh seed Czech Tereza Martincova to head to the quarter finals, requiring just over 90 minutes to claim the 6-3 6-3 victory, with a marginally better serving efficiency allowing her to get the job done. Tan continued the straight sets trend as she disposed of fellow qualifier, Chilean Daniela Seguel in the last match of the day, however required a bit more to overcome her opposition in the 6-4 7-6(3) matchup. Whilst Tan hit seven double faults to Seguel’s two, she was far more effective off her first serve and consistently so in comparison.

COPA COLSANITAS ROUND OF 16 RESULTS:

[5] Tamara Zidansek (SLO) defeated Giulia Gatto-Monticone (ITA) 6-2 6-3
Maria Camila Osorio Serrano (COL) defeated [7] Tereza Martincova (CZE) 6-3 6-3
Harmony Tan (FRA) defeated Daniela Seguel (CHI) 6-4 7-6

WTA Tour wrap: Barty’s clay court court campaign recommences with 61-minute demolition

ASH Barty continued her red-hot form to completely dismantle unseeded Japanese talent Misaki Doi 6-2 6-1 to advance through to the Round of 16 at the Volvo Car Open. The world number one moved to a 15-2 record on the 2021 WTA Tour, which also stretches out to 27-4 since her first-up match at the 2020 Adelaide International 15 months ago.

She went on to win that Adelaide International, and after sitting out the 2020 WTA Tour season once it returned in the second half of the year, Barty remained world number one and started off 2021 as if she had not ever stopped. Her first tournament of the year she won in Melbourne, defeating Garbine Muguruza in the final, a player who had competed throughout the past 12 months.

A shock loss to Karolina Muchova at the Australian Open, followed by another defeat at the hands of Danielle Collins might have momentarily caused some unwarranted questions towards the world number one and how she would go this year. Like true champions do, Barty answered those critics with a stunning run in Miami to defend her title there and claim the WTA 1000 event. It was not just winning the event that mattered, but it was the quality of opposition she beat.

After drawing a qualifier in the second round – following a first round bye – Barty took out former Top 5 talent Jelena Ostapenko, then proceeded to dismiss Top 10 players and Grand Slam champions alike on the way to the Miami Open title. She moved past Belarusian duo Victoria Azarenka and Aryna Sabalenka – the former being the runner-up at the 2020 US Open and the latter being the most in-form player entering 2021 – before defeating Elina Svitolina and Bianca Andreescu – albeit the Andreescu win was due to retirement, though Barty was in control – to make it six wins on the trot.

The critics have quietened down for now, but Barty is a player that somehow draws criticism for one bad loss amongst double-figure impressive wins. The world number one will always have extra pressure on them, but Barty answers those questions with class and grace. Her 61-minute rout of Doi was the most impressive of any Round of 16 match at the Volvo Car Open. Keeping in mind it was Barty’s first clay match in almost two years, and the Australian looked at home on the red dirt. The Australian now takes on Shelby Rogers in the next round after she toppled Amanda Anisimova in an upset.

In other results, the next highest seed behind Barty to advance to the Round of 16 was Tunisian Ons Jabeur (12th), with compatriot Coco Gauff, and 15th seed Russian Veronika Kudermetova the others. It was carnage in the top end though, with American duo Sofia Kenin and Madison Keys both bombing out to compatriots Lauren Davis and Sloane Stephens respectively. Spain’s Paula Badosa also took care of Belinda Bencic in three sets, while Frenchwoman Alize Cornet won against Elise Mertens in straight sets. In terms of the unseeded players, Australia’s Ajla Tomljanovic, Montenegro’s Danka Kovinic, United States’ Cate McNally and Japan’s Kurumi Nara all advanced to the next round.

In the lower seeded Copa Colsanitas, all the seeds had a forgettable day, with the first, third, sixth and eighth seeds all knocked out in the Round of 16. Zheng Saisai, Arantxa Rus, Jasmine Paolini and Wang Yafan all departed prior to the quarter finals, as Spanish qualifiers Nuria Parrizas Diaz and Lara Arruabarrena, Switzerland’s Stefanie Voegele and Bulgaria’s Viktoriya Tomova all booked their spots in the final eight. In the sole unseeded match, Italian Sara Errani knocked off Aliona Bolsova in straight sets, 6-4 6-4.

VOLVO CAR OPEN ROUND OF 32 RESULTS:

[1] Ash Barty (AUS) defeated Misaki Doi (JPN) 6-2 6-1
Lauren Davis (USA) defeated [2] Sofia Kenin (USA) 4-6 6-3 6-4
Paula Badosa (ESP) defeated [5] Belinda Bencic (SUI) 6-2 6-7 6-1
Alize Cornet (FRA) defeated [7] Elise Mertens (BEL) 7-5 6-3
Sloane Stephens (USA) defeated [8] Madison Keys (USA) 6-4 6-4
[12] Ons Jabeur (TUN) defeated [WC] Hailey Baptiste (USA) 6-3 6-3
Shelby Rogers (USA) defeated [13] Amanda Anisimova (USA) 1-6 7-5 6-4
[14] Coco Gauff (USA) defeated Liudmila Samsonova (RUS) 4-6 6-1 6-4
[15] Veronika Kudermetova (RUS) defeated [WC] Emma Navarro (USA) 6-4 6-4
Ajla Tomljanovic (AUS) defeated Marie Bouzkova (RUS) 4-6 7-5 7-5
Danka Kovinic (MNE) defeated Leylah Fernandez (CAN) 6-4 3-6 6-3
Cate McNally (USA) defeated Anastasija Sevastova (LAT) 7-6 2-6 6-4
Kurumi Nara (JPN) defeated Whitney Osuigwe (USA) 6-1 6-4

COPA COLSANITAS ROUND OF 16 RESULTS:

Stefanie Voegele (SUI) defeated [1] Zheng Saisai (CHN) 6-4 6-1
[Q] Nuria Parrizas Diaz (ESP) defeated [3] Arantxa Rus (NED) 7-6 2-6 6-1
[Q] Lara Arruabarrena (ESP) defeated [6] Jasmine Paolini (ITA) 2-6 6-4 6-2
Viktoriya Tomova (BUL) defeated [8] Wang Yafan (CHN) 6-3 6-3
Sara Errani (ITA) defeated Aliona Bolsova (ESP) 6-4 6-4

Picture credit: Volvo Car Open/Chris Smith

WTA Miami Open 1000: Collins wins against Mladenovic as Latvian duo advance

IN a blockbuster second day at the WTA Miami Open 1000, the Round of 128 was completed with some interesting results. It was a real mix of winners, with some experienced players and some young guns winning through to the second round in an action-packed day. The first Round of 64 match was also decided – albeit without a ball being served – after Laura Siegemund withdrew from her clash against Belarusian 14th seed Victoria Azarenka.

In a number of three-set battles, Australian Storm Sanders overcame Italian Elizabetta Cocciaretto 6-1 5-7 6-1, while Spaniard Sara Sorribes Tormo won 6-2 2-6 7-5 against American Bernarda Pera. Also needing three sets for victory were Belarusian US Open quarter finalists Tsvetana Pironkova, winning against Ukrainian Marta Kostyuk 7-6 3-6 6-3. Meanwhile Latvian Anastasija Sevastova toppled Serbian Olga Danilovic 6-1 3-6 7-6 as compatriot Jelena Ostapenko knocked off China’s Xiyu Wang, 6-4 6-7 6-1. Other three-set winners were Frenchwoman Alize Cornet, Brit Katie Boulter, Mexican Renata Zarazua, Slovakian Kristina Kucova and Chinese duo Qiang Wang and Saisai Zheng.

In more straightforward clashes, Liudmila Samsonova toppled Italian Camila Giorgi in straight sets 6-2 6-4, as Serbian Nina Stojanovic proved too strong for Great Britain’s Heather Watson, 6-4 6-1. Also marching through to the second round was Frenchwoman Caroline Garcia‘s rout of Romanian Mihaela Buzarnescu 6-1 6-2, whilst Tereza Martincova knocked off Kazakhstan’s Yaroslava Shevdova. The Czech won 6-4 6-2 in that encounter, joining Russian Anna Kalinskaya, Croatian Ana Konjuh and German Andrea Petkovic in the second round after straight set victories.

The highly anticipated match of the day was between American Danielle Collins and Frenchwoman Kristina Mladenovic who drew each other in blockbuster Round of 128 clash. It went the way of the former, with Collins getting up 6-3 6-3 to advance through to the Round of 64 in 82 minutes in an inspiring performance. She will need to back up with a match against Veronika Kudermetova tomorrow, as Kucova takes on top seed Ash Barty, Konjuh locks horns with Madison Keys, and Sevastova meets Coco Gauff in a huge day of action on the Grandstand Court tomorrow.

MIAMI OPEN ROUND OF 128 RESULTS:

Liudmila Samsonova (RUS) defeated Camila Giorgi (ITA) 6-2 6-4
Storm Sanders (AUS) defeated Elizabetta Cocciaretto (ITA) 6-1 5-7 6-1
Sloane Stephens (USA) defeated Oceane Dodin (FRA) 6-7 6-4 6-2
Kristina Kucova (SVK) defeated Hailey Baptiste (USA) 6-4 2-6 7-5
Tsvetana Pironkova (BLR) defeated Marta Kostyuk (UKR) 7-6 3-6 6-3
Nina Stojanovic (SRB) defeated Heather Watson (GBR) 6-4 6-1
Caroline Garcia (FRA) defeated Mihaela Buzarnescu (ROU) 6-1 6-2
Anastasija Sevastova (LAT) defeated Olga Danilovic (SRB) 6-1 3-6 7-6
Qiang Wang (CHN) defeated Aliona Bolsova (ESP) 6-1 3-6 6-3
Tereza Martincova (CZE) defeated Yaroslava Shvedova (KAZ) 6-4 6-2
Alize Cornet (FRA) defeated Svetlana Kuznetsova (RUS) 2-6 6-2 6-1
Katie Boulter (GBR) defeated Kristyna Pliskova (CZE) 4-6 6-3 6-3
Saisai Zheng (CHN) defeated Fiona Ferro (FRA) 2-6 6-4 6-3
Renata Zarazua (MEX) defeated Nao Hibino (JPN) 6-4 4-6 6-1
Jelena Ostapenko (LAT) defeated Xiyu Wang (CHN) 6-4 6-7 6-1
Danielle Collins (USA) defeated Kristina Mladenovic (FRA) 6-3 6-3
Anna Kalinskaya (RUS) defeated Irina Camelia Begu (ROU) 6-4 7-6
Sara Sorribes Tormo (ESP) defeated Bernarda Pera (USA) 6-2 2-6 7-5
Ana Konjuh (CRO) defeated Katerina Siniakova (CZE) 7-6 7-5
Andrea Petkovic (GER) defeated Shuai Zhang (CHN) 7-5 6-1

Picture credit: Getty Images

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: Upsets blow open Dubai draw

UPSETS in the top half of the 2021 WTA Tour’s Dubai Tennis Championships have left the door wide open for an unseeded player to make a run at a 1000 title. Just a single seed remains in the top half – sixth seed Belinda Bencic – after a number of upsets in the second round of the tournaments saw wildcards and even a qualifier book their spots in the final 16. It is a different story in the bottom half of the draw, with six of the eight competitors coming into the tournament as seeds.

Top seed Elina Svitolina headlines the exits from the Dubai Tennis Championships, with the Ukrainian bowing out to Russian Grand Slam winner Svetlana Kuznetsova. The veteran came back from a set down to post an impressive victory over the tournament’s top player, winning 2-6 6-4 6-1 in one hour and 52 minutes.

“I have no doubts I can compete against the best, so I just want to play and enjoy my game,” Kuznetsova said post-match. “I was feeling so stressed out there in the first set, I couldn’t make any balls, the feeling was terrible. “I was just focusing on trying to make two or three shots in, to see how I can go, how I can regroup, that’s it.”

The biggest upset of the day had to be Czech qualifier Tereza Martincova, who advanced to be the sole qualifier in the final 16 after a demolition of 6-1 6-4 over fifth seed Kiki Bertens in 76 minutes. Martincova will take on teenage young gun Coco Gauff in the Round of 16 following Gauff’s three-set come-from-behind win over 2019 Roland Garros runner-up Marketa Vondrousova, defeating the Czech, 3-6 6-0 6-4.

A retirement to fourth seed Petra Kvitova midway through the second set when she was trailing 6-2 3-4 has allowed Switzerland’s Jil Teichmann to make her way into the Round of 16. The up-and-coming Swiss talent will take on Tunisian Ons Jabeur who dislodged 14th seed Elena Rybakina in a tough match, needing two hours and 18 minutes to win, 7-6 4-6 6-2. Also exiting the tournament in the second round from a seed perspective was 11th seed American, Madison Keys who went down to Russian wildcard, Anastasia Potapova in straight sets, 6-4 6-3 in an hour and 25 minutes. Potapova will lock horns with sixth seed Bencic who fought through three tough sets in two hours and 38 minutes – the longest match of the day – to finally defeat Russian Veronika Kudermetova, 6-4 6-7 6-4.

It was more straightforward for the other seeds in the draw with third seed Aryna Sabalenka, eighth seed Iga Swiatek, ninth seed Garbine Murugurza, 10th seed Elise Mertens and 15th seed Anett Kontaveit all advancing through to the Round of 16 in straight sets. Second seed Karolina Pliskova had a scare, but managed to pull through against Latvian Anastasija Sevastova in three sets, 6-3 6-7 6-2 in two hours and nine minutes. In other results, Barbora Krejcikova ousted the other Latvian in the draw, Jelena Ostapenko, 6-3 6-1, Caroline Garcia toppled Martina Trevisan 6-2 6-4, while in-form Jessica Pegula destroyed Kristina Mladenovic in just 69 minutes – the quickest match of the day – to advance through to the final 16.

 

DUBAI TENNIS CHAMPIONSHIPS ROUND OF 32 RESULTS:

Svetlana Kuznetsova (RUS) defeated [1] Elina Svitolina (UKR) 2-6 6-4 6-1
[2] Karolina Pliskova (CZE) defeated Anastasija Sevastova (LAT) 6-3 6-7 6-2
[3] Aryna Sabalenka (BLR) defeated Alize Cornet (FRA) 6-2 6-4
Jil Teichmann (SUI) defeated [4] Petra Kvitova (CZE) 6-2 3-4 RET
[Q] Tereza Martincova (CZE) defeated [5] Kiki Bertens (NED) 6-1 6-4
[6] Belinda Bencic (SUI) defeated Veronika Kudermetova (CZE) 6-4 5-7 6-4
[8] Iga Swiatek (POL) defeated [LL] Misaki Doi (JPN) 6-2 6-4
[9] Garbine Muguruza (ESP) defeated Amanda Anisimova (USA) 6-4 6-2
[10] Elise Mertens (BEL) defeated Shelby Rogers (USA) 6-3 6-3
[WC] Anastasia Potapova (RUS) defeated [11] Madison Keys (USA) 6-4 6-3
[WC] Coco Gauff (USA) defeated [12] Marketa Vondrousova (CZE) 3-6 6-0 6-4
Ons Jabeur (TUN) defeated [14] Elena Rybakina (KAZ) 7-6 4-6 6-2
[15] Anett Kontaveit (EST) defeated Sorana Cirstea (ROU) 6-4 7-5
Babora Krejcikova (CZE) defeated Jelena Ostapenko (LAT) 6-3 6-1
Caroline Garcia (FRA) defeated Martina Trevisan (ITA) 6-2 6-4
Jessica Pegula (USA) defeated Kristina Mladenovic (FRA) 6-1 6-2

WTA Tour wrap: Tauson wins maiden WTA Tour title as Dubai event kicks off

DANISH teenager Clara Tauson has won her maiden WTA Tour with a straight sets victory over fellow qualifier, Viktorjia Golubic in the Lyon Open final. Tauson produced a stunning week to not drop a set and extend her 2021 record – over WTA and ITF Tours – to 19-3, whilst handing Golubic her fourth loss for a 19-4 record. The 6-4 6-1 victory backed up her ITF tournament victory over Golubic a few weeks back, allowing her to add a WTA 250 event to her trophy cabinet.

It was the first final between two qualifiers in four years, in a match that last 89 minutes. Tauson served seven aces, but at a poor 48.2 per cent efficiency. That mattered little however, as she capitalised with 66.7 and 55.2 per cent success off her first and second serves, the counter contrast to a steady Golubic who served at 74.6 per cent efficiency, but could only muster 49.1 and 27.8 per cent off her service games.

“I think I played aggressive, I think I played my game, even though I missed a few balls,” Tauson said post-match. “I didn’t really think too much about winning or losing, I thought about playing my game and just playing one point at a time, and that helped a lot.”

A former junior world number one, Tauson raced through the draw from qualifying, which started with a stunning 6-3 6-4 victory over Ekaterina Alexandrova in the opening round. She has booked her place inside the Top 100 on Tour following her final victory.

“I think I’ve been really solid; especially after the first set, I’ve come out good in every single match,” Tauson said. “I just kept my game going. It’s been a weird week like that, normally I have some fall-outs, but I haven’t had any of those this week, so I’m very happy with that.”

LYON OPEN FINAL RESULT:

[Q] Clara Tauson (DEN) defeated [Q] Viktorija Golubic (SUI) 6-4 6-1

 

Meanwhile day one of the Dubai WTA Tour 1000 event kicked off with seven first round matches completed. Alexandrova was the talking point of another loss at this tournament, going down to American young gun Coco Gauff in three sets. Gauff needed to win two tiebreakers, including an epic third set tiebreaker 10-8 to get up in the two-hour and 41-minute match, but eventually saluted to advance through to the second round.

Gauff saved two match points in the deciding set tiebreaker after leading by as much as 5-1 in the third. She served for the match three times at 5-2, 5-4 and 6-5, and missed opportunities on closing it out sooner with four match points in the tenth game of the set. The American got on the back foot in the tiebreaker, having to save two match points herself, before coming from 8-7 down to win 10-8 and book her place in the Round of 32.

“There were times when we both could have thrown in the towel and gave up, but we both were mentally fighting,” Gauff said post-match. “I think it’s just one of those that you’re happy that it’s over, and happy that you fought through it.”

The only seed in action on day one was Greek 16th seed Maria Sakkari, but she fell to Czech, Barbora Krejikova in straight sets, 6-2 7-6 in an hour and 48 minutes on court. Krejikova’s doubles partner, Katerina Siniakova was not as fortunate, suffering defeat at the hands of Tunisian Ons Jabeur in just 65 minutes, 6-2 6-3. Meanwhile veteran Russian Svetlana Kuznetsova, and compatriot Veronika Kudermetova both advanced to the Round of 32 with first round victories, as did Frenchwoman Alize Cornet, and Latvian Anastasija Sevastova.

DUBAI ROUND OF 64 RESULTS:

Barbora Krejicova (CZE) defeated [16] Maria Sakkari (GRE) 6-2 7-6
Ons Jabeur (TUN) defeated Katerina Siniakova (CZE) 6-2 6-3
Svetlana Kuznetsova (RUS) defeated Wang Qiang (CHN) 6-4 1-6 7-5
Coco Gauff (USA) defeated Ekaterina Alexandrova (RUS) 7-6 2-6 7-6
Alize Cornet (FRA) defeated Daria Kasatkina (RUS) 6-4 3-6 6-1
Anastasija Sevastova (LAT) defeated Bernarda Pera (USA) 6-0 5-3 RET
Veronika Kudermetova (RUS) defeated Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (RUS) 7-6 6-2

 

Picture credit: Alexandre Hergott – Lyon Open

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.