Tag: ivana popovic

2021 Adelaide International: Day 1 of qualifiers sees Americans and Aussies dominate

THE Adelaide International qualifying rounds have begun, with a flurry of American and Australian competitors taking the court in South Australia and at least one player from each of the two nations playing in each match. They combined for eight of the 12 winners on the day, including top seed youngster Coco Gauff and unseeded wildcard Storm Sanders, who disposed of second seed American Bernarda Pera in three sets.

In an interesting stat, the top four seeds all hailed from the United States, with just Pera falling from that group. Gauff was clinical in her encounter with Great Britain’s Francesca Jones, disposing of the Brit in 64 minutes and joined by Madison BrengleChristina McHale and Caty McNally on the winners list. Also hailing from the United States but falling in the first round was Asia Muhammad, who stole the first set from Italian Jasmine Paolini but eventually fell in the lone two-plus hour encounters of the day, going down to the sixth seed 4-6 6-3 7-6.

Heading to the Australian winners, and it was Maddison InglisAstra Sharma and Ellen Perez who joined Sanders in the second round, with Inglis knocking compatriot Belinda Woolcock out of the running. Destanee AiavaArina RodionovaLizette CabreraIvana Popovic and Kimberly Birrell will all remain on the sidelines on home soil, unlucky to all draw seeds. Sanders and Sharma impressed with their three set victories over Pera and Lesia Tsurenko showing plenty of intent ahead of the second round.

The remaining non American or Australian winners included Liudmila SamsonovaMisaki Doi and Kaja Juvan, as all three competitors claimed straight set wins over homegrown talent.

The qualifiers will continue today with the first round beginning on Tuesday.

2020 Monterrey Open preview: Svitolina leads host of out-of-form stars at Monterrey

MOST of the tournament contenders at Monterrey, Mexico will hope to find form that has been lost over the past couple of months, with a former Grand Slam winner returning to the tour and others hoping to bounce back from a string of disappointing first round defeats in previous starts.


Elina Svitolina (UKR)

The number one seed and tournament favourite has only won two matches in her seven past starts which gives an indication of how out-of-form and open this tournament is at Monterrey. The Ukrainian still remains inside the top 10, but since her back-to-back wins over Bibiane Schoofs (195th in the world) and Storm Sanders (319th) at Thailand, Svitolina has faltered in her Round of 32 matches at Dubai (Jennifer Brady) and Doha (Amanda Anisimova). She comes into the tournament surely confident of going deep given the field is equally out of sorts, and she will not want to slip outside the top 10 in the coming weeks. She did not play here so is free of defending points.


Johanna Konta (GBR)

Another contender who did not play here last year, the world number 16 has been slipping down the order to 16th after a year-end ranking of 12th last season. Having reached a high of fourth back in 2017, Konta will hope to reverse the trend here, but her form is sub-par to say the least. She did battle with injury, resting herself from the Fed Cup early last month, but in her only match since, her loss to 159th ranked Oceane Dodin. First round losses to Ons Jabeur (Australian Open) and Barbora Strycova (Brisbane International) pre-dated that, but it is hoped with an extra week’s rest,

Sloane Stephens (USA)

As bad as Konta’s form has been, Stephens has found the going even tougher, bowing out to Liudmila Samsonova (129th in the world), Arina Rodionova (201st) and Renata Zarazua (270th) around a defeat at the hands of Zhang Shuai at Melbourne Park. There is little doubt Stephens has the talent to match and beat the very best – she did knock off Serena Williams at the US Open – but her recent form has seen her slip all the way out to 37th in the world, having missed out on winning a title in 2019 after being a Roland Garros finalist and winner at Miami in 2018. It seems that Stephens just needs to find her confidence again and this could be the perfect place to start against a field of players with similar woes in terms of form.

Victoria Azarenka (BLR)

The Grand Slam winner returns to Monterrey after having to retire in last year’s final, going down to Spaniard, Garbine Muguruza 6-1 3-1. She knocked off number one seed, Angelique Kerber in the semis and third seed, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in the quarter finals, so deserved her place in the final match of the tournament. Having not won a singles title since 2016, Azarenka is still on the comeback trail but the former world number one and two-time Australian Open winners is the best in the field if on-song. It is whether she can reach those heights, and given she has not played since the US Open last year, is still recovering from injury. She did defeat Belinda Bencic two starts back at Cincinnati – albeit due to a retirement – but how much that counts for now is yet to be seen.


Sara Sorribes Tormo (ESP)

The world 79 is another who is out of sorts, but at her best can really cause some headaches. She stunned Naomi Osaka at the Fed Cup to win 6-0 6-3 against the Grand Slam winner and top 10 player. Either side of that though, Sorribes Tormo lost to Ivana Popovic (459th in the world) and Sara Errani (185th) which shows the consistency is still not there. She is still 23-years-old and building, but just has to be more consistent on the WTA Tour to be a threat deep in tournaments.


Leylah Fernandez (CAN)

The most in-form player of anyone, the Canadian avoided qualifying thanks to her final run at Acapulco and now enters the draw under a special exemption. Given the tennis she was able to play there – defeating three players in the top 100 – to reach the final before losing in three sets to world number 69, Heather Watson, she is every chance to go deep again here with a similar quality field. At 17-years-old, she is likely to have a massive future and showed it with a straight sets upset of Bencic at the Fed Cup. If she can keep it rolling, her 126th rank – which was 209th at the start of the year – will keep rising. Destined to be top 100 very soon, if not during this tournament.

Australian Open: Qualifying – Round 1 – Highest ranked Aussie Inglis to face Bouchard in second round

PLAYERS desperate to earn one of 16 spots in the main draw of the Australian Open kicked off their campaign yesterday with the first half of the Round 1 qualifying matches taking place. With poor air quality around the entire state including Melbourne Park, it made it tough for players who fought through for the most part despite a number of retirements or forced breaks.

In the men’s draw, 10 of the 16 seeds advanced through to the second round, with the biggest upset coming from Australian, Aleksandar Vukic. The 273rd ranked 23-year old from Sydney knocked off 11th seed and 113th ranked Italian, Thomas Fabbiano. Arguably more remarkably, 512th ranked Blake Mott shined on his home court, running out a straights sets winner over 27th seed and former top 100 player, Portugal’s Pedro Sousa. Other Australians who won included Max Purcell and Luke Saville, while it was the end of the road for former top 20 player Bernard Tomic, bowing out in straight sets to seventh seed, United States’ Denis Kudla. Jason Kubler and Matt Ebden also departed the first round of qualifying, along with wildcards, Harry Bourchier and Tristan Schoolkate who went down to seeded opponents.

Also out of the running for an Australian Open spot were the likes of Israel’s Dudi Sela, Slovakia’s Martin Klizan and Slovenia’s Blaz Rola, with the latter copping Ukraine’s Sergiy Stakhovsky in the first round, a 34-year old veteran who reached as high as 31st in the world rankings back in 2010. Names to keep an eye on as they run to the main draw include Italian Pablo Lorenzi (career high 34th), with the 12th seed almost unfairly playing unseeded Lukas Rosol (career high 26) with both more than capable of causing headaches for opponents despite now being 38 and 34 years of age respectively. Latvia’s Ernests Gulbis might be sitting at a lowly 254th in the world rankings, but who could forget when he reached the top 10 back in 2014, on the back of a couple of titles in France. He has not won a title since, but is far too good to be playing through qualifying.

In today’s matches, number one seed Austrian Dennis Novak starts his road to the main draw against consistent German, Dustin Brown, while Switzerland’s Henri Laaksonen – seeded second – will take on Australian talent Rinky Hijkata. In the value basket of players more than worthy of an automatic main draw spot but for one reason or another find themslves low down the order are Serbia’s Viktor Troicki, Belgium’s Steve Darcis and Kimmer Coppejans, France’s Nicolas Mahut and ninth seed, Japan’s Go Soeda. Akira Santillan will lead the Australian charge on Day 2, taking on France’s Quentin Halys, with just he and Hijkata left to play their first round matches.

Men’s Day 1 Results:

[7] D. Kudla (USA) defeated B. Tomic (AUS) 7-6 6-3
[10] N. Gombos (SVK) defeated J. Ficovich (ARG) 6-4 6-1
[WC] A. Vukic (AUS) defeated [11] T. Fabbiano (ITA) 7-6 6-4
[12] P. Lorenzi (ITA) defeated A. Menendez-Maceiras (ESP) 6-3 6-3
[13] G. Mager (ITA) defeated M. Ebden (AUS) 7-5 6-4
M. Janvier (FRA) defeated [14] A. Hoang (FRA) 7-6 6-7 6-1
[15] F. Coria (ARG) defeated R. Ramanathan 4-6 6-4 6-1
[16] P. Gojowczyk (GER) defeated T. Seyboth Wild (BRA) 6-4 6-2
[17] P. Gunneswaran (IND) defeated [WC] H. Bourchier (AUS) 6-2 6-4
[19] J. Jung (TAI) defeated D. Young (USA) 6-4 6-7 6-1
[26] K. Kovalik (SVK) defeated T. Kamke (GER) 6-1 7-6
[WC] B. Mott (AUS) defeated [27] P. Sousa (POR) 6-3 6-4
Z. Li (CHN) defeated [28] D. Sela (ISR) 7-6 5-3 RET
[29] J. Varillas (PER) defeated [WC] T. Schoolkate (AUS) 2-6 7-5 7-5
P. Krstin (SRB) defeated [30] M. Klizan (SVK) 6-3 6-2
S. Stakhovsky (UKR) defeated [31] B. Rola (SLO) 7-6 6-4
I. Ivashka (BLR) defeated L. Broady (GBR) 6-3 6-0
J. Domingues (POR) defeated M. Moraing (GER) 7-6 6-3
M. Purcell (AUS) defeated A. Collarini (ARG) 7-6 6-7 6-4
R. Marcora (ITA) defeated L. Lacko (SVK) 6-3 6-2
F. Ferreira Silva (POR) defeated J. Nam (KR) 2-6 6-4 6-4
M. Bachinger (GER) defeated [WC] J. Kubler (AUS) 7-5 7-5
D. Galan (COL) defeated F. Baldi (ITA) 6-1 6-2
L. Rosol (CZE) defeated T. Lamasine (FRA) 6-4 6-3
P. Martinez (ESP) defeated J. Lenz (GER) 6-0 6-1
[WC] L. Saville (AUS) defeated M. Torpegaard (AUT) 6-3 6-3
M. Viola (ITA) defeated N. Kuhn (ESP) 4-6 6-3 3-1 RET
A. Tabilo (CHI) defeated B. Zapata Miralles (ESP) 7-6 2-6 6-3
E. Gulbis (LAT) defeated M. Cressy (USA) 6-3 6-3
Y. Hanfmann (GER) defeated C. Taberner (ESP) 7-6 6-1
B. Kavcic (SLO) defeated J. Clarke (GBR) 7-6 3-6 6-2
C. Lestienne (FRA) defeated B. Van de Zandschulp (NED) 6-3 1-6 7-5

Looking at the women’s first round of qualifying, 14 of the 16 seeds made it through unscathed, with only Germany’s Antonia Lottner smashing 17th seed, Katarzyna Kawa from Poland 6-2 6-1, while United States’ Whitney Osuigwe – seeded 26th – went down to Italian, Martina Di Giuseppe, 3-6 6-4 6-1. Russian 12th seed, Liudmila Samsonova had the easiest match of the day, breezing through with a 6-1 6-0 rout of China’s Lu Jia-Jing. Elsewhere, number one seed, Ana Bogdan moved through to the next round after downing Australian wildcard, Ivana Popovic, while Switzerland’s Stefanie Voegele and Romania’s Monica Niculescu – both former top 50 players – are on track to face off in the third round for a spot in the main draw.

From the Australian point of view, 21st seed Maddison Inglis made it through in an absolute epic contest, winning 6-3 0-6 7-6 with the final tiebreaker going to 19-17 before she could move through against Slovakian Rebecca Sramkova. Now Inglis faces a huge task in former world number five Canada’s Eugenie Bouchard – now ranked 211th in the world. Belinda Woolcock takes on Bogdan in an equally tough match after downing countrywoman and fellow wildcard, Olivia Tjandramulia easily, 6-0 6-3. A couple of Australians were also bundled out with Abbie Myers and Ellen Perez both out after tough first round draws.

Bouchard is clearly the standout player to watch given her fall from the heights that saw her an established top 10 player despite only winning one title. Along with Bogdan, Voegele and Niculescu, there is plenty of talent capable of upsetting a top 100 player in the main draw, while Nicole Gibbs is also a confident player after her run at Limoges last month, making it through to the next round.

Second seed Japan’s Nao Hibino begins her campaign today, with a number of enthralling contests. From a home court point of view, Storm Sanders will lead the Australian charge, taking on American Robin Anderson, while Kaylah McPhee has the toughest draw against 13th seed Belgian Greet Minnen. Jaimee Fourlis is the other Australian out on court today, taking on China’s Xun Fang Ying. Some matches to watch include Italian Sara Errani taking on fifth seed Russian, Anna Kalinskaya who it is fair to say would be shaking her head at copping a former top five player in the first round of qualifying. Poland’s Urszula Radwanska (career high 29th) and Sweden’s Johanna Larsson (20th) battling it out on Court 10 is a must-watch for a first round of qualifying.

Women’s Day 1 Results:

[1] A. Bogdan (ROU) defeated [WC] I. Popovic (AUS) 7-6 6-4
[8] A. Bolsova (ESP) defeated P. Ozgen (TUR) 6-2 6-3
[9] Y. Bonaventure (BEL) defeated [WC] D. Parry (FRA) 6-2 7-5
[11] S. Voegele (SUI) defeated D. Jakupovic (SLO) 4-6 6-5 RET
[12] L. Samsonova (RUS) defeated J. Lu (CHN) 6-1 6-0
[14] F. Di Lorenzo (USA) defeated J. Grabher (AUT) 6-3 6-2
[15] N. Gibbs (USA) defeated C. Bucsa (ESP) 6-0 2-6 7-5
[16] V. Flink (CZE) defeated O. Dodin (FRA) 7-6 6-3
A. Lottner (GER) defeated [17] K. Kawa (POL) 6-2 6-1
[20] M. Niculescu (ROU) defeated A. Kalinina (UKR) 7-6 6-2
[21] M. Inglis (AUS) defeated R. Sramkova (SVK) 6-3 0-6 7-6
[23] T. Martincova (CZE) defeated A. Krunic (SRB) 6-1 6-1
[24] X. Wang (CHN) defeated R. Hogenkamp (NED) 6-3 6-2
M. Di Giuseppe (ITA) defeated [26] W. Osuigwe (USA) 3-6 6-4 6-1
[30] C. Dolehide (USA) defeated M. Bolvadze (GEO) 6-3 6-2
[31] A. Li (USA) defeated M. Sherif (IRQ) 6-3 7-5
[WC] B. Woolcock (AUS) defeated [WC] O. Tjandramulia (AUS) 6-0 6-3
Y. Wickmayer (BEL) [WC] E. Perez (AUS) 7-6 6-1
S. Rogers (USA) defeated M. Barthel (GER) 6-4 6-0
O. Govortsova (BLR) defeated [WC] A. Myers (AUS) 7-5 7-5
M. Trevisan (ITA) defeated J. Cristian (ROU) 6-2 6-2
E. Bouchard (CAN) defeated X. You (CHN) 4-6 7-6 6-1
D. Satralova (CZE) defeated X. Han (CHN) 6-2 6-1
V. Tomova (BUL) defeated A. Raina (IND) 6-2 7-6
H. Baptiste (USA) defeated K. Okamura (JPN) 6-1 6-4
M. Osorio Serano (COL) defeated N. Kostic (SRB) 2-6 6-1 6-1
E. Cocciaretto (ITA) defeated B. Schoofs (NED) 6-7 7-5 6-3
V. Savinykh (RUS) defeated N. Bains (GBR) 6-2 6-2
H. Dart (GBR) defeated E. Kostova (BLR) 6-4 6-1
G. Gatto-Monticone (ITA) defeated F. Liu (CHN) 6-2 6-0
D. Aiava (AUS) defeated K. Rakhimova (RUS) 6-4 6-2
C. Muramatsu (JPN) defeated M. Melnikova (RUS) 6-1 5-7 6-4