Tag: jessica pegula

WTA Tour wrap: Seeds fail to fire as upsets made in marathon matches

THREE seeds fell in a highly unpredictable second day of Round of 16 proceedings at Madrid, as the competition heats up heading into the quarter finals. It was a huge difference in comparison to the day prior, as just one of the higher ranked opposition retained the mantle in their respective clashes, as just one match was completed in under two hours.

The big upset of the day saw Elise Mertens down Simona Halep, as the 13th seed Belgian claimed a 4-6 7-5 7-5 scalp of the second seed Romanian. Whilst Halep captured the first set with relative ease, Mertens fought back well to take the upper hand and came from a break down in both the second and third sets to deny Halep the win. Whilst Mertens came in as the underdog with zero wins from three clay court encounters with the Romanian, she was relentless in her approach and despite being error-ridden, capitalised off an uncharacteristically messy Halep.

“I want to be on court as long as possible, especially after losing the first set,” said Mertens. “I didn’t think too much about the score, I was just thinking about the way I should play to improve myself.”

Whilst Halep was more effective on serve throughout, Mertens was far more efficient winning points off 68.3 per cent of her serve, off a 63.2 per cent clip. Mertens will take on Aryna Sabalenka in the quarter finals, following a zippy 6-1 6-2 victory in the lone two-setter of the day against American Jessica Pegula.

“She (Sabalenka) is on fire, she’s making a lot of angles and winners,” said Mertens. “I’ll just try to put as many balls in the court as I can and try to take over a little bit when there’s a shorter ball. “She played Barty (Ash Barty) last week, and I’m definitely going to watch a little bit of that match, because Barty also likes slice and everything to mix it up.”

Sabalenka hit 25 winners for 13 unforced errors throughout the sub-one hour encounter, requiring just 52 minutes in by far the quickest match of the round.

At the other end of the scale were the remaining two Round of 16 matches, which saw Karolina Muchova narrowly claim the win over 16th seed Maria Sakkari 6-0 6-7 7-5, as Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova downed 11th seed Jennifer Brady in the longest match of the day, needing two hours and 45 minutes to register a tough 7-5 6-7 6-3 victory. With both winners outlasting in thrillers, it is safe to say neither will back down in their quarter final battle tomorrow.

“I tried to forget actually those [first] two sets, and it was 1-1, so we started with a clear slate,” Muchova said. “I just tried to stay focused and on every ball, to fight till the end. Yeah, it showed me that it was worth it.

“I would actually appreciate to play two sets, but I’m happy I made it,” she said. “It was a very tough match. It’s definitely good for confidence for the next matches.”

“I think it’s a hell of a draw since the first round,” Pavlyuchenkova said post-match. “Any tournament when you beat a Top 10, or I beat Karolina (Karolina Pliskova), she was No.6-seeded here, you think, ‘Okay, it either might be a little easier or open draw.’ But it got even tougher. It gets tougher and tougher and tougher.”

MUTUA MADRID OPEN ROUND OF 16 RESULTS:

[13] Elise Mertens (BEL) defeated [2] Simona Halep (ROU) 4-6 7-5 7-5
[5] Aryna Sabalenka (BLR) defeated Jessica Pegula (USA) 6-1 6-2
Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (RUS) defeated [11] Jennifer Brady (USA) 7-5 6-7 6-3
Karolina Muchova (CZE) defeated [16] Maria Sakkari (GRE) 6-0 6-7 7-5

Picture credit: Jimmie48/WTA

WTA Tour wrap: Mixed bag at Madrid as Muchova and Pavlyuchenkova claim scalps

DAY 6 at the Mutua Madrid Open saw plenty happen around the courts, as second seed Naomi Osaka was ousted in the lone three-setter of the day, while it was also not sixth seed Karolina Pliskova‘s day as the Czech talent fell in straight sets.

It was an excellent effort from Karolina Muchova that saw her inhibit Osaka in their clash, seeing the Czech claim victory 6-4 3-6 6-1. Whilst Osaka worked her way back into the contest after dropping the first set, Muchova commanded control to run home with a whopping 92.9 per cent winning rate off her first serve in the final set, including two of her five aces.

“It was a tough match today, but we had some preparation,” Muchova said post-match. “I was ready to play with all I had today, and to use all the weapons I could and [do] what I can. I’m definitely happy it worked out today.”

Muchova is the newest member of the WTA world top 20, and in this contest it showed. Overall, she hit 29 winners off a fairly efficient 66.2 per cent first serve, as well as converting four of eight break points.

“I was trying to move [Osaka] as much as possible,” Muchova said. “That was the tactic. It sounds easy like that, but, you know, she’s playing really fast so it’s not that easy on the court.

“In the second set especially, she started to be very aggressive. I got back to what I did in the first set in the third set, and again, tried to move her left, right, dropshots, but still in a fast way. In the third set, it went my way.”

Meanwhile, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova advanced to the third round with a clean 6-0 7-5 sweep of Pliskova, credit to her 20 winners for just 14 unforced errors. Whilst Pliskova bit back in the second set, she was undone by her own 28 errors which spelled trouble, before Pavlyuchenkova commanded control once more to run out victor in just under 75 minutes. Third seed Simona Halep and fifth seed Aryna Sabalenka retained control throughout their respective contests to claim respective one hour and 19-minute wins, while a couple of Americans joined the fray as Jennifer Brady downed Jelena Ostapenko 6-2 6-1, and Jessica Pegula was dealt a walkover from 12th seed Victoria Azarenka.

The remaining two games ended in fairly predictable circumstances as 13th seed Elise Mertens and 16th seed Maria Sakkari proved too good, and while Mertens was challenged in her two hour and 13 minute matchup with Elena Rybakina, Sakkari skated home against Anett Kontaveit with ease.

MUTUA MADRID OPEN ROUND OF 32 RESULTS:

Karolina Muchova (CZE) defeated [2] Naomi Osaka (JPN) 6-4 3-6 6-1
[3] Simona Halep (ROM) defeated Zheng Saisai (CHN) 6-0 6-4
[5] Aryna Sabalenka (BLR) defeated Daria Kasatkina (RUS) 6-3 6-3
Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (RUS) defeated [6] Karolina Pliskova (CZE) 6-0 7-5
[11] Jennifer Brady (USA) defeated Jelena Ostapenko (LAT) 6-2 6-1
Jessica Pegula (USA) defeated [12] Victoria Azarenka (BLR) W/O
[13] Elise Mertens (BEL) defeated Elena Rybakina (KAZ) 7-6 7-5
[16] Maria Sakkari (GRE) defeated Anett Kontaveit (EST) 6-3 6-1

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 Miami Open 1000: Top talents prevail in majority seeded battles

THE WTA Miami Open 1000 Round of 16 fielded majority seeded encounters on Day 8 in the United States, and while a couple of matches went exactly to plan for top talents, results went awry for others in a couple of three set battles.

Top two seeds Ash Barty and Naomi Osaka both came away with wins on Day 8, with Osaka downing 16th seed Elise Mertens 6-3 6-3, though the world number one was certainly issued a more intriguing and tough battle than the recent Australian Open champion, taken to three sets by Belarusian Victoria Azarenka. Whilst Barty took out the first set efficiently, 6-1, Azarenka bit back and gave back Barty the flipped result in the second to go one apiece. The decider saw Barty come away with the 6-1 1-6 6-2 victory as she regained momentum and sped home, hitting six aces off a 66.7 per cent clip, but was inconsistent off her second serve winning just 11 points and hitting two double faults to Azarenka’s five. The Belarusian’s compatriot in seventh seed Aryna Sabalenka had a much easier time of it, exploding out of the blocks in a one hour and seven minute encounter with Czech Marketa Vondrousova, 6-1 6-2. Sabalenka won 76.3 per cent of her first serve points on her way through to the quarter finals, hitting five aces as she did so.

It was a rough day for the Czech Republic with left-hander Petra Kvitova also falling, although she fought to the bitter end after taking out the first set with ease over Elina Svitolina. The two hour and 22-minute matchup was the second-longest of the day with both the second and third sets going to seven games, resulting in the 2-6 7-5 7-5 victory for the Ukrainian. Whilst both players were error-ridden in patches, Svitolina limited her double faults comparatively (4-9) and was marginally more effective off her first serve despite a lack of efficiency. The longest match honours went to a huge clash between 20-plus seeds Jessica Pegula (29th) and Maria Sakkari (23rd), with the Greek talent reigning supreme in a hotly contest 6-4 2-6 7-6(6) battle. Whilst Pegula appeared to have the upper hand throughout the third set, the higher-ranked Sakkari was more consistent on serve to retain victory despite the loss of momentum during the second.

The only unseeded matchup of the day saw victory go the way of Latvian Anastasija Sevastova, who cleaned up Croatian Ana Konjuh 6-1 7-5. Konjuh’s dream return was almost retained with the tight second set taken to seven games, but her 11 double faults let her down as Sevastova made the most of the Croatian’s missed chances. The remaining two matches of the day will play out between Sara Sorribes Tormo and Ons Jabeur, and Bianca Andreescu and Garbine Muguruza, respectively.

WTA MIAMI OPEN ROUND OF 16 RESULTS:

[1] Ash Barty (AUS) defeated [14] Victoria Azarenka (BLR) 6-11-6 6-2
[2] Naomi Osaka (JPN) defeated [16] Elise Mertens (BEL) 6-3 6-3
[5] Elina Svitolina (UKR) defeated [9] Petra Kvitova (CZE) 2-6 7-5 7-5
[7] Aryna Sabakenka (BLR) defeated [19] Marketa Vondrousova (CZE) 6-1 6-2
Anastasija Sevastova (LAT) defeated Ana Konjuh (CRO) 6-1 7-5
[23] Maria Sakkari (GRE) defeated [29] Jessica Pegula (USA) 6-4 2-6 7-6

Sara Sorribes Tormo (ESP) v. [27] Ons Jabeur (TUN)
[8] Bianca Andreescu (CAN) v. [12] Garbine Muguruza (ESP)

WTA Miami Open 1000: Tight clashes see Kenin and Pliskova fall in Round of 32

THE Miami Open Round of 32 is complete with a series of intriguing results setting the tone for the fourth round of proceedings as we enter the second week of the WTA 1000 event. Just one match went down in straight sets on a massive day of competition, with plenty to fight for.

Top seed of the day Naomi Osaka by far had the easiest encounter, not required to take the court as she was handed a walkover from Serbian Nina Stojanovic. Things did not go quite as well for fellow top five talent Sofia Kenin though, as the American fell in three sets to 27th seed Tunisian, Ons Jabeur 6-4 4-6 6-4. The one hour and 47-minute blitz saw Jabeur pile on 11 aces for three double faults off a 50 per cent clip, winning 73.8 per cent of point off her first serve. While Kenin was more efficient, she lacked intensity and was far less effective off her second serve, failing to keep in the tight contest. Jessica Pegula downed Karolina Pliskova in an impressive effort, with the two hour and nine minute clash coming to blows following an explosive start from the American 29th seed. Sixth seed Pliskova lacked potency with her eight double faults for five aces, while it was Pegula’s improved second serve effectiveness that saw her clinch the 6-1 4-6 6-4 victory.

Meanwhile, three more seeds joined the winners circle as Garbine MuguruzaElise Mertens and Maria Sakkari all reigned supreme in their respective encounters, though just Mertens came up against a fellow seed as she disposed of Anett Kontaveit in a bizarre seesawing 6-2 0-6 6-2 battle. While Mertens appeared to have the upper hand early, her shocking second set was characterised by sloppy service games, hitting six of her 10 double faults and winning just two of her second serve points. Improved effectiveness during the third set saw the momentum tilt her way once more, however the lack of consistency could prove critical in upcoming matches. Sakkari completed the quickest win of the day with a comparable 6-0 6-1 sweep of qualifier Liudmila Samsonova in just 67 minutes, whilst Spaniard Sara Sorribes Tormo joined compatriot Muguruza on the winners list, as both downed their respective foes in two-plus hour clashes. Sorribes Tormo claimed the early ascendancy against Elena Rybakina, with the Kazakh 21st seed unable to control proceedings following a sloppy 6-1 start, eventually falling 6-1 3-6 6-2 in two hours and 24 minutes. Muguruza’s two-hour and 41-minute encounter with Anna Kalinskaya saw the 12th seed fight back after dropping the first set, attacking the ball better to come away with the 4-6 6-3 6-4 result.

WTA MIAMI OPEN ROUND OF 32 RESULTS:

[2] Naomi Osaka (JPN) defeated Nina Stojanovic (SRB) W/O
[27] Ons Jabeur (TUN) defeated [4] Sofia Kenin (USA) 6-4 4-6 6-4
[29] Jessica Pegula (USA) defeated [6] Karolina Pliskova (CZE) 6-1 4-6 6-4
[12] Garbine Muguruza (ESP) defeated Anna Kalinskaya (RUS) 4-6 6-3 6-4
[16] Elise Mertens (BEL) defeated [22] Anett Kontaveit (EST) 6-2 0-6 6-2
Sara Sorribes Tormo (ESP) defeated [21] Elena Rybakina (KAZ) 6-1 3-6 6-2
[23] Maria Sakkari (GRE) defeated Liudmila Samsonova (RUS) 6-0 6-1
[8] Bianca Andreescu (CAN) v. Amanda Anisimova (USA)

WTA Miami Open 1000: Trio of seeds downed in three sets as second round completed

THREE out of the four seeds defeated in the second round of the 2021 WTA Tour’s Miami Open 1000 event were knocked out in close contests, going down in three sets. Tenth seed Kiki Bertens was the highest ranked seed to fall, though she was incredibly disappointing yet again, continuing her poor 2021 form to lose 6-1 6-2 to Russian Liudmila Samsonova. The other seeds to be knocked out in tighter contests were 13th seed Jennifer Brady, 20th seed Petra Martic and 26th seed Yulia Putintseva.

Spanish talent Sara Sorribes Tormo proved too good for Australian Open finalist Brady, winning in a come-from-behind victory, 3-6 6-4 6-1. It was a similar story for both Russian Anna Kalinskaya and Serbian Nina Stojanovic, who also triumphed in three-set come-from-behind matches. Kalinskaya knocked off Martic 5-7 6-2 7-6, while Stojanovic took out Putintseva, 5-7 7-5 6-2. The quartet of unseeded players were the only ones to advance on the day, with the remaining matches won by the higher ranked seeds.

At the top of the list was second seed Naomi Osaka who saved set points in the first set to put away plucky Australian Ajla Tomlljanovic in the Japanese star’s first match since her Australian Open triumph. Osaka won 7-6 6-4 and managed to get it done in straight sets, whilst the previous Australian Open winner had it much tougher. Fourth seed Sofia Kenin needed three sets to overcome German Andrea Petkovic, dropping the first set in a tiebreaker, before running away with it 6-7 6-1 6-3. Anett Kontaveit also needed three sets in her win over Sorana Cirstea, while Ons Jabeur held off a determined Paula Badosa in the tightest contest of the day, 7-6 5-7 7-5 to advance through to the Round of 32.

“This is my first match since Australia, so I just really wanted to play well,” Osaka said post-match. “I kind of feel like I’m at home here, because I grew up [near here] for most of my life.”

The other seeds were able to get up in straight sets, with Karolina Pliskova having a confidence-boosting 6-1 6-1 thrashing over China’s Zheng Saisai, with Elena Rybakina, Elise Mertens and Maria Sakkari having similar one-sided results during their second round wins. Amanda Anisimova knocked off Sloane Stephens in the battle of the Americans 6-3 6-3, while Jessica Pegula joined Anisimova in the next round, with the American winning 6-3 6-4 over Australian Storm Sanders. In other results, Canadian Bianca Andreescu, Spaniard Garbine Muguruza and Belgian Elise Mertens also all won to book their spots in the next round, in what was an entertaining day of play at Miami.

MIAMI OPEN 1000 ROUND OF 64 RESULTS:

[2] Naomi Osaka (JPN) defeated Ajla Tomljanovic (AUS) 7-6 6-4
[4] Sofia Kenin (USA) defeated Andrea Petkovic (GER) 6-7 6-1 6-3
[6] Karolina Pliskova (CZE) defeated Zheng Saisai (CHN) 6-2 6-1
[8] Bianca Andreescu (CAN) defeated Tereza Martincova (CZE) 7-6 6-0
Liudmila Samsonova (RUS) defeated [10] Kiki Bertens (NED) 6-2 6-1
[12] Garbine Muguruza (ESP) defeated Wang Xinyu (CHN) 6-4 6-1
Sara Sorribes Tormo (ESP) defeated [13] Jennifer Brady (USA) 3-6 6-4 6-1
[16] Elise Mertens (BEL) defeated Katie Boulter (GBR) 6-4 6-1
Anna Kalinskaya (RUS) defeated [20] Petra Martic (CRO) 5-7 6-2 7-6
[21] Elena Rybakina (KAZ) defeated Kaia Kanepi (EST) 6-4 6-0
[22] Anett Kontaveit (EST) defeated Sorana Cirstea (ROU) 6-3 4-6 6-3
[23] Maria Sakkari (GRE) defeated Arantxa Rus (NED) 6-2 6-3
Nina Stojanovic (SRB) defeated [26] Yulia Putintseva (KAZ) 5-7 7-5 6-2
[27] Ons Jabeur (TUN) defeated Paula Badosa (ESP) 7-6 5-7 7-5
[28] Amanda Anisimova (USA) defeated Sloane Stephens (USA) 6-3 6-3
[29] Jessica Pegula (USA) defeated Storm Sanders (AUS) 6-3 6-4

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: Pegula smashes Pliskova on her way to final eight

RED-HOT Jessica Pegula is knocking down the door of the Top 30 during the 2021 WTA Dubai Tennis Championships, and her form suggests it could be a lot higher given her dominant 6-0 6-2 demolition job on second seed Karolina Pliskova, her second victory in as many weeks over the Czech. In 2021, Pegula is 21-4 and has made two quarter finals and one semi-final in her past three tournaments including the WTA 1000 Dubai event.

Coming into Dubai. Pegula was already at a career-high 36th in the world, but after her 53-minute rout of world number six Pliskova, Pegula has the opportunity to roll into the seeded places at a Grand Slam, breaking her highly fancied opponent in six of Pliskova’s seven games, and only dropping 11 points on serve in an eye-opening upset victory. The win backed up her previous victories over fellow Top 10 player Elina Svitolina and Pliskova in Doha.

Pegula will be a first-time WTA 1000 quarter finalist alongside another couple of underdogs in Russian wildcard Anastasia Potapova and Czech doubles talent Barbora Krejcikova. Potapova ended the run of sixth seed Belinda Bencic in three sets, 6-1 2-6 7-5 in a topsy turvy match, leading the top half of the draw completely seedless. Krejcikova disposed of Russian Svetlana Kuznetsova in straight sets to enter her first WTA 1000 quarter final, and will battle Potapova for further history eyeing off a semi-final.

With Coco Gauff and Jil Teichmann facing one another in the other quarter final in the top half, one player will reach their first ever WTA Tour 1000 final. Gauff took care of Czech qualfier Tereza Martincova in straight sets, 6-4 6-2 to face Teichmann who overcame Tunisian Ons Jabeur in an eye-opening match, 6-3 6-3. Gauff turns 17 on Saturday – the Dubai Tennis Championships final – with the teenager the highly fancied one to reach the decider.

In other results, the seeds rolled through with victories, as 10th seed Elise Mertens took care of France’s Caroline Garcia 6-4 6-2 to set up a clash with Pegula in the quarter finals. Meanwhile third seed Aryna Sabalenka will meet ninth seed Garbine Muguruza in a battle of different styles, with the Belarusian power player knocking out 15th seed Estonian Anett Kontaveit, while the reliable Spanish all-court talent took down Roland Garros winner Iga Swiatek, 6-0 6-4 in a dominant performance.

Krejcikova and Potapova are up first on Centre Court with Mertens and Pegula facing off in the other day match. At night, Muguruza and Sabalenka open the prime time slot, finished off by rising talents Teichmann and Gauff. Both Krejcikova and Pegula have a busy schedule on quarter finals day, also taking part in the doubles quarter finals too.

DUBAI TENNIS CHAMPIONSHIPS ROUND OF 16 RESULTS:

Jessica Pegula (USA) defeated [2] Karolina Pliskova (CZE) 6-0 6-2
[3] Aryna Sabalenka (BLR) defeated [15] Anett Kontaveit (EST) 6-3 6-2
[WC] Anastasia Potapova (RSU) defeated [6] Belinda Bencic (SUI) 6-1 2-6 7-5
[9] Garbine Muguruza (ESP) defeated [8] Iga Swiatek (POL) 6-0 6-4
[10] Elise Mertens (BEL) defeated Caroline Garcia (FRA) 6-4 6-2
Jil Teichmann (SUI) defeated Ons Jabeur (TUN) 6-3 6-3
[WC] Coco Gauff (USA) defeated [Q] Tereza Martincova (CZE) 6-4 6-2
Barbora Krejcikova (CZE) defeated Svetlana Kuznetsova (RUS) 6-3 6-2

 

Picture credit: Jimmie48/WTA

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: Mertens fights tough as six of seven seeds advance to Dubai second round

SIX of the seven seeds advanced at Dubai in what was largely a predictable day, but a couple of past Top 30 players were knocked out early on. With the top eight seeds having a bye from the first round, seven of the other seeds took to the court on day two of the main draw singles, with the majority having successful outings.

Ninth seed Garbine Muguruza bounced back from her sheepish Qatar Total Open final loss to record a solid 6-3 7-5 victory over Irina-Camelia Begu. Eleventh seed Madison Keys was even swifter with a 6-1 6-1 rout of Chinese Taipei’s Liang En-Shuo in just 64 minutes. It was the not the quickest rout of the day for seeds however, with 15th seed Anett Kontaveit smashing Hungarian doubles star, Timea Babos 6-2 6-1 in 57 minutes.

Also through to the next round were 14th seed Elena Rybakina and 12th seed Marketa Vondrousova who both won in straight sets, while 10th seed Elise Mertens had a fight on her hands. The Belgian won from a set down against Bulgarian lucky loser Viktoriya Tomova, 4-6 6-2 6-4. Despite having to win in three, Mertens still at last booked her spot in the second round, which was not the case for 13th seed Petra Martic. The Croatian’s poor form in 2021 continued, going down to Frenchwoman Kristina Mladenovic, 7-6 6-4.

The quickest match of the day by far was Amanda Anisimova‘s 6-2 6-2 smashing of Croatian qualifier Ana Konjuh in 52 minutes, as the American put in her best performance of the past 12 months. Fellow Americans, Shelby Rogers and Jessica Pegula booked their spots in the second round, with Rogers overcoming Estonian qualifier Kaia Kanepi 7-6 6-2, and Australian Open quarter finalist Pegula defeated Kazakhstan’s Yaroslava Shvedova, 6-2 6-1. Swiss talent Jil Teichmann and Latvian Anastasija Sevastova also blitzed their respective opponents to move into the Round of 32.

Fellow Latvian Jelena Ostapenko knocked out another Romanian in Patricia Maria Tig, whilst the sole Romanian through to the second round was Sorana Cirstea who accounted for former Top 30 player, Lesia Tsurenko 6-4 6-4. Amongst the other matches were a host of three-set battles. Lucky loser Misaki Doi won her second consecutive first round match after losing in qualifying, defeating Slovenian Polona Hercog 6-2 4-6 6-3 to make her way through to the next stage. Meanwhile Frenchwoman Caroline Garcia accounted for German Grand Slam winner Angelique Kerber 3-6 6-2 6-4 in a come-from-behind win, while Czech qualifier Tereza Martincova upset her higher ranked compatriot Kristyna Pliskova in a three-set epic, 7-6 6-7 6-3.

DUBAI TENNIS CHAMPIONSHIPS ROUND OF 64 RESULTS:

[9] Garbine Muguruza (ESP) defeated [Q] Irina-Camelia Begu (ROU) 6-3 7-5
[10] Elise Mertens (BEL) defeated [LL] Viktoriya Tomova (BUL) 4-6 6-2 6-4
[11] Madison Keys (USA) defeated Liang En-Shuo (TAI) 6-1 6-1
[12] Marketa Vondrousova (CZE) defeated [Q] Ana Bogdan (ROU) 6-4 6-4
Kristina Mladenovic (FRA) defeated [13] Petra Martic (CRO) 7-6 6-4
[14] Elena Rybakina (KAZ) defeated Zheng Saisai (CHN) 6-0 6-4
[15] Anett Kontaveit (EST) defeated [WC] Timea Babos (HUN) 6-2 6-1
Shelby Rogers (USA) defeated [Q] Kaia Kanepi (EST) 7-6 6-2
Amanda Anisimova (USA) defeated [Q] Ana Konjuh (CRO) 6-2 6-2
Jil Teichmann (SUI) defeated [Q] Katarina Zavatska (UKR) 6-1 6-2
Jelena Ostapenko (LAT) defeated Patricia Maria Tig (ROU) 6-3 6-3
[Q] Tereza Martincova (CZE) defeated Kristyna Pliskova (CZE) 7-6 6-7 6-3
Caroline Garcia (FRA) defeated Angelique Kerber (GER) 3-6 6-2 6-4
Sorana Cirstea (ROU) defeated [Q] Lesia Tsurenko (UKR) 6-4 6-4
[LL] Misaki Doi (JPN) defeated Polona Hercog (SLO) 6-2 4-6 6-3
Jessica Pegula (USA) defeated Yaroslava Shvedova (KAZ) 6-2 6-1
[WC] Anastasia Potapova (RUS) defeated Laura Siegemund (GER) 6-3 6-2
Anastasija Sevastova (LAT) defeated Bernarda Pera (USA) 6-0 6-3

Picture credit: WTA/Jimmie48