Tag: karolina pliskova

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 Tour wrap: Big guns book spots in Stuttgart

FOUR of the top five players at the 2021 Porsche Tennis Grand Prix in Stuttgart, setting up a blockbuster pair of semi-finals. Top seed Ash Barty came from behind to post a three-set win over sixth seed Karolina Pliskova in an impressive 2-6 6-1 7-5 victory, one of three full-length quarter finals matches.

The match lasted two hours and one minute before Barty could book her spot in the final four, serving seven aces to five and winning 30 of 38 points off her first serve, as she punished Pliskova’s second serve (35.9 per cent success rate). Pliskova did break Barty three times from her only chances, but Barty set up a whopping 19 break point chances. She did only break five times in the end, but the pressure was immense.

“In a sense it was probably a match of two sets,” Barty said post-match. “In the first set I wasn’t able to build any pressure. Kaja was getting in and out of her serving games too quickly, and in turn was then having freedom on my service games. But being able to flip that switch right from the first game of the second set was important. To then make it more of a physical match was what we were after, and over time we were able to get the match back on my terms as much as we expected.”

Fourth seed Ukrainian Elina Svitolina also had to come from behind, fighting off two match points from seventh seed Czech Petra Kvitova to win in three sets, 6-7 7-5 6-2 to secure a semi-finals spot. The match lasted two hours and 37 minutes, and Svitolina dropped the first set tiebreaker 7-4, before managing to win eight of the last 10 games of the match to secure the victory.

“A big battle is always very satisfying, and you know that the hard work pays off,” Svitolina said post-match. “It’s always an unbelievable feeling to go through this kind of match.”

Fifth seed Aryna Sabalenka also had to battle through in three sets, eventually overcoming Estonian Anett Kontaveit, 7-5 4-6 6-1. The Belarusian won in two hours and 28 minutes in another epic struggle, serving seven aces to four, and winning 70.7 per cent of her first serve points off a 60.5 per cent clip. She broke five times from 10 chances against the Estonian, but more impressively saved 15 of 18 break point opportunities for her opponent.

Meanwhile over in Istanbul, top seed Elise Mertens breezed through in straight sets over Czech Katerina Siniakova 6-4 6-4, joining third seed Veronika Kudermetova in the final four after the Russian won in a come-from-behind victory over Romanian Ana Bogdan, 2-6 6-3 6-3. Also through to the semi-finals were Romanian Sorana Cirstea and Ukrainian Marta Kostyuk. Cirstea defeated Fiona Ferro 6-4 0-0 with the Frenchwoman having to retire after the first set, while Kostyuk went the full distance to win 7-5 4-6 6-3 over Croatian Ana Konjuh.

PORSCHE TENNIS GRAND PRIX QUARTER FINALS RESULTS:

[1] Ash Barty (AUS) defeated [6] Karolina Pliskova (CZE) 2-6 6-1 7-5
[2] Simona Halep (ROU) defeated Ekaterina Alexandrova (RUS) 6-1 6-4
[4] Elina Svitolina (UKR) defeated [7] Petra Kvitova (CZE) 6-7 7-5 6-2
[5] Aryna Sabalenka (BLR) defeated Anett Kontaveit (EST) 7-5 4-6 6-1

TEB BNP PARIBAS TENNIS CHAMPIONSHIP ISTANBUL QUARTER FINALS RESULTS:

[1] Elise Mertens (BEL) defeated Katerina Siniakova (CZE) 6-4 6-4
[3] Veronika Kudermetova (RUS) defeated Ana Bogdan (ROU) 2-6 6-3 6-3
Sorana Cirstea (ROU) defeated Fiona Ferro (FRA) 6-4 0-0 RET
Marta Kostyuk (UKR) defeated Ana Konjuh (CRO) 7-5 4-6 6-3

Picture credit: Jimmie48/WTA

WTA Tour wrap: Halep cleans up in 56 minutes as seeds control proceedings

TWO seeds fell across a widely predictable day on the WTA Tour, with the two events seeing fairly convincing results across the board.

At the WTA 500 Porsche Tennis Gand Prix in Stuttgart, Germany, four world top 10s all proceeded to the quarter finals, with world number two and top seed Simona Halep doing it in style with a 6-1 6-3 sweep of Czech Marketa Vondrousova in just 56 minutes. Vondrousova’s sixth seed compatriot Karolina Pliskova was the only player taken to three sets. Pliskova may have been tested early by Latvian Jelena Ostapenko, but retained control following a 7-6(6) first set deficit to claim the 6-7 6-4 6-3 victory.

Elina Svitolina overcame former world number one and German hopeful Angie Kerber to ensure she made the quarters, escaping the first set tiebreaker to speed through the second set and come away with the 7-6 6-3 victory. Things went even easier for fifth seed Aryna Sabalenka, overcoming another German in Anna-Lena Friedsam in 79 minutes, 6-4 6-2, hitting five aces apiece by controlling proceedings much better to command victory. The remaining match saw the only upset of the day in Germany, as Russian Ekaterina Alexandrova claimed entry into her maiden clay court quarter final, ousting eighth seed Belinda Bencic in the process. The Russian required 81 minutes to carve out her third top 20 win for 2021, hitting 12 aces in the final match of the day to seal the deal, 6-1 7-5.

PORSCHE TENNIS GRAND PRIX ROUND OF 16 RESULTS:

[2] Simona Halep (ROM) defeated Marketa Vondrousova (CZE) 6-1 6-3
[4] Elina Svitolina (UKR) defeated Angelique Kerber (GER) 7-6 6-3
[5] Aryna Sabalenka (BLR) defeated Anna-Lena Friedsam (GER) 6-4 6-2
[6] Karolina Pliskova (CZE) defeated Jelena Ostapenko (LAT) 6-7 6-4 6-3
Ekaterina Alexandrova (RUS) defeated [8] Belinda Bencic (SUI) 6-1 7-5

 

Meanwhile, at the WTA 250 TEB BNP Paribas Tennis Championship in Istanbul, Turkey, top seed Elise Mertens remains in the hunt for the crown with another win on the board, this time over Swiss talent Viktorija Golubic, although she was certainly forced to fight for the upper hand in the 6-4 4-6 6-1 clash. The second set slip did not appear to worry Mertens though, as she got down to business to lock Golubic away in the third set. Mertens is joined by third seed Veronika Kudermetova in the quarter finals, following the Russian’s clean 6-4 6-3 sweep of Estonian hard-hitter Kaia Kanepi.

Fifth seed Czech Barbora Krejcikova was not quite so lucky though, well and truly overcome by Romanian Ana Bogdan who was relentless in the 6-3 6-3 victory. Whilst Krejcikova served at an excellent 80 per cent efficiency, she failed to really take control or win points off her service games which allowed Bogdan to find a look in and claim the win. The remaining match of the day saw unseeded duo Fiona Ferro and Vera Zvonareva go head-to-head, with the former taking out the win in an inefficient showing from both players. Ferro’s lesser errors paid off however, eventually running away with the 6-3 6-3 win in 89 minutes.

TEB BNP PARIBAS TENNIS CHAMPIONSHIP ISTANBUL ROUND OF 16 RESULTS:

[1] Elise Mertens (BEL) defeated Viktorija Golubic (SUI) 6-4 4-6 6-1
[3] Veronika Kudermetova (RUS) defeated Kaia Kanepi (EST) 6-4 6-3
Ana Bogdan (ROM) defeated [5] Barbora Krejcikova (CZE) 6-3 6-3
Fiona Ferro (FRA) defeated Vera Zvonareva (RUS) 6-3 6-3

WTA Tour wrap: Kontaveit downs Kenin as Kostyuk and Konjuh clean up at Istanbul

ANOTHER fascinating day of action was had at both the WTA 500 event in Stuttgart, Germany and the WTA 250 event in Istanbul, Turkey, as the Round of 16 continued at both tournaments. Whilst seeds cleaned up the competition at the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix, it was a different story entirely at the TEB BNP Paribas Tennis Championship Istanbul, as both of the day’s seeds fell in intriguing results.

Sofia Kenin‘s shocking run of form has continued with another loss, this time to Anett Kontaveit. With just seven wins for the year, Kenin has failed to surpass the Round of 32 since prior to the Australian Open in early February. Conversely, Kontaveit has been fairly consistent and did that again in this encounter to sweep Kenin 7-5 6-4 in just over 90 minutes. Kenin was the only seed to fall on the day as first seed Ash Barty came out flying in her one hour and 24-minute matchup with German hopeful Laura Siegemund, overcoming a second set fight back to claim the 6-0 7-5 victory, though Siegemund’s compatriot and former world number one Angie Kerber was much more successful, cleaning up Georgian Ekaterine Gorgodze 6-2 6-2 for the quickest win of the day, requiring just 72 minutes.

Sixth and seventh seed Czech hard-hitters Karolina Pliskova and Petra Kvitova both reigned supreme as a third Czech in Marketa Vondrousova joined the winners list following a victory over compatriot Marie Bouzkova. Whilst Vondrousova claimed a fairly quick victory in comparision, both Pliskova and Kvitova were taken to three sets by their opposition as German lucky loser Tamara Korpatsch well and truly gave world number nine Pliskova a run for her money in a 7-5 3-6 6-3 clash. Kvitova slumped in the second set before reclaiming momentum to take home a classy win over Maria Sakkari. The remaining win of the day went to Latvian Jelena Ostapenko, who disposed of Stefanie Voegele in straight sets 6-4 7-5 to head into the quarter finals.

PORSCHE TENNIS GRAND PRIX ROUND OF 16 RESULTS:

[1] Ash Barty (AUS) defeated Laura Siegemund (GER) 6-0 7-5
Anett Kontaveit (EST) defeated [3] Sofia Kenin (USA) 7-5 6-4
[6] Karolina Pliskova (CZE) defeated Tamara Korpatsch (GER) 7-5 3-6 6-3
[7] Petra Kvitova (CZE) defeated Maria Sakkari (GRE) 6-3 3-6 6-3
Marketa Vondrousova (CZE) defeated Marie Bouzkova (CZE) 6-1 7-6
Angelique Kerber (GER) defeated Ekaterine Gorgodze (GEO) 6-2 6-2
Jelena Ostapenko (LAT) defeated Stefanie Voegele (SUI) 6-4 7-5

 

Both Daria Kasatkina and Wang Qiang fell in straight sets during the Istanbul Round of 16, failing to really challenge their opposition as Marta Kostyuk and Ana Konjuh came out flying and did not back down. Whilst Kasatkina forced a comeback in the second set to Kostyuk, a sloppy error rate left her unable to take advantage of opportunities as she fell 6-3 7-5 in just over 90 minutes. For Wang, it was Konjuh’s continued intensity which left the Chinese eighth seed unable to compete, struggling to retain composure as Konjuh’s consistency proved valuable in the 6-1 6-4 scalp.

In the remaining three games, it took three sets for Katerina Siniakova to overcome Kristina Mladenovic in by far the day’s longest matchup, with the Czech requiring almost two and a half hours to claim the 6-4 3-6 6-4 victory. Whilst Mladenovic made a second set comeback, it was not enough as Siniakova remained composed to save 13 break points and claim seven to take out a controlled victory. Romanian Sorana Cirstea was challenged early by Russian Anastasia Potapova before earning a break in the second and riding out the 7-6(6) 6-4 victory, while Kaia Kanepi was the fifth winner of the day with a 6-4 6-4 sweep of Kazakh Zarina Diyas to claim the quickest win of the day in one hour and 19 minutes.

 

TEB BNP PARIBAS TENNIS CHAMPIONSHIP ISTANBUL ROUND OF 16 RESULTS:

Marta Kostyuk (UKR) defeated [4] Daria Kasatkina (SLO) 6-3 7-5
Ana Konjuh (CRO) defeated  [8] Wang Qiang (CHN) 6-1 6-4
Katerina Siniakova (CZE) defeated Kristina Mladenovic (FRA) 6-4 3-6 6-4
Sorana Cirstea (ROM) defeated Anastasia Potapova (RUS) 7-6 6-4
Kaia Kanepi (EST) defeated Zarina Diyas (KAZ) 6-4 6-4

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

2021 ATP/WTA 1000 Miami Open preview: Federer and Nadal withdraw as Barty returns

THE 2021 Miami Open is set to begin this week, played from Monday, March 22 through to Sunday, April 4, with the 1000 event expected to showcase some high calibre encounters across both the ATP and WTA Tours. Whilst the men’s list is missing a couple of notable names within the top 20, the women’s draw will boast just about all of the big names in the biz as the season rolls on despite COVID-19 restrictions still impacting proceedings. Both the men’s and women’s reigning Australian Open champions are set to compete, highlighting the strength of the respective events.

On the ATP Tour, the clear omissions from the draw include Rafael NadalDominic Thiem and Roger Federer, with the trio’s absence making for a huge hole in the draw and a real opportunity for the developing players coming through the ranks to make their mark. Looking down the list, it’s safe to say Novak Djokovic and Daniil Medvedev are the clear frontrunners in as first and second seeds with one title apiece to start the year, whilst Stefanos Tsitsipas and Alexander Zverev are well within their chances here given the glaring absences. 2021 title-winners Andrey Rublev (Rotterdam title, 13-2 in 2021), Diego Schwartzman (Buenos Aires, 8-3) and David Goffin (Montpellier, 9-5) also register high in the draw, with the likes of Matteo Berrettini, Denis ShapovalovGael Monfils and Roberto Bautista Agut rounding out the top 11 or so players, pending shuffling from this week’s results. Factor in the explosiveness of the likes of Nick Kyrgios, who is still yet to confirm attendance, and the wealth of Spanish talent currently residing within and around the top 50, and there is so much that could go against the grain here.

Given it is an ATP 1000 event, there is no shortage of talent as players flock to Miami. Even heading down the list to lower ranked players, there are plenty of quality names across the board with in-form and young talent looking to add valuable points to their rankings. Two-time Miami champion Andy Murray is the big name wildcard at the event, joined by teen Carlos Alcaraz, Michael Mmoh, Hugo Gaston and Jack Draper in the main draw.

Heading to the women’s draw, and whilst there is more consistent top talent in the draw, that does not make it any easier to predict with the relatively even WTA Tour boasting a number of players who consistently step up at this level. Australian world number one and reigning 2019 Miami champion Ash Barty is reportedly set to compete after spending an unprecedented year way from the international circuit in 2020, joined by the ever formidable Naomi OsakaSimona HalepSofia Kenin and Elina Svitolina to round out the top five seeds. Also featuring are eight-time champion Serena Williams, who can never be overlooked in an event of this calibre, and a number of developing talents with French Open champion Iga Swiatek (2020) and 2019 US Open winner Bianca Andreescu both set to take the court here. Jennifer BradyKarolina Pliskova and Madison Keys are another few who cannot be dismissed, as are the ever exciting teens Coco Gauff and Amanda Anisimova.

Factor in the evenness and unpredictability of the women’s draw, with realistically any number of the top 20 – or upwards of that – capable of beating anyone on their day, and Miami will have a real battle on its hands. The women’s main draw wildcards include Anna Kalinskaya, Ana Konjuh, Storm Sanders, Katrina Scott, Mayar Sherif, Xiyu Wang and Xinyu Wang, with qualifiers for both the women’s and men’s events set to play out over March 22-23.

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