Tag: katie boulter

WTA Tour wrap: Jabeur and Sharma to face off in Charleston as Billie Jean King Cup playoff winners decided

ONS Jabeur and Astra Sharma will face off in the MUSC Health Women’s Open final after the respective players toppled their opponents overnight in the semi-finals. Top seed Jabeur continued her steam-rolling of opponents with a 6-3 6-0 smashing of Montenegro’s Danka Kovinic, reversing the result of last tournament, when Kovinic won in straight sets. The one-sided result threw back to Budapest in 2018 when Jabeur won in their other encounter 6-2 6-1.

In this match, Jabeur needed 89 minutes to win and dominated from midway through the first set to cruise to the easy victory, breaking a hopping seven times – bringing up 17 break point chances – whilst only dropping her own serve twice. She won 65 per cent of her first serve points to Kovinic’s 45 per cent, and whilst she struggled off her second serve (43.3 per cent), Kovinic won even less with just a 32.3 per cent success rate.

Sharma had a tougher first set against Colombian teenager Maria Camilla Osorio Serrano. The latter was coming off her maiden title last start, and was bringing it to Sharma in the first set, as the Australian needed to win 7-5 in the tiebreaker. From there she won six of the next seven games to get up 7-6 6-1 and book her spot in the final. Also yet to win a title at WTA Tour level in the singles format, Sharma is a one-time finalist at Bogota in 2019, where she also won the doubles title at that event. At 25-years-old, Sharma still remains outside the the Top 100, but will be eyeing off a place inside with this run at the tournament.

MUSC HEALTH WOMEN’S OPEN SEMI-FINALS RESULTS:

[1] Ons Jabeur (TUN) defeated Danka Kovinic (MCE) 6-3 6-0
Astra Sharma (AUS) defeated Maria Camilla Osorio Serrano (COL) 7-6 6-1

 

BILLIE JEAN CUP:

The favourites managed to get up on the second day of the Billie Jean King Cup, with Poland, Kazakhstan and Netherlands holding off some stiff resistance from underdogs, Brazil, Argentina and China to advance through to the next stage where they will have the chance to enter the World Group of the 2022 cup.

Youngster Maria Lourdes Carle almost single-handedly defeated Kazakhstan with a win over Yulia Putintseva to back up her upset of Elena Rybakina the day before, but unfortunately Roland Garros semi-finalist Nadia Podoroska went down in both of her singles matches. The pair were then outclassed by more experienced doubles combination Anna Danilina and Yaroslava Shvedova in the deciding doubles, 6-0 7-5.

Netherlands took the risk of not having Kiki Bertens play out the day two singles and it almost cost them, with Wang Xiyu knocking off Lesley Pattinama Kerkhov after defeating Arantxa Rus on day one to lead China to a 2-1 lead. Luckily Rus bounced back with a win over Wang Xinyu, then teamed up with Demi Schuurs to win the doubles match, and the tie for her nation, 3-2.

Meanwhile Poland got up over Brazil in a five-tie result, with Magdalena Frech doing all the heavy lifting, defeating Laura Pigossi – who knocked off Urszula Radwanska on day one – and then combined with Katarzyna Kawa to triumph in the doubles, while Carolina Melgeni Rodrigues Alves won her singles against Kawa and the opening set of double with Luisa Stefani, but the Brazilian pairing fell in three sets, 1-6 6-2 6-4.

Meanwhile in more one-sided results, Great Britain wrapped up its tie against Mexico despite Marcela Zacarias upsetting Heather Watson. Katie Boulter brought the team home with a straight sets win over Giuliana Olmos. Anastasija Sevastova wrapped up an easy tie for Latvia against India, as Elisabetta Cocciaretto did the same in a tight encounter against Colombia’s Mihaela Buzarnescu, 7-5 7-6 following Elena Gabriela Ruse‘s win over Jasmine Paolini.

Unsurprisingly, Ukraine and Canada both won 4-0 in comfortable wins over Serbia and Japan, though Elina Svitolina was forced into three sets by Japanese talent Yuki Naito with the match going 6-2 4-6 7-6, while Leylah Fernandez came from behind against Nina Stojanovic to hand the North American nation the victory 6-3 3-6 6-4.

 

Picture credit: Adam Nurkiewicz

WTA Tour wrap: Jabeur dominates in Charleston as China and Argentina worry big guns in Billie Jean Cup

TOP seed Ons Jabeur has flexed her muscles with a 48-minute demolition job of Japan’s Nao Hibino to reach the semi-finals of the MUSC Health Women’s Open in Charleston. Jabeur only dropped one game in the 6-0 6-1 domination at the WTA 250 event to be the raging favourite in the tournament. The Tunisian restricted the Japanese talent to just 13 points on Hibino’s serve during the smashing, as she eyes off a potential maiden WTA Tour.

The 26-year-old is at a career-high 27th in the world and will surpass that, having had a huge last 18 months on the Tour. She will take on Montenegro’s Danka Kovinic who is also title-less at WTA Tour level, with the world number 65 upsetting third seed Shelby Rogers in straight sets. After a tight first set, Kovinic ran away with it in the second set to triumph 7-5 6-1 in 70 minutes.

Also moving through to the next round was Australian Astra Sharma who toppled 15-year-old Linda Fruhvirtova, 6-4 6-3 in an hour and 24 minutes. Sharma is ranked 165th in the world and yet to secure a singles title on Tour, though is eyeing off a return to the Top 100. She will take on Maria Camilla Osorio Serrano, who won against Danish teenager Clara Tauson, 6-4 1-0 before the latter was forced to retire from the quarter final.

MUSC HEALTH WOMEN’S OPEN QUARTER FINALS RESULTS:

[1] Ons Jabeur (TUN) defeated Nao Hibino (JPN) 6-0 6-1
Danka Kovinic (MNE) defeated [3] Shelby Rogers (USA) 7-5 6-1
Astra Sharma (AUS) defeated Linda Fruhvirtova (CZE) 6-4 6-3
Maria Camilla Osorio Serrano (COL) defeated Clara Tauson (DEN) 6-4 1-0 RET

BILLIE JEAN KING CUP

The return of the Billie Jean King Cup (formerly the Federation Cup) has got underway with the eight playoff matches taking place across the world. Three of them are locked at one match a piece after day one of three, with the other five going 2-0 in favour of the leader after the opening singles matches.

In Poland, Magdalena Frech got the home nation off to the perfect start against Brazil’s Carolina Meligeni Rodrigues Alves, with a one-hour and 28-minute win, 6-4 6-3. Brazil’s Laura Pigossi stunned Urszula Radwanska in the second match however, needing almost three hours to knock out the former Top 30 player, winning 7-6 3-6 6-2, including a whopping 11-9 opening set tiebreaker.

Argentina and Kazakhstan were also level after two singles matches, featuring some seriously high quality players. A stunning turnaround for Yulia Putintseva saw her take down French Open semi-finalist Nadia Podoroska in three sets, 2-6 6-4 6-0 to give the visitors the lead. However the biggest upset of perhaps the tournament was Maria Lourdes Carle three-set victory over Elena Rybakina. The 21-year-old Argentinian got the job done over the Top 20 talent in her home nation to level the tie at 1-1.

The other 1-1 tie is between Netherlands and China, with a full-strength Dutch side not having it all their own way against a young Chinese outfit. Despite playing on the indoor clay at ‘s-Hertogenbosch, the Dutch remain level with China despite Kiki Bertens‘ 6-2 6-0 rout of 19-year-old 146th ranked Wang Xinyu in the opening match of the tie. The tighter match was between the 83rd ranked Arantxa Rus and 134th ranked Wang Xiyu, with the 20-year-old getting it done against Rus, winning 6-1 3-6 6-2 in just under two hours.

Elsewhere, the ties all went 2-0, led by Elina Svitolina who has steered Ukraine to a dominant lead alongside 18-year-old Marta Kostyuk who feasted on an inexperienced and youthful Japanese outfit. Canada is upsetting Serbia after a day, with 30-year-old Rebecca Marino toppling Nina Stojanovic in straight sets 6-4 7-6, while Leylah Fernandez won in a three-set thriller over Olga Danilovic.

A full-strength Great Britain led by Heather Watson and Katie Boulter have cruised to a 2-0 lead over Mexico in London, while Jelena Ostapenko got more than she bargained for against Indian 174th ranked Ankita Raina, needing three sets and two hours and 25 minutes to grab the victory, before Anastasija Sevastova had an easy win over world number 621 Karman Kaur Thandi in the second match to lead Latvia to a 2-0 start. Finally, Italy is out to a 2-0 lead in Romania after Martina Trevisan won in three hours and seven minutes over Mihaela Buzarnescu, and Elisabetta Cocciaretto proved too good for Irina Maria Bara.

Picture credit: MUSC Health Women’s Open / Chris Smith

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 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: Li and Ostapenko the big winners on opening days at Monterrey and St. Petersburg

PROCEEDINGS have begun at the WTA 250 tournament in Monterrey, Mexico and WTA 500 tournament in St. Petersburg, Russia, with some quality talents making their mark already.

At Monterrey, one seed fell and one seed prevailed in tight encounters to open the competition, as eighth seed Ann Li ran out victorious in a 6-3 7-5 matchup with Dutch opposition Arantxa Rus, while Jasmine Paolini overcame a zippy start from ninth seed Nao Hibino to overcome the Japanese talent, 3-6 6-2 6-3. Li’s 75 minute victory was credit to her excellent service games, winning 82.1 per cent off her first serve points off a 56.5 per cent clip and making the most of her opportunities. While Rus only trailed in efficiency and effectiveness marginally, it was enough to put her on the back foot as Li saved eight of nine break points to remain in the hunt. For Paolini, it was a marathon rather than a sprint as Hibino flew out of the blocks, and while the Italian was cleaner overall with a 60 per cent serve efficiency, she wasted a couple of points late in the match with four of her six double faults coming in the third set.

Meanwhile, a couple of Slovakian talents remain in the game as they defeated their respective opposition, with Viktoria Kuzmova downing Caroline Dolehide 6-3 6-1, and Anna Karolina Shmiedlova following suit with a 6-4 6-0 victory over Katie Boulter. Both players dominated the statistics in their respective outings, with Kuzmova (five aces, five double faults and serving 76.7 per cent off a 54.5 per cent clip) and Shmiedlova (three aces, three double faults and 69.2 per cent off a 73.6 per cent clip) quickly and efficiently disposing of their opposition in 66 minutes and one hour and 24 minutes, respectively.

The remaining four matches of the day are yet to be complete, with the first two currently midway through the second set – with both first set winners trailing – and the last two matches beginning no earlier than 6pm local (11am AEDT).

MONTERREY ROUND OF 32 RESULTS:

[8] Ann Li (USA) defeated Arantxa Rus (NED) 6-3 7-5
Jasmine Paolini (ITA) defeated [9] Nao Hibino (JPN) 3-6 6-2 6-3
Viktoria Kuzmova (SVK) defeated Caroline Dolehide (USA) 6-3 6-1
Anna Karolina Schmiedlova (SVK) defeated Katie Boulter (GBR) 6-4 6-0
Mayar Sherif (EGY) v. Lauren Davis (USA)
Martina Trevisan (ITA) v. Nina Stojanovic (SRB)
Renata Zarazua (MEX) v. Tamara Zidansek (SLO)
Coco Vandeweghe (USA) v. Leylah Fernandez (CAN)

Three Round of 32 matches were complete on Day 1 in St. Petersburg, with Jelena Ostapenko the only seed to compete on the day and defeating Spaniard Paula Badosa in just 55 minutes to head through to the Round of 16. With an excellent 88.9 per cent win rate off a 65.9 per cent clip, Badosa impressed on serve and was far more powerful as she ran out with the 6-2 6-2 victory.

Home grown hopeful Vera Zvonareva also lives another day after a classy finish over Arina Rodionova, downing the Australian 6-1 6-3 and using her cleanliness and elevated efficiency on serve to run out victor on home soil. The remaining match saw Aliaksandra Sasnovich taken to three sets before disposing of Romanian Ana Bogdan, with the one hour and 50 minutes win drawn out 2-6 6-2 6-1. Despite a slow start, the Belarusian was far cleaner and took advantage of her second serve, serving consistently at a 53.8 per cent efficiency on her second chances.

ST. PETERSBURG ROUND OF 32 RESULTS:

[6] Jelena Ostapenko (LAT) defeated Paula Badosa (ESP) 6-2 6-2
Vera Zvonareva (RUS) defeated Arina Rodionova (AUS) 6-1 6-3
Aliaksandra Sasnovich (BLR) defeated Ana Bogdan (ROM) 2-6 6-2 6-1

WTA 500 wraps: Czechs fall as other top seeds advance

A HUGE day at Melbourne Park saw all three events – Yarra Valley Classic, Gippsland Trophy and Grampians Trophy – underway, in what was a largely predictable day, though did feature a number of upsets, particularly to top ranked Czechs.

In the Yarra Valley Classic, the two top Czech players in the world – Karolina Pliskova and Petra Kvitova – again have fallen short of the mark, losing out to lower ranked opponents in the Round of 16. Pliskova went down in two tiebreakers (7-5 7-3) during her 7-6 7-6 loss to 13th seed American Danielle Collins, while Kvitova started well against Roland Garros semi-finalist Nadia Podoroska, before losing in three sets to the 14th seed, 5-7 6-1 7-6.

In a repeat of their US Open clash, Serena Williams defeated Tsvetana Pironkova to set up an all-American quarter final with Collins, winning 6-1 6-4 against the Bulgarian. Racing through her match like she had somewhere to be, sixth seed Garbine Muguruza had a point to prove in a 6-1 6-2 rout of 11th seed Russian, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova. The result meant Muguruza now faces Sofia Kenin in the quarter finals, a repeat of the Australian Open decider 12 months ago.

Kenin took down compatriot Jessica Pegula in three sets 5-7 7-5 6-2, while world number one Ash Barty needed three sets to roll past 16th seed Czech, Marie Bouzkova in a bad day for the Czech Republic. One positive was the success of Marketa Vondrousova, with the eighth seed being the sole winner of the four in action, advancing through to the quarter finals thanks to a hard-fought 7-6 6-7 6-4 triumph over Russian Vera Zvonareva.

The quarter finals see Vondrousova taking on Podoroska for the right to play either Muguruza or Kenin, while the winner in the all-American clash between Collins and Williams will face the winner of the Barty and Shelby Rogers quarter final.

YARRA VALLEY CLASSIC ROUND OF 16 RESULTS:

[1] Ash Barty (AUS) defeated [16] Marie Bouzkova (CZE) 6-0 4-6 6-3
[2] Sofia Kenin (USA) defeated Jessica Pegula (USA) 5-7 7-5 6-2
[13] Danielle Collins (USA) defeated [3] Karolina Pliskova (CZE) 7-6 7-6
[14] Nadia Podoroska (ARG) defeated [4] Petra Kvitova (CZE) 5-7 6-1 7-6
[5] Serena Williams (USA) defeated Tsvetana Pironkova (BUL) 6-1 6-4
[6] Garbine Muguruza (ESP) defeated [11] Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (RUS) 6-1 6-2
[8] Marketa Vondrousova (CZE) defeated Vera Zvonareva (RUS) 7-6 6-7 6-4

The Gippsland Trophy also went largely to plan, with five of the seven winners being ranked higher than their opponents. It was not completely smooth sailing for anyone, with only top seed Simona Halep, and ninth seed Ekaterina Alexandrova winning without getting into an eleventh game in any set. Halep toppled 16th seed German Laura Siegemund 6-2 6-4, while Alexandrova ended the unbeaten run of sixth seed Pole, Iga Swiatek who was coming off a Roland Garros title last year.

Speaking of Grand Slam titles, second seed Naomi Osaka – fresh off a break following her 2020 US Open triumph – had to come from a set down to put away a determined Katie Boulter, 3-6 6-3 6-1. Also fighting from a set down, third seed Elina Svitolina took out Latvian Jelena Ostapenko 6-7 6-3 6-2, while the biggest upset of the day belonged to Romanian Irina-Camelia Begu who knocked off fifth seed Johanna Konta in three hours and 32 minutes, 4-6 7-6 7-6.

In the other two matches, eighth seed Karolina Muchova won in three sets over Jasmine Paolini, while Estonian Kaia Kanepi – who ended the 15-game winning streak of Aryna Sabalenka the day before – won through to the quarter finals in straight sets over Daria Kasatkina, 7-5 6-1. Now Kanepi and Muchova lock horns, with Begu to take on Osaka, and two huge all-seeded clashes between Halep and Alexandrova, and Elise Mertens and Svitolina.

GIPPSLAND TROPHY ROUND OF 16 RESULTS:

[1] Simona Halep (ROU) defeated [16] Laura Siegemund (GER) 6-2 6-4
[2] Naomi Osaka (JPN) defeated Katie Boulter (GBR) 3-6 6-3 6-1
[3] Elina Svitolina (UKR) defeated [13] Jelena Ostapenko (LAT) 6-7 6-3 6-2
Irina-Camelia Begu ROU) defeated [5] Johanna Konta (GBR) 4-6 7-6 7-6
[9] Ekaterina Alexandrova (RUS) defeated [6] Iga Swiatek (POL) 6-4 6-2
[8] Karolina Muchova (CZE) defeated Jasmine Paolini (ITA) 6-2 4-6 6-4
Kaia Kanepi (EST) defeated Daria Kasatkina (RUS) 7-5 6-1

Meanwhile the first round of action at the Grampians Trophy was completed over the first couple of days, with the remaining 10 matches adding to the two played on day one. Overall there were not a huge amount of surprises, with perhaps the biggest upset seeing teenage rising star Leylah Fernandez take down former US Open winner Sloane Stephens in straight sets.

The 6-3 6-1 victory was a convincing victory in an hour and 14 minutes, though the quickest fully completed match of the day was Sonia Cirstea‘s rout of Oksana Kalashnikova, 6-1 6-1 in just 48 minutes. To put that in perspective, local talent Ellen Perez – who was a late inclusion into the draw – had to retire eight games in against Ann Li and that match went for 43 minutes.

In other results, the three seeds in action were Estonian Anett Kontaveit (sixth), American Jennifer Brady (seventh) and German Angelique Kerber (eighth) who all won through. Both Kontaveit and Brady breezed through in straight sets, whilst Kerber took almost two hours to dispel Czech Republic’s Katerina Siniakova in three sets, 6-3 4-6 6-3.

In other results, Ukrainian Marta Kostyuk and Veronika Kudermetova both rolled through to the next round without any issues, as did Tunisian Ons Jabeur who continued her great form of the past 12 months. The other winners were United States’ Bethany Mattek-Sands, Kazakhstan’s Yulia Putintseva and Czech Republic’s Barbora Krejcikova who all made it into the Round of 16.

GRAMPIANS TROPHY ROUND OF 32 RESULTS:

[6] Anett Kontaveit (EST) defeated Christina McHale (USA) 6-1 6-3
[7] Jennifer Brady (USA) defeated Svetlana Kuznetsova (RUS) 6-3 6-0
[8] Angelique Kerber (GER) defeated Katerina Siniakova (CZE) 6-3 4-6 6-3
Bethany Mattek-Sands (USA) defeated Barbora Strycova (CZE) 7-6 6-2
Marta Kostyuk (UKR) defeated Gabriela Dabrowski (CAN) 6-0 6-3
Leylah Fernandez (CAN) defeated Sloane Stephens (USA) 6-3 6-1
Yulia Putintseva (KAZ) defeated Georgina Garcia Perez (ESP) 7-6 6-4
Veronika Kudermetova (RUS) defeated Heather Watson (GBR) 6-2 6-2
Barbora Krejcikova (CZE) defeated Lauren Davis (USA) 6-4 4-6 6-4
Ann Li (USA) defeated Ellen Perez (AUS) 5-3 RET
Sonia Cirstea (ROU) defeated Oksana Kalashnikova (GEO) 6-1 6-1
Ons Jabeur (TUN) defeated Anna Blinkova (RUS) 6-1 6-1

Note: Unfortunately due to a COVID-19 positive test from a hotel worker at the Grand Hyatt where the majority of players are staying, today’s action has been postponed.

Picture credit: Getty Images

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

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

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

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

YARRA VALLEY CLASSIC ROUND OF 32 RESULTS:

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

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

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

GIPPSLAND TROPHY ROUND OF 32 RESULTS:

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

Hopman Cup hypothetical teams: Great Britain & Russia

ONE of the most unique tennis tournaments which features both ATP Tour and WTA Tour players is the Hopman Cup. Given the world circumstance and the fact it was already skipped on the eve of last year, it looks to be either delayed later in 2021, or perhaps at the turn of the New Year in 2022. However, in this new series we wanted to look at some hypothetical Hopman Cup teams and what they might look like if there was no COVID-19 pandemic, and if the famed mixed tournament did go ahead.

We continue the series with Great Britain and Russia. The former are regulars at the event, competing nine times, while the latter have competed seven times.

Great Britain: Andy Murray & Johanna Konta

Despite the nation competing nine times in the event, they are yet to win a title, with only Andy Murray being a top-end talent competing at the event. Fellow Top 5 player Greg Rusedski never competed, while Murray competed four times at the event, twice in back-to-back years of 2010-11 and 2015-16. He would be the pick to take to the hard courts because of his love for Australia and is the most capped Brit at the event. The other two top Brit’s in Dan Evans (2017) and Cameron Norrie (2019) have both competed as well, and you would expect if Great Britain did compete, it would be one of the trio.

In terms of the WTA Tour, Johanna Konta is the far and away top player at the moment, ranked well inside the Top 20. Though inconsistent, Konta has plenty of potential at her best, and teaming up with Murray would create a formidable team and the best on that the nation had formed at the event. More likely though, they would look at Heather Watson (three-time competitor) or Katie Boulter (most recent competitor) to represent.

Russia: Andrey Rublev & Ekaterina Alexandrova

It is amazing to think that Russia has just one title to its name at the Hopman Cup considering some of the names that have graced the indoor hard courts in Perth. Marat Safin played four times, and even teamed up with the likes of Anastasia Myskina and remarkably, his sister Dinara Safina, but could not ever get the win. Instead, Nadia Petrova and Dmitry Tursunov won in 2007 who lost their first match to Australia, before going on to upset Spain in the final. While Safin is no longer around to compete, 2018 competitor Karen Khachanov is, and he could be a good chance to go again. The pick for the men would be Andrey Rublev who has shot to the Top 10 this year and has all the pace and excitement to make it an entertaining tournament.

For the women’s side it would be a little tougher, but top-ranked Ekaterina Alexandrova would be the pick. She plays well over the Australian summer time at year’s end, and is gradually improving her consistency. Russia actually has seven top 100 players which is remarkable, but none inside the Top 30. Veronika Kudermetova, Anna Blinkova and Daria Kasatkina are other young talents who could step up to the plate, or the veteran of Svetlana Kuznetsova might enjoy the tournament’s style, having played here way back in 2006.

Picture: Getty Images

Australian Open: Women’s Day 2 review – Sabalenka, Anisimova out as experience wins tight ones

A COUPLE of massive upsets to completed Round 1 of the Australian Open women’s draw, with four seeds bundled out of contention, including a couple of future stars.

Sixth seed Belinda Bencic overturned recent form against Anna Karolina Schmiedlova around in a straight sets win, 6-3 7-5. Bencic and Schmiedlova both hit 25 winners, but the Swiss young gun was more economical with less unforced errors and a greater proficiency at the net. The Slovakian did well on serve percentage, but could not capitalise with points on the board, only winning 59 per cent of her first serves.

A fellow 22-year-old has earned the right to face Bencic, with Latvian Jelena Ostapenko getting past Liudmila Samsonova, 6-1 6-4. Ostapanko produced 11 aces and won 80 per cent off her first serve, also producing 27 winners en-route to her comfortable win. She broke on all three of her opportunities, while saving the five created by Samsonova. The Slovakian bowed out on the back of not being able to generate enough winners despite creating break point opportunities.

In the other two games completed on Day 2, 19th seed Donna Vekic progressed through to the second round after defeating former world number one, Maria Sharapova in straight sets. The Croatian 19th seed will now take on French veteran, Alize Cornet in the second round following a come-from-behind victory. Cornet lost the first set 7-5, before smashing her opponent, Romanian qualifier Monica Niculescu 5-7 6-1 6-0. The Frenchwoman hit 38 winners in the match and completely nullified her opponent, restricting the Romanian to just 19 points after the first set in a one-sided affair.

Earlier today, Anett Kontaveit downed Australian wildcard hope Astra Sharma in a 6-0 6-2 rout in just 59 minutes of action. Kontaveit put the foot down from the start and the 28th seed Estonian never let up, hitting nine winners and breaking six times on her way to a huge win. Sharma broke once herself, but could only win the two games for the match in a quick Round 1 exit.

In three one-sided sets, Sara Sorribes Tormo was better for longer in her two-hour win over Veronika Kudermetova. The 23-year-old world number 90 was too good for the 22-year-old top 50 player after the first set, allowing the Russian to make countless errors, including 67 unforced ones throughout the contest. Sorribes Tormo won 46 per cent of her receiving points, and while she only hit 11 winners, had a more manageable 24 unforced errors. She advances through to meet Kontaveit in the next round.

Poland’s Iga Swiatek also advanced through early on Day 3, defeating Hungarian Timea Babos in a smooth 6-3 6-2 win. Swiatek was difficult to penetrate on serve with an 84 per cent first serve winning record, as well as an impressive 65 per cent on her second serve. Making the most of each break point opportunity, the 18-year-old broke three times and hit 28 winners on her way to an eye-opening win that could announce herself in the tournament.

Awaiting Swiatek in the next round is Spanish veteran Carla Suarez Navarro who downed 11th seed, Aryna Sabalenka, 7-6 7-6 in just over two hours. Despite Sabalenka having a set point in the second, a couple of wild unforced errors, and the consistency of the Spaniard now in her farewell tour – to retire at year’s end – cost the Belarusian. Sabalenka hit more winners (32-18) but also produced a stack more unforced errors (58-36) with her return of serve the worst culprit given a tournament-high 17 return unforced errors a real issue for the up-and-comer.

[6] B. Bencic (SUI) defeated A. Schmiedlova (SVK) 6-3 7-5
J. Ostapenko (LAT) defeated [Q] L. Samsonova (RUS) 6-1 6-4
S. Sorribes Tormo (ESP) defeated V. Kudermetova (RUS) 2-6 6-1 6-1
[28] A. Kontaveit (EST) defeated [WC] A. Sharma (AUS) 6-0 6-2
[19] D. Vekic (CRO) defeated [WC] M. Sharapova (RUS) 6-3 6-4
A. Cornet (FRA) defeated [Q] M. Niculescu (ROU) 5-7 6-1 6-0
I. Swiatek (POL) defeated T. Babos (HUN) 6-3 6-2
C. Suarez Navarro (ESP) defeated [11] A. Sabalenka (BLR) 7-6 7-6

World number four, Simona Halep overcame a tight first set with the dangerous Jennifer Brady to defeat the American, 7-6 6-1. Halep broke five times to two and finished with a serving efficiency of 78 per cent. She was just that bit cleaner when it counted, hitting 20 winners and 23 unforced errors to 24 and 35 for her opponent respectively. Halep takes on British qualifier, Heather Dart in the next round.

Dart was forced to come from behind after losing the first set 6-2 to Japan’s Misaki Doi. The British 173rd ranked 23-year-old settled after the first set to record a 2-6 6-4 7-6 victory, claiming the super tiebreak 10-6. The game was far from the most clinical, with the pair producing a combined 68 winners but 110 unforced errors. Both players were great at the net, but struggled to maintain ascendancy on serve, with just over half of the points won by the server.

In-form American, Danielle Collins continued her strong 2020 season thus far with a three-set win over Russian, Vitalia Diatchenko. In just over two hours, Collins triumphed 6-1 3-6 6-4 to progress through to the second round. She hit 30 winners and controlled her serve with a 68 per cent first serve winning ratio, while breaking six times. Diatchenko only broke the four times and while she was solid across the board, just lacked the extra touch of class.

Yulia Putinseva advanced into the Round of 64 thanks to a comfortable 6-1 6-3 victory over Chinese Taipei’s Su Wei Hsieh. In a match that lasted an hour and 18 minutes, Putinseva was conservative with her approach given her 11 winners and 12 unforced errors, while her opponent only hit one more winner but an additional 16 unforced errors. The Kazakhstani world number 38 won half of her receiving points and made the most of her second serve with an 85 per cent success rate. She also broke five times to one which was the crucial factor in the Round 1 win.

It took until a 10-7 score in the super tiebreaker, but 20th seed Karolina Muchova made her way through to the second round to face American Catherine Bellis. Muchova won 6-3 2-6 7-6 against Belgian, Kirsten Flipkens to book a spot in the Round of 64. It was a loose game from Muchova who hit an impressive 44 winners, but also produced 60 unforced errors – 13 coming off the return. She was strong upon her return though, winning 44 per cent of her receiving points and broke five times, but was broken five times herself and will want to step it up given a potential third round matchup with Elise Mertens looms.

Bellis raced past German, Tatjana Maria in just 52 minutes with a 6-0 6-2 belting on Court 14. Bellis served at a 73 per cent efficiency, winning 70 per cent of her first serve points and making the most of all five break point opportunities. She hit only 10 unforced errors for the match along with 22 winners, and showed proficiency both at the net and baseline, confident she can topple the 20th seed next round.

In-form Brit, Heather Watson beat out Kristyna Pliskova in a come-from-behind win on Court 12 today. In just under two hours, Watson won 4-6 6-3 6-1 with an elite 93 per cent net points record, as well as nine aces and 38 winners. She won 79 per cent of her first serve points and broke five times to Pliskova’s twice, and controlled proceedings after the disappointing first set.

Now Watson has a tough ask against 16th seed Elise Mertens who was in ripping form today at Melbourne Park. The last first round match to be completed, Mertens brushed aside Montenegro’s Danka Kovinic in less than an hour, winning 6-2 6-0. Hitting 17 winners and only 13 unforced errors, the Belgian won 78 per cent of her first serve points and 52 per cent of her receiving points. Kovinic struggled against Merten’s flexibility, hitting just six winners and 27 unforced errors in the Round 1 match.

[16] E. Mertens (BEL) defeated D. Kovinic (MON) 6-2 6-0
H. Watson (GBR) defeated K. Pliskova (CZE) 4-6 6-3 6-1
C. Bellis (USA) defeated T. Maria (GER) 6-2 6-0
[20] K. Muchova (CZE) defeated K. Flipkens (BEL) 6-3 2-6 7-6
[26] D. Collins (USA) defeated V. Diatchenko (RUS) 6-1 3-6 6-4
Y. Putintseva (KAZ) defeated S. Hsieh (TAI) 6-1 6-3
[Q] H. Dart (GBR) defeated M. Doi (JPN) 2-6 6-4 7-6
[4] S. Halep (ROU) defeated J. Brady (USA) 7-6 6-1

Fifth seed Ukrainian, Elina Svitolina moved through to the second round of the Open with a 6-4 7-5 win over Great Britain’s Katie Boulter. Svitolina did what she had to do in what was a strong effort from Boulter, but the Ukrainian broke four times to her opponents’ twice. She also recorded impressive numbers with her service, all ahead of Boulter who opted for a run-and-gun strategy of 27 winners and 33 unforced errors while the world number five had 17 and 20 respectively.

Waiting for Svitolina in the next round is American Lauren Davis who knocked out Canadian qualifier, Leylah Fernandez 6-4 6-2. Fernandez had a good first serve percentage of 77, but could not convert that efficiency into points, winning just 52 per cent on serve, while her opponent won 63 per cent of her points. Davis hit 26 winners for the match, and won 11 of a possible 12 net points in a strong showing upon approach.

A Grand Slam winner put behind a sluggish start to race away in one of the more bizarre first round matches of the tournament. Garbine Muguruza was blown out of the water in the first set to American qualifier Shelby Rogers, before turning it around and only losing one game in the last two sets to win 0-6 6-1 6-0. Muguruza won just nine points in the opening set, while Rogers helped herself to 26, without dropping a point on her first serve, and winning 13 of a possible 18 on return. The next two sets saw Muguruza winning 60 points to 29 as she finished the match with 20 winners and a 71 per cent first serve point success rate. She will need to improve drastically if she is going to compete against the top players in the WTA Tour.

The Muguruza match would give Australia’s number two singles player, Ajla Tomljanovic confidence after she dismantled 31st seed, Anastasija Sevastova 6-1 6-1. In an hour and 17 minutes, 52nd ranked Tomljanovic hit 19 winners to 16, and only had 22 unforced errors to 30. The 26-year-old was dominant on her first serve, winning 80 per cent of her points and saving seven break point opportunities whilst capitalising on five of 13 for herself.

Another promising young seed dropped out of the Australian Open with 21st seeded American teenager, Amanda Anisimova losing in three sets to 73rd ranked Kazakhstani, Zarina Diyas. The underdog got up 6-3 4-6 6-3 to move through to the Round of 64 on the back of winning 48 per cent of her receiving points and controlling her play with 15 winners and only 19 unforced errors. Anisimova left nothing out on the court with a brutal 45 winners – including seven off the return – but also 62 unforced errors – eight of which were off the return.

Diyas confronts another young star in Anna Blinkova in the second round. The 21-year-old Russian defeated Italian, Jasmine Paolini 7-5 6-4 in an hour and 40 minutes. Hitting 34 winners and breaking six times, Blinkova was able to convert crucial points into game-winning opportunities in a match where she was not entirely clinical, but still did enough to get past Paolini. The 196th ranked Italian won less than half of her first serve points and only served with 53 per cent efficiency.

Arina Rodionova became the second Australian in the eighth to progress through to the Round of 64 following a come-from-behind win over Ukraine’s Kateryna Bondarenko. Rodionova earned a wildcard in the draw and worked hard from 6-3 down to post a 3-6 7-6 6-0 win, storming to victory in the end. After a heartbreaking tiebreak loss which with two points difference would have paved her way through to the next round, Bondarenko fell away in the decider, winning just seven points and hitting a mind-boggling 18 unforced errors as Rodionova took control with 24 points and just one unforced error.

The next round is a tough ask for Rodionova who meets ninth seed Dutchwoman Kiki Bertens in the second round. Bertens skipped past Romanian Irina Camelia Begu, 6-1 6-4 in an hour and 15 minutes and faces an eighth that has had a fair bit of upheaval. The world number 10 made the most of her break point opportunities, breaking four of a possible five times, while Begu could only manage once from the same amount of chances. Bertens hit 17 winners and won 78 per cent of her first serve points in a strong first outing before moving on for tomorrow’s clash.

[5] E. Svitolina (UKR) defeated K. Boulter (GBR) 6-4 7-5
L. Davis (USA) defeated [Q] L. Fernandez (CAN) 6-4 6-2
G. Muguruza (ESP) defeated [Q] S. Rogers (USA) 0-6 6-1 6-0
A. Tomljanovic (AUS) defeated [31] A. Sevastova (LAT) 6-1 6-1
Z. Diyas (KAZ) defeated [21] A. Anisimova (USA) 6-3 4-6 6-3
A. Blinkova (RUS) defeated J. Paolini (ITA) 7-5 6-4
[WC] A. Rodionova (AUS) defeated K. Bondarenko (UKR) 3-6 7-6 6-0
[9] K. Bertens (NED) defeated I. Begu (ROU) 6-1 6-4

Karolina Pliskova overcame challenging French rival, Kristina Mladenovic on Day 2 with a straight sets win to move the world number two into the second round. Pliskova posted a 6-1 7-5 victory over Mladenovic, hitting 20 winners to 14 and having an elite first serve success of 82 per cent. She broke her opponent four times during the match had had just the 17 unforced errors, overpowering her opponent on serve and only allowing Mladenovic 26 per cent of points in those games. She now moves through to face another straight sets winner in Germany’s Laura Siegemund.

Siegemund won in an hour and 25 minutes, downing American wildcard Coco Vandeweghe 6-1 6-4. In the match, Siegemund recorded a 70 per cent efficiency with her first serve and was particularly good at recovering points on her second serve with 63 per cent to her opponents’ 38 per cent. Vandeweghe was strong at the net with a 72 per cent success rate, but hit 28 unforced errors to Siegemund’s 16.

Fellow German, Angelique Kerber joined Siegemund in the Round of 64 with a 6-2 6-2 thumping of Italian qualifier, Elisabetta Cocciaretto. The Grand Slam winner was measured in her approach with just 17 winners to her opponents’ 32, but had just the 14 unforced errors as Cocciaretto sprayed 36 in the match. Her work both on serve (74 per cent first serve points won) and return (49 per cent of receiving points won) was first class and deserving of moving through to the next stage of the tournament.

Facing Kerber in the second round is Australian up-and-comer, Priscilla Hon who also broke through for her first victory at the Australian Open. The 21-year-old wildcard defeated Ukrainian, Kateryna Kozlova 6-3 6-4 by breaking seven times to five and winning more than half of her receiving points. Both players serves were not overly impressive with less than 50 per cent of points won on serve, but Hon produced 30 winners to 20, and looked more proactive on court.

The biggest upset of the eighth was two-time Grand Slam winner, Svetlana Kuznetsova defeating 15th seed, Marketa Vondrousova. Kuznetsova opened up the draw with the three-set win, triumphing 6-2 4-6 6-4 in an hour and 52 minutes. Kuznetsova used all her power to get home in the match, hitting 37 winners and approaching the net regularly to win 76 per cent of her points there. She did hit 36 unforced errors, but won 54 per cent of her receiving points to unsettle the Czech throughout the game. A total of nine breaks for the winner and seven for Vondrousova marked a game that was not the cleanest by serve.

In the last game of the eighth, Italian Camilla Giorgi got up in straight sets over German qualifier, Antonio Lottner 6-3 6-3. Taking just an hour and 20 minutes, Giorgi took all four break point opportunities in the match, whilst only being broken once. She had a 50-50 comparison with winners and unforced errors thanks to 21-apiece, but was far superior with her receiving points, winning 43 per cent compared to 29 per cent.

In one of the first matches on Day 3, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova booked a Round 2 spot with a straight sets win over Serbia’s Nina Stojanovic, 6-1 7-5. The 30th seed Russian took out the match in an hour and 12 minutes thanks to 17 winners and a high serving percentage, as well as five breaks. Stojanovic broke on both her break point opportunities, but hit 26 unforced errors to go with her 10 winners.

The other match completed on Day 3 of the tournament was the all-American affair which saw Taylor Townsend salute against Jessica Pegula, 6-4 7-6 in an hour and 49 minutes. After a tumultuous first set where the two broke five times, neither player could break through until Townsend got the mini-break in the tiebreaker to salute 7-5 to progress through to the Round of 64. She hit three more winners and four less unforced errors in a fairly even contest that showed the developing talent of American tennis.

S. Kuznetsova (RUS) defeated [15] M. Vondrousova (CZE) 6-2 4-6 6-4
C. Giorgi (ITA) defeated [Q] A. Lottner (GER) 6-3 6-3
[WC] P. Hon (AUS) defeated K. Kozlova (UKR) 6-3 6-4
[17] A. Kerber (GER) defeated [Q] E. Cocciaretto (ITA) 6-2 6-2
[30] A. Pavlyuchecnkova (RUS) defeated N. Stojanovic (SRB) 6-1 7-5
T. Townsend (USA) defeated J. Pegula (USA) 6-4 7-6
L. Siegemund (GER) defeated [WC] C. Vandeweghe (USA) 6-1 6-4
[2] K. Pliskova (CZE) defeated K. Mladenovic (FRA) 6-1 7-5