Tag: leylah fernandez

WTA Tour wrap: Mixed bag of results across grass court events

IT was a bit of a mixed bag of results across the WTA Tour’s two grass court events yesterday, with two seeds making their way through in each of the Viking Classic and Bett1Open quarter finals, whilst in the other two matches the underdog prevailed. In Berlin, fifth seed Belinda Bencic advanced through to the final four with a hard-fought three-set win over Russian Ekaterina Alexandrova 6-4 4-6 7-6, needing two hours and 31 minutes to dismiss her opponent.

The Swiss star will now face Frenchwoman Alize Cornet who stunned Grand Slam winner and sixth seed Garbine Muguruza in an epic contest, winning in a third set tiebreaker, 7-5. The overall match saw Cornet come from behind to post a 4-6 6-3 7-6 win over the Spanish seed in two hours and 40 minutes to claim her spot in the final four. Cornet won 76.6 per cent of his first serve points and broke twice from her two chances, whilst rallied hard against a solid Muguruza who broke twice form four chances, and won 67.9 and 70 per cent of her first and second serve points.

“It was a long match with a lot of emotion, especially in the tiebreak,” Cornet said post-match. “I can’t believe I made it at the end. She’s a champion, she never gives up. I should have gone for a it a bit more, I was waiting for a mistake and I was a bit tight – it’s normal. But I was very resilient too, I was always behind in the score in the third set but I kept grinding, I kept fighting to the end and it’s a really nice victory.

“I had a really tough clay season, I couldn’t play well and I don’t know why – but to play well on grass, it’s unexpected but beautiful.”

VIKING CLASSIC QUARTER FINALS RESULTS:

[2] Ons Jabeur (TUN) defeated Leylah Fernandez (CAN) 6-4 3-6 7-6
[4] Daria Kasatkina (RUS) defeated Marta Kostyuk (UKR) 6-2 7-5
Tereza Martincova (CZE) defeated [5] Jelena Ostapenko (LAT) 7-6 4-6 6-2
Anastasia Potapova (RUS) defeated Kristina Mladenovic (FRA) 6-3 6-3

BETT1OPEN QUARTER FINALS RESULTS:

[5] Belinda Bencic (SUI) defeated Ekaterina Alexandrova (RUS) 6-4 4-6 7-6
Alize Cornet (FRA) defeated [6] Garbine Muguruza (ESP) 4-6 6-3 7-6
[7] Victoria Azarenka (BLR) defeated Jessica Pegula (USA) 6-2 5-7 6-4
Liudmila Samsonova (RUS) defeated Madison Keys (USA) 7-6 2-6 7-6

Picture credit: Jimmie48/WTA

WTA Tour wrap: Azarenka and Kerber set up second round clash, Tomljanovic outlasts Mertens

THE two grass event continued in Germany and England overnight, with the WTA 500 bett1open in Berlin and WTA 250 Viking Classic in Birmingham both seeing one big seeded upset apiece amongst relatively  predictable results.

In Germany, a huge second round has been set with a couple of former world number ones in Victoria Azarenka and Angelique Kerber both claiming wins in the Round of 32. Whilst Azarenka was somewhat tested by Kerber’s compatriot Andrea Petkovic, Kerber had little to no issue disposing of Japanese left-hander Misaki Doi in one hour flat.

“It was a really solid match,” Kerber said. “It’s never easy to play a first match on grass courts, especially against a lefty as well. So I’m really happy about my performance and how I started the grass-court season.”

“It’s really nice being back on grass, that’s my favourite surface,” Kerber said. “It’s never easy to start a grass-court season because it’s completely different from the clay courts, but it’s great for me to play in Germany, it’s always really special. That gives me a little bit more motivation.”

Whilst Azarenka leads the duo’s head-to-head 9-1 and is seeded seventh here in Berlin, Kerber is on home soil and looking forward to the clash.

“I will try to play my game, and try to take another chance, and play as many matches as I can before I go to Wimbledon,” Kerber said. “It’s another good match at a high level, and this is why I’m here. The draw is really strong, so it’s good to have another good match.”

“I was sometimes dropping my level a bit with not being aggressive enough,” said Azarenka following her clash with Petkovic, which resulted in a 6-4 7-6(2) finish. “I was getting too frustrated in some moments when I had opportunities and didn’t take them, so I want to learn from that for my next round. I think I was putting myself into too much of a dangerous situation when I could have been more disciplined.”

Sixth seed Garbine Muguruza found success against Romanian Sorana Cirstea, 6-3 6-2, and whilst Muguruza and Cirstea hit a similar amount of winners (15-12), Cirstea registered a whopping 35 unforced errors throughout the one hour and 19-minute clash.

“Very pleased,” Muguruza said. “You never know how it’s going to go in the first match, especially on grass after two years, so I’m very excited to win in two sets against Sorana. We’ve played many times, and it’s always difficult.”

Things did not quite go to plan for eighth seed Czech Karolina Muchova, who fell to Russian Veronika Kudermetova in three, 7-6 5-7 6-2. Kudermetova said she drew on her third round loss at the Roland Garros to another Czech in Katerina Siniakova to get over the line in this encounter.

“I don’t know how to explain it but at the French Open I lost a very close match,” Kudermetova said. “I was 5-1 up, 5-2 up in both sets and I lost. Today I was a little bit thinking about it when I was up and serving. Mentally, it’s not really easy because I think and think about my serve. But I am really happy I stayed in the match in the third set.”

Another Russian-Czech matchup played out with the results going the way of the Russian once more with Liudmila Samsonova claiming the victory over Marketa Vondrousova and set to take on Kudermetova in the second round. Just one of four Americans claimed wins, as Jessica Pegula claimed a straightforward win over compatriot Hailey Baptiste who retired at the latter stage of the first set, while Roland Garros quarterfinalist Elena Rybakina and Croatian Petra Martic both took out wins over Shelby Rogers and Asia Muhammad, respectively.

At Birmingham, a huge upset was orchestrated by Australian hard-hitter Ajla Tomljanovic, disposing of top seed Belgian Elise Mertens in a marathon three hour and nine-minute clash, requiring three tiebreakers before the 7-6(5) 6-7(5) 7-6(4) result was decided. Fourth seed Daria Kasatkina overcame a slow start to steal victory off Polona Hercog, whilst second seed Ons Jabeur, fifth seed Jelena Ostapenko and sixth seed Zhang Shuai all dominated their respective contests to win in two. Meanwhile, Anastasia PotapovaMarta Kostyuk and Leylah Fernandez all found wins on their opening day of action.

BETT1OPEN ROUND OF 32 RESULTS:

[6] Garbine Muguruza (ESP) defeated Sorana Cirstea (ROU) 6-3 6-2
[7] Viktoria Azarenka (BLR) defeated Andrea Petkovic (GER) 6-4 7-6
Veronika Kudermetova (RUS) defeated [8] Karolina Muchova (CZE) 7-6 5-7 6-2
Angelique Kerber (GER) defeated Misaki Doi (JPN) 6-2 6-1
Elena Rybakina (KAZ) defeated Shelby Rogers (USA) 2-6 6-3 6-4
Petra Martic (CRO) defeated Asia Muhammad (USA) 7-6 4-6 6-3
Jessica Pegula (USA) defeated Hailey Baptiste (USA) 6-6 RET
Liudmila Samsonova (RUS) defeated Marketa Vondrousova (CZE) 6-4 7-6

VIKING CLASSIC BIRMINGHAM ROUND OF 32 RESULTS:

Ajla Tomljanovic (AUS) defeated [1] Elise Mertens (BEL) 7-6 6-7 7-6
[2] Ons Jabeur (TUN) defeated Caty McNally (USA) 6-4 6-2
[4] Daria Kasatkina (RUS) defeated Polona Hercog (SLO) 4-6 6-3 6-3
[5] Jelena Ostapenko (LAT) defeated Lauren Davis (USA) 6-4 6-1
[6] Zhang Shuai (CHN) defeated Vitalia Diatchenko (RUS) 6-2 7-5
Anastasia Potapova (RUS) defeated Nina Stojanovic (SRB) 5-7 7-6 6-4
Marta Kostyuk (UKR) defeated Madison Brengle (USA) 4-6 7-5 6-3
Leylah Fernandez (CAN) defeated Wang Yafan (CHN) 7-5 6-3

Picture credit: WTA/Jimmie48

WTA Tour wrap: Kasatkina destroys Bencic for Roland Garros third round spot

DARIA Kasatkina caused the upset of the day by ousting 10th seed Belinda Bencic from Roland Garros in their second round clash. The Russian took no prisoners in a one-hour and 16-minute beating, running out a 6-2 6-2 winner over the talented Swiss player. Bencic was one of only two seeds to fall outside of a couple of walkovers, as Kasatkina served eight aces to one and hit seven more winners (27-20) and six less unforced errors (14-20) in a clinical display. Kasatkina also only dropped eight points off her first serve, and did not even face a break point, whilst breaking Bencic four times from nine chances.

“A lot has changed between 2018 and now,” Kasatkina said post-match. “There was one amazing year for me, which was important in a good and in the bad way. “I learned a lot, and I think I become a little bit different, maybe more experienced, a bit more serious. “Let’s say I understand more why I’m winning or why I’m losing.

“At that time everything was just going with the wave, and I was not thinking that much.” Now I’m analysing more what’s going on in the situation I’m in. “Getting maybe a bit more mature.”

Aside from the withdrawals of Naomi Osaka – which was announced after her first round win – and Petra Kvitova – which handed Romanian Ana Bogdan and Russian Elena Vesnina safe passage into the third round, 29th seed Veronika Kudermetova was the only other seeded talent to fall in the Round of 64. Kudermetova went down to Czech Katerina Siniakova, losing in three tight sets 7-6 5-7 7-5 in an epic two-hour and 52-minute match, the clear longest of the day. Kudermetova hit 18 more winners (45-27) but was far too inconsistent with 67 unforced errors to 43, as Siniakova was more efficient off her serve, and despite serving 10 double faults, made the most of her chances when they went in.

One of only two other matches that lasted beyond the two-hour mark was Sorana Cirstea‘s two-hour and 37-minute victory over Italian Martina Trevisan. Cirstea got up in three sets, 6-4 3-6 6-4 in what was a real arm-wrestle for the most part. The Romanian was far from her best, hitting 46 unforced errors to 28, and only had three more winners than her opponent (29-26), but won 50 per cent of her receiving points, and had higher success rates on her first and second serve. The Romanian won through to take on Kasatkina in the Round of 32.

The other epic was seventh seed Serena Williams needing to shake off a second set fight from another Romanian in Mihaela Buzarnescu to win in three sets in two hours and three minutes. Williams got up 6-3 5-7 6-1 to run away with the contest in the end, but not without some tough moments midway through the game. Williams hit one more winner (26-25) and had one less unforced error (27-28) in a relatively even contest, but it was her much higher first serve success rate (75 to 61 per cent) that proved the difference, as she broke five times to two and served the only five aces of the match.

A number of other contenders breezed through with 2019 Roland Garros runner-up Marketa Vondrousova showing no mercy to French wildcard Harmony Tan, winning 6-1 6-3 in 62 minutes on court. The quickest match of the day was 33rd seed Paula Badosa‘s 6-2 6-0 destruction of Montenegro’s Danka Kovinic in a lightning 52 minutes, while 21st seed Elena Rybakina defeated Nao Hibino 6-3 6-1 in 63 minutes. Danielle Collins breezed past Anhelina Kalinina 6-2 6-0 in 62 minutes, and Tamara Zidansek rolled into the third round with a 65-minute 6-4 6-1 trouncing of American Madison Brengle.

Elsewhere, Belarusian duo Aryna Sabalenka and Victoria Azarenka both advanced through to the the next round in two tight sets, with Madison Keys and Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova the other two seeds to make their way into the Round of 32. The only other match was Slovenia’s Polona Hercog taking care of France’s Carolina Garcia in straight sets, to complete the first 16 players through to the third round.

ROLAND GARROS ROUND OF 64 RESULTS:

Ana Bogdan (ROU) defeated [2] Naomi Osaka (JPN) W/O
[3] Aryna Sabalenka (BLR) defeated Aliaksandra Sasnovich (BLR) 7-5 6-3
[7] Serena Williams (USA) defeated Mihaela Buzarnescu (ROU) 6-3 5-7 6-1
Daria Kasatkina (RUS) defeated [10] Belinda Bencic (SUI) 6-2 6-2
[PR] Elena Vesnina (RUS) defeated [11] Petra Kvitova (CZE) W/O
[15] Victoria Azarenka (BLR) defeated Clara Tauson (AUT) 7-5 6-4
[20] Marketa Vondrousova (CZE) defeated [WC] Harmony Tan (FRA) 6-1 6-3
[21] Elena Rybakina (KAZ) defeated Nao Hibino (JPN) 6-3 6-1
[23] Madison Keys (USA) defeated Leylah Fernandez (CAN) 6-1 7-5
Katerina Siniakova (CZE) defeated [29] Veronika Kudermetova (RUS) 7-6 5-7 7-5
[31] Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (RUS) defeated Ajla Tomljanovic (AUS) 6-2 6-4
[33] Paula Badosa (ESP) defeated [LL] Danka Kovinic (MON) 6-2 6-0
Danielle Collins (USA) defeated Anhelina Kalinina (UKR) 6-2 6-0
Tamara Zidansek (SLO) defeated Madison Brengle (USA) 6-4 6-1
Sorana Cirstea (ROU) defeated Martina Trevisan (ITA) 6-4 3-6 6-4
Polona Hercog (SLO) defeated Caroline Garcia (FRA) 7-5 6-4

Picture credIt: Jimmie 48/WTA

WTA Tour wrap: Osaka and Sabalenka fire as Kerber falls at Roland Garros

IT was a convincing opening day at the 2021 Roland Garros, with the Round of 128 seeing just one seed fall from 10 of the day’s entrants. One of those winners was Naomi Osaka, who has been well and truly in the media spotlight this week following her announcement not to partake in press conferences during the event, while she was joined by fellow Top 5 talent Aryna Sablenka in the second round, with the Belarusian seeded third.

Osaka had little issue in her opening round match, disposing of Romanian Patricia Maria Tig in one hour and 47 minutes, 6-4 7-6(4). Osaka has never made it to the second week at the French Open, with this victory surely giving her some confidence.

“I’d say it’s a work on progress,” Osaka said in her on court interview post-match. “Hopefully the more I play the better it’ll get. If I play more matches, then hopefully I’ll get better [on the surface].”

“I’m really glad that I won, it’s a very beautiful court,” she said. “I’ve only played two matches here – one before the roof (was installed) and one right now. Hopefully I’ll keep it going.”

Osaka hit 39 winners to Tig’s 19 throughout the contest, and whilst she also made more unforced errors, the Japanese talent was influential off her first serve winning 89 per cent of points off a 55 per cent clip.

Despite the opening round win, Osaka’s victory was soured by a USD $15,000 fine for not fronting the mandator media per Roland Garros (and Grand Slam) obligations. Multiple offences could mean more substantial fines and future suspensions.

The other seed in the spotlight is former world number one and 26th seed Angelique Kerber, who fell to qualifier Anhelina Kalinina. The former champion went down in straight sets 6-2 6-4 in just one hour and 28 minutes, struggling to impact on serve against the Ukrainian, who won back-to-back ITF Challenger events in the lead up to the Roland Garros.

Meanwhile, Sabalenka was not the only Belarusian to reign supreme, joined by 15th seed Victoria Azarenka and unseeded Aliaksandra Sasnovich, with the latter two both overcoming second set drops in form to claim victory in three. Sabalenka overcame qualifying up-and-comer Ana Konjuh 6-4 6-3, while Azarenka was composed under pressure against former champion Svetlana Kuznetsova, and Sasnovich claimed her opening round win over French wildcard Diane Parry. Just one Belarusian fell, with qualifier Olga Govortsova downed by Elena Vesnina in 58 minutes.

“I would say it wasn’t great level today from me, but I kept trying, kept fighting, kept trying to find my game,” Sabalenka said. “It was a little bit [of a] nervous game, especially in the beginning, because I felt like everything is not going well, and I don’t really feel my game.

“Well, I have a lot of experience of these kind of matches. I mean, emotionally,” she said. “That’s why sometimes I scream ‘Come on’, or ‘Let’s go’, because I find this character inside of me that I have to keep trying and don’t waste my energy.”

“So many mistakes. But I’m really happy in the end of the first set I kind of could find the rhythm. I won the first set, and then everything started to be a little bit better.

“But it was tough match. She’s (Konjuh) really aggressive. Sometimes it was really tough to play under the pressure, under her pressure. I’m just really happy with this win.”

Petra Kvitova was the only other Top 15 talent to take the court and claim and opening round win, as a smattering of Top 20 and Top 30 talents reigned supreme, including Elena Rybakina – who disposed of 2020 Roland Garros Juniors champion and wildcard Elsa Jacquemot in straight sets – Madison KeysVeronika KudermetovaAnastasia Pavlyuchenkova and Paula Badosa, with the latter seeded for the first time at a major and making no mistake.

Meanwhile, none of the remaining hopeful surprise packets took out wins on the opening day, with another French wildcard in Clara Burel falling, as did lucky loser Elisabetta Cocciaretto, and qualifiers Wang Xiyu and Ekaterine GorgodzeAjla Tomljanovic had little issue cleaning up Kateryna Kozlova, and was joined by Nao HibinoLeylah Fernandez and Katerina Siniakova.

ROLAND GARROS ROUND OF 128 RESULTS:

[2] Naomi Osaka (JPN) defeated Patricia Maria Tig (ROU) 6-4 7-6
[3] Aryna Sabalenka (BLR) defeated [Q] Ana Konjuh (CRO) 6-4 6-3
[11] Petra Kvitova (CZE) defeated [Q] Greet Minnen (BEL) 6-7 7-6 6-1
[15] Victoria Azarenka (BLR) defeated Svetlana Kuznetsova (RUS) 6-4 2-6 6-3
[21] Elena Rybakina (KAZ) defeated [WC] Elsa Jacquemot (FRA) 6-4 6-1
[23] Madison Keys (USA) defeated [WC] Oceane Dodin (FRA) 6-3 3-6 6-1
[Q] Anhelina Kalinina (UKR) defeated [26] Angelique Kerber (GER) 6-2 6-4
[29] Veronika Kudermetova (RUS) defeated Amanda Anisimova (USA) 7-6 6-1
[31] Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (RUS) defeated Christina McHale (USA) 6-4 6-0
[33] Paula Badosa (ESP) defeated Lauren Davis (USA) 6-2 7-6
Danka Kovinic (MNE) defeated [WC] Clara Burel (FRA) 6-3 7-6
Ajla Tomljanovic (AUS) defeated Kateryna Kozlova (UKR) 6-2 6-4
Aliaksandra Sasnovich (BLR) defeated [WC] Diane Parry (FRA) 6-3 3-6 6-3
Nao Hibino (JPN) defeated Nina Stojanovic (SRB) 7-6 6-2
Ana Bogdan (ROU) defeated [LL] Elisabetta Cocciaretto (ITA) 6-1 6-3
Leylah Fernandez (CAN) defeated Anastasia Potapova (RUS) 6-2 6-1
Elena Vesnina (RUS) defeated [LL] Olga Govortsova (BLR) 6-1 6-0
Danielle Collins (USA) defeated [Q] Wang Xiyu (CHN) 6-2 4-6 6-4
Clara Tauson (DEN) defeated [Q] Ekaterine Gorgodze (GEO) 6-4 6-2
Katerina Siniakova (CZE) defeated Marie Bouzkova (CZE) 6-0 4-6 6-2

Picture credit: Corinne Dubreuil/FFT

WTA Tour wrap: Gauff bounces back to reach Parma final as Serbian semis decided

AMERICAN teenager Coco Gauff will contest the Emilia-Romagna Open final against Wang Qiang after the Chinese sixth seed took care of Gauff’s compatriot Sloane Stephens. Wang won 6-2 7-6 in the one-hour and 46-minute match to reach the Parma final, as Gauff had to bounce back from a shocking second set to win in three sets over Katerina Sinaikova in two hours and eight minutes, 7-5 1-6 6-2.

“It definitely gives me more experience, just the fact that I’ve been in a final before, so I know how the nerves feel, and I know how to handle it a little bit better,” Gauff said post-match. “Tomorrow, I’m just going to go out there and have fun.”

Gauff said playing Siniakova – which not only included losing the second set but going down 2-0 in he third – was difficult, before Gauff piled on six consecutive games to dominate the last part of the match and win 7-5 1-6 6-2.

“[Siniakova is] a super tricky player, she obviously had some great wins this week,” Gauff said. “To be honest, I just kind of hung in there, and although in the second set my level went down a little bit, I was glad that I was able to pick it up for the third.”

Wang had a lower serving efficiency than Stephens (59.7 to 75.3 per cent) but served one more ace (2-1) and was far more consistent on serve, with a 63 to 55.2 first serve winning percentage, and 5.48 to 36.8 second serve winning percentage. Still, Stephens raced out to a 5-1 lead in the second set, but Wang closed her down to win five of the next six games, force a tiebreaker and take out he match in straight sets.

Over in the Serbia Open, Paula Badosa remains the only seeded player in the final four, defeating seventh seed Rebecca Peterson in straight sets 6-2 6-3. The fourth seed Spaniard was far too good and continued her ripping 2021 form to book a spot in the final four. Also making their way through to the semi-finals were Croatian Ana Konjuh who has also been impressive this season, Colombian Maria Camila Osorio Serrano and Bulgarian Viktoriya Tomova.

SERBIA LADIES OPEN QUARTER FINALS RESULTS:

[4] Paula Badosa (ESP) defeated [7] Rebecca Peterson (SWE) 6-2 6-4
Ana Konjuh (CRO) defeated [5] Nadia Podoroska (ARG) 6-4 6-3
Maria Camila Osorio Serrano (COL) defeated Aliaksandra Sasnovich (BLR) 6-4 6-2
Viktoriya Tomova (BUL) defeated Leylah Fernandez (CAN) 6-3 4-6 6-2

EMILIA-ROMAGNA OPEN SEMI-FINALS RESULTS:

[3] Coco Gauff (USA) defeated Katerina Siniakova (CZE) 7-5 1-6 6-2
[6] Wang Qiang (CHN) Sloane Stephens (USA) 6-2 7-6

Picture credit: Marta Magni Images/MEF Tennis Events

WTA Tour wrap: Emilia-Romagna and Belgrade begin

THE second day at both the Emilia-Romagna Open and Belgrade WTA 250 events saw plenty of intriguing results, following predictable opening days at each tournament.

Of the eight Day 2 matches which played out at Parma, all three seeds proceeded joining the opening day’s winners in Daria KasatkinaAmanda Anisimova and Wang Qiang. Top seed Serena Williams was the big entrant to the event and did not disappoint in her opening day on court, downing qualifying Italian teenager Lisa Pigato 6-3 6-2 in just 68 minutes, as seventh seed Sara Sorribes Tormo downed Bernarda Pera with a similar result.

Pigato may have been unlucky to draw Williams in her maiden WTA Tour main draw entry, but said that despite the result it was a dream to play the champion, even asking for a photo with Williams – while they were still on court.

“Playing against her, it was my dream,” Pigato said post-match. “When we finished, I thanked her, because it was an honour playing agaist her. “She told me that I’m a good player, and it was fantastic to talk to her.”

“Lisa played really well,” Williams said in her on-court interview. “She told me she was only 17. Her future is super-bright – she handled the moment well, so I look forward to cheering for her in the future.”

“It’s usually after the match, in the locker room, I take photos,” Williams said. “It was really cool and gutsy. “It was her first WTA main draw match, so I thought it was a really good opportunity to take a photo – she’ll be able to look back on that in years. “I wish I had done that with my first match, it would have been really cool.”

The remainder of the United States’ competitors results went shakily as Caty McNallyChristina McHale and Venus Williams both fell in the opening round, with the former downed by compatriot Sloane Stephens. McHale and Williams were both disposed of in the only three-setters of the day, as hometown hopeful Camila Giorgi heads into the second round, while Williams won the first set before being outclassed for the remainder of her 5-7 6-2 6-2 clash with Anna Schmiedlova.

Eighth seed Caroline Garcia was tested by Argentinian Paula Ormaechea in their 6-4 6-4 matchup, while in the remaining matches at Parma another Italian in Martina di Giuseppe heads through to the Round of 16, joined by the final winner of the day in Katerina Siniakova.

At Belgrade, one seed in Yulia Putintseva joins yesterday’s seeded winners in Paula Badosa and Nadia Podoroska in the Round of 16, whilst both Oceane Dodin and Mihaela Buzarnescu also proceeded. Whilst Putintseva suffered a slow start against Kaja Juvan, requiring three sets to dispose of the Slovenian, Belgrade’s two remaining seeds in Zhang Shuai and Danka Kovinic were not quite as lucky as the third and eighth seeds fell in three to Maria Camila Osorio Serrano and Cristina Bucsa, respectively. The final winner of the day was Leylah Fernandez, as the 18-year-old Canadian downed another Slovenian in Polona Hercog.

Four more Round of 32 matches will play out at Parma tomorrow, as the remaining eight matches take the court at Belgrade, while both events also see the beginning of the Round of 16.

EMILIA-ROMAGNA OPEN ROUND OF 32 RESULTS:

[1] Serena Williams (USA) defeated Lisa Pigato (ITA) 6-3 6-2
[7] Sara Sorribes Tormo (ESP) defeated Bernarda Pera (USA) 6-4 6-2
[8] Caroline Garcia (FRA) defeated Paula Ormaechea (ARG) 6-4 6-4
Camila Giorgi (ITA) defeated Christina McHale (USA) 6-7 6-4 6-4
Anna Schmiedlova (SVK) defeated Venus Williams (USA) 5-7 6-2 6-2
Sloane Stephens (USA) defeated Caty McNally (USA) 7-6 6-4
Katerina Siniakova (CZE) defeated Clara Tauson (DEN) 6-1 6-3
Martina di Giuseppe (ITA) defeated Nao Hibino (JPN) 7-5 7-6

[4] Daria Kasatkina (RUS) defeated Hsieh Su-wei (TPE) 6-4 6-3
[5] Amanda Anisimova (USA) defeated Jasmine Paolini (ITA) 6-2 6-1
[6] Wang Qiang (CHN) defeated Misaki Doi (JPN) 6-2 5-7 6-1

BELGRADE ROUND OF 32 RESULTS:

[2] Yulia Putintseva (KAZ) defeated Kaja Juvan (SLO) 4-6 6-2 6-1
Maria Camila Osorio Serrano (COL) defeated [3] Zhang Shuai (CHN) 6-2 1-6 7-6
Cristina Bucsa (ESP) defeated [8] Danka Kovinic (MNE) 3-6 6-4 6-1
Leylah Fernandez (CAN) defeated Polona Hercog (SLO) 7-5 6-1

[4] Paula Badosa (ESP) defeated Andrea Petkovic (GER) 6-2 6-3
[5] Nadia Podoroska (ARG) defeated Timea Babos (HUN) 6-2 4-6 6-3
Oceane Dodin (FRA) defeated Kristyna Pliskova (CZE) 6-3 7-5
Mihaela Buzarnescu (ROU) defeated Patricia Maria Tig (ROU) 4-6 7-5 6-2

Picture credit: Marta Magni Images/MEF Tennis Events

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

VOLVO CAR OPEN ROUND OF 32 RESULTS:

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

COPA COLSANITAS ROUND OF 16 RESULTS:

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

Picture credit: Volvo Car Open/Chris Smith

WTA Tour wrap: Americans dominate in Charleston as three-setters set the tone in Bogota

THE WTA Tour 500 and 250 events in Charleston, USA and Bogota, Colombia have continued, with results coming through from America across both the Round of 64 and Round of 32 whilst the Copa Colsanitas has now completed its first round proceedings.

At Charleston, just two seeds participated in the day’s Round of 64 action whilst the second round also began with all three seeds reigning supreme to head straight to the Round of 16. Every match was complete in straight sets on a relatively straightforward day of action. It was just 12th seed Ons Jabeur who made her mark with a sweeping 6-2 6-2 victory over Italian Martina Trevisan in just 58 minutes – the quickest result of the day. Zhang Saisai was not quite as lucky though, with the Chinese 16th seed falling to Canadian teenager Leylah Fernandez 6-3 6-1 in just 66 minutes, whilst Sloane Stephens knocked out the other Chinese competitor on the day in Wang Xinyu. Stephens was one of four Americans to reign supreme on the day, joined by Shelby RogersEmma Navarro and Hailey Baptiste in the second round, with the latter downing a fourth compatriot in Caroline Dolehide in the process. In other results, Liudmila SamsonovaAnastasija Sevastova and Danka Kovinic all head to the second round.

In the day’s Round 2 proceedings, third seed Petra Kvitova, sixth seed Garbine Muguruza and 11th seed Yulia Putintseva all reigned supreme in straight sets to head to the Round of 16, downing yesterday’s Round of 64 winners in Storm SandersMagdalena Frech and Zarina Diyas, respectively.

VOLVO CAR OPEN ROUND OF 64 RESULTS:

[12] Ons Jabeur (TUN) defeated Martina Trevisan (ITA) 6-2 6-2
Leylah Fernandez (CAN) defeated [16] Zhang Saisai (CHN) 6-3 6-1
Shelby Rogers (USA) defeated Kristina Mladenovic (FRA) 6-4 6-3
Hailey Baptiste (USA) defeated Caroline Dolehide (USA) 6-3 6-3
Liudmila Samsonova (RUS) defeated Nao Hibino (JPN) 6-2 6-1
Sloane Stephens (USA) defeated Wang Xinyu (CHN) 6-2 6-4
Anastasija Sevastova (LAT) defeated Anastasia Potapova (RUS) 6-3 6-3
Danka Kovinic (MON) defeated Gabriela Talaba (ROM) 7-6 6-4
Emma Navarro (USA) defeated Renata Zarazua (MEX) 6-4 6-3

VOLVO CAR OPEN ROUND OF 32 RESULTS:

[3] Petra Kvitova (CZE) defeated Storm Sanders (AUS) 7-6 6-2
[6] Garbine Muguruza (ESP) defeated Magdalena Frech (POL) 6-1 6-3
[11] Yulia Putintseva (KAZ) defeated Zarina Diyas (KAZ) 6-2 6-2

 

At the WTA 250 event in Bogota, Colombia, proceedings went very differently with plenty of tight battles ensuing. Of the five seeds, just two fell with second seed Spaniard Sara Sorribes Tormo falling to Italian Sara Errani in a closely fought 7-5 7-5 encounter, whilst teenaged fourth seed Clara Tauson went down to Chilean Daniela Seguel in three sets, 3-6 6-3 6-2. Dutch third seed Arantxa Rus boasted the longest victory of the day in a marathon encounter with Irina Bara, with the Romanian challenging Rus the entire way in the 6-4 5-7 6-4 matchup which lasted two hours and 35 minutes. That was not the only plus-two-hour match of the day though, with Errani and Seguel both required to take over two hours to dispose of their respective seeded opposition, as did seventh seed Tereza Martincova in her 4-6 6-4 6-4 matchup with Leonie Kung, and Giulia Gatto-Monticone in her 4-6 7-5 6-1 victory over Australian Astra Sharma.

Comparatively, Lara Arruabarrena completed the quickest win of the day in just 50 minutes, 6-0 6-1 over hometown hope Jessica Plazas, whilst fifth seed Tamara Zidansek was challenged in the second set by Anna Kalinskaya in their 6-0 7-5 encounter. Harmony Tan and Maria Camila Osorio Serrano were the last two winners of the Round of 32, looking to continue their form in the second round.

COPA COLSANITAS ROUND OF 32 RESULTS:

Sara Errani (ITA) defeated [2] Sara Sorribes Tormo (ESP) 7-5 7-5
[3] Arantxa Rus (NED) defeated Irina Bara (ROM) 6-4 5-7 6-4
Daniela Seguel (CHI) defeated [4] Clara Tauson (DEN) 3-6 6-3 6-2
[5] Tamara Zidansek (SLO) defeated Anna Kalinskaya (RUS) 6-0 7-5
[7] Tereza Martincova (CZE) defeated Leonie Kung (SUI) 4-6 6-4 6-4
Lara Arruabarrena (ESP) defeated Jessica Plazas (COL) 6-0 6-1
Harmony Tan (FRA) defeated Mihaela Buzarnescu (ROM) 6-3 6-3
Maria Camila Osorio Serrano (COL) defeated Sachia Vickery (USA) 6-3 6-2
Giulia Gatto-Monticone (ITA) defeated Astra Sharma (AUS) 4-6 7-5 6-1