Tag: maddison inglis

2021 Adelaide International: Collins gatecrashes Barty Party as Storm Sanders becomes the last Aussie standing

DANIELLE Collins has sought revenge on world number one Ash Barty, overturning the result between the pair at last year’s Adelaide International to win in straight sets and book her place in the last eight. The American went down in three sets in last year’s semi-final showdown which saw Barty go on to win the title, but in the Round of 16, it was Collins who got the better of the Australian, stunning her 6-3 6-4 and condemning Barty to her second consecutive loss.

“I think I was really familiar with her game after losing to her three times,” Collins said post-match. “So I certainly got some great tennis lessons out of that and have learned from it.”

The American was the third from her nation to make her way into the quarter finals following Shelby Rogers‘ victory the day before, and young gun Coco Gauff‘s come-from-behind win over sixth seed Croatian Petra Martic. Gauff had to fight back from a set down to win 5-7 6-3 6-4 in two hours and 12 minutes, saving seven of her 10 break points, whilst breaking her opponent four times in a nail-biting encounter. She now takes on Rogers in an all-American affair.

For Collins, having disposed of one Grand Slam winner in Barty, she now has another to overcome. The unseeded American faces Iga Swiatek in the quarter finals after the Pole Roland Garros winner defeated Australian Maddison Inglis in straight sets, 6-1 6-3. On a day that was a disaster for seeds, Swiatek held firm and won through to the final eight, joining second seed Belinda Bencic as the only other seed through to the quarter finals.

The biggest upset of the day – even more so than Collins over Barty – was Storm Sanders‘ triumph over Yulia Putintseva. The 26-year-old world number 292nd had no fears against the seventh seed and world number 28, winning 6-4 5-7 6-1 in a tight affair. In a remarkable second match since they last played nine years ago when they were teenagers, the now 26-year-olds engaged in a two-hour and 18-minute battle which saw Sanders emerge victorious. She saved eight of 10 break points, whilst capitalising on four of nine herself to make her way into the quarter finals to take on Bencic.

In the other results, Latvian Anastasia Sevastova will lock horns with Swiss rising talent Jil Teichmann after both won their respective matches. Sevastova knocked out Christina McHale in straight sets, 6-4 6-3, while Teichmann came from behind to defeat eighth seed Chinese talent, Wang Qiang, 3-6 6-3 6-3.

ROUND OF 16 RESULTS:

Danielle Collins (USA) defeated [1] Ash Barty (AUS) 6-3 6-4
[2] Belinda Bencic (SUI) defeated Misaki Doi (JPN) 6-1 6-3
[5] Iga Swiatek (POL) defeated Maddison Inglis (AUS) 6-1 6-3
Coco Gauff (USA) defeated [6] Petra Martic (CRO) 5-7 6-3 6-4
Storm Sanders (AUS) defeated [7] Yulia Putintseva (KAZ) 6-4 5-7 6-1
Jil Teichmann (SUI) defeated [8] Wang Qiang (CHN) 3-6 6-3 6-3
Anastasia Sevastova (LAT) defeated Christina McHale 6-4 6-3

Picture credit: Tennis Australia/James Elsby

2021 Adelaide International: Rogers downs Konta in day of upsets

DAY 3 at the Adelaide International saw a couple more upsets make their way through to the Round of 16, with one seed disposed of in straight sets and a duo of Aussie qualifiers winning their third straight win to head to the second round.

It was Johanna Konta who fell at the first hurdle, absolutely obliterated by American Shelby Rogers 6-2 6-2 in one hour and 16 minutes. Konta retired early from the Australian Open – during the first round in fact – from injury and looked the goods heading into Adelaide, but struggled to maintain her form and failed to have an impact on serve and more so on return. With just 10 unforced errors to her name throughout the contest, Rogers was clean and clinical, registering her third career Top 10 victory. The results of Rogers’ compatriots Coco Gauff and Madison Brengle went in two different directions though, with Gauff overcoming fellow qualifier Jasmine Paolini in a two-hour and 33-minute 6-4 7-6 6-2 battle, whilst Brengle was unfortunate to draw Polish fifth seed Iga Swiatek, and was disposed of in straight sets.

Maddison Inglis fought off former champion Sam Stosur, coming back from the brink in a tight 6-7 7-5 6-4 marathon, winning in two hours and 46 minutes. Whilst Stosur was marginally more effective on serve, Inglis saved seven of her 10 break points and when it came down to overall points won, just pipped her compatriot at the post. In the other all-Australian battle it was underdog Storm Sanders who got the chocolates over Alja Tomljanovic, as Sanders’ fine recent form continued with another straight sets victory, 6-1 6-2 in 63 minutes.

Looking to seeded contests, and both Yulia Putintseva and Petra Martic head through to the second round relatively unscathed, but were both pushed by their respective opposition in Laura Siegemund and Liudmila Samsonova, coming away with 6-4 6-4 and 4-6 6-0 7-5 margins over their respective foes. The remaining matches saw Misaki Doi and Jil Teichmann also join the second round club.

Picture credit: Getty Images

2021 Adelaide International: Qualifiers share spotlight as main draw takes the court

DAY 2 of the Adelaide International qualifying round saw the WTA 500 tournament’s main draw begin, with plenty of hotly contested matches on centre court during the first day of the official competition, as Anastasija Sevastova, Wang QiangShelby Rogers and Danielle Collins headed into the Round of 16 with relative ease.

Sevastova was the first to win through to the Round of 16, defeating Caroline Garcia in 81 minutes 6-2 6-4. It was a solid first serve efficiency that saw the Latvian take out the victory, winning 65 per cent of first serve points off a 72.7 per cent clip, controlling the match despite the Frenchwoman fighting back in the second. A game-for-game first set between eighth seed Wang and wildcard Olivia Gadecki – who sits barely within the top 400 at 399th in the world – drew plenty of eyes as the Australian challenged Wang, before the Chinese talent ran away with the second set and eventual victory with her ability to win off her first serve paying dividends with an effectiveness of close to 88 per cent.

On the first and second show courts, it was the underdogs that showcased their form as the likes of Storm Sanders and Liudmila Samsonova reigned supreme and headed into the main draw. Sanders had an excellent outing against American Caty McNally, downing the ninth seed in 75 minute 6-2 6-3. Whilst not as huge a scalp as Sanders’ victory – ranking 292nd in the world to McNally’s 118th – 10th seed and 117th ranked Samsonova got the chocolates over Japanese fifth seed and world number 86 Misaki Doi, 7-6 6-3. Meanwhile, an excellent showing from Latvian Kaja Juvan saw the 20-year-old speed away to an early lead, before 16-year-old top seed Coco Gauff clapped back midway through the second to force a deciding set after a huge come from behind effort, eventually winning 3-6 7-5 6-3 in two hours and 10 minutes.

A mammoth effort from Maddison Inglis saw the Australian join the winners list with an excellent outing against third seed Christina McHale. Whilst the American seemed to have all proceedings going her way early, a stellar comeback across the second and third sets handed Inglis her entry into the main draw and a chance at her maiden WTA Tour win. With a 65.6 per cent win rate on her first serve off a 78 per cent clip, Inglis was far more effective on serve and utilised her service speed to knock off the world number 85, 4-6 6-2 6-1 in just under two hours.

The remaining two Round of 32 encounters saw a fired-up Rogers fly through the first set against Veronika Kudermetova, before the Russian bit back in the second to force a tiebreaker but unable to rein in the American, as Rogers’ compatriot Collins downed Zheng Saisai and Madison Brengle won through to the main draw alongside Italian Jasmine Paolini.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Australian Open Women’s Round of 128 wrap: Barty dominates as Sherif first Egyptian woman to make it to grand slam second round

A flurry of exciting players joined the Australian Open fray on Day 2 of proceedings at Melbourne Park, with world number one Ash Barty making her Open return in smashing fashion, while the likes of Sofia KeninElina Svitolina and Karolina Pliskova all came out flying as the top seeds of the day. In a highly competitive day of action – with nine matches going to three sets and four of those hitting the two-hour and 30-minute mark – just a couple of seeded competitors fell, with 12th seed Victoria Azarenka leading the pack after an excellent outing from American Jessica Pegula, while Johanna Konta retired from her 6-4 0-2 encounter with Slovenian Kaja JuvanPetra Martic struggled to maintain composure after Serbian qualifier Olga Danilovic took out the first set tiebreaker, eventually going down 7-5 3-6 6-4, while Maria Sakkari was error-ridden in defeat, and 31st seed Zhang Saisai was exposed by American Ann Li who hit 22 winners to Zhang’s two to come away with a 6-2 6-0 victory in 47 minutes.

But while a 47-minute victory was one thing, Barty’s 6-0 6-0 utter domination of Danka Kovinic was another, with the Australian disposing of the world number 82 in just 44 minutes. Collecting 10 winners for five unforced error’s compared to Kovinic’s three and 28, Barty dismantled her opposition on home soil and proved far too good for the Montenegrin, who spent 20,120 minutes in hotel quarantine in Melbourne for a devastating 44 minutes of play. Barty is joined by a couple of compatriots in the second round, as Daria Gavrilova and Sam Stosur were both successful on their opening day. World number 387 Gavrilova stunned 64th ranked Spaniard Sara Sorribes Tormo on return with a 6-1 first set setting up a straight sets 6-1 7-5 victory, while Stosur downed compatriot Destanee Aiava 6-4 6-4. Kenin’s outing against fellow Australian Maddison Inglis may not have been quite as dominant, but she still came away with a classy 7-5 6-4 victory over the Australian who is still yet to win an match on the WTA Tour, while a duo of green and gold wildcards in Astra Sharma and Arina Rodionova will join Inglis and Aiava on the sidelines.

Mayar Sherif became the first Egyptian woman to make it past the first round at a Grand Slam with her 7-5 7-5 victory over Frenchwoman Chloe Paquet, joined by Danilovic and Liudmila Samsonova as the only qualifiers to make it through the day, while young gun Coco Gauff continued her running grand slam form with a 6-3 6-2 sweep of Jil Teichmann to head into yet another second round at a major tournament. Powerhouses Pliskova and Svitolina may have had supremely different playing times – 47 minutes and two hours, respectively – but both also head into the second round, after disposing of Jasmine Paolini and Marie Bouzkova, while the seeded duo is joined in the second round by a flurry of top talent as 2020 Australian Open runner up Garbine MuguruzaBelinda BencicElise Mertens and Anett Kontaveit all came away with excellent wins, as did Jennifer Brady, Karolina MuchovaYulia PutintsevaDonna Vekic and Ekaterina Alexandrova with all bar five seeds making it out alive on Day 2 of the Open.

The second round of action begins at Melbourne Park today, with the day session headlined by the likes of Serena Williams and Bianca Andreescu, while the night session will see Naomi Osaka and Simona Halep take the court against unseeded opposition in Caroline Garcia and Ajla TomljanovicVenus Williams will look to continue her run when she takes on Italian qualifier Sara Errani, while Iga Swiatek will take on Errani’s higher ranked compatriot Camila Giorgi.

AUSTRALIAN OPEN WOMEN’S ROUND OF 128 RESULTS:

[1] Ash Barty (AUS) defeated Danka Kovinic (MON) 6-0 6-0
[4] Sofia Kenin (USA) defeated [WC] Maddison Inglis (AUS) 7-5 6-4
[5] Elina Svitolina (UKR) defeated Marie Bouzkova (CZE) 6-3 7-6
[6] Karolina Pliskova (CZE) defeated Jasmine Paolini (ITA) 6-0 6-2
[11] Belinda Bencic (SUI) defeated Lauren Davis (USA) 6-3 4-6 6-1
Jessica Pegula (USA) defeated [12] Victoria Azarenka (BLR) 7-5 6-4
Kaja Juvan (SLO) defeated [13] Johanna Konta (GBR) 4-6 2-0 RET
[14] Garbine Muguruza (ESP) defeated [LL] Margarita Gasparyan (RUS) 6-4 6-0
[Q] Olga Danilovic (SRB) defeated [16] Petra Martic (CRO) 7-5 3-6 6-4
[18] Elise Mertens (BEL) defeated Leylah Fernandez (CAN) 6-1 6-3
Kristina Mladenovic (FRA) defeated [20] Maria Sakkari (GRE) 6-2 0-6 6-3
[21] Anett Kontaveit (EST) defeated Aliaksandra Sasnovich (BLR) 7-5 6-2
[22] Jennifer Brady (USA) defeated Aliona Bolsova (ESP) 6-1 6-3
[25] Karolina Muchova (CZE) defeated Jelena Ostapenko (LAT) 7-5 6-2
[26] Yulia Putintseva (KAZ) defeated Sloane Stephens (USA) 4-6 6-2 6-3
[28] Donna Vekic (CRO) defeated Wang Yifan (CHN) 4-6 6-3 6-4
[29] Ekaterina Alexandrova (RUS) defeated Martina Trevisan (ITA) 6-3 6-4
Ann Li (USA) defeated [31] Zhang Saisai (CHN) 6-2 6-0
Coco Gauff (USA) defeated Jil Teichmann (SUI) 6-3 6-2
[WC] Daria Gavrilova (AUS) defeated Sara Sorribes Tormo (ESP) 6-1 7-5
Danielle Collins (USA) defeated Ana Bogdan (ROU) 6-3 6-1
Nao Hibino (JPN) defeated [WC] Astra Sharma (AUS) 2-6 6-3 7-5
Madison Brengle (USA) defeated [WC] Arina Rodionova (AUS) 6-1 6-2
Kaia Kanepi (EST) defeated Anastasija Sevastova (EST) 6-3 6-1
Heather Watson (GBR) defeated Kristyna Pliskova (CZE) 7-6 7-6
[Q] Liudmila Samsonova (RUS) defeated Paula Badosa (ESP) 6-7 7-6 7-5
Nadia Podoroska (ARG) defeated Christina McHale (USA) 6-4 6-4
Svetlana Kuznetsova (RUS) defeated Barbora Strycova (CZE) 6-2 6-2
Zhu Lin (CHN) defeated [Q] Whitney Osuigwe (USA) 6-1 6-1
[WC] Sam Stosur (AUS) defeated [WC] Destanee Aiava (AUS) 6-4 6-4
[Q] Mayar Sherif (EGY) defeated [Q] Chloe Paquet (FRA) 7-5 7-5
Alison Van Uytvanck (BEL) defeated [Q] Clara Burel (FRA) 4-6 6-3 6-4
Shelby Rogers (USA) defeated [Q] Francesca Jones (GBR) 6-4 6-1
Mona Barthel (GER) defeated [Q] Elisabetta Cocciaretto (ITA) 3-6 6-4 6-4

WTA 500 wraps: Seeds stumble in Yarra Valley Classic as Australians fall across the board

ON the opening day of the WTA Tour’s Summer Series in Australia, all bar one of the host nation’s players fell, while a couple of French seeds bowed out in the first round at the Yarra Valley Classic.

Kicking off the 2021 Summer Series in the Yarra Valley Classic, a couple of Americans in Shelby Rogers and Jessica Pegula both made life difficult for their French opponent’s Australian Open preparations. Rogers defeated 12th seed Fiona Ferro 6-2 7-5, while Pegula was too good for 15th seed Kristina Mladenovic 6-4 6-1. Only one of the three seeds on day one secured a spot in the second round, as 16th seed Czech Marie Bouzkova smashed local hope Sam Stosur, 6-2 6-0.

It was one of a number of Australians who fell across the day’s play with Kimberley Birrell, Lizette Cabrera and Maddison Inglis all losing out in first round encounters. Birrell and Inglis fell in straight sets to German Mona Barthel and Swede Rebecca Peterson respectively, whilst Cabrera pushed Russian Varvara Gracheva, but went down in three sets, 2-6 6-4 6-2. Other one-sided contests included Australia’s sole winner on day one, Daria Gavrilova, having a 6-2 6-0 smashing of Slovakian Viktoria Kuzmova.

In other results, Ana Bogdan took care of Russian Kamila Rakhimova, Grand Slam winner Venus Williams proved too good for Dutchwoman Arantxa Rus, fellow veteran Tsvetana Pironkova won over Liudmila Samsonova, and Anastasia Sevastova defeated American Madison Brengle in straight sets. In only one of two three-set matches, Italian Elisabetta Cocciaretto came back from the brink after losing the first set 6-0 to China’s Lin Zhu, to win the second set, but then find herself down in the third, but bounced back to win 0-6 6-3 7-5 and advanced through to the Round of 32.

YARRA VALLEY CLASSIC ROUND OF 64 RESULTS:

Shelby Rogers (USA) defeated [12] Fiona Ferro (FRA) 6-2 7-5
Jessica Pegula (USA) defeated [15] Kristina Mladenovic (FRA) 6-4 6-1
[16] Marie Bouzkova (CZE) defeated Sam Stosur (AUS) 6-2 6-0
Tsvetana Pironkova (BUL) defeated Liudmila Samsonova (RUS) 6-2 6-1
Venus Williams (USA) defeated Arantxa Rus (NED) 6-1 6-3
Mona Barthel (GER) defeated Kimberley Birrell (AUS) 7-5 6-3
Daria Gavrilova (AUS) defeated Viktoria Kuzmova (SVK) 6-2 6-0
Varvara Gracheva (RUS) defeated Lizette Cabrera (AUS) 2-6 6-4 6-2
Rebecca Peterson (SWE) defeated Maddison Inglis (AUS) 6-2 6-1
Ana Bogdan (ROU) defeated Kamilla Rakhimova (RUS) 6-2 6-2
Anastasia Sevastova (LAT) defeated Madison Brengle (USA) 6-4 6-2
Elisabetta Cocciaretto (ITA) defeated Lin Zhu (CHN) 0-6 6-3 7-5

In the Gippsland Trophy which was also held in Melbourne Park, three of the four seeds got up to win their first round matches, but it was more disappointment for the home nation across the board, with the three Australians out on court losing their Round of 64 encounters.

Seeds, Jelena Ostapenko and Polona Hercog both recorded three-set wins over their respective opponents after slow starts, as the 13th seed Latvian toppled former Top 5 player Sara Errani 4-6 6-3 6-1, while Hercog knocked off Russian Margarita Gasparyan 2-6 6-3 6-3. Caroline Garcia became the only Frenchwoman to win across either tournament when she knocked off Australia’s Arina Rodionova 6-3 6-4, whilst Rodionova’s compatriots, Olivia Gadecki and Astra Sharma both went down in three-set losses.

Gadecki was brave against Bernarda Pera before losing 6-7 6-3 6-3 in a tight contest, while Sharma stunned Estonian Kaia Kanepi in the first set 6-1, before ultimately being overrun 1-6 7-5 6-2. In another three-set match, Irina-Camelia Begu came from behind to knock off China’s Saisai Zheng. The 11th seed won the first set 6-3, but Begu managed to get it back on her terms and hold off her Chinese opponent to win 3-6 7-5 6-4 in and impressive victory.

Other three-set winners included Slovenian Kava Juvan who knocked off China’s Yafan Wang, 4-6 6-1 6-4, while German Andrea Petkovic got over Italian Martina Trevisan, 6-1 3-6 7-5. Over to the straight set winners and Hungarian Timea Babos defeated Romania’s Patricia Tig, Anna Schmiedlova toppled Valeria Savinykh 6-1 6-3, Jasmine Paolini won a hard-fought tussle over Canada’s Rebecca Marino 7-6 6-3, while Daria Kasatkina and Danka Kovinic won comfortably against Mihaela Buzarnescu and Tamara Zidansek respectively.

GIPPSLAND TROPHY ROUND OF 64 RESULTS:

Irina-Camelia Begu (ROU) defeated [11] Saisai Zheng (CHN) 3-6 7-5 6-4
[12] Caroline Garcia (FRA) defeated Arina Rodionova (AUS) 6-3 6-4
[13] Jelena Ostapenko (LAT) defeated Sara Errani (ITA) 4-6 6-3 6-1
[15] Polona Hercog (SLO) defeated Margarita Gasparyan (RUS) 2-6 6-3 6-3
Kaja Juvan (SLO) defeated Yafan Wang (CHN) 4-6 6-1 6-4
Timea Babos (HUN) defeated Patricia Tig (ROU) 7-6 6-3
Andrea Petkovic (GER) defeated Martina Trevisan (ITA) 6-1 3-6 7-5
Anna Schmiedlova (SVK) defeated Valeria Savinykh (RUS) 6-1 6-3
Bernarda Pera (USA) defeated Olivia Gadecki (AUS) 6-7 6-3 6-3
Kaia Kanepi (EST) defeated Astra Sharma (AUS) 1-6 7-5 6-2
Jasmine Paolini (ITA) defeated Rebecca Marino (CAN) 7-6 6-3
Daria Kasatkina (RUS) defeated Mihaela Buzarnescu (ROU) 6-1 6-1
Danka Kovinic (MCE) defeated Tamara Zidansek (SLO) 6-3 6-3

Picture credit: Getty Images

Hopman Cup hypothetical teams: Australia & USA

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 start the series with hosts, Australia, and the team to have featured in all bar one event (30 of 31 years), the United States. We look at the likely teams, and the teams we would like to see.

Australia: Ash Barty & Nick Kyrgios

Australia has plenty of options on the ATP Tour now which would provide great varied choice for anyone who would love to step up. Nick Kyrgios has gone from zero to hero over the past 12 months in the eyes of the Australian pandemic and his commentary on calling out fellow tennis players’ wrongdoing. He might have divisive actions on-court, but there is no denying he could be the best in the world if he switched it on. It would also not be disappointing to see Australia’s top ranked player, Alex de Minaur take to the court on his beloved hard court, while John Millman‘s strongest surface is the hard court and would be a third option. Likely though we would end up with a lower ranked player such as Matt Ebden or perhaps the returning Thanasi Kokkinakis.

From the women’s perspective it would be hard not to see Ash Barty take up the choice again, playing only her second Hopman Cup tournament in 2019 after a six-year gap. In that time she went from teen sensation, to international cricketer and then world number one on the WTA Tour. There are less choices on the women’s side, though Daria Gavrilova was a regular here for a number of years. It would be great to even see a young Aussie get a shot if Barty is unavailable, like a Priscilla Hon or Maddison Inglis perhaps.

USA: Tommy Paul & Serena Williams

The hopeful United States team would not be too far fetched from being a reality, with one of the greatest of all-time in Serena Williams a regular at the event. Having won the event twice in 2003 and 2008, Williams could return as a good warm-up event to the Australian summer. It would come down to how much the 39-year-old could handle and what her work load would look like, but naturally she would be the first choice in terms of getting fans in the door. The rising young star in Sofia Kenin would also be an excellent choice, while teenager Amanda Anisimova could use the tournament as a good kick-starter to her year. The United States usually go big or go home, and if they eye off the title they load up on the star talent.

On the men’s side, Tommy Paul is the brightest talent the US have for the future. He is one that would go really well on the hard courts, though the 2019 competitor in Frances Tiafoe is arguably the next best choice. Paul provides the youth and teaming up with Kenin would be exciting for the future of American tennis. Jack Sock became a regular for a while playing three consecutive years, but the US have not won a Hopman Cup since 2011, which was their sixth title at the event.

2020 WTA Fantasy Mexican Open: Vandeweghe last North American standing

COCO Vandeweghe is the sole North American left in the Mexican Open after an impressive win against United States compatriot Caty McNally in the Round of 16 today. Vandeweghe was one of four players through to the quarter finals, completing the last eight after an impressive three-set win. The match lasted more than two and a half hours with Vandeweghe rated much higher than her 198th ranking. She won the first set 6-4 with a handy break, but a strong final game in the second set helped McNally level the match at a set apiece. Vandeweghe stepped up when it counted however, winning 6-3 in the final set to claim a 6-4 5-7 6-3 victory.

Joining Vandeweghe in the quarter finals is Brazilian, Beatriz Haddad Maia. The lowest ranked player in the draw got the better of Australian youngster Maddison Inglis in straight sets. After a tough first set tiebreaker, Haddad Maia took control in the second, reeling off the six consecutive games in 29 minutes to win in an hour and a half, 7-6 6-0. In the other quarter final, sixth seed Anna Lena Friedsam made her way into the last eight with a comfortable 6-2 6-3 victory over Mexican wildcard, Renata Zarazua. Friedsam was far too strong for her opponent and made her shot selection count with a number of winners on both sides of the court.

Finally, Russian Liudmila Samsonova is into the quarter finals with a 6-4 4-6 6-3 upset of fourth seed Belgian, Greet Minnen. Samsonova started strongly to win the opening set, but found herself a break down early in the second and could not recover with the talented Belgian levelling the match at a set apiece. Samsonova found her groove again in the deciding set, taking it out 6-4 4-6 6-3 in two hours and 29 minutes.

The quarter finals begin tomorrow with third seed Shuai Peng and Belarusian, Aliaksandra Sasnovich up first, followed by Frenchwoman Oceane Dodin and Russian, Anna Kalinskaya. In the night session, the four winners from today go at it with Vandeweghe and Haddad Maia facing off followed by Friedsam and Samsonova.

ROUND OF 16 RESULTS:

Liudmila Samsonova (RUS) defeated [4] Greet Minnen (BEL) 6-4 4-6 6-3
[6] Anna Lena Friedsam (GER) defeated Renata Zarazua (MEX) 6-2 6-3
Coco Vandeweghe (USA) defeated Caty Mcnally (USA) 6-4 5-7 6-3
Beatriz Haddad Maia (BRA) defeated Maddison Inglis (AUS) 7-6 6-0

2020 WTA Fantasy Mexican Open: Sasnovich books spot in Round of 16 after classic contest

TOURNAMENT favourite and Chinese veteran, Shuai Peng has moved through to the quarter finals following a comprehensive Round of 16 win. Shuai proved too good for Romanian, Monica Niculescu in the final 16, winning 6-1 6-2 in 54 minutes. The 34-year-old was consistent across the court and strong with her counterpunching as she also produced 13 winners, 10 of which came off her forehand in a strong display of speed, skill and work rate. Niculescu had very few answers for her opponent as the Chinese talent advanced, looking to move back into the top 100.

Shuai now takes on Belarusian talent, Aliaksandra Sasnovich who is building a nice career with plenty of years left, following her come-from-behind win over Swiss player, Timea Bacsinszky. Sasnovich won 4-6 6-3 6-2 in two hours and 12 minutes, the clear longest match of the second round. While most other combatants were off court in under 90 minutes, the pair traded blows and it took until a second break late in the deciding set for the Belarusian to advance through to the last eight.

In other results, 23-year-old Frenchwoman Oceane Dodin defeated more experienced German, Mona Barthel in straight sets. Dodin won 6-2 6-4 to pave her way through to the final eight, setting up a huge clash with Russian, Anna Kalinskaya. The 112th ranked Russian defeated Swiss talent, Stefanie Voegele 6-4 6-3 in an hour and 12 minutes to book a spot in the quarter finals, backing up from her eye-opening first round win.

With two of the quarter finals decided, the remaining two are decided tomorrows with the four other Round of 16 matches to be played. The All-American battle is up first with Coco Vandeweghe and Caty McNally going at it, while Australian Maddison Inglis faces Brazillian, Beatriz Haddad Maia. In the other third round games, fourth seed Greet Minnen takes on Russian Liudmila Samsonova in the match of the day, while sixth seed German Anna Lena Friedsam will hope to overcome Mexican Renata Zarazua who will hold home court advantage.

ROUND OF 16 RESULTS:

[3] Shuai Peng (CHN) defeated Monica Niculescu (ROU) 6-1 6-2
Aliaksandra Sasnovich (BLR) defeated Timea Bacsinszky (SUI) 4-6 6-3 6-2
Oceane Dodin (FRA) defeated Mona Barthel (GER) 6-2 6-4
Anna Kalinskaya (RUS) defeated Stefanie Voegele (SUI) 6-4 6-3

Fed Cup fantasy tennis: Reigning finalists win opening games on day one

LAST year’s finalists and 2020 Fed Cup top seeds, France and Australia have won their opening games on day one of the Draft Central Fantasy Fed Cup tournament. The reigning champions France made relative light work of host nation Hungary, whilst Australia had a fair fight against Belgium to get through unscathed.

FRANCE (3) defeated HUNGARY (0)

France started off its Fed Cup defence with a comfortable win over host nation Hungary on day one. Last year’s hero, Kristina Mladenovic managed to overcome the tricky Timea Babos in relative comfort 6-2 6-2. Having to break her on the final game of the first set helped the Frenchwoman to set herself up for a strong second set which included three breaks to one. She served at a reliable 65 per cent and won 68 per cent of her first serve points, to get the job done in around an hour and 20 minutes.

With Hungary’s second ranked played outside the top 200, Caroline Garcia was rested and Alize Cornet – ranked 59th in the world – was brought in to get some court time against Reka-Luca Jani. It went about as expected, with Garcia racing to a 5-0 lead, before being broken, though bouncing back to win 6-2 in the first set. The second set was much of the same, racing out to a 4-1 lead to eventually win in straight sets, 6-2 6-2.

The doubles featured two stars of the format, with third ranked Mladenovic coming up against fourth ranked Babos. They renewed their friendly hostilities in what was a dead rubber, with the two leading their relatively lesser known doubles teammates through a three-set thriller. In the end, it was tighter than France would have liked, leading 4-0 and 5-2 at one stage, before Babos stepped it up a notch to level the the scores t 5-5 and then again at 6-6 to force a tiebreaker. In the end, it went the way of the French 10-8 in the first set tiebreaker. Spurred on by that first set disappointment, the Hungarians hit back in the second set to win four consecutive games at 2-3 down to win the set, then France restored the status quo in the third to take out the match 7-6 3-6 6-2 and sweep the tie.

Kristina Mladenovic (FRA) defeated Timea Babos (HUN) 6-3 6-2
Alize Cornet (FRA) defeated Reka-Luca Jani (HUN) 6-2 6-2
K. Mladenovic / C. Garcia (FRA) defeated T. Babos / R. Jani (HUN) 7-6 3-6 6-2

AUSTRALIA (3) defeated BELGIUM (0)

Belgium was considered one of the danger teams coming into the Fed Cup, and one that could very well push Australia all the way. Whilst the Aussies ultimately got the job done 3-0, it was not without plenty of fight from their Belgian opposition. The first match of the tie saw world number one, Ash Barty have to fight back from a strong start and a break down against Elise Mertens to win the last 10 games of the match and remind spectators of just how dominant she can be on her day. Trailing 2-4 in the first set, Barty went into beast mode and piled on the next four games of the first set to take it 6-4, then ran amok in the second set to not give Mertens a chance at victory. The Australian piled on the pressure and ran out a 6-0 6-4 winner to hand her side the best possible start to the Fed Cup.

The second match was anticipated to be a thriller and it lived up to expectations. With both players ranked just one rank apart on the WTA Tour world rankings, it was no surprise to see Australia’s Ajla Tomljanovic and Belgium’s Alison Van Uytvanck going the full distance for more than three hours. Van Uytvanck broke early in the first set to race to a 5-2 lead, and whilst Tomljanovic fought back with a break of her own, it was a case of too little, too late for the Australian as the Belgian went one-up with a 6-4 first set triumph. It was a similar story in the second set with Van Uytvanck on the verge of closing out the match in straight sets. She led 4-2 at one stage and a break in-hand, before Tomljanovic fought back to force it past 5-5 and then broke in the eleventh game to serve out the set 7-5. The final set was just as close, with the Australian this time getting the upper hand, winning four consecutive games to lead 4-1, before the Belgian fought back and soon it was 5-5. But yet again Tomljanovic stepped up when it counted to win the final two games of the set, breaking in the eleventh game again and then taking out the match 4-6 7-5 7-5.

Coming into the doubles, Australia was tempted to blood debutant Maddison Inglis alongside the experienced Sam Stosur, but considering the strength of the Belgian duo of Mertens and Kristen Flipkens – both ranked inside the top 30 – the Aussies resisted and handed Barty another outing on court. It proved a strong choice, with Australia getting up in three sets – but not without some nervous moments. The match might have been a dead rubber for this tie, but in the scenario that each team in the group won a tie, it would then go to matches, sets then games, so everything counted. Barty and Stosur seemed to have control in the first set, breaking twice and only being broken one saw them take out the first set 6-3. They then moved to a 3-1 lead early in the second before the Belgians hit back with five of the next six games to steal the set and level the match. Mertens and Flipkens were teaming up well and again took an early lead to move to 3-1 in the third and then 5-3 serving for the match. But once again the Aussies capitalised, breaking back and then holding serve to move to 5-5. Mertens held her serve in the eleventh game, as did Barty the following match to send it into a tiebreaker. The deciding tiebreaker was an absolute thriller, with the teams trading winners until Australia finally got up 15-13 with a perfect volley from Stosur cross-court with angle to win the match, and the tie.

Ash Barty (AUS) defeated Elise Mertens (BEL) 6-4 6-0
Ajla Tomljanovic (AUS) defeated Alison Van Uytvanck (BEL) 4-6 7-5 7-5
A. Barty / S. Stosur (AUS) defeated E. Mertens / K. Flipkens (BEL) 6-3 4-6 7-6