Tag: madison brengle

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.

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

Osaka survives Kostyuk scare to book fourth round berth

FOURTH seed Naomi Osaka is through to the Round of 16 at the US Open after knocking off teenage Ukrainian, Marta Kosyuk in three sets. The match lasted two hours and 33 minutes before Osaka could safely advance through to the fourth round. The 18-year-old Ukrainian won a second set tiebreaker and forced Osaka onto the back foot at times, drawing praise from the Japanese star post-match.

“I’m kind of scared of (how) good she’s going to be in the future,” Osaka said. “My biggest takeaway from her game is that she didn’t back down from me or from the speed of my ball, which for someone that young is kind of amazing… The first set went [my] way, and then she could have faded in the second set. Of course in the third set towards the end I feel like physically I was better, and I was, of course, more experienced. “But, yeah, I feel like she’s definitely going to be dangerous.”

Kostyuk actually outhit Osaka in a surprising result, slamming home 36 winners to Osaka’s 30, but also had 13 more unforced errors (51-38). Osaka’s ability to dominate off her first serve, with a 82 per cent record, as well as a 51 per cent efficient off her second serve was quite impressive. Additionally, Osaka broke five times from 21 chances, while Kostyuk only had the one from eight chances.

“I was very displeased with how I was performing towards the end of the second set,” Osaka said. “The thing that made me most displeased was probably the decisions that I was making and the fact that I started becoming way too passive and hoping that she would make an unforced error. “For me, I felt everything was going really well for her during the tiebreak. And I remember she came to the net, and I hit it as hard as I could towards her, and she made it, and for me I was just, like, whoa, this is unbelievable.”

Osaka now takes on 14th seed Anett Kontaveit in the Round of 16. The Estonian defeated Poland’s Magda Linette in straight sets 6-3 6-2 in a convincing victory. Also through to the Round of 16 was eighth seed Petra Martic who defeated Varvara Gracheva 6-3 6-3. Gracheva showed her damaging ability with a come-from-behind Round 2 win over Kristina Mladenovic from 6-1 5-1 down, only to come back and win, 1-6 7-6 6-0. But it was Martic who got on top and made sure she kept on top of the counterpuncher.

“I played her a couple of weeks ago and I knew it was going to be a tough match,” Martic said post-match. “She likes to grind, she’s really quick and she’s a great counterpuncher. “I definitely had to work today and I’m pleased I got the win in straight sets. “I managed to change up the rhythm well. “When she plays at the same rhythm she doesn’t make many mistakes and I was getting pulled into that game. “My serve always helps, this court is a bit slower so my kick works well and I think that was key.”

The Croatian will take on Kazkahstan young gun, Yulia Putintseva who won through in a tight three sets over Belarusian Aliaksandra Sasnovich, 3-6 6-2 6-1. In that top quarter of the draw, unseeded American Jennifer Brady continued her dream month win a win over Caroline Garcia, 6-3 6-3 to now face Grand Slam winner Angelique Kerber 6-3 6-4 in the quarter finals. Kerber was able to defeat talented American Ann Li 6-3 6-4 to move through to yet another major quarter final.

In the final two matches of the day, Shelby Rogers won the battle of the Americans, defeating compatriot Madison Brengle 6-2 6-4 to advance to the Round of 16 where she will play Petra Kvitova following the sixth’s seed’s win over another United States representative in Jessica Pegula.

Picture: Getty Images

Garcia stuns top seed Pliskova to book third round US Open spot

CAROLINE Garcia has caused the boil-over of the US Open by defeating top seed and world number three, Karolina Pliskova in straight sets today. The unseeded Frenchwoman made her way into the third round at the Grand Slam with a 6-1 7-6 victory, winning the last five points of the match after the Czech seed threatened to level the match.

“It’s top players, so if you wait for the mistake it’s never going to happen,” Garcia said post-match. “If you let Pliskova breeze and take your serve, you’re never going to make a return, and then it’s 6-4, 6-4 and you’re done in one hour. “So you have to make her in trouble – that’s what I liked and it was a great challenge for me. “I did well in this challenge and I can take the happiness for it, and now I’m after another one.”

The former top 10 player who is now ranked 50th in the world will compete in her fourth third round match at Flushing Meadows, bouncing back after a first round loss in 2019. Two consecutive breaks in the opening set resulted in the underdog racing to a 5-0 lead before Pliskova finally got on the board by holding serve. It mattered little to Garcia show served it out herself 6-1.

Breaking her opponent in the opening game of the second set, Garcia led by a break in the seventh game at 4-2, but lost three consecutive games as Pliskova had a couple of set points on Garcia’s serve at 5-4. Garcia recovered to force the match into a tiebreaker, where she won 7-2 after being 2-2 early in the break. She now takes on 28th seed Jennifer Brady who is coming off some great form by winning her first title at the Top Seed Open.

“She (Brady) won her first title and she did good since the last year and a half,” Garcia said. “I think we have pretty much the same weapons, the serve and the forehand. “She moves well on court, and she’s playing in her country even if it’s without fans. “We had a battle in the past and I’m looking forward to it. “Because she’s not ranked maybe as high as Pliskova is today, but she’s definitely going to keep improving, so it’s really a great challenge for me.”

Brady comes into the Round of 16 match off the back of an absolute shellacking of compatriot, CiCi Bellis. While Bellis has shown good form upon return on the tour from injury, Brady showed just what she was capable of, winning 6-1 6-2 in just 51 minutes of matchplay. The more experienced American would not allow Bellis to work into the match, hitting 21 winners to three, while only conceding 13 unforced errors to 20.

Speaking of all-American clashes, the only upset that might have rivalled Garcia’s win over Pliskova, was young gun, Ann Li‘s 6-0 6-3 smashing of 13th seed Alison Riske. The match lasted just 75 minutes with the 20-year-old world number 128 hitting 20 winners to 16, and only 20 unforced errors to 33, whilst capitalising on eight of her nine net points. Her ability to attack Riske’s second serve – winning 74 per cent of the points – whilst breaking even off her compatriot’s first serve, was the key to victory. She made Riske move around the court and force her into uncomfortable shot-making positions during the straight sets thrashing.

The 20-year-old now takes on 17th seed Angelique Kerber in the third round with the winner of that match to face the winner of Garcia and Brady for a spot in the quarter finals. Also in the top quarter of the draw two more seeds joined Pliskova and Riske on the sidelines with Belarusian Aliaksandra Sasnovich smashing 12th seed Marketa Vondrousova 6-1 6-2, while Russian Varvara Gracheva shook off 30th seed Kristina Mladenovic to win 1-6 7-6 6-0. Gracheva goes head to head with eighth seed Petra Martic in the Round of 16, while Sasnovich now locks horns with Kazakhstan young gun, Yulia Putintseva.

The news was not as good for top rank Kazakh hopeful, Elena Rybakina who was bundled out by Shelby Rogers in straight sets, 7-5 6-1. The American said she was pleased with how her game had gone against a real up and comer on the WTA Tour.

“It definitely felt good to get that one in two sets,” Rogers said post-match. “The first set, I came out playing pretty cleanly, executing the game plan I had very well, and was serving well. Things got dicey when she started playing better, playing more aggressive and making her shots. “I just kept telling myself, ‘One more point, keep making balls,’ and thankfully got through the first set. “I really buckled down in the second because I really didn’t want that to happen again!”

Similarly, it was a mixed bag for Ukrainian fans, with Marta Kostyuk defeating 31st seed Latvian Anastasia Sevastova 6-3 7-6, but Kateryna Kozlova went down to sixth seed Czech Petra Kvitova, 7-6 6-2. Jessica Pegula joined Rogers in the Round of 32 to face Kvitova after defeating Belgian Kirsten Flipkens 7-6 6-2.

Other winners on day three included fourth seed Naomi Osaka, 14th seed Anett Kontaveit and 24th seed Magda Linette, whilst in the last game of the day, 19th seed Ukrainian Dayana Yastremska went down to American Madison Brengle 6-2 6-3.

Picture: USTA

Martic survives thriller to advance through to US Open Round of 64

PETRA Martic had some nervous moments but eventually came up trumps in a three-set win over former top 30 player, Tereza Martincova. Not the easiest of first round matches, Martic came from a set down to post the 5-7 6-4 6-2 win in two hours and 27 minutes. The Croatian, who was a top eight seed for the first time at a Grand Slam event, was just grateful to get through the match knowing how potent the Czech could be.

“I expected a tough match, because she’s very aggressive and likes this surface, which is playing quite fast this year,” Martic said post-match. “It took me a bit of time to adjust, and I was really happy that after the first set I could find my game and play better. It wasn’t easy but I’m glad I managed to get through.”

It was a relatively straightforward day for the seeds, with only the last placed seed – world number 48 and 32nd at the tournament – Rebecca Peterson bundled out, going down to Belgian Kirsten Flipkens, 7-6 6-4. The world number 72 took two hours and two minutes to get up in the straight sets win, and move through to the next round to face American, Jessica Pegula who won against Czech, Marie Bouzkova.

It was a good day for the Americans, with 28th seed Jennifer Brady and return queen, CiCi Bellis both winning their respective matches to book a head-to-head clash in the second round. It will not be the only all-American Round of 64 clash after 18th seed Alison Riske made her way through to the second round, to now take on young gun, Ann Li. The latter overcame an in-from Arantxa Rus – fresh off an upset win over Karolina Pliskova at the Western & Southern Open – in a 6-4 2-6 6-1 triumph in just under two hours.

Shelby Rogers and Madison Brengle both advanced through to the Round of 64, while it was not as positive for teenage sensation Coco Gauff. The 16-year-old went down in three sets to 31st seed Anastasija Sevastova, 6-3 5-7 6-4. It was a danger game for the Latvian who had defeated Serena Williams earlier in the year at the Fed Cup. She said she was in awe of Gauff’s abilities at such a young age.

“I wish I would play like this when I was 16 years old,” Sevastova said, praising her opponent in the virtual post-round press conference. “Great player. “Nothing more to say. “I think she maybe started a bit slower than me, but she was getting better as the match went on. “That’s so important I think in tennis.

“In the end I think third set she played her best tennis. “She was serving better, moving better. “It was tough, yeah. “Fortunately I stayed calm in the third set and managed to win, to close it out.”

Also out at the hands of a seed was Danielle Collins who lost to Estonian 14th seed, Anett Kontaveit. After winning the first set, Collins was outclassed, going down 5-7 6-2 6-2 in what was a clinical performance in two hours and six minutes. The world number 21 said she never lost faith despite Collins’ strong play early.

“[Collins] came out playing great,” Kontaveit said post-match. “I think she was hitting it really strong, moving me around the court, hitting winners. I felt like I played the same the whole match, I was just really trying to stay tough, maintain my level, and I feel like I did that really well.”

“I never stopped believing that I could come back after the first set,” Kontaveit continued. “I just had to stay really tough and fight as hard as I could, and I managed to do that. It definitely helped that I had played a lot of matches and had to get through a lot of tough matches.”

Fourth seed Naomi Osaka overcame hamstring tightness that ruled her out of the Western & Southern Open final to knock over compatriot, Misaki Doi in straight sets, joining fellow top 10 players, Karolina Pliskova, Petra Kvitova and Martic in the next round. Other triumphant seeds included Angelique Kerber, Marketa Vondrousova, Yulia Putintseva, Kristina Mladenovic, Magda Linette, Elena Rybakina and Dayana Yastremska.

From an unseeded players perspective, Anna-Lena Friedsam won through to face off against compatriot Kerber, Belarusian duo Aliaksandra Sasnovich and Vera Lapko, Frenchwoman Caroline Garcia, Russian Varvara Gracheva and Ukrainian Kateryna Bondarenko all moved through in the top quarter of the draw. As for the other half of the day’s action, Danka Kovinic, Kaja Juvan and Kateryna Kozlova joined the host of seeds and Americans running around in a couple of days.

Picture: Getty Images

British fall as other seeds advance on day one at Lexington

GREAT Britain’s great white hope, Johanna Konta‘s season continued to spiral after the third seed slipped up in the first round of the Top Seed Open in Lexington. Konta fell to Czech Marie Bouzkova in straight sets, 6-4 6-4 in two hours and one minute after dropping a match to a lowly ranked compatriot in a lead-up exhibition tournament.

Konta joined Heather Watson as first round losers at the new hard court tournament, designed as a warm-up for the US Open in a few weeks time. In fairness to the world number 15, she did not play that badly, winning 73 per cent of her service points off a 61.7 per cent serving efficiency. She created seven break point opportunities, but could only seize one, as her opponent converted three from 11. The Brit struggled off her second serve, winning just 39.1 per cent of her second serve points, as Bouzkova played out of her skin to be dominant off both her first and second serve on her way to a memorable victory.

The same could not be said for Watson, who will not be reaching for the replay of her match anytime soon, going down 6-2 6-1 in just 66 minutes to Jennifer Brady. Brady is ranked just two places higher than Watson (49th to 51st), but it looked like a wide gap in their head-to-head with the 25-year-old American taking control from start to finish and winning every possible statistic along the way. Brady dropped just 14 points off her serve for the entirety of the match, winning 61.5 per cent in total, breaking five times to zip taking advantage of her home surroundings.

It was a mixed day for the Americans at Lexington, with Jessica Pegula toppling Russian veteran, Vera Zvonareva in three sets, 6-1 5-7 6-4, but other United States representatives, Madison Brengle, Lauren Davis and Cate McNally all lost. Zvonareva won her first title when Pegula was just nine-years-old, but the now 26-year-old was on-song against her 267th ranked opponent, serving six aces and winning 67.2 per cent off her first serve.

She joined seeds, Aryna Sabalenka, Magda Linette and Ons Jabeur in the second round. Sabalenka toppled Brengle in three sets, 6-1 6-7 6-2, Linette got up over Davis 6-2 6-3, and Jabeur triumphed over Cate McNally 6-2 6-4. Centre Court action is not to be missed tomorrow with a stunning four Grand Slam winners on show. There is also a massive American feel, with Serena Williams, Venus Williams and Sloane Stephens out there, while Coco Gauff is another beginning her campaign, and Belarusian Victoria Azarenka and Canadian Leylah Fernandez among the other exciting prospects on day two.

2020 WTA Roland Garros fantasy tennis: Ash Barty joins the fray

THE final day of Round of 128 saw reigning titleholder and world number one Ash Barty hit the court for the first time, and doing it in style with a threatening straight sets defeat of young talent Coco Gauff who is capable of defeating anyone on her day.

The 6-2 6-2 victory started a slew of threatening wins from top seeds, with Aryna Sabalenka, Petra Kvitova, Petra Martic and Johanna Konta all coming out unscathed in quality wins over unseeded opposition. Sabalenka had the toughest time, only just defeating Shuai Peng who took the Belarusian to a second set tiebreaker, 6-4 7-5. Fellow seeds Ekaterina Alexandrova, Karolina Muchova and Qiang Wang were not so lucky however, all coming out second best to their lower ranked opposition – two of whom have been fairly consistent performers on the clay circuit in the leadup in Carla Suarez Navarro and Sloane Stephens making for an interesting second round. 

Just two matches went to three sets, seeing Viktoria Kuzmova and Danielle Collins join the next round thanks to solid performances. While Collins’ come from behind victory ultimately ended well for a 2-6 6-4 6-4 final score, keeping Su Wei Hsieh at bay relatively easily, Kuzmova had the hardest slog of the day after a stellar first set, taken to two tiebreakers by Estonian Kaia Kanepi, eventually reigning supreme for the 6-2 6-7 7-5 victory. Saisai Zheng was the only Chinese competitor to run out victor on day four – and ultimately the only Chinese competitor left in the draw – after defeating Paula Badosa in straight sets to head into the Round of 64. Unlike her compatriots in Shuai Peng, Yafan Wang and 30th seed Qiang, Zheng had the upper hand from the get-go and never looked like losing to her Spanish opposition. 

The remaining four matches saw Carolina Garcia, Alison Van Uytvanck, Polona Hercog and Barbora Strycova all dominate on the court, with Strycova managing one of the better wins of the day, downing wildcard Jessika Ponchet 6-0 6-0. Day five will see 14 seeds take the court, with some top names hoping to continue their winning ways into next week.

ROUND OF 128:

[1] Ash Barty (AUS) defeated Coco Gauff (USA) 6-2 6-2
[8] Aryna Sabalenka (BLR) defeated Shuai Peng (CHN) 6-4 7-5
[9] Petra Kvitova (CZE) defeated Jennifer Brady (USA) 6-1 6-1
[14] Petra Martic (CRO) defeated [Q] Varvara Lepchenko (USA) 6-3 6-4
[20] Johanna Konta (GBR) defeated Nao Hibino (JPN) 6-1 6-0
Carla Suarez Navarro (ESP) defeated [24] Ekaterina Alexandrova (RUS) 7-6 7-6
Sloane Stephens (USA) defeated [28] Karolina Muchova (CZE) 6-4 7-6
Alize Cornet (FRA) defeated [30] Qiang Wang (CHN) 6-3 6-4
Saisai Zheng (CHN) defeated Paula Badosa (ESP) 6-3 6-2
Caroline Garcia (FRA) defeated Darya Kasatkina (RUS) 6-4 6-4
Alison Van Uytvanck (BEL) defeated Madison Brengle (USA) 6-3 7-6
Viktoria Kuzmova (CZE) defeated [Q] Kaia Kanepi (EST) 6-2 6-7 7-5
Polona Hercog (SLO) defeated [Q] Monica Puig (PUE) 6-4 6-3
Tamara Zidansek (SLO) defeated Yafan Wang (CHN) 6-4 6-1
Danielle Collins (USA) defeated Su Wei Hsieh (TAI) 2-6 6-4 6-4
Barbora Strycova (CZE) defeated [WC] Jessika Ponchet (FRA) 6-0 6-0

2020 WTA Miami Open fantasy tennis: Stephens breaks through for important win

SLOANE Stephens won her first match against a top 400 opponent for the year, joining a number of Americans in the second round of the 2020 WTA Tour’s Miami Open fantasy tennis tournament. The out-of-form talent came from behind to defeat Japan’s Nao Hibino 6-7 7-5 6-3, joining four other United States representatives in the Round of 64 and making it another good day for the home nation.

While three Americans fell at the first hurdle – wildcards Madison Brengle and Ann Li, and Taylor Townsend – Stephens, Jessica Pegula, Lauren Davis, qualifier Christina McHale and wildcard Venus Williams all won through to the next stage of the tournament. Pegula had a fight on her hands against German Anna-Lena Friedsam before fending her off 7-5 4-6 7-5 to make it through to the Round of 64. McHale had a similarly challenging battle against the in-form Tunisian Ons Jabeur, bouncing back from a disappointing second set to post a 7-6 2-6 6-4 victory. Davis and Williams won through against Frenchwoman, Fiona Ferro and Russian, Veronika Kudermetova respectively in identical scorelines of 6-3 6-4.

It was an equally promising day for the two Latvian representatives with Anastasija Sevastova overpowering Li in a tight one to win 6-1 6-7 6-2, while Jelena Ostapenko knocked out Czech, Katerina Siniakova 6-3 7-5. The match of the day belonged to Laura Siegemund and Caroline Garcia with the former getting up in three hours and 26 minutes, fending off the latter, 4-6 7-6 6-3. The German moved into the next round in what was a see-sawing come-from-behind victory and one that the fans throughly enjoyed. It was one of a number of disappointing results for the french with Ferro and compatriot, Alize Cornet also bowing out as Italian Camila Giorgi got the better of the latter, 6-1 6-4. Other winners on day two of the tournament were qualifiers, Anastasia Potapova and Aliaksandra Sasnovich, China’s Yafan Wang, Poland’s Magda Linette, Spain’s Carla Suarez Navarro and Australia’s Ajla Tomljanovic.

Tomorrow’s Round of 64 action includes a number of highly anticipated clashes including 12th seed Brit, Johanna Konta going up against United States’ Danielle Collins, as well as young guns, Dayana Yastremska and Leylah Fernandez going at it.

ROUND OF 128 RESULTS:

[WC] Venus Williams (USA) defeated Veronika Kudermetova (RUS) 6-3 6-4
Jelena Ostapenko (LAT) defeated Katerina Siniakova (CZE) 6-3 7-5
[Q] Anastasia Potapova (RUS) defeated Tamara Zidasek (SLO) 6-2 6-4
Camila Giorgi (ITA) defeated Alize Cornet (FRA) 6-1 6-4
Sloane Stephens (USA) defeated Nao Hibino (JPN) 6-7 7-5 6-3
[Q] Aliaksandra Sasnovich (BLR) defeated [WC] Shuai Peng (CHN) 6-3 6-4
Magda Linette (POL) defeated Sorana Cirstea (ROU) 6-3 6-0
Yafan Wang (CHN) defeated [Q] Monica Puig (PUE) 6-3 6-4
Jessica Pegula (USA) defeated [Q] Anna-Lena Friedsam (GER) 7-5 4-6 7-5
Carla Suarez Navarro (ESP) defeated [WC] Madison Brengle (USA) 7-5 6-1
[Q] Christina McHale (USA) defeated Ons Jabeur (TUN) 7-6 2-6 6-4
Kristina Mladenovic (FRA) defeated Jil Teichmann (SUI) 6-2 7-6
Anastasija Sevastova (LAT) defeated [WC] Ann Li (USA) 6-1 6-7 6-2
Ajla Tomljanovic (AUS) defeated Taylor Townsend (USA) 2-6 6-4 6-2
Laura Siegemund (GER) defeated Caroline Garcia (FRA) 4-6 7-6 6-3
Lauren Davis (USA) defeated Fiona Ferro (FRA) 6-3 6-4