Tag: magda linette

WTA Tour wrap: Americans dominate as young talent continues to shine

IT was an intriguing day of Round of 32 action in the Roland Garros women’s draw, as a number of American competitors took the court and upsets aplenty made waves.

Two exciting all-American clashes took place, with the first between fourth seed Sofia Kenin and 28th seed Jessica Pegula going the whole hog, as Kenin claimed victory in one hour and 56 minutes. While the fourth seed has been in shaky form thus far in 2021, Kenin bit back after the first set to

“I’m happy with the way I’m playing. Of course it gives me confidence. I’m finally not on a one-match winning streak. Because this whole year, it was like the second time I won two matches in a row,” Kenin explained. “I was obviously really happy. It was a tough match. It was a lot of ups and downs, emotions. I’m just really happy with the way I’m playing.”

“I’ve worked hard on my fitness and my game the past few weeks, so I feel like it’s obviously improving,” Kenin said. “Of course, the more matches that I’m playing, more confidence I’m getting. Of course, I’m happy that it’s clicking during French Open. I’m not going to complain about that.”

The second blockbuster between teen sensation and 24th seed Coco Gauff and 13th seed Jennifer Brady was unfortunately cut short – after just 23 minutes – by an aggravated foot injury to Brady, who explained post-match that she has been suffering from plantar fasciitis and bone bruising following the Rome WTA 1000 event last month.

“I actually was considering not even playing here,” Brady said. “I wasn’t going to step out there unless I could finish the match in the first round. Happy that I was able to get a couple of matches in.

“Then today, I woke up and it was, you know, just worse. I couldn’t really play my game. I was about 20 percent moving. So unfortunate.”

“It’s unfortunate because I have known Jenny very well, and she’s such a nice person,” Gauff said. “If you ask every player on tour, no one is going to say anything bad about her because she’s always laughing and joking around. So I just hope that by the time Wimbledon comes she’ll be healed up and ready to compete at 100 percent again.”

Meanwhile, unseeded duo Barbora Krejcikova and Sloane Stephens executed upsets to set up a huge Round of 16 clash, as Czech talent Krejcikova downed fifth seed Elina Svitolina in straight sets, 6-3 6-2, with last week’s maiden title at Strasbourg clearly crucial for the Czech’s confidence and success.

“I’ve been playing a lot of matches where I actually was leading, and then I just started to play really passive and then I lost,” Krejcikova said. “So I don’t want to make the same mistake again. I was just saying to myself, okay, you go, you’re going to play your shot and you win or you lose. There’s nothing wrong about not really actually closing the match because that’s normal. It happens to so many other players, so many higher players.

“So I just felt, okay, I’m going to go. I’m going to try to play my tennis, my best shots, and let’s see, and if I close it, it’s going to be perfect.”

Krejcikova made more unforced errors but made up for it with her 38 winners to Svitolina’s 20, slamming three winners to complete the match, while Stephens required almost two hours to claim her 6-3 7-5 victory over 18th seed Karolina Muchova.

“My first big fourth round or whatever at a slam was here,” Stephens said. “And obviously consistently making fourth round here has been kind of a staple for me, which has been great. Obviously one of my favourite tournaments of the year, so peaking here has always been really important. The consistency of always doing well here has always brought back good memories.”

Reigning champion Iga Swiatek and Greek talent Maria Sakkari both also got the chocolates in all-seeded encounters, with the former defeating Estonian Anett Kontaveit 7-6 6-0 in 82 minutes, as the latter claimed the longest match of the day, downing 14th seed Elise Mertens 7-5 6-7(2) 6-2 in two hours and 52 minutes. The remaining two winners of the day were Tunisian Ons Jabeur, who continued her excellent run with a one hour and 26-minute victory over Pole Magda Linette, setting up an intriguing clash with Gauff next, as 18-year-old Marta Kostyuk claimed a snappy 61-minute victory over Varvara Gracheva to head into her maiden fourth round appearance at a grand slam, tasked with Swiatek next.

ROLAND GARROS ROUND OF 32 RESULTS:

[4] Sofia Kenin (USA) defeated [28] Jessica Pegula (USA) 4-6 6-1 6-4
Barbora Krejcikova (CZE) defeated [5] Elina Svitolina (UKR) 6-3 6-2
[8] Iga Swiatek (POL) defeated [30] Anett Kontaveit (EST) 7-6 6-0
[24] Coco Gauff (USA) defeated [13] Jennifer Brady (USA) 6-1 RET
[17] Maria Sakkari (GRE) defeated [14] Elise Mertens (BEL) 7-5 6-7 6-2
Sloane Stephens (USA) defeated [18] Karolina Muchova (CZE) 6-3 7-5
[25] Ons Jabeur (TUN) defeated Magda Linette (POL) 3-6 6-0 6-1
Marta Kostyuk (UKR) defeated Varvara Gracheva (RUS) 6-1 6-2

Picture credit: Corinne Dubreuil/FFT

WTA Tour wrap: Barty withdraws, teens prevail on Day 5

JUST two unseeded matches played out on a huge Day 5 in the Roland Garros Round of 64 women’s draw, as predominantly seeds reigned supreme to head into a hugely competitive third round of action. The big news of the day saw Ash Barty withdraw with injury, while reigning champion Iga Swiatek was one of five players to execute a speedy hour-long win.

It was a flared-up hip injury that forced Barty to retire from her encounter with Pole Magda Linette, who swept the world number one in the first set before the Australian retired at 6-1 2-2, only managing to play out 48 minutes on court.

“It’s disappointing to end like this,” said Barty. “I’ve had my fair share of tears this week. “It’s all good, everything happens for a reason. “There will be a silver lining in this eventually. “Once I find out what that is, it’ll make me feel a little bit better, but it will be there, I’m sure.”

The Australian leads all-comers for wins on tour this season, with three titles to her name already in 2021.

“It’s just a bridge too far this week,” Barty said. “We had a fantastic lead-up and for my body to let me down is really disheartening, but knowing that we also, we did nothing wrong. It’s something that can’t be explained at this time. “It was just becoming too much. “Right from the first game I was battling the pain, and it just became too severe… it was becoming unsafe.”

“It’s disappointing but not panic stations,” she said. “We know what’s going on. “We just need time to manage it to get back on the court as quickly as we can.”

Linette moves onto the third round of a Grand Slam for the first time, and is joined by teen compatriot Swiatek, who needed just 61 minutes to dispose of Swede Rebecca Peterson, hitting 22 winners to seven throughout the 6-1 6-1 encounter.

“I had a good day today since I woke up, so I knew that I’m going to be in the right mood,” Swiatek said. “I just kept that. I did my routines before the match. “Then when I was on the court, I just felt the ball perfectly. I felt like I could do anything with it. So I’m pretty happy that I had this, you know, this attitude right now.”

Despite Barty and Osaka already out of the running and leaving a clear vision to the finish line, Swiatek is not overthinking her chances on the clay and instead looking straight to her third round matchup.

“I’m just focusing on my next round,” she said. “Actually, I’m gonna play against Anett Kontaveit. “She’s, like, super experienced. “I already lost against her two times. “So it’s going to be a tough match.”

Maria SakkariOns Jabeur and Kontaveit also executed quick victories, with the three seeds finding their form quickly to clean up their respective unseeded opposition. Unseeded Czech Barbora Krejickova joined the hour-long winners group, defeating 32nd seed Ekaterina Alexandrova, while 14th seed Elise Mertens also claimed victory.

Eight Americans took the court on Day 5, seeing five competitors reign supreme as the four seeds proved too good. Fourth seed Sofia Kenin appears to have found her groove at the perfect time, downing compatriot Hailey Baptiste, as 13th seed Jennifer Brady, teen 24th seed Coco Gauff and 28th seed Jessica Pegula all claimed wins. While Varvara Lapchenko went down in straight sets to 18th seed Czech Karolina Muchova and Ann Li was shaky against fifth seed Elina Svitolina, proceedings went far different for former finalist Sloane Stephens, who stepped up to the tough task of ninth seed Karolina Pliskova, coming away with a 7-5 6-1 victory in 91 minutes.

The remaining two competitors in teen Marta Kostyuk and 20-year-old Varvara Gracheva earn a chance to reach the second week of a grand slam for the first time when they go head to head in the third round.

“I think we are at times where anyone in women’s tennis can win a slam, kind of,” Kostyuk said. “Not like anyone, anyone, but a lot of girls. Let’s call it that way. It’s not that I have this strong feeling inside me that I’m coming into a Grand Slam believing that I can win it, but this time I feel really good. I believe anything is possible.

ROLAND GARROS ROUND OF 64 RESULTS: 

Magda Linette (POL) defeated [1] Ash Barty (AUS) 6-1 2-2 RET
[4] Sofia Kenin (USA) defeated Hailey Baptiste (USA) 7-5 6-3
[5] Elina Svitolina (UKR) defeated Ann Li (USA) 6-0 6-4
[8] Iga Swiatek (POL) defeated Rebecca Peterson (SWE) 6-1 6-1
Sloane Stephens (USA) defeated [9] Karolina Pliskova (CZE) 7-5 6-1
[13] Jennifer Brady (USA) defeated Fiona Ferro (FRA) 6-4 2-6 7-5
[14] Elise Mertens (BEL) defeated Zarina Diyas (KAZ) 4-6 6-2 6-4
[17] Maria Sakkari (GRE) defeated Jasmine Paolini (ITA) 6-2 6-3
[18] Karolina Muchova (CZE) defeated Varvara Lepchenko (USA) 6-3 6-4
[24] Coco Gauff (USA) defeated Wang Qiang (CHN) 6-3 7-6
[25] Ons Jabeur (TUN) defeated Astra Sharma (AUS) 6-2 6-4
[28] Jessica Pegula (USA) defeated Tereza Martincova (CZE) 6-3 6-3
[30] Anett Kontaveit (EST) defeated Kristina Mladenovic (FRA) 6-2 6-0
Barbora Krejcikova (CZE) defeated [32] Ekaterina Alexandrova (RUS) 6-2 6-3
Varvara Gracheva (RUS) defeated Camila Giorgi (FRA) 7-5 1-6 6-2
Marta Kostyuk (UKR) defeated Zheng Saisai (CHN) 6-3 6-4

Picture credit: Nicolas Gouhier/FFT

WTA Tour wrap: Suarez Navarro makes return, Kvitova pulls out

DAY 3 of the 2021 Roland Garros women’s draw produced some huge result, as Carla Suarez Navarro made her triumphant return to tennis following cancer treatment, while Ash Barty was tested in her opening round clash and Petra Kvitova pulled out ahead of her second round matchup with an ankle injury.

“Unfortunately, after an MRI and much discussion with my team, I have made the tough decision that it would be unwise to play on it,” Kvitova confirmed on social media. “It’s incredibly bad luck, but I will stay strong and do my best to recover in time for the grass-court season.”

Suarez Navarro put up an impressive fight against Sloane Stephens in her first outing for the year since undergoing treatment, but despite an excellent first set was unable to complete a victory as the American fought hard in the second and third to take out the 3-6 7-6 6-4 win.

“Was a long time, really tough moments, tough months,” Suárez Navarro said. “But, well, every time I had on my mind that I want to be here, I want to come back. Roland Garros is one of my favourite tournaments, so [it was] really clear that my first tournament will be this one.”

“I tried to prepare myself for my best tennis that I can,” Suárez Navarro said. “Obviously I need more time, but I think I had a good time this week practicing, I have good level in my match. Of course I feel tired at the end. I know that if I don’t close the match in two sets, it will be so difficult for me. But I’m really proud, too, of myself and really happy to have the chance to play here one last time.”

“She’s a great player, so she obviously is going to come out and play some really good tennis,” Stephens said. “I thought she played her normal Carla tennis, up on the baseline with that one-handed backhand. I thought she played like she normally does. She brought it to me today, and I thought she played a great match.”

“Obviously she’s been through a lot and we’re all happy that she’s better and healthy and being able to play again, which I think obviously is the most important thing.

“We all love her and love having her around.”

No seeds fell on the day, however it was a close shave for two with world number one Barty taken to three by American Bernarda Pera, and requiring medical attention between the second and third sets, while Karolina Muchova suffered a slump in the first before dominating the remainder of her three setter with Andrea Petkovic.

“It’s so special to be back. I was disappointed not to be able to play last year, but this court is incredible for me, it’s very close to my heart and it’s very nice to be able to play here in front of fans,” Barty said post-match.

“You can’t win a match if you give up, so today was about going out there and not giving up.”

Barty required two hours flat to shake Pera in a 6-4 3-6 6-2 result, with her excellent unforced error count (25-49) paving the way despite Pera dominating the winner count 36-18.

“I think every match that I play in, every different experience, whether it’s an opponent or a physical challenge, I feel like you learn to overcome it and you learn to accept it,” she said.

“That was a massive part of today, was accepting the fact that, yes, I may not be absolutely 100 per cent but I’m certainly good enough to go out there and fight and do the best I can and give myself a chance to win matches.”

All the remaining seeds proceeded to the second round, with Elina SvitolinaKarolina Pliskova, Jennifer Brady and Maria Sakkari leading the pack, while a couple of top 30 talents in young gun Coco Gauff and Tunisian Ons Jabeur trail and 32nd seed Ekaterina Alexandrova downed Venus Williams in 56 minutes.

Plenty of exciting talent also heads into the second round, as two more Americans in Ann Li and qualifier Varvara Lapchenko, as well as a couple of Frenchwomen in Fiona Ferro and Kristina Mladenovic claimed wins, while Pliskova’s twin sister Kristyna fell to compatriot Barbora Krejcikova, and a second Australian in Astra Sharma heads to the second round. The remaining winners on the final day of first round action were in-form Pole Magda Linette, Italian Jasmine Paolini and Chinese talent Wang Qiang.

ROLAND GARROS ROUND OF 128 RESULTS:

[1] Ash Barty (AUS) defeated Bernarda Pera (USA) 6-4 3-6 6-2
[5] Elina Svitolina (UKR) defeated [Q] Oceane Babel (FRA) 6-2 7-5
[9] Karolina Pliskova (UKR) defeated Donna Vekic (CRO) 7-5 6-4
[13] Jennifer Brady (USA) defeated Anastasija Sevastova (LAT) 6-3 6-3
[17] Maria Sakkari (GRE) defeated [Q] Katarina Zavatska (UKR) 6-4 6-1
[18] Karolina Muchova (CZE) defeated Andrea Petkovic (GER) 1-6 6-3 6-4
[24] Coco Gauff (USA) defeated [Q] Aleksandra Krunic (SRB) 7-6 6-4
[25] Ons Jabeur (TUN) defeated Yulia Putintseva (KAZ) 7-5 6-2
[32] Ekaterina Alexandrova (RUS) defeated Venus Williams (USA) 6-3 6-1
Fiona Ferro (FRA) defeated [Q] Liang En-Shuo (TPE) 6-1 1-6 6-4
Kristina Mladenovic (FRA) defeated [Q] Anna-Karolina Schmiedlova (SVK) 6-4 6-0
Sloane Stephens (USA) defeated Carla Suarez Navarro (ESP) 3-6 7-6 6-4
Magda Linette (POL) defeated [WC] Chloe Paquet (FRA) 6-3 6-3
Wang Qiang (CHN) defeated Hsieh Su-wei (TPE) 2-6 6-4 7-6
Ann Li (USA) defeated Margarita Gasparyan (RUS) 6-0 6-1
Barbora Krejcikova (CZE) defeated Kristyna Pliskova (CZE) 5-7 6-4 6-2
Jasmine Paolini (ITA) defeated [Q] Stefanie Voegele (SUI) 6-7 7-6 6-0
[WC] Astra Sharma (AUS) defeated [Q] Irina Bara (ROU) 7-6 6-2
[Q] Varvara Lepchenko (USA) defeated Zhang Shuai (CHN) 6-3 6-3

Picture credit: Julien Crosnier/FFT

WTA Tour wrap: Krejcikova and Cirstea to battle in Strasbourg final

BARBORA Krejcikova and Sorana Cirstea will do battle in the 2021 Internationaux de Strasbourg final after both players won their respective semi-finals in the WTA Tour 250 event. The fifth seed Czech and the unseeded Romanian both won their penultimate tournament matches in tight three sets, with the former eyeing off her main Tour title, and the latter gunning for her third WTA trophy.

Needing two hours and 14 minutes, Krejcikova ended the run of 21-year-old German qualifier Jule Niemeier, defeating the talent 5-7 6-3 6-4. Overcoming a first set loss, the Czech managed to capitalise on the extra break with five from seven compared to Niemeier’s four from eight. She also pounced off the German’s second serve, winning 56.4 per cent of those points, though in reality just four points separated the players in the match (97-93).

“This week, [Niemeier is] doing really well,” Krejcikova said post-match. “I remember when I did something similar in Nurnberg 2017, when I was a qualifier and I reached the final, and I remember I was playing girls that were [ranked] way, way higher than I was. “She showed that she can play really big tennis, she’s serving very well, she’s very solid, and I just wish her all the best for the upcoming tournaments.”

The other semi-final was a similar story with the 31-year-old Romanian needing to fight back from a first set deficit against eighth seed Pole Magda Linette to win 3-6 6-4 6-2 in two hours and eight minutes. Cirstea won 71.4 and 58.3 per cent of her points, setting up 12 break points opportunities and capitalising on five, whilst Linette broke three times from four chances. Overall Cirstea was just a little better in each area and it showed in the end, with just another break the key difference between the two players.

“I thought from the beginning it was a very good match, very good level, both of us were playing well,” Cirstea said post-match. “I thought I was missing too many returns (in the first set), not putting the first serve in, and I think those were the two areas where I focused a bit more. “To try and start with the first serve, and put the return in, and don’t give those free points, and I think that made the difference.”

INTERNATIONAUX DE STRASBOURG SEMI-FINALS RESULTS:

[5] Barbora Krejcikova (CZE) defeated [Q] Jule Niemeier (GER) 5-7 6-3 6-4
Sorana Cirstea (ROU) defeated [8] Magda Linette (POL) 3-6 6-4 6-2

Picture credit: Chryslène Caillaud / Internationaux de Strasbourg

WTA Tour wrap: Upsets aplenty at Strasbourg

A BIG sixth day of action at the 2021 Internationaux de Strasbourg saw six matches play out, with two Round of 16 clashes joining the quarter finals. It was a day of pure upsets, with none of the higher ranked players winning in their respective clashes.

Two seeded clashes played out, with fifth seed Barbora Krejcikova downing third seed Ekaterina Alexandrova, while eighth seed Magda Linette claimed victory over fourth seed Yulia Putintseva. Linette won 77 per cent of her first serve points in her best run since February 2020. Krejcikova is now the highest ranking seed remaining in the draw, with her 7-6 6-1 victory over Alexandrova the first in her career following losses in all three prior encounters. Krejcikova said her win ratio allowed her to reflect on what she needed to put out on court to get the win this time.

“I’ve played her many times, and I always started really bad in the first set, and then she was always improving really, really well,” Krejcikova said post-match. “I felt like this time I had to start the first set really well, and I still lost serve and I was still down, but I was closer, and I felt the tiebreak was the deciding point of the match.”

Krejcikova won 72.2 per cent of her first serve points off a 53 per cent clip, also proving more efficient off her second serve than the Russian and hitting four aces for three double faults, compared to Alexandrova’s four and five.

“I see that I’m improving every shot, my physical, my mental, everything,” Krejcikova said. “I’m just happy that I can actually show it on court and play this high level and play all the top players. It’s something that I really like to do, so I’m happy that I’m here.”

Meanwhile, German qualifier Jule Niemeier continued her eye-catching run at Strasbourg with a second victory for the day, and with another win to follow up on her form which saw her win her first Tour-level main draw match in the first round here this week. She will take on Krejcikova in the semi-final tomorrow.

Still only 21-years-old, Niemeier said she knows what she is capable of but does not yet feel the pressure due to her ranking, which allows her to stand up and really push her opposition with no expectations.

“I don’t feel the pressure because I’m ranked [over] 200 at the moment, so I have nothing to lose,” Niemeier said. “I know what I can play, and what I can do on court, so that I can cause trouble!”

“I have the level, that I can keep up with all the players. “I’ve beaten two players who are in the Top 100 now, Shelby (Shelby Rogers) is in the Top 50. “I have the game, and I can beat them.”

“I was injured for such a long time in the past, so it was not easy for me,” she said. “I’m just enjoying being on court and playing against really good players.”

Like Niemeier, Sorana Cirstea was rostered to play two matches for the day, however drew number one seed Bianca Andreescu who withdrew following her second round win. This allowed Cirstea to focus all her energy on defeating her first task at hand in the last Round of 16 match, taking down sixth seed Zhang Shuai 6-2 6-1 in one hour flat. Cirstea will take on Linette tomorrow for a chance at the Strasbourg final.

INTERNATIONAUX DE STRASBOURG QUARTER FINALS RESULTS:

Sorana Cirstea (ROU) defeated [1] Bianca Andreescu (CAN) W/O
[5] Barbora Krejcikova (CZE) defeated [3] Ekaterina Alexandrova (RUS) 7-6 6-1
[8] Magda Linette (POL) defeated [4] Yulia Putintseva (KAZ) 6-3 6-3
Jule Niemeier (GER) defeated Arantxa Rus (NED) 6-4 6-1

INTERNATIONAUX DE STRASBOURG ROUND OF 16 RESULTS:

Sorana Cirstea (ROU) defeated [6] Zhang Shuai (CHN) 6-2 6-1
Jule Niemeier (GER) defeated [7] Shelby Rogers (USA) 6-4 7-6

Picture credit: Chryslène Caillaud / Internationaux de Strasbourg

WTA Tour wrap: French fall like flies in Strasbourg

IT was not a good day for the French WTA Tour athletes in Strasbourg as all three players were bundled out in different circumstances following five Round of 16 matches overnight. Wildcard duo Harmony Tan and Clara Burel, as well as experienced Caroline Garcia were all knocked out of the WTA Tour 250 event, as higher ranked opponents proved too much on the day.

Tan unfortunately was forced to retire after 50 minutes, dropping the first set and only playing two games of the second before pulling the pin due to injury against Dutchwoman Arantxa Rus, 6-1 1-1. Han was joined by fellow wildcard Burel on the sidelines after she suffered defeat at the hands of third seed Russian Ekaterina Alexandrova. The Russian trumped her younger opponent in 70 minutes on court, winning 6-3 6-4 to advance through to the quarter finals at the event.

The match of the day went to the epic three-set battle between Garcia and fifth seed Czech Barbora Krejcikova. The Frenchwoman seemed to be in control in the first set, winning it 6-3 to take the early advantage, but Krejcikova hit back in a big way over the next two sets, only dropping three games between the two sets to win 3-6 6-2 6-1 in one hour and 49 minutes.

Despite being inconsistent off her serve – Krejcikova only served at a 55.2 per cent clip compared to Garcia’s 69.2 per cent – she won 31 of her 37 first serve points, and only dropped 19 points off her serve in total for the match. Garcia by contrast was fairly efficient in getting her serve in – 69.2 per cent of the time off her first serve – but she was much lower with taking advantage in those points, winning 61.1 and 54.2 per cent of her first and second serve points respectively. Furthermore, she could only break Krejcikova one from three chances, while the Czech set up five break point opportunities and capitalised an impressive four times.

In the late match, German qualifier Jule Niemer looked ready to cause a shock against seventh seed Shelby Rogers, up 6-4 2-1 before it was suspended. Krejcikova will face Alexandrova in an all-seeded battle, while fourth seed Yulia Putintseva – who won against Swiss talent Jil Teichmann following Teichmann’s retirement after two games – will take on eighth seed Pole Magda Linette. Top seed Bianca Andreescu awaits the winner of sixth seed Shuai Zhang and Romanian Sorana Cirstea in the other quarter final.

INTERNATIONAUX DE STRASBOURG ROUND OF 16 RESULTS:

[3] Ekaterina Alexandrova (RUS) defeated [WC] Clara Burel (FRA) 6-3 6-4
[4] Yulia Putintseva (KAZ) defeated Jil Teichmann (SUI) 2-0 RET
[5] Barbora Krejcikova (CZE) defeated Caroline Garcia (FRA) 3-6 6-2 6-1
[7] Shelby Rogers (USA) [Q] Jule Niemer (GER)
Arantxa Rus (NED) defeated [WC] Harmony Tan (FRA) 6-1 1-1 RET

Picture credit: WTA Tour

WTA Tour wrap: Andreescu pulls out of quarters as Rus upsets Pegula

THE Internationaux de Strasbourg has continued with Day 4 rolling around already, and six matches playing out across the first and second rounds following a huge opening couple of days.

Four matches played out to complete the Round of 32, with the biggest upset of the lot a 6-4 6-4 effort from Arantxa Rus over second seed American, Jessica Pegula. Rus required just under 90 minutes to complete the clean sweep, forcing service errors from the second seed who finished the match with eight double faults to her name.

Seventh seed Shelby Rogers survived a marathon encounter against compatriot Christina McHale, eventually claiming the 7-5 6-7(6) 7-5 victory in three hours and 23 minutes. Rogers was error-ridden on serve but still managed to claim the overall ascendancy to win 51.5 per cent of the total points, and appeared much more consistent compared to McHale.

Meanwhile, wildcard Harmony Tan and qualifier Jule Niemeier both reigned supreme, winning through to the second round following straight sets victories.

Looking to the Round of 16, and top seed Bianca Andreescu completed her second round victory over Belgian Maryna Zanevska, before immediately withdrawing from her quarter final with an injury.

“I’m super happy with the win today,” Andreescu said post-match. “I will be pulling out of my next match, because I did feel a little bit of an ab tear, and I don’t want to push it at all for Roland Garros. I don’t want to take any risks. Nothing serious though. It’s a little discomfort.”

Despite pulling out of her next match, Andreescu comfortably disposed of Zanevska, claiming the 6-1 6-4 victory in just 65 minutes. The second Round of 16 match for the day played out between eighth seed Magda Linette and hometown hopeful Alize Cornet, which saw the Pole take out the first and an early ascendancy in the second before Cornet pulled the pin, suffering from a right hip injury to complete the game 7-6(2) 3-0.

“I felt a really sudden pain in the first game of the match, so it’s really unlucky,” Cornet said.

“But you know me, I kept playing, I kept trying, and I was even in the position to win the [first] set … But every time I was running, it was quite difficult, and in the second set it got a little bit worse.”

INTERNATIONAUX DE STRASBOURG ROUND OF 32 RESULTS: 

Arantxa Rus (NED) defeated [2] Jessica Pegula (USA) 6-4 6-4
[7] Shelby Rogers (USA) defeated Christina McHale (USA) 7-5 6-7 7-5
Harmony Tan (FRA) defeated Alison Van Uytvanck (BEL) 6-4 6-4
Jule Niemeier (GER) defeated Diane Parry (FRA) 6-4 6-3

INTERNATIONAUX DE STRASBOURG ROUND OF 16 RESULTS: 

[1] Bianca Andreescu (CAN) defeated Maryna Zanevska (BEL) 6-1 6-4
[8] Magda Linette (POL) defeated Alize Cornet (FRA) 7-6 3-0 RET

Picture credit: Internationaux de Strasbourg/C’est qui Maurice?/Michel Grasso

WTA Tour wrap: Frenchwomen and seeds win on opening day at Strasbourg

IT was a fairly comprehensive day of results on the opening day at the WTA Tour’s Internationaux de Strasbourg, as the two seeds reigned supreme and a couple of hometown hopefuls enter the second round.

The two seeds were predictable smashing out first round victories, as third seed Ekaterina Alexandrova flew out of the blocks against American Lauren Davis, whilst Magda Linette executed the quickest win of the day with a 60-minute smashing of Nao Hibino. A second set comeback from Davis was not enough to steal a victory from the in-form Alexandrova, who reigned supreme 6-1 7-5 in 80 minutes flat with an excellent 83 per cent first serve winning rate. Despite hitting seven double faults for six aces, she was cleaner than the American who struggled to convert. For Linette, it was a blowout 6-2 6-0 performance that puts her in good stead for the second round, however much of it was down to Hibino’s shaky performance with the Japanese talent struggling off her service games winning just one of her second serve points, while Linette converted all six break points she faced and saved five of six chances.

The two Frenchwomen also saw success on the opening day, as Alize Cornet completed the longest win of the day in one hour and 39 minutes over Kristyna Pliskova, 6-4 7-5, and 20-year-old Clara Burel backed her up with a 65-minute smashing of qualifier Varvara Gracheva. Cornet was tested by a fiery Pliskova, but kept her head to win 55 per cent of the overall points, utilising Pliskova’s shaky second service winning rate of 24 per cent to take the upper hand. Burel was clinical in her own matchup, winning 81 per cent of her first serve points and not only saving five of six break points, but also converting five of six.

INTERNATIONAUX DE STRASBOURG ROUND OF 32 RESULTS:

[3] Ekaterina Alexandrova (RUS) defeated Lauren Davis (USA) 6-1 7-5
[8] Magda Linette (POL) defeated Nao Hibino (JPN) 6-2 6-0
Alize Cornet (FRA) defeated Kristyna Pliskova (CZE) 6-4 7-5
Clara Burel (FRA) defeated Varvar Gracheva (RUS) 6-3 6-1

Picture credit: Michel Grasso

WTA Tour wrap: Sorribes Tormo outlasts in longest match of the season

A BIG first day of women’s proceedings at the 2021 Internazionali BNL d’Italia saw the longest match of the year so far, as all four of the day’s seeds head into the second round.

It took a marathon three hours and 51 minutes, but it was Sara Sorribes Tormo who came out victor in her huge clash with Italian wildcard Camila Giorgi, 7-6(4) 6-7(7) 7-5. The seesawing contest saw neither player really able to make the most of their momentum or claim a significant ascendancy, as the Spaniard and Italian went toe-to-toe and were unable to be split. But with six double faults to her name compared to Giorgi’s 12, Sorribes Tormo was marginally cleaner on serve and won 52.8 per cent of the match’s total points to reign supreme. It was not the only three-setter of the day, as Petra MarticAnastasija Sevastova and Coco Gauff all ground out wins in three, with the last of the three seeing 17-year-old Gauff require two hours and 57 minutes to dispose of Kazakh, Yulia Putintseva as Sevastova turned around a sloppy start and Martic claimed her first top 50 win of the season.

Petra Kvitova and Maria Sakkari were the remaining three set winner of the day, as the 11th and 17th seeds were tested by their respective opposition. For Kvitova, it ended up being a fairly comprehensive victory despite dropping the first set 1-6. Her opposition in Magda Linette flew out of the blocks but could not continue the same form once the Czech left-hander worked her way into the contest and reduced her unforced errors, eventually reigning supreme 1-6 6-0 6-2 in 95 minutes.

“The first set I started very badly. I was missing almost everything. On the court… [the ball] was bouncing everywhere as well. A little bit windy. I just had to used to probably everything,” Kvitova said post-match. “The beginning of the second set when finally I held my serve and broke her serve, I think since then it was much, much better.”

Four of Kvitova’s six double faults were hit in the first set, before the Czech broke back to eventually claim five aces and win 75.6 per cent of her first serve points off a 66 per cent clip. Sakkari’s matchup went slightly different as she claimed the opening set, before her opposition in Polona Hercog bit back to take it to three. The 17th seed claimed the ascendancy once more though, running out 7-6 3-6 6-2 victor in two hours and 48 minutes.

Proceedings went very different for the remaining two seeds on the day, as Iga Swiatek worked from a 1-4 deficit to eventually claim a 5-4 victory over retiree Alison Riske, who battled an ongoing injury throughout the contest and could not maintain intensity or mobility to continue the matchup. While Swiatek had a horror start, recording 18 unforced errors throughout the 52 minutes of play, she was fortunate to proceed as Riske jarred her left foot, and was forced to retire following medical attention. The 13th seed in Jennifer Brady continued her run after claiming a 6-1 6-4 victory over Zhang Shuai, winning 72 per cent of her first serve points off a sloppy 43 per cent clip and converting five break points and saving three in the process.

The remaining matches of the day saw two more Americans in Jessica Pegula and Amanda Anisimova join the winners list, whilst one more in Christina McHale fell to Vera Zvonareva, whilst Ekaterina Alexandrova claimed the quickest win of the day – bar Swiatek’s early finish – over Marta Kostyuk, needing just 75 minutes to claim the 6-3 6-1 victory.

INTERNAZIONALI BNL D’ITALIA ROUND OF 64 RESULTS:

[11] Petra Kvitova (CZE) defeated Magda Linette (POL) 1-6 6-0 6-2
[13] Jennifer Brady (USA) defeated Zhang Shuai (CHN) 6-1 6-4
[15] Iga Swiatek (POL) defeated Alison Riske (USA) 5-4 RET
[17] Maria Sakkari (GRE) defeated Polona Hercog (SLO) 7-6 3-6 6-2
Sara Sorribes Tormo (ESP) defeated Camila Giorgi (ITA) 7-6 6-7 7-5
Vera Zvonareva (RUS) defeated Christina McHale (USA) 6-3 6-0
Jessica Pegula (USA) defeated Daria Kasatkina (RUS) 7-5 6-3
Amanda Anisimova (USA) defeated Wang Qiang (CHN) 7-5 6-3
Ekaterina Alexandrova (RUN) defeated Marta Kostyuk (UKR) 6-3 6-1
Petra Martic (CRO) defeated Shelby Rogers (USA) 5-7 6-3 6-4
Anastasija Sevastova (LAT) defeated Jil Teichmann (SUI) 3-6 6-1 6-3
Coco Gauff (USA) defeated Yulia Putintseva (KAZ) 7-5 4-6 6-4

WTA Tour wrap: Top seeds all survive day two in Madrid

NAOMI Osaka was among all eight seeds to book their spot in the Madrid Open second round, following a straight sets win over compatriot Misaki Doi. In her first clay event in almost two years, Osaka overcame some early resistance from Doi to post a 7-5 6-2 victory and move through to the Round of 32.

“When I was playing on clay that year, I didn’t feel uncomfortable at all,” Osaka said post-match. “The two matches that I lost, it was more mental than it was physical. “Like, I didn’t feel uncomfortable sliding or I didn’t feel that tired. “So I’m actually really excited to get that mindset back and to start feeling more comfortable on clay.”

Osaka was one of four Top 10 seeds to advance through to the second round, with sixth seed Karolina Pliskova coming back from a set down to shake off teenage talent Coco Gauff in three sets. Pliskova won 5-7 6-3 6-2 in a tight contest to eventually finish the stronger of the pair and post a comfortable victory.

“We never played so it was definitely a difficult match. “I think I didn’t start really well, but later in the match, I was finding by game and finding my serve. “This was very important in this match because she can also serve very big,” Pliskova said post-match.

“I’m super happy that I’m through. “I’ve played one semifinal here, so I’ve had a couple of good matches here in the past, but I’m hoping to hopefully improve my game in the next match.”

Third seed Simona Halep started like a house on fire by racing to a 6-0 first set win, before having more of a struggle against Spaniard Sara Sorribes Tormo in the second set, eventually getting up 6-0 7-5. The other Top 10 seed to advance was fifth seed Belarusian Aryna Sabalenka who destroyed Russian Zera Zvonareva in 66 minutes, 6-1 6-2.

Fellow Belarusian Victoria Azarenka won in three sets over Russian Ekaterina Alexandrova, with 13th seed Elise Mertens and 16th seed Maria Sakkari also advanced into the Round of 32, with Sakkari remarkably going 6-0 down against American Amanda Anisimova before getting up 0-6 6-1 6-4.

In other results, Russian duo Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and Daria Kasatkina both won through to the next stage, with a mixed bag for the Chinese hopefuls. Saisai Zheng defeated Poland’s Magda Linette in three sets, before Wang Qiang went down to Karolina Muchova in a disappointing 6-1 6-3 loss. Also through to the second round were Kazakhstan’s Elena Rybakina, Latvia’s Jelena Ostapenko, Estonia’ Anett Kontaveit and United States’ Jessica Pegula.

MADRID OPEN ROUND OF 64 RESULTS:

[2] Naomi Osaka (JPN) defeated Misaki Doi (JPN) 7-5 6-2
[3] Simona Halep (ROU) defeated Sara Sorribes Tormo (ESP) 6-0 7-5
[5] Aryna Sabalenka (BLR) defeated Vera Zvonareva (RUS) 6-1 6-2
[6] Karolina Pliskova (CZE) defeated Coco Gauff (USA) 5-7 6-3 6-2
[11] Jennifer Brady (USA) defeated Venus Williams (USA) 6-2 6-4
[12] Victoria Azarenka (BLR) defeated Ekaterina Alexandrova (RUS) 7-5 3-6 6-1
[13] Elise Mertens (BEL) defeated Zhang Shuai (CHN) 6-3 6-3
[16] Maria Sakkari (GRE) defeated Amanda Anisimova (USA) 0-6 6-1 6-4
Elena Rybakina (KAZ) defeated Ajla Tomljanovic (AUS) 6-4 6-0
Jelena Ostapenko (LAT) defeated Polona Hercog (SLO) 6-3 6-1
Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (RUS) defeated Madison Keys (USA) 7-5 6-2
Saisai Zheng (CHN) defeated Magda Linette (POL) 6-2 3-6 6-1
Jessica Pegula (USA) defeated Sorana Cirstea (ROU) 7-6 6-3
Anett Kontaveit (EST) defeated Nina Stojanovic (SRB) 7-6 7-5
Karolina Muchova (CZE) defeated Wang Qiang (CHN) 6-1 6-3
Daria Kasatkina (RUS) defeated Irina-Camelia Begu (ROU) 4-6 6-4 7-6

Picture credit: Jimmie48/WTA