Tag: wta tour

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Picture credIt: Jimmie 48/WTA

WTA Tour wrap: 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.”


[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: Sharma claims maiden singles title

IT took a come-from-behind effort from Australian Astra Sharma to take out her first WTA singles title at the MUSC Health Women’s Open in Charleston, United States, claiming the three set victory 2-6 7-5 6-1 over top seed Ons Jabeur. Whilst Jabeur got off to a flying start, the Australian did not relent in the one hour and 55-minute encounter, biting back in the second to claim an all-important momentum swing and eventually running home with a hugely one-sided third set victory.

“To come out of this with a win, it’s really unexpected, it’s amazing for me, I have no words,” Sharma said post-match. “It hasn’t really sunk in that I won, I’m so happy.”

The now-world number 120 was sitting at 165th on the world rankings prior to this week, edging closer to her career high 85 from June, 2019. Jabeur also rises two ranks, going from 27th in the world to a career-high 25th.

“There’s so many weeks where you come so close, and it’s rare to finally end a week on a win,” Sharma said. “Two years ago in Bogota, when I was so close, the nerves got the better of me.

“This time, I was a lot more calm and just held my nerve really well. Especially with Ons playing such high-level tennis in the first, I thought I did well to just reset in the second and just keep making her come up with the same shots.”

It was Sharma’s consistency that really paid off, winning 63.5 per cent of her first serve points and 59.4 per cent off her second serve points, all off a 61.9 per cent clip. Whilst Jabeur comparatively won more points overall off her first serve at 66 per cent effectiveness, she could not back it up, and especially in the third set, the Tunisian struggled to retain the same intensity dropping two double faults and only winning three points off her second attempt.

“I thought Ons played an amazing first set,” Sharma said. “I didn’t know, really, what to do. She was wrong-footing me, she was drop-shotting me, she was making me cover a lot of court, and I really couldn’t read what she was doing.

“I think in the second set, I managed to get a little sniff here and there. And by the third set, it was hot, humid, and I think I was a little bit more energetic than her and my intensity was still the same, so I think that was what eventually gave me the lead.”

Whilst Jabeur had held ground at 5-5 in the second set and leading 40-15, Sharma won four points in a row to break the Tunisian and finished off the set in even better fashion, leading to the eventual momentum swing and that all important maiden WTA Tour title.


Astra Sharma (AUS) defeated [1] Ons Jabeur (TUN) 2-6 7-5 6-1

WTA Tour wrap: Pegula smashes Pliskova on her way to final eight

RED-HOT Jessica Pegula is knocking down the door of the Top 30 during the 2021 WTA Dubai Tennis Championships, and her form suggests it could be a lot higher given her dominant 6-0 6-2 demolition job on second seed Karolina Pliskova, her second victory in as many weeks over the Czech. In 2021, Pegula is 21-4 and has made two quarter finals and one semi-final in her past three tournaments including the WTA 1000 Dubai event.

Coming into Dubai. Pegula was already at a career-high 36th in the world, but after her 53-minute rout of world number six Pliskova, Pegula has the opportunity to roll into the seeded places at a Grand Slam, breaking her highly fancied opponent in six of Pliskova’s seven games, and only dropping 11 points on serve in an eye-opening upset victory. The win backed up her previous victories over fellow Top 10 player Elina Svitolina and Pliskova in Doha.

Pegula will be a first-time WTA 1000 quarter finalist alongside another couple of underdogs in Russian wildcard Anastasia Potapova and Czech doubles talent Barbora Krejcikova. Potapova ended the run of sixth seed Belinda Bencic in three sets, 6-1 2-6 7-5 in a topsy turvy match, leading the top half of the draw completely seedless. Krejcikova disposed of Russian Svetlana Kuznetsova in straight sets to enter her first WTA 1000 quarter final, and will battle Potapova for further history eyeing off a semi-final.

With Coco Gauff and Jil Teichmann facing one another in the other quarter final in the top half, one player will reach their first ever WTA Tour 1000 final. Gauff took care of Czech qualfier Tereza Martincova in straight sets, 6-4 6-2 to face Teichmann who overcame Tunisian Ons Jabeur in an eye-opening match, 6-3 6-3. Gauff turns 17 on Saturday – the Dubai Tennis Championships final – with the teenager the highly fancied one to reach the decider.

In other results, the seeds rolled through with victories, as 10th seed Elise Mertens took care of France’s Caroline Garcia 6-4 6-2 to set up a clash with Pegula in the quarter finals. Meanwhile third seed Aryna Sabalenka will meet ninth seed Garbine Muguruza in a battle of different styles, with the Belarusian power player knocking out 15th seed Estonian Anett Kontaveit, while the reliable Spanish all-court talent took down Roland Garros winner Iga Swiatek, 6-0 6-4 in a dominant performance.

Krejcikova and Potapova are up first on Centre Court with Mertens and Pegula facing off in the other day match. At night, Muguruza and Sabalenka open the prime time slot, finished off by rising talents Teichmann and Gauff. Both Krejcikova and Pegula have a busy schedule on quarter finals day, also taking part in the doubles quarter finals too.


Jessica Pegula (USA) defeated [2] Karolina Pliskova (CZE) 6-0 6-2
[3] Aryna Sabalenka (BLR) defeated [15] Anett Kontaveit (EST) 6-3 6-2
[WC] Anastasia Potapova (RSU) defeated [6] Belinda Bencic (SUI) 6-1 2-6 7-5
[9] Garbine Muguruza (ESP) defeated [8] Iga Swiatek (POL) 6-0 6-4
[10] Elise Mertens (BEL) defeated Caroline Garcia (FRA) 6-4 6-2
Jil Teichmann (SUI) defeated Ons Jabeur (TUN) 6-3 6-3
[WC] Coco Gauff (USA) defeated [Q] Tereza Martincova (CZE) 6-4 6-2
Barbora Krejcikova (CZE) defeated Svetlana Kuznetsova (RUS) 6-3 6-2


Picture credit: Jimmie48/WTA

WTA Tour wrap: Upsets blow open Dubai draw

UPSETS in the top half of the 2021 WTA Tour’s Dubai Tennis Championships have left the door wide open for an unseeded player to make a run at a 1000 title. Just a single seed remains in the top half – sixth seed Belinda Bencic – after a number of upsets in the second round of the tournaments saw wildcards and even a qualifier book their spots in the final 16. It is a different story in the bottom half of the draw, with six of the eight competitors coming into the tournament as seeds.

Top seed Elina Svitolina headlines the exits from the Dubai Tennis Championships, with the Ukrainian bowing out to Russian Grand Slam winner Svetlana Kuznetsova. The veteran came back from a set down to post an impressive victory over the tournament’s top player, winning 2-6 6-4 6-1 in one hour and 52 minutes.

“I have no doubts I can compete against the best, so I just want to play and enjoy my game,” Kuznetsova said post-match. “I was feeling so stressed out there in the first set, I couldn’t make any balls, the feeling was terrible. “I was just focusing on trying to make two or three shots in, to see how I can go, how I can regroup, that’s it.”

The biggest upset of the day had to be Czech qualifier Tereza Martincova, who advanced to be the sole qualifier in the final 16 after a demolition of 6-1 6-4 over fifth seed Kiki Bertens in 76 minutes. Martincova will take on teenage young gun Coco Gauff in the Round of 16 following Gauff’s three-set come-from-behind win over 2019 Roland Garros runner-up Marketa Vondrousova, defeating the Czech, 3-6 6-0 6-4.

A retirement to fourth seed Petra Kvitova midway through the second set when she was trailing 6-2 3-4 has allowed Switzerland’s Jil Teichmann to make her way into the Round of 16. The up-and-coming Swiss talent will take on Tunisian Ons Jabeur who dislodged 14th seed Elena Rybakina in a tough match, needing two hours and 18 minutes to win, 7-6 4-6 6-2. Also exiting the tournament in the second round from a seed perspective was 11th seed American, Madison Keys who went down to Russian wildcard, Anastasia Potapova in straight sets, 6-4 6-3 in an hour and 25 minutes. Potapova will lock horns with sixth seed Bencic who fought through three tough sets in two hours and 38 minutes – the longest match of the day – to finally defeat Russian Veronika Kudermetova, 6-4 6-7 6-4.

It was more straightforward for the other seeds in the draw with third seed Aryna Sabalenka, eighth seed Iga Swiatek, ninth seed Garbine Murugurza, 10th seed Elise Mertens and 15th seed Anett Kontaveit all advancing through to the Round of 16 in straight sets. Second seed Karolina Pliskova had a scare, but managed to pull through against Latvian Anastasija Sevastova in three sets, 6-3 6-7 6-2 in two hours and nine minutes. In other results, Barbora Krejcikova ousted the other Latvian in the draw, Jelena Ostapenko, 6-3 6-1, Caroline Garcia toppled Martina Trevisan 6-2 6-4, while in-form Jessica Pegula destroyed Kristina Mladenovic in just 69 minutes – the quickest match of the day – to advance through to the final 16.



Svetlana Kuznetsova (RUS) defeated [1] Elina Svitolina (UKR) 2-6 6-4 6-1
[2] Karolina Pliskova (CZE) defeated Anastasija Sevastova (LAT) 6-3 6-7 6-2
[3] Aryna Sabalenka (BLR) defeated Alize Cornet (FRA) 6-2 6-4
Jil Teichmann (SUI) defeated [4] Petra Kvitova (CZE) 6-2 3-4 RET
[Q] Tereza Martincova (CZE) defeated [5] Kiki Bertens (NED) 6-1 6-4
[6] Belinda Bencic (SUI) defeated Veronika Kudermetova (CZE) 6-4 5-7 6-4
[8] Iga Swiatek (POL) defeated [LL] Misaki Doi (JPN) 6-2 6-4
[9] Garbine Muguruza (ESP) defeated Amanda Anisimova (USA) 6-4 6-2
[10] Elise Mertens (BEL) defeated Shelby Rogers (USA) 6-3 6-3
[WC] Anastasia Potapova (RUS) defeated [11] Madison Keys (USA) 6-4 6-3
[WC] Coco Gauff (USA) defeated [12] Marketa Vondrousova (CZE) 3-6 6-0 6-4
Ons Jabeur (TUN) defeated [14] Elena Rybakina (KAZ) 7-6 4-6 6-2
[15] Anett Kontaveit (EST) defeated Sorana Cirstea (ROU) 6-4 7-5
Babora Krejcikova (CZE) defeated Jelena Ostapenko (LAT) 6-3 6-1
Caroline Garcia (FRA) defeated Martina Trevisan (ITA) 6-2 6-4
Jessica Pegula (USA) defeated Kristina Mladenovic (FRA) 6-1 6-2

WTA Tour wrap: Tauson wins maiden WTA Tour title as Dubai event kicks off

DANISH teenager Clara Tauson has won her maiden WTA Tour with a straight sets victory over fellow qualifier, Viktorjia Golubic in the Lyon Open final. Tauson produced a stunning week to not drop a set and extend her 2021 record – over WTA and ITF Tours – to 19-3, whilst handing Golubic her fourth loss for a 19-4 record. The 6-4 6-1 victory backed up her ITF tournament victory over Golubic a few weeks back, allowing her to add a WTA 250 event to her trophy cabinet.

It was the first final between two qualifiers in four years, in a match that last 89 minutes. Tauson served seven aces, but at a poor 48.2 per cent efficiency. That mattered little however, as she capitalised with 66.7 and 55.2 per cent success off her first and second serves, the counter contrast to a steady Golubic who served at 74.6 per cent efficiency, but could only muster 49.1 and 27.8 per cent off her service games.

“I think I played aggressive, I think I played my game, even though I missed a few balls,” Tauson said post-match. “I didn’t really think too much about winning or losing, I thought about playing my game and just playing one point at a time, and that helped a lot.”

A former junior world number one, Tauson raced through the draw from qualifying, which started with a stunning 6-3 6-4 victory over Ekaterina Alexandrova in the opening round. She has booked her place inside the Top 100 on Tour following her final victory.

“I think I’ve been really solid; especially after the first set, I’ve come out good in every single match,” Tauson said. “I just kept my game going. It’s been a weird week like that, normally I have some fall-outs, but I haven’t had any of those this week, so I’m very happy with that.”


[Q] Clara Tauson (DEN) defeated [Q] Viktorija Golubic (SUI) 6-4 6-1


Meanwhile day one of the Dubai WTA Tour 1000 event kicked off with seven first round matches completed. Alexandrova was the talking point of another loss at this tournament, going down to American young gun Coco Gauff in three sets. Gauff needed to win two tiebreakers, including an epic third set tiebreaker 10-8 to get up in the two-hour and 41-minute match, but eventually saluted to advance through to the second round.

Gauff saved two match points in the deciding set tiebreaker after leading by as much as 5-1 in the third. She served for the match three times at 5-2, 5-4 and 6-5, and missed opportunities on closing it out sooner with four match points in the tenth game of the set. The American got on the back foot in the tiebreaker, having to save two match points herself, before coming from 8-7 down to win 10-8 and book her place in the Round of 32.

“There were times when we both could have thrown in the towel and gave up, but we both were mentally fighting,” Gauff said post-match. “I think it’s just one of those that you’re happy that it’s over, and happy that you fought through it.”

The only seed in action on day one was Greek 16th seed Maria Sakkari, but she fell to Czech, Barbora Krejikova in straight sets, 6-2 7-6 in an hour and 48 minutes on court. Krejikova’s doubles partner, Katerina Siniakova was not as fortunate, suffering defeat at the hands of Tunisian Ons Jabeur in just 65 minutes, 6-2 6-3. Meanwhile veteran Russian Svetlana Kuznetsova, and compatriot Veronika Kudermetova both advanced to the Round of 32 with first round victories, as did Frenchwoman Alize Cornet, and Latvian Anastasija Sevastova.


Barbora Krejicova (CZE) defeated [16] Maria Sakkari (GRE) 6-2 7-6
Ons Jabeur (TUN) defeated Katerina Siniakova (CZE) 6-2 6-3
Svetlana Kuznetsova (RUS) defeated Wang Qiang (CHN) 6-4 1-6 7-5
Coco Gauff (USA) defeated Ekaterina Alexandrova (RUS) 7-6 2-6 7-6
Alize Cornet (FRA) defeated Daria Kasatkina (RUS) 6-4 3-6 6-1
Anastasija Sevastova (LAT) defeated Bernarda Pera (USA) 6-0 5-3 RET
Veronika Kudermetova (RUS) defeated Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (RUS) 7-6 6-2


Picture credit: Alexandre Hergott – Lyon Open

WTA Tour wrap: Kvitova storms to Doha title as qualifiers face off in Lyon

FOR the second time in four years, Petra Kvitova has defeated Garbine Muguruza to win the 2021 Qatar Total Open title. Her 28th overall career title, the Czech was far too strong, dominating 6-2 6-1 in 61 minutes to back up her 2018 title – and win over Muguruza – with a remarkable victory here. Her efforts at Doha are nothing short of phenomenal considering she also won the title here in 2020 before going down to Aryna Sabalenka in the final.

“It’s been a great run in Doha, for sure,” Kvitova said post-match. “It’s been a great whole week. I just feel like home a little bit. I love the court, I love everything, and the people are really friendly as well.”

Unlike her 2018 triumph, Kvitova did not need three sets and two hours and 16 minutes to dispose of the Spanish Grand Slam winner, stepping up to play some unbelievable shots throughout the match. The left hander did not serve and aces, but won 63.9 and 61.1 per cent of her points off her first and second serve, but also dominated upon return with a 54.5 and 66.7 per cent success rate from Muguruza’s first and second serve point. Both players had amble break point opportunities, with Kvitova breaking five times from nine chances – only allowing Muguruza to hold twice – while the Spaniard broke only once from seven chances.

“Today I think Petra played very well from the baseline, and it was hard to try to make her move, or try to do much,” Muguruza said. “It was very windy, as well. I mean, it really wasn’t my day, I guess.”

Both players now head to Dubai for the massive WTA1000 event. Fourth seed Petra Kvitova has automatic entry into the second round, with a Round of 32 clash against either Lyon Open semi-finalist Spaniard Paula Badosa or Swiss talent Jil Teichmann on the cards. For Muguruza, the ninth seed at the event, she faces a qualifier before a likely second round showdown with young American Amanda Anisimova who also faces a qualifier in the Round of 64.


[4] Petra Kvitova (CZE) defeated Garbine Muguruza (ESP) 6-2 6-1


For the first time in four years, two qualifiers will contest a WTA Tour final following upset wins for Switzerland’s Victorija Golubic and Denmark’s Clara Tauson in the semi-finals overnight. Golubic came from a set down to put away home nation hero and second seed Fiona Ferro 4-6 6-0 7-6, while the teenage Tauson knocked off seventh seed Spaniard Badosa in straight sets, 7-5 6-1.

The Tauson victory was a remarkable one, with the 18-year-old playing in just her third main draw event on the WTA Tour. Such has been the rise of both her and Golubic, that the pair actually faced off in a ITF W25 final back in January, where she defeated the Swiss talent 6-0 4-6 6-3 in Fujairah. Their form in 2021 is undeniable, with Golubic standing at 19-3 – having won the week after Fujairah in Grenoble – while Tauson is at 18-3.

The Danish teenager needed just 90 minutes to dismiss Badosa, serving four aces and winning 81.3 per cent of her first serve points, and 50 per cent of her second serve points, while the Spaniard sat at 55.3 and 39.4 per cent respectively. The seventh seed bravely defended all game as Tauson created 17 break point opportunities, but could only convert five, while Badosa broke twice from five chances.

Golubic had a much tougher match out against Ferro, needing two hours and 26 minutes and a deciding third set tiebreaker to make the final. After dropping the first set 6-4, Golubic powered to a dominant 6-0 second set, but the players went toe-for-toe in the decider, forcing a tiebreaker the the Swiss talent was able to win 7-4. Golubic came into the tournament ranked 129th in the world, and Tauson 139th, with the former now up to 101st, and the latter moving up to 107th. The winner of today’s final will enter the Top 100.


[Q] Victorija Golubic (SUI) defeated [2] Fiona Ferro (FRA) 4-6 6-0 7-6
[Q] Clara Tauson (DEN) defeated [7] Paula Badosa (ESP) 7-5 6-1

Picture credit: Jimmie48/WTA

WTA Tour wraps: Kvitova out to go one better

THE stage is set for a brilliant final in Doha, while the Lyon semi-finalists are locked in following a mixed bag of results.

Petra Kvitova will take on Garbine Muguruza in the 2021 Qatar Total Open final today after ending the run of American qualifier Jessica Pegula yesterday. The fourth seed Czech won 6-4 6-4 in an hour and 21 minutes to book her place in the final, her first in 12 months since losing the Doha final to Aryna Sabalenka last year. She said she enjoyed playing in Doha, but hoped to build that form elsewhere around the WTA Tour.

“I would love to know it, as well, why I’m playing well in Doha,” Kvitova said post-match. “I would love to play everywhere very well, but of course sometimes it’s not easy.”

Kvitova served the only two aces of the match, and did not procude a double fault, commanding a strong position on serve with 58.5 and 50.0 per cent of her first and second serve points off a 77.4 per cent efficiency. It far eclipsed an efficient, yet unable to capitalise, Pegula who served at 71 per cent, but only won 49 and 40 per cent of her first and second serve points. Still broken four times, Kvitova managed to break Pegula six times to have the additional break in each set, and win in straight sets.

“Today was so windy, and I’m not sure if it was a matter of tennis, but it was really about putting lot of balls into the court,” Kvitova said. “But then Jessica played really great, and I really have to play great, as well.”

In the end, Kvitova hit a balanced 26 winners and 26 unforced errors, which while not overly impressive, was better than her opponents’ 17 winners to 28 unforced errors. It ended the run of Pegula who went all the way through qualifying to the semi-final, the first player to do so at Doha. Now she sets her sights on Muguruza who won following a withdrawal from opponent and fellow Grand Slam winner, Victoria Azarenka.

“First of all, just being in the final for me, it’s great,” Kvitova said. “We played many times already against Garbiñe. We played a final here 2018, as well, which was a roller-coaster. I know she’s really in great form. She’s playing really well. “We play a similar game. So it will be really, I think, about a few points, as it was in the past.”

Kvitova will be going for her 28th WTA Tour title when she steps out on court against Muguruza – whom she has a 4-1 head-to-head record against – and she has already entrenched herself inside the Top 10, to sit eighth, having risen above Sabalenka and Bianca Andreescu. Pegula’s rise up the order continued with the 27-year-old now inside the Top 40 moving up eight spots to be 36th in the world.


[4] Petra Kvitova (CZE) defeated [Q] Jessica Pegula (USA) 6-4 6-4
Garbine Muguruza (ESP) defeated [8] Victoria Azarenka (BLR) W/O


In Lyon, a couple of seeds and a couple of qualifiers have booked their places in the semi-finals after the completion of the quarter finals overnight. The top ranked remaining player in the draw, Fiona Ferro took down French wildcard Clara Burel after a nervous start, while seventh seed Spaniard Paula Badosa became the villain when she knocked out fourth seed Frenchwoman Kristina Mladenovic in three sets.

Ferro needed 91 minutes to defeat Burel, falling behind with a disappointing first set to drop it 6-2, before finding her groove and winning the next two 6-1 6-3 to advance through to the semi-finals. Burel served at an elite 82.4 per cent efficiency, but could only capitalise off 5.14 and 26.7 per cent of her first and second serve points respectively, as Ferro broke her serve times to the wildcard’s five. Ferro won 63 and 42.9 per cent of her first and second serve points in the match to set up a semi-final clash with Vikrtorija Golubic.

Meanwhile Badosa took part in an epic three setter against Mladenovic, having to bounce back from a second set tiebreaker loss to win, 7-5 6-7 6-2 in two hours and 36 minutes. The win included Badosa claiming 72.1 and 31.3 per cent of her first and second serve points, breaking nine times from 12 chances, and bravely defending 12 break point opportunities as the fourth seed capitalised six times.

Now Badosa will go on to play Danish qualifier and teenager, Clara Tauson who continued her giant-killing run to the semis with a straight sets win over Italian Camila Giorgi. Tauson won 6-3 6-1 in just 70 minutes to advance to a semi-final in her first ever WTA Tour event. The Dane now sits at 117th in the world having moved up 22 spots on the world rankings. She takes on Golubic who won their semi-final over Belgian Greet Minnen. The Swiss qualifier won 6-3 7-6 in an hour and 41 minutes to set up a clash with Tauson. The Dane won a clash a few starts back on the ITF Tour for her most recent title so will be keen to repeat the dose again.


[2] Fiona Ferro (FRA) defeated [WC] Clara Burel (FRA) 2-6 6-1 6-3
[7] Paula Badosa (ESP) defeated [4] Kristina Mladenovic (FRA) 7-5 6-7 6-2
[Q] Clara Tauson (DEN) defeated Camila Giorgi (ITA) 6-3 6-1
[Q] Viktorija Golubic (SUI) defeated Greet Minnen (BEL)

WTA Tour wrap: Pegula’s rapid rise continues as top two seeds out of Doha

SOME huge upsets at Doha marked a remarkable quarter finals stage, while a French wildcard and Swiss qualifier were among the big winners at Lyon.

The top two seeds are out of the Qatar Total Open after a mixed bag of results on the fourth day of the 2021 main draw event. The biggest story was the continued rise of Australian Open quarter finalists, Jessica Pegula who booked her spot in the semi-finals at Doha with a straight sets win over second seed Karolina Pliskova. Pegula only took one hour to dismiss Pliskova, who joined top seed Elina Svitolina in the exits on the day, after the Ukrainian went down to Grand Slam winner, Victoria Azarenka.

The Belarusian also claimed a straight sets win, 6-2 6-4 to head into the final four with fourth seed Czech Petra Kvitova and unseeded Spaniard Garbine Muguruza. Kvitova toppled Estonian Anett Kontaveit in the tightest match of the day, 6-3 3-6 6-2, with the game the only one to go past 90 minutes (one hour and 54 minutes). Muguruza proved too strong for Greek talent Maria Sakkari, powering through her with a 6-3 6-1 victory.

Pegula withstood seven aces from Pliskova in their match, and whilst she only had one herself, won 22 of 26 first serve points, and only dropped 11 points on serve in total. The Czech second seed still managed to break Pegula one from two chances, but the American qualifier broke five times from nine opportunities during the match, and punished Pliskova on her second serve, winning 16 of 21 in return games off it.

Similarly, Azarenka dominated all the key statistical areas against Svitolina, rolling with a 66.7 per cent efficiency of her first serve, then capitalising on 61.9 and 42.9 per cent of her first and second serves. While Svitolina was evenly matched off her first serve (60.5 per cent success), the Ukrainian top seed struggled off her second serve, winning a poor four of 24 points which cost her the match. It allowed Azarenka to break in six of Svitolina’s nine service games, while Svitolina broke the Belarusian eighth seed three times.

Kvitova’s victory over Kontaveit was much closer, with the almost two-hour epic ending well for the out-of-form Czech who made her way into the final four. It was still far from perfect with seven double faults to go with six aces, but Kontaveit was also inconsistent on serve with six double faults to three aces. Both players set up plenty of break point opportunities, but it was the fourth seed who capitalised with nine of 16, while the Estonian broke seven times from 10 chances.

Meanwhile Muguruza’s 66-minute rout over Sakkari saw her nearly impenetrable on serve, producing an elite 76.9 per cent efficiency. She won 80.0 and 66.7 per cent of her first and second serve points, while Sakkari’s efficiency (53.7 per cent) and second serve success rate (24 per cent) was just not there. The Greek’s four double faults and low serving percentage meant Muguruza capitalised with five breaks from 12 chances, while Sakkari did break once, but it was her only break point opportunity in the match.

Azarenka will now face Muguruza in the semi-final, while Pegula will hope to take down her second consecutive Czech seed when she faces Kvitova in the other semi-final.


[8] Victoria Azarenka (BLR) defeated [1] Elina Svitolina (UKR) 6-2 6-4
[Q] Jessica Pegula (USA) defeated [2] Karolina Pliskova (CZE) 6-3 6-1
[4] Petra Kvitova (CZE) defeated Anett Kontaveit (EST) 6-3 3-6 6-2
Garbine Muguruza (ESP) defeated Maria Sakkari (GRE) 6-3 6-1


Meanwhile in Lyon, the quarter finals are locked in following the remainder of the Round of 16 matches completed over night. It was another mixed bag for the tournament, with third seed Caroline Garcia being the biggest casualty of the day, joining eighth seed Arantxa Rus as the top two players ousted on day four of the main draw singles. Garcia went down to Swiss qualifier Viktorija Golubic who needed just 64 minutes to destroy her higher-ranked opponent 6-1 6-2, while Rus lost out to Belgium’s Greet Minnen who fought through a first set deficit to post a 4-6 6-2 6-3 win over the Dutch eighth seed.

While Garcia lost, it was better news for her French compatriots, as fourth seed Kristina Mladenovic won 6-4 6-2 in an hour and 19 minutes over Russian qualifier Margarita Gasparyan. Wildcard and home nation competitor Clara Burel joined Mladenovic in the final eight with a three-set win over Belarusian Aliaksandra Sasnovich. Despite a disappointing second set, Burel picked up the pieces to win the last six games and run away with the match, 7-5 2-6 6-0 in two hours and two minutes. In the other match played on the day, seventh seed Spaniard Paula Badosa defeated Switzerland’s Stefanie Voegele in straight sets, 6-2 6-4.

The 19-year-old Burel’s win over Sasnovich was the talking point of the day, as the world number 218 continued her rise through the WTA Tour with the three-set win. She served at a higher efficiency (64.6 to 61.1 per cent), and dominated her first serve points won (64.2 to 47.3 per cent), breaking eight times from 11 chances, though she was also broken six times in the process. It was the third set that really caught the eye with the match on the line, as Burel won 14 of 15 points on serve, and only missed one first serve during her three service games, breaking her opponent in all three matches from six chances and running away with the contest.


[Q] Viktorija Golubic (SUI) defeated [3] Caroline Garcia (FRA) 6-1 6-2
[4] Kristina Mladenovic (FRA) defeated [Q] Margarita Gasparyan (RUS) 6-4 6-2
[7] Paula Badosa (ESP) defeated Stefanie Voegele (SUI) 6-2 6-4
Greet Minnen (BEL) defeated [8] Arantxa Rus (NED) 4-6 6-2 6-3
[WC] Clara Burel (FRA) defeated Aliaksandra Sasnovich (BLR) 7-5 2-6 6-0


Picture credit: Getty Images

WTA Tour wrap: Keys ousts Bencic, as French advance in Lyon

IN two contrasting tournaments, the Qatar Total Open provided plenty of one-sided results, whilst in Lyon, there were a number of two-hour plus contests to keep fans on the edge of their sets.

The remaining Round of 32 matches were completed in Doha yesterday, with a number of upsets on the cards, including a seed loss and three players from qualifying making it through to the second round. The only seed in action on the day was sixth seed Swiss talent Belinda Bencic, fresh off an Adelaide International final, going down to American Madison Keys in straight sets.

Keys won 6-4 6-1 in 67 minutes, as all six matches played were straight-set results. The longest by far was German qualifier Laura Siegemund getting up over Kazakhstan young gun, Elena Rybakina. The experienced German fought through two tiebreakers to win 7-6 7-6, of which the tiebreakers were 9-7 and 7-5. She was one of two qualifiers to make it through, with American Jessica Pegula winning 6-2 6-1 over Wang Qiang in just 75 minutes. Whilst the Siegemund-Rybakina match was two hours and 29 minutes, that surpassed the next longest match of the day by more than an hour.

Japan’s Misaki Doi took an hour and 27 minutes to dispatch of China’s Zheng Saisai 6-4 6-3, in the only other match to come close to 90 minutes of action. Making it all the more remarkable was the fact Doi was well beaten by Pegula in the final round of qualifying, but managed to get through to the first round under the lucky loser spot, and now is into the second round. Russia’s Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova won in 77 minutes of Kristyna Pliskova, 6-2 6-3 with the Czech one of two qualifiers to end their run at the first round of the main draw. The other was Russian Anna Blinkova who suffered defeat at the hands of Tunisian Ons Jabeur, 6-2 6-2 in 68 minutes.


Madison Keys (USA) defeated [6] Belinda Bencic (SUI) 6-4 6-1
[LL] Misaki Doi (JPN) defeated Zheng Saisai (CHN) 6-4 6-3
Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (RUS) defeated [Q] Kristyna Pliskova (CZE) 6-2 6-3
Ons Jabeur (TUN) defeated [Q] Anna Blinkova (RUS) 6-2 6-2
[Q] Laura Siegemund (GER) defeated Elena Rybakina (KAZ) 7-6 7-6
[Q] Jessica Pegula (USA) defeated Wang Qiang (CHN) 6-2 6-1


The results were more predictable in the Lyon Open, with the three seeds in action all progressing to the second round. The two Frenchwomen in Caroline Garcia and Kristina Mladenovic won through to the Round of 16, albeit not without a challenge. Third seed Garcia needed three sets to put away compatriot Oceane Dodin, 6-2 2-6 6-3, while Mladenovic spent two hours and 42 minutes on court to finally knock off Romanian Mihaela Buzarnescu, 5-7 7-5 6-2.

The other Frenchwoman in action was wildcard Harmony Tan, who put up a fight, but was ultimately knocked out by Paula Badosa. The Spaniard held off the talented Tan in three sets, after the wildcard smashed her opponent in a 6-0 second set, but Badosa held firm to win 7-5 in the third set tiebreaker for a match score of 6-4 0-6 7-6. The longest match of the day belonged to Switzerland’s Stefanie Voegele and Romania’s Irina Bara, who fought it out for two hours and 53 minutes. In the end it was Voegele who posted a three-set win, 7-6 6-7 6-3 to move through to the Round of 16.

In other reusults, Russian qualifier Margarita Gasparyan defeated Ukranian Katarina Zavatska 6-4 6-1, Czech Tereza Marincova knocked out Italian qualifier Giulia-Gatto Monticone 6-2 3-6 6-2, while Belarusian Aliaksandra Sasnovich powered past Canadian Eugenie Bouchard after a tight first set, 7-6 6-2.


[3] Caroline Garcia (FRA) defeated Oceane Dodin (FRA) 6-2 2-6 6-3
[4] Kristina Mladenovic (FRA) defeated Mihaela Buzarnescu (ROU) 5-7 7-5 6-2
[7] Paula Badosa (ESP) defeated [WC] Harmony Tan (FRA) 6-4 0-6 7-6
Stefanie Voegele (SUI) defeated Irina Bara (ROU) 7-6 6-7 6-3
[Q]Margarita Gasparyan (RUS) defeated Katarina Zavatska (UKR) 6-4 6-1
Tereza Martincova (CZE) defeated [Q] Giulia-Gatto Monticone (ITA) 6-2 3-6 6-2
Aliaksandra Sasnovich (BLR) defeated Eugenie Bouchard (CAN) 7-6 6-2

Picture credit: Getty Images