Tag: xiyu wang

WTA Miami Open 1000: Collins wins against Mladenovic as Latvian duo advance

IN a blockbuster second day at the WTA Miami Open 1000, the Round of 128 was completed with some interesting results. It was a real mix of winners, with some experienced players and some young guns winning through to the second round in an action-packed day. The first Round of 64 match was also decided – albeit without a ball being served – after Laura Siegemund withdrew from her clash against Belarusian 14th seed Victoria Azarenka.

In a number of three-set battles, Australian Storm Sanders overcame Italian Elizabetta Cocciaretto 6-1 5-7 6-1, while Spaniard Sara Sorribes Tormo won 6-2 2-6 7-5 against American Bernarda Pera. Also needing three sets for victory were Belarusian US Open quarter finalists Tsvetana Pironkova, winning against Ukrainian Marta Kostyuk 7-6 3-6 6-3. Meanwhile Latvian Anastasija Sevastova toppled Serbian Olga Danilovic 6-1 3-6 7-6 as compatriot Jelena Ostapenko knocked off China’s Xiyu Wang, 6-4 6-7 6-1. Other three-set winners were Frenchwoman Alize Cornet, Brit Katie Boulter, Mexican Renata Zarazua, Slovakian Kristina Kucova and Chinese duo Qiang Wang and Saisai Zheng.

In more straightforward clashes, Liudmila Samsonova toppled Italian Camila Giorgi in straight sets 6-2 6-4, as Serbian Nina Stojanovic proved too strong for Great Britain’s Heather Watson, 6-4 6-1. Also marching through to the second round was Frenchwoman Caroline Garcia‘s rout of Romanian Mihaela Buzarnescu 6-1 6-2, whilst Tereza Martincova knocked off Kazakhstan’s Yaroslava Shevdova. The Czech won 6-4 6-2 in that encounter, joining Russian Anna Kalinskaya, Croatian Ana Konjuh and German Andrea Petkovic in the second round after straight set victories.

The highly anticipated match of the day was between American Danielle Collins and Frenchwoman Kristina Mladenovic who drew each other in blockbuster Round of 128 clash. It went the way of the former, with Collins getting up 6-3 6-3 to advance through to the Round of 64 in 82 minutes in an inspiring performance. She will need to back up with a match against Veronika Kudermetova tomorrow, as Kucova takes on top seed Ash Barty, Konjuh locks horns with Madison Keys, and Sevastova meets Coco Gauff in a huge day of action on the Grandstand Court tomorrow.

MIAMI OPEN ROUND OF 128 RESULTS:

Liudmila Samsonova (RUS) defeated Camila Giorgi (ITA) 6-2 6-4
Storm Sanders (AUS) defeated Elizabetta Cocciaretto (ITA) 6-1 5-7 6-1
Sloane Stephens (USA) defeated Oceane Dodin (FRA) 6-7 6-4 6-2
Kristina Kucova (SVK) defeated Hailey Baptiste (USA) 6-4 2-6 7-5
Tsvetana Pironkova (BLR) defeated Marta Kostyuk (UKR) 7-6 3-6 6-3
Nina Stojanovic (SRB) defeated Heather Watson (GBR) 6-4 6-1
Caroline Garcia (FRA) defeated Mihaela Buzarnescu (ROU) 6-1 6-2
Anastasija Sevastova (LAT) defeated Olga Danilovic (SRB) 6-1 3-6 7-6
Qiang Wang (CHN) defeated Aliona Bolsova (ESP) 6-1 3-6 6-3
Tereza Martincova (CZE) defeated Yaroslava Shvedova (KAZ) 6-4 6-2
Alize Cornet (FRA) defeated Svetlana Kuznetsova (RUS) 2-6 6-2 6-1
Katie Boulter (GBR) defeated Kristyna Pliskova (CZE) 4-6 6-3 6-3
Saisai Zheng (CHN) defeated Fiona Ferro (FRA) 2-6 6-4 6-3
Renata Zarazua (MEX) defeated Nao Hibino (JPN) 6-4 4-6 6-1
Jelena Ostapenko (LAT) defeated Xiyu Wang (CHN) 6-4 6-7 6-1
Danielle Collins (USA) defeated Kristina Mladenovic (FRA) 6-3 6-3
Anna Kalinskaya (RUS) defeated Irina Camelia Begu (ROU) 6-4 7-6
Sara Sorribes Tormo (ESP) defeated Bernarda Pera (USA) 6-2 2-6 7-5
Ana Konjuh (CRO) defeated Katerina Siniakova (CZE) 7-6 7-5
Andrea Petkovic (GER) defeated Shuai Zhang (CHN) 7-5 6-1

Picture credit: Getty Images

2021 ATP/WTA 1000 Miami Open preview: Federer and Nadal withdraw as Barty returns

THE 2021 Miami Open is set to begin this week, played from Monday, March 22 through to Sunday, April 4, with the 1000 event expected to showcase some high calibre encounters across both the ATP and WTA Tours. Whilst the men’s list is missing a couple of notable names within the top 20, the women’s draw will boast just about all of the big names in the biz as the season rolls on despite COVID-19 restrictions still impacting proceedings. Both the men’s and women’s reigning Australian Open champions are set to compete, highlighting the strength of the respective events.

On the ATP Tour, the clear omissions from the draw include Rafael NadalDominic Thiem and Roger Federer, with the trio’s absence making for a huge hole in the draw and a real opportunity for the developing players coming through the ranks to make their mark. Looking down the list, it’s safe to say Novak Djokovic and Daniil Medvedev are the clear frontrunners in as first and second seeds with one title apiece to start the year, whilst Stefanos Tsitsipas and Alexander Zverev are well within their chances here given the glaring absences. 2021 title-winners Andrey Rublev (Rotterdam title, 13-2 in 2021), Diego Schwartzman (Buenos Aires, 8-3) and David Goffin (Montpellier, 9-5) also register high in the draw, with the likes of Matteo Berrettini, Denis ShapovalovGael Monfils and Roberto Bautista Agut rounding out the top 11 or so players, pending shuffling from this week’s results. Factor in the explosiveness of the likes of Nick Kyrgios, who is still yet to confirm attendance, and the wealth of Spanish talent currently residing within and around the top 50, and there is so much that could go against the grain here.

Given it is an ATP 1000 event, there is no shortage of talent as players flock to Miami. Even heading down the list to lower ranked players, there are plenty of quality names across the board with in-form and young talent looking to add valuable points to their rankings. Two-time Miami champion Andy Murray is the big name wildcard at the event, joined by teen Carlos Alcaraz, Michael Mmoh, Hugo Gaston and Jack Draper in the main draw.

Heading to the women’s draw, and whilst there is more consistent top talent in the draw, that does not make it any easier to predict with the relatively even WTA Tour boasting a number of players who consistently step up at this level. Australian world number one and reigning 2019 Miami champion Ash Barty is reportedly set to compete after spending an unprecedented year way from the international circuit in 2020, joined by the ever formidable Naomi OsakaSimona HalepSofia Kenin and Elina Svitolina to round out the top five seeds. Also featuring are eight-time champion Serena Williams, who can never be overlooked in an event of this calibre, and a number of developing talents with French Open champion Iga Swiatek (2020) and 2019 US Open winner Bianca Andreescu both set to take the court here. Jennifer BradyKarolina Pliskova and Madison Keys are another few who cannot be dismissed, as are the ever exciting teens Coco Gauff and Amanda Anisimova.

Factor in the evenness and unpredictability of the women’s draw, with realistically any number of the top 20 – or upwards of that – capable of beating anyone on their day, and Miami will have a real battle on its hands. The women’s main draw wildcards include Anna Kalinskaya, Ana Konjuh, Storm Sanders, Katrina Scott, Mayar Sherif, Xiyu Wang and Xinyu Wang, with qualifiers for both the women’s and men’s events set to play out over March 22-23.

WTA Abu Dhabi Round of 32 wrap: Gasanova shocks Pliskova in debut tournament

RUSSIAN rising star, Anastasia Gasanova has shocked third seed Czech Karolina Pliskova, claiming her first ever Top 100 victory with a 6-2 6-4 triumph in the Round of 32 at the Abu Dhabi WTA 500 event. Gasanova had no troubles knocking off the former world number one, having come through qualifying and then toppling former Top 25 German, Mona Barthel in the first round. Ranked 261st in the world, Gasanova is playing her first ever WTA Tour main draw event, having only reached qualifying in non-ITF events previously.

“It was not me on the court,” Gasanova said post-match. “I was so sure of myself. “I’m really happy right now. “I’m really surprised, but when I woke up today, I thought, ‘Why not? Why can’t I win this match? “Actually, I thought I would lose in qualies or something like that, but I just kept pushing myself, like, I need to win and I want to win.”

Gasanova now advances through to the third round where she takes on unseeded Spaniard, Sara Sorries Tormo who needed three sets to take down unseeded American Bernarda Pera, 5-7 6-3 6-4. The Russian was not the only underdog Russian to advance into the Round of 16, as Daria Kasatkina did not need to take the court with 12th seed Czech Karolina Muchova retiring pre-game, as Veronika Kudermetova knocked off Italian Bianca Turati 6-2 6-1. The fourth Russian through to the third round was Ekaterina Alexandrova, as the 17th seed booked a place following a three-set epic against Great Britain’s Heather Watson, 7-5 6-7 6-3.

Victories to the other unseeded players in Marta Kostyuk and Tamara Zidansek – who defeated 11th seed Jennifer Brady in the first round – meant the third quarter of the Abu Dhabi draw completely seedless with one of Kostyuk, Zidansek, Sorribes Tormo or Gasanova to reach the semi-finals. Similarly, Spaniard Paula Badosa now faces Kudermetova in another unseeded Round of 16 meeting, with the winner to lock horns with either Alexandrova or second seed Elina Svitolina.

The Ukrainian broke the trend of successful Russians, knocking off veteran Vera Zvonareva in straight sets, 6-4 6-1. The winner of the Svitolina-Alexandrova match will be the sole seed in the second half of the draw. It is a much different story in the top half of the draw, with Kasatkina the sole unseeded player, now set to face Kazakhstan rising star, Elena Rybakina. The talented youngsters defeated China’s Wang Xiyu 6-4 6-4 to book her place in the Round of 16, and the winner of the third round match to face an in-form player of 2020.

Aryna Sabalenka has not lost any form from her remarkable end to 2020, rolling well into double-figures with 12 consecutive wins and two titles in her wake. The powerful Belarusian took down a plucky Ajla Tomljanovic 7-5 6-4 to now face Tunisian Ons Jabeur. The 15th seed had a it more to do, defeating Ukrainian Kateryna Bondarenko in a come-from-behind victory, 5-7 6-3 6-2 to book her spot in the Round of 16.

Meanwhile in other results, top seed Sofia Kenin survived a scare against Belgian Kirsten Flipkens, with the latter forced to retire leading 7-5 4-5 in their Round of 32 match. Now Kenin takes on Kazakhstan’s Yulia Putintseva who dispatched Czech Barbora Krejcikova 6-4 7-5. In the last third round matchup, fifth seed Garbine Muguruza will lock horns with ninth seed Maria Sakkari. Muguruza proved too strong for Aliaksandra Sasnovich 6-1 6-4, while Sakkari held off teen sensation Coco Gauff, 7-5 6-2.

All the Round of 16 matches will be played tomorrow.

ABU DHABI ROUND OF 32 RESULTS:

[1] Sofia Kenin (USA) defeated Kirsten Flipkens (BEL) 5-7 5-4 RET
[2] Elina Svitolina (UKR) defeated Vera Zvonareva (RUS) 6-4 6-1
Anastasia Gasanova (RUS) defeated [3] Karolina Pliskova (CZE) 6-2 6-4
[4] Aryna Sabalenka (BLR) defeated Ajla Tomljanovic (AUS) 7-5 6-4
[5] Garbine Muguruza (ESP) defeated Aliaksandra Sasnovich (BLR) 6-1 6-4
[6] Elena Rybakina (KAZ) defeated Xiyu Wang (CHN) 6-4 6-4
[9] Maria Sakkari (GRE) defeated Coco Gauff (USA) 7-5 6-2
Daria Kasatkina (RUS) defeated [12] Karolina Muchova (CZE) 0-0 RET
[13] Yulia Putintseva (KAZ) defeated Barbora Krejcikova (CZE) 6-4 7-5
[15] Ons Jabeur (TUN) defeated Kateryna Bondarenko (UKR) 5-7 6-3 6-2
[17] Ekaterina Alexandrova (RUS) defeated Heather Watson (GBR) 7-5 6-7 6-3
Marta Kostyuk (UKR) defeated Su-Wei Hsieh (TAI) 6-3 6-7 6-3
Paula Badosa (ESP) defeated Alize Cornet (FRA) 6-4 6-4
Sara Sorribes Tormo (ESP) defeated Bernarda Pera (USA) 5-7 6-3 6-4
Tamara Zidansek (SLO) defeated Leylah Fernandez (CAN) 6-4 6-4
Veronika Kudermetova (RUS) defeated Bianca Turati (ITA) 6-2 6-1

Picture credit: Getty Images

2020 Roland Garros fantasy: Young seeds prove strong on day three

ANOTHER big day at the Roland Garros fantasy tournament saw some big names grace the court, with four of this quarter’s top five seeds reigning supreme to head to the Round of 64. Americans once again came out on top for the most part, while a couple of grand slam champions rose to the occasion.

Fourth seed Sofia Kenin, sixth seed Naomi Osaka and eleventh seed Bianca Andreescu all reigned supreme in their matches, with the trio of grand slam victors fairly consistent in their pursuits. Despite an average start to her match against Spain’s Sara Sorribes Tormo, Osaka pushed back and came out on top, using her feisty play to come back firing in the second and third to win 5-7 6-2 6-2. Kenin and Andreescu had much easier runs against their respective opposition, while the next ranked seed in this quarter of the draw – Elena Rybakina – followed suit, with all three players downing their opposition in under an hour and in straight sets. 

Of the last four seeds, just Alison Riske and Donna Vekic fell to their unseeded opposition. Riske’s shock exit was full credit to Patricia Maria Tig’s explosive play, with the Romanian a force to be reckoned with in the 6-3 6-2 victory. Vekic put up a far better fight against qualifier Lesia Tsurenko but was unable to hold up to the forceful Ukrainian, going down in a three set battle 7-6 2-6 7-5. The youngest seeds of the group in Dayana Yastremska and Iga Swiatek also proved too good on day three, and while Swiatek had a tougher time of it than Yastremska did, the pair impressed with their respective composure and ability to get the job done.

Three more Americans joined the winners list as qualifier Shelby Rogers, Bernarda Pera and Jessica Pegula all head through to the next round after solid performances, with Pegula coming from behind to record her 7-5 6-7 6-1 victory over Japan’s Misaki Doi. Of the last five matches, all were consolidated with just the two sets, and while Anna Lena Friedsam and Heather Watson came close to losing crucial sets to their respective opposition, Varvara Gracheva, Pauline Parmentier and Anastasia Potapova were all solid to head through to the Round of 64.

Coming up tomorrow for the last quarter of the Round of 128 are some quality matchups, while Ash Barty and Petra Kvitova take the court and giant slayer Qiang Wang looks to back up her stellar run in the Australian Open with another quality run.

ROUND OF 128 RESULTS:

[4] Sofia Kenin (USA) defeated [Q] Nadia Podoroska (RUS) 6-3 6-0
[6] Naomi Osaka (JPN) defeated Sara Sorribes Tormo (ESP) 5-7 6-2 6-2
[11] Bianca Andreescu (CAN) defeated Xiyu Wang (CHN) 6-3 6-2
[15] Elena Rybakina (KAZ) defeated Ajla Tomljanovic (AUS) 6-1 6-3
Patricia Maria Tig (ROU) defeated [18] Alison Riske (USA) 6-3 6-2
[21] Dayana Yastremska (UKR) defeated Marie Bouzkova (CZE) 6-3 6-1
[Q] Lesia Tsurenko (UKR) defeated [25] Donna Vekic (CRO) 7-6 2-6 7-5
[27] Iga Swiatek (POL) defeated Jelena Ostapenko (LAT) 2-6 7-6 6-1
Anna Lena Friedsam (GER) defeated Anna Blinkova (RUS) 6-4 6-4
Varvara Gracheva (RUS) defeated [Q] Usue Maitane Arconada (ESP) 6-1 6-0
[Q] Shelby Rogers (USA) defeated [Q] Aliona Bolsova (ESP) 6-3 7-5
Heather Watson (GBR) defeated Greet Minnen (BEL) 6-2 7-5
[WC] Pauline Parmentier (FRA) defeated [WC] Harmony Tan (FRA) 6-3 6-4
Bernarda Pera (USA) defeated [Q] Aliaksandra Sasnovich (BLR) 7-5 6-4
Anastasia Potapova (RUS) defeated [WC] Dianne Parry (FRA) 6-2 6-2
Jessica Pegula (USA) defeated Misaki Doi (JPN) 7-5 6-7 6-1

2020 WTA Strasbourg and Rabat Open fantasy tennis: Second seeds struggle on Day 2

IT was another fairly predictable day at both the Strasbourg and Rabat Open fantasy tournaments, with a couple of outlying matches throwing the competition for a loop. 

The biggest win of the day was at Strasbourg with Iga Swiatek impressing in a straight sets win over Serena Williams – a player 20 years her senior. Swiatek was stellar in the 6-4 6-4 victory, beating down the dominant player and putting second seed Williams through the wringer as she controlled all proceedings. Fellow young gun Coco Gauff was not quite as lucky, going down to third seed Aryna Sabalenka, putting up a tough fight as she did so. Gauff was solid in the first before Sabalenka turned the tides to win the second and third sets, and while the young talent fought back in the last it was not enough, going down to the Belarusian, 4-6 6-4 7-6. A fellow seed joining Williams on the sideline is Bianca Andreescu, with the Canadian having a phenomenal comeback in the second set against Victoria Azarenka before the Belarusian dominated to join Sabalenka in the quarter finals. 

All three remaining seeds continued through to the next round, though only Dayana Yastremska got through scot free in two sets, defeating a third American competitor in Amanda Anisimova, 6-4 6-3. Anisimova’s seeded compatriots in Sofia Kenin and Madison Keys were both taken to three sets by their respective opposition in Xiyu Wang and Caroline Garcia, both dropping the second set before regaining control to finish. The final American in the day’s draw was Sloane Stephens who defeated Xiyu’s compatriot, Shuai Zhang. Shuai could not compete with the American, unable to hold up to Stephens’ intensity and going down in straight sets, 6-3 6-3. The final match of the round saw the final Chinese competitor of the day in Qiang Wang reign supreme over Camila Giorgi. It was a tough battle against the experienced Italian, with the match going to three sets and two sets going to tiebreakers, but it was China that came out on top in the 6-2 5-7 7-5 clash. 

At Rabat it was a similar story, as second seed Elise Mertens went down to Tamara Zidansek. The match was highly contested in the early stages before the Slovenian put on the accelerator in the final set, dominating and not allowing Mertens to get a look in to run away with the 4-6 7-6 6-0 win. Mertens was the only seed bumped out here, though both Johanna Konta and Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova had tight tussles, dropping the first sets before taking control. Konta’s competitor in German, Andrea Petkovic had a solid start before Konta’s sensational second set, and while the third set was closely contested it was Konta who reigned supreme, 3-6 6-1 7-5. It was a similar story for Pavlyuchenkova’s competitor in Julia Goerges, with the German strong in the first by dying off in the mid-to-latter stages of the match, going down 2-6 6-3 6-1. 

The remaining five matches of the round saw all winners control the majority of their contests, with Marketa Vondrousova and Maria Sakkari the two final seeds joining the quarter finals cohort. Vondrousova defeated another Williams sister in Venus while Sakkari was too strong in the second set for Carla Suarez Navarro. Both players went down in straight sets. While Taylor Townsend had a tough battle with Alison Van Uytvancke but reigned supreme and Coco Vandeweghe defeated qualifier, Mihaela Buzarnescu despite a tight second set, qualifying Swiss Jill Teichmann was just too good against Anett Kontaveit, knocking out the Estonian 6-2 6-3. 

In tomorrow’s quarter finals expect plenty of quality clashes, with plenty of young talent in the mix looking to prove themselves ahead of the Grand Slams.

STRASBOURG OPEN ROUND OF 16 RESULTS:

[1] Sofia Kenin (USA) defeated [Q] Xiyu Wang (CHN) 6-2 2-6 6-0
Iga Swiatek (POL) defeated [2] Serena Williams (USA) 6-4 6-4
[3] Aryna Sabalenka (BLR) defeated Coco Gauff (USA) 4-6 6-4 7-6
Victoria Azarenka (BLR) defeated [4] Bianca Andreescu (CAN) 6-3 1-6 6-3
[6] Madison Keys (USA) defeated Caroline Garcia (FRA) 4-6 6-4 6-1
[7] Dayana Yastremska (UKR) defeated Amanda Anisimova (USA) 6-4 6-3
Qiang Wang (CHN) defeated Camila Giorgi (ITA) 6-2 5-7 7-5
Sloane Stephens (USA) defeated Shuai Zhang (CHN) 6-3 6-3

RABAT GRAND PRIX ROUND OF 16 RESULTS:

[1] Johanna Konta (GBR) defeated Andrea Petkovic (GER) 3-6 6-1 7-5
Tamara Zidansek (SLO) defeated [2] Elise Mertens (BEL) 4-6 7-6 6-0
[3] Marketa Vondrousova (CZE) defeated Venus Williams (USA) 6-4 7-6
[5] Maria Sakkari (GRE) defeated Carla Suarez Navarro (ESP) 7-6 6-3
[8] Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (RUS) defeated Julia Goerges (GER) 2-6 6-3 6-1
Taylor Townsend (USA) defeated defeated Alison Van Uytvanck (BEL) 7-6 7-6
[Q] Jil Teichmann (SUI) defeated Anett Kontaveit (EST) 6-2 6-3
Coco Vandeweghe (USA) defeated [Q] Mihaela Buzarnescu (ROU) 6-4 7-5

2020 WTA Strasbourg and Rabat Open fantasy tennis: Americans dominate on day one

IT was a stellar start to the United States at both the Strasbourg Open and Rabat Open fantasy tournaments with nine of the eleven American competitors making it through to the second round amongst a plethora of talented players. Meanwhile, Australia struggled to produce a win across both tournaments and plenty of matches came down to the wire.

At Strasbourg, six of the eight seeds remain after Elena Rybakina and Donna Vekic went down to their respective foes, shockingly both in straight sets and fairly convincingly at that. The duo’s results were reversed, with Rybakina having a strong start and petering off, while Vekic fought back but to no avail, seeing Camila Giorgi and Shuai Zheng proceed to the next round. Where Rybakina and Vekic failed, the likes of Aryna Sabalenka and Bianca Andreescu both collected solid victories in under an hour, while Dayana Yastremska had a tougher time against Latvian, Jelena Ostapenko though eventually came out on top, 7-5 3-6 6-2.

All three seeded Americans in first seed Sofia Kenin, Serena Williams (second seed) and Madison Keys (sixth) collected wins over quality opponents and will be joined by compatriots Amanda Anisimova, Coco Gauff and Sloane Stephens in the Round of 16. All three seeds had tough matches as both Williams and Keys were taken to three sets by their respective opposition in Sam Stosur and Saisai Zheng, while Kenin only just prevailed in a two hour two-setter, defeating Greet Minnen 7-5 7-6. Gauff and Stephens had similarly difficult matches while Anisimova dominated against French qualifier, Chloe Paquet. Meanwhile, Stosur’s compatriot in Astra Sharma met a similar end to her experienced company, going down to Xiyu Wang, 6-1 6-4.

A mixed bag of results finished off the round as young talent Iga Swiatek proved too strong for Polona Hercog despite a tight first set, while Caroline Garcia had a similarly solid match to defeat qualifying Italian, Francesca Di Lorenzo. Fellow qualifier Fiona Ferro pushed Victoria Azarenka to the brink however, as the Belarusian only just remained above water for the 7-6 7-5 victory, while Qiang Wang and Kateryna Kozlova battled it out in the marathon three hour match for the day, with Qiang eventually reigning supreme for the 7-5 5-7 7-5 victory.

While Strasbourg saw American competitors dominate and all six proceed to the next round, at Rabat the story went a little differently with two of the five going down. Fourth seed Alison Riske was the big shock of the day going down to qualifier Mihaela Buzarnescu in straight sets, while Ann Li put up a strong fight but could not compete with Russian eighth seed, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova. Meanwhile, Venus Williams prevailed in a tight three set contest against Kristina Mladenovic and fellow compatriots in Taylor Townsend and Coco Vandeweghe continued their solid form with respective straight sets victories.

As for seeds, the remaining top five competitors reigned supreme, though three had tough battles to get through first. Among the tough matches, Maria Sakkari impressed against Spaniard, Sara Sorribes Tormo, showcasing some real depth to her game and coming back from the brink four games down to win the first set in a tiebreaker. The second set came much easier for the Greek competitor who eventually won 7-6 6-3, though not so much for the likes of fellow top talents in Johanna Konta, Elise Mertens and Marketa Vondrousova. Mertens had the easiest match of the trio but  was well and truly tested in the second by her wildcard opposition in Usue Maitane Arconada before putting out a stellar third set to take the win. Meanwhile, both Konta and Vondrouova had to fight a bit harder for their respective wins against formidable German talents in Andrea Petkovic and Angelique Kerber but will surely be brimming with intensity ready for the second round.

Joining Riske on the sidelines were Magda Linette and Yulia Putintseva after frankly disappointing outputs against their respective opposition. Linette had a rough start against Jill Teichmann, and despite competing well in the second set was unable to catch up to the Swiss competitor after she pulled out to a confident lead early, winning 6-2 7-6. Putintseva competed well but was not strong or consistent enough to keep up to Alison Van Uytvanck who seemingly came out with a point to prove, reigning supreme for the 6-4 6-4 victory. 

Where Americans were consistent on day one, Australian duo in Ajla Tomljanovic and Priscilla Hon both had shaky starts on the clay after not competing for much of the season, eventually going down in respective straight sets losses. In other games, Carla Suarez Navarro defeated Nina Stojanovic in a 7-5 2-6 6-1 marathon, while Julia Goerges was clinical against Jasmine Paolini, defeating the Italian in just 40 minutes, 6-2 6-1.

Tomorrow’s draw will surprisingly not see any of today’s American winners compete against each other, meaning there is a real chance of the United States continuing their domination after day one,

STRASBOURG OPEN ROUND OF 32 RESULTS:

[1] Sofia Kenin (USA) defeated Greet Minnen (BEL) 7-5 7-6
[2] Serena Williams (USA) defeated Sam Stosur (AUS) 4-6 6-1 6-2
[3] Aryna Sabalenka (BLR) defeated [Q] Lesia Tsurenko (UKR) 6-2 6-4
[4] Bianca Andreescu (CAN) defeated Rebecca Peterson (SWE) 6-2 6-3
Camila Giorgi (ITA) defeated [5] Elena Rybakina (KAZ) 6-4 6-3
[6] Madison Keys (USA) defeated Saisai Zheng (CHN) 3-6 7-5 6-1
[7] Dayana Yastremska (UKR) defeated Jelena Ostapenko (LAT) 7-5 3-6 6-2
Shuai Zhang (CHN) defeated [8] Donna Vekic (CRO) 6-2 6-4
[Q] Xiyu Wang (CHN) defeated [WC] Astra Sharma (AUS) 6-1 6-4
Amanda Anisimova (USA) defeated [WC] Chloe Paquet (FRA) 6-3 6-1
Qiang Wang (CHN) defeated [Q] Kateryna Kozlova (UKR) 7-5 5-7 7-5
Victoria Azarenka (BLR) defeated Fiona Ferro (FRA) 7-6 7-5
Coco Gauff (USA) defeated Elisabetta Cocciaretto (ITA) 7-5 2-6 6-4
Caroline Garcia (FRA) defeated [Q] Francesca Di Lorenzo (ITA) 6-2 6-2
Sloane Stephens (USA) defeated Svetlana Kuznetsova (RUS) 5-7 6-2 6-2
Iga Swiatek (POL) defeated Polona Hercog (ROU) 7-5 6-2

RABAT GRAND PRIX ROUND OF 32 RESULTS:

[1] Johanna Konta (GBR) defeated Andrea Petkovic (GER) 3-6 6-1 7-5
[2] Elise Mertens (BEL) defeated [WC] Usue Maitane Arconada (ESP) 6-2 4-6 6-1
[3] Marketa Vondrousova (CZE) defeated Angelique Kerber (GER) 4-6 6-3 6-4
[Q] Mihaela Buzarnescu (ROU) defeated [4] Alison Riske (USA) 6-1 7-6
[5] Maria Sakkari (GRE) defeated Sara Sorribes Tormo (ESP) 7-5 6-3
[Q] Jil Teichmann (SUI) defeated [6] Magda Linette (POL) 6-2 7-6
Alison Van Uytvanck (BEL) defeated [7] Yulia Putintseva (KAZ) 6-4 6-4
[8] Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (RUS) defeated [Q] Ann Li (USA) 5-7 6-4 6-1
Tamara Zidansek (SLO) defeated Ajla Tomljanovic (AUS) 6-3 6-2
Venus Williams (USA) defeated Kristina Mladenovic (FRA) 4-6 6-3 7-6
Carla Suarez Navarro (ESP) defeated Nina Stojanovic (SRB) 7-5 2-6 6-1
Julia Goerges (GER) defeated Jasmine Paolini (ITA) 6-2 6-1
Taylor Townsend (USA) defeated Tatjana Maria (GER) 6-4 6-3
Anett Kontaveit (EST) defeated [Q] Priscilla Hon (AUS) 6-4 6-2
Coco Vandeweghe (USA) defeated Su Wei Hsieh (TAI) 6-3 6-2

2020 WTA Miami Open fantasy tennis: Collins takes out Konta to reach third round

UNSEEDED American, Danielle Collins has knocked 13th seed Johanna Konta out of the Miami Open following a come-from-behind win. On a day dominated by the seeds, Collins was one of only three unseeded players to survive the Round of 64 in the fantasy tennis tournament, and book her place in the Round of 32. She defeated Konta 6-7 6-2 6-3 in an entertaining comeback, joining compatriot Jennifer Brady, and German Julia Goerges as the only unseeded players remaining in the bottom half of the draw.

Brady knocked off 18th seed, Marketa Vondrousova who was bundled out in the Round of 32 at Indian Wells. The unseeded American won 6-1 6-4 in comprehensive fashion with the crowd behind her, while Goerges had to fight a little more to overcome 28th seed, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 6-4 3-6 7-5. Elsewhere it was the seeds all getting up as the top 12 players on court all moved through without dropping a set. Second seed, Karolina Pliskova defeated Belgian, Alison Van Uytvanck 7-6 6-3, as fourth and fifth seeds, Kiki Bertens and Elina Svitolina knocked off Kristie Ahn and Heather Watson respectively in their games.

Indian Wells finalist, Aryna Sabalenka downed Dutchwoman, Arantxa Rus 7-6 6-1, while Naomi Osaka knocked out Taiwanese hope, Su Wei Hsieh 6-4 6-3. Petra Kvitova and Madison Keys both booked spots in the Round of 32 with straight sets wins over Belgian qualifier, Kirsten Flipkens and Sweden’s Rebecca Peterson respectively, as the remaining top 20 player Elise Mertens toppled Russian qualifier, Ludmilla Samsonova in a thrilling 6-3 5-7 6-2 clash. The other two seeds to win in three sets were Chinese duo, Qiang Wang and Saisai Zheng who accounted for Estonian qualifier, Kaia Kanepi and American teenager, Coco Gauff respectively.

Completing the Round 2 day’s action were wins to 22nd seed Ukrainian Dayana Yastremska, and Russian duo, Ekaterina Alexandrova and Svetlana Kuznetsova. The Round of 64 completes tomorrow with Grand Slam champion Venus Williams tackling top seed Ash Barty, and Frenchwoman Kristina Mladenovic going up against 16th seed American, Alison Riske among the highlighted matches.

ROUND OF 64 RESULTS:

[2] Karolina Pliskova (CZE) defeated Alison Van Uytvanck (BEL) 7-6 6-3
[4] Kiki Bertens (BEL) defeated [WC] Kristie Ahn (USA) 6-3 6-1
[5] Elina Svitolina (UKR) defeated Heather Watson (GBR) 6-4 6-2
[7] Aryna Sabalenka (BLR) defeated Arantxa Rus (NED) 7-6 6-1
[9] Naomi Osaka (JPN) defeated Su Wei Hsieh (TAI) 6-4 6-3
[11] Petra Kvitova (CZE) defeated [Q] Kirsten Flipkens (BEL) 6-2 7-6
[12] Madison Keys (USA) defeated Rebecca Peterson (SWE) 6-0 7-6
Danielle Collins (USA) defeated [13] Johanna Konta (GBR) 6-7 6-2 6-3
Jennifer Brady (USA) defeated [18] Marketa Vondrousova (CZE) 6-1 6-4
[19] Elise Mertens (BEL) defeated [Q] Ludmilla Samsonova (RUS) 6-3 5-7 6-2
[22] Dayana Yastremska (UKR) defeated [WC] Leylah Fernandez (CAN) 6-4 6-2
[24] Ekaterina Alexandrova (RUS) defeated Marie Bouzkova (CZE) 6-4 7-5
[26] Qiang Wang (CHN) defeated [Q] Kaia Kanepi (EST) 6-4 3-6 6-1
[27] Svetlana Kuznetsova (RUS) defeated [Q] Xiyu Wang (CHN) 7-5 6-3
Julia Goerges (GER) defeated [28] Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (RUS) 6-4 3-6 7-5
[29] Saisai Zheng (CHN) defeated Coco Gauff (USA) 6-0 2-6 6-3


2020 WTA Miami Open fantasy tennis: Young guns book spot in second round

THE first day of the 2020 WTA Tour’s Miami Open fantasy tennis tournament is done and dusted with the first half of the Round of 128 completed. It was an entertaining day of action with most of the higher ranked players going through, but still providing a number of upsets. Among those through to the next round are top 50 players, Germany’s Julia Goerges and Sweden’s Rebecca Peterson who won through in straight sets.

Goerges defeated American wildcard, Shelby Rogers as Peterson downed China’s Lin Zhu. Also through to the next round and facing the second seed, Karolina Pliskova is Belgian, Alison Van Uytvanck, who triumphed over another American in Bernarda Pera. Aside from those two losses, it was a positive day for the home nation with the crowds able to see four of their local talents move through to the next round.

In a battle of the future, Coco Gauff got past Switzerland’s Leonie Kung in a clash of the teenagers, winning 6-3 6-4. Joining Gauff in the Round of 64 were compatriots, Jennifer Brady and wildcard Kristie Ahn who also defeated up-and-coming talents. Brady knocked off Poland’s Iga Swiatek, while Ahn toppled Russian Anna Blinkova in a huge upset. Canadian teenager, Leylah Fernandez also booked her spot in the Round of 64 courtesy of a three sets win over Belgian wildcard Greet Minnen, 6-2 4-6 7-5. Meanwhile Danielle Collins made her way through with a tight 6-1 6-7 6-3 win over Slovenia’s Polona Hercog.

Four qualifiers survived the first round of action with Russia’s Ludmilla Samsonova, China’s Xiyu Wang, Estonia’s Kaia Kanepi and Belgium’s Kirsten Flipkens all making it through to the next round. Joining them in the second round were Taiwan’s Su Wei Hsieh, Netherlands’ Arantxa Rus, Great Britain’s Heather Watson and Czech Maria Bouzkova.

Looking at tomorrow’s action, a couple of the games to watch are American Sloane Stephens coming up against Japan’s Nao Hibino, while Frenchwoman Kristina Mladenovic faces Swiss talent, Jil Teichmann.

ROUND OF 128 RESULTS:

[WC] Kristie Ahn (USA) defeated Anna Blinkova (RUS) 6-4 6-4
Coco Gauff (USA) defeated [Q] Leonie Kung (SUI) 6-3 6-4
[Q] Ludmilla Samsonova (RUS) defeated [Q] Irina Camelia Begu (ROU) 6-3 6-1
Danielle Collins (USA) defeated Polona Hercog (SLO) 6-1 6-7 6-3
Su Wei Hsieh (TAI) defeated Zarina Diyas (KAZ) 6-3 4-6 6-2
Jennifer Brady (USA) defeated Iga Swiatek (POL) 6-4 7-5
[Q] Xiyu Wang (CHN) defeated [WC] Oceane Dodin (FRA) 6-2 6-3
Arantxa Rus (NED) defeated Darya Kasatkina (RUS) 6-2 6-4
Heather Watson (GBR) defeated [Q] Sara Sorribes Tormo (ESP) 6-3 6-3
[Q] Kaia Kanepi (EST) defeated [WC] Coco Vandeweghe (USA) 6-2 7-6
Marie Bouzkova (CZE) defeated Kristyna Pliskova (CZE) 4-6 7-5 6-2
Rebecca Peterson (SWE) defeated Lin Zhu (CHN) 6-2 7-6
[Q] Kirsten Flipkens (BEL) defeated Viktoria Kuzmova (SVK) 6-3 0-6 6-4
[WC] Leylah Fernandez (CAN) defeated [WC] Greet Minnen (BEL) 6-2 4-6 7-5
Julia Goerges (GER) defeated [WC] Shelby Rogers (USA) 6-2 6-3
Alison Van Uytvanck (BEL) defeated Bernarda Pera (USA) 6-4 7-5


2020 WTA Mexican Open fantasy preview: Chinese talents lead way for Mexican title

AS the COVID-19 pandemic continues, Draft Central is extending the fantasy tennis coverage throughout the ATP and WTA seasons to simulate tournaments and see just how they might have gone down. We will use ELO scores to determine each match result, and the top 300 players in particular will be in focus, with rankings changing depending on past tournaments as if in real life. This will impact future seedings, and try to be as realistic as possible. The first WTA tournament to be completed will be the Mexican Open, which will be run alongside the ATP Tour’s Indian Wells which was meant to be held in March.

FAVOURITE:

Shuai Peng (China)

The third seed is highly fancied on hard court and performed better than the two about her and earns the title as favourite in this 125K fantasy event. Ranked 103rd overall, Peng is a former top 20 player and while she is past her best at 34-years-old, she is always a strong contributor on the ITF circuit and lower ranking WTA Tour tournaments. She faces a few tricky players along the way and nothing is given at this level, but as one of a number of players rated over 1700 on the surface, she has to be one to watch.

CONTENDERS:

Anna Lena Friedsam (Germany)

The number six seed is the second highest ranked seed on the surface, and while there are no easy matches, she has a fairly favourable draw. A tough first round encounter with Viktorija Golubic will challenge the German, but she should win through to the last eight if she can do that, where she will potentially meet fourth seed, Greet Minnen.

Greet Minnen (Belgium)

The talented Belgian is growing in stature and has every right to make it through to the quarter finals, and possibly more. Doing well in these kinds of tournaments will push her into the top 100 and will be important for her confidence. A first round encounter with Shelby Rogers will be fascinating to watch, with teenager, Ann Li potentially there in the second round.

Xiyu Wang (China)

Speaking of young talents, Xiyu Wang has certainly caught the attention of those on the WTA Tour of late, and she is seeded here thanks to her recent form. She will be favourite to at least make the quarter finals but has the likes of Oceane Dodin and Mona Barthel standing in her way. Will only get better from here and one for the future.

ROUGHIE:

Aliaksandra Sasnovich (Belarus)

The top ranked player on the surface, Sasnovich is actually unseeded and takes on eighth seed, Vitalia Diatchenko in the first round. If the Belarusian can get past that battle, she has a couple of the major contenders in the bottom half of the draw including Shuai and Xiyu. If Sasnovich can build on past form and go deep in the tournament, a top 100 spot beckons.

DARK HORSE:

Viktorija Golubic (Switzerland)

There are plenty of potential dark horses in this draw, and Golubic is certainly that, even if she has a first up tough match against Friedsam. Golubic could well go out in the first round, but if she survives that, then expect her to reach the final eight with her draw. Always a challenging opponent, she will no doubt worry some players on this surface and be one to watch in this tournament.

TOURNAMENT SCHEDULE:

Tuesday, April 14: Round of 32 1/2
Wednesday, April 15: Round of 32 1/2
Thursday, April 16: Round of 16
Friday, April 17: Quarter Finals
Saturday, April 18: Semi-finals
Sunday, April 19: Final

Australian Open: Qualifying Rounds 2/3 – Former Wimbledon Junior runner-up and ATP Top 10 pick advance to main draw

THE first of the main draw qualifiers are through to the Australian Open starting Monday after a number of men’s and women’s finals were played yesterday. The remainder of the finals will be played today, with 32 qualifiers all-up – 16 men and 16 women – making it through to the final 128 players who will contest the 2020 Australian Open.

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Leading the charge for the main draw was former top 10 pick, Ernests Gulbis with the Latvian no doubt causing a few main draw opponents some headaches before he is assigned his place in the 128-man field. Gulbis defeated 17th seed, India’s Prajnesh Gunneswaran in straight sets, 7-6 6-2. He joined Australian Max Purcell in booking a spot in the first round after the local hope downed 26th seed Slovakian, Jozef Kovalik 6-4 6-2. Also into the next round was 16th seed German, Peter Gojowczyk who will not be an easy opponent for anyone in the main draw, winning 6-2 6-3 over Frenchman Constant Lestienne. Slovakia’s 10th seed Norbert Gombos, Spain’s Pedro Martinez – who downed Czech Lukas Rosol – and Belarusian Ilya Ivashka all advanced through to the main draw in straight sets win.

From the Round 2 winners, top seed Dennis Novak continued his run to the final 32 with a straight sets win over Slovakia’s Filip Horansky, 6-1 6-4. In a day where seeds fell like flies, sixth seed Evgeny Donskoy was the other to survive the minefield, winning 6-3 3-6 6-3 over the qualifying draw’s late inclusion Croatia’s Viktor Galovic. It was bad news for ATP Cup doubles-winning player Viktor Troicki with the Serbian having to retire a set up and 1-2 down in the second set and forfeit his match to American Christopher Eubanks. Belgian, Kimmer Coppejans kept his hopes of a main draw spot alive with an upset win over third seed Canadian, Brayden Schnur, while Frances’ Elliot Benchetrit downed fourth seed Fin, Emil Ruusuvuori in an epic encounter. Netherland’s Tallon Griekspoor ended Australian wildcard, Rinky Hijikata‘s chances with a straight sets win, while Egypt’s Mohamed Safwat moved through to a final match after a 7-5 7-5 win over Alexandre Muller.

Men’s Finals:

I. Ivashka (BLR) defeated Z. Li (CHN) 6-4 6-3
[10] N. Gombos (SVK) defeated P. Krstin (SRB) 6-3 6-3
P. Martinez (ESP) defeated L. Rosol (CZE) 6-4 6-2
M. Purcell (AUS) defeated [26] J. Kovalik (SVK) 6-4 6-2
E. Gulbis (LAT) defeated [17] P. Gunneswaran (IND) 7-6 6-2
[16] P. Gojowczyk (GER) defeated C. Lestienne (FRA) 6-2 6-3

Round 2:

[1] D. Novak (AUT) defeated F. Horansky (SVK) 6-1 6-4
H. Moriya (JPN) defeated [23] S. Diez (CAN) 6-4 7-5
T. Griekspoor (NED) defeated [WC] R. Hijikata (AUS) 7-5 7-5
[WC] L. Musetti (ITA) defeated M. Copil (ROU) 6-7 6-4 7-5
K. Coppejans (BEL) defeated [3] B. Schnur (CAN) 7-6 6-3
C. Eubaks (USA) defeated V. Troicki (SRB) 4-6 2-1 RET
E. Benchetrit (FRA) defeated [4] E. Ruusuvuori (FIN) 6-4 0-6 7-6
D. Popko (KAZ) defeated E. Couacaud (FRA) 6-3 3-6 6-3
M. Bourgue (FRA) defeated [5] A. Martin (SVK) 4-6 7-6 7-5
M. Vilella Martinez (ESP) defeated [24] F. Bagnis (ARG) 7-6 0-6 6-4
[6] E. Donskoy (RUS) defeated V. Galovic (CRO) 6-3 3-6 6-3
M. Safwat (EGT) defeated A. Muller (FRA) 7-5 7-5
N. Milojevic (SRB) defeated E. Escobedo (USA) 6-4 7-6
Q. Halys (FRA) defeated D. Lee (KOR) 6-3 6-4
M. Trungelliti (ARG) defeated J. Wolf (USA) 0-6 7-6 7-5
L. Giustino (ITA) defeated [18] Y. Maden (GER) 6-7 6-2 6-4

Six players are officially through to the main draw of the 2020 Australian Open women’s draw after the first of 16 women’s finals were played yesterday. The upset of the day was 31st seed and young gun American, Ann Li toppling top seed and top 100 Romanian, Ana Bogdan, 5-7 7-6 6-2. The Wimbledon Junior Final runner-up booked a spot in the main draw and undoubtedly has a bright future ahead. She was joined in the main draw by fellow American, Shelby Rogers who downed compatriot, Caroline Dolehide 6-4 6-4. A big surprise was the straight sets exit of former top 10 player, Eugenie Bouchard with the Canadian bowing out to Italian Martina Trevisan who won 6-4 6-3. Also into the main draw was 20th seed and former top 30 player, Monica Niculescu with the Romanian getting up over 11th seed Swiss player, Stefanie Voegele in three sets, 6-2 3-6 6-4. Liudmila Samsonova was the highest seed to officially make the main draw thus far, downing 24th seed, Xiyu Wang 6-4 2-6 7-5, while Great Britain’s Heather Dart booked a spot in the main draw thanks to a win over Italian Giulia Gatto-Monticone, 6-1 6-3.

From Round 2 results that will see the remaining 20 player battling for 10 spots, second seed Nao Hibino is the highest player ranked played remaining in the draw, while third seed Varvara Gracheva will have a tough task against former top 50 player, Johanna Larsson of Sweden after the 31-year-old Swede made light work of 29th seed, Netherland’s Mandy Minella, 6-2 6-3. The North American presence at Australian Open should be strong with a number of Americans moving through to the final round with Sachia Vickery defeating fourth seed Ukrainian, Katarina Zavatska in three tight sets, while 10th seed compatriot, Catherine McNally also advanced with an easy straight sets win over Ukrainian Daria Lopatetska. Other seeds to book a spot in the next round were fifth seed Anna Kalinskaya of Russia, Belgium’s 13th seed Greet Minnen, 18th seed Kaja Juvan – who knocked out Australian wildcard Storm Sanders in three sets – 19th seed Barbora Krejcikova who stunned former top 20 player, Varvora Lepchenko in straight sets, and 32nd seed, Barbara Haas from Austria.

Women’s Finals:

[31] A. Li (USA) defeated [1] A. Bogdan (ROU) 5-7 7-6 6-2
S. Rogers (USA) defeated [30] C. Dolehide (USA) 6-4 6-4
M. Trevisan (ITA) defeated E. Bouchard (CAN) 6-4 6-3
[20] M. Niculescu (ROU) defeated [11] S. Voegele (SUI) 6-2 3-6 6-4
[12] L. Samsonova (RUS) defeated [24] X. Wang (CHN) 6-4 2-6 7-5
H. Dart (GBR) defeated G. Gatto-Monticone (ITA) 6-1 6-3

Round 2:

[2] N. Hibino (JPN) defeated Y. Yuan (CHN) 3-6 6-1 6-1
L. Arruabarrena (ESP) defeated Y. Naito (JPN) 6-3 6-4
[3] V. Gracheva (RUS) defeated O. Danilovic (SRB) 6-2 4-6 6-1
J. Larsson (SWE) defeated [29] M. Minella (NED) 6-2 6-3
S. Vickery (USA) defeated [4] K. Zavatska (UKR) 6-4 5-7 6-4
[19] B. Krejcikova (CZE) defeated V. Lepchecnko (USA) 6-4 6-4
[5] A. Kalinskaya (RUS) defeated L. Paar (ROU)
X. Wang (CHN) defeated [28] A. Kiick (USA) 6-0 6-1
[6] N. Vikhlyantseva (RUS) defeated I. Shinikova (BLR) 6-2 6-3
[18] K. Juvan (SLO) defeated [WC] S. Sanders (AUS) 6-0 2-6 6-3
L. Fernandez (CAN) defeated M. Hibi (JPN) 6-4 6-4
D. Lao (USA) defeated [27] K. Nara (JPN) 7-5 6-7 6-3
[10] C. McNally (USA) defeated D. Lopatetska (UKR) 6-2 6-3
E. Ruse (ROU) defeated N. Parrizas Diaz (ESP) 6-3 7-5
[13] G. Minnen (BEL) defeated F. Xun (CHN) 6-3 6-1
[32] B. Haas (AUT) defeated L. Pattinama Kerkhove (NED) 6-4 4-6 6-1