Tag: zheng saisai

WTA Tour wrap: Seeds struggle on clay in drizzly conditions

A RAIN delay was not enough to curb the form of a couple of former champions on Day 2 at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia, as the Round of 64 continued with just one of the day’s four seeds proceeding to the second round following some huge matchups.

Spaniard Garbine Muguruza was the lone seed to proceed on the day, downing lucky loser Patricia Maria Tig in the second quickest encounter of the drizzly day. Requiring just 66 minutes to sweep the 6-1 6-2 contest over her last minute opposition, Muguruza won 65.5 per cent of the match’s total points on her way to the second round.

“It was a weird day,” Muguruza said post-match. “I woke up sunny, had an opponent. Then it turned out I had another opponent and it was raining the whole match. We had a little bit of everything!

“But, Rome, it’s such a familiar tournament. I played here so many times, I’ve had nice matches. I love this clay, the red clay. It’s familiar to me. Just looking forward to get as many matches as possible.”

Of the other seeds on the day, two in Belinda Bencic (10th seed) and Johanna Konta (16th) were beaten soundly whilst the third in Elise Mertens (14th) put up a fight but could not retain control. Bencic was upset by Frenchwoman Kristina Mladenovic in a 6-3 6-4 contest, wherein the Belgian’s error-rate did not hold up in a one hour and 48-minute matchup. Konta’s shaky season continued with another loss to her name,  falling to Latvian Jelena Ostapenko in just one hour and nine minutes, unable to contest in the 6-3 6-1 encounter. For Mertens, it took a momentum swing from her Russian opposition in Veronika Kudermetova to take the win, as the Belgian took the first set before falling behind in the second and third of the 4-6 6-2 6-3 contest, in two hours and 19 minutes.

Muguruza’s swift victory was only beaten by Barbora Krejcikova‘s 63-minute cast off of Zheng Saisai, winning 86 per cent of her first serve points on her way to the 6-2 6-0 win. The Czech’s compatriot Marketa Vondrousova was not so lucky though, falling to Australian Ajla Tomljanovic in straight sets 6-4 6-2. A couple of Americans joined the winners list as Bernarda Pera downed Tamara Zidansek to book a second round meeting with Muguruza, while Madison Keys took care of compatriot Sloane Stephens in a 4-6 6-2 7-5 seesawing contest.

In other games, Angelique Kerber and Caroline Garcia both proceeded following straight sets wins, and were joined in the second round by Argentinian Nadia Podoroska.


Kristina Mladenovic (FRA) defeated [10] Belinda Bencic (SUI) 6-3 6-4
[12] Garbine Muguruza (ESP) defeated Patricia Maria Tig (ROM) 6-1 6-2
Veronika Kudermetova (RUS) defeated [14] Elise Mertens (BEL) 4-6 6-2 6-3
Jelena Ostapenko (LAT) defeated [16] Johanna Konta (GBR) 6-3 6-1
Angelique Kerber (GER) defeated Alize Cornet (FRA) 6-2 7-5
Ajla Tolmljanovic (AUS) defeated Marketa Vondrousova (CZE) 6-4 6-2
Barbora Krejcikova (CZE) defeated Zheng Saisai (CHN) 6-2 6-0
Bernarda Pera (USA) defeated Tamara Zidansek (SLO) 6-3 6-2
Caroline Garcia (FRA) defeated Elisabetta Cocciaretto 7-6 6-2
Nadia Podoroska (ARG) defeated Laura Siegemund (GER) 2-6 7-6 6-1
Madison Keys (USA) defeated Sloane Stephens (USA) 4-6 6-2 7-5

Picture credit: WTA/Jimmie48

WTA Tour wrap: Barty’s clay court court campaign recommences with 61-minute demolition

ASH Barty continued her red-hot form to completely dismantle unseeded Japanese talent Misaki Doi 6-2 6-1 to advance through to the Round of 16 at the Volvo Car Open. The world number one moved to a 15-2 record on the 2021 WTA Tour, which also stretches out to 27-4 since her first-up match at the 2020 Adelaide International 15 months ago.

She went on to win that Adelaide International, and after sitting out the 2020 WTA Tour season once it returned in the second half of the year, Barty remained world number one and started off 2021 as if she had not ever stopped. Her first tournament of the year she won in Melbourne, defeating Garbine Muguruza in the final, a player who had competed throughout the past 12 months.

A shock loss to Karolina Muchova at the Australian Open, followed by another defeat at the hands of Danielle Collins might have momentarily caused some unwarranted questions towards the world number one and how she would go this year. Like true champions do, Barty answered those critics with a stunning run in Miami to defend her title there and claim the WTA 1000 event. It was not just winning the event that mattered, but it was the quality of opposition she beat.

After drawing a qualifier in the second round – following a first round bye – Barty took out former Top 5 talent Jelena Ostapenko, then proceeded to dismiss Top 10 players and Grand Slam champions alike on the way to the Miami Open title. She moved past Belarusian duo Victoria Azarenka and Aryna Sabalenka – the former being the runner-up at the 2020 US Open and the latter being the most in-form player entering 2021 – before defeating Elina Svitolina and Bianca Andreescu – albeit the Andreescu win was due to retirement, though Barty was in control – to make it six wins on the trot.

The critics have quietened down for now, but Barty is a player that somehow draws criticism for one bad loss amongst double-figure impressive wins. The world number one will always have extra pressure on them, but Barty answers those questions with class and grace. Her 61-minute rout of Doi was the most impressive of any Round of 16 match at the Volvo Car Open. Keeping in mind it was Barty’s first clay match in almost two years, and the Australian looked at home on the red dirt. The Australian now takes on Shelby Rogers in the next round after she toppled Amanda Anisimova in an upset.

In other results, the next highest seed behind Barty to advance to the Round of 16 was Tunisian Ons Jabeur (12th), with compatriot Coco Gauff, and 15th seed Russian Veronika Kudermetova the others. It was carnage in the top end though, with American duo Sofia Kenin and Madison Keys both bombing out to compatriots Lauren Davis and Sloane Stephens respectively. Spain’s Paula Badosa also took care of Belinda Bencic in three sets, while Frenchwoman Alize Cornet won against Elise Mertens in straight sets. In terms of the unseeded players, Australia’s Ajla Tomljanovic, Montenegro’s Danka Kovinic, United States’ Cate McNally and Japan’s Kurumi Nara all advanced to the next round.

In the lower seeded Copa Colsanitas, all the seeds had a forgettable day, with the first, third, sixth and eighth seeds all knocked out in the Round of 16. Zheng Saisai, Arantxa Rus, Jasmine Paolini and Wang Yafan all departed prior to the quarter finals, as Spanish qualifiers Nuria Parrizas Diaz and Lara Arruabarrena, Switzerland’s Stefanie Voegele and Bulgaria’s Viktoriya Tomova all booked their spots in the final eight. In the sole unseeded match, Italian Sara Errani knocked off Aliona Bolsova in straight sets, 6-4 6-4.


[1] Ash Barty (AUS) defeated Misaki Doi (JPN) 6-2 6-1
Lauren Davis (USA) defeated [2] Sofia Kenin (USA) 4-6 6-3 6-4
Paula Badosa (ESP) defeated [5] Belinda Bencic (SUI) 6-2 6-7 6-1
Alize Cornet (FRA) defeated [7] Elise Mertens (BEL) 7-5 6-3
Sloane Stephens (USA) defeated [8] Madison Keys (USA) 6-4 6-4
[12] Ons Jabeur (TUN) defeated [WC] Hailey Baptiste (USA) 6-3 6-3
Shelby Rogers (USA) defeated [13] Amanda Anisimova (USA) 1-6 7-5 6-4
[14] Coco Gauff (USA) defeated Liudmila Samsonova (RUS) 4-6 6-1 6-4
[15] Veronika Kudermetova (RUS) defeated [WC] Emma Navarro (USA) 6-4 6-4
Ajla Tomljanovic (AUS) defeated Marie Bouzkova (RUS) 4-6 7-5 7-5
Danka Kovinic (MNE) defeated Leylah Fernandez (CAN) 6-4 3-6 6-3
Cate McNally (USA) defeated Anastasija Sevastova (LAT) 7-6 2-6 6-4
Kurumi Nara (JPN) defeated Whitney Osuigwe (USA) 6-1 6-4


Stefanie Voegele (SUI) defeated [1] Zheng Saisai (CHN) 6-4 6-1
[Q] Nuria Parrizas Diaz (ESP) defeated [3] Arantxa Rus (NED) 7-6 2-6 6-1
[Q] Lara Arruabarrena (ESP) defeated [6] Jasmine Paolini (ITA) 2-6 6-4 6-2
Viktoriya Tomova (BUL) defeated [8] Wang Yafan (CHN) 6-3 6-3
Sara Errani (ITA) defeated Aliona Bolsova (ESP) 6-4 6-4

Picture credit: Volvo Car Open/Chris Smith

WTA Tour wrap: Clay events kick off in Charleston, Bogota

TWO WTA clay events began this week with the WTA 500 Volvo Car Open starting up in Charleston, United States, as the WTA 250 Copa Colsanitas began in Bogota, Colombia. With a host of exciting talent competing, expect a huge week of tennis action across the two tournaments.

It was a rough day for hometown hopefuls on Day 1 of proceedings at Charleston, with just one player – 13th seed Amanda Anisimova – reigning supreme out of seven competitors hailing from the United States, as two Japanese and two Australians headed through to the second round, as did two Kazakh talents with one falling and one still yet to play at time of publish.

Anisimova was one of four seeds who reigned supreme on Day 1, with the 19-year-old reigning supreme over Polish talent Magda Linette in a huge two hour 5-7 6-2 6-3 battle, which was rivalled by a classy finish from 11th seed Kazakh Yulia Putintseva, who outlasted Great Britain’s Harriet Dart in two hours and three minutes, 7-6 6-4. The 15th seed Veronika Kudermetova clinched the fastest win of the day in 54 minutes over American Desirae Krawczyk, 6-1 6-2, as Czech 17th seed Marie Bouzkova claimed a 6-2 7-5 victory over Timea Babos.

Zarina Diyas was the second Kazakh victor of the day with a 6-3 6-1 sweep of Natalia Vikhlyantseva, whilst Japan’s Kurumi Nara and Misaki Doi both claimed straight sets victories in near-identical times. The two Australian competitors to reign supreme were Storm Sanders and Alja Tomljanovic, both cleaning up in straight sets battles against respective American opposition, whilst Alize Cornet was forced to fight for her spot in the second round in a whopping two hour and 52-minute matchup with American Bernarda Pera, who did not relent in the 4-6 6-4 6-4 encounter. Meanwhile, Magdalena Frech and Paula Badosa were the remaining winners of the completed Day 1 matches. Caty McNally leads 10th seed Elena Rybakina with one set to nil at time of publish, with the all-American matchup between Lauren Davis and Madison Brengle set to begin after the current match concludes.


[11] Yulia Putintseva (KAZ) defeated Harriet Dart (GBR) 7-6 6-4
[13] Amanda Anisimova (USA) defeated Magda Linette (POL) 5-7 6-2 6-3
[15] Veronika Kudermetova (RUS) defeated Desirae Krawczyk (USA) 6-1 6-2
[17] Marie Bouzkova (CZE) defeated Timea Babos (HUN) 6-2 7-5
Storm Sanders (AUS) defeated Asia Muhammad (USA) 6-2 6-4
Kurumi Nara (JPN) defeated Francesca di Lorenzo (USA) 6-2 6-2
Magdalena Frech (POL) defeated Grace Min (USA) 6-2 6-4
Zarina Diyas (KAZ) defeated Natalia Vikhlyantseva (RUS) 6-3 6-1
Alja Tomljanovic (AUS) defeated Christina McHale (USA) 6-3 6-0
Alize Cornet (FRA) defeated Bernarda Pera (USA) 4-6 6-4 6-4
Misaki Doi (JPN) defeated Yaroslava Shvedova (KAZ) 6-3 6-3
Paula Badosa (ESP) defeated Varvara Gracheva (RUS) 3-6 7-5 6-1

[10] Elina Rybakina (KAZ) v. Caty McNally (USA)
Lauren Davis (USA) v. Madison Brengle (USA)


At Bogota, the three seeds of the day all reigned supreme in their first round matches, with sixth seed Jasmine Paolini clocking the quickest victory in just 59 minutes over American Kristie Ahn. Comparatively, eighth seed Wang Yifan was dealt a tough hand from Colombian home hope Emiliana Arango, taken to a two hour and 55-minute matchup which came down to two seventh game sets before the Chinese seed claimed the 6-4 5-7 7-5 victory. Wang’s top seed compatriot Zheng Saisai came away with a reasonably straightforward victory in comparison as she disposed of a second American in Usue Maitane Arconada 6-3 6-1 in one hour and 17 minutes.

The remaining four matches saw two sub-90 minute victories and two matches that went over the two hour mark, as two Spaniards reigned supreme in dastardly different results. Aliona Bolsova was made to fight for her 6-4 3-6 6-1 victory over Anna Karolina Schmiedlova in two hours and six minutes whilst compatriot Nuria Parrizas Diaz claimed aa 6-2 6-2 dismissal of fellow Spaniard Cristina Bucsa in one hour and 21 minutes. Meanwhile, Viktoriya Tomova and Stefanie Voegele both won their respective matches to head to the second round.


[1] Zheng Saisai (CHN) defeated Usue Maitane Arconada (USA) 6-3 6-1
[6] Jasmine Paolini (ITA) defeated Kristie Ahn (USA) 6-3 6-0
[8] Wang Yifan (CHN) defeated Emiliana Arango (COL) 6-4 5-7 7-5
Aliona Bolsova (ESP) defeated Anna Karolina Schmiedlova (SVK) 6-4 3-6 6-1
Nuria Parrizas Diaz (ESP) defeated Cristina Bucsa (ESP) 6-2 6-2
Viktoriya Tomova (BUL) defeated Anna-Lena Friedsam (GER) 6-2 6-3
Stefanie Voegele (SUI) defeated Celia Pacquet (FRA) 3-6 6-1 6-4

WTA Miami Open 1000: Trio of seeds downed in three sets as second round completed

THREE out of the four seeds defeated in the second round of the 2021 WTA Tour’s Miami Open 1000 event were knocked out in close contests, going down in three sets. Tenth seed Kiki Bertens was the highest ranked seed to fall, though she was incredibly disappointing yet again, continuing her poor 2021 form to lose 6-1 6-2 to Russian Liudmila Samsonova. The other seeds to be knocked out in tighter contests were 13th seed Jennifer Brady, 20th seed Petra Martic and 26th seed Yulia Putintseva.

Spanish talent Sara Sorribes Tormo proved too good for Australian Open finalist Brady, winning in a come-from-behind victory, 3-6 6-4 6-1. It was a similar story for both Russian Anna Kalinskaya and Serbian Nina Stojanovic, who also triumphed in three-set come-from-behind matches. Kalinskaya knocked off Martic 5-7 6-2 7-6, while Stojanovic took out Putintseva, 5-7 7-5 6-2. The quartet of unseeded players were the only ones to advance on the day, with the remaining matches won by the higher ranked seeds.

At the top of the list was second seed Naomi Osaka who saved set points in the first set to put away plucky Australian Ajla Tomlljanovic in the Japanese star’s first match since her Australian Open triumph. Osaka won 7-6 6-4 and managed to get it done in straight sets, whilst the previous Australian Open winner had it much tougher. Fourth seed Sofia Kenin needed three sets to overcome German Andrea Petkovic, dropping the first set in a tiebreaker, before running away with it 6-7 6-1 6-3. Anett Kontaveit also needed three sets in her win over Sorana Cirstea, while Ons Jabeur held off a determined Paula Badosa in the tightest contest of the day, 7-6 5-7 7-5 to advance through to the Round of 32.

“This is my first match since Australia, so I just really wanted to play well,” Osaka said post-match. “I kind of feel like I’m at home here, because I grew up [near here] for most of my life.”

The other seeds were able to get up in straight sets, with Karolina Pliskova having a confidence-boosting 6-1 6-1 thrashing over China’s Zheng Saisai, with Elena Rybakina, Elise Mertens and Maria Sakkari having similar one-sided results during their second round wins. Amanda Anisimova knocked off Sloane Stephens in the battle of the Americans 6-3 6-3, while Jessica Pegula joined Anisimova in the next round, with the American winning 6-3 6-4 over Australian Storm Sanders. In other results, Canadian Bianca Andreescu, Spaniard Garbine Muguruza and Belgian Elise Mertens also all won to book their spots in the next round, in what was an entertaining day of play at Miami.


[2] Naomi Osaka (JPN) defeated Ajla Tomljanovic (AUS) 7-6 6-4
[4] Sofia Kenin (USA) defeated Andrea Petkovic (GER) 6-7 6-1 6-3
[6] Karolina Pliskova (CZE) defeated Zheng Saisai (CHN) 6-2 6-1
[8] Bianca Andreescu (CAN) defeated Tereza Martincova (CZE) 7-6 6-0
Liudmila Samsonova (RUS) defeated [10] Kiki Bertens (NED) 6-2 6-1
[12] Garbine Muguruza (ESP) defeated Wang Xinyu (CHN) 6-4 6-1
Sara Sorribes Tormo (ESP) defeated [13] Jennifer Brady (USA) 3-6 6-4 6-1
[16] Elise Mertens (BEL) defeated Katie Boulter (GBR) 6-4 6-1
Anna Kalinskaya (RUS) defeated [20] Petra Martic (CRO) 5-7 6-2 7-6
[21] Elena Rybakina (KAZ) defeated Kaia Kanepi (EST) 6-4 6-0
[22] Anett Kontaveit (EST) defeated Sorana Cirstea (ROU) 6-3 4-6 6-3
[23] Maria Sakkari (GRE) defeated Arantxa Rus (NED) 6-2 6-3
Nina Stojanovic (SRB) defeated [26] Yulia Putintseva (KAZ) 5-7 7-5 6-2
[27] Ons Jabeur (TUN) defeated Paula Badosa (ESP) 7-6 5-7 7-5
[28] Amanda Anisimova (USA) defeated Sloane Stephens (USA) 6-3 6-3
[29] Jessica Pegula (USA) defeated Storm Sanders (AUS) 6-3 6-4

WTA Tour wrap: Top seeds out in St. Petersburg

THE St. Petersburg all-Russian semi-finals have been decided with the home nation eliminating the final foreign player, whilst the first two quarter finals are in the books in Monterrey.

The top two seeds have been ousted in the heavily-weighted Russian St. Petersburg Ladies Trophy quarter finals, with Ekaterina Alexandrova and Veronika Kudermetova both dumped from the tournament after losses overnight. Alexandrova went down to Russian wildcard Margarita Gasparyan in one of three all-Russian clashes of the four matches, with Kudermetova also losing to a compatriot in eighth seed, Daria Kasatkina. Gasparyan won 6-2 7-5 in straight sets to advance through to the final four, while Kasatkina bounced back from a disappointing first set to dominate in the final two sets and win 1-6 6-1 6-2 in an hour and 41 minutes.

Fourth seed Svetlana Kuznetsova removed the final non-Russian at the event, with Romanian qualifier Jacqueline Cristian defeated in three sets, 6-7 6-3 6-3 in two hours and 15 minutes. It meant the semi-finals are all from the home nation in what was a stunning effort, the first time in 28 years that seven of the eight quarter finalists had been from the same country.

In the last quarter final of the day, veteran wildcard Vera Zvonareva also made her way into the semi-finals, overcoming qualifier Anastasia Gasanova in the third all-Russian battle. That match lasted just one hour and 22 minutes, two more minutes than Gasparyan’s upset of Alexandrova. The semi-finals tomorrow will see the two wildcards face off up first from 2pm local time, as Gasparyan and Zvonareva go head-to-head, whilst the all-seeded battle of Kuznetsova and Kasatkina is up in the second match.

“It’s amazing, we played first round qualies last year and now we’re here facing each other in the semi-final,” Zvonareva said post-match of her upcoming clash with Gasparyan. “She’s a great player – she’s hitting the ball very hard and her backhand is great, a one-handed backhand which is very unusual for the women’s game.”


[WC] Margarita Gasparyan (RUS) defeated [1] Ekaterina Alexandrova (RUS) 6-2 7-5
[8] Daria Kasatkina (RUS) defeated [2] Veronika Kudermetova (RUS) 1-6 6-1 6-2
[4] Svetlana Kuznetsova (RUS) defeated [Q]  Jacqueline Cristian (ROU) 6-7 6-3 6-3
[WC] Vera Zvonareva (RUS) defeated [Q] Anastasia Gasanova (RUS) 6-3 6-1


The first two of four quarter finals at the Abierto GNP Seguros in Monterrey, Mexico were completed at the time of publishing, with eighth seed Ann Li and Canadian up-and-comer Leylah Fernandez both booking their spots in the final four. The American talent won 7-5 6-1, defeating China’s Zheng Saisai in one hour and 48 minutes to advance through to the semis.

Li upset the third seed despite serving the only four double faults of the match, also winning 60.5 and 58.1 per cent of her first and second serve points off an inconsistent 46.9 serving clip. Saisai had a higher first serve efficiency of 70.1 per cent, but struggled to capitalise on that, winning just 46.8 per cent of her first serve points. She was also broken five times from seven chances, and could only break twice from 10 chances herself during the loss.

After a tight first set, Fernandez stepped up at 5-5 to win seven consecutive games and run out a dominant winner, 7-5 6-3 against Russian Viktoria Kuzmova. The match lasted around an hour and 45 minutes and secured her spot in the semi-final to face one of Anna Karolina Schmiedlova or seventh seed Spaniard Sara Sorribes Tormo.

In yesterday’s late results, qualifying duo Switzerland’s Viktorija Golubic and Russia’s Anna Kalinskaya both advanced through to the last eight with the pair to play later today. Golubic defeated United States’ Lauren Davis in just 69 minutes on court, while Kalinskaya defeated Serbian Nina Stojanovic, 6-4 6-3 in 84 minutes.


[8] Ann Li (USA) defeated [3] Zheng Saisai (CHN) 7-5 6-1
Leylah Fernandez defeated (CAN) defeated Viktoria Kuzmova (SVK) 7-5 6-3

Viktorija Golubic (SUI) vs. Anna Kalinskaya (RUS)
Anna Karolina Schmiedlova (SVK) vs. [7] Sara Sorribes Tormo (ESP)


[Q] Viktorija Golubic (SUI) defeated Lauren Davis (USA) 6-3 6-1
[Q] Anna Kalinskaya (RUS) defeated Nina Stojanovic (SRB) 6-4 6-3


Picture credit: Jimmie 48/WTA

WTA Tour wrap: Remarkable Russian quarter finals on the way at St. Petersburg

ROUND of 16 results at Monterrey and St. Petersburg are almost complete, with the Russian WTA 500 tournament producing some remarkable results that put the tournament and its upcoming quarter finals in the history books. Meanwhile in Mexico, with just two matches complete thus far, we take a look back at the outcome of yesterday’s incomplete results.

In Monterrey, Zheng Saisai completed a clean sweep of compatriot Zhu Lin 6-1 6-2, dominating the stats sheet on her way to the 91-minute victory. Zheng hit three aces and cleaned up on serve, winning 67.6 per cent of first serve points and 70 per cent of second serve points off a 65 per cent clip. American eighth seed Ann Li followed suit with a 6-4 6-3 victory over Tamara Zidansek, with a relatively clean and simple encounter coming in just one hour and 15 minutes. Cleaner on serve and converting five of seven break points, Li realistically never looked like losing.

In yesterday’s results, Canadian Leylah Fernandez reigned supreme in a 6-1 6-4 sweep of Kristina Kucova, taking advantage of the Slovakian’s error-rate and winning 85.3 per cent of her first serve points in an excellent 67-minute showcase. Meanwhile, Sara Sorribes Tormo heads into the quarter finals by default following Kaja Juvan‘s walkover prior to the match start.


[3] Zheng Saisai (CHN) defeated Zhu Lin (CHN) 6-1 6-2
[8] Ann Li (USA) defeated Tamara Zidansek (SLO) 6-4 6-3
Viktorija Golubic (SUI) v. Lauren Davis (USA)
Nina Stojanovic (SRB) v. Anna Kalinskaya (RUS)

Leylah Fernandez (CAN) defeated [LL] Kristina Kucova (SVK) 6-1 6-4
[7] Sara Sorribes Tormo (ESP) defeated [Q] Kaja Juvan (SLO) W/O


Results at St. Petersburg continue to skew the way of the home-grown talent, with four more Russians joining the quarter finals and making it an extraordinary seven Russian of eight competitors in the next round. Two all-Russian Round of 16 encounters guaranteed two more added to the tally, but it took hefty wins from Daria Kasatkina and wildcard Margarita Gasparyan to make it a clean sweep. The seven-Russian final is a new record, with the previous Russian record six at Moscow in 2005, and before that in 1993 when seven Americans made up the final eight at Oakland.

A three-hour and eight-minute marathon between fifth seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and Anastasia Gasanova set the tone for the day, with the 241st ranked 21-year-old Gasanova getting the bragging rights after just about handing Pavlyuchenkova the first set 6-1. But despite hitting seven double faults and trailing many of the stats, Gasanova proved she was capable of pulling off the unthinkable with the 1-6 7-6(8) 7-6(4) result not coming easy. In just her second main draw WTA Tour appearance, the qualifier proved she belongs here.

A tough fight from Kamilla Rakhimova saw second seed Veronika Kudermetova challenged until the very end, with the higher ranked competitor ultimately coming away with the chocolates following a hard fought two hour and 53 minutes encounter. Whilst Rakhimova stole back the second set after a tightly contested first, it was Kudermetova who leaned on her experience and 10 aces to reign in the 19-year-old in the third and take out the 7-5 6-3 7-6(5) victory.

It took a huge comeback effort from Kasatkina in her matchup with Belarusian Aliaksandra Sasnovich, with the 5-7 6-3 7-6 encounter going down to the wire in another long battle, going the whole hog in two hours an 49 minutes. Neither player cut corners as the Russian trailed and Belarusian commanded control, with Sasnovich hitting 46 winners but failing to utilise the momentum when serving for the match at 6-5 in the final set. Kasatkina took her chances where she could, narrowly serving better and taking advantage of Sasnovich’s error rate. Meanwhile, wildcard Gasparyan ultimately came away with the quickest and most straightforward victory of the day, but it was anything but easy as her Czech opposition in Katerina Siniakova continuously broke back and fought hard in the one and a half hour, 6-4 6-4 result.


[2] Veronika Kudermetova (RUS) defeated Kamilla Rakhimova (RUS) 7-5 3-6 7-6
Anastasia Gasanova (RUS) defeated [5] Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (RUS) 1-6 7-6 7-6
[8] Daria Kasatkina (RUS) defeated Aliaksandra Sasnovich (BLR) 5-7 6-3 7-6
Margarita Gasparyan (RUS) defeated Katerina Siniakova (CZE) 6-4 6-4

WTA Tour wrap: Russians reign supreme as seeds bow out in Mexico

RUSSIANS proved too strong on home soil at the WTA 500 St. Petersburg event whilst it was a mixed bag of results as seeds fell at the WTA 250 event in Monterrey, Mexico.

Sloane Stephens was the big out on Day 2 at Monterrey, with the out-of-form American top seed disposed on in straight sets by Slovakian Kristina Kucova. With just a 32.4 per cent first serve winning rate and marginally better on her second serve with 33.3 per cent of points won – four from 12 – Stephens never looked like she would take out victory here, wih the appalling service efficiency working the way of Kucova who came away with the 6-2 6-2 victory in 70 minutes. Heather Watson was the second seed to fall on the day, struggling to compete with compatriot Harriet Dart who flew out of the blocks in the 6-4 7-6 encounter, hitting six aces for one double fault throughout compared to Watson’s three and eight. The only seed to complete a win thus far on the day is China’s Zheng Saisai, with the third seed’s consistency and ability to win on serve doing her plenty of favours against Russian Varvara Gracheva, winning 6-3 7-5 in tricky conditions. Meanwhile, the only unseeded encounter that is already complete was played out by Kaja Juvan and Maria Camila Orsorio Serrano, with Juvan reigning supreme 6-4 6-4.

The two matches currently in progress – Ukraine’s Lesia Tsurenko versus seventh seed Spaniard Sara Sorribes Tormo and sixth seed Ana Blinkova versus Viktorija Golubic – saw both lower ranked players take out the first set in intriguing results. The following two matches are not set to begin until after 6:00pm local (11:00am AEDT).


Kristina Kucova (SVK) defeated [1] Sloane Stephens (USA) 6-2 6-2
[3] Zheng Saisai (CHN) defeated Varvara Gracheva (RUS) 6-3 7-5
Harriet Dart (GBR) defeated [5] Heather Watson (GBR) 6-4 7-6
Kaja Juvan (SRB) defeated Maria Camila Orsorio Serrano (COL) 6-4 6-4
Lesia Tsurenko (UKR) v. [7] Sara Sorribes Tormo (ESP)
[6] Ana Blinkova (RUS) v. Viktorija Golubic (SUI)
Anna Kalinskaya (RUS) v. [2] Nadia Podoroska (ARG)
Zhu Lin (CHN) v. Eugenie Bouchard (CAN)

Russians were on the money on home soil at Day 2 of the St. Petersburg Round of 32, as four home hopes proceeded through to the Round of 16 amongst some intriguing results.

Fifth seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and eighth seed Daria Kasatkina were the two expected to reign supreme, but were forced to take their time against their respective opposition in Cagla Buyukakcay and Clara Tauson. Pavlyuchenkova trailed the service game efficiency but overall made better use of her serve, winning of 75 per cent of first serve chances and 62.5 per cent of second serve chances compared to her Turkish opposition to win 6-4 6-4. For Kasatkina, it was a matter of outclassing the 18-year-old Danish talent in Tauson, with the young gun biting back in the second after marginally trailing the first for a 6-4 7-6(0) end result. Also through to the Round of 16 is Margarita Gasparyan, who was the only player to beat a seed on Day 2. Gasparyan flew out of the gates against Kristina Mladenovic, and whilst the first set tiebreaker went to the Frenchwoman, Gasparyan could not be stopped from there winning convincingly, 6-7 6-1 6-1. The fourth Russian in the next round is Kamilla Rakhimova, who defeated compatriot Daria Mishina 6-1 7-6 6-1 for her spot in the Round of 16.

In other matches, two Czech talents prevailed with one getting the win in tight circumstances, whilst the other’s experience was anything but. For Tereza Martincova, a first set 6-0 speedrun against Stefanie Voegele was not enough to secure momentum, taken to another two sets and forced to work for the 6-0 4-6 6-4 victory. Meanwhile, Katerina Siniakova downed Kirsten Flipkens 6-1 6-2 in the quickest win of the day, just 63 minutes. Comparatively, the two remaining winners completed their respective matches in two hours and 12 minutes each, with Wang Xinyu earning her way to the nxt round with a great 6-1 5-7 7-5 outing against Viktoriya Tomova, whilst Romanian Jacqueline Cristian will go another day after her Belarusian opponent Vera Lapko retired during the third set, despite leading early.


[5] Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (RUS) defeated Cagla Buyukakcay (TUR) 6-4 6-4
Margarita Gasparyan (RUS) defeated [7] Kristina Mladenovic (FRA) 6-7 6-1 6-1
[8] Daria Kasatkina (RUS) defeated Clara Tauson (DEN) 6-4 7-6
Tereza Martincova (CZE) defeated Stefanie Voegele (AUT) 6-0 4-6 6-4
Katerina Siniakova (CZE) defeated Kirsten Flipkens (GER) 6-1 6-2
Wang Xinyu (CHN) defeated Viktoriya Tomova (HUN) 6-1 5-7 7-5
Kamilla Rakhimova (RUS) defeated Daria Mishina (RUS) 6-1 7-6 6-1
Jacqueline Cristian (ROM) defeated Vera Lapko (BLR) 6-7 6-4 2-1

WTA Tour wrap: Mertens fights tough as six of seven seeds advance to Dubai second round

SIX of the seven seeds advanced at Dubai in what was largely a predictable day, but a couple of past Top 30 players were knocked out early on. With the top eight seeds having a bye from the first round, seven of the other seeds took to the court on day two of the main draw singles, with the majority having successful outings.

Ninth seed Garbine Muguruza bounced back from her sheepish Qatar Total Open final loss to record a solid 6-3 7-5 victory over Irina-Camelia Begu. Eleventh seed Madison Keys was even swifter with a 6-1 6-1 rout of Chinese Taipei’s Liang En-Shuo in just 64 minutes. It was the not the quickest rout of the day for seeds however, with 15th seed Anett Kontaveit smashing Hungarian doubles star, Timea Babos 6-2 6-1 in 57 minutes.

Also through to the next round were 14th seed Elena Rybakina and 12th seed Marketa Vondrousova who both won in straight sets, while 10th seed Elise Mertens had a fight on her hands. The Belgian won from a set down against Bulgarian lucky loser Viktoriya Tomova, 4-6 6-2 6-4. Despite having to win in three, Mertens still at last booked her spot in the second round, which was not the case for 13th seed Petra Martic. The Croatian’s poor form in 2021 continued, going down to Frenchwoman Kristina Mladenovic, 7-6 6-4.

The quickest match of the day by far was Amanda Anisimova‘s 6-2 6-2 smashing of Croatian qualifier Ana Konjuh in 52 minutes, as the American put in her best performance of the past 12 months. Fellow Americans, Shelby Rogers and Jessica Pegula booked their spots in the second round, with Rogers overcoming Estonian qualifier Kaia Kanepi 7-6 6-2, and Australian Open quarter finalist Pegula defeated Kazakhstan’s Yaroslava Shvedova, 6-2 6-1. Swiss talent Jil Teichmann and Latvian Anastasija Sevastova also blitzed their respective opponents to move into the Round of 32.

Fellow Latvian Jelena Ostapenko knocked out another Romanian in Patricia Maria Tig, whilst the sole Romanian through to the second round was Sorana Cirstea who accounted for former Top 30 player, Lesia Tsurenko 6-4 6-4. Amongst the other matches were a host of three-set battles. Lucky loser Misaki Doi won her second consecutive first round match after losing in qualifying, defeating Slovenian Polona Hercog 6-2 4-6 6-3 to make her way through to the next stage. Meanwhile Frenchwoman Caroline Garcia accounted for German Grand Slam winner Angelique Kerber 3-6 6-2 6-4 in a come-from-behind win, while Czech qualifier Tereza Martincova upset her higher ranked compatriot Kristyna Pliskova in a three-set epic, 7-6 6-7 6-3.


[9] Garbine Muguruza (ESP) defeated [Q] Irina-Camelia Begu (ROU) 6-3 7-5
[10] Elise Mertens (BEL) defeated [LL] Viktoriya Tomova (BUL) 4-6 6-2 6-4
[11] Madison Keys (USA) defeated Liang En-Shuo (TAI) 6-1 6-1
[12] Marketa Vondrousova (CZE) defeated [Q] Ana Bogdan (ROU) 6-4 6-4
Kristina Mladenovic (FRA) defeated [13] Petra Martic (CRO) 7-6 6-4
[14] Elena Rybakina (KAZ) defeated Zheng Saisai (CHN) 6-0 6-4
[15] Anett Kontaveit (EST) defeated [WC] Timea Babos (HUN) 6-2 6-1
Shelby Rogers (USA) defeated [Q] Kaia Kanepi (EST) 7-6 6-2
Amanda Anisimova (USA) defeated [Q] Ana Konjuh (CRO) 6-2 6-2
Jil Teichmann (SUI) defeated [Q] Katarina Zavatska (UKR) 6-1 6-2
Jelena Ostapenko (LAT) defeated Patricia Maria Tig (ROU) 6-3 6-3
[Q] Tereza Martincova (CZE) defeated Kristyna Pliskova (CZE) 7-6 6-7 6-3
Caroline Garcia (FRA) defeated Angelique Kerber (GER) 3-6 6-2 6-4
Sorana Cirstea (ROU) defeated [Q] Lesia Tsurenko (UKR) 6-4 6-4
[LL] Misaki Doi (JPN) defeated Polona Hercog (SLO) 6-2 4-6 6-3
Jessica Pegula (USA) defeated Yaroslava Shvedova (KAZ) 6-2 6-1
[WC] Anastasia Potapova (RUS) defeated Laura Siegemund (GER) 6-3 6-2
Anastasija Sevastova (LAT) defeated Bernarda Pera (USA) 6-0 6-3

Picture credit: WTA/Jimmie48

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


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

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

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

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

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

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