Eugenie Bouchard and Jelena Jankovic out in Miami Open first round - UBITENNIS
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Eugenie Bouchard and Jelena Jankovic out in Miami Open first round

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Eugenie Bouchard was a high-profile casualty on day two of main draw play in the Miami Open (Zimbio.com)

Eugenie Bouchard was a high profile casualty in the first round of the Miami Masters. The Canadian was beaten by young Australian Ashleigh Barty 6-4, 5-7, 6-3.

 

Barty had led by a set and then by a break in the third. Bouchard fought back level but immediately surrendered another break for 3-4, and the former Wimbledon runner-up could not recover the deficit again. Barty’s hold from 15-40 in game eight was crucial, as she then went on to break to love in the final game of the match. The roller coaster match was marred by a total of 95 unforced errors (55 from Bouchard and 40 from Barty).

“It was a little bit scratchy today, but I’m just happy to come through in the end.” Said Barty.

Barty, who recently won her first WTA title at the Malaysian Open, will next play compatriot Samantha Stosur in what will be their first tour meeting. Stosur is the 14th seed in the tournament.

“It will be nice to play Sam, we practice a lot together in the past, but have never played each other.” The world No.91 explained. “I’m going to have to be very aggressive off returns and take the serve away from her.”

A former World No.1 was also on the losing side of the scoreboard, as Jelena Jankovic was beaten by Yaroslava Shvedeova 4-6, 6-4, 7-6. The Kazak player was forced to save a match point in the decider before prevailing.

“It was an amazing match, a battle there on-court,” Shvedova told WTA Insider. “Jelena is a great opponent, a tough opponent, and I’m happy I could manage to play well, relax and enjoy it, which I was missing a little bit for the beginning of the year.”

Lucie Safarova, normally accustomed to seedings in events such as these, won her first round match. The Russian defeated Yanina Wickmayer 7-6, 6-4.

It was a good day for wildcards in the Miami Open on Wednesday, as four of the five wildcards that took to the court in the early matches won their opening round fixtures.

Patricia Maria Tigs’ win meant that Heather Watson is out, as the Romanian beat the Briton 7-6, 6-1. Tig, whose ranking actually sits thirteen places higher than Watson’s this week, dropped just two points on her first serve in the second set, and broke the 24 year-old twice to ease through after a tight opening set.

She is joined by Jana Cepelova, who defeated former Top 10 player Andrea Petkovic 6-2, 6-4. Petkovic’s ranking is now down at No.76 this week, after having previously been ranked No.9 in 2011.

Paraguay’s Veronica Cepede Royg also moved through, defeating Japan’s Misaki Doi 6-2, 6-4. Home player Madison Brengle was the fourth successful qualifier, edging Jelena Ostapenko 6-3, 3-6, 6-2 in a match lasting two hours.

Other results saw Christina McHale defeat Andrea Beck 6-7, 7-5, 6-0, and Bethanie Mattek-Sands win against Katerina Siniakova 6-3, 4-6, 6-4. Mattek-Sands is a wildcard entry in this year’s event.

Donna Vekic was the only qualifier to lose in the women’s draw. The Croatian was beaten 0-6, 6-4, 6-2 by Qiang Wang.

 

 

 

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Maria Sakkari Pondered Temporary Sport Switch During Tour Suspension

This summer could have looked very different for the world No.20.

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Greek tennis star Maria Sakkari could have been preparing to take part in a completely different sport this week if it wasn’t for the Palermo Open taking place.

 

The world No.20 considered switching her tennis shoes for running ones amid the uncertainty surrounding when the sport would start again. All professional tennis tournaments have been cancelled since March due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but the WTA Tour is restarting this week in Italy.

Although if it wasn’t for Palermo staging the eagerly awaited return of tennis, Sakkari reveals that she might have instead switched her focus to athletics in order to maintain her competitive thirst. Taking part in the Greek athletics championships. Her discipline of choice would have been the 100 meters which her fitness trainer believes she would have made the final in.

“If the Tour was cancelled I was going to compete in the 100m track and field event at the National Championships,” Sakkari told reporters on Sunday.
“Greece National Championships starts on Aug. 8. We were kind of joking with my fitness coach, but inside of me I really needed competition.
“There were rumours going around that the Tour would get cancelled so I thought if the Tour gets cancelled I need to find something. I’m fast, I knew I was not going to win it for sure because I’m not a professional. But yeah, I was thinking of doing that.”

Sakkari can run 100M in a time of 12.7 seconds but that is without both running spikes and starting blocks. Her idea stemmed from the type of training she was doing back in Athens during the tour shutdown. Although tennis remains her first priority.

“I started playing tennis on May 4th, but before that, I was working with my fitness coach at outdoor areas where we were allowed to work out,” she said. “I was running a lot. I think I was running more than I ever did.”

In Palermo Sakkari will be the third seed in the draw and faces Czech Republic’s Kristýna Plíšková in the first round on Monday. The world No.20 started 2020 by winning nine out of 15 matches played on the Tour with her best runs being to the fourth round of the Australian Open and semi-finals of the St Petersburg Open.

We’re back in competition so I’m blessed,” Sakkari said. “Blessed to be back.”

Sakkari is bidding to win the second WTA trophy of her career this week after triumphing last year at the Morocco Open.

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Petra Martic leads the field in the Ladies Open in Palermo

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Three top 20 players lead the field of the WTA International tournament in Palermo. World number 15 Petra Martic leads the field. 

 

The Croatian player won the Istanbul title and reached the final in Zhengzhou and the quarter final at Roland Garros in 2019. She started the 2020 season with a semifinal in Dubai. 

Martic will face Belgium’s Allison Van Uytvanck in the the opening round and could set up a match against last year’s Doha champion Elise Mertens. 

Mertens could square off against Daria Kasatkina in the second round. Donna Vekic will face either Anett Kontaveit or Irina Camelia Begu in the quarter finals. The possible semifinal clash in this section of the draw could pit Martic against either Begu or Kontaveit. 

In the bottom half of the draw last year’s Roland Garros Marketa Vondrousova is projected to meet Camila Giorgi in the second round and Dayana Yastremska in the quarter finals. Vondrousova will make her come-back with a quarter final in Adelaide last January after a wrist injury forced her to miss the second half of her 2019 season. 

Maria Sakkari will take on Krystina Pliskova. In this section of the draw France’s Kristina Mladenovic will meet Ekaterina Alexandrova. The winner of the Mladenovic vs Alexandrova clash will face either Sara Errani or Sorana Cristea. The other Italian player to receive a wild card is former Australian Open junior semifinalist Elisabetta Cocciaretto. 

Aliaksandra Sasnovich, Varvara Gracheva and Lara Arrabarruena reached the second round of qualifying at the 31st edition of the Palermo Ladies Open. The WTA season resumes this week after a five-month break due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

Aliaksandra Sasnovich battled past Anastasya Komardina 7-5 6-2 after a hard-fought match. Spain’s Lara Arrabarruena edged past number 3 seed Greet Minnen 6-0 2-6 6-1. Number 4 seed Oceane Dodin cruised past Italian wildcard Federica Bilardo 6-3 6-1. 

Number 8 seed Ysaline Bonaventure rallied from one set down and fended off three match points to beat Indy De Vroome 3-6 7-6 (11-9) 6-2 after 2 hours and 45 minutes. Liudmila Samsonova edged past Tereza Mrdeza 6-3 6-4. Kaia Juvan fought back from one set down to beat Magdalena Frech 2-6 6-2 6-2. 

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Serena Williams leads a high-quality line-up in Lexington

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Twenty-three time Grand Slam champion Serena Williams will be the top seed at the inaugural edition of the Lexington Open from 10th August 2020 on the same week as the Prague Open. The Lexington Open will be the first US tournament of the US hard court season, which will continue with the Western and Southern Open and the US Open, which will be held in the same venue at Flushing Meadows in New York. 

 

Serena was very close to tie Margaret Court’s record of 24 Grand Slam titles, but lost four times in a Major final after giving birth to her daughter Olympia. 

The US legend will play her first match since she hepled the US team beat Latvia in the Fed Cup last March in Everett. There Serena beat Jelena Ostapenko but she was defeated by Anastasija Sevastova. 

Williams will lead a star-studded line-up, which features this year’s Australian Open finalist and former Roland Garros and Wimbledon champion Garbine Muguruza, Aryna Sabalenka, Sloane Stephens, Johanna Konta, Amanda Anisimova and Yulia Putintseva, Ons Jabeur, Victoria Azarenka, Heather Watson and US rising star Cori Gauff. 

Sabalenka won two consecutive editions of the Wuhan tournament in 2018 and 2019, in Shenzhen in 2019, the WTA Elite Trophy in Zhuhai in 2019 and the Doha final in 2020. 

Stephens won her first Grand Slam title at the US Open in 2017 and reached the final at 2018 Roland Garros. She finished runner-up to Elina Svitolina at the 2018 WTA Finals in Singapore. The US player lost to Canadian teenager Leylah Annie Fernandez in Monterrey in her last WTA Tour match before the pandemic. 

Amanda Anisimova won her maiden WTA title in Bogotà in 2019 in her first professional tour tournament on clay. Last year the young US player beat Simona Halep en route to becoming the youngest semifinalist at the French Open since 2006. This year Amanda lost to Serena Williams in the semifinal in Auckland last January. 

Johanna Konta reached the French Open semifinal and the Rome Final in 2019. The British player enjoyed her best year in 2017, when she won the Miami title and reached the Wimbledon semifinal rising to her best ranking at world number 4. 

The Top seed Open will be the first WTA tournament to be played in the United States since the coronavirus pandemic swept across the United States. The Kentucky tournament will feature a 32-player singles draw and a 16-player doubles field. 

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