Connect with us

WTA

Defending Hertogenbosch Champion Anett Kontaveit Falls In First Round

2017 runner-up Natalia Vikhlyantseva also lost her opener.

Published

on

Anett Kontaveit will not defend her Libema Open title in Hertogenbosch after falling 6-4, 7-6 to unheralded Russian qualifier Veronika Kudermetova in the first round on Tuesday.

Kontaveit, the No. 4 seed in the Netherlands, won just 62 percent of points on her serve and broke Kudermetova only once. The Estonian failed to convert early break points, then could not save the only one she faced in the first set to give the 21-year-old the upper hand.

A grittier Kontaveit played better in the second set, fighting off two match points on Kudermetova’s serve. She then nudged aside four break points in the next game to reach a tiebreak.

The Estonian’s good form ended there, however, as she lost her serve twice in the breaker and allowed Kudermetova to serve out the final two points. The Russian punctuated the victory with a powerful first serve on match point, marking just her second ever win on grass. She next faces Belinda Bencic, who eased past Tereza Martincova 6-2, 6-4 on Tuesday.

The 2017 runner-up, Natalia Vikhlyantseva, also fell in her opener, though more unsurprisingly. Vikhlyantseva started strongly against No. 3 seed Kiki Bertens, winning the first set, but could not finish as the Dutchwoman tallied a 5-7, 6-3, 7-6 win in two and a half hours.

Bertens raced to a 5-2 lead in the third and held three match points, but failed to convert any of them and was pushed to a tiebreaker. She finally regained control of proceedings there, powering a serve into Vikhlyantseva’s body for a service winner on her fourth match point.

The 26-year-old Bertens, ranked 21st in the world, struggled to take her opportunities throughout: She had three set points in the opening frame before Vikhlyantseva took charge. Bertens rebounded, however, facing no break points in the second set and converting both of her own to set up a decider.

She will meet Kirsten Flipkens, who rolled past Anna Kalinskaya 6-3, 6-0.

Another Belgian, Elise Mertens, also had no trouble in her opener, dispatching Polona Hercog 6-2, 6-4. The No. 2 seed converted break points in every game she had them and responded to losing her serve late in the second set by breaking back immediately.

She then dug out of a 15-40 hole while serving for the match, shoving aside one break point with her only ace of the match and using two more forceful serves to close out the Slovenian.

Fifth seed Zhang Shuai joined Kontaveit in the exits, dropping a straight sets decision to Hungarian qualifier Fanny Stollar.

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Click to comment

WTA

Ekaterina Makarova Blows Past Pliskova In New Haven Upset

The No. 4 seed faded badly in both sets.

Published

on

Ekaterina Makarova (zimbio.com)

Ekaterina Makarova had her way with Karolina Pliskova, dominating the first set and storming back in the second to hand the No. 4 seed a 6-1, 6-3 loss in the first round in Connecticut on Monday.

Pliskova had rebounded from an atrocious first set to play well in the second set and generate more opportunities, but it slipped away from her at 3-4. Makarova built a 0-30 lead there, then earned break point and smashed several forehands until one down the line finally outdid Pliskova.

The Russian, ranked 49th in the world, found some trouble while serving out the match, but slammed two aces from 30-30 to book her place in the second round.

“I’m very happy that I got through,” Makarova said on-court. “Today was a very good match for me. I was a little bit relaxed. It was going good.”

Makarova had a clear edge statistically, putting 71 percent of first serves in play compared to fewer than half for Pliskova. The No. 4 seed won a putrid 32 percent of second serve points and saved only one of five break points; Makarova staved off all three break chances she faced.

The 30-year-old, who won the Cincinnati doubles title with Lucie Hradecka last week, hit 22 winners, while Pliskova was underwater with 14 winners and 21 unforced errors.

She was especially dominant in the first set, winning the final six games. Pliskova handed her an insurance break and the set — first with a forehand return the Czech didn’t bother returning, then a double fault on set point — and lost the last 10 points on her serve. Makarova won 18 of the last 20 points in the set.

She will next meet Magdalena Rybarikova, who advanced after CoCo Vandeweghe retired midway through the third set on Sunday.

Also Monday, Johanna Konta saw off Laura Siegemund with a 6-2, 7-5 win. The Briton won the first three games, faced just two break points and hit six aces. She lost an early break in the second set and failed to convert three break chances at 4-4, but capitalized at 5-5 when Siegemund paired a double fault with a bad forehand from deuce.

Konta then fended off a break point before securing the win, setting up a second round match with Carla Suárez Navarro, who beat No. 8 seed Barbora Strycova on Sunday.

Continue Reading

Focus

Former Champions Radwanska and Kvitova Set To Meet In Stacked New Haven Draw

Former champions Agnieszka Radwanska and Petra Kvitova will face each other in the first round of the Connecticut Open.

Published

on

Petra Kvitova (zimbio.com)

Former champions of the Connecticut Open, Agnieszka Radwanska and Petra Kvitova are set to meet in the first round of a stacked draw in New Haven. 

This year’s draw sees five of the top ten players in New Haven in a very stacked draw in Connecticut. This is the first time this has happened since 2006 as the world number one, Simona Halep leads the field.

The Romanian is having her best season of her career and is currently in the semi-finals of Cincinnati after winning Montreal. So it would be no surprise if she decided to take a week’s rest in preparation for the US Open, however if she does play she will face a qualifier in her second round contest.

Other highlights from the New Haven draw sees two former champions battle it out as Poland’s Agnieszka Radwanska battles Petra Kvitova. The Czech Republican is in some sensational form as well as she is into the last four in Cincinnati.

This is completely different form to her opponent, who has been struggling with injuries and form. Despite the Pole knocking off the current world number one earlier this season, she hasn’t really pushed on from that and has only won 13 of her 24 matches this season. So how will Radwanska respond to yet another rough draw in Connecticut?

Other highlights of the draw see defending champion, Daria Gavrilova take on Kristina Mladenovic in the first round, with the winner awaiting Caroline Garcia. While 7th seed Kiki Bertens will face Anett Kontaveit in a Cincinnati rematch, which Bertens won in three sets.

Here is the full draw, with play set to begin on Sunday:

Simona Halep v BYE

Qualifier v Qualifier

Qualifier v Aryna Sabalenka

Irina-Camelia Begu v Ashleigh Barty

Karolina Pliskova v Ekaterina Makarova

Magdalena Rybarikova v Coco Vandeweghe

Qualifier v Danielle Collins

Barbora Strycova v Carla Suarez Navarro

Laura Siegemund v Johanna Konta 

Maria Sakkari v Qualifier

Agnieszka Radwanska v Petra Kvitova 

Kiki Bertens v Anett Kontaveit

Qualifier v Timea Bacsinszky 

Daria Gavrilova v Kristina Mladenovic 

BYE v Caroline Garcia 

 

Continue Reading

Focus

Simona Halep Secures Seventh Straight Win To Reach Cincinnati Last Eight

Simona Halep won her seventh consecutive match with a straight sets victory over Ashleigh Barty.

Published

on

Simona Halep (zimbio.com)

World number one, Simona Halep defeated Ashleigh Barty 7-5 6-4 to secure her seventh consecutive win and reach the quarter-finals in Cincinnati. 

The Romanian recovered from a break down in the first set as Barty started off the match quickly, catching her higher ranked opponent off guard. The world number one eased to holds of serve after getting back on serve as she protected her forehand angles perfectly. The Australian was looking to avoid the same outcome of their Montreal match last week as she effectively dictated points from the back of the court on her serve.

However the top seed proved too much and broke in the eleventh game much to her relief as her forehand once again paid dividends. The Montreal champion wrapped up the opening set in 46 minutes to gain a one set lead on Barty. The second set was similar as Barty gained an early break of serve with the Australian temporarily snatching the momentum back.

However the world number 16 was up against one of the best returners in the game and lost her serve twice in a row to hand the advantage back to Halep. The Roland Garros champion had to fend off a late surge from Barty but eventually sealed her place in the quarter-finals with her first match point.

A seventh consecutive win for Halep and a second victory over Barty proves that she is in her best form of her career as she believes in her ability to beat anyone. The Romanian will now face Lesia Tsurenko in the last eight later today.

In the rest of the third results on Thursday, Elina Svitolina proved too much for 16 year old Amanda Anisimova as she sealed a 6-4 6-4 victory over the American. The Ukrainian broke at the end of each set to seal her place in the quarter-finals. She will now play Kiki Bertens, who secured 6-3 2-6 6-3 victory over Anett Kontaveit serving down eight aces. It is now back to back quarter-finals for Bertens after a strong showing in Montreal.

Here is the full quarter-final line-up, with play beginning later on Thursday:

Simona Halep v Lesia Tsurenko

Madison Keys v Aryna Sabalenka

Petra Kvitova v Elise Mertens

Elina Svitolina v Kiki Bertens

Continue Reading

Trending