The highest seeded player participating in the first round of matches at the Western and Southern Open has fallen at the first hurdle.
World No.17 Elena Rybakina was knocked out 7-5, 7-6(6), by Russia’s Elena Alexandrova who is just 10 places below her in the WTA rankings. Taking part in her first WTA match since the Doha Open in February, the Kazakh was broken twice during what was a encounter of fine margins at times. Both players produced more unforced errors than winners in what was an expected scenario given the five-month break due to COVID-19. Rybakina’s ratio was 18-25 and Alexandrova’s was 24-27.
“It feels great to play here (at the Billie Jean King Tennis Center) and win,” said Alexandrova.
“The second set was tougher than the first one. I think I was lucky at the end of the second set but I’m glad it ended up well.”
A tentative start by the ninth seed left her trailing early on as she fell behind 2-5 before battling back to draw level with the use of some clever angle shots. Still, it wasn’t enough to tame her Russian rival who went on to break once again and clinch the opener. It was a much closer encounter during the second frame with 12 consecutive games going to serve. Then in the tiebreak, Rybakina had a duo of set point opportunities to force proceedings into a decider. However, Alexandrova tamed the threat before going on to have a match point in her favour. She converted on her first chance after hitting a winning return.
The result is a case of deja vu for both players following their meeting in the final of the Shenzhen Open at the start of this year. On that occasion Alexandrova dropped only six games during her 6-2, 6-4, win to claim her maiden WTA title.
“It (Shenzhen) gave me a lot of confidence but it was so long ago,” she said.
The 25-year-old is bidding to claim back-to-back matches this week for the first time since the WTA Tour resumed. In her two previous tournaments in Palermo and Prague, her only victory was over Kristina Mladenovic. At the Western and Southern Open she will play either Iga Świątek or Christina McHale in the second round.
In other early matches on the first day of main draw action, unseeded Mladenovic disposed of Anastasija Sevastova 6-3, 6-4. Meanwhile, Barnarda Pera downed Heather Watson 6-1, 3-6, 6-3.
At the tournament all of the top eight seeded players have a bye in the first round.
Another Defeat For Iga Swiatek – Should Her Fans Start To Worry?
Iga Swiatek unexpectedly lost to Beatrice Haddad Maia in the quarter-finals of the National Bank Open in Toronto. This was the third defeat of the WTA world No.1 in a month and a half. Is there anything to worry about?
Article written by Dominik Senkowski (@dsenkowski07)
It was an extremely close match played in difficult conditions. Swiatek lost to Beatrice Hadad Maia 4:6, 6:3, 5:7 in Toronto.
The Polish woman admitted that she could not deal with the strong wind, saying during her press conference “I think without the wind I would manage. But it was pretty crazy out there.”
Haddad Miai, who is the first Brazilian to reach the last eight of a WTA 1000 event, revealed that she also had problems with the weather.
”We have no influence on the weather, we have to deal with it somehow. I think mentally I managed to overcome it,” she said.
This was the third defeat for Swiatek in a month and a half. She had been undefeated since February, winning six tournaments in a row, including a Roland Garros. After that, however, she did not reach the semi-finals even once. In Wimbledon she was eliminated in the third round by Alize Cornet and then in Warsaw in the quarter-finals by Caroline Garcia. Now she did not make it past Beatrice Hadad Maia in Toronto. Do fans of the Polish woman have anything to worry about?
Of course, Swiatek as the top seed should have played better against the Brazilian. However, it must be remembered that she is still only 21 years old and has the right to fluctuate in form. Even the best tennis players of recent years – Roger Federer, Serena Serena, Rafael Nadal, and Novak Djokovic – did not win all the games in their best time. Swiatek still has a phenomenal balance of 49 wins to 5 defeats this year. She is the undisputed leader of the WTA rankings and will probably end the year as number one in the world.
There is no doubt that the rivals are more motivated to clash with Iga. In addition, they increasingly believe that they are able to defeat her since Cornet, Garcia and Hadad Maia did it. But still, it all depends on Iga. If she improves her serve, she can be unstoppable again. Recently with Garcia and Hadad Maia, she had problems with the second serve. She must pay more attention to it.
Time for Iga
Time should play in favour of Swiatek. Before Toronto, she played exceptionally on clay courts in Warsaw in a tournament organized by her father Tomasz. Frequent changes of the surface from grass to clay and hard courts in 1.5 months are not easy at such a young age. In Poland Iga said that she had no experience with it, she was just learning. She continues to learn valuable lessons and still can be better. We should remember it.
It seems that in the coming days she will be training on hard courts. She could feel more confident and come stronger as in spring. In Warsaw Iga said that she treats the first tournament before the US Open swing less seriously. She was aware that she needed more playing time to get better results. Her increasing self-esteem makes her behave calmer, even after defeats. That is why she can return to the right path soon.
Rafael Nadal Returns To Cincinnati With Shot At No.1 Ranking
This is what the king of clay has to do to reclaim the top position.
It has been over a month since Rafael Nadal last played a match on the Tour but in the coming days, he will have a chance to return to the top of the ATP rankings.
The 22-time Grand Slam champion has been absent from action ever since pulling out of his semi-final match at Wimbledon due to an abdominal tear. He was set to play at this week’s National Bank Open in Montreal but withdrew after feeling a ‘slight bother’ in his abdominal region following training. Nadal decided not to play after consulting with his doctor.
Instead, the Spaniard will return next week at the Western and Southern Open in Cincinnati. He confirmed his return in an Instagram post, where he wrote: “Very happy to play again in Cincy. Flying there tomorrow (Thursday).”
Whilst the Spaniard will be finding his feet in the coming days, in Cincinnati he has a chance to dethrone Daniil Medvedev from the world No.1 position. Medvedev lost his opening match in Montreal to Nick Kyrgios. To do this he would need to win the Masters 1000 event for the second time in his career and hope that Medvedev doesn’t make the quarter-finals. Nadal won Cincinnati back in 2013 after defeating John Isner in the final.
So far in his career, Nadal has spent 209 weeks as world No.1 with his longest streak being 56 weeks in a row (2010-2011). In total, he has been at the top of the rankings for eight separate periods and last held the position in February 2020.
Nadal’s No.1 stints
-Aug 18 2008 – Jul 5th 2009 (46 weeks)
-Jun 7 2010 – Jul 3rd 2011 (56 weeks)
-Oct 7th 2013 – Jul 6th 2014 (39 weeks)
-Aug 21 2017 – Feb 18 2018 (26 weeks)
-Apr 2nd 2018 – May 13th 2018 (6 weeks)
-May 21st 2018 – Jun 17th 2018 (4 weeks)
-Jun 25th 2018 – Nov 4th 2018 (19 weeks)
-Nov 4th 2019 – Feb 2nd 2020 (13 weeks)
At present nine out of the world’s top 10 players will participate in the Western and Southern Open. The only exception is Novak Djokovic who is currently banned from entering America because he isn’t vaccinated against Covid-19.
Jack Draper Considered Skipping Montreal Masters Before Getting Biggest Win Of Career
The rising star completes a trio of British players who have booked their places in the third round of the Masters 1000 event.
British qualifier Jack Draper says his decision to play in Montreal this week has paid off after he scored his first-ever win over a top 10 player on Wednesday.
The 20-year-old stunned world No.5 and third seed Stefanos Tsitsipas 7-5, 7-6(4), in what is only his fourth appearance in the main draw of a Masters 1000 event. Draper, who is currently ranked 82nd in the world, won 74% of his first service points and blasted 21 winners past his Greek rival. Recovering from a 1-3 deficit in the second set en route to a straight sets victory.
Leading up to this week, Draper and his team considered not playing in Montreal following his 6-4, 6-2, loss to Andrey Rublev in Washington. However, their decision to do so was the right one. After coming through two rounds of qualifying, he beat France’s Hugo Gaston in the first round before knocking out Tsitsipas.
“This is why I put in all the hard work, for nights like this on stages like this,” Draper said in an on-court interview. “Last week [after] Washington, me and my coach probably were thinking we weren’t even going to come here. We were going to maybe train a week, get a bit of confidence. But it paid off coming.”
“I didn’t really have much of a game plan. I just thought I needed to play good tennis to beat Stefanos. He’s at the top of the game for a reason. [He’s] someone I’ve looked up to the last few years. It’s just good to be out here and try to express myself on this stage.” He added.
Draper’s win comes during what has been a solid season for the Brit who has won four Challenger titles. A former top 10 junior player, he won his first main draw Grand Slam match in June at Wimbledon and reached the semi-finals of the Eastbourne International.
Awaiting the youngster in the third round will be French veteran Gael Monfils who is playing in his first tournament since May. Monfils defeated Maxime Cressy 7-6(10), 7-6(8).
Draper is one of three British players to have reached the last 16 in Montreal. Ninth seed Cameron Norrie will next play home favourite Felix Auger-Aliassime and Dan Evans faces Taylor Fritz.
According to the Pepperstone live ATP rankings, Draper will break into the world’s top 70 for the first time next week.
Emma Raducanu Unfazed By Rankings Drop Ahead Of US Open Title Defence
Confusion As Serena Williams’ Cincinnati Opener Gets Delayed By A Day
Rafael Nadal Speaks Out On Race To No.1, Admiration For Williams Ahead Of Return
Pablo Carreno Busta Reacts To Winning Biggest Title Of Career In Montreal
Cincinnati Daily Preview: Major Champions Andy Murray and Stan Wawrinka Square Off
Greatest Of All Time Honor Between Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal, Says Robredo
Inspired By Andy Murray, Citi Open Chief Pledges To Donate Funds To Ukrainian Appeal
Andy Murray Targets US Open Seeding After Early Exit From Washington
Daria Kasatkina Opens Up About Her Sexuality As Native Russia Eye Tightening Anti-LGBT Laws
Rafael Nadal Withdraws From Montreal Due To Abdominal Pain
(VIDEO EXCLUSIVE) Elena Rybakina’s Wimbledon Win Was Good But The Level Wasn’t Great
(VIDEO EXCLUSIVE): Novak Djokovic Battles Past Norrie, Faces Kyrgios In The Final
(VIDEO EXCLUSIVE) Brad Gilbert Makes A Bold prediction on Sinner, Backs Kyrgios To Trouble Nadal
(VIDEO EXCLUSIVE) Rafael Nadal Doesn’t Care How Much Pain He’s In, He Gets The Job Done
(VIDEO EXCLUSIVE) The Wimbledon Clash Between Djokovic And Sinner Could Have Been Better
ATP3 days ago
Canada Daily Preview: Semifinal Saturday Features Ruud/Hurkacz and Pegula/Halep
Focus2 days ago
Serena Williams Set For Raducanu Challenge In Cincinnati
Hot Topics1 day ago
Simona Halep Says Her ‘Fire Is Back’ Ahead Of Toronto Showdown With History-Maker Haddad Maia
ATP2 days ago
ATP Montreal: Ruud Thrashes Auger-Aliassime To Reach Semis, Mixed Results For Brits
Hot Topics1 day ago
Tour Veteran Pablo Carreno Busta Breaks New Ground At The Age Of 31 In Montreal
ATP16 hours ago
Cincinnati Daily Preview: Major Champions Andy Murray and Stan Wawrinka Square Off
ATP1 day ago
Canada Daily Preview: Championship Sunday Features Halep/Haddad Maia and Hurkacz/Carreno Busta
Focus23 hours ago
Simona Halep Cliches Third National Bank Open Title With Topsy-Turvy Win Over Haddad Maia