Karolina Pliskova, Sofia Kenin React To Shock Losses At Western And Southern Open - UBITENNIS
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Karolina Pliskova, Sofia Kenin React To Shock Losses At Western And Southern Open

There was carnage at the Billie Jean King Tennis Center on Sunday with the top two names in the women’s draws both losing in straight sets.

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Two title contenders at the upcoming US Open have suffered a blow in their preparations after sustaining shock losses in the Western and Southern Open on Sunday.

 

Top seed Karolina Pliskova failed to capitalise on a strong start to her match against Russian world No.41 Veronika Kudermetova as she was knocked out 7-5, 6-4. The Czech raced to a 4-1 lead initially before later in the set losing her serve twice to give the opener to her opponent. In the second set eight straight games went with serve until Pliskova was broken once again at 4-4. Enabling Kudermetova to serve the match out and claim only her third win over a top 10 player in her career.

“She played a couple matches already, a couple tournaments,” Pliskova said of the Russian. “I think she played something before in Europe, I think Prague or something.
“I thought I started quite well, actually. She was missing a lot. I think she improved during the match, during the first set, and I was just a couple points here and there.
“I think the first set I should serve much better. I thought actually I had a lot of mistakes on the return. Of course she played well. I thought she just was going for it.
“She won quite a tough match in the first round, so I think definitely she had nothing to lose today. She was playing free. She was playing quite good tennis. But it was not that I could not win this match.”

Sunday’s match was Pliskova’s first on the WTA Tour since the Qatar Open back in February. Although her opponent had previously played in the Prague Open earlier this month, she lost in the first round. The Czech admitted that she needs more time to get used to the court speed at the Billie Jean King Tennis Center in New York.

“I don’t know what’s the reason to make it this fast, but, yeah, there is plenty of time to get used to it, but apparently one week was not enough for me,” said Pliskova.

It is the first time Pliskova has lost her opening match at a WTA Tournament since the Beijing Open last autumn. Kudermetova will take on either Kristina Mladenovic or Elise Mertens in the third round.

Frustrated Kenin bows out

Another high-profile casualty was Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin who fell 6-1, 7-6(7) to France’s Alize Cornet. The 21-year-old struggled behind her serve throughout the match as she was broken five times in total. Sher was particularly fragile behind her second serve where she won only five out of 20 points.

“It wasn’t easy,” Kenin said in her press conference. “Obviously it didn’t feel like I had any rhythm. I don’t know why I let that happen. I felt like I was playing well.
“Of course she was playing well, so I’m not taking any creds from her. I literally couldn’t feel the ball, like literally two sets. I don’t even know how I came back, to be honest. I just really didn’t feel my game at all.”

There were some positives to the American’s latest encounter on the Tour. She looked to be on the verge of a heavy defeat whilst trailing 1-6, 2-5, but she battled back to draw level in the second set. Then in the tiebreaker she had a duo of set points to force the match into a decider but failed to capitalise on her opportunities.

“Preparation-wise, I was playing well. I had a great practice four or five days, and then today just it completely fell apart,” said Kenin, who produced 53 unforced errors.

Cornet will play either former world No.1 Victoria Azarenka or Caroline Garcia next.

Following the duo of losses, 23-time Grand Slam champion Serena Williams is the highest seeded player left in the draw. She will get her campaign underway on Monday against the Dutch qualifier Arantxa Rus.

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Anhelina Kalinina beats Daria Kasatkina at the Kremlin Cup in Moscow

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Anhelina Kalinina eased past Daria Kasatkina 6-2 6-3 after 1 hour and 23 minutes at the Kremlin Cup in Moscow. 

 

Kalinina, who reached the final in Budapest this year, hit 24  winners to 18 unforced errors. She scored her second top 30 win this year after beating Angelique Kerber in the first round at this year’s edition of the French Open. 

The match between Kalinina and Kasatkina featured 12 breaks of serve. Kalinina went up a 3-0 lead with a double break in the second set. Kasatkina pulled one break back in the fourth game and saved four break points to hold serve in the fifth game for 2-3 in the longest game of the match. 

Kalinina saved two match points in the sixth game before breaking serve in the seventh game to open up a 5-2 lead. She was not able to serve out the match after two double faults, but she sealed the second set with a drive volley. 

Anna Kalinskaya rallied from 3-5 down in the first set to beat Dayana Yastremska 7-6 (7-5) 6-4. Yastremska started the tie-break with six consecutive unforced errors, but she saved five set points, but she sent a return outside the court. Kalinskaya set up a second round match against Maria Sakkari. 

Lesla Tsurenko beat 18-year-old Chinese player Zheng Qinwen 6-4 6-3. Bernarda Pera beat Aleksandra Krunic 7-6 (7-3) 6-3. Pera converted her sixth point to close out the first set.  Pera will face Anastasya Pavlyuchenkova. 

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Arthur Rinderknech beats Federico Delbonis to reach the second round in Antwerp

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Arthur Rinderknech won 85% of his first service points in his 6-4 6-4 win over Federico Delbonis after 1 hour and 31 minutes to reach the second round at the European Open in Antwerp. 

 

Rinderknech earned two breaks to open up a 4-1 lead. Delbonis pulled back one break in the sixth game, but Rinderknech held on his next service games to win the first set 6-4. 

The Frenchman went up an early break in the first game to take a 4-2 lead. Delbonis saved three break points to hold serve at deuce in the seventh game for 3-4. Rinderknech served out the win at deuce after saving a break point in the 10th game. 

Rinderknech has extended his winning record to 2-0 in his head-to-head matches against Delbonis.

“I am really pleased with the win. There were some crazy points here and there and sometimes they did not go my way. These kind of points can change the match but I tried to stay focused and I am pleased I was able to close out the match”, said Rinderknech. 

US Next Gen player Jenson Brooksby cruised past Norbert Gombos 6-4 6-2. Brooksby went up a 4-1 lead with a double break. Gombos pulled one break back for 2-4 in the sixth game. Brooksby held on his next service games to win the first set 6-4 and earned two breaks in the first and seventh games to seal the second set 6-4. 

Another US Next Gen rising star Brandon Nakashima beat Pierre Hugues Herbert 6-2 6-4. Nakashima broke serve in the fifth and seventh games and earned a break in the fifth game of the second set. 

Dusan Lajovic beat Richard Gasquet 7-6 (7-3) 6-1. Gasquet earned a break in the third game to take a 2-1 lead. Lajovic broke straight back to draw level to 2-2. Lajovic saved two break points in the ninth and eleventh games. Lajovic earned three mini-breaks to win the tie-break 7-3. The Serbian player broke three times to win the second set 6-1. 

Botic Van de Zandschulp beat Alexei Popyrin 6-4 3-6 6-0. Van de Zandschulp won the first set 6-4 with a break in the fifth game. 

Popyrin saved five break points in the first game before converting his third break point to take a 2-0 lead. Both players went on serve until the 10th game when Popyrin served out the set after saving two break points. 

Van de Zandschulp earned three breaks to win the third set 6-0. 

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Marin Cilic overcomes Damir Dzumhur at the Kremlin Cup in Moscow

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Marin Cilic edged past Damir Dzumhur 6-7 (4-7) 6-1 6-1 after 1 hour and 51 minutes to reach the second round at the VTB Kremlin Cup in Moscow. Cilic won two consecutive titles in 2014 and 2015. 

 

Cilic came back from losing the tie-break of the first set by winning 12 of the last 13 games. He will face either Tommy Paul or Winston Salem finalist Mikael Ymer.

The opening set went on serve with no break points en route to the tie-break. Dzumhur earned three set points at 6-3 with two mini-breaks and converted his second chance to win the tie-break 7-4. Cilic broke three times to cruise through to a 6-1 win in the second set. The 2014 US Open champion saved a break point in the third game before breaking at deuce in the fourth game to open up a 3-1 lead. Cilic closed out the third set with a double break at love in the sixth game. 

The Croatian player has extended his winning record to 2-0 in his head-to-head matches against Dzumhur. 

Cilic won his 19th career ATP title in Stuttgart against Felix Auger Aliassime and reached two semifinals in Singapore and Estoril.  

“It always feels great to be here. It is always a pleasure and it is great to see a nice crowd here. I know that Damir always enjoys these conditions where the court is a bit slower and the ball stays a bit slower, so I was having a little bit of difficulty on his serve in the first set”, said Cilic. 

John Millman also rallied from one set down to beat Frenchman Benjamin Bonzi 6-7 (5-7) 6-4 6-3 after two hours and 35 minutes. Millman will play against either Alexander Bublik or Ukrainian qualifier Ilya Marchenko. 

Millman went up a 5-2 lead with a double break. Bonzi pulled both breaks back to draw level to draw level to 5-5. Bonzi earned two mini-breaks to take a 4-2 lead. Millman pulled back on serve to draw level to 5-5, but Bonzi earned his third mini-break to win the tie-break 7-5.

Bonzi went up a set and a break to take a 4-3 lead, but Millman won the final three games with two breaks to claim the second set 6-4. Millman raced out to a 4-0 lead with two breaks. Bonzi got one break back in the fifth game for 1-4. Millman won his final service games to close out the third set 6-3. 

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