Adelaide | Krejcikova KOs 2022 finalist Riske-Amritraj while Kudermetova edges Azarenka 

Czech Barbora Krejcikova knocked out defending finalist Alison Riske-Amritraj from the USA in the opening round of the Adelaide International 2 WTA 500 tournament in South Australia on Tuesday, while 6th-seeded Veronika Kudermetova from Russian battled past Belarusian wild-card Victoria Azarenka in 3 sets, and Lucky Loser, American Amanda Anisimova, got past Russian Liudmila Samsonova to win her first main draw match since August.

Of course I’m really happy about this win because it means a lot against Vika. She’s a two-time Grand Slam champion so, for me, it’s really important to play against that [level of] player and beat them. With every win I have a little bit more confidence. Veronika Kudermetova

Krejcikova powered her way into the 2nd-round with a 6-2 7-6(3) win over Riske-Amritraj after a 2 hour 3 minute contest to set up a meeting with No 5 seed Daria Kasatkina.

The World No 22 will have a tougher test against the Russian World No 8, who received a bye into the second round.

The 27-year old Czech, who was ranked as high as No 2 in the world last year, won 2 titles and 10 of her last 11 singles matches to end 2022 on a roll after she had returned from an elbow injury, and she has brought that form to Adelaide.

Currently ranked 21, she won the French Open in 2021, and reached the quarter-finals of the Australian Open last year.

In her first outing of the year, Krejcikova won the last 4 games of the opening set, and rebounded well to secure the match in straight sets after seeing a match point slip by a 6-2, 5-4.

From a mini-break behind in the 2nd-set tiebreak, she won 5 straight points to wrap up her win.

Riske-Amritraj, the 2022 finalist here, lost to Anna Kalinskaya in the final round of qualifying on Sunday but earned a berth in the main draw as a Lucky Loser as a result of multiple withdrawals, including that of Madison Keys, who beat her to win last year’s WTA 250 title in Adelaide.

Veronika Kudermetova edged past Victoria Azarenka in 3 tight sets to advance to round 2 in Adelaide

© Sarah Reed/Getty Images

Later in the day, another Russian, Veronika Kudermetova, who is ranked 9th in the world, advanced to the last 16 by edging out Victoria Azarenka, 2-6 7-6(4) 6-4, at the Memorial Drive Tennis Park, where she will face compatriot Ekaterina Alexandrova next.

“Of course I’m really happy about this win because it means a lot against Vika,” said the 25-year old Kudermetova. “She’s a two-time Grand Slam champion so, for me, it’s really important to play against that [level of] player and beat them.

“With every win I have a little bit more confidence.”

Azarenka started off well, easily taking the first set, but she allowed the Russian to find her rhythm, which was enough for Kudermetova to turn the match around in what proved to be a fine contest.

While the start and finish were very different, there was quality tennis being played, with Azarenka the better early on due to some very solid ball striking.

The second set was a tighter affair, and Kudermetova avoided being faced with a single break point as she created chances to break Azarenka but failed to convert any of them, and the matter needed to be resolved in the tiebreak.

Despite going up 3-0 in the breaker, Azarenka lost 6 points in a row to fall behind 3-6, and Kudermetova polished it off to level at a set all.

The decider proved a thriller, with both playing well at the start and enduring excellent rallies that produced no break points for either one.

At 4-4, Kudermetova finally made the break through as the Belarusian briefly faltered, allowing the Russian to serve it out successfully.

Amanda Anisimova, who reached the Wimbledon quarter-finals last year, won her first match since August against Liudmila Samsonova on Tuesday

© Sarah Reed/Getty Images

Elsewhere, out on Showcourt 1, Amanda Anisimova, who was a semi-finalist at Roland Garros in 2019 and a Wimbledon quarter-finalist last season, got back to her winning ways after a long drought, overcoming another Russian, Liudmila Samsonova, 7-5 6-3, who was error-strewn and erratic.

The American’s progress was in stark contrast to last week’s performance in Adelaide I, where she claimed only 3 games in a 1st-round defeat to Kudermetova.

One of 5 Lucky Losers in action on Tuesday, the 21-year-old made the most of her second chance, coming back from 1-4 down against Samsonova.

Despite being 2 breaks up, the Russian never reached set point, and Anisimova managed to turn the match all the way around in 86 minutes thanks, in part, to her 22 winners to just 15 unforced errors.

The American World No 29 also benefited from Samsonova’s service wobbles, and battled through, helped by her opponent making just 52% of her first serves, and conceding 7 double-faults.

Anisimova will next face Brazil’s much-improved World No 15, Beatriz Haddad Maia, as she looks to re-create the form that saw her come from a set down to depose defending champion Naomi Osaka in the Australian Open 3rd-round last year.

Zheng Qinwen needed 3 sets to outpace Shelby Rogers in her opening match and faces Petra Kvitova next

© Sarah Reed/Getty Images

Meanwhile, China’s Zheng Qinwen set up a 2nd-round contest with two-time Wimbledon winner Petra Kvitova via a come-from-behind 4-6 6-4 6-0 victory over Shelby Rogers, the 3rd American Lucky Loser.

Zheng trailed 6-4, 2-1 in her first-ever meeting against Rogers, but wrestled momentum away at the midway point of the second set, and never looked back, winning the last 8 games, and finishing it off after 2 hours, 24 minutes.

The Chinese has logged just over 8 hours on court in 3 matches so far in the tournament, including a 3 hour, 36-minute marathon triumph against Anastasia Potapova in qualifying to reach the main draw.

Potapova also made it into the main draw as a Lucky Loser, but the Russian withdrew against Katerina Siniakova, the World Doubles No 1, with the score standing at 6-1 1-0 in the Czech’s favour.

Elsewhere, Russian qualifier Anna Kalinskaya ousted Jelena Ostapenko from Latvia, 6-3 6-4, while at the end of Day 2, 9th-seeded Paula Badosa from Spain enjoyed a perfect start to her Adelaide campaign, defeating Anett Kontaveit, 6-4 6-3, producing a serving clinic to keep the Estonian at bay, winning 77% of her first-serve points and 76% of her second-serve points.

The win sets up a 2nd-round showdown with another Estonian, Kaia Kanepi, who fell in qualifying but made it into the main draw as a Lucky Loser, and saw off local wild-card Storm Hunter, 6-2 6-2.

37-year old Kanepi, who achieved a career-high ranking of 15 in August 2012, has won 4 singles titles on the WTA Tour, and is a notorious giant-killer, especially at the majors.


Paula Badosa won the last match of Day 2 against Anett Kontaveit in straight sets

© Sarah Reed/Getty Images



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