Charleston | Kalinina beats Wozniacki again, as Azarenka also advances after rain delay

Rain delayed the start of play at the WTA 500 Credit One Charleston Open by 6 hours on Wednesday, making the conditions heavy going, but Anhelina Kalinina and Victoria Azarenka were among the winners of the 8 completed matches to make it into the 3rd round on Day 3.

 

I had to keep my wits about me, and remind myself I was in a tournament. It's awesome to be able to come home, be able to play in front of amazing fans and my family. Emma Navarro

Matches originally scheduled for Wednesday night, including defending champion Ons Jabeur, the 2nd seed, against Miami Open winner Danielle Collins, and 2016 Charleston champion Sloane Stephens against Leylah Fernandez, were postponed until Thursday.

For the second tournament in a row, Kalinina, the 15th seed from Ukraine, got past Denmark’s Caroline Wozniacki, 6-2 6-3, losing the lone break point she faced while taking advantage of 5 of her 11 break chances.

The World No 33 and a Charleston quarter-finalist in 2022, toppled the former World No 1 in sets in the 2nd round of the Miami Open after Wozniacki held a match point at 5-4 in the second set, but Kalinina came all the way back to win that one, 5-7 7-5 6-4.

This was a more straightforward win as the Ukrainian made it all the way to 6-2, 5-2 before she faced the break point, and although she ceded that service game, she immediately struck back with a break back to gain the win.

Wozniacki was the 2011 Charleston champion, and the finalist here in 2009 and 2019, but she was unable to impact Kalinina on Wednesday.

“[In Miami] we played 3 hours and 20 minutes, something like that, and it was very tough,” Kalinina said. “She had match point, I was really down the whole match… It was a totally different surface today, clay, compared to hard courts. So I think today, maybe, I used my stronger sides better than in Miami.”

Kalinina next meets Daria Kasatkina, the 4th seed from Russia, who rallied after getting shut out in the second set for a 6-3 0-6 6-1 win over American Ashlyn Krueger.

In just her 5th trip to Charleston since 2016, Kasatkina, who won this title in 2017 and lost in the semi-finals to eventual champion Jabeur last year, needed an hour and 48 minutes to prevail.


Victoria Azarenka was an easy winner over Elisabetta Cocciaretto and made it into the Last 16 of the WTA 500 in Charleston

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Azarenka, who is ranked 26 after a run to last week’s Miami semi-finals, had little trouble dismissing Elisabetta Cocciaretto, the 56th-ranked Italian, in their first career meeting, 6-1 6-2.

“It was quite a long day,” Azarenka said of the 5.30pm start. “I was happy to have it delayed an hour or so, I was a bit sleepy. But so happy we were able to get out there.”

Playing the event for the 4th time, Azarenka, seeded 12th at the season’s first clay-court tournament, needed just an hour and 10 minutes to move on, already matching her career-best Charleston showings, which were a trip to the Round of 16 last year, and another one way back at her tournament debut in 2008.

Azarenka dropped serve just once on Wednesday, and it was a gruelling 4-deuce game at 6-1, 2-1 which Cocciaretto collected on her 5th break point, but the Belarusian won the next 4 games in a row to advance to round 3.

The Belarusian takes on Taylor Townsend next, after the American upset 6th-seeded Ekaterina Alexandrova of Russia, 7-5 6-2, also on Wednesday.


Home favourite Emma Navarro topped just 2 games to Katie Volynets on Day 3 to advance

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Moving into the Last 16 also is No 10 seed Emma Navarro, the daughter of tournament owner Ben Navarro, who defeated a qualifier, fellow American, Katie Volynets, 6-1 6-1.

It was a landmark moment for the 22-year-old, who calls Charleston home and won her first match at stadium court with her parents were in the stands along with a brother and her grandmother, who came down from Connecticut to watch.

Navarro, who is ranked 20th in the world, her career best, waited out the rain delay at home and admitted she was ‘a little too comfortable’ in the familiar surroundings.

“I had to keep my wits about me, and remind myself I was in a tournament,” she joked. “It’s awesome to be able to come home, be able to play in front of amazing fans and my family.”

Navarro next meets Romania’s Jacqueline Cristian, who upset Madison Keys, the 8th seeded American, 3-6 6-3 6-3, on Tuesday.


5th-seeded Beatriz Haddad Maia came from behind to oust Caroline Dolehide on Wednesday night in Charleston

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In night action, 5th-seeded Beatriz Haddad Maia from Brazil ousted Caroline Dolehide, also from the US, 6-2 7-5, rallying from 2-5 down in the second set, and stealing the last game with two perfect lobs.

Haddad Maia’s next opponent is Veronika Kudermetova, the 9th seed from Russia who won this tournament in 2021, ended local hope Shelby Rogers’ return, 7-6(5) 6-4.

Australia’s Astra Sharma upset Lesia Tsurenko, the No 16 seed from Ukraine, 6-4 6-0, to set up a 3rd-round encounter with Maria Sakkari, the 3rd seed from Greece.

The 28-year-old, ranked 35 and a lucky loser, who tasted success in South Carolina 3 years ago when she captured her sole career title at a WTA 250 event, needed 76 minutes to advance.

Sharma, who had more aces and double-faults than her 39th-ranked opponent, lost her serve when leading 5-2 in the opening set, but broke the 34-year-old 6 times in a convincing display.



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