NEW

Barty lets Coco through, Pliskova to meet Martic

On a wet and dreary Friday at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome, World No 1 Ash Barty retired from her quarter-final match against Coco Gauff, waving on the American teenager into the semis after leading by a set, while Karolina Pliskova survived 3 match...

Nadal avenges Madrid loss

Up to the quarter-final stage of the Rome Masters, Rafa Nadal could be said to have had a fairly torrid time and when he faced Alexander Zverev for a place in the last four, many expected the German, last week’s Madrid Masters winner, to maintain his winning form over...

Pliskova to meet Ostapenko in Rome quarters

Karolina Pliskova is the sole seed in the lower half of the draw and takes on Jelena Ostapenko, the 2017 French Open champion, in the quarter-finals of the Internazionali BNL d’Italia, while Petra Martic and Jessica Pegula will contest the last quarter on Friday.

Barty cruises, Gauff stuns Sabalenka and Svitolina swats Muguruza

World No 1 Ash Barty remains on track to add the Rome title to her expanding collection but must overcome Coco Gauff in the quarter-finals, who upset Aryna Sabalenka, the Madrid champion, at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia on Thursday, while Elina Svitolina took out...

Nadal one point from defeat

Rafa Nadal’s invincibility on clay is being tested more regularly than you would expect and makes his forthcoming challenge at Roland Garros in a few weeks’ time, the more intriguing.

Jo Konta and Venus Williams enter Nottingham

British No 1 Johanna Konta and 10-time Grand Slam champion Venus Williams will headline this year’s Nottingham Open field, the first of the returning LTA summer grass court events.

Osaka leads march of seeds out of Rome

On a day of major upsets at the Internazionali BNL d'Italia, the underdogs prevailed, seeing off seeds Naomi Osaka, Simona Halep, Sofia Kenin, Serena Williams, Petra Kvitova, and Maria Sakkari in a procession of upsets at the Foro Italico in Rome.

Nadal back on track

Rafa Nadal, playing his first match at the Foro Italico following his quarter-final loss to Alexander Zverev at last week’s Madrid Masters, declared himself happy with his performance in overcoming Jannik Sinner in straight sets, but not so with the scheduling by the...

Konta follows Bencic and Mertens out of Rome

Seeds started to tumble at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome, with Belinda Bencic and Elise Mertens followed out of the draw by Jo Konta, while Garbiñe Muguruza and Angelique Kerber were among those to win through on Tuesday.

Kvitova, Brady, Swiatek and Sakkari open Rome accounts

The Internazionali BNL d’Italia got under way at the Foro Italico in Rome on Monday, with some of the seeds in action and coming through unscathed, although Petra Kvitova had to come from a set down against Magda Linette to advance, while Jennifer Brady won in...
Tennis News, Tennis Results, Live Tennis Scores & Interviews

Konta opens Madrid with a win as Svitolina falls

Britain’s Jo Konta began her clay-court campaign with a win over Yulia Putintseva in the first round of the Mutua Madrid Open, joining World No 1 Ash Barty and defending champion Kiki Bertens alongside Petra Kvitova, Iga Swiatek and Belinda Bencic in round two, while Elina Svitolina fell at the hands of Jil Teichmann after failing to convert 6 match points, and Garbiñe Muguruza withdrew from the WTA1000 event on Thursday.

I like sliding. I slide even on hard courts. I’m not a player that has to learn how to do that every year. I just have to remind myself how I was moving. I like to play heavy topspins. I like to have a lot of time. Clay is perfect for me. Basically it’s because when I was younger, I was only practicing on clay. Iga Świątek

Konta, the No 15 seed, who has played just 7 matches this season, beat Kazakhstan’s Putintseva 6-4 6-2 for just her third victory of the year.

The 29-year-old missed Great Britain’s Billie Jean King Cup play-off earlier this month as she continued to recover from a knee injury, but started her clay-court season in fine form over a tricky opponent and will play next Latvia’s Anastasija Sevastova, a 6-0 6-3 winner over fellow qualifier Ana Bogdan from Romania.

Konta, who has been managing a long-term knee problem, said there was a balancing act to be done between playing in tournaments and living in on-site bubbles.

“It’s very different playing under these circumstances compared to what our old normal used to be,” she said. “For me, it’s about managing where I feel like I’m able to really put myself out there to perform the best that I can.”


Ash Barty defeated Shelby Rogers for the 5th time this year to begin her campaign at the Caja Magica

© Mutua Madrid Open

While the men’s event is scheduled to get underway on Friday, the women’s competition started on Thursday when Australia’s top seed Barty made it 4 wins in 4 matches against Shelby Rogers this year as she brushed aside the American, breaking twice in both sets to win 6-2 6-1 in an hour.

“I’ve played Shelby many times this year… and it’s always a very big challenge,” Barty said after her win. “I needed to make sure that I was at my very best to be able to compete today.

“Every time you step out on the court against Shelby, you really need to be switched on, play your very best because she has the ability to take the match away from you very quickly.”

The 2019 French Open champion, however, made light work of Rogers, a hard court specialist, dominating by landing 76 percent of her first serves, delivering 8 aces, and losing just 2 points behind her first serve in all while never facing a break point.

Off the ground, the World No 1 struck 19 winners to just 9 unforced errors, against Rogers’ 9 winners and 20 miscues.

“Each one is different. Each one presents different challenges, different conditions. The rate that we’re going, we’ll play every month this year, just make it a tradition. We play each other once a month.”

The top seed, fresh from winning the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix on Sunday, will face Tamara Zidansek in the second round after the qualifier beat lucky loser Hsieh Su-Wei from Taipei, 6-2 6-4.

The Aussie said she would to have adjust to the outdoor conditions in Madrid, but there was little sign of awkwardness against Rogers, and she remains on a third-round collision course with reigning Roland Garros champion Swiatek after the Pole booked her place in the second round with a dominant 6-1 6-1 win over America’s Alison Riske.


Reigning French Open champion picked up on the red clay where she left off with a win over Alison Riske on Thursday

© Jimmie48/WTA

Swiatek picked up right where she left off in Paris last year, needing just 67 minutes to cruise past Riske in her first red clay-court match of 2021.

Having won 7 matches in a row to win her first Grand Slam title at the 2020 French Open, she has now won 8 matches in a row on clay without dropping a set, and has lost no more than 4 games in any of those 16 sets.

“I like sliding. I slide even on hard courts,” she explained. “I’m not a player that has to learn how to do that every year. I just have to remind myself how I was moving.

“I like to play heavy topspins. I like to have a lot of time. Clay is perfect for me. Basically it’s because when I was younger, I was only practicing on clay.

“A lot of European girls have this situation. My first coach always taught me to play with big topspin and kick serve. Right now it’s just natural for me.”

Swiatek struck 27 winners and 22 unforced errors, and broke serve 5 times while never losing her own against Riske.

“Today I just wanted to play solid and to use all the tactics, the clues that my coach gave me to implement everything in my game that he told me. I did that pretty well,” Swiatek said.

“I did some unforced errors that I wish they didn’t happen, but they didn’t have much influence on the score. Also I try to come back to the solid game, so I did that pretty well.”

Awaiting the 14th seed, who is ranked 17 in the world, is 59-ranked Laura Siegemund, a former World No 27 who holds 14 career wins over Top 20 players.

The German, who is a dangerous clay-courter in her own right, took outKateryna Kozlova from Ukraine in a clash of qualifiers, 6-4 6-2.

“I think I’m going to need to just, actually, get more matches on clay,” Swiatek added. “Even though last time I played, I won French Open, I played eight singles matches on clay last year, so it isn’t a lot. I still need to find some rhythm.”


Madrid's defending champion Kiki Bertens beat wild card Victoria Jiménez Kasintseva in straight sets

© WTA/Jimmie48

Defending Madrid Open champion Bertens also progressed as the 7th-seeded Dutchwoman beat wild card Victoria Jiménez Kasintseva, 6-4 6-0, while three-time champion Petra Kvitova advanced after fellow Czech Marie Bouzkova retired at 6-2, 2-3 down.

Two Swiss also advanced, Bencic, the No 8 seed, eased past French qualifier Kristina Mladenovic, 6-4 6-2, but it was compatriot Teichmann who pulled off the shock of the day, upsetting the 4th-seeded Svitolina, 2-6 6-4 7-6(5).

Coming from a set down, and trailing 1-5 in the decider, Teichmann saved 6 match points before winning in 2 hours 36 minutes.

“Honestly, I didn’t even count them,” said Teichmann afterwards. “I was just thinking, I’m 5-1 down, but every game was close – I just ended up losing them. I always believed, even down match points, that I could do it.”

Ranked 40 in the world, the 23-year old Swiss produced a thrilling performance against the Ukrainian on the surface she grew up on.

Svitolina seemed to have worked out the challenge, keeping her baseline game watertight and committing just 5 unforced errors to Teichmann’s 13 in the first set.

Injecting pace into her backhand and advancing to the net kept Svitolina in the driver’s seat but a series of swashbuckling forehands got Teichmann the break back and, playing more freely, she struck 15 winners in the second, out-maneouvering the 4th seed with a series of brilliantly constructed clay court points, finishing them off with panache on the drop-shot or at net.

“I started slow, especially with a lot of unforced errors,” said Teichmann. “Giving her too many free points. So I found a way to be more solid, to hit more balls.”

In the decider the Swiss relapsed, allowing Svitolina to break twice and race out to a hefty 5-1 lead but, on the brink of victory, the Ukrainian became both too passive and too error-strewn.

An exquisite drop-shot save the 2nd match point, bringing a grin to Teichmann’s face, and from then on, her game was free-flowing again

A series of lung-busting points brought the match to its climax, with Teichmann a step or two ahead of Svitolina, and having saved a 5th and 6th match point with another two clean winners, the Swiss controlled almost every point in the deciding tiebreak.

From 4-2 up, a flurry of errors opened the door for Svitolina again, but it was Teichmann who stepped up and from 5-5, another delightful drop-shot followed by a powerful forehand put her over the line.


Jil Teichmann pulled off the big upset of the day on Thursday by taking out No 4 seed Elina Svitolina in Madrid

© WhatsApp/Matua Madrid Open

In other results, former World No 1 Angelique Kerber of Germany defeated 2020 French Open finalist Marketa Vondrousova of the Czech Republic, 7-6(5) 6-1, while Tunisia’s Ons Jabeur saw off her Russian opponent, defeating Yaroslava Shvedova, 6-2 6-3.

Jabeur will face American former US Open champion Sloane Stephens, a 6-4 6-1 winner over lucky loser Danka Kovinic of Serbia, who entered the main draw after Spanish 10th seed Garbiñe Muguruza was forced to withdraw due to the persistent left thigh injury she sustained in Charleston last month.

“This is the worst news, and the most painful decision any player can make,” Muguruza said in a statement. “We have been working hard to recover and be able to get to the tournament in good shape, I came a week before to adapt because I really wanted to do well in Madrid, at home and in front of my home crowd.”

The 2016 French Open champion retired from a set up against Yulia Putintseva, citing a left leg injury.

“But the discomfort has returned and the last MRI confirmed that I have not recovered 100% to be able to compete and the doctor’s recommendation is to stop

“It is not an easy decision, and it is a great disappointment.

“I’d like to thank the tournament for all the hard work they’ve done to make it possible for us to have this event this year in these circumstances.

“I hope it’s a great tournament and that the fans in Madrid and at home watching on TV can enjoy it. Next year I’ll be even more excited to try again.”


Previous

Next

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.