London | WTA Roundup – Bencic outpaces Boulter in Tallinn, as Sakkari prevails in Parma

Tallinn | WTA 250 Tallinn Open

British No 6 Katie Boulter put up a brave fight against 2nd-seeded Belinda Bencic in the 2nd-round of the Tallinn Open but lost in 3 sets, while home favourite Kaia Kanepi upset Jelena Ostapenko, the 5th seed, to complete the 1st-round line-up in Estonia.

Bencic beat Boulter, 6-4 6-7(2) 6-3, in a tightly-fought encounter that saw the Briton edge the second set.

The Swiss World No 14 broke serve in the 9th game of the first set to take the lead, but Boulter bounced back to take the second in the tiebreak, which she won comfortably, before Bencic responded by winning 4 straight games to advance to her 9th quarter-final of the season.

Kanepi won her opening-round match after the veteran Estonian came from a set down to post her upset win over Ostapenko, 4-6 6-4 6-0, winning 82% of her first-serve points and saving 4 of the 8 break points she faced while converting 7 of the 11 break points that came her way.

It was the 11th time this season that Kanepi has gone on to win after losing the opener, despite starting off well, going 4-2 up, only to lose 4 games in a row to find herself 4-5 down, and although she saved a set point in the next game,Ostapenko, the World No 17 from Latvia, rode out the set.

The second set saw the 37-year old, ranked 32, go up 5-0 up after breaking 3 times, when Ostapenko complained of feeling unwell and took a medical break, and play resumed after her blood pressure was taken.

Kanepi had the set in hand at 40-0 up in the next game, but Ostapenko pulled back to break, aided by double-faults, and took the next 4 games before the Estonian held on to take the set.


Kaia Kanepi upset 5th-seeded Jelena Ostapenko in front of her home crowd in Tallinn

© Mike Stobe/Getty Images

In the decider, Kanepi finally took full control and did not drop another a game, winning the match at her first opportunity.

Kanepi served 6 aces against 6 double-faults, while Ostapenko delivered just 1 to 4.

“I had lost the rhythm of my serve, so it seems that I need to practice more,” Kanepi joked after the match about missing her second set chance. “I did want to win as soon as possible.

“At the start, I actually felt pretty good, but then, for a while, she played very well, right at the end of the set.

“I didn’t let that get out of my mind. I tried to keep playing and try what other approaches I could, then, luckily, it turned out well for m.

“Every win means a lot, but you never know how many more games you will get to play in Estonia.

“Every match I play here is very special, so thank you to everyone who came to watch,” she added, thanking the home crowd for their vocal support.

Kanepi faces American Ann Li next.

Meanwhile, in the last 1st-round match to be completed on Wednesday, 8th seed Shuai Zhang from China defeated Viktoria Kuzmova, a qualifier from Slovakia, 7-6(4) 7-6(8), in an hour and 48 minutes.

Zhang will play Croatia’s Donna Vekic next, with the winner taking on Bencic in the quarter-finals.


Maria Sakkari needed 3 sets to get past Arantxa Rus at the Parma Ladies Open on Wednesday to reach the Last 8

© Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images

Parma | WTA 250 Parma Ladies Open

Top seed Maria Sakkari rallied past Arantxa Rus, 3-6 6-2 6-3, on Wednesday to reach the quarter-finals of the Parma Ladies Open, where she will play Maryna Zanevska, a 6-1 6-3 winner over Dalma Galfi, while Danka Kovinic overcame 12 double-faults to notch a 7-5 2-6 7-5 victory over 4th-seeded Sloane Stephens to set up a Last 8 meeting with Jasmine Paolini, who outlasted compatriot Elisabetta Cocciaretto, 4-6 6-3 6-4.

Sakkari, the World No 7 accepted a late wild-card to the red clay court tournament in Italy, and is playing her first event since losing to Wang Xiyu in the 2nd-round of the US Open.

The Greek has dropped a set in each of her two matches so far, while her quarter-final opponent, Zanevska from Belgium has come through without losing one and dropped just 4 games against Galfi from Hungary.

Kovinic, who comes from Montenegro, fired 4 aces and converted 71.2 percent of her first-serve points against Stephens, and faces Paolini after the match-up of Italians went her way after 3 sets.

In the lower half of the draw, 3rd-seeded Irina-Camelia Begu of Romania beat Italy’s Matilde Paoletti, 6-4 6-4, and takes on No 6 seed Ana Bogdan, also from Romania, who was a 6-2 3-6 6-3 winner over Slovakia’s Anna Karolina Schmiedlova in the quarter-finals, while American Lauren Davis beat Spain’s Sara Sorribes Tormo, 3-6 6-4 7-5 and meets Mayar Sherif in the Last 8, after the Egyptian defeated Swiss qualifier Simona Waltert, 6-3 7-6(1).




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