’s-Hertogenbosch | Top seeds cruise at Libema Open

The weather has affected play at the Libema Open at ’s-Hertogenbosch in the Netherlands, one of two WTA 250 events being played on grass this week on the WTA Tour, with only 1 main draw match completed on Monday and a catch-up of the schedule required on Tuesday.

The two top seeds, Aryna Sabalenka and Belinda Bencic, both advanced in straight sets with easy wins, while the only seeded casualty in the first round was Liudmila Samsonova, who fell to Ann Li.

Sabalenka defeated Ukraine’s Kateryna Baindl, 6-4 6-1, while Bencic from Switzerland dispatched American Madison Brengle, 6-4 6-3, and Li upset fifth-seed Samsonova, 6-3 6-4.

Dutch wild-card Arianne Hartono graced her debut with an impressive 6-4 3-6 6-4 win over Taylah Preston, an Australian qualifier, after leading 5-2 in a tense 3rd set in which her opponent fought back to 5-4.

Hartono managed to win four points in a row on Preston’s serve, and with that came her first win in a WTA tournament in 2022.

The 26-year-old’s next round opponent is Sabalenka, while Bencic will take on Anna Kalinskaya, who defeated Suzan Lemens from the Netherlands, 7-6(5) 6-3, in the only match to be completed on Monday.

Kalinskaya saved 7 of 9 break points, and won 70 percent of her second-service points, 16 of 23.

Third-seeded Elena Rybakina of Kazakhstan eliminated Jamie Loeb, 6-4 7-5, and takes on another American in Shelby Rogers, who was a 6-2 6-4 winner over Vitalia Diatchenko.

No 4 seed Tamara Zidansek of Slovenia rallied to beat France’s Harmony Tan, 1-6 6-2 6-4, while 7th-seeded Ekaterina Alexandrova found her way past Ukraine’s Dayana Yastremska, 2-6 7-6(1) 6-2.

Zidansek next meets American qualifier Catherine McNally, who beat Daria Saville from Australia, 7-6(3) 6-3, while Alexandrova takes on Anhelina Kalinina, the new Ukrainian No 1 who went the distance against the young Aussie qualifier Olivia Gadecki, 2-6 7-6(1) 6-2.

Kalinina led Gadecki by a set and 3-0, but had to come from 3-1 down in the decider to notch the first grass-court WTA main draw win of her career.

6th-seeded Veronika Kudermetova set up a contest with Anna Blinkova with a 6-2 6-3 win over French wild-card Leoila Jeanjean, while Blinkova battled past Belgian Greet Minnen, 2-6 6-1 6-4.

36-year old former World No 13 Kirsten Flipkens from Belgium, who has announced that she will retire after this year’s Wimbledon, kicked off the last grass swing of her career with a 3-set win over 21-year old Anastasia Tikhonova, a qualifier playing the first WTA main draw of her career, and she will take on Li next.

Another Belgian, No 8 seed Elise Mertens, improved her head-to-head against Australia’s Storm Sanders to 2-1 after coming from a set down to defeat the qualifier, 6-7(5) 6-1 6-1, and she will meet compatriot Alison Van Uytvanck in round 2, who took out Germany’s Tamara Korpatsch, 6-4 7-5.



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