San Diego | Yastremska and Vekic advance but Wozniacki falls as Fernandez retires

Dayana Yastremska and Donna Vekic were among those to advance to the 2nd-round of the Cymbiotika San Diego Open on Tuesday, but Leylah Fernandez was forced to withdraw from her opening match against Tatjana Maria because of injury, and Caroline Wozniacki fell to Anna Blinkova in 3 sets.

It's never too late to come back. I was thinking positively and fighting for every point. I was telling myself, you put all the balls in the court as much as you can, and I started to find my shots. I started to find the control. Anna Blinkova

A first-time major semi-finalist last month at the Australian Open, Yastremska, the No 5 seed, had to dig deep to outpace American Caroline Dolehide, 6-4 5-7 6-1.

The 23-year-old Ukrainian, who was up a set and a break, only to have her opponent force a decider, overcame 9 double-faults in the 2 hour, 8 minute contest.

Vekic, the 7th seed from Croatia, who was a finalist in San Diego in 2022, beat local wild-card Katherine Hui, 7-5 6-2, on the 19-year old’s WTA Tour singles debut.

A Santa Fe Christian School graduate, Hui is playing on the collegiate level at Stanford, and is the reigning US Open girls´ singles champion.

36-year old German veteran Tatjana Maria advanced when 8th seed Leylah Fernandez retired with a left shoulder injury trailing 0-4 in the second set.

It marks the third consecutive year the 21-year-old Canadian, a US Open finalist in 2021, has failed to reach the 2nd-round in San Diego.

Fernandez won a tight 82-minute first set 7-6(7), but the Canadian took an immediate medical time-out after capturing the gruelling opener before Maria, ranked 47, leapt out to a 4-0 lead in the second, at which point the 32nd-ranked 8th seed threw in the towel.

Making her San Diego WTA 500 debut, Germany’s No 1 will now face qualifier Daria Saville from Australia in the next round.

Maria beat the former Top 20 player in their only previous meeting, which came at WTA 125 Barranquilla last year.


Anna Blinkova came from a set and a break down to beat Caroline Wozniacki in San Diego, California

© Orlando Ramirez/Getty Images

Meanwhile, Anna Blinkova, the No 51 from Russia, engineered yet another remarkable come-back, coming from a set and a break down to defeat Denmark’s former World No 1 Caroline Wozniacki, 1-6 6-4 6-1, in the 1st-round.

Blinkova lost 8 of the first 9 games of the match before turning the tables on Wozniacki.

“It was a crazy match,” Blinkova said on court. “She started really well. She was outplaying me, she was much better than me in the first set. I couldn’t find solutions and I was down a set and 2-0. But I was just telling myself not to give up.”

The win is Blinkova’s second notable come-back this season, the 25-year-old having saved 6 match points . in January to defeat World No 4 Elena Rybakina, 6-4 4-6 7-6(20), in the longest tiebreak in Grand Slam history at the Australian Open.

“It’s never too late to come back,” she added. “I was thinking positively and fighting for every point.

“I was telling myself, you put all the balls in the court as much as you can, and I started to find my shots. I started to find the control.”

Playing in her first tournament since the Australian Open, Wozniacki looked in complete control of the match through the first hour, striking 9 winners to just 4 unforced errors in a near-perfect opening set, and breaking immediately to start the second.

Blinkova stormed back with her aggressive baseline play to earn a chance to serve out the second at 5-3, but the Russian double-faulted to hand back her lead.

When Wozniacki was broken for a 3rd time in the set, Blinkova forced the decider and raced away with the win, finishing with 34 winners to 37 unforced errors, while Wozniacki struck 22 winners to her 32 miscues, with 28 of those coming in the last 2 sets.

Blinkova will face Yastremska in the 2nd-round.


18-year old wild-card Taylah Preston got off the mark with a 3-set win over Magdalena Frech to score her first WTA Tour main draw win

© Orlando Ramirez/Getty Images

Czech Katerina Siniakova, a doubles titlist here last year with fellow Czech and reigning San Diego champion, Barbora Krejcikova, beat Japanese qualifier Mai Hontama, 6-3 6-1, in an hour and 13 minutes.

Also on Tuesday, Australia’s 18-year-old Taylah Preston, a wild-card, notched the first Hologic WTA Tour main-draw win of her career by beating 42nd-ranked Magdalena Frech from Poland, 6-4 4-6 6-1.

The World No 153 is on the rise, having reached the final at WTA 125 Puerto Vallarta just last week.




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