As the big names gather in Tokyo for the Olympic Tennis Event, the WTA Tour continues in Italy and Poland with two 250 tournaments on clay.
The BNP Paribas Poland Open in Gdynia lost its top seed Yulia Putuintseva after the Kazakh received a late draft into the Olympics, and she was joined by last week’s Lausanne champion and runner-up Tamara Zidansek and Clara Burel, as well as Prague runner-up Tereza Martincova and Stefanie Voegele, leaving Anna Blinkova and Aliaksandra Sasnovich as the two highest ranked players in the draw.
Blinkova, the 5th seed, however, was ousted by Anna Karolina Schmiedlova in the first round on Monday, the Slovakian winning in straight sets, 6-3 6-3, against the 83rd ranked Russian in an hour 35 minutes.
Schmiedlova failed to save both break points she faced and converted 5 of the 12 break points she had, taking 71 points for the match to her opponent’s 56.
In the second round, Schmiedlova will take on Hungary’s Anna Bondar, who qualified for the main draw and defeated Russian wild-card Valeriia Olianovskaia, 7-5 6-3, in an hour 47 minutes.
In the lower half of the draw, Polish lucky loser Weronika Falkowska beat Ukrainian qualifier, Kateryna Bondarenko, 6-0 6-2, in just 55 minutes.
The 396th ranked Falkowska had lost to Bondarenko in the final round of qualifying before getting a chance to compete in the main draw after the numerous withdrawals.
In the second round, Falkowska could play either Germany’s Tamara Korpatsch or 11th seed Belarusian, Olga Govortsova.
Meanwhile, Falkowska’s compatriot, Urszula Radwanska, wild-carded into the draw, was beaten by Slovakia’s Karolina Kucova, 6-2 6-1, in 65 minutes in their first-round encounter.
Kucova plays Irina Bara after the Romanian, the only seed to make it to the second round on Monday, got past Italian qualifier Federica di Sarra, 6-3 1-6 7-5, after 2 hours 38 minutes of play.
Ukraine’s Kateryna Kozlova also reached the second round by defeating American wild-card Katie Volynets, 7-6(3) 6-2 in an hour 45 minutes, and she could play either Polish wild-card Weronika Baszak or 6th seed Aliaksandra Sasnovich.
Elsewhere, at the 32nd Palermo Ladies Open in Italy, a teenage Chinese qualifier, Qinwen Zheng, ranked 171 in the world, scored her first top-100 win by upsetting 2nd-seeded Liudmila Samsonova, 6-3 6-2, in the opening round on Monday.
The 18-year old, who is playing in the main draw of a WTA tournament for the first time in her career, needed an hour 33 minutes to beat the Russian, converting 4 of the 7 break points she had on Samsonova’s serve while saving all but one of the 10 break points she faced in the match.
Zheng has brought her ITF World Tour form to her WTA main draw debut, with her record since the Tour resumption last August now standing at 61-14, including 6 ITF titles, and she has raised her ranking from World No 630 to World No 171.
Top seed Danielle Collins from the USA is scheduled to play on Tuesday evening despite having been forced to retire in the semi-finals in Budapest with an arm injury.
Switzerland’s Jil Teichmann, who lost in the first round in Lausanne to eventual finalist Maryna Zanevska from the Ukraine, mades a successful return after coming from a set down to defeat Spanish qualifier Marina Bassols Ribera, 3-6 6-4 6-1 in 2 hours 4 minutes.
Teichmann, seeded 3 won the 2019 edition of the Palermo Open, and now awaits either Mandy Minella from Luxembourg or Romanian qualifier Elena-Gabriela Ruse.
Oceane Dodin, the 6th seed from France, also advanced with a 6-3 6-2 win over Romanian Alexandra Dulgheru and she next will play Vitalia Diatchenko after the Russian beat Austrian Julia Grabher, 6-3 7-6(5).
Diatchenko’s compatriot, Natalia Vikhlyantseva also took her place in the second round with a 6-3 6-2 win against Switzerland’s Leonie Kung.
The 180th-ranked Vikhlyantseva saved 6 of the 7 break points she faced while converting 4 of the 11 break points she had on Kung’s serve.
She will play either Italian wild-card Lucrezia Stefanini or 7th-seeded Australian Astra Sharma.
Meanwhile, American Grace Min was the first to advance to the round-of-16 defeating Spain’s Lara Arruabarrena, 6-3 6-4, in an hour and 12 minutes.
For a place in the quarter-finals, Min will either play 5th seed Viktoria Tomova of Bulgaria or Italian wild-card Lucia Bronzetti, who reached the quarters in Lausanne last week.
Bronzetti’s fellow countrywoman, Giulia Gatto-Monticone, however, failed to make it past the first round, falling at the hands of Australian Maddison Inglis, 6-2 6-3 in their opener.
Inglis will play either No 1 seed Collins or German qualifier, Katharina Gerlach.
Romanian Jaqueline Cristian also came through, with a 2-6 6-3 6-4 win over Italian wild-card Nuria Brancaccio and she takes on Zheng next.