Switzerland’s former champion of the 32nd Palermo Ladies Open, Jil Teichmann, withdrew from the tournament on Wednesday with a left thigh injury ahead of her second round match, handing a walkover to Romania’s Elena-Gabriela Ruse.
It was very hard, especially with my serve today. I think I made something like 14 double-faults! But I’m just happy, mentally, with how I was able to go through this and win this match. I think I was lucky that her serve was not very good too, so I was able to break her many times. Océane Dodin
The 3rd seed, who won the title here in 2019, pulled out shortly before the match was due to start.
As a result, qualifier Ruse now faces home favourite Lucia Bronzetti in the quarter-finals, after the Italian beat Grace Min of the United States, 6-3 6-1 to make her second last 8 spot in a row.
Bronzetti, ranked 190, received a wild-card this week and needed 2 hours 2 minutes to complete the win, taking almost 84% points off her first serves, with Min winning 50% of her’s, and facing 10 break points as the resilient American refused to give in to her opponent’s tactics.
For the match, Bronzetti saved 9 of the 11 break points she faced while converting 6 of the 20 break-point opportunities she had on the American’s serve.
She finished the match with 95 points to Min’s 74.
Last week, Bronzetti made it to the quarters in Lausanne, losing to eventual champion, Tamara Zidansek, who won her first career trophy.
Another Romanian also through to the quarters is Jaqueline Cristian, who defeated Chinese qualifier Qinwen Zheng, 6-1 6-4, in an hour 26 minutes in the penultimate match of the day.
The 159th-ranked Cristian converted 4 of the 8 break points she had, and saved 3 of the 4 break points she faced.
Cristian next plays 6th-seeded Océane Dodin of France, who survived a scare to beat Russian veteran Vitalia Diatchenko, 7-6(7) 6-4, in an hour 54 minutes.
Dodin has endured much since winning her first WTA title as a teenager in 2016.
Back into her first outdoor quarter-final in 4 years, the 24-year-old Frenchwoman has lost neither her breathtaking power nor her sense of humour, outlasting Diatchenko in two tight sets.
“It was very hard, especially with my serve today,” the former World No 46 giggled after her win. “I think I made something like 14 double-faults!
“But I’m just happy, mentally, with how I was able to go through this and win this match.”
Dodin struggled to rein in her notoriously high toss, but Diatchenko was similarly out of sorts on serve and threw in 16 double-faults of her own, including one on match point.
Her higher-ranked opposition was able to save a set point in the first set tiebreak and ultimately recovered to reel off the encounter’s final 4 games.
“I think I was lucky that her serve was not very good too, so I was able to break her many times,” Dodin mused.
Although seeded 6th in Palermo, Dodin arrived in search of elite-level consistency, having won just 2 WTA main draw matches all year.
She had successfully navigated an uncertain 2020, one that had begun brightly with back-to-back quarter-finals at the St. Petersburg Ladies Trophy, where she scored her second career Top 20 win over Johanna Konta and pushed Elena Rybakina to a deciding set, and the Open 6ème Sens Métropole de Lyon.
She emerged from the subsequent lockdown by reaching her third quarter-final in Linz, clearing that last hurdle into the Top 100 for the first time since 2018 proving tougher than expected.
The match featured 30 double-faults, 14 of which were hit by Dodin, who made good of 7 of the 10 break-point chances she had on Diatchenko’s serve and saved 7 of the 13 break points she faced.
“Just before this tournament was another hard time,” she said. “I wasn’t feeling very confident with my game, and I was struggling with my serve.
“Now I feel like I’m better. I’ve taken some confidence from training with my coach. It’s getting better every day, so I’m just very happy about this.”
Now ranked No 120, Dodin could yet make that milestone leap in Palermo with a run to the final, but has to first get past her rival Cristian, fortunate it was not to be Zheng, who has beaten her twice in the last 3 weeks.
“It was the love of the game,” she said of what maintained her motivation. “It’s just very important, and the most important thing for me.
“I still love the game and love being on tour. Of course, it’s been very difficult with the COVID situation, but I think all that matters is that we love what we do. This is the case for me.”
At the BNP Paribas Poland Open, only two singles matches were played on Wednesday, with Hungarian qualifier Anna Bondar beating Anna Karolina Schmiedlova from Slovakia, 6-3 6-7(5) 6-1, and Tamar Korpatsch continuing her run in Gdynia with a 7-5 6-1 win over local lucky loser Weronika Falkowska.
The German upset 11th-seeded Olga Govortsova from Belarus on Monday in 3 sets.
Govortsova got some revenge in the doubles, however, teaming up with fellow Belarusian Aliaksandra Sasnovich to reach the quarter-finals after seeing off the German-Slovak tandem of Korpatsch & Tereza Mihalikova, 6-3 5-7 [10-8] in almost 2 hours.
There the Belarusians will take on Georgian duo Ekaterine Gorgodze & Oksana Kalashnikova.
A Belarus-Kazakhstan combination of Lidziya Marozava & Anna Danilina beat Poland’s Weronika Baszak & Varvara Flink from Russia, 6-1 2-6 [10-7].
In the quarters they will play Irina Bara of Romania & Varvara Lepchenko of the United States.