Top seed Danielle Collins reached the last 16 of the 32nd Palermo Ladies Open in dominant form despite having suffered an arm injury last week at the Hungarian Grand Prix after the American defeated Katharina Gerlach, a German qualifier, 7-5 6-3, on Tuesday.
Since my surgery a couple of months ago, it’s been all about getting more match play and building up that stamina and endurance. Any time you have surgery, especially one that’s so invasive and working on different organs, it takes a lot out of you and you lose that stamina. So, rebuilding that has been important so I can go far in tournaments and do a good job. Danielle Collins
“I’ve had about two days of rest so that’s given me a little bit of time to get the inflammation in my arm to subside,” she explained after the match. “It’s feeling good today; I was serving probably the best I’ve served in the last three weeks, so that was really nice. Hopefully, it continues to not cause me any pain.”
Collins won 75 percent of points behind her first serve and fended off late surges in both sets to advance in 90 minutes.
“I think every time I step out on the court, no matter where I’m playing, I try to bring good energy and a good fight,” Collins added. “It’s all part of the effort and being competitive.
“I played a tough competitor today who definitely gave me some challenges along the way.”
Collins is making a comeback since undergoing surgery for chronic pain related to endometriosis.
“Since my surgery a couple of months ago, it’s been all about getting more match play and building up that stamina and endurance,” she added. “Any time you have surgery, especially one that’s so invasive and working on different organs, it takes a lot out of you and you lose that stamina.
“So, rebuilding that has been important so I can go far in tournaments and do a good job.”
Up next for the 27-year-old American is Maddison Inglis from Australian, who thwarted hometown favourite Giulia Gatto-Monticone in straight sets on Monday.
Collins won their last encounter on hard courts in 2019, and went on to reach the Australian Open semi-finals the following week.
Elsewhere, No 4 seed Zhang Shuai from China eliminated Spain’s Cristina Bucșa, 7-5 6-3 and will next face American Francesca di Lorenzo for a spot in the quarter-finals, who took out Russian Valeria Savinykh by the same score.
Other seeds tumbled, however, including 5th-seeded Viktoriya Tomova from Switzerland, who fell to Italian wild-card Lucia Bronzetti,6-4 6-1; while No 8 seed Kamilla Rakhimova, also from Russia, failed to convert a one-set lead against Serbia’s Olga Danilovic and ultimately lost, 3-6 6-2 6-2.
A former teen phenom who won the Moscow River Cup in 2018, Danilovic reached the quarter-finals last week in Budapest as a qualifier, and will next face Ukrainian Katarina Zavatska to repeat the result in Palermo.
Zavatska was a 6-2 6-3 winner over Australia’s Lizette Cabrera, while another Aussie, 7th-seeded Astra Sharma of Australia beat Italy’s Lucrezia Stefanini, 6-4 1-6 6-3, to reach the last 16 of the WTA 250 event.
Sharma overcame a mid-match blip to come through in a little over 2 hours in a match in which the World No 121 and Stefanini both broke serve 5 times in a wild encounter that included numerous momentum swings.
Going down a break in the opening game of the deciding set, Sharma battled back to take a 5-3 lead, saving 2 break-point chances in the 10th game before securing victory on her first match point.
Sharma will play Russian Natalia Vikhlyantseva for a spot in the quarter-finals
At the BNP Paribas Poland Open, Aliaksandra Sasnovich, the World No 87 from Belarus, got off to a good start by seeing off Poland’s Weronika Baszak, 3-6 6-1 6-2, in an hour and 45 minutes, and she will face Katerina Kozlova next.
Germany’s Tamara Korpatsch reached the second round with a win over 11th seed and Sasnovich’s compatriot, Olga Govortsova.
Korpatsch dropped the first set 1-6 but bounced back to win the match 1-6 7-5 7-5, a minute shy of the 3-hour-mark.
Only one of three Russians in the draw advanced to the round-of-16 when Varvara Lepchenko defeated lucky loser Marina Melnikova in their opener, coming from a set down to post a 4-6 7-6(4) 6-3 win after the 3 hour 8 minute battle.
In the second set, the American was a game away from crashing out but turned the match around to take on Georgian qualifier Ekaterina Gorgodze.
Gorgodze also came through her round-of-32 clash against a Russian lucky loser, Anastasia Zakharova, and as had Lepchenko, she, too, came from a set down to claim a 6-7(5) 6-3 6-1 victory in 2 hours 13 minutes.
The sole Russian to make it to the pre-quarter-finals was lucky loser Amina Anshba, ranked 325, who is making her main draw debut in singles this week and ousted France’s Harmony Tan, 6-4 6-2, in an hour and 58 minutes.
Anshba plays Nuria Parrizas Diaz of Spain, the 9 seed, who also had a battle on her hands before getting past Poland’s Magdalena Frech, 6-3 2-6 6-4, after 2 hours 12 minutes.
The match featured 13 breaks of serve, with the winner claiming 7 service breaks and Frech converting 6.
Third seed Irina-Camelia Begu also took her place in the second round after the Romanian won 6-1 6-2 against Belgium’s Ysaline Bonaventure in an hour 12 minutes.
For a place in the quarter-finals, Begu will play Pole, Katarzyna Kawa, who won against Croatian lucky loser, Tereza Mrdeza, 6-3 1-6 6-2, in an hour and 59 minutes.