WTA Roundup | Watson falls in Strasbourg, Liu and Sherif to meet in Rabat

Internationaux de Strasbourg, France

British No 2 Heather Watson lost 6-1 6-1 to Poland’s Magda Linette in the 2nd-round of the WTA 250 tournament in Strasbourg on Tuesday.

Watson, ranked 105th in the world, will now focus on the French Open where she is a direct entry into the main draw.

Leading seeds, Czech Karolina Pliskova and Angelique Kerber from Germany, both moved into the last 16 with straight-sets victories on Monday, and will take on America’s Bernarda Pera and qualifier Aliaksandra Sasnovich respectively for places in the quarter-finals.

Pera was a 7-5 6-4 winner over Elena-Gabriela Ruse from Romania, while Sasnovich beat fellow qualifier Julie Gervais from France,6-4 6-2.

Another qualifier, Ekaterina Makarova, upset No 3 seed Sorana Cirstea from Romania, 1-6 6-3 6-2, and meets France’s Oceane Dodin next.

Meanwhile, Germany’s Anna-Lena Friedsam took out the last Australian, Daria Saville, 4-6 6-3 7-6(5), and will face Elise Mertens, the No 4 seed from Belgium in round 2.

Fresh from winning her biggest career title at the Paris WTA 125 last week, Claire Liu posted her sixth straight victory in the first round of the Grand Prix Sar La Princesse Lalla Meryem over Kamilla Rakhimova.


Grand Prix Sar La Princesse Lalla Meryem, Rabat, Morocco

The two title winners from the WTA 125s in Paris and Karlsruhe on Sunday, Claire Liu and Mayar Sherif, will meet in the 2nd-round of Grand Prix Sar La Princesse Lalla Meryem in Rabat, Morocco after both came through their respective opening rounds.

Fresh from winning her biggest career title in Paris, Liu, who is from the USA, was a 6-4 6-3 winner over Kamilla Rakhimova, notching up her 6th straight victory, while Sherif, the No 4 seed from Egypt, easily dispatched Chloe Paquet from France, 6-0 6-2.

Australians Ajla Tomljanovic and Astra Sharma are on course for a semi-final match-up at the Morocco Open, after both moved into the last 8.

Tomljanovic, the No 2 seed, defeated Slovakia’s Anna Schmiedlova, 7-5 6-2, to progress to her 2nd quarter-final of the season after a similar charge at another WTA 250 event in Istanbul last month.

“Today was really physical so I’m really glad that I pulled up after such two really long sets and I’m just thrilled to keep playing here,” the Aussie No 1 said. “I love coming back here to Rabat – it’s my third time – and I’ve always had such a great time and I’m still here.”

Tomljanovic will face Hungarian 5th seed Anna Bondar or Slovakian Kristina Kucova, who play on Wednesday, for a place in the last 4 as the 2021 Wimbledon quarter-finalist eyes a maiden WTA title.

“If I could choose where my first title would be, I wouldn’t mind it to be here,” Tomjlanovic said. “But there’s a very long way until then, so I’m just taking it one step at a time.”

As in the first round, Sharma lost the first set but rallied to beat Croatia’s Petra Marcinko, 5-7 6-3 6-3, and will either Liu or Sherif in the quarters.

Sharma came from 3-0 down in the decider to overcome the 16-year-old wild-card, who is the junior World No 1.

Marcinko, the Australian Open girls’ champion, had made her winning WTA debut as a wild-card by taking out No 9 seed Rebecca Peterson from Sweden in the first round for her first career Top 100 victory.

France’s Clara Burel advanced past Panna Udvardy from Hungary in 2 tiebreak sets in her first round match, having trailed 4-1 in the first set and led 3-1 in the second.

Meanwhile, an all-French 3-hour encounter saw Kristina Mladenovic save a match point before converting her 3rd against lucky loser Tessah Andrianjafitrimo, giving Mladenovic her first WTA main draw victory since Nur-Sultan 2021.

5th-seeded Anna Bondar from Hungary came from a break down in the 3rd set to defeat Italian qualifier Cristiana Ferrando, 6-4 3-6 7-5, in 2 hours and 46 minutes in her first round match.

Clara Burel advanced past Panna Udvardy in two tiebreaks in the first round of the Grand Prix Sar La Princesse Lalla Meryem, having trailed 4-1 in the first set and led 3-1 in the second.




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