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Doi Safely Through In Kaohsiung

  • Posted: Jan 01, 1970

KAOHSUING, Taiwan – Misaki Doi’s finally roused her slumbering campaign to life on Monday with a straight set win over Kristyna Pliskova at the Taiwan Open.

Watch live action from St. Petersburg & Kaohsiung this week on WTA Live powered by TennisTV!

A miserable start to 2016 saw Doi fall at the first hurdle in Auckland, Hobart and finally the Australian Open. The third and final of these defeats Down Under was particularly galling, Doi holding a match point against eventual champion Angelique Kerber in the first round of the Australian Open.

Perhaps buoyed by Kerber’s subsequent heroics at Melbourne Park, Doi came out with a spring in her step against Pliskova, breaking serve twice to take the first set. She repeated the trick in the second set to wrap up a 6-3, 6-4 victory in little over an hour.

Also advancing in the bottom half of the draw was qualifier Yuxuan Zhang, a 5-7, 7-6(3), 6-2 winner over lucky loser Hiroko Kuwata.

Meanwhile, in the top half there were wins for Urszula Radwanska and Anastasija Sevastova.

Radwanska was given a stern examination by local wildcard Hsu Ching-Wen, before coming through, 6-4, 7-6(1). Sevastova was pushed even harder, fighting back to see off Kristina Kucova, 4-6, 7-6(0), 7-6(3), in a match lasting nearly two and a half hours.

Tuesday will see most of the remaining seeds, including home favorite Hsieh Su-Wei, in first round action. The only exception is top seed Venus Williams, who will wait until Wednesday to get her challenge underway against Lee Pei-Chi.

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Muguruza Notches First Cincinnati Win

  • Posted: Jan 01, 1970

CINCINNATI, OH, USA – World No.3 Garbiñe Muguruza fought past an early challenge from CoCo Vandeweghe to make her way into the third round of the Western & Southern Open for the first time.

Watch live action from Cincinnati this week on WTA Live powered by TennisTV!

Curiously enough for the reigning French Open champion, this tournament has never been one where she’s seen much success. In fact, she’s never scored a win in any of her three previous appearances in Cincinnati. Muguruza made sure to fix this stat after powering past Vandeweghe, 7-6(4), 6-2.

“I’m finally happy I won my first match here, and against a very difficult opponent,” Muguruza said afterwards. “CoCo is very powerful, but I’m happy to be into the third round.

The Spaniard started out very tentatively against the big hitting Vandeweghe, striking three double faults in one game and flubbing a backhand to meekly surrender the first break at 4-2. But instead of allowing herself to panic, Muguruza put together the aggressive game she’s relied on in the past and broke back immediately to erase the lead. She kept it up well into the tiebreak and through the second set, where she broke twice more to wrap up the match after an hour and 25 minutes.

Both players posted similar numbers in the winner to unforced errors count, with Muguruza striking 21 winners and 20 unforced errors and the American hitting 22 and 21, respectively. Despite Vandeweghe outplaying and outserving Muguruza for much of the first set, Muguruza proved more dominant on the key points. She converted all three break points she created while Vandeweghe only converted one of two.

Now with a win in Cincinnati finally under her belt, what are the rest of the No.4 seed’s goals for the year?

“Well, first of all not get injured,” Muguruza laughed in her on-court interview. “Of course and keep showing this level and keep winning a lot of matches, if I can, and perform well.”

She awaits the winner between Kurumi Nara and No.16 seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova for a spot in the quarterfinals.

More to come…

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Cornet, Mladenovic Join Team USANA

  • Posted: Jan 01, 1970

SALT LAKE CITY, USA – Climbing to the summit of women’s tennis is no easy matter. Staying there, though, is arguably even more challenging.

No stone is left unturned in the quest for the slightest competitive edge. Therefore, it is no surprise that many players are paying increasing attention the nutritional side of their preparation.

Kristina Mladenovic and Alizé Cornet are two players famed almost as much for their exceptional physical conditioning as for their technical brilliance, and on Tuesday were unveiled as the latest big names to trust their health to USANA Health Sciences.

The two Frenchwomen join USANA’s 700-plus stable of athletes who back their performances with the global nutritional company’s NSF-tested products, including fellow WTA stars Caroline Wozniacki, Eugenie Bouchard, Madison Keys, Samantha Stosur, Sloane Stephens, Monica Puig and Zheng Saisai.

Currently the highest-ranked French player in both singles and doubles, Mladenovic is one of the brightest young talents on tour. Still just 22, Mladenovic already has one WTA title in singles and a further 12 in doubles, as well as two Grand Slam mixed doubles crowns alongside Canada’s Daniel Nestor.

“I’m excited to be part of Team USANA,” Mladenovic said. “I have been using USANA vitamins and supplements for a few years and have seen the difference that it has made in my health and fitness. As one of USANA’s Ambassadors, I’m looking forward to sharing my positive experience with others and letting them know what USANA can do for them.”

Heading into her 10th year on tour, Cornet recently captured her fifth WTA singles title, at the Hobart International, taking down fellow USANA Brand Ambassador Eugenie Bouchard in the final. The former World No.11 has reached the last 16 at three of the four majors and also holds three wins over Serena Williams.

“USANA vitamins and supplements have been an important part of my nutrition routine for years,” Cornet said. “I believe in USANA products and I am thrilled to be an Ambassador.”

USANA has been the Official Health Supplement Supplier of the WTA since 2006 and continues to provide its high-quality, NSF-tested nutritional products to more than 170 WTA athletes, including 15 athletes in the WTA Top 20, and eight of the Top 10.

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WTAi Podcast: Russian Revolution II

  • Posted: Jan 01, 1970

On this episode it’s all about the Russians. Senior Writer for WTA Insider Courtney Nguyen previews this week’s tournaments in St. Petersburg and Taiwan and look to the new generation of Russians – Margarita Gasparyan, Elizaveta Kulichkova, and Daria Kasatkina – who are eager to put their stamps on the tour. Their collective success is an important development for a country that has produced two No.1s in Maria Sharapova and Dinara Safina, swept the podium at the 2008 Olympics, and won three of the four majors in 2004. There has been a notable gap in talent after Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova’s protogenic rise. That’s about to change.

Gasparyan, Kulichkova, and Kasatkina are all in action this week and after a solid last six months, they are all in the Top 100, which means you’ll be seeing more of them in the main draw at tour events. So now’s the time to get to know them.

Gasparyan on switching from a male coach to a female coach, former player Elena Makarova: “She’s not just a coach. She’s a friend. I like to work with a woman. When you have a male coach you cannot speak about everything with him. Maybe just tennis. When you have tennis you can tell all. How you feel, tennis, boyfriends, everything. I’m relaxed. I don’t think a lot of tennis all the time.”

Kasatkina on the Russian resurgence: “I think it’s because of Russian character. We have not the best conditions. So that’s why we fight all the time for everything.”

Kulichkova on her friendship with Kasatkina: “We’re not so alike in terms of liking the same things. We probably like the three same things, everything else is different. But still we’re best friends. It works nicely. So if someone says friendship in women’s tennis doesn’t exist it’s a lie! We are the proof. It exists.”

Subscribe to the podcast on iTunes or any podcast app of your choice. Reviews are always helpful so if you like what you’re hearing leave us a review. Get new episode alerts by following WTA Insider on Twitter @WTA_Insider.

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