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News | WTA Tennis English

  • Posted: Jan 01, 1970

Eugenie Bouchard and Monica Puig will bid for first-round victories on Wednesday at the Crandon Park Tennis Center. We preview the must-see Miami Open matchups right here at wtatennis.com.

Wednesday

First round

Monica Puig (PUR #40) vs. Sorana Cirstea (ROU #65)
Head-to-head: Cirstea leads, 1-0
Key Stat: Puig is bidding for her 10th tour-level win of the season on Wednesday.

Monica Puig will have the chance to take her solid 2017 to the next level at the Miami Open, and that challenge begins with a first-round matchup with Romania’s Sorana Cirstea. It will not be an easy task as Cirstea has defeated Puig in their lone meeting, but the Romanian has now lost five straight since reaching the round of 16 at the Australian Open and she has gone 3-8 lifetime at Miami with losses in her last three matches.

Puig has a semifinal (Doha) and a quarterfinal (Acapulco) to her name this season, but the Puerto Rican is still searching for a follow-through to her breakout Gold Medal performance at last year’s Olympics. Could it happen this year in Miami, where Puig has only won two previous matches but will no doubt receive a warm reception from her fans?

Pick: Puig in three

Eugenie Bouchard (CAN #56) vs. [WC] Ashleigh Barty (AUS #91)
Head-to-head: First meeting
Key Stat: Ashleigh Barty is the only player in 2017 to win the singles and doubles title at the same event, doing so at Kuala Lumpur.

Eugenie Bouchard had a relatively promising start to 2017 that saw her reach a semifinal at Sydney and advance to the third round at the Australian Open. But since then the Canadian has lost three straight. She’ll look to get her season on track again when she meets one of the surprising stories of 2017 in Australia’s Ashleigh Barty.

Barty has already doubled her 2016 tour-level win total and she claimed her first career title at Kuala Lumpur where she qualified before reeling off five straight victories. Bouchard will have her hands full with the upwardly mobile Aussie and she’ll have to be sharp with her passing game, as she’ll be contending with frequent forays to the net from Barty.

Pick: Bouchard in three

Ajla Tomjlanovic (CRO #594) vs. CiCi Bellis (USA #55)
Head-to-head: First meeting
Key Stat: Bellis reached the third round on her Miami Open debut in 2015.

Ajla Tomljanovic made her inspiring return to tennis after a year on the sidelines due to a shoulder injury by defeating Eugenie Bouchard in her first match in over a year at Acapulco. Since then she has lost two in a row but the good news for the powerful 23-year-old is that she’s finally in good health again and ready to start improving her ranking and fulfilling her vast potential on tour. But Tomjlanovic will have to contend with one of the feistiest young players in the game to get a win in Miami when she faces 17-year-old CiCi Bellis, who reached the third round as a 15-year-old Wildcard here in 2015.

Bellis started her season late due to a lower body injury but the California native reached the quarterfinals at Dubai in her first event, notching her first career Top 10 win over Agnieszka Radwanska in the process. Is Tomljanovic ready to contend with the all-out intensity of Bellis, or will it be Bellis who notches another impressive win in this young season?

Pick: Bellis in three

Lucie Safarova (CZE #36) vs. Yanina Wickmayer (BEL #67)
Head-to-head: Safarova leads, 2-1
Key Stat: Safarova has gone 4-4 against players ranked outside the Top 50 at Miami.

Lucie Safarova will look to continue her climb back up the WTA rankings in a place that has given her significant trouble in recent years. The Czech has lost six of her last seven matches at the Miami Open and has never been beyond the third round in eleven career main draw appearances.

On Wednesday she’ll look to exact some revenge on the woman that knocked her out of last year’s draw, Belgium’s Yanina Wickmayer. Safarova has already slipped by the Belgian once this year, defeating her in three sets at the Australian Open, but Wickmayer is a former quarterfinalist at Miami that also owns win over Kim Clijsters and Timea Bacsinszky at the event.

Pick: Safarova in two

By the Numbers:

1-4 – Eugenie’s lifetime record at Miami. The Canadian has lost four straight decisions here.

2016 – Though she fell in her first match last year, Lucie Safarova did claim the doubles title with Bethanie Mattek-Sands.

5 – Ashleigh Barty is one of five WTA players to have claimed a maiden title in 2017. Lauren Davis (Auckland), Katerina Siniakova (Shenzhen), Elise Mertens (Hobart) and Kristina Mladenovic (St. Petersburg) are the other four.

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Daily Insider: Of Bumps and Bruises

Daily Insider: Of Bumps and Bruises

  • Posted: Jan 01, 1970

– The Carnage Continues: Playing her first match of the 2016 season, Garbiñe Muguruza was forced to retire from a tight second round encounter with American Varvara Lepchenko. Lepchenko had taken the opening set in a thrilling tiebreaker when the World No.3 took a medical timeout to address her left foot, which was later confirmed to be a recurrence of plantar fascia:

– Epic Win: Naomi Broady aspires to be the WTA’s Ivo Karlovic, but mixed raw power with unfiltered drama at the ASB Classic against 18-year-old wildcard Jelena Ostapenko. Down 1-5 in the final set, the Brit won a match that must be seen to be believed. 

– Upset Stomach: Over at the Shenzhen Open, Petra Kvitova had her own woes in the form of an unexpected GI illness that kept her from finishing her first round match against Zheng Saisai. While physically fit, the virus did keep the two-time Wimbledon champion off the practice court.

– Ailing Aussies: Ajla Tomljanovic and Samantha Stosur are both dealing with physical issues early in the season; the former pulled out of the doubles tournament in Brisbane with an abdominal injury, while the 2011 US Open champion underwent an MRI that revealed tendon sheath damage to her right wrist. Both hope to be ready for their home major tournament in two weeks.

– Down, But Not Out: Simona Halep’s tournament may have ended before it began, but the World No.2 is still eager to serve up something major to start the season:

– Making a Racket: One former No.1 enjoying a clean bill of health is Victoria Azarenka; the two-time Australian Open champion eased past lucky loser Ysaline Bonaventure, who acquitted herself well in her second marquee match (The Tennis Island spoke with the Belgian last summer). Meanwhile, Azarenka remained coy about a possible equipment change in press:

– Young Gun: Samantha Crawford’s star looked set to rise in 2012 when she qualified for the US Open main draw and went on to win the girl’s singles title – beating Anett Kontaveit in the final. Injuries have curtailed her progress, but the American is hitting her stride in Brisbane, upsetting Belinda Bencic to reach her first Premier quarterfinal. Learn more about the big-hitting Crawford here.

– Comeback Kid: Tamira Paszek came up in the same cadre of current WTA stars as Azarenka and Caroline Wozniacki, but an adductor injury nearly took her off the tour for good. Now fit, healthy, and back with former coach Andrei Pavel, Paszek has been making waves once again at the ASB Classic, overcoming reknowned battlers Francesca Schiavone and Svetlana Kuznetsova to reach her first WTA quarterfinal since 2012 (Seoul). WTA Insider spoke with the Austrian last fall.

– Dance Off: From the All-Blacks’ stint as ballboys for Caroline Wozniacki, Venus Williams and Bethanie Mattek-Sands. Williams whipped and nae-nae’d her way to a perfect practice with a little help from Julian Savea.

– Out From Under: Andrea Petkovic wasn’t sure if she would even be in Australia last fall, but a detour through the streets of Manhattan brought her back to Brisbane in stunning style; the German is into the quarterfinals after defeating Ekaterina Makarova in straight sets, and put on an even bigger show in the press conference:

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Graf Celebrates 100 Days To Zhuhai

Graf Celebrates 100 Days To Zhuhai

  • Posted: Jan 01, 1970

ZHUHAI, China – Sunday marked 100 days until the WTA Elite Trophy Zhuhai, and the tournament rang in the start of an exciting countdown with the help of former World No.1 and Tournament Ambassador, Stefani Graf.

Graf took the role back in May, and couldn’t be more ready to help the WTA stars “Shine in Zhuhai” in what will be the final event of the 2016 season.

Check out the best photos from the event, which feature Tournament Director Peter Johnson unveiling Graf’s video announcement:

WTA Elite Trophy Zhuhai 

WTA Elite Trophy Zhuhai

WTA Elite Trophy Zhuhai

Photos courtesy of the WTA.

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News | WTA Tennis English

News | WTA Tennis English

  • Posted: Jan 01, 1970

MIAMI, FL, USA – World No.1 Angelique Kerber took a break from the hardcourts of the Miami Open to hit the hardwood at a Miami Heat game.

The German got the chance to take in the Heat’s 112-97 victory against the Phoenix Suns at the AmericanAirlines Arena, as well as hit some tennis balls into the crowd and rub shoulders with players and mascots.

She was also outfitted in a custom Heat jersey, complete with the roster number “1” – fitting for the No.1 player in the world.

Kerber will start her Miami Open campaign against Duan Ying-Ying on Friday.

In the meantime, here’s some of the best photos of Kerber at the Miami Heat game, courtesy of the Miami Open:

Angelique Kerber

Angelique Kerber

Angelique Kerber

Angelique Kerber

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Injury Ends Muguruza's Brisbane Hopes

Injury Ends Muguruza's Brisbane Hopes

  • Posted: Jan 01, 1970

BRISBANE, Australia – No.2 seed Garbiñe Muguruza became the latest casualty at the Brisbane International when she was forced to retire from her second round meeting with Varvara Lepchenko on Wednesday evening.

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Following on from the last-minute withdrawals of Maria Sharapova and Simona Halep, the path to the title lay wide open, but Muguruza saw her chance of silverware scuppered when she aggravated a long-standing foot injury.

“I started to feel it at 3-3, something like that,” Muguruza said in her post-match press conference. “But it’s just a pain that sometimes you have in the foot, especially when you’re starting to compete and to run a lot.”

Visibly struggling for the remainder of the set, in which she coughed up 27 unforced errors, Muguruza played through the pain barrier, fending off four set points before finally succumbing in a tense tie-break. Despite lengthy treatment during the changeover, it was quickly apparent that her resistance would not last much longer, admitting defeat after Lepchenko held serve the following game.

The Spaniard remains optimistic that the injury, which she carried over from the previous campaign, will not jeopardize her chances at the upcoming Australian Open.

“Last year I felt it almost during the whole season. I felt it also in the pre-season a little bit, but especially here over the last few days, playing points, running more, more, more,” she said.

“I thought in the match I was going to be able to play with the pain, but it just got to a point where I’m like, ‘Hey it’s getting worse, so just stop and let’s treat it and hopefully it’s gone in couple of days.'”

Meeting Lepchenko, who had been leading 7-6(9), 1-0, for a place in the semifinals will be Muguruza’s doubles partner and fellow Spaniard, Carla Suárez Navarro.

“Carla’s a very tough opponent and she’s playing well so I’m expecting the best from her and I’ll have to fight for every ball,” Lepchenko said.

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Kvitova Leaps Past Linette

  • Posted: Jan 01, 1970

MONTRÉAL, Canada – No.12 seed Petra Kvitova weathered a rainy day at the Rogers Cup to rain down on Madga Linette, 6-1, 6-2, in just over an hour on Court Central.

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Kvitova’s first North American hardcourt title came in Montréal back in 2012, and he rode those good memories to an emphatic win over Linette on Monday night.

“I think the rain is following women’s tennis right now – wherever we are it’s a rainy day! – so I’m just happy I was able to play. It was the night session, but I just had to wait a little bit longer and I’m glad that I played, I won and I’m through,” Kvitova said after the match.

Linette pushed former No.1 Venus Williams to three sets last week at the Bank of the West Classic, but was overwhelmed by the two-time Wimbledon winner, who won nine of 12 points on second serve return points and didn’t face a break point in any of her own seven service games.

Kvitova’s next obstacle as she looks to rouse a slumbering season is either Alizé Cornet or Andrea Petkovic. “My first half of the season wasn’t as great as I would have wished, but I’m always believing that I can come back and play well. This is a chance for me and I’ll do everything I can to go far.”

Another seed making progress in the bottom half was 2011 finalist Samantha Stosur, who finished strongly to get past Heather Watson, 7-5, 6-3. “To get through in straight sets, I’m pretty happy,” Stosur said. “Overall I thought I served pretty well. There weren’t a lot of points off my serve where she could dictate off the first shot.”

Around the grounds, qualifier Camila Giorgi squeaked past Sloane Stephens, 7-6(2), 7-6(4). No.17 seed Elina Svitolina knocked out American qualifier Jennifer Brady, 6-2, 6-4, while Naomi Broady fought back to defeat Monica Puig, 3-6, 6-4, 6-2.

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Keys Downs Vesnina, Konta Keeps Winning

Keys Downs Vesnina, Konta Keeps Winning

  • Posted: Jan 01, 1970

MONTRÉAL, Canada – Madison Keys bounced back from her All England Club disappointment with a confident win over Elena Vesnina in the first round of the Rogers Cup.

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Going into Wimbledon, Keys was tipped as a dark horse for the title, but saw her hopes dashed in the fourth round by Simona Halep. If the disappointment has lingered, the American hid it well against Vesnina, rattling off the final nine games of the match to complete a 6-4, 6-0 victory.

While Keys’ memories of Wimbledon 2016 will be tinged with disappointment, for Vesnina it was the best fortnight of her career. The Russian defeated a number of higher-ranked players to become the first unseeded semifinalist for five years.

Against Keys, she started brightly enough, confidently holding her opening four service games. However, her opponent’s booming delivery was equally dominant and when she wavered in the ninth game, tugging a couple of forehands into the tramlines, it triggered a sea-change in fortune.

Keys closed out the first set before breaking again in a marathon opening game of the second. As Vesnina’s head dropped, the No.10 seed ruthlessly pounced to book a second-round meeting against Madison Brengle.

Johanna Konta

Konta Too Good For Rogers

Less than 48 hours on from upsetting Venus Williams to lift her maiden WTA title, Johanna Konta was back on court facing another American, Shelby Rogers.

While the performance this time was less spectacular, the result was the same, Konta’s 6-4, 6-2 win setting up a second-round meeting against either Vania King or Timea Babos.

The Briton started strongly and while unable to secure an insurance break she successfully kept Rogers at arm’s length to take the opening set. In the second both players struggled to hold serve, but once again it was Konta coming out on top at the crucial moments.

This time last year, Konta – then ranked well outside the Top 100 – was competing in the less salubrious surroundings of nearby Granby. She ended up leaving with the trophy, a feat she repeated at another ITF Circuit event the following week in Vancouver before really announcing herself by reaching the fourth round of the US Open.

Now the Top 10 beckons. Only three other British players – Virginia Wade, Sue Barker and Jo Durie – have achieved this feat, and should Konta keep this latest winning run alive – and other results go in her favor – she could join the club in Montréal.

Russians March On

Another player with an outside chance of reaching the Top 10 in the not-too-distant future is Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova. At Wimbledon, the gifted Russian reached her first Grand Slam quarterfinal since 2011, falling in two tight sets to eventual champion Serena Williams.

At the Stade Uniprix, Pavlyuchenkova was given a real scare, conjuring up a miraculous drop volley to save match point in the final set of her 6-4, 1-6, 7-5 win over Yulia Putintseva. Also taken the distance in their opening round outings were compatriots Alla Kudryavtseva and Daria Kasatkina.

Kudryavtseva, who came through qualifying, upset Kristina Mladenovic, 7-6(5), 1-6, 6-3, while Kastakina shook off a slow start to defeat the in-form Misaki Doi, 3-6, 6-3, 6-1.

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News | WTA Tennis English

  • Posted: Jan 01, 1970

MIAMI, FL, USA – No.2 seed Karolina Pliskova wrapped up her straight sets win over Madison Brengle in just under an hour to move into the third round of the Miami Open, 6-1, 6-3.

Last year, Pliskova made a run to the Indian Wells semifinals and crashed out of Miami in her opening match. The Czech admitted at All-Access Hour that her biggest goal was to avoid the same fate again.

“I had this last year as well – I did semis last year and then I lost in first round here,” she said. “So I just want to change this. I know I struggle after I do a good result in one tournament and then coming to a different tournament after.

“I think I’m in good shape this year, so hopefully I can change it in this tournament, to not lose in the first round.”

With her first serve percentage dipping to 46%, Pliskova relied on her booming groundstrokes and strong returning to ensure that she’d fight another day. She bossed the rallies against the American, quickly breaking twice to reel off six straight games and take the opening set and a break to lead in the second.

Brengle put up a better fight in the second set as she attacked the Pliskova serve and earned herself her first break of the match, but Pliskova quickly reestablished the lead in the next game. They stayed on serve for the rest of the set with just a break separating the two players, and Brengle was unable to bring up a second break opportunity as Pliskova took the victory in just 59 minutes.

Pliskova dictated the rallies from start to finish, and it showed in the stats: she finished the match with 27 winners and 30 unforced errors to Brengle’s six winners and 24 unforced errors. She took five of the eight break opportunities she created, while the American was only able to convert one of two.

“The last few matches it’s not really about my serve because the percentage is a little low, but I’m happy that I have my game from the baseline,” Pliskova said after the match. “I was feeling the ball pretty well today.

“It was a tough one today against an American, she has the home crowd supporting here. So I’m just happy to be through.”

 

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