Elena Vesnina has Monday’s shot of the day at the Brisbane International.
BRISBANE, Australia – Simona Halep and Maria Sharapova have unfortunately had to withdraw from the Brisbane International due to injury. Sharapova was the defending champion at the Premier event.
Watch live action from Brisbane, Shenzhen & Auckland on WTA Live powered by TennisTV!
Sharapova’s announcement came just hours before she was to take the court for her opening match.
“I hurt my forearm in practice a couple of days ago and need to precautionarily withdraw, with the Australian Open starting in just a matter of time,” Sharapova said. “This is such a special event for me, especially being the defending champion. I look forward to seeing all my fans in Brisbane next year.”
Shortly after the No.3-seeded Sharapova withdrew, the tournament’s No.1 seed, Simona Halep, was also forced to pull out, due to a left leg injury. She was going to play her opening match on Wednesday.
“I had problems with my Achilles in August and September, and then I didn’t feel it anymore, but now I’ve already had a couple of weeks again with the pain,” Halep told reporters. “I thought I would be ready to play here, to start the year here in Brisbane, but I don’t think that I can play a full match.
“I think it’s more important to be ready and take a little bit of a break.”
Halep is scheduled to play the Apia International Sydney next week – and she’s hopeful she will.
“Yeah, I’m planning to go to Sydney. Actually tomorrow I’m going there,” the World No.2 said. “It’s nothing dangerous – I did an MRI and it’s nothing dangerous. But it’s still an inflammation.
“I just have to take a few days’ rest.”
Sharapova and Halep were replaced by lucky losers Margarita Gasparyan and Ysaline Bonaventure.
Despite Tuesday’s withdrawals, the Premier event still has a dynamite field, led by 2015 Wimbledon finalist Garbiñe Muguruza. The No.2-seeded Spaniard will kick her campaign off on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, in second round play, No.8 seed Roberta Vinci cruised past Dominika Cibulkova in a battle of Grand Slam finalists, 6-1, 6-1, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova won a see-saw against Alizé Cornet, 6-2, 1-6, 6-4, and No.6 seed Carla Suárez Navarro took on Samantha Stosur in the feature night match.
Ekaterina Makarova beat Gasparyan in the last first round match of the week, 6-4, 2-6, 6-3.
SHENZHEN, China – World No.5 Agnieszka Radwanska registered an expected win, in unexpected circumstances, to get her 2016 campaign up and running at the Shenzhen Open.
Heavy rain forced the tournament organizers to move the majority of Tuesday’s order of play indoors, although the change of venue failed to distract Radwanska, who needed little over an hour to outfox Krunic, 6-4, 6-3, in her first match since lifting the BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global.
“Of course we all saw the weather and knew it would be difficult,” Radwanska said. “There was not much time to wait and I was prepared for that. Of course I came here to play outdoors, but we both had the same conditions and I’m happy I played my match today.”
With memories of Singapore fresh in her memory, Radwanska did not take long to knock off any rustiness, saving three break points in the second set to keep another of the game’s more cerebral competitors at arm’s length.
“I feel like I played my last match in Singapore a week ago! It’s always tough to come back to the match rhythm, but actually I was feeling really good and didn’t have any problems doing what I wanted to do on court and for the first match I played good tennis so I’m happy with that,” she added.
“I think the first matches are always the worst and the toughest. Every tournament has different conditions, especially here – I’ve never played indoors at a tournament that was outdoors. It’s a little bit of a new experience but everything went well so that’s the most important thing.”
In the second round the Pole will face wildcard Zhang Shuai, a 6-3, 6-3 winner earlier on over Irina Khromacheva. Elsewhere, there were mixed fortunes for three of Radwanska’s fellow seeds, Petra Kvitova, Eugenie Bouchard and Johanna Konta.
No.6 seed Bouchard put her difficult 2015 season behind her with a determined performance against Donna Vekic, overcoming a mid-match blip to come through, 6-4, 1-6, 7-5.
Unlike Bouchard, Konta, the No.5 seed, arrived in China with plenty of momentum after a brilliant second half to the previous campaign. However, in her first seeded outing at a WTA event, she slipped to a surprise defeat to Wang Qiang, going down to the World No.110, 6-3, 3-6, 6-3.
In the final match, Kvitova’s Australian Open preparations suffered a setback when she was forced to retire midway through her match against Zheng Saisai with a gastrointestinal illness. Zheng, who took the first set 6-2, will now meet Anett Kontaveit for a place in the quarterfinals.
AUCKLAND, New Zealand – While playing some exhibition tennis for the ASB crowd, Venus Williams, Caroline Wozniacki, and Bethanie Mattek-Sands were joined by four members of the All-Blacks, New Zealand’s national rubgy union team, who acted as ballboys and on-court attendants.
Nehe Milner-Skudder, Sam Cane, Joe Moody and Julian Savea did most of the gruntwork during the match, picking up balls and handing off towels, but there was still time for a selfie or two as play unfolded in front of an enthusiastic crowd.
“There’s definitely an art to it,” Milner-Skudder said of ball-boying. “We had a run-through for about half an hour before the girls came out, but we probably needed a lot longer than that.”
Check out some of the best photos from the day, courtesy of www.photosport.nz: