I missed yesterday’s blog due to my friend Hannah’s birthday (Happy Birthday Hannah), so today I am going to mix yesterday’s notable results with today’s results. In Hamburg, GER, top seed Albert Ramos-Vinolas was taken out in the first round by lucky loser Leonardo Mayer. The match lasted three hours, and it really came down to Mayer’s play on break point opportunities. The Argentine saved 7 out of 9 break point opportunities, while converting 4 out of 10 on Ramos-Vinolas’ serve, winning 6-7(3-7), 6-3, 7-6(7-4). The second seed also lost in the first round yesterday. Pablo Cuevas delivered 10 aces and won 78% on first serve points, but it was still not enough against Andrey Kuznetsov. The big-hitting Russian came back from a first set lost to beat the No.2 seed 3-6, 7-5, 6-4. Wildcard Tommy Haas also lost in the first round; the German veteran went out to Nicolas Kicker 7-5, 6-2. Andrey Rublev, the lucky loser who won the tournament in Umag, CRO, went out quickly 6-3, 6-1 to Philipp Kohlschreiber yesterday as well. Today, another seed went down. Seventh seed Fernando Verdasco could not fend off Jiri Vesely, eventually the young Czech won 7-6(9-7), 6-7(0-7), 6-3. Former finalist David Ferrer was able to win his first round match against Nikoloz Basilashvili 6-2, 3-6, 6-3. Both players won 60% on first serve points, but Ferrer won 57% on second serve points compared to only 43% from Basilashvili. Sixth seed Diego Schwartzman became the first seed to make it to the quarterfinals, winning his second round 1-6, 6-4, 6-2 against qualifier Cedrik-Marcel Stebe.
For the tournament in Atlanta, GA, I am going to highlight some results from the past three days, since the first day had some rain delays. On Monday, July 24, eighth seed Jared Donaldson took out fellow American Ernesto Escobedo 6-3, 6-1 in 57 mins. Donaldson only got 48% of first serves in, but won 80% of the points. Escobedo had zero chances to break Donalson, but was broken 4 out of 6 times himself. Another American, qualifier Tommy Paul upset seventh seed Chung Hyeon of South Korea, coming back from a first set loss, winning 4-6, 6-2, 6-3. In the battle of the qualifiers, young American Stefan Kozlov went down in two close sets to Quentin Halys 7-5, 7-6. More Americans competed yesterday in first round action. Atlanta is another popular tournament for Americans to participate in, but unfortunately, Bjorn Fratangelo, Tim Smyczek, Reilly Opelka, Taylor Fritz, and Frances Tiafoe all lost in the first round. A notable match was wildcard Christopher Eubanks, a senior at Georgia Tech taking out Fritz 7-6(7-5), 6-4. Two former finalists had mixed results. 2014 finalist Dudi Sela won a competitive first set to then run away with the match, beating Konstantin Kravchuk 7-5, 6-2. Despite 11 aces and 81% on points won first serves, 2015 finalist Marcos Baghdatis could not upset fifth seed Kyle Edmund, bowing out 6-3, 7-5. As for today, only one match has been completed so far. Paul continued his run with a three set battle over Malek Jaziri, winning 6-7(5-7), 6-4, 6-3. Both players hit eight aces, and in fact, Jaziri had a higher points won on first serve percentage (80%), but Paul won more points on second serves. More to come from Atlanta.
Gstaad, SUI, had some interesting results yesterday. Alexandr Dolgopolov, who just reached the final last week in Bastad, SWE, went out in three sets to Thiago Monteiro 7-6(7-5), 3-6, 6-3. Monteiro smashed 14 aces, but lacked in all other categories, meaning Dolgopolov just made too many unforced errors throughout the entire match. Sixth seed Robin Haase and eighth seed Joao Sousa won their matches in straight sets, but seventh seed Dusan Lajovic went down to Dustin Brown. A very unpredictable and flashy player, Brown’s unorthodox style can sometimes be very effective against the 21st century baseline player like Lajovic. After wrapping up the first set 6-3, Brown needed a tiebreak to seal the upset, winning the second 7-6(7-3). However, Brown was not able to keep that form going today losing in 39 mins. to Denis Istomin 6-3, 6-1. Istomin hit 11 aces, won 89% on first serve points, 89% on second serve points, and never faced a break point. Sixth seed Haase was able to get through to the quarterfinals beating Dolgopolov’s conquerer Monteiro 7-5, 7-5. Top seed David Goffin, who received a bye in the first round, had to really battle for his win today. After losing the first set easily 6-2, Goffin needed two tiebreaks to claim his victory. Goffin’s opponent, Radu Albot, ranked 132, really exploited the top seed’s match play deficiency, giving himself 17 opportunities to break; however, Albot only converted three of those opportunities, still proving his inexperience at competing with top 20 players. Ultimately, Goffin won 2-6, 7-6(9-7), 7-6(9-7).
Top seed in Bastad, Caroline Wozniacki needed three sets to win her first round yesterday. Taking on Pauline Parmentier, Wozniacki came into the match with a 2-0 lead in their head-to-head, but the last meeting came in 2012. Clay really highlights Parmentier’s spin shots, so it is no wonder she played better today. Wozniacki eventually wrapped up the match 6-3, 3-6, 6-2. The Dane reached the final back in 2009, so she knows how to win on these courts. Swedish wildcard Mirjam Bjorklund ranked 730 put up a good fight against Kateryna Kozlova, but lost 3-6, 6-2, 7-6(7-4). Fifth seed Carla Suarez-Navarro got 80% of first serves in and won 70% of them in her 6-1, 6-0 dismissal of Jasmine Paolini. After wrapping up the first set fairly easily, in fact, never losing a point on her first serve, Kiki Bertens got some resistance from Carina Witthoeft in the second. Last week’s Gstaad champion, Bertens extended her winning streak with a 6-1, 6-4 win over Witthoeft. Irina Begu, who won the tournament in Bucharest, ROU, last week unluckily drew third seed Caroline Garcia in the first round. After taking the first set, Begu’s game seemed to fade, although she did break 5 out of 5 times throughout the match. The Romanian eventually went down in three sets to Garcia. Last year’s runner-up Katerina Siniakova needed three sets, but ultimately ran away with the match, beating Swedish wildcard Rebecca Peterson 6-3, 3-6, 6-1. Siniakova made her way into the quarterfinals today, winning in straight sets today over qualifier Arantxa Rus 7-6(7-3), 6-4. Garcia won again today too. The third seed needed only 54 mins. to take out former top 10 player Sara Errani 6-1, 6-0, blasting nine aces throughout the match. Second seed Anastasija Sevastova reached her third consecutive WTA level quarterfinal, making quick work of Russian wildcard Elizaveta Kulichkova 6-2, 6-3.
Defending champion Duan Ying-Ying lost yesterday in the first round to Arina Rodionova in Nanchang, CHN. These two players were tied at 2-2 in their head-to-head with the last two matches going in Duan’s favor, but both being pushed to third set tiebreaks. Rodionova had the winning formula yesterday, exploiting Duan’s movement, taking the match 7-5, 6-4. Duan was not the only seed to fall, eighth seed Risa Ozaki had no answers in the first set against Zhu Lin, and found her form too late in second, bowing out 6-0, 7-5. Former world No.1 Jelena Jankovic is trying to find her form in Nanchang. Now ranked 70, Jankovic took on Chinese qualifier Kang Jiaqi; after controlling the first set, Kang started to play well in front of the home crowd, but eventually succumbed 6-2, 7-5 to the sixth seed. Today, the first round wrapped up with another No.1 seed going out. Zhang Shuai, China’s top female player at the moment lost a two hour 57 mins. battle against Taiwanese world No.113 Chang Kai-Chen 6-4, 6-7(6-8), 6-4. Both players hit nine aces for the match. Another match with a lot of breaks, Zhang broke Chang 6 out of 16 times, while Chang broke Zhang 8 out of 20 times. Probably feeling the nerves, Zhang could not find an answer today. This is not the first time one of their matches went by this score. Back in 2011, Zhang won the match by this score in Kuala Lumpur. With the top seed out, now it is anyone’s title. Third seed Kristyna Pliskova could step up for the task. The big-serving Czech took out South Korea’s highest ranked female player Jang Su-Jeong 6-3, 7-6(7-4). It could also be an unseeded hopeful. Rodionova backed up her upset of the defending champion with a solid 6-4, 6-2 win over Liu Fangzhou, tying their head-to-head record to 1-1 now, and also reaching the quarterfinals. Hsieh Su-Wei, Taiwan’s number one singles player at the moment could also steal the title from favorites. Needing three sets, Hsieh improved her record to 3-1 against Eri Hozumi of Japan, winning 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 for her place in the quarterfinals. In the battle of home crowd favorites, Han Xinyun took out fourth seed Wang Qiang 5-7, 7-6(7-2), 6-3 in two hours and 56 mins. Despite being ranked 75 spots below Wang, Han has the advantage in their head-to-head 6-3.
Sorry for the long post, but I wanted to get you guys up to speed. I have some really exciting news for tomorrow that I might just make a Facebook post. I will be sure to put it in here too. Thanks so much for reading this lengthy article, and I will see you guys tomorrow, bye!