Australia’s two numero uno’s Ash Barty and Alex De Minaur were both victorious on a big Wednesday of tennis on the red clay in different parts of Europe.
The World Number 1 making her Stuttgart debut at the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix, overcame German Laura Siegemund to advance to the Quarter Finals. Siegemund, the world number 58 had been a previous two time finalist on home soil back in 2016 and 2017 and who Barty had defeated previously on a Doha hardcourt last year.
Very contrasting sets with the Australian setting the tone early, never facing a break point on her serve in the opening set which she won 6-0. The German dug in though, and in the 2nd set forced a break of serve in the 3rd game, but Ash broke straight back straight away and then got the vital break in the final game of the set to close out a straight sets victory.
While her first serve percentage was down at 44%, she was 100% conversion on points won when she landed her first serve, overall 19-13 winners. She now awaits the winner of the Jelena Ostapenko/Karolina Pliskova match up Thursday Night AEST.
The big casualty from the draw was 3rd seed and 2020 Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin who went down 7-5, 6-4 to 27th ranked Annet Kontaveit from Estonia. The American struggles continuing falling to a 7-7 record this year.
At the Barcelona Open, Alex De Minaur who had the bye in the first round was keen to return to the winners list after three consecutive early defeats in Dubai, Miami and Monte Carlo and he managed to navigate his way out of a tight opening set before breaking the back of his opponent Kazak Alexander Bublik to prevail 7-6, 6-2.
Next up he will take on last weekend’s Monte Carlo Masters Champion Stefanos Tsitsipas who made light work of Spaniard Jaume Munar 6-0, 6-2. The Greek has a 4-0 H2H over the Aussie, but this will be the pairs first meeting on clay.
Unfortunately for fellow Aussie Jordan Thompson he couldn’t match it with Spaniard Pablo Carreno Busta dropping the 2nd set 6-0.
11 time Barcelona Open champion Rafael Nadal had an early scare dropping the first set to Belarussian qualifier Ilya Ivashka, before winning in 3 sets, while Andrey Rublev notched up another win as did Canadian Felix Auger Aliassime who came from a set down to dispense of the impressive young Italian Lorenzo Musetti 6-0 in the decider. The Monte Carlo surprise packet last week Dan Evans lost in 3 sets to Corentin Moutet.
Aussie pairing John Millman and JP Smith won through rain interruptions to book a spot in the quarter finals of the Serbia Open. In Singles action, World Number 1 Novak Djokovic on his home court was too strong for Soon-Woo Kwon, while 2nd seed Matteo Berrettini also advanced to the last eight.
On the ATP Challenger Circuit in Rome, after back to back quarter finals the last 2 weeks in Croatia, Thanasi Kokkinakis fell to the 5th seeded leftie Hugo Gaston 6-2, 6-3 in the 2nd round who saved all seven break points against his serve. Bernard Tomic did though get through his first round match which was pushed back a day due to rain, with the draw opening up with Czech qualifier Vit Kopriva to be his next opponent, who upset 2nd seed Hugo Dellien. An early exit for Matt Reid this week, with partner Sergiy Stakhovsky dropping their first round match.
On the ITF circuit, 18 year old Queenslander Tina Nadine Smith who had come through three qualifying matches won her opening round match at the W15 ITF tournament in Egypt, while Sydneysider Seone Mendez got through in straight sets to lock away a 3rd round match at the W25 ITF tournament in Portugal.
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