There were some impressive results in Europe overnight as two Aussies captured silverware whilst Ash Barty continued her excellent start to the clay season with another victory.
Barty’s victory didn’t come easy as she survived a scare from World No.80 Tamara Zidansek in Madrid to win 6-4, 1-6, 6-3, setting up a highly anticipated clash with current French Open champion Iga Swiatek.
Barty found it tough going against the Slovenian qualifier, especially in the second set where her serve consistently let her down. Zidansek played brilliantly in the second, where she was able to take her first ever set from a top 10 player with some strong tennis from the baseline.
The World No.1 showed a lot of fight throughout the encounter, saving nine of eleven break points for the match whilst serving well when it counted with nine aces. It was a stern test for Barty as she now looks ahead to her matchup with Swiatek in the third round.
“Real exciting,” said Barty after her victory.
“A match that i look forward to. I’ve hit with her once in Melbourne a few months ago. She’s got a seriously impressive game. Moves very well on the clay court, can slide off both legs, controls her body really well on clay. Likes to use her hopper, gets around, controls the court with her forehand. It's a challenge that we go into with a really clean slate, a little bit of a period of trying to figure each other out and how our games match up."
Swiatek is currently on a nine match winning streak on red clay which dates back to her French Open run, whilst Barty’s is at 13 as the pair meet for the first time on the tour.
Swiatek eased through her second round match against Laura Siegemund 6-3, 6-3 to set up the clash with Barty. Ninth seed Petra Kvitova prevailed over Angelique Kerber 6-4, 7-5 to advance to the third round where she will meet World No.28 Veronika Kudermetova, who defeated seventh seed Kiki Bertens 6-4, 6-3.
Belinda Bencic, Ons Jabeur, Anastasija Sevastova and Paula Bedosa also advanced to the third round.
After rain halted play in Munich, John Millman continued his match against Casper Ruud already being down a set. The match picked up where it left off the day before, with the Norwegian putting on a solid display to take out the match 6-3, 6-4. It put an end to a good run in the tournament by Millman, who has struggled with indifferent form throughout the year.
Ruud had to then back up on the same day to play his semi final, where he was comprehensively beaten 6-1, 6-2 by Nikoloz Basilashvili who booked his place in the final against Germany’s Jan-Lennard Struff, who reached his first ATP Tour Final after defeating Ilya Ivashka. Struff did what his countryman Alex Zverev could not by defeating the Belarussian qualifier 6-4, 6-1 to set up his first crack at silverware.
In Estoril, the final was decided after Britain’s Cam Norrie and Albert Ramos-Vinolas won their respective semifinals. Norrie continued his strong run in the tournament by defeating former US Open champion Marin Cilic 7-6, 7-5 to give himself a shot at his first ATP Tour title. Ramos-Vinolas defeated his talented young compatriot Alejandro Davidovich Fokina 6-1, 6-4 to advance to the final.
Qualifying for the men in Madrid has kicked off with mixed results for the Aussies. Jordan Thompson lost in a marathon encounter, while Alexei Popyrin prevailed in a tight match.
It took 2 hours and 44 minutes for Spanaird Carlos Taberner to oust Thompson 3-6, 7-6, 6-2 in what was a disappointing day for the Australian, exiting Madrid earlier than he would’ve hoped.
It was better news for Popyrin who came from a set down to defeat Argentinian World No.90 Federico Coria 6-7, 6-4, 6-3 in two hours, to advance to the second round of qualifying where he will face 18 year old French wildcard Arthur Cazaux.
Cazaux, ranked 603 in the world stunned onlookers overnight as he defeated rising American sensation Sebastian Korda 7-6, 6-4. The Frenchman has reached as high as number 4 in the junior rankings and has never played a tour level match. This will no doubt be a frustrating loss for Korda, with this loss adding to a string of underwhelming performances lately.
There was some silverware captured overnight on the Challenger Tour with Australian Marc Polmans and Ukrainian partner Sergiy Stakhovsky winning the doubles in Ostrava 7-6, 3-6, 10-7 over Czech pair Patrik Rikl and Andrew Paulson. It is a wonderful result for Polmans who endured a tough start to the year but has found some form in Ostrava.
On the ITF Tour, Arina Rodionova and her partner Anna Danilina from Kazakhstan have won the doubles title at the W60K event in Charlottesville, defeating Erin Routliffe and Aldila Sutjiadi 6-1, 6-3 to claim the trophy.
Over in Antalya, Turkey, Olivia Gadecki continued her fantastic form by defeating Japan’s Shiho Akita 6-3, 6-3 to book a place in the final where she will meet Russia’s Julia Avdeeva.
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