Can Serena at less than full health dominate the WTA circuit?

By July 09, 2019
Leighton Levy

Leighton Levy is a journalist with 28 years’ experience covering crime, entertainment, and sports. He joined the staff at SportsMax.TV as a content editor two years ago and is enjoying the experience of developing sports content and new ideas. At SportsMax.tv he is pursuing his true passion - sports.

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    Karen Khachanov thrilled the Moscow crowd as he saved five match points before overcoming veteran Philipp Kohlschreiber at the Kremlin Cup.

    The world number eight, top seed and defending champion at the ATP 250 event, found himself 5-3 down in the decider but refused to buckle as Kohlschreiber eyed a notable scalp on his 36th birthday.

    Khachanov – now the focus of home hopes after Daniil Medvedev's withdrawal due to fatigue - repelled three match points to force a tie-break and his calmness from the baseline saw him through more trouble to prevail 3-6 6-3 7-6 (9-7).

    Andreas Seppi is up next for Khachanov after the experienced Italian similarly came from a set down to beat Roberto Carballes Baena 5-7 6-1 6-3.

    Serbian fourth seed Dusan Lajovic also went the distance against Lukas Rosol, coming through 6-4 6-7 (8-6) 6-3 to beat his Czech opponent and set up a quarter-final clash against last year's runner-up Adrian Mannarino – a straight-sets winner over Mikhail Kukushkin.

    Stan Wawrinka returned to action at the European Open, competing for the first time since his US Open quarter-final loss, and his troublesome knee was given a thorough workout by Feliciano Lopez.

    The two seasoned campaigners provided plenty of entertainment - a sumptuous backhand half-volley at the net in the first set serving as a particular highlight from Wawrinka, who came through 6-7 (4-7) 6-4 7-6 (7-4).

    The 34-year-old Swiss will take on Gilles Simon in the quarter-finals after the world number 47 came through his all-French clash against Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 6-4 7-5.

    Andy Murray will face Pablo Cuevas in round two after the eighth-seeded Uruguayan beat Hugo Dellien 6-4 6-3, while Guido Pella ensured further South American success by beating Kwon Soon-woo 7-5 7-5 to earn a quarter-final place.

    Frances Tiafoe's reward for breaking a three-match losing streak, defeating Yannick Maden, will be a meeting with another German opponent in Jan-Lennard Struff.

    At the Stockholm Open, US Open semi-finalist and second seed Grigor Dimitrov was dumped out by Sam Querrey, losing 6-7 (7-9) 6-3 7-6 (7-3). Taylor Fritz was another seed to fall – 7-5 6-4 against Yoshihito Nishioka,

    Filip Krajinovic is up next for Nishioka after beating Dan Evans 7-5 2-6 6-3.

  • Tired Gauff brushed aside by Blinkova in Luxembourg Tired Gauff brushed aside by Blinkova in Luxembourg

    Anna Blinkova overcame a fatigued Coco Gauff as the American teenager was unable to back up her Linz triumph at the Luxembourg Open.

    Gauff claimed the first WTA title of her fledgling career in Austria last week but was clinically dispatched by Russian Blinkova 6-4 6-0 on Wednesday.

    The beaten 15-year-old American complained of feeling tired as she was swept aside in the second set and found Blinkova in uncompromising mood.

    World number 66 Blinkova made only five unforced errors and hit 18 winners in her first-round victory.

    Defending champion Julia Goerges saw off 2015 winner Misaki Doi in a gruelling three-set battle, the second seed coming back to triumph 5-7 6-1 6-3 to reach round two.

    Wednesday brought a more straightforward outing for third seed Elena Rybakina, who breezed past Denisa Allertova 6-2 6-1 to earn a quarter-final place.

    Jelena Ostapenko beat Caty McNally in straight sets and will meet top seed Elise Mertens in the last-16, while there were second-round wins for Margarita Gasparyan and Laura Siegemund.

    At the Kremlin Cup in Moscow, Belinda Bencic pulled off a stunning comeback to beat Polona Hercog 1-6 6-3 6-4 and book a quarter-final place.

    As well as being blown away in the opening set, number three seed Bencic found herself 3-0 down in the decider before shifting through the gears to win six of the last seven games.

    Bencic will next tackle Kirsten Flipkens, who bested fifth seed Dayana Yastremska 6-3 3-6 6-3.

    Ekaterina Alexandrova had too much for fellow Russian Anna Kalinskaya, thrashing her compatriot 6-1 6-1 before their home crowd. Karolina Muchova, who stormed past fourth seed Donna Vekic 6-4 6-2, will be Alexandrova's last-eight opponent.

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