WTA

Sabalenka survives Blinkova scare in Strasbourg

By Sports Desk September 23, 2020

Aryna Sabalenka avoided an upset by fighting back to defeat Anna Blinkova 1-6 6-4 6-2 and reach the Internationaux de Strasbourg quarter-finals.

The world number 12, this year's champion in Doha, made the last-eight stage for the first time since the WTA returned after the coronavirus shutdown having won just three matches before this week.

Katerina Siniakova awaits after the Czech upset the odds to defeat seventh seed Ekaterina Alexandrova 6-2 6-4.

Alexandrova defeated Siniakova when winning her first WTA singles title in Shenzhen this season but was unable to repeat the feat.

"I feel really good on clay," Siniakova said. "It was tough, it was a good match, I'm happy about it."

Nao Hibino defeated Zarina Diyas in straight sets, while third seed Kiki Bertens withdrew injured when trailing 4-2 in the decided set of her clash with Jelena Ostapenko.

Related items

  • Tiafoe & Johnson spring first-round shocks Tiafoe & Johnson spring first-round shocks

    Frances Tiafoe shrugged off his first-round loss at the Sardegna Open with a successful hard-court return, beating sixth seed Dusan Lajovic at the European Open.

    The American had lost to Corentin Moutet on the clay in Italy but was back to form in Antwerp in only his second meeting with the Serbian.

    Lajovic won their previous encounter at Indian Wells in 2017 but Tiafoe saved two set points in the second set to prevail 6-3 7-6 (8-6) and progress to the second round.

    Tiafoe was not the only player to knock out a seed on the ATP Tour on Monday, as his compatriot Steve Johnson claimed victory over Marin Cilic at the Cologne Championships.

    Johnson spurned four set points as the opener was sent to a tie-break. However, he prevailed in the shoot-out and then broke the ninth seed to love in the first game of the second.

    Cilic never threatened to break back as the 2014 US Open champion slipped to a surprise defeat.

  • Kontaveit survives scare to overcome Alexandrova at Ostrava Open Kontaveit survives scare to overcome Alexandrova at Ostrava Open

    Anett Kontaveit came back from a double break down in the deciding set to edge past Ekaterina Alexandrova 4-6 6-2 7-6 (8-6) at the Ostrava Open on Monday. 

    Kontaveit, seeded eighth, was made to work hard for victory by her Russian opponent, who had opened a 5-2 lead in the third set before being pegged back for a deciding tie-break. 

    Estonian Kontaveit saved two match points in the breaker, ultimately prevailing in two hours and 14 minutes to set up a second-round clash with Sara Sorribes Tormo after her 6-1 6-3 victory over Magda Linette. 

    "I was so close to being out, so I just tried to stay in the match," Kontaveit said. "I never really gave up. I tried to be a little more aggressive when I was down. I felt maybe I'd taken a little bit off my shots.

    "She was really getting on top of me so I felt I had to push back, and sometimes when you take those risks they pay off. 

    "I think it was more adrenaline and instinct, especially at the end of the third. I was behind so badly that I was just trying to stay in it. I thought it was important that I never gave anything to her, she had to earn it to go in front." 

    Elsewhere, Maria Sakkari set up a second-round meeting with number one seed Elina Svitolina after a 6-3 6-3 win over Kristyna Pliskova, while Barbora Krejcikova beat Tereza Martincova 7-5 6-1.

  • Rublev set for career-high ranking after downing Coric in St Petersburg Rublev set for career-high ranking after downing Coric in St Petersburg

    Andrey Rublev earned an early birthday present as a 7-6 (7-5) 6-4 triumph over Borna Coric at the St Petersburg Open final ensured he will move to a career-high ranking on Monday.

    The Russian earned a fourth ATP title of a fine 2020 season on home court and will be ranked eighth in the world when the new standings are released.

    That will come just a day before Rublev, who climbed into the qualification spots for the ATP Finals with his victory against Denis Shapovalov in the semi-finals, turns 23.

    It was certainly a hard-fought win for Rublev, now a six-time ATP singles champion, given he was 5-2 down in a first-set tie-breaker.

    But five straight points caught Coric cold and the Croatian surrendered the only break of the match in game five of the second set to leave Rublev celebrating.

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.