WTA

Azarenka, Bencic and Kvitova advance through first round at Guadalajara Open

By Sports Desk October 17, 2022

Victoria Azarenka has booked a clash with the top seed of the Guadalajara Open after defeating Elina Avanesyan 6-4 6-2 in Monday's opening round.

In the last event of the season before the WTA Finals, Belarus' Azarenka was too strong with her return game for her Russian opponent, winning 53 per cent (32-of-60) of her return points while capitalising on five-of-seven break point opportunities to earn a shot at world number eight Paula Badosa.

While Azarenka has no chance of qualifying for the WTA Finals – with only the top-eight players in the rankings making it through – Belinda Bencic is one of the players who can sneak in with a great result this week.

Needing to make the semi-finals to have a chance, she got off on the right foot with a 7-5 6-7 (10-12) 6-3 win against Leylah Fernandez in her opening match.

Petra Kvitova can also qualify if she reaches the final, and she started without issue, defeating Bernarda Pera 6-3 7-5.

Ekaterina Alexandrova had an outside chance of claiming a WTA Finals spot if she won this tournament, but she was the victim of the day's biggest upset, falling 6-4 7-6 (10-8) to Camila Osorio.

At 22nd in the world, Liudmila Samsonova is the lowest-ranked player in the field with a mathematical chance at qualification, but she is a step closer after handling Kaia Kanepi 6-1 7-5.

Despite Fernandez's earlier loss, it was a strong day for the Canadians, with Bianca Andreescu proving too good in her 6-2 6-4 victory against Jil Teichmann, and Rebecca Marino also only needed two sets to defeat Ann Li 6-2 7-6 (7-2).

China's Lin Zhu came from a set behind to beat France's Alize Cornet 3-6 6-3 6-4, while Ukraine's Marta Kostyuk had a much quicker result in her 6-1 6-3 triumph over Belarus' Aliaksandra Sasnovich.

World number 34 Elise Mertens had no problems in one of the biggest mismatches of the day as she defeated world number 185 Asia Muhammad 6-3 6-2, and Sloane Stephens needed only 54 minutes to advance 6-0 6-2 past Linda Fruhvirtova.

In the last match of the night, Mexico's top chance Fernanda Contreras Gomez was eliminated by Alja Tomljanovic 6-2 6-1.

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