In the first main draw match of the VTB Kremlin Cup in Moscow, the number nine seed, Timea Babos beat Irina-Camelia Begu for the first time on tour with a 6-2 6-7(2) 7-5 win in two hours and 27 minutes.
Andd in the second main draw match, the one I had been looking forward to all day, Daria Kasatkina won 10 of the last 11 games to end Belinda Bencic’s miserable year in singles with a 6-4 6-1 victory. Bencic started brightly, dominating the rallies and looking for the backhand.
For a moment, I thought BB would waltz through but the errors and double faults started to come and with that, Kasatkina settled and started to play with more variety, drawing Bencic into uncomfortable positions with some tricky slices and short balls. In the second set, Kasatkina stepped up the aggression as Bencic’s challenge faded..
I can’t wait to see Belinda back in 2017, hopefully fully fit and healthy. If she stays injury-free, I have total belief that she’s going to rediscover the form that saw her crack the top ten last year. Kasatkina moves through to the second round where she will play either Ekaterina Makarova or Nicole Gibbs.
In Luxembourg, Caroline Garcia had a hard fought three set win over Anett Kontaveit in the first main draw match of the day, 7-6(2) 2-6 6-4.
In an all-slicing battle, Monica Niculescu defeated Kirsten Flipkens in straight sets, 6-4 6-2. I just watched back the match and it was super entertainment!
And Monica sounds like a treat in press…
Francesca Schiavone produced a neat display to defeat an impatient and erratic, Laura Siegemund, 6-2 6-2. There was a nice exchange of words at the net.
This looked like an end-of-season match from Siegemund who didn’t have her usual intensity and looked very frustrated at times. There were a handful of nice points but they were interspersed between a lot of errors. It turns out though Laura had been ill…
A focused and determined, Denisa Allertova came back from a set down to defeat Eugenie Bouchard, 3-6 6-3 6-3. Allertova’s forehand was lethal at the end, gaining the crucial break at 3-3 in the decider with a soaring forehand pass. Bouchard’s groundstrokes went awry at the end as she struggled to contend with Allertova’s depth.
Varvara Lepchenko and Anna Karolina Schmiedlova were the final two winners on day 1 in Luxembourg. Schmiedlova beat Yanina Wickmayer, 6-0 1-6 6-3 in a scoreline that leaves me sad that this match wasn’t streamed.
In case you missed it, Serena Williams has withdrawn from the WTA Finals which means the Race to Singapore goes on… according to the WTA, Svetlana Kuznetsova or Carla Suárez Navarro need to win Moscow to topple Johanna Konta out of ninth place.
Three players have been confirmed for the WTA Elite Trophy tournament in Zhuhai.
And finally two tweets that made me smile.. Carla and Misaki!