Main draw matches at this week’s tournaments in St. Petersburg and Taipei City got underway on Monday. At the Premier stop in St. Petersburg, there was a big win for Annika Beck; having previously lost her last six matches on tour against Kiki Bertens, the world number 67 scored her first ever win in this match-up, 7-5 3-6 6-4. It was also Beck’s first win of 2017 as she snapped a five match losing streak on the tour.
In other first round matches, Daria Gavrilova and Natalia Vikhlyantseva both won in straight sets. Gavrilova’s experience saw her past the talented 18-year-old, Anna Kalinskaya, 6-4 7-5. Kalinskaya, who was hampered by a knee injury, served for the second set at *5-4 but threw in a couple of untimely double faults. She hit one beautiful drop shot down match point but Gavrilova got the job done in the end. There was a nice hug at the end!
Gavrilova has set up an intriguing second round tie with Svetlana Kuznetsova in a rematch of last year’s Moscow final. I’d guess Dasha will have to improve in that match to stand a chance against Kuznetsova.
The four qualifiers into the main draw are Andrea Petkovic, Kirsten Flipkens, Stefanie Voegele and Elise Mertens.
A couple of interesting matches there as Mertens beat Mladenovic en route to winning her first title in Hobart earlier this month. The 21-year-old is having a really encouraging start to the year. Also Cornet v Flipkens brings back happppy memories from Dubai.
Simona Halep and Venus Williams have both arrived in St. Petersburg. There’s an interview with Simona from the tournament’s YouTube page where she talks about her knee injury and that she has been practising for the last ten days. There still sounds a little bit of uncertainty about how the knee will react in competitive matches.
Finally some good news about streaming matches – the St. Petersburg tournament has a live Center Court stream on their website, which I am so thankful for! It’s good quality too. Thanks to Peter for alerting me about this and to Don for sharing on Twitter.
The schedule for Tuesday looks neat and the night match will be Bencic-Kasatkina which i’m looking forward to!
In Taipei City, all four seeds in action advanced to the second round. I was impressed with what I saw of Shelby Rogers in her 6-3 6-4 win against wildcard, Lee Ya-Hsuan. Shelby always comes across well in interviews and i’m pleased to see her start the year so well. There were also three set wins for Misaki Doi (d. Nao Hibino, 6-2 2-6 6-4) and Katerina Siniakova (d. Galina Voskoboeva, 5-7 6-4 6-2).
The most dramatic match of the day was between Mandy Minella and Jana Cepelova.
Loved this from Grand Slam Gal about this year at the Australian Open. I’m really hoping to be there next year!
This made me laugh from Cagla!
The WTA shot of the month is up for January. For me, it has to be Julia Goerges.
And finally, a heads up for a post I just shared on the blog. Eurosport Voice have recently posted a survey about their coverage of the Australian Open. For me, Eurosport is huge and while the coverage online and on the Player has been good, it’s a great chance to share feedback and hopefully pave the way for some improvements. I’ve just completed it myself with plenty of comments!
It’s worth just a few minutes of your time as all those who participate get into a prize draw to win Amazon vouchers (£200, £100 and £50). For more details click on the link below or register HERE. I believe they will send you an e-mail with the survey once registered. And please do share this if you know of anyone who watched the AO on Eurosport!