Upsets are common at the end of a long, tiring season and Moscow has certainly delivered on that front with the top four seeds exiting the tournament on Wednesday. The number one seed, Kristina Mladenovic managed to win her first set since August but couldn’t stop the rot, losing her tenth consecutive match to Aliaksandra Sasnovich. Rather bizarrely, the win will move Mladenovic into the top ten for the first time in her career!
Lesia Tsurenko came from breaks down in the first and third sets to beat the number two seed, CoCo Vandeweghe, 7-5 1-6 6-2, while former Moscow finalist, Irina-Camelia Begu knocked out the number four seed, Anastasija Sevastova, 6-4 6-3.
In the final match of the day, Natalia Vikhlyantseva completed the exodus of the top four seeds with the best win of her career over the number three seed, Elena Vesnina, 7-6(3) 6-4. Vikhlyantseva went one out of 12 on break points but delivered an absolute masterclass on serve as she won 89% of points behind her first serve and didn’t face any break points – one of the best serving displays i’ve seen all year!
A big moment for Natalia!
The number six and eight seeds and last week’s finalists in Hong Kong and Linz, Daria Gavrilova and Magdalena Rybarikova respectively both retired during their second round matches in Moscow. Vera Lapko and Alizé Cornet both advanced to the quarter-finals with the former having won 20 of her last 23 matches.
Surviving the cull of seeds, the number seven seed, Julia Goerges beat Yulia Putintseva, 6-3 6-3. This was her 41st match win of the year and she has become increasingly reliable in 2017.
Daria Kasatkina enjoyed a good win over a mostly erratic and frustrated, Katerina Siniakova, 6-2 6-3. Kasatkina served especially well and found a decent balance between defence and attack, going down-the-line on occasion. While wasteful on break points, Kasatkina won a key game at *4-3 in the second set, saving a break point, before breaking to love for the victory.
Kasatkina is currently seven places off her ranking from this time last year. In the year after her breakthrough season, I think it’s been a pretty solid effort from Kasatkina considering she was out-of-sorts between February and March, and then picked up a very nasty ankle injury in Rome. I feel like this is her most consistent spell of the year so far and it will hopefully set her up well for 2018.
In Luxembourg, Elise Mertens reached her seventh WTA quarter-final of 2017 with a lopsided, 6-2 0-6 6-3 win over Madison Brengle. Without doubt, this has been Mertens’s breakthrough year and the results have been pretty solid all year. A very worthy nominee for WTA newcomer of the year and personally my vote.
Heather Watson won back-to-back main draw matches for the first time since Wimbledon, beating the number three seed, Anett Kontaveit, 6-4 6-4. The Brit won 81% of points behind her first serve.
Kiki Bertens won back-to-back matches for the first time since winning Gstaad. It wasn’t the way she would have wanted it though as Andrea Petkovic was forced to retire with Bertens leading 6-2 2-1.
Two Brits are in the quarter-finals after Naomi Broady saved two match points to beat the returning, Sabine Lisicki, 4-6 7-5 6-3. Broady was untouchable on serve in the decider, dropping just seven points behind it. Lisicki had treatment on her shoulder midway through the third set. Nice to see a warm embrace between the pair at the net 🤗.
In other second round matches from Luxembourg…
From a double break down in the second set and winning the last 12 points of the match, Carina Witthoeft beat Evgeniya Rodina, 6-2 6-3.
Pauline Parmentier won her fifth match of the week with a 7-5 6-1 victory over Veronica Cepede Royg.
Johanna Larsson upset the number seven seed, Beatriz Haddad Maia, 3-6 7-6(5) 6-2. There were just three breaks of serve in 29 service games!
Monica Puig failed to serve out at *5-4 in the second set tiebreak but rolled through the ensuing tiebreak to beat Alison Van Uytvanck, 7-6(2) 7-6(1) in two hours and one minute.
An update on Puig and Sharapova heading to Puerto Rico.
A bundle of news from Jo Konta who has split from Wim Fissette and ended her year due to the foot injury.
The split sounds very amicable from the statement and their tweets.
And finally, in case you missed it – my preview for the WTA Finals in Singapore with profiles of the eight finalists and plentyyy of stats!