This is a quick round-up from the first three days at the Bastad Open and Nanchang Open involving the top seeds, upsets, and thrilling action from the two International events.
Caroline Wozniacki is the top seed in Bastad and she barely dodged an upset as she outlasted Pauline Parmentier 6-3, 3-6, 6-2. Wozniacki was up a set and a break before Parmentier reeled off five straight games with her brutal forehand. However, her poor service stats were the key, as the Frenchwoman only made 43% of first serves, winning 50% of points on the first delivery and 55% of points on the second serve. Wozniacki won the last six games of the match to seal her progression into the second round.
The other top seeds in the Sweden city had much easier first outings. Anastasija Sevastova improved to 14-7 on the dirt this year as she blinked past Anna Blinkova 6-3, 6-1. Carla Suarez Navarro dropped just one game in her demolition of main draw debutante Jasmine Paolini.
Johanna Larsson fell in her opening hurdle in her homeland for the first time since 2014, losing in a near three-hour epic to Mona Barthel, 6-7(3) 7-5, 7-6(4). Fellow seed Julia Goerges also lost, retiring to Viktoriya Tomova with a thigh injury. No.3 seed Caroline Garcia was in deep trouble but avoided the upset, edging past Bucharest champion Irina-Camelia Begu.
Second round action started on Wednesday and Katerina Siniakova kicked proceedings off on Centre court with a 7-6(3) 6-4 win over Aranxta Rus. When Siniakova was serving for the match, I was convinced it would be going the distance… but it didn’t as a couple of Rus errors and a great forehand from the Czech sealed the victory.
Meanwhile, No.2 seed Anastasija Sevastova. continued cruising through the draw with a straight sets win over hard-hitter Elizaveta Kulichlova. Caroline Garcia noticed a 6-1 6-0(!) win over Sara Errani in what I predicted the latter to win. Aleksandra Krunic is also in the quarterfinals after beating lucky loser Viktoriya Tomova.
Tomorrow will see more top seeds bid to make the last eight. Caroline Wozniacki will try to get past Viktorija Golubic, while Carla Suarez Navarro has a tricky task in Belgian Elise Mertens. It’s a repeat of this year’s Nuremberg final when Kiki Bertens faces Barbora Krejicikova, and qualifier Kateryna Kozlova has a tough opponent in clay-lover Mona Barthel.
Over to Nanchang where the time zone suited me better, the Chinese seeds fared pretty badly in their first and second round encounters. Top seed Zhang Shuai is out of the competition after suffering a loss to Chang Kai-Chen, 4-6 7-6(6) 6-4. This was a really high-quality encounter with Chang dictating most of the first set with her power ground strikes. Zhang increased her intensity in the second but Chang was not to be derailed as she went up a break. Pegging back the Chinese Taipei player, Zhang forced a tiebreak and she saved a second match point, the first serve going in at just the right time. A couple of errors from the Chinese Taipei player and the match went the distance. However, leading 4-3, Zhang apparently twisted her foot and lost her range as Chang Kai-Chen took advantage and won the last three games.
Highlights from the Chang-Zhang match will be provided soon by my own YouTube channel!
Talking about my YouTube channel, pls subscribe to my channel called WTA matches where I’ll post highlight videos when I have the time. I have made two videos this week from Nanchang where Peng Shuai defeated Kurumi Nara in a three-setter. This video wasn’t really edited well haha (still improving!)
The video linked below is from Arina Rodionova’s win over defending champion Duan Ying-Ying. As of writing Rodionova is into the quarterfinals, which is her first ever WTA quarter in her career! She will take on Han Xinyun who caused an upset over another Chinese seed, Wang Qiang.
Siniakova didn’t choke against Rus, but someone who did was No.3 seed in Nanchang, Kristyna Pliskova. Leading 5-3 over Jang Su-Jeong, the Czech squandered three match points and allowed Jang a foothold in the match. In the tiebreak, it seemed like it was heading the distance, but a couple of errors from Jang and crucial first serves from Pliskova helped her to seal the victory eventually. This was only Pliskova’s first match and she’ll meet Nao Hibino for a spot in the last eight.
Another player who is into the last eight is Hsieh Su-Wei, who defeated Eri Hozumi 4-6 6-3 6-4. A player who will be bidding to reach that stage on Thursday is Jelena Jankovic, who faces another Chinese qualifier in Lu Jing-Jing. If the Serbian does win, it will be her first quarterfinal of the year! Peng Shuai will face Tereza Martincova, while Zhang conqueror Chang Kai-Chen meets Wang Yafan.