WTA

Stephens breaks 2021 duck at Miami Open, Kuznetsova loses in first round

By Sports Desk March 24, 2021

Sloane Stephens ended her losing run to start the year with a hard-fought three-set win over France's Oceane Dodin in the first round of the Miami Open on Wednesday.

Former US Open champion Stephens, ranked 49th in the world, defeated Dodin 6-7 (6-8) 6-4 6-2.

Stephens progresses to the second round where the top seeds, including top three Ash Barty, Naomi Osaka and Simona Halep, will be introduced and she will face 28th seed Amanda Anisimova.

Danielle Collins, Wang Qiang, Alize Cornet and Caroline Garcia were among the other winners on Wednesday, while Svetlana Kuznetsova bowed out.

 

SLOANE FIGHTBACK

Stephens had endured a dismal start to 2021, enduring an 0-4 win-loss record to begin the year.

The 28-year-old American was made to do it the hard way against Dodin on Wednesday, dropping the first set in a tie-break.

Stephens improved on her return in the second set, winning 73 per cent of points off Dodin's second serve before running away with the match in the last.

"It's been a rough one for me lately, so I'm really pleased to get through that, fight my way through it and make it happen somehow," Stephens said post-match.

FORMER MAJOR WINNER GONE

Two-time grand slam winner Kuznetsova was the major first-round casualty, going down 2-6 6-2 6-1 to France's Alize Cornet.

Kuznetsova, who is now ranked 35th in the world, bows out with Cornet to face ninth seed Petra Kvitova.

Collins got past France's Kristina Mladenovic 6-3 6-3 with the 40th-ranked American setting up a second-round clash with 32nd seed Veronika Kudermetova.

Wang, ranked 38th in the world, also progressed despite dropping a set in a 6-1 3-6 6-3 win over Spanish qualifier Aliona Bolsova.

SECOND-ROUND MATCH-UPS

The round of 64 will commence on Thursday, with third seed Halep to face Garcia who got past another Romanian, Mihaela Buzarnescu 6-1 6-2.

Top seed Barty will be in action against Slovakia's Kristina Kucova, while fourth seed Sofia Kenin will take on former top-10 player Andrea Petkovic.

Second seed Osaka has an assignment against 77th-ranked Australian Ajla Tomljanovic, while 14th seed Victoria Azarenka is already into the third round with opponent Laura Siegemund withdrawing after her win on Tuesday.

Related items

  • Keys eliminated as three seeds exit Silicon Valley Classic Keys eliminated as three seeds exit Silicon Valley Classic

    World number 26 Madison Keys was one of three seeded players to be eliminated in the second round of the Silicon Valley Classic in San Jose on Wednesday.

    The American third seed was beaten by China's Zhang Shuai 7-5 7-6 (7-5) in one hour and 39 minutes.

    Keys sent down 7-1 aces but Zhang, ranked 51st in the world, was excellent on return, converting four of her 11 break points.

    Fourth seed Daria Kasatkina was also in danger after losing the first set but rallied to win 3-6 7-5 6-3 over France's Caroline Garcia.

    "It was a tough match. From my point of view, I think the level of the game was very good, and I'm really happy that I was able to turn the match in the second set," Kasatkina said in the on-court interview.

    Ninth seed Alison Riske was emphatically beaten by Croatian Ana Konjuh 6-1 6-4 in one hour and 13 minutes, while sixth seed Petra Martic bowed out to Poland's Magda Linette 7-5 7-6 (7-5).

  • Nadal outlasts Sock in three-hour Citi Open epic as seeds fall Nadal outlasts Sock in three-hour Citi Open epic as seeds fall

    World number three Rafael Nadal outlasted Jack Sock in a three-hour epic to progress through to the third round at the Citi Open in Washington D.C. on Wednesday.

    The 20-time Grand Slam winner needed a third-set tiebreaker to beat American wildcard Sock 6-2 4-6 7-6 (7-1).

    Sock, who is currently ranked 192nd in the world, stormed back into the match with an early break in the second set after the Spaniard cruised in the first.

    In a three-hour-and-a-four-minute match which saw only five breaks, Nadal got the edge winning more on his second serve, while he produced some vintage winners too.

    Nadal goes through to the third round where he will face 14th seed Lloyd Harris, who progresses after a walkover with Tennys Sandgren retiring mid-match.

    Third seed and world number 18 Alex De Minaur was bundled out by world number 81 Steve Johnson 6-7 (5-7) 6-4 6-2.

    Fourth seed Grigor Dimitrov also was dumped out with a 6-2 7-6 (7-4) defeat to Belarussian world number 65 Ilya Ivashka.

    Sixth seed Dan Evans went out in straight sets to 20-year-old American Brandon Nakashima 7-6 (7-1) 6-0 while 10th seed Taylor Fritz also bowed out to Denis Kudla 6-4 6-2.

    Former winner Kei Nishikori knocked off ninth seed Alexander Bublik 6-2 7-5, while 13th seed Benoit Paire lost in three sets to Mackenzie McDonald.

    Fifth seed Jannik Sinner got through in straight sets against Emil Ruusuvuori, along with eighth seed Reilly Opelka and 11th seed John Millman.

  • Seeds Collins and Putintseva ease to wins at Silicon Valley Classic Seeds Collins and Putintseva ease to wins at Silicon Valley Classic

    Danielle Collins eased past Shelby Rogers 6-4 6-3 to book her spot in the second round at the Silicon Valley Classic on Tuesday.

    World number 36 Collins proved too strong for American compatriot Rogers, winning in one hour and 25 minutes.

    Collins will meet another American in the second round, with Sloane Stephens up next.

    Former U.S. Open winner Stephens beat Caty McNally 6-4 6-2 earlier in the day.

    Yulia Putintseva, meanwhile, eased her way into the second round with a 7-5 6-3 win over Croatian Donna Vekic.

    Putintseva will face Australian Ajla Tomljanovic in the second round after she fought back to overcome Amanda Anisimova 1-6 7-5 7-5.

    France's Kristina Mladenovic won 6-4 6-4 over Han Na-Lae, while American Claire Liu won in three sets against Dayana Yastremska.

    Mladenovic will face top seed Elise Mertens, while Liu meets second seed Elena Rybakina.

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.