Karolina Pliskova has crashed out of the Abu Dhabi Women's Tennis Open in the second round, while Coco Gauff was also eliminated.

Third seed Pliskova suffered a stunning 6-2 6-4 defeat to Anastasia Gasanova, a qualifier ranked at 292 in the world.

Pliskova fell to defeat in only 75 minutes on Saturday, the first time she had lost to an opponent outside of the top 50 in over a year.

Gasanova, 21, beat Mona Barthel in her WTA main draw debut this week and went on to save five of the six break points she faced to record an even bigger upset against Pliskova.

"It was not me on the court," a stunned Gasanova said after winning in her first match against a top-100 player, booking a last-16 clash against Sara Sorribes Tormo.

"I was so sure of myself. I'm really happy right now.

"I'm really surprised, but when I woke up today, I thought, 'Why not? Why can't I win this match?'

"Actually, I thought I would lose in qualies or something like that, but I just kept pushing myself, like, I need to win and I want to win.

"I had a [2021] goal to be top 200, actually! I don't know if I did this today, but that's my goal. 

"To play against a top-10 player is a great opportunity for me, and it's a great chance to show how I could play."

Pliskova, therefore, starts her year on a negative note, but there were no such problems for second seed Elina Svitolina, who was a 6-4 6-1 winner against Vera Zvonareva.

Last year's Australian Open finalist Garbine Muguruza cruised through with a 6-1 6-4 victory over Aliaksandra Sasnovich and sixth seed Elena Rybakina won in straight sets against Xiyu Wang.

Muguruza will face Maria Sakkari in an intriguing last-16 match next after the Greek ended the hopes of American Gauff with a comfortable 7-5 6-2 victory.

Top seed Sofia Kenin, who made two grand slam finals last year and won in Melbourne, will resume her campaign against Yulia Putintseva on Sunday.

Sofia Kenin and Coco Gauff both made it through to the second round of the Abu Dhabi Women's Tennis Open on a day of few shocks. 

Seven of the nine seeds in action on Thursday advanced, with only Marketa Vondrousova and Jennifer Brady falling by the wayside. 

Those upsets came despite Vondrousova and Brady each winning their opening sets - against Hsieh Su-wei and Tamara Zidansek respectively - the latter racing through 6-0 in the first before being reeled back in. 

Kenin and Gauff had no such problems, however. 

But top seed Kenin - the 2020 WTA Player of the Year - had to stay patient as she took down 789th-ranked Yang Zhaoxuan 7-6 (7-4) 6-2. 

The first set lasted more than an hour and saw Kenin face five break points, defending each of them, with another 11 Yang opportunities following in the second, although the world number four proved more clinical en route to victory. 

"It was the first match, obviously a bit of nerves, I had to find my groove," Kenin said afterwards. "Conditions weren't easy, it was quite windy.

"The first set was tough for me. I couldn't find the ball, I guess." 

Gauff was comfortable throughout, meanwhile, swatting aside Ulrikke Eikeri 6-0 6-1 to tee up a meeting with Maria Sakkari. 

Elina Svitolina, Karolina Pliskova and Aryna Sabalenka each also progressed in two sets, as did Garbine Muguruza, overcoming a potentially tricky hurdle in the form of Kristina Mladenovic. 

Muguruza was a 6-2 6-4 winner and afterwards said: "I was trying to do my game, dominating, not letting her dominate the point. 

"It's the first match of the year, it's a little bit tricky to get the feeling, but I'm happy with the win." 

Karolina Pliskova and Coco Gauff were left to wonder how they failed to reach the Ostrava Open quarter-finals as both squandered dominant positions on Thursday. 

World number six Pliskova, already frustrated by second-round exits from the US Open and French Open since tennis returned from lockdown, suffered a 4-6 6-4 6-3 defeat to Russian Veronika Kudermetova, despite leading by a set and a break at one point. 

Pliskova also lost to the world number 47 at the Western and Southern Open in August, and this was another blow to add to the list of frustrating results for the Czech in the past two months. 

Qualifier Gauff succumbed 1-6 7-5 7-6 (7-2) in her clash with Belarusian Aryna Sabalenka, despite having led by a double break at 5-2 in the deciding set.

The American 16-year-old believes she can use the setback as part of her tennis education, saying she needed to play a "smarter" game. 

"I just need to play a little bit smarter on pressure points, to make my opponent play," Gauff said, quoted on the WTA website. 

"I feel like I wasn't nervous today - I think I just need to be smarter. Sometimes I have tendencies, when it gets to the end, to rush out of the points when instead I should just put the ball in the court." 

Belgian Elise Mertens eased to a 6-4 6-2 win over Czech player Karolina Muchova, while Ons Jabeur beat Jelena Ostapenko 6-4 6-4 and US Open semi-finalist Jennifer Brady came from 5-2 behind in the first set to earn a 7-5 6-2 victory over Russian Daria Kasatkina. 

A furious Sara Errani aimed verbal volleys at Kiki Bertens at the French Open on Wednesday, accusing the fifth seed of exaggerating an injury in their mammoth second-round clash.

A visibly upset Bertens left the court in a wheelchair after suffering with cramps in a three-hour, 11-minute tussle with Errani that the Dutchwoman won 7-6 (7-5) 3-6 9-7.

However, Errani, who failed to serve out the match on three different occasions, claimed her opponent was merely putting on an act.

"I don't like when somebody is joking on you," Errani told reporters.

"She played an amazing match, but I don't like the situation.

"One hour she has an injury, then she runs. I don't like that. She goes out of the court on the chair, and now she's in the locker perfect, in the restaurant. I don't like these things."

World number eight Bertens, who faces Katerina Siniakova next, shrugged off the criticism, though.

"She can say whatever she feels like. Maybe I should take some more acting classes or should pursue a career in that," Bertens said.

"I'm not sure what she's thinking, but, no, I didn't feel really good on court, to be honest."

AZARENKA EXITS

On the same day that Serena Williams pulled out of the tournament due to an Achilles injury, Victoria Azarenka – who beat the American in the US Open semi-finals – also bowed out with a 6-2 6-2 loss to Anna Karolina Schmiedlova.

None of the four women who made the final four in New York are still in the tournament in France, with champion Naomi Osaka having withdrawn before it started and Jennifer Brady eliminated in the first round.

However, Azarenka did not blame the quick turnaround and change of surface for her loss.

"Today was not the case of a turnaround, was not the case of the court, was not the case of anything else," she said.

"This is a lesson for me to learn. I don't think about what happened in New York."

HALEP OVERCOMES COMPATRIOT

Top seed Simona Halep beat fellow Romanian Irina-Camelia Begu 6-3 6-4 to seal her passage to the third round.

"It's never easy to play against a Romanian and against Irina, we played so many times; it's never easy," Halep admitted.

"I managed well in the end and I think I played the right game when I needed to."

GAUFF'S RACE IS RUN

Despite beating ninth seed Johanna Konta in the first round, 16-year-old Coco Gauff fell at the next hurdle.

The American went a set up against Italian Martina Trevisan only to lose 4-6 6-2 7-5.

Meanwhile, seeds Elina Svitolina, Elise Mertens and Amanda Anisimova all progressed.

Birthday girl Simona Halep described her French Open first-round victory over Sara Sorribes Tormo as "the perfect present".

Fresh from winning the Internazionali d'Italia in Rome, Halep arrived in Paris as favourite and top seed for the final grand slam of the year.

And she marked her 29th birthday with a 6-4 6-0 triumph under the new roof on Court Philippe-Chatrier.

"The perfect present was that I won, of course," said the 2018 champion. "It was a really special day playing on Roland Garros on my birthday, so it's going to be pretty unique maybe forever.

"I cannot celebrate much, because I have to stay in the room, so I will have a bottle of water.

"I will speak with my very close ones and loved ones. Just that. Nothing special. After the tournament, I will [celebrate properly]."

While Halep, who now faces compatriot Irina-Camelia Begu, had the luxury of an enclosed arena the cold weather outside caused issues for others on a day that saw Venus Williams make an early exit.

AZA-BRRR-ENKA

It was a chilly day in the French capital and few people were more bothered by the conditions than Victoria Azarenka, who donned a jacket and leggings for her match with Danka Kovinic. 

The former world number one triumphed 6-1 6-2 but she left the court three games into the first set claiming it was "too cold", a consequence of the tournament taking place four months later than planned.

"I think my opponent first of all slipped in the third game, so I think she was also feeling a little bit uncomfortable," said Azarenka.

"And I just asked like when my grip is getting wet in between points, are we going to still continue to play?

"And then [the official] told me that if I'm willing to wait a little bit longer while the drizzle stops, because the rain was supposed to increase, and I said absolutely not because I don't see a point of sitting on the court when it's eight degrees.

"I at the same time asked my opponent if she wants to wait on the court or she wants to go off court, and she said she doesn't want to wait on the court.

"So, I'm not going to waste my time sitting there and getting cold."

KONTA DUMPED OUT BY GAUFF

Coco Gauff dumped out ninth seed Johanna Konta as the 16-year-old produced a fine display.

Gauff came through in straight sets, beating the Briton 6-3 6-3 to secure a second-round showdown with qualifier Martina Trevisan.

It constitutes a shock premature departure for Konta, who reached the semi-finals in 2019.

VENUS DONE WITH 2020

Venus Williams declaring she is "done" with 2020 is a statement with which many will be able to identify.

The American veteran, a 2002 finalist at this slam, was beaten 6-4 6-4 Anna Karolina Schmiedlova, who will now face Azarenka.

Asked if she had any plays to play again this year, the 40-year-old replied: "I'm going home from here. I'm done. If there is somewhere to play, I won't be there."

One player who will have at least one more match this year is Eugenie Bouchard, who overcame Anna Kalinskaya 6-4 6-4.

Margaret Court's record is still in play, but Serena Williams' era of dominance on the WTA Tour looks to be winding down as another grand slam approaches.

Williams has won none of the past 13 majors, dating back to her most recent success at the 2017 Australian Open, though she missed the first four of those having given birth.

This is the 23-time champion's longest stretch without a grand slam win since she made her Melbourne bow in 1998.

Williams has reached at least the semi-finals in five of her past eight major appearances, yet she has not recorded a win in that time and, having not made the Roland Garros quarter-finals since 2016, an end to that miserable run appears unlikely in the coming weeks.

So could the future of the women's game be present in Paris? Well, finding Serena's heir is proving rather difficult.

While she is one of seven female players to have claimed 10 or more major titles, Serena is the only member of that elite group to have won a championship in the 21st century.

Justine Henin and Serena's sister Venus have each had seven wins, yet other genuine rivals have been a rarity over the past 20 years.

Roland Garros results have illustrated this trend as well as any championship. Only Serena, Henin and Maria Sharapova have won multiple French Open titles since the start of the 2000 season, with Henin's 2005-2007 run the last time a woman celebrated consecutive triumphs on the red clay.

That drought will continue for at least another year, too, due to Ash Barty's absence.

Another name missing from this year's draw is perhaps the most likely candidate to emulate Williams' success. US Open champion Naomi Osaka is still just 22 but has won three of the past seven majors she has contested. That also amounts to just three victories in three seasons, but time is on her side as she looks to shape her own legacy.

Williams is Osaka's idol, as was so painfully evident when the Japanese shed tears following a grand slam breakthrough that came during Serena's 2018 US Open meltdown. The pair watched one another at Flushing Meadows earlier this month, although Serena's last-four defeat prevented a highly anticipated final rematch.

"I feel like she's such an intense player that is really exciting to watch," Williams said of Osaka, who looks to have adopted her role model's single-minded drive.

Discussing her impressive grand slam record prior to this month's victory over Victoria Azarenka, Osaka revealed her approach: "No-one remembers anyone but the winner."

Yet Osaka has work to do if she is going to be a winner on all surfaces like Williams, one of just two players - along with Sharapova - to win a career Grand Slam since the turn of the century. Angelique Kerber could join that club in the coming weeks, yet French Open success seems increasingly unlikely for the two-time quarter-finalist and world number 22. Osaka has not been past the third round at Roland Garros or Wimbledon, reserving her success for the hard courts.

Meanwhile, although victory at the Australian Open in 2019 quickly added to Osaka's first triumph, that second title has proved tricky for a number of other hopefuls.

Since Serena's 23rd major honour, six women have become one-off grand slam winners - including Sofia Kenin, 21, and Bianca Andreescu, 20. The pair are younger than several other champions, yet neither have even reached a quarter-final outside of their sole successes.

Andreescu has seen her 2020 season completely wrecked by injury and withdrew from Roland Garros this week. In her stead, others will look to join her as a champion. Qatar Open winner Aryna Sabalenka, Elena Rybakina and last year's French Open finalist Marketa Vondrousova are each younger than Osaka and hold a place in the WTA's top 20.

Then, of course, there is Coco Gauff, ranked 51st.

The 16-year-old beat Venus at both the 2019 US Open and the 2020 Australian Open, also eliminating defending champion Osaka at the latter. At each tournament, she lost only to the eventual winner.

"She clearly wants it, works very hard, is extremely mature for her age," Venus said. "I think the sky's the limit for her."

But a first-round exit at the US Open represented a reality check for Gauff. With no Barty and no Osaka, might she seize the opportunity and bounce back in stunning style at Roland Garros?

Or is this Serena's time? Number 24 at last. It is up to the next generation to ensure she cannot afford to keep passing up such chances.

Victoria Azarenka produced a memorable performance as she destroyed Sofia Kenin 6-0 6-0 at the Internazionali d'Italia on Thursday.

Azarenka, beaten in the US Open final less than a week ago, has transitioned to the clay courts in impressive fashion after beating Venus Williams and now, more impressively, Kenin.

The Australian Open champion had no answer to Azarenka's ruthlessness and near-perfection out on court in Rome, with the Belarusian claiming victory in just an hour and one minute.

Azarenka faced no break points in the entire match and made only one unforced error as she emphatically took the first set against a player who was her US Open doubles partner.

Kenin improved in the second set, forcing some long games – particularly the second, which was at deuce on five different occasions.

But Azarenka – who faces Russian Daria Kasatkina in the last 16 – simply had too much for the American and cruised to a sensational victory over the third seed,

"I think my consistency was the key to the scoreline," Azarenka told reporters. "I feel like I played really smart tennis today: I was able to use a lot of court; I was able to use a lot of different pace.

"So, I'm very happy with that. But the key was definitely being able to maintain the level that I started with."

She added, according to the WTA Tour website: "I was really more focused on what I can do today on the court, than on what she does well. So, I think that was the difference, I was able to insist on my level and insist on my pace."

Earlier, Garbine Muguruza managed to outlast American sensation Coco Gauff 7-6 (7-3) 3-6 6-3 in an absorbing contest.

Gauff, 16, appeared to be in control of the decider after an early break of serve.

But three double faults in the following game gifted Spaniard Muguruza an instant break in return, giving her the initiative to go on and seal victory.

Johanna Konta saw off Irina-Camelia Begu in fine fashion, the seventh-seeded Briton emerging 6-0 6-4, but Kiki Bertens and Petra Martic were not so impressive.

Bertens, seeded fifth, fell 6-4 6-4 to Polona Hercog, while eighth seed Martic succumbed to Yulia Putintseva in a gruelling three-hour contest, the latter eventually winning 6-3 6-7 (2-7) 6-4.

Marketa Vondrousova and Svetlana Kuznetsova were among the other victors on the day.

Garbine Muguruza refused to let the rain in Rome disrupt her march to victory over Sloane Stephens.

The Spaniard prevailed 6-3 6-3 in a battle between two grand slam winners to reach the second round of the Internazionali d'Italia.

But the ninth seed had to wait out a downpour she had not seen coming before she could seal the win and a meeting with Coco Gauff.

"It was unexpected, because I checked the weather and it seemed like it was okay," she said of the interruption, which delayed the start of the second set by an hour.

"But I just had to adapt. I knew I had a tough match against Sloane, she's also a great player on clay.

"I'm just happy with my performance, since this is the third match I am able to play in a long time."

There was a shock exit for three-time grand slam champion Angelique Kerber as she fell to 6-3 6-1 loss against Katerina Siniakova.

Gauff defeated Ons Jabeur 6-4 6-3 to progress, with the 16-year-old joined in the next round by 12th seed by Marketa Vondrousova following her three-set triumph over Misaki Doi.

Elsewhere in the draw, 14th seed Anett Kontaveit overcame Caroline Garcia 6-3 7-6 (7-1), while two-time slam champion Svetlana Kuznetsova came from a set down to beat Bernarda Pera.

Former US Open champion Naomi Osaka was pushed to three sets in the opening round, while top seed Karolina Pliskova also made it through on day one.

Osaka – who was crowned queen of Flushing Meadows in 2018 – was tested by fellow Japanese player Misaki Doi under the Arthur Ashe Stadium lights on Monday.

Pliskova saw off Anhelina Kalinina in the behind-closed-doors grand slam amid the coronavirus pandemic in New York.

However, American sensation Coco Gauff fell at the first hurdle.

 

OSAKA DISPATCHES DOI

Japanese star Osaka kicked off her bid to win a second US Open title with a 6-2 5-7 6-2 victory in the night session.

Osaka – the fourth seed – was challenged by Doi but the former world number one came through in two hours, two minutes.

In her first match since withdrawing from the Western & Southern Open final due to a hamstring injury, Osaka showed no ill effects – hitting 25 winners and 38 unforced errors while converting five of 11 break-point opportunities.

Next up for the 2019 Australian Open champion is Camila Giorgi, who outlasted Alison Van Uytvanck 2-6 6-1 7-5.

 

PLISKOVA OUTCLASSES KALININA

The 2016 US Open runner-up made it past the first round by beating Ukrainian Kalinina 6-4 6-0.

Pliskova was in command at 4-1 in the first set, but lost the next three games and had to fend off two break points to avoid going 5-4 down.

The world number three held and broke to love to take the first set before dominating the second in the Flushing Meadows bubble.

Pliskova will face Caroline Garcia in the second round after the 32nd seed beat Jasmine Paolini 6-3 6-2.

 

GAUFF OUSTED

For the first time in her career, American teenager Gauff lost in the first round of a grand slam following a 6-3 5-7 6-4 defeat against 31st seed Anastasija Sevastova.

Gauff reached the fourth round at this year's Australian Open, but the 16-year-old crashed out at her home major.

 

KVITOVA, KERBER PROGRESS

Sixth seed and two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova eased past Irina-Camelia Begu 6-3 6-2.

Three-time grand slam winner Angelique Kerber – the 17th seed – made her first appearance since January and defeated Ajla Tomljanovic 6-4 6-4.

American sensation Coco Gauff made a first-round exit at the US Open on Monday.

Gauff, 16, fell in the opening round of a grand slam for the first time after a 6-3 5-7 6-4 loss to Latvian 31st seed Anastasija Sevastova.

Teenager Gauff thrilled the tennis world last year when she made the fourth round at Wimbledon, before repeating that feat at this year's Australian Open.

However, there will be no such memorable run at Flushing Meadows after a loss to Sevastova that lasted just over two hours.

Gauff finished with 40 unforced errors, including 13 double faults, to fall in the opening round.

She could have faced Naomi Osaka in the third round once more, the Japanese star having thrashed Gauff at the same stage in a memorable clash last year.

Shelby Rogers was unable to build on her shock win over Serena Williams as she was beaten in the Top Seed Open semi-finals by Jil Teichmann, who will face Jennifer Brady in Sunday's showpiece after she defeated Cori Gauff.

Rogers produced an impressive shock in Friday's quarter-finals when beating 23-time grand slam champion Williams in a dramatic third-set tie-breaker in Lexington, but she came unstuck against Teichmann.

The 23-year-old was a dominant victor as well, seeing off Rogers 6-3 6-2, as she continued her impressive run of not dropping a set all week.

Teichmann, who is also involved with the doubles, has no special secret to her form, but is grateful to have found a groove.

"I don't have an answer for why I don't lose any sets," she said. "I just feel very good. I'm playing very consistent. I feel great on court. I guess that's the main reason."

Brady has enjoyed a similarly emphatic run to the final - this match saw her lose four matches in a single set for the first time in Lexington, as she saw off teen sensation Gauff 6-2 6-4 on Saturday.

Gauff lost three games on her serve in the first set and, although she improved in the second, Brady's break in the third game proved crucial as she reached a second career final.

 

Serena Williams crashed out of the Top Seed Open, the former world number one surprisingly beaten by Shelby Rogers in the quarter-finals.

Williams – the top seed and 23-time grand slam champion – was ousted 1-6 6-4 7-6 (7-5) by fellow American Rogers in Lexington on Friday.

Stepping up her preparation ahead of this month's US Open in New York, Williams overcame sister Venus in the last 16 on Thursday but the 38-year-old star was unable continue her run at the WTA International event.

Rogers – in her first meeting against Serena Williams – rallied from a set down in the all-American affair to earn a semi-final showdown with Jil Teichmann, who accounted for Cici Bellis 6-2 6-4.

"It was important for me going onto the court thinking I could win that match, and knowing I could take care of my service games," Rogers said. "Because [Williams] has probably the best serve of all time, and when she wants to, she can win a point on her serve."

Teenage sensation Coco Gauff, meanwhile, fought back from a set and a break down to top eighth seed Ons Jabeur 4-6 6-4 6-1.

Gauff trailed 6-4 4-2 but the 16-year-old American completed a thrilling comeback to reach her second WTA semi-final.

Awaiting Gauff in the final four is countrywoman Jennifer Brady, who eased past Marie Bouzkova 6-1 6-2.

Coco Gauff moved into the Top Seed Open quarter-finals with an impressive win in Lexington on Wednesday.

The 16-year-old edged past second seed Aryna Sabalenka 7-6 (7-4) 4-6 6-4 at the WTA International event.

Gauff, who reached the fourth round at the Australian Open this year, twice gave up a break lead in the final set before making the most of her third chance.

The American moved into the last eight, where she will face eighth seed Ons Jabeur.

Jabeur also battled, beating qualifier Olga Govortsova 3-6 6-2 6-4.

Jennifer Brady and Marie Bouzkova claimed straight-sets wins to reach the last eight.

Brady crushed sixth seed Magda Linette 6-2 6-3, while Bouzkova was too good for Anna Blinkova 6-4 6-2.

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