Riedi curbs Coric as Penko sets sights on Linz

DESPITE the Australian Open coming to a close and players departing the Australian shores, there is still plenty of action taking place across the globe. There were a couple of upsets on the ATP Challenger circuit, while a new WTA 500 event is among the tournaments taking place this week.


Swiss qualifier Leandro Riedi could not have asked for much of a better 21st birthday present after claiming the BW Open overnight. Riedi, who turned 21 on Saturday, defied many expectations by not only reaching the Challenger 75 event after qualifying, but defeating top seed and Top 40 player, Borna Coric in the decider.

Coric – who was a late inclusion after a first round exit in Melbourne Park – was clearly not at his best throughout the tournament – but had scraped through to reach the final. However, Riedi – who took the scalps of former Top 100 players Marc-Andrea Huesler and Brandon Nakashima – proved too good, winning 7-5 6-2 in an hour and 25 minutes.

Riedi won 79 per cent of points off his first serve, produced five aces and broke five times from nine chances in a complete performance, running away with the contest from the world number 40 in a surprise result. The title saw Riedi bolt up a massive 75 spots into 175th in the world, but the Swiss 21-year-old is still a way off his career best of 126th.


If Riedi’s win over Coric was an upset, then Jamaican Blaise Bicknell‘s stunning run to the Southern California Open 2 title is not far behind. Coming into the tournament at a career-high 396th in the world, the 22-year-old moved a further 78 places up the boards into 318th after rolling top seed and tournament favourite, Zachary Svajda in straight sets, 6-3 6-2.

After a disappointing first round loss in the first Indian Wells event of the Oracle Challenger series to eventual winner Brandon Holt, Bicknell quickly recovered to defeat Holt – albeit in a walkover midway through the second set – and not drop a set en route to the Challenger 50 title. Holt is comfortably the top-ranked Jamaican in the world.


Following a second round exit at Melbourne Park, world number seven Holger Rune has taken the opportunity for further match practice ahead of a big month of ATP Tour tournaments, entering the Open Sud de France. Very clearly the top ranked player at the event, Rune has a bye in the first round before a likely clash with French veteran Richard Gasquet.

Rune is the only top 25 player playing this week, and will looking to build on his narrow lead in seventh, after the top six players – who all reach the quarter finals or higher – moved almost 1400 points clear of the Danish 20-year-old.

The top seed was also top seed last year at the event, but went down in a nail-biting semi-final to American Maxime Cressy, with Cressy going on to lose to then second seed and now newly crowned Australian Open champion Jannik Sinner in the final.

Second seed Alexander Bublik will also have a bye in the opening round, but could end up facing former top 10 talent Denis Shapovalov in the second round with the Canadian taking on Frenchman Hugo Gaston. Fellow Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime is also in the draw along with Russian-turned-Kazakhstan representative Alexander Shevchenko and BW Open finalist, Coric.

Adelaide International winner Jelena Ostapenko has opted to play in Linz. Image Credit: Matt Turner/AAP


Earning an upgrade from a WTA 250 event to a 500 tournament has attracted two-time Grand Slam winner and Australian Open doubles runner-up Jelena Ostapenko to the Upper Austria Ladies Linz tournament. A late inclusion as a wildcard, Ostapenko will start the tournament as top seed, and the only top 20 player at the event.

Prior to Ostapenko’s mind change, world number 21 Ekaterina Alexandrova looked to be the top seed, but the Russian will instead slot into the second seed spot. Due to the close proximity in between the Australian Open and WTA 1000 events in Doha and Dubai over the next three weeks, many of the top WTA Tour players have opted to rest for the week.

However the likes of Ostapenko and Alexandrova will be joined by Ukrainian Australian Open semi-finalist Dayana Yastremska, three-time Grand Slam winner German Angelique Kerber and former world number 12 Belgian, Elise Mertens.


Australian teenager Taylah Preston has drawn a tough first round opponent in the Thailand Open WTA 250 event, taking on second seed Chinese player Lin Zhu. The world 199th is inside the top 200 for the first time, but will need to step up in order to upstage the 45h ranked Zhu. Preston is in the draw alongside fellow Australians, Arina Rodionova and Ajla Tomljanovic who take on Yue Yuan and Dalma Galfi respectively.

World number 56 Magda Linette – who dropped 32 spots due to her early exit at the Australian Open – is top seed at the event, but has a tough Round of 32 match up against Russian 19-year-old Diana Shnaider. Linette is also likely to face former world number two Paula Badosa in the Round of 16.

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