Rodionova stuns Aus Open champ in Brisbane

AUSTRALIAN wildcard Arina Rodionova knocked off past Australian Open champion, Sofia Kenin at the Brisbane International today to move through to the Round of 16. The 34-year-old Rodionova now ranked 113th in the world, toppled the 37th ranked Kenin who is gradually making her way back up the WTA Tour world rankings.

Yet to win a career title, Rodionova entered the match on Pat Rafter Arena as the underdog, and it took two hours and 25 minutes, but the Australian eventually saluted in a tight two-set contest, 7-5 7-6. The second set tiebreaker went 9-7 before the local hope could emerge victorious and move through to the Round of 16. The tight win followed on from Rodionova’s upset victory over Italian Martina Trevisan in straight sets, winning 6-3 6-2.

In her victory over Kenin, Rodionova hit four aces to one, and won 63 and 57 per cent of her first and second serve points respectively off a strong 73 per cent service clip. She constantly had Kenin on the verge of a break, producing a whopping 21 break point opportunities. Whilst only able to capitalise on four of them – while Kenin broke the Australian three times – it was enough to secure the victory.

Rodionova became the first player through to the third round with rain delays causing havoc on the Brisbane draw, with both the WTA 500 and ATP 250 events effected. It gives Rodionova an advantage with more rest leading into her third contest of the tournament, with fourth seed Liudmila Samsonova, or 16-year-old Russian talent Mirra Andreeva her next opponent.


Across the Tasman, old rivals took over Centre Court with Elina Svitolina and Caroline Wozniacki going head-to-head in the opening round. Now ranked 25th and 256th respectively, the pair have won 47 titles between them and made more than $58 million USD. In the WTA 250 event though, it was the Ukrainian who got the chocolates, winning 6-4 6-3.

Top seed and raging tournament favourite Coco Gauff easily moved through to the Round of 16 with a straight sets victory over Claire Liu. Gauff won 6-4 6-2 moving a step closer to defending her title in Auckland, while seventh seed Petra Martic also won, defeating Rebeka Masarova in three sets, 3-6 6-3 6-3.

Masarova was a surprise finalist 12 months ago, but was smashed in the final 6-1 6-1 to Gauff. However the tournament has fond memories, taking some huge scalps including Karolina Muchova and Sloane Stephens.

In the other completed match, Varvara Gracheva – who changed her nationality from Russian to French last year – defeated Czech qualifier Tereza Martincova in a two-hour and 39-minute epic, 6-7 7-5 6-2.

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