WTA tour midweek update: Raducanu, Halep among stellar standouts

THE WTA Tour has heated up this week, as big wins and a top-seed loss were the talk of the town at the Transylvania Open and Courmayeur Ladies Open. Top-seeded players were unstoppable in Romania as their stellar performances helped launch them through to the quarterfinals.

Among the impressive performers was US Open champion Emma Raducanu, who was on fire during her match against Ana Bogdan. Despite a surge from the Romanian early in the second set, it wasn’t enough to fend off the 18-year-old who regained control, before powering through to the end to beat Bogdan 6-3 6-4. In the one hour and 30-minute duel between the pair, Raducanu was poised, winning 87.5 per cent of her first serve points. Simona Halep knocked out 21-year-old Varvara Gracheva in one hour and 14 minutes, despite enduring problems with her back. Halep held herself well in the opening of the first set, firing with aggression in her serves against the Russian. As the game progressed, Halep’ discomfort from her back pain was demonstrated as her serves became less controlled. However, Gracheva was unable to capitalise on this, falling to Halep 6-4 6-2. Despite Halep’s injury woes, the 30-year-old managed to win 81.3 per cent of her first serve points and 55.6 per cent of her second serve points.

Also on the winners list in Romania was Ukrainian number six seed Marta Kostyuk who toppled German Mona Barthel in straight sets, 6-4 6-4 in one hour and 11 minutes, while Anett Kontaveit continues her Transylvanian Open campaign following her stellar performance against Alison Van Uytvanck. The Indian Wells quarterfinalist broke Van Uytvanck’s six-straight wins under the roof after defeating the Belgian’s 6-3 6-4. Sweden’s Rebecca Peterson was also in luck, scoring a win to proceed to the next round.

The action kicked off in Italy for the Courmayeur Ladies Open, with American Ann Li continuing to impress, taking down upcoming Pole Magdalena Frech. Fresh off the back of her maiden win at the Tenerife Open, Li crawled back from a first-set loss to defeat the Poland native 5-7 6-3 6-1. It was a tense battle with the game lasting close to two hours. In one hour and 56 minutes, the ninth-seeded American won 63 per cent of her 1st serve points. Li also saved six out of 10 breakpoints, helping her rocket into the next round. In an all-Italian duel, Jasmine Paolini and Lucrezia Stefanni faced off against each other in their match-up. It was an exciting display of resilience shown by both players, but a win wasn’t on the cards for Stefanni who was knocked out of the race for the title by higher ranked 25-year-old, Paolini. In one hour and 25 minutes, Paolini swept through to the win and defeated her Italian counterpart 6-4 7-5. Number eight seed Shuai Zhang stumbled against her battle against Chinese rising star Xinyu Wang. The Chinese star fell short of the win 7-6 6-4 and struggled to keep hold of the unstoppable force of Wang. 20-year-old Wang won 73.2 per cent of her first serve points in comparison to Zhang, who won 69.4 per cent. Donna Vekic was on fire in her win against Saisai Zheng.

[2] Anett Kontaveit (EST) defeated Alison Van Uytvanck (BEL) 6-3 6-4
[1] Simona Halep (ROM) defeated Varvara Gracheva (RUS) 6-4 6-2
[3] Emma Raducanu (GBR) defeated Ana Bogdan (ROM) 6-3 6-4
Rebecca Peterson (SWE) defeated Irina Bara (ROM) 6-0 6-3
[6] Marta Kostyuk (UKR) defeated Mona Barthel (GER) 6-4 6-4

[9] Ann Li (USA) defeated Magdelena Frech (POL) 7-5 6-3 6-1
[7] Jasmine Paolini (ITA) defeated Lucrezia Stefanini (ITA) 6-4 7-5
Xinyu Wang (CHI) defeated [8] Shuai Zhang (CHI) 7-6 6-4
Donna Vekic (CRO) defeated Saisai Zheng (CHI) 6-3 6-4

Picture credit: Reuters

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