WTA Tour wrap: Brady dumped at Doha as top seed out in Lyon

THERE were plenty of upsets at both Doha and Lyon on the opening day of the respective tournaments, with the WTA Tour continuing this week at the 500 and 250 events.

Two matches ago, Jennifer Brady had booked herself into a maiden Grand Slam final. Fast forward to yesterday, and she was blasted into oblivion by a red-hot Anett Kontaveit in the first round of the 2021 Qatar Total Open in Doha. Brady was no match for the Estonian who won 6-1 6-2 in 56 minutes, with a 75.9 and 68.8 success rate on her first and second serve points. She broke Brady four times, whilst the American could not manage to create a break point opportunity, only winning 35 of 93 points in a very lacklustre affair.

Brady was far from the only player humbled in the opening round at Doha, with fifth seed Kiki Bertens blown off the court by Latvian Jelena Ostapenko a minute quicker – 55 minutes – 6-0 6-2. The Latvian won 64 and 63.2 per cent of her first and second serve points compared to Bertens’ 37.8 and 33.3 per cent, whilst taking full advantage of break point opportunities to break six times. In the short match, Bertens only held serve once, and broke once in a result she would like to forget.

The one seed who did survive the day one purge was eighth seed Victoria Azarenka, with the US Open finalist seeing off fellow veteran and Grand Slam winner, Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-2 6-3. Despite the final score suggesting it was a routine win, it was anything but for the Belarusian, who broke six times from 13 chances, whilst being broken only twice herself. Azarenka was much stronger across the board, winning 56.3 per cent of her service points, and 55.9 per cent of her return points compared to Kuznetsova’s 44.1 and 43.8 per cent respectively.

In other results, Greek talent Maria Sakkari saw off Egyptian Maya Sherif in 61 minutes, advancing to the Round of 16 with a comprehensive 6-0 6-3 victory. She was joined in the second round by unseeded Grand Slam winners, German Angelique Kerber, and Spaniard Garbine Muguruza. Kerber won 6-4 6-2 over Turkish talent Cagla Buyukakcay, while Muguruza won 6-2 7-6 over Russian Veronika Kudermetova in their opening round clash.

Day four of action will see six more matches take place, with sixth seed Belinda Bencic up against Madison Keys as the match of the day. Meanwhile Tunisian Ons Jabeur will face Russian Anna Blinkova, and Kazakh Elena Rybakina will lock horns with German qualifier Laura Siegemund.


Jelena Ostapenko (LAT) defeated [5] Kiki Bertens (NED) 6-0 6-2
Anett Kontaveit (EST) defeated [7] Jennifer Brady (USA) 6-1 6-2
[8] Victoria Azarenka (BLR) defeated Svetlana Kuznetsova (RUS) 6-2 6-3
Maria Sakkari (GRE) defeated Maya Sherif (EGY) 6-0 6-3
Garbine Muguruza (ESP) defeated Veronika Kudermetova (RUS) 6-2 7-6


Meanwhile in Lyon, top seed and tournament favourite Ekaterina Alexandrova has been bundled out of the WTA 250 event, stunned by Danish teenager, Clara Tauson. In a remarkable result, the 2019 Australian Open Junior champion and recently turned 18-year-old won 6-3 6-4 to knock out the only player inside the Top 40 at the event. The match lasted 92 minutes, with Tauson much stronger on her second serve, recovering to win 52.8 per cent of her points compared to Alexandrova’s 35.5 per cent. It helped the Dane break the Russian five times to three and secure the straight sets win.

It was much better news – though no smoother sailing – for second seed Fiona Ferro, after the world number 46 managed to hold off a determined Magdalena Frech. The Polish player fought until the very end having taking a set off the Frenchwoman, but in a match that lasted near three hours, it was the higher ranked Ferro that won out, 5-7 7-5 7-5.

In other results, Serbian Nina Stojanovic easily accounted for sixth seed Romanian Sorana Cirstea in straight sets, 6-4 6-0 in 75 minutes, while eighth seed Arantxa Rus got up over China’s Wang Xiyu in a tight two-setter, 7-6 6-4. In unseeded battles, Greet Minnen ousted another Polish player in Katarzyna Kawa 7-5 7-5, Hungarian Timea Babos knocked off Russian Varvara Gracheva in three sets, 6-4 5-7 6-3, and Italian Camila Giorgi got up over Russian Viktoria Kuzmova 6-2 6-3.


Clara Tauson (DEN) defeated [1] Ekaterina Alexandrova (RUS) 6-3 6-4
[2] Fiona Ferro (FRA) defeated Magdalena Frech (POL) 5-7 7-5 7-5
Nina Stojanovic (SRB) defeated [6] Sorana Cirstea (ROU) 6-4 6-0
[8] Arantxa Rus (NED) defeated Wang Xiyu (CHN) 7-6 6-4
Greet Minnen (BEL) defeated Katarzyna Kawa (POL) 7-5 7-5
Timea Babos (HUN) defeated Varvara Gracheva (RUS) 6-4 5-7 6-3
Camila Giorgi (ITA) defeated Viktoria Kuzmova (RUS) 6-2 6-3

Picture credit: Getty Images

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