WTA Tour wrap: Seeds proceed in one-sided days at San Jose and Romania

COME from behind wins appeared to be the theme of the day at the Silicon Valley Classic in San Jose, with all four seeds claiming three set wins. It was a different story at the Winners Open in Romania, as the lone seed of the day also participated in the only three-setter in a much more one-sided day of action.

In the United States, all four seeds reigned supreme in tight clashes. Only Elise Mertens got off to a strong start, eventually overcoming Kristina Mladenovic 6-2 4-6 6-4, and was joined on the winners list by a couple of Kazakhs in Elena Rybakina and Yulia Putintseva, while American Danielle Collins made up the remaining position in the quarter finals.

With 38 winners to her name, Mertens claimed victory in two hours and 40 minutes against the Frenchwoman, and was happy with the result despite getting close to closing out the result in straight sets.

“I’m very, very, very thrilled. I think I can still improve… but at the end, I just wanted to win so badly. Mentally, I was prepared for a battle, and I got the hours in today,” Mertens said. “It was a very physical match. I didn’t really find my rhythm well today… sometimes it doesn’t come easy. I think in the second set, she started to feel the ball a little bit better with less mistakes.

“It’s just important to win the last ball and to keep fighting as I did today. I’m just pleased that I got through this one.”

Mertens will take on eighth seed Putintseva in the quarters, after the Kazakh piled on 33 winners to her opposition Ajla Tomljanovic‘s 20, and claimed a 3-6 7-5 6-3 victory over the Australian.

“I just was keeping in mind that I had to stay there, be there every point. In the first set, I didn’t start so well and felt like my ball was flying a little bit,” Putintseva said after the match.

“I managed to stay lower to the ground and just be a little bit more patient, use a little bit more angles, and I think it worked well. “In the third set, I was feeling great and was able to bring my level a little bit higher and that’s what gave me the lead. “But Ajla was playing really good, very solid tennis. I think it was a really great match today.”

Putintseva’s compatriot in Rybakina will take on Collins in the quarters, after the two won their respective matches against Americans Claire Liu and Sloane Stephens. Second seeded Rybakina played a topsy-turvy match against the wildcard, eventually claiming the 2-6 6-0 6-2 victory in 95 minutes, while Collins took on Stephens for the first time in her career and came out the better, 3-6 6-4 6-3.

“It was not an easy match. I knew that it wasn’t going to be easy,” Rybakina said post-match. “Claire played well and I needed more time to feel the ball, to adjust to all the conditions. It took me the first set, but then I started to serve better and played overall better. I’m just happy with my win today.”

Despite starting shakily winning just 41 per cent of points off her first serve, Collins fired up after the first set to really challenge Stephens, eventually taking down her compatriot after two hours and 10 minutes on court.

“I got off to not a bad start and then there were some bumps along the way. Playing against Sloane, and being the consistent player that she is, it required a lot more concentration on my part today than other matches that I played recently,” Collins said in her on-court interview.

“It required hitting a lot more balls and more patience to win some of those tough points. When you’re not playing at your ideal self, I think you have to walk yourself through step through step, and I just tried to make little improvements along the way, especially with the serving. I tried to get my first-serve percentage up. I saw the numbers in the first set and I wasn’t happy about that.

“I’m a bit of a perfectionist so I get really locked in to what I’m doing, but luckily, piece by piece, I got myself into a better situation and made better decisions when it really meant something.”

At the Winners Open in Romania, just the one seed in Slovakian Kristina Kucova competed and claimed the lone three-setter for the day with a tight 2-6 7-6(3) 7-6(5) victory over Romanian Irina Bara. A high-powered start from Bara looked like that was that for Kucova, however the Slovakian picked up her pace to finish off the result with a 60 per cent win rate off a 67.8 per cent clip, and backed that first effort up with a 52.6 per cent win rate on her second serve to close out a marathon three-hour and four-minute clash.

Bara’s compatriot in Mihaela Buzarnescu was much more fortunate, claiming a 6-3 7-5 victory over Spaniard Lara Arruabarrena, while Kristyna Pliskova claimed a 6-4 6-4 result over Katarzyna Kawa in two hours flat. Meanwhile, Egyptian Mayar Sherif continued her solid form with a 70-minute, 6-2 6-2 sweep of 16-year-old Filipino Alexandra Eala, hitting six aces and converting four break points throughout the clash.


[1] Elise Mertens (BEL) defeated Kristina Mladenovic (FRA) 6-2 4-6 6-4
[2] Elena Rybakina (KAZ) defeated Claire Liu (USA) 2-6 6-0 6-2
[7] Danielle Collins (USA) defeated Sloane Stephens (USA) 3-6 6-4 6-3
[8] Yulia Putintseva (KAZ) defeated Ajla Tomljanovic (AUS) 3-6 7-5 6-3


[8] Kristina Kucova (SVK) defeated Irina Bara (ROU) 2-6 7-6 7-6
Mihaela Buzarnescu (ROU) defeated Lara Arruabarrena (ESP) 6-3 7-5
Mayar Sherif (EGY) defeated Alexandra Eala (PHI) 6-2 6-2
Kristyna Pliskova (CZE) defeated Katarzyna Kawa (POL) 6-4 6-4


Picture credit: Larry Hinh/Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic

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