All three seeded men’s players in action defended their turf in early-round play on Monday at the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati.
No. 11 seed John Isner, who suffered an early exit last week in Canada, overcame a tricky draw to defeat the big-serving South African Kevin Anderson 6-3, 6-4.
“From the very beginning of the match, I was seeing the ball pretty well,” Isner said. “You never really know how you’re going to play until you get out there. From the first warm-up ball, I felt that it was going to be a pretty good night. I think I also benefited from Kevin not playing so well, so a lot of things went right for me tonight.”
Also in the winner’s circle were No. 15 Fabio Fognini, another early loser last week who on Monday overcame France’s Edouard Roger-Vasselin 6-4, 4-6, 7-6(5), and No. 16 Tommy Robredo who tamed American Jack Sock 7-6(5), 6-3.
Unseeded winners of note on Monday were Gael Monfils, Benjamin Becker who overcame the big-serving Ivo Karlovic, and Gilles Simon who had an easy time with qualifier Bernard Tomic, setting a meeting with world No. 1 Novak Djokovic.
On the women’s side Russian Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova was an upset-maker, taking out No. 11 seed Dominika Cibulkova 6-3, 6-3.
Seeds safely into the second round were No. 9 Ana Ivanovic over Sorana Cirstea 6-1, 7-5; No. 12 Caroline Wozniacki easing past Slovak Magdalena Rybarikova 6-2, 6-3; and No. 13 Flavia Pennetta working to get past South African qualifier Chanelle Scheepers 6-3, 6-7(7), 6-2.
“I felt good out there today,” said Wozniacki after weathering a rain delay. “It’s never easy whenever you have to start-stop with the rain and then come back out there. But I managed to kind of keep my head cool, and I felt like I was pressuring her back. You know, she had to run a lot. I felt like I was in charge of the points.”
Former Slam winner Sam Stosur advanced to a meeting with top-seeded Serena Williams after a 6-2, 7-5 win over American Varvara Lepchenko. Qualifiers also had their day on Monday with three moving into the second round: Italian Karin Knapp, France’s Pauline Parmentier, and American Taylor Townsend.
“Just having to qualify really just gives me a sense of entitlement when I get into the main draw,” Townsend said. “I earned my way into here, and so now I’ve got two matches, good matches under my belt. Now I’ve just got to keep the ball rolling. I do expect myself to do well and win a couple of rounds because I know I can. I reached third round of a Grand Slam so I know I can do whatever.”
Madison Keys was also a 6-2, 6-2 winner over French veteran Alize Cornet, advancing to a second-round meeting with No. 5 seed Maria Sharapova.
Highlights Tuesday in Cincinnati include Venus Williams vs. (16) Lucie Safarova, (14) Marin Cilic vs. Feliciano “F-Lo” Lopez, (5) Maria Sharapova vs. Madison Keys, and (1) Novak Djokovic vs. Gilles Simon in the night match.
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