Sabalenka Sacks Krejcikova, Jabeur Rallies In Stuttgart; Swiatek v Zheng Thurs.

by Staff | April 19th, 2023, 9:12 pm
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Things heated up in Stuttgart with the top stars in action.

Australian Open champion and No. 2 seed Aryna Sabalenka eased past former French winner Barbora Krejcikova 6-2, 6-3.

In her 2023 clay debut, Sabalenka, a finalist the last two years, finished with 11 aces, won 31/38 (82%) on first service points.

“I’m super happy with this win, it’s always a tough match against Barbora,” Sabalenka stated. “I think serve was really working well today. On the return I put a lot of pressure on her so she didn’t have that much time.”

Another former French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko fell to Ons Jabeur 1-6, 7-5, 6-3.

Ostapenko was in devastating form jumping out 6-1 and 2-1 with a break. The Latvian would serve for it at 5-4 and fail and that opened the door for Jabeur who took advantage. Ostapenko had break chances late but couldn’t convert.

“Sometimes I feel like, it’s OK, it’s meant to be that I don’t start great the year, the most important thing is I take care of my health, and everything happens for a reason, and whatever is meant to be to happen this year is going to happen as long as I give 100 percent and I follow whatever I need to follow,” Jabeur said to the WTA

“On the other side, it’s like, ‘Oh, the other girls are playing really well. Am I gonna come back to the same level or not?’ But I took the decision to play Indian Wells/Miami just to show that I’m back here and I’m still alive.”

American teen Coco Gauff had to fight off Veronika Kudermetova 6-2, 4-6, 7-6(7-3). Gauff couldn’t hold a break lead at 4-2 in the second. Then she failed to serve it out in the third but finished off the job in a breaker.

“That was a close one,” said Gauff. “I had opportunities in that match. I mean, again, I’m not expecting an easy match. She’s been playing better and better each week. I think that I’m just going to have to keep that aggressive mindset, especially against her, someone who can come up with some big shots.”

No. 6 seed Elena Rybakina sent out German hope Jule Niemeier of Germany 7-5, 6-3. And former champion Karolina Pliskova upset No. 8 seed Maria Sakkari 6-2, 6-3.

The Thursday ticket includes second round play with No. 1 Iga Swiatek making her clay debit against the dangerous Qinwen Zheng. Swiatek is 2-0 against the Chinese star.

No. 4 Caroline Garcia will meet Tatjana Maria, Gauff locks up with Anastasia Potapova who beat the teen at Miami.

Rybakina clashes with Beatriz Haddad Maia, Pliskova faces Donna Vekic plus Cristina Bucsa gets Paula Badosa in an all-Spanish battle.

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