CHARLESTON, S.C./WASHINGTON, April 6, 2021 (by Michael Dickens)
Among Monday’s opening day matches in the WTA 500 Volvo Car Open at the LTP-Daniel Island Tennis Center in Charleston that stood out, one tested patience and the other tested time.
First, No. 56 Marie Bouzkova of the Czech Republic, who was elevated from unseeded to No. 17 seed following the withdrawal of No. 4 seed Kiki Bertens due to a leg injury, learned the value of patience.
On Monday, in a mid-afternoon featured match on Althea Gibson Club Court, Bouzkova defeated 106th-ranked Timea Babos of Hungary, 6-2, 7-5, in one hour and 44 minutes. The final score tells only part of the story. That’s because behind the victory, first, Bouzkova made up a double-break deficit in the second set. Then, Babos saved four match points during a marathon 20-point game that featured six deuces and lasted more than 13 minutes. Finally, on match point number five, Bouzkova won an eight-shot rally with a nifty backhand slice winner at the net. She won six of the last seven games in the match. Babos was partially done in by 10 double faults. It was just the second tour-level clay triumph for Bouzkova.
A titanic final game to get it done 💪
— Volvo Car Open (@VolvoCarOpen) April 5, 2021
“Being two breaks down, I had to start to fight. I learned to be a little more patient,” Bouzkova said during a post-match interview on court. “Now that I am [playing] on clay, it’s a little bit different than on hard courts. It takes a different mentality.
“I think the second set, being more consistent, was the key and I served well in the crucial points. I learned you have to fight for every ball. The last game was a really big fight. I’m happy to get through.”
Bouzkova won 74 percent of her first-serve points, hit two aces and did not commit any double faults. She converted five of 12 break-point opportunities and outpointed Babos 78-61.
Meanwhile, No. 59 Alizé Cornet of France learned the value of time. Playing first on Court 1, Cornet, a 2008 semifinalist at Charleston and later a 2018 quarterfinalist, needed two hours and 53 minutes to overcome American Bernarda Pera, 4-6, 6-4, 6-4.
Cornet trailed by a set and a break before mounting her comeback, and Pera was ultimately done in by nine double faults and errant hitting despite outpointing Cornet 111-110.
We’re officially back to long clay court battles 👀
— wta (@WTA) April 5, 2021
Among the Monday winners involving seeded players: No. 11 Yulia Putintseva of Kazakhstan defeated lucky loser Harriet Dart of Great Britain, 7-6 (8), 6-4; No. 13 seed Amanda Anisimova of the United States defeated No. 51 Magna Linette of Poland, 5-7, 6-2, 6-3, and No. 15 seed Veronika Kudermetova of Russia advanced over American qualifier Desirae Krawczyk, 6-1, 6-2. However, there was one seeded player who fell. No. 10 seed Elena Rybakina of Kazakhstan was forced to retire due to a gastrointestinal illness. She trailed Caty McNally of the United States 6-4, at the time of her retirement.
— wta (@WTA) April 5, 2021
Tuesday’s Volvo Car Open order of play
— wta (@WTA) April 6, 2021
On Tuesday, No. 3 seed Petra Kvitova (against qualifier Storm Sanders of Australia) and No. 6 seed Garbiñe Muguruza (against qualifier Magdalena Frech of Poland) are among six seeded players who will be in action. There are 13 singles and three doubles matches on the second day order of play.
— Petra Kvitova (@Petra_Kvitova) April 6, 2021
What they’re telling Tennis TourTalk
• Garbiñe Muguruza on playing on the green clay in Charleston: “Clay court is my favorite part of the year, and so it’s a good thing. I’m very excited and I have to control my excitement because we don’t have that many tournaments, so you kind of want to do well fast.
“But definitely the green clay, it’s different. I’ve grown up playing on clay and it’s not the same thing. Yes, you can slide and all of that, but I do feel it’s different. It’s been almost 10 years since I didn’t play Charleston. I’ve only played once in my life, was a very long time ago and it is a challenge to be back and to play on this clay because I have zero experience. So just looking to see how I’m going to feel.”
“Clay court is my favorite part of the year, and so it’s a good thing!”
— Volvo Car Open (@VolvoCarOpen) April 6, 2021
• Sofia Kenin on what her successful run at Roland Garros on clay taught her: “Before, I used to hate clay, in juniors. And then [I] had a good run the year before last year against Serena [Williams] and I go to the fourth round of Roland Garros. So, of course, from that moment I was like, I really love clay!
“The, first tournament back in Rome last year, [I] had a bagel. I was obviously a little disappointed, but then I knew that it was going to somehow click. And then obviously after last year, Roland Garros is one of my favorite surfaces.”
Top seed Zheng leads winners at Copa Colsanitas
No. 1 seed Zheng Saisai of China advanced to the second round of the WTA 250 Copa Colsanitas in Bogotá, Colombia, on red clay. On Monday, the 48th-ranked Zheng defeated No. 156 Usue Maitane Arconada of the United States, 6-3, 6-1.
Two other seeded players, No. 6 seed Jasmine Paolini of Italy and No. 8 seed Wang Yafan, also won and moved into the second round. No. 103 Paolini defeated No. 119 Kristie Ahn of the United States, 6-3, 6-0, and Wang bested Colombian wild card Emiliana Arango, 6-4, 5-7, 7-5. It was the 123rd-ranked Wang’s first win of this season and broke a seven-match losing streak. Her last victory came in March 2020 at Monterrey.
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