Quarterfinals Set In Luxembourg, Juvan Delights Home Crowd In Portoroz

Kaja Juvan (photo: Vid Ponikvar / Sportida)

WASHINGTON, September 17, 2021 (by Michael Dickens)

Top-seeded Belinda Bencic of Switzerland is among six seeded players in this weekend’s quarterfinals of the WTA 250 BGL BNP Paribas Luxembourg Open. On Thursday, the World No. 12 advanced past 105th-ranked Zarina Diyas of Kazakhstan, 6-1, 6-3, at the Kockelscheuer Sport Centre in Kockelscheuer, Luxembourg.

Others seeds advancing to the final eight include: No. 2 Elise Mertens of Belgium, No. 3 Jelena Ostapenko of Latvia, No. 5 Marketa Vondrousova of the Czech Republic, No. 7 Liudmila Samsonova of Russia and No. 8 Alizé Cornet of France. Also, reaching the quarterfinals were No. 84 Marie Bouzkova of the Czech Republic and No. 70 Clara Tauson of Denmark, who in the second round defeated No. 4 seed Ekaterina Alexandrova of Russia.

Meanwhile in Portoroz, Slovenia, with No. 1 seed Petra Martic of Croatia upset in the first round by Slovenia’s Kaja Juvan, ranked No. 103, second seed Yulia Putintseva of Kazakhstan is the highest remaining heading into Friday’s quarterfinal round of the WTA 250 hard court Zavarovalnica Sava Portoroz.

No. 3 Alison Riske of the United States, No. 4 Sorana Cirstea of Romania, and No. 5 Tamara Zidansek of Slovenia remain among the other seeds in the chase for the title.

Tyzzer: Barty to decide on relocated WTA finals

Craig Tyzzer, who coaches women’s World No. 1 Ashleigh Barty, dropped a bombshell Wednesday when he said it would be difficult for her to play in this year’s WTA Finals, which have been relocated from Shenzhen, China to Guadalajara, Mexico due to the ongoing concern over the coronavirus pandemic and to avoid it being cancelled for the second straight year.

Tyzzer’s announcement came a day after the WTA announced the shift of the WTA Finals, an elite eight-player event that concludes the season, from China to Mexico’s second-largest city.

Barty, who won the WTA Finals in 2019, has not returned to her home base in Australia since leaving in March following the Australian Summer Series of tournaments due to the strict two-week quarantine restrictions set forth by Australia’s government. So, not only would travel from Australia to Mexico prove difficult, but Tyzzer told Australian Associated Press of his concern over the altitude and conditions.

“It’s in Mexico at 1,500 meters and they’re using pressureless balls,” Tyzzer told AAP. “We were originally told it was Hong Kong and then we were told it was Prague and we hear it’s in Mexico.

“I mean, it’s not the greatest advertisement for the best girls in the world to be playing something they’ve never done before, in conditions they’ve never played, in a country they don’t play and at altitude. I just feel it’s ridiculous.”

Tyzzer said Barty, who has played in 12 events this season and won four titles, is still considering playing in the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, Calif., which begins in early October. In her most recent competition, Barty  lost in the third round to Shelby Rogers of the United States in the recent US Open. She’s been in Great Britain on vacation this week. Tyzzer warned that also playing in the WTA Finals could “have an adverse affect on Barty’s off-season as well as her start to next season.”

Barty’s coach added that while a decision could come as soon as later this week, “it certainly isn’t easy for us to get there and to play that event in Mexico and then to come back and have to do two weeks [quarantine] and then your summer is sort of ruined,” he said.