It was day three at the 2015 Engie Open de Limoges, and the scene was set for another brilliant day of tennis. A $125,000 stop on the WTA calendar this season, this tournament held in a small French city has attracted many top players ranked inside the top 100, including WTA rising stars Elina Svitolina, Caroline Garcia, Carina Witthoeft and Danka Kovinic. All three of those women were in action on day three, as they looked to end their season with a trophy in their hands. However, it wasn’t all smooth sailing for the seeds on Wednesday; Garcia won her opener 7-5 in the third, while Witthoeft, Kovinic and Svitolina all lost in their respective first and second round matches.
Witthoeft, Kovinic and Svitolina All Ousted on Wednesday
The first of the casualties on day three came at the hands of top seed Elina Svitolina, who was eliminated at the first hurdle after losing to home favourite Pauline Parmentier 6-4, 4-6, 7-6(6). Right from the off, Parmentier was matching her Ukrainian counterpart shot-for-shot and wasn’t afraid to go for her shots. Svitolina on the other hand, never really found her rhythm against the Frenchwoman but when she did, she would have another lapse where she was just making a number of unforced errors. Despite not playing her best tennis, the top seed fought her hardest and was rewarded with a 6-2 lead in the final set tiebreak. However, in a remarkable comeback, Parmentier won the next six points with some gutsy tennis to prevail in three sets, much to the delight of the French public. The world number 116 will face Katerina Siniakova for a spot in the last eight on Thursday.
Later in the day, seventh seed Carina Witthoeft was ousted in three sets by fellow WTA rising star Donna Vekic. Vekic, who has been having an up-and-down year, looked close to her best towards the end of a 3-6, 6-2, 6-1 win. After dropping the opening set, the Croatian began to find her timing on both her serve and forehand, and dominated the next two sets in devastating fashion against Witthoeft, who didn’t seem to have any answers.
In the final match of the day, fifth seed Danka Kovinic was blown off the court by Ukrainian qualifier Kateryna Kozlova. The Ukrainian number seven who was temporarily suspended after testing positive for performance enhancing drugs earlier this year, has begun to play some of the best tennis of her career thus far. The 21-year-old outclassed her fellow WTA rising star in every department, breaking four times and winning 93% of her first serve points, en route to a simple 6-3, 6-0 win over the Montenegrin.
Garcia Survives; Gasparyan, Johansson Also Advance
Earlier in the day, French number one and third seed Caroline Garcia took to the court to begin her campaign. The 22-year-old was severely tested, and was a few points away from elimination against Russian qualifier Ekaterina Alexandrova. But in the end, it was Garcia’s experience and fighting spirit that got her over the line, en route to a 1-6, 6-2, 7-5 win. The Frenchwoman will face Richel Hogenkamp next for a place in the quarter finals.
Other winners on day three included sixth seed Margarita Gasparyan, and French wildcard Mathilde Johansson. Gasparyan began singles action on day three with a 6-2, 6-4 win over Ukrainian number six Maryna Zanevska, while Johansson won the battle of the French wild cards, defeating Julie Coin 4-6, 6-3, 6-4.
Headlining Day Four...
On day four, the remaining players not already in the quarter finals, will all be fighting for a spot in the last eight. Among those players will be eighth seed Anna-Lena Friedsam, 2010 French Open champion Francesca Schiavone, and home favourites Johansson, Parmentier, and Garcia. One thing is guaranteed — there will be lots of incredible tennis to be played in the coming days!