A wild Wednesday in Charleston saw four of the top eight seeds go crashing out of the season’s first clay court event. The second round was completed and there are several surprises entering round three. Let’s take a look back and try to make sense of what happened on day three at the Volvo Car Open.
The biggest name to crash out in Charleston was second seed Belinda Bencic. The Swiss did not just lose, she was crushed by qualifier Elena Vesnina 6-1, 6-1. The second seed could not convert either of her break points, and found herself at the mercy of the Russian’s return, which broke Bencic’s serve five times. It only took Vesnina 56 minutes to send the second seed packing in her 2016 clay court debut.
American fans were very excited to see fourth seed Lucia Safarova fall victim to a strong performance from New Jersey native Louisa Chirico. Safarova also lost in straight sets, 6-3, 6-3. Neither player managed to save a break point in the match, but it was the American who had more opportunities, converting all four of her break point chances, while limiting her Czech opponent to only one break point in the hour and nine-minute match.
Andrea Petkovic, the sixth seed, put up a strong fight in her match against Monica Puig, but struggled to create and convert her opportunities on the Puerto Rican’s serve and eventually fell 7-5, 6-2. The pair exchanged breaks in the opening set before a late break allowed Puig to claim the opener. She rode the momentum from there, breaking Petkovic twice in the second set to claim victory and advance to the third round.
The big disappointment of the day was Madison Keys, who despite winning the opening set, joined her fellow even-numbered seeds on the sidelines when she fell 6-7(3), 6-4, 6-4 to Laura Siegmund. The match was wild and there were breaks all over the place. In the end, six breaks were not enough for the American, as she was broken eight times herself.
Eugenie Bouchard and Sabine Lisicki were also among the big names who were ousted on Wednesday. Bouchard’s came as a surprise, as the Canadian roared back after dropping the opening set to force a decider. But down 1-0 in the third set, she was forced to retire with an abdominal injury. Lisicki, the 15th seed, lost a two hour and 20-minute battle with Yulia Putintseva 7-5, 4-6, 6-3.
It was not all upsets on Wednesday. The Americans had a lot to cheer for, as both Venus Williams and Sloane Stephens advanced in straight sets, although Williams had to do it at the expense of countrywoman Alison Riske. Fifth seed Sara Errani only dropped three games in her second round match, while the remaining three seeded players in action, Sam Stosur, Daria Gavrilova, and Daria Kasatkina, all advanced in straight sets.
A pair of three-setters rounded out the action on day three, as Kristina Kucova bounced back after dropping the opening set 6-0 to defeat Kateryna Bondarenko in three sets, while home-hope Bethanie Mattek-Sands was sent packing by Irina-Camelia Begu.
The third round will take place tomorrow.