WTA Nottingham: Wozniacki and Puig advance, Rybarikova upsets Watson

The first round matches had been completed today on the grass court of Aegon Open Nottingham. Caroline Wozniacki and Monica Puig are the only seeded players who survived the day; they will join Karolina Pliskova, Johanna Konta, and Christina McHale into the second round. All the remaining seeds who played today suffered an early upset: Heather Watson, Yanina Wickmayer, and Mona Barthel all ended their tournament with a first round defeat.

Wozniacki Wins Her Comeback Match, Watson Out

Third seed and former world number one Caroline Wozniacki started off the play on Centre Court. The Danish, who had been recovering from an ankle injury, played today her first match since Miami Open. She only needed two sets to dispose off Turkey's Cagla Buyukakcay; a better consistency on serve and continual challenges on her opponent’s service games, with a total of 14 break points gained (6 of them converted), allowed the Danish to prevail, and eventually winning the match with a 7-5, 6-4 scoreline.

Three British players fell in the following matches on Centre Court. Sixth seed Heather Watson lost in three sets against Magdalena Rybarikova of Slovakia; the British player easily secured the first set in half an hour. From the start of the second, however, she had never been able to hold her serve nor to gain a chance to break, gifting the set to her opponent without winning a single game. Another break had been fatal to the British in the third set; despite being able to hold all her following games, Watson never managed to break back, eventually losing the match with a final 6-4, 0-6, 4-6 scoreline.

Wild card Laura Robson lost in two sets to qualifier Michelle Larcher de Brito; the Portuguese, who took Ana Konjuh’s spot in the draw after the Croatian’s withdrawal, prevailed in the match with a 6-3, 7-5 scoreline. A third British, Naomi Broady, held out less than an hour against Hsieh Su-Wei; a more consistency on serve and on break points granted the Taiwanese the eventual win with a 6-1, 6-2 scoreline.

Heather Watson of Great Britain walks off dejected after her loss to Magdalena Rybarikova of Slovakia on day two of the WTA Aegon Open on June 7, 2016 in Nottingham, England. (Photo by Jon Buckle/Getty Images for LTA)
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Puig Advances, Wickmayer Fell To Lucky Losers

The other courts saw two more seeds following Watson out of the tournament. The only one to survive had been fourth seed Monica Puig; facing no trouble, she stormed past Zhang Kailin in 49 minutes of play; a poor performance on serve from the Chinese helped the Puerto Rican to win the match with a double 6-1 scoreline.

Fifth seed Yanina Wickmayer fell in straight sets to lucky loser Andrea Hlavackova, who took the spot of Zarina Diyas. The Belgian got two chances to break as her opponent was serving for the first set, but the Czech eventually managed to hold and to win the set. A balanced second set, which saw no breaks from neither player, ended in a battled tie-break, eventually won by Hlavackova on her third match point.

A great consistency on serve allowed Alison Riske to defeat seventh seed Mona Barthel and advance to the second round; the American never gave her opponent the chance to break her serve, and eventually won the match with a quick 6-2, 6-1 scoreline.

Another lucky loser earned her chance to advance; Austria’s Tamira Paszek, who entered the main draw after Konjuh’s retirement, prevailed after a battled first set against Kurumi Nara, and then dominated the second one, winning her first WTA main draw match since January.

The only British player to earn a win today in Nottingham had been qualifier Tara Moore, who prevailed in two sets against Donna Vekic; fellow qualifier Ashleigh Barty, who played her first WTA main draw match since 2014, also advanced to the second round, after a straight set win against Peng Shuai.

On the doubles side, Karolina and Krystina Pliskova, along with Xu Yifan and Zheng Saisai, advanced to the second round.

Second Round To Start Tomorrow

Three of the five seeds left will be playing again tomorrow. Monica Puig will start off the day on Centre Court against Michelle Larcher de Brito; to follow, Karolina Pliskova and Caroline Wozniacki will also try to secure a spot in the quarterfinals, challenging respectively Anna Tatishvili and Annet Kontaveit. On Court 2 Allison Riske will meet Hsieh Su-Wei. The first round doubles draw will also be completed tomorrow, with the last four matches scheduled to play.

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