WTA New Haven: Mixed results for seeds in opening round

WTA New Haven: Mixed results for seeds in opening round

Day two of first round action at the Connecticut Open saw the No.3 seed Petra Kvitova advance to the second round in straight sets and fourth-seeded Karolina Pliskova fall to a former world No. 8.

Haley Hunt

Johanna Konta def. Laura Siegemund 6-2, 7-5

Monday’s meeting marked just the second between the pair, with Siegemund capturing both wins: 2017 in Madrid and 2015 at ITF Pelham. 

Konta, making her main draw debut in New Haven, lost in the first round last week in Cincinnati. Siegemund, meanwhile, was competing in her first hardcourt event of the summer after playing only on clay since Roland Garros.

The first set was controlled almost exclusively by Konta, who made 70 percent of her first serves, won 93 percent of her first service points, and did not face a break point. The World No.46 opened the match with a break over the German and later raced to a 4-0 lead. Thirty-one minutes later, the Brit hit her fourth ace to close out a decisive first set.

Johanna Konta prepares to serve | Getty Images Sport | Maddie Meyer
Johanna Konta prepares to serve | Getty Images Sport | Maddie Meyer

The next set began in a similar fashion, with Konta breaking Siegemund again in the opening game. As the set progressed, Siegemund's level began to rise. The German fought back to level the set at 3-3–her first break of the match—after Konta double-faulted down break point. 

“What she’s very good at is fighting her way in, and she did that,”  Konta said. “It was a very close second set and I just had to keep trusting the kind of tennis that I was playing.”

As points grew longer and Siegemund's confidence rose, the momentum appeared to be swinging in favor of the German and heading towards a deciding set. However, a pair of double faults at the latter end of the set gave Konta the opportunity to level play again and book her spot in the second round.

Konta will face former world No.6 Carla Suarez Navarro next.

“[Suarez Navarro] can do a lot with the ball. It’ll be a good opportunity again for me to just compete the best I can,” Konta said.

Ekaterina Makarova def. No.4 Karolina Pliskova 6-1, 6-3

Pliskova, though trailing in the head-to-head 1-3, won the most recent of the pair’s four meetings: a straight sets victory in Miami. Monday, however, the Czech struggled to challenge the former World No.8. 

Despite starting a new coaching partnership with Rennae Stubbs in Cincinnati, the Czech was unable to find her consistency or control play. She hit 21 unforced errors to just 14 winners, failed to convert on all three break chances, and made just 48 percent of her first serves.

Makarova waves to the crowd after defeating Pliskova | Getty Images Sport | Maddie Meyer
Makarova waves to the crowd after defeating Pliskova | Getty Images Sport | Maddie Meyer

“[Pliskova is] a very tough opponent. She’s a big server,” Makarova said. “It’s very important to be focused on your serve and hold is aggressively and it was working today so I was very happy to get through.”

Makarova will meet Magdalena Rybarikova next, who defeated Coco Vandeweghe after the American retired in the third set.

No.3 Petra Kvitova def. Agnieszka Radwanska: 6-1, 7-6 (7-3)

In the featured match of the night session, three-time champion (2012, 2014, 2015) Kvitova faced 2016 champion Radwanska for their 13th meeting, and their third in New Haven. The Czech led the head-to-head 7-5, with the pair splitting straight sets wins over one another in 2015 and 2016 in New Haven. 

The battle between past Connecticut Open champions swung heavily in Kvitova favor during the first set, while Radwanska struggled to redirect the pace of her opponent’s balls on a fast-paced court that played into Kvitova’s strengths.

I did not want to be on the court much longer to play with [Radwanska], obviously," Kvitova said. "It’s always a challenge to play her…When she played longer she just played better and better.”

Kvitova celebrates after defeating Radwanska
Kvitova celebrates after defeating Radwanska

With Kvitova struggling on serve in the next set, Radwanska earned her first break of the match to achieve a 3-1 lead. However, the Czech continued fighting to force a tiebreaker, where she raced to a 3-0 lead that helped her to close out the match in straight sets.

I think of course when you are coming somewhere when you know you are playing good tennis it helps you,” Kvitova said. “The confidence is there, so it’s important as well.”

Kvitova is set to face qualifier Zarina Diyas in the second round.

Other results:

Dayana Yastremska def. Danielle Collins 6-0, 6-3

Zarina Diyas def. Maria Sakkari 6-4, 6-3