Sunday, 16 April 2017

Schiavone turns back the clock

It's all about the old and the new as the shock results continue on the WTA tour this week.

In Bogota, Francesca Schiavone reminded spectators of why she had spent much of her career at the elite level, taking out the top seed and three others on the way to capturing the  Claro Colsanitas Open.

The final was a close battle, with fourth seed Lara Arruabarrena rueing the break point chances which went begging throughout the match.  Schiavone broke four times, twice in each set, from only six opportunities.  Arruabarrena created 14 chances, but only converted twice, once in each set.

Both players were similarly capable in baseline and other exchanges, but it was the 36 year old Italian who won the important points, leading her to win a second South American tournament in the past two years and earn a jump in the rankings from 168 to just outside the top 100.  At this rate, automatic entry to Roland Garros is looking a distinct possibility.

Meanwhile in Biel/Bienne, Switzerland, 17 year old Marketa Vondrousova is the latest young player to emerge from the Czech Republic and make waves.  She is into the Biel Bienne Ladies Open final after dispensing with older and far more credentialed Czech compatriots Kristyna Pliskova in the quarters and Barbora Strycova in the semis.

Prior to this tournament, Vondrousova had made four lower tier ITF finals in 2017, winning two.  Now, having won through qualifying to make her first WTA final, Marketa will jump almost 100 places in the rankings to a career high 139.
A title win will send that about twenty spots higher.

To defeat Strycova, a top twenty player, took a lot of mettle, especially trailing 2-5 in the opening set and facing a set point in the twelfth game.
The set point was saved with a big serve and the ensuing tie break was impressively taken 7-3 by the increasingly confident teenager.

Winning 11 of 12 points on her first serve helped Vondrousova dominate Strycova in the second set.  Hitting several of her 22 winners for the match,  Vondrousova returned the Strycova serve with ease and restricted the top seed to a mere 13 points for the set.

The 7-6 6-2 win sets up a final against Estonia's Anett Kontaveit.  It will be the first WTA final for both Vondrousova and Kontaveit.

In ATP events, Steve Johnson has come from a set down to defeat top seed Jack Sock to reach the US Men's Clay Court Championship final in Houston.  He will play Thomaz Bellucci, the Brazilian having finished the tournament for young American Ernesto Escobedo.
The Marrakech final will match up third seed Philipp Kohlschreiber against Borna Coric.

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