Top seeds Pliskova, Kenin lose soundly at W&S Open Day 2

Karolina Pliskova and Sofia Kenin, the W&S Open’s top two seeds, were taken down in the Round of 32 in today’s action. Here is the day’s full recap.

The WTA’s top two seeds at the Western & Southern Open, Karolina Pliskova and Sofia Kenin, set out for their Round of 32 matches in hopes for a solid start to the week. #10 seed Marketa Vondrousova and12th-seeded Anett Kontaveit (2020’s Palermo finalist) also took the court to finish off Round of 64 action. It was a day dominated by two-set victories; only four of the day’s 16 matches needed a deciding third set.

Veronika Kudermentova def. (1) Karolina Pliskova 7-5, 6-4

Skipping right into the two primetime matches, top-seeded Pliskova fell to WTA World #41, Veronika Kudermentova, in a tight two-set match. Despite the seemingly lopsided result, Pliskova didn’t play a horrible match overall. She opened up a 4-1 lead in the first set and didn’t face a break point. Kudermentova held and broke the WTA #3 soundly to bring the match back on serve. It seemed that Pliskova was squandering her fast start.

That thought was only compounded when, at 4-all, Kudermentova got to love-40 for a chance to serve out the set. Pliskova was able to fend off all three break points, as well as another during the next deciding game point. She eventually closed out with a hold and only needed to break Kudermentova in order to take the set.

She nearly did as she took her opponent to deuce on her serve. Kudermentova, however, held and subsequently followed the clutch serving performance with a dismantling of her opponent’s in the very next game.

Kudermentova took the 6-5 lead and closed out the set with a quick hold. Pliskova’s serve had begun to slowly unravel as the first set wore on. She served a total of five double faults and connected on only 7-of-20 points on her second serve. While she did save 4 of the 6 break points she faced, that isn’t a sustainable way to keep pace with an opponent.

The second set began with an extremely tight four-deuce game on Pliskova’s serve, which included a break point save during the third deuce before she ultimately held for the first game of the set. She and Kudermentova then went on a streak of eight consecutive holds of serve (including the opening game), which saw only three more break point chances combined (once for Kudermentova at 1-all and twice more at 3-all).

At 4-all, Kudermentova finally converted on her sixth break point opportunity of the set at put herself within one game of knocking out the tournament’s top seed. At 5-4, she fended off a break point with a great display of offense before closing out the match by putting Pliskova on her heels, eventually forcing an errant groundstroke that just sailed long. It was a great performance by the unseeded Russian; she was extremely effective on her serve, winning 70% of her first serve points and only succumbing to two break point opportunities.

Pliskova, on the other hand, ended the night with a whopping nine double faults. Despite this, she was controlling the points on her first serve (38-of-51 points won). The main issue with this is that she was only able to convert 59% of her first serves for the match (including just 51% in the first set). Pliskova will add to her underwhelming 2020 season and will look to bounce back next week at the US Open.

Alize Cornet def. (2) Sofia Kenin 6-1, 7-6 (7)

As discussed a few days ago in our WTA preview for the event, Sofia Kenin was a huge question mark rolling into this tournament. Other than the Charleston exhibition in June, no one had seen anything from her during the shutdown. Before that, she was a mixed bag in terms of performance. She went 2-0 in events where she reached past the Round of 16 but played in 6 events before March, giving her a 2-4 record in events. Yes, she did win in Australia, which deserves a major amount of props, but she still was an unknown going into this week, much like Pliskova.

The first set was going to be a telltale sign for whether or not she’d be at the top of her game, circa January, or suffer the fate as her fellow top-fiver Pliskova would. Kenin, however, didn’t start the match how she would’ve hoped. Over the first 25 points of the match, Alize Cornet won 20 of them. This resulted in a huge 5-0 lead. Kenin looked extremely flat and struggled to gain any sort of momentum point by point. In those first five games, she never won more than one point in a row and didn’t come anywhere close to a break chance (Cornet converted 2 out of her 3 chances).

The World #4 finally began the match and held at love to make it delay the ultimate result. At 5-1, she took Cornet into a five-deuce game and saved three match points over the first four deuces. She was unable to convert her first break chance of the match and ultimately lost the set.

Despite the rough start, Kenin looked to be returning to form and was ready to start a comeback. She easily dispatched in the opening game and went into a 2-0 hole. Kenin was able to fight back to square the set before suffering a similar fate as the previous hour of play. Cornet jumped out to a 5-2 lead after her third break of Kenin’s serve.

Kenin’s offensive tennis was at the forefront of the next three games. She saved two match points on Cornet’s serve and was able to take the game on her fourth break point opportunity. A quick hold and an equally quick break of serve brought the match to 5-all. The tides were beginning to turn.

Two hold later and the set went to a tiebreak. Cornet was able to jump out to a 4-1 lead (very characteristic of this match so far) but was unable to keep her momentum going. Kenin put on a show from the ground and won the next five points to give herself two set points. Cornet wasn’t down and out; her fiery game was reaching overdrive. She took the next three points to give herself her third match point of the set. Finally, at 8-7, Cornet finally prevailed on her fourth attempt as Kenin ended the blistering backhand rally by putting one wide.

Kenin’s inability to back u her second serve was a killer. She finished with five double faults and only won 5 of 20 points on her second serve for the match. She’ll head into the US Open with plenty to think about and work on if she wants a chance to make a deep run.

Other Notable Results

  1. Laura Siegmund was the first of three unseeded players to take out a seeded opponent today. She defeated #10 Marketa Vondrousova 6-3, (3)6-7, 6-4.
  2. Tenth-seeded Anett Kontaveit continued on her stellar August with a 6-3, 6-1 defeat of Daria Kasatkina.
  3. Ons Jabeur, who entered the tournament unseeded, battled back from a first-set bagel for a three-set victory over teenage prodigy, Leylah Fernandez, 0-6, 6-4,6-3.


Day 2 Full Results (Round of 64/32)

(12) Anett Kontaveit def. Daria Kasatkina 6-3, 6-1

Cici Bellis def. Oceane Dodin 6-2, 3-6, 7-6 (1)

Vera Zvonareva def. Magda Linette 1-6, 6-3, 6-1

(14) Elise Mertens def. Rebecca Peterson 6-0, 6-2

Arantxa Rus def. Alison van Uytvanck 6-2, 6-3

Laura Siegemund def. (10) Marketa Vondrousova 6-3, (3) 6-7, 6-4

Jessica Pegula def. Jennifer Brady  7-6 (5), 6-4

Christina McHale def. Iga Swiatek 6-2, 6-4

Kirsten Flipkens def. Katerina Siniakova 6-3, 6-3

Marie Bouskova def. Anna Kalinskaya 6-1, 7-5

Yulia Putintseva def. Zhang Shuai 6-4, 6-3

Ons Jabeur def. Leylah Fernandez 6-0, 6-4, 6-3

Jill Teichmann def. Danielle Collins  6-3, 6-3

Caroline Garcia def. Sloane Stephens 6-3, 7-6 (4)

Veronika Kudermentova def. (1) Karolina Pliskova 7-5, 6-4

Alize Cornet def. (2) Sofia Kenin 6-1, 7-6 (7)

Day 3 Full Schedule (Round of 32)

11:00 AM EST

Court 17: (6) Petra Kvitova vs Marie Bouskova

Court 7: (8) Johanna Konta vs Kirsten Flipkens

Court 9: Amanda Anisimova vs Jessica Pegula

Court 15: Christina McHale vs Ekaterina Alexandrova

Followed By

Grandstand: (3) Serena Williams vs Arantxa Rus

Court 7: (14) Elise Mertens vs Kristina Mladenovic

Court 9: Vera Zvonareva vs Laura Siegemund

Followed By

Court 17: (4) Naomi Osaka vs Karolina Muchova

Court 10: Victoria Azarenka vs Caroline Garcia

Court 7: (12) Anett Kontaveit vs Jill Teichmann

Court 9: (13) Maria Sakkari vs Yulia Putintseva

Followed By

Court 17: (5) Aryana Sabalenka vs CiCi Bellis

Court 7: (16) Dayana Yastremska vs Bernarda Pera

Followed By (Not before 7:00 PM)

Grandstand: (7) Madison Keys vs Ons Jabeur

Next: Tsitsipas dominates on Day 2 of the ATP's W&S Open


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