Halep prevails in Moscow opener; Alexandrova advances as Jabeur retires
Simona Halep eased by means of her opening-round encounter on the VTB Kremlin Cup on Tuesday, because the No.8 seed defeated homeland hope Anastasia Potapova of Russia, 6-1, 6-4.
The previous World No.1 from Romania confronted off towards her fellow wildcard recipient on Centre Courtroom, the place Halep notched a 90-minute victory to succeed in the second spherical.
Quick details: The lone earlier assembly between Halep and Potapova additionally went the way in which of the two-time Grand Slam champion. Halep defeated Potapova 6-4, 6-4 within the second spherical of the Gippsland Trophy in Melbourne earlier this season.
Halep is now 6-1 on the VTB Kremlin Cup, however she is making her first look on the occasion since she gained the title in 2013. Halep’s run to the championship in Moscow was the fifth of her six titles she claimed in her breakthrough 2013 season.
World No.68 Potapova continues to be looking for her first main-draw win on the VTB Kremlin Cup, having fallen within the opening spherical in 2018 (defeated by Anett Kontaveit) and 2019 (defeated by Anna Kalinskaya).
Story of the match: 4 of the primary six video games went to deuce, however Halep prevailed in every of these cases, grinding out rallies as she eased to a 5-1 lead. Despite the fact that Halep had solely three winners to Potapova’s 12 within the opening body, the Romanian used her expertise to grit out these key moments earlier than serving out the set at love.
Potapova stored the scoreline nearer within the second set, with 4 of the primary six video games going towards serve. However lengthy miscues by Potapova gave Halep two probabilities to interrupt at 4-4, and the eighth seed took the primary of these alternatives, firing a sterling return to drive one other lengthy error from the Russian.
With Halep serving for the match at 5-4, Potapova powered her method to three break factors. Halep, although, methodically swept away every one, then transformed her second match level of the sport to e book her spot within the second spherical.
Kontaveit advances after Jabeur retirement
Earlier on Centre Courtroom, Russia’s Ekaterina Alexandrova superior to the second spherical of the VTB Kremlin Cup on Tuesday after No.5 seed Ons Jabeur of Tunisia retired from their match whereas trailing 6-1, 1-0.
World No.37 Alexandrova got here into the match with a dominant 4-1 head-to-head lead over Jabeur. Nonetheless, the pair had not confronted off since 2018, and Jabeur has been on the very best run of her life this season.
Jabeur, a VTB Kremlin Cup finalist in 2018, made her High 10 debut at World No.8 someday in the past, turning into the primary Arab to succeed in the High 10 of both the ladies’s or males’s skilled singles rankings.
Nonetheless, Alexandrova moved previous Jabeur as soon as extra, sweeping by means of the opener earlier than the Tunisian deemed herself unable to proceed. Regardless of the retirement, it’ll depend because the fifth High 10 win of Alexandrova’s profession.
Certainly, it was a command efficiency by big-hitting Alexandrova within the first set. The Russian cracked a return winner to earn the primary break of the day at 3-1, then staved off 4 break factors within the subsequent sport earlier than consolidating for 4-1.
Alexandrova fired off 13 winners within the opener as she moved forward by a double-break, ultimately finishing the opening body together with her fifth ace of the day. One other break of serve gave Alexandrova the rapid benefit within the second set, at which level Jabeur retired.
The retirement provides a wrinkle to Jabeur’s excessive hopes to qualify for the WTA Finals. She is at present ranked No.9 on the Porsche Race to the WTA Finals Leaderboard, one spot off the highest eight qualification locations.
Subsequent up for Alexandrova can be a gathering with Ukraine’s Anhelina Kalinina within the second spherical. World No.57 Kalinina upset Twenty eighth-ranked Daria Kasatkina on opening Monday.
Anett Kontaveit of Estonia picked up a first-round win on Tuesday, as she continues her blistering finish to the season. Kontaveit dismissed Katerina Siniakova of the Czech Republic, 6-3, 6-3, reserving her spot within the second spherical after an hour and 13 minutes of play.
World No.20 Kontaveit, who inherited the No.9 seed after No.6 seed Angelique Kerber withdrew from the match as a consequence of sickness, improved to 4-1 towards Fiftieth-ranked Siniakova with the victory.
Kontaveit has now gained 17 of her final 19 matches. That run of fantastic kind consists of her second and third WTA singles titles, at Cleveland and Ostrava respectively. Final week, she defeated defending champion Bianca Andreescu en path to the BNP Paribas Open quarterfinals in Indian Wells.
Tereza Martincova was one other early winner on Tuesday. The Czech, who’s at a brand new career-high rating of World No.51 this week, eased previous Romanian fortunate loser Irina Bara, 6-0, 7-5, in an hour and 19 minutes.
Martincova will subsequent face World No.5 Garbiñe Muguruza, the second seed this week in Moscow. Martincova is 0-3 towards High 10 opposition in her profession to date.
Extra to observe….