Kazakhstan’s Elena Rybakina, a finalist in the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships last weekend, kept the momentum rolling at the Qatar Total Open in Doha on Monday by rallying from a set down to defeat Romania’s Sorana Cirstea.
Rybakina, No. 17 in the world rankings and seeded No. 14 in Doha, dropped the first set 6-3 to Cirstea before roaring back to close out the first-round match 6-3, 6-1 in 1 hour, 41 minutes. It was her 20th WTA singles match win of the season.
“I’m just working hard, always trying to fight. It wasn’t an easy match today and we both played well. I’m just happy to be in the second round,” said Rybakina, who will next meet Belgium’s Alison Van Uytvanck.
“I still have energy! I’m just fighting in every match, and we’ll see. Hopefully I can keep making finals and finally win another.”
American teenager Amanda Anisimova pulled off an upset in her match against No. 5 seed Elina Svitolina in straight sets. Anisimova knocked off the seventh-ranked Ukrainian in straight sets 6-3, 6-3 to book her spot in the third round.
“I think the most important thing was just staying focused and clearing my head, just not putting too much pressure on myself and just trying to enjoy,” said Anisimova after her match. “So, I’m really happy to be back and kind of playing my own tennis again.”
The win marked her first victory against a top-10 opponent this season, with her last coming at Roland Garros in 2019 versus defending champion Simona Halep en route to her first Grand Slam semifinal.
“Every opponent here is a tough player, but when I go out to play a top-10 player I know I just have to be focused for every point because they can turn the match around at any time, so I just have to really stay zoned into the match,” added Anisimova.
Other seeded players exiting Doha on Monday were No. 13 seed Alison Riske, who fell to fellow American Jennifer Brady 7-6 (10), 1-6, 7-6 (3); Croatia’s Donna Vekic, seeded 17th, lost in straight sets to Poland’s Iga Swiatek, 6-4, 7-5; No. 12 seed Marketa Vondrousova of the Czech Republic lost to China’s Saisai Zheng, 1-6, 6-3, 6-2; and Croatia’s Petra Martic, seeded 10th, was dispatched by Czech Barbora Strycova, 4-6, 6-1, 6-2.
No. 7 seed Kiki Bertens of Netherlands and No. 15 Maria Sakkari of Greece advanced in straight sets.
A pair of top seeds fell in the opening round in Acapulco, capped by China’s Xiyu Wang upsetting countrywoman and No. 2 seed Yafan Wang 6-4, 7-6 (8) in the day’s finale.
Xiyu Wang lost her serve at 4-4 in the second set, allowing her opponent a chance to serve for the set, but she broke right back and forced the tiebreaker. She then fell behind 3-0 and 5-3 in the tiebreaker but rallied to earn a match point. Yafan Wang fought off that point and earned two set points herself, but Xiyu Wang saved both and then won three straight points to clinch it.
Also falling was No. 3 Marie Bouzkova of the Czech Republic, who was beaten 6-4, 1-6, 6-2 by Germany’s Tatjana Maria. Bouzkova had 11 double faults and had her serve broken four times, including in each of her final three service games.
Earlier Monday, No. 7 Heather Watson of Great Britain rallied past American CoCo Vandeweghe 4-6, 6-4, 6-4, and eighth-seeded Nao Hibino of Japan dispatched Dutchwoman Arantxa Rus 6-3, 6-1.
– Field Level Media