Swiatek, Sabalenka win at Eastbourne; Pliskova ousted

Published June 24, 2021
EASTBOURNE: Karoli­na Pliskova of the Czech Republic hits a return to Italy’s Camila Giorgi during their round-of-32 match at the Viking International.—Reuters
EASTBOURNE: Karoli­na Pliskova of the Czech Republic hits a return to Italy’s Camila Giorgi during their round-of-32 match at the Viking International.—Reuters

EASTBOURNE: Fourth-seeded Iga Swiatek battled back to defeat home favourite Heather Watson in three sets and earn her first career main draw win on grass Tuesday at the Viking International in Eastbourne.

Swiatek won 6-3, 6-7 (4-7), 7-5 after trailing 4-1 in the deciding set during a packed day of first-round matches at the Wimbledon warm-up tournament after a full washout Monday.

“I have a love-hate relationship with grass, so winning will give me more confidence, especially against such an experienced player,” said Swiatek, the 2020 French Open champion playing just her fourth tournament on grass.

While Swiatek avoided an upset, defending champion Karolina Pliskova couldn’t do the same. The former world number one player lost to Camila Giorgi 2-6, 6-2, 6-2. The Italian qualifier was a quarter-finalist at Wimbledon in 2018.

The fifth-seeded Pliskova, from the Czech Republic, won the title at Eastbourne in 2017 and 2019. Last year’s event was canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Top-seeded Aryna Sabalenka reached the second round by defeating Bernarda Pera 6-3, 6-4.

CoCo Gauff mounted a comeback to beat seventh-seeded Elise Mertens 0-6, 7-6 (7-4), 7-5. It was the 17-year-old US player’s first match since reaching her first Grand Slam quarter-finals at the French Open.

Second seed Elina Svitolina held her nerve to beat French Open quarter-finalist Paula Badosa 4-6, 6-1, 7-6 (7-1). The 2019 Wimbledon semi-finalist from Ukraine next faces Elena Rybakina, who was also pushed to three sets before defeating British player Harriet Dart 6-2, 6-7 (5-7), 6-4.

Third-seeded Bianca Andreescu, looking to bounce back from early exits in the French Open and German Open, overcame United States qualifier Christina McHale 6-4, 2-6, 6-2.

The 24th-ranked Ons Jabeur earned her tour-leading 29th win this year by beating Czech player Marketa Vondrousova 6-3, 7-6 (7-4).

On Sunday, Jabeur became the first Arab woman to win a singles title on the elite womens tennis tour with a 7-5, 6-4 victory over Daria Kasatkina in the Viking Classic final in Birmingham.

Jabeur has a second-round match against Jelena Ostapenko after the Latvian beat eighth-seeded Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 6-1, 6-3 in the Russian’s first match since losing the French Open final.

Pavlyuchenkova lost to Barbora Krejcikova in the Roland Garros title match, having at last reached her first Grand Slam final at a record 52nd attempt.

On the men’s side, British player Liam Broady defeated Frances Tiafoe 6-3, 7-6 (7-4) to set up a second-round match against Alex De Minaur of Australia. Sixth-seeded Alejandro Davidovich Fokina beat Swedish qualifier Mikael Ymer 7-5, 6-1.

Published in Dawn, June 24th, 2021

Opinion

Who benefits more?
Updated 03 Aug 2021

Who benefits more?

It’s been widely assumed that China was always going to secure the most benefits.
Back to the future
Updated 02 Aug 2021

Back to the future

A civil war next door would pose serious threats to Pakistan’s security and multidimensional challenges.

Editorial

03 Aug 2021

Changing GB’s status

THE government’s plans to accord a provisional provincial status to Gilgit-Baltistan are progressing steadily and...
Taliban assault
03 Aug 2021

Taliban assault

Intra-Afghan peace talks should be promoted, but the global community must be ready for the imminent collapse of the Afghan state.
03 Aug 2021

Cancelling Aurat March

THE cancellation of Aurat March Faisalabad is exactly one of those ‘isolated incidents’ which, when viewed...
02 Aug 2021

Row over NCSW

SOME matters are simply too important to play politics on. Protection of women’s rights is one of them....
02 Aug 2021

Mismanaging LNG

PAKISTAN’S purchase of expensive LNG cargoes for the September-October delivery in less than three weeks after...
Against their will
Updated 02 Aug 2021

Against their will

Estimates indicate that some 1,000 girls from minority communities are forcibly converted to Islam every year in Pakistan.