Not a single break in set 1. Tough draw for Richel who had a great week in Seoul.
Aleks is going to face Cepelova next and probably Zvonareva in QF, so it's a tough road. Is this the first time she is a seed at a WTA tour event?
Yeah, I am pretty sure this is indeed the 1st time Aleks has ever been seeded at WTA event. But it sure won't be the last.
I believe before this event the largest event Aleks had been seeded for was a 100K tournament. So, yeah, another new landmark for Aleks.
It was a tough draw for Richel it's true. She has been playing well and just reached her 1st career semifinal the week before. I think had she had a kinder draw here she could have easily gotten one or two wins here as well.
She put up great resistance against Aleks in the 1st set. Aleks had lots of break points in the 1st set but Richel warded them all off. In contrast Richel never made any inroads in Aleks' service games. And once Aleks won the TB, it was smooth sailing for Aleks.
The three best things about today's match for Aleks were: 1) She looked a lot more eager and passionate than she did in the early stages last week. Although she did play well last week, she often looked tired and frustrated. Today she looked a lot more positive. 2) Aleks served extremely well. In 9 service games plus a TB, she lost a total of just 10 points on serve. She won 80% of her service points and was never even remotely threatened on her serve. 3) Aleks' movement today was just insane. She really is covering the court as well as anyone in the game right now. It's a joy to watch.
I wasn't sure what to expect of today's match. Aleks looked tired after her great effort in Guangzhou and the trip to Tashkent is a very long one. It is pretty common for players to lose in the 1st round after a week when they reached a final, and it is particularly common with players who haven't reached a lot of finals. And of course Richel has been playing well of late and prior to the start of the match she looked capable of causing an upset if Aleks was off her game. So it is was great to see Aleks play this match with such determination, focus and eagerness. It was clear watching this match that despite all the success Aleks has had lately, she is still very hungry and wants more. That is really good to see.