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Day 2:

Qualies: While day 1 was over quickly, in day 2, 6 of the 8 matches had TBs. Grabher and Krueger went toe-to-toe in the first set, Krueger 7-5, good quality tennis, many winners from both. Grabher came back to win it in the TB 10-8. Mitu continues on her roll, taking down #2 seed Zakharova 10-6 in the TB. Bondarenko #3 seed, escaped with a close win over Silva, 14-12 in TB. Selekhmatova thru easily, she faces Mayo Hibi in round 1, a difficult but winnable match. It will be her first WTA win if she does it. She needs two wins to get into AO qualies, a tough ask. Shinikova squeezes past Mihalikova 12-10 in the TB. Not sure what happened to Serban, she fell in straight sets to Ghioroaie.


MD:

Tsurenko, Kucova, Bogdan are outside the AO MD range. Few wins will get them there.

Saisai won the ITF 80K title recently but she has not done that well in WTA. If she plays to her capabilities, she could go deep. Both Tsurenko and Gasanova are through to Round 2 and will face each other. Winner can get to SF.

Krunic is in a tough quarter. In Moscow, she got Kontaveit in round 1, here she got Bogdan. Winner will go deep. The Finalist will come from this quarter, maybe Saisai and will likely face a player from the first quarter, possibly Tsurenko. But then someone else could get hot, like Snigur or Kuzmova.
 

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Daria Snigur was really impressive in the latter stages of her win over Wang Xinyu, ripping through the final set after being a bit unlucky (I thought) not to win in straight sets. Her serve has really improved, even in the three or four months since I last saw her. The contrast between now and that abortion of a "serve" with which she won junior Wimbledon is the sort of improvement that many other players could look at to find out HOW she did it.

Obviously she's nowhere near the Australian Open main draw, but she's comfortably in the qualies with her career-high ranking of 178 after yesterday's win. She basically needs to double her current 390 points to get to the top 100, and good runs here and in the French 125s (if she lines up in the second one) would be an enormous help. It's quite possible she will do that in time for the French Open cut-off.
 

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Bogdan was up a set and 3-0 and also 4-1 and couldn’t close out. Wonder if AO MD was on her mind
 

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Day 3:

Hatouka vs Bondarenko was well fought. Both players, once they had control of a rally, hit with depth, angle and pace to get an error or hit a winner. Hatouka looks like she is 6’ tall and she can crank up her serve. She took the first set 6-4, and in the last game she hit 3 aces to take the set. Bondarenko came back from a break down to take the second set. In the TB, Bondarenko led 6-3, Hatouka took the next 5 points, the set and the match.

Mitu vs Grabher was a tussle until 4-3 both players hitting well. From that point, Mitu hit a really terrible patch and Grabher took the next 8 games.

Shinikova vs Saisai: Saisai could not find her game in the first set, and committed too many UFEs. Shinikova was solid, served well and put away the short ball with authority. She was match-tough, having won a tough one yesterday. She took the set 62. In the second set Saisai found her game, came back twice from a break down. A Long TB ensued and Shinikova was resilient and took it 11-9. So the 2nd seed is out.

Shuai vs Raina: After a quick first set, Raina regrouped and came from a break down. At 5-3 in the second set, Shuai fell and stayed down for a couple of minutes. She came up limping, gave up the break, but took the 2nd set TB 8-6 and the match. She may not be fully fit going forward.

Hibi vs Selekhmeteva: This is Oksana’s second match after the one vs Kudermetova at Moscow WTA 500, in both she took the first set and lost in three. She needs to be able to finish the match when she is ahead. She has the game but needs to toughen up mentally. All credit to Hibi, not always easy to beat a young opponent.

Bogdan vs Krunic: Krunic comes thru. In the first set she controlled the rallies but could not find the finishing shot. With three BPs she had Bogdan on the run twice but hit BH CCs that missed the line. After losing the first set, she came from behind to win. 6-0 in the third set. Well done.

Going forward: Shuai was injured but will it affect her? Krunic looks good in the bottom half to get to the finals, if she does not have one of her meltdowns. Top half has so much talent, and based on Shuai’s injury, it is between 18 year old Qinwen, 19 year old Snigur and the winner of Gasanov/ Tsurenko match. This is a good tournament with good quality tennis.
 

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Discussion Starter · #50 ·
First Round

(1)Shuai Zhang (CHN) d. Ankita Raina (IND) 61 76(6)
Qinwen Zheng (CHN) d. (Q)Naiktha Bains (GBR) 61 75
Anastasia Gasanova (RUS) d. (wc)Anna Danilina (KAZ) 61 64
(7)Lesia Tsurenko (UKR) d. (wc)Lina Glushko (ISR) 63 75

Daria Snigur (UKR) d. (3)Xinyu Wang (CHN) 60 67(5) 61
(Q)Julia Grabher (AUT) d. (Q)Andreea Mitu (ROU) 63 60
Viktoria Kuzmova (SVK) d. Mai Hontama (JPN) 57 63 63
(6)Viktoriya Tomova (BUL) d. Lesley Pattinama Kerkhove (NED) 64 46 61

(8)Polona Hercog (SLO) d. (wc)Sandra Samir (EGY) 16 63 61
(SR)Vitalia Diatchenko (RUS) d. Natalia Vikhlyantseva (RUS) 63 26 63
Yuliya Hatouka (BLR) d. (Q)Kateryna Bondarenko (UKR) 62 76(6)
(4)Kristina Kucova (SVK) d. (wc)Weronika Falkowska (POL) 61 62

Aleksandra Krunic (SRB) d. (5)Ana Bogdan (ROU) 46 76(4) 60
(Q)Ilona Georgiana Ghioroaie (ROU) d. (Q)Aldila Sutjiadi (INA) 26 62 63
Mayo Hibi (JPN) d. (Q)Oksana Selekhmeteva (RUS) 46 64 64
(Q)Isabella Shinikova (BUL) d. (2)Saisai Zheng (CHN) 62 76(9)
 

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Discussion Starter · #55 ·
Second Round

Qinwen Zheng (CHN) d. (1)Shuai Zhang (CHN) 67(5) 61 64
Anastasia Gasanova (RUS) d. (7)Lesia Tsurenko (UKR) 46 64 40 ret.

Daria Snigur (UKR) d. (Q)Julia Grabher (AUT) 60 61
Viktoria Kuzmova (SVK) d. (6)Viktoriya Tomova (BUL) 62 46 75

(SR)Vitalia Diatchenko (RUS) d. (8)Polona Hercog (SLO) 63 63
(4)Kristina Kucova (SVK) d. Yuliya Hatouka (BLR) 64 61

Aleksandra Krunic (SRB) d. (Q)Ilona Georgiana Ghioroaie (ROU) 61 62
(Q)Isabella Shinikova (BUL) d. Mayo Hibi (JPN) 64 63
 

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DAY 4:
Snigur vs Grabher
Grabher was out of sorts, did not show the level of the last 3 matches. Many UFEs and she was outplayed comprehensively by Snigur. Snigur did not allow Grabher to find her game, kept the pressure on her, retrieved deep and wide shots very well, forcing Grabher to go for more and commit errors. This is the first time I saw Snigur play, she is not a power player but she hits with awesome precision to win rallies. Fully stretched out on the FH side, she finds amazing angles going cross court. Final score 60 61
Hercog vs Diatchenko:
Diatchenko’s game was ON today. She was finding the lines, redirecting deep balls cross court to the sidelines and down the lines to win the point. Hercog was hitting well in patches but she committed too many errors, DFed on two break points and overall could not keep up. The latter had a few loose games when she lost her serve but overall she was clearly the better player today and won 63 63. Hercog is capable of better play but not today.
Shinikova vs Hibi: Shinikova into QF with a win over Hibi, 64 63. With this win, she is eligible for AO qualies, Well done.
Krunic with a comfortable win over Ghioroaie, she is playing well and will go deep.

Tsurenko vs Gasanova: Early in the first set Tsurenko ran off to a 4-0 double break, she clobbered the serve of Gasonova to break twice and won all the long rallies. But then Gasanova closed the gap with good play and got one break back. But Tsurenko held on to take the set. After an overhead smash, Tsurenko appeared to be injured and she was bent over after rallies. At that point she was going for her shots. She could have won but Gasanova played some of her best tennis, absorbing the pace and staying in the rallies. At 0-4 in he third set Tsurenko retired. It is sad when a player who was ahead could not continue.

Hatouka vs Kuckova: there were many breaks of serve, both players returning well and breaking serve. At 4-4, Kuckova took the next two games to take the set. Second set was also tight, both hitting winners but Hatouka could not combine her winners to win games. She faded away towards the end of the set. Kuckova won 64 61 but the match was tighter than the score.

Qinwen vs Shuai: Early in the first set, Qinwen had not settled, was hitting rally balls into the net and long, missing the lines with her scorching winners. Shuai played solidly and won the first 4 games. Then Qinwen settled and won the next four games, 4-4. But Shuai won the set in TB. Qinwen came back from a set down and took the next two sets 61 64. Qinwen is tall and has an effortless first serve. She hits with power off both wings and has all the shots, cross court and down the line redirects, coming to the net and finishing off or pounding away overheads. She is a future top 50 player.

Going forward:

I have not changed my mind since yesterday. Krunic looks good in the bottom half to get to the finals, if she does not have one of her meltdowns. But Diatchenko has been playing well also. Top half has so much talent and they are all playing well, so any of the four could end up in finals. My guess would be Gasanova with her experience.
 

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Chinese Teenagers:
There are those teenagers in the spotlight and some under the radar. Raducanu of UK, Tauson of Denmark, Gauff of USA, Martyk of Ukraine and many early teens in Czech Republic are well known. Snigur of Ukraine is still under the radar, but maybe not after this tournament.
As a nation, China has been under the radar after Li Na retired. Now they have a trio of youngsters pushing the envelope and will enhance the image of China in BJK cup and other events. Two are in this tournament, one is still playing, Qinwen. All are tall, Xiyu and Xinyu listed at 1.82 M, 5' 11.7", Qinwen looks to be a little taller. All have excellent serves and play an aggressive style with plenty of power. They are also good at the net. Xinyu has broken thru the 100 barrier, now at #99. She has wins at WTA MD level but has not made a habit of winning. She will do better next year. Xiyu is in a slump dropping her rank from 107 to 120s. Qinwen is on an upward trend, was ranked above 300 in Dec 2020, at 144 before this tournament. She has wins over Krunic in ITF 60K finals, over Samsanova in WTA first round, her only WTA MD win so far, but these wins are awesome.
 

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This is the first time I saw Snigur play, she is not a power player but she hits with awesome precision to win rallies. Fully stretched out on the FH side, she finds amazing angles going cross court. Final score 60 61
This was how she won junior Wimbledon. She made every other player there appear like a dunce while she was the dux - and it wasn't even close.

Going forward:

I have not changed my mind since yesterday. Krunic looks good in the bottom half to get to the finals, if she does not have one of her meltdowns. Top half has so much talent, it is between 19 year old Qinwen, 19 year old Snigur and 22 yr old Gasanova
There is just one seed left (Kucova), and she may not last past today if Diatchenko continues this run of form. The amazing stat ahead of this match is that they have played each other just twice before this - in the semi-final of this tournament in 2008, when Diatchenko went on to win the title, and here again in the first round in 2014, when Diatchenko won in straight sets..
 

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Discussion Starter · #59 ·
Quarterfinals

Anastasia Gasanova (RUS) d. Qinwen Zheng (CHN) 61 63
Daria Snigur (UKR) d. Viktoria Kuzmova (SVK) 63 67(4) 60

(4)Kristina Kucova (SVK) d. (SR)Vitalia Diatchenko (RUS) 76(4) 76(1)
Aleksandra Krunic (SRB) d. (Q)Isabella Shinikova (BUL) 61 62
 
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