Barty and Swiatek set up first-time clash on Madrid clay

Getty Images
2 Comments

MADRID — Ashleigh Barty and Iga Swiatek, the two most recent champions of the French Open, will meet in the last 16 of the Madrid Open.

They won their second-round matches to set up the first-time meeting.

“(It’s) a match that I look forward to,” Barty said about the meeting with Swiatek. “I’ve hit with her once in Melbourne a few months ago. She’s got a seriously impressive game. It’s a challenge that we go into with a really clean slate, a little bit of a period of trying to figure each other out, and how our games match up.”

Barty won the French Open in 2019, and Swiatek last year in Barty’s absence.

The top-ranked Barty needed three sets to beat 80th-ranked Tamara Zidansek. Barty struggled with her first serves, but she compensated by striking nine aces and saved nine break points to outlast Zidansek 6-4, 1-6, 6-3. That took her win streak on clay to 13 matches after claiming the Stuttgart title last week.

“A really tough match,” Barty said. “(I) made a lot of errors. I think I was missing in the right way, but still just a foot or two here or there makes a big difference. I felt like there were probably too many loose ones for me today.”

Swiatek brushed aside Laura Siegemund 6-3, 6-3 for the Pole’s ninth win in a row on clay.

Three-time Madrid champion Petra Kvitova also advanced after she beat Angelique Kerber 6-4, 7-5 in another battle of Grand Slam winners.

Kerber broke Kvitova’s serve to start both sets. But the Czech canceled the advantage right back and then broke Kerber’s serve to close it out.

“I don’t think that I really played like bad games when she broke my serve,” Kvitova said. “It was kind of important to stay calm, which I did very well I think, through the whole match. I just took her straight away back.”

Also, Ons Jabeur came from behind to beat Sloane Stephens 4-6, 6-1, 6-3.

Anastasija Sevastova defeated Johanna Konta 6-3, 6-3, while Veronika Kudermetova beat Kiki Bertens 6-4, 6-3, and Paula Badosa fought back to eliminate Jil Teichmann 5-7, 6-1, 6-2.

 

Alycia Parks reaches 1st WTA quarterfinal in Ostrava

alycia parks
Robert Prange/Getty Images
1 Comment

OSTRAVA, Czech Republic — American qualifier Alycia Parks is having quite the breakthrough tournament in Ostrava.

The 21-year-old Parks earned her first win against a top-10 ranked opponent by beating fourth-seeded Maria Sakkari 5-7, 7-5, 7-5 at the Agel Open on Thursday to reach her first WTA Tour quarterfinal.

The 144th-ranked Parks ousted former No. 1 Karolina Pliskova in the opening round – her first win against a top-20 opponent – and showed off her power by hitting 59 winners against Sakkari, compared to just nine for her opponent.

“I came out here not expecting anything, just playing my game, and it got me through the match,” Parks said.

Parks will next face former French Open champion Barbora Krejcikova, who advanced via walkover when Belinda Bencic withdrew with a left foot injury.

Caty McNally, another American qualifier who is playing doubles with Parks in Ostrava, also reached the last eight by beating wild-card entry Karolina Muchova 6-1, 3-6, 6-1. McNally is also into her first WTA quarterfinal and will face top-ranked Iga Swiatek, who advanced Wednesday.

Djokovic beats Van de Zandschulp to reach Astana quarters

novak djokovic
Nir Keidar/Getty Images
0 Comments

ASTANA, Kazakhstan — Add Botic van de Zandschulp to the long list of players to have been schooled by Novak Djokovic.

Djokovic eased past Van de Zandschulp 6-3, 6-1 on Thursday in his first career meeting with the 27-year-old Dutchman to reach the quarterfinals of the Astana Open.

Van de Zandschulp earned one break point in each set but couldn’t seriously threaten Djokovic, who is looking for a second straight indoor hardcourt title after winning in Tel Aviv last week.

“(In the) second set I think I started to read his serve better and just started swinging through the court more,” Djokovic said. “Botic is a quality tennis player. When he has time, he can hurt you, so I tried to take away that time from him and I’m very pleased with the way I played, particularly in the second.”

Djokovic will next face Karen Khachanov, who rallied to beat Marin Cilic 2-6, 6-3, 6-3. If the 21-time Grand Slam champion gets past that one, he could come up against fellow former No. 1 Daniil Medvedev. The second-seeded Russian beat Emil Ruusuvuori of Finland 6-3, 6-2 to move one match away from a potential rematch of last year’s U.S. Open final, when Medvedev beat Djokovic to deny his attempt at a calendar-year Grand Slam.

Medvedev will first have to beat Roberto Bautista Agut, who advanced Wednesday.