Abu Dhabi WTA Women's Tennis Open Day 4 updates: Elina Svitolina, Garbine Muguruza and Cori Gauff bid to reach third round
Reports and reaction from the second round at Zayed Sports City International Tennis Centre
Muguruza too strong for Sasnovich
Garbine Muguruza reached the last 16 at the Abu Dhabi WTA Women's Tennis Open on Saturday with a 6-1, 6-4 win over Bulgaria's Aliaksandra Sasnovich on Saturday.
Fifth seed Muguruza broke all four of Sasnovich's service games in the first set and made it five in a row at the start of the second after dropping her own serve in the first game.
Sasnovich managed to steady the ship for a couple of games and even got her nose in front when she broke the world No 15 for a 3-2 lead. However, that advantage lasted just one game as Muguruza claimed immediate parity.
After three games held on serve, Muguruza carved out her first match point opportunity, which she converted when Sasnovich sent a backhand into the net.
The two-time Grand Slam champion will face either Greek ninth seed Maria Sakkari or American teenager Cori Gauff for a place in the quarter-finals.
Svitolina makes light work of Zvonoreva
Second seed Elina Svitolina made comfortable progress into the third round of the Abu Dhabi WTA Women's Tennis Open on Saturday, defeating Russia's Vera Zvonoera 6-4, 6-1.
After initial exchanges of breaks in the first two games, much of the set went with serve until Svitolina jumped on her first break point chance to take a 5-4 lead and served out the opener to love.
An evenly-balanced first set made way for one-sided second as the Ukrainian world No 5 reeled off five straight games. She clinched the victory when Zvonoera stuck a routine shot into the net.
Svitolina will play Ekaterina Alexandrova after the Russian defeated Heather Watson 7-5, 6-7, 6-3 on Court 1.
Pliskova suffers shock defeat
Karolina Pliskova fell to a surprise defeat in the second round of the Abu Dhabi WTA Women's Tennis Open on Saturday.
The third seed was beaten 6-2, 6-4 by world No 292 qualifier Anastasia Gasanova in the second match on Centre Court.
A slow and error-strewn start saw Pliskova broken twice in succession to trail 4-0, and with Gasanova impenetrable on serve, the Russian comfortably took a one-set lead.
Pliskova then squandered five break points in the fourth game that could have swung the momentum her way. Instead, the Czech was broken in the next game before Gasanova moved into a 4-2 lead.
Pliskova managed to break to love two games later to level the set at 4-4 but Gasanova immediately responded with another break to give herself the chance to serve for the match.
Down 40-0, the world No 6 applied some pressure on Gasanova to eliminate the first two match points but a wide forehand from the Czech gave her 21-year-old opponent the biggest win of her career so far.
Gasanova will face Spain's Sara Sorribes Tormo for a place in the quarter-finals.
Gasanova: "It was like it wasn’t me on the court. I was so sure in myself and I’m really happy right now. When I step on the court, I’m a different person. I’m more angry but in normal life I like to think I’m a kind person. I gave everything I could for today.
"I’m really surprised but when I woke up today I thought ‘why not? Why can’t I win this match?’ I thought I might lose in qualifying but I kept pushing myself because I wanted to win. So yeah, I’m very surprised."
Rybakina eases into third round
Elena Rybakina booked her placed in the third round of the Abu Dhabi WTA Women's Tennis Open on Saturday, easing to a 6-4, 6-4 win over teenager Xiyu Wang on Centre Court.
Sixth seed Rybakina claimed a break in the first game of the match and that proved the difference in the opening set as the world No 19 stayed solid on serve, facing just one break point of her own.
In the second set, a single break of serve once again proved the difference, with Rybakina pouncing on her first break point opportunity in the fifth game.
After both players held serve for the rest of the set, Rybakina sealed the victory with an ace out wide after one hour and 33 minutes, having seen five previous match points come and go.
The 21-year-old Kazakh will face Daria Kasatkina for a place in the quarter-finals after the Russian's second round opponent, Czech 12th seed Karolina Muchova, withdrew from the tournament.
Rybakina: "Today was a tough match. It’s still the beginning of the year so it’s not easy, but in the important moments I played good.
"I think with every match I will get better and better and soon I can show my best. I’d say I’m at around 50 per cent right now. It’s difficult to analyse but still not close to my best.
"For this tournament, I’m not expecting much, mainly to find my rhythm, to play some matches, and see how it goes."
Kostyuk avoids monumental collapse
Ukraine's Marta Kostyuk looked set for a remarkable collapse in her second round match against Su-Wei Hsieh only to rally back to a 6-3, 6-7, 6-3 victory on Court 1.
Kostyuk led her Taiwanese opponent 5-1 in the second set but proceeded to lose the next four games as Hsieh pulled level. The world No 99 then looked all set to wrap up the set when she broke for 6-5, but Hsieh responded with a break of her own.
After Hsieh levelled the match by winning the tie-break 7-4, she took early control of the deciding set by breaking in the first game. Even after Kostyuk immediately levelled, Hsieh broke again and held for a 3-1 lead.
However, Kostyuk managed to respond superbly by rattling off the next five games to seal the match and ultimately avoid a monumental collapse.
The 18-year-old Ukrainian will take on Slovenia's Tamara Zidansek in the third round.
Saturday's order of play
Starting at 10am:
Elena Rybakina (6) bt Xiyu Wang - 6-4, 6-4
Anastasia Gasanova bt Karolina Pliskova (3) - 6-2, 6-4
Elina Svitolina (2) bt Vera Zvonoreva - 6-4, 6-1
Garbine Muguruza (5) bt Aliaksandra Sasnovich - 6-1, 6-4
Maria Sakkari (9) v Cori Gauff
Starting at 10am:
Marta Kostyuk bt Su-Wei Hsieh - 6-3, 6-7, 6-3
Daria Kasatkina bt Karolina Muchova (12) - walkover
Ekaterina Alexandrova bt Heather Watson - 7-5, 6-7, 6-3
Updated: January 9, 2021 06:10 PM