Collins ousts Svitolina, Stosur upsets Kerber; Muguruza survives scare - GulfToday

Collins ousts Svitolina, Stosur upsets Kerber; Muguruza survives scare


Caroline Wozniacki and Serena Williams talk during their doubles match against Japan’s Nao Hibino and Makoto Ninomiya. AP

Danielle Collins needed less than an hour to beat 2018 champion Elina Svitolina 6-1, 6-1 at the Brisbane International on Monday, already a better start to the Australian summer than she made in her breakthrough trip last year.

Collins lost in her main draw debut to Petra Kvitova in Brisbane last year, but rebounded to reach the semifinals of the Australian Open. She had never won a main draw match at a major until going on a five-match roll at Melbourne Park in 2019, including an upset over then-No. 2 Angelique Kerber.

The 26-year-old American finished last year at No. 31 in the rankings, posting five top 20 wins in the season. She has added another one already after dismantling the sixth-ranked Svitolina, who was runner-up at last year’s season-ending WTA Finals and reached the semifinals at Wimbledon and the US Open.

Collins will play either Donna Vekic or qualifier Yulia Putintseva in the next round, and possibly 2011 US Open champion Sam Stosur after that. The 35-year-old Stosur upset Kerber 7-6 (5), 7-6 (4) to advance beyond the first round in Brisbane for the first time since 2016.

Stosur led 5-2 and had a chance to serve for the first set before Kerber rallied and won five straight games, then get within two points of clinching it when she took a 5-1 lead in the tiebreaker.

Barbora Strycova beat seventh-seeded Johanna Konta 6-2, 3-6, 6-3 and Americans Alison Riske and Sofia Kenin opened with wins. Riske beat Karolina Muchova 6-4, 6-2 and Kenin beat Anastasija Sevastova 7-6 (1), 6-4.

Top-ranked Ash Barty and second-seeded Karolina Pliskova had first-round byes. Barty combined with Kiki Bertens to win their opening-round doubles match 6-7 (6), 6-3, 10-8 over Anett Kontaveit and Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova.

Meanwhile, former world number one Garbine Muguruza recovered from a slow start to avoid an upset at the Shenzhen Open on Monday.

The 26-year-old Spaniard beat Chinese youngster Wang Xinyu 3-6, 6-3, 6-0 and plays the American Shelby Rogers in round two in southern China.

The Shenzhen Open serves as build-up for the Australian Open at the end of the month.

It was the two-time Grand Slam winner Muguruza’s first match since an early exit at the China Open in late September. The world number 11 from Belarus eased to a 6-3, 6-0 victory as she looks to seal a place inside the top 10 for the Australian Open.

Elsewhere, Serena Williams and Caroline Wozniacki to win a first-round match at the ASB Classic in Auckland.

Williams and Wozniacki overwhelmed Japan’s Nao Hibino and Mikoto Ninomiya 6-2, 6-4 in a match which was both historic and poignant.


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