Keys, Sabalenka, Badosa, Pliskova lead Wednesday winners on busy day
Former Charleston champion Madison Keys and top seeds Aryna Sabalenka and Paula Badosa registered wins on a very busy Wednesday at the Credit One Charleston Open.
No matter rain or shine, 2019 champion Madison Keys played her consistent best on Wednesday at the Credit One Charleston Open.
Keys’ second-round encounter with Norwegian qualifier Ulrikke Eikeri was initially scheduled for Tuesday night, then bumped to Wednesday due to weather. Midway through their encounter, a sudden downpour sent the players (and fans) scrambling off the court.
In the midst of it all, Keys played some of her best tennis, however. She won 6-3 6-1 in just 68 minutes on court, blasting two aces and winning the overall point count, 62-41.
The American sets up a must-see match-up against the Olympic champion and No. 10 seed Belinda Bencic, who survived a second-set rally against teenage sensation Linda Fruhvirtova on the Althea Gibson Club Court, winning 6-1 7-6(6).
At 27, Keys is in her ninth appearance in the Lowcountry – and feeling right at home once again in Charleston.
“It is the absolute best to play here in Charleston,” Keys told reporters after. “I have played here several times, have done well, have obviously won the tournament, and have always had incredible crowd support. I love coming here.”
The tournament’s top seed Aryna Sabalenka withstood a tough challenge against American Alison Riske on Credit One Stadium, winning 7-6(3) 6-4. Sabalenka won her first match since February, having lost her opening rounds in both Indian Wells and Miami.
“I felt I’m super happy that I was able to go through that match,” the 23-year-old said after. “Alison is a really tough opponent – it’s never easy to play her. I’m proud that no matter what, I stayed focused from the beginning until the end. That’s why I was able to win this one today.”
No. 2 Paula Badosa didn’t let rain interrupt her momentum, either, the Spanish star advancing 6-1 6-4 over Anna Bondar, fighting through a particularly difficult second set.
No. 4 seed Ons Jabeur had her hands full with local hope Emma Navarro, the reigning NCAA champion. The two produced thrilling tennis over two sets, the world No. 10 leading by 6-3 5-2 when another storm came – this one ending the day’s play for good. They will resume on Thursday.
Earlier, between Keys and Sabalenka, it was the No. 3 seed and two-time major finalist Karolina Pliskova who took to stadium court, her opening match feeling more like a roller coaster ride, as she and Ukraine’s Katarina Zavatska played into late Tuesday afternoon before being forced off court due to weather.
They would return on Wednesday, with Zavatska, ranked No. 215 and playing under a special ranking after suffering a six-month layoff due to a forearm injury, leading 5-3 in the second but unable to close the match.
Pliskova would win that set, then take a tight third for a first triumph of the season, having missed the Australia and Middle East swings due to an injury herself.
In two hours, 48 minutes it was Pliskova 5-7 7-5 6-4.
Wall-to-wall Wednesday: Around the grounds
In other action around the grounds, No. 6 seed Jessica Pegula breezed through Jasmine Paolini on Althea Gibson Club Court 6-2 6-1, where No. 12 Alize Cornet and No. 14 Ajla Tomljanovic won, as well.
Tomljanovic was the lone player needing to finish her first round match. She’ll play later against Irina-Camelia Begu.
Coco Vandeweghe continued her comeback, getting back-to-back main draw wins as a lucky loser. She overcame Lauren Davis in three sets, 3-6 6-3 6-3.
Fellow American Amanda Anisimova also won, drubbing Yulia Putintseva, 6-1 6-2.
Anisimova will next meet No. 1 Sabalenka in what promises to be a hard-hitting affair. Anisimova, surprisingly, leads their head-to-head 2-0.
Ekaterina Alexandrova won in three sets over Zheng Qinwen, the Chinese player retiring near the end of the third set. Meanwhile, Ukraine’s Anhelina Kalinina upset the No. 5 seed, Elena Rybakina, 6-4 2-6 6-4.
American Claire Liu also had a big day, upsetting the No. 16 seed Zhang Shuai 7-5 2-6 6-4 on Court 3 to earn a third round clash with Badosa.
No. 7 Leylah Fernandez and Magda Linette did not get the chance to take to court, meaning they’ll play their second round match Thursday, as well.
JESSICA PEGULA AND MADISON KEYS, TWO TOP-RANKED AMERICANS, ENTER 2024 CREDIT ONE CHARLESTON OPEN PLAYER FIELD
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