Thursday wrap: Dangerous day sees seeds upset; Badosa, Jabeur survive
It was a dangerous proposition to be a seeded player on Thursday at the Credit One Charleston Open.
With quarterfinal places on the line, No. 1 seed Aryna Sabalenka, 2019 champion Madison Keys and No. 3 seed Karolina Pliskova were all shown the exit on a day that featured upsets around the grounds.
No. 2 seed Paula Badosa came back from the brink, surviving a second-set tiebreak against American Claire Liu to emerge victorious 3-6 7-6(8) 6-1 and book her spot in the Elite 8.
She’ll face No. 10 seed Belinda Bencic, the Swiss player who won Olympic gold last summer and played top-level tennis to edge home hope Keys, 6-4 6-4 in a rain- interrupted affair.
No. 4 seed Ons Jabeur finished her holdover match from Wednesday night, defeating local hope Emma Navarro in the afternoon before returning for an evening clash with Irina-Camelia Begu, which she won in straight sets.
While it was a strange scenario for the Tunisian world No. 10, she said she’s “ready for everything” in the quarterfinals, where she’ll meet Anhelina Kalinina of Ukraine, who beat No. 12 seed Alize Cornet.
“The most important thing for me is I’m enjoying being here,” said Jabeur, 27. “I love the crowd. I love the stadium court. I just hope there is no rain tomorrow.”
Jabeur was referencing the inclement weather that has blown through Daniel Island the last several days, including on Thursday.
Americans Amanda Anisimova and Coco Vandeweghe each scored victories before the rain arrived, Anisimova topping No. 1 seed Sabalenka for her fourth career Top 10 triumph while Vandeweghe beat her American compatriot, No. 6 seed Jessica Pegula.
Anisimova and Vandeweghe will meet in the quarterfinals in a first-ever clash.
For the former world No. 1 Pliskova, her comeback from an injury earlier this year hit another bump as Ekaterina Alexandrova beat her 6-3 6-1.
In a second round encounter, No. 7 seed Leylah Fernandez fell to Magda Linette on the Althea Gibson Court, Linette winning 3-6 6-3 6-4. She would return to the same court hours later, registering another three-set triumph, this time over Kaia Kanepi.
Also on the Club Court, Kalinina continued her strong run of form, beating Alize Cornet in straight sets.
Keys expressed frustration after her match against Bencic, saying she fought nerves after taking a second-set lead.
“When you’re playing someone as good as Belinda, it’s a couple of points here or there,” Keys said. “She’s also a really good competitor, and I think when she starts winning matches, she feels more and more comfortable and confident.”
At 27, Keys was making her ninth appearance in Charleston – an event she considers a home game on the global WTA Tour.
“It’s disappointing to lose at home and in front of a crowd that was obviously very supportive of me,” she added. “And I always want to make everyone here proud and happy. Today I had really great crowd support.”
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