Monday, August 10, 2020

Bouzkova ousts third-seeded Konta in Lexington

Johanna Konta lost to Marie Bouzkova for the
second consecutive tournament. File photo
by Paul Bauman
   So far, little has changed for Marie Bouzkova and Johanna Konta since the WTA Tour shut down in March because of the coronavirus pandemic.
   Bouzkova, a 22-year-old Czech, dismissed the third-seeded Konta, 29, of Great Britain, in straight sets for the second consecutive tournament today.
   Bouzkova defeated the 15th-ranked Konta, who won the 2016 Bank of the West Classic at Stanford, 6-4, 6-4 in the first round of the rain-delayed inaugural Top Seed Open in Lexington, Ky., the first WTA tournament in North America in almost one year. 
   In the last tournament before the shutdown, Bouzkova beat the second-seeded Konta 6-3, 6-4 in the semifinals on hardcourts in Monterrey, Mexico, before losing to top-seeded Elina Svitolina, ranked seventh, 7-5, 4-6, 6-4 in Bouzkova's only WTA final.
   The 48th-ranked Bouzkova, a semifinalist as a qualifier in Toronto last August in her first Premier 5 appearance, will play either Anna Blinkova, a 21-year-old Russian ranked No. 61, or qualifier Kristie Ahn, a 28-year-old Stanford graduate who reached the round of 16 in last year's U.S. Open.
   In a late match, second-seeded Aryna Sabalenka, the runner-up to Zheng Saisai in San Jose, Calif., last August, overpowered American Madison Brengle, who won Northern California Challengers in 2018 and 2019, 6-1, 6-7 (5), 6-1.
   Brengle, who has dropped from a career-high No. 35 in 2015 to No. 80, has had success against powerful players. She is 1-1 against Serena Williams and 3-1 against two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova, including a second-round victory there in 2017.
   The 11th-ranked Sabalenka, 22, of Belarus will meet either 16-year-old U.S. sensation Coco Gauff or U.S. qualifier Caroline Dolehide.
   Also today, unseeded American Jessica Pegula outlasted Vera Zvonareva, a 35-year-old wild card from Russia, 6-1 5-7, 6-4. Zvonareva, the Wimbledon and U.S. Open runner-up in 2010, has plunged from a career-high No. 2 that year to No. 267.
   Pegula, the 26-year-old daughter of Buffalo Bills and Sabres owners Terry and Kim Pegula, will play either fourth-seeded Amanda Anisimova, an 18-year-old rising star from Aventura, Fla., or CiCi Bellis, a 21-year-old San Francisco native who grew up in nearby Atherton.
  Anisimova won her first professional title in the 2017 Sacramento, Calif., Challenger at 15. Bellis, the 2017 WTA Newcomer of the Year, will continue her comeback from three operations on her right wrist and one on her right elbow. 
   In the final round of qualifying, the top-seeded Ahn defeated Jovana Jovic (born Jaksic), a 26-year-old Serb living in Sacramento, Calif., 2-6, 6-4, 6-2. 
   Tuesday's blockbuster schedule (Tennis Channel) features the top-seeded Williams. Times are EDT.

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