Thursday, August 6, 2020

Martic, Kontaveit rally; Bellis gets U.S. Open wild card

   The top two remaining seeds in the Palermo Ladies Open lost the first set today but rallied to reach the quarterfinals.
   Top-seeded Petra Martic of Croatia defeated qualifier Liudmila Samsonova of Russia 5-7, 6-4, 6-2, and fourth-seeded Anett Kontaveit of Estonia beat Laura Siegemund of Germany 3-6, 6-2, 6-2. Samsonova, 21, took a medical timeout for a left thigh injury at 1-2 in the second set.
   The 15th-ranked Martic, 29, reached her first Grand Slam quarterfinal in last year's French Open. She also advanced to the fourth round at Wimbledon and the U.S. Open and the third round in the Australian Open in 2019.
   Kontaveit, ranked No. 22 at age 24, reached her first Grand Slam quarterfinal in the Australian Open in January, losing to fourth-seeded Simona Halep.
   Also advancing today in the first WTA or ATP tournament since the tours shut down in March because of the coronavirus were seventh-seeded Dayana Yastremska of Ukraine and unseeded Camila Giorgi of Italy.
   Yastremska, ranked No. 25 at age 20, downed lucky loser Oceane Dodin of France 6-2, 6-4. Yastremska reached her first Premier final in Adelaide in January, falling to top-ranked Ashleigh Barty, and upset Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin in the second round at Doha in February.
   Giorgi, one of three Italians in the quarters, held off qualifier Kaja Juvan of Slovenia 3-6, 6-2, 6-4. Juvan, 19, ousted second-seeded Marketa Vondrousova, the French Open runner-up to Barty last year, in the first round.  
   In Friday's first quarterfinal, Martic is scheduled to meet another qualifier, Aliaksandra Sasnovich of Belarus, at 7 a.m. PDT (Tennis Channel). Martic leads the head-to-head series 3-1, but two of her victories went to 6-4 in the third set.
   After the Martic-Sasnovich match, Kontaveit will face Italy's Elisabetta Cocciaretto, a 19-year-old wild card, for the first time.
   In Friday's last two quarterfinals, unseeded Fiona Ferro of France will meet Italy's Sara Errani, a 33-year-old wild card and two-time Palermo champion, and rising star Yastremska will play Giorgi, the top-ranked Italian at No. 89.
   Ferro defeated Errani 1-6, 6-3, 6-4 in the second round of qualifying in Rabat, Morocco, on clay last year in their only previous meeting.
   Yastremska and Giorgi, 28, have split two career meetings. Giorgi prevailed 6-7 (1), 6-2, 7-5 in the first round of qualifying in Strasbourg on clay in 2017, and Yastremska won 6-3, 6-3 in the first round at Wimbledon last year.
   In the doubles quarterfinals today in Palermo, Cocciaretto and countrywoman Martina Trevisan, a 5-foot-3 (1.60-meter) left-hander, knocked off top-seeded Georgina Garcia Perez and Sara Sorribes Tormo 6-3, 2-6 [10-5].
   Cocciaretto and Trevisan are set to play fourth-seeded Bibiane Schoofs and Rosalie Van Der Hoek of the Netherlands on Saturday.
   U.S. Open  – CiCi Bellis, a 21-year-old San Francisco native who grew up in nearby Atherton, is one of eight women who received a wild card in the U.S. Open.
   Bellis, who underwent three operations on her right wrist and one on her right elbow in 2018-19, will play in the U.S. Open for the first time since losing to Nao Hibino in the first round in 2017. Bellis burst onto the scene in the 2014 U.S. Open by stunning 12th-seeded Dominika Cibulkova at 15 in the opening round.
   Other women receiving wild cards in this year's tournament, Aug. 31 to Sept. 13, are three-time champion Kim Clijsters of Belgium and Americans Usue Arconada, Francesca Di Lorenzo, Caroline Dolehide, Ann Li, Robin Montgomery and Whitney Osuigwe.
   Men's wild cards went to 2012 champion Andy Murray and Americans Ulises Blanch, Maxime Cressy, Sebastian Korda, Thai-Son Kwiatkowski, Michael Mmoh, Brandon Nakashima and JJ Wolf.
   There will be no qualifying tournaments in this year's U.S. Open because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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