October 16, 2013 – WTA Osaka – WTA Linz – WTA Moscow – WTA Luxembourg
The levels of fan support and turnouts for the last month in Korea, Japan and China have been higher than ever before, the level of interest in the tour and its players from the Asian fans was better than ever before, and the expanded presence that the WTA will command in Asia over the next few seasons is more justified and anticipated than ever.
After breezing through their respective semi-final matches, Sam Stosur over Madison Keys 61 62 and Eugenie Bouchard over Kurumi Nara 62 62, the stage was set for a classic match-up between the old and new guard of WTA professionalism in the singles final of the WTA Osaka.
The young up and comer Canadian Bouchard, like in so many of her matches got to the quick start and carried the momentum, securing the first set before the veteran Australian Stosur could get settled into her rhythm.
The swing occurred in the latter half of the second set which was taken by Stosur’s consistency and guile, big match experience that Genie doesn’t have yet (at the WTA level). The deciding set was a continuation of the second, rather than a reversion to the first, with Stosur taking the title at the Osaka 36 75 62, heartedly delaying the tour’s transition of power at least until the next tournament.
In the doubles final, the first-time partnership of Kristina Mladenovic and Flavia Pennetta promised many more returns with a straight set victory 64 63 over an enthusiastic performance from the Chinese Shuai Zhang and the singles champ Stosur.
One has to believe that having gone through the long single finals match against the Canadian had to have affected Stosur’s stamina levels in the doubles’ final, even after suitable rest.
At the WTA Linz, an exceptional week of high-level competitive tennis was capped off with an exclamation point to German Angelique Kerber’s recent hot-streak, boding well for her chances at the WTA Istanbul Championships coming up in 10 days’ time.
In the doubles’ final the Czech Pliskova sisters emerged victorious over the surprising number one-seeds Canadian Gabriela Dabrowski and Pole Alicja Rosolska with a solid performance 76 64.
At the Kremlin Cup in Moscow, half of the quarter finalists are set and, surprise surprise, there are three out of four Russians. It would have been a complete sweep by the Russians had it not been for Italian Roberta Vinci’s comeback 26 61 64 victory over Elena Vesnina in their second-round match-up.
Vinci joins Pavlyuchenkova, Kuznetsova, and Kleybanova in the quarters with the remaining spots to be decided – Sam Stosur versus France’s Alize Cornet will be one of the highlight matches, as will be Simona Halep against Magdalena Rybarikova. Ana Ivanoic is still also playing her best tennis and could go deep in Moscow but first she must match up against Klara Zakopalova.
Match of the round at the WTA Luxembourg was number one-seed and defending champion Caroline Wozniacki 76 64 over hometown hero Mandy Minella in a match which featured some of the hardest hitting and longest rallies one will ever see at a professional event.
Seeded players Sloans Stephens and Sabine Lisicki look well on their way to securing their quarter final positions and join Bojana Jovanovski, Annika Beck and Katarzyna Pieter in the next round.
Some good tennis left to played this week in anticipation of the Championships at Istanbul in ten days’ time.