Aleksandra Wozniak and Alona Bondarenko both won in straight sets on Monday at the Family Circle Cup, which is missing its typical star power because of injuries to several high-profile players.
The top eight seeded players had the opening day off in the green clay-court tournament, where three of the world’s top 30 players have pulled out. Top-ranked Serena Williams is recovering from a knee injury, defending champion Sabine Lisicki has a bum ankle, and three-time Grand Slam winner Maria Sharapova is still recovering from an elbow injury.
Top-seeded Caroline Wozniacki, who drove four hours to Charleston immediately after winning the MPS Group Championships in Florida on Sunday, said this year’s field is still tough.
“It’s been a great week,” she said. “I’m a little tired, but after last week, it was worth it [to make the trip to South Carolina].”
Last year, Wozniacki made the final in Charleston as the No. 5-seeded player and was ranked 12th in the world. Now she’s up to No. 2 in the world rankings.
“I’m not feeling any pressure. It’s important you concentrate on what you’re doing,” she said. “You just have to hit the yellow ball.”
On the other side of the draw, No. 2-seeded Jelena Jankovic is getting ready for her first clay-court event since last year’s French Open. She skipped Charleston last year.
“I’ve done a lot of sliding to get ready to play on clay. I feel ready. I feel motivated and I’m healthy,” said Jankovic, who won the Family Circle Cup in 2007, and along with 2006 winner Nadia Petrova are the only two former champions in the field.
The tournament began slowly on Monday with just two seeded players taking the court.
The 12th-seeded Wozniak fended off six set points in the second-set tiebreaker during her 6-3, 7-6 (9) win over Lilia Osterloh, an unseeded American.
Wozniak took the first set 6-3 and was leading 4-1 with two breaks in the second set, before Osterloh broke in two of the Canadian’s next three service games. She fought off five match points on her serve, then two more match points in the next game to win back her second break.
The two headed into the tiebreaker, where Osterloh took a 6-3 lead, but she couldn’t close out the set. Wozniak came back with three straight points and the two traded winners until Wozniak won the last three points of the match on long rallies.
Ninth-seeded Bondarenko of the Ukraine had an easier time advancing to the next round, beating unseeded Julie Ditty 6-4, 6-2.
Bondarenko had her serve broken only once. It came in the first set after she broke Ditty, and Bondarenko responded by winning the break back without losing a point in the next game.
Bondarenko lost only three points in the final three games of the match.
Taiwan’s Chang Kai-chen reached the second round by defeating world No. 62 Ekaterina Makarova of Russia, 1-6, 6-2, 6-3.
The 19-year-old right-hander from Taoyuan won the battle of the baseliners to set up a clash with the winner of yesterday’s match between Olga Govortsova of Belarus and Vera Dushevina of Russia.
Other first-round winners included Magdalena Rybarikova, Angelique Kerber and Sofia Arvidsson, Ayumi Morita.
Additional reporting by staff writer
AP, BARCELONA, SPAIN
Fifth-seeded Sorana Cirstea of Romania beat Tamira Paszek 6-4, 7-6 (6) on Monday in the first round before rain stopped play for the day.
Cirstea broke Austria’s Paszek five times and dropped serve herself on four occasions. Paszek had five double faults.
Kristina Barrois of Germany defeated Kirsten Flipkens of Belgium 7-5, 6-2 in the only other match.
■MONTE CARLO MASTERS
Two-time former champion Juan Carlos Ferrero of Spain thrashed countryman Marcel Granollers 6-0, 6-3 in Monday’s first round.
The ninth-seeded Ferrero, who was the Monte Carlo champion in 2002 and 2003, broke Granollers’ serve five times overall and saved the only break point he faced, in the second set. He next faces Germany’s Benjamin Becker.
Tenth-seeded Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic also advanced when he beat Spain’s Feliciano Lopez 6-3, 6-1.
Berdych dropped his serve in the first set but broke Lopez five times and had seven aces to set up a second-round match against France’s Richard Gasquet, who beat qualifier Daniel Gimeno-Traver of Spain 6-2, 4-6, 6-2.
No. 11 David Ferrer of Spain and No. 14 Juan Monaco of Argentina also progressed to the second round in straight sets.
Ferrer won 6-2, 6-4 against Peter Luczak of Australia, while Monaco beat Finland’s Jarkko Nieminen 7-5, 7-5 after breaking his opponent for the sixth time in the match to seal victory.
David Nalbandian of Argentina served eight aces to defeat Andreas Beck of Germany 6-3, 6-1 while German players Philipp Kohlschreiber and Benjamin Becker also won.
Kohlschreiber labored to beat Thomaz Bellucci of Brazil 2-6, 6-3, 7-6 (3) in a tense match where both players dropped serve six times.
Becker had little trouble in a 6-4, 6-2 win against Bernard Tomic of Australia.
In other matches, Latvia’s Ernests Gulbis beat Marco Chiudinelli 6-3, 6-2; Andrey Golubev of Kazakhstan beat Jeremy Chardy 6-2, 7-6 (2); Spain’s Nicolas Almagro defeated Simon Greul 3-6, 7-5, 6-2; Julien Benneteau of France beat Oleksandr Dolgopolov Jr 6-4, 5-7, 6-2; and Germany’s Philipp Petzschner won 6-3, 2-6, 6-2 against Guillermo Garcia-Lopez.
A businessman who received millions of dollars for his work on Tokyo’s successful campaign to host the 2020 Olympic Games has said that he played a key role in securing the support of a former Olympics powerbroker suspected by French prosecutors of taking bribes to help Japan’s bid. Haruyuki Takahashi, a former executive at the advertising agency Dentsu, was paid US$8.2 million by the committee that spearheaded Tokyo’s bid for the 2020 Games, financial records showed. Takahashi said the work included lobbying International Olympic Committee (IOC) members such as Lamine Diack, the ex-Olympics powerbroker, and that he gave Diack gifts, including digital
If British industry succeeds in saving lives during the COVID-19 pandemic, it would in part be thanks to the pioneering role played by Formula One (F1) racing teams in the country. Seven of F1’s 10 teams have joined forces with leading aerospace and engineering firms to ramp up production of ventilators, while Mercedes has also worked with medics and academics to produce an alternative breathing aid. Normally obsessed with improving the performance of cars that race at more than 320kph, the teams are stripping back lifesaving devices and using computer simulation to test whether more simplified models can be mass produced. The seven
BITING THE BULLET: Barcelona’s Lionel Messi said that top players would make contributions so that the club’s employees can collect 100 percent of their salary Three-quarters of Rugby Australia’s staff were temporarily laid off yesterday amid huge financial losses from the sport’s coronavirus-enforced shutdown, while Lionel Messi confirmed on Monday that Barcelona’s players would take a 70 percent pay cut to ensure that the club’s other employees are paid. The cuts to rugby staff were “the toughest decision in the game’s history,” governing body CEO Raelene Castle said. “Although extremely painful, they are necessary to ensure ... we are able to come out the other side of this global crisis, fully operational and ready to throw everything into the rebuild.” The sport has been hit hard by
Australian Daniel Ricciardo reckons that self-isolation makes for a perfect training camp — although it helps to be on the family farm in Western Australia with a swimming pool and some machinery to play with. In a live question-and-answer session on Instagram organized by his Renault Formula One team, the Australian talked about what he was doing to pass the time waiting for a coronavirus-ravaged season to start. “I know it’s probably going to be a while till we race again, but I’m not allowing myself to go back into holiday mode,” Ricciardo said. “Training is definitely the thing that’s keeping me with