WTA Nuernberg / Strasbourg (Video)
Bouchard, Puig Capture Maiden WTA Titles
wtatennis.com May 24, 2014 Nuernberg, Germany - In a perfect confidence boost going into the second Grand Slam tournament of the year, WTA rising star Eugenie Bouchard won the first WTA title of her career, overcoming the big-serving Karolina Pliskova to conquer the NÜRNBERGER VERSICHERUNGSCUP in Nürnberg.
Bouchard has been piling up the accomplishments since last year, her greatest result being, of course, her run to the semifinals of the Australian Open, which wasn't only her first Grand Slam semifinal - it was just the second time ever that a Canadian had reached a Grand Slam semifinal, after Carling Bassett-Seguso did it at the US Open back in 1984. After Australia, Bouchard broke the Top 20 - just the third Canadian woman ever to reach the Top 20, after Bassett-Seguso and Helen Kelesi.
But there was one thing missing - a WTA title. And that was probably on the Canadian's mind. There was actually one very big turning point in the match - leading 6-2, 4-2, Bouchard looked headed for a routine straight set victory, but Pliskova reeled off four games in a row to snatch the second set right from under her. But the No.1-seeded Bouchard regrouped very well in the third, never falling behind to close out the unseeded Czech in three sets in an hour and 53 minutes, 6-2, 4-6, 6-3.
In Strasbourg, France, Monica Puig, whose tweets often include the #PicaPower hashtag, won the first WTA title of her blossiming career at the Internationaux de Strasbourg on Saturday, serving up a storm to defeat Sílvia Soler-Espinosa and become the first Puerto Rican player ever to win a WTA title.
Puig, whose best results on the WTA before this week were three quarterfinals - two last year, one earlier this year - had already broken new ground by making the semifinals here, and again by making the final, and as one of the WTA's most promising rising stars, she was hungry to go all the way.
But Soler-Espinosa was hungry too - after back-to-back marathons against Camila Giorgi and Christina McHale she was playing on a new breath of life, and in her own first career WTA final as well.
There was absolutely no turning point on Puig's serve during the match, that's for sure - the Puerto Rican not only held all nine of her service games, she was never even pushed past 30 in any of them, in fact giving up a total of just nine points on her delivery (and two of those were on double faults). On top of that, Soler-Espinosa's serve was vulnerable - Puig broke three times in the match, once in the very first game of the match and then twice more in the second set, including in the final game.
Bouchard in Nuernberg Final; Puig Enters First Career Final in Strasbourg
wtatennis.com May 23, 2014 Nuernberg, Germany - - Eugenie Bouchard will be seeking her first WTA title when she takes on Karolina Pliskova in the final of the Nuernberg Versicherungs Cup.
The second-seeded Bouchard saved all four break points on her serve and won 28 of 33 first serve points in her 6-4, 6-3 semifinal defeat of Karin Knapp on Friday. The 19th-ranked Canadian will contest her second WTA final, having lost to Samantha Stosur in the Osaka final last October.
As for Pliskova, a day after recording her first Top 10 win over World No.9 Angelique Kerber, the Czech reeled off 10 consecutive games from a set and a break down en route to a 2-6, 6-1, 6-2 victory over No.4 seed Elina Svitolina. Pliskova will be playing in her third WTA final on Saturday, having won Kuala Lumpur in 2013 and having been runner-up in Pattaya City earlier this year.
The one previous match-up between Bouchard and Pliskova was a thriller, with Bouchard pulling out a 4-6, 6-4, 7-5 triumph in the first round of the US Open last year.
In Strasbourg, France, In a showdown featuring two of the WTA's rising stars, 20-year-old Monica Puig beat 19-year-old Madison Keys for a spot in the Internationaux de Strasbourg final.
Competing in her first WTA semifinal on Friday, Puig won four straight games down a break at 3-2 in the second set for a 7-5, 6-3 triumph - her eighth over a Top 50 player. Yet to drop a set this week, Puig will square off with Sílvia Soler-Espinosa on Saturday.
Spanish qualifier Soler-Espinosa rallied from a set and 5-3 down for a 5-7, 7-6(7), 6-3 victory over Christina McHale. Not only that, but she had a match point against her at 6-5 in the second set and was down 5-1 in the second set tie-break.
The second set alone lasted an hour and 18 minutes and the match ran two hours and 46 minutes. Like Puig, this will be Soler-Espinosa's first WTA final, and she will be Strasbourg's first qualifier in the final since Karolina Sprem in 2003. In Puig and Soler-Espinosa's one previous encounter, Puig was a 6-2, 5-7, 6-4 winner in the second round of Wimbledon last year.
Nuremberg Women's Singles Semifinal Friday May 23
2-Eugenie Bouchard beat Karin Knapp 6-4 6-3
Karolina Pliskova beat 4-Elina Svitolina 2-6 6-1 6-2
Strasbourg Women's Singles Semifinal Friday May 23
Monica Puig beat Madison Keys 7-5 6-3
Silvia Soler Espinosa beat Christina Mchale 5-7 7-6(7) 6-3
Pliskova Upsets Kerber, Bouchard in Semis
wtatennis.com May 22, 2014 Nuernberg, Germany - Karolina Pliskova overcame an inauspicious start to knock out top seed Angelique Kerber and reach the semifinals of the Nernberg Versicherungs.
In seven previous meetings with Top 10 opponents, Pliskova had left empty handed every time, and she looked set for another disappointment when she won just one of the first 17 points. However, after belatedly getting on the scoreboard, the Czech quickly grew in confidence, pegging back Kerber amidst a flurry of winners before pinching the set on a tie-break.
Her forehand now firing on all cylinders and her imposing serve finding its spots, Pliskova built on this momentum to race into a 4-1 lead in the second. With the finishing line in sight, the Czech momentarily tightened up before steadying herself one more, hitting her eighth ace of the match to close out a 7-6(5), 6-4 win.
Elina Svitolina inflicted further disappointment on the home fans in the following match on Center Court when she defeated Mona Barthel, 6-4, 6-4. Also advancing was Karin Knapp, who won a marathon encounter with No.7 seed Caroline Garcia to reach her first quarterfinal of the season.
Knapp arrived in Germany without a win since February and needed two hours and 39 minutes to see off Garcia in a see-saw encounter, 6-7(9), 6-4, 6-4. Meeting Knapp next will be No.2 seed Eugenie Bouchard, who saw off Yaroslava Shvedova, 7-6(3), 7-6(6).
Nuremberg Women's Singles Quarterfinals Thursday May 22
2-Eugenie Bouchard beat Yaroslava Shvedova 7-6(3) 7-6(6)
4-Elina Svitolina beat Mona Barthel 6-4 6-4
Karolina Pliskova beat 1-Angelique Kerber 7-6(5) 6-4
Karin Knapp beat 7-Caroline Garcia 6-7(9) 6-4 6-4
Strasbourg Women's Singles Quarterfinals Thursday May 22
Monica Puig beat 4-Andrea Petkovic 6-4 6-4
Madison Keys (U.S.) beat Julia Goerges 6-2 2-6 6-2
Silvia Soler Espinosa beat Camila Giorgi 3-6 6-4 7-5
Christina Mchale beat Zarina Diyas 6-2 3-1 ret.
Kerber, Garcia in Nuernberg QF; Keys Tops Friend Riske in Strasbourg
wtatennis.com May 21, 2014 Nuernberg, Germany - Angelique Kerber continued to revive her clay court game in Nürnberg on Wednesday, beating countrywoman Anna-Lena Friedsam to move through to the quarterfinals. Kerber reeled off the first four games of the match and eventually closing the first set out in 33 minutes, 6-2. She also jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the second set.
Friedsam is one of the WTA's most promising rising stars, though, and she began showing that promise from there, winning three games in a row to get things back on serve. Kerber went up a break twice later in the set, for 4-3 and 5-4, but Friedsam broke back both times, and they went to a breaker. But all of Kerber's talent and experience came bursting out at that moment - the No.1-seeded German didn't drop another point, eventually closing out her young compatriot in straights, 6-2, 7-6(0).
In Strasbourg, France, Madison Keys topped fellow American and friend No.8 seed Alison Riske at the Internationaux de Strasbourg on Wednesday to make her first WTA quarterfinal since January. A week after also beating Riske in straight sets in Rome, Keys' serve was constantly under pressure but she saved nine of 11 break point chances and went on to a 6-4, 6-4 triumph.
No.4 seed Andrea Petkovic, playing this event for the first time since capturing the title in 2011, won five straight games from 3-1 down in the first set and five straight from 2-1 down in the second for a 6-3, 6-2 defeat of Vania King. The only seed still alive here next plays Puerto Rican No.1 Monica Puig.
Camila Giorgi rallied from a 7-5, 4-1 deficit for a 5-7, 7-5, 7-6(2) victory over Claire Feuerstein that lasted two hours and 46 minutes. Her quarterfinal foe will be Spanish qualifier Sílvia Soler-Espinosa, who was a 6-4, 4-6, 6-2 winner over seventh-seeded Peng Shuai.
Strasbourg Women's Singles Second Round Wed May 21
4-Andrea Petkovic beat Vania King 6-3 6-2
Camila Giorgi beat Claire Feuerstein 5-7 7-5 7-6(2)
Silvia Soler Espinosa beat 7-Peng Shuai 6-4 4-6 6-2
Julia Goerges beat Lauren Davis 7-5 6-4
Monica Puig beat Mirjana Lucic-Baroni 6-3 6-1
Madison Keys beat 8-Alison Riske 6-4 6-4
Zarina Diyas beat Ajla Tomljanovic 6-4 7-6(4)
Christina Mchale beat Casey Dellacqua 6-3 7-5
Nuremberg Cup Women's Singles Second Round Wed May 21
Mona Barthel beat 8-Annika Beck 6-2 6-4
7-Caroline Garcia beat Dinah Pfizenmaier 7-5 5-7 6-3
1-Angelique Kerber beat Anna-Lena Friedsam 6-2 7-6(0)
4-Elina Svitolina beat Beatriz Garcia Vidagany 7-6(5) 6-3
Nuremberg Cup Women's Singles First Round Tuesday May 20
R2: 2-Eugenie Bouchard beat Anastasia Rodionova 6-0 6-1
R2: Karin Knapp beat Polona Hercog 6-3 6-3
R2: Yaroslava Shvedova beat 6-Kurumi Nara 6-4 6-2
R2: Karolina Pliskova beat Alison Van Uytvanck 7-6(5) 6-3
R1: 1-Angelique Kerber beat Marina Erakovic 6-4 6-2
Strasbourg Women's Singles First Round Tuesday May 20
Camila Giorgi beat 2-Alize Cornet 6-4 1-6 6-3
4-Andrea Petkovic beat Pauline Parmentier 6-3 6-4
Lauren Davis beat Olga Govortsova 6-2 6-4
Monica Puig beat Johanna Larsson 7-5 7-6(5)
Julia Goerges beat 1-Sloane Stephens 6-3 6-2
Mirjana Lucic-Baroni beat 6-Bojana Jovanovski 6-4 6-0
7-Peng Shuai beat Ashleigh Barty 7-5 7-5
Christina Mchale beat Alexandra Cadantu 6-1 6-2
Silvia Soler Espinosa beat Stefanie Voegele 6-0 7-6(5)
Nuremberg Cup Women's Singles First Round Monday May 19
Dinah Pfizenmaier beat Montserrat Gonzalez 6-2 6-4
Anastasia Rodionova beat Tereza Martincova 6-3 3-6 6-3
Yaroslava Shvedova beat Patricia Mayr-Achleitner 7-5 6-3
7-Caroline Garcia beat Julia Glushko 6-4 5-7 7-5
Beatriz Garcia Vidagany beat Nina Zander 6-2 6-3
8-Annika Beck beat Jana Cepelova 6-2 6-3
Karolina Pliskova beat 5-Yvonne Meusburger 6-3 6-4
2-Eugenie Bouchard beat Barbora Zahlavova Strycova 6-0 6-3
4-Elina Svitolina beat Iveta Melzer 7-5 6-4
Karin Knapp beat Shahar Peer 6-3 6-2
Alison Van Uytvanck beat Antonia Lottner 6-1 6-2
Strasbourg Women's Singles First Round Monday May 19
Zarina Diyas beat 3-Kirsten Flipkens 6-2 6-7(3) 6-3
8-Alison Riske beat Teliana Pereira 6-3 6-3
Madison Keys beat Maria Teresa Torro 7-6(2) 6-2
Vania King beat Paula Ormaechea 5-7 6-2 6-1
Ajla Tomljanovic beat Kristina Mladenovic 6-4 6-0
Claire Feuerstein beat Sharon Fichman 6-2 6-4
Casey Dellacqua beat 5-Elena Vesnina 7-5 3-6 6-3