Week in Review: Parma & Belgrade (WTA)
With so much tennis action this week, I’ve decided to split the review up into two parts. Which gives one the chance to give the WTA some well deserved time in the spotlight!
Lets begin with the Emilia-Romagna open in Parma. The action in northern Italy didn’t take long to pick up, with huge upsets coming as early as day four! When 23 time Grand Slam champion, Serena Williams, fell to World number 68, Katerina Siniakova in straight sets 7-6, 6-2.
~Siniakova emotional after her win
On that same day, there was another American involved in an upset, but this time on the winning side, when Sloane Stephens came back from being handed a ”breadstick” to knock out the number four seed Daria Kasatkina in three sets, in a big statement win for the 2017 US open champion.
Arguably the biggest upset came on Quarter Finals day, when the Croatian number one, and second seed Petra Martic lost a three hour long battle to underdog Qiang Wang, who converted over 44% of her return points in an impressive victory!
It certainly seemed to be a week for the young American players, in a tournament one jokingly dubbed the “Palm Beach” open, due to the American influence. Where some disappointed (like Serena and Bernarda Pera) others rose to the occasion and shone!
Sloane Stephens reached her first Semi final in two years (Madrid 2019) beating Kasatkina as one previously mentioned, and destroying former French Open finalist, Sara Errani, 6-3, 6-0. Before falling to the surprise package of the week Wang.
Now onto the final(s) and the real star of the week Cori Gauff. She had a fantastic tournament, claiming not only her second singles title, but scooping up the doubles titles alongside Caty McNally, to truly assert herself as Queen of Parma!
She dropped just one set in her singles run, in a great semi final clash with Siniakova. It truly was an incredible week for Coco, and she outclassed Qiang Wang in the final 6-1 6-3. One wonders if she will be a serious contender at Roland Garros off of the back of this.
Onto the Serbian capital of Belgrade, where the rain once again proved to be a real hinderance to the schedule. On Day 6 no matches were completed at all. This lead to Viktoriya Tomova having to play her round of 16 match against Canadian Leylah Fernandez, followed by her quarterfinal match up against Reka Luca Jani all in the same day.
It asked a lot of the players endurance, as the Semi Finals and Finals were played on the same day. Tomova finally seemed to of run out of gas as she lost to eventual winner 5’11 Spaniard, Paula Badosa 6-1 6-2.
The real surprise of the week was Ana Konjuh who battled her through the qualifying and a tough draw to make the final. Defeating the second seed Yulia Puntintseva in an impressive 6-3, 6-4 victory. She followed that up with the same score against Argentine Nadia Podoroska (albeit reversed) in the Quarterfinals. Then a gritty performance against the young, in form, Maria Osorio Serrano 7-6 7-6.
With both finalists looking great, it was a real shame, that the hard fought week caught up with Konjuh as she retired in the second set 2-0 down after losing the first set 6-2. Yet we can take nothing away from Badosa as she didn’t drop a set on the way to claiming her Maiden title... a huge congratulations to her.