Astana Open wrap Day 1

27.09.2021    Views: 944
Source: KTF press-service
Courtney Walsh

Finding balance and rhythm at the right time proved critical to the victors of two superb clashes on the opening day of the inaugural WTA 250 Astana Open in Nur-Sultan.

Aleksandra Krunic and Anna-Lena Friedsam both prevailed in fiercely contested singles matches on Monday to progress to the second round in Kazakhstan. Krunic, 28, overcame an opening set deficit against fellow qualifier Katie Boulter to win 3-6 6-3 7-5 in 2hr 17min, which was the longest match on day one. Both women had benefited from winning two qualifying matches and produced a clash of high-quality before the Serbian, who is ranked 42, broke through.

«I was very calm. Unusually calm for myself,» Krunic said.
«I am happy that I was able to keep the focus on the right things and keep my mindset towards tennis instead of the score, or what was going on, or by judging my decisions.
«That really gave me a lot of clear moments, especially in the third set, where I was able to recognize when she played well and not judge myself because I didn’t break her serve.

«It was about tennis for me today and it was a really great match to watch, because we both gave it our all out there. I really, really enjoyed it and I am happy I got a win in the end.

«Really, a few points decided it in the important moments. It was a match against a qualifier but her level is obviously a lot higher than the qualifying of a 250 event.»

Friedsam struggled for rhythm early in her clash against Arina Rodionova. But once settled, she proved too strong for the Australian, winning 4-6 6-4 6-2 in 2hr 5min. The German, who will play second seed Alison van Uytvanck for a spot in the quarterfinals, said she needed to adapt to the variety Rodionova deployed to succeed.

«My game is a more aggressive game but when there is an opponent like Arina, it can either go that I am too dominant for her, or I don’t really find my rhythm and I miss,» Friedsam said.

«This is what happened in the first set. Then I tried to get into the points and play the rallies and, in the end, I found my rhythm and I am very happy that I fought through it.»
van Uytvanck progressed when defeating Kazakhstan wildcard Zhibek Kulambayeva 6-3 6-4 in 1hr 27min in a confidence boosting win. Although beaten, Kulambayeva was pleased with her performance in her debut match on the WTA Tour.

«It was great. I was a little bit nervous in the beginning, but then I started to play my game and it felt great to play at home,» she said. «It was good for me to play against so high a ranked player, because now I know where I can do better and where I can improve.»

Lesia Tsurenko became the first woman to win a round in the Astana Open, though she was aided by a misfortune suffered by Vitalia Diatchenko. The Russian was trailing Tsurenko 6-1 3-1 when she withdrew with a back injury.

In other first round matches on Monday, Russian Anastasia Gasanova defeated Yuliya Hatouka 6-1 6-1, while seventh seed Varvara Gracheva defeated Kristyna Pliskova 6-3 7-6 (5) in 1hr 24min.

Top seed Yulia Putintseva headlines the action on day two of the Astana Open. Her opening round match is against Ekaterine Gorgodze. French star Kristina Mladenovic will play Kazakhstan wildcard Anna Danilina, while local favourite Zarina Diyas faces Russian qualifier Anastasia Zakharova.

For more information, please follow our social media accounts Instagram, Facebook and YouTube.

Federation partners

Information partners