Wednesday brought big names in big matches to the Charleston Open on Daniel Island, South Carolina as the top four seeds advanced to the round of 16, something slightly rare on the WTA tour.
First up was Jessica Pegula. She arrived late in Charleston, but made up for lost time as she raced past Anna Blinkova, 6-2, 6-0. You could say that as soon as you blinked, it was “ova”.
Pegula played her first match of the year on clay courts and needed just 64 minutes to advance to the third round. The American broke Blinkova twice in the first set, taking it 6-2.
In an uncontested second set, Blinkova only managed to serve 33% on her first serve and 21% on her second serve.
Top seed Pegula plays Irina Begu today. Begu, the 15 seed, dismissed Sofia Kenin in straights yesterday, 6-1, 6-4.
Two seed Ons Jabeur managed Lesia Tsurenko, 6-3, 6-3, to advance to the R16 and face a matchup with wild card surprise Caroline Dolehide.
3 seed Daria Kasatkina also dominated her opponent yesterday, Madison Brengle, 6-2, 6-1, to set up a match against Bernarda Pera.
Canadian Kathrine Sebov displayed high quality effort this week in Charleston. Yesterday, she was no match for 4 seed and defending champion Belinda Bencic as Bencic cruised, 6-0, 6-2. Bencic moves on to Shelbyville.
And in calling it Shelbyville, I mean the Shelby Seed. The native South Carolinian, with her hometown crowd and familiar conditions always means she’s outperforming on the Charleston green clay. Her desire to win this particular title makes her a de facto seed regardless of current ranking on the tour. She launched a comeback bid after losing the first set to Caty McNally, 7-6(4). Never wanting to go down in her own house, Rogers persevered and found ways to win in a 6-7(4), 7-5, 6-1 victory. Should Bencic be upset by Rogers tonight, Shelbyville would go wild.
12 seed Paula Badosa was slow getting out of the gate in her match with Lelyah Ferdandez, going down a break in the first set before clawing her way back to take the first set 7-5. The second set was close between the two battling the heat and each other on center court.
It ended in a tie-break with Badosa coming out on top 8-6 completing the victory 7-5, 7-6(6). Badosa now owns a 3-0 head-to-head match lead and faces Diana Shnaider next.
And not to be overlooked is the legendary Vika Azarenka. The 33-year-old grand slam champion completed her own impressive comeback against Sloane Stephens on Wednesday, 3-6, 6-3, 6-2. She is the most dangerous lurker in the field and should be able to handle Anna Kalinskaya in the round of 16.
—S. Fogleman, T. Callaio