Hana Bank Open: In quest to retain Seoul title, Ekaterina Alexandrova starts strong

Alycia Parks and Katie Boulter were the opening day's biggest casualties in the WTA 250

by Abbey Johnson
Hana Bank Open: In quest to retain Seoul title, Ekaterina Alexandrova starts strong
© Koji Watanabe/ Getty Images

Defending titlist Ekaterina Alexandrova began her 2023 Hana Bank Open campaign with a win on Monday. The third seed needed merely 72 minutes to get past Japan’s Mai Hontama, 6-3, 6-1. Both players combined to create 10 break points, of which Alexandrova hit six.

However, the 28-year-old also had four aces to her opponent’s zero that helped her create chances for herself throughout the course of the match. Alexandrova won 24 of 35 first-serve points and 12 of 23 points played on return on Hontama’s first serve.

She did lose 16 of 29 points played on her second serve but won 18 of 23 points on return played on her opponent’s second serve. Of the 19 break points that were created between both players, the majority came on Alexandrova’s serve – 11.

But she saved nine of these while converting six of the remaining eight break points that emerged in the match. Yanina Wickmayer will be the world no. 22’s next opponent. The Belgian got through against Chinese Taipei’s En-Shuo Liang, 6-3, 6-4 in 99 minutes.

Hana Bank Open: Seeds, local players disappoint

Apart from Alexandrova, three other seeds played their first-round matches on Monday. Of these, only one seed advanced to the second round. Seventh seed Arantxa Rus defeated home favourite and wildcard entrant, Na-Lae Han 6-1, 6-3 in 75 minutes.

Kaja Juvan ousted eighth seed Katie Boulter in their match-up, 6-4, 6-4 in an hour and 25 minutes. Juvan converted six of 11 break points on the Briton’s serve while she herself failed to save four of the five break points she faced.

For the match, the Slovenian won eight more points than her rival’s 56. Juvan will next play Yue Yuan. Yuan defeated a qualifier from the Netherlands, Arianne Hartono 6-1, 6-2. Polina Kudermetova needed three sets and an hour and 43 minutes to get past sixth-seeded Alycia Parks.

The American won the opening set but the 170th-ranked Kudermetova bounced back to win the latter two sets 6-1, 6-0. This is the only second main draw match win for Kudermetova. In the next round, she will play Liechtenstein’s Kathinka von Deichmann.

Von Deichmann advanced to the second round after her opponent, Irina Khromacheva retired in their match. At the time, von Deichmann was leading 5-7, 6-4, 3-0. Lastly, Claire Liu also moved into the second round of the Hana Bank Open. The American won against another home hopeful, Yeonwoo Ku 6-3, 6-3.

Ekaterina Alexandrova Alycia Parks Katie Boulter