WTA Monterrey: Sachia Vickery and Alison Riske off to a winning start

Vickery beats Irina Falconi, Riske defeats Evgeniya Rodina. Ana Bogdan ooutlasts wildcard Victoria Rodriguez

by Alessandro Mastroluca
WTA Monterrey: Sachia Vickery and Alison Riske off to a winning start

Alison Riske won her first career match at her third appearance in Monterrey. The American defeated 6-0 7-6 Evgeniya Rodina, who surrendered to her fifth consecutive loss. Riske won the vast majority of big points and all the seven close games.

She opened the match with her third “bagel” of the season, that came as a sort of guarantee. Riske hasn't suffered a defeat after winning a set 6-0 since 2015. Riske will face No.1 seed Garbine Muguruza, who returns in Monterrey for the first time since losing to Donna Vekic in the first round in 2014, or Renata Zarazua, bidding to become the first Mexican player to win a match in the tournament's history.

Sachia Vickery reached her sixth main draw win of the season as she beat 6-1 6-4 Irina Falconi in their first career meeting. The American, ranked No.89, made history when she reached the third round in Indian Wells. She has now won back-to-back main draw matches at multiple events in the same season for the first time in her career, having opened the 2018 campaign by reaching her first WTA semifinal at Auckland and posting her best win rankings-wise of her career with the defeat of No.28 Agnieszka Radwanska in the quarter-finals.

With four breaks from six looks, Vickery completed her 13th career main draw win on hard-court. She will meet wildcard Ana Sofia Sanchez or qualifier Usue Maitane Arconada who easily won their lone previous clash at Tampico at ITF level in 2017.

Ana Bogdan won a topsy-turvy, hard-fought battle against Mexican No.2 Victoria Rodriguez, aiming to collect her maiden Top 100 win in her career. The world No.289 used her backhand to move a set and a break up at 6-4 4-2.

But the Romanian, who surprisingly decided to take a break after reaching the top 100 claiming the off-season was too short for her, managed to come back. The Durango-born Rodriguez had easily lost the previous two meetings, but she battled hard and served 75% of first deliveries.

Bogdan saved a match point at 5-6 down in the third and Rodriguez gained an apparently decisive 5-3 lead in the tiebreak. But her lack of confidence and experience resurfaced and brought her to the fifth defeat in eight matches against Romanian opponents.

Rodriguez lost her third final set tiebreak (she's 5-3) while Bogdan, who came back from a set down for the second time this season, improved her win-loss record to 3-6. The Romanian will now meet either the Spaniard Sara Sorribes Tormo or the Czech Tereza Martincova, facing each other for the first time.

Ana Karolina Schmiedlova had to wait yet to claim her maiden WTA main draw win since the 2016 Luxembourg Open. The Slovak served for the match at 5-4 in the third but the eighth seed Ajla Tomljanovic managed to complete a 4-6 6-1 7-6(6) win.

The Australian looked the more assured of the two players as she held to love in her first two service games. Schmiedlova, fluid and promising off the backhand side, was easily found out of position on the opposite side, even more clearly when Tomljanovic forced her to hit on the run.

Too often she mis-hit gifting easy points to her opponent. The Australian, on the other hand, hurried up things on return showing a counter-productive confidence in her power from the back. A lucky net cord, after one of her misdirected forehands, helped Schmiedlova to break to 5-4 and seal the opening set.

Tomljanovic, who passed from 12 unforced errors in the first set to 4 in the second, cruised through the second set and started the decider, owning a negative win-loss record. The level of the game raised, though both players seemed more intent to drill a succession of strokes, apparently preferring inspiration to dedication in following the gameplan.

Schmiedlova won her only two titles and played her maiden final in 2015. A former No.26, she notched notable victories over Agnieszka Radwanska and Caroline Wozniacki, and a single Top 10 victory, over Roberta Vinci at the WTA Elite Trophy in Zhuhai, by the loss of just one game.

But in the last year and a half, she played almost exclusively at ITF level and last October she celebrated her biggest title in two years with a victory at the $80,000 W.L. Amos Sr. Tennis Classic. The lack of confidence made her too conservative when she moved 6-3 up in the final set tiebreak.

Tomljanovic saved the three match points and completed her fifth comeback win of the season with a brilliant down the line backhand winner. Magdalena Rybarikova, the second seed, had not won a single match in the Sunshine Double.

The Slovak forgot her counter-performances in March by beating Risa Ozaki, who now owns a modest 2-18 win-loss record since the 2017 Us Open. No.3 seed Lesia Tsurenko overcame Nao Hibino 6-7(2), 6-4, 6-4 after nearly two and a half hours to equal her best result in Monterrey, the second round she reached in her lone previous appearance in 2015.

The Ukrainian, who claimed back to back titles in Acapulco, extended her winning streak in Mexico to 11 consecutive matches. She will now face Mariana Duque-Marino or the Miami revelation, Danielle Collins.


Alison Riske Evgeniya Rodina Ana Bogdan