American Varvara Lepchenko pulled off a stunning win at the Coupe Banque Nationale, beating top-seeded Aryna Sabalenka 6-4 7-6 (5) in the first round at Quebec City. The No.110 Lepchenko, who posted a quarterfinal finish at last week’s Chicago WTA $125K event, hadn't won a main-draw WTA match since reaching the second round at Charleston, in April.
Up next, Lepchenko will face Czech qualifier Marie Bouzkova, who beat Sesil Karatantcheva earlier in the day. Rebecca Marino and Ons Jabeur completed the greatest upsets in Quebec City. The Canadian ousted No.7 seed and 2017 semifinalist Tatjana Maria 6-2 6-2 while the aggressive Tunisian beat 7-6(4) 3-6 7-5 an overly predictable Safarova, who will fall out of the Top 100 for the first time since May 2005.
Marino clinched her first WTA main draw win since beating Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova at 2011 Luxembourg, at the end of her best season that featured her lone tour final so far. Former No.38 to reach the second round at the Coupe Banque Nationale.
Marino left tennis between 2014 and 2017, as she suffered from depression. “On court, I was still able to compete. I knew I loved tennis,” recalled Marino in insightful interview to Health. “It’s just that eventually I lost my passion for it.
It was super hard to make the decision to retire at 22,” she added. “I knew I was young to be leaving the sport, but I also knew that I needed to put the person first—to take care of myself before anything—so ultimately that was why I stopped.
It took a lot of talking through.” Coming back took her going to psychologists and consulting with doctors. She settled back into regular life and learned how not to dwell on past hard times. “I’m about moving on and being positive,” she said.
It was clearly a special day for Marino who saved all six break points she faced during the match and lost only nine first serve points against the German, who on the contrary struggled on her own second delivery. Marino, in the last surviving tour-level event on indoor carpet, managed to counter the German's unorthodox game style, with all her slice that helped her to win her maiden WTA title on grass in Mallorca last summer.
The Canadian overpowered the German with massive serves and powerful forehands to seal a second-round clash against Georgina Garcia Perez. The Spaniard completed her eighth comeback win of the season as she defeated 4-6 6-3 6-1 No.80 Evgeniya Rodina, the highest ranked player she has beaten so far.
Against the Russian, on a six-match losing streak, Garcia Perez delivered 12 aces to claim her 12th 3-set victory in 14 matches since the beginning of the year. The quick surface definitely was a benefit for the big-hitting Jabeur who came back from 0-4 to take seven points in a row in the topsy-turvy opening set tiebreak.
In their first career meeting, Jabeur completed the match with 11 easy holds and managed to recover from a break down in the decider. The Tunisian will play qualifier Jessica Pegula who beat No.95 Krystina Pliskova, the highest-ranked opponent she has overcome this year, 6-3 7-6(6).
The young American saved six points in the second set before clinching her tenth win in her last 10 meetings against lefty opponents. Pegula played more consistently the big points and extended her tiebreak record this season to 8-1 despite her opponent served 12 aces throughout the match.