An 18-year-old Dayana Yastremska made a perfect end of 2018 season, winning her first WTA title in Hong Kong and playing in another semi-final in Luxembourg. Ranked inside the top-60, Dayana sets her eyes on even bigger goals in 2019 and she is among the title favorites in Hobart following a 6-1, 6-4 triumph over Vera Lapko in 59 minutes, beating the fellow youngster after one of her best performance on the Tour so far.
Dayana lost 12 points in nine service games, never facing a break point and keeping the pressure in return games all the time to create seven break points and convert three to control the scoreboard all the time. The younger player lost just three points on serve in the opener, controlling the pace from the baseline and rattling off five straight games for a dominant performance, securing breaks in games four and six before holding at 30 in game seven for a 6-1 in less than 25 minutes.
The second set was decided in the third game when Dayana broke to create the lead, serving well in the rest of the encounter to seal the deal with a nice hold at 5-4 and secure the place in the quarters where she will face a former world no.
7 Belinda Bencic. The Swiss has been in great form so far in 2019, winning the Hopman Cup crown with Roger Federer and reaching the quarters here following a 6-2, 6-4 win over Zoe Hives in an hour and 16 minutes. Belinda suffered two breaks but she erased that deficit easily with a strong run on the return, stealing half of the points in Hives' games and converting five break points from 11 chances to march towards the finish line.
The better-ranked player found her range right from the start, earning breaks in games three and seven before closing it with a hold at 5-2 to get her name on the scoreboard. There were five breaks of serve in six games in the middle of the second set and Belinda grabbed three of those to keep the lead, wasting a match point on serve in the eighth game before moving over the top with a hold at love in game 10.
The 6th seed Alize Cornet had an easy day at the office, overpowering the compatriot Pauline Parmentier 6-3, 6-0 in 65 minutes with a rock solid performance on both serve and return, saving the only break point he faced and stealing 55% of the return points to score four breaks from eight opportunities that propelled her over the finish line.
Parmentier lost the opening 10 points of the match, falling 3-0 behind and saving a set point on serve at 2-5 to at least prolong the set. Cornet saved a break point in game nine to bring the opener home and she was the only player on the court in the second set, taking all six games in set number two to march towards the win.
The 20-year-old Sofia Kenin claimed the doubles title in Auckland last week and she on the solid run in singles in Hobart, defeating Ons Jabeur 7-6, 6-3 in an hour and 24 minutes to move inside the last eight. The American served at 79% and despite hitting no aces and four double faults she managed to limit the damage in her games, saving two out of four break points and breaking Jabeur on all three chances she created to complete the win in straight sets.
They traded breaks in games three and four to stay neck and neck and Sofia had to dig deep in the 10th game to remain on the positive side of the scoreboard, fending off two set points to level the score at 5-5. At 6-6 in the tie break, Kenin grabbed the pivotal mini-break, taking the set in the following point on own serve after 55 minutes and gaining the momentum before set number two.
Ons bounced back at the start of the second set, breaking at love in the first game to forge a 3-1 lead before Kenin took charge, winning five straight games and moving ahead of her opponent with breaks in games six and eight before a hold at 5-3 that earned the win for the Pembroke Pines resident.
Anna Karolina Schmiedlova ousted the 8th seed Alison Van Uytvanck 6-3, 6-2 in an hour and 27 minutes, saving six out of seven break points and seizing all four chances he created on the return to control the scoreboard after being 3-1 down in the opener.
The Belgian squandered that advantage easier than she created it, losing five straight games and 19 of the last 23 points to hand the set to Schmiedlova. Anna Karolina broke her rival in games three and seven in set number two for the best result on the Tour since September. Second round results:
Sofia Kenin (USA) vs Ons Jabeur (TUN) 7-6(6) 6-3
Kirsten Flipkens (BEL) vs Viktoria Kuzmova (SVK) 6-7(3) 6-4 6-1
[Q]Greet Minnen (BEL) vs [Q]Magda Linette (POL) 6-1 4-6 7-6(3)
Alize Cornet (FRA) vs Pauline Parmentier (FRA) 6-3 6-0
Anna Karolina Schmiedlova (SVK) vs Alison Van Uytvanck (BEL) 6-3 6-2
Irina-Camelia Begu (ROU) vs [Q]Anna Blinkova (RUS) 4-6 7-6(2) 6-2
Dayana Yastremska (UKR) vs Vera Lapko (BLR) 6-1 6-4
Belinda Bencic (SUI) vs [WC]Zoe Hives (AUS) 6-2 6-4