September 25, 2018 TASHKENT, Uzbekistan - Unseeded Kateryna Kozlova of Ukraine and wildcard and former world No 2 Vera Zvonareva of Russia produced major upsets knocking out top seeded Romanian Irina Camelia Begu and third seeded Tamara Zidansek of Slovenia at the 20th Tashkent Open WTA Championships being played at the Olympic Tennis Complex here.
In the first round matches WTA World No.119 and a regular here Kozlova upset former winner here and top seed and world no 53 Irena-Camelia Begu, 6-3, 6-2 in 1 hour 16 minutes , former world No2 and wildcard Vera Zvonareva brought out all her experience to demolish third seeded and 74 ranked Tamara Zidansek 6-1 , 6-4 in 1 hour and 15 minutes.
in other first round matches Olga Danilovic scored a 6-4,6-1 win against wildcard Anna Kalinskaya of Russia, while Alexandra Rus of Netherlands disposed off Marta Kostyuk of Ukraine6-4,6-3. Qualifier Ivana Jorovic of Serbia continued her good run in the event pulling off a 6-3,6-2 win over Ekateria Alexandrova of Russia .
German Mona Barthel ended the local Uzbek challenge as she came back from loss of the first set to stop a fighting wildcard Nigina Abduraimova 4-6,6-3,6-3 . It was a easy passage for second seeded Belarusian Vera Lapko as she made short work of former winner here Bojana Petrovic Jovanovski of Serbia 6-1 ,6-3 , seventh seeded Russian Evgeniya Rodina got past Magdalena Frech of Romania 7-5,6-2 to make it to the round of sixteen
In the Begu - Kozlova match , things did not go smoothly initially for Kozlova the who struggled to live with her opponent in the formative stages of the match. Indeed, the Romanian won eight of the first nine points to claim the first couple of games with ease. A solid service game allowed Kozlova to settle into proceedings, and from nowhere she broke after trailing 40-0 on the Begu serve. It sparked a period in which both players failed to hold their serve, yet it was for Kozlova that things clicked for in the latter part of the set.
The turning point, however, came when the Ukrainian scampered to the net to return a drop. Her flick crosscourt was initially called out but was overruled by the umpire on the far side of the court. The WTA World No.54 failed to regain her concentration in the aftermath and from 40-15 up was decisively broken. Kozlova started to dictate play to her higher-ranked opponent and built on the advantage she had constructed at the start of the second set o set up a win and the biggest upset of the event .
"I'm used to Tashkent having played here for six years now , it's tough to play a top seed in any tournament and to play someone like Begu who played well last week is tougher , I'm Happy with a win and the way I played today ", said the 24 year Kozlova
The First set was tricky and playing on the center court was weighing on my mind I had to be patient and I just did that ". she added.
Its been a Tough year for me so far , I was not playing for last 3 months recovering from knee injury and it was a tough time for me , I started the year badly with shoulder injury then injury on my knee , but now I'm playing without pain and focus on my game as well , To start next season without injury is my goal said Kozlova who was ranked 66 places below her opponent
In the second upset of the day 34 year old wildcard entrant and former world No 2 Vera Zvonareva took 1 hour and 15 minutes to dispose of 74 ranked and third seeded Tamara Zidansek of Slovenia . The Russian took the first set breaking her 20 year old opponent in the 3rd,5th and 7th games of the first set. In the second set Zvonareva raced to a 4-0 lead , but the Slovenian Zidansek clawed her way back into the match before losing her serve in the 10th game of the match to hand over Zvonareva.
"She definitely is a Good player and good future I played tactically well and was able to close it in two sets" , said Zvonareva speaking after the match
Last year I played here for first time and enjoyed playing here , so I'm back . This year the draw is strong , but I'm Focusing on game , But right now I'm enjoying every moment that I spend on the court and that's what's is keeping me going , I will try to go match by match last year reached semifinals will try and better it she added
When asked what drives her even at this age , the Russian who has seen the top of the sport said " I like the game , I enjoy training , I enjoy competing , I like to challenge myself and I'm able to find right balance Between family and tennis . My family comes first for me the day I can't balance I will quit tennis
When asked if she has any advice for young players , Zvonareva said " If they want to achieve dreams they have to work hard , accept hard times , nothing is smooth , train hard , work hard either if it's bad or good day .
Following are the results: Singles 1st round:
Kateryna Kozlova (UKR) bt S1. Irina-Camelia Begu (ROU) - 6/3 6/2
Olga Danilovic (SRB) bt [WC] Anna Kalinskaya (RUS) - 6/4 6/1
[WC] Vera Zvonareva (RUS) bt S3. Tamara Zidansek (SLO) - 6/1 6/4
S7. Evgeniya Rodina (RUS) bt Magdalena Frech (POL) - 7/5 6/2
Mona Barthel (GER) bt [WC] Nigina Abduraimova - 4/6 6/3 6/3
[Q] Ivana Jorovic (SRB) bt Ekaterina Alexandrova (RUS) - 6/3 6/2
S2. Vera Lapko (BLR) bt Bojana Jovanovski Petrovic (SRB) - 6/1 6/3
Doubles 1st round:
S1.Irina-Camelia Begu (ROU)/Raluca Olaru (ROU) bt Anna Blinkova (RUS)/Fanny Stollar (HUN) - 7/6(1) 6/4
S3. Alexa Guarachi (CHI)/ Desirae Krawczyk (USA) bt Monique Adamczak (AUS)/Jessica Moore (AUS) - 7/5 4/6 10/8Kateryna Kozlova (UKR)/Vera Zvonareva (RUS) bt [WC] Akgul Amanmuradova (UZB)/Eugine Bouchard (CAN) - 6/2 7/5
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