Knapp upsets top seed Niculescu , at Tashkent Open.

11 September 2012

• Qualifier Vekic upsets fourth seeded Rybarikova

Issued by Tashkent Open Media Team

Tashkent ,September 11: Former world No 35 Karin Knapp of Italy registered the biggest upset of event as she upset top seeded Monica Niculescu of Romania , while qualifier Donna Vekic of Croatia upset fourth seeded Magdalena Rybarikova of Slovakia to move into the round of sixteen at the the 14 th edition of Tashkent Open WTA Tennis Championships being played at the Olympic Tennis School here.

In the first round matches played today the 135 ranked Italian Knapp displayed solid baseline tennis to oust the world no 33 Monica Niculescu of Romania 2-6,6-3,7-5 in 2hours and 43 minutes , while the 183rd ranked sixteen year old Donna Vekic of Croatia played brilliantly to upset the winner of the Washington DC event 54th ranked and fourth seeded Magdalena Rybarikova of Slovakia 7-6(3),6-3 in 1 hour and 55 minutes.

Three other seeds in action fifth seeded Alexandra Cadantu of Romania, Sixth seeded Bojana Jovanovski of Serbia and eighth seeded Galina Voskoboeva of Kazakhstan had to struggle to make it to the second round .

Cadantu squandered a 5-2 lead in the third set to let qualifier Ekaterina Bychkova level scores and then pulled out her reserve to score a 3-6,6-4,7-5 in a 2 hour 35 minutes match , while Jovanovski overcame fighting German Dinah Pfizenmaier 6-2,2-6,6-4 in I hour and 54 minutes , while the tall and lanky eighth seed Voskoboeva overcame the first round loss jinx at Tashkent registering a 3-6,6-1,6-0 over qualifier Vesna Dolonc of Serbia in 1 hour and 45 minutes.

Former world No 5 and qualifier here Anna Chakvetadze of Russia also made it to the round of 16 scoring a 6-4,6-3 win over Ukrainian Lesia Tsurenko. Russian Vitalia Diatechenko and Romanian Irina Camelia Begu ended the challenge of Uzbek players wildcard Nigina Abduraimova and former top 100 player Akgul Amanmuradova. Diatechenko won 6-2,6-4 , while Begu scored an easy 6-4,6-3 win to make it to the second round.

In the best match of the day marked by high intensity tennis Karin Knapp of Italy formerly ranked 35 in the world but now ranked 135 extended her head to head win over top seeded and 33 rd ranked Monica Niculescu to 2-0 scoring a 2-6,6-3,7-5 win in 2 hours and 43 minutes.
Niculescu one of the feared players on the circuit due to her unorthodox style and a semifinalist here last year started strongly winning the first set 6-2 , in the second set the strongly built Knapp seemed to have found her rhythm , rallying solidly from the baseline and breaking Niculescu in the 8th game after four deuces and then holding on to win the set and level set scores 1-1.

In the third set , both players held on to serves till 4-4 , Niculescu applied her traditional slice forehand and two handed backhands to great effect and broke Knapp in the 9th game to go up 5-4 , Knapp broke back immediately in the 10th game hitting a array of forehand winners to level scores at 5-5.

In the 11th game Knapp broke a poor serving Niculescu to go up 6-5 and then hold on to her 12th game and make it to the second round

Monica is a very unusual player , but I have played her before and knew if I had to win I had to push myself and hit the ball hard , that’s what I did said the modest Knapp after the match. I just landed here and didn’t have any rhythm at the beginning but as the match progressed I started getting my strokes she added

In the other upset of the day sixteen year old Donna Vekic who is making rapid progress on the professional stage and playing in her second WTA event scored a shocking 7-6(3),6-3 win over the seasoned fourth seeded Magdalena Rybarikova of Slovakia in 1 hour 55 minutes.

Vekic led 5-3 in the first set but then seemed to have lost the plot letting Rybarikova make up and level scores at 5-5 . In the tiebreak the youngster who made it through the qualifying held her nerves after being up 6-0 in the tiebreak to finish the set at 6-3 with a brilliant back hand down the line.

The second set was too much for Rybarikova who has a WTA title at Washington DC this year, as the 16 year old Slovak Vekic currently based out of London broke Rybarikova in the 1st and 9th games to register her first top 100 win of the year.

It’s my first top 100 win and it really feels great and I’m very happy, when I was 5-3 up with 3 set points I was very nervous , but then I played confidently in the tiebreak and the rest of the match said Vekic

Fifth seeded Alexandra Cadantu who went through some tough moments before scraping past qualifier Bychkova 3-6,6-4,7-5 in a 2 hour 35 minutes match said I was feeling stressed by a shoulder problem in the first set, In the second set I went for my strokes and I was lucky to get through .

Jovanovski who overcame fighting German Dinah Pfizenmaier 6-2,2-6,6-4 in I hour and 54 minutes said It was a close match , my opponent Dinah Pfizenmaier served very well and I was finding it difficult to break her , also it was very hot and I didn’t play on my level , but I focused on my returns and that made a difference . My opponent served very high first percentage on her first serves and hit really good winners on the backhand»

Speaking after her match the tall and lanky eighth seed Voskoboeva who overcame a first round loss jinx at Tashkent registering a 3-6,6-1,6-0 over qualifier Vesna Dolonc of Serbia in 1 hour and 45 minutes. Said It was a tougher match than the score suggests, I have lost to Dolonc twice and had pretty close points in each game , I’m happy to have won all the important points

Following are the results: First Round Singles

Karin Knapp (Ita) bt S.1 Monica Niculescu ( Rou) 2-6,6-3,7-5
Eva Birnerova (CZE) bt Claire Feuerstein (FRA) 7-6(4) 6-4
S 5 Alexandra Cadantu bt [Q] Ekaterina Bychkova 3-6 6-4 7-5
Q Donna Vekic bt S.4 Magdalena Rybarikova (Svk) 7-6(3),6-3
Eleni Daniilidou( Gre) bt Monica Puig (Pur) 6-4,6-2
S.6 Bojana Jovanovski (SRB) bt Dinah Pfizenmaier (GER) 6-2 , 2-6, 6-4
S.8 Galina Voskoboeva (Kaz) bt Vesna Dolonc (SRB) 3-6 ,6-1, 6-0
Anna Chakvetadze( Rus) bt Lesia Tsurenko (Ukr) 6-4, 6-3
Irina - Camelia Begu (ROU) d Akgul Amanmuradova (UZB) 6-4 , 6-3
Misaki Doi (JAP) bt Julia Cohen (USA ) 6-3 6-0
Vitalia Diatchenko (RUS) bt WC Nigina Abduraimova (UZB) 62 64