|Paula Badosa (photo by Daniel Ward)|
"We always have battles," said Badosa said after the match." She plays so fast, she doesn't give me time." And that statement, indeed, summed up most of the first set. Fernandez quickly went up a break, and her momentum continued until she began to have some trouble with her forehand. Badosa was able to take the set, 7-5.
The second set was tight, too, but the 12th seed took it--and the match--in a tiebreak. Fernandez hit twice s many winners as Badosa, but she also hit twice as many unforced errors; in the end, it was the Spaniard's lower-risk play that paid off.
This was the first time since January that Badosa had won two consecutive matches. After going through the struggles of an injury and trying to work her way back to form, her take on her first two rounds in Charleston is: "I hope it's the start of the Paula that I want to feel again."
2021 champion Veronika Kudermetova wasn't so lucky. Kudermetova played the creative (and, I'm sure commentators would say "feisty") Diana Shnaider, whose game is a fun-to-watch combination of tricky shots and raw athleticism. Shnaider, who is a biology major at the University of South Carolina, got our attention when she qualified for her first WTA main draw at the Australian Open and took 6th seed Maria Sakkari to three sets in the second round.
In today's match, the 19-year-old came from a break down in both sets to defeat her countrywoman 6-4, 6-3.
|Daria Kasatkina (photo by Daniel Ward)|
Though Kudermetova and Anna Blinkova lost (the latter to top seed Jessica Pegula), other Russian players did well today. 2017 champion and 3rd seed Daria Kasatkina defeated Madison Brengle 6-2, 6-1, and 7th seed Ekaterina Alexandrova defeated Yulia Putintseva 6-1, 6-3