February 21, 2022

Tauson upsets Bencic in Doha debut, Azarenka advance into second round

Denmark’s teen sensation Clara Tauson earned an upset victory in her first-ever main-draw match at a WTA 1000 event on Sunday. The 19-year-old kicked off Day 1 of the Qatar TotalEnergies Open with a 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 win over reigning Olympic gold medalist Belinda Bencic in just short of two hours.

The victory levels Tauson’s career record against Top 30 players to 4-4 and earns her a second meeting with a Top 10 player this season. She’ll face No.3 seed Paula Badosa in the second round.

Tauson is just the second Danish player playing in Qatar, joining former World No.1 Caroline Wozniacki.

Victoria Azarenka, 12th-seed and two-time champion, staged an exciting comeback to defeat Yulia Putintseva 5-7,6-2, 7-5 to set up a second-round clash against USA’s Madison Brengle, who defeated Ipek Oz 7-5, 6-3 in the earlier encounter.

World No. 57 Ann Li also secured her second-round spot as well, after she knocked out 2020 Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin 6-3, 6-7(5), 6-3 in an all-American affair while
No.9 seed Jessica Pegula of the United States knocked out Katerina Siniakova of the Czech Republic 6-3, 6-2 in an hour and 8 minutes.

14th-ranked Pegula converted four of her nine breakpoints and won 70 percent of second-service return points against Siniakova, the current WTA Doubles World No.1.

Meanwhile, Belgium’s Alison Van Uytvanck improved her head-to-head lead over Vera Zvonareva to 3-0, defeating the 2011 champion in straight sets in the first round of the Qatar TotalEnergies Open.