Qualifying Day 2: And Then There Were Six


Monica Puig has had a stellar summer. Photo by Billie Weiss.

by Nicholas McCarvel

FOR THE SECOND DAY in a row, American Alison Riske needed a come-from-behind victory at the New Haven Open at Yale, and for the second day in a row, she produced just that.

MORE: Lisicki Leads Sunday’s Lineup | Draw and Order of Play | Doubles Preview

After being two points from losing to Eleni Daniilidou in the first round of qualifying Riske the 23-year-old from Pittsburgh took out Irina-Camelia Begu 2-6, 7-6 (2), 6-2 to move within one match of the main draw at the Connecticut Tennis Center.

Seeds Yanina Wickmayer, Ayumi Morita, Elina Svitolina, Annika Beck, Karin Knapp, Stefanie Voegele and Monica Puig all won through on Sunday, chasing after one of the six spots in the singles draw.

Caroline Garcia, like Riske, had to win after being on the brink of defeat, overcoming two-time Wimbledon quarterfinalist Tsvetana Pironkova 6-7 (5), 7-6 (2), 6-3.

Other Saturday winners included Yaroslava Shvedova, Anna Schmiedlova and Marina Duque-Marino.

It was an abrupt finish for Puig, who broke Sofia Arvidsson of Sweden for a 5-2 second-set lead with a drop shot that just kissed over the net. Arvidsson then retired, saying a ball she stretched wide for gave her worrisome pain in her leg.

“I feel like I was very comfortable out there,” Puig, the world No. 53 said after the win. “I just had to always be on my toes and expecting that she was going to play amazing. I just kept a very aggressive mentality through the whole match and was positive the whole time.”

PLUS: Puig on Wimbledon, Long-Term Goals and Hitting with Steffi Graf

Sunday it’s Puig who will face fellow youngster Garcia in the one of two qualifying matches on Stadium Court. Beck and Knapp open the day at 11am, followed by Puig’s match.

Riske will have to get past Wickmayer, who also needed three sets to win through. They play the second match on Grandstand after 12:30pm.

Of the six women who qualify, two will meet each other in the first round of the main draw, the winner facing either Caroline Wozniacki or Peng Shuai in round two.

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