Zheng sends Kerber packing, Radwanska advances in Doha

 24 Feb 2016 - 2:02

Zheng sends Kerber packing, Radwanska advances in Doha
Poland’s Agnieszka Radwanska hits a return to Kateryna Bondarenko of Ukraine during their Qatar Total Open women’s singles round 2 match at the Khalifa International Tennis and Squash Complex yesterday. Radwanska beat Bondarenko 6-4, 6-4. 

 

DOHA: Unseeded Zheng Saisai of China yesterday produced her biggest win by beating top seed and the Australian Open champion Agnelique Kerber of Germany in straights to reach round three at Qatar Total Open. 
Playing a compact game, 22-year-old Zheng, ranked 73 in the world, posted a 7-5, 6-1 win in 69 minutes to sail into the third round of the Premier 5 event.
“The feeling is amazing here today,” Zheng said. “Kerber was amazing at the Australian Open and a great champion. For sure it wasn’t her best tennis today, but I’m happy I won that match.”
“She’s unbelievable at running so the only way I could win the point sometimes was by coming to the net,” she added. 
The German star, who committed 38 unforced errors, was broken six times in the lop-sided second-round clash on Centre Court. In a tame end, Kerber lost the second set in just 28 minutes.
Twenty-eight-year-old Kerber, who beat Serena Williams in the Australian Open final last month, will check out of the event while Zheng plans for her next opponent Eugenie Bouchard of Canada in the third round today.
“I think it was completely not my day. That’s actually it. I was not feeling the ball. I was not finding my rhythm at all,” Kerber said after the loss.
“At the end, it was actually not my day. I made too many mistakes. It was not my game,” she added.
Earlier yesterday, third seed Agnieszka Radwanska crushed Ukrainian qualifier Kateryna Bondarenko in straight sets to advance at the seven-day event. 
The Polish star, who bagged the WTA Tour’s season-ending championships title last year in October, yesterday won 6-4, 6-4 in 93 minutes on the Centre Court. 
Radwanska was candid enough to admit she wasn’t on top of her game
“About today, (it) definitely was not that greatest match. Obviously it was hard conditions, but I won. That’s the most important thing,” Radwanska said. 
“The first matches are always very tricky, especially the different conditions everywhere, and here in Doha as well. We (are) used to that. It’s always a bit windy and (that) can be very tough,” she said.
“I’m happy with this win and ready for the next one. My team didn’t change in (the last) couple of years, so the same guys as we see on court. Yeah, I’m happy with those (team members),” Radwanska said.
Meanwhile, fifth seed Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic beat compatriot and doubles partner Barbora Strycova 7-6 (7-2),6-4 in 103 minutes while ninth seed Roberta Vinci of Italy struggled past Russia Daria Kasatkina. 
Vinci, the losing US Open finalist, won 2-6, 6-4, 7-6 (7-3) in 2 hours 18 minutes.
Also yesterday, wild card entry Bouchard of Canada won a slugfest against Denisa Allertova of the Czech Republic, winning the second-round clash 7-6, 7-5 in 90 minutes.
Bouchard said she spent some extra time on practice court after her win.
“I’m happy with the way I fought, but I definitely feel like my level of tennis could be better. Directly after the match today, I went to the practice court to do some extra serves because I just felt like that part of my game today was really not good enough,” Bouchard, 21, said. 
“I can’t complain even if I play terrible. I’m so happy to be back on tour. I’m really grateful. I have realized how much I missed and loved tennis when I was forced out because of my injury at the end of 2015,” she said.
Eight seed Spain’s Carla Suárez Navarro beat Croatian qualifier Donna Vekic 7-6 (5), 6-4 while Germany’s Andrea Petkovic eased past Russia’s Margarita Gasparyan 6-3, 6-3.
Petkovic said she has launched 2016 with new thinking and planning.
“I changed my team in the off-season. I have a new couch, a new fitness coach, a new physio, everything,” Petkovic said. 
“I was still maybe lacking a little bit of belief. Everything had to come together with the new team and working on new things. Now I feel like I’m on the right path, but I feel like it’s showing now in the matches. I’m also finding my match mental state that I was lacking,” she said.
Earlier in the day, 12th Svetlana Kuznetsova of Russia and 16th seed Sara Errani of Italy also checked out of the $2.5m event.The Peninsula