Western e Southern Open: Simona Halep, Belinda Bencic make winning starts

There were a couple of notable rematches at the Western & Southern Open on Wednesday. Belinda Bencic took on Marketa Vondrousova in a rematch of their gold medal match at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Likewise, Jessica Pegula and Camila Giorgi clashed in their National Bank Open semi-final rematch last week.

In their opening-round clash, the 10th-seeded Bencic defeated the Czech again.  After an hour and 27 minutes of play, Bencic won 6-3, 7-5. In the second round, Bencic will play Shelby Rogers.

In the case of the Pegula-Giorgi clash, the American avenged her previous defeat to the Montreal champion. Pegula needed an hour and 12 minutes to post a 6-2, 6-2 victory over the Italian. In the second round, Pegula will play 12th seed Simona Halep. Halep, who’s playing her second tournament since taking time off for a calf injury in May, won the first match on her comeback against Poland’s Magda Linette.

The former world no. 1 needed three sets, two hours, and 10 minutes to win 6-4, 3-6, and 6-1. 

Western & Southern Open: Coco Gauff, Ons Jabeur move on

Halep’s fellow former no. 1, Victoria Azarenka also made inroads in the draw. The Belarusian seeded 14th, defeated Liudmila Samsonova 6-2, 6-3 in 69 minutes. For a place in the pre-quarter-finals, Azarenka will play Alison Riske.

Ons Jabeur defeated Anett Kontaveit 6-2, 4-6, 7-5 in their first-round clash. The Tunisian will play sixth seed, Iga Swiatek, for a spot in the third round. This will be a rematch of their fourth-round match at Wimbledon this year.

Cathy McNally ousted Dayana Yastremska 7-6(3), 7-6(1) in their round-of-64 meeting. The American, who received a main draw wildcard in Cincinnati this week, will play ninth seed Barbora Krejcikova in the second round.

Lastly, McNally’s doubles partner, Coco Gauff, too, reached the round-of-32 at the Western & Southern Open. Gauff defeated Su-Wei Hsieh 6-2, 6-1 in exactly an hour and set up a tantalising second-round clash against the second seed and world no. 2 Naomi Osaka.