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Keys and Collins Shine in San Diego Open Openers

Photo credit: San Diego Open

By Richard Osborn

SAN DIEGO (October 10, 2022) —
 The WTA has a long and storied history in San Diego, one that traces back to the spring of 1971, when Billie Jean King outlasted Rosie Casals in three sets to take the trophy at the Virginia Slims of San Diego.

On Monday, the tour made its much-anticipated return to the city following a seven-year absence, with 12 of the Top 20 players in the world competing for the inaugural San Diego Open WTA 500 title at Barnes Tennis Center.

The talent-rich field boasts a collective nine major singles titles, and 11 Grand Slam finalists, including 2017 US Open runner-up Madison Keys. The 27-year-old American kicked off her campaign in Barnes Stadium with a 6-1, 6-4 victory over qualifier Ellen Perez of Australia, snapping a three-match skid.

“I think I played a really good first set, then Ellen definitely raised her level in the second and things got a little bit tricky,” said the 18th-ranked Keys, who overcame deficits of 0-3 and 2-4 in the closing set. “I’m happy that I was able to get a couple of those breaks back and be able to hold the last game and make things a little less complicated.”

With two weeks remaining in the regular season, Keys kept her hopes alive for one of six remaining spots in the year-end WTA Finals in Fort Worth, Texas.

The former University of Georgia star Perez, celebrating her 27th birthday, was seeking only her second tour-level victory in singles.

American CoCo Vandeweghe fired nine aces in a 6-1, 1-6, 6-4 defeat of countrywoman and 2020 Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin on Hologic Court 2. For her efforts, she earned a second-round matchup with the top-ranked American woman, world No. 6 Jessica Pegula.

Few players had hotter summers than Frenchwoman Caroline Garcia, who claimed titles in Bad Homburg, Warsaw and Cincinnati, before posting a career-best semifinal at the US Open. But the seventh seed found herself overmatched on Day 1 at the San Diego Open, on the short end of a 6-2, 7-6 (4) loss to inspired American Danielle Collins.

Collins, who reached her maiden major final earlier this year at the Australian Open, improved to 2-0 against Garcia, having also prevailed in the third round in Melbourne in 2019.

“Caro’s been playing incredible this year,” said Collins, a two-time NCAA singles titlist in her days at UVA. “A lot of great achievements, especially over the summer, a lot of matches under her belt with that. She’s playing big tennis, first-strike, hitting really good serves and returns, taking the ball early and trying to end the point really quickly, not giving much rhythm. I knew that going in. I just had to go out and try to beat her to the punch as much as possible.”

It took Canada’s Bianca Andreescu to cool off Liudmila Samsonova in a compelling two-hour and 38-minute nightcap, 7-6 (1), 4-6, 6-2. The 23rd-ranked Samsonova came into the tournament on the heels of her third WTA title of 2022 in Tokyo, having won 18 of her last 19 matches.

“The match was very tight. It could have gone either way,” said Andreescu, the 2019 US Open champion. “I felt like, toward the end, I was putting more pressure than she was and maybe was just a little bit more consistent.”

Also posting opening-round wins on Monday were: Italy’s Martina Trevisan (def. Camila Osorio, 6-3, 6-4) and American qualifier Louisa Chirico (def. Alison Riske-Amritraj, 1-6, 7-5, 7-6 (5)).


No. 5 seed Maria Sakkari of Greece will face qualifier Donna Vekic of Croatia in Tuesday’s opener in Barnes Stadium beginning at 11:30 a.m. It will be their seventh career encounter, with Vekic holding a 4-2 head-to-head advantage. Former US Open champion Sloane Stephens (2017) will then take on lucky loser Jil Teichmann of Switzerland, who moved into the main draw when Veronika Kudermetova withdrew with a right shoulder injury.

A pair of Wimbledon champions will kick off the evening session when reigning titlist Elena Rybakina of Kazakhstan meets 2017 winner Garbiñe Muguruza of Spain (not before 5:30 p.m.). An all-American battle between 18-year-olds Coco Gauff and qualifier Robin Montgomery will follow.

“This is probably the toughest part of the season for everyone just because you know all the Grand Slams are over. You’re just trying to get through the end of the season and you see the finish line,” said Gauff, ranked a career-high No. 8. “I’m just motivated trying to finish as well as I can.”

San Diego Open WTA 500
Barnes Tennis Center
Results — Monday, Oct 10

R32 – B. Andreescu (CAN) d. L. Samsonova 76(1) 46 62
R32 – [WC] C. Vandeweghe (USA) d. [SR] S. Kenin (USA) 61 16 64
R32 – M. Keys (USA) d. [Q] E. Perez (AUS) 61 64
R32 – D. Collins (USA) d. [7] C. Garcia (FRA) 62 76(4)
R32 – M. Trevisan (ITA) d. [Q] C. Osorio (COL) 63 64
R32 – [Q] L. Chirico (USA) d. A. Riske-Amritraj (USA) 16 75 76(5)
R16 – [1] C. Gauff (USA) / J. Pegula (USA) d. Y. Xu (CHN) / Z. Yang (CHN) 75 60
R16 – H. Chan (TPE) / L. Hradecka (CZE) d. L. Kichenok (UKR) / K. Zimmermann (BEL) 64 57 10-8

Schedule — Tuesday, Oct 11

STADIUM COURT starts at 11:30 AM
[WC] [5] M. Sakkari (GRE) vs [Q] D. Vekic (CRO)
[LL] J. Teichmann (SUI) vs [WC] S. Stephens (USA)
NB 5:30 PM E. Rybakina (KAZ) vs G. Muguruza (ESP)
[Q] R. Montgomery (USA) vs [6] C. Gauff (USA)

HOLOGIC COURT 2 starts at 11:30 AM
[WC] A. Ahn (USA) / K. Hui (USA) vs [SR] S. Sanders (AUS) / L. Stefani (BRA)
Ka. Pliskova (CZE) vs [Q] C. Dolehide (USA)
[WC] L. Fernandez (CAN) vs [8] D. Kasatkina
S. Kenin (USA) / L. Samsonova vs R. Marino (CAN) / C. Zhao (CAN)
K. Christian (USA) / S. Santamaria (USA) vs [2] G. Dabrowski (CAN) / G. Olmos (MEX)