For the second-straight year, Arina Rodionova has been the top-seed at the Apis Canberra International and for the second straight year, she has lost in the second round. Last year she fell to Canberra’s Alison Bai, in 2018 she has lost to Japan’s Risa Ozaki, the 2016 champion. Ozaki also beat Rodionova in the quarterfinals on the way to her title in 2106 as the top seed.
Back in 2016 Ozaki was ranked at no. 103, she returned to Canberra two years later at no. 293, after tumbling from her career-high of no. 70 on 24 April 2017. Ozaki had reached the round of 16 at the Miami Mandatory Premier tournament in March 2017, the rocketed her ranking. Losing the points after not playing at that tournament in 2018 saw her ranking blowout.
Ozaki has played in Canberra on several occasions, most recently she competed in the clay court tournament back in March 2018.
Today in Canberra the two met on centre court and it was Rodionova that got the better of her Japanese opponent in the first set. The rallies were long and hard fought. Rodionova winning the first set 6-4.
The Australian was close to winning the match in straight sets, but Ozaki played tough and took the second set to a tiebreaker and stayed alive, winning the breaker 7-3 to send the match into a deciding set.
In the third set, Rodionova let some line calls that went against her get her focus off playing tennis, and she dropped serve to allow Ozaki to take control of the match. Ozaki completed the win 4-6, 7-6(3), 6-3.
In other matches, we saw several champions from the recent tournaments lose out in the second round. Bendigo ITF $60,000 champion Priscilla Hon lost to Zoe Hives 6-4, 6-4. Darwin ITF $60,000 champion Kimberly Birrell lost to Kaylah Mcphee 7-6(2), 6-4. Brisbane ITF $25,000 champion Xu Shilin from China lost to Naiktha Bains 6-3, 2-6, 6-4.
Zoe Hives and Astra Sharma, both recent title winners won their matches today, Hives winning the Toowoomba ITF $25,000 title and Sharma the Cairns ITF $25,000. Ellen Perez who had featured in four of the recent finals also lost today, going down 6-4, 4-6, 6-4 to France’s Irina Ramialison, the world no. 348. She made the main draw through the qualifying tournament.
Olivia Rogowska, the 2017 Canberra champion won her match against Olivia Tjandramulia 6-4, 6-2. Astra Sharma defeated fellow Australian Seone Mendez 6-2, 6-3, Mendez received a wildcard.