Zanevska after victory against Elise Mertens: “Knew I had a chance if I played convincingly”

Maryna Zanevska (WTA 87) qualified for the second round of the WTA tournament in Hobart, Australia, at the expense of Elise Mertens (WTA 27), who was unable to go all the way due to a shoulder problem. The 29-year-old Zanevska, who comes out of the qualifiers, defeated the second seed 6-4 twice. “I am very satisfied with my performance,” she told Belga.

“I think I played a good tennis level and showed a lot of mental strength in the important moments,” said Zanevska. “It was a bit special to play against Elise because we know each other quite well. That sometimes makes it difficult. But I went out on the field without any pressure because I had nothing to lose. I think expectations were different for her, after all she has already won two titles here and was second seed. I knew that if I played convincingly, I had a good chance of winning. And so it happened, even when she pressed on at the end of the game.”

Mertens is struggling with shoulder

“It was a good game from both sides,” Mertens responded. “She played pretty solid, I had some rust in the machine. I didn’t hit badly, but I couldn’t take advantage of it. Maybe I forced it a bit too much sometimes, she made few mistakes. There are certainly things that need to be improved, but it is always good to play an extra match in view of the Australian Open. I enjoyed returning to Hobart, by the way. Even though I lost, I have so many great memories here (she won the tournament in 2017 and 2018). I try to take the positive with me.”

In the second set, Mertens had to rely on the kine for her right shoulder. “It’s an ailment that I’ve been struggling with for a week or two. I try to do specific exercises to treat it the best I can,” she explained. “It is a muscle problem. There is inflammation but nothing too much of a concern I think. I couldn’t prepare the way I wanted, and it showed on the field tonight, but I tried to do my best. It went a little better, by the way, but it is of course not something that can be solved overnight. I had hoped it would be different but I still have a week to prepare for the Australian Open. I love that tournament and I hope the shoulder holds up.”

And now against Sofia Kenin

In the eighth finals, Ukraine-born Belgian Maryna Zanevska will play against American Sofia Kenin (WTA 280). “I know her as a person and of course know that she has won a Grand Slam, but I am less informed about her tennis. So I’m going to try to analyze her game with my coach. I expect a lot of battle anyway, but I have a good feeling. I look at it again from the point of view that I have nothing to lose. And if I lose, it’s not the end of the world. There are much worse things right now,” she concluded.

Ysaline Bonaventure — ©  AFP

Bonaventure also pushes through

Ysaline Bonaventure (WTA 92) also qualified for the second round in Hobart. She defeated the Slovenian Tamara Zidansek (WTA 88) 6-7 (2/7), 6-2 and 6-2 and continued the good line of last week. Then she reached the semi-finals in Auckland.

“It wasn’t such an easy race,” she said. “I’m not going to hide the fact that I’m a little tired. The journey from Auckland was long. So I didn’t feel great on the field today. Nevertheless, I decorated a set ball in the first set but was unable to convert it. However, I mentally got out of it by telling myself that my level of play hadn’t really taken off even though I had taken the plane,” she laughed. “So I am very happy that I won the competition.”

Bonaventure brought her victory count since January 1 to six. The American Lauren Davis (WTA 84) awaits in the second round. She beat her compatriot and fourth seed Sloane Stephens (WTA 36) twice 6-2.

“I worked hard on my serve and forehand during the winter break because there is a nice margin of progression,” she continued. “And I am very happy that I can set up a series at the start of the season. Hopefully I can maintain this form for the next few months. I met Davis a few years ago in Charleston, but on clay (6-4, 0-6, 6-2 loss, red). She won easily against Stephens and is therefore playing very well. I will have to keep up and hopefully I can keep my level.”

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