Bencic loses to Kumkum; 15-year-old Kostyuk into 3rd round

Bencic loses to Kumkum; 15-year-old Kostyuk into 3rd round

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Melbourne,(AP/UNB) – Two days after her upset win over Venus Williams, Belinda Bencic is out of the Australian Open.Bencic was on a high after beating 2017 finalist Williams on the center court in the first round, but started flatly on Hisense Arena on Wednesday and lost 6-1, 6-3 to powerful hitting Thai qualifier Luksika Kumkhum.The 20-year-old Swiss, who combined with Roger Federer to win the Hopman Cup in the lead-up to the season’s first major, saved three match points on her serve before netting a backhand to give No. 124th-ranked Kumkhum a spot in the third round for the first time.A 15-year-old qualifier and the No. 4-seeded Elina Svitolina were among three Ukrainian women who had matches starting simultaneously on Day 3 – and all progressed to the third round.Former Australian junior champion Marta Kostyuk, who entered the season-opening major ranked No. 521, followed up her opening win over 25th-seeded Peng Shuai with a 6-3, 7-5 victory over wild-card entry Olivia Rogowska.Kostyuk already is the youngest player since Martina Hingis in 1996 to win a main-draw match at the year’s opening major. And that came after three three-set matches in qualifying over six hours.Kostyuk is managed by Ivan Ljubicic, who works with Federer, and so gets the benefit of some first-rate analysis.”Ivan is always helping me … after every match, he’s telling me what’s wrong,” she said, smiling.Kostyuk’s progress is set to become more difficult, with a meeting against Svitolina in the next round.
While Kostyuk was playing on Margaret Court Arena, Svitolina, who won a tour-leading five titles in 2017, had a 4-6, 6-2, 6-1 win over Katerina Siniakova on the adjoining Rod Laver Arena.Their fellow Ukrainian, Kateryna Bondarenko, beat No. 15-seeded Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 6-2, 6-3 in the day’s opening match on Melbourne Park’s third show court to reach the third round here for the third time.On the men’s side, No. 10 Pablo Carreno Busta was leading 6-2, 3-0 when Gilles Simon retired from their second-round match with a leg injury.Andreas Seppi beat Yoshihito Nishioka 6-1, 6-3, 6-4.UNB news agency

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