Stakusic overcomes rain and Melnikova to advance in San Diego

Canadian qualifier shows resilience and skill in three-set victory

Marina Stakusic, a 19-year-old from Mississauga, Ontario, proved her mettle on Monday night as she defeated Marina Melnikova of Russia in a hard-fought three-set match at the San Diego Open. The Canadian qualifier, playing in only her second main draw at a Hologic WTA Tour event, prevailed 6-4, 5-7, 6-1 in two hours and nine minutes.

Stakusic started the match with confidence and aggression, breaking Melnikova’s serve three times in the first set to take it 6-4. The Russian, also a qualifier, responded well in the second set, reducing her unforced errors and finding more depth and angles with her shots. She broke Stakusic twice to level the match at 7-5.

San Diego
San Diego

The decisive third set was a one-sided affair, as Stakusic regained her composure and dominance. She broke Melnikova four times and held her own serve comfortably, closing out the match with a forehand winner. Stakusic finished with four aces, seven double faults, 10 of 16 break points saved, eight service games won and eight return games won. Melnikova had no ace, six double faults, 2 of 10 break points saved, six service games won and six return games won.

Rain and schedule changes add to the challenge

The match was originally scheduled to start at 7 p.m. local time, but was delayed by more than an hour due to rain. The players had to deal with slippery and humid conditions, as well as frequent interruptions from the umpire to dry the court. Stakusic said she was not bothered by the weather or the schedule changes, and focused on her game plan.

“I knew it was going to be a tough match, because she is a very good player and we both came through the qualifying rounds,” Stakusic said in a post-match interview. “I just tried to stay positive and play my game, and I’m happy I was able to pull through.”

Stakusic also credited her coach, former Canadian Davis Cup player Daniel Nestor, for his guidance and support. “He has been amazing, he has helped me a lot with my game and my mentality. He is very experienced and knows what it takes to win at this level,” she said.

Next opponent: Vekic or Hui

Stakusic will face the winner of Tuesday’s match between seventh-seeded Donna Vekic of Croatia and 19-year-old wild card Katherine Hui of San Diego. Vekic is ranked 25th in the world and has won two WTA titles, while Hui is ranked 1,024th and is making her debut at a WTA event.

Stakusic said she is looking forward to the challenge and hopes to continue her impressive run in San Diego. “I’m very excited to be in the second round, it’s a great opportunity for me to play against some of the best players in the world. I’m going to give it my best and enjoy the moment,” she said.

Eighth-seeded Leylah Fernandez of Laval, Quebec, is also in action on Tuesday, facing Tatjana Maria of Germany in the first round.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *