Catherine Bellis, Lauren Davis remain alive in WTA Dubai 2017 draw

Two Americans advanced on Wednesday while a third one fell in the 2017 draw in Dubai.

Christina McHale suffered a setback on Wednesday as she fell in the third round of the Dubai draw to Elina Svitolina. However, in other results American hopes for a finalist and maybe even a titlist remained alive. Both Catherine Bellis and Lauren Davis advanced to the quarterfinal round and each player looks to achieve a new career-high ranking as a result.

Davis has been playing well so far this season and she already has a title to show for her efforts. On Wednesday, she beat Ekaterina Makarova in Dubai’s round of sixteen. The match went a full three sets before the young American prevailed 4-6, 6-1, 6-3. Davis now has a match that appears to be fairly open as she will face Svitolina in the next round. The Ukrainian will likely enter the match as the odds-on favorite, but Davis still stands a chance of advancing to the Dubai semifinals as Svitolina is not a dominant player.

Bellis, in another section of the draw, pulled off a big upset on Wednesday, one that attests to both her form and the declining form of her opponent. The 17 year old defeated Agnieszka Radwanska, the current World No. 6. Radwanska’s level of play has dropped significantly to open the 2017 season and that may be part of the reason she fell to Bellis with a final line score of 6-4, 2-6, 6-2. However, Bellis herself is a surging player on the women’s tour. She won Honolulu back in December and she will have a new career-high ranking on Monday, even if she goes no further than the quarters. Bellis’ next match will come against either Caroline Wozniacki or Kateryna Bondarenko, two players that hadn’t settled their round-of-sixteen result at time of writing.

Other results from Wednesday saw Angelique Kerber put up an impressive score. She handed Monica Puig a straight-sets loss 6-2, 6-3.  Ana Konjuh also won in that section of the draw to set up a showdown between her and Kerber. On the bottom of the draw Quiang Wang is having a surprise tournament for China as she defeated Kristina Mladenovic in straight sets. Wang will meet Anastasija Sevastova in the quarters for a right to the Dubai semifinals.

It’s possible that Davis and Bellis could meet in the final. However, neither really has a probable route to that point in the tournament. Regardless both have made a good argument in recent months that they are the future of American tennis, even amidst Coco Vandeweghe’s run to the Australian Open semifinals.

Shane Lambert