Starting the year with Australian Open qualifying wins was fantastic for Fran Jones, and after two early round despatches in Australia, it was third time’s the charm as she gained her first WTA Tour main draw win, beating Zheng Saisaiin three sets.
The first set was dominated by Jones’ aggressive and gritty play while Zheng struggled to do much more than actually get the ball back in play. She went down an early break, and Jones finished off the set with a second break.
Zheng seemed to warm up a bit more in the second set, making much more use of angles and moving around the court a lot more than her hit and hope tactics of the first set, and was the first to put pressure on Jones before following that up on the next game by finally breaking. She echoed the pattern of the first set, closing out to level by breaking the Brit again.
Jones recouped and tipped the momentum firmly back with an immediate break in the first game of the decider, and Zheng never looked in danger of threatening Jones’ serve, as she broke once more towards the end of the match and closed it out comfortably.
Francesca Jones v Patricia Maria Tig H2H & Match Fundamentals
Francesca Jones v Patricia Maria Tig
H2H: First Meeting
WTA Phillip Island Trophy
Prize Money: $1,900
Second on Court 12, not before 12:30pm (1:30am GMT).
The first of many main draw wins will bolster Jones’ confidence. She will face another more experienced tour player in Patricia Maria Tig, who has yet to really find any form, picking up her first win of the year in the Phillip Island Trophy.
Tig serves well enough and will chase things down. She has good movement and can easily match Jones’ aggressive style of play with her own, so it will be a very different look of the ball she will get from the Romanian.
By now everyone knows Jones’ back-story but Tig is a fighter too. In 2018 she disappeared from the rankings altogether after not playing at all through a run of injuries including a long-standing back problem, and took time out also to have a family.
Coming back, she started right at the very beginning with no ranking to her name, working her way back up through the lowest tier events, then onto the ITF events before making the final in Bucharest coming in with a qualifying wildcard.
Both players are used to fighting tooth and nail for what they want in the sport, so this could be an intriguing battle. Just because Jones has more match-time in her legs, she takes the edge.
Prediction: Jones in three sets.
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