Kremlin Cup: Simona Halep, Anett Kontaveit avoid chain of upsets to win openers

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Kremlin Cup: Simona Halep, Anett Kontaveit avoid chain of upsets to win openers

Simona Halep and Anett Kontaveit were the only two seeded players who won their first-round matches at the Kremlin Cup on Tuesday. The day’s action in the Russian capital was otherwise marred with retirements. The eighth-seeded Romanian defeated Anastasia Potapova in the clash of two wildcard entrants.

Halep, a former champion in Moscow in 2013, needed an hour and 30 minutes to complete a 6-1, 6-4 win. Although Halep found it easy to make inroads in the match in the opening set, the second set was much tighter as both traded a couple of breaks.

Halep clinched a third break in the ninth game and while she faced three break-back points while serving for the match in the 10th game, she was able to stave them all off and clinch victory. In the second round, Halep will play another Russian, Veronika Kudermetova.

Kudermetova came through to the second round after winning the first-round derby against compatriot, Oksana Selekhmetova. Kudermetova needed two hours and 20 minutes to defeat Selekhmetova, 4-6, 7-6(3), 6-4.

Kremlin Cup: Czechs join hosts Russians in round-of-16

Another Russian, Ekaterina Alexandrova also made her way into the second round.

Alexandrova, who was playing the fifth-seeded Ons Jabeur was leading the Tunisian 6-1, 1-0 when the latter retired in the match with an injury to her right elbow. Alexandrova will play Anhelina Kalinina next. Meanwhile, Kontaveit opened her campaign in Moscow as the ninth seed following the sixth-seeded Angelique Kerber’s withdrawal from the tournament.

The Estonian needed an hour and 13 minutes to wrap up a 6-3, 6-3 win against Katerina Siniakova of the Czech Republic. The 20th-ranked Kontaveit will take on Andrea Petkovic for a place in the quarter-finals. Petkovic advanced to the second round after her first-round opponent, Jelena Ostapenko retired in the deciding set.

The German was leading 2-6, 6-0, 2-0 at the time of Ostapenko’s retirement. Czechs, Marketa Vondrousova and Tereza Martincova also went on to complete the second-round line-up at the Kremlin Cup. Vondrousova upset seventh seed Elena Rybakina, 6-4, 6-4 in an hour and 22 minutes.

Martincova, meanwhile, was the first to win her match on Tuesday, posting a 6-0, 7-5 victory over Irina Bara. Vondrousova will play Lesia Tsurenko in the second round while Martincova will take on second seed, Garbine Muguruza. Photo Credit: Simona Halep Twitter