The first seed Garbine Muguruza made a winning start in Linz, defeating the promising Turk Cagla Buyukakcay 6-4 6-4. It was far from the ideal match for Muguruza, but in the end, she managed to go through in straight sets, which is the most important thing for the opening match.
Madison Keys, seeded 3rd, played a little bit better in 6-3 6-4 triumph against Italian Camila Giorgi to reach the second round, and Kirsten Flipkens will also be there after qualifier Mandy Minella was forced to retire after the first set.
In what should have been the match of the day and of the whole first round, the 2nd seed Dominika Cibulkova destroyed Belinda Bencic 6-1 6-2 in 69 minutes, completely outplaying her young rival. Qualifier Oceane Dodin is on a role here in Linz, as she advances to the quarter-final following a 6-2 6-4 win against Sorana Cirstea.
Denisa Allertova joins her there with a similar 6-3 6-4 win against Anett Kontaveit, and the 4th seed Carla Suarez Navarro is also in the last 8, beating fellow Spaniard Sara Sorribes Tormo 6-4 6-1. Muguruza has lost her form completely after winning her maiden Grand Slam title in Paris back in spring, and she is desperate to regain at least something of her previous game before the end of the season.
She was successful in Linz opener, but only after almost 100 minutes spent on the court against improving Turk Cagla Buyukakcay. Garbine can't be happy with the fact she gave 8 break points to her rival, but she at least saved 6 of them to limit the damage.
Buyukakcay lost her serve 4 times from 5 opportunities that Muguruza had, and the match was decided in those crucial moments, as Garbine showed who is a better-ranked player. Besides that, the first seed played better on her second serve, which also gave her some breathing space in this tough encounter.
Both players failed to leave a mark with their serving in the opening set, as we saw 5 breaks in 10 games. The match started with back-to-back breaks, which set the tone for the rest of the set, and they exchanged them again in games 7 and 8 to stay locked up at 4-4.
Muguruza was twice in front, only to lose the serve in the following game, and the same thing almost occurred for the third time at the end of the set. She broke at 15 for a 5-4 lead in game 9 and finally converted her 4th set point in game 10 to wrap up the opener.
The second set brought a better tennis from both, but Cagla had a mountain to climb after being broken at the start of the second set. She wasted 4 break points in the next game, to level the score and continue to push Muguruza, and, surprisingly, each player served with no problems in the next 8 games, meaning that Garbine took the second set by the same scoreline as the first, to move on to the second round.
Madison Keys pulled a decent performance against Camila Giorgi, finishing the match in under 80 minutes. She served well on both the first and second serve, being broken twice, and she made 5 breaks from 8 chances he had.
The American was the dominant figure in the rallies but the fact that Italian made 7 double faults and zero aces also helped her a lot to win this match in straights. Girogri lost her serve in the opening set in games 3, 5 and 9, and the one she made in game 4 wasn't enough to give her the better result in the opening set, losing it 6-3.
Things have changed a lot on the court in set number 2, as Camila found her rhythm to build up a 4-2 lead, converting her 3rd break point in game 5. She managed to seize the control in the points in those moments, and she had a break point for a 5-2 lead.
Keys was on a brink of losing the set but she saved that break point to hold and cut her deficit to 4-3, after which she brought the match home with a strong finish, breaking Giorgi in games 8 and 10 to win the set by 6-4, taking the final 4 games of the encounter to reach the 2nd round.
First round results: Garbine Muguruza (ESP) vs Cagla Buyukakcay (TUR) 6-4 6-4
Dominika Cibulkova (SCK) vs [WC]Belinda Bencic (SUI) 6-1 6-2
[3/WC]Madison Keys (USA) vs Camila Giorgi (ITA) 6-3 6-4
Kirsten Flipkens (BEL) vs [Q]Mandy Minella (LUX) 6-4 Ret.
Second round matches: [Q]Oceane Dodin (FRA) vs Sorana Cirstea (ROU) 6-2 6-4
Denisa Allertova (CZE) vs Anett Kontaveit (EST) 6-3 6-4
Carla Suarez Navarro (ESP) vs [Q]Sara Sorribes Tormo (ESP) 6-4 6-1 ALSO READ: ATP SHANGHAI: Viktor Troicki Eliminates Rafa Nadal! Ok Murray!