SYDNEY: Even though it is Sunday, the main draw in Sydney already started with 4 first round matches. The 5th seed Svetlana Kuznetsova begun her campaign with a 6-1 6-4 triumph over Irina-Camelia Begu in 76 minutes. Kuznetsova broke her rival 5 times, playing some very good tennis in the opening set before she let Begu climb back in the second set.
Romanian was 6-1 4-0 down but out of sudden, she won the next 4 games to make the things more interesting in set number 2, only to lose 8 out of 10 last points of the match. Belinda Bencic broke her nail during the Hopman Cup last round robin match against France and she wasn't able to complete her today's match against Yulia Putintseva, retiring in the second set when she led 3-2 (Yulia won the opener 6-4), after 64 minutes.
Eugenie Bouchard used her wild card well, beating Shuai Zhang 7-6 6-2 in an hour and 40 minutes. Bouchard served well, keeping her second serve safe, and she got broken only once, in the first set. She raced into a 5-2 lead but Zhang broke back in the last moment, saving another 3 break points in the final game before the tie break.
This didn't destruct Bouchard, who won the tie break 7-1, and she sealed the win with back-to-back breaks at the start of the second set. Russian teenager Daria Kasatkina fought back from set down to oust Timea Babos 3-6 6-4 6-2 in almost 2 hours, to book her place in the second round.
First round results: Daria Kasatkina (RUS) vs Timea Babos (HUN) 3-6 6-4 6-2
[WC]Eugenie Bouchard (CAN) vs Shuai Zhang (CHN) 7-6(1) 6-2
Svetlana Kuznetsova (RUS) vs Irina-Camelia Begu (ROU) 6-1 6-4
Yulia Putintseva (KAZ) vs [WC]Belinda Bencic (SUI) 6-4 2-3 Ret.
Final qualifying round: Kateryna Bondarenko (UKR) vs Naomi Broady (GBR) 6-1 6-1
Christina McHale (USA) vs Irina Falconi (USA) 6-1 6-3
Maria Sakkari (GRE) vs Donna Vekic (CRO) 6-3 6-4
Ying-Ying Duan (CHN) vs [WC]Arina Rodionova (AUS) 4-6 7-5 7-6(2)
HOBART: In Hobart, we also saw 4 first round encounters and 2 seeds are already out! Galina Voskoboeva, ranked 312th, surprised Pauline Parmentier 6-4 6-3, creating 10 break points and converting 5. The result in the first set wandered back and forth until game 10 when Galina broke for the third time to clinch it by 6-4.
The middle of the second set brought 3 straight breaks, Voskoboeva made 2 to built a 4-2 advantage that she kept until the end. 19-year-old Lizette Cabrera prevailed against the 5th seed Misaki Doi after almost 3 hours, in 6-4 5-7 7-5 triumph. It was a complete mess, with 35 break points in total, and young Aussie notched the triumph with a crucial break in the final game of the match after they broke each other 6 times in succession in the middle of that set! Monica Niculescu defeated Jelena Jankovic 6-2 6-3 after a nice battle, saving 5 out of 6 break points and stealing Serb's serve 4 times.
Niculescu had been raising her level in the second part of both sets to bring the match home for her 3rd win over Jelena in 8 matches. American Shelby Rogers took down the 2nd seed Anastasia Sevastova by 6-2 1-6 6-4, saving 8 out of 9 break points in the final set! Sevastova led 4-2 in the decider, with additional 2 break points to go 5-2 up, but Rogers pulled herself together to grab the final 4 games of the match and score a very important triumph.
First round results: Galina Voskoboeva (KAZ) vs Pauline Parmentier (FRA) 6-4 6-3
[WC]Lizette Cabrera (AUS) vs Misaki Doi (JPN) 6-4 5-7 7-5
Monica Niculescu (ROU) vs Jelena Jankovic (SRB) 6-2 6-3
Shelby Rogers (USA) vs Anastasija Sevastova (LAT) 6-2 1-6 6-4 Final qualifying round: Elise Mertens (BEL) vs Sachia Vickery (USA) 6-4 6-2
Jana Fett (CRO) vs Veronica Cepede Royg (PAR) 6-4 2-6 6-4
Teliana Pereira (BRA) vs Mandy Minella (NED) 7-5 6-0 ALSO READ: ATP CHENNAI: Roberto Bautista Agut wins his 5th ATP title after straight sets triumph over Medvedev