WTA LUGANO - Camila Giorgi and Elise Mertens take easy wins

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WTA LUGANO - Camila Giorgi and Elise Mertens take easy wins

Italian Camila Giorgi beat Kristyna Pliskova 6-3 6-2 and clinched her 11th main draw win this season in their first career meeting. Giorgi, particularly effective off the backhand side, broke to 3-2 converting her fifth chance thanks to a double fault from her opponent, in the turning point of the opening set.

Pliskova relied hugely on her serve and hurried up things during the rallies but Giorgi looked more consistent and sealed the first set when the Czech netted a backhand. On her own hand, Giorgi drilled a backhand winner to move 2-0 up and dictated the pace going down-the-line on that side to extend her lead to 4-0.

Five consecutive breaks followed until Pliskova committed a final double fault on Giorgi's second match point. Giorgi, who won 73% of second serve return points, will meet Alison Van Uytvanck, delivering 5 aces per match on average this season.

The Italian ranked No.59 leads 1-0 in the previous meetings after she won in Miami in 2015. Marketa Vondrousouva completed the second win in as many clashes against Yulia Putintseva to clinch the 17th WTA main draw victory in her career.

The world No.52 came back for the first time after losing the first set to beat the Kazakh 4-6 7-6(2) 6-3. Vondrousova reached the second round this year at Australian Open, Doha and Hobart and moved to the round 16 in Indian Wells as she beat No.11 Johanna Konta, the highest-ranked player she has beaten so far.

Despite 16 double faults, Vondrousova managed to win 10 of the 13 close games and saved three match points before celebrating her 52nd overall win on clay. Putintseva, now owning a 69-170 win-loss record against Top 100 opponents, was up a set and a break at 5-2 in the second set before losing the 46th career tiebreak and gained a 3-0 lead in the decider.

But it was not enough to prevent her from accepting the third defeat in four matches this year in a decider. Vondrousova completed the maiden win in a three-setter this season at WTA level. She will meet for the first time Elise Mertens, back on clay after 255 days.

The Belgian, playing on her career-high ranking, beat Mandy Minella 6-4 6-1. The world No.301, who played exclusively at ITF level in Santa Margherita di Pula, in Italy, winning her first title since 2016 beating Deborah Chiesa, fought for a set in her maiden WTA match of the season but had to surrender to the 14th defeat in 14 matches against Top 20 players.

“I’ve played doubles with Mandy several times and she is a great person" said Mertens about her opponent, playing her maiden WTA match since giving birth to daughter Emma Lina in October. "Coming back as a mom is not easy but she has already won a $25k and, with the level she is playing, she is coming back soon.” Mertens closed the 13th main draw of the season with six easy holds and just two break points faced throughout the match, to seal the 48th career main draw victories.

The No.6 seed Alizé Cornet moved to the second round beating the Swiss Jil Teichmann 7-6(2) 6-0. The Frenchwoman won her first tiebreak of the season and clinched 68% of second serve points to complete the 11th win of the year.

Cornet celebrated with six breaks and five easy holds her 178th overall win on clay while the Swiss, ranked No.136, surrendered to the seventh defeat in ten career matches against Top 100 opponents. She will meet Stefanie Voegele or Magdalena Flech whose match has been suspended when rain fell down again with the Swiss 63 10 ahead.