Moving from grass to clay had no impact on Aliaksandra Sasnovich. The No.5 seed opened her campaign in the first edition of the Moscow River Cup with a 61 63 win over Johanna Larsson, who beat her in the previous two meetings, completing her second victory over a Top 100 player on clay after beating Danielle Collins in Madrid.
"I am happy the way I played today. I liked my forehand and my serve. I've made zero double faults. And it's great for me" she said. Sasnovich dominated the game and saved four break points in her last two service games.
The Belarusian came off her first fourth-round showing at Wimbledon, where she upset No.8 Kvitova to clinch her second Top 10 win (also No.6 Ka.Pliskova at 2016 Tokyo [PPO]) Clay season so far culminated with a second-round effort at Roland Garros (l.
Bertens). Previously she reached the second round in Lugano and Madrid, suffered a first-round exit in Prague and fell in qualifying in Rome. She will face No.84 Evgeniya Rodina or Spanish qualifier Paula Badosa Gibert facing each other for the first time.
Wildcard and teenage sensation Anastasia Potapova, the youngest player in the draw, claimed a stunning 6-1 6-1 victory over the higher-ranked Viktoriya Tomova to seal her second WTA win within just 51 minutes of play. In the second round, the Russian awaits either Katerina Siniakova or Kristyna Pliskova, who served more almost 8 aces per match this season and leads 4-3 in the head to head series though Siniakova won two of their three clashes on clay.
Potapova, who suffered a break in the opening game, put up a clean performance with 19 winners and 12 unforced errors en route to grabbing the huge confidence-boosting win. Vera Zvonareva and Kaia Kanepi have faced each other only once before - eight years ago, in the quarterfinals of the US Open.The Russian won that match in straight sets, but this time Kanepi dominated the encounter from the early stages and sealed a 6-2 6-2 win with five breaks from five look.
The No.8 seed will face the resurgent Anna Karolina Schmiedlova or Olga Danilovic, the daughter the daughter of the basket champion Predrag Danilovic, who won, among others, four Italian Championships and a Champions League at Virtus Bologna.
Danilovic, who owns just a single WTA win, beat the Slovak in their only previous meeting, at ITF level, in Hungary last season on clay. Tamara Zidansek won five of six close games to upset 6-3 6-1 Antonia Lottner. She will face Anna Kalinskaya or homegrown favorite and No.2 seed Daria Kasatkina, who produced some of the best tennis of her career in the comfort of her home country of Russia, where she played four of her seven WTA semifinals (2015 Moscow, 2016 St.
Petersburg, 2017 Moscow, 2018 St. Petersburg). She has also won eight of her last 10 matches in Russia dating back to the 2017 Fed Cup. Also top seeded Julia Goerges aims to continue her winning ways on Russian soil after compiling an 8-1 mark dating back to her title run at the VTB Kremlin Cup last October.
She could meet in the second round Natalia Vikhlyantseva, whom the German defeated last year in the semifinal in Moscow.