WTA Sydney: Muguruza and Putintseva march on. Stosur downs Cibulkova

Tennis - Camila Giorgi, Timea Bacsinszky and Kiki Bertens are in the second round as well

by Jovica Ilic
WTA Sydney: Muguruza and Putintseva march on. Stosur downs Cibulkova

The Italian Camila Giorgi has made a great start in Sydney, toppling Ajla Tomljanovic 6-3, 6-3 in 90 minutes after a rock solid display. Ajla played great in Brisbane but she failed to recover in time and produced the similar level here, losing half of the points in her games and saving eight out of 12 break points to avoid an even bigger disaster.

On the other hand, Camila did everything right on the court, dominating with her serve and from the baseline to keep the points on her racquet and control the scoreboard after suffering just one break from two chances she gave to the Aussie.

Giorgi opened up the lead with a break in game six and she converted the fifth set point for a 6-3, hoping for more of the same in the rest of the encounter. They traded breaks in games three and four in set number two and the Italian shifted into a higher gear in the rest of the set, scoring breaks in games seven and nine to secure the win and book the place in round two.

Playing against each other for the first time since 2015, Garbine Muguruza claimed a 6-3, 6-4 win against Carla Suarez Navarro in an hour and 17 minutes in her first official match of the year after representing Spain at Hopman Cup in Perth.

Muguruza had been ranked 2nd at the end of 2017 but she barely stayed in the top-20 last season after just one title, hoping for much more success in 2019. She played well today, facing just two break points and suffering one break of serve to keep the pressure on the other side of the net.

Three breaks of serve were enough for her to claim the win, moving 3-1 up when Suarez Navarro sprayed a forehand error and clinching the opener in game nine after 33 minutes when Carla sprayed another error. Muguruza broke again in the third game of the second set thanks to a forehand cross court winner, cementing the advantage with another break in game five after forcing an error from the more experienced Spaniard.

Carla pulled one break back in the following game but that was all she could do, allowing Garbine to seal the deal with a hold in game 10. The Australian veteran Samantha Stosur took down Dominika Cibulkova 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 in a very tight match, winning just two points more than a former WTA Finals champion.

Every set was decided by a single break and it was Stosur who repelled six out of seven break points to limit the damage in her games and force Cibulkova to follow the same pace if she wanted to cross the finish line first.

The Slovak gave her serve away twice and that host her the match in the end, competing in the first match since Beijing last year. Dominika was the better player in the opening set, losing five points on serve and forging the lead with a break in game six that she kept until the end, holding at 15 in game nine for a 6-3.

Samantha saved three break points at the start of the second set and that gave her confidence to fight even stronger, securing a break in the next game and serving well in the remaining four games to take the set 6-3 and force a decider where she had the momentum now.

Cibulkova lost the ground on the return in those moments and she won just six points in Stosur's games in set number three, suffering a break in game three and never getting a chance to pull it back, allowing Samantha to completed the win with a hold at 15 in game 10 to reach the second round. First round results:

Camila Giorgi (ITA) vs [WC]Ajla Tomljanovic (AUS) 6-3 6-3
Timea Bacsinszky (SUI) vs [9]Anastasija Sevastova (LAT) 6-7(3) 6-4 6-4
[WC]Samantha Stosur (AUS) vs Dominika Cibulkova (SVK) 3-6 6-3 6-4
[7]Kiki Bertens (NED) vs [LL]Bernarda Pera (USA) 7-5 6-4
Garbine Muguruza (ESP) vs Carla Suarez Navarro (ESP) 6-3 6-4
[Q]Yulia Putintseva (KAZ) vs [WC]Daria Gavrilova (AUS) 6-1 7-6(4)

Camila Giorgi Timea Bacsinszky Kiki Bertens