WTA Lugano: Antonia Lottner stuns Belinda Bencic. Pliskova and Kuzmova win


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WTA Lugano: Antonia Lottner stuns Belinda Bencic. Pliskova and Kuzmova win

Making a transition from one continent to another is never easy, especially when you have to compete on different types of clay in a few days. The top seed Belinda Bencic experienced that in Lugano, losing against a qualifier ranked 182nd Antonia Lottner 7-5, 6-2 in an hour and 26 minutes.

The Swiss had an early lead but she never looked like a top-20 player after that, losing almost half of the points on serve and getting broken five times. Antonia pulled herself together after that deficit she overcame, staying in touch in the 12th game to earn the crucial break that gave her the opening set 7-5.

Belinda had nothing left in the tank, losing serve three times in set number two to send the German over the top. Kristyna Pliskova defeated the 20-year-old Swiss Ylena In-Albon 6-4, 7-5 in an hour and 25 minutes, losing serve twice and securing four good return games to control the scoreboard and move into the next round.

Trailing 5-3 in the second set, Pliskova shifted into a higher gear to grab the next four games and wrap up the win in straight sets. Timea Bacsinszky needed just 67 minutes to oust Tamara Korpatsch 6-0, 6-2, dropping eight points on serve in seven service games and delivering an impressive performance on the return as well to claim five breaks that propelled her into the second round.

The 3rd seed Viktoria Kuzmova raced past Giulia Gatto-Monticone 6-2, 6-2 in 61 minutes, playing better in the pivotal moments to defend seven out of nine break points and steal 60% of the return points for six breaks of serve and the place in the last 16 without wasting too much energy.

The 17-year-old Iga Swiatek also had an easy day at the office, ousting Katarina Zavatska 6-3, 6-0 in 64 minutes, having the upper hand on both serve and return to notch the victory in no time at all. The young Pole suffered only one break and won almost 60% of the return points for six breaks from 12 opportunities, rattling off the first four and last seven games of the match for a perfect start.

Evgeniya Rodina battled past the 16-year-old qualifier Clara Tauson 6-7, 6-2, 7-5 in two hours and 13 minutes, trailing 4-3 in the decider before taking four out of five games to cross the finish line first and leave the youngster empty-handed on her WTA debut.

Just like the top seed, the second one Carla Suarez Navarro also suffered an early exit, losing to Polona Hercog 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 in two hours and ten minutes for a poor start of the European clay swing.