WTA Istanbul: Arruabarrena tops Navarro. Kuznetsova and Buzarnescu win


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WTA Istanbul: Arruabarrena tops Navarro. Kuznetsova and Buzarnescu win

Just two days after delivering crucial wins for Spain over Belgium in Fed Cup, Carla Suarez Navarro kicked off Istanbul action as the top seed and lost 6-4, 7-5 to a compatriot Lara Arruabarrena in an hour and 28 minutes.

The younger Spaniard served at 83% and got broken only twice, keeping the pressure on Carla who couldn't deal with it, never finding the rhythm behind the initial shot and suffering four breaks to propel Lara into the second round.

Arruabarrena took charge early on, breaking in game two and opening a 5-2 advantage before Suarez Navarro broke back while returning to stay in the set. Keeping her focus, Lara grabbed another break in game ten to secure the opener and gain the momentum before set number two.

Carla had a 4-2 advantage in the second part of the encounter before dropping five of the next six games, including breaks in games eight and 12 that pushed Arruabarrena over the finish line. A former world no. 2 Svetlana Kuznetsova prevailed over a former champion Cagla Buyukakcay 6-3, 7-6 in an hour and 54 minutes for another vital win on the comeback trail.

The Russian delivered better performance behind the first serve and lost serve once in each set, erasing the deficit with four breaks from eight opportunities to seal the deal in straight sets. Svetlana secured three breaks in the opener and overcame a 4-2 deficit in set number two to avoid the decider.

Cagla saved match points in games ten and 12 before losing the tie break 7-4 to send Kuznetsova into the last 16. Barbora Strycova defeated the 9th seed Viktoria Kuzmova 5-7, 7-5, 6-4 in two hours and 42 minutes, winning one point more than her rival and prevailing in the crucial moments to cross the finish line first.

Kuzmova served for the match at 5-4 in set number two before losing three straight games, building a 4-2 advantage in set number two before Strycova bounced back to rattle off four consecutive games for a complete turnaround.

In the Romanian clash, Sorana Cirstea toppled a qualifier Irina Bara 2-6, 6-0, 6-0 after a strange scoreboard, with Cirstea who saved all six break points in sets two and three to keep the serve safe and took all the return games to march towards the triumph in just under two hours.

The defending champion Pauline Parmentier needed less than an hour to oust Evgeniya Rodina 6-1, 6-1, never losing serve and delivering five breaks to control the scoreboard all the time and make the perfect start of the campaign.

A qualifier Elena Rybakina took down the 7th seed Katerina Siniakova 3-6, 6-2, 6-4 while another qualifier Veronika Kudermetova sent the 8th seed Maria Sakkari packing following a 6-3, 6-4 victory.