WTA US Open: Halep, Kvitova, Bencic and Andreescu kick off title chase


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WTA US Open: Halep, Kvitova, Bencic and Andreescu kick off title chase

The 4th seed and Wimbledon champion Simona Halep had to work hard in the opening round clash against Nicole Gibbs, beating the American 6-3, 3-6, 6-2 in an hour and 51 minutes. Nicole is making a return after cancer, entering the draw as a lucky loser and staying on the court for almost two hours against such a strong rival before having to lay down the weapons.

Simona played well in sets she won, hitting 34 winners and 42 unforced errors, scoring seven breaks and suffering five in her games to cross the finish line first. The Romanian had claimed three straight games in the opener from 3-3 before Gibbs broke her four times in set number two, forcing a decider where Simona brought her 'A-game,' dropping four points on serve and breaking Nicole in games one and five to advance into the second round.

Never playing in the semi-final in New York before, the 6th seed Petra Kvitova will try to change that in the next two weeks, ousting Denisa Allertova 6-2, 6-4 in an hour and 19 minutes in the match with more than 60 unforced errors and not so many winners.

Kvitova had the edge, though, losing serve once and delivering four on the other hand to seal the deal in straight sets, taking the opener with breaks in games three and seven and a late one at 4-4 in the second to march on.

The 13th seed Belinda Bencic took down Mandy Minella 6-3, 6-2 in 67 minutes for the first win in New York since 2016. The Swiss controlled the pace with 23 winners and 20 unforced errors, suffering one break and clinching four to secure the victory and set eyes on the best run here since the debut in 2013 when she was the quarter-finalist.

The 15th seed Bianca Andreescu is another title contender, kicking off the campaign with a 6-2, 6-4 triumph over the 17-year-old Katie Volynets in an hour and 28 minutes. Bianca was the dominant figure on the court, keeping the points on her racquet and stealing half of the return points for four breaks from eight opportunities.

The American youngster stayed on the same level with Bianca in set number two in the first eight games, leading 4-3 before the Canadian grabbed 12 of the last 16 points to move into the next round with a break in game nine.

Jelena Ostapenko defeated Aleksandra Krunic 6-3, 7-6, trailing 4-2 in set number two that saw eight breaks and 11 mini-breaks in 16 points of the tie break where the Latvian saved two set points to avoid the third set and more drama.

Former college stars Danielle Collins and Francesca Di Lorenzo are through into the second round, with Collins defeating Polona Hercog 6-3, 4-6, 6-4 in just under two and a half hours. The American repelled eight out of ten break chances and earned three breaks from only four opportunities, winning the last three games of the encounter to make a solid start.