The completion of the first round of the Palermo Ladies Open took place on Tuesday with eight matches. Among the winners were top seed Petra Martic and fourth seed Anett Kontaveit while second seed Marketa Vondrousova and fifth seed Elise Mertens were both upset.
Martic, Kontaveit move on to second round
Top seed Martic had little trouble against Alison Van Uytvanck, cruising past the Belgian 6-0, 6-3 in just 65 minutes.
"I didn't expect that score. I didn't expect [anything]", the Croat admitted after the match. "That was the main goal today because it's been such a long break and I don't think anyone knows what to expect when the real match comes. Practice is so different from this. Today I just focused on my game, and I tried to enjoy the fact that we are back on court again. I think I managed both."
Kontaveit marked her return to action by sweeping past Patricia Maria Tig 6-3, 6-3, breaking the Romanian three times in the opening set and winning the final six games of the second set to close out the match.
"I'm just really happy to have won that match", she said. "It was a little bit different switching from hardcourts to outdoor clay. It was a little windy and I wasn't used to the bad bounces. I fought well, managed to come back in the second set, never gave up on the set when I was 3-0 down and really stayed in there. I feel like I played the important points well, and I wasn't missing on those."
Juvan stuns Vondrousova
Second seed Marketa Vondrousova became the highest seed to lose, shocked by 19-year old qualifier Kaja Juvan 1-6, 7-5, 6-4. The Slovenian recovered from a blowout first set to claim a 4-0 in the second set only to see the Roland Garros finalist take the next five games before Juvan finished strong by claiming the final three games.
Powering to another 4-0 lead, this time in the final set, Juvan watched as Vondrousova mounted another comeback to cut the lead in half, but fatigue caught up to her and the Slovenian wrapped up the match four games later to pick up her first top 20 victory.
"She started off really well and I was a little bit nervous", Juvan said after the match. "The conditions were pretty hard, but in the second and third set I kind of calmed myself and I started playing much better. She wouldn't let me go easily, but that's tennis and I just tried to do my best.
"It was pretty windy, so we were both playing pretty safe. I think she took more chances in the first set, and in the second and third set I just told myself go for the ball, be more aggressive, take the ball when it's going up instead of down. So then I started playing much better, because that's my game. I think I did that better in the second and third set."
Giorgi leads list of remaining winners
Among the others victorious, Camila Giorgi defeated Rebecca Peterson 7-5, 6-4 to set up a meeting with Juvan, Liudmila Samsonova breezed past Kirsten Flipkens 6-4, 6-2 and will next face Martic, Fiona Ferro crushed Nadia Podoroska 6-1, 6-2 and will play eighth seed Ekaterina Alexandrova while Oceane Dodin rallied to knock off Tamara Zidansek 2-6, 6-4, 6-4 to set up a second round matchup with seventh seed Dayana Yastremska. Finally, qualifier Aliaksandra Sasnovich had a surprisingly easy time against Mertens, winning 6-4, 6-1 to face Jasmine Paolini in the second round.