Fifth seed and defending champion Svetlana Kuznetsova is safely through to Round 2 of the 2017 Apia International Sydney, as she secured a 6-1, 6-4 win over Irina-Camelia Begu on Sunday.
The Russian was the star attraction as the main draw got underway and didn’t disappoint those in attendance, turning in a confident display to get the better of the Romanian. Eugenie Bouchard, who beat Shuai Zhang in straight sets, is also through to the second round.
There was a solitary match to savour from the men’s draw, as Nicolas Mahut was able to get past Thomaz Bellucci in a straightforward manner.
Here are the results in full from Sydney, a closer look back at the best of the action and the provisional schedule for Monday’s play.
|(5) Svetlana Kuznetsova bt. Irina-Camelia Begu||6-1, 6-4|
|Daria Kasatkina bt. Timea Babos||3-6, 6-4, 6-2|
|Yulia Putintseva bt. Belinda Bencic||6-4, 2-3 (Ret)|
|Eugenie Bouchard bt. Shuai Zhang||7-6 (1), 6-2|
|Nicolas Mahut bt. Thomaz Bellucci||6-2, 7-6 (2)|
|Ken Rosewall Arena|
|Matthew Barton||vs.||Kyle Edmund|
|Samantha Stosur||vs.||Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova|
|(10) Caroline Wozniacki||vs.||Monica Puig|
|(5) Philipp Kohlschreiber||vs.||Fabio Fognini|
|Show Court 1|
|(3) Dominika Cibulkova||vs.||Laura Siegemund|
|Gastao Elias||vs.||Christopher O'Connell|
|Florian Mayer||vs.||Paolo Lorenzi|
|Donna Vekic||vs.||Daria Gavrilova|
|Arina Rodionova||vs.||(6) Johanna Konta|
|Daniel Evans||vs.||Thiago Monteiro|
|(8) Elena Vesnina||vs.||CoCo Vandeweghe|
|Viktor Troicki & Nenad Zimonjic||vs.||Mariusz Fyrstenberg & Martin Klizan|
|Kateryna Bondarenko & Yulia Putintseva||vs.||(2) Martina Hingis & CoCo Vandeweghe|
|Maria Sakkari||vs.||(9) Roberta Vinci|
|Barbora Strycova||vs.||Ekaterina Makarova|
|Kateryna Bondarenko||vs.||Christina McHale|
|Irina Falconi||vs.||Ying-Ying Duan|
Provisional order of play courtesy of the ATP website.
Kuznetsova Kicks Off Title Defence in Style
Having triumphed at this event in 2016, Kuznetsova picked up from where she left off in Sydney against a dangerous opponent in Begu.
Any nerves were settled by an early break of the Romanian's serve, and from there, the champion started to dictate points. Kuznetsova’s serve was strong, her groundstrokes were accurate and the variety of her play was too much for the Begu to cope with in a lopsided opener.
Per the WTA Twitter account, it didn’t take the two-time Grand Slam winner long to find her groove:
Another break in the second set looked as though it was going to bring a swift end to the match, although to her credit, Begu battled back to level at 4-4. However, with the finishing line in sight, Kuznetsova upped the ante, wrapping the match up in just 76 minutes.
Kuznetsova said afterward she’s not feeling too much pressure as the defending champion. "I never thought of defending my title or something like that," she said, per the event’s official website. "It’s just another tournament—the title I have at home, and no one will take it away from me. This is another year and another opportunity to play."
Bouchard, looking to bounce back from a tough 2016, is also into the next round after showing some steely will against Zhang.
The former world No. 5 has failed to advance further than Round 2 in any tournament in the last six months and could have easily crumbled in a tight first set, especially after a recent defeat to Shelby Rogers in Round 1 at the Brisbane International.
However, she blitzed her way back from 5-2 to stay in the set before taking the opening stanza with a dominant showing in the tiebreak. From there, the class of the Canadian shone through.
Belinda Bencic is not through, though, as she pulled out of her match with Yulia Putintseva. After losing the first set 6-4, the Swiss called time on the contest with a 3-2 lead in the second stanza. The reason for her withdrawal was pretty clear based on this Twitter post:
The men’s side saw just one match on Sunday, with Mahut making his way into Round 2 at Bellucci's expense.
The veteran Frenchman will have his work cut out to get into the quarter-finals, though, as he’ll take on second seed Pablo Cuevas in his next match Down Under. The impressive Austrian Dominic Thiem is the top seed in the men’s draw this year.