After a great campaign in Toronto, an 18-year-old Iga Swiatek is off to a great start in Cincinnati as well, toppling Caroline Garcia 7-6, 6-1 in an hour and 31 minutes. Firing eight aces, Iga delivered some good numbers behind the initial shot, saving four out of seven break chances and erasing that deficit with a rock-solid performance on the return, stealing more than a half of those points for five breaks from six opportunities.
The opening set lasted for an hour and it could have been finished earlier, with Swiatek opening a 5-2 advantage with breaks in games five and seven. With no room for errors, Caroline pulled both breaks back to level the score at 5-5, overcoming another break to set a tie break that Iga won 7-1, leaving those three loose service games in the worst moments to sail towards the opener.
Saving two break points in the third game of the second set, Iga shifted into a higher gear and took five straight games for a 6-1 and the place in the second round. The 9th seed Aryna Sabalenka defeated Petra Martic 6-1, 6-4 in 80 minutes, hitting ten double faults but repelling all seven break chances to mount the pressure on Marta who couldn’t endure it.
The Croat gave away 45% of the points in her games, saving six out of nine break points and going out in straight sets despite a solid effort in set number two when Aryna grabbed a single break at 2-2 that carried her home.
Maria Sakkari was mighty impressive against Camila Giorgi, notching a 6-3, 6-0 triumph in 63 minutes for the second win over the Italian in as many matches. Maria lost serve twice and no one could have noticed that thanks to her brilliant performance on the return, winning more than 60% of the points in Giorgi’s games to break her seven times from ten chances.
The encounter kicked off with five straight breaks, three for Sakkari who closed the opener with another break in game nine, rattling off eight games in a row to march towards the finish line and advance into the second round.
A qualifier Veronika Kudermetova ousted Bernarda Pera 6-2, 6-3 in 71 minutes, dropping 13 points in eight service games and having the upper hand on the return to create ten opportunities and steal the American’s serve five times.
Veronika found the range to grab the last four games in the first set, never looking back in the second and moving on with breaks in games three and nine. The third qualifier who passed the first round in Rebecca Peterson who sent home the 14th seed Johanna Konta 6-3, 3-6, 7-5 after two hours and 33 minutes.
The Swede had to play against only one break point in sets one and two, missing a chance to seal the deal in straight sets and wasting a massive 4-1 lead in the decider (had five more chances in game six) before Johanna pulled the break back in game seven to extend the duel before Rebecca claimed eight of the last nine points from 5-5 to wrap up the win and make a good start.
Svetlana Kuznetsova needed two hours and 35 minutes to dismiss the 11th seed Anastasija Sevastova 7-6, 6-7, 6-4 despite taking 21 points more than her rival! Players traded four breaks at the beginning of the match and served well after that to reach a tie break that Svetlana claimed 7-3.
In what turned out to be a real roller coaster, the second set offered six breaks in the first six games, with two more in games nine and ten for another tie break that went to Sevastova’s side, setting the decider where the Russian earned three breaks for a 6-4 and the eighth triumph in 2019.