Azarenka overcomes Kuznetsova in Qatar Open first round

There were wins for Victoria Azarenka, Garbine Muguruza, and Jelena Ostapenko at the Qatar Open on Day 1. Azarenka came out on top in what was an intriguing first-round showdown against Svetlana Kuznetsova.

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Victoria Azarenka booked her spot in the second round of the Qatar Open with a 6-2, 6-3 win over Svetlana Kuznetsova on Monday.

It was the first time the pair had faced off since the final of the 2016 Miami Open and Azarenka, who won back-to-back titles in Doha in 2012 and 2013, struck first by claiming the opening set in 44 minutes.

She needed six match points to see off Kuznetsova in the second set, thus teeing up a last-16 meeting with either Laura Siegemund or Elena Rybakina.

There was also a win for former world No 1 Garbine Muguruza, who defeated Veronika Kudermetova 6-2, 7-6(4).

“Veronika was a very tough opponent,” Muguruza said in her post-match press conference. “[I’m] just happy with this win. We played a year ago, and I remember it was a tough match. I’m happy to have closed it in two sets.”

Fifth seed Kiki Bertens, meanwhile, was dumped out in straight sets by a red-hot Jelena Ostapenko. The 2017 French Open champion hit 26 winners on her way to an emphatic 6-0 6-2 win against her Dutch opponent, who was playing her first match in five months following Achilles’ surgery.

Anett Kontaveit ousted No 7 seed and Australian Open runner-up Jennifer Brady 6-1, 6-2 to set up a second-round clash with Angelique Kerber. The German beat Cagla Buyukakcay 6-4, 6-2.

In the day’s other match, Maria Sakkari cruised past Mayar Sherif 6-0, 6-3.

Action also in France

At the Lyon Open, meanwhile, teenage qualifier Clara Tauson shocked No 1 seed Ekaterina Alexandrova 6-3, 6-4 during first-round action.

There were also wins for Arantxa Rus, Nina Stojanovic, Timea Babos, Greet Minnen, and Fiona Ferro.

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