Kudermetova consigns Kontaveit to early Abu Dhabi exit, Flipkens could face Kenin

Anett Kontaveit was beaten in straight sets by Russian Veronika Kudermetova in her first match of the year in Abu Dhabi.

Veronika Kudermetova, Abu Dhabi, 2021

Veronika Kudermetova started the new season in style by beating 10th seed Anett Kontaveit in the first round of the Abu Dhabi Women’s Tennis Open on Wednesday.

Kudermetova had won her only two previous singles matches against Kontaveit and maintained that perfect record with a 7-5 6-1 victory.

The world number 46 from Russia broke four times to seal her place in the second round, with Kontaveit winning just 48.4 per cent of points on her first serve in a rusty beginning to the 2021 campaign.

Donna Vekic was another seed to fall at the first hurdle as Bernarda Pera consigned the Croatian to a 7-6 (12-10) 2-6 6-4 defeat at Zayed Sports City International Tennis Centre.

Kirsten Flipkens could face top seed Sofia Kenin in the second round after defeating Laura Siegemund 5-7 7-5 6-4.

Ons Jabeur is aiming to break into the top 10 this year and the 15th seed got up and running for the season by seeing off Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 7-6 (7-3) 6-3.

Daria Kasatkina, Yulia Putintseva and Ajla Tomljanovic were among the other players who advanced to round two.

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