Victorious Vekic happy she didn’t ‘forget how to play’ as tennis returns in Palermo
There were no handshakes, players handling their own towels and less ball kids in Palermo on Monday, but it did not bother Donna Vekic.
Vekic made up for lost time on Monday following a coronavirus-enforced hiatus, thrashing Arantxa Rus 6-1 6-2 two days after qualifying in Sicily marked the official return of professional tennis.
There was only a small number of people to witness the action, players handling their own towels, no handshakes as well as a smaller team of ball kids and line officials, but Vekic clearly had no problem adapting.
The sixth seed from Croatia said in a post-match video call: “I’m definitely a little bit surprised [at the margin of her victory].
“It was very tricky conditions, it was very windy so the ball was a little bit all over the court. I’m just definitely happy that I didn’t forget how to play tennis, how to play matches, how to win. It’s a huge relief.”
— wta (@WTA) August 3, 2020
Sara Errani, Laura Siegemund, Ekaterina Alexandrova, Jasmine Paolini, Dayana Yastremska and Elisabetta Cocciaretto also made it through to the second round.
Third-seeded Maria Sakkari of Greece was not so lucky, she was toppled by Kristyna Pliskova 6-4 6-4 on the night’s final match, which ended well after 1 AM.
Nevertheless it has a relief for organisers to see the action get under way just a couple of days after an unnamed player tested positive for COVID-19.
Wimbledon champion Simona Halep was among a host of players to withdraw from the first tournament since March due to concerns over coronavirus.
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