Aussie trio win openers in Strasbourg
Ash Barty, Daria Gavrilova and Sam Stosur all win their first-round matches at the Strasbourg International.
Australian top seed Ashleigh Barty powered into the second round of the Strasbourg International after beating Thai lucky loser Luksika Kumkhum in straight sets.
The Aussie No.1 struck 21 winners on her way to a 6-4 6-4 victory in an hour and 15 minutes, sealing victory with an ace to set up a clash with French veteran Pauline Parmentier.
Compatriots Daria Gavrilova and Sam Stosur also came through their opening matches n straight sets.
Barty, who lost in the quarter-finals to Gavrilova last year, was delighted with her win after almost failing to make it to Strasbourg because of flight problems out of Rome, where she won the Italian Open doubles title on Sunday.
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“We were actually very lucky that we could get out of Rome last night, because there was only one available flight that we could get on going into Basel, and the tournament was kind enough to pick us up,” said the world No.18.
“It probably wasn’t my cleanest tennis and my best today, but all in all, happy to get through considering the circumstances.”
Looking ahead at her showdown with world No.71 Parmentier, who held off Wang Yafan 6-4 7-6 (10-8), Barty added: “I”ve never played her before but I know it’s probably the complete opposite gamestyle to who I played today.
“For me, it’s another challenge. It’s always very tough playing French players in their country.
“I’ll take that on and hopefully have a good match, knowing all in all that I would love to do well here this week but that it’s also preparation for Roland Garros.”
Meanwhile, Gavrilova also progressed, setting up a rematch of last year’s all-Australian final against Fed Cup teammate Samantha Stosur, beating American Jennifer Brady 7-6 (8) 7-6 (6).
Former Roland Garros runner-up Stosur, a two-time champion at the clay-court event, made a strong start to her Strasbourg title defence, sweeping into the second round in just 73 minutes.
She had earlier fired down 12 aces in a 6-3 6-2 rout of American Sofia Kenin in a promising sign ahead of the French Open starting on Sunday.