Apart from the action in WTA 500 tournament in Doha, there is also another venue where top women play for the stake. WTA 250 in Linz, which so far usually was a spring tournament, got moved in calendar to February and contains some interesting and notable names on the card.
The top seed is Maria Sakkari, who still looks to expand her not so fertile collection of WTA titles. There is quite a chance for the Greek this week, as she started her campaign in Austria really well, defeating Nuria Parrizas Diaz 6-1 7-6. Sakkari started the match on the front foot as expected, winning the opening set without any issues. The Spaniard raised up the level in the second set, while the first break for Sakkari came up in 11th game. Top seed did not manage to serve out the win though, but secured the win in a tight tie-break with a score 8-6.
First round brought some upsets already, as a few of possible contenders to reach out the decisive stages of the tournament pulled out this early. Alycia Parks, who celebrated her maiden WTA title in Lyon after defeating Caroline Garcia on last Sunday, got eliminated by seed #4 - Anhelina Kalinina quite easily 2-6 5-7. Linda Noskova who reached out the final in Adelaide and QF in last week's Lyon tournament, this time needed to end up her run on first round after getting defeated by Alyson Van Uytvanck 6-7 2-6.
Second seed of the tournament - Ekaterina Alexandrova, got upset by the WTA 250 Auckland finalist Rebeka Masarova in an exciting three-setter which ended up in tie-break. The Russian who was pre-match favorite won the first set 6-4, but surprisingly dropped the ball in second, losing it easily 1-6. Deciding set was an intense fight, with just two breaks in between, and a close tiebreak, where the Spaniard converted her second match-point winning it 8-6.
Sofia Kenin, who tries coming back to the top received a wild-card in Linz, being paired with Julia Niemeier in the first round. The American did not use her chance properly though, as she lost with the German 6-2 3-6 4-6, taking the third defeat in a row after quite a promising start of the season in Auckland.
Donna Vekic continues her successful come back to the top areas of the WTA field, as she clinched the convincing win against Tamara Korpatsch. Vekic who was a clear pre-match favourite, saved a set-point within own serve during the first set which contained no breaks. The Croatian won the tie-break and run away from her opponent in second set, winning 6 games in a row after facing the break in the opening game of it. Impressive start for Vekic, who can be considered as the main title contender next to Sakkari, after a few upsets of round one.