The opening round of WTA 500 bett1open in Berlin was scheduled to be played on Monday and Tuesday, but 5 of 16 matches are still yet to be played, because of the rain conditions which tormented Tuesday's scheduled. Despite this, 7 out of 8 seeds got a chance to finish their first round matches and the fans could witness some interesting settlements.
Clear start for the favorites
Aryna Sabalenka and Elena Rybakina are headlining both halves of the draw as a top seeds and big favorites to make some significant results on grass after super successful year so far for the current world's number 2 and 3. Same as the majority of seeds from Berlin's draw, both Sabalenka and Rybakina start their grass campaign in Germany, as bett1open is their first appearance on the lawn surface this year. Both have dropped the players from qualifying field in the main draw for their opening matches, and done their job well as expected.
Sabalenka has played against experienced Vera Zvonareva, who performed some surprised, climbing up through the qualies, where she defeated Eugenie Bouchard in the three-setter for the place in main draw. Sabalenka was a banker favorite ahead of this match and did not give her opponent any chance, as she won 6-3 6-2 in just 68 minutes. The top seed did not need to face any single breakpoint throughout whole the match. Sabalenka still waits for her 2nd round opponent, as the match between Veronika Kudermetova and Qinwen Zheng got rescheduled for tomorrow.
Rybakina has faced the fellowcountry of Zvonareva, but much less experienced one, as she played against Polina Kudermetova. This match was quite competitive in first set, as Rybakina managed to clinch the first and decisive break in 10th game. The second set was much more one-sided and under full control of the Kazakh, who moved into second round with a score 6-4 6-2. The reigning Wimbledon champion sets up a great match-up against Donna Vekic in second round. The Croatian has defeated Varvara Gracheva 6-3 6-2.
Alexandrova still undefeated
Ekaterina Alexandrova has managed to rest up after the victorious run in last week's WTA 250 Libema Open in s'Hertogenbosch. Just 2 days after defeating Veronika Kudermetova in a thrilling final match, ended up after more than 3 hours in decisive set's tiebreak, Alexandrova has faced another fellowcountry Liudmila Samsonova in first round of bett1open. It was a super quality match-up on paper, especially for the first round, considering that the world's number 22 who has just won the tournament on grass, was facing the player ranked 15th in the WTA rankings. Alexandrova has proved, that her great form has not disappeared and won the match against Samsonova 6-4 6-3 despite being down a break twice in the opening set. Cori Gauff is the next opponent for the Libema Open's champ in another top game of the second round. 5th seeded American defeated Katerina Siniakova 6-3 6-4 without losing any own service game in this match.
Niemeier delights the home crowd
Jule Niemeier has performed the biggest upset of the opening round by eliminating the 4th seed Ons Jabeur. The German, who approached main draw after prevailing in qualies, was an underdog ahead of the match against the world's number 6, being rated with an odd 5.00. The match has started quite as expected, as the last year's Wimbledon finalist was leading 5-3 up to the point. Jabeur had two setpoints during Niemeier's service game, but the German made an important hold and managed to come back level in the following game, when Jabeur was serving for the set. Both players approached the tiebreak, which was a tight battle till the end when Jabeur lost two service points in a row and Niemeier has surprisingly took this set on her account. The German has followed the blow and gained the break in opening game of second set, which occured to be a decisive one. Niemeier was serving well and held the nerves till the end, winning 7-6(4) 6-4 eventually.
The other home representatives are already out of the tournament. Sabine Lisicki got awarded with a wild card into main draw, but had quite a bad luck in a draw, getting paired up against 3rd seed Caroline Garcia. The French has expectedly won in straight sets, but was a competitive match and good show up from Lisicki, who forced the tiebreak in opening set and was leveled with Garcia in second set until the last 3 games won by the French, which decided the match with a score 7-6(2) 6-3.
Laura Siegemund has earned her main draw spot in the qualies, but got eliminated by Anna Blinkova in a long battle, ended up after more than 3 hours with a score 6-3 6-7(3) 7-5 for the Russian. Siegemund was leading 3-1 in final set, but Blinkova managed to come back from this and settled the match in 12th game, denying the decisive tiebreak by breaking Siegemund serve to love.
Super lucky loser
Elina Avanesyan has wrote one of the best stories in just finished Roland Garros, as she reach out the 4th round after appearing in main draw as a lucky loser. Avanesyan has got a place in Berlin's main draw in similar way, as she got defeated by Laura Siegemund in final round of qualies, losing 5-7 2-6. The Russian has appeared in the main draw though, but got paired up against her fellowcountry and 8th seed of the tournament, Daria Kasatkina. Avanesyan was not a favorite of this match, but it was a tight and intense battle till the end. Both players have shared two sets between them and took turns leading in third set, which got settled in tiebreak. Kasatkina had a great chance to win this match, as she was leading 6-4 and had two matchpoints, including one during own serve. The world's number 11 wasted her chance, which was capitalized by Avanesyan who won 5 out of last 6 points and performed quite an upset to move up into second round with a score 6-2 3-6 7-6(7).