World No. 7 Belinda Bencic won her first match of the season yesterday, but there was agony for Alex de Minaur as the men’s top seed pulled out of the Adelaide International.
The Swiss 22-year-old, a wild-card entry who lost her opening match of the year last week in Shenzhen, beat Daria Kasatkina of Russia 6-4, 6-4.
Bencic, who had lost her past two matches against the qualifier, overcame hot conditions at Memorial Drive as she makes final preparations for next week’s Australian Open.
She survived a first set against Kasatkina featuring five breaks of serve and secured her second-round place with a break in the final game of the second.
“It was very difficult, but I like the heat and I’m happy to be here for the first time,” Bencic said. “Her game is really tough, it doesn’t match up with mine. I had to work hard.”
Russia’s Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, American Danielle Collins and Croat Donna Vekic were among other women to clear the first hurdle.
In the men’s draw Britain’s Dan Evans beat Argentine Juan Ignacio Londero 6-2, 6-4, while Jeremy Chardy overcame fellow Frenchman Gilles Simon 6-3, 7-5.
A devastated De Minaur withdrew due to an abdominal injury, casting doubt over his fitness for the first major of the season.
“I re-aggravated an abdominal injury and have had to withdraw,” said De Minaur, who had an intense week leading Australia at the ATP Cup. “It’s devastating, Adelaide has been part of my schedule for a long time.”
AP, AUCKLAND, New Zealand
Defending champion Tennys Sandgren of the US moved into the second round of the ASB Classic, beating New Zealand doubles specialist Michael Venus 6-4, 6-3.
Sandgren won his maiden ATP title in Auckland last year, beating Briton Cameron Norrie in the final. He looked strong yesterday with 15 aces in a 70-minute win.
Venus is ranked 10th in the world in doubles, but was playing his first singles match since a Davis Cup tie in 2018.
In other first-round matches, Brazilian qualifier Thiego Montiero beat Cameron Norrie 7-6 (7/3), 6-2, while Hubert Hurkacz of Poland advanced with a 7-5, 6-3 win over Lorenzo Sonego.
AFP, HOBART, Australia
Kristyna Pliskova yesterday advanced to the second round at the WTA Hobart International, at which Taiwanese sisters Chan Hao-ching and Latisha Chan are to play in the doubles.
Pliskova beat Nina Stojanovic 1-6, 6-4, 6-3.
The Chans are to play Ukraine’s Kateryna Bondarenko and Sharon Fichman of Canada in the round of 16 today.
Additional reporting by staff writer
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