ELAIDE :Danielle Collins, runner-up at last year’s Australian Open, indicated she might be set for another run deep into the year’s first Grand Slam with a 6-2 6-4 win over Karolina Pliskova at the Adelaide International 2 on Monday.
The American, also a semi-finalist at Melbourne Park in 2019, set off at a canter and led 5-0 before the Czech former world number one finally found some of her once formidable game and rallied to break back.
Collins, seeded 10th, would not be knocked off course, however, and converted her fifth set point to take the opening stanza before breaking Pliskova twice in the second to seal the victory.
“Hope to keep the good momentum going, I played a good match today,” said Collins, who will next meet Jil Teichmann in the second round after the Swiss downed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 7-5 6-4.
“I don’t think Karolina was at her best, but it’s ups and downs with the tennis, just riding it out. I think she’ll get some good recovery and get ready for Melbourne now.”
Earlier, former Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova gave a reminder of her quality when she beat the current holder of the All England Club title Elena Rybakina 6-3 7-5 to continue her winning start in the new season.
The 2019 Australian Open finalist rode a rock solid serve and earned all three of the break points in the contest, converting two to set up a second round clash with American Shelby Rogers or China’s Qinwen Zheng.
“I came here playing well so I’m glad I continued that today,” said the 32-year-old Czech.
BENCIC OUSTS MUGURUZA
Twice Grand Slam champion and 2020 Australian Open finalist Garbine Muguruza’s struggles continued when she was knocked out early yet again, losing 6-3 6-4 to Belinda Bencic just days after her first-round exit at the Adelaide International 1.
Swiss eighth seed Bencic was virtually unstoppable on serve, raising her level in the second set where she lost only one point on her first serve.
“I served really clean today, that was my biggest weapon. I felt very comfortable on my own service games and I was able to put pressure on the return,” Bencic said.
“The service is something I’ve worked on in my career and I think everyone is working on it. I feel like every year you come out to the tour again and everyone serves better, so you kind of have to keep up.”
The top three women in the world were all late withdrawals from the second Adelaide tournament with Iga Swiatek (shoulder) and Ons Jabeur (back) both nursing injuries and Jessica Pegula citing a change of schedule.
The top remaining seed, France’s Caroline Garcia, was given a bye into the second round.
The other women’s warm-up for the Australian Open this week is the Hobart International, which returns after a two-year hiatus caused by the COVID pandemic.
Qualifier Lauren Davis opened the tournament with an upset of out-of-sorts fourth seed and former U.S. Open champion Sloane Stephens, easing past her fellow American 6-2 6-2.