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Badosa, Kontaveit make winning starts as Sydney Classic kicks off

Two Top 10 players scored their first wins of the 2022 season to kick off the Sydney Tennis Classic here on Monday, as Paula Badosa and Anett Kontaveit led the charge into the second round. Photo: @paulabadosa
Two Top 10 players scored their first wins of the 2022 season to kick off the Sydney Tennis Classic here on Monday, as Paula Badosa and Anett Kontaveit led the charge into the second round. Photo: @paulabadosa

Sydney, Jan 10 (MNN) Two Top 10 players scored their first wins of the 2022 season to kick off the Sydney Tennis Classic here on Monday, as Paula Badosa and Anett Kontaveit led the charge into the second round.

After a first-round exit last week in Adelaide at the hands of former world number 1 and two-time Australian Open champion Victoria Azarenka, number 5 seed Badosa edged a tight first set before rolling past former major-winner in Jelena Ostapenko, 7-6(1), 6-1, to take her first win of the season.

Anett Kontaveit ended her 2021 season by winning 29 of her last 34 matches, and the world number 7 picked up where she left off in her 2022 debut. The number 4 seed in Sydney, Kontaveit needed just 89 minutes to defeat Zhang Shuai in her season debut, 6-3, 6-3.

Kontaveit and Zhang played for the first time back in 2015, and the Estonian has now won three of their four career meetings. Monday’s win was new ground for her nonetheless: her previous two wins against Zhang came in straight sets, while Zhang won their last meeting in 2019 in Dubai.

Petra Kvitova survives Arantxa Rus

The last time tennis was played in Sydney, Petra Kvitova left with the trophy, and in her return, she had to come from a set down to avoid being beaten in the first round.

In a rare match-up between left-handers, Kvitova saved two match points in the final set to overcome Arantxa Rus, 3-6, 7-6(4), 7-5, in a shade under three hours. Staring down two match points serving in the 10th game of the final set, Kvitova powered through to win the match’s final three games.

Monday’s match was a far cry from the pair’s last meeting at the BNP Paribas Open last October, where Kvitova eased to a 6-2, 6-2 victory.

Kvitova slipped to world number 21 in the latest edition of the WTA rankings this week: her first outside the Top 20 since Feb. 12, 2018. However, she arrives in Sydney with good memories: in addition to the 2019 title, she also raised the trophy in 2015 and reached two further semifinals in 2012 and 2014.

She’ll next face either number 7 seed Ons Jabeur or Aussie wildcard Astra Sharma for a spot in the last eight.

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