Kvitova makes winning start in Tokyo


Tokyo—Former champion Petra Kvitova stormed through her opening match at the Pan Pacific Open on Tuesday, beating American Madison Brengle 6-3, 6-3 in a flurry of swashbuckling winners. The 26-year-old Czech, twice a Wimbledon winner, had too much firepower for Brengle in a match played under a closed roof due to typhoon rains in Tokyo. Seventh seed Kvitova will next play Rio Olympic gold medallist Monica Puig of Puerto Rico.
Meanwhile, sixth seed Dominika Cibulkova of Slovakia overcame another Czech, Lucie Safarova, 4-6, 6-1, 7-5 to set up a second-round match with fast-rising Japanese teenager Naomi Osaka.
“I’ve seen her play a few times,” Cibulkova said of Osaka. “She has a powerful serve and it’s always tough playing against these young players—they are fearless and have nothing to lose.”
In other matches, Denmark’s former world number one Caroline Wozniacki battled to a 6-2, 5-7, 6-1 victory over Switzerland’s Belinda Bencic.
Elsewhere on a day badly affected by the weather, Latvia’s Anastasija Sevastova beat Ukrainian Kateryna Bondarenko 7-6, 6-3 while Aliaksandra Sasnovich of Belarus overcame Belgium’s Yanina Wickmayer 3-6, 6-3, 6-3. Meanwhile, Defending champion Jelena Jankovic of Serbia sailed through her opening match at the WTA Guangzhou Open Tuesday, joining German Sabine Lisicki in the second round.
The 31-year-old former world number one eased past China’s You Xiaodi 6-2, 6-1, while 2013 Wimbledon finalist Lisicki beat Kwan Yau Ng of Hong Kong 6-2, 6-0.
China’s Peng Shuai beat compatriot and eighth seed Zheng Saisai 4-6, 6-2, 6-3 and is scheduled to face Lisicki in the next round.
Jankovic will be confronting 21-year-old Swede Rebecca Peterson, listed as 124th in the WTA rankings.
Twenty-year-old Estonian Anett Kontaveit made a strong showing, knocking out seventh seed Katerina Siniakova of the Czech Republic 6-1, 6-1 in a mere 54 minutes. Top seed and defending champion Irina-Camelia Begu of Romania overpowered local Jang Su-jeong 6-2, 6-1 to advance to the second round of the Korea Open on Tuesday. Begu dominated the South Korean wild card with powerful groundstrokes for her first match win since the start of August, when she won her third career title in Florianopolis.—AFP