Birmingham | Cocciaretto upsets defending champ Ostapenko

No Brits were in action on the first day of the Rothesay Classic in Birmingham and the appearance of Jelena Ostapenko was brief as the No 1 seed was stunned by Elisabetta Cocciaretto, while there were wins for seeds Leylah Fernandez and Anastasia Potapova but Sorana Cirstea was upset by Zhu lin.

Ostapenko lifted the trophy here last year but her title defence was short-lived as Italy’s Cocciaretto took down the Latvian, 6-3 6-3, in the 1st-round.

The Latvian, currently ranked 13 in the World, won her second career title on grass last June but could not get past the Italian at the Edgbaston Priory Club.

The former Roland Garros champion produced a subdued performance in the first set, showing signs of weakness on her second serve, and although she settled into the match in the second, Cocciaretto remained in commanding position to earn a solitary break to take a 5-2 lead.

Ostapenko, who seemed on the cusp of a break-through, conjured 4 immediate break points on the Italian’s serve, but failed to convert any of them.

After a mighty hold by the reigning champion, coming back from the brink after Cocciaretto earned herself 3 match points, it seemed Ostapenko might pull off a turn-around, but Cocciaretto eventually prevailed on serve on her 7th match point, sealing a straight-sets victory in an hour and 42 minutes.

Cocciaretto saved 8 of 9 break points while taking down the No 1 seed, and scored her 4th career Top 20 win, her first off clay.

Top seed Jelena Ostapenko produced a lack-lustre performance against Elisabetta Cocciaretto on Monday in Birmingham

© Paul Harding/Getty Images for LTA

The Italian takes on former US Open champion Sloane Stephens, after the American was a 6-3 6-3 winner over China’s Yuan Yue.

The opening set alone accounted for 6 of 7 breaks of serve won by both players in the match, but after claiming 3 consecutive games at the tail end of the opener, the American edged ahead before consolidating her efforts with a solitary break in the second to seal the match in 1 hour and 27 minutes.

Another Chinese, Zhu Lin, posted a 7-6(2) 6-2 upset win over 3rd-seeded Sorana Cirstea from Romania, and she will meet Australia’s Ajla Tomljanovic, who easily beat Russian Anna Blinkova, 6-2 6-1.

No 6  seed Canadian Leylah Fernandez also rolled to a 6-1 6-1 easy win over Spain’s Sara Sorribes Tormo, and will meet Switzerland’s Viktorija Golubic, who outpaced fellow qualifier Camila Osorio from Colombia, 6-4 1-6 6-3.

No 7 seed Anastasia Potapova notched up a 6-4 6-4 victory over fellow Russian Elina Avanesyan and will face Lucia Bronzetti in round 2, after the Italian outlasted Polish qualifier Magdalena Frech, 2-6 6-3 6-4.

British No 1 Katie Boulter, fresh from retaining her title in Nottingham on Sunday, is set to make the short journey across the Midlands to begin her Birmingham campaign against Anhelina Kalinina of Ukraine on Tuesday, with former World No 1 Caroline Wozniacki from Denmark opening play on Day 2 on the Ann Jones Centre Court at 11am.

Sloane Stephens beat Yuan Yue on Monday and will play Elisabetta Cocciaretto in round 2

© Paul Harding/Getty Images for LTA



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