Cluj-Napoca | Dart advances as Sevastova returns

At the Transylvanian Open in Cluj-Napoca on Tuesday, British No 3 Harriet Dart followed up her 2 qualifying wins over the weekend with a straight-sets triumph over Anna Bondar, a lucky loser from Hungary, while Anastasija Sevastova made her return to the Holigic WTA Tour with a convincing win over Romanian wild-card Andreea Mitu.

I just feel I have good tennis to show. It takes time, I need some tournaments to get into it again, but to prove to myself I can still play with Top 100 players, and Top 10 players on tour. Anastasija Sevastova

27-year-old Dart had suffered defeat in her maiden WTA Tour meeting with Bondar in Cluj two years ago, but despite coughing up 5 double-faults, she prevailed, 6-4 7-6[0], in exactly 100 minutes at this week’s WTA 250 edition.

Dart came back from a break and 2-4 down in the opener, winning 4 games on the trot to turn the first set around, and her doggedness also saw her save 2 set points at 4-5 in the second set before forging ahead to take the win.

Her resilience really paid off in the tiebreak in which Bondar was blown away by the Brit, who now will play either Emiliana Arango, a Colombian qualifier, or 5th seed Elisabetta Cocciaretto from Italy next, and meet on Wednesday.

Currently ranked 105, her latest win also has put Dart on the brink of re-entering the Top 100.


Anastasija Sevastova made her return to the Holigic WTA Tour with a convincing win over Romanian wild-card Andreea Mitu

WTAtennis.com

Meanwhile, Sevastova, who is from Latvia, has returned to the tour after giving birth to her daughter, Alexandra, in December of 2022, defeated Mitu, 6-2 6-3, in her opener.

Asked if much had changed since she last played on tour, she dead-panned on court: “It’s all the same. Nothing changed.”

When asked about her goals for the year, she replied: “Just to survive.”

A former US Open semi-finalist, Sevastova doesn’t dwell on her losses too much, though.

“I just feel I have good tennis to show,” she said. “It takes time, I need some tournaments to get into it again, but to prove to myself I can still play with Top 100 players, and Top 10 players on tour.”

Sevastova, who won her first tour-level match on Tuesday since January of 2022, certainly showed good form, using her wickedly spun drop-shot, one of the best on tour in her prime, to devastating effect.

Cluj-Napoca is the third tournament of her come-back, having restarted her career at WTA 125 level last November, where she reached back-to-back quarter-finals in Andorra and Limoges, scoring a notable win over Ukraine’s Dayana Yastremska.

The 33-year-old, who peaked at No 11 back in 2018, is already back at No 656 in the world.

Sevastova will next face No 6 seed Elina Avanesyan from Russia, who defeated Germany’s defending champion Tamara Korpatsch, 6-4 7-6(3), winning nearly 60% of her first-return points, 23 out of 39.

Another German, 2nd-seeded Tatjana Maria, got past China’s Zhuoxuan Bai, 7-5 6-3, while former World No 1 Karolina Pliskova beat Austrian qualifier Sinja Kraus, 6-4 7-6(6) to move into the 2nd-round.

Now ranked No 78, the Czech will face Colombian Camila Osorio next.

Romanian Jaqueline Cristian won against Spanish lucky loser Marina Bassols Ribera, 6-3 6-2, and the World No 81 will play Dane Clara Tauson next.

The only match to go the distance on Day 2 of the Transylvania Open saw France’s Alizé Cornet hold off Belgium’s Yanina Wickmayer, 7-5 4-6 6-3.


No 6 seed Elina Avanesyan came from 5-3 down in the second set to defeat defending champion Tamara Korpatsch in the first round of the Transylvania Open on Tuesday

WTAtennis.com



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