Last year’s French Open champion Barbora Krejcikova began her Hamburg European Open campaign on Monday with a 6-2 6-4 win over lucky loser Suzan Lamens from the Netherlands, and although Aliaksandra Sasnovich dispatched German wild-card Nastasja Schunk, 6-1 6-4, home hopes were boosted by Andrea Petkovic’s 6-3 6-3 win over compatriot Tamara Korpatsch.
The event is important for me, as I didn’t have many matches this year. I always try to be the best at that moment. I am fit and I feel healthy. That’s the most important thing. Barbora Krejcikova
Krejcikova, the 3rd seed from Czech Republic, produced a solid performance at the WTA 250 event against Lamens after a patchy season dogged by injury.
“It was very good start into the tournament,” Krejcikova said. “I am really happy about the way I played.
“I always find the first round very difficult because it is a new tournament. I am pleased that I am through. I tried to play my game, tried to stay aggressive.”
Krejcikova, who stormed through the Roland Garros draws in both singles and doubles last year to win the titles at the French Open, is playing Hamburg for the first time.
“It is a very nice tournament, and the city is beautiful as well,” she said. “I have good memories of German tournaments, as I played a lot of them. I really like it.
“The event is important for me, as I didn’t have many matches this year,” added Krejcikova, who was sidelined from playing for 3 months earlier this year due to an elbow injury.
On Monday she dominated the match with her serve, winning 80 per cent of her first-service points, and converted 4 of 13 break-point chances to prevail after an hour and 23 minutes.
“I always try to be the best at that moment. I am fit and I feel healthy. That’s the most important thing,” she said.
Krejcikova, though, doesn’t consider herself as the favourite for the title in Hamburg.
“There are so many really good players here. Every single match is different, and we have to go step by step.”
Up next for Krejcikova is Magdalena Frech from Poland, who benefited from the retirement of Anna Kalinskaya in her first-round match with the score standing at 6-1 in her favour.
“I have to see how she is playing, and we will try to be prepared the best way to beat her,” Krejcikova said.
Sasnovich, the 4th seed from Russia, took an hour and 17 minutes to see off Schunk, dominating most of the proceedings, and now awaits the winner of the match between another German hopeful, Sabine Lisicki, the 2011 Wimbledon finalist who had to qualify for the main draw, and Serbia’s Aleksandra Krunic, the runner-up in Budapest on Sunday.
In other Center Court action, Petkovic’s win in the all-German affair with Korpatsch after an hour and 20 minutes put last year’s Hamburg finalist, who is seeded 8 here, in the 2nd-round where she will meet Misaki Doi from Japan, a 7-6(10) 6-0 winner over Russian qualifier Oksana Selekhmeteva, on Tuesday.
“I like the clay and the balls here,” said Petkovic, who is the Hamburg tournament’s ambassador. “We met in Madrid. I won but she is a dangerous, explosive lefty.”
In other Monday results, Anastasia Potapova upset sixth-seeded Varvara Gracheva, 7-5 6-3, in an all-Russian contest, while her next opponent, Argentine qualifier Maria Lourdes Carle overcame local wild-card Eva Lys, 7-5 3-6 6-2 to notch up the first WTA main-draw win of her career; Sweden’s Rebecca Peterson dispatched lucky loser Kateryna Baindl from Ukraine; and Romanian Alexandra Cadantu-Ignatik took out fellow qualifier Nao Hibino, 6-3 2-6 6-2.