Toronto | Lepchenko upsets Ostapenko
There was a bit of drama on the opening day of the WTA’s Rogers Cup in Toronto when the qualifier Varvara Lepchenko upset the reigning French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko with Venus Williams also wobbling before reaching the second round.
I know I have powerful shots and I'm as good a player as her, so I knew I just had to give my best, and it would be a battle Varvara Lepchenko
Lepchenko battled hard to recover from the loss of the opening set and then complete a hard earned 1-6 7-6(2) 7-6(5) victory while the ninth seeded Williams after a solid start, wavered in the second set before going on to claim her 6-1 3-6 6-3 victory over Irina-Camelia Begu.
For the 31-year-old American Lepchenko, ranked 68th, it was her first win over a top 20-player this season. “I think I woke up, I was a little bit in the sleeping mode for a set and a half,” admitted Lepchenko, a former top-20 player herself. “All the credit to her, she played amazing tennis – she hardly missed any ball from the very beginning.
“Once I gave her a little push back, that’s when the game started. I pretty much focused on my game.
“I know I have powerful shots and I’m as good a player as her, so I knew I just had to give my best, and it would be a battle.”
Meanwhile Williams advances into the second round where she will face either another qualifier Mariane Duque-Marino or world number 40 Katerina Siniakova.
Elsewhere, two-time Wimbledon winner Petra Kvitova, seeded 14th fended off Spain’s Carla Suarez Navarro 6-1 7-6(5).
Top seed Karolina Pliskova and the defending champion Simona Halep, the second seed, were among the top eight players enjoying first-round byes.
In other early action, Czech Barbora Strycova upset 13th-seeded Kristina Mladenovic of France 6-2 6-3.
She was joined by British qualifier Heather Watson who retired while trailing Japan’s Naomi Osaka 6-1 4-1 with a shoulder injury.
Belgium’s Kirsten Flipkens was up 6-2 when her Croatian opponent Ana Konjuh also retired, the victory sending Flipkens into a second-round meeting with Wimbledon champion Garbine Muguruza.